SG-1 was due back on Earth in a little over half an hour. They had spent three days on P1G-007 and, for Colonel Jack O’Neill, the journey home couldn't come soon enough. He was bored. The only thing standing between him and the long awaited return to Earth (not to mention the ice hockey play-offs) was one archaeologist cum anthropologist cum linguist cum pain-in-the-ass cum best friend anyone could hope for, Dr. Daniel Jackson.
"Where the hell is Daniel?" O’Neill snapped as he paced back and forth, kicking rocks and shrubs with each step.
Major Samantha Carter rolled her eyes. "He’s still with Shaman," she answered in a placating tone she reserved especially for her young nieces and bored CO.
"It was a rhetorical question, Major. I know exactly where he is. What I don’t know is why he isn’t here, with us, ready to head home."
Sam knew that, while this new question wasn’t rhetorical, she didn’t have the appropriate answer to sooth the savage beast – uh – Colonel. It was in her best interest to remain quiet until she did have the answer or the Colonel ordered her to retrieve Daniel.
"Shaman, though young, is a very wise woman, O’Neill," Teal’c’s deep voice joined the conversation. "It would be foolish of us to leave this place without allowing her to impart upon us as much of her knowledge as possible."
A small part of Jack knew Teal’c was right. The people on P1G-007 were interesting, even to the cynical Colonel. They had all the basic characteristics of Native Americans from the 1800s, right down to the teepees, moccasins, and bows and arrows. The team’s initial thoughts had been that these people must have had some connection with Toonane’s people, but that theory had been quickly disproven.
One very large difference between the two peoples was language. Toonane spoke English, but the inhabitants here had a strange new dialect. Some of the words or phrases remotely resembled Pottawatomie, but most of it was totally alien.
Initially, Daniel had had some trouble communicating with the tribe. He’d finally been forced to resort to primitive hand signals to deliver his famous ‘peaceful explorers’ speech.
In fact, SG-1 was originally scheduled to spend only 48 hours on P1G-007. When they had been due to depart, Daniel had just made a communications breakthrough so Jack had contacted the SGC and requested the extra day.
Jack was beginning to regret that particular command decision.
"For crying out loud," he mumbled as he gave in to his impatience and stomped over to Shaman’s teepee.
The Colonel pulled back the flap and entered the teepee a lot more cautiously than he had approached it. As soon as his eyes had adjusted to the dim interior, he spied Daniel sitting in rapt fascination with a group of natives as Shaman told yet another story of her people’s history. Expressive gestures from her face, hands, and, at times, entire body punctuated critical parts of the tale.
Shaman was an enigma. For starters, no one on SG-1 was sure if Shaman was her name, title, or job. It was simply what they were informed - through a complex round of gestures, reciting names, and pointing - to call her.
Another thing about the woman was that she could hardly be called a woman. She didn’t look a day over twelve years old. Her four-foot stature combined with her wide, innocent, brown eyes and prepubescent build was a stark contrast to her apparent social standing among the natives.
As soon as Shaman had completed her latest yarn, Jack approached Daniel and clasped a hand on his upper arm.
"Come on, Daniel, story time is over. We’re going to be late." Jack gave a slight tug to the arm he was holding, indicating that the younger man should stand and follow him out of the dwelling.
"But, Jack," Daniel protested in a hushed voice, "there’s so much more…"
"I don’t want to hear it!" the Colonel snapped. "We’ve already been here longer than we planned and, in case you’ve forgotten, we have a mission to meet with the Tok’ra in less than 24 hours."
Daniel had, indeed, forgotten. Without further argument, Daniel bid farewell to Shaman and her people.
Shaman and a few other natives insisted on accompanying SG-1 to the edge of the village. Upon reaching the border of her home, Shaman halted Daniel’s forward momentum by placing a delicate hand on his forearm. Much to O’Neill’s displeasure, the two carried on a lengthy conversation in Shaman’s native tongue.
"Daniel!" O’Neill shouted in exasperation.
"Oh, uh, sorry, Jack. Shaman says that we have…" He conferred with the young woman, clarifying a word or two. "…an ominous presence hanging over us. She wants to perform a purification ritual."
"Oh goodie." The Colonel poured every ounce of sarcasm contained in his being into the sentence until the words positively dripped with disdain.
Daniel and Shaman conferred again. "Oh, I was wrong. She wants to perform the purification ritual on you, not us. Apparently, you’re the only one she feels is in danger, Jack."
"No!" O’Neill sliced through the air with his hand. "N-O. No. No way. Not going to happen."
"Jack…" Daniel began, nervously looking around at the natives who surrounded them.
"I said no!" Jack reiterated. "There will be no purification mumbo jumbo. I’m going to return to Earth, complete my mission report, watch the hockey play-offs on TV, and then, hopefully, get some sleep before the next mission." He counted off each item on his fingers.
"Jaaack, you’re going to offend our hosts," Daniel quietly warned in a singsong voice while simultaneously trying to maintain a stiff smile and prevent his lips from moving.
"Daaaniel," Jack mocked, matching the archaeologist’s tone, "they don’t even speak English. They can’t understand a word I’m saying!"
"But they do understand tone of voice and body language," Daniel continued the ventriloquist act, "and yours is coming through loud and clear."
Jack knew that his friend was right in that respect. The minute he’d realized that the mission would provide no tactical or technological benefits, Jack’s patience level had plummeted. Even his current posture screamed annoyance. His hands were clutched into tight fists and planted on his hips, his hair stood on end from the countless times he had run his hands through it in frustration, his face was flushed from the current heated argument, and his weight was balanced over one foot as the other tapped an impatient rhythm.
