Story Notes: SPOILERS: 'A Matter of Time'


DISCLAIMER: (To the tune and rhythm of "His eyes are as green as a fresh-pickled toad..." - for my sister Louisa!)
These characters don't belong to this fic-writer,
And this line of writing don't pay;
I wish they were mine - they're really divine,
To archive, please ask me, okay?

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I don't know where this one came from - it just...popped up. And the *ket'ih'vel* was something I made up. I think. I don't even remember it now. Does this fic have a point? I don't think so. At least...I can't find it. It's just...fluff. Not even happy fluff at that..

They were drunk. Ostensibly to relax after the hectic schedule of the last couple of days - weeks? In actual fact, so Jack could get in a bit of constructive forgetfulness.

His team didn't ask questions about why Jack was so intent on viewing the world through the bottom of his whiskey glass - thank God. They just let him drink quietly while the conversation eddied around him.

Correct that - the conversation went way over his head.

When they sat down at the bar with a drink in their hands, discussing the events of the last.however long, Little Miss Smarty-Pants Carter had wondered about hazard pay for the work they'd put in. Mister Take-A-Topic-And-Run-With-It Jackson had promptly countered with the question, "So, how would they measure it? Would you get paid for the time you'd actually experienced, or for the time which passed 'up here'?"

And then followed a debate which Jack tried very hard not to follow.

*I'm getting a headache,* he decided. On top of dealing with the personal fallout from having to watch Henry Boyd die and having to work with Frank Cromwell again, Jack had to listen to a discussion about time-space...thingamabobs from his two favourite scientists. It was just peachy.

"Well, specifically speaking, the Colonel should only get paid for the time he's experienced - after all, that's all the time he's worked."

"But how would you calculate the time which passed under the mountain?"

"You could observe the time on Colonel O'Neill's watch," Teal'c stated calmly.

"Exactly," Sam said. "Or on the base computers."

Daniel hadn't been expecting that, but to his credit, he jumped mental trains easily enough. "Okay," he said. "But wouldn't there have been some kind of...I don't know...lag produced by the difference between the way time was running in the gateroom and the way time was running above the ground?"

With a deep swallow of her drink, Sam shook her head. "Time runs the same wherever you are, Daniel. However, the black hole slowed down time in the gateroom relative to time outside the mountain. As the gravitational field of the black hole extended through the wormhole to the SGC, and then up to the surface and surrounding areas, it slowed down time relative to areas unaffected by the gravitational field of the wormhole." Moving her glass aside she began to draw diagrams in the condensation of their table to illustrate her point. "However, wherever you were - whether on the surface or in the gateroom, time still passed. It just passed at different rates above and below the surface. Relatively speaking," she added when Daniel opened his mouth.

Daniel shut his mouth, opened it, then shut it again, and realisation dawned. "Okay, I get it. So, although Jack's only experienced one day, you' ve experienced a couple of days, General Hammond has experienced about a week, and Major Davis has experienced a full two weeks...but when we snapped the wormhole elsewhere, time resumed running at the same pace for everyone, right?"


"So the question is whether Jack should get paid for the hours he's been on his job as compared to the hours the payroll people think he's been on his job?"

Carter grinned so her eyes twinkled at Jack. "Yes."

Jack shook his head at her. "Does it matter how much I get paid, Carter?"

"Well, if you're only paid one days' worth of pay, then you're going to have some fun trying to meet the utilities company bill - they've been charging you for the last two weeks, you know." A mischevious smile pulled at Daniel's mouth.

Jack blinked twice, thinking that over. "Damn. They wouldn't..."

"You never know."

"I believe that your payroll department will compensate you for the time which has elapsed outside the mountain, O'Neill." Teal'c sat behind his bottle of Coors. "To calculate the time which has elapsed within would stump even the most talented of *ket'ih'vel*."



An incredulous look appeared on Daniel's, "*Ket'ih'vel*... they're what you call accountants, Teal'c?"

"That is correct, Daniel Jackson."

Daniel gave a shout of laughter.

"What does *ket'ih'vel* mean?" Carter asked, mystified. "Daniel?" She exchanged a puzzled with her commanding officer who merely shrugged. Jack had no idea of the meaning of the word any more than Carter did.

He decided against asking Daniel, who was presently resting his head on the table with his shoulders spasmodically trembling.


The big Jaffa regarded him solemnly. "I believe that *ket'ih'vel* translates to 'drinkers of blood'."

Daniel raised his head from the table and pulled off his glasses the better to wipe his eyes. "It translates more accurately to: '*suckers* of blood', Teal'c."

The humour of it seeped through to Jack, even in his present state of mind. "You mean you actually call your accountants 'blood-suckers', T-man?"

"We do, O'Neill."

"Uh, excuse me, Teal'c." That was Sam, of course - curious as a day-old puppy. "What do they do?, I mean."

"The System Lords have a form of what you call taxation, both in services and produce. It is not the same as your system of money, but it serves the planets under the rule of the Goa'uld well enough. The *ket'ih'vel* are the ones who ensure that the tribute reaches the System Lord."

Jack shook his head and took another pull of his beer. The universe was full of strange and bizarre things - not least of which was a metal ring which acted as means of travel between planets which had been put there by a race of aliens and used by another set of aliens to enslave hundreds of worlds and millions of people. Or being caught in the gravitational field of a black hole and having time 'slow down' - relatively speaking, of course - so you experienced a single day in the same space of 'time' as others experienced two weeks...

"So will I get paid or not?" He dragged the conversation back to the original topic - the one of most concern to him.

"I don't see why not, sir," Sam answered after a moment of silence. Daniel was still dabbing at his eyes with a Kleenex - hopefully not pre-used. "They have no way of proving you only worked a single day while two weeks went by. It's a classified project, so they should just give you two weeks, plus hazard pay." She smiled, "You could say it's all in a day's work, sir."

Jack groaned. "Leave the jokes to me, Carter."


The End

End Notes: Yes. I know, it was weird. If you like, you can tell me how seriously weird it was.

You must login (register) to review.