Season: Seven (early in the season)
Category: Friendship, Humor, Team
Spoilers: Window of Opportunity, The Fifth Race, vague Ascended arc references
Pairing/Character: Sam/Daniel friendship
Summary: While Jack and Teal'c are offered a tour of an off-world city, Sam and Daniel must find a different way to amuse themselves.
Warnings: minor language
A/N: Any errors are obviously my own.
Disclaimer: Stargate, Stargate SG-1 and all of its characters, titles, names, and back-story are the property of MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, SciFi Channel, and Showtime/Viacom. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be printed anywhere without the sole permission of the author. Realize this is for entertainment purposes only; no financial gain or profit has been gained from this fiction. This story is not meant to be an infringement on the rights of the above-mentioned establishments
He was a handsome man: young, eager, and blessed with blond curls and wide blue eyes.
And he was eating paper.
Sam watched the young man continue to shove leaflet after leaflet into his mouth, grind them between his teeth, and cough up the pulp. Then, he'd take the mush and slap it together, forming the biggest spit wad that she'd ever seen. Disgusted, Sam grimaced and recoiled from the sight, tilting her head to gaze longingly out the sealed windows.
"We have to get out of here," she said. She turned to Daniel. "Have you tried to explain our situation to the supervisor?"
Daniel scowled. "Twice." He poked at the top of a small umbrella, spinning it with the flick of his finger. "But Orane just patted me on the head and gave me a cracker."
"Did you try another language?" Sam asked. She couldn't accept that he would give up so easily. "She could have misunderstood you. Or you could have used the wrong phrase."
Daniel spun the umbrella top again, but this time more fiercely. "They speak a derivative of Latin. Every time I try to talk, they –"
He abruptly stopped when a small, plump woman paused in front of them. Orane smiled at both Sam and Daniel, her kind brown eyes twinkling. Carefully, she reached forward and took the umbrella out of Daniel's hands, said something Sam didn't understand, and patted him in the head. Orane gave them both a cracker and moved on.
Sam stared at the cracker. It was moldy.
She heard Daniel's heavy sigh. "I'm starting to remember how frustrating this job can be."
Sam forced a weak smile, and after she tossed the cracker aside, she gave him a supportive squeeze to the shoulder. "Sometimes," she said. "But we always find a way."
"Not this time," he mumbled. "With the way this society is organized, we're just going to have to wait for Jack and Teal'c to come get us."
There was no mistaking the tone in Daniel's voice. He was annoyed and embarrassed. And to be honest, so was she.
Sam surveyed the room, her attention bouncing from one person to the next. A woman sat in the corner, mumbling to herself, occasionally reaching upward to chase away the invisible monsters that floated around her head. Another woman stood in the center of the room, smacking herself with the heel of her palm, over and over, over and over. Then, there was the spit wad kid who had been relieved of his toy and had taken to eating his fingers.
She wanted out. She wanted to be in the city with Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c. She knew that Daniel wanted it as much as she did.
"We can't just sit here." Sam rose to her feet and tried to shake the restlessness from her legs by walking to the heater by the far wall. She and Daniel should be with Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c during the talks. Her scientific know-how and Daniel's language skills were going to waste in here.
"As long as Jack doesn't insult them too many times, I'm sure they'll do fine," Daniel said.
Sam couldn't help but smile, even if just briefly. Daniel obviously had the same concerns she did, and neither one of them were trying to conceal it. The people of Agrippa didn't speak English. It was up to Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill to make all the negotiations in whatever form of Latin the people here spoke.
"Jack knows some Ancient," Daniel said. "It's not the same as Latin, but it might be close enough to help here."
"He didn't retain anything from the time his mind was rewritten."
"No, but apparently he and Teal'c became 'experts' during all those time loops we can't remember," he mumbled. "Or so he claims every time I open one of my Latin manuals."
Sam smiled. "You remember him teasing you."
"One of the first things to come back," he said dryly. "Ascended or not, I guess some things are never meant to be forgotten."
She chuckled at the memories. But the warm glow started to fade as her attention fell back to their prison. Their initial reports indicated P3X-112 had the potential for a wealth of knowledge and technological treasures. Some of the planet's infrastructure alone had readings that shot through the roof.
