Rating: PG or less
Category: Humor, character study
Word Count: 1500
Spoilers: The Enemy Within, Cold Lazarus
Prompts: Teal'c leading a class about how to interact with non-Tau'ri people/beings for people coming into the Stargate program, Cam/Teal'c shippiness, and Teal'c POV. I wasn't able to get much of the Cam/Teal'c into it, but I did my best :D
Summary: Even ten years in, they have to deal with the newbies.
He waited outside of the classroom for a moment, leaning against the wall and listening to the chatter inside. He knew the recruits had recently been briefed on what they were being assigned to - exploring the galaxy through an ancient alien device - but he knew from experience that very few, if any, truly understood the gravity of the confidentiality agreement they signed. Long ago, General Hammond requested that he be the one to show them the error of their ways.
Finally, he tugged the cap low over his tattoo and opened the briefing room door. "Good afternoon, class." The room fell silent. Teal'c closed the door behind him and walked to the star map in front of General Landry's office. He clasped his hands behind his back and looked over the assembled group. The briefing room table was moved to the far back of the room, the empty space filled with a sea of folding chairs. The recruits were all dressed alike in black T-shirts and olive green fatigues. Twenty-seven young, eager faces turned toward him.
"For ten years, I have been a member of the team designated SG-1."
Quick whispers through the room. Even the initial briefing reports, though vague, managed to imbue some awe to that designation.
"General Jack O'Neill, Colonel Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson and I spent those years fighting the Goa'uld, the Replicators, and now the Ori. I understand you are only now coming to terms with the fact that alien life exists. It is a harsh truth of this program that you will not be allowed sufficient time to process this information. In four hours, you will step through the Stargate to another world. You must accept extraterrestrials as commonplace. In an attempt to help you do this, there is an alien among you."
Twenty-seven faces turned and began to scan the crowd.
"The majority of aliens encountered by the Stargate program have been displaced humans. I am aware that you may expect Klingons, or Romulans, or Vulcans. That is, for the most part, not so in reality. There are also no Ewoks."
A few nervous titters.
Teal'c straightened his shoulders and looked over the recruits. He could see the trepidation on their faces, the fear at knowing an alien was somewhere in the room with them. He remembered seeing the look everywhere he went in the early days of the program. Officers moving to the side of the hall when he passed, the not-so-subtle glances from the corner of the eye when they were in the elevator together.
He hardly noticed the lingering looks now. It helped that he was allowed to introduce himself to the new recruits immediately. They accepted his presence before they ever set foot off-world.
"While off-world, you will have to work with people not born on Earth. It is my hope that this briefing will allow you to view them not as aliens, not as outsiders... but merely as allies. The people you will help fight the Ori are not alien villagers, but merely those in need of assistance. Remember, to them, you will be the unusual outsiders."
Teal'c remembered his first few months on Earth. Simply trying to understand the television, what programs were truthful and which were fantasy, was a trial. Their music was abominable. General O'Neill finally convinced him to give classical a try, while Colonels Carter and Mitchell were attempting to introduce him to rock-and-roll. It was an uphill battle.
"It will be an uphill battle," he said, using the phrase O'Neill taught him many years ago. "You are not prepared for the reality of interacting with people you perceive as aliens. I hope your encounters today will show you that it need not be difficult. I will now reveal the alien in your midst. Vala Mal Doran."
Vala, sitting in the middle of the gathered crowd, stood up and clicked her heels together. Everyone turned to look at her as she made her way to the front of the room. She bowed to him and said, "Thank you, Muscles." She turned to face the group. "Hello, everyone. Airman Travers, I hope we're still on for that drink later." She winked at him and grinned, showing all her teeth as she looked at Teal'c. "But I am afraid your instructor here hasn't been entirely honest with you." She reached up and snatched the cap off his head.
Teal'c allowed her to remove the cap and let the group realize what the tattoo in the middle of his forehead meant. "Vala Mal Doran is correct. My name is Teal'c, a Jaffa. For many years, I served as First Prime to the dead System Lord Apophis. I have been a member of Stargate Command for ten years. Vala Mal Doran is from..." He paused and glanced at her.
Vala realized he was fishing and waved her hand. "Oh, all over. We moved a lot."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow but didn't comment on why her family might have had to move often. "She is from another world as well. She has also joined this world's fight to rid this universe of the Ori. Over the course of your time with the SGC, you will encounter many people such as us. People who have pledged loyalty to the people of your world. There is no room for xenophobia, or intolerance. Am I understood?"
There was only a slight hesitation before the assembled group of new recruits said, "Yes, sir."
Teal'c smiled and inclined his head to them. "Very well. We will begin a full debriefing after lunch."
Vala skipped away from Teal'c's side and weaved through the crowd until she found Airman Travers. She slipped her arm around his and guided him toward the stairs. Teal'c watched them go, and endured the lingering glances in his direction by the recruits filing from the room.
"Yo," Cameron Mitchell said from the door behind Teal'c. He rapped his knuckles on the door frame and said, "I figured you'd break for lunch soon. I was about to head down to the commissary. Want to tag along?"
"I would," Teal'c said. He placed his cap on the podium and left the briefing room. Mitchell stood where he was until Teal'c reached him, then turned and fell into step next to his friend. "So trial by fire for the newbies? Giving 'em a taste of the alien hiding out among them."
"I believe it will show them that anyone could be an alien. And an alien can be just another coworker."
"That's not exactly true," Mitchell said.
Teal'c looked at him, his expression begging expansion.
"Well, you know what I mean, Teal'c. To me, and the rest of SG-1, you'll never be just another coworker. You're our friend."
Teal'c smiled and bowed his head in thanks. "And you are mine, Colonel Mitchell."
They stepped into the elevator and Mitchell said, "Try to leave me some mashed potatoes at the buffet, would you? Just because I accept you as my coworker doesn't mean I have to let you have all my food."
"I believe the term is 'first come, first served.' I cannot help it if you are slower, Colonel Mitchell."
Mitchell raised his eyebrows and blinked. "Slow... slower? You're callin' me slow?"
Teal'c lifted his chin. "Have you gone deaf as well?"
Mitchell aimed a finger at Teal'c's face. "The phrase is 'are you hard of hearing, too'? And the answer, my friend..." The elevator doors opened, and Mitchell pushed Teal'c toward the back of the elevator. He spun on his heel, sidestepped to avoid the sergeant who made the mistake of trying to board the car when it arrived, and ran down the hall toward the commissary.
Teal'c bowed an apology to the frazzled sergeant and jogged after Mitchell. There had been a time when he first arrived on Earth when he thought he would never be anything more than the handy Goa'uld information repository. He envisioned sitting in the briefing, listening while everyone else participated and then turned to him for background or inside information. It was a role he was prepared to play, but General O'Neill had never let that happen. Colonel Carter and Daniel Jackson also made an effort to bring him to the front of the group. He was immensely grateful to them for that.
Teal'c caught up with Colonel Mitchell and grabbed the back of his jacket, forcing an end to the chase. He noticed that the people staring at him now were smiling, shaking their heads at another of Colonel Cameron Mitchell's antics. He didn't know when the shift came, when he went from "the alien" to just another member of the team, but the thought pleased him. He had a close group of friends who rivaled Bra'tac in terms of loyalty and camaraderie, he was accepted by those he served with, by those who gave him the opportunity to see the Goa'uld fall and the Jaffa free.
What more could anyone ask for?