Jackfic Fiction Archive Story

 

Only SG-1

by Elizabeth



Peaceful. That’s the only word that described his current situation.


Peaceful.


Of course you could also add bored. Bored was good too.


The problem with recuperating on PC3 928 was that there was nothing to do. Nothing. Nada, zip. Big, huge, fat zero for him to do. Of course that was the whole point of him having been forcefully shipped out here in the first place.


*****


"You’re going to rest Colonel, whether you want to or not. PC3 928 is a paradise from what I’ve heard and I’m ordering you to enjoy yourself."


"But Daniel’s got something to do." He’d whined back in return. Why did Daniel get to work and he didn’t? They weren’t even letting him take any ordnance with him. Not even a back-pack, fer crying out loud!


"That’s because the planet’s long deserted and SG-5 found some ancient ruins. Daniel’s no more going to be running around there than you are, but even so, he’s not been as sick as you. So SG-1’s going on a short vacation, whilst you’re all a little under par, and we can afford the manpower."


The General genuinely thought he was doing his 2IC a favour. The Colonel rarely took holidays, frequently had too much stress on his plate and had recently spent far too long in the infirmary for the CMO’s liking. The fact that he’d nearly died twice in the last fortnight hadn’t done anything to alleviate everyone’s worries. The man was long overdue a break and, whilst things were quiet, Hammond was going to insist he took one.


O’Neill had continued to sulk like a peevish schoolboy, slouched in his fatigues in the chair.


"Go and get your team ready, Colonel. Even SG-5 are only out there, doing routine survey work, as we’re going through a lull at the moment. Lie back, work on the tan and relax for a few days."


"Is that an order, Sir?" He hadn’t raised his eyes from where his fingers were dismantling one of the General’s pens.


"Yes son, I guess it is."


The Colonel had risen out of the chair, still moving a mite slower than normal, and headed for the door, belatedly putting the remains of a once expensive pen back down on the desk.


"Colonel?"


He’d turned around to face his CO, still hopeful that this was all a big mistake.


"Just enjoy yourself, Jack. OK?"


"I’ll try, Sir." The look on his face had suggested it wouldn’t be easy.


So it was, that three hours later, SG-1 stood on the ramp, watching the familiar, yet still stunning, wormhole form before them. All four of them looked slightly less than comfortable in their pared down uniforms. They were so used to going out in full BDUs, complete with enough ordnance to sink your average battle ship, that shorts and tee-shirts just didn’t feel ‘right’. At least Daniel had a small back-pack with some of his books with him. However, the more military members of the flag-ship team felt somewhat naked without their assorted weapons. The Colonel had a Swiss Army penknife tucked away in a shorts pocket and a hunting knife secreted in a sheath inside them, but even he couldn’t find a way to hide the handgun he usually had in his ankle holster.


Looking around him, at his team though, he had to consider that they, at least, deserved a break in the sun. Both Daniel and Sam still looked a little pale and it was a while since he’d seen either of them smile with their usual enthusiasm. Seemed the illness the three of them had been through had taken it out of the two scientists. Teal’c looked as solid as ever, but it would be amusing to see how the big guy relaxed, with nothing to do. All *he* had to do was find something to keep *himself* occupied with, apart from building sandcastles on the beach, whilst the marines took the mick out of him. Why did it have to be the jar-heads who were waiting to baby-sit them? Why couldn’t they all have just gone and rested at home instead? Because you’d have been back on the base two days later, O’Neill, that’s why, he told himself. Also, as Daniel could be useful with a bit of translation work, Hammond was killing two birds with one stone. The trouble for the Colonel was that the stone in question was going to feel like an mill-stone hanging around his neck. Why was it always SG-1?


Hammond and Doctor Fraiser both watched from the Control Room, as the four members of the premier team stepped through the gate. They breathed a joint sigh of relief and smiled at each other. A nice little holiday in the sun was just what the troubled team needed and they’d be back, fighting fit, in no time. What could possibly go wrong?


*****


Yup, bored. No other word for it.


Spectacular views. Pretty even.


Clear blue sky. Clear green water. Pure white sand. Blue/grey jungle on the horizon. Palm trees dotted along the beach.


All of it picture postcard stuff.


Yup. Bored.


They’d had one night of being teased and patronised by the marines and the Colonel’s patience was rapidly evaporating. Even before they’d landed planet-side, SG-5 had already taken receipt of a store of supplies for them, setting up the tents in advance, near the beach, and arranging food and drink stores. Fraiser had sent over a pile of medications for Daniel and Carter and another one, twice as large, for the Colonel alone. Then Major Jenkins watched, smirking, just to make sure they took them all. The jar-heads were actually enjoying this, pandering to them, taking every opportunity to make him, in particular, feel like an invalid. ‘Come on now Colonel. You don’t want us to rat to the Doc, do you?’ What the Colonel wanted to do, was strictly forbidden by the regs, so he resisted the bait and chalked up all the infractions for another day. Even Makepeace at his most irritating, hadn’t goaded him as much. Revenge was sweet, as they said, and he always paid his dues.


Daniel and Carter had disappeared first thing that morning, to investigate the writings that SG-5 had found. They both seemed to be enjoying a break for once, but at least they still had something to occupy themselves with. Carter seemed able to ignore the Major’s constant jibes, whilst in typical Daniel fashion, it flew straight over the archaeologist’s head, like most things did that hadn’t been dead for several hundred years. Teal’c had offered them his services, as though he too had no desire to spend the day with nothing to do, but the dialect was unfamiliar, so he was unable to help. That was why he elected to stay on the beach and keep O’Neill company instead.


You could tell, just by looking at him, that the Colonel was unhappy. However, he was always like that during this stage of recovery, when he’d got enough energy to get out of bed, but not yet enough to return to work. He muttered loudly about knowing how Robinson Crusoe must have felt, needing to get off the island. Yo-yo’s and a pack of cards just didn’t carry the same weight as a P-90! He even had his own Man Friday now for company. Teal’c felt he would never get to grips with all the references O’Neill came out with.


Major Jenkins and Captain Walker (who was the quietest marine they’d ever met) had accompanied Daniel and Carter that morning. Even though the planet seemed uninhabited and risk free, you never took anything for granted in the stargate world. That left Captain Muir and Lieutenant Soames to keep an eye on O’Neill and Teal’c. Soames didn’t have the bottle to annoy the Colonel on his own and generally kept out of the way if the Major wasn’t present, but Muir was different. He was younger than the rest and generally didn’t seem keen to join in his team-mates constant verbal sparring.


"Sirs, do you want to try some of these?"


"What are they?" The Colonel asked for both of them. Anything to relieve the boredom of playing cards for the twentieth time, or watching the local seagulls fish for food. They’d been sitting down, leaning against one of the palm trees near the camp all morning. A cool breeze blew in from over the water and they were in the shade, but he was still hot and fractious with nothing to do.


