"Um � Untitled"
Author: ocean gazer: email@example.com
Date: 30 Dec. 2001
Category: challenge (Heliopolis #1248), action/adventure,
humor (or so I hope <g>).
Rating: Oh, I�d think it�s PG13, for minor violence
and bits o� bad language.
Pairing: none � just friendship.
Season: Hmm � season three, fairly soon after The Devil
Spoilers: Well, it does give away all the episode titles
through season five. In terms of actual episode content �
pretty miniscule spoilers for Singularity, In the Line of Duty,
Tok�ra I and II, Fair Game, Jolinar�s Memories, The Devil
Archive: Pink Rabbit, Singularity, Heliopolis � anyone else,
you can always ask *g*.
Disclaimer: Don�t own any of �em, which is a good
thing since I have no room for any more people in my house (let
alone a flippin� Stargate). They still are the property of
those who have owned them all along � the lovely and tolerant
folks of MGM, Showtime, Double Secret, Gekko, so on and so
forth. I promise to play nicely with them and will put them away
when I�m done. No one has offered me money or honorary
scholarships or a Caribbean cruise or any other sort of payment
for this demented work of fiction � aforementioned owners are
welcome to run off with anything in this story that strikes
their fancy. (Please?)
Notes: The actual challenge reads as follows: "This
is a silly challenge, but I think it would be fun to write a fic
that includes all of the episode titles from the show in the
dialogue. � Extra points if you manage to give it a plot and
make some sense." Don�t know if I�ve succeeded on
either count � this challenge is harder than it sounds
<g>. This is also my first effort at writing in third
person omniscient, rather than a single POV, so I don�t know
how well it works � I�ve rewritten it enough that I can�t
tell if it sucks or not. A multitude of thanks to Barb for her
patiently given encyclopedic assistance, and thanks to my
sorceress for hinting that she wanted a new story to read.
Feedback welcome, hope you enjoy.
| Part 1 | Part
2 | Part 3 |
"Now remember, campers, this is supposed to be a vacation. That
means we're not going to sit around and talk about the SGC or about past
missions or anything like that. This is a time for us to relax and
unwind � and fish." Colonel Jack O'Neill couldn't contain his
delight at the very idea--his face was set in a satisfied smirk as he
offered that bit of guidance to the four people standing in his living
His companions--Teal'c, CMO Janet Fraiser, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and
Major Samantha Carter--did not look nearly as pleased at the thought.
Teal'c's face was set in its usual mask of placid implacability--the one
that made it impossible to tell whether he was content, discontent,
annoyed, or bored as hell. Fraiser simply looked highly uncomfortable at
the notion of the group vacation thing, since she rarely spent her off
hours with any of the members of SG1, except for Sam. But the
expressions worn by both Jackson and Carter suggested a sense of
profound horror at O'Neill's statement, as if his proclamation was one
of the worst fates they could imagine. That was saying a lot, given the
types of situations that the team routinely found itself in.
Jack looked around and noticed the distinct lack of enthusiasm in the
room but ignored it since he, himself, was happy as a clam. His gaze
strayed instead to the suitcases and duffel bags littering his floor in
preparation for the group's excursion up to a lake nestled in the
mountains. He just knew that once he got them away from the SGC, they'd
all enjoy themselves and get into the spirit of relaxing and not want to
come racing back to work � at least that's the way it always worked
for him. "I picked up the keys to General Hammond's cabin and to
his fishing boat this morning, so except for getting a few groceries and
picking up some movies, we're all set."
Daniel groaned--loudly--never one to be comfortable with letting his
friend be in charge of the planning, especially when said planning
involved him. "Jack, I do happen to agree with you that we all NEED
a vacation. But � well � we don't all find the same things
enjoyable. I happen to like talking about the work I'm doing and I don't
think it's fair of you to insist we can't talk about anything connected
to the SGC. I'm involved in some really exciting research that I'd love
Jack rolled his eyes, but managed not to offer any of the highly
inappropriate negative responses running through his mind at the
prospect of having to listen to hours upon hours of really boring
theorizing. Instead, his tone dripped with the faintly martyred tones of
long-suffering patience. "Daniel, I know you're all excited after
presenting your Broken Divide essay thingie at that conference last
"It's THE BROCA DIVIDE," interrupted the archeologist
impatiently. "And it isn't an essay, it's a journal article."
"Whatever." Jack paused for a moment, his voice becoming
earnest. "The point is that we spend all our time talking and
thinking about work. It's not healthy to be so obsessed with just that
one part of our lives. And while I know you and Carter find it loads of
fun to sit around and compete to see who can use the most big words in
one sentence, it's not exactly relaxing."
Janet, whose eyes were swinging from person to person as if she was
tracking a ball at a tennis match, had to muffle a faint laugh at the
hurt look that walked briefly across Carter's face before jumping over
to settle permanently on Daniel's. This time it was Sam who voiced the
protest, though she managed to keep her voice habitually polite.
"Sir, just because you like going to the woods and fishing doesn't
mean that the rest of us enjoy that as well. I don't see why it's a
problem if we talk about the things we enjoy while you're enjoying the
outdoors." Left unsaid was the thought that if it came down to a
vote about whether discussing meaningful research or engaging in
pointless recreation was the more attractive option, it would likely be
three against two.
The colonel actually managed to look offended by the very notion,
though his reaction was an act � well, mostly an act. Janet, despite
her distinct lack of enthusiasm for the trip, felt the
cheer-for-the-underdog urge to speak in O'Neill's defense. "Look,
this whole vacation is actually General Hammond's idea. He knows how
hard we've all been working and how stressful things have been recently,
and he's concerned about the toll it takes on our health and
sanity." She paused briefly, her tone growing thoughtful. "And
since I can't remember the last time any of us actually took downtime
for anything other than medical reasons, I think it he's right that
taking a break from things would be good for all of us." None of
them were stressed or overworked enough to be in any actual danger--she
would have grounded anyone who was--but at the SGC it was easy to forget
about the little thing called "having a life."
