Author's warning: This is not a structured story. It's just a fairly accurate slice of the silliness that went on in a certain forum of a certain website during the Summer Olympics 2008 and concurrent Knitting Olympics. I rewrote it from Jack's point of view while it was happening, so it left off rather abruptly at the point when I stopped having Internet access halfway through the Olympics. The ending – everything after the second POOF – was written seven months later and I'm not sure how well it fits, but Churnok was right: it did need an ending.
Jack O'Neill had no idea where he was. He knew where he had been—just home from a long day on base, in his kitchen, reaching for a beer. That was right before whatever-it-was went "poof".
He whirled completely around, taking in his surroundings. Not an Asgard ship, not Goa'uld or Tok'ra, didn't really feel like a spaceship at all. Judging by the number of nonhumans, probably not on Earth. Teal'c and Daniel were there, Daniel polishing his glasses as if that would force the scene before him to make sense. Carter was not there, so getting home had better not depend on brilliant scientific insights.
"Uh, what just happened?" he asked very softly. The karaoke-bar-like place they'd landed in was noisy enough to cover normal conversation, but Jack was playing it stealthy.
"I don't know, I was just working on that translation from--"
"Aht! No mentioning anything classified till we figure out what's going on."
"Well, we seem to be in a karaoke bar full of knitters..."
"I could see that." The part of Jack's brain that analyzed ambient noise pointed something out to him, and he frowned. "Daniel, if we're, ah, not in Kansas anymore—why are they singing The Monkees?"
"I do not see anyone vocalizing simians."
"Later, T!" Jack slid his gun out of his waistband. A Claymation sheep and a teddybear in a cheerleading outfit, both singing Pleasant Valley Sunday, might not seem that threatening, but something didn't add up, and he was going to find out what.
"Ah, you might want to put that back," a female voice remarked from behind him.
Jack turned around, pointing his gun at the voice. Its owner was a penguin in a blue sunbonnet, about a foot shorter than himself. "Not until somebody tells me what's going on here."
The penguin flumped into a nearby chair. "Okay, fine, I've been explaining Ravelympics regulations over and over again for the past few weeks, telling three-quarters of an SG team how they got here should be positively relaxing," she muttered.
Jack waggled the gun just a tad.
"Okay, all right already! You're in cyberspace."
"As in the Internet, cyberspace?"
"Yeah. This is the Luau Lounge, Team Welcome headquarters for the Ravelympics. We—okay, I—pulled you guys in here because... will you please put that gun away?"
Jack lowered the gun, but did not put it away. "Because...?"
The penguin actually blushed. "Because y'all are cute."
Jack snapped the gun back up. "Are you some kind of really weird Mary Sue?"
"Do I look like a Mary Sue?" The penguin stood up and shoved the chair under the table with a slam. "I am the author, but I've got a perfect right to be here—more right than you guys, actually, because you're neither knitters nor lounge employees. Yet. And I only came over because I figured you deserved a little explanation." She waddled off angrily.
"Now look what you did," Daniel grumbled. "How are we supposed to get home if the... uh, person who brought us here won't talk to us?"
"At least we know a little more than we did. We're in cyberspace, in a karaoke bar full of knitters, and at least one person here thinks we're cute!" Jack spat the word. "Does Teal'c look cute to you?" He waved a hand in the direction of the silent Jaffa.
Waving your gun hand in a Jaffa's face, while holding a gun, is not usually a good idea. One second later, Jack was sitting on the floor rubbing his wrist and glaring up at Teal'c.
"O'Neill, do not entangle your undergarments," Teal'c instructed.
"That's 'don't get your—' T, sometimes I swear you do that on purpose!" Jack scrubbed his hands over his face, arching his neck to get some of the tension out of his shoulders. "I'm sorry, guys. It's been a long, weird day." He picked himself up and looked around as Pleasant Valley Sunday ended. A new singer—human, this time—began Blue Suede Shoes. "One: we really are in a cyberspace bar, or two: somebody's messing with my head. Either way, I'm gonna get a beer."
"What if you're having a nightmare?" Daniel suggested. "Or rather, what if I am. I guess. Could we both be having the same nightmare?"
"You don't want to have my nightmares, Daniel. And this isn't one of 'em. C'mon."
Behind the bar they found Patrick Stewart and Johnny Depp, or rather Ebenezer Scrooge and Captain Jack Sparrow, arguing the relative merits of mulled ale versus rum punch.
Jack tapped on the bar. "Hey, can I get a beer?"
"The bar is for Team Welcome members and Luau Lounge employees only," Patrick Stewart said in his most Shakespearean voice.
"They're here as guests of the team," the singing teddy bear said, suddenly appearing at Jack's elbow. "I think all staff positions have been filled."
"Actually, they could be very useful employees," the penguin interjected, popping up on the other side of the bear. "Teal'c can knit, so he can join the team and help us train. And Daniel can translate all those nifty patterns that are written in French and Norwegian."
Teal'c can knit? Maybe I am having a nightmare, Jack thought.
"What about Jack?" asked the bear.