Muir held out a handful of what looked like small pink oranges.


"They’re really tasty, Sir, and thirst quenching in this heat." The Colonel reigned in his bad mood for the young Captain. Muir had treated them OK so far. In fact it was a shame he was a jar-head, he should have been Air Force.


O’Neill took one and looked at it, then slowly peeled it, watched carefully by Teal’c.


"I’m not suddenly gonna grow in size am I? I can’t see any bottle with ‘drink me’ written on it around here."


Muir laughed. "No, Sir, they’ve been fully checked out for human consumption. Although I wouldn’t cook them, Sir, they give out rather noxious fumes."


"Really?" Now here was something which finally *did* interest the Colonel.


"Why would you grow in size, O’Neill?" Teal’c asked, as he watched his friend rip out a segment of the fruit and pop it into his mouth.


"Never read Alice In Wonderland, Teal’c?" O’Neill asked him as he savoured the sweetness in his mouth and proceeded to rip off another segment.


"I have not. Was Alice some kind of scientist?"


"Nah, although she did test out the mushrooms too."


Teal’c nodded, as though he was well used to these cryptic answers. He knew that if the information was useful to him, O’Neill would furnish the necessary explanation as soon as he was able. The Jaffa also took one of the fruits being passed his way and ate into it quickly, soon enjoying the thirst quenching moistness.


"So tell me more about these fuming fruits, Muir."


"Well, we tried to cook them a couple of nights ago and something weird happened. I don’t think anyone back at the SGC has found out why yet, but they give out fumes that knock your socks off. Perfectly safe raw, but knock-outs when cooked."


"Poisonous?" He studied the fruits with a new appreciation.


"No. It just knocked Soames out for about half an hour, we think, before we found him. He was fine when he came too."


"Remind me to send a basket of them to the Goa’uld."


"Yes, Sir."


Muir left several more of the fruits beside them and disappeared to tidy up around the camp. The Captain could see his two charges from over there, without having to appear to be constantly watching over them. In truth, he felt awed to be given the responsibility of looking after the famous SG-1. Everyone knew of them. The two brilliant scientists who’d opened the gate and did so much to ensure the continued running of the program; the large warrior, a genuine real-live alien, who’d given up his former life to join them in their fight; and *the* Colonel O’Neill, who kept them all together, a living legend both on and off the field of battle.


They were truly unique.


Even if they were Air Force, Muir would do his best to treat them with the respect they deserved. O’Neill might bristle at being in a submissive role to them, but it was obvious the Colonel wasn’t yet up to his full strength. The medications that Doctor Fraiser had sent over were testament to that, so the Captain would do his best to respect his unease and not add to it. The man had saved the whole Earth, at least once that he was aware of, so it was the least he could do.


*****


"O’Neill?" Teal’c struggled to focus on his friend.


"Yup, that’d be me. No other O’Neill’s around here – no siree." The Colonel swivelled his head around to stare, somewhat cross-eyed at his companion.


"I feel strange."


"Ya look pretty strange too with that big stamp thingy up there, but *I* still like ya."


"Thank you O’Neill. I also have feelings of affection towards you. However, I still feel strange."


"How’s that buddy?" The Colonel leaned over and placed a hand on the Jaffa’s shoulder and nearly missed.


"The planet appears to be moving around us."


"No kidding? Isn’t it supposed to move? I mean, moons go round the planets--- the planets round the--- suns--- and the suns move--- kinda--- out thatta way. Big bang and all that."


"What is a big bang?"


The Colonel laughed. "That, my friend, is a night out never to be forgotten!"


Teal’c nodded. "My head feels strange. Perhaps a walk will assist my equilibrium." The large warrior got unsteadily to his feet and the Colonel grabbed at one muscled dark arm, as it swung beside him.


"Hang on there a minute T and I’ll come with ya. Could do with an airing myself." He hauled his long frame up from the ground, in a similarly unsteady fashion and the two men walked haltingly away towards the far tree line.


"Should we not report our intentions to Major Jenkins?" Teal’c stopped walking, so that he could look at his companion without falling over.


"Nah, he’d only spoil our fun. Jar-head, bottle-head, empty-head." He sniggered at his own attempted humour. "He can go on his own walk if he wants one. He ain’t spoiling mine." With that, the Colonel took a deliberate step forward and promptly fell on his face. "Mmmmph."


Teal’c reached down and pulled O’Neill half upright again by the belt of his shorts, leaving his CO hanging with all four limbs trailing beneath him. "Do you require assistance?"


The Colonel got to his feet and straightened himself, looking around, confused.


"Whatever gave you that impression, big guy?"


"I am a big guy?" The Jaffa’s chest puffed out at the praise.


"Sure are Teal’c. Didn’t think I hired you for your looks, did ya?"


They started walking again towards the far trees, their footprints leaving an unsteady zigzag pattern in the sand behind them.


"Are my looks not acceptable, O’Neill?"


"Well, I hate to tell you this, buddy, but they do squat for me."


*****


Captain Muir hadn’t meant to take so long sorting out his P-90, but the weapon hadn’t felt right when he’d been handling it earlier and, not wanting to be caught out, he’d taken some time out to completely dismantle, clean and reassemble it. After doing that, he thought to clean the baretta too. Sand could be a real problem, getting into all the workings and, once he’d got his cleaning kit out, it seemed sensible to do the whole lot. Lieutenant Soames was having a sleep inside his tent, as he’d taken the last shift of the night watch. Even on a ‘safe’ planet, you’d be stupid to forego the watch pattern and Jenkins was not stupid. Arrogant, maybe, particularly against the Air Force, but not stupid. Soames would be up soon and would probably want his coffee, so Muir headed around the other side of the tents to set up the stove. He spared a quick look over towards the palm trees, where he’d last seen the remaining two members of SG-1 and stopped in surprise. They were nowhere to be seen.


Not wanting to be seen to be worried, he nevertheless trotted over to where he’d left them. He spotted the rinds of the fruits that he’d given them, left on the ground, and saw the hap-hazard trail of footprints, heading towards the far trees.


"Christ on a bicycle." He cursed as he reached for his radio. Neither the Colonel, nor Teal’c had communication equipment with them. It seemed like they were living up to their reputations. Only SG-1 could cause so much trouble.


*****


They were walking, or rather staggering, along the water’s edge, as it washed wave upon wave over their booted feet, patiently eradicating any trace of the men’s progress. Was it raining? Slightly uncoordinated, the Colonel wiped the perspiration from his forehead. Man Friday didn’t seem to be having the same problems, perhaps it all collected in his tattoo?


"O’Neill. Do you feel well?"


"Teal’c, it doesn’t matter what I feel like, the damn Doc’s still got me out here." The frustration in his voice was plain to hear.


