Lorne as object-not-subject

by Domenika Marzione

one

The first file John read was Lorne's; partially because it was the first on the pile, mostly because it was from the executive officer that all else flowed. He himself had been both a good XO and an awful one and if he was going to be holding on to this command by the skin of his teeth, it was a good idea to try and figure out which one Lorne was most likely to be.

Lorne himself seemed like a nice guy, but unfortunately that meant crap in terms of predicting either competence or compatibility. John had had a much better relationship with the guy who'd Article 15'd him than with the one who'd grudgingly found nothing to complain about in his OER (but not for lack of trying). Additionally, there was the fact that Lorne wasn't someone he'd chosen, which meant that Lorne had either been picked for someone else or he'd been put in place by the SGC for reasons that had nothing to do with his ability to do the job. Lorne would more likely be a spy for the SGC than a saboteur if that were the case.

Elizabeth and O'Neill were the reasons he'd gotten the command, but John was under no illusion that that would be enough for him to keep it.

Lorne's service jacket was blandly uninformative except for the parts where it was obvious that he and John would never have looked at each other twice back in Big Air Force. They'd been in Kosovo at the same time, but at different bases and there'd only been a two week overlap. Otherwise... nothing. Lorne had ROTC, history degrees, a career driving flying gas stations, and while he had plenty of overseas postings, most of them were to places that had great restaurants and not much action. It was all very career-like, a guy putting in his time before trading in the flight suits and KC-135s for a commercial license and 747s, right up until the point that it wasn't.

John wondered why Captain Lorne had suddenly chosen to give up his solid, if unremarkable, flight plan and drop off the radar. Special Ops was not the place for career advancement and John doubted that Lorne had fallen into the Stargate Program the same way he had.

Lorne's SGC jacket was both more and less revealing; SG-11 hadn't had the kind of glamorous history SG-1 had compiled, but Lorne had done his time in both infirmary and Goa'uld prison and there were a few commendations, including one for rescuing Daniel Jackson from certain death at great peril to his own life (said the citation) on someplace called Delas. Having spent a year reading SGC reports, John was inclined to believe that Lorne's greatest accomplishment was simply surviving as long as he had -- the Stargate Program had a mortality rate that made Omaha Beach look like Maui.

John read the entire jacket, including the AARs for every mission where Lorne had received either a citation or an injury (the SGC treated Purple Hearts like cereal box offers -- mail in a dozen chits from the infirmary and you'll get your prize), but paperwork only told so much of the story.

Lorne in person was both terrifyingly competent and surprisingly droll. He was a logistical whiz, spoke fluent Bureaucratic Bullshit, and kept a small Buddha figurine on his desk... that John needed a week to realize was actually flipping the bird with each hand. Lorne was good at all of the messy details -- he was great at all of the messy details -- but he didn't seem to enjoy the knowledge for its own sake and John considered that both necessary and a great relief.

It wasn't until later on that John learned anything about Colonel Edwards, Lorne's former CO, and realized that Lorne probably considered John to be a great relief. But by that point, they'd already let the marines set up a scavenger hunt -- including Lorne placing a prize right outside the officers' mess -- and John figured that if his XO could do that and successfully keep both Caldwell and Elizabeth from tossing them in the brig until they got back to Atlantis, they'd work together just fine.


two

Nancy watched Yoni as he carefully de-skinned his fried chicken. It totally ruined the point of getting the fried chicken, but she'd learned early on not to expect logic from him when it came to food choices. He'd try anything once so long as it wasn't obviously not kosher, but put him on familiar ground and he was fussier than a toddler. If Carson were here, he'd have a running comedic monologue going, a play-by-play in the dry narrative style of the nature films they'd all had to watch in school. But Carson was on nights this week and was probably sleeping and Nancy knew she wasn't as funny.

Looking past Yoni, who was completely ignoring her in his determined focus on his drumstick, she could see Major Lorne carrying his tray toward an empty table on the other side of the commissary, laughing heartily at some joke his dining partner (some guy from Electrical Engineering, she thought, but wasn't sure) had made.

"Is Major Lorne single?" she asked.

That got Yoni to remember she was there, earning her a pained, annoyed look in the process. "Clayton."

"What? It's a perfectly reasonable question," she said. "Is he married or is he not?"

"He is not married," Yoni sighed after a pause, making it sound like he was the one who had to put up with her.

"Is he dating anyone here?"

Lorne was attractive, well-regarded, and a fairly quick wit, at least in their thus far limited interactions. He was kinda short, but obviously in decent shape and she had pretty much given up on finding her six-three Prince Charming in Atlantis or anywhere else. Also, and this was not a minor point, they had relevant people in common. She sometimes suspected being friends with Yoni was like being a single parent -- there were some guys who just wouldn't date you once they knew what sort of baggage came along.

"I am not sure what people tell you happens on off-world missions," Yoni said with a frown, "but we generally do not sit around a campfire and discuss our romantic aspirations."

Nancy had had enough contact with Lorne and Yoni's marines that the mental image struck her as delightfully funny. "The hair-braiding part of the evening is probably altogether too difficult," she agreed, earning another death glare.

The topic was essentially dropped once Lori showed up, eager to share the story of G-2 getting evacuated after someone had accidentally activated something that was currently being referred to as the Ancient Farting Device.

Nancy had taken Yoni's complete unwillingness to answer the question about Lorne to mean that the Major was, in fact, dating someone. She didn't doubt that Yoni knew one way or the other, but if it was a low-key relationship, then Yoni sure as hell wasn't going to gossip about it.

So she asked Cadman.

"I don't think so," Cadman said as they got set up for their sparring session. "Scuttlebutt's pretty empty on the Major, so either he's real good at hiding or there's nothing going on."

Nancy had wound up in Little Tripoli's gyms looking for a judo partner after finding no one among the civilians who was at a compatible skill level. Cadman wasn't quite at her skill level, either, but the differences between the style Nancy knew and the marines' version of martial arts made it a worthwhile enterprise. Nancy also thought Cadman was a little lonely among her own peer group and, hey, nothing said complicating your chances of career advancement like regular dates to beat on your boss' girlfriend.

Of course Cadman had regular playdates with both Ronon and her platoon while Nancy spent her days in the lab, so any disparity in skill level was pretty much going to be erased as time passed. Was already disappearing, in fact.

"Maybe he's waiting to get bodyswapped to make his move," Nancy said as she picked herself up off the floor.

Cadman grunted, rolling her shoulder awkwardly. "Someone else can take care of that this time."

feed me on LJ?


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29 December, 2007