Wormhole X-treme: The Movie (footage not found)
Timeframe: Arrested Development – Mid Season 2. Stargate SG-1 – Season 10, just before "200" (S10E06).
Disclaimer: I don't own SG-1 or Arrested Development. If I did, they'd still be on the air...
Author's Notes: This story has not been beta read, so if you find any errors, please let me know so I can fix them. Also, I have at least 1 more Arrested Development story that's in need of being beta read, so if you're interested, let me know that, too!
"Can you direct me to Maeby Fünke's office?" Major General Jack O'Neill asked at the gate of Tantamount Studios. Somehow, Martin Lloyd had sold the studio the idea of turning Wormhole X-treme into a feature-length film. The news had come across Jack's desk recently and, knowing that the production would need an Air Force Technical Advisor, he decided it was time for a little vacation. When he got in contact with Tantamount, he was told to see the producer once he arrived. So after a few beautiful, sunny Southern California days spent relaxing on the beach or out in the ocean fishing, he was reporting to the producer's office as requested.
Weaving his way through the complex, Jack eventually reached the building to which he'd been directed. After wandering through the labyrinth of hallways, he finally reached the previously indicated office, entering when he was summoned in. He wasn't sure what to expect because he couldn't find any information on a Ms. Fünke related to the studio in any government database, including the IRS. There were some truancy reports for a Mae Fünke at one of the local High Schools, but he had barely glanced at them since they weren't likely to help. The only thing Jack could come up with was that 'Maeby Fünke' must be a pseudonym for a new hire.
"What, is it 'Bring your daughter to work' day?" he asked when the occupant of the office turned her chair around to face him. She looked like she was about 16 years old. She set the script that she had been reading down on her desk and rolled her eyes.
"No, I'm Maeby Fünke. I'm the producer," she responded, offering her hand.
"Shouldn't you be in High School?" he asked.
"Marry me!" Maeby said with a laugh.
"OK, that's creepy on so many levels," Jack replied as he reached out and shook her hand. He glanced down at the script she'd just set down on her desk and was immediately struck by the title. He couldn't help but ask about it. "Forbidden Love?"
Maeby thought she noticed something she couldn't quite identify in his eyes when he asked about the title, but it was gone so quickly she figured that she must have imagined it. "Yeah, it's a remake of a French film. 'Les Cousins Dangereux'," she replied. When Jack quirked an eyebrow, she continued. "Marketing decided to change the name. They thought 'Forbidden Love' is more accessible to the American audience," she said, making air quotes around the word accessible. "Personally, I think they're a bunch of airheaded morons. They keep sending me notes like that and handing me completely unwatchable trash like this," she added, holding up another manuscript from her desk.
Maeby motioned for Jack to have a seat in the chair in front of her desk. "Anyway, enough about my problems. How can I help you?"
"I'm General Jack O'Neill, two L's, and I'm here about that 'completely unwatchable trash'," he said with a smirk, pointing to the script for Wormhole X-treme that Maeby was still holding.
For a split second, a panicked look spread across Maeby's face before she put on an insincere smile. "Did I say completely unwatchable trash? I meant this fine example of … um … literature?"
Jack's smirk grew into a full-blown grin. "Don't worry. I didn't write it." As a look of relief washed across Maeby's features, he added, "Honestly, I think it's horrible, too."
With a real smile, Maeby visibly relaxed. "So, then, why are you here?" she bluntly asked.
"I've been assigned as the Air Force Technical Advisor for this project. I'm here to make sure the actions of the American military are being accurately depicted. I am also to give assistance in any content development to the best of my abilities."
Maeby snorted a laugh. "Well, that sounded a bit scripted," she noted.
Jack couldn't help but laugh himself at the comment. "Ya think? Well, it's standard operating procedure. So, where should we start?"
"How about page 1?" Maeby responded.
"The very beginning. A very good place to start," Jack intoned. When he didn't get a reaction, he just let the joke pass.
"Why does the team come back just on a slow walk into the frame through the Wormhole Device? And why don't we have a better name for it? How about the 'Gate to the Stars'?" Maeby queried, making a note as she spoke.
"Fine with me," Jack agreed.
"OK, we could start it like this: Colonel Danning and Major Stacy Monroe are starlit sky on an alien planet, getting ready to do it," Maeby suggested. She noticed a brief, dreamy look cross Jack's face before he shook his head.
