Entering the meeting room, Jack O'Neill first looked to make sure the two who caused the most trouble weren't anywhere near each other. Fortunately, Shephard and Harkness had Aubrey talking in one corner, while Sparrow tilted near the refreshments on his own. Breathing a sigh of relief to himself, he turned to their newest recruit, Sheriff Jack Carter, and gestured around the room with, "And this is where we meet. Not much to look at, but it beats being three miles underground any day, right?"
Carter's lips pursed and he answered, "Ah, yeah, I guess so."
"C'mon. I'll introduce you to the guys," Jack said, stepping forward.
Carter followed at his left shoulder, automatically keeping clear of Jack's line of sight. The man had been a US Marshall for a number of years, after all, and a damn good one from what Jack had read. Not that weapons were allowed at group, because they weren't. Daniel had theorized that the testosterone levels alone would set off any gunpowder and, while Jack was pretty sure he was kidding, he didn't want to test the theory. More importantly, it was better to keep temptation out of reach for Aubrey and Sparrow. They'd gone at it with nothing but chairs and crockery on more than one occasion and now the group was reduced to plastic and paper everything.
Jack called out, "All right fellas, let's get the show on the road."
Everyone took their seats, Sparrow and Aubrey on opposite sides, and Jack nodded for Carter to sit next to him.
"You promised rum," Sparrow accused. "I was promised to have rum."
Harkness grinned as he chimed in, "I could use a bracer, myself!"
"Right, because plying this group with alcohol is a really great idea," Jack retorted sarcastically. "Role call! Clockwise from my right."
Carter started a bit as he realized that was him. "Oh! Right. Yeah, I'm Sheriff Jack Carter."
"A sheriff? C'mon, O'Neill, what's with all the civilians?" Harkness complained, blue eyes dancing with mischief.
Jack snorted and prompted, "Tell them a little about Eureka, Carter."
"Eureka. Sure. Well, it's…okay. See, earlier this year we had a minor glitch with this seriously old nuclear missile silo, but managed to get the codes in time to stop it from launching. Then there was, oh yeah, I know! There was this robot dog competition only it was kind of a cover for this scientist to try out a super information diamond doo-dad, which worked, kinda, but growing the damn things started a volcano type situation. Then there was the flying death ship model thing that became sentient. Then there were the killer bees. Managed to freeze them to death just in time, though. Oh, and we've had some time travel issues here and there, too. Although, um, looking at you two, I guess we're not the only ones."
Of course, Carter looked between Sparrow and Aubrey as he said that.
"No time prejudices here," Harkness scolded. "We're all Jacks in our own right. Besides. They really knew how to handle their swords back then."
Rolling his eyes at the blatant innuendo, Jack ordered firmly, "Next."
"Jack McCoy, Assistant District Attorney in New York City," McCoy said in his usual efficient, yet somehow intense way.
Beside him was Bauer, who did intense even more intensely. Jack snorted to himself at the thought and made a note to ask Daniel if there was an actual word for that.
Bauer offered a very brief smile for Carter and said, "Agent Jack Bauer, Counter Terrorist Unit based out of LA."
Frowning, Carter asked, "Weren't you like dead a couple of years ago?"
"Faked his own death," Jack confirmed, and then added sagely, "happens more often than you'd think."
Beside Bauer was Sparrow, who was obliviously rooting through his dreadlocks for something no one else could see. Bauer jabbed Sparrow with an elbow, which caused the pirate to jump to his feet, tilting slightly leftward as he exclaimed, "Captain Jack Sparrow of the Black Pearl, at your service, mate. Do you perchance have any rum?"
Carter shook his head.
Sparrow sighed and sat back down.
On Sparrow's other side was Harkness. The man winked flirtatiously at Carter and introduced, "Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood."
"What's Torchwood?" Carter asked curiously.
Jack held up a hand and interrupted, "Don't get him started, please."
Harkness glared at him. "You know, the SGC does not have the monopoly on alien tech and incursions."
"Right, because Cardiff is prime earth real estate," Jack scoffed. "Malone, you're up."
The dark haired, fairly quiet man nodded at Carter and said, "Special Agent Jack Malone, FBI. I work in New York, too."
"And I am Captain Jack Aubrey of the HMS Surprise," Aubrey reported. His eyes cut towards Sparrow as he continued, "A proper ship with a proper crew."
Before they could get into it, Jack exclaimed hastily, "And last but not least, we have Dr. Shephard, recently returned from a very long and dangerous island trip that we don't have time to get into."
