THE JACK AND JIM SHOW
By Lorraine Anderson
Jack sat back in the chair in the X-303 – hell, he still wanted to call it a starship. The mission was deadly serious – The planet of the Vikings - Jack couldn't remember the silly number designations – was experiencing a crop failure and Earth was doing Thor a favor by transporting a boatful of triticale – but riding in a starship was so cool! He tried to keep the smile from his face. The only fly in his ointment was that they still refuse to name a ship the Enterprise. But he agreed that the "George Hammond" had a nice ring, and he smiled at the commander, Colonel Samantha Carter.
"'Who put the tribbles in the quadrotriticale,'" he sang to himself.
"Sir?" Carter looked back at him.
"You heard me," Jack grumped.
"Expecting to meet some Klingons out here, sir?"
"Only the gross kind, Carter – unless you're planning to change the ship's uniform to underwear."
He loved it. A Colonel in the Air Force, and he could still make her blush like a schoolgirl. She smiled and turned away to her instruments. He sat back and allowed himself a small smile.
"Sir!" said some airwoman who's name Jack had promptly forgotten after meeting her. "Object off the starboard bow closing fast!"
"Klingons on the Starboard bow?" Jack murmured. He wished Daniel was up here instead of studying something esoteric in his cabin.
Carter straightened up. "Weapons on-line. Shields up."
"Yes sirs," came around the bridge. Everybody straightened up, including Jack, but most people had something to do. Jack was dead-heading this trip, so he tried to content himself to looking at the screen.
"Evasive maneuvers," Carter yelled, and the ship took a hard turn to the left. Jack caught a glimpse of a white – thing – go by on the screen, and attempted to hold on to his seat.
"Shit," Jack yelled. "What was that?"
"Attempting to find out, sir," Carter yelled back.
"Hypothetical question, Carter," he said as he sat down again.
She ignored him. "Is it turning?"
"No…" said the Lieutenant. "Either he didn't see us, or he's out of control."
Carter chewed her lip. Looking at Jack, she turned forward and said, "Turn and follow, Johnson."
"Can we catch them, Colonel?" Jack said.
She looked down at the instruments. "They were slowing down drastically. We should be able to catch them without going into hyperdrive."
They turned and started chasing the rogue ship. "A suggestion, Colonel."
"I'm wondering whether we should come up on them with our weapons charged."
Carter glanced at Jack. "Good point, sir. Weapons down, communication channels open." She leaned forward on the console. "Unidentified ship. This is Colonel Samantha Carter of the USS General Hammond. We noticed you might be having trouble. Do you require assistance?" She repeated the message once, twice, three times.
"Colonel Carter. We appreciate your offer. Please stand by." The voice was female and pleasant.
Jack raised his eyebrows. "I think we've just been put on hold."
"How close are we?"
"We're coming up on them."
"Status of ship?"
"No visual damage that we can see."
"Does that ship look like it's upside down?" Jack commented. He turned his head to his side. He suddenly realized what the ship looked like, where he had seen it, and why the communications lady sounded familiar. He shook his head. Couldn't be.
Another voice came over the loudspeaker. The timbre and the tone were unmistakable. "This is Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise." Jaw dropped all over the ship. "Did I understand you to say that this was the USS General Hammond?"
"You did, sir," Carter stammered out.
"Is Colonel Jack O'Neil aboard?"
Damn, the man even sounded like William Shatner. Jack stood up, and then realized that the other man couldn't see him. "I am General Jack O'Neill." He paused a moment. "Are we on Candid Camera?"
The other voice sounded puzzled. "Candid… Miss Uhura, can you get us visual?"
Carter motioned to the technician, who worked a second. "We're trying to match each other's frequencies." He muttered. Suddenly a picture came up on the screen. Jack found himself looking into a bridge. Two men were sitting at the front console – an oriental looking man, and a young man with longish hair. Along the left side of the screen was a man with pointed ears and greenish tinted skin. Behind the Captain's chair was a thin, dark haired man in a blue uniform. And standing in front of the Captains chair in a yellow uniform was…
"William Shatner?" Carter said.
"Carter," Jack said. "Teal'C would be ashamed of you. Captain Kirk, I assume?"
"But…." Said the young man on the front console. "You're fiction!"
Jack blinked. "Mr. Chekhov, I feel real."
"Mass hypnosis?" Carter murmured.
