Turnabout is Fair Play – Part 18 - Final Scene
Author: Neiths Arrow
Disclaimer: The following characters are fictitious. They, in no way, make a statement about any real persons – especially since I have made up the names, histories, interests, personalities, and experiences (fictional 'facts) to suit my needs (as authors tend to do). Any similarity to real persons is just that – a similarity. The personalities are based on characteristics of people in Stargateland (MGM Television Entertainment). I don't own those characters by the way. I am not profiting from this story in any financial way. Please do not post this story without my consent.
As usual, THANK YOU DIANE for beta'ing!
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Previously on Stargate SG-1
The Director looked happy as he watched the dailies. With the help of SG-1, namely Colonel O'Neill and Dr. Jackson, they had almost completely finished shooting Part 2 of Evolution. He was amazed that Jack O'Neill seemed to have an innate ability to act on demand. He mused that it was probably because of his Special Ops experience. In any case, the only scenes remaining could be handled by Roc tomorrow at the studio. Willie walked away whistling happily.
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Scene 29 – Final Goodbyes
Since shooting was on schedule, Jack no longer needed to act in the scenes. As a result, he could observe the activity around him without having to be a part of it. For this day, he and the rest of SG-1 borrowed blue BDU's as this was the only color available from the Costume Department. The SG-1 team from this reality had taken the supply of green BDU's which were typically worn on missions. To the women on the set, Jack and Daniel cut quite stunning figures in the black t-shirts and deep blue jackets and pants. While the color set off the blue of Daniel's eyes, the dark colors accented the Colonel's silver-grey hair – which currently stood up on end in places, giving him the appearance that he had just woken up. When the brassy on-set hairdresser boldly offered to tame the unruly hair, Jack blinked incredulously and gave her a silent glare. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Daniel give a slight shake of the head, so she shrugged and walked away.
Jack sensed a disturbance behind him and turned to see a familiar figure in Air Force Dress Blues. The four stars on the shoulders would have normally sent a tense shard of discipline down his spine, but the Colonel, in the short time he had been in this reality, had conditioned himself not to react to the actors. Jack was amused to see Carter stand at attention to greet the 'General.' Seeing an opportunity to thumb his nose at authority without getting in trouble, Jack decided to take advantage of the chance to be irreverent to a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – even though he was really just an actor. Jack sauntered cockily over to the General and slapped him informally on the back in greeting. "Hey buddy, how's it going?" Jack was amused at the wide-eyed look of horror on Carter's face. He smirked to her and turned to face the General.
The General was apparently a very good actor. The look of seething rage on his face would have made Jack quake in his boots if he were really a high ranking officer in the United States Air Force. Carter remained standing at attention as if her ultra military stance would compensate for her CO's court-martial-able behavior. "Carter, he's not real. He's just an actor. You're wasting a perfectly good . . . pose." Noticing the dead silence around him, Jack turned in time to see Willie hurry toward him. The Director had a look of impending doom on his face.
Sensing that something wasn't quite right, Jack turned back to the General with a sudden dawning dread. His cock-sure attitude faded into rarely seen doubt. He gulped as Willie made introductions. "Jack, I want you to meet General Hopper from the United States Air Force. He's a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He sometimes visits our set and appears in the show as himself to increase morale in the military. He flew in today to debrief with the real SG-1."
By this point, Jack was standing impossibly straighter than Carter. He shouted, "Sir!" His right hand and arm were locked into a crisp military salute. His face was rigidly set, eyes trained straight forward, and his chest barely moved from his rapid breaths. His entire stance screamed out, I'm-in-deep-shit-and-I'm-going-to-show-my-respect-in-hopes-of-redeeming-myself. When the General returned the salute after a very long pause, Jack brought his arm sharply to his side and remained at attention. Jack's eyes didn't move as Hopper walked around him. His eyes remained locked forward as the General stared his displeasure at the familiarity Jack had exhibited.
General Hopper finally spoke. "I don't know what they do in your Air Force, Mister, but in this reality, we show proper military respect due the rank of General."