"Wouldn't happen. Not while they're on duty," he declared with just a trace of regret.
"What if we change it so that they're teenagers?" Maeby asked.
"Now why would the military allow teenagers on missions across the galaxy?" Jack rejoined.
"I don't know. Maybe they were clones, de-aged by an alien scientist," she spitballed.
"Yeah, like that'd ever happen," Jack said dismissively. He noticed Maeby drop her gaze back to the script and saw her shoulders slump a little at the comment.
"Alright. Well, maybe instead of a walk in, we start with the team diving into the picture, wildly rolling about trying to escape alien fire," she tried.
"That doesn't usually happen," Jack noted offhandedly.
When Maeby's jerked her head up from the script to stare at him, he realized he shouldn't have said it like that. Instead of trying to explain and make the situation worse, though, he played it cool. He stared back with a blank face for a few long moments before she let it pass to keep the brainstorming session going. "I don't care if it would really happen or not. This is an action movie, so we have to start things off with a bang. How about we have Colonel Danning chuck an explosive back through the Gate at the enemy?"
"Well," Jack drawled, "Astrophysics dictates that matter can only travel one way through a wormhole. Tossing an explosive through the Gate wouldn't work. It would get dematerialized and never be reintegrated," he explained, putting air quotes around the word 'Gate.'
When Maeby again started to gawk at him, he couldn't help but comment. "What? I'm not as dumb as I look, you know."
"Oh, it's not that," Maeby quickly placated. "It's just a little weird hearing that kind of stuff come out of someone so..."
"What?" Jack asked.
"Hot," she replied, a little embarrassed by the revelation.
Jack choked at that comment. After a moment, he cleared his throat and responded. "Listen, kiddo, I'm flattered, really I am, but you're young enough to be my daughter."
"Marry me!" Maeby responded before thinking. After a moment, when her brain caught up, she went slack jawed and slapped a hand over her mouth.
"I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that," Jack stated.
"Thanks," Maeby replied gratefully. "Let's get back to the script."
"Yes, let's do that."
"OK, if we can't chuck a grenade back though the Gate, how about we have the enemy come through after them and have them blow them away in the Gate room," Maeby tried.
"I guess that could work," Jack admitted.
"And when they die, the aliens spontaneously combust!" she exclaimed.
He raised a single eyebrow as he stared at her.
"Well, they're aliens. Anything could happen." she stated decisively.
After 15 more minutes of discussions (they made it all the way to page 7), there was finally a lull in the conversation as Maeby started reading through the script again, looking for the next trouble spot. Jack sat back and reevaluated the girl. He had to admit she did hold herself with a lot more poise than most teenagers that he'd known. However, he was completely convinced that it was just a front. Besides the fact that she looked barely old enough for a part time job, let alone a gig as a movie producer, there were little things about the way she reacted that he noticed, too. At times she was acting a little skittish. Whenever he heard someone passing in the hallway, she would flinch. Her actions were consistent with his first impression: that she was really some sort of teenage con-woman, afraid of being found out as a truant and a fraud.
Jack had been in enough situations, both on world and off, masquerading as someone that he was not to easily notice the telltale signs that Maeby wasn't being completely honest. He decided not to broach the subject at that time, but he knew he would have to bring it up at some point.
"How do you feel about shooting in Vancouver?" Maeby asked, bringing Jack out of his musings.
"Well, I suppose Canada is as close to alien as we're going to find," he agreed offhandedly.
"Great! That will help in the budget. Now, how do we explain that all the aliens speak English?"
"Maybe we say that they're all really transplanted Earthlings?" Jack said, more as a statement than as a question.
"No, that doesn't make sense. How would they all have developed the English language in the same way? And how would they all have been taken from Earth without anyone noticing?" she commented. "I know! They could all be robots, like Grell, from an alternate future!"
"Don't you think that's a bit 'Terminator'?" Jack queried.
"All right. Maybe this Gate isn't actually taking them to other planets. Maybe they're going to alternate universes and visiting alternate versions of Earth?" she proposed.
"Would that even be possible?" Jack asked in return. "Wouldn't alternate versions of earth be almost the same, except for some small differences? And wouldn't…"
Before Jack had a chance to finish his statement, he was enveloped in a bright flash of white light. In an instant, he had disappeared, leaving the office again with only one occupant.
It took Maeby several seconds to collect her wits. When she could finally react, she said the only thing that came to mind: "Holy (bleep)!"