by HYPERFocused

Celli got the call at seven A.M on a Thursday. It wasn't her first time dealing with the military, but she'd never been asked to fly from South Dakota to Colorado, just to prepare the taxes of a few Air Force personnel. She didn't know why they wanted her. Surely there were enough tax people at the base to be able to make sense of what couldn't be that complicated a form.

The flight to Colarado Springs was mostly uneventful. Celli sat next to a rather rude man, who aimed the air vents on himself, and spread Eau de Athlete type cologne all over the cabin. He quickly lost interest in her when it became clear she wasn't interested in being his Colorado port of call.

Celli's other side was the window, and she enjoyed the mountainous view, being especially grateful that no one had carved faces into these peaks, and that no one was asking her for directions to get to them. (In her other job, she was a tourism employee. She wasn't sure which of her jobs had more idiots needing her help: The ones who never saved a receipt, or the ones who got lost walking from the Men's room to the Ladies' at the rest stops.)

The plane landed at the airport, and Celli got off. She had been told to look for a gray haired Sergeant holding up a sign with her name on it. She couldn't actually tell a sergeant just by looking at him, but figured the sign would be a good giveaway.

He was standing at the end of the runway, a look somewhere between annoyance and interest on his face. A dark blue dress uniform, and a sharp cap covered most of the - she had to call it silver - hair. Celli noted the nice slim lines of his body, and the crinkles at the sides of his dark brown eyes.

"You're Celli, right? I'm Colonel Jack O'Neill. With two 'L's". He held out a hand to her. "We've been anticipating your arrival."

"Yes, sir," Celli said. She shook his hand. Nice grip."Though I'm still not sure why I was chosen, instead of somebody at your base."

"Call me Jack." He took her carry-on, and started walking a little faster. "I'm afraid I won't be able to tell you that, just yet. But you'll get enough information to do your job once we get to the Mountain. I'm sure you've already been briefed on the absolute need for discretion where this is concerned. You are to tell no one where you were, what you've seen, or who you have met. We've prepared evidence of your skiing weekend, so your flight won't be a problem. You will have stayed at the Springs Hilton." The Colonel waited for her response.

"All right." Celli confirmed. She was disappointed, but understood. There would be no laughing about this weekend with her friends on LJ, or in chat. Damn. She could tell already it was going to be interesting.

The drive to Cheyanne Mountain base was lovely, if a bit treacherous. It took about an hour. On the way, the Colonel - Jack, as he insisted she call him - pointed out local spots of interest. "Here's the arena where the hockey team plays. And here's Daniel's favorite coffee shop. Down that street is the ancient history museum. Daniel says it's full of inaccuracies, but that's not unexpected when the university spends more money on pigskin than on preservation." He shut up then, realizing she had no idea what he was talking about, and was not likely to be interested.

"Daniel?" she asked.

"Dr. Daniel Jackson. Our linguist. He's one of the reasons we need your help."


Celli was met by an odd array of personnel at the military base. They walked her down a long hallway, and into an elevator that took them deep into the heart of the mountain. She didn't like thinking about just how far down they were traveling.

It was an interesting building, and she would have loved to know just exactly what went on down there. Research of some sort, she could tell. She hoped none of it would make her drinking water tainted, or shoot her when she was sleeping. Other than that, she wasn't going to ask questions.

Dr Daniel Jackson, her first client, was not at all what she'd expected from the brief description Colonel O'Neill had given her. No geek, he looked like he'd just stepped off a calendar. Bright blue eyes magnified behind attractive glasses, amazing arms, and an ass --- no, Celli knew better than to continue that thought.

"The thing is, the reason I'm having trouble with my taxes..." Daniel started. "I was dead."

"Dead." Celli had heard this before. Usually it was some governmental mix up. Paperwork misfiled. "That kind of error is fairly easily corrected. Sometimes numbers get misplaced -"

"No, ma'am. I don't mean my paperwork. I mean I was dead. Well, ascended, really. But for all intents and purposes, I didn't actually have a 2002."

"But you're back now, right? You aren't a ghost, or a figment of my imagination?" Celli wasn't sure she wasn't dreaming this whole thing. Who said tax preparation was boring.

"No, I'm real. Anyway, this isn't the first time I've been dead. Oh, you don't need to know that. Forget I said it."

"All right." Celli didn't need to know. She looked over his files, the military kept impeccable records for him, even though he was a civilian employee.

"So, can you fix this?" Colonel O'Neill asked, walking in and standing right next to Daniel. Celli was the observant sort, and saw the hand the colonel placed on Daniel's shoulder, then quickly removed, stepping back a bit. Hmm.

"Of course I can," she said confidently. It took far less time than she had hoped it would. She was enjoying Daniel's entertaining banter, and the attentive way he looked at her. Not like he was interested - that way, but like she was worth speaking to. And the colonel's jealousy was obvious, if unwarranted.

Working her magic with numbers - there was a reason she'd won awards - she put together a believable form. Damn, archeolinguiwhatever's got excellent pay here in Colorado. She wondered why his skills were needed on a military base.

Next on her agenda was a tall, strapping healthy chunk of man with the very strange name of Teal'C. She could practically hear the apostrophe in the pronunciation. There was something unusual about him, she could tell, even beyond the painful looking gold tattoo, or whatever that was on his forehead.

How can I help you?" Celli asked him, after she was introduced.

"I am from Chulak. I do not officially exist here. Therefore, I cannot file taxes with any accuracy."

"Chulak. I've never heard of it. Is that in Africa? So you're an alien?"

"I am afraid I cannot tell you that, lest I be forced to exterminate you." The man's voice was deeply regretful.

"I think you mean 'I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you,' Teal'c." Colonel O' Neill said.

"Is this not what I just told her?"

"Anyway, Teal'c, it's ok. She's been given clearance for whatever information is necessary. She knows what to actually put on the forms, I'm sure." He leaned in, and whispered to Teal'c, "and if not, we can always zat her.

"No we can't, Jack!" Daniel said.

"Well, I'm sure Carter will think up some memory erasing doohickey, if need be."

"That won't be necessary, sirs. " Celli said disdainfully. "I can certainly be trusted with discretion, or you wouldn't have hired me in the first place."

On second thought, she'd be glad when this assignment was finished.


Dr Jackson drove her to the airport. He was pleasant company, and apologized for his "friend".

"Jack's just a little bit overprotective. He means well."

"Of you, yes." Celli didn't say. She knew about "don't ask, don't tell", and like the whole Cheyenne Mountain program, she understood what not to talk about.

She was about to get on the plane, when her cell phone rang.

"Is this Celli? This is Lex Luthor, in Kansas. I'm told you're the best, and I have this unusual situation. You see, I was dead..."

" Is that declared dead, or actually dead?" she interrupted. "Either way, I'm sure we can figure it out." She had no real interest in going to Kansas, but oh well. At least the job would pay well. She only hoped he didn't have a friend who was a space alien.


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