Teal'c nodded towards the woman. "You are indeed correct, Doctor
Fraiser. It would be to our benefit to significantly lower our levels of
stress � relaxation is an admirable objective and one within our
reach." Janet acknowledged his agreeable words with a nod of her
own, while part of her mind wondered whether the Jaffa had been watching
infomercials again, since he almost sounded like one � albeit one that
actually used words of more than two syllables � and didn't rely
exclusively on exclamation points for punctuating sentences.
Sam, oblivious to the last part of the conversation, her brow knitted
in the type of concentration she was noted for, spoke abruptly. "I
can understand why he thinks taking some time off is good for us. But I
don't understand why he wants us all to go on vacation together and go
up to his cabin. That seems a little � well � odd."
O'Neill snorted. "I think he just wants us all to do a little
team building, only he's using the PRETENSE of us all needing a
vacation. Said something about recent suspicious behavior in the SGC and
wanting his best people to be working together � yada yada yada. Yeah,
it's kinda weird, but no weirder than when they haul those executive
office types out into the woods and make them do that survival stuff in
hopes of building a team." He added in a happier tone. "At
least he's letting us do something fun, instead of walking on tightropes
and stupid stuff like that."
Sam and Janet exchanged a dubious glance, which did not go unnoticed
by Daniel. He offered in his best placating voice, "I really don't
think it's all that odd. I was there when Jack and the general were
making the arrangements � and right after he was talking about
suspicious behavior�which could easily be what passes for normal at
the SGC--he started talking about fishing � talking about suspecting
there's a big fish close at hand that you just can't see � the thrill
of putting out bait in hopes that the fish rises to it, even though you
hate seeing the bait squirm � watching eagerly to see what you
Jack threw in triumphantly, "See, I'm not nuts � Hammond likes
fishing as well as I do."
Sam simply stared at both her teammates, not even bothering to hide
her doubt behind her usual veneer of politeness. "Are you sure he
was talking about fishing?" She knew as well as any of them that
fishing was one of the general's favorite pastimes, but it wasn't
something he was overly prone to wax poetic about. And he especially
wouldn't be inclined to muse about not wanting to see bait squirm � he
was more the "bait the hook already" type. Something just
seemed off about the whole set-up.
They stared back, innocent question marks in their eyes. Jack was the
first to speak. "Sure, I'm sure. What else would he be talking
This time Janet added her own formidable stare to the mix, thinking
the men were being a little on the dense side. She would have agreed
with O'Neill's team building theory � if she hadn't been asked to
accompany them; there was no reason for her to be involved in that
unless it was with her medical staff. "It sounds almost like he's
talking about cops and robbers � baiting a trap � the stuff of
overly melodramatic mystery novels."
One of Teal'c's eyebrows raised slightly--a powerful show of reproof
at the mere suggestion. "For what purpose would General Hammond
involve us in such a scheme? I do not believe he would do such a thing
without informing us as to his intentions."
Sam and Janet shared another doubtful glance, then shrugged in
unison. O'Neill saw the gesture and shook his head decisively. "I
swear, you two would grasp at any straw to get out of this vacation,
wouldn't you. You both raise the bar for workaholics." He ignored
their annoyed glances at the insinuation (accurate though it was) and
continued, "Teal'c's right � why would Hammond do something like
that? C'mon, let's get this show on the road. We're going up to the
cabin, we're going to relax and enjoy the woods, and we're not going to
talk about anything work related. Period � end of story � not up for
Janet sighed heavily, her tone sounding anything but thrilled at his
ultimatum. "Colonel, I don't think a total ban on talking about
things related to our jobs is necessary for us to relax." She
didn't actually expect her argument to make any difference to the man,
but she didn't like being told what she could and could not say. If
she'd wanted to hang out with dictatorial types, she'd have long since
have moved to Cuba � at least the beaches and scenery were nice.
Before O'Neill could say a word, Teal'c spoke--with just the faintest
trace of amusement in his voice. "Then you clearly have not spent
sufficient time with Daniel Jackson and Major Carter."
Daniel opened his mouth--presumably to argue the point--and Jack
spoke quickly. "I outrank all of you, so what I say goes � no
talking about work, so there. Look at it this way, Danny-boy, we'll have
a nice break from people shooting at us. Doc, you'll get some space away
from Cassie, and she'll have fun spending time with Hammond's grandkids.
And Carter, at least up in the mountains on planet earth, you won't be
in a place that might trigger JOLINAR'S MEMORIES."
Janet looked up to see the haunted look on Sam's face at her CO's
typically insensitive statement. Knowing better than anyone that the
other woman still had occasional nightmares as a result of being a
temporary Tok'ra host, the doctor reached out to place her hand lightly
against her friend's shoulder in a gesture of support. O'Neill,
realizing that once again his mouth had run off before his brain,
blundered on hastily, attempting not to dig the hole any deeper, "I
know that whole thing on Netu was hard on you, Carter, and I just think
it would be good for you to be here for a while rather than wandering
around the whole galaxy."
Sam nodded faintly, hearing the genuine concern behind the clumsy
sentence. With a forced lightness to her tone to show him she accepted
his apology-of-sorts, she offered, "Just don't expect me to go
fishing; I hate fishing."
Daniel, conceding defeat in both getting out of the trip and in
challenging Jack's conversational rule, sighed heavily. "I'll go
fishing, but don't expect me to help with cleaning the fish or anything
like that." He was an Egyptologist, thank you very much, not
Jack rolled his eyes. "Gee, don't sound so excited there,
kids." Shaking his head in mock exasperation at their clearly
reluctant responses, he walked over and stood in between his
astrophysicist and his archeologist, draping his arms over their
shoulders. "Relax, it'll be fun. Trust me."
Janet walked carefully out onto the balcony of the cabin, a cup of
coffee in each hand, and a beer tucked under one arm. She handed one cup
to Daniel, used her free hand to grasp the bottle and offer it to Jack,
and then leaned back against the wooden railing, lifting her cup of
coffee to her lips. The air was chill with early evening and the warm
beverage felt good against her throat.
"God, it's peaceful up here," Daniel said between sips, a
dreamy tone to his voice.
