A/N: By request! I hope you all like this. Oh, and before you ask: The setting is a real place and the descriptions of it are a little biased but there's really nothing false in them. If you don't like how I describe Humbodlt County, tough. NOW this is beta-ed, I'm sorry for the silly mistakes that were in here before and I DO own a dictionary...but WORD is so much more convenient.
"Carter, tell me again WHY we're in California," Jack asked irritated as they were driving the short distance from the airport to their hotel.
Sam sighed; this was the tenth time she'd had to explain it to him since they'd hopped off the plane almost an hour ago. She kept of shuddering at how small the airport was – one restaurant, one gift shop, one terminal for departure, and one terminal for arrival! "Because the president wants Jonas to see the US first hand by sending us to unknown towns in the middle of every state. California was the first on their list."
"But why here? I see trees – there are trees in Colorado!"
"But, Jack, these are the famous redwoods! They don't grow just anywhere - only here and in Oregon. It really is quite amazing," Jonas piped up, happy to be seeing more of the wonderful USA firsthand. "I did read that it's going to be in the fifty's our entire time here, though. Apparently it never gets past seventy degrees here! Can you believe it?"
Jack groaned as he rolled his eyes. It was stupid really. The higher ups were trying to show Jonas Earth culture first hand? It sounded a little fishy, but if it meant he got a paid month long vacation (not all in one chunk of course) than he was all for it.
"Can you tell me why we brought our dress uniforms, Carter?"
Sam sighed again. She was fine with blowing up a sun. She was fine with rigging a naquadah reactor to be a bomb. She was fine with flying an asteroid through the planet. She had a problem with being given baby-sitting duty for one very grumpy Air Force colonel, and two aliens who'd never even seen California.
"Because, sir, we're giving a presentation about the Air Force to the local high school tomorrow morning. It was the one requirement for this vacation."
The car pulled up into the parking lot of the hotel. It was really strange for Sam and Jack to be staying at an unknown hotel instead of an Air Force base… but who really cared, right? It was a paid vacation – with some shopping money to boot!
Their hotel was rather small, but it was quiet. Jack was rather shocked that they weren't really asked any questions about whom they were or such. The receptionist was a very nice young woman who had a smile ready for everyone.
Jack decided to take the bull by the horns after they were given their room keys. "So, what's there to do out here?"
The girl, Courtney the nametag read, looked at him strangely. "Well… there's really not much here to do. We got a movie theatre a few years back, but our mall's not very big and that's a half an hour drive away… if you like coffee there are a number of coffee shops that you could check out." She smiled to herself, "I'm sorry folks, you four just stepped into Hippy Town, USA – even more so if you take the ten minute drive to Arcata. There's a few bowling alleys in Arcata and Eureka, but other than that there's not much… oh, wait, I lied. If you're into sight seeing, there's the world's largest totem pole in the shopping center by the middle school, and if you go onto 101 North for about an hour and a half, there are the Trees of Mystery. You might like them if you're not afraid of nearly a mile hike through the forest."
Jonas grinned, "Oh! Can we, Jack? Can we?"
"Jonas!" Jack nearly yelled, agitated by the younger man's upbeat personality. "We have trees in Colorado! We have walking through forests at work."
"There's a gift shop there, too. And a big talking statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox," Courtney offered helpfully.
Sam smiled at her, "Thanks, we may just have to go check it out. Are you sure there's nothing else to do here?"
"Well, if you're not afraid to spend a little money there's always the Plaza in Old Town Arcata, or Old Town Eureka… or Ferndale. We're not that big on the modern stuff here – like I said before, we're pretty isolated here on the other side of the redwood curtain."
"Thank you for your advice," Teal'c said solemnly nodding his head. "We shall now retire to our rooms to think over the prospect of a hike through a forested area."
Courtney waved at them, "Have a nice stay!"
Jack flipped through the brochure on the desk in the room he was sharing with Jonas. "Wow," he mumbled, "She was telling the truth – there really is nothing to do here."
Jonas was bouncing up and down on one of the beds as he looked out the window at the bright, California sun. "What do you mean, Jack? She told us about lots of things we can do while we're here!"
