Title: Curiosity Froze the Cat
Author: Karen T
Disclaimer: Not mine, any of them.
Classification: Gen, humor
Notes: Written for surrealphantast in the Fall 2005 SG1 Team Ficathon. She asked for Sam and Daniel to be 'touching things', a thunderstorm, and sarcasm. Continued thanks to Michelle for her beta help.
Daniel had always wondered if he was plagued by a chronic case of bad luck, and his suspicions were only growing stronger with each passing second.
After all, what else but bad luck would explain the ferocious thunderstorm that came out of nowhere ten minutes after SG-1 arrived on P5T-526? And it must have been a bad luck-induced lack of sanity that made them push on with the mission despite being pelted by rock-sized raindrops and lashed at by 90-mile per hour winds. And then there was his current predicament.
"How exactly did this happen?" Jack asked, pacing in front of him.
"You already know how," Daniel said as he swallowed the desire to call Jack some not so nice names. He, unfortunately, wasn't in any condition to be picking fights.
"But I want you to tell me again. From the beginning. It's such a great story."
"Sir, is this really the best time to--"
"Ah!" Jack held up a hand and shushed Sam with it. "Daniel was just about to tell us the story. Daniel?"
Rolling his eyes, Daniel mumbled, "After seeking refuge in this building, we determined that it was, indeed, abandoned and you gave me permission to examine the Goa'uld inscriptions on the walls. As I was translating those inscriptions, I discovered that the east wall is actually a sliding door to a secret chamber."
"And, after accidentally flipping the trigger to the door, I found that it concealed a single totem with what appear to be Mayan carvings. In order to study the totem more closely, I picked it up and--"
"You. Picked. It. Up." Jack stabbed at the air with a finger, almost as if to say 'A-ha!'
"Yes," Daniel sighed. "I picked it up."
"And what was my standing order to you when we left the SGC?"
"Not to touch anything."
"Not to touch anything!" Again Jack stabbed at the air with a finger, and again Daniel cursed his remarkably poor luck. "Now, we all know I'm not the language expert of the group, but doesn't picking something up constitute touching it?"
"So, if you had listened to me, none of this would have happened?"
"And now you feel pretty stupid, don't you?"
"Yes, Jack," Daniel growled for the third time through clenched teeth.
"Are you finished torturing Daniel, sir?"
"For now." Jack turned to flash Daniel a bright smile. "But check back with me in five."
"Will do." Sam offered Daniel an apologetic half-smile and rubbed his right shoulder before returning her attention to the huge block of ice that was imprisoning the lower half of his body.
"What can you tell me about this, Carter?" Jack asked, gesturing with his chin to Daniel's ice-encased legs.
"My analysis says it's nothing more than regular ice. Its chemical make-up is exactly the same as water."
"While I'm sure we all know how this happened," Jack paused to shoot Daniel a pointed look, "I want to know why. That totem tell us anything, Teal'c?"
"I do not believe so, O'Neill." The totem sat on the ground in the same place it'd fallen after Daniel had dropped it when ice began rising from the floor and molding itself around his legs. Bent at the waist, Teal'c peered at the totem, every once in a while cautiously nudging it with the end of his staff weapon. "There are, however, no Goa'uld symbols on the object. It is possible these markings I do not recognize will explain what has happened to Daniel Jackson."
"I think it's safe to say the totem was booby-trapped," Daniel said with the hope that thinking out loud would help distract him from his current lack of mobility.
"Was it the ice that grew up out of the ground and swallowed your legs that tipped you off to the probable booby-trapping?" Jack asked.
"Dammit, Jack, what the hell--"
"Hey, let's stay focused, okay?" Sam interjected as she stepped between him and Jack. Daniel felt Teal'c place a calming hand on his shoulder, which actually did a pretty effective job at making him unclench his fists. "How are your legs holding up, Daniel?"
"They're okay." Daniel focused his attention on wiggling his toes and tried not to think too hard about how that was becoming an increasingly difficult thing for him to do. "Just ... cold."
"Yeah, I know." She winced and gave his hand a quick squeeze as she used her other hand to check the temperature of his forehead. "Your body temperature doesn't seem to have been affected yet, but we should try and get you out soon. The problem is the ice is really thick. I'm not sure there's a particularly expedient way we can melt it."
