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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:29 pm 
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Ruth gave a lopsided smile. "And you think us civilians have it easy," she grinned, shaking her head. "It's not uncommon for me to pull a 24 hour shift if I'm getting stuck into a translation, and that doesn't include any time I spend 'out' on assignment." She clocked the look the bartender gave her, and shot him a bright smile. Nothing like a smile to make people wonder what you're up to. "Yeah, the archaeology labs are the closest thing I have to an office. Not high enough up the food chain to get an office of my own."

She rolled her eyes, tossing Taft a grin. "Everything's a competition to the Marines, isn't it," she chuckled. Sure, whle she understood the drive to succeed, Ruth wasn't truly competitive. She'd much rather work with someone to achieve the desired end than to work against them: after all, two heads were better than one most of the time, and it made more sense to be working in harmony, especially with the other teams at the SGC.

Ruth couldn't help but feel that Taft was doing nothing other than throwing a bone to non-military solutions, and she bit back on a sigh. "I get the feeling that's not the whole story on your opinion of non-military solutions," she said, forthright but trying to be tactful about it. "It kinda sounds like you'd rather get in there, get the action out of the way, and then do some talking if there's anyone left afterwards." She really didn't understand people who preferred that sort of thing. "But isn't that the point of mixed military and civilian teams," she asked, her eyebrows raised. "You're great at what you do, we're great at what we do, and that's the way of things. I think you're being a bit unreasonable to expect civilians to effectively train as soldiers, because that's pretty much what you're asking." If she'd wanted military training, she'd have joined up when she was eighteen, simple as that.

Taft looked a little bit different when he smile: it was almost like a rock face cracking open to reveal what was within, and the smile took Ruth by surprise. She smirked as he called her "ma'am" again, before correcting himself, seemingly with discomfort. Ruth laughed out loud, though, as he detailed what she would have to do in order to use his first name. "If that's a marriage proposal right there, I'm not surprised you've been divorced twice!"


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:07 am 
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"It's not uncommon for me or one of my boys to be shot and killed by other human beings, and that's before we add in the occasional evil creature of more foreign providence. Sorry about your having to pull overtime though." He took another bight of steak and chewed thoughtfully before continuing. "They really should put in a unified library, have all the books everybody has sitting around put in one place so you language and history types all have access. We got an armory, same theory."

Taft nodded. "Keeps us sharp, and sharp is alive more often than not. Alive is very important to us as you can imagine."

"Then your feelings are playing tricks on ya. I like when people talk, get it out of the way, end the day without a blow struck. Talking ain't likely to get people hurt. Hell, one day maybe we'll figure out a way to put men like me out of business... naw... that won't happen." He shook his head. The world would always need men like him, the galaxy was too big a place full of too many thing that liked to use humans as targets, food, or breeding material. There would always be a couple of hard-biten men and women standing on the wall, watching and waiting for when humanity would have to be a species of warriors once again. "No, I'm more than willing to let the people who are good at it exhaust all the other options first. That way there aren't any questions when we start thinning out the opposition."

"Training the civilians as soldiers would increase their survivability -and- the survivability of the soldiers being sent to protect them. If that's unreasonable, I'll just get unreasonable tattooed on my forehead."

"It wasn't me the minded, or so I'm told. It was the distinct lack of me being around that bothered both of 'em. Can't blame 'em, and I don't." He shrugged as he chewed some more potatoes.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:41 am 
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"Touche," replied Ruth, cocking her head to one side briefly before taking another bit of her Shepherd's Pie. She didn't forget the sacrifices made by the soldiers - and, almost as often, the civilians - who went out on the SG teams on a regular basis. However, she did laugh at his suggestion of a library. "That's what a little something called 'the internet' is for," she chuckled. "Pretty much the entire collection of books on base has been digitised, and we can access it all over the LAN. No need to go hunt someone down when they've got the book you want." It didn't replace the feel of a book, and, sometimes, she would go hunt the source material itself, but it worked on the whole.

Ruth shook her head. "See, I don't think competition keeps you alive," she said, shrugging. "Teamwork keeps you alive. Competition focuses you on the wrong things, and is as likely to get you dead as not being able to function as a team. Competition just pits you against those who you should be working with, not against."

Ruth tossed Taft a lopsided smirk. "Okay, so you're the exception to the rule, then," she replied, shrugging lightly. "Maybe some of the other military could learn a thing or two."

And then he went and blew his statement out of the water.

