Bingo, The Invisible Fish, and Starship Captain

by Mistress Sarah

Summary: John Matheson meets up with Rebo, Zooty and Bingo, the Invisible Fish, and Starship Captain on an away mission.
Disclaimer: These are not my characters. They are owned, copyrighted and created by far wiser people than me. I have attempted to bring them back to life for a short time, attempting to ease that gaping hole in my heart where B5/Crusade once was.
Note:  John Matheson; Matthew Gideon. NC-17. m/m. Angst.
Archiving: SW and WWOMB archive
Rating: PG

"Let me get this straight. You managed to put a humvee in a ditch, Sgt. Major O'Neill." I was stunned.  My first away mission with my new crew, exploring a downed Drakh ship, with thankfully no known survivors, and one of my two humvees were stuck. In a ditch. The only ditch for miles, apparently. Serian III was a ditchless world, except for the one that O'Neill had somehow managed to find.

"And he managed to break the axle. Chen's going to be furious." That was St. John who was watching the conversation between O'Neill and myself with barely disguised interest and amusement. The older man had a direct communications link with Captain Makam, and I knew he was giving her a full report on everything that I was doing. Mike's wit was acerbic, and I could just imagine what he was softly whispering to the Old Lady.

DAMN IT! A broken axle. Sheer carelessness!

"It's not that bad, sir. I think if we can get it out of the ditch, then we should be able to run it fine. I think when we landed it, we might have cracked a few of the who-sa-whatsies."

O'Neill was saying that with a completely straight face, while inwardly I groaned.

"Who-sa-whatsies?" I asked.  "You expect me to blame this on a broken who-sa-whatsies? Do you expect Captain Makam will believe that you put a humvee in a ditch because of a broken WHO-SA-WHATSIES?"

"What-ja-ma-call'ems?" He used that term hopefully, oblivious to the fact that I was rapidly losing my sense of humor. How I hated it when a NCO played stupid, which he was doing right now! "Do-hickeys?"

"I have to agree with O'Neill. When the humvee landed, apparently, it broke a thing-a-ka-bob... that deals with the Global Points Locator System. The Sgt. Major would never have purposely put a humvee in a ditch, Sir. I'm sure you couldn't possibly think that he would." That was St. John, who was giving me a rather concerned look which stated loudly that I better quickly get a grip if I thought O'Neill had put a humvee into a ditch on purpose.

They looked at me, and I suddenly realized that my first official away mission was going to be a nightmare. I had set up my away team roster, carefully, after reviewing St. John's notes and my own on my new crew, presented it to Makam and then Makam had told me that Zbignewski was staying firmly on the ship. Instead, I was getting O'Neill and St. John, the two officers I had specifically left OFF the roster.

'Lt. Matheson. We don't want to lose our doctor on an away team mission. Michael and Tom are both field medics, and that will do for this mission.'

Wonderful. I had just wanted one moderately friendly person on the damn team, instead I get Rebo and Zooty. Sure, Vladi was friendly to me mainly because the Old Lady wanted him to be, but... a friendly face would have been better than these two officers would be. Good GOD! Just what I needed, a Sergeant Major who had first enlisted while I was still in diapers! Trying to calm myself, I couldn't help but realize that I had taken St. John's "job" from him and O'Neill wasn't too fond of Telepaths. Fantastic.

I had only seen one of the Rebo and Zooty's movies, as they simply weren't that funny to me. Gideon had roared over various parts of "Bingo the Invisible Fish" while I had looked at him, plainly wondering what I was missing in the "Film of the Week" on the Excalibur. He had tried to explain it to me, but he hadn't managed to stop laughing long enough to point out what was so damn funny. Chambers had been laughing hysterically also, while even Max was grinning at parts of the film. But not I; as I couldn’t understand their humor. Rebo and Zooty had gotten themselves into all sorts of misadventures, claiming that they were under the mind control of Bingo the Invisible Fish. So, all I needed was Bingo the Invisible Fish... who was probably the Dragon Lady. If you really thought about it, Bingo was probably actually an invisible Dragon, as an invisible Dragon looks similar to an invisible Fish.

I better not think too long on that thought, as it was apparently an easy step to madness. Invisible dragons? INVISIBLE FISH?

"Well. It doesn't really matter how the hell it ended in the ditch. We've got to get it out." My voice was level, and I realized that I was using my Matthew Gideon impersonation on them. It worked wonders, as they both nodded their heads. In fact, the entire damn team nodded their heads in unison, without one word of suggestion being offered on how to get the damn thing out. Had it been this difficult for Matthew all these years?

