Fandom: Stargate: SG-1
Title: Trouble Comes on Many Legs
Characters: Jack, Daniel, Sam, Teal'c
Category: Team, Gen, Humor
Timeframe: Season 1 teamy bonding!
Rating: PG/K+ (language—it's in Jack's POV, after all)
Word Count: 1721
Disclaimer: These lovely people do not belong to me, more's the pity. I write for fun and not for profit, just cuz I'm generous like that.
Summary: Jack O'Neill is not the kind of man who panics. Nope. Never. So this? Never happened. Yeah. Total myth. Don't believe a word of it.
Author's Note: Written for sgfignewton on the occasion of her birthday. A bunch of us wrote stories for each letter of her username. Thanks for loving gen and teamy goodness, Fig! You always have the best recs. T is for… well, I'll let you figure it out.
Trouble Comes on Many Legs
Another world, another jungle. This one was even more like a real, you know, jungle jungle, instead of a temperate forest. SG-1 walked single file down a narrow trail, Jack on point, Teal'c watching their six. Carter and Daniel were doing their usual big-eyed stare-around thing, still getting used to the whole thing.
Well, to be fair, they were all still getting used to it. They'd only been on a few missions so far, and if those were any indication, the only thing they could count on for sure every time they stepped through the 'gate was a lot of trouble and potential trauma. Which was okay for bonding a new team, Jack supposed, but they also needed to learn how to deal with each other when things weren't going splodey all over the place. So this was good. This one was going smooth. His team could get used to each other in a slightly more casual way, and that was cool.
The natives on this planet, friendly agrarian types who took to Daniel's brand of diplomacy right off, seemed pretty welcoming, if a little antsy about something Jack couldn't quite put his finger on. Not open to trading right away, more wanting to get rid of them, but at least not trying to kill them. Always a good thing.
When Daniel asked if there was anything SG-1 could do for them, something to prove their friendliness and open a possibility of further relations, their chieftain-type had hesitated slightly, then nodded, and said that there was an artifact, something of great religious importance to them, in a nearby shrine that they weren't able to retrieve since the encroaching jungle had blocked off their safe path. Because it was a "forbidden jungle." (It showed up in Jack's head in all capital letters—FORBIDDEN JUNGLE—intoned in the voice of James Earl Jones, or perhaps Vincent Price, and he just knew that that wasn't go to away any time soon.) So could the visitors from another world go fetch it, pretty please?
Apparently it was only FORBIDDEN for the natives to go into the JUNGLE. Nothing wrong with sending random strangers off to do their errands. So Daniel nodded eagerly, barely glancing at Jack for permission, and that after he had already agreed to do it, but Jack guessed it was okay, this time. Definitely something they could do. If only every native population was so easy to please.
So far the FORBIDDEN JUNGLE wasn't so bad. A little dark and a tiny bit creepy, but not dangerous or anything. Still, all of Jack's senses were on high alert. There was usually a reason when a JUNGLE was FORBIDDEN (damn, that voice was not going away), even if the reason was weird.
And then something small and dark and awful started dropping on them from the trees.
"Holy crap!" Carter jumped at least three feet at the first touch of one of them landing in her short blond hair, flailing her gun around in a way that violated several safety protocols, and then an avalanche poured down on them all, and the apocalypse had come.
They were everywhere. And God, they had too many legs, and they were all hairy and horrible and there were way too many of them, and Jack totally froze up the way he almost never did, feeling his eyes go saucer-size in his head. There were dozens of them crawling over him, all over his team members, and he couldn't move, he couldn't save them, oh God oh God they were all gonna die.
After a moment the panic faded and the white leached out of Jack's vision, though he still stood locked in place, hands tight on his gun, unable to move. Tarantulas. Lots of them, each one as big as Teal'c's massive palm, wiggling hairy legs moving in that freaky hypnotic pattern, and oh sweet merciful baby Jesus they were doomed and they should have stayed far, far away from the FORBIDDEN JUNGLE, he should have heeded the menacing voice of Vincent Price, they were all going to die a horrible ignominious death and it was all his fault for not tackling Daniel to the ground and yelling "No no no, never, we won't do it, we won't go in there!" at the top of his lungs.
Captain Carter was fighting valiantly, waving her arms in the air, trying to throw them off without actually touching them with her hands, blue eyes wide and breathing quick and ragged. Well, at least she could move. Even Teal'c's eyes were a little bigger than usual, his face frozen in a stony mask that told Jack he was terrified, and he was smashing tarantulas on the ground with the butt of his staff weapon, shoulders shivering convulsively under the hairy mass that covered them.