"I guess you better book that tattoo artist, then," she said, shaking her head. "You soldiers might not have much to do other than train when you're not out on a team, but us civilians have our own work outside of going out on missions. That's more than a full time job in itself. What're you going to expect? That the civilian members of your team heft a P-90 in one hand and the tools of their trade in the other, multitasking all the way? Tell you what... you'll have the right to demand that when you soldier boys can do the work of a linguist, or an archaeologist, or a botanist. I think that's fair. Can't expect a civilian to function as a soldier when the military aren't expected to step up to the plate themselves, can you?"

Ruth took another slow sip of her whisky, quietly hoping that she wouldn't be assigned to Taft's team when the time came to it. She clocked at least fourteen hours a day, at least six days a week, as it was, and, short of never sleeping, slotting anything else in just wasn't an option. "Guess that's what you get for marryin' someone who you know isn't going to be around for large parts of the year, isn't it?"


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:36 am 
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He was fairly certain those were words she was using, LAN and Digitized and all that, so he just nodded like it made perfect sense. He assumed it did, she'd know better than he would and why would she lie about it? He wasn't certain how he felt about the materials that made their sensitive information make sense being on the internet but again, it was above his pay grade. "I like Louis L'amour. A good western makes the hump go faster."

"Competition keeps you fast, strong, sharp. And those things keep you alive. And believe it or not, there are a couple of sports that are known commonly as 'team sports' that teaches all sorts of good things about working within a group. And didn't you compete for your... I was about to say doctorate but for the life of me I can't quite remember if you introduced yourself as a doctor." He scratched his neck idly as he tried to dredge that information up again in his mind but it just wasn't coming to him. "At any rate, competition is just part of life. We all compete, almost all the time. Our program is competing with a great many others for funding, you're competing with your peers for your place in the program, I'm competing with younger men to hold on to my place in the world. Without it, why would we do anything at all?"

"I'm starting to get the feeling somebody's done given you a bad impression of military personnel." He sipped his Sprite. "You really think we don't do anything when we aren't holding up a backpack and a battle rifle? I speak Arabic and routinely translate intercepted communications, Davidson can field strip Gou'ald tech with her eyes closed and hung over, Blake has to keep her certifications up so she's not breaking any laws when she slaps a Hello Kitty on some Airforce Security fella. I also grow a pretty mean rose bush. Nobody's asking a civilian to function as a soldier, just want them to have a fair chance of surviving and helping their team survive should things go bad. If we can turn a teenager into a Marine in 36 weeks I can teach a couple of degree holders to not shoot each other in a couple of days."

Taft looked off into the distance, thinking about his ex-wives for a minute before shrugging. "Honestly, I don't know what they thought was going to happen or how they reckoned it was going to be. Wasn't to their liking when all was said and done and so... with nothing else said it was done. They were kind enough not to make it complicated, so there's no hard feelings on my end."


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:29 am 
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Ruth knew she had lost Taft as his eyes glazed over. Hardly surprising, really. Most soldiers were the same way, with no interest whatsoever in the activities of the civilians, only really learning enough to get by. She grinned, though, as he mentioned is favoured reading material. "Can't say I've read any of his work," she admitted, shrugging. "Don't seem to have the time to read for pleasure these days." It had probably been... well over a year since she had done any reading other than for translation purposes. That realisation saddened her.

Shaking her head, Ruth shook off his explanation about competition. "See, that's where I think you're getting things ass-backwards," she said, not swung by his argument. "Everyone at the SGC is working towards a single purpose, not trying to be 'top', or 'the best'. You may have had that crap when you were in the Marines proper, but it's not how it works there, in case you hadn't noticed. Competition's kinda pointless when there's actually nothin' to be competing over." She twitched her eyebrows up. "After all, that's how NID were able to gain such a toehold a while back, right?" Units competing against one another was a dangerous thing, and, from what she had heard and seen, it could - and often did - lead to tragic consequences. "What we're all competing for, in this case..." Ruth lowered her voice. "...is humanity itself. We're all one big team, don't fracture it by trying to prove you're a bigger badass than anyone else."

Taking another sip of her whisky, Ruth shot Taft a hard look. "I'm not saying you're not all military specialists in your own right... but that's all in conjunction with a military function. You'll have learned Arabic... in the Marines. Davidson probably got her engineering degrees... in the army. Blake got her field medic training... in the army. Your skills are trained to be used in the field... and that's where your own argument falls flat on its ass." She paused, letting it sink in.

"You're all fantastic at what you do, in your own specialties, but you've all sacrificed higher level academic training and experience for the military side of things. People like Major Carter are the exception, not the rule. And this is why you guys 'babysit' those of us who never wanted to be soldiers, or Marines, or pilots, or whatever. We couldn't function without you guys, and your teams would be pretty crappy without us." She shrugged. "You never heard of a 'well rounded' team, Taft? You don't need everyone to be a gun toting hardass in order to earn their keep."