"You misunderstand me. I think *I* may be unwell."


The Colonel stopped instantly in his tracks, well swayed in them to be more accurate, but he turned around to grasp his friend on the arm, concern written over his flushed face. "What’s up buddy?"


"I can feel a strange presence building up within my digestive system. It is most uncomfortable." The Jaffa held his hands to his stomach, a pained expression on his normally placid features.


The Colonel creased his forehead up in concentration. This was bad. If Teal’c was sick, then this was bad. Yup, bad.


"Whatdyamean?"


"It feels like a pressure building up within me. The nearest experience I can compare it to is the first time you gave me soda pop. I expelled gas from my stomach through my mouth, only this time it feels different."


O’Neill remembered the first time Teal’c had belched after downing a whole bottle of the new drink too quickly. It had been highly amusing to see the puzzled look on the Jaffa’s face. He couldn’t be experiencing the ‘other end’ of the problem now could he? He tried not to giggle at the thought.


"Sounds to me like you’re suffering from a perfectly normal biological condition."


"Explain."


"Ummmmm. Perhaps you just need to get rid of some intestinal wind?" He smiled with his ability to remain professional under all circumstances.


"Intestinal wind?"


"Ya know, like Carter would say ‘Gas is a natural by-product of any chemical breakdown’." Wouldn’t she be impressed!


Teal’c considered this information, running it around inside his confused head. "My symbiote has always assisted in regulating my digestive system before. Why is it unable to do so now?" The Jaffa now looked positively pained with the effort to control himself.


"Hey, I don’t know. Maybe Junior’s just having an off day. But hey, Carter’s not about. There’s just you, me and the sea breeze, so just kinda point it out there and--- do what comes naturally."


"This is not natural for me, O’Neill." The Jaffa had never felt like this before and had never understood the childish competitions that O’Neill and DanielJackson had often engaged in whilst suffering from this complaint. However, unable to contain himself any longer, and despite his commander’s poorly concealed amusement, he turned his back on the sea and expelled the waste gas. It was a long moment.


"Way to go Teal’c." O’Neill comforted his friend as best he could.


Once Teal’c had indicated he was finished, they continued on their walk. Looking over to his right, the Colonel spied the strange mirage of blue/grey trees, dancing about above the sands and thought ‘cool’. It really was getting hot out here under the sun. Jar-Jar Jenkins would be after them soon, but he wasn’t ready to be hauled back yet and the trees would make them a lot more difficult to track. He grinned to himself and grabbed an armful of the long palm tree fronds that were washed up on the beach all around them.


"You ever been surfing, Teal’c?" The waves also looked incredibly inviting at the moment and he considered going for a swim. The different shades of green of the water whirled all around him, leaking into the sand, as though it wanted to join in the fun. However, he knew Jenkins would be after them soon.


"I have had frequent use of your internet facilities, O’Neill. I particularly liked the female wrestling sites that you found for me." The sky seemed to come right down to the shore around the Jaffa and mingle with the sea.


"Nah, I mean take a surf-board out on the water."


"I do not recall ever taking part in such an activity. What would be its purpose?" He stumbled slightly and this time it was the Colonel who held him upright.


"No purpose. Just fun Teal’c. You never did anything just for fun?" He watched as the golden tattoo seemed to strobe over his friend’s forehead. He didn’t recall it doing that before!


"Not before I met the Tau’ri, O’Neill. You have done much to entertain me over the years." That much was certainly true on more than one level. Whilst the rest of the Tau’ri might try to educate him in Earth culture, O’Neill did more on his own to encourage the alien to break out of his Jaffa conditioning.


"You just whoosh straight out over the waves." His arm flew through the air in a slicing movement. "It’s like flying, ya know, only you don’t need a parachute."


"I do not think I have ever whooshed, O’Neill. Can you explain further?"


The trees jutted out nearer the shore and, as they left the water’s edge, the Colonel started using the fronds to wipe over their boot prints behind them.


"Well, first you need a surf-board." He stumbled, face down into the sand again, and Teal’c once more hauled him upright.


"Is this board made of ice?"


"Huh?" He shook the sand out of his shorts, wondering what had tripped him up this time.


"I do not understand how this board can be made of water, if it is of the surf."


"No. It’s made from wood."


They started walking again, this time with Teal’c also taking some fronds to help cover up their traces.


"Then why is it not called a wooden board?"


"Because you take it over the surf, not up a goddamn tree."


"I see." There was a pause, whilst the Colonel nodded happily to himself, pleased with their progress. "O’Neill?"


"Yeah?"


"Why are we erasing our tracks?"


"I don’t know--- Damned if I can remember. Can you?" He was finding it difficult to keep on one train of thought.


"I do not." Teal’c was finding it difficult to think at all.


"Oh."


They carried on covering their tracks, until they disappeared into the greenery.


*****


Major Jenkins stalked around the campsite, his face as red as the sun beating down on them, furious at what had happened. Muir stood patiently, trying not to take his CO’s ire personally. Although Carter and Jackson looked worried over their team-mates’ disappearance, it was obvious this sort of occurrence wasn’t outside normal SG-1 behaviour.


"How did they seem when you last saw them?" Carter asked, as she and Jackson wandered over towards the palm trees.


"Fine. The Colonel seemed bored, but nothing out of the normal. Teal’c neither. They were both just resting under the trees. I took them some fruit over and that’s the last I saw of them."


"Fruit?" Jackson asked. They’d reached the trees by this time and he bent down to pick up a handful of the rinds and a couple of playing cards. It was odd for Jack to leave a mess like that behind. Their CO was meticulous about taking all their litter home with them. Even in the most peaceful of locations, it paid to leave no trace of your presence, or direction of travel, for a potential enemy to find. It was so built into the experienced soldier’s mannerisms that he cleared up around camp without thinking about it.


"Oh, it’s OK. It’s all been tested."


Carter took a piece of rind off Jackson and sniffed it. "How in-depth were the tests?"


Muir shrugged his shoulders. "It was tested OK for humans. I didn’t think there was anything else it had to be tested for. I was only trying to help." He felt mortified that he might be the cause of the two men disappearing.


"We’ve been eating them for days." Jenkins stated huffily.


Walker just sulked beside him, whilst Soames finished putting his boots on, back by the tents.


They all followed Carter’s gaze, as her eyes tracked the crazy path of foot prints in the fine sand, now slowly disappearing under the slight sea breeze. The trails were obviously not made by two fully in-control adults.


"Yes, but what about Teal’c, or his symbiote?" Jackson asked, his eyebrows disappearing into his hairline.


"Or the medication the Colonel’s on?" Carter finished off. Fruit, like anything else could contain a lot of chemicals and these were alien fruits too. Who knew what it had done to her friends?