"I would doubt that, Colonel," said Commander Spock. "I believe we went through a trans-dimensional tunnel."
Jack looked at Carter. "Like the Quantum Mirror, only a lot bigger," she explained.
"We aren't going to end up with multiple Carters, are we?"
Her eyes crinkled. "Doubtful, sir." She turned to the screen. "Do you require assistance?"
Kirk turned to Uhura. "Sickbay is reporting minimal casualties, sir. Mr. Scott would like to speak to you."
"I'll get down to Sickbay," Dr. McCoy said. With a final glance at the screen, he entered the elevator – turbolift, Jack corrected himself.
"As I remember your TV show," Kirk said. "Your ship was built with Asgard technology, which you still don't fully understand?"
Carter chewed her lip. "We are making inroads on the Asgard database. Sir, are you implying that this may be a Prime Directive situation?"
Kirk glanced over at Spock. "Captain, I might suggest that they are already aware of our technology, even if they are not aware of the…"
Captain Kirk disappeared.
Jack started. "Carter, that looked…" the bridge disappeared from around him.
Carter stared at Spock. "Enterprise, did you…?"
"No, Colonel," Spock said. "We did not." He looked down at a screen. "I believe an outside force took both of our ranking officers."
"I'm sorry, Commander," Carter said. "I spoke before I thought. I believe that was Asgard technology. Although," she muttered to herself. "… That seemed too fast for Asgard technology."
"The only problem," said Spock, "… is who or what kidnapped our officers." He looked to Mr. Sulu.
Carter looked at her Lieutenant.
"Nothing, sir," both of the Lieutenants reported at the same time. The Lieutenant on the Hammond deferred to Sulu. "No planets within light years, not even a stray asteroid. Though there does seem to be a defunct satellite…"
"Can you get us a close-up on it?" A picture came up on the screen.
"Voyager." Carter said.
"Interesting. Earth also had a Voyager probe. Would you like it back?"
"Um…. Yes," Carter said, bemused.
"We will arrange transport."
"Commander," Uhura said. "Mr. Scott is still demanding to talk to Captain Kirk."
"Mr. Scott. Captain Kirk is unavailable."
"Unavail… Mr. Spock, we have a problem with the engines." He started to say something, then stopped.
"Yes. Mr. Scott."
"We're getting power to the engines, but we aren't going anyplace. The power seems to be… somehow discharging into space."
Carter had a horrible thought. Lieutenant. Can we move?"
The lieutenant looked down at her board, then called engineering. "No, sir."
."It has been our experience," Spock said, "that when events happen as they have right now, that an entity is involved."
A person burst onto the Hammond bridge. "I just heard that Jack…" He stopped dead and his eyebrows went up. "… and you're watching old television shows on the main bridge." He looked puzzled at Carter.
"I believe your name is Daniel Jackson." Spock said.
"O-kay. I never saw my TV do that before." He faced the screen. "And I believe you are not Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock."
Carter grinned slightly at him. "They believe that we are fiction, Daniel," she murmured. "But, yes, Jack and Captain Kirk have disappeared, and the ships are dead in space."
"If this were one of the later shows…" He glanced at the screen and closed his mouth.
"Good guess," boomed another voice which managed to sound petulant and commanding at the same time. "And don't you dare reveal anything, Mr. Jackson."
Daniel raised his eyebrows again. "Wouldn't dream of it."
"Trelayne?" said Sulu doubtfully.
"Oh, puh-lease. Do not compare me to that brat." A beat. "And now, for your edification and entertainment, the Jack and Jim show!"
Jack opened his eyes into darkness. "I hate that when that happens." He reached out and felt an arm, then recoiled.
"That would be me, General," a voice said drily.
"Sorry, Captain," Jack shook his head. "Look, we're not even in the same service. Call me Jack."
"And I'm Jim."
"I would shake your hand, Jim," Jack said. "But I can't even find it. Happen to have any matches?"
"I didn't come equipped for an away mission," Kirk said wryly. "And our uniforms don't have pockets."
"Oh. Yeah. Well, I have my wallet, but I don't think rubbing dollar bills together will help."
"Let's feel around," he got to his feet, his knee creaking. He walked the opposite way of Jim's voice, his hands in front of him…
…. And his face ran into a wall, throwing him backwards. "Damn! Watch the high wall!"
"Oof?" Jack said, rubbing his nose.
"I had a low wall," came a strained voice.
"It seems to be a small room," his voice stopped.
