Tau’ri Tales: paper work...
“Excuse me?” Daniel furrowed his brow as he peered at the sergeant.
“I sent your requests to my superior for clearance.” The non-commissioned officer stood straighter gaining an inch on the linguist.
“You’re new, aren’t you?”
“I don’t understand; I thought that we had cleared this up last time. I need these papers ASAP.”
“I’m going to set Teal’c on you. You know who Teal’c is, don’t you? Big guy; gold tattoo on his forehead.”
“Are you threatening me, Dr. Jackson?”
“No, it was a joke.”
Daniel heaved a deep sign as once again he entered the communication officer’s workplace. Once was understandable. Twice was explainable… but again and again – this now constituted a problem. The question was what to do about it?
The sergeant leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. Now that, Daniel realised, was pure insolence.
“The journal requests that I put in late last night were marked ‘urgent’. I asked you to email me when you had forwarded the requests to the Archaeology.database net so know when I can pick the files up from the admin office.”
“They haven’t been sent yet, Dr. Jackson.”
“And why is that? When I specifically requested that you process the files immediately.”
“They’ve been sent to my superior for additional clearance.”
Daniel planted both hands on the man’s desk and leaned into his personal space. “We’ve had this conversation before. I’m bored with it; you must be bored with it. They are requests for photocopies of linguistic papers not missile station blue prints. By the very nature of the material they are a low security grade, you should be more than capable of assessing them or what ever the hell is you do. I need these references so I can translate the cartouche on PX67 328, so I can give SG:5 the clearance to go ahead. Your supervisor is going to clear my requests like the last five times. This is a waste of my time, and I don’t have time to waste.”
“All material leaving the base needs to be assessed for potential security leaks,” the man droned.
“That,” Daniel grated, “I appreciate. The delay isn’t. Do your job before I find someone else to do it.”
The terse email that came through informed him that his material had been faxed through to the admin office was inoffensively written, but Daniel carefully copied it to his saved-file folder. In the scheme of things this problem could be considered somewhat incidental, it certainly didn’t require for General Hammond’s attention. Daniel drummed his fingers against his desk. It was, however, affecting, his efficiency and that was abhorrent. He rocked back in his chair and snagged his phone and dialled Jack’s office without looking.
“Jack, it’s Daniel.”
“You want to escape? Get something to eat? I hate paperwork.”
“Maybe in a couple of hours. I have a question.”
“I’m thinking I maybe overreacted. Is there a new security lockdown on the mountain or something?”
“Didn’t you read the memo?”
“The security memo?”
“No. There was one? Damn.”
“So let me get this straight--” Jack’s tone meandered and Daniel stared suspiciously at the phone-- “you don’t read all the memos that are sent out?”
“This is a dig because I was annoyed the other day that you hadn’t read my memo about the proper protocols for video taping potential archaeological sites, isn’t it?”
Silence was his answer.
“Jack, has there been a change to the email and web access protocols in the Mountain?”
He could hear papers being rustled and Jack was humming under his breath. “Nope, nothing, nada. Why?”
“Nothing. The guy in charge of the computer information security stuff is Cale?”
“Major Cale,” Jack supplied.
“Okay, thanks. I’ll come and get you after I’ve dealt with this and we can go and grab Thai or something.”
“So what was that about?” Jack asked as he steered his jeep down the mountain.
“You know, the security thing.”
“Oh, there’s this muggle in the office who… You know, I don’t know. He seems to be deliberately confounding my requests. I thought that it was because of the language, terminology – so I went down and explained my role in SGC and that these were paper requests to the archaeological and linguistic databases.”
“The scientific journals I read? I can’t physically collect them all, but there are databases on the web. I can read a journal abstract and then request a copy of the paper, not the whole book. You can request journals over the internet. But emails that go off site to a non-regulated host server have to be checked. Do you have any idea how irritating that is?” Daniel glanced at his friend. “You know, if your eyes are glazing over do you want to pull over so I can drive?”
Jack snorted. “And?”
“I used to send the requests to Private Mankin, she would input the request using my user name and passwords and voila I’d get the papers faxed to the admin office or posted to the Mountain depending on the urgency.”
“So what’s the problem?”
“It took me a while to figure out what was happening, because we were off world. But it’s now taking me a week to a fortnight to get the papers. The new sergeant in charge sits on my requests, then sends them to his supervisor and then sits on them some more. ”
“And this is a problem because?”
“Jack! SG:5 missed the window to get to PX67 328 because that drone won’t do his job. I translated the cartouche and it was a warning, the planet’s rotation now puts it in constant sunlight, until the planet shifts into night anyone going there is going to be Kentucky Fried Marine. Sam estimates that it’s going to be upwards of a decade before the planet shifts into night. The MALP showed evidence of structures that had survived that degree of heat and we can’t check them out now. If you’re not bothered about the archaeological implications think about the material the builders used to withstand those temperatures and the possible benefits to, say, your space programme,” Daniel finished indignantly.
“Daniel,” Jack began somewhat placatingly. “I’ll talk to Major Cale tomorrow.”
“You don’t have to. I dealt with it.” Daniel folded his arms over his chest. “I made an official complaint.”
“You made it ‘official’?”
Daniel qualified his statement. “I asked Major Cale to talk to him. I pointed out that he surely had better things to do than check on Sergeant Portillo all the time.”
Daniel mentally girded his loins and then thought about the phrase. According to Job 40:16, the loins were ‘the seat of strength and vigour, the centre of procreative power’. But why were they girded? Then he remembered Job 31:20 and that ‘the loins were considered as especially needful of covering, even under primitive conditions of life and where painful disease most effectually unfits a man for work and warfare’. He hummed under his breath and remembered that gird came from the Middle English girden and from Old English gyrdan, whereas loin came from Old French loigne and from Vulgar Latin lumbea although there was a Middle English link from loine.
And then he realised that he was procrastinating and entered the office. Today he would get his paper requests processed or Portillo would be reassigned.
Sergeant Portillo wasn’t there.
“Ah, hello?” he said to the empty office.
“Oh!” a young private jumped out from behind the bank of filing cabinets at the back of the room. Her eyes widened as she saw his SG:1 fatigues and her hand hovered in a curtailed salute as she looked for an insignia, any insignia. “Sir?” she hazarded.
“Dr. Jackson; SG:1.” Daniel smiled winningly. “I’ve come about some requests that I emailed to the office the day before yesterday to email@example.com.”
Her mouth fell open as she plainly considered the question and her eyes drifted up to the left. Finally, she ventured, “The ones for the universities?
“The Mycenae-ly des…des… thing?”
Daniel nodded very slowly.
“Oh, I didn’t understand them I sent them to my supervisor.”