SG-1 FIC: Casualties of War Title: Casualties of War Summary: General Hammond makes a decision that shapes the future of the Stargate program. Author's Notes: Written for the Hammond Alphabet Soup Anthology hosted by sg_fignewton. As is par for the course, this ficlet has not been beta'd yet.
Casualties of War
It was his worst nightmare come true. General George Hammond stood in the briefing room alone, staring out at the Stargate as technicians readied the bomb to send through to Abydos. He had been in the military long enough to understand the consequences of the decisions he made, as well as the importance of following orders. Yet the decision he was about to make scared him right down to his toes.
"General, you can't do that!" The words of Colonel O'Neill rang through his thoughts as he contemplated his orders. There were innocent civilians on that planet, according to O'Neill, a fact that brought no peace to George. Up until that point, he had only thought of the beings he was preparing to destroy as enemies. They were just soldiers that had been trained for warfare and aware that death was a part of war. The Colonel's angry demand was laced with fear, an emotion that George heard loud and clear, even as he smugly waited for the Colonel to admit his deceit.
It was the desperation in the Colonel's voice that plagued George's thoughts now. He had read the man's file. Colonel O'Neill had earned medals for heroism, but had also participated in operations that required a man to have a strong constitution in order to live with himself after the fact. For O'Neill to feel so strongly about saving those civilians was a blow to George's confidence that he was doing the right thing. Memories of a massacre from long ago swirled through his motives, causing him to reconsider his original plans. He had sworn he would never go through something like that ever again.
The technicians in the gate room continued on with their preparations as George's thoughts took him back to his early years. As a young Lieutenant in Vietnam, he had seen his share of violence and devastation, but the worst was during a siege on a village that was rumored to be harboring enemy troops. Their orders had been to destroy the enemy at all cost, and they had done so with a grim determination. George sighed deeply as he remembered the sounds of gunfire, shouts and the screams that filled the air that day. He and his team had destroyed everything, including the children, and the anguish he felt as he stood there and stared at the casualties when all was said and done still haunted his nightmares to this day.
He had not been the one to give the initial orders, he had only followed through on them, but he was just as responsible, as far he was concerned. And now he was faced with following more orders that could quite possibly cause more nightmares. He briefly wondered how many innocent people were on Abydos, before thinking to hell with it. He would find out for himself if the actions were worth the consequences.
George got right to the point when he entered the holding room where O'Neill and Kawalsky were waiting. "How many people did you say are on Abydos?"
"That we saw?" O'Neill responded, "Maybe five thousand."
Five thousand, George thought, as he stared at the floor. Five thousand men, women and children. God, he couldn't let it happen again. George knew then what had to be done, but he also knew that he had to be sure. He needed strong evidence to get the higher ups to rescind the order.
O'Neill, on the other hand wanted an answer now. "Does this mean you're reconsidering sending the bomb, sir?"
George squared his shoulders, determined now to find a way to stop another massacre. "It means I'm open to suggestions," he said. He still had his misgivings about the people O'Neill claimed to know so well, but the hope in the man's expression gave George the incentive he needed to take the plans they were making to his superiors. He had to save those children.
The tissue box came back through the gate with the words, "Send more" written on it. George tried not to smile when he saw it. He still had his misgivings about the whole thing, but he and O'Neill had talked at length about the people of Abydos as they waited for Jackson's response. George was glad that he had made the decision to go through with this new plan, if for nothing else than to salvage his own peace of mind. He didn't need more nightmares added on to his already impressive collection.
"Permission to take a team through the Stargate, sir?" O'Neill asked.
You're damn straight, George thought as he walked down the hall after he gave the Colonel the go ahead. Daniel Jackson was still alive, and if what O'Neill told him was true, safe and sound. O'Neill and his team would go to Abydos to find some answers, and hopefully bring back the news that George wanted to hear – that the alien enemy on Abydos was destroyed so that George wouldn't be forced to send the bomb anyway. He walked directly to his office and picked up the phone, already feeling better about himself. There would be no more innocent deaths. At least not this time.