"Oh, he can just sit with me. Or not," the penguin amended quickly, seeing the glare Jack directed at her. "I think I'll go sing karaoke. Can I have a Pepsi?"
"All right, Daniel and Teal'c are official employees of the Luau Lounge Spa and Juice Bar," the teddy bear announced. "Jack, would you like to sit with me awhile? I'm Sadie, this is my place."
"Two beers," Sadie ordered.
Jack took his beer and sat down at a table not far from the bar. "Sadie," he nodded. "I'm Jack O'Neill. Care to tell me what's going on?"
"Well, you're in cyberspace--"
"I know that part. And I know that that little Mary Sue penguin singing City of New Orleans thinks I'm cute." Jack took a long drink of beer to get the taste of the word out of his mouth. "What's with all the knitting?"
"This is a knitters' and crocheters' networking website called Ravelry. Right now we're having a sort of knitting Olympics, and the Luau Lounge is Team Welcome's headquarters. I interviewed all the employees personally—it's very exhausting work!" She winked at him.
Jack looked around and grinned. The "employees" were a large assortment of male humans, all good-looking by one standard or another; there were cabana boys, men in kilts, surfers, doctors, cowboys, singers, and a few movie stars. "Yeah, you look exhausted," he joked. "About as exhausted as that… lady bobcat?... who just grabbed Daniel." He frowned, noticing something else. "Are those little pigs employees too?"
"Bea just got some new piglets and brought them in to show everybody. Actually, I should probably have some of the employees catch them..."
Jack saw the look Sadie gave him. "Okay, okay, I'll help," he said. "Hey, T... Murray! We need to catch these pigs!"
Daniel joined them. So did most of the cowboys, three doctors, Mr Darcy, and Josh Groban. The pig-chasing contest was a lot like a cross between tackle football and a bar fight, but nobody was actually injured--although the head-on collision between Hoss Cartwright and Teal'c did stop all conversation in the bar for a full three seconds.
When the pig-chasing started, a large beetle in a cheerleading outfit (there seemed to be a lot of cheerleaders around) was singing Girl from Ipanema. By the time all the pigs were corralled, the karaoke singers had gone through A Foggy Day, This Land Is Your Land, and Country Roads, Take Me Home. On the stage, the penguin and a tall redheaded woman were competing to see which knew more Irish folk ballads, with Peter Tork of the Monkees accompanying them on the piano. Apparently the Monkees were the house band.
Jack turned the last of the pigs over to its owner—a horse with a pompom on her tail—and went back for his beer.
"Hey, Jack," Daniel said, joining him, "don't you know some of these songs?"
"I am not gonna sing karaoke in a cyberspace knitting bar!" Jack grumbled, taking a swig of beer.
"I'll do it if you'll do it," Daniel said.
Jack shook his head. "Nope. Tell ya what, though, I'll play the guitar if you'll sing. If you promise to sing something silly. Do you know anything silly?"
"You'd be surprised," Daniel grimaced. "Okay, I promise, but only if you play for another song first."
Jack shrugged. "Fair enough, but I get to pick the song. Let's get up there."
They made their way through the crowd toward the stage. It was slow going, especially when halfway there, the folk-ballad contest gave way to the Hokey Pokey. Jack and Daniel had no choice but to join in.
"I swear," Jack growled, "if a videotape of this fiasco ever turns up on base, I will know exactly who to kill!"
"Who—Teal'c?" Daniel asked.
After the Hokey Pokey, as they continued navigating through the crowd—now to the tune of An Ant Can't Move a Rubber-Tree Plant—Jack spotted a familiar face. A very familiar face, with a not-so-familiar expression of polite patience.
"Mr MacGyver," the karaoke-singing beetle was saying all in one breath, "I need to knit a shawl to wear to a wedding next weekend. Can you help me? I have 3500 yards of laceweight silk, one rusted shishkebob skewer, a leather shoelace, a bamboo stick that came with my houseplant, fourteen twisty ties..."
Jack shook his head. The poor guy! Mac was just too soft-hearted to turn the beetle down cold, so he'd just keep listening until she ran down. And then probably build some amazing gadget to help her knit her shawl. Times like these, Jack was very glad he wasn't the genius in the family.
When they finally got to the stage, Jack slipped around backstage to talk to The Monkees. "Hey, you guys mind if I join you for a couple songs?" he asked. "My friend says he'll only sing if I play first."
"Sure thing, man." "Fine." "Groovy."
"Can I borrow a guitar?"
Somebody conjured a guitar out of midair—Jack kept forgetting he was in cyberspace and people could do things like that. He strapped it on, checked the tuning quickly, and waited for the next song to start.
It was the Claymation sheep again, singing Summertime. Jack hadn't played in a while, but he had a fairly good ear and managed to keep up.
Daniel was next. He took the microphone the sheep handed him, looked around, and coughed nervously. "Um, do you guys know Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?" he asked the band.
The Monkees nodded, and Jack said, "Yeah, sure, you betcha. Come on, Danny, just sing the song!"
"Okay." Daniel cleared his throat again, waited through the quick intro the band gave him, then started singing - but not any version of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" that Jack had ever heard.
