Space Pirates: Way Cooler than Ninjas

Gosh I miss going off-world!

Those particular words had passed Jack's lips the last four times he'd gone off world as a General. (Four times in two years? Was that really it? Man, his job sucked.) It was meant to be a sarcastic statement, usually employed best right when he was held at gunpoint or offered some bizarre concoction that he was sure would make him regret drinking it later.

He used it to remind himself that it really was nicer to be safe behind a desk instead of being shot at all the time.


He was having a harder time convincing himself of that today, which was probably why he left the phrase unsaid. Because this time he suspected he'd mean it literally.

Jack's shoulder was beginning to hurt. He rolled his neck a bit, trying to loosen the tension, but it didn't help. He should be annoyed at being in an alien prison again. This was supposed to be a 'simple diplomatic mission' (whoever came up with the phrase really needed to be shot).

In no conceivable way should he be smiling brightly, amused to no end by Daniel's new alien girlfriend. It was, after all, Vala's fault they were in this prison to begin with. (Apparently the ruler's body was conceived of as a holy object and therefore shouldn't be touched. Especially by saucy, voluptuous space vixens with entirely too much cleavage on display.)

To be honest, Vala was more than Jack had ever expected, no matter how many mission reports and descriptions he got from Sam. The real thing was quite a sight to behold and Jack was inexplicably grateful that he hadn't missed this particular trip, prison stint and all.

"You know…," Vala said, breaking her astonishingly long stretch of silence (almost three minutes, by Jack's watch).

The instant she opened her mouth, Jack automatically turned to Daniel. The archaeologist's eyes were tightly shut and he appeared to be either tuning them all out through meditation, or contemplating re-ascension. But sure enough, with each of Vala's words, Daniel's face twitched, belying his calm exterior. Just a small tic at the corner of his left eye, but damn did it fascinate Jack. It took a lot to get Daniel this wound up. Jack himself had rarely, if ever, achieved this level. And all it took was this woman's voice.

Well, three hours of this woman's voice.

God, Jack loved this woman. He should have tracked her down and hired her on at the SGC right after Daniel had returned from that first ill-fated Prometheus trip. Jack was sure he still didn't know the whole story of what had happened there. He just knew that the mere sound of the alien's name was enough to get Daniel grinding his teeth. Which was why, of course, Jack went out of his way to say it as often as possible in the following months.

Who said he couldn't still get quality time in with his teammates from behind his enormous desk?

Jack turned his attention back to Vala, who was looking pretty serene and in her element considering they were all hanging from their wrists in a rather dank prison at the moment. She was wearing a tight black leather thing (the only description Jack could come up with was 'cat suit') with her hair pulled back in two pigtails. Her deeply rouged lips were curled into a wicked smile that convinced Jack that whatever was about to come out of her mouth was going to be entertaining at the very least.

"Your lovely ex-teammates failed to mention just how scrumptious you are," Vala finished, her voice fairly purring while her eyes unashamedly raked over Jack's body.

Jack let out a bark of laughter as Daniel's eye twitched particularly badly, making it look like he was having a small seizure. On the other side of Daniel, Jack could hear Sam groan softly with annoyance and he knew without looking that she was rolling her eyes.

"Don't worry, luv," Vala said, leaning around Jack to look at Sam, her eyes wide with faux sincerity, "I'm not out to poach him, but a girl would have to be blind not to notice."

Sam looked embarrassed and annoyed as hell all at once and Jack struggled not to laugh. Laugh now, Jack, and you will be sorry, he thought, biting down hard on his bottom lip.

"Wouldn't you agree, Teal'c?" Vala queried, turning to the last of their cell-mates.

Teal'c took a long, rather uncomfortable moment to appraise Jack before saying, "Indeed. O'Neill is a fine specimen of manhood."

Jack stared at Teal'c in abject horror until he noticed the slight twinkle in his eyes that meant the Jaffa was just having a go at him.

"T, buddy," Jack breathed in relief. "Don't do that to me. I'm an old man, for crying out loud!"

Teal'c inclined his head in understanding but looked completely unapologetic as Vala winked at him. Who the hell knew she could be this much of a bad influence on even Teal'c?

Next to Jack, Daniel had begun mumbling quietly to himself, his eyes still tightly shut. Jack looked across at Sam, lifting one eyebrow questioningly. She leaned into Daniel and listened for a moment.

"Canterbury Tales. In Old English," Sam announced.

Jack winced. Old English was not one of Daniel's primary languages. He only got around to that one when he was very drunk, or very annoyed.

"Careful, Vala," Jack said as soberly as he could manage. "I think Daniel is getting jealous."

"Nonsense," Vala huffed. "He knows he's been first in my heart since the day we met, when he undressed me and I beat him up."

There was the distinct sound of grinding teeth coming from Daniel now, interspersed with the odd lilt of Old English.

"Not necessarily in that order though," Vala added with a wink.

Dammit, Jack just had to get that whole story someday.

The clank of the opening cell door saved Daniel from any further mental anguish. Mitchell was heaved through the open door and dumped unceremoniously on the floor by two burly guards.

"If this is your idea of a rescue attempt, dear, you're doing it wrong," Vala noted impatiently.

Mitchell lifted his head slightly off the floor, giving them all a clear view of his nice new shiner.