The Colonel couldn’t care less about what these people thought of him and was about to educate Daniel to the fact when a low wail erupted from Shaman. It quickly rose in both pitch and volume until the members of SG-1 were forced to cover their ears to protect their hearing.
The wailing soon ceased only to be replaced by what the Colonel would describe as an extravagant song and dance routine. Shaman’s lithe body swayed and gyrated to the mystical rhythm of her chant.
Jack looked to Daniel, wondering if the young man understood what was going on. Judging from the confused expression on his face and the way his mouth hung slightly agape, O’Neill assumed Daniel to be just as clueless as the rest of them.
Shaman’s actions came to a dramatic conclusion as she reached into a leather pouch tied around her waist and withdrew a hand full of something. She released another ear-piercing howl and threw her hand’s contents, a blue powder, onto O’Neill. Shaman instantly fell silent and stepped back.
O’Neill flinched as the powder hit him on the chest, but maintained his position. A moment later, the powder changed to a bright red color before simply falling to the ground.
The eyes of every member of the crowd grew large and they gave a collective gasp of horror. In a scene reminiscent of the legendary parting of the Red Sea, the native people withdrew from the area occupied by SG-1. In his hasty retreat, one man accidentally bumped into Daniel, causing him to fall flat on his back into a small thicket of flowering vegetation.
"What got into them?" O’Neill questioned in bewilderment, completely dismissing all thoughts of the strange powder.
"Uh, I think that would be you," replied Daniel as he raised himself from the ground and began to brush the plant’s pollen from his uniform.
Jack breathed into his palm and then sniffed to check his breath. Satisfied with that, he raised first one arm then the other, sniffing under each. "What? I showered!"
Daniel rolled his eyes at the older man’s antics. He opened his mouth to speak, but the words were preempted by a sneeze.
"Bless," Jack offered.
"Thank you." Daniel pulled a kleenex out of his vest and blew his already congested nose before continuing. "I couldn’t understand everything, but it sounded as if Shaman put a curse on you." Another sneeze halted anything more he was going to say.
"Bless. Oh puh-leez, Daniel. It’s just rumors, lies, and fairy tales. You don’t believe in any of that, do you?"
"No," Daniel conceded, "but I think…" A series of sneezes left him gasping for breath. "I think…we should just… leave."
Jack couldn’t agree more. He had been ready to leave for some time now.
SG-1 bid a final, and decidedly less friendly, farewell to the inhabitants of P1G-007 and left. By the time they reached the gate, Daniel was wheezing, his eyes were puffy and watering so much that he could hardly see where he was going, and he was scratching irritably at angry red welts that had begun to appear on his skin.
"Carter, dial it up," the Colonel ordered.
Sam began to press Earth’s coordinates into the DHD. "Ouch!" she yelped after depressing the fifth glyph.
O’Neill tore his worried gaze from Daniel and saw that Carter was standing at the DHD with her thumb in her mouth. "A little old to be sucking your thumb, don’t you think, Major?"
"Huh?" she mumbled around a mouth full of finger. Sam, after realizing what she must look like, self-consciously lowered her hand. "Oh, uh, I just broke a nail."
After entering the last symbol, Sam pressed the large center crystal. The liquid flux shot out from the stone circle before retracting and settling into the shimmering blue pool. Sam entered SG-1’s IDC into her remote transmitter and signaled to her team that it was safe to enter the wormhole.
"Okay, kids, let’s head home."
With O’Neill assisting Daniel, the team entered the event horizon.
Dr. Janet Fraiser silently grumbled as she approached to stand behind Colonel O’Neill at the security checkpoint inside Cheyenne Mountain. She had been planning to spend some quality mother-daughter time with Cassie, but a frantic late-afternoon call from the SGC infirmary cancelled those plans. She hadn’t been able to get much information from the rushed conversation, but what little she could piece together pointed to a situation of far too many patients and far too few staff members.
"I’m sorry, Colonel," the guard apologized with a chuckle, "but the computer says that you’re on maternity leave for the next two months." The guard looked up to see the doctor. "Dr. Fraiser, I have orders to allow you to pass immediately. It’s been requested that you go directly to the infirmary."
Janet nodded and continued through the checkpoint.
"For crying out loud! Does it look like I would be on maternity leave? Never mind. I’ll just stay here…" The rest of O’Neill’s conversation faded as Janet moved further away.
Dr. Fraiser entered the infirmary and was immediately enveloped by the bustle of activity. The room was filled beyond capacity. Every chair and bed was occupied and, in some instances, two or more injured people sat upon the same bed. Nurses, x-ray techs, lab techs, and corpsmen rushed from patient to patient, treating the injuries, calling out orders, and performing various tests.
Nurse Clark greeted the doctor. "I’m sorry to have to call you in on your day off, Dr. Fraiser."
"It’s okay, Sharon. I can see you have your hands full here," Janet remarked while removing her coat and slipping into the starched white lab jacket the head nurse presented to her. "What, exactly, has been happening?"
"I don’t understand it," Nurse Clark began, obviously extremely flustered by everything. "We’ve been having an influx of accident victims over the last couple of hours."
"Where’s Dr. Warner?"
"He’s in surgery removing a cue ball from Private Hickman’s mouth."
Bewildered, Janet arched her eyebrows. "How…?"
