Cultural Enrichment

By Kate O'Riley

Disclaimer: Stargate doesn't belong to me.

In answer to challenge #11 on the second season.

"Why do we let him drag us along to these things?" grumbled Jack O'Neill to Samantha Carter. He was more than a little peeved; because Daniel Jackson had decided the team needed some "cultural enrichment", in preparation for any of the cultures they might meet, he'd gotten General Hammond's approval to "take command" for a day and take SG-1 to the annual Highland Games held nearby.

Carter smiled sympathetically. "I'm sorry, sir, but I think you put the idea into his head."

O'Neill groaned, remembering. The team had just come back from offworld, and following their usual routine, they took a few minutes to catch up on the news. O'Neill had seen an ad in the newspaper.

"Highland games? What self-respecting man would voluntarily wear a skirt and dance around all day?" he'd scoffed. Daniel had gotten "that look", the one that meant he was thinking about something and making a plan, but Jack hadn't paid attention. Daniel had that look half the time.

Now, he vowed never, ever, to a. make a comment about something ridiculous in Daniel's hearing, and b. ignore "that look".

"All right, I've got your outfits!" announced Daniel proudly, as he entered the room with several paper bags. "Jack, Teal'c, and Sam…here you go."

They took the bags he offered them, and with a wary look at each other, opened them cautiously, as if there might be a live Goa'uld inside. It was worse. In both Jack and Teal'c's bags were honest to goodness, red plaid KILTS!

"Oh, no. Nonono. Danny-boy, I am not wearing a skirt!" declared Jack.

"Come on, Jack, it's authentic. Everyone will wear one," said Daniel.

"Yeah, everyone except Teal'c and me! Right, Teal'c? Teal'c?" O'Neill turned and looked at Teal'c. For cryin' out loud! Teal'c actually looked like he LIKED the skirt!

"Teal'c. We're not wearing those. Right?"

"I do not know, O'Neill. I have worn similar outfits."

"Oh, for cryin' out…what did you get, Carter? The pants?"

"Not exactly." Carter pulled out a white blouse and a long skirt in the same plaid. "I've got to admit, cute boots in here too," she said.

O'Neill groaned. "Let's just get this over with."

In full Highland regalia, the group drove to the games. O'Neill felt too embarrassed to grumble, for once. He'd narrowly escaped Daniel forcing him to go too authentic; apparently, the Scots didn't wear underwear under the kilts. He had also skipped the floppy hat that Daniel and Teal'c were wearing. He could understand the hat on Teal'c; on Daniel, it just looked kind of goofy. He didn't want to think about what it would look like on him.

Daniel explained the meaning of the plaid they were wearing. Every clan had its own plaid, they were all different, blahdy blah blah.

They finally arrived at the games, and Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c got out. They waited a moment. "Colonel?" Carter finally asked. "You coming?"

"No."

"Come on, Jack, don't be a baby," said Daniel, rolling his eyes.

"Jackson, I'm older than you are. Cut it out."

"Yes, you are older physically, Jack. One look at your head is all you need to be able to tell that. Mentally, though…"

"Hey! Just because it's getting gray!"

"Oh, I'm not talking about the gray, Jack. I'm talking about that spot in the back…"

"The WHAT!"

Carter finally decided to intervene. "Relax, Colonel, there isn't any spot."

"Thank you. You know, I'm just generally not too comfortable with wandering around half-naked in public."

"Teal'c and I are doing it."

"Daniel, didn't you hear anything about not giving into peer pressure?"

"Jack."

"You know," said Carter, "it's interesting that someone who can stare down a Goa'uld is afraid of a bunch of people wearing the exact same thing he is?"

"Oh, that does it!" said O'Neill, getting out. "Who said a thing about being afraid?"

Daniel opened his mouth to say something, but was silenced by a look from Carter.

"What is that event, Daniel Jackson?" asked Teal'c curiously.

"Oh, that?" Daniel looked. "It's the caber toss. You pick up a log and see how far you can throw it."

"Sounds perfect for you, Teal'c. You ought to sign up," said Carter.

"You know, it really does. I'll go sign you up, Teal'c," said O'Neill decisively. "Be back in a few minutes."

There was a signup table with various lists. O'Neill looked them over until he found the one titled "Caber Toss". He put down "Murray". Then he stayed and looked at the others.

Most were for games that were very odd-sounding; he didn't have the slightest idea what they were for. There was a contest involving food; he signed himself up for that. The last sheet was "Free Bagpipe Lessons". As he saw it, an evil plan began to form. He would have his revenge…

"Daniel Jackson". That was for the skirt he was being forced to wear.

"Samantha Carter". That was for the "afraid" comment.

"All right, Teal'c, you're signed up under the name Murray. Carter, Daniel, I signed you up for something too. Be at the Duncan tent at two o'clock," said O'Neill.

They looked wary. "What did you sign us up for, Jack?" said Daniel.

"Something you'll enjoy, I promise. Now, I've got to go; I signed up for an all-you-can-eat contest that starts in five minutes."

O'Neill was surprised. Considering the large crowd, the competitors in this contest were relatively few. Oh well. It'd make it all the much easier to win.

He was given a plate of some meaty food. He'd been hoping for pie. It was a free meal, anyway. When he tried it, he found it wasn't too bad. Not too great, either, of course.

He finished third. He returned to the team with the ribbon he'd earned. "See? My big mouth finally came in handy," said O'Neill.

"What did you win it in, Colonel?" asked Carter politely; it wasn't yet two o'clock.

"A haggis-eating contest. I'd never tried a haggis before. I'm still not sure what it was."

At the word "haggis", Daniel's eyes bugged out, and he began to choke on the water he was sipping. "Jack, don't you know what haggis is!" he blurted out.

