“You want Vice-Commander Asuna in charge. Believe me.”
“Says the girl who just drew on her face,” Jack snarked back.
“And why will cost you ten thousand col,” Argo stated, unfazed. “But I’ll give you this for free, Doctor. A shower’s probably a good idea for everyone. One thing NervGear can’t get right is the feel of running water.”
“So it should help get people reoriented to reality. Thank you,” Janet said honestly.
“Not to mention,” Klein tugged fingers through his red mop of hair, “six thousand cases of bed head. That’s enough to make everyone snarly right there.”
“Ma’am,” Colonel O’Neill put in, not smiling.
Klein raised a questioning eyebrow. “Huh?”
“And that would be, huh, sir,” the colonel went on. “Corporal.”
Sam looked dubious. Teal’c’s face was suspiciously neutral. And Daniel, Janet saw with a quick glance at the one man she’d expected to object, looked like he reluctantly agreed with Colonel O’Neill on this one. Why?
Brown eyes narrowed, and Klein shook his head. “I don’t see ID. I don’t see any orders. Comes down to it, I don’t even have any proof I’m in America. All I know, right now, is we’re out of Aincrad. And you’re not the one who got us out.” He inclined his head; nothing like a salute. “Maybe you could bring a newspaper next time. Or, I don’t know, maybe let us make a phone call. To our families.”
A knock at the door, and Ellen opened it. “Dr. Fraiser? Do you know where Colonel O’Neill – oh. Sir. There’s a call for you and your team in the conference room, from the Mountain. The general-”
The colonel gave her a look. Ellen cut herself off, an indignant flush rising in her face.
O’Neill turned back to Klein. “Phone calls are going to have to wait.”
“Why’m I not surprised,” Klein muttered.
Agil touched his shoulder, with a not now shake of his head. “Might as well get back to Fuurinkazan. If that’s Cheyenne Mountain… they’re going to be a while.”
“Cheyenne?” Klein echoed, confused. “That’s NORAD. Why-?”
“That’s NORAD,” Agil agreed, giving them all a weighing look. “Got people from them in our cafe all the time. Deep space radar telemetry, they said.” He headed for the door, nudging Klein along. “This is going to be interesting.”
Argo lingered at the doorway a moment longer, a casual rearguard. “Another piece of advice, Doctor. Anyone tied up is trouble. Anyone who’s tied up so tight they can’t move….” Her finger made a circling motion near her temple. “They’re out and out derentis. Keep your eyes open. They kill people.”