This was written for and is dedicated to Lisa!
Title: The Intergalactic Christmas Ball (Part 3 of 3)
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Pairing: Daniel/Vala (and Sam/Jack too, if you squint)
Summary: Daniel hasn't been invited to the Intergalactic Christmas Ball but there's someone there who he just has to see. With the help of his friends and a rather grumpy Goa'uld (and a large dose of direction from the Narrator) he has to make his way across the galaxy and slip in the back door...
Disclaimer: I own nothing, which is probably fortunate, because if I did own SG-1 I'd do things like this in the show.
Daniel was not having a very Merry Christmas. Sitting in his lab with Jack, the linguist sulked from behind an old pair of wonky glasses. This wasn't the Narrator's fault; not her fault at all!
Daniel looked up from sulking. "Yes it was."
"It was! You didn't tell us about the midnight deadline!"
I wasn't supposed to tell you about the midnight deadline. That was the job of your Fairy Goa'uld Mother.
"How can you trust anything to a Goa'uld?" Jack asked from beside his distraught friend.
I had firm assurances from Cronus' agent…
Jack pulled a face and waved the explanation away dismissively. "I wonder where Carter and Teal'c have got to?" he said loudly. Daniel looked at him.
"You know where they are," he said.
"You mean you heard me tell them to go get the Santa's Sack?" Jack asked, and when Daniel nodded he looked very disappointed. "It was supposed to be a surprise!" he complained.
ENTER SAM, TEAL'C and… SANTA!
"Look who we found," Sam grinned and sat down beside Jack.
"Father Christmas?" asked Daniel with a worried look.
"No, sir," Father Christmas replied.
"It is not," Teal'c added unnecessarily.
"It's Siler!" Jack laughed, faking surprise. "What have you got for us, Santa Siler?"
'Santa Siler' began dishing out presents, looking suspiciously as though he had done this before. However, the Narrator has been asked to assure the Audience that Sergeant Siler does not make a habit of dressing up in red and showering unsuspecting individuals with things drawn from a big sack.
Sure, Siler. And Daniel hasn't got an addiction to caffeine. -rollseyes-
"I haven't!" said Daniel, in the middle of unwrapping his present.
That's what I said, Daniel.
Just open the present, will you? Your friends are trying to cheer you up, you know!
"Oh, really?" asked Daniel dryly. "I thought they were trying to weird me out with yet another man dressing up in strange clothes."
Now, Daniel, don't be ungrateful. Say thank you to the nice people.
Daniel mumbled a brief "thanks" and went back to his present, which turned out to be a new journal and a bottle of mace.
"In case your Ugly Step-Sisters come to visit again," Jack explained.
"Uh, thanks," Daniel replied; "that was very… thoughtful."
Hey, don't I get a present?
"You?" asked Jack. "Why would we get you anything?"
That hurts. Really.
"We'd never even met you before you roped us into this story," Sam pointed out.
That's no excuse. You could have given me a calendar, a diary, a box of chocolates. Everyone has those sorts of things left over on Christmas Day.
"Yeah, actually, why are we still on base at Christmas?" enquired Daniel with a confused look. "Shouldn't we have downtime or something?"
"The Narrator considered December 25th to be the most opportune day for the next chapter of the story," Teal'c informed them all wisely. "We are asked to set aside our personal preferences for the benefit of the Audience."
"I don't care about the Audience," Jack complained, now in a thoroughly bad mood at the realisation he was at work for Christmas Day. "I should be sitting by a warm fire enjoying my own company, not stuck here playing along to a fairy tale that might not even have a happy ending!"
I resent that! There will be a happy ending!
Siler glanced around the members of SG-1. "Things don't look too happy at the moment," he remarked.
And whose fault is that, then?
"Yours!" exclaimed everyone in unison.
I've had enough of this, it's far too depressing.
EXIT SILER and… SCENE CHANGE!
The klaxons wailed loudly as the four members of SG-1 sprinted into the Control Room. The Stargate whirred and hissed as it span freely below them, its metal iris firmly sealed.
"What's happening?" asked Jack in a very attractive -- I mean, uh, authoritative manner.
"Incoming wormhole," reported Walter from his computer station. He was wearing a very festive hat and looked rather like an elf. Walter, why do you look rather like an elf?