"You're correct," admitted Warlock. "Any suggestions?"

"Yes. We're going to start digging the damn thing out. Then we'll replace the axle."

I was about to order the team to start digging when O'Neill suddenly remarked, "Do you know where the shovels are, Sir? I don't remember seeing them."

We ended up pulling the humvee out of the ditch using a pulley-tractor system that Warlock devised on the spot after a few minutes of feverish deliberation. Then we continued on our merry way, after fixing the axle, enroute to the Drakh ship. But things kept happening. Small, minor things that could swiftly turn into a major inconvenience if I hadn't noticed them and acted quickly and correctly. Nobody got injured and I knew from personal experiences, that the odds of all these minor problems happening at one time were pretty dismal.

A communication problem between the two humvees. Coolant leaks that occurred after right we checked the Humvee thoroughly. Little minor, quirky things that kept adding up to a rather shocking conclusion.

I was being sabotaged.


But very CAREFULLY, as no one was getting hurt. A few close shaves, yes, but nothing that would have injured anyone if I was paying attention.

I was being sabotaged...

By Michael and Thomas. My God, they even were assuming the roles right in front of me. Michael was Rebo, taller and more jocular of the two, while Zooty was the much shorter, slighter O'Neill who was as usual, not saying a damn thing except for when I questioned him.

It had to be them, as they were always in the vicinity when something happened. Or else they had just left the area. Keeping my eye out them, I couldn't prove anything, but I knew that it was them. Mike was an electronics wizard so he could have easily caused that small problem with the communications relay. I noticed that even when we went silent, he was still able to talk to Madam Makam.

Tommy and Mikey. The two of them had worked together for over twenty years. They were quite friendly with each other as O'Neill had been St. John's supervisor way back when. It hadn't changed when Michael got promoted, even with that wide gap separating a NCO and a Commissioned Officer. In fact, they even played darts together, regularly. I had even seen the two of them playing poker one night in the mess hall, both of them smoking Centauri cigars and telling raw recruits tall tales of Makam's past deeds. Mike had been acting XO until I showed up, and he claimed he didn't want the position.

What if O'NEILL thought Mike should have gotten it?

Paranoid. That's what I was. My Dragon Captain had mentioned these two men specifically to me, as though quietly advising me to use the two older men as resources. Hmm... Bingo, Rebo and Zooty... They had all worked together for more than twenty years, closer to twenty-five years, in fact. When Makam had been taken command of the Dyavaprthivi who were the two people that she had insisted be transferred with her? Frick and Frack, that's who. Both of who were former street rats who had survived by their wits until EF had offered them a way out.

Somehow, I doubted that Makam would have kept these two guys over the years if there was even the faintest doubt about their loyalty and professionalism. She was the one who had tutored St. John through Officers Training School, as she had insisted to EF command that Michael be given a chance as Makam had believed in him. No one else had seen the potential in Mike, but she had. So, SHE was in on it, no doubt having ordered the two of them to make my first away team hellish, just to see how I'd react. And these two men, being willing devotees of their Captain, were going a little bit overboard.

Fucking wonderful.

They wanted to play games, and I'd play a few games myself. Carefully, I separated them from the rest of the team, limiting their contacts with the rest of the team, as I wasn't sure who else was involved in their scheme. I got O'Neill the hell out of the driver's seat, and made him sit in the back while I let someone else drive. Michael wasn't riding shotgun anymore, as I was.

Keeping an eye on them, I caught them after they had disrupted the energy grid, right after we made contact with the Drakh ship. With a sudden pop and a whiff of smoke, the humvee was now quite dead. Ordering the two of them out of the humvee, I had them surrounded by O'Neill's own security team. By the expressions on the faces of the security team, I didn't need to be a Telepath to realize that the team was pretty damn unhappy about the current situation. The new XO was placing the Head of Security and Ops Officer under arrest for insubordination.

"St. John. O'Neill." My voice was sharp and they looked at me. "I'm placing both of you under arrest for sabotage and insubordination. Do you have anything to say before I get Makam down here?"

The two men looked at each other, and Mike grinned. "You picked up faster than Matrando did. It took him a little bit longer to realize what we were doing. Poor Gabriel. The entire mission went wrong, until he realized what was going on. I thought he was going to shoot us both."

He laughed while O’Neill agreed with him.

"That he did. She'll be happy to know that you were paying attention."

