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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:02 pm 
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13th September, 2014 - 20:45

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O'Malley's was a staple hangout for those employed by the SGC, and Ruth was no exception. She enjoyed grabbing a beer there as much as anyone, perhaps a steak, or a quick game of pool, but the games of pool were few and far between these days. It hadn't taken long for those she socialised with outside of work to realise that she was a bit of a pool shark, and, as a result, they didn't want to risk their asses being kicked, especially by a girl.

She sat at the bar, nursing a Scotch, waiting for her Shepherd's Pie to arrive. While she wasn't of Irish extraction herself - Scottish, way back, if she was to get pernickety about it - she enjoyed indulging in the typical Irish fare that was present in O'Malley's. The Scotch wasn't bad, although there were only a small handful of single malts available, and no blended whiskies that weren't comparable to toilet cleaner. No matter, she wouldn't touch a single one of the Irish whiskey array that the bar prided itself upon.

Knocking back the remains of her shot, Ruth signalled to the bartender for another. After all, she wasn't on duty the next day, and, after the week she had had, cutting loose was looking like a good idea. Okay, so she didn't drink that much, that often, but, just sometimes, it was good to know that, if she did, she wouldn't be shirking her responsibilities.

A cold draught slipped over her, and Ruth glanced upwards towards the door, more out of habit than anything else, to see who had come in from the chill night air.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:54 am 
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Eyes scanning the entire room, Sgt. Major Taft entered the establishment wearing the closest thing to civvies he ever bothered with. A red Marine Corp t-shirt (little symbol on the breast, big symbol on the back), a military inspired olive green MA1 jacket with things obviously in the pockets, and a pair of olive green military inspired pants over work boots. He was a lifer, probably the type they forced into retirement as soon as his physicals began to slack off but for the moment firmly and happily entrenched in the military lifestyle. Taft walked straight to the back end of the bar and sat on one of the stools as the bartender went ahead and put what appeared to be a Sprite in front of him.

"What can I get for you tonight, Sgt. Major?"

"That blue cheese steak, with red potatoes again." He responded just before taking a sip of the sweet soda.

The bartender walked by Ruth to put the order in as a waitress walked up. "Is that the guy?" "Yeah, comes in about once a month for dinner. Tips like he's from another country. Never drinks alcohol, almost always Sprite." "You're lucky he sits at the bar." The waitress sighed and walked off, no doubt feeling the emptiness of her pockets in the low paying career arc. Taft was oblivious to the conversation, too far away to overhear it but his eyes scanned the room for the second time only that time they would occasionally pause to take in details. When they reached Ruth he paused and, after a moment, nodded to her in co-workers who have never spoken recognition.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 11:28 pm 
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Ruth would have had to have been blind not to notice the gruff Sergeant Major from the SGC walk in. As with oh so many Marines, they seemed to suck up the air around them, charging the atmosphere with something almost intangible, almost as though they were daring those around them to pick a fight, to start off some trouble, and see where it got them.

Of course, Taft - she thought that was his name, anyway - looked more than capable of holding his own in a bar fight. Not that it was something she would particularly want to witness, but at least he seemed like the sort of man who would rather stop the trouble than start it.

That seemed to be a rarity these days.

He sat a few stools down, and Ruth smiled, tipping her shot glass at him. "Hey," she called out. "Mind if I join you?"


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:48 am 
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Yeah, he'd clocked her. Twice. It was hard to miss a vivid redhead like that. One of his ex-wives had been a red, and it hadn't soured him on the idea even so. Her looking back didn't surprise him either. It wasn't that Taft thought of himself as an attractive or even as a striking man, but he knew he had a presence that belied his rank even when he wasn't wearing his rockers and chevrons. It was the presence that the United States Marine Corp instilled in all of its most successful sons. What surprised him was her deciding to talk to him. That same Aura usually kept civilians well at bay.

Taft nodded. Why not?