Jack took a long swig of beer and smiled in satisfaction. "See,
I knew you'd like it up here. Nice to just get away from everything for
Janet looked off into the distance. The cabin sat on the top of a
large hill, with other hills off to either side. The slope below the
balcony was bare dirt, and there were other bare patches visible on the
hills on either side, evidence of where long-past landslides had washed
the trees away. Other than those spots, and the hints of a hiking trail
winding its way down to the valley and the lake, the hills were covered
in evergreens, a deciduous tree occasionally sticking out like a sore
thumb. There was a faint glint of blue between the trees down below, the
only visible evidence of the lake General Hammond swore had the best
fishing in the world. On the other side of the valley, providing a
beautiful view from the balcony, the hills gradually stretched up to
become mountains. She knew they really weren't too far from
civilization, there was a town that was only about five miles away, but
it felt almost like they were totally alone.
"In the SOLITUDES of the wilderness," she murmured, to
which the two men nodded in agreement. Well, she thought to herself, as
much solitude as could be found surrounded by a plethora of birds and
bees and assorted wildlife � not to mention her four companions.
"It's almost too peaceful," she muttered to herself,
forgetting that the self-talk technique is only successful when you
don't actually make a sound.
Jack looked at her askance. "What do you mean it's too peaceful?
That's the whole point of being up here in the first place."
Janet sighed, leaning against the railing of the balcony. "I
just can't shake the feeling that this is too good to be true. I don't
know, it just seems like the general is setting us up somehow. I still
agree with Sam that it's really odd for him to want the five of us to go
on vacation together."
O'Neill laughed ironically and waved an expansive hand in the general
direction of the trees. "Ok, so let's say he is setting us up. What
are we supposed to do � keep an eye on any butterfly that looks
suspicious, in case it's planning to undermine the FRAGILE BALANCE of
the forest ecosystem? Or maybe he wants us to keep an eye out in case
the deer start playing POLITICS and plotting the cervine version of
Put that way, Janet couldn't help but spit out a mouthful of coffee,
since she was laughing too hard to swallow. Daniel seemed to entirely
miss the humor, instead eyeing O'Neill as if he'd morphed into a
different species of mammal in front of their eyes. "Where'd you
pick up that word?"
Jack shrugged, trying not to indulge his amusement at the younger
man's wide-eyed stare. "Spend enough time outside and reading about
nature and you learn all sorts of useless information."
Fraiser was still chuckling. "Alright, sir, you've made your
point." And, regardless of her odd feelings, he did have a point.
With no one else around, the possibilities for mischief being afoot were
Daniel, draining his cup of coffee and seeming to want to change the
topic, looked down at his watch. "Doesn't it seem like Sam and
Teal'c have been gone an awfully long time?" They'd decided to head
straight up to the cabin rather than picking up their supplies on the
way in. Fraiser, Jackson, and O'Neill had taken charge of getting the
cabin cleaned up while the other two had been dispatched to run errands.
Right on cue, they heard the front door open, signaling the return of
their companions from the grocery store. Jack and Daniel bounded into
the cabin, presumably to help with unloading the bags of food � or
eating the contents of said bags of food. Janet trailed behind them,
pausing in the doorway between the balcony and the kitchen, taking one
more look at the gently undulating treetops in the distance.
Jack looked back to see her lagging behind. "What's up, Doc? You
waiting for one of us to come and carry you across the THRESHOLD?"
Janet rolled her eyes at the Bugs Bunny reference (since she'd heard
it roughly fifty thousand times since completing her residency and it
had long since lost any faint semblance of humor). "Sorry,
sir," she offered in answer to the second question, her tone devoid
of the slightest touch of sincerity. "Hate to break it to you, but
neither you nor Daniel are my type." She finished the thought in
her head, 'Not even close.'
"Ah well." He waved a negligent hand, completely unoffended,
and turned his attention back to the bags being carried in by Sam and
Teal'c. Once everything had been brought inside, Jack and Daniel began
pulling everything out of the paper bags, while Sam and Janet began
trying to put things away, and Teal'c watched as if supervision of the
process was an absolute necessity. Given the haphazard approach taken by
the men, perhaps it was.
Sam took charge of several smaller brown bags, then handed one to
Janet, knowing her friend's love for cinnamon raisin bagels. The smaller
woman looked up with a pleased grin splitting her face, the first
genuine smile she'd offered since being roped into the whole
vacation-with-SG1 thing. The major's face crinkled into a smile as well
� she hadn't exactly been excited about being dispatched to do the
shopping, but she found solace in being able to buy some expensive
things she knew the others would like and charging it all to O'Neill's
credit card � with his permission, of course � well, his permission
to use it for getting necessities. It all just depended on how you
As if the sight of the brown bags reminded him of an unpleasant duty
he must perform, the Jaffa cleared his throat. "I am sorry,
O'Neill," Teal'c said gravely. "I found the onion-flavored
bagels as you requested, and I was also able to acquire creamed cheese
for them. But I was unable to locate THE NOX you requested."
Jack rolled his eyes�he, like the rest of them, was used to the big
man's interesting use of the English language, but there were still
times when he was caught off guard. "That's lox, Teal'c � bagels
Without missing a beat, the big man added smoothly, "I did not
locate them either."
O'Neill's tone was flat but challenging. "Uh-huh. How would you
have found them when you were looking for something else?"
Sam chuckled, and spoke quickly before Teal'c could cock his head to
the side and give a far more in-depth answer than the subject actually
deserved. (It was an ironic gesture, given that most of the time she
also gave far more thought to things than they deserved.) "Sir, it
wasn't exactly an upscale, trendy store. I checked as well, and they
didn't have any."
The by play was interrupted by Daniel, who grabbed a box in each of
his hands and waved his hands excitedly in the air.
"You look like a kid who wants to go first for SHOW AND
TELL," Janet remarked mildly, raising her eyebrow at seeing the
more � enthused side of Doctor Jackson. Usually she only saw him when
he was at his whiny best in the infirmary after having gotten himself
into yet another scrape.
"Doughnuts!" the archeologist exclaimed, as if it was the
culinary equivalent of finding King Tutankhamen's tomb.
O'Neill turned to Carter, putting on his best lecture mode.
"Doughnuts? You bought him doughnuts? Do you really think he needs
that much sugar in his system?" A brief pause, then, "Do you
really think we need him to have that much sugar in his system?"