But instead of being welcomed into the society with open arms, she and Daniel were stuck here. And all because of genetics.
There was a gentle prodding at her side. When Sam turned to the source of the nudging, she found Orane smiling at her. The woman gently steered her back toward Daniel, all the while talking quietly. Sam couldn't understand what the hell the woman was saying, but she could see the outcome. Orane maneuvered Sam back to her seat, patted her on the head, and gave her a cracker.
"Daniel…" Sam started, eyeing Orane as she let out more incoherent mumbles.
"Burns," Daniel translated. "Don't touch."
Sam groaned and knocked her head back on the chair. It was going to be a long afternoon.
In any other context, Daniel might have found this subset of the society fascinating. But being trapped in a room full of less than stable people did not endear him to the idea. This wasn't what he'd envisioned his experience would be like on one of his first "normal" jaunts through the Gate since he'd returned.
He could experience this on Earth. And if his memory served him correctly, he already had.
Still, he couldn't complain. Orane had given both him and Sam far more than their share of moldy crackers. And neither one of them had been given a time-out.
He supposed that meant something.
Daniel straightened in his seat when he saw Sam being guided back to him by Orane. She didn't look happy at all – Sam that is – with a permanent scowl plastered on her face. With a heavy sigh, Sam fell into the chair beside him. This time, she didn't get a cracker.
"I'm going to assume that the little girls' room excuse didn't work," he said.
"No windows." She motioned to her right. "I started to check the walls to assess their structural integrity, but the warden caught me." She glared at Orane's retreating form.
"We probably shouldn't try to break out anyway," Daniel admitted, as much as it pained him. "We could jeopardize relations between the SGC and the Agrippans."
"Do we even want to negotiate with them?"
"Look at them, Daniel. Look at how they treat their people."
"Do we do it any differently?"
She held up a cracker.
He sighed and dropped his head back to stare at the shapes on the ceiling. Figures, animals, beasts: it was a standard mural for peoples who had descended from Roman and Greek origin. Heroes waged war against the dark forces sent down by jealous gods. But it was the cool, yet perturbed divine-like woman in the corner that caught his eye. She watched the battle from afar, itching to join, but restrained by unseen forces.
He figured Sam was ticked off that he wasn't on board with her this time. It wasn't that he didn't want to explore the city; he was itching to see some of the stadiums located in the populous' center. But he just didn't feel a sense of urgency to break out and consume the city whole with his incessant appetite. These were good people. He knew it and Sam knew it. He and Sam had just been dealt the short end of the stick.
He was used to that.
Though, he did wonder just how long both he and Sam would be able to restrain themselves before the forces that held them back broke away.
Daniel leaned his head back a little further so that he could view more of the mural. The battle represented was epic, with more figures and mythological beasts spread across the entire ceiling. He wondered if the painting had been commissioned to keep the occupants here distracted. But the more he examined the mural, the less he found himself reflecting on the people inside the room. He threw himself into the details.
He slid to the floor and rested on his back, which allowed him to see the entire picture. Not even thirty seconds had passed when Sam followed him and knelt by his side. She was waiting for an explanation, though he wasn't sure he could give her one.
"It's the painting," he said. "Something is off about the painting."
There was a rustle next to him. Sam came to lie beside him, her attention turned upward toward the ceiling. The two of them remained quiet, studying the ceiling together.
"There's something off about the figures," Daniel said. He pointed to a man, a woman, and a gryphon. "I may not be an art enthusiast, but there is something jarring in how they're painted."
To him, it all looked so stiff. Even for ancient Roman-style art.
"I see," Sam said. "It's measured in angles."
She slid next to him so that her head was close to his. Then, once she had his attention, she pointed upward to the same figures he'd been studying. "They've all been drawn at the same angle from each other. There's no overlap. If you look, each quarter of the painting has figures equidistant from each other. Then, within each quarter, the figures are positioned forty-five degrees from one another."
Daniel nodded. He could see it. "Don't you find that strange?"
"More than strange. It's obviously intentional."
They exchanged a curious look.
Daniel rubbed his chin as he considered the mural. "Science and mythology have always shared the same goal: to explain the world around us."
"While science looks to the future."
"History obviously looks to the past." Daniel paused. "They have to meet somewhere."
He turned his head and caught the anticipation in her eyes.