Jack moved to her side and joined her in studying Daniel's half-frozen state. "Blowtorch? I could see if we can borrow one from Siler."
"Blowtorch?" Daniel asked, his question coming out much like a panicked squeak.
"Well, I was going to suggest ice picks, but do you really want us chiseling away ... down there?"
"Oh, god." Daniel dropped his head and moaned.
"Then again, blasting you with fire won't make those little guys happy, either."
"Do not worry, Daniel Jackson. We shall free you with as little damage to your manhood as possible."
"Thanks, Teal'c." Over Teal'c's shoulder, Daniel could see Sam trying to suppress her laughter. On his list of conversations he didn't want to have with Teal'c, this was right up near the top. "That's ... Thanks."
Shaking his head, Daniel had to admit that his current situation was ridiculous. Through the years, they'd each found themselves in some rather ... interesting, for lack of a better word, situations. But he wasn't sure he was going to be able to live down getting turned into a human ice sculpture.
"We can try boiling some water and seeing how quickly that'll melt the ice," Sam eventually suggested. She didn't look too pleased with her lack of creativity, but Daniel didn't mind trying some more conventional methods first.
As the rest of the team went to work setting out the sterno and pots needed to boil water, Daniel kept an eye on their progress and envisioned steaming cups of coffee. He didn't know if it was watching Sam pour water into the pots or his dreaming of coffee or a combination of both, but he soon felt nature calling. Quite urgently.
"Uh, guys? We might have a small problem."
"What's wrong?" Sam jogged towards him, still clutching a half-full pot of water, and that image was enough to make him inhale sharply. "Have you lost feeling in your toes? Your legs?"
"No, I ... really have to pee."
"But I won't," he insisted quickly.
"You think I should?"
"I wouldn't normally recommend it, but it might help, in this case. I mean, if we can loosen the ice around your legs, we might be able to pull you out. That'd take less time than us trying to melt the ice from the outside in."
"But ... you want me to pee on myself?" Daniel's luck was mocking him now. He was sure of it.
"Oh, what's a little pee between friends?" Jack asked, dismissing Daniel's reservations with a wave of his hand. "If I got stung by a jellyfish, Carter would pee on me. Right, Carter?"
"Uh ..." Sam's eyes grew large and Teal'c's right eyebrow flew upwards.
"You wouldn't pee on me in my time of need?" Jack asked, clearly aghast at this revelation.
"I would never have imagined you to be so squeamish about bodily fluids, Carter."
"I'm not, sir. Let's just say I'd rather have Teal'c pee on you."
"I do not believe I am comfortable with this notion of urinating on O'Neill," Teal'c declared solemnly. "That would be a most unusual act for a Jaffa warrior."
They all stared at Teal'c in silence until Jack snickered, which was enough to set Sam off.
Hugging his arms around his body, Daniel had to taken several deep breaths before he dared to say, "Guys, please. Don't make me laugh."
"Sorry," Sam gasped between chuckles. "I'll get back to boiling water."
"Have we completed our discussion of urinating on O'Neill?"
"Yeah, I think we're done with that. Thanks, Teal'c."
While Sam and Teal'c returned to water duty, Daniel kept his mind preoccupied by debating which dead language would be the most time-consuming when it came to counting backwards from one million. Ancient was in the lead, mainly because he still struggled with the language and its intricate counting scheme, when Sam called out his name.
"Hey, Daniel? When you picked up the totem, did you pick it up in any specific way? Like, with your fingers in certain places?"
"No." Daniel studied Sam with curiosity. Her gaze was focused on a pot of boiling water, but her expression was one of intense concentration. "I just picked it up."
"Why do you ask, Carter?" Jack asked, his voice taking on an 'Oh, crap, now what?' tinge of wariness.
"Oh, nothing. It's just-- Well ... I was just thinking that if Daniel tripped this booby-trap accidentally, which it sounds like he did, then the totem's probably safe to be examined now. If I can figure out how the totem made the ice form, then I might be able to reverse its effects and make the ice melt."
"No, Carter, no one's touching that totem."
"But, sir, if I--"
"I said no."