Then the two of them laughed while I wanted to kill them. AND HER. Debating quickly, I did something that was completely and totally by the book, especially when dealing with susceptive treasonous sabotagers. "Ensign Arturo, Ensign Javier. You will strip the prisoners." For a moment, I saw an expression in St. John's hazel eyes that reminded me of the look Matthew had when someone was pushing him too far. Michael was dangerous, I kept reminding myself, as he was too damn smart and he noticed any minute weaknesses to focus upon and exploit. He was a combination of both Max and Matthew in that respect.

"Then you will search them, THOROUGHLY, as no doubt both of them have numerous parts to the humvee stashed away on their persons. Look for a handcuff key, possibly even three of them. After you have successfully taken care of that problem, you will handcuff them and keep an armed watch on them. If they so much as move, you have my permission to shoot to kill. Unfortunately, gentlemen, your diligence has pretty much made it impossible for me to contact Captain Makam to find out if your story is true. I will complete the mission first, then attempt to hail the ship."

"Sir!" That was O'Neill. Ignoring his question, I motioned for them to strip out of their EF uniforms, and I was vaguely surprised when they did without protest. O'Neill proved to be a rather fit man in his fifties with a few Celtic tattoos including a dragon emblazoned on his shoulder, and St. John was muscularly built with a rather colorful three headed dragon tattoo wrapped around one leg. The two older men were completely loyal to the Dragon Lady and wore their dragons proudly in her honor. I was suddenly jealous of the easy way that these men proudly and openly displayed their loyalty and devotion to their Captain. My loyalty and devotion to MY Captain, I had to keep hidden from everyone; my love, a secret which burned within me both body and soul. For a moment, I felt Gideon's hands again on my back, Gideon marking me as "his" by scratching his initials into my shoulder, and I wondered if these two men had earned their "marks" the way I had.

No. The mental fantasy of these two men being branded and marked by a dancing, raving Kali in a ritual involving sex, blood and magic was entirely too surreal. I could just imagine the terse O’Neill and his sleeves with many stripes, just shaking his head in disbelief while watching the mad, shrieking, dancing figure of his CO in front of him.

Michael also had a few gang tattoos and I realized that "Warlock" had been his street name when he was thieving on the street of Sirius XI.  He also had a few old scars that looked like they had been rather painful when they were inflicted. Unlike what I expected, the two men stood there proudly, apparently unconcerned that they were wearing nothing but their briefs in front of an armed security team. Their eyes were defiant, plainly asking me "So what are you doing to do now, Lt. Matheson?"

Both of them made use of the gym regularly, and I knew that more than one or two on the away team were enjoying the sight in front of them.  Somehow, I managed to keep my poker face when someone commented on St. John's tight ass and I heard a muttered 'Now we know that all important question. Boxers or briefs?'

"Langley, Austin, Jacobs. I do not appreciate your comments as I view them as highly inappropriate under the current circumstances." I reminded my team, which immediately stopped the comments from the peanut gallery. Turning back, I faced the two older men. "I seem to remember ordering you two to strip completely." I spoke that softly, dangerously, like Matthew did. He was far dangerous when he was quietly angry then when he exploded, so I used that voice to threaten them.

"All of it" I said, when both men appeared to be somewhat reluctant to strip completely. Michael... he was dangerous, looking at me with Gideon's hazel eyes. How would Gideon react in this situation? Would he have tried to fool me into complacency, then attacked? Absolutely, which is how I just knew Mike would react. Damn it, O'Neill was a complete enigma to me, and I wasn't sure how he'd react. The old Marine had too many damn medals for me to even think of discounting him as the lesser of two evils. With his damn medal count, he was qualified of doing entirely too goddamn much. "I will allow you two some dignity and privacy when I have you two stripped searched. Which is more than you deserve."

"Do you have any questions?" I pointedly looked at O'Neill, who had been trying to ask something for sometime now.

"Sir?" he asked.

"Permission to speak." I growled that at him, watching the reaction to my tone of voice on the away team. My reputation was being made, right here and now, and I had to be careful not to get carried away with my 'punishment'. While I suspected that they were doing this under Makam's orders, I knew that my handling of these two officers would be all over the ship by nightfall.

"Sir! Would it be possible to be given back my briefs after the strip search, Sir?"

"Is there a particular reason, Sergeant Major O'Neill? I'll be so disappointed if you tell me you want them back for modesty," I drawled.

"I do not wish the Captain to see me in a state of undress, Sir! It isn't proper!" Even stripped of his uniform, O'Neill carried himself with dignity, and I had to respect that. To their credit, none of the away team laughed at his comment, as it simply was a given. It wouldn't have been proper for either one of them to be presented completely naked to any Captain. Especially not to HER.

"Plus the fact that two naked, middle-aged men is not a pleasant sight." That was St. John, who whispered that softly to O'Neill who nodded his head in silent agreement.