Daniel tended to be high-maintenance enough without chemical
Fully expecting the colonel's rebuke (and unable to resist quoting
his words back to him), she shot back neatly, "As you keep pointing
out, sir, we're on vacation � taking a HOLIDAY � taking some time
out for R&R. We're supposed to be having fun and enjoying ourselves,
He grumbled something as a response, but couldn't actually argue the
point � especially knowing he'd left himself wide open for that one.
Plus, Daniel did look so very happy clutching his treats. Jack turned
his attention back to the unveiling of food, finding a big bag of
designer coffee and shoving it in Daniel's direction as well, with the
assumption that Sam had bought it for their very own caffeine fiend.
After a short while, everything had been neatly stowed and Janet
reached for the plastic bag with the name of the town's one movie rental
store emblazoned on the front. She reached in, asking, "So what did
you find to rent?"
Sam flushed slightly, a frown creasing her features, her words coming
out in a rush before trailing off uncertainly. "Well, there wasn't
a lot to choose from on a Friday night, and I kinda let Teal'c make the
Fraiser held up two of the three movies, a look of disbelief crossing
her face since she'd long been glad they'd left the 80's behind.
"Adventures in Babysitting? Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's
Dead?" She shook her head in mock horror and looked down at the
last movie. "And since I haven't even heard of RED SKY, I'm going
to assume it's one of those dreadful straight to video things."
Sam, her frown deepening, but in a studious way this time, picked up
the box housing the video in question and responded earnestly, "The
movie came out in 1969. I don't think they did straight to video in
Janet rolled her eyes, though it was a good-natured gesture, patient
as she was with Carter's serious streak. Her friend might be a real,
live, card-carrying genius, but that didn't mean she always had a solid
grasp on mundane things like teasing. "It was a joke, Sam.
Really." The blond looked up, blushing softly when she saw the
familiar flash of humor in the doctor's chocolate eyes.
Daniel, oblivious as usual to the byplay, spoke up in his patented
mildly chastising voice. "Um � what's going on with the
Teal'c's voice was calm and unperturbed. "It appears to me that
it would be a wise course of action to become better acquainted with
techniques of caring for Cassandra before we once again watch over her
while Doctor Fraiser is otherwise occupied." It seemed a perfectly
logical explanation to him, as he knew Major Carter was the only one of
SG1 who was experienced in caring for the child.
Sam blushed even redder�though not, this time, from being teased�but
didn't say a word. Jack glared at her before turning his attention to
Daniel and complaining, "I thought you'd explained movies and tv to
The younger man shrugged, not looking particularly perturbed at the
accusing note in the other man's voice. "Well, Jack, there's only
so much that I can explain about fiction to someone unfamiliar with the
basic concept. It's like being shoved into some wildly complicated game
like � like soccer without THE GAMEKEEPER around to explain the
"It's not a gamekeeper, Daniel, it's a referee," O'Neill
"Whatever." Daniel paused for a moment, weighing words.
"The point is that I've made some progress but there's still plenty
more to learn." A lot more to learn, he added to himself.
Teal'c spoke quietly and with no noticeable inflection, though the
tiniest hint of a frown on his lips showed how irritated the
conversation was making him. "I would prefer if you not speak about
me as if I were not present."
A chorus of, "Sorry," came as a response.
Sam plopped down on one side of the double bed, then looked across to
the other side of it, regarding Janet. Her voice sounded dubious.
"Are you okay with this, Janet � the sharing a bed, I mean? I can
always sleep on the floor."
The doctor smiled wryly. "For heaven's sake, Sam, it's not the
first time we've slept in the same bed, and I'm sure it won't be the
last. It's no big deal." More than once Sam had stayed late at her
house and the two friends had shared a bed (Janet's couch being a bit
too short for the taller woman), and other than the blonde's tendency to
toss and turn, it hadn't ever been a problem. She couldn't quite figure
out why Carter had even mentioned it.
Sam looked worried. "Really, it's not a problem � I mean, I've
slept on the floor before. You just seemed really annoyed when the
colonel said � when he made that � well � I just don't want to
make you uncomfortable �"
Janet cut her off with a soft, derisive snort at the mention of the
colonel, then turned an assessing gaze on her friend. Carter wasn't
usually so self-conscious--at least not around her, given all the time
they spent together--and the doctor wasn't sure whether she had done
something to make her friend uncomfortable, whether it was having the
guys in the next room that was causing the reaction, or whether it was
because O'Neill had made one of his thoughtless little porn fantasy
jokes. It was her turn to ask Sam, "Are you okay with this? I mean,
the way you're acting, you'd think sleeping with me was like being �"
She broke off for a moment, trying to find a suitably distasteful
comparison, the Goa'uld suddenly coming to mind. "Like being WITHIN
THE SERPENT'S GRASP or something."
Sam's eyes widened in surprise at the admittedly odd reference and
then she apparently realized just how she'd sounded. "Sorry,"
she apologized, "I didn't mean it like that. Just making sure
everything was ok, since you seemed pretty annoyed when the colonel said
we were sharing a room � and a bed."
Janet rolled her eyes, but more out of habit than out of irritation,
since she actually thought it was sweet of her friend to be so concerned
about her comfort � or lack thereof. But she really should have known
Sam would worry entirely too much about offending her. Guilt and worry
were two traits Carter had in spades. Leveling her dark gaze on the
blond woman, she said dryly, "I was pretty annoyed � at Colonel
O'Neill. You have to admit, his insinuation that we could give the women
on the Spice channel a run for the money was entirely out of line."
Sam actually winced at the reminder. "That was a bit out of
line." Catching Janet's wry expression, she sighed and continued,
"Ok, so it was completely out of line. Tact is not one of his
strong suits." She sighed again, clearly uncomfortable with her
CO's juvenile tendencies, and then perked up a bit. "I don't think
he liked the way Daniel and Teal'c both told him to shut up."