"Plan B didn't quite work out," he informed them, smiling up at them from the floor and flashing thumbs up to let them know he was doing fine. Jack had the suspicious feeling that the guy was actually excited to be imprisoned on some alien planet with the original SG-1 in tow.

But considering how amused Jack had been these last few hours, he didn't think he was in a position to judge.

"Oh for goodness sake," Vala snapped with exasperation. "Our fearless leader! Luckily I am quite used to saving myself."

The creak of leather filled the chamber for a few brief moments before Vala dropped casually to the floor with a soft click as her manacles popped open. Obviously unaware or uncaring of the astonished stares she earned from her cell-mates, Vala smoothly adjusted her clothing and pinned a stray strand of hair back with the small metal object that had secured her freedom.

"See, darling? Occasionally it pays off to be a little girly," she tossed off in Sam's direction.

Jack expected Sam to take exception to that, but instead, she just looked impressed.

"I'm sure it does," Sam responded as her own manacles clicked off and she too fell to the floor. Sam waved a small stylus at Vala, before sliding it back into her cuff.

"I knew I liked you for a reason," Vala said with a smirk.

Sam smiled back at Vala and Jack was struck with the idea that if these two women ever got it into their heads to conquer the Galaxy, there was probably nothing to stop them.

"So," Vala said casually, "Do we just leave them here? Or shall we take pity on the poor boys?"

For a second, Sam looked tempted by the former and Jack's mouth fell open in surprise.

"Carter," he drew out warningly, shaking his manacled wrists for emphasis.

There was the tiniest spark of rebellion in her eyes before she nodded smoothly. "Of course, sir."

Vala was definitely a bad influence on Sam. Which should disturb Jack more than it does.

Maybe she could get Sam to wear leather more often.

Jack watched the two women stand next to each other, heads bowed together discussing the best way out and he realized that this was by far the most fun he'd had in years. He had to wonder if he was perhaps having a mid-life crisis brought on by extreme job dissatisfaction. He didn't feel the need to buy a fast little sports car or find a fast little twenty year old (to be honest, neither of them held much appeal, not when he's piloted a X-303 with Carter). But suddenly, and inexplicably, Jack knew with total clarity that his childhood dream of being a ninja was completely bogus. (He'd been six, cut him some slack!) Everybody knew that pirates were way cooler than ninjas. And watching Sam and Vala in action, he couldn't help but think that they would make great space pirates. Especially if they let him tag along.

Then he'd never have to sit behind a desk again.

Sam, completely unaware of Jack's epiphany, released them all from their restraints while Vala industrially jimmied the cell door lock. Daniel was still continually mumbling under his breath, seemingly uncaring about the abrupt turn of events.

"Oh dear. I think we may have broken him," Vala said, peering closely at Daniel and nervously chewing at her lower lip.

"Don't worry," Sam said with a broad smile, "it sounds like he's already worked up to Sumerian. He'll be back to his old self in no time."

Teal'c levered Mitchell up off the floor and together the whole motley crew worked their way out of the primitive cells. It was fairly easy to avoid the few posted guards, though Jack was surprised to see that they were armed with little more than pointy sticks. What the hell had been Mitchell's rescue plan anyway? Patchy enough to be thwarted by men with sticks, apparently.

Now Jack was sure he should be annoyed, but he was still goddamn smiling.

Yes, he thought with certainty, they should all run off and be space pirates. They could get some rickety ship that Sam would constantly cobble together with chewing gum and paperclips while Daniel failed spectacularly to keep Vala out of trouble. Teal'c would continue to freak Jack out with unexpected quirks of humor and Cam would rush them into dangerous situations.

Maybe Jack was crazy, but that sounded a bit like heaven.

Now if he could just get Sam into some nice burgundy leather, cause, yeah, everyone knows that space pirates wear leather.

Jack was well into a rather elaborate fantasy when Sam glanced back and caught him staring at a part of her he really shouldn't be. "Don't even think about it," she said.

Jack refused to let her damper his mood and just leaned into her and asked, "Have I ever told you that you'd make a great space pirate?"

To her credit, the bizarre comment didn't throw Sam. (She always seemed to get him, even when he was being crazy.) Something shifted in her expression and suddenly she looked dangerous as hell, her eyes glittering and her lips pulled into a soft smirk.

"You bet your ass I would," she agreed lowly, doing all sorts of naughty things to his insides.

A second later the expression was gone and Jack was looking at dependable, stable Colonel Carter once again, wondering if he had imagined the whole thing. Maybe he was going crazy.

"Ready to go, sir?" Sam asked a while later, waving a hand at the now active Stargate.

"What, already?" Jack said with an enormous grin, even as he heard the distant sound of pursuit. (Large men no doubt armed with dangerous sticks, ready to poke someone's eye out.)

Sam shook her head in amusement with a bright gleam in her eye that made Jack think he didn't imagine anything.

"You know, sir, you really need to get off-world more often," she said with a saucy grin before hopping backwards into the wormhole.

Truer words were never spoken.

As soon as he retired, he was going to find them a ship. Maybe he'd name it Thor.

A large stick impacted the ground next to Jack and he quickly stepped up into the wormhole, softly singing under his breath.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

We're devils and black sheep, really bad eggs,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho!