I am a table. I am a rectangular four-foot wide by eight-foot long, golden oak table with lots of grain, a leg on each corner, and a polyurethane sealant. This is important, because though it removes me from the level of 'fine' furniture, it adds to my versatility and my longevity. I was purchased in the early 90's by the U.S. Air Force Quartermaster in a spasm of upgrades for the offices of NORAD. After I was delivered I was reassigned to a priority slot in a new command under the mountain cryptically referred to as SGC. I can seat eight formally, ten comfortably, and twelve friendly. Because I was purchased without chairs, I knew that my life would be one of utilitarianism not formal dining. In other words, I'll see a lot of service of all kinds.
I have been sitting in the storage room now for several days. There has been no call for my services lately and I have not seen many of the mobiles except when they bring in or take out boxes of supplies.
I have heard some suspicious sounds in the hallway for the last several hours (as the mobiles measure time). I hear loud voices and feet running outside the door but I cannot see what is going on. Every once in a while, there are explosions and the staccato sound of small bang bang bang bangs.
Then all is silent for a while. I can only sit and wonder what has happened to my mobile friends. The dark conveys nothing and the door does not speak. I believe it to be afraid.
Then, more loud noises and they come closer, traveling towards the room I inhabit and the door that shelters me.
I hear familiar voices outside. It is Tall Military Jack and Tall Civilian Daniel. Jack is yelling commands at his friend above the noise. Daniel is shouting back information. There are more voices, but I do not recognize them.
Suddenly, I hear a thump and slide. Then, a shout, a shout by a familiar voice in a frightened tone. This is followed by a different type of noise. It is a slow noise, a dragging sound.
The door bursts open, and two figures rush in, one almost carrying the other. As they come to rest behind me, I am roughly overturned to lie on my side forming a barrier between them and the doorway. It is Tall Military Jack and Tall Civilian Daniel and Jack is gently laying Daniel down behind my thick, strong surface.
Tall Civilian Daniel is lying on the floor, very still. Tall Military Jack is bending over him, pulling his shirt out of his trousers and unbuttoning if from the bottom. He then peels it back to expose Daniel's surface. There is a small hole that red sap is bubbling out of in his midsection. "Damn it, Danny."
"Yeah, buddy. I gottcha."
"What...oh, yeah. Is it bad?"
"Don't think so. But I bet it hurts like hell."
I am surprised, Tall Civilian Daniel never speaks like this.
"Where are we?"
"In the storage room...right under your favorite table."
"My table? Really?" My friend seems a little confused.
"Daniel, stay with me buddy."
"Daniel, love. Please, stay with me. Ah, shit!" Tall Military Jack peeks around me and then points his long black object back at them. It makes the banging noise too. He glances down at Daniel, who is lying very still in the shelter of my legs.
I see the forms of several strange mobiles at the open door. They are carrying those long, black objects like those the SG teams take off world. Like the one that Tall Military Jack is holding now. He crouches next to Daniel and behind me. He is trying to hide from these other mobiles but I can tell he will not leave our Daniel.
The bang bang bang bang noise sounds again and I see that it is coming from the strangers and their long black things. Then, I feel...something. Not pain, tables do not feel pain after all, but I feel the impact, I feel the hot metal as it strikes my corner, chipping off the edge. Oh No! I am marred! I am defaced!
Tall Military Jack knows that I cannot protect them for long, that even oak cannot stop this attack. He leans over, touching our Daniel and kisses him quickly one time. He pulls another, smaller black object from it's leather case on his hip and puts it into Daniel's hand. Then he grasps his black object and speaks to him. "Stay here, behind the table, I'll draw their fire away from you." Their eyes meet and Daniel nods. Then, Jack ducks and rolls across the open space to take cover behind some metal shelving. I can hear the spang of the hot metal pieces as they strike the shelving and deflect off of it. I feel another impact as a spent piece imbeds itself in the center of my surface. But I hold it as firmly as I can. It will not penetrate my top; it will not reach my Tall Civilian Daniel unless it splits me in two.
I can hear Tall Military Jack yelling angry words at them, calling at them to fire their weapons at him and the metal shelving. He is trying to keep our Daniel and me from further harm.
Then I hear more of the loud terrible noises. I hear voices from more mobiles as they echo down the hallway. The evil ones hear and see them coming and they run away, leaving us alone in the room.
Tall Military Jack crawls back across the open space. He is dragging a leg and it is leaking red sap also. He comes to where Tall Civilian Daniel is lying very quiet and very still. He has lost a lot of the red sap. It is a pool on the floor underneath him and I feel it's warmth as it runs up against my bottom most edge.
"Daniel? Oh, Danny, please, you'll be okay. Daniel, I'm here, you're gonna be fine. We're... you're safe now. Danny, please." Tall Military Jack sits upright and leans against my strong underside. I will support his weight just as he supports our Daniel.
A familiar voice comes from the doorway. It is Tall Alien Teal'c. "O'Neill! Are you in here?"
"Teal'c, we're over here behind the table." Tall Military Jack calls back to him. "Get the Medics, Daniel's shot!"