"Don’t ask," Sharon responded simply. She rifled through a stack of patient charts and separated a few she thought might be of interest to the doctor.
Janet heaved a great sigh. "Bring me up to speed. What’s been going on? Has there been anything serious?"
"So far, we’ve had mostly bruises and abrasions. Oh, and one case of Jaffa hiccups." She chose to ignore the Doctor’s questioning glance. "We did have two relatively serious cases." Sharon brought two charts to the top of the pile and opened the first one. "Lieutenant Marks accidentally shot himself in the foot while checking Colonel O’Neill’s side arm into the armory. Three people, including the Colonel, handled the weapon before the Lieutenant and each of them claim that it was unloaded. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The bullet passed through his foot and Dr. Warner had to operate to repair the damage. The Lieutenant is expected to be on medical leave for a while. He’s still in recovery for now."
Janet shook her head sadly at the idea of such a thing happening at a military base that prided itself on accepting only the best and brightest. "What was the other case?"
Sharon closed Lieutenant Marks’ chart, set it aside, and opened the next one.
Janet mumbled a curse at seeing the familiar chart. "What happened to Dr. Jackson THIS time?"
"Dr. Jackson was the first accident victim to be brought in. I haven’t heard the entire story on what happened," the nurse responded with a thoughtful expression on her face. "The information that I’ve managed to piece together points to Colonel O’Neill offending the natives of P1G-007, something about a curse, and, in the ensuing panic, Dr. Jackson being pushed and falling into a local plant to which he had a severe allergic reaction. He was having some difficulty breathing and covered in hives but fortunately, he’s responding well to treatment."
Janet winced in sympathy for her friend. Even before he was able to control his allergies with medication, Janet had never seen Daniel have such a severe reaction. "What’s his current condition?" she asked in concern.
"He’s stabilized but Dr. Warner wants to keep him under observation until morning. He’s sleeping off a mega-dose of antihistamines in isolation room one. Since we’re so swamped in here, we went ahead and moved Major Carter in with him. She agreed to watch for any signs of further respiratory distress and notify us immediately."
"…moved Major Carter…" Fraiser mumbled while furrowing her brow and shaking her head. "What happened to Sam?"
Nurse Clark gave a slight chuckle and rummaged deeper into her collected pile of patient charts. "What HASN’T happened to her?" Sharon located the proper chart, opened it, and began reading. "Following her post-mission exam, she was exiting the infirmary. She turned around to inform the Colonel of something and turned back just as Nurse Richards entered the room. The two collided and the Major fell backwards, spraining her wrist."
"That doesn’t sound too bad…" Janet began only to be cut off by the nurse.
"Since then, she has received a black eye after she and Colonel O’Neill tried opening the same door from opposite directions. She bit her tongue in the same incident. Due to the swelling, her speech is somewhat impaired and she’s a little hard to understand right now. She cut her ‘good’ hand with a letter opener while trying to open her mail. There’s a long list of minor accidents here, but the latest incident – the one that prompted Dr. Warner to admit her to the infirmary for her own safety - occurred when Major Carter, Teal’c, and the Colonel were heading to their mission debriefing. She fell up the stairs to the briefing room and twisted her ankle."
"She fell down the stairs?!?" Janet nearly shrieked.
"No, ma’am," Sharon corrected in all seriousness. "She fell UP the stairs."
Before the head nurse could educate the doctor on how, exactly, one could fall up stairs, two airmen rushed in carrying a third, injured, man. They deftly deposited him on a bed that had been politely vacated by someone with only a minor injury.
The petite doctor and her nurse exchanged a questioning glance before hurrying over to the bed.
The airmen stepped aside to reveal Sergeant Siler. The poor man sat on the edge of the bed and seemed to be vibrating ever so slightly. Behind askew glasses, Janet noted an unfocused wide-eyed stare. Tendrils of smoke wafted lazily around him and his hair was set into frizzy spikes.
"Sergeant, can you tell me what happened?" Janet questioned softly while checking pupil response with her penlight. Noting the possibility of a slight concussion, she accepted a sterile gauze pad from Nurse Clark and pressed it to the bleeding gash on the side of Siler’s head.
Slowly, Siler directed his unblinking gaze to the doctor. "I’m not sure, ma’am. I was changing the light bulb in Colonel O’Neill’s desk lamp when, suddenly, the darned thing shocked me. I mean, REALLY shocked me. I was thrown across the room and the next thing I know, the Colonel is standing over me calling my name. That lamp only accepts a 60-watt bulb. It shouldn’t have had enough electricity running to it to…" The rest of his sentence was lost to indecipherable mumbles.
Seeking clarification, Janet turned to the airmen.
"He hit a filing cabinet," one of the airmen volunteered. "Unfortunately, that was where he had set his tools. His wrench fell and hit him on the head."
Janet gasped in horror. "THE wrench?" she questioned.
"Yes, ma’am," the second airman answered.
Janet dismissed the airmen and returned her attention to her patient, amazed that he was still alive after being struck by the mammoth tool.
After nearly half an hour, the Doctor concluded that Sgt. Siler would live. "You know, Sergeant, you’re very lucky."
"Yes, ma’am," Siler responded, much more coherently than when he had been brought in.
"For the life of me, I don’t understand why you even have that wrench. It’s an accident waiting to happen. Why don’t you get rid of it?"
"Ma’am?" Siler looked to Dr. Fraiser as if the two heads he saw were real.
"The wrench," she repeated.
The Sergeant merely blinked.