Jack glared at Jonas, "Jonas, I don't know if you noticed or not – but we're currently in Hick Town USA. They tip cows for fun."
"What's tipping cows?"
"Oh, for cryin' out loud!"
Sam flipped through the brochure in the room she was sharing with Teal'c while he unpacked his things in the dresser and the bathroom. She soon came to the same conclusion as Jack that there wasn't much to do if they didn't have an imagination. Shopping. Shopping in Old Town would be fun after they did their presentation at the schools… perhaps the students would have some advice concerning amusement…
The phone range and Sam picked it up, "Carter."
"Major Carter? This is Principal Wilkes – where are you? The presentation starts in ten minutes!" a disembodied voice yelled from the other end of the line.
Sam held the phone back from her ear while the man continued on his tirade for a few more moments. "Principal Wilkes, I'm terribly sorry, we just arrived at the hotel. I thought the presentation was tomorrow."
"TOMORROW IS SATURDAY! I'll stall for about ten minutes, giving you twenty to get here – but we need you now! See you soon, Major!"
Before Sam could respond, the line went dead. She sighed before turning to Teal'c, "Well, it looks like we have to get dressed for our presentation now. We leave in five. Can you call next door and tell them while I change?"
"Very well, Major Carter."
Seven minutes later found SG-1 assembled in the lobby, looking mighty impressive with Sam and Jack in dress blues while Teal'c and Jonas were in suits… not to mention Teal'c had talked Jonas into wearing matching hats – they were cowboys!
Courtney whistled in admiration at the four of them, "You guys look really good. Where are you headed looking like that?"
"We have an appointment at the high school. Can you point us in the right direction, please?" Jonas asked, flirting a little with his smile.
Courtney grinned, "I'll do one better, hang on one minute." She left the counter to go to the back room, returning a few minutes later with her co-worker 'Jimmy'. "I'll take you myself in the van."
"Thanks a lot, Courtney," Sam said with a kind smile.
With two minutes to spare, SG-1 pulled up into the high school parking lot and Courtney showed them where the office was. Principal Wilkes was a nervous wreck. He thought that the Air Force presentation for the Career Day was standing him up. When he saw the four foreboding looking people come through the doors of his office, he was so relieved he almost wet himself.
"Come on, then!" he said after seeing them. "This way!"
He led the quartet through the school into the multipurpose room. Jack leaned in and whispered into Sam's ear, "Reminds me of high school."
Sam smiled at his attempt to lighten the mood, "Really, sir? I can't imagine why."
"Here!" Wilkes showed the four to a table. "Here's your table. Someone… Major Something or other… came in before and set up all of your brochures and stickers. There should be a box of something down there underneath for you to give away to the students to keep them interested. I've got to go, it's almost time to start!"
SG-1 filed in behind their table and looked around at what they were dealing with. There was a sticky note on the top of the box (containing miniature toy airplanes no less) that read:
"Hey guys! Have fun out there today. Remember – they smell fear.
No worries! - Maj. Davis"
Jack shook his head as Sam showed him the note. That was just so Davis. He looked around at the other tables near theirs and saw a lot of uniforms out there in the sea of suits. The Marine's table was (unfortunately) right next to Air Force, followed by Army and Navy on one side and the door on the other. In front of them Jack could make out the accounting booth, then… was that a CalTrans booth? What the hell was CalTrans? Oh, yeah, California Transportation… what were they doing here? Oh, yeah, they were in California. He was so dense sometimes.
A small cluster of girls came up to the Air Force table. "Hi," the bravest one, a girl with strawberry-blonde hair, said.
Sam grinned at her, "Hi, I'm Major Carter. This is Colonel O'Neill, that's Dr. Jonas Quinn and Dr. T. Murray." Jack gave her a quizzical look when she announced Jonas and Teal'c as doctors, but she just shrugged in response.
The girls all stared at them with wide eyes, "Wow. What fields are you guys all in?"
Jack grinned at the girl's enthusiasm… it reminded him of Jonas. "Well, I'm more of a field commander, Dr. Murray has a Ph.D. in tactics and strategy. Dr. Quinn is a historian. And Major Carter here has her Ph.D. in physics."