Janet laughed evilly. "Or the way I told him I'd arrange for his
next physical to have extra needles � really big needles � or
That earned a bright smile from the blonde. "No, don't think he
liked that at all." Entrenched in the habit of automatic respect
for senior officers, she added in his defense, "He doesn't really
mean most of those sorts of things � I mean, he's not someone who has
the intention of being offensive � well, only around people he doesn't
like �" She stuttered to a halt and flushed under Janet's highly
skeptical stare, before managing, "He just has this bad habit of
saying stupid things out loud."
The doctor rolled her eyes again, and in perfect mimicry of the man,
muttered, "No kidding." Left unsaid was her conviction that he
did usually mean what he said � just counted on the naivet� of half
his team (namely Sam and Daniel) to assume he was only joking. But Janet
didn't have the cruel streak necessary to point that out to her friend.
Instead she forced a lighter tone into her voice as she asked, "So,
which side do you want to sleep on?"
The conversation broke off for a little while as they finished
unpacking their bags and set about making the little room a home away
from home. Then the doctor turned to her friend. "All right Toto,
we should probably go out and join the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the TIN
Sam just stared for a long moment, confused as to the significance of
the statement � assuming of course that it had any significance.
"Wait a minute � why am I Toto? And who's who?"
Janet (in her best, albeit it admittedly bad, southern accent)
drawled, "That's for me to know and you to find out." Then,
seeing the pondering look in the deep blue eyes, she amended (in her
regular voice), "Actually, given the way you routinely save the
universe, you'd be a better Glenda the Good Witch than Toto. But as for
the guys, you have to figure that one out." She chuckled and then
added, "C'mon, Glenda, let's see what surreal adventure is waiting
for us on THE OTHER SIDE of the door."
She turned on her heel and led the way into the living room, a still
pondering Samantha Carter trailing close behind, giving the joke far
more attention than it actually deserved.
They entered the living room of the cabin, to find Jack and Daniel
sprawled across the two recliners facing the television set. Teal'c
couldn't do something as ungraceful as sprawl if his life depended on
it, but he too seemed incredibly relaxed, sitting upright on one end of
the couch. Sam took a moment to glance around the living room while
Janet plopped onto the couch. It wasn't exactly a room, per se, but
rather an open space between the kitchen and the bedrooms. Still, with a
fireplace and bookshelves lining one wall, the television and chairs and
couch, and the dark paneled wood walls that made the space seem far
cozier than it was, it felt comfortable and homey just like a living
"You ever gonna sit down, Carter, or are you just gonna stand
there?" Jack had a look of exaggerated impatience on his face as he
watched his teammate take in the scenery. "Teal'c is anxious to get
on with it."
She didn't even bother to respond, just grabbed a couple of throw
pillows and settled herself on the floor, leaning against the couch next
to Janet. Daniel, who for some odd reason had the remote control rather
than Jack, hit the fast forward button to move them through previews and
the stern warnings against duplicating movies.
And then they were thrust into the world of Adventures in
As the movie wound on (and on and on), Sam found her attention
wandering all around the room. For some reason, she just couldn't keep
her mind on the action onscreen � though to be fair, it might have had
something to do with the fact that Janet kept whispering disparaging
comments to her about what was going on.
Teal'c seemed to be completely engrossed in the movie, as if he was
taking notes of what he should not do anytime either Cassandra had a
wild urge to run away and take refuge in a bus station or he and his
companions were caught on a subway with some gang members. Daniel was
� well, Daniel was watching intently, fascinated as only he could be
by a new culture � and admittedly American teenagers were a culture
unto themselves. And the colonel seemed completely entertained by the
action--which Sam attributed in part to the fact that there were five
empty beer bottles on the floor next to his chair, and a nearly empty
one in his hand.
She felt a tug on her shirtsleeve where her elbow was resting on the
edge of the couch next to Janet's leg. Her head snapped up and the
doctor leaned down and whispered in her ear, "My god � this is
the most ludicrous thing I've ever seen � look, Sarah gets to meet her
hero. Yes, ladies and gentleman, this lovely mechanic is really a Norse
god � and look, he's holding the modern day version of THOR'S
Sam stifled yet another round of giggles by burying her head in the
crook of her arm. Daniel muttered a distracted "Shhh," without
once taking his eyes off the screen. Teal'c and Jack seemed oblivious to
the whispered and ongoing movie critique.
Janet was merciless, her dry whisper full of amusement. "And I
swear, if they make one of the cars in his shop into THOR'S CHARIOT �"
Sam didn't hear what the rest of the sentence was; she was too busy
laughing. She felt the weight of Janet's head against her own as the
doctor broke into hastily stifled giggles as well. She could only think
they must have looked like a pair of Catholic schoolgirls � huddled
and giggling at their own private joke. She shared the image with the
brunette and since they had finally reached the point of amusement where
everything is hilarious (puns � innuendo � celery � toothpaste),
it set off a fresh round of stifled giggles. Daniel actually took his
eyes off the screen for a full half second to glare at them for being so
distracting. The other two men continued to be unaware of their
Once the movie ended, Teal'c turned to his companions with a
completely deadpan expression on his face. "I did not realize that
watching after children for an evening could be quite such a perilous
Sam and Janet, not surprisingly, burst into giggles, once again
collapsing against each other. Jack said nothing, having fallen asleep.
Daniel was left to answer. "Well � um � this really isn't at
all what it's like. Do you remember what I've told you about truth and
fiction so far?"
On that note, the two women jumped up hastily and declared their
urgent need for sleep.
"Oh Lucy, I'm ho-ome." The colonel's voice rang through the
cabin, shattering the mid-afternoon quiet.
Sam and Janet stared at each other, both startled by the sound, and
then both hastily scrabbling to their feet as if they'd been prodded in
the backside with something sharp. O'Neill's unexpected and enthusiastic
entrances often had that effect on people. Their attempt to get to their
feet proved easier said than done, as they'd been reclining against
opposites ends of the couch, noses firmly in books and legs as
hopelessly tangled as yarn after a kitten.
They hadn't actually tried to untangle themselves before rising, so
the sudden movement in search of an upright position served only to
tangle their legs further. With a resounding thud, the two women fell to
the floor, and could only stare up helplessly as their companions
entered the living room and stared down at them.