And his archaeologist…his archaeologist… Jack couldn't believe it. Daniel was shaking, too, but not the same kind of shaking, he was, he was.
Trying not to laugh?
Daniel was trying not to laugh at them. Terrible hairy spiders were crawling all over him, too, and he was standing there with one hand jammed over his mouth, blue eyes sparkling behind his glasses, floppy hair wiggling around as his head shook in a supreme effort to contain his laughter.
"Care to enlighten us on what's so freaking hilarious, Daniel?" Jack called, hearing the shakiness in his voice and not caring. They were all under attack by the minions of hell, and Daniel was laughing at them. Not cool.
Daniel choked a bit, then lowered his hand. He was grinning, broad and sweet, unable to stop. "They're just tarantulas, you guys. Come on."
"Yeah, that's hysterical," Jack said. With this little extra bit of weirdness, though, he found himself finally able to relax out of his paralysis, hands loosening around his gun, though the grip left deep red imprints in his palm. "I mean, they're not scary at all, right?"
"Oh, come on, Jack." Daniel stepped over to Carter, ignoring the tarantulas crawling all over him, and gently began to brush off the ones on her back, taking the time to untangle a couple from her hair. Carter stood still under his ministrations, still gasping for breath. "You were deployed overseas. Didn't you ever walk through a jungle before?"
"I was in Iraq, you jerk." Jack reached up one hand to grab the hairy thing clinging to his breast pocket, and couldn't do it, fingers frozen several inches away. "The desert doesn't have much in the way of wildlife. And yeah, I went other places, too, but I was never buried in a pile of spiders before."
Carter nodded jerkily. "I flew over Iraq. Spent most of my time in a lab. Nothing like this."
"I, too, have never experienced this calamity," Teal'c intoned, still stoically smashing spiders. "And if I had, a Jaffa warrior's armor would allow no entrance for these creatures."
"Must have been comforting," Daniel said calmly. He finished with Carter and moved over to Jack, picking off the spiders one by one. Jack grit his teeth, but still couldn't help him. Dammit. "I spent several months on a dig in Brazil, deep in the jungle. It got to the point where you just didn't notice the bugs anymore, because there are way too many of them and they are way too big. You'd spend every day in a constant panic attack if you let them bother you. So I didn't."
"That's…nice for you." Jack forced the words between unwieldy lips. He could still feel a few crawling on him, and therefore he still couldn't move.
"Hey, relax!" Daniel grinned, wide and sunny, and patted Jack's cheek the same way Jack had done to him on multiple occasions, manly and rough. "Do you know what would happen if a tarantula bit you?"
"No." Just thinking about it was about to send him spiraling down into panic again.
"Nothing, Jack. It's like getting stung by a bee, that's all. Stings for a little, maybe burns, might cause problems if you're allergic to their venom. The bigger they are, the less poisonous. These things are huge. No problem."
Finally finished, Daniel stood back and started removing spiders from his own body. Jack stared, his fingers itching on his gun. Maybe he could shoot them off.
But no, Daniel had it under control. Jack looked over to the rest of his team, and saw that Carter was brushing spiders off Teal'c with the butt of her gun, carefully standing several feet away. She was almost done, and at least the big guy had no hair for them to get tangled in. Once on the ground, the tarantulas scuttled away, deep into the jungle. Never to be seen again, Jack fervently hoped. At last, they were free.
Daniel stepped back over and put a gentle hand on Jack's shoulder. "Hey, you want to go back to the village? I can finish this mission myself, go get the artifact and bring it back. Hap'la's directions were very clear."
Jack swallowed, and shook his head. "No. No, we finish this together."
"Leave no man behind, huh?" Daniel grinned and looked forward, along the path toward their final destination. "Well, how about if I take point? If we run into any more, I can deal with it."
Oh, God. He hoped that they wouldn't run into any more. Jack nodded tightly, and stepped back to let his archaeologist take the lead.
It's like a bee sting, he repeated to himself over and over. The bigger they are, the less poisonous. No problem.
Repeating that mantra was the only way that he was able to get into and out of the FORBIDDEN JUNGLE. That, and knowing that Daniel could handle anything that happened.
Yeah, he had a good team. If Jack couldn't deal with something, Carter could. And if Carter couldn't deal with something, Teal'c could. And if none of them could deal with it, Daniel could.
It was a very comforting thought, and it was the most important thing that Jack took from this mission. It never went into any report and he didn't tell anyone, not General Hammond, not Doc Frasier, not even Daniel, but it was true. Team bonding when things weren't going splodey. Always the best.