"I just ran into something sticky. Like syrup." A short pause. "It's treacle."
"Like Alice in Wonderland?" Jack moved to his left, and jammed his knuckles into something that felt like granite. "Damn!"
"Scraped my knuckles."
"Let's carefully feel around the room."
Jack kept moving to his left and found a corner. "Found the corner."
"I found one, too."
"You don't sound very far away."
"Maybe five feet across?"
"Yes. Except for those open spots. Keep moving."
"That's my line."
"What are they doing?" Chekhov said.
"I believe, Mr. Chekhov," Spock said. "That they think they are exploring a darkened room. Their perceptions appear to have been altered."
"Very good, Mr. Spock," said the arrogant voice. "And why do you think that their perceptions have been altered?"
"I believe that you are testing them. I cannot ascertain for what reason. I am reserving my opinion on the treacle."
"He's testing them because he feels like it," Daniel said. "If you are who I believe you to be."
"And because you know so much about me, you're certain of my motives?"
Daniel opened his mouth, then closed it.
"Very wise." A beat. "If you want to know why I'm doing this, you'll need to figure this out."
"Like a game?" Carter said.
"Oh, no," the voice said. "This is not a game."
"Then what is it?" Sulu said.
"I found a button," Jack said. "It's starting to glow, and it says," he leaned closer to it. "'Push me.' What do you think?"
"That you don't push a button marked 'Push me,'", Kirk said. "And as I remember from your TV show, you're the one that got the knowledge of the ancients in your head."
"Yeah? So? I forgot it all. Anyway, you always ended up with your shirt off."
"Starfleet never cared for that, either." A beat. "I'll be right over. Don't push that button."
"No way. The Enterprise needs it's Captain. I'm just a desk bound General." He pushed the button.
"That's our Jack," Daniel said. "Of course, he always told me not to push anything…"
The lights came on. "Well, I didn't expect that," Jack said.
Kirk looked around the room. "You shouldn't have pushed…"
"General trumps Captain, even if we aren't in the same service."
Kirk grinned at him. "You're just as obstinate in real life as you are in fiction."
"So – does the actor who plays me as good looking as I am?"
"He also played MacGyver."
Jack stared. "You must be kidding. Walter Koenig? The guy who played Chekhov?"
Kirk stared at him. "Chekhov?" He rubbed between his eyes. "Never mind."
Chekhov looked at the screen in disbelief. "Me? MacGyver?"
Sulu grinned at him. "Don't give yourself any ideas."
Carter looked at Spock. "Sir, I've been thinking. We have proof in our universe of alternate dimensions, but the thought of universes where one set of peoples think that the other set of peoples is fiction seems quite… improbable."
"Indeed. That would suggest a number of possibilities."
"There is some sort of bleed-through between the universes," Carter said. "Or… perhaps the very thought of creating a piece of fiction creates the universe."
"Or," Spock said. "One of us is not real and is, in fact, created by this entity."
The entity laughed.
Daniel frowned. "I feel real. He patted himself on the arms.
"As do I," said Carter.
"So do I," said Chekhov.
McCoy entered the bridge and looked at the screen. "What the hell? Why didn't anybody tell me the Captain had disappeared?"
"Feelings are subjective," Spock said, ignoring McCoy. "Just because you feel real doesn't mean that you are."
Everybody stared at Spock.
"Make that your thought for the day," McCoy blinked. "The bruises I treated seemed real."
"We are having a philosophical discussion." Said Spock.
"And exactly what good is that right now?"
McCoy looked around. "And who is that?"
"I don't believe I introduced myself. And I'm not planning to, Dr. McCoy. I am an omnipotent being and we don't need to explain our actions."
McCoy snorted. "Met some. I wasn't impressed."
"Trelayne? Please. Apollo? What a has-been. Needed the adulation of you humans to keep him going. The Organians are do-gooders who take the fun out of everything. I'm an observer."
Daniel raised his eyebrows. "If you were an observer, why are you arguing with us?"
"And why," McCoy said, "did you remove Jim and General O'Neill?"
The voice went silent.
A door appeared in one of the walls. Kirk and Jack looked at it.
"Well, we can play the game that somebody wants us to play," Kirk said. "Or we could sit right here until somebody comes to us."
"Sitting still has never been my strong point," Jack said.
"Me, neither," Kirk grinned.
"Beauty before age," Jack said.