"Sergeant Siler asked me to help him cheer up Doctor Jackson," answered Walter, looking down at his green costume. "Then I remembered I had a scene to do."
Aw, that's nice. I don't think it would have helped though, they're all being right misery-guts…
"Hey," protested Daniel dejectedly.
You are! Oh, well, maybe this will cheer you up.
The wormhole engaged and there was a brief pause for tension… then Walter exclaimed: "Sir! We're getting a signal." …Another dramatic pause… "It's the Tok'ra."
Open the iris!
"Hey," Jack exclaimed, affronted, "that's my line."
Oh! You're right. Sorry.
"Open the iris!"
The great structure retracted with a reassuringly metallic sound and a moment later a scantily-clad figure stepped out of the event horizon.
"Why did you have to have the iris opening?" he demanded. "Why couldn't we have just kept it shut? Then we could have heard a lovely thud as her body impacted the metal."
You're the one who gave the order.
"You're the one who put it in the script!"
"Sir, I really don't like this anymore than you do, believe me," Sam interjected, "but if it's part of the storyline…"
"We better just get on with it, I know," Jack sighed. "Just don't leave me alone with that woman."
They all agreed to that. Teal'c took it as a personal request and vowed to take on the responsibility himself.
"Thanks, big guy," Jack responded appreciatively and they made their way down into the Gate Room to meet their unwanted guest.
"Anise!" Jack called with feigned enthusiasm, "Freya. How wonderful to see you." The others struggled to keep straight faces at his dripping sarcasm. Even Teal'c had a devilish glint in his eye.
"General O'Neill," Freya greeted with a small bow. "We bring seasonal tidings from the Tok'ra High Council."
"How very nice," Jack replied. "Happy Christmas to you, too. Well, if that's all…"
"No, General, it is not," came the somewhat sharper tones of Anise. Jack's face visibly fell. "We have important business to discuss concerning Doctor Jackson."
Daniel, why do you look so surprised? This whole story is about you.
"Oh, yeah… I forgot."
"Sir," said Sam, "perhaps the Briefing Room…?"
"My thoughts exactly, Carter," Jack nodded. He gestured for Anise to lead the way - "Snake-heads - I mean, uh, ladies first!" - and pulled a face at the others as soon as her back was turned. Hehehe… good one, Jack.
Up in the Briefing Room, SG-1 listened somewhat reluctantly to the purpose of Anise and Freya's visit. At the mention of Vala, however, Daniel stiffened in his seat -- no, you dirty-minded… I mean he sat up straight!
"As you all know," Freya began, "the Intergalactic Christmas Ball was held last night, on Christmas Eve. The Queen of the Ball…"
"Vala," interjected Daniel.
Freya gazed at him incredulously. "How do you know of the Queen's identity?"
"The Narrator informed us prior to start of this story," Teal'c replied matter-of-factly.
"Plus it was in the script," offered Sam.
"So what about Vala?" pressed an anxious Daniel. "What happened, is she alright?"
"Of course she's alright, Daniel!" Jack answered him. "Haven't you read over to the next page?"
There was a pause as Daniel dug out a crumpled script from his pocket and leafed through it. His eyes widened. "Oh," he smiled; and what Freya had to say didn't come as so much of a surprise after that.
"The Queen of the Ball wishes to…" - Freya turned the page of her own script - "…uncover the identity of a mysterious suitor whom she met at the Ball."
"Whom," corrected Jack automatically.
Er, Jack, you don't need to correct her. She got it right.
"What?" asked Jack, clearly disappointed. "Can't we re-write that bit so that I get to sound smart for once? Grammar is my only academic strength!"
If I do this will everyone stop throwing me dirty looks?
There was murmuring and nodding. "Yes," announced Jack.
Oh… good! Freya?
"The Queen of the Ball wishes to uncover the identity of a mysterious suitor who she met at the Ball."
"Wait, wait," said Daniel, "can we drop that last 'Ball'? It's repeating the first one and makes Vala seem less important."
Listen, if you'd wanted to change lines in the script, you should have come to me in the final drafting! This is live action here, people!
"I just thought it might sound better," Daniel mumbled.
Can we get on with the next line?
"I haven't been able to correct Anise properly yet!" Jack protested.
"Freya," Freya stated. "Anise is not in control right now, Colonel."