Ruth concentrated on her food for a few moments, not wanting to keep talking about the military/civilian thing. They'd never agree on it, it seemed. "Divorce sucks," she said simply. "Been through it once before, not sure I'd care to go through it again." If she ever married again, she intended it to be for keeps. Next time, she wouldn't settle. It would be with someone there was a spark with, no just 'second best'.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:12 pm 
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"Sun Tzu advised that every soldier should take reading material into the field. Whatever it is, take it and read when the opportunity arises. It keeps the mind active, the imagination unbound, and morale up. I know you're not a soldier but perhaps it wouldn't hurt to throw a novel in your pack when you go off world. Never know when you'll have some down time while waiting for the locals to discuss the situation you've presented to them."

Taft raised an eyebrow. "So... you think not competing with the other linguists is going to get you on a team? Please tell me you haven't been helping them with translations without finding out what they are going to do with them. Because a dollar says they've been presenting them to General Hammond as proof they are best for team selection." People were people, altruism was an abstract concept that didn't exist in nature, and he could imagine others taking advantage of Ruth's sense of 'go team'. She was right in that it could create an exploitable situation but it was also how the best and brightest were discovered so it was an acceptable risk in the big picture scenario.

"Wow, that was judgmental. What does it matter where I learned another language? Am I not as good at it because I wasn't at a college? Is my grasp of the spoken Arabic word to be measured as less because I didn't get to sit in an air conditioned room while acquiring it? Davidson got her engineering degree from an accredited school. You don't have an argument lady, but you have one of the rudest world views I've ever come across. Good luck with fitting yourself into the military program up the mountain." He dropped his napkin on the plate, tossed about half again as much as the meal was worth on the bar, and stood to leave. If time weren't of the essence, Taft was fairly certain there wouldn't be -any- civilians in the SGC.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:14 pm 
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Ruth smiled, shaking her head, her fork drawing little circles in the gravy from her pie. "'Downtime' when you're translating is a complete and utter misnomer," she replied, her voice more than a little rueful. "When you mess with languages for fun, as well as for work, it's easy to get caught up with the practical stuff. That's why I usually find myself working... probably fourteen, sixteen hours a day, at least six days a week." She loved it really, even though it ate into what passed as a social life.

"I get on a team sometimes," she said, shrugging. "And I don't think it's down to lack of 'competing'. I'm more skilled at longer translations, and that means I'm more use on the base than I am out in the field. Just the way it is sometimes." Quick hit translations were all very well, but the lengthier translations were what helped the younger and less experienced linguists learn the languages that were brought back through the Stargate.

Ruth blinked as Taft got up on his high horse and completely misconstrued what she had said. She stayed silent for a second or two as the Marine got to his feet, seemingly throwing a childish temper tantrum.

Asshole.

"If you would just put aside your own attitude about the Marines being better than everyone else, and actually listened to what I said, I didn't say any such thing," she said, her voice surprisingly quiet and even. "You think I'm rude? You need to take a good look at yourself and remember you're just a person like the rest of us. You can't hide behind that Marine t-shirt forever, you know. Sometimes, you gotta remember you're every bit as flawed as the rest of us." The gentle smile, when it came, was all the more surprising for the fact that it followed the blunt, honest words to Taft. "Now... stop being such a big baby, and sit back down. For someone who doesn't mind the battles, and who's 'all for talking', you seem pretty cut up by a few words."


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:31 am 
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"No matter how reasonably you say it, 'no you are the mean one' is still childish. Good bye, good luck, drive safe, etc. etc." He said as he walked off. He wasn't responsible for the civilian's view of the military, she wasn't on his team, and he would commiserate with whoever got the dainty lady. Too good to roll around in the dirt a couple hours for a couple of days, playing with paperwork was soooo elite while fighting was something any fool could manage. It was degrading and he wasn't gonna sit around, let alone sit back down, and give her the impression she had even the slightest element right. There was reason and then there was cowtailing.

He headed for the front door.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:49 am 
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Oh yeah. Another military asshole with a stick up his ass.

It wasn't very often that Ruth found it tough to see the good in someone, but this Taft guy was definitely one of the rare few. So tightly ingrained in the military lifestyle that he couldn't see that another way was just as valid as his. She'd already given the indication that she was willing to talk things through like rational adults, but no, he had left the bar like a two year old having a temper tantrum. The Marines were always the worst of them, too. Thought they were so much better than everyone else, even those in other branches of the military.

Taking another bite of her almost cold pie, Ruth pushed her plate away, finding that she no longer had any appetite. All she knew was that she was grateful that she didn't have to work with the self-righteous jerk. She'd probably rather poke her own eardrums out with a knitting needle.


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