"What practical use does it have? Get rid of it."
"I’m sorry, ma’am," Siler shook his head and ran a still-trembling hand through his hair, wincing when he came in contact with the cut and bump. "I don’t understand what you’re saying. Why would I do that?"
Janet heaved another great sigh; she’d been doing a lot of that since reporting to the mountain that day. "Never mind, Sergeant. Just lie back and get some rest." She adjusted his IV drip and blanket before moving to her next patient, mumbling something about boys and their toys.
Janet sat at her desk and absently rubbed her temples in slow circles, attempting to ease the building headache. Since being called into the SGC late the previous afternoon, the doctor had personally tended to 35 accident victims. Their injuries had ranged from a splinter to Sgt. Siler’s electrical shock and concussion. It was nearly 0600 hours and the influx of new patients had all but stopped; something she attributed to the fact that there was little more than a skeleton crew at the mountain during the night and the morning shift had not yet begun to arrive.
The doctor used this respite to confine herself to her office in the attempt to prove her budding theory. No, she corrected herself, she didn’t want to prove her theory. She wanted to disprove it.
Due to the sheer number of cases, Janet and her staff had been very thorough in questioning each patient in the hopes of finding a common thread with which to link everything together. Now, as much as she didn’t want to admit it, the common thread appeared to have been identified: Colonel Jack O’Neill.
His connection with Sam and Daniel’s injuries was twofold. Not only were they were all members of SG-1, but also the Colonel had been present, in some aspect, at the times of all of their injuries. Teal’c and his hiccups…Janet shook her head. ‘How do you cure Jaffa hiccups?’ she mentally questioned.
Sgt. Siler was changing a light bulb in the Colonel’s office when he’d been nearly electrocuted. Colonel O’Neill had been making his dinner selection in the commissary when Rachel, the young woman serving the meal, had burned herself. Jack had been showering in the next room when Major Ferretti had slipped and fallen after being caught off guard – not to mention nude – by a female officer who had accidentally entered the wrong locker room.
Even poor Private Hickman had been victimized by the mere presence of O’Neill. After deciding to remain on base that evening due to the malfunctioning computer system, the Colonel had gone to the recreation room to watch his hockey game. Private Hickman and some other men were playing pool in the room. O’Neill had shouted about something that had happened in the hockey game at the same time another Private was lining up a shot, resulting in an air-borne cue ball and a trip to the infirmary for Private Hickman. Fortunately, some anesthesia, the proper dose of muscle relaxants, and the skilled touch of Dr. Warner had prevented any serious harm from befalling the Private.
"How could the Colonel possibly be responsible for everything," Janet asked herself aloud. "Unless…" Her mind drifted back to her conversation with Nurse Clark.
The doctor’s theorizing was interrupted by a patient monitor alarm. Instinctively, she jumped from her chair and ran out of the office. Most of the charts fell to the floor in a heap, pages tearing from the bindings as they flew through the air. The small part of Janet’s brain she allowed to be concerned about the mess, groaned at the grueling task of reorganizing everything.
"Dr. Jackson’s heart monitor has just flat-lined!" Nurse Clark informed Dr. Fraiser as she swept past with the crash cart. The necessity of working a double shift hadn’t slowed the nurse’s actions in the least.
Janet quickened her pace to beat the nurse to isolation room one. She paused outside the door and breathed a sigh of relief when she heard the familiar voice.
"Jaaaack! It’s the crack of dawn! Don’t you have someplace to be? Someplace that isn’t here, torturing me?"
"Aww, come on, Polka-Dot Boy. You don’t hear Carter or Teal’c complaining, do you? Quit scratching!"
"The only reason Sam isn’t complaining is because she knows that you’ll make fun of her speech. Teal’c can’t complain because he’s holding his breath because YOU told him it would get rid of the hiccups. And, I can’t help but scratch. These hives itch!"
There was a slapping sound closely followed by an annoyed ‘ow’ from Daniel. Janet waved Nurse Clark and the crash cart away, carefully schooled her features to hide her relief and amusement, and entered the room. She brushed past Jack and pressed the button on Daniel’s heart monitor to silence the alarm that, for some unknown reason, sounded only in the main infirmary. She growled irritably at the malfunctioning piece of equipment before turning off the bedside lamp that had begun to flicker.
"What’s going on in here," the Doctor demanded, looking directly towards the Colonel.
"I just dropped by to inform my team that SG-6 was assigned to take today’s mission for us. We were just having a nice friendly little chat. Is it my fault that Little Boy Pink over here has absolutely no sense of humor?" Jack replied, jerking a thumb in Daniel’s direction.
"Dr. Jackson," Daniel snapped while scratching at his left arm, "would have a sense of humor if you ever said something that was actually funny!"
"Are you insulting my…"
The Colonel stopped in mid rant and he and Daniel looked sheepishly towards Janet. "Sorry," they both mumbled, duly chastised.
Hands on hips, Janet surveyed the scene. Sam looked just as irritated as Daniel sounded. Teal’c stood straight and tall, stoic as ever, and…was that a bit of a blue tint around his lips?
"Teal’c, breathe, for heaven’s sake! Holding your breath will NOT cure the hiccups."
"Yes, Dr. Fra…*hiccup*…Dr. Fraiser."
Jack looked like he was having fun teasing Daniel, and Daniel…Daniel was making a valiant attempt to remove the greater part of his dermal layer with his fingernails.