Daniel was the first to speak, making absolutely no attempt to help
them up, his voice no little smug as he parroted back to the doctor the
words he heard from her nearly every week, "You really should be
Janet shot him a magnificent glare as Teal'c offered her a hand up.
Having her own words quoted back to her was bad enough without him
acting so damn superior about it. Sam scrambled to her feet on her own,
and her voice was breathless as she asked (desperately trying to swing
the spotlight away from herself and Janet), "So, how was
Jack's face lit up, any sarcastic comments he'd planned to offer
about Sam and Janet dissolving like butter as he warmed to his topic.
"Oh man � it was great. Hammond was right; this is the best
fishing spot in the world. Blue water, hardly a soul around for miles,
and fish just begging to be caught." He sighed in rich contentment.
"And Hammond's boat is sweet � nice, smooth engine � I could
stay up here for A HUNDRED DAYS and never get bored �" He trailed
off for a moment, and amusement colored his tone when he continued.
"But I'm definitely gonna have to hassle him about the name of his
boat � I mean, who names a boat Freedom? I mean, really."
Daniel cleared his throat as if going into academic lecture mode.
"Well, it makes sense to me � I mean, the freedom of the water
and from the trappings of civilization � an EMANCIPATION from the
demands of daily life. What's wrong with it?"
O'Neill rolled his eyes expansively, going into his own version of
lecture mode--a style far less loquacious and more direct than ever
heard in the confines of a classroom. "You name boats after women.
After your mom or your sister or your girlfriend or your wife � even
after your rich Aunt Ruby so that she'll have good feelings towards you
when she writes out her will."
The archeologist asked the most basic question of all--the one that
all small children instinctively know drives adults the most insane
(which was a specialty of the young man). "Why?"
Jack, not really wanting to play guessing games as to which part of
his sentence the question was directed, stuck to the last thing he'd
said. "Well, you name it after Aunt Ruby so she'll leave you a
little � LEGACY � an inheritance �"
He seemed ready to continue when Daniel interrupted him impatiently.
"Hello � not stupid here � I know what legacy means. What I
meant was, why do you name boats after women?"
"Oh." A really, really long pause. "Beats the hell out
Sensing that the conversation had hit the proverbial brick wall, Sam
deftly changed the subject, a wistful note in her voice. "I'll bet
my dad would have loved to be here. He didn't usually have a lot of time
to do it, but he always has enjoyed fishing. It was one of his favorite
things from childhood � going fishing with his FAMILY."
The innocent statement served as an unwelcome reminder of their last
mission to the lovely hell planet Netu, and cast a sudden gloom over the
group. Sam noticed it and instantly kicked herself--mentally, not
physically--for being the cause of the mood shift, since that was the
last thing she had intended. (Especially when she recalled the colonel's
"rules" regarding topics of conversation, and annoying her CO
without cause was not on her "to do" list anytime soon.) She
spoke quickly, a forced lightness to her tone. "Of course, I have
this feeling that Selmac wouldn't be too keen on fishing. I can just
imagine them arguing about it."
O'Neill--apparently not noticing the topical slip (or perhaps
noticing the sudden flash of guilt in her eyes)--picked up the
conversational ball and ran with it. "Plus, he wouldn't be able to
just get out on the water and enjoy himself. With his schedule these
days, I'd have to make an appointment now for the year 2001 � hell,
I'd have to make one now if I wanted to take him fishing in 2010. Plus,
he wouldn't be able to just relax since he's got those ubiquitous
bodyguards these days � TOK'RA I and TOK'RA II � Tweedledee and
Tweedledum � Tom and Jerry � whatever their names are."
As diversionary tactics go, it was spectacular, though no one
actually seemed interested in the content of his sentence or, for that
matter, got the joke. Instead, Sam, Daniel and Janet all looked at each
other and asked simultaneously, "Did he just use the word
ubiquitous, and use it correctly?"
Teal replied calmly. "I believe that he did indeed."
"Uh guys, can you not talk about me like I'm not here."
Jack sounded vaguely annoyed, and waved his hand in the air to attract
their attention. "Y'know, I do know some pretty good words; I'm not
a complete moron."
There was no graceful way to get around that conversational landmine,
so Daniel didn't even try. "Of course you aren't, Jack. It's just
not a word I've ever heard you say." He paused just long enough to
make the change in subject less abrupt, and then proclaimed, "I'm
starved. What's for dinner?"
Janet chuckled, thinking he was joking around. "Well, since
you've had such a good day fishing, I would imagine we're having fish
None of the men responded to that, though they all exchanged sheepish
glances, and Janet exchanged puzzled looks with Sam. The doctor tried
again, not quite understanding their reaction, her words slow and
cautious as though she was talking to more than one alien who spoke
American English as a second language. "You did catch fish,
Jack scratched his head and started, "Well �"
He got no further, as Teal'c injected decisively, "We were
indeed quite successful in our endeavor, and did indeed catch numerous
Jack shot a very exaggerated mock glare at his friend before
continuing. "What I was going to say before TEAL'C INTERRUPTED me
was that we caught a lot of fish � we just didn't keep any of
them." He didn't look overly thrilled at the confession; even to
someone like O'Neill, who liked the aesthetics of fishing more than he
liked the practical outcome of it, not keeping any of a day's catch just
went against the grain.
"Why not?" came a feminine chorus.
Daniel cleared his throat and looked embarrassed, his shoulders
moving upward in what appeared to be a shrug, though it looked more like
an imitation of a hunchback. "Well, I didn't want to actually kill
the fish. Just couldn't stomach the thought of eating something I'd seen
Sam and Janet exchanged amused glances. That sounded very much like
the archeologist. He had no qualms about looking at mummies, people, and
animals long since deceased, but take a few hundred years off the time
of death and he tended to be a little green. With a small shrug, the
blonde major said, "Well, Janet and I just figured that you'd want
to cook up whatever fish you caught, so we spent the afternoon
reading." She paused for a moment, looking amused at the way the
men's faces fell at her words. In a slightly more pointed tone
(chastising them for assuming the women would take charge of the
cooking), she continued, "And since we never bothered to figure out
who would be responsible for the cooking on our vacation, we'll all just
have to pitch in and make something for dinner."