"Yes sir!" Jack swallowed nervously even though his mouth was dry. He wondered if he could be disciplined in another reality. The airman decided he didn't want to take any chances, so he chose to err on the side of caution.
"At ease son, before you bust a gut. You too, Major Carter." Jack relaxed into a parade-rest stance. "Colonel, we'd like to know the reason you are here. And we also need to know if we are in any danger." The General began walking toward a secluded side area. His demeanor made it clear they were to follow.
Once out of earshot of the crew, O'Neill gave full details of how they had tried to thwart Loki's plans to kidnap Rocco Flanders from this reality. Carter provided the latest update from Thor on when they could return. After receiving reassurance that there was no longer any danger to this planet, the General smiled. "Good job, people." He turned his full attention on O'Neill. "Colonel, I want you to know you'll have the full cooperation of the US military to help you get home." He smiled respectfully at Carter. "Major, let us know if you need any specialized equipment. We don't have anyone with your level of expertise in alien technology, but . . . ." He smiled wryly. Carter beamed with pride at the unexpected praise and replied smartly. "Yes sir. Thank you sir."
Jack smirked slightly in empathetic pleasure that her role was respected in this reality as well as in their own.
The General turned to Jack and continued, "I just want you to know that the Air Force in this reality is proud of the way you and your team handle yourselves. Your dedication and sacrifice exemplify the bravery of our men and women in the armed forces. We couldn't ask for a more dedicated – though irreverent – example." Jack's face twitched at the left-handed compliment. Hopper continued, "Enlistment and morale have increased since the inception of this show. Keep up the good work." Jack and Sam stood up and saluted respectfully as the General stood to leave. He smartly returned the salute before turning to walk off the set. Jack's face followed his retreating back in wonder. He turned to Major Carter with a slight smile of pleasure at the compliment. The compliment more than made up for scaring the crap out of him.
Shortly afterward, through the open, rear window in his official car, General Hopper spoke into his government-issue cell phone. "Yeah, you should have seen his face. I think I scared the holy crap out of him." The window closed, shutting off the view of the General's widely smiling face as the car drove away.
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As soon as Angela appeared on the set, Sam felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise. The actress was gorgeous. She had a girl-next-door freshness and beauty that was accented with light makeup and what appeared to be a set of custom-fit BDU's.
Jack looked back and forth between the two women. He could tell from the look on Carter's face that he would have to tread lightly. He risked a quick glance at Daniel and Teal'c. They both looked as uncomfortable as he felt. If they greeted the actress too enthusiastically, they might insult Sam. If they didn't greet her enthusiastically enough, they would insult Angela.
The decision was taken from their hands as Angela walked smoothly up to Sam and stuck out her hand in friendship. "I'm so honored to meet you. I wish we could spend more time together." Her smile was genuine.
Sam smiled politely, but it didn't reach her eyes. She had questions for this bit of fluff who couldn't possibly portray a serious scientist and Air Force Major realistically. In her best 'superior-officer-in-the-United-States-military' voice, Sam challenged, "Do you know the slightest thing about astrophysics?" Her chin jutted out in challenge.
Without missing a beat, Angela continued, "That's why I wish I could spend more time with you. I was just reading the latest Physics Review Letters. Did you get to see where Baiotti and Rezolla challenged the Paradigm of Singularity Excision in Gravitational Collapse?"
Sam stood in stunned silence for a long moment before recovering quickly. "Actually, I was in the middle of reading it on the drive to Roc's house. If the theories prove valid, the possibilities are . . . stellar!"
Angela was secretly glad she had consulted with her knowledgeable friend, Livi, before coming to the set today. She continued her scientific charade. "I know! It presents an interesting theory, which could provide information on black-hole ringing and the gravitational-wave emission from collapsing stellar material as it transitions to a rotating black hole. I know!"
Jack's head began to spin as he remembered the long-ago meeting between Doctor Carter and Captain Carter their first year. He almost groaned out loud. Instead he mumbled, "At least Jarret isn't into archeology." Sam and Angela were now deep in conversation about . . . Stella's transmission. Carter had that fanatical look she got in her eye when hooked into answering an intelligent question. Jack shook his head in appreciation and wonder. He could tell that the wily actress had won over the Air Force Major.