"Hey, that's unfair! She can't be correcting me when I haven't been able to correct her!"
ARGH! STOP! Just… stop.
Freya, say your line but with the word 'dance' instead of the word 'Ball'. Jack, you may correct Freya for her inproper grammar. Daniel, I know you have already peeked at the script but please, please try to look surprised and delighted. Sam, Teal'c… just carry on, you're doing good.
"Thanks," Sam smiled brightly as Teal'c bowed his head.
"The Queen of the Ball wishes to uncover the identity of a mysterious suitor who she met at the dance."
"Whom!" corrected Jack triumphantly. Daniel fell off his chair in shock.
"Hm?" asked Daniel from the floor.
…have you ever heard of the term 'over-acting'?
Daniel blushed and scrambled hastily back to his seat.
"Freya," Sam said, kindly moving the story along, "how do you propose to find out who it was? A lot of people must be claiming it was them."
"It was me! It was me!"
Anise came forward, as she thought she would do a better job of ignoring Daniel bouncing excitedly in his seat. "You are correct," she told Sam, "this was our primary concern. However, the man in question left behind these." And she held up Daniel's glasses, still magnificently decorated for the Christmas Ball.
"Those are mine! Those are mine!"
"We have devised a way to assess the true owner of these lenses," Anise continued. "Perhaps we should go to your Infirmary so that I may set up my equipment?"
Jack and Sam exchanged uneasy glances.
"Maybe you should tell us exactly what that involves before we start tinkering around in people's heads, hm?" Jack suggested.
"It would be easier to simply show you," Anise replied.
"But safer to tell us first."
As Anise's patience was waning, Freya persuaded her symbiote that she should do the talking before they were thrown unceremoniously off the base. "I assure you, General, it is nothing more than a simple eye test. The personnel of your base will be seated and given the glasses to wear. They will then be asked to read letters of varying sizes from a test card placed at a set distance in front of them."
"Oh. Well," said Jack. "That sounds okay."
"And then we will scan they optic nerve using the Opthalmic…"
"Hey!" Jack interrupted. "That doesn't sound safe!"
"It is, General, I assure you."
"You've assured me way too many times for me to believe in your assurances," Jack told her darkly.
Wow. Maybe we really should have revised the script once more. That's a lot of assuring.
"Jack," Daniel sighed, "let her at least test me. I have to take this chance to see Vala again. If I don't, she'll never know it was me she danced with."
She did more than dance with you, that's for sure…
All eyes turned to Daniel, whose face reddened dramatically.
"Jack," Daniel said again, fighting to complete his persuasive appeal. Emotional music played sympathetically in the background. "I need to do this. I have to try."
Jack gazed at Daniel for what seemed like a long while, then sent a doubtful glance in Freya's direction.
"Alright," he said at last, with the heavy air of a man making a hard decision. "Test him."
Ooh, it's getting tense, isn't it? Just feel that gravity pulling the situation down! Well, you wanted a Christmas story, and what's Christmas without a little tension? The tension waiting for the parcels, waiting for the presents and in Jack's case, waiting for the pies… Ah, here we go!
FADE IN! (Someone informed me this was, in fact, correct. Go me! And go them! for answering my query…)
An hour later, Jack and Sam sat apprehensively in a forbidding observation room. Beyond the glass, Anise was setting up her equipment; Daniel fidgeted nervously, having been strapped down to the chair. Teal'c stood by, zat gun raised and ready.
"Are the restraints absolutely necessary?" asked Sam quietly, disturbed by her friend's distress. Jack gave a tight-lipped shrug that told her he didn't know but he wasn't going to take any chances; he remembered what had happened the last time they were here.
Anise turned towards them from below.
"We are ready to begin."
Jack gave a short consenting nod and she moved back towards her apparatus, gazing at Daniel in all seriousness. She activated her equipment. Indicating the small glowing lens that sat atop the arm of the device, she said, "Please direct your vision here."
Daniel did so and flinched slightly as a bright white beam swept into each eye in turn.
"Please read these letters aloud and speak clearly; take care not to iterate them out of order."
Daniel swallowed and began to read.
"What if this doesn't work?" Sam whispered to Jack.
"What if this doesn't work?" Jack replied incredulously, staring at her.
"It'll work," Sam said quickly.