"I’m going to kill that crazy Colonel of yours, when we find them." Jenkins huffed. In a way, he realised this was his fault. If the fruit had affected them, they were his responsibility, even if Muir had been the one to actually hand it over and even if no one had thought of this possibility. However, he wasn’t about to admit to this to the rest of SG-1. He’d haul their asses back, without any apologies for man-handling their precious egos. This was still disrupting his survey, making him look somehow incompetent in front of the rest of the base, if news of this got back. SG-1 always seemed to come up smelling of roses, no matter what they did. Well, not this time. They were dealing with the marines now.


Jackson sniggered quietly. "Well let’s try to find them first, eh?" He doubted the Major could lay a hand on Jack, even if he wasn’t already out-ranked. The archaeologist had seen the Colonel in combat too many times to be taken in by the Major’s frustrated bluff.


Jenkins looked at him suspiciously. Was the civilian daring to look down at him? Probably not. He was a geek and geeks didn’t have the bottle for that. Soames arrived then, ready to move and begin the search.


"Just give me five minutes to get back to the gate and radio back to the SGC. Then we’ll go after them. They won’t have got very far, or anywhere *we* can’t find them."


This time, as he turned around, Jenkins missed hearing Carter’s quiet laugh and seeing the knowing looks which passed between the two scientists. The other three didn’t, but neither Walker nor Soames felt able to take on the Major, or Jackson, without their CO’s presence. Muir just looked out over the beach. The Colonel and Teal’c were masters of survival, but they weren’t exactly in control of their faculties, if the tracks were to be believed. They’d be OK, wouldn’t they?


Whilst SG-5’s leader went back to report the latest development, obviously not looking forward to the General’s reaction, Daniel went through their belongings and picked up a handful of medications for all of them. No point in not being prepared, after all. Teal’c, luckily, wasn’t on anything, but Jack would probably be needing his soon, providing the Colonel let them find him. That’s if they thought it was safe to give them to him, once they’d found them. Looking at the two crazy tracks leading away from the camp, who knew what was going on in their team-mates’ heads? Why did these things always happen to SG-1?


*****


"Wow, will ya look at that!" The Colonel was looking at the huge trees surrounding them, turning around in a circle, with his face upwards, feeling the drops of moisture dripping onto his face from above. To his mind they seemed to reach right up to the skies and tangle with the fluffy clouds high above them.


"They are indeed an impressive height." Teal’c readily agreed. He could not understand why he had never appreciated how tall this particular type of vegetation could grow before. He reached out and ran his hand over the trunk of the nearest tree, tracing the markings of the bark with his fingers. It felt incredibly ancient and much older than even himself. How many Goa’uld had walked through here and not noticed this one tree? Perhaps he should ask O’Neill? He seemed to know much more than he ever admitted.


For half an hour now they had been forcing their way through the semi jungle. Twice the Colonel had despatched snakes that hung down out of the foliage towards them, neatly severing their heads with his hunting knife without preamble. He didn’t even know if they were poisonous, or not, but better safe than sorry in his book. Teal’c was not as used to taking out enemies on such a small scale, especially in such close quarters, and stayed behind his CO in this strange environment. He was more used to desert planets and quite happy to defer to O’Neill’s greater experience, just as he knew his friend would defer to him if the positions were reversed. It was no slight to his capabilities. Besides which, the trees refused to stay still long enough for him to differentiate between the branches and the hanging snakes. Perhaps O’Neill had better vision in such climates? If he had been allowed to bring his zat, or staff weapon with him, he would have been able to remove the creatures from a distance, protecting his leader. However O’Neill seemed eminently at ease removing the threats at such close proximity.


The air got progressively more damp as they penetrated deeper into the jungle-like terrain, moisture dripping constantly around them, gradually soaking through their meagre clothing. Neither of them seemed to notice. Strolling through the trees with a nonchalant disregard for the possible dangers, O’Neill led the way, until they reached a log and he rapidly stopped the Jaffa from stepping over it.


"Whoa, there, big guy." The Colonel studied the large area of water pooled on the other side, several feet wide by a few feet in length. His head was on one side, as though trying to sort through muddled memories. "Hey, pass us that stick, will ya?" He pointed over towards a large branch that was lying by the Jaffa’s feet.


Teal’c obligingly reached down for the item and handed it over to O’Neill, who proceeded to prod into the suspect puddle. The branch was a good seven foot long and kneeling down, so he didn’t fall over, he managed to poke all of it down under the water. "Wow."


"It is but a layer of water, O’Neill."


"Yeah," grinned his friend, "but in *just* the right place!" He looked around at the jungle debris, scattered around their feet. "Now to show the marines who’re the wet blankets around here. Give us a hand, eh, T."


The Jaffa watched, puzzled, as O’Neill started to gather up the forest waste and lay it across the top of the deep hole. The effort at concentrating was written on his face. Even the hole seemed to shimmer with each breath as the Jaffa watched.


"Probably made by a burrowing animal of some sort." The Colonel explained, as he made a point of not collecting too much material from any one place. Teal’c took note of the correct procedure and assisted. "It’ll be an old set of some sort that the roof’s caved in on."


"A set?" Teal’c asked, as he steadied himself against a tree to stop it from weaving about so much. "Will there be a matching depression nearby then?"


O’Neill stopped for a moment, sitting down suddenly in the litter, before shaking his head and looking back up. "Nah, the only extra this is gonna get is gonna be one pissed off marine--- A set is a word for an underground animal home, like a den, or a lair. Had to inhabit a few in my time." He raised himself slowly, ignoring the puzzled looks off the Jaffa.


Carefully, he arranged a support of longer branches over the water filled hole and then laid leaves and other material on the top of it, finally sprinkling a small amount of dirt over the top, complete with insects. He then smoothed over the rest of the area, feeling happy that nothing gave the impression of being interfered with. "And now for the pièce de résistance." Walking to the side of the hole, farthest from the log, he reached into one of his pockets. Carefully selecting a single playing card, he dropped it on the ground, just beyond the trap.


"Well, Teal’c. Now to find a seat to watch the show." He scanned around the area and backtracked a few yards, retreating over their previous trail, dropping another single card on the ground. Teal’c followed behind, puzzled as often by his friend’s behaviour. O’Neill dropped another card a few yards further on, then laid down and rolled on the ground.


Teal’c stood with his head on one side, studying his now dishevelled friend through fuzzy eyes.


"Are you unwell, O’Neill, you seem to be squirming."


The Colonel stood up again and laughed, grabbing the Jaffa by the arm. "A little bit of misdirection, Teal’c. Jenkins won’t know what’s hit him." He continued to giggle, as he reached down to grab a handful of pebbles, which he pocketed, a grin still on his now dirty face. "Communication." He explained which, of course, explained nothing to the Jaffa, but Teal’c was used to that. O’Neill had many strange ways, but he always seemed to know what he was doing and it *was* altogether a very strange day.