They both grinned.
Jack knocked on the door. After a moment, a roly-poly little woman answered, smiling first at Teal'c and then himself.
"I'm here to pick up my…to grab them," he said in broken Latin, motioning to the inside of the room.
She nodded and beckoned them inside. "This way," she said.
Jack took off his cap and walked into the room, Teal'c trailing behind him. All around them there were blue-eyed people. Some banged themselves with blocks, while others stared into the distance. He scratched at his head as he watched them. He could not wait to get off this planet.
"Teal'c, do you see—"
Jack didn't even have a chance to finish his sentence. He had found Teal'c staring and followed his gaze to the middle of the floor. There, Carter and Daniel were lying flat on the ground. Daniel's feet pointed north while Carter's pointed south, but their heads met in the middle, side by side, so close that his left ear was nearly touching hers. They didn't move or make a sound. They just stayed flat on their backs, hands folded neatly on their stomachs, as they stared at the ceiling.
He wondered if the insanity on this planet was contagious.
Carter was the first to move. "Colonel," she said, standing. "How did the negotiations go?"
"Oh, just peachy," he muttered. "Teal'c and I were able to secure a deal with Zenas." He wouldn't talk about the name-calling incident. "They'll let us look at their gizmos in exchange for some of our general knowledge and history."
Unfortunately, it wouldn't be Carter or Daniel that would be allowed to share any of that information thanks to this planet's issue with light-eyed individuals.
"Sounds like it went well," she said.
"Not as well as you might imagine," Teal'c said, eyeing Jack closely.
Jack managed to keep from rolling his eyes. Leave it to Teal'c.
Carter frowned. "Did something happen?"
"Oh, just your standard native issues. We can have access to their technology as long as we can find it."
Carter blinked. "Find it?"
"The people of Agrippa do not share technology lightly," Teal'c said. "We must prove our worth by finding the storehouse that they have hidden."
Hammond was going to love that. Sure, they'd made allies who wanted to trade just as long as they played intergalactic scavenger hunt. "I swear, none of these people can ever be straightforward about anything," Jack muttered. Then, he frowned, catching the grin on Daniel's face. "Having fun?" he asked.
"Out of our minds with fun," Daniel said, still staring at the ceiling.
Jack glanced up at the ceiling. There was an ugly painting with people fighting. "What's with the drawing?"
At this point, both Carter and Daniel had matching expressions, ones that he knew all too well. Their eyes were gleaming with mischief and their devious grins were too much for him to take.
"Since I know you don't have the genetic disease these folk seem to have, spill," Jack said, his voice firm.
"It's obvious, can't you see?" Daniel hopped to his feet to come stand beside Carter. "It's all there, right in front of us."
Jack glanced over to his right. There was a woman trying to stick her toes up her nose. He glanced to his left. That was the biggest spit wad he'd ever seen. He returned to Carter and Daniel. "Oh, yes. Wisdom abounds."
Carter and Daniel exchanged another mischievous look. Jack scowled.
"No, sir. Think higher."
He followed their gaze upward. The two of them pointed to the ceiling.
"It's a map," Daniel said.
"Geometrically, it's aligned to the layout of the city," Sam said.
"With clues hidden in the mythological narrative incorporated into the painting," Daniel finished.
"If you are correct, then we shall be able to find the storehouse," Teal'c said.
Carter and Daniel beamed.
"Huh," Jack said. "What do you know. Looks like I missed out on all the fun."
"Don't worry, sir," Carter said with a small smile. She reached behind her and scooped up a pile of something. "We saved you some crackers." She dumped them in his arms.
Jack stared down at the crackers. Damn, they looked moldy. When he bobbed his head back up for an explanation, he saw Daniel and Carter link arms and head toward the door.
"Never underestimate the power of a deranged mind," Daniel called back.
Great, they were insane. Brilliant, but insane. And they seemed to really have a thing for stale crackers.
Jack sniffed at the crackers and made a face. That's when he noticed Teal'c was staring at him. The grin on his face echoed the ones he'd put up with just moments ago.
Shaking his head, Jack tossed the crackers in the trash and joined Teal'c as they walked to the exit to join the rest of his deranged team. "Remind me to never leave Carter and Daniel alone again," Jack said to Teal'c. "Ever."