He pushed out the stool next to himself with his foot while taking another swallow of his Sprite. "Sure, why not." When she got there he held out a hand. "Sergeant Major Taft, David A., United States Marine Corp." He rattled off a couple lines from his dog tags. Uncle Sam had been kind enough to write it down for him, it would have been rude not to recite it from time to time. "I've... seen you around base, at a distance." He'd read her file. Taft had read pretty much everybody's file. At least as far up the food chain as he was cleared for. But people didn't tend to care for that revelation. They were his time killer, since he had plenty of time to kill being a Marine Sgt Major on an Airforce base.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:10 pm 
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Just in time, Ruth's Shepherd's Pie arrived, and she pushed it down the bar, before slipping easily onto the stool next to Taft. Even eighteen months after joining the SGC, she still didn't find it particularly natural to socialise with the military members of the program, but, at least in part thanks to her friendship with Jake, she was finding it a little easier. Of course, there were still those who seemed genetically predisposed to being complete assholes, but she didn't have to talk to them if she didn't want to. After all, if they didn't have a sense of humour, and weren't up for making friends... well, their loss.

Ruth chuckled as Taft introduced himself. "Ruth Tolliver, languages geek," she replied, holding her hand out for him to shake, even as she was poking at her Shepherd's Pie with a fork in her left hand. "Yeah, I don't think we've worked together. The military I've worked with tends to have been babysitting us specialists." She arched up an eyebrow. "And you don't look much like the type they use for babysitting duty."

Ruth took a bite of her pie, before grinning. "So, Sergeant Major Taft, David A., United States Marine Corps, that's a bit of a mouthful. What do people get to call you when you're off duty?"


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:32 am 
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Taft shook her hand firmly but without squeezing it, as close to a neutral gesture as he could think of. "Linguistics, that would be why we haven't worked together yet." They didn't send Marine Recon when talking was still on the table, it just wasn't what they were designed for. Of course, Taft wasn't leading a Marine Recon unit for the SGC, he was leading exploration teams. Just in case, the General had said. Babysitting civilian experts... that reminded him. "Civilian Experts, ma'am. Specialist is a rank." It wasn't a correction for his sake, he knew what she was getting at and the words -were- interchangeable in the civilian world, but it would save her some trouble when she got out there with the Army boys who took Specialist far more seriously than the Marines did.

"I don't come from a babysitting background, no. But that's a vaguely accurate assessment of what I've been assigned to the program for. I'm commanding an exploration team, it just hasn't been finalized yet." That was the General's job, telling Taft who he was dragging through the uncharted frontier. Then she was asking him about his name and he had to admit to himself that it was an infinitely fair question to ask. One he even appreciated. "Taft will do, ma'am."


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:26 pm 
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The handshake was firm, but without any real commitment, which Ruth found odd. It wasn't a friendly gesture, more a forced, professional one, despite her own handshake being warm and enthusiastic. Things like this just went to reinforce the view that many of the military she encountered were some form of batshit crazy. Jake was obviously an exception. However, she wasn't going to make a snap judgment on the man, and smiled.

"I've been 'out' a few times, but not made it onto a team permanently yet," she explained. "Mostly, I just translate what gets brought in, so unless you have a reason to hang around the labs, it's unlikely we would have met so far anyway." She laughed as the man tried to correct her. "'Specialist' is what it says on my pay check and contract, so you might wanna tell the US Air Force that," she grinned. Rank or terminology, she couldn't care less. She'd been told she was classed as a "specialist", so was going to stick with that.

Ruth shook her head. "If you were a babysitter, you'd have been out with SG-11 or other specialist teams," she reasoned. "And, seeing as I've not seen you..." She shrugged, taking another bite of pie. "Sounds like exploration isn't really floating your boat, either?" She cocked an eyebrow up at his instruction to use his surname, and it twitched again as he called her "ma'am".

"Firstly, it's never 'ma'am', it's 'Ruth'," she grinned. "Secondly, lemme guess... your mom the only one allowed to reference the fact that you're a person, as well as a Marine?"


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:56 am 
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"I've done a few shake down trips with full military teams to make sure we weren't sending complete children, no matter their rank, out to protect the innocent from themselves. Been about 70% successful so far." Taft snorted in mild amusement as she indicated some genius in the Airforce had decided to confuse the already twisted chain of command by double dipping in the pot of terminology. "Airforce... all I can think is it's nice to see them having something with which to keep busy." Finding a way to differentiate civilian Specialist and military Specialist separate on paper would keep the office chair pilots scribbling away for months as it went through proper channels.