"Stay." Janet marched out of the room only to return a few short moments later with a fresh bottle of calamine lotion. Instead of immediately applying the pink lotion to Daniel’s many remaining hives, she placed the bottle on the bedside table and reached into her jacket pocket. "Hands," she ordered in a tone that would allow no room for debate.
Daniel complied and after a series of lightning-quick movements, he found his hands covered with…pink mittens. They were thickly padded and made of the softest material he had ever felt. He remembered seeing Cassie wearing them only a few months ago when the teen had come down with Chicken Pox. He knew there was no point in arguing with the doctor when she was in what Jack liked to call her ‘Napoleonic Power Monger’ mode, so he satisfied himself with the thought that he would be able to remove the snug mittens as soon as her back was turned.
As if reading his thoughts, Janet reached under a small fold in the fabric at the wrist of each mitten, pulled out two ends of a string, tightened them around each wrist, tied them in an intricate knot, tucked them back under the fold of the fabric, and then manipulated the string within the fold until the knot was well away from its opening. There was no way Daniel would be able to reach the knot let alone untie it.
Janet saw Daniel’s face flush a shade of red that even the Crayola Crayon Company would envy for its brilliance. "If you keep scratching, you’re going to get an infection. Do you really want that?"
Daniel lowered his head. "No, ma’am," was the nearly imperceptible reply.
A poorly stifled and extremely juvenile laugh made the Doctor whirl around to face the Colonel. "I’m sure you have something else you could be doing right about now."
O’Neill unconsciously snapped to attention. "Yes, ma’am," he replied before turning and all but running out of the room.
"I will *hiccup* retire to my quarters to *hiccup* meditate in Kel’no…*hiccup*…Kel’no’reem in an attempt to*hiccup*" Teal’c’s shoulders slumped in defeat.
"Go, Teal’c," the Doctor softly ordered with a sympathetic expression.
Wordlessly, Teal’c turned to leave. When he reached the door he surprised himself and everyone else by releasing a loud, long belch. Wide-eyed, he turned back to the room. "Excuse me *hiccup*" He resumed his slouched posture and hurried out.
Daniel breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you for getting rid of Jack, Dr. Fraiser."
Janet smiled and nodded her acknowledgement before crossing the room to Sam’s bed. "How are you feeling today, Sam? I hear you’ve had a run of bad luck."
Sam smiled and nodded.
"Is your speech any better this morning?"
Sam shrugged her shoulders.
"CAN you speak?" Fraiser was beginning to become frustrated with her friend’s unwillingness to cooperate.
"Open," Janet ordered. She noted the large amount of swelling that remained in Sam’s tongue. "You know, Sam, as a doctor examining your injuries, I really need to hear you speak."
Sam glanced in Daniel’s direction.
"You’re worried about what Daniel will say?" Janet looked to the man in question and nearly laughed outright as he froze, caught trying to remove the mittens with his teeth. "Daniel won’t say word. Will you, *Daniel*?" She stressed his name in warning that he’d better provide the proper answer.
In lieu of a verbal response, Daniel merely looked incredulously at the two women and held up his pink-mitten-clad hands.
Janet smiled in relief and turned back to see an identical expression on Sam’s face.
"Oka," Sam finally spoke, even if it was only one, slightly distorted, word.
The Doctor continued to examine Sam’s injuries and noted the apparent improvement when compared to what she had read in the Major’s chart. When the other injuries had been inspected, Janet turned to Sam’s ankle. Though a spectacular bruise had formed, there appeared to be little swelling. "How about the ankle?" she questioned.
"It’s fine?" Janet clarified. At Sam’s nod, she continued. "Why don’t you stand up and test it out?"
Sam complied and found that there was very little discomfort even with taking a couple of steps across the room.
"Good," Fraiser crooned. "You appear to be doing fine, so I’m going to go ahead and release you." She handed the other woman an elastic bandage wrap and a small pill bottle. "These are some anti-inflammatory pills. Take them twice a day. Go and get a shower and then be sure to wrap that ankle. Okay?"
Sam slowly hobbled out of the room and Janet turned her attention to the room’s only remaining occupant. After helping to ease his blue scrub shirt off over his head, she picked up the calamine lotion and a cotton ball and proceeded to dab more pink polka dots onto Daniel’s bare chest.
"Daniel," she began calmly, "tell me more about this curse from P1G-007…"
General George Hammond, Dr. Fraiser, and three-quarters of SG-1 sat at the two-toned briefing room table waiting for the arrival of Major Carter.
"Dr. Fraiser," the General growled, irritated by the 15-minute delay, "I assume you informed the Major that you had called this meeting."
"Yes, sir," the Doctor answered. "I personally stopped by the showers on my way here. She said she would only be a couple of minutes."
At that moment, an extremely irate Major Carter burst into the briefing room. She threw herself into her chair and locked an icy glare on the Colonel.
"Major Carter, would you care to explain what in Sam Hill is going on?" the General questioned, pointing to the white towel wrapped around the Major’s head.
Wordlessly, Sam removed the damp towel to reveal the green streaks that highlighted her blonde locks. At the collective gasp from around the table (and a hiccup from Teal’c), she reached into the pocket of her green BDU jacket, withdrew a bottle, and launched it across the table towards Colonel O’Neill.
O’Neill easily caught the projectile, noting how it appeared to have been aimed at his head, and stared dumbly at it as Daniel read the label over his shoulder. "Herbal shampoo with a mild coloring agent?" Daniel questioned.
