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Week 18: What is Right

Title: What is Right
Author: stella_pegasi
Rating: PG
Warnings: Language
Het/Slash/Gen: Gen
Word count: 1,600
Disclaimer: I do not own them, I would have treated them better.
Summary:Regardless the consequences, sometimes standing for what's right is all that matters.
Prompt: Week 18: stand





WHAT IS RIGHT

By stella_pegasi

Major John Sheppard hated his service uniform. It reminded him of the uniforms he was forced to wear at the private school his father insisted he and Dave attend after their mother's death. Each time he had to wear the blue suit and tie, he flashed back to those horrid days.

His father…his father had been livid when he learned about the situation. Patrick Sheppard had immediately flown to Hurlburt Field, pontificating about getting the best private attorney for him. How dare the Air Force accuse his son of such travesty; he had ranted about the fact that he had warned John not to join the Air Force. He should have gone to MIT or Cal Tech, not the Air Force Academy. Patrick scolded his son that he would have never been in this difficulty if he had only listened to him.

John listened quietly until he simply couldn't take his father's superior, 'I told you so' attitude any longer. He had turned to his father and stated, "I did this; I deserve whatever punishment the Air Force metes out. I don't want or need your help."

Patrick Sheppard had stared at him for a few seconds, then grabbed his briefcase and, in a flat monotone voice, told him that he was no longer his son. No son of his would commit such acts, and Patrick Sheppard stormed out of John's quarters and out of his life.

He sat, his back straight, on a bench outside the small office his Air Force attorney, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Park, had been assigned. The colonel had summoned him for a meeting; he suspected to discuss his upcoming Article 32 hearing. He knew he was going to be punished; he just wanted the entire process over.

The door opened, "Major, please come in."

He rose, and acknowledged the lt. colonel, "Yes, sir." Upon entering the room, he was surprised to find that Colonel Park was not alone. Sheppard came to attention.

"General Lager, sir."

"At ease, major; have a seat." The general motioned to a chair next to him, across the colonel's desk. Once they were all settled, the general nodded to Colonel Park.

Park began, "Major; the general asked to speak to you today because we believe we have a way to resolve this situation, not completely, but a way you might prefer. You have been charged with insubordination, disobeying a direct order by a superior officer and misappropriation of Air Force equipment and you have admitted your guilt. There is no question that should you face court-martial you will be convicted.

The general spoke, "John; I have known you since I was your first squadron commander. You are one of the most skilled pilots I have ever seen, when you were selected for AFSOC, Special Tactics, I thought it was an excellence choice. When I learned that you were later chosen to join a JSOC unit, I was proud of you. You were now one of the best of the best, fighting with SEALS and Rangers. Then I was informed of your errant mission to rescue your fellow unit members."

Sheppard shifted nervously in his chair, "Sir; I appreciate your comments, and I am very sorry to have disappointed you."

The general chuckled softly, "That's just it, major; you didn't disappoint me, on the contrary. You behaved, as I would have expected you to do, you stood your ground, fought for what you knew to be the right thing to do. What's the motto of Special Tactics, major?"

"First There...That Others May Live,' general."

"Exactly, John, you have a strong moral-center, the right thing to do is foremost in your persona. I suspect, having met your father when you graduated from flight school, that he has a lot to do with how that persona came about." The general sighed, "Not in a very positive way I fear."

"Sir, if I may ask, why are you here? I did the things I am accused of, and I am ready to accept my punishment. I appreciate you wanting to help me, but I'm beyond that."

Colonel Park answered, "Major; the general arranged for your Article 32 hearing to be held here at Hurlburt. Let's just say, the atmosphere in Afghanistan was not conducive to a fair hearing."

"Oh for god's sake, don't sugar coat this, colonel." Lager turned to Sheppard, "What your attorney is trying to say without saying is that your commanding officer, Colonel Clarence Murray is an ass. He knows he fucked up by not ordering a rescue mission, and he wants your hide nailed to the wall to cover his own. Bastard's so afraid that he's going to have a blot against that sorry-assed record of his that he wasn't going to risk anything on a mission that he thought might blow up in his face. Fortunately, a friend of mine who knew I had an interest in your career let me know what was really going on over there. I pulled some strings to have your trial transferred to Hurlburt. If anything, I at least, wanted you to be treated fairly."