"If you say so." Was his trusting reply. Even the trees seemed to sway in agreement with him.


"You betcha!" O’Neill grabbed his arm and led him off the trail they’d just made, being extra careful not to tread on anything, or leave any tracks. Doubly difficult when everything seemed to shimmy around them as they moved. Reaching a tall, stout tree, with a clear view through to the trap, he urged Teal’c up ahead of him and climbed behind him, giggling as he nearly lost his footing several times.


"This tree does not seem able to refrain from moving." Teal’c complained above him, as the Jaffa slipped and banged his head.


"Nah, probably just the breeze." The Colonel replied as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. His hair was plastered to him after all his exertions and a tiny portion of his mind wondered if he should really be doing something so strenuous. Fraiser was probably not going to be pleased with him. It was only a tiny portion though and he managed to ignore it without trying very hard. He yanked on one of Teal’c’s legs when he thought they’d gone high enough and settled down in a fork between the branches. Teal’s sat above him, his feet hanging over the Colonel’s shoulders, almost resting them on his chest.


Reaching around him, O’Neill broke off a couple of branches and tucked them into his clothing and Teal’c’s boots. The Jaffa looked down.


"I seem to have greenery growing out of my boots, O’Neill."


It was all the Colonel could do to stay on the branch.


*****


They followed the hap-hazard tracks down the beach, until they reached the water’s edge, and then continued in the direction of the trees. It seemed unlikely that the two wayward soldiers would have decided to change directions. The beach stretched for miles in the other direction without anything to hinder their view and there was no sign of the men that way, for as far as the eye could see.


"Looks like they walked in the surf, Sir." Soames volunteered, as he took the lead.


"OK, lead on then." Jenkins muttered, as they set off in pursuit. He was still burning from the subtle reprimand the General had given him over the radio. Even more frightening was the thought of what Doctor Fraiser would have in store for them, in their post-mission medicals, if they didn’t find the errant men. Everyone knew how the ‘powers that be’ favoured the number one team. It was grossly unfair, but that was life in the airforce run program. Suck it up marine, he told himself. He’d get his revenge in a few hours, when he hauled their asses back. He’d do his best to make life as uncomfortable for the Colonel as he could under the circumstances.


Jackson studied his notes as they walked.


"I’m still puzzled by this reference." He said conversationally to Carter. The rest of the marines appeared to ignore them completely. Having changed positions, Jenkins and Walker were now in the front and Muir and Soames behind. As far as Jenkins was concerned, the SG-1 scientists were purely along for the ride, although he had allowed them to bring along zats for protection.


"What do you mean?" She asked, as he showed her the notations he’d made that morning.


"Well, originally, I thought this was probably a warning about the Goa’uld. You know, something along the lines of ‘Scream and shout, Goa’uld about’, but now I’m not so sure."


"Why?"


"Well, if I’ve understood this correctly, the tenses and verbs are all slightly off. It’s as if whoever did this was inebriated, or something."


Carter took the notebook off him, but her speciality wasn’t linguistics and the notes made very little sense to her. She handed the book back.


"So what do you think it says?"


"Something more like ‘The order is sunk, our Goa’uld are drunk’."


"Doesn’t sound like anything the Goa’uld are likely to write."


"I know, but it fits what little we know, doesn’t it? Why else does the place seem so deserted? Why else would Teal’c let Jack go walkabout when he’s supposed to be resting?"


"You really think the native food got to them?"


"It’s the only thing that makes sense. They were fine until they ate the fruit, then look at those crazy tracks they made. Jack would never go off like that, no more than Teal’c would let him."


"Janet’s probably putting those samples they already had through more tests right now, but that doesn’t help us find the Colonel and Teal’c."


"That’s if they WANT to be found." Daniel looked ahead to the very stiff backs of Major Jenkins and Captain Walker. He’d also had enough of the patronising behaviour of the marines and part of him was pleased Jack had got under their skins so much. Jack was very good at that on his best days! However, it didn’t detract from the fact that his recuperating friend and Teal’c were both missing, without weapons, on a strange planet. Well, not exactly weapon-less, with Teal’c about, but if they were both as high as kites, that might not exactly be of any help.


Carter looked beyond him, to where the trees suddenly jutted out, catching her attention. They grew outwards in a patch from the jungle, heading more towards the sea. It was so hot out under the sun and her clothes were sticking to her in the heat. It would be pleasant to get into some shade.


"Don’t worry, Daniel. The Colonel can take care of himself." She raised her voice a little. "Why don’t we head for the trees, Major?"


Jenkins turned around to her, his face anything but pleasant.


"I don’t see any tracks going that way, do you, Major?" His voice was condescending.


"No, but I know the Colonel and you don’t. Let’s just call it a hunch, OK, but it’s hot out here and I think he’d have headed for the trees."


"Haven’t you ever covered your tracks behind you?" Daniel supported her.


Jenkins studied the two scientists. Two geeks, even if one was a major and could handle a gun. He’d no reason to believe they knew more about tracking than he did, but they ought to know their team-mates, if nothing else.


"All right, but if we’re wasting time, it’s your fault."


He turned and, with Walker at his side led the way, Muir and Soames still bringing up the rear. Carter hated being kept in the middle, like a liability, but she could understand Jenkins not wanting to lose anyone else. She remembered his very red face, after he’d come back from dialling up to radio back to base. No doubt the General had not been pleased with SG-5 for what had happened on a simple duty.


They walked over the sand and Carter spotted a couple of palm fronds lying on the route, several yards to one side. Having an idea, she walked over to them, and reaching down, saw what could be knuckle prints underneath them.


Daniel looked over towards her, whilst Muir and Soames stopped to wait. She smiled over towards her team-mate and Daniel nodded in understanding. They were on the right track. However, she wasn’t going to tell Jenkins, he could continue to stew in his own juices. If need be, they’d leave the marines and find the rest of their team themselves.


*****


Teal’c looked down at the silver head, bowed beneath him. His friend was leaning against the tree trunk, using Teal’c’s leg as a pillow, as he quietly slumbered away. Teal’c wondered how the Tau’ri managed to do that without falling out of the tree, although he would be quick to restrain him if he felt the human move. He had spent the last half hour studying what seemed to be primates above them. The creatures had not descended any lower towards them, for which he was grateful. They seemed to shimmy and split into two, before reintegrating back into one being. It was most disconcerting.


He could hear voices coming in their general direction and was about to gain their attention when he remembered O’Neill did not seem keen on company. Perhaps he should wait and find out what the Colonel’s intentions were.


He nudged his commander gently in the chest with his left boot.


"O’Neill. We appear to have company."


The Colonel woke up slowly, to the gentle nudging of the heel on his chest.