Both of them took it rather well, I thought, so I agreed to give them back their underwear. I made my team search the damnable duo three times, and I still wasn't happy with what they managed to find on them.  A couple of circuit boards, a few other minor doo-hickies, three knives that looked rather dangerous, but not a single handcuff key. They should have had MORE stuff on them.

Damn it. I didn't have time for this! Where the hell was the handcuff key? Or should I say keys? I warned the team guarding them to be careful of any tricks they might pull. Looking at the two of them, I told them I was going to allow them their uniforms pants back, but positively no shoes, no shirts, and St. John couldn't get his glasses back. He started to protest that, but I told him not to push me, as I knew Mike needed them for the rather delicate work he had been doing to the ship.  The two men also were to remain handcuffed until we got back to the Dya as the communications system was down. Handcuffed together, each of them would be sitting with their backs toward one another.

"Watch them! They're dangerous!" I warned the team.

Mission accomplished, I returned to the shuttle, and I felt myself tensing up. God! I had just threatened to court-martial two of the Dya's most senior personnel. How could it get worse?

Foolish me, it had gotten worse. The security team that I had warned to be careful apparently hadn't listened. They were battered, bloodied and bruised. The majority of them also appeared to be unconscious. My crack security team was also tied up, gagged and stripped down to their underwear. Their uniforms were folded in a neat pile next to the victim, which I suddenly guessed to be O'Neill's handiwork. Meanwhile, St. John and O'Neill were sitting in the very same position I had left them, handcuffs "secure" but now they were fully clothed, and St. John was wearing his glasses. Oh, and the humvee was completely repaired with the comms system working just fine.

I even detected the whiff of cigar smoke in the air.

I gave them a dirty look, and they pretended to ignore me, but I knew the two of them were watching me. The two older men were smirking slightly, but they were also warning me that they would have easily been able to have escaped back to the ship if they had so desired. For a brief moment, I thought of Dureena who would have done the same thing and I found myself missing my friends on the Excalibur severely.

Next day, night shift.

"Captain," I acknowledged her presence on the bridge softly. She often appeared on the bridge during off-hours, to keep an eye on everything, and to let the crew know that the Old Lady was in charge. Makam appeared to delight in scaring the hell out of the enlisted personnel on the second and third shifts, often just meandering into a department "just to watch." It was a late night shift, the type I always enjoyed on the Excalibur where nothing was happening, meaning that I could watch and observe my crew.

"Lt. Matheson," her voice was soft, meaning that no one could hear our conversation, and for a moment, I thought I heard laughter in her voice. "I wish to commend you on the handling of your first away mission."

"It wasn't fair." I spoke that to her bluntly, and she nodded.

"No. It wasn't fair that Gideon did all the away missions, leaving you to baby-sit the ship while he was gone exploring the countryside. Meaning that when you came onto my ship, with my crew, I had a questionable first officer who had no real experience with an away team. MY away team, with MY people. I hate and loathe writing THOSE letters, trying to find the best way to say 'I regretfully inform you...'. One of my crew has been with me for longer that you've been alive, Matheson, and it would destroy me if anything happened to O'Neill because of a problem I failed to note and correct.  You better believe it wasn't fair, Matheson. One day when you have to write one of those letters, you'll finally understand, but I pray that you'll never know what it's like."

"O'Neill and St. John?" I whispered. That was what had worried me the most that I might have humiliated the two of them, especially with the strip search. I had followed EF regulations carefully when I had 'arrested' them. If they were humiliated, they could easily make my life a living hell, as the away team disaster had proved. How the hell did those two unarmed, middle-aged men overpower a fully armed security squad, I'd really like to know.

"Have enough of a sense of humor to appreciate the irony in this situation. I lambasted Matrando, as he didn't have enough sense to restrain them after he caught them. The two of them ended up causing more chaos after he found them out, as Matrando "knew" I had put them up to it. You did better than he did plus your security team got an important lesson or two out of it. O'Neill and St. John are having the team run laps in the gym right now. In full gear, I might add, with Tom and Mike making rather questionable comments about each team member's parentage, I believe."

We didn't say anything for the next few hours, but I think, in her way, she was trying to apologize. And in my own way, I was trying to assure her that she didn't need to apologize.

4 weeks later;
Matthew Gideon, Personal.


I have been remiss in advising you in detail how Matheson has been faring in his new position. I know that my comment of "It goes as well as to be expected" is not a satisfactory answer, so I hope to answer your questions more fully now.