"Thank you, sir."

"Park tells me that you are facing at minimum a dishonorable discharge, and possible prison time for the theft of the helo, and that there wasn't too damn much I could do about it."

Colonel Park smiled, "But the general did do something John, and we have a proposition to make you."

Sheppard felt his heart begin to thump in his chest, a glimmer of hope that things weren't as dire as they appeared, "What is your proposition, general?"

"Well, for a jet jockey you've certainly shown a natural affinity for flying helos, and I know a base that needs a good helo pilot. Not the best posting, it's fucking cold there, McMurdo, in case you hadn't guessed. However, if you accept this post, you will maintain your rank, all your medals, commendations, and certifications. Your Article 15 will require loss of pay for a month, spread over two months, but who the hell needs money at McMurdo?"

Sheppard's heart was racing, "I…I can remain in the Air Force with my rank?"

Lager leaned back in his chair, spreading his arms wide, "Yep, rank, flight status; everything remains the same." He leaned forward, "Listen, John; this is a crap post and most everyone assigned there is there for a reason, they either fucked up or pissed someone off. But if you do this, I've arranged for you to get training on the helo's you aren't rated on yet. Just look at the assignment as extended flight training." The general grinned. "Besides, it won't last forever; Murray's bound to fuck up at some point, and I can bust you out of there."

"Major," Park pushed a document toward him, "if you agree to the general's proposal, you need to sign this, but I would suggest you read it first. I'll then file the document with the military court, and you can put this legal mess behind you."

Sheppard picked up the pen that Park had laid next to the agreement and without hesitation, signed it; pushing the paper back toward his attorney. He then turned to the general and extended his hand, which the general shook warmly.

"Sir, I think you should know that faced with the same situation again, I would do exactly what I did this time."

General Lager smiled, "What is right is the right thing to do. No one ever said it was going to be the easy thing to do. Have faith, your Air Force career isn't over, John, I feel it; be patient, there's more waiting for you." He stood up, "Now I had the base commander prepare orders for you in case you decided to take the offer. You ship out to New Zealand tomorrow at 0500 hours, and then you'll take the next available transport to McMurdo. I wish I could give you time to deal with any personal issues, but this is still punishment; I had to make this happen now. Well, I have a plane waiting to take me back to the Pentagon. You take care; good luck, son."

The general opened the door to leave, "For what's it worth Major Sheppard, I admire you for standing up for what was right. I would have done the exact same thing you did, orders be damned," he grinned, "just don't tell anyone."

Sheppard didn't sleep that night. He had packed his belongings, gone to the base PX to load up on stuff he figured would be hard to acquire at McMurdo, bought some magazines. He hesitated to contact his father, deciding instead to call Miss Gilly, the family cook who raised him and Dave to let her know where he was being stationed. She would tell his father.

He lay in his bunk waiting for the clock to click toward 0400 hours when he needed to leave for the flight line. He felt apprehensive, McMurdo was not the career he had expected, but it was a career, certainly better to go to McMurdo than the alternative, which was nowhere to go. He allowed a slight smile to emerge as visions of open sky and snow-covered terrain filled his brain, the thrill of flying awaiting him.

The general had said, 'What is right is the right thing to do.' At the moment, a post at McMurdo felt like what was right, besides his Air Force career wasn't over, who knew what awaited him. Whatever it was Major John Sheppard had faith it would be the right thing.

The end…

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
kazbaby
Sep. 28th, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC)
Okay, this is exactly what happened to John. At least to me. :D Excellent backstory.
stella_pegasi
Sep. 28th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you liked this. I've been stuck in a John back story loop for a while now, and I just thought someone would have come to his defense.

Thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate it.

sherry57
Sep. 28th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
I love, love, love this to bits....this is exactly what happened in Sheppard's back story...I'm sure of it!!!

Thanks for giving us this excellent detail of how Sheppard ended up in McMurdo. I always wanted someone to really point out that what Sheppard did was right and followed his strong morale code...that he was a hero and not a failure, that it was his superior that was wrong.