Kirk jerked the door open.
"Curiouser and curiouser." Jack muttered.
The door opened into a bucolic word, filled with meadows of manicured lawns and tended flowers. "Hip, hip," Kirk said.
"Tallyho," Jack muttered. Kirk stepped through the doorway, followed closely by Jack. The door slammed shut behind them and disappeared.
"Sweet," Jack said.
"If a little blonde girl in a blue dress comes up and asks about her rabbit," Kirk said. "Run the other way."
"Don't give whoever any ideas."
"Thanks!" said another voice.
"I told you…"
A roar echoed through the meadow. The flowers looked up – suddenly Jack realized that they all had eyes and mouths – disappeared back into the ground. The sky turned dark, lit up only by luminescent creatures scurrying around the ground.
Kirk frowned. "Mome Raths."
"The Mome raths outgrabe."
"And I suppose that's the Jabberwocky?"
"Or the frumious bandersnatch."
Jack frowned. "Can I ask you something?"
"Why the hell is a Starship Captain so familiar with 'Alice in Wonderland'?"
A sword and shield appeared in front of them. They both grabbed up the equipment, and looked at the creature coming toward them.
"Captain Pike?" Kirk said.
"No, it's my fifth grade teacher, Miss Walton!" Jack looked up. "I kinda liked my fifth grade teacher. Why is she so big?"
"So's Pike," Kirk said, glancing at Jack. "Interesting. We're both seeing different things."
"Either we're both on some sort of terrific drug…"
"Or something is manipulating us."
Pike/Miss Walton roared again. Swords and shields appeared on the ground, and they grabbed them. Then they waited for the attack.
On both bridges, both crews looked at the screen. "Does anybody see anything?" Daniel said.
A chorus of negatives.
"Are they fighting something that could possibly hurt them?" Sulu said.
"Watch and see," the voice said. "Watch and see."
Pike swatted at Kirk. A deep scratch appeared on his shoulder, but nothing more that that. Kirk backed up and swung his sword, but "Pike" ducked out of the way and swung at his back. A deeper cut appeared on his back, then the side of his shirt fell off.
Jack blinked, then swung at Miss Walton, hitting her in the back. She roared and turned towards him, swatting him across the chest. A large cut appeared through his chest. "Damn," Jack yelled. "Sure feels real!"
They battled it from both sides. The Jabberwocky turned and swung and tried to get the two to back off, but both pressed in. At almost the same instant, the swords penetrated the torso.
The thing roared, shifting forms that both of them could see. Black blood poured upon the ground. The creature collapsed like a tower of sand – literally. Both men looked at the sand pile.
"Did we pass the test?" Jack said.
Kirk kicked the sand. "If this is a heroes test, the test comes in threes."
"Very good," came the disembodied voice.
"You don't like us much, do you?" Daniel said.
"Au contraire, mon archeologist. I like you a lot."
"As sources of amusement," Spock said.
"Indeed, Mr. Spock. But you're just not very fun." He sniffed. "Most Vulcans aren't."
"I do not exist to amuse you."
"A while ago, you were debating whether you existed at all. Or did you mean the inhabitants of the "George Hammond?""
Spock looked away.
"Oh, don't strain your brain. You're both real. I'm tired of listening to your metaphysics."
"And," Carter said. "Does that mean that they are in Wonderland?"
"Isn't it fun? There's no today, no tomorrow, a set of people that includes playing cards and a rabbit wearing a waistcoat and a watch, and foods that change your very being." He laughed. "And no rules."
Spock raised his eyebrows. "The concept of a true Wonderland outside of dreams defies all logic or any known set of physics."
"The universe is stranger than logic," said the entity. "Haven't you learned that yet? Oh, I forgot, you're a Vulcan."
Jack looked down at the six inch man in front of him. "I always wanted my very own pocket Kirk."
"Not funny, O'Neill." He looked around. "If this is where I think it is, I must have touched something or picked it up without knowing it."
"You think this is really Wonderland?"
"We just got attacked by a creature that looked like people we know, the flowers have eyes, and there are bioluminescent creatures, and the land is set up like a chess board."
Kirk stared at him.
"I'm kidding." Jack looked around. "So probably we need to find something that says 'Eat me.'"
"I hate to say this, but you probably should pick me up and put me in your front pocket."
Jack put his hand down. Kirk stepped onto it and Jack gingerly closed his hand. Kirk winced.