Then, more mobiles come, Tall Lady Sam, Small Lady Janet, and some others that I don't know their names rush into the room. Small Lady Janet comes in and starts to look at Tall Civilian Daniel and then she has him put on one of the metal tables with wheels and he is taken away from my sheltering underside.
Next, she looks at Tall Military Jack's leg. She smiles at him and says he is lucky and will be fine. She says she must go and repair Daniel. Tall Alien Teal'c takes Tall Military Jack by the arm and lifts him to his feet. Tall Lady Sam picks up the ugly black things and they all leave the room. I am alone in darkness again.
Sometime later some of the maintenance mobiles come in and pick me up and set me on my legs again. They pour smelly water on the concrete floor and mop up the red sap that Tall Civilian Daniel and Tall Military Jack have left behind. They wipe it off of me as well.
Before they can leave, Military Man In Charge Hammond comes into the room. He looks at the floor, which is still discolored, from the mingled water and sap of Tall Civilian Daniel and Tall Military Jack. He looks at me, fingering my now ragged corner with a thoughtful look on his face. Then, he looks closely at the piece of metal buried in my polyurethane sealed top. Thoughtfully, he takes a small folding knife out of his pocket and very carefully pries it out. He is so careful, I can barely feel it.
One of the maintenance mobiles comes over to him. "What should we do with the table, General?"
Military Man in Charge Hammond looks at him oddly. "Why, hell man, Fix it."
"Fix it, Sir?"
"Yes," he says slowly, looking from him to back at my now scarred surface. "I said to fix it. In fact, take it to Sergeant Siler's workroom and tell him that I want this table repaired, sanded down and refinished to as good as new." He shakes his head at the maintenance mobile. "This table has been here as long as I have, Airman, and I want it fixed! Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir. Yes sir, I do indeed."
It's been some time now. I visited with Tall Military Siler. I like him, and I think he enjoyed working on me. I sat in his workroom for a long while as he took his time to repair me properly. He cleaned out my injury and carefully packed it with wood putty. Then he took a long careful time and lovingly sanded on my splintered corner. It is not as square as it used to be, as my other three are, but if you don't look closely, you really can't see it. Then his put a smelly liquid on me and peeled off my outer layer. After I dried, he sanded and buffed and re-stained my surface so that you could only just barely see the wood putty. After that he reapplied the polyurethane coating that protects me from coffee, water and other stains. Then, I was allowed to rest and 'cure' as he called it. It took a long time, but when he was through with me I felt almost new again. So, when they carried me back up to the General's briefing room to hold the coffee and pastries again, I was proud as a table could be.
To make my day even better, I saw Tall Civilian Daniel and Tall Military Jack come into the room. They didn't look quite as good as me though. Tall Civilian Daniel was still a bit paler than I remember him and he walked with his left arm held close to his side. Tall Military Jack was walking with the help of a slender stick of wood that curved at the top for him to use as a handle. He leaned on it as they stood beside me and fixed their coffees and got their donuts and cookies.
Then, Tall Military Jack noticed where the wood putty was. He looked carefully and ran his hand down my edge and to the corner that had been repaired. He smiled and said. "Daniel, say thank you to the table."
Tall Civilian Daniel looked at him in confusion then down to where he was caressing my corner. Then a light came into his very blue eyes. "Oh, is this it?"
Jack nodded and leaned closer to him. "Yes, this is the table that saved you life, Danny." He took his hand off my corner and touched Daniel's arm. "We owe this table a lot." he then pointed to the imperfection in my surface. "It took a bullet for you."
"I always liked this old table, Jack."
"Well, Doctor Jackson, I'd say that this old table likes you too." Military Man In Charge Hammond came up beside them and smiled down at me. "Cause it sure did protect both of you."
"I'm glad you had it fixed, General." Tall Military Jack said smiling at the older man. "This table's been through a lot with the SGC."
Military Man In Charge Hammond just chuckled, like mobiles can do, and he looked at the two men and then down at me. "Well, Master Sergeant Siler did a fine job repairing and refinishing it. It looks almost as good as new and I sure as hell don't waste good furniture just because it saves the life of two of my best men."
The three men laughed together and the General motioned towards the long briefing table with its perfect shiny surface. "Let's go take our seats. Major Carter is just about to start her briefing on that new generator she's been working so hard on.
The other two men nodded and they all started towards their seats, but not before Tall Military Jack patted me on the surface one more time and whispered. "Thank you" to me. My new varnish shined.
I am a table. I am a rectangular four-foot wide by eight-foot long, golden oak table with lots of grain, a leg on each corner, (one slightly rounded) and a polyurethane sealant. This is important, because though it removes me from the level of 'fine' furniture, it adds to my strength, versatility and my longevity. I was assigned to a priority slot in a new command under the mountain cryptically referred to as SGC. Because I was purchased without chairs, I knew that my life would be one of utilitarianism not formal dining. In other words, I have seen service of all kinds, and some of it is appreciated by the people that I serve.
the end for now