"But if my hypothesis is correct, then ..." Sam's thought trailed off unfinished as she rummaged through her pack to retrieve a small tool that bore a striking resemblance to a pen light. Hurrying to the site of the fallen totem, she held the tool to its middle, pressed a small button on the side of the tool, and waited as it emitted a short, faint eep. When subsequent button presses failed to produce more eeps, Sam turned to Jack, beaming with pride. "See? The totem barely registers any sort of energy reading. I think Daniel drained most, if not all, of its energy the minute he picked it up and set off the trap."
"Carter ..." What little jovialness that had been left on Jack's face disappeared as he took a step in Sam's direction. "Do not touch that--"
But it was too late. For whatever reason -- a desire to piss off Jack, or an overwhelming desire to defrost Daniel, or something else entirely -- Sam grabbed the totem, and they all held their breaths. A second passed. Nothing happened. Then another second. Still nothing.
"I knew it," Sam said, smiling broadly. "The probability is minute that a totem of this size would house a recharging power unit capable of sustaining multiple--"
Her smile crumbled as the ground groaned and water, defying everything they knew about it, rose up from the floor and continued to climb upwards until it reached Sam's waist. By the time Teal'c powered his staff weapon and Jack leveled his P-90, Sam's lower half was stuck in a block of ice just like Daniel's was.
"Or I could be totally wrong," Sam said sheepishly, her expression contrite. "Sorry, sir."
"You guys are killing me," Jack groaned as he lowered his P-90 and scrubbed at his face with his left hand. "Do the words 'Do not touch' mean the complete opposite to scientists?"
Daniel watched as Sam's cheeks grew a deep crimson and he tried to send her a telepathic sideways hug. "We could look on the bright side," he said, hoping to inject some levity into the situation. "I was sure I was cursed, but at least we now know that's not true since Sam's also stuck in ice."
"Actually, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c began, "the Jaffa have always believed that curses could be passed from one to another, much like an epidemic. When it is discovered who bore the original blight, he is often cast out of society for the good of all others."
Daniel stared at Teal'c, his mouth a gape. "I ... Oh."
"Don't give me any ideas," Jack groused, eyeing Daniel and Sam with obvious displeasure.
"Perhaps I should contact General Hammond and inform him that we may require the fire-shooting skills of Sergeant Siler."
"Yeah, reinforcements would be good, Teal'c. Tweedle Can't-keep-his-hands-to-himself and Tweedle Can't-keep-her-hands-to-herself have made it impossible for just you and me to-- Wait." Jack stopped Teal'c and grinned, the mischievous upturn of his lips causing unease to creep up Daniel's partially numb spine. "I think Carter and Daniel should promise us something first."
"Don't you think it's kind of childish to--"
"Ah!" Jack shushed Daniel's protest with a raised hand, just like he'd done to Sam earlier. "Do you really think you're in any position to be negotiating?"
"Okay, fine," Daniel relented, his back molars grinding together in exasperation. "What do you want us to promise?"
"Repeat after me. 'I promise not to touch anything offworld ever again.'"
Daniel and Sam exchanged eye rolls before saying, in unison, "I promise not to touch anything offworld ever again."
"And now, just Daniel. 'I think--'"
"You do know what a stupid and implausible promise that is, don't you, Jack?" Daniel snapped.
Once more Jack's hand came up as he calmly continued, "'I think Jack O'Neill is much smarter than me, and that's why he's always right.'"
Seconds ticked by as Daniel gawked at Jack. There was no way he was going to say that, and especially not in front of others.
"I can't hear you," Jack said in a sing-song voice.
"Daniel," Sam whispered, shooting him a look that clearly said he should just say it and get it over with.
Making a face, Daniel muttered, all in one breath, "I think Jack O'Neill is much smarter than me, and that's why he's always right."
"Aww, really?" Jack asked, feigning surprise. "I had no idea you felt that way!"
Not even Sam could hold back the laughter that Jack's reaction produced.
"Happy now?" Daniel asked.
"Ecstatic. But there's still one more thing."
"What else could you possibly want?" Daniel was so annoyed that he didn't notice how Jack was reaching into his pack. "Can't you just--" he started to complain before being blinded by a bright light. Once the spots faded from his vision, he saw Jack ejecting the memory card from his camera. "What the ... ?"
"You didn't think I'd pass up the opportunity to take a picture of a Danielsicle, did you?"
Oh, there was no doubt about it now. Daniel was undeniably, overwhelmingly cursed.