Sure, it had been a while since his last visit, but Colonel Stanfield was having trouble recognising anyone save the few faces that nodded at him amiably while he made his way through the still-confusing corridors and staircases. Once or twice someone had tried to stand in his way and explain the concept of restricted area, but those occasions were actually good in Stanfield’s book because the look of embarrassed horror that came over their faces when he showed them his passcard was always worth it.
Then once he’d got through into the main corridors around the ‘Gate room people stopped looking at him or asking if he belonged there. It was also a relief that at least this section hadn’t changed much, save for maybe a new coat of paint and the random background furniture that no one would really notice.
There were people milling about, mostly muttering into headphones and waving folders and pointing at things that needed to be done, so Stanfield carefully eased himself into a comfortable spot behind a trolley that had been parked next to the wall and relaxed. If he was lucky no one would remember that he was coming today at all, and he’d be able to go back and get back to that thing he’d putting off – what was it? Oh yeah, sleep.
Stanfield mentally shook his fist at the situation.
A man strolled past him, and usually Stanfield would have blurred him out along with the rest of the men and women hustling-and-bustling through the corridors, but it was the insignia just below his shoulder that caught Stanfield’s attention.
“You’re with SG-1?” Stanfield blurted out, though he hadn’t really meant to.
The man stopped walking and tilted his head around to look at him, and despite the sandwich dangling precariously from the corner of his mouth, Stanfield’s eyes were drawn down to the corner pocket of his jacket where MITCHELL was embroidered in solid, black letters.
“Yeah…?” he said slowly. “You new around here?”
“I was going to ask the same thing about you,” Stanfield said. He flipped out his pass card and stuck out his hand. “Colonel Lucas Stanfield, United States Air Force.”
The man’s expression changed, and Stanfield suppressed the urge to smirk. “Oh! Great to meet you, Colonel. Glad you could make it, they mentioned you’d be coming in today but…” He waved at the hubbub around them. “There’s been some problems since this mornin' about the lighting and things have ben a little rushed since then. Uh, I’m Ben Browder.”
“And you’re playing…”
“Colonel Cameron Mitchell,” Browder said. “The new leader of SG-1.”
Behind his shades, Stanfield blinked. “The new… But what happened to that other guy? That MacGyver guy?”
“Oh, Rick. He wanted to spend time with his kid, so…” Ben waved the half-eaten sandwich. “Yeah, and that’s why I’m here.”
Stanfield could feel a scowl coming on. “Huh.”
“Yeah,” Browder nodded. “So, uh… You want me to get Peter or something?”
“No no no no,” Stanfield said quickly. “He’s probably busy doing… director… things, and I wouldn’t want to bother him.”
“You sure? ‘Cos I could just go over there and…”
“No, really. I’ll just wait here ‘til he’s done.”
Browder chewed thoughtfully on his sandwich. “They need me in make-up soon, we’re going to start shooting the scene with the Prior in an hour—”
“Prior. Pale priest guy with super-funky powers and…” He trailed off. “I guess you don’t watch the show.”
“Oh, I know people who do,” Stanfield said, waving it off easily. “I’m just not much of a sci-fi person. But don’t let me keep you, Ben, I’m sure you’ve got a lot of things to do.”
Browder shook his hand again. “Really, it’s great to meet you sir.”
Stanfield waited until Browder had wandered off round the corner before reaching into his back pocket for his phone, dialling the familiar number with his thumb. Turning around quickly to make sure everyone was still busy ignoring him, he lifted it to his ear. As soon as he heard the click of the receiver being lifted, he drawled, “Mark?”
“Luke?” came the voice from the other end.
“Why didn’t you tell me that I’ve been replaced?”
“Didn’t I? Oh well then, O’Neill’s been replaced. It’s rather funny, isn’t it, because Mitchell looks so much like their Doctor Jackson, and did you know that Ben Browder – that’s the actor playing Mitchell – was in Farscape and then there’s the whole new arc with Vala and the Ori—”
“You really should watch the show with us one of these days. Loron just got the Season 8 boxed set and we’ve—”
“It’s way too weird, and I can’t believe you guys still watch the damn thing and why hasn’t it ended by now?” By the end of that sentence Stanfield’s voice had lowered into a hiss.
“They’ve signed up for a tenth season, too!”
Stanfield tapped his free hand deliberately against the green wall, noting with satisfaction the way the wood shuddered beneath his knuckles. “I’m going to kill DeLuise.”
Mark sighed. “You say that every time to you go there, Luke.”
“I’m really going to do it this time.”
“You say *that* too.”
“And then I’m going to take a skimmer, go back in time, and kill Emmerich and Devlin.”
“While you’re there, you might as well advise them to re-correct their design of the Go’auld.”
“Not helping, Mark.”
“Not trying to help, Luke.”
A familiar half-wailed, “A-ha!” loud enough to make the styrofoam sets shudder made Stanfield freeze. “Call you back,” he whispered into the phone.
“Ah. Say hi to Peter for me. Remember, you’re there only to observe and advise, so don’t—”
Stanfield shut the phone with a satisfying snap and turned his attention to the oncoming body of flesh. Remembering that his shades were still on, Stanfield tugged them off and adjusted his expression. “Hello, Peter.”
“So glad you could make it, we’ve missed you down here, Colonel! Major Fields came down the last two times and she’s great and all, but the gang and I thought you’d bailed on us completely.”
Stanfield tried to take a step back but remembered that there was a wall there. “Well, it’s been busy, you know how it is.”
“Of course, of course,” Peter said. “Anyway, I want you to have a look at our new sets, you’re going to love them!”
Peter put a hand on his chest in an exaggerated expression of scandalous surprise. “Haven’t you heard about our spin-off?”
“Spin-off?” Stanfield wracked his brain. “I vaguely remember something about it, but—”
“We’re already into the second season, it’s been great like you wouldn’t believe,” Peter said, practically bouncing with excitement. He waved his arms to encourage Stansfield to start moving. “C’mon, we’ve got a lot to cover today.”
Stansfield slid his shades back on and resigned himself to his fate. “Indeed.”