I love you for writing this!!!! You are a star!!
stella_pegasi
Sep. 28th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I am really happy that you enjoyed this look into Sheppard's past. I agree, I didn't want him to be considered a failure...and as I replied to kazbaby I always felt someone in the military would defend him. He is after all, pretty lovable...someone had to like him!

You are most welcome and I thank you for reading and for your comment!
tygtig
Sep. 28th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
I really liked this despite the lack of slash! Great backstory on John and I love him being the hero :-)
stella_pegasi
Sep. 29th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! It's so hard for lovers of slash to read gen and gen lovers to read slash, so I very much appreciate you taking time to read this. And very pleased that you enjoyed it.

Thank you!
black_raven135
Sep. 28th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
***applauds***

"....faced with the same situation again, I would do exactly what I did this time.."

**NODS**
That is because Sheppard realizes no matter the consequences he must be able to identify the person who is staring back at him in the mirror each morning...

stella_pegasi
Sep. 29th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I am really glad that you enjoyed this story. I agree with you, that Sheppard couldn't deal with himself if he didn't do the right thing.

Thanks again, I appreciate your comment!
wraithfodder
Sep. 29th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
Great backstory! :)
stella_pegasi
Sep. 29th, 2011 01:16 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed!!
esteefee
Sep. 29th, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
oh, this is so my canon now. thank you for writing it!
stella_pegasi
Sep. 29th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks!! So glad you liked it!
hoktauri
Sep. 30th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
Yay! OMG YAY! This is perfect, hon. In fact, this is now head!canon. Love it love it. I couldn't help but think that this was the missing scene I couldn't write for the John/Nancy story I did... but you did it so much better than I would have!

And I loved your little hat-tip to the "others" that are stationed/working at McMurdo. :-D Really great piece, extremely well-done.

Did you do research for the military details?
stella_pegasi
Sep. 30th, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
Oh my....I am so glad you enjoyed this so much. Your John/Nancy story didn't come to mind when I wrote this. I loved your story and this does mesh with it. I felt that there had to be someone who would stand up for Sheppard, because what he did was right.

As for the military detail...Google and Wikipedia are my friends, plus general stuff I have picked up over the years, but my real source, the wonderful former Navy officer, black_raven135. She is a wealth of knowledge and so gracious to share.

Thank you so much for your comment, I'm very pleased that you liked this story.
duonoaikouka
Sep. 30th, 2011 04:42 am (UTC)
Oh this..... This!! What a fantastic pre-series look at John and his strong moral center. I loved the depth this interaction gives to his character later in the series; he exhibits that "do right" attitude so much in canon. Just look at Rising, episode 1!

I liked seeing that attitude reflected in other officers as well; the respect Park showed him was such a nice contrast to a lot of the flak John receives for disobeying orders and working outside the chain of command. Lovely original character there!

Thanks for sharing this jewel of a look at John's character. Makes so much sense and is just beautifully written!
stella_pegasi
Sep. 30th, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
Wow...thanks...I am really pleased that you enjoyed this story so much. I love writing pre-series Sheppard...we all have our take on what made him the person he is and how his life took the twists and turns that it did. This is just my little Sheppard world.

I did want to have someone Sheppard had served with come to his defense. In the series, we saw the people that critized him come to appreciate him but TPTB never explored that. At least, the good General Lager came to his rescue.

Thank you for reading the story and for your very kind comments.
hanorganaas
Oct. 1st, 2011 05:35 am (UTC)
Back story fic woo hoo!

I love how you captured John here and how he feared losing his spot in the millitary. Cause we all know John is a man who belongs in the skyy.

*claps*
stella_pegasi
Oct. 1st, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You are so right...John belongs in the sky!!

Glad you enjoyed!
altyronsmaker
Oct. 1st, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
that was cool. hehe. And yeah. Someone, somewhere had to have had John's back. Nicely done!
stella_pegasi
Oct. 1st, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
I just couldn't believe with the loyalty we saw from his command on Atlantis that someone wouldn't have stood up for him. So glad you enjoyed, and thanks!!!!
sexycazzy
Oct. 1st, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
brilliant backstory! Loved it! :D
stella_pegasi
Oct. 1st, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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