"Wha---?"


"I believe SG-5 are heading our way."


"Ya sure?"


Instead Teal’c reached down with one hand and placed it over his friend’s mouth, only just about managing to not overbalance. The team was now near enough to be seen in the distance, following their trail through the trees. O’Neill tapped the hand on his face and Teal’c removed it. O’Neill was smiling as he saw the uniforms pause in the distance.


*****


They’d been following an obvious trail through the trees for some time now. It was easy to see where branches had been broken only recently, sap flowing from the fresh breaks. Twice they’d come across dead snakes in their path, testament to the fact that someone had smuggled a weapon with him, and that the same someone was also at ease in this environment. Hardly likely to be Teal’c, thought more than one person.


Jenkins stopped them when they came across a disturbed area on the ground. There was a playing card in the middle of the crushed ground litter.


"Looks like the poor old Colonel took a tumble here." He mused as he poked about in the slight depression, picking up the card. He walked a few more yards and came across another card. "Looks like he’s losing these from his pockets. It’s going to be easy to track him like this and he calls himself special ops. Pathetic!"


Walker joined him at his side again, the Captain as silent as he’d been during the entire time SG-1 had been with them. Together they walked ahead, slowing down when they reached the fallen trunk, waiting for everyone else to catch up. Carter looked puzzled, but it was hard luck for the young woman if her CO wasn’t as clever as she’d been led to believe.


"Get a move on." Jenkins ordered them, as he and Walker stepped over the log, the sight of another card enticingly lying on the other side.


Carter and Jackson had almost reached them and were similarly about to step up to the log, when a small object suddenly whizzed passed them, almost catching Jackson on the arm.


"Hey!" The young man called out, catching Jenkins’s attention, just as he disappeared from sight, Walker sticking loyally to his side and disappearing with him.


*****


The Colonel pocketed the rest of the pebbles, just in case they’d be needed later, his face hurting with the effort of not laughing. Water had shot up around the sinking officers like a spout from a dolphin’s blow-hole. He’d been lucky not to hit Jackson with his warning shot and it had taken all of his powers of concentration to manage that little feat.


"Was that worth it, or what?" He whispered up to Teal’c, who was watching the rescue proceedings with a slightly amused expression on his face.


"It was indeed a rewarding experience." The Jaffa replied.


*****


Carter and Jackson wiped their wet hands on their already wet shorts, as Jenkins and Walker rested on the ground. Walker was holding onto his ankle, cursing quietly to himself. It was the most noise they’d heard out of the taciturn officer.


"Here, let me look." She offered as she reached down and started to undo the laces on his boot.


"Don’t bother, it’s only sprained." He complained, gruffly, as he yanked the offending leg back, muffling another small moan at the movement.


"Bad?" Jenkins asked, for once a note of concern in his voice.


"I’ll make it back to camp, Sir."


Jenkins nodded. "But not alone. Muir, this is all your fault, you take him back."


"Yes, Sir." Muir said. It looked like it was time to apportion blame, the younger Captain thought resignedly.


He reached down to haul his team-mate up, studiously avoiding the now obvious muddy hole. It was difficult to get hold of Walker, without getting covered in the filth that now soaked into the officer’s uniform, but he managed a reasonable grip and helped him upright. As they hobbled passed the scientists, Muir sent them a small grin, unseen by the rest of his team, which both Carter and Jackson returned.


"Now let’s find out where the hell that precious Colonel of yours has got to." Jenkins moaned as he got to his feet. He was drenched in the muddy water and decidedly more angry than he had been earlier. He reached down to pick up the one remaining card from the ground and scowled silently at it. It was the Joker.


*****


O’Neill watched as everyone disappeared into the jungle again, then looked back up at his team-mate who was, as ever, right beside him.


"Come on T, let’s get the hell outta here, before they figure out which way we went." Even in his befuddled state, he knew it wouldn’t be long before it was discovered they’d back-tracked. Especially with Carter there. His Major was good at tracking them down, which came from years of practice and mother henning, and Daniel was like a dog with a bone where the rest of his team was concerned. Jar-Jar might not have a clue, but his team would do him proud--- after he’d had his fun of course. This was a trip the marines weren’t going to forget in a hurry.


Removing the greenery contributing to their camouflage, the Colonel climbed slowly downwards, only missing his footing once and slipping heavily the last few feet onto the ground.


"Are you injured, O’Neill?" Teal’c asked, as he gracelessly slid to the ground beside him.


"Nah, few scratches, that’s all."


There was a delay as they studied each other’s torn clothing and collection of grazes, accumulated from their less than elegant adventures that day.


"Perhaps we should ‘mosey on out of here’ then?" Teal’c asked, as he stood up, reaching down with a large hand for his friend.


O’Neill took the proffered appendage, with a huge smile on his face.


"Teal’c! That really IS the spirit. Let’s get outta here."


"I do not partake of alcohol." Although it certainly felt as if he might have consumed some. He compared his actions to those of his friends, when he had witnessed them during evening celebrations. It could explain why nothing seemed to make any sense today.


O’Neill had his head on one side. "You sure? Is it you weaving about, or is it me?"


"I am not sure of anything at this moment."


Perhaps meditating might help him? Perhaps it might also help his Prim’ta, which seemed as disturbed as he was. Perhaps he would also wait until O’Neill had finished his business here. Yes, that sounded an agreeable plan.


The Colonel grinned. "Well that makes two of us, Friday, let’s see what else this place has to offer."


He put a hand out to steady himself and grabbed a nearby branch, which swayed under the Colonel’s weight. Then he took a brief moment to re-orient himself and strode off, almost immediately tripping up over a large root.


Teal’c reached down once more and hauled his friend upright.


"I am not Friday." He said to the hanging Tau’ri in his hand.


The Colonel turned his head to look up at the bronzed face swaying above him.


"You sure you’re not drunk, cause I’d appreciate it if you stood still for a minute."


"I will endeavour to steady myself."


"Good." Replied O’Neill as he stood up again and headed off. "Cause one of us oughta be."


*****


Hammond looked up at the slight knocking coming from his door. Shutting down his lap-top he acknowledged his visitor.


"Come in."


Doctor Fraiser walked in, with a sheaf of papers clinging to a clip board, held close to her chest. She did not look happy.


"Yes, Doctor?"


"I’ve got some preliminary reports back on the further tests I’ve just been running on those fruits off PC3 928."


"And?" He just knew the results weren’t going to please him.


"I think we may have a problem."


The General indicated for his CMO to take a seat, which she did, wiping some loose strands of hair off her forehead.


"The segments of the fruits themselves are fine under normal circumstances and passed every test we did on them."


"But?"


She took a deep breath.


"There was an adverse reaction when I tested the pith with the medications I’ve given Colonel O’Neill. The results suggest he’s probably going to react as though drunk, or drugged. I’m still conducting tests, but we need to get him back asap."