Jack's hair stood on end as he felt the presence of someone near his side. Roc spoke quietly. "And you're surprised? Most actors have fantasies about meeting the character they portray. We have nightmares that the character wouldn't like our portrayal, so we tend to try to please the fictitious character when acting. Then we get labeled as 'temperamental' when we argue that the character wouldn't do that, or wouldn't say that. But to us, the character is alive. Angela spends a lot of time learning about astrophysics so she sounds like she knows the topic on screen.
Teal'c appeared on Jack's other side. "It would appear Major Carter is a formidable individual in any reality." Jack and Roc turned to the dignified alien. Roc smiled widely. Suddenly, the Jaffa's face broke into an uncharacteristic smile. He threw his head back, and laughed uproariously. The absolutely stunned look that overtook O'Neill's face was comical, so Roc joined in by chuckling in a rapid staccato. Terrence Gold couldn't force Teal'c's impassive expression back onto his face anymore, so he extended his hand in introduction to the Colonel. "Hi, I'm Terry. (grin) I play Teal'c on the show. (big teeth grin) It's good to meet you." The whole time, the big man was shaking Jack's hand so emphatically, that Jack's head bobbed in time with each shake.
Jack found his mouth twitching into an involuntary smile. This actor who looked just like Teal'c had a very infectious laugh. Denny Jarret and Angela Turner joined the small group with the result that Jack was surrounded by the alternate SG-1.
Terry playfully punched Denny in the arm as he asked, "Hey man, you gonna act anytime soon or are you gonna have Daniel Jackson do all your work for you?" His harsh words were softened by jolly laughter and a huge smile.
Denny jerked his thumb toward Roc. "Hey, you should be saying that to the Old Man. He's the one with the acting twin." He and Terry shot a teasing look back at Roc.
Roc defended himself. "Hey! I had a lot of scenes in this one, and I'm only a part timer."
Angela hooked her hands around Roc and Denny's elbows. "Now, now boys. Let's not fight or I'll have to tell General Hammond."
A disembodied shout that sounded suspiciously like the General emanated from the next room. "He won't care!"
With an impish grin, Angela exclaimed, "D'oh!"
Jack happily stood in the middle of the friendly antics. He watched the exchanges between the actors with the same enthusiasm he used when watching the Simpsons. With all seriousness, he asked, "Soooo! Is this show a comedy?"
The actors looked at each other and laughed. Roc responded for the group. "Sometimes."
Jack's head nodded with satisfaction. "Sweet!"
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The fun was soon over as the actors and crew had to return to work. O'Neill was as impressed with the studio as he was with the location shooting. It reminded him of the SGC where each individual had a job, but acted as a member of a team. Roc had just completed the scenes with 'General Hammond,' and the office had already been magically turned into Sam's lab. O'Neill grinned at his nervous 2IC.
Samantha Carter was almost hyperventilating in excitement and fear. With the insistence of the television crew and a bit of coercion from her real teammates, she had decided to try her hand at acting one scene. In this scene, she was working on electronic components when her CO comes in to tell her he is going to go rescue Daniel in Honduras.
The lighting designer did an excellent job of portraying Sam's dedication to her work by using a desk lamp to illuminate the electronics and part of her face in her darkened lab. During the shoot, Rocco Flanders couldn't keep the smile off his face at the excitement of acting opposite the real Samantha Carter. His smile was infectious and Sam couldn't help but respond in kind. It gave the scene a different impact than the scripted words attempted to portray. Though it didn't quite match the seriousness of the story, Willie guessed that there would be a fight if the editor tried to eliminate this scene from the final cut. Since most of the crewmembers were geeks, they had all already fallen in love with the brilliant Major.