Jones arrived on his second day here, and I managed to see a good percentage of what goes on in these little loyalty scans by being pushy and noisy. As you have already done, I have sent my letters of protests about these scans to the Powers That Be for what good it will do. Probably it will be like spitting on a wild fire, but at least I have documented that I protest these exams. Especially from what I saw of them, they go far beyond what they need to, delving into the psyche and soul of those that they scan. And he goes through this willingly every six months so he can be in EF?

He is a better person than I am.

The crew is still nervous about having a Telepath as the XO. I can see it, feel it and taste it. But I cannot force these people to accept him, and Matheson knows that. In time, perhaps, they will make up their minds regarding him. I have had numerous meetings with the ones brave enough to express their displeasure with me, but I know that for every person that I speak to on the ship, there are easily fifteen others that are too easily cowed to dare to speak with me.

I have been forcing him to lead away teams every chance I get. Apparently his old captain would only let him baby-sit the ship while the Captain had all the fun. But I am trying to correct these deficiencies as best as I can, and as quickly as I can, while forcing him to deal with the most vocal of his opponents on these teams. If he is ever to be a Captain, he will need to deal with these people without someone else around to defuse the situations. But it is exhausting for him, constantly having to deal with their distrust.

He knows what I am doing, that I am stacking the deck with Anti-Matheson, Anti-Telepath crewmembers on the away teams, but he accepts it as part of his dues in being in EF.  Always accepting whatever he is given, and revealing so little of his emotions is how you had described him, and I find myself agreeing with that. I hope in time that I will learn to read him better but I fear that John Matheson is a man that keeps everything to himself.

I pretend to one and all that I do not see their feelings toward Matheson, but I have my spies on these away missions, advising me constantly of what have been said and by whom. Do not think that I have sent John alone into the lion's den on these away missions, as on every team, I have tried to place at least one of the three senior officers that I can trust to be fair when dealing with him. These three include Zbignewski, who you have met, plus my Operations Officer, Michael St. John, and my head of Security, Thomas O'Neill.

St. John has a rather keen insight on the crew, and has made several suggestions to Zbignewski on how to get Matheson more integrated with the crew. Some of his suggestions are at first sight, a trifle bit on the truly bizarre side, but Vladi forcing Matheson to join the Senior Officer's dart team appears to have worked. Though St. John, my Warlock of Operations, woefully thinks that his team's average will never be quite the same again. O'Neill readily admits to me that Matheson needs to develop telekinetic skills before the league finals.

Next, I think I will force my XO to join O'Neill's rope rescue team, as they still haven't replaced Gabe Matrando's position in the group. St. John thought that a simply marvelous idea when I approached him about it, and probably is even now convincing Vladi to bring Matheson to a practice.

Gideon, I can assure you that some of the anti-Matheson people are coming around, bit by bit. But it wearies him greatly, while as his Captain, I find myself restricted in what I can do to "quietly" help his transition to my crew. I cannot and will not order these people to work with him, but I hope that by leading by example, that they will at least give him the chance to prove himself.

The young doctor whom you met when I arrived on your ship has become quite friendly with John, and I am glad to see that Matheson has at least one friend on this ship.  St. John and O'Neill, while professional and friendly to John, are not John's peers on the ship. Vladi and John are similar in ages and viewpoints, and I had hoped that it would be a good match. Hopefully, Matheson will prevent the good Doctor from getting killed from youthful over-enthusiasm and Zbignewski will help Matheson become more comfortable with his shipmates. Vladi is rather popular with the crew, and his opinions on Matheson are often sought after by concerned crewmembers. But of course, I don't know that, officially, as it was the musings of my Ops Officer and Security Head over tea.


Kritika Pushpa Makam, Captain

Also, I should wish you luck on your search for a new First Officer.  I find it hard to believe that you have gone through FIVE officers since John left.  Have you talked to HQ about possible hazard pay?  Between searching for a cure to the Plague, a Technomage, a Thief and numerous Civilians running about, I'm sure they should think about it.


{Characters} {Introduction} {1 None So Blind} {2 Kshatriya} {3 Bingo, the Invisible Fish, and Starship Captain} {4 Because Warlocks Can't FLY} {5 Prayaschitta} {6 Let the Captain Have Some Dignity} {7 Epiphany} {8 Biases} {9 Moksha} {10 The Three Graces}

Witches Familiars

{Mistress Sarah}

{The Main Gate} {HomePage} {Wytches World} {We are Family} {A Little Artistic Licence} {No, we don't mean "A"riadne} {Our Home Is Our Castle} {The Witches' Diary} {Witches Familiars} {The Gateway} {Webrings}