Dr. Fraiser took possession of the bottle and began reading the label. "It appears as if the coloring agent in your shampoo has reacted badly with your highlights, Sam."
"So much for claiming to be a natural blonde, eh Major?" the Colonel laughed.
"I doh beash my haee!" Carter screamed in protest. "Aaah duh sampoh isss yohrs."
"What?!" the Colonel exclaimed. "That’s not mine!"
Dr. Fraiser simply held the bottle so all those present could see ‘O’Neill’ clearly printed in black permanent marker on the bottom.
"It appears *hiccup* that the shampoo is, indeed, your *hiccup* yours, Colonel O’Neill. *hiccup* Perhaps it is you who is unwilling *hiccup* to admit to the true color of your hair. *belch* Excuse me." Teal’c actually smirked.
Before O’Neill could protest, the General interrupted. "People! Can we please address the matter at hand? Dr. Fraiser, why did you call this meeting?"
"Yes, sir," Fraiser set the shampoo bottle on the floor next to her chair. "I think I’ve discovered the reason for all of the accidents, injuries, and malfunctions that have been plaguing the base since late yesterday. It appears that all of the incidents have one thing in common…Colonel O’Neill."
"What?" O’Neill and Hammond chorused. Sam and Teal’c merely raised their eyebrows in question.
"Everything began to happen shortly after SG-1 returned to the base yesterday. Upon reviewing patient charts, I noticed that Colonel O’Neill was present in some aspect, at the time of each and every incident." Janet pointed to Sam’s hair. "Case in point. I finally remembered something Nurse Clark had told me about the mission to P1G-007. I conferred with Dr. Jackson and he and I were able to come up with a hypothesis."
Janet waited for Daniel to pick up his cue that it was his turn to take over the meeting. Nothing happened. "Dr. Jackson." No response.
"Yo! Danny!" O’Neill finally got his attention. "You’re on."
Startled, Daniel jumped, dropping the tape recorder he had been unsuccessfully been trying to manipulate with his mittened hands. The tape recorder slid across the table to rest in front of Dr. Fraiser. He cast a scathing glare towards the Colonel and placed his hands on his lap – out of Jack’s sight – before speaking.
"Um, yes, uh…While on P1G-007, we met with a young woman called Shaman. After Colonel O’Neill refused an offered purification ritual, she performed this chant." He nodded to Dr. Fraiser who pressed play on the small tape recorder that Daniel took on missions. The room was filled with the shrill wail that began Shaman’s chant. When the entire chant finished playing, Fraiser hit the stop button.
"After listening to it again, I realized that I had mistranslated and Shaman hadn’t placed a curse on Colonel O’Neill. She had actually placed a curse on all those he came in contact with by making him a jinx."
"Oh please. Not more rumors, lies, and fairy tales!" O’Neill complained.
"No, Jack. I think it’s more like hives, hiccups, and sprains," Daniel responded, indicating himself, Teal’c, and Sam in succession.
"How caa wae bae sssur dah duh Kuh’uhl iss duh causs?"
As one, everyone in the room looked to Daniel for clarification of Sam’s sentence.
"What? Why do you assume that I can understand that? I’m a linguist. I translate languages, not…not…gobbledygook!" The silence that greeted him was deafening. Daniel half expected to hear crickets chirping in the background as they did in Bugs Bunny cartoons. All eyes were still expectantly focused on him and Daniel sighed in defeat. "She said, ‘How can we be sure that the Colonel is the cause?’"
"All the evidence points in that direction," Janet answered. "It’s too much of a coincidence that the accidents began happening the instant Shaman completed that chant or that they almost completely stopped in the hours that Colonel O’Neill was asleep in his on-base quarters."
"Oh, that’s just…"
"Assuming your theory is true, what do you recommend?" Hammond questioned, cutting O’Neill off.
Without hesitation, both Daniel and Janet answered simultaneously. "An apology."
"I recommend that SG-1 return to P1G-007 and that Colonel O’Neill apologize to Shaman as soon as possible," Daniel concluded.
Jack merely rolled his eyes. He could have sworn he heard Daniel mumble ‘Or send him to a Goa’uld home world as a Trojan Horse’ under his breath.
"Dr. Jackson, you and Major Carter are in no condition to go off-world," Hammond reasoned.
"I’m the only one who can speak the language…"
"I wah ‘oo go."
"…and Sam wants to go. Please? Shaman’s people are friendly and there was no sign of any other forms of danger. I feel it’s imperative that this situation be resolved as quickly as possible."
"I’m reluctant to allow…" The lights in the briefing room suddenly flickered then died completely, throwing the room into total darkness until the emergency lighting kicked in. "Permission granted pending medical approval. SG-1, you depart in one hour."
Everyone stood as the General left, and then they filed out of the room. Jack made a b-line towards the General’s office. He knocked and entered without waiting for permission, and closed the door behind him.
"General," he nearly whined to the portly man sitting behind the desk, "I can’t believe you’re going along with this. You can’t possibly think that I’m a jinx!"
"I don’t know what to think right now, Jack." The General placed his hands out in a placating gesture. "All I know is that nearly half of the SGC personnel have visited the infirmary, for one reason or another, over the last 15 hours. Supply informs me that they have completely run out of light bulbs. Equipment and machinery are malfunctioning. This all seems to tie in with your return from P1G-007."
"But General! Do you really think that Shaman turned me into a jinx? Come on. That’s a little far-fetched."