O'Neill watched from the sidelines. He caught Daniel's eye and smiled. He watched the slight smile on Teal'c's face as well. It was no secret that half the men on base found the Major attractive. But that attraction was tempered with the respect she had earned with her intelligence and bravery. No one would risk the avalanche of crap that would come down on them from above and below if they marred her reputation with insinuation. The handpicked men and women who served at the SGC were a close-knit group due to the danger they faced on a daily basis. Anyone who didn't show proper respect to the females on base either changed or left. Jack was secretly pleased that Sam had 'let her hair down' to play in this reality.
The smile left his face when Sam protectively picked up the electronic component she had been soldering while being filmed and then handed it to one of the Special Effects guys. The man thanked her profusely. "Thanks Major Carter. This will help us a lot."
Jack boomed, "Carter! That wasn't real work, was it?"
Sam jumped slightly and wouldn't meet his eyes. "Well, sir. I needed a soldering iron and decided I could do some work while . . . ." She trailed off and bit her lower lip when she saw the look of incredulous disbelief on his face. Her blue eyes widened and she gulped. She had somehow annoyed her CO once again. She couldn't help her efficiency. Sam looked to Daniel for backup, but he turned his head away to look up at the ceiling. She would have to defend her actions on her own.
All of a sudden, an arm came between her and her CO, wrapped around her shoulders, and pulled her away. Roc's low voice soothed her, "Come on, Sam. We can go look at the results of our shooting from this screen." The actor's eyes dared O'Neill to continue harassing Sam. Jack looked around at the other protective crewmembers who suddenly surrounded Sam and realized it was time for retreat.
Teal'c came to stand beside him and folded his hands behind his back. He blinked in response to Jack's sigh of frustration. "Major Carter is very dedicated to her work. As are you."
Jack was puzzled by this parting remark until he realized that he had been casing the facility for defensible positions in case of attack. He blinked and scowled in annoyance at the Jaffa's retreating back.
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The final scenes that took place in the gateroom had just been completed and filming was done for the week. However, everyone was hesitant to leave. They wanted to spend as much time with the real SG-1 as possible. Rumor also had it that Thor was about to make an appearance. Preparations were spontaneously made for a party in honor of the real SG-1. The creative crewmembers devised entertainment for what promised to be a long afternoon of partying. As a bright light filled one corner of the room, the set became quiet. After the light dimmed, a lone Asgard stood at the base of the fake Stargate ramp. Willie couldn't resist. He walked up to the grey alien. With a humble bow, he intoned, "Welcome to Planet Earth."
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Thor stood before the two puppets in complete silence. He leaned down slowly to look at the rod protruding from the rear end of one puppet, but then stood quickly with widened eyes of astonishment. He peered closely at the puppet's face while feeling his own face with one webbed hand; this left him in a posture reminiscent of Jack Benny. Thor's facial expression was unreadable to the people present. The puppet designer held her breath in fear that her work would be criticized. The gracious alien thoughtfully responded, "I congratulate you on your remarkable ability to portray my race so accurately with the limited resources available." There was a collective sigh of relief. No one had been sure if Thor would be offended by the likeness. The puppet designer and puppeteers were actually studying the live Asgard quite closely in order to accurately duplicate his appearance and movements in future episodes.
After a dinner of pizza and beer, the puppeteers staged a comedic demonstration of their skills by having the actors interact with the puppets. Sam was appalled at their antics. Jack actually laughed out loud, while Daniel pursed his lips in an attempt to prevent a smile. Teal'c looked puzzled. He questioned, "I do not understand why Thor would want to touch Major Carter in such a way." Thor appeared oblivious to the interaction and went over to speak with the puppeteers to suggest improvements for next year's puppet design.
After the play was over, Roc and Jack met for their final good-byes. Jack looked a little uncomfortable and the actor wondered what was on the airman's mind. O'Neill rubbed his thumb lightly over his lower lip a couple times before pulling Roc into a more secluded corner. "Hey listen. I, uh! What you did back there when we were parachuting . . . . I never, um! What I'm trying to say is . . . ."
Roc's head lifted in understanding, and he smiled. He helped the tongue-tied airman out. "You're welcome."
