[AnneACK's
 

Disclaimer: The Characters of Due South belong to Alliance Communications. The characters of Stargate SG-1 are the property of World Gekko Corps and Double Secret Productions and MGM/UA. The Characters of The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly, The SciFi channel and others. The characters of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, belong to Warner Brothers, Michael Sloan and TNT. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story is all AnneACK's fault. She had to mention writing a story where Simon Banks from The Sentinel, and General Hammod from Stargate SG-1 talked about the trouble their teams get into. Then somewhere along the line TAE got dragged into our brain storming and Paul Blaisdell from Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and Harding Welsh from Due South got added to the list. NOTE: Don't try to fit this into a time line for any of the shows because it won't work. Just think if it as a "what if?" story where the two Captains, one Lieutenant and one General talk about their favorite and most troublesome teams.
 


Comparing Notes

by , , and
 


Simon sighed as he listened to the speaker drone on. Why the Chief had thought this was a good idea was beyond him. This seminar was for how to get people to do their jobs, and his people did their jobs. The problem was they just often found creative ways of doing it or found themselves in the oddest of situations. Looking around at his fellow table members he saw that they were as bored as he was.

Harding Welsh stifled another yawn. Although there was some stuff he could use on the deadbeats, it would be no help at all for Big Red and the Rays.

Damn. Didn't that guy know that the most contagious thing on the planet was the yawn? You say the word, and people started doing it. Paul stifled one of his own and thought of various and sundry forms of revenge on the Police Commissioner. He glanced at the other three men he was sharing the table with and sighed. Obviously, they were at least as bored as he was. He'd gotten here a bit early, just so he could get the 'dead' corner, but the blasted seminar was full, so the latecomers ended up filling in all the empty spaces. At least they didn't suck their teeth or anything else disgusting. The balding man immediately to his left shifted in his chair, reminding him why he hated seminars in hotels. He glanced at his watch, wondering how much longer before the first break.

Only his military training kept Hammond from fidgeting in his chair. He'd much rather deal with a possible Goa'uld invasion than sit through one of these seminars. He did allow himself a small shift in the seat to try and get more comfortable in the straight-backed, minimally padded chairs. His team might be a little creative in their missions but at least they did their jobs.

Several agonizing minutes later, a break was called and the four at the table sighed in relief.

"Lord, what am I doing here?" Welsh muttered to himself. His fellow inmates all cast him commiserating glances.

"I don't know about you, but my city's police commissioner sent me." Paul responded. "Paul Blaisdell, Sloanville PD."

"Harding Welsh, Chicago PD, likewise." He glanced around the room and spotted a couple of familiar faces in the escaping crowd. "There's supposed to be six of us here. I've spotted three."

They looked at the other two men, who had shamelessly listened in. "Simon Banks, Cascade PD. Sent here by the Chief, who thought I might be able to get a handle on a couple of my men. But this is worthless. My problem isn't motivating them, it's slowing them down."

"Sounds like my problem," Paul smiled. "I've got good people, but sometimes... all right, a lot of times, they tend to rush in first and pick up the pieces after."

"Me, too. What about you?" Harding looked at the fourth man at their table, who was looking uncomfortable.

"Major General George Hammond, US Air Force. Same thing for my team. Send them on recon and they nearly start World War Three." He could see the reactions his rank had caused. He tried not to laugh. He'd arrived late and this was the only table that had an empty seat. Of course he would not have been late had it not been for the aforementioned team.

"Why would they send a general to one of these things?" Harding asked bluntly. "I'd have thought by the time you got stars, you already knew this crap."

"That would be classified."

The three men looked at him skeptically and Paul chuckled. "Pissed off the President, did you?"

"No, I think it was somewhat lower than that. And it was the reverse, actually," Hammond said, glaring at the other man. Which had apparently as much effect on him as it did on his team.

"I landed here because for some reason the chief seems to think a few of my men are getting out of hand," Simon growled. If not for a certain teams last... adventure occurring just as the chief was deciding who to send for further training, Simon would not even be here!

Welsh chuckled. "So, here we all are, in a useless seminar. I think that I'll ask her how to slow down my guys without making them stop." He shook his head. "I need a pot of coffee." He looked towards the back of the room and the crowd still gathered around the urns there. "I saw the restaurant around the corner. What do you say, gentlemen?"

"Coffee?" Simon smiled for the first time that day at the suggestion.

"Sounds like a good idea to me." Paul glanced at his watch. "We've got fifteen minutes."

"Let's go then," Hammond put in.