Daniel looked confused by the reminder since he didn't quite realize
he'd been making any assumptions, Teal'c seemed unperturbed by it since
he had not been making any, but O'Neill had the good graces to look
embarrassed. Sam exchanged a wry smile with the doctor at their
reactions, and led the way into the kitchen. She began rummaging through
the cupboards, while Janet--right on her heels--investigated the
contents of the refrigerator. Teal'c took charge of the cookware,
getting out enough pots and pans to make food for several hundred
people. O'Neill, in his typically helpful manner, started naming off
types of food, while Daniel confiscated the two remaining doughnuts and
took a bite of each one simultaneously. He managed to polish them off in
the time it took Jack to run through his litany of "Mexican �
Italian � German � etc."
An abrupt knock at the door interrupted the process of
decision-making, and caused everyone but Teal'c to jump. "I wonder
who that could be," Daniel mused aloud.
O'Neill promptly set off to answer the summoning knock, saying over
his shoulder, "Maybe it's the pizza delivery guy." Not that
there was a phone in the cabin to call for a pizza, but why spoil a
perfectly good quip with reality?
He opened the door, but the words of greeting on his lips faded away
at the sight that awaited him. A man stood in the doorway, a
semi-automatic weapon aimed at Jack's head. And behind the strange man,
there were many other strange men, all similarly armed and aiming for
the colonel's head.
Jack opened his mouth to yell a warning, figuring it was about the
only thing he could do to warn his team that didn't involve him becoming
target practice. He couldn't very well help his companions if his body
was riddled with lots of big holes. But the other man seemed to have
anticipated him, moving quickly to stifle the intended yell with a
handkerchief. He pulled the colonel out of the cabin and stood guard
over him, sending several of his followers into the cabin.
In the kitchen, Daniel heard footsteps and didn't bother to turn as
he asked, "So Jack, was it the pizza guy?" By way of response,
he got a gun barrel in the back of his neck and was pulled off his
stool. He didn't bother to struggle, seeing it as an exercise in both
futility and certain death or maiming, but he had an excellent vantage
point to see all hell break loose.
Sam, Janet, and Teal'c had just enough warning to put up a spirited
fight against their would-be captors. Teal'c was calmly and methodically
wrestling the guns out of the hands of any who dared approach him; Janet
had a skillet that she wielded with precise skill; Sam was lobbing
canned goods across the kitchen as casually and accurately as if she
were tossing softballs. Idly, Daniel wondered why no one had fired even
so much as a warning shot.
As if his thoughts had been spoken aloud, a shot was fired from
somewhere behind him (presumably into the ceiling), freezing the
fighters. And a very annoyed voice shouted, "Get them, you
Daniel was yanked backwards by his captor and dragged toward and then
out the door, but not before he got a glimpse of the armed and rather
peeved intruders descending on Carter, Fraiser, and Teal'c like a
proverbial swarm of locusts. Almost before he could take in the sight of
Jack kneeling on the ground with his hands bound behind him, he felt his
own wrists being tied and he was shoved over and positioned next to the
"You okay, Daniel?" came the expected question.
"Fine. They didn't hurt me. You?"
There was a vaguely confused tone in Jack's voice as he stared
towards the cabin and said, "I'm fine � not a scratch."
Daniel followed the line of the older man's sight to see the rest of
their companions being dragged out the door and looking considerably
worse for wear. He knew exactly why O'Neill seemed so
off-kilter--usually Carter and Teal'c remained mostly unscathed during
missions while the other two seemed to run into the sharp end of every
stick. And the doctor was nice and safe in her infirmary. Some might
call this turn of events a perverse sort of justice (conveniently
ignoring the fact that there were reasons why the two men seemed to
attract injuries like light attracts moths), but at the moment, the dark
humor of the situation was anything but amusing.
Sam looked up to see the puzzled look in the colonel's eyes, and she
mustered up a brief, grim laugh as she deciphered it. The sound earned
her another hard elbow to the head, and she bit her lip to keep quiet.
Their captors were not pleased about being bested--albeit
momentarily--by three unarmed people, and they'd taken that pique out on
As their hands were bound behind their backs, she spared a glance at
the doctor, who was right next to her. The smaller woman had been hit
pretty hard and Carter was worried about her friend, since the doctor
was not exactly used to the whole "being knocked around while taken
prisoner" thing as part of her daily routine. Janet seemed to feel
the scrutiny, turning her head to look up and offer a wry smile. Sam
smiled in return, feeling a sense of relief that the other woman was
obviously not doing too badly if she was able to see the irony in the
The strange, and yet oddly familiar, man who seemed to be in charge
of things, left O'Neill's side and stood in the center of the
semi-circle formed by the captives. "You are our PRISONERS,"
he informed them, in case they'd somehow missed the point.
"No kidding," muttered Jack in his best insubordinate tone.
He braced himself, expecting the usual elbow to the ribs or gun butt
across the face as a reward for his quick wit. In fact, though masochism
was not a proclivity he'd ever been accused of, he was actually looking
forward to taking the blow, if only because it would shift the rough
attention away from his people and onto him. Instead, he heard a soft
grunt as Carter got the gun butt across her temple, knocking her face
first into the ground.
Both Jack and Daniel swore aloud in protest; Teal'c muttered
ominously, "Enjoy your SMALL VICTORIES while you can;" and
Janet shook herself free from the hands holding her to bend over her
friend. One of their captors unceremoniously hauled Sam up by the hair
(forcing the doctor to rear back suddenly to avoid knocking heads with
Carter), and she spat the dirt out of her mouth, twisting angrily in the
"Now, where was I?" the strange man called out
thoughtfully. He looked expectantly at the captives, who--not
surprisingly--chose not to answer. He stroked his thin beard, as if he
were a really bad actor trying to look intelligent and philosophical.
"Oh yes. You are our prisoners. You are our ENEMIES."
He said a whole lot more than that, but it was all essentially
redundant, as there are only so many ways to tell someone they are
captives when the words used are three syllables or fewer. Finally, he
paused for breath, and looked expectantly at his profoundly bored and
irritated audience. The silence stretched until Daniel--irrepressible as
always--broke in. He spoke cautiously and slowly, looking warily around
to see if more of his companions would wind up suffering because he
dared speak. "I think we have a pretty good grasp of the fact that
we are your prisoners."
