For it is written that on this day, when Frank was chewing on the wires, and a great gloom was cast upon the land, a hero would rise up—a humble man, his name shrouded in obscurity, although some knew him as "Sly," and others as "Sergeant Butterfingers."
But Pope John knew him only as Siler, the hound-faced man with the gentle voice who helped him in his early days, when John couldn't find the conference room or kept losing his mitre in the laundry. Siler took him under his wing, and showed him where to hide when Rodney was on a rampage because someone (who shall remain nameless) had bought the last packet of white cheddar popcorn from the vending machine when it was only Tuesday and they wouldn't be restocking until Friday.
Verily, Siler was indeed a good man, even if he always wore bandages in strange places and looked a little squirrely when John asked him who to hit up for the extra-thick water-based lube, since the quarter master just laughed at John when he put in a req.
Siler was always good for a knock-knock joke and an extra piece of Doublemint gum, which came in handy when visiting desert worlds.
But on this day, this day of days, Master Sergeant Aloysius Siler became a hero to them all.
"What is it this time?" Rodney asked, not sounding amused. "The computer's DHD? What? I keep telling you, Sam, you have to upgrade the OS. You can't simply run patch after patch—you need a whole new kernel—"
"It's not the computer, Rodney," Carter said with deadly patience. Usually John would tame Rodney down with a smack or maybe a rim-job—sometimes both at the same time—but obviously Sam had her own, unique approach. "I think it's the power conduit within the rings themselves."
"Well, then might I suggest testing the naquadah resistance—?"
"Already on it, Dr. McKay," Sergeant Siler said, approaching from behind them. He was holding up a wacky gadget that had John intrigued. It looked like a cross between a Geiger counter and a trickle charger.
"Let's get to it, Sergeant. Jack, Teal'c and Daniel are offworld right now negotiating with the Remari, and you know how they get."
Siler smacked his gum. "Persnickety is the word that comes to mind, ma'am."
"And then some. If they dial in, it will mean they're coming in hot. We need to get the Gate running." Sam nodded at Siler, who disappeared down the stairs then approached the Gate and started hooking up a parrot clamp to one of the symbols.
John followed to go help out and heard Siler mumbling, "Can never remember if it's positive first, or negative," which gave John a funny feeling in his gut.
"Need a hand there, buddy?"
"Sure, yeah. Can you hold this while I—" Siler handed over the gizmo the clamps were attached to, and then hooked up the second set of clamps. John held up the meter where Siler could see it, but that just got him more grunting, and an occasional, "Huh!"
"Well?" Rodney's voice came over the intercom. "How are the readings?"
"So far, so good," Siler said, scratching his head with one of the clamps. "But we'll need a ladder for this next set." He handed over the whole mess to John and went around behind the Gate, coming back with a tall ladder that he proceeded to set up right in front of the ring.
The feeling in John's gut went into overdrive. "You sure about this? If the wormhole engages..."
"It can't. Not with the resistance failing. At least one of these symbols is busted." He climbed the ladder and waved for John to toss up the clamps. He then affixed the red parrot clamp to the top, central outer ring symbol.
Just as he finished clamping on the negative and was looking down at his meter, an alarm sounded and the inner ring started spinning.
John saw it happening as if in slow-motion, and was already moving when the ladder tipped over and Siler started to fall, so he was there and waiting as approximately two hundred pounds of lanky Master Sergeant tried to hit the deck. Instead, both of them landed in a heap at the top of the ramp.
"Hoo-ee," Siler said.
"Crap," John replied. "You okay?"
"Hell if I know, but it doesn't matter. That's the one. Quick, we gotta fix it." And then Siler elbowed John right in the nuts getting to his feet, so John missed thirty seconds or so of events, being as he was contorted in mortal agony. The next thing he saw was Siler standing beside the Gate, something shining in his hand as he reached out and jammed his fingers against the inner symbol just as it tried to lock.
There was a thunk, and Harriman yelled over the intercom, "Chevron one encoded!"
But Siler was whimpering, his fingers tucked against his mouth. Whatever he'd done had to have hurt, John thought. Probably as much as John's nuts right at that moment.
"John! Get away from the splash zone!" Rodney yelled.
Siler came charging over and boosted John up to his feet, giving him a new lesson in nausea, and then the two of them hobbled clear of the danger area and collapsed at the base of the ramp.
"Well, that was something," Siler said, staring down at his singed fingers.
"I'll say," Carter said as she came in sounding breathless. "How'd you complete the connection? I couldn't get a fix on what you did, but I'll tell you, it looked like a magic trick from up there." She grinned and patted Siler's back just as the seventh chevron engaged and the wormhole splashed to life.
"Nothing to it, ma'am." Siler reached into his pocket with his good hand and pulled out his pack of Doublemint, offering her a silvery stick. "Thousand and one uses."
She shook her head disbelievingly as the Gate plopped, one-two-three, and Teal'c, General O'Neill and Dr. Jackson all surfaced out of the blue.
"Hey, kids. What'd we miss?"
"Nothing much, sir. Just the usual. Sergeant Siler here MacGyvered the Gate, for starters."
O'Neill took them in with a narrow look. "Well, carry on. And someone get Siler to the infirmary? Again? Looks like the Pope here could use it, too."
Rodney appeared out of nowhere, grumbling about John hurting himself without managing to do anything. John exchanged a disgruntled look with Siler but went, grateful for the support, and Siler went with him, a huge grin on his face that got even bigger when Teal'c, Jackson and O'Neill showed up later carrying the pizza they'd ordered for him.
It was a Hero's Pizza, double meat, extra cheese.