"Did he just repeat the same later twice?" Jack asked worriedly. Teal'c's grip had tensed around his weapon.
"Maybe he's just nervous," Sam suggested.
"Yeah," Jack agreed. "Nervous. I mean, the machine has to take that into account, right?"
"Yes sir, I'm sure it does."
"I can't believe this is happening on Christmas Day."
"Well, it's not really Christmas Day anymore, sir," Sam replied. "The Narrator took so long in writing this chapter, the rest of the world is living out New Year's Eve."
"What? You mean I could be at some lively New Year's party right now, making a mess and spiking the punch?"
"I'm afraid so, sir, yes."
There was a threatening silence.
"Carter," Jack growled, "remind me to shoot the Narrator several times with a shotgun."
"The test is finished," Freya announced from the room below, just in time to save the Narrator from a rather painful death. "Daniel has perfect vision wearing those glasses. Oh, and he's not a Zatarc, either."
"Yes!" Jack cheered, and hurried down to the testing room, Sam close behind. Teal'c lowered his zat gun and unstrapped Daniel from the chair.
"I am most relieved," he told Daniel, who was so elated he hugged him.
"Whew," Jack smiled, "so Danny! You're off to see the Queen!"
"Yeah, I guess I am!" Daniel laughed, not quite able to believe it. He stood thoughtfully for a moment, then said, "Wait a minute, aren't my Ugly Step-Sisters supposed to take the test as well to prove that I'm the best after all?"
Well, yes, but that would have meant shelling out their wages for a whole third chapter. Besides, they really began to grind my gears, y'know? Really began to get annoying. So, let's get this happy ending on the road!
Daniel, you get to spend the New Year with the stunning Vala Mal Doran!
Sam, Jack will finally have enough punch and offer a drunken kiss! He won't remember it and you can smirk at him knowingly until he asks 'What are you smiling at?' across the table in the Briefing Room!
Teal'c, your last Christmas present was HAIR, and this year you're going to get MORE HAIR!
Jack, when you get back to your cabin tomorrow you will find a small cardboard box with airholes, the contents of which barks!
And you Audience, sitting there in front of your computer screen, will go away with the knowledge that you - yes, you - partook in the strangest retelling of Cinderella in the Stargate Universe.
Thank you and good night!
Let's see the full cast in all their glory. In order of appearance:
DOCTOR DANIEL 'Too-Busy-For-Girls-Except-Those-That-Threaten-The-Wellbeing-Of-Earth' JACKSON!
THE THREE UGLY SISTERS: SENATOR KINSEY, COLONEL SIMMONS and UNDERPAID (and unnamed) AMERICAN ACTOR!
GENERAL JACK 'Don't-Call-Me-Jonathan' O'NEILL!
LIEUTENANT COLONEL SAMANTHA 'Useful-For-Furthering-The-Plot' CARTER!
FORMER PRIME OF APOPHIS 'This-Tag-Doesn't-Quite-Work-In-His-Case-Because-He-Has-No-Last-Name' TEAL'C!
THE FABULOUS FAIRY GOA'ULD MOTHER: CRONUS!
A JAFFA THAT GETS KNOCKED OUT WITHIN THE FIRST TEN SECONDS OF HIS APPEARANCE: NORMAN!
THE STUNNING QUEEN OF THE BALL: VALA MAL DORAN!
…and a small, bluish-green alien as HER ATTENDANT!
With Special Guest Appearances from:
SERGEANT SILER as SANTA SILER!
SERGEANT WALTER 'Formerly-Known-As-Davis' HARRIMAN as ELF and TECHNICIAN!
ANISE and her host FREYA as OVERLY-SEXED FEMALE ALIEN!
With thanks to:
LISA for inspiring me to write this!
CINDERELLA for letting me borrow her story!
EVERYONE AT STARGATE for enabling me, the Narrator, to so readily steal their cast and manipulate them solely for the purpose of Christmas entertainment!
THE AUDIENCE for setting aside their better judgement and actually finding this story FUNNY!
THANK YOU ALL!
-ONE LAST BOW AND CURTAINS DOWN-
A/N: Wow! So I finally managed to finish it. It took me five days to get this started, but only three hours to actually write it last night. Funny how fast things can go when you get into it! Well, I hope you all enjoyed it and I hope you all have a great New Year. Thanks guys!