Seeing no adverse response on the part of the not terribly bright
looking guards, and seeing the way the leader's face lit up as if Daniel
was indeed very perceptive to have understood this important detail, the
archeologist felt bold enough to continue. "I'm just really curious
to know � well � who are you? You look really familiar to me. And
why have you taken us as your prisoners?" For someone as curious as
Daniel, there could have been a whole lot more questions posed, but he
thought perhaps it was best to start with the basics.
The strange man smiled indulgently, and Daniel barely heard the
colonel's sarcastic snort at the gesture. Instead, he looked around to
see the rest of SG1 and the good doctor. Teal'c was watching the
interaction quite intently; he offered the barest of nods to Daniel,
which suddenly made the archeologist feel safer somehow � well as safe
as he could feel with his hands tied and an alarmingly high number of
guns trained on him. Janet was keeping one eye on the leader and one eye
on Sam, her expression alert and attentive. And for her part,
Carter--despite the blood trickling down into her right eye--was
watching things with the same intensity as Teal'c.
"Ah, so you do recognize me," the man addressing them said
in a sudden English accent that had all the captives, save Teal'c,
coughing as they tried to keep from bursting into ill-timed laughter. No
one else seemed to get the joke, and the English accent droned on,
periodically slipping into Irish and Scottish.
"I am Lt. SETH Lazarus. I have worked at the SGC for several
months. I am the leader of this group. We are THE FIFTH RACE, THE
CHILDREN OF THE GODS. It is our destiny to colonize the earth, to take
over this pitiful species known as humans, and rule this planet. We will
DIVIDE AND CONQUER, we will leave behind nothing but SCORCHED EARTH, and
then we will remake this planet and its people in our image. We will
rule like the gods we were born to be! Our ASCENSION to THE LIGHT of
godhood will be the greatest achievement this galaxy has ever seen. We
will have ABSOLUTE POWER over every creature in this galaxy; we will
destroy our enemies and we will rule the universe!"
The five captives shared a glance as the man finished with a
triumphant flourish that fell far short of actually being impressive.
"Megalomaniac," muttered Daniel; "But he's not an alien,
he's definitely human," Janet said in confusion; "A most
unusual NEMESIS," observed Teal'c; "Is it just me, or is this
guy nuts?" was O'Neill's typically sardonic contribution. Carter
alone remained silent (not really wanting anyone to have another reason
to hit her), but her lack of commentary didn't seem to matter�her
captor gave her another smack with the butt of his gun, knocking her
into Janet, sending them sprawling helplessly together on the ground.
"Excuse me," Jack spoke up, a thread of anger winding
around his words. "Why does he keep doing that? The usual format is
that whoever mouths off is the one who gets hit." At least, that's
how it would be in a just world. O'Neill knew better than anyone that
his mouth tended to be off and running before his brain had a chance to
shut him up � and he didn't like seeing anyone else suffer the
consequences of his actions. It wasn't fair � and if O'Neill prided
himself on anything, it was on his basic sense of fairness.
Lazarus smiled. It was not a pleasant sight. "Those are the
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT followed by mere humans. We are gods. We make our
None of the armed men moved to help the two women out of their
tangled pose, so they remained where they were. Janet squirmed around
until she was lying on her back; it wasn't the most comfortable position
in the known universe, but given her limited options, it seemed the best
one. At least she could still see what was going on around her �
couldn't do anything about it, but at least could know what was
Sam shifted slightly until she was lying on her side with her head
resting on the doctor's stomach. She tried to lie as still as possible,
since the world was having an unfortunate tendency to spin whenever she
moved. Probably didn't help that her head was bleeding again, and she
noticed Janet's concerned eyes on her. She offered a thin smile in
return, trying to reassure her friend that she'd be okay. The last thing
anyone needed was to be worried about her, rather than worried about how
the hell they were going to get away from these � people.
Daniel had taken over the question and answer session for the group.
"Um � okay � so you're actually gods. That's really
fascinating, but I'm just a little confused about why you're here and
what this has to do with us."
The Lieutenant took a deep breath and resorted back to the shifting
accents. "Our success in conquering this planet will only come if
the people do not believe that aliens exist. You have traveled to other
worlds and know that aliens exist, so you are therefore a danger to us.
When you tell people what you know, it will make it more difficult for
us to carry out our task."
O'Neill gave a quick headshake in pure disbelief and blew a brief
whistle out the side of his mouth--speaking without thinking. "Ok,
now I know it's not just me � this guy really is nuts."
The man who seemed to think Sam's head was part of a contact sport
moved towards her at the words, and Daniel jumped in quickly to try and
verbally deflect the blow, since Jack's usual sarcastic asides weren't
proving to be their usual effective distractions. "But we don't
tell anyone about what we do." Seeing that his ploy was working (as
the man froze in mid-swing), the archeologist continued, genuinely
interested in the topic. "The public doesn't even know there's a
Stargate, they have no idea that we've traveled to other worlds, and we
can't tell them that. We aren't able to correct the prevailing views on
the Egyptian gods because that would reveal the existence of aliens; we
can't tell our friends and families what we really do in our jobs; we
can't even use alien technology to make UPGRADES to earth's weapons
technology because we can't reveal that we have access to alien
technology. We pose absolutely no threat to you � to your � um �
With an astuteness that no one would have given him credit for, given
his previous ranting, Seth said quietly, "As long as the knowledge
exists, it is a threat."
There was really nothing to say to that, so no one bothered. Even
Daniel, who was well noted for his ability to talk practically non-stop,
couldn't think of a single, suitable response.
After a really, really long moment of silence, Seth called out to his
men. "There is but a BRIEF CANDLE of daylight left and we must be
inside before night falls. We must take our prisoners to THE TOMB �
Jack--who was trying hard for Sam's sake to keep his mouth shut, but
failing miserably because of his inherently irreverent nature--could not
resist quipping, "Sounds like a lovely place, but there's really no
need to hurry on our account."
He winced the hardest of all of them at the predictable response to
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