Shephard's hair had grown in a little since his return to civilization months before, but he still bore that tense, PTSD look that never quite went away. Jack recognized it all too well, as most of the
others did, he knew. They were all protective of the doctor, keeping an eye on him for the breakdown that was sure to come. Fortunately, he had a stable partner in his even younger lover, Boone. The kid had Jack's number on speed dial for when the shit hit the fan as it surely would.
The door slammed open, which had most of them out of their seats and reaching for weapons that weren't there. Jack saw it was Donaghy, his obsessive young assistant keeping the door open for the executive, and groaned the same time as everyone else.
"Donaghy! That's a good way to get yourself killed!" Harkness called out.
Around the same age as Jack, Donaghy was roughly the equivalent in rank in the civilian world, running a massive, multi-billion dollar corporation as he did. They'd met in DC during Donaghy's brief government tenure the year before and the other man's mask of a combined cluelessness and hidden, scarily observant manner had egged Jack into inviting him to the meetings. He embodied both the best and the worst of being a Jack; consumed with ambition and/or duty, a massive ego, aggressive almost to a fault, and an almost fanatical loyalty to his friends that he hid at all costs.
Donaghy waved Harkness off, engrossed in his blackberry as he unerringly sat in the only open seat without taking his eyes from the tiny screen. "I've got three minutes before I need to leave to meet Condi on the downlow. What did I miss?"
"I thought we agreed that you would never say `downlow,' again," Harkness retorted. "You're way to white for it."
Donaghy looked up at that the barest hint of a smirk on his bulldog's face as he replied, "You agreed, Harkness. O'Neill. Catch me up."
"This is Sheriff Jack Carter, new member," Jack explained. "We just went around the circle with introductions."
Rolling his eyes, Donaghy muttered, "And people wonder why the military never gets anything done." He looked at Carter and, a bit louder, continued, "Jack Donaghy, legal advisor to the CEO of G, soon to be GE when I blackmail the E back from Samesung. Did I say blackmail? I meant legally purchased. Good to meet you, Carter, I'll see you at the next meeting. O'Neill, try and make an agenda for the next time. It really does speed things up. Good bye, everyone."
Donaghy stood and made a general nod at the group before leaving, once more buried in his blackberry. The assistant, and one of these days Jack would remember to get his name, looked them all over suspiciously before closing the door behind them.
McCoy announced, "I really wish I could use what I heard in here. You don't know how much the DA wants to take on Donaghy."
Malone snorted. "Yeah, like that's going to happen."
It was a tossup as to who would win the legal battle, too. McCoy had all that righteous intensity in his favor, but Jack had found over the years that money when a helluva long way and Donaghy had endless pockets.
"So what's today's topic?" Harkness prompted.
Bringing his attention back to the group, Jack replied, "No topic today, just a mixer. I figured since Carter was new, we should just hang out and let him get to know us. Daniel sent an email to your guys telling them to swing by early. Oh, and Carter, since you don't officially have a partner, Daniel emailed someone named Henry. Hope that's okay?"
Carter's expression softened for a second and then he cleared his throat, returning to his primarily bemused and/or grumpy look. "Yeah, that's fine."
Oh yeah, definitely one of us, Jack thought. To the group he said, "Next meeting's topic is open for discussion. Ideas?"
"Why there's no rum!" Sparrow bellowed.
Malone rumbled, "How to get your lovers to behave and stop putting themselves in danger."
Almost everyone nodded at that suggestion, Sparrow and Aubrey included.
Jack could sympathize. He and Danny had been together long enough to have worked out most of the bugs, but that wasn't the case with everyone. "Okay then. Next time will be about discipline. Think about the methods you've used that have been most successful and be prepared to share with the group. Those of you without partners at the moment, feel free to take notes because they'll come in handy someday. Eventually, you'll find someone and they're sure to be a handful. It
just comes with being a Jack."
The door opened just then and Jack half-turned to see Daniel walking in next to a smiling black man in jeans and a t-shirt. He had an easy-going air about him and from the way Daniel was talking animatedly, was probably an egghead. Jack gave his lover a broad grin and then stood, saying to Carter, "That Henry?"
"Yeah, that's Henry," Carter agreed, blue eyes locked on the other man.
It was definitely love, even if Carter didn't know it yet. Jack chuckled and clapped Carter on the back. "C'mon. Let's introduce the two of you around."
Off to the side, Jack heard Sparrow plaintively ask, "Why's all the rum gone?" and sighed.