The Colonel looked up in relief. He smiled and nodded his gratitude that he wouldn't need to complete the sentence. Jack felt surprisingly comfortable that Roc understood his character so well. He suspected that they shared many characteristics.
Roc changed the subject as they both prepared to part company. "Hey, too bad you can't stay for the next episode. Here, I made a copy of the script for you. It's called 'Grace.' " Roc's face made it seem like this should be significant to Jack. The airman's curiosity rose higher when the actor continued, "Don't let Sam know you have it."
Jack took the script in puzzlement. But in the short time he had known the actor, he had learned to trust his judgment. "O-kaaay!" He placed the script in a backpack they had loaned him from the set. "Roc, um! Got a question for ya. I hear you picked out the disguises for the rest of my team. I was wondering why you picked out those particular disguises."
Roc seemed to ponder this question before answering with a straight face. "For my own sick amusement."
Jack was silent for a moment. Then he slapped his cohort on the back and gave a large, smirky grin. He throatily exclaimed, "Yeah! That's my man."
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In the remaining time they had in this reality, Jack decided to interact with his alternate team members as much as possible. So he initiated a conversation with a very willing Angela and found the exchange gratifying. He felt an instant, platonic friendship with this woman. He had always wondered how his friendship with Samantha Carter would feel without the superior to subordinate barrier necessary due to their roles in the military. With the actress, he had a semblance of an answer. Jack studied Angela while she spoke and prompted her by joking and lightly flirting. He found she had a warped sense of humor and a big, goofy smile. This was a Carter he had never imagined. He suspected that the actress was a big fan of The Simpsons. Jack vowed to get his own version of Carter to wear such a big, goofy smile. Meanwhile, he would enjoy the spectacle for as long as possible.
While Jack's back was turned, Roc went over to speak privately with Thor. "I wonder if you could do me a favor before you leave?"
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Jack stood in his overcrowded garage. The most recent addition to his collection had remained in the same location as the day he had discovered it there. The constant excitement of his life as a Colonel had left him little time to play. However, now that he was a big, bad General and didn't travel through the gate, he needed an outlet for his excess energy. He picked up his cell phone and dialed a number he rarely called. After a few rings, the phone was answered. "Hey Siler. Got a question for ya."
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The guards at the front gate waved to the General and Siler as they rode their bicycles out of the mountain. The General had quickly become accustomed to the bicycle that had been custom made to his frame . . . or rather, Roc's frame. There was no way he could have afforded the sleek, professional bicycle with his military pay. The bicycle had been transported to his garage along with various equipment and a cryptic note from Roc which read, "After your prolonged vacation in the cold, you'll need this so you won't get old." Apparently, the actor thought he was a poet and he thought he was funny. Obviously, the cold referred to his time in the Antarctic. Either way, Jack was grateful for the outlet. All the trauma his body had experienced over the years made the need for a low-impact, easily transportable sport necessary to keep in shape while being transformed into a desk jockey.
Jack and Siler made it a practice to ride at least three times per week. The Sergeant had remained in shape all these years by cycling even though he didn't go off world. He was a wealth of knowledge about cycling and the best routes in the area. It also satisfied the SF's and Walter that there was a seasoned airman to watch over the General. Jack looked over to his riding partner with an evil gleam in his eye. He stood up in his pedals and shifted to pedal away from him quickly and unexpectedly. Siler responded in kind. The two guards watched as the two airmen disappeared quickly into the setting sun.
Thank you Kathleen Ritter for references. Ritter, K. "Stargate SG-1: The Ultimate Visual Guide." (2006) DK Publishing, New York
Baiotti, L. and Rezzolla, L., "Challenging the Paradigm of Singularity Excision in Gravitational Collapse" Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 1441101 (2006). They completed their research more quickly in the alternate reality (smile). Thanks Livi and hubby!
WiseGeek, "What is Freeflying?"
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Author's Note: Thank you all for joining me on this journey. I hope you have had as much fun reading it as I have had writing it. I apologize for any liquids snorted out of your nose or onto your keyboards. It was purely intentional, though regrettable. (smile)