When trying to
express yourself, it's frankly quite absurd
To leaf through lengthy lexicons to find the perfect word.
A little spontaneity keeps conversation keen,
You need to find a way to say precisely what you mean…
Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious,
If you say it loud enough, you'll always sound precocious,
When Stone Age men
were chatting, merely grunting would suffice.
Now if they heard this word, they might have used it once or twice!
I'm sure Egyptian pharaohs would have grasped it in a jiff,
Then every single pyramid would bear this hieroglyph:
Say it and wild animals would not seem so ferocious!
Add some further flourishes, it's so ro-co-co-cocious!
The Druids could
have carved it on their mighty monoliths!
I'm certain the ancient Greeks would have used it in their myths!
I'm sure the Roman Empire only entered the abyss,
Because those Latin scholars never had a word like this!
If you say it softly
the effect can be hypnotious!
Check your breath before you speak, in case it's halitotious!
Of course you can say it backwards, which is docious-ali-expi-istic-fragicali-roopus, but that's going a bit too far, don't you think – By Jupiter!
So when the cat has got your tongue, there's no need for dismay!
Just summon up this word and then you've got a lot to say!
Pick out those eighteen consonants and sixteen vowels as well,
And put them in an order which is very hard to spell…
There was a surprising amount of applause. Either Daniel's embarrassed looks had drawn a lot of sympathy, or somebody out there actually liked the song. In this crazy place, Jack wouldn't be surprised if it were the latter.
"Hey, man, do you have to go?" one of the Monkees asked as Jack unslung the guitar. "We can always use another guitarist."
Jack looked around thoughtfully. Yeah, the karaoke beetle was still talking to MacGyver. Amazingly, Mac still looked polite and interested—Jack wondered if it was an automatic thing like his own zoning-out-from-technobabble face. "I may have a replacement for you," he told the band. "Keep the guitar around."
He jumped off the stage and tapped Mac on the shoulder. "Hey, Mac."
MacGyver turned around. "Jack? Wow! I haven't seen you in a while—Jack, this is Kate, she wants me to build a knitting machine out of her old typewriter."
Jack raised a hand to stop him. "Ah... love to stay and chat, but the band needs you up there pronto." As he hauled Mac away from the beetle, he hissed softly, "What is it with you and women named Kate anyway?"
Jack looked around his kitchen. What just happened to me?
Either he'd been dreaming standing up – not the first time that had happened, he kind of hoped that turned out to be the explanation, though it would make a lot more sense if it'd happened after a beer or three – or…
He remembered the end of the Olympics quite clearly. As the deadline neared, the Lounge's party atmosphere had quieted down a bit while the "Ravathletes" concentrated on their projects. Sadie, who'd only entered one event – sensible bear - spent her time chatting up the employees and saying "Yowza!"; the karaoke died down almost completely.
Except for the new version of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", apparently inspired by Daniel's, that kept cropping up. You can win the Ravelympics-expialidocious, chanted the knitters to encourage each other, even though Team Welcome's cheers are something quite atrocious – if you knit it fast enough you'll always look precocious! You can win the Ravelympics-expialidocious!
In the last few hours, even that dried up: the Luau Lounge was completely quiet. Only the clack of knitting needles and the squeak of cheap yarn could be heard. (Expensive yarn, somebody explained tersely when Jack asked, doesn't squeak.) Occasionally, someone would finish a project, causing Sadie to start doing cheers and cartwheels all over the place.
When the big clock on the wall entered final countdown, Jack found himself holding his breath. It was kind of like New Year's Eve waiting for the ball to drop, but in reverse; everyone who hadn't finished yet was working desperately, trying to get done before the Olympic flame went out.
Five… four… three… two… one…
"YOWZAAAAAAAAAA!" yelled Sadie, right in his ear. Jack nearly jumped out of his skin. The tense atmosphere broke and people started congratulating each other or commiserating with the ones who hadn't made it. Everybody had a drink, the employees threw confetti, and Sadie and Kate and the Claymation sheep brought out a huge chocolate cake.
While Jack was waiting for his piece of the cake, Sadie cornered him and asked, "Would you boys like to stay on? We're keeping the Lounge open after the Ravelympics."
"Ah, no thanks," Jack had told her. "We need to be getting home. It's been great knowing all of you," he'd added.
Then he'd hunted up Teal'c and Daniel – the latter arguing with Scarlett O'Hara about whether marshmallows should be put in coffee – and Sadie had sent them home. She'd had them chant "There's no place like home", which made Jack strongly suspect the whole thing was a product of his imagination; it was too much like something he'd have put in the story if he was awake.
Still… he kind of hoped his subconscious hadn't come up with that penguin. That would be scary.
The phone rang, and he picked it up. "O'Neill," he said.
"Uh, Jack? It's Daniel. Um, this is gonna sound really weird…"
"Don't tell me. You had a dream about a cyberspace karaoke bar full of knitters?"
"Jack, are you all right? No, I was just wondering… did I take home a bag of marshmallows from your house last team night or something? Because I seem to have put some in my coffee by accident while I was working on this translation. And, well… I don't even own any marshmallows."