"No, Daniel, I just said I didn't," O'Neill said, annoyed. "Some meaty thing."

"It's various assorted sheep parts. If I remember right, it's liver, intestine, heart, lung, maybe some eyeballs, all sewed into the sheep's stomach and boiled."

O'Neill suddenly felt a little sick. "Oh, that's just great. I haven't eaten anything like that since I was in Iraq. Here I was, thought I was on a record streak for 'not eating anything totally disgustingly gross'."

"It does sound pretty bad," agreed Carter. "Come on, it's almost time for Teal'c caber toss."

The group wandered over to watch the caber toss. The Jaffa was up against several burly-looking Scotchmen. Wearing a brightly colored, red plaid kilt, and what O'Neill referred to as a "floppy pancake hat", he stood quietly, observing his opponents as they all struggled under the weight of the log and staggered forward before managing to throw it.

When Teal'c turn came – last – he easily picked up the log and threw it twice the distance. The MC narrating the event was awed. "As ye can see, folks, this is not a native Scot! Sir, what is your name?" He shoved the microphone in Teal'c's face. Teal'c looked slightly taken aback. "Murray," he finally said firmly.

"Aye, well, Murray has won the caber toss! Now, we've got some more games coming up, and don't forget to sign up for the free bagpipe lesson!"

Carter wrinkled her nose. "Bagpipe lesson? I'd hate to be there."

O'Neill coughed. For some strange reason, he had felt a twinge of guilt.

They wandered around some more, enjoying the sights and sounds. O'Neill looked at his watch. "Two o'clock! Time for your…event, Daniel, Carter. Duncan tent, remember? T and I will wander around some more."

"Sir, can you at least give us some sort of clue?" Carter asked. O'Neill felt that annoying guilty twinge again. He pushed it away. "You'll find out," he announced. "You guys go on and have a good time. 'Cultural enrichment', right?"

Daniel shrugged and began wandering off. After a second, and another slightly suspicious/curious look at O'Neill, Sam followed.

"O'Neill, may I inquire what you are having them participate in?" Teal'c asked. Jack was saved a reply by a loud, angry voice.

"Hey, you! You! Murray!" A large, angry-looking man was approaching from 8 o'clock. "You who won the caber toss!"

Teal'c looked at the man silently for a moment.

The man got into Teal'c's face. "That should have been mine! I've won that caber toss the last five years!"

"I am sorry you did not win this year. If you will excuse me now-" Teal'c began starting to turn away.

"Oh! Ya think you're stronger, do ya? Ya wanna fight on it?"

O'Neill stepped in. "Hey, hey, come on, we don't wanna fight! Look, we didn't even want to come, we had a friend drag us here, and-"

The man ignored him. "You think you're so much bigger, eh? I could knock you down any day!"

Teal'c raised an eyebrow, but remained silent. This seemed to infuriate the man even more. Letting out a growl, he rushed towards Teal'c. Teal'c easily sidestepped him. Then the man tackled Teal'c. Teal'c didn't even take a step forward. This made the man angrier, and he swung towards Teal'c's jaw. Had it connected on a human, it would have been a solid punch that would have knocked someone down. However, Teal'c was not human. His hand shot up and grabbed the man's fist before it connected. Expanding little effort, he forced the man's arm back, and succeeded in knocking the man down.

Teal'c began to walk away, and O'Neill followed. Behind him, he could hear the man picking himself up, considerably calmed down.

Teal'c passed a table with a collection of CDs. "O'Neill," he said suddenly. "What type of music is that?"

Jack listened and grimaced. "That, T, would be bagpipes."

Teal'c listened some more, then, inexplicably, he walked towards the table. With a sense of foreboding, O'Neill watched him. "T?" he asked warily. No…he couldn't be…he was buying CDs!

Teal'c came back, carrying…five? Five CDs! Five! O'Neill looked at them warily. "T…"

Teal'c looked very pleased. "This is a very pleasing form of music."

Before Jack could say anything, two very annoyed looking people in red plaid came up. "Jack!" Daniel said. Yep. He wasn't happy. In fact, Carter looked more annoyed than he'd ever seen her.

She was forcing a grin. "Colonel. Thank you so much for signing us up for the bagpipe lesson. We really enjoyed it." Her tone was less than sincere.

"Captain Carter, Daniel Jackson, you will be pleased to know about the musical recordings I have bought." Teal'c held up his CDs. Daniel took them from him and read them off.

"'The Joy of Bagpipes', 'Bagg-us and Haggis', 'A Good Set of Pipes', 'Bagpipe Bonanza', 'The Sounds of Scotland'. You're kidding?"

Teal'c still looked pleased. "They did not have any more."

O'Neill looked at his watch. "Hey, it's 1500, and I'm getting hungry. Let's go."

"What about the haggis?" Carter said wickedly, trying to hold back a grin.

He groaned. "Never mind, I'm not hungry anymore."

Three weeks later…

"Teal'c!"

The tent flap was roughly shoved back. "Teal'c, have you heard of headphones?" O'Neill demanded, glaring at the Jaffa.

"O'Neill, I have listened to the music with headphones. I believe the speakers improve it."

O'Neill continued to glare. "Why don't you do kel-nor-reem or something?"

"O'Neill, if I did that, I would not be watching. I believe that is the point of my being on watch."

"Teal'c, part of the point is for the rest of us to get some sleep, and we're not sleeping!"

"I will turn it down, O'Neill."

"Thank you!" Jack said sarcastically.

Teal'c turned it down, and Jack laid back down.

"Daniel…next time you have an idea about cultural enrichment, I'll kill you myself."

The End