"The Nox can become invisible. The Tollan can walk through walls," Hammond reasoned. "I’ve seen many strange things in my years, Jack, not the least of which is that large circle, made up of an alien material, that can transport men and women across the universe in a matter of seconds."
"But General…" Jack was really beginning to sound like a petulant child.
"No buts, Colonel. You’re going to…" Before the General could finish the sentence, his chair gave a loud popping sound and tipped. The General fell backwards with the chair and ended up flat on his back with his feet sticking straight up into the air.
"General Hammond!" Jack exclaimed. "Here, let me help." He reached out to help the General up, but ended up stepping on the older man’s hand as the lights in the office chose that exact moment to flicker and die.
When the emergency lighting finally illuminated the room, the General’s amazingly calm gray eyes locked onto O’Neill. "Colonel, your team leaves in…" he checked his watch, "…fifty-two minutes. Now, get the hell out of my office!"
Abandoning the idea of helping his superior officer, O’Neill hastily retreated from the office.
Amazingly, the remainder of the hour passed with no injuries and only a minimum of burnt-out light bulbs, due mostly to the fact that Dr. Fraiser had requested that the Colonel be confined to his quarters until SG-1’s departure. The Doctor had used the time to give a final medical examination to each member of the team.
Of course, the Colonel was in tip-top shape. Daniel, though he still had some remaining hives, was otherwise fine. She was even going to allow him to remove the mittens for the mission. Sam had numerous injuries but, fortunately, they were all minor. Even her sprained wrist and ankle were giving her only minimum aggravation. Teal’c…well, there wasn’t much she could do for Teal’c except hope that the apology would help alleviate his…problem.
Janet and SG-1 waited patiently for the elevator that would take them to Level 28. The Doctor had insisted on accompanying them whenever the Colonel was out amongst people. O’Neill was whistling the annoyingly perky tune ‘You Are My Sunshine’, but a rather large, looming, hiccupping Jaffa ended the song mid-verse.
With a gentle chime, the elevator reached their floor and opened its doors in invitation to the waiting group. Janet hesitated, debating the prudence of stepping onto this particular piece of machinery while in the company of an assumed jinx, but visions of one or more of the group tumbling down numerous flights of stairs helped to make the decision somewhat easier. Almost as if expecting something to happen at any moment, Janet and SG-1 cautiously entered the already crowded elevator.
The descent to Level 28 was agonizingly slow. There were no stops to allow people on or off, but the elevator car was moving at a snail’s pace and the air circulation system seemed to have malfunctioned. The temperature was climbing, reaching an extremely uncomfortable level.
A deep rumbling sound was emitted from somewhere within the close confines of the elevator, followed closely by a horrendous odor. All eyes passed discretely from one person to the other until, one by one, they all found their way to Teal’c. Wordlessly, the large man cast sideways glances to the other occupants of the car, as if daring them to say anything. Since no one had any wish to earn the Jaffa’s wrath, they remained silent but moved away as far as possible. Some tried to discretely hold their breath or cover their nose, but nothing seemed to help.
Jack was the only one who dared to comment. "Teal’c, what have you been eating, buddy?" he asked while waving a hand in front of his own face.
"That was not me," Teal’c replied in a monotone voice. "It was, in fact, my Primta."
"A primta fart?" Anything more the Colonel would have said concerning Junior’s gaseous emanations was lost as the elevator finally arrived at its destination, and he was pushed aside by the on-rush of people desperate to make their escape.
While the rest of SG-1 headed directly to the embarkation room, Colonel O’Neill (accompanied by the ever-present Dr. Fraiser) went to the control room to present a final plea to the general.
"General Hammond," Jack began the instant his CO was in sight, "Will you please reconsider this? There’s no such thing as curses or jinxes, so this is going to be a complete waste of time."
"You’re going to go to P1G-007 and you’re going to deliver your apology," the General instructed. "If it doesn’t work, no harm done."
"I’ve made my decision."
Hammond raised a finger to halt the Colonel’s words. He considered presenting O’Neill with a view of his palm accompanied by the words ‘talk to the hand, ‘cause I ain’t listening’, something his granddaughters seemed quite fond of doing to each other. Perhaps that would be closer to the intellectual level of conversation the other man would be willing to listen to. Instead, he decided to fall back on what he liked to call ‘old faithful’. "Colonel O’Neill, you have your orders!"
The Colonel straightened to attention and turned on his heel, intending to move towards the door. He watched in horror as his movements accidentally initiated an odd chain of events.
When the Colonel turned around abruptly in the close confines of the control room, Dr. Fraiser was forced to take a step back in order to avoid being trampled on. When she stepped back, she accidentally bumped into Sergeant Davis who just happened to be taking a sip of his coffee. The coffee slipped from Davis’ hand and impacted the control panel. Upon impact, the protective, spill-proof lid snapped off of the cup, spilling the steaming hot liquid all over the keyboard and the Sergeant’s lap. In reaction to the burning liquid suddenly being poured into his lap, Davis bolted up from his chair. The chair was pushed back so hard that it rammed into the General with enough force to, once again, send the man sprawling on the floor.
"Jack, don’t you see?" the General said from his awkward position, "You being on a military base…it’s like a time-bomb waiting to go off!"
As if on cue, the keyboard short-circuited from the coffee spill, the klaxons began to blare, and a mechanical voice calmly announced, "Auto destruct sequence has been initiated. Three minutes until auto destruct."
"Shut that thing off!" Hammond shouted as he scrambled to his feet.