Sam rolled her eyes, "Theoretical astrophysics, sir."
Jack shrugged his shoulders, "It make absolutely no difference to me – I still can only understand about a third of what you say."
Sam smirked, "You understand black holes pretty well."
"A term, Carter. I knew a term."
The students watched with fascination as the two bickered back and forth. One of the girls looked at Teal'c and saw the slight smirk on his face. Even though he was big and there seemed to be a noticeable circle of space around him, she decided to bite the bullet and ask him a question.
"So, Dr. Murray?" she asked timidly.
"Um, are they always like that?" she asked, pointing to Sam and Jack.
Teal'c nodded sagely, "Indeed, most often times they are much worse."
She smiled at Teal'c, liking him immediately. She held out her hand, "I'm Sasha. It's nice to meet you, Dr. Murray."
Teal'c took her hand briefly, "It is nice to meet you Sasha. Are you interested in a career in the Air Force, then?"
She shrugged, "I don't really know yet. I'm a kinda indecisive person… but I like the idea of traveling a lot."
"Is that your only interest?"
Sasha shook her head, "No, I like making models of stuff – like planes. My dad says that I'll probably be a carpenter, but I don't think so. I'm just good at putting stuff together."
Teal'c raised his right eyebrow, "Have you considered becoming an engineer, Sasha?"
She inclined her head, "Actually no. That's a really good idea, thank you Dr. Murray."
"You know," Jack said, having followed the conversation from his place by Sam, "The Air Force will let you major in whatever area you want – and you get to travel a lot, too."
"Have you traveled a lot, Colonel O'Neill?" Sasha asked innocently.
Jack smirked, along with the rest of SG-1. "Oh yeah."
"Thanks. I'll consider that," Sasha turned to walk away but Jonas stopped her.
"Hey, wait! You forgot your model airplane!" he threw one of the small boxes at her and she grinned from ear to ear.
"Thanks. I have a collection of these at home."
The rest of the day went fairly well for SG-1 as they were bombarded with questions from half eager students who didn't want to be there but had to be. Sam found out that there were some really cool specialty stores in Old Town… or was it the Plaza?… that she wanted to check out after they were done at the school.
Old Town was full of shops for anything and everything you could possibly think of. Deciding that there really was no time to change before they hit the shops, Sam spent a lot of her time trying to find a jacket after she left hers in the car. "Oh, it won't be that cold. I can handle it," she said when Courtney, who'd volunteered to be their chauffeur, warned her about the wind. Jack was taking no chances and had his nice, warm leather jacket over his dress blues.
"Still think you can handle it, Carter?" Jack asked as they walked along the sidewalk.
Sam glared at him, "With only minimal respect, sir – shut up and go get me my jacket!"
Jack mock glared at her, "Hey! I'm you're commanding officer – you can't tell me to shut up! I'm not your subordinate, Major."
Courtney snorted with laughter at their antics before passing Sam her missing jacket. "I didn't think you'd be able to handle this wind for very long so I brought it with me."
"Thank you so much, Courtney!" Sam said as she donned her stiff, blue jacket.
Just then a group of five young, gruff looking young men approached their party. Courtney swore softly underneath her breath – but not soft enough for any of SG-1 to miss her say, "Pot heads."
The leader nodded to Jack, "You got sume weed, brot'er?"
Jack snorted, "What makes you think I'm in charge?"
He nodded to Sam, "She's wearin' you's jac'et."
Jack snorted at the question as Sam scowled at them, "For your information, this is my jacket! His has a lot more medals."
The men's eyes all widened in horror as they realized they had not just hit up a drug dealer for marijuana but members of the USAF. They scattered like cockroaches when the light comes on.
Courtney turned to Sam and Jack with a grimace on her face, "Sorry about that. I forgot to warn you: Humboldt County is the pot capital of the US."
Jack shrugged, "That's okay. It proves the point: I've got more medals than she does and we can both still freak out civilians!"
A/N: So, what think you? Oh, and the spelling mistakes for the junkie were put in there on purpose and really how they talk. Think hippy-ville meets hick-town and you got the picture perfectly.