Using Welsh's greater bulk to push through the crowd, the four men escaped the crowded meeting room and into the hall. "That way," Welsh said, turning right.

The other men followed in search of better coffee and more space.

The four managed to order their coffees quickly and returned to their seminar, but chose to stand around outside until they had to go back in.

"So we all have teams that do their jobs but find creative ways of doing it? Any good stories to share while we wait?" Simon asked.

Welsh sighed. "You got six months? My biggest problem is a Mountie."

Paul frowned. "Why do you have a Mountie in the Chicago PD?"

"That alone would take two hours to explain," Harding groaned.

"Unfortunately it's time to go back in. Let's continue this at lunch?" Hammond suggested.

"Sounds good to me," Simon agreed.

"We may not learn anything from this seminar, but maybe we can figure out something to help each other?" Paul added.

Reluctantly they made their way back to the table and suffered through more useless suggestions until the lunch break. They wasted no time heading back to the restaurant.

Looking at their poor choices in disgust, Hammond was the first to suggest they go somewhere else. "We've got an hour and a half. I've got a car, and I know some really good places around here. What would you like?"

"Anything that isn't health food, Sandburg is not here and I intend to enjoy that!" Simon smiled, thinking that for once he was not going to get a lecture about what he ate.

"You got any good delis around here?" Welsh asked.

"Deli sounds good," Paul agreed.

Simon smiled and nodded his agreement. "Works for me . . . I did not just say that . . . I've been around Sandburg too long," he groaned as he shook his head.

"If it's Deli you all want, there's a good place right across the street." Hammond said.

"You're going to have to tell us about this Sandburg person," Paul said, smiling.

"Give me an hour or six and I might be able to scratch the surface," Simon muttered, but his tone didn't hide his fondness for the man. The four men migrated across the street in search of better meals.

"Welsh has a Mountie and you have a Sandburg?" Paul asked raising an eyebrow in curiosity.

"Sandburg's this long haired hippie anthropologist who consults to our department," Simon explained. "He's also the only one that can keep up, or put up, with Ellison," he continued.

"Okay I've got an anthropologist and Welsh has a Mountie, how about you two gentlemen?"

"That would be classified," Hammond replied. Paul looked at him, and smirked.

"Hard headed, stubborn, not real good at following orders, and he's in the military?"

"You've met my first team, Blaisdell?" Hammond grinned.

"No. But I definitely know the type. They used to call them 'mavericks', but I think they call it 'thinking outside the box,' now." "This would be thinking so far outside the box the box isn't even visible any more." Hammond replied.

"Oh, yeah. I've got one of those, and one who, sadly, rushes in where fools and angels fear to tread." Paul said.

"I hear that, I wish my guys would settle for merely thinking outside the box," the tall black captain chuckled.

"Thankfully, my boy also has an extremely overworked guardian angel that's kept him alive, so far." Paul added.

Welsh shook his head, sadly. "My guys don't think. That's the problem. The Mountie's a straight and narrow kind of guy, all black and white and no shades of gray or color. Vecchio can be a good cop when he wants to be, and the Mountie does that for him, but Kowalski could be a loose cannon, if he wasn't such a schmuck."

"Sometimes," Harding continued after smiling up at the waitress who had just delivered his sub sandwich, "I think he's just to nice to be a cop, then he loses his temper and I have to call him off. And Vecchio is good at yanking his chain just for the hell of it." He shook his head and sighed.

"What about you, Blaisdell?" Hammond asked, smiling at the waitress.

"Peter's always been a good cop," Paul began, "But I swear he does not know the meaning of patience or caution. Anything happens to him and Annie will never speak to me again," Paul groused.

"Not to mention I would never forgive myself," he confessed. Welsh frowned.

"He your kid or something?"

"Foster son," Paul smiled proudly.

"And I'm assuming that Annie is your wife." "Yep," Paul preened like a peacock. Annie had that affect on him even after twenty years. "Banks how about you?" Hammond asked.

"Where to start?" Simon asked. "Ellison's always been one of my best detectives. More than a bit of a loner, though. All that changed when Sandburg showed up wanting to do his dissertation on 'the closed society of the police force,' or some such thing. He ended up working with Ellison. I figured that would last no more than a day. Three years later he's still there. Driving me crazy. Add Ellison into it and it's a wonder I'm still sane... Sandberg comes up with the craziest ideas at times. Ellison isn't much better."

"You've had a ride-along for THREE YEARS?" Welsh and Blaisdell said in perfect two-part harmony. Hammond merely looked goggle-eyed at the man. \

"That's a long story right there," Simon said.