"Is his life in danger at all?"


"I don’t know at the moment, but the longer he remains out there, the more likely it is he’ll get into trouble. His reasoning is bound to be impaired and he might not know what he’s doing. He’s still weak from the infection he had and we need to get him back to clear out whatever’s in his system. I don’t know yet how long it will take for it to break down naturally within him. We just haven’t had enough time to study the phenomenon."


"Granted. SG-5 are trying to do that now. What about Teal’c?"


"I’m not too sure. I don’t have much in the way of Jaffa, or symbiote samples to test against. However, from what I have been able to deduce, after breaking down the chemical components of the fruit, I think we may have a similar scenario."


"That’s all we need." Hammond brushed one hand over his bald head. "The Colonel and Teal’c running amok off-world, drugged, or worse. What did I do to deserve this?"


"Nothing, Sir. However, it isn’t their fault either. They probably don’t even realise what they’re doing at the moment. In effect, SG-5 did this to them."


"Only SG-1." The General sighed as he raised himself. "I guess I’ll just have to contact SG-5 and let them know what we’ve found out so far."


*****


"Hey, look at all these." The Colonel said, as he studied the ant and bee type insects scurrying across the pile of fallen fruits on the ground.


Teal’c leant forwards and overbalanced, landing face first next to one of the rotten fruits. He nearly went cross-eyed as he watched the miniature creatures milling over the dying foodstuffs.


"They are but tiny creatures, O’Neill."


"Yeah." Grinned his CO. "But you haven’t got in mind what I have. Give us a hand will ya?" He studied the branches up above him and seemed to settle on one, several feet above their heads. An arrangement of branches seemed perfect for his choice, and after helping the Jaffa up off the floor and wiping some of the spoiled mush off his shorts, he got his friend to boost him up into the tree. "One mush surprise coming up for Jar-Jar." He crawled carefully across the lower branches and started to methodically strip the foliage from them, but didn’t throw the greenery away. Instead he started to make a subtle platform from the leaves, a plan forming in his confused head as he pictured a muddy wet marine and twenty four hours of snide teasing.


"Teal’c. We’re going to need some long vines. Can you strip me several yards of whatever’s nearest?"


Teal’c’s eyes widened, as though concentrating on keeping them opened. Then, nodding his head, he went to the nearest tree and started pulling off some of the vines that grew in profusion around the trunks. He’d no idea what his commander had planned, but he expected it to be as successful as his last endeavour.


*****


"Yes, Sir." Captain Walker replied into the MALP, as he finished wrapping up his own ankle. He was sat on a log, next to the gate. Embarrassment precluded even allowing Muir to help him. "That would seem to fit in with what has happened. Major Jenkins and Lieutenant Soames are still with Major Carter and Doctor Jackson. I don’t think it will be too long before they’ve caught up with the Colonel and Teal’c."


The General’s tone, even coming through the equipment and the wormhole, sounded full of scepticism. "We’ll see about that Captain. You get yourself back here and report to the infirmary and I’ll get another team out to try and track down the rest of SG-1."


"Yes, Sir." He waited until the gate shut down and re-dialled for the return journey.


Muir watched from a distance, as his team-mate limped through the wormhole without a backwards glance. Sometimes he regretted being a marine, but this WAS only ONE day. Others would be better. Now all he had to do was wait for a rescue team to come through. Somehow he doubted Jenkins was going to be pleased with developments. He could have radioed back to his CO, but didn’t fancy receiving the verbal backlash he was sure was in the offing. Instead, he’d wait for the next team to come through and leave that delight for them.


*****


Jenkins led the way through the jungle, the trail easy to follow, now they’d found the correct path again. It hadn’t taken long after the pool incident to realise the Colonel had gone back on his path and then taken a side turn. Several times they’d come across slight disturbances that suggested one, or other, of the men had fallen over in the litter. Possibly they were simply getting tired and, if so, it would make catching up with them easier.


Daniel had ideas about what had nearly hit him previously, just before they’d stepped over the log, but kept that information to himself and Sam. The Major had been amused at her CO’s antics, happy to know that whatever else he’d planned, they only had to be aware of his warnings to avoid falling into the same traps. So it was that they kept their eyes roving around the jungle, looking for any signs of the rest of their team in hiding. Jenkins still expected them to be trying to get away, but Sam and Daniel were looking for them in the near vicinity.


Jenkins was at the front and Soames was bringing up the rear, even though Jenkins was sure the so called invalids were in less danger than himself. Even so, he had his pride, and he was damned if he was going to admit that he was less than capable of being in charge of a couple of scientists. They’d been on the move for nearly an hour without any further incidents and Jenkins was starting to think that maybe nothing else was likely to happen and he started to relax. The slight pulling of something in the undergrowth around his boots was the only warning he got. He glanced down and saw a perfectly innocuous vine caught around his foot, before he realised his mistake. The sight of the jungle around him disappeared as a mass of leaves and rotten fruits fell from above, many of the spoiled fruits splitting open as they landed on his head and shoulders.


Carter had felt the slight projectile, barely grazing her arm, as the trap was sprung before her, making sure she wouldn’t go any further. Her quick reactions stopped Daniel from getting any nearer the mobile mess in front of them, as Jenkins picked himself up off the floor. His previously muddy and wet uniform was now thoroughly covered with dripping seeds and mouldy pulp from the rotten fruit. Insects crawled around him, still feeding off the sweet foodstuffs. It was easy to see how the vine had been used to spring the trap. A perfectly innocent item used to advantage in its natural environment. She had to admire how much her CO had managed to accomplish whilst he had such a short head-start on them. Both she and Daniel looked around them, convinced he was nearby, but couldn’t see him anywhere.


Daniel hoped Jack was having as much fun as he was, as he and Sam stood side by side, watching a very quiet and fuming Major sweep most of the rotting pulp off his BDUs with his hands. Soames, behind them, was also quiet, but a smile lurked behind his eyes. Muir would be sorry he’d missed this. Slowly, Jenkins looked at each of them, as if daring anyone to speak.


"Soames, take point." Was his terse command, as his Lieutenant tracked their way away from his CO’s latest embarrassment.


*****


The Colonel was getting really tired by now, but his work wasn’t yet finished. Waiting until everyone had disappeared, he slid down from their tree again, unable to stop the laughter as he helped Teal’c down behind him. He’d long ago lost track of how many scratches and scrapes they’d both got. In fact it was hard feeling his arms and legs any more. If he didn’t get to sleep soon, he’d crash out on the move.


"I now understand what you wanted the fruit for, O’Neill, but this has not been your usual battlefield tactics. Where did you learn such manoeuvres?"


"Oh, I’ve been around Teal’c. You ever heard of an ice-cream bomb?"