Davis extracted himself from the Doctor’s (rather embarrassing) ministrations of his burns and dashed over to another keyboard. After Davis bypassed the short, the General and Colonel entered the proper deactivation codes. The mechanical voice sounded again, this time to announce the deactivation of the auto destruct.
All present in the control room breathed a collective sigh of relief. "Colonel," the General began in the same eerily calm voice he had used only an hour ago, "get the hell off of this planet."
O’Neill saluted smartly and wasted no time in joining his comrades in the embarkation room.
SG-1 stepped through the Stargate on P1G-007 and were greeted by a small group of natives. Upon seeing the team, the people fled in terror, screaming something in their native tongue.
"Well, I guess they remember us," Jack quipped.
"Ya think?" the rest of the team chorused as one, though Sam’s words were slightly distorted and Teal’c’s were punctuated with a hiccup.
The sun was beginning to set and the team was still about 100 meters from the village when they were greeted by the lone figure of Shaman. All appearances of youth and innocence had vanished from her dark eyes as she stood before SG-1 with her arms crossed tightly in front of her, glaring at the Colonel.
Daniel nudged Jack with his elbow in an attempt to get the ball rolling, but the action received no response. Grabbing his friend’s arm and dragging him along, Daniel stepped forward. He conversed with Shaman for several long minutes.
Shaman’s eyes softened as she spoke with Daniel, but the cold hardness returned with a vengeance as they ended their conversation and she returned her attention to Jack.
"Okay, Jack. She’s ready to hear your apology," Daniel informed him.
"What? I thought you just did that!"
"No, Jack," Daniel explained with the tight smile once again plastered to his face. "The apology must come from you."
"Oh, for crying out loud!" Frustrated, Jack turned on his heel, intent on stomping back to the Stargate and returning home, but Sam and Teal’c moved to block his path.
"Colonel O’Neill, *hiccup* I intend to see to it that *hiccup* you deliver the apol *hiccup* apology to Shaman as instructed by General Hammond."
Jack noted that Teal’c hand had moved towards his Zat gun. "But…I don’t speak the language. She won’t understand a thing I say. For all she knows, I could be telling her that she has bad breath or horrible taste in clothing!" the Colonel whined.
"Jaaack," Daniel’s singsong voice and ventriloquist act made a reappearance. "Remember? Tone of voice and body language."
"Okay." Jack inhaled deeply and approached the young woman. "Shaman, I’m honestly and truthfully sorry." He placed a hand on his chest and spoke with as much sincerity and compassion as he could muster. "It was wrong of me to belittle your customs and beliefs due to my own ignorance and shortsightedness. I apologize and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me." Jack looked to Daniel who nodded in approval.
Daniel stepped forward and carried on another long conversation with Shaman, at the end of which the two were grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Wordlessly, Shaman extended her arms towards the sky. After a few seconds she lowered them, bowed her head, and walked away, returning to her village.
"What? What’s going on, Daniel?" Jack asked in confusion. Sam and Teal’c joined them as well.
"Well, Shaman has agreed to forgive you and lift the curse."
"As simple as that? There’s not going to be any wailing, chanting, or strange color-changing powder? Nothing?"
"Well, it’s not QUITE as simple as that," Daniel explained. "There’s not going to be any wailing or strange powder, but there is going to be a chant."
"Oh, okay. So we just sit here and wait for her to come back?" Jack craned his neck to look in the direction Shaman had disappeared.
"No, no we don’t, Jack. You see, Shaman isn’t the one who has to perform this chant. You are. Do you see that hill over there?"
Confused, Jack looked to where Daniel was pointing and saw the hill in question. It was completely exposed, not a tree, bush, or rock in sight and it was silhouetted by a beautiful, low-hanging full moon. Jack nodded his head.
"Well, you have to stand on the top of the hill with your arms extended towards the moon and repeat the sacred chant for about ten minutes."
Jack thought for a moment. "Okay, sounds simple enough. What’s the chant?" Daniel wrote the chant on a piece of paper and taught Jack the proper pronunciation. As soon as he was confident that he had it right, Jack headed towards the small hill. He had only taken a few steps when Daniel called out to him.
"Oh, and Jack? You’re supposed to perform the ritual…in the nude."
"Oh, for cryin’…" Jack stopped in mid tirade upon seeing Shaman peeking around a small teepee. Without another word, he proceeded to the hill, dropping pieces of clothing along the way.
Daniel chuckled and began rummaging around in his pack.
"Shaman didn’t say that the Colonel had to perform this ritual chant, did she?" Sam asked, realizing what was going on. She was shocked to discover that the swelling in her tongue had suddenly reduced enough that her speech was no longer impaired.
"No," Daniel answered simply.
"You made it up."
"Yup." He continued to dig in the pack.
"DanielJackson, what is the phrase you have instructed ColonelO’Neill to recite?" Teal’c asked, catching on to the ruse. His hiccups had vanished.
"A rough translation would be ‘Even though I am guilty of mistakes and missteps, my clear conscience counteracts intentional harm.’"
"That’s beautiful," Sam commented.
"Yeah, well, the next line is ‘No, it’s not cold out here, this is my natural form.’"
Sam and Teal’c both enjoyed a laugh. "You are evil, Daniel," Sam said, the words broken with chuckles.
"Well, I learned from the best. Maybe one day he’ll realize what a bad influence he’s been. And THIS," he triumphantly held up a small video camera, complete with night vision and zoom lense, "this is for Polka-Dot Boy and Little Boy Pink! Let’s go!"