Blaisdell shook his head. "And I thought bringing Kermit in from the cold was tough." Seeing his companions' curiosity, he grinned. Meeting Hammond's eyes, he explained.

"I haven't always been a cop. I retired from a somewhat different trade. A few years ago, I brought one of my proteges in, as well. Man's a whiz with anything to do with a computer, but his 'people' skills are a bit, lacking, shall we say?"

"I have someone a bit like that. Very big very dangerous, and almost non-existent people skills," Hammond commiserated.

"Actually I have two of those...Then there's the archeologist and the nuclear physicist. Of the four it usually comes down to either the curiosity of the archeologist or the mouth of the nominal leader that gets them into trouble."

"I really hope Archeologists aren't as big trouble magnets as anthropologists are," Simon snorted.

"You'd be surprised."

"Sandburg was sent on a simple errand to get something appraised and ended up locked in an elevator with a bomb on it," Simon grimaced.

Hammond shook his head. "I wish I could tell you just ONE of the things he's gotten into, but you know how it is." He sighed. "Let's just say the man attracts trouble like a, well, like you said, a magnet."

"Oh, yeah." Paul looked around the table and shook his head. "What do you suppose the odds were for the four of us to wind up here and now and all have similar problems?"

"About the same as Ellison being elected Ms. Congeniality," Simon chuckled. "Of course if my guys didn't think and then act outside the box, me, my boy, and all of Cascade would not be here. I'm not even certain that those two know there is a box," Simon continued.

"That may be it." Welsh nodded in agreement. "Maybe none of our guys fit in a box."

"Peter is too hyper and Kermit is too independent to stay in box, assuming there was one that could hold them," Paul agreed.

"And considering all that they've managed to do by ignoring the box, do we really want them to change?" Hammond asked, wondering what the others would think if he told them that his team had saved the world more than a few times.

The four took a moment to think about that question. "I never could change Ellison; it took Blair to do that and I swear if he changes him back, they will never find either of their bodies," Simon groused, agreeing that he would not want to change his star team for any reason. They might be a headache, but they were his headache.

Welsh sighed. "I don't know that I wouldn't like them to be a bit less...well, less. But I wouldn't really want them to change all that much."

Paul snorted, "Peter actually has gotten better, and nothing has ever changed Kermit. But no, I wouldn't really want them changed. Anything other than what they are and they wouldn't be Kermit and Peter." Then Paul smiled slyly. "Maybe our problem isn't them, maybe our problem is everyone else who tries to work with them?"

The other three men looked at him in shock, but then they started considering their 'problem children' and slowly, their expressions cleared and they began to nod.

"I know none of my people have trouble with our dream team, it's the others that seem to have issues with them. People who don't understand how valuable they are," Simon agreed.

"Like the temporary captain that was assigned when I got shot. She tried to split Jim and Blair up..." Simon added.

"Bet that went over real well," Paul smirked. "You have no idea . . . and it wasn't just Jim and Blair who got upset. The whole department was in an uproar over it."

"Did the temporary captain survive, or did you help them hide the body?"

"She survived, barely. The boys ended up saving her," Simon grinned.

Hammond shuddered a bit "I remember a few times when I was temporarily away. Lets just say the results were not good. Not at all."

"Any time someone comes between Big Red and the Rays and that Mountie's cockeyed ideas of justice and right and wrong, anything and everything can happen. When Kowalski was a rookie, his first murder turned out to have been a suicide, but the guy's wife almost died for it. With the help from the Mountie, and the rest of my guys, we found out that the dead guy's partners were just as crooked as he was. And it took us all to take 'em down."

Paul jumped on that, "So, your guys do know when to call for help?"

Both Simon and Welsh laughed, almost in hysterics. "Hell, no." Welsh choked out.

"We are talking about a team that were on a routine call and ended up collecting enough money, drugs, and guns to support a small country. Of course I only found this out after a shootout had evolved and the smoke had cleared," Simon explained, "Never occurred to them to actually call for help."

"Similar things have happened with my team. And their last minute saves are going to be what drives me over the edge," Hammond put in.

The four men ate silently for a few minutes, ruminating on their collective problem. "So, we've all got teams who take thinking outside the box to the extreme. We can't change them without losing who they are. So what do we do?" Hammond asked.

"Take a whole lot of extra strength Excedrin and thank God we have them?" Simon suggested.

Paul chuckled as he reached for his coffee cup. "Live with it. And smile when they pull off something new and impossible, and just be grateful when they come out of it in one piece."