"No." The Jaffa looked perplexed by the idea of exploding a dessert in the commissary.


The Colonel looked at him, a smile registering on his face as he remembered an incidence from his training days.


"We have got to introduce you to that one, but in the meanwhile, how about joining me in a fruit gas bomb?"


"I am eager for your tutelage, as always, O’Neill."


The Colonel checked into his damp pockets for the waterproof matches and, satisfied at locating the items, grabbed Teal’c by the arm and dragged him away. It would not be long before Soames discovered he was following a false trail and the hunt would be on again. This time, the game was for keeps. Jenkins was so going down.


*****


SG-8 emerged from the wormhole to be met by Muir, who was eager to be on the move again. He’d received a very cryptic radio check-in by Jenkins that led him to believe things weren’t exactly going the way the Major expected. He wasn’t sure who’d need protection more when they finally all met up – the Colonel, or his CO.


Normally the medic team came with another field unit as escort, but on this uninhabited planet and with most of SG-5 already dotted about, the General had thought it safe to send them through alone. Doctor Fraiser was also with them, not being one for giving up the responsibility of caring for the number one team herself. Not only were they the premier team with singular knowledge and skills, the Colonel was the SGC’s 2IC and Teal’c was the only Jaffa they had. The whole team was unique and, although she wasn’t supposed to have favourites, they were also her friends. She looked at Muir for guidance as to where they were going, urgency written in her stance.


"This way, Ma’am." He indicated politely, following the trail once more towards the beach. It did not escape his notice that the medic team carried two collapsed stretchers. He only hoped they wouldn’t be needed.


*****


"I don’t know how long we’ve been moving, Teal’c, but mother nature’s starting to call."


Teal’c stopped to listen, with his head on one side. "I do not hear her, O’Neill."


"Aww, come on T." The Colonel challenged, nudging him on the shoulder. "I *know* you know that one!"


The Jaffa merely smiled back at him, neither admitting, nor denying, the accusation.


"I also feel the need to relieve myself."


"Well, here’s as good a place as any."


The Colonel started to undo his pants, as Teal’c stood alongside, copying the motions.


"See that bug up there?" O’Neill asked as he pointed with his one free hand to a large moth type creature a few feet above them on a tree trunk.


"Yes."


"Bet you can’t hit it."


Teal’c turned around to face his friend, his eyes twinkling at the ridiculous challenge.


"What would you bet?"


Six challenges later the competition was declared an honourable draw, with three wins each. The Colonel had to take Teal’c to an event of his choice, had to teach him how to ice-skate and had to help him re-decorate his SGC quarters. Teal’c had to take his CO fishing the next time they were on Chulak, had to teach him the worst Goa’uld swear words and had to laugh at all of his jokes for a week. Neither was sure who’d come off best, as most were things they would have done anyway. However, the Colonel was laughing by the time they’d finished and even the Jaffa had a definite smile on his face once they’d tidied themselves up again.


*****


Carter and Jackson strolled side by side between the trees, something of the adventures of the day getting to them.


"Do you smell something?" Jackson enquired, his head on one side as he sniffed the air around them.


"What kind of something?" She answered, aware of the less than subtle movements of the Major behind them.


"I’m not sure. Just something---"


"I don’t know. It’s hard to tell with all the dying vegetation around here."


"Oh, *that’s* what it is. You see, I knew you’d know."


They laughed quietly with each other, huddling together like schoolchildren, whilst Jenkins continued to stomp along behind them.


*****


Muir stalked about the muddied pool, long since removed of its camouflage, keeping the medical team out of the way. It didn’t take long to find the fresh path through the jungle, aided by his radio communications with Jenkins. Fraiser couldn’t help smiling at the Colonel, not believing the antics he was getting up to, even if he wasn’t really fit enough to go charging through the jungle. Any moment now she expected to hear Tarzan’s ‘Aaaaaaaagggggg’ floating through the air at her. He’d need grounding for a week after these adventures.


*****


For the last couple of miles they’d been trudging along, pants pockets full of the fruits O’Neill had insisted they both pick. It was the same fruit Muir had given them earlier and grew in frequent patches around them, but the Colonel hadn’t wanted to risk not finding the items where he needed them. They were now both so weary, that they were almost holding each other up as they stepped over the various fallen trees and protruding roots that frequently threatened to trip them up.


Finally, he found the right area and proceeded to prepare it. A section of the jungle gave way to a tiny cleared area, although the surrounding trees were quite dense, making the area relatively closed in. No breeze blew through the surrounding trees, the natural barrier making the air very still.


The Colonel almost fell, rather than sat down in the middle of the clearing and signalled for Teal’c to move out of the way. He dug a small pit with his hunting knife and bordered the inside with nearby stones. He didn’t want to start a jungle fire, after all. Using the waterproof matches he’d brought along, he quickly had a very small fire going in the depression, into which he placed all the fruits they’d picked. Patiently they waited and within a few minutes they saw small wisps of brown smoke, spiralling lazily above the flame. Moving away from the fire and smoke, he fumbled about with diminishing co-ordination and pulled off one boot and a sock. Tying the sock around his mouth and nose, he then made a concerted effort to hold his breath whenever he was near the fire. Once the fruits were almost cooked, he put out the flames and gently covered over the still heating items, satisfied at the smoke seen wafting up through the leaves.


Only just able to get up without Teal’c’s help, he tidied over the area, giggling as he saw the smoke dissipate the further it got from its source, but still clinging to the area. He quickly tidied up the clearing, but made no effort to disguise his entrance to it, instead sitting down immediately outside to replace his footwear. Then, grabbing Teal’c by the arm, dragged him away to the side, this time being more careful to conceal their tracks, whilst also confusing the Jaffa by dropping several more cards behind them on the way.


"Do you now wish MajorJenkins to follow us?" Teal’c asked, confused, no longer knowing who was keeping whom upright the most as they stumbled away.


"Nah, whatever gave you that idea?" O’Neill answered, as he swayed from side to side.


Teal’c’s eyes widened as he made a concerted effort to stop them from closing. It had been a very long day and O’Neill’s perplexing behaviour was not helping to clear his head.


"But you have clearly left a trail of playing cards for the Major to follow."


"Teal’c, my man." O’Neill slapped him on the shoulder, nearly overbalancing in the process. "Have you never heard of misdirection?"


"I have never heard of this Miss Direction. Does she work at the SGC?"


This time the Colonel did fall over as he laughed.


*****


Muir poked about in the remains of the pile of rotten fruits, carefully keeping his grin in check. However, Fraiser wasn’t as successful and the smile covered her face. This was so typical of the Colonel in one of his mischievous moods. She very much doubted Teal’c had ever needed to learn how to do that as a First Prime. However, said Colonel and Teal’c were long overdue to be delivered