"I'm sorry. I don't want to break a rib."
"It's not that, it's just that my cut hurts."
Jack looked at his back closely. It wasn't a cut, it was a large gash. There was nothing he could do, so he kept his mouth shut. "So, if your logic is sound, we need to find a caterpillar smoking a hookah on a large mushroom."
"And a Cheshire cat to show us the way."
"You rang?" A cat with a remarkably human face stood in front of them. Jack squinted at the cat. The face and the voice sounded familiar, but he couldn't quite place it.
"Do you know where the mushroom with the caterpillar is?"
"There are many mushrooms," he said, with a wink. "The trick is to find the right one."
"Can you tell me the one to make me taller?"
The cat squinted at Kirk. "You look like a good size. You look almost good enough to eat." He opened his mouth and showed his sharp teeth.
They stared at each other.
"You'd give me indigestion," the cat yawned. "He'll be over that way." The cat pointed a general direction, smiled, and disappeared.
"Which means that we go that way," Jack said, pointing at the opposite direction.
"Two reasons. Do you trust a cat?"
"I trust a cat to be a cat."
"Exactly." He stared hard at where the cat disappeared. "And… I finally figured out where I had seen that particular cat before."
"Exactly," said the Cheshire Cat. "Very good, mon General."
Kirk looked up at Jack, raised an eyebrow, and kept his mouth shut.
"It's an entity, rather like Trelayne."
"Will everybody stop comparing me to that infant!"
"If the shoe fits…" Jack muttered.
"I heard that," The Cat said.
Jack started walking in the direction opposite of the way the cat told him. When he reached the next square, he started looking down. In the middle of the square in a shady area were a stand of mushrooms and a caterpillar smoking a hookah. The caterpillar opened his eyes and waved all of his legs. "You are a big one, aren't you?"
Jack leaned over. "Please," he said. "You again?" He held his hand to his pocket, and Kirk crawled out. Jack set him on the ground.
"Oh, ok," the caterpillar said, waving his hookah. "You know the drill."
Kirk broke large pieces off from either side of the mushroom. He quirked an eyebrow at Jack, then handed half of the pieces up to Jack, reversing the order of the pieces. Jack, understanding what he was up to, looked at the caterpillar. "Go ahead, General. It does what it's advertised to do."
Jack nibbled at his left hand. The world grew suddenly, and he staggered, being steadied by Kirk. "Now you see how I feel." They nibbled at the mushroom in their right hands, grew, then looked down at the caterpillar.
"Time to go home," the caterpillar said, and waved his right hands.
Jack appeared back on the bridge of the "George Hammond". He looked down. His cuts were healed, and, more importantly, he seemed to be the right size. He looked at Daniel. "Weren't you a little shorter?"
Daniel grinned. "Good job, Jack."
"How do you know what kind of job I did?"
Kirk, his shirt fixed, turned around on the screen. "They were watching every minute."
"Oh." Jack said. "I guess I should be glad that neither one of us had to answer the call of nature."
"By the way, where are the heads on your ship? I've always wondered."
"Jack," Daniel said. "I'll find you some blueprints."
The two bridge crews looked at each other. "Well, Spock," said the voice. "Did you say you were going to do something?"
Spock raised his eyebrows, and then nodded.
"You forgot!" the voice crowed.
Spock lowered his eyebrows. "Mr. Kyle, please transport the satellite at the coordinates I will supply you to the ship in front of us."
"The 'George Hammond', sir?"
Spock raised his eyebrows.
"We had video down here, also, sir," said the transporter chief.
A moment. "The satellite is on a large area of the ship."
"Hopefully not the basketball court," Jack muttered. Carter grinned.
"Ok, exchange data, too. I know you want to," the voice said.
"So. Did you learn anything?" Jack said.
"More than you think." Said the voice.
"Transmitting," said Carter and Spock simultaneously. Carter grinned, and Spock looked slightly amused.
"It may not help us," Carter said. "But all knowledge is good."
"We already have Zats," Daniel pointed out.
"But phasers have power settings," Jack said. Then, suspecting what was going to happen. "Thanks, Jim! For all of us."
"Anytime," Kirk said. He looked a little confused.
"Done?" The voice said. "Good." The Enterprise disappeared.
Carter sighed. Daniel raised his eyebrows. Jack sat into his chair. "God, I hope we've seen the last of Q."
"Don't plan on it, mon General," Q said.