Cake, Chocolate, One Slice
by Tigermoth26


Two hours, seven minutes, eighteen seconds to annihilation.

Two hundred and seventy feet inside the mountain, and Jonas has a plan. Rope sixty-four thousand pounds of solid metal and haul it to the surface. Fly it into outer space, let it blow up in the vacuum. Simple, logical, intelligent.

Leave the ramp and exit the Gate Room.

One hour, fifty-four minutes, six seconds to annihilation.

The Colonel is in the elevator; he has just been briefed. "Cake, Dorothy?"

Stoic, anxious, calm...fearful? However, so are you. "Yes Sir."

The Stargate is still rising: twenty metres to the surface, the hoisting mechanism is straining. Heavy metal groans.

"Chocolate, hmm..." Cake, as you like it. The Colonel watches you select a slice, smirking with his eyes. Blue plate, metal fork. Icing: sweet sugar rush. "Are you ready to go through with it, Sir?" Sit down. Lift the fork, carve a slice, raise the metal to your mouth.

One hour, fifty minutes to annihilation.

The Colonel smiles at you, polished carefree surface. The Colonel eats chocolate cake. "Sure, Carter, no problem."

"That's certainly good to hear, Sir." Lies, cake, sharp metal panic. Watch him take another bite. You can almost hear the flywheels turning in his mind.

One hour, forty-six minutes, one second to annihilation.

You eat cake in silent silence. You don't watch his every movement with your eyes. You already know his warmth, his face, his build, his company. You already know him well enough inside your head. No need for last-minute memories.

"More cake, Carter?"

Two empty blue plates, a streak of fluffy icing and a few stray crumbs. You press your hand to your waistline. Clothed in BDU's. "No thanks, Sir. I've had more than enough."

The Colonel jiggles his eyebrows comically. "Just the one slice, Carter? Normally you'd eat two! It is chocolate, y'know."

Tease, easy banter. It hurts less this way. You're both aware that it shouldn't hurt at all. Deviants, you mock yourself. "Really, Sir, I'm not that hungry."

The Colonel takes one last glance at the rack of desserts against the wall. Cake is cake. He pilfers a slice, wraps it up, stows it in his pants pocket.

You snicker at him, shake your head. Turn, and leave the Commissary.

One hour, forty-two minutes, fifty-five seconds to annihilation.

Jonas says, "Hey! Major Carter, They've hoisted the Stargate outta here. It's being trucked out to the airfield now, to be strapped up on to the '302."

One hour, forty-two minutes, three seconds to annihilation.

Jonas speaks with exclamation marks without actually using exclamation marks. "Thank you, Jonas." You say. He thanks you for thanking him. Jonas is endearing.

One hour, twenty minutes, four seconds to annihilation.

Unknown Airman hands you a headset. Sleek black plastic and a shiny metal band. You slide the earpiece to your earhole and bend the microphone to your chin. A pointless grey display screen catalogues the hemorrhage of time in stilted red lines.

You wait for the Colonel to start whispering into your ear.

One hour to annihilation.

He speaks not with a whisper but with a yell.

"Stargate Command, we have a problem."

Corny bastard, you think, huffing nervously. "What is it, Sir?"

"The fuel is low, Carter! This bird is not going to exit the atmosphere. I need options, quickly."

Fifty-nine minutes, fifty-nine seconds to annihilation.

The Stargate is ticking, figuratively. The X-302 is coming down, they're counting on you to come up with a plan. Like you have all the answers!

The Colonel is panting in your ear.

What to do, what to say? Think, Carter, think! You have contingency theories in your head. Doctor 'I-Am-Deathly-Allergic-To-Lemon- Chicken-Doesn't-That-Make-Me-A-Manly-Man-?' McKay, is not very helpful. You hope, quite honestly, that a lemon-chicken flavoured wishbone becomes lodged in his windpipe; choking him until he dies.

You're pretty sure no-one would miss him...

The Colonel points out that he is a sixty-four thousand pound projectile falling through the sky. He would like a little help, now, please.

Fifty minutes to annihilation.

You still have nothing. Your fingers twist the fabric of your clothes. Everyone stinks of sweat and tension. You wonder if they can smell your fear. What happens if you fail?

You should have had that second slice of cake.

Thirty minutes, twelve seconds to annihilation.

Still no answers, your chest is tight with stress and tears. No crying allowed. Not in this boy's club, anyway. Now is not the time play 'the girl'. The Colonel needs you to come up with an answer.

Ten minutes, seven seconds to annihilation.

The sky is falling and the ground has nowhere to go. You imagine the Colonel panicking without panicking in your ear. Connected by your sleek plastic headset with its shiny metal band. You are the Colonel's lifeline. Ten minutes, four seconds; you're going to hear the Colonel die.

"Twenty thousand feet and closing, Carter."

Nine minutes, fifty-one seconds to annihilation.

Eight minutes, two seconds.

"Ten thousand feet!"

Seven minutes, Six, Five -

"Hyperspace! That's the answer!"

"Sorry, Carter? What?"

"Create a hyperspace window and beam the 'gate into space, Sir. It has to work, Sir."

Four minutes, two seconds...

Silence. Metal. Cake is cake. Easy banter eases the pain, doesn't it?

"...I really hope this works, Dorothy."

"It will, Sir."

One minute, three seconds.

It has to.

Zero minutes, zero seconds. Zero feet.



Airfield, late afternoon. Sunshine.

You greet the Colonel as he staggers out of the rescue aircraft. He is high on adrenaline and euphoria. Once again, you've saved his life. The sunlight makes you raise your hand up to your eyes.

He grins, you grin. There are sweaty smudges upon the lenses of his sunglasses. You step forward, give him a brief friendly hug. "Mission accomplished, Sir."

"Hail Dorothy, go team!"

Professional, friendly, no one could accuse either of you of anything more.

The Colonel reaches into the pocket of his BDU's and pulls out a lump of crushed tissue paper. He unfolds the frail worn edges and shows you what's inside.

Cake, chocolate. One slice. Squashed.

He smiles, you smile.


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