"I am, as of now. I haven't gotten the dossiers but I am running an exploration team. Hopefully, if I have the right materials to work with, we can get SG-1 a run for its money." He said it like it was a real possibility, which it was. At least until he got to see what he was working with. Then reality would set in and his dreams would be tailored to suit the situation. Taft was nothing if not practical. "It's a lot of talking, and I'm going to be babysitting the people doing it. Watching for danger and resisting the urge to assume it's there anyway. High tension for me, the civvies will look at me like I'm mad because they don't see it, and when it happens I have to hope I've prepared them appropriately to survive. Even if I don't."

"Ruth, my apologies. Where I'm from it's the proper term of address for any lady that's outgrown 'Miss'." He scratched his jaw and thought about her question for a minute. "Does it count that my Paw refers to me as 'boy'?"


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:21 pm 
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Ruth nodded, turning her concentration back to her food for a moment. Not having eaten since breakfast, she was ravenous; That was what you got for losing yourself in a translation. "Sounds like they got you kept busy," she remarked, taking another sip of her whisky. "Me, they've largely kept tucked away in a lab, only letting me out to play when nobody else was available." She could have been bitter about it, but there was a light chuckle in her voice. "Rumour has it that I might have kissed the right asses to be assigned to a permanent team in the next few weeks, though." Whether or not it was true, it was nice to dream, if nothing else.

Ruth twitched her eyebrows up, cocked her head. It wasn't the first time she would have heard of a non-comm running a team, and she was sure it wouldn't be the last, either. After all, it came down to experience rather than rank. "Anyone ever tell you it's not a competition," she laughed, scooping up a forkful of fluffy mashed potato.

"And I guess you're not the talking type, right?" Most military types weren't. They were largely the "shoot first, ask questions later" sort, who saw a diplomatic or peaceful solution as a waste of time. "Sounds like you're not you're not convinced that us civilians can make a fair go of things," she remarked. "Isn't that the whole point of a team, anyway? Everyone brings their strengths to the table, and we all work together to achieve the end goal?"

Maybe she was alone in that thinking. She'd always been a bit of an idealist.

"Where're you from, if you don't mind me asking?" the accent was southern, but only mildly so, so maybe Virginia or thereabouts. Ruth laughed. "Your daddy will always refer to you as 'boy', even when you're fifty years old. Still... it doesn't sit right, calling you by your surname." Ruth was plain speaking, even if she was usually tactful about it. "So... what do I have to do to earn the privilege of using your first name?"


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:37 pm 
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"Busy is in the job description for my rank," he observed just before his steak arrived. He cut it open to check the center and nodded to the bartender to let the guy go away. The bartender topped off the Sprite, gave Ruth a curious look, and then headed on his merry way. Taft spread the blue cheese evenly across the surface of the steak where it continued to melt into the meat. A little ketchup on the pan cooked red potatoes and he was munching away happily. "Lab? Oh, translating relics and the like, right?" He had first imagined tubes and bunsin burners and that had been incongruous with a linguist. A laboratory like for archeologists, that was his second thought and that fit much better.

"No, no one has ever mentioned such a thing." He managed to keep a straight face that would make a professional poker player green with envy. The only reason it became a joke was the quick wink he shot at her when he was sure she was looking him in the eye. He ate another red potato and started cutting up the steak.

"Talking is fine, keeps my kids alive. I like that talking happens, all for it. I just wish folks would be polite enough to present us with a formal declaration prior to violence so I could spend the talking time eating red licorice and playing PSP." He chewed a piece of steak as she attempted to extrapolate his general philosophical and social leanings from their conversation thus far. "I'm convinced that you civilians are extremely good at your chosen professions, you wouldn't be here otherwise. The problem is, and will continue to be, that while I will never have to be good at your job there will come a moment when you'll need to be competent at mine. Which is why I'm going to ask my team to join me for physical and tactical training. They don't have to be soldiers but we will function as a fire team."

Taft smiled, for the first time, and knuckled his brow like he was introducing himself for the first time. "North Carolina, ma'am... er, Ruth." He then raised an eyebrow as he realized who the only people who had ever called him by his first name, other than his mom, were. "Become my third wife, but don't divorce me. They both reverted to Taft after the papers were finalized."


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