"So, what do we do for the rest of today and all day tomorrow at that seminar?" Welsh asked.

"Sandburg says there are way to make the speakers crazy. Want to give them a try?" Simon grinned.

Paul's smile turned sly again. "One of the reasons I like to sit in the front, is to stare at the instructor.... the four of us, I think it might be fun if we just glowered at her. What do you think?"
 



Back at the seminar, the four men sat in matching poses, leaned back in their chairs, arms crossed, and with lowered brows. The presenter tried very hard to ignore them, but found that she couldn't.

For the rest of the afternoon, she hemmed and hawed through her presentation, glancing over frequently at the four men who had come back from lunch apparently determined to become her own 'most difficult people' she'd ever had to deal with.

Later that evening, sitting in her room, she called for backup. "John, I've been giving these 'difficult people' seminars for fifteen years. For the first time, I need help. There are these four men...."
 



The following day, after having gone out to dinner together, the same four men took their places at the front of the room. Banks had called Sandburg and gotten some suggestions from him. Upon hearing them, the four of them had laughed heartily.

There was someone new teaching the seminar. It was a big, burly man, obviously ex-military.

Hammond took one look and nudged Paul, beside him.

"Jar head," he mouthed, smirking. Paul nodded and silently mouthed back

"We'll follow your lead." The presenter began speaking, after first glowering at the four men at the front left table. They seemed quite innocuous, to him, but if they'd scared off Bev...

He droned on and on. He noted a movement out of the corner of his eye. He glanced over, but the four men looked perfectly attentive. Then he caught the bald one as he leaned back and crossed his legs...followed one by one by the others.

He narrowed his eyes at them and gave them his best DI glare. To absolutely no effect, except that the biggest one yawned...and stretched. "Am I boring you gentlemen?" He asked, his voice hard and tinged with anger.

"You want the truth? Yes." The tall black man replied. "This is designed to motivate people. We don't have that problem. Our problems have to do with trying to slow our people down. I never have trouble getting my people to do their jobs. My problem is to get other divisions not to mind being shown up by them so often."

The presenter was taken aback. He frowned and blinked. "Excuse me?"

"You heard me. Or weren't you paying attention?"

"Probably wasn't paying attention. He thinks we aren't." Paul leaned back in his chair, the front legs coming up off the floor. In a passable imitation, he droned, "So, if you teach your people the 'I' statements, get them using their affirmations, you'll see them start coming around to your way of thinking."

There were muffled giggles from the rest of the class. "I don't want my people to act like or be like me. Their strengths lie in their diversity." He turned to the rest of the attendees. "How many of us have had more than one session of 'diversity training?" There were multiple nods.

He turned back to the presenter. "Yet, here you are, trying to explain how to change all that useful diversity into some homogeneous group of yes-men. I don't want or need yes-men. They're useless. Give me my people the way they are, and tell me how to protect them from the likes of you, who think you all have to be the same to be able to work well together."

There was a moment of dead silence, and then someone in the back of the room began to applaud. Soon, almost every single person was on their feet, clapping and cheering.

Even though it was not yet lunchtime, the room began to empty. The presenter simply stood, mouth agape, in shock. Finally, only the four men in the front row remained, still seated. "What the hell did you do?"

"I'd say he brought down the house," Welsh said, chuckling. "Best seminar I've ever been to." He stood up. "Gentlemen, if you're ever in Chicago, look me up at the two-seven and I'll buy you lunch." He smiled at the presenter and nodded politely.

"Take it easy, Harding," Simon called. Turning to the other two, he also stood.

"Well, gentlemen, it's been a pleasure meeting you." With a smirk at the presenter, he gathered his briefcase and coat and also made his way out. "Well, General, let me know if you ever write your memoirs. I'd like to read all about it."

Hammond chuckled as he stood, as well. "Likewise, Paul. I have a feeling that you could tell a few tales as well." He smirked at the presenter, who still just stood there, gaping. "Well, back to saving the world and making it safe for Democracy."

"Oh, yeah. Back to saving my own little corner of the world. I think that when I get home, I'm going to take Peter and Kermit out for dinner and thank them for NOT fitting into the boxes the powers that be want to force them into."

Hammond looked pensive, then nodded. "You know, that might not be amiss for my team. Although I suspect they'd rather have a pizza party."

Still chatting, the two old campaigners headed out of the conference room, leaving the presenter still standing dumbfounded in the front of the room.

"Ever been to Beirut, George?" Paul asked.

The End


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