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H is for Helping Hand

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H is for Helping Hand

 

"That's an order, Siler."

"Yes, sir," Siler says, because he never questions the Colonel's orders, even when being saddled with a ten year old Major Samantha Carter, who is all pigtails, freckles, and a toothy smile.  He's sure stranger things have happened, but a gate malfunction leaving the SGC's premier astrophysicist as a child is probably the hinkiest thing he's ever encountered. 

And hinky isn't a word he uses very often.

"Hi!" she says with a smile and a wave of her hand, in a way that reminds him of his daughter when she wants something from him, only this time all the Major wants is to shadow him while he tries to repair the Stargate.

Colonel O'Neill says her memories are intact. Siler isn't so sure, not when she reaches out to touch his wrench and then pulls back before she makes contact.

"It looks bigger from this angle."

"Yes, ma'am."

"I know, I know, you're going to say it has something to do with size being a perceptual clue that helps us to determine the dimensions of objects based on those perceptions."

"Well--"

"Or how a relative measure of size is a way of expressing the total size of an object--"

"Ma'am?"

"Siler?"

"I was going to suggest it looks bigger because you are smaller. Currently... smaller."

"Relative size measure?"

"Just an observation.  I've always left the hard math to you."

"You have?"

Of course he hadn't, but he wasn't about to let on.

"Yes, ma'am."

"I'm glad we sorted that out!  What's our status?"

Siler turns back towards the gate and points to the super conductors.  "The computer detected an unidentified signal and radiation signature at the time the wormhole started to destabilize, resulting in your..."

"Change in stature?  Physical de-aging?"

"Just wondering if you had given any thought to what will happen if your condition is permanent, ma'am?"

"Nothing past not being able to ride my motorcycle."

All those hours of restoration wasted. "Can't reach the foot pedal?"

"I doubt my license would pass muster with local law enforcement."

"Could be a problem."

Major Carter walks up the ramp to stand below the Stargate, casting her much smaller but experienced eye over one of the uncased super conductors.  "Routine maintenance?  If the problem was caused by an unidentified signal, shouldn't we be looking at the gate computer code for language compromises?"

"I was checking the workings for any signs of radiation damage."

"Any luck in trying to identify the type of radiation?"

"Showed the properties of beta decay.  Beta plus."

"A positron emission?"

"That's about as far as the similarity went."

"Nuts."  The Major looks back up at the left conductor and then down to a ladder perched on the side of the gate.  "I guess we should take a look and see if there's any damage."

"Ah, ma'am?"

"Yes?"

"I'm not sure Colonel O'Neill's orders for you to 'tag along' included going up a ten foot ladder to tinker in the belly of the gate."

Major Carter smiles mischievously and waggles her fingers.  "I'm sure my little fingers can reach places your big old wrench can't."

Siler was more concerned with explaining to O'Neill how he managed to get Major Carter's fingers caught in some cog or coil, or snagged on a loose wire.  "No argument there.  It's the ten feet of ladder that bothers me."

"You need my help."

"Rendering assistance through observation is a form of helping."

Major Carter plants her hands on her hips in an act of defiance, scowling at him with her lips pursed.  The look she normally threw him when she was unimpressed with whatever they were doing was generally enough for him to back off and give her some space, but the glare from a pre-teen was positively frightening. 

It was a good, old-fashioned Mexican standoff.  The tech sergeant versus the smaller but vastly outranking major.

"Carter!"

Major Carter holds Siler's gaze for a split second before softening her growing sneer to a sweet smile, and turning towards Colonel O'Neill.

"Being assertive are we, Carter?"

"No, sir."

"Siler?"

"All good here, sir.  The major has some suggestions I'm keen to try out right away."

"Are you lying to me, Siler?"

"No, sir."

O'Neill doesn't look convinced.  "So, pray tell.  What are these brilliant suggestions Carter has for solving her own problem?"

"They exist in sentences of more than ten words."

"Big words?"

"Yes, sir."

"Ah!" He turns to Major Carter and holds out a hand.  "Your work is done here, Major."

"But--"

"Aht!  Jacob is here with some Tok'ra engineers.  They have suggestions of their own."

"He is?  They do?"

"Yup, and unlike you and Siler, I can almost understand some of what they say."

Major Carter takes the Colonel's hand and starts to walk away, before looking over her shoulder and poking out her tongue out at Siler.  Another trait his daughter does when she thinks she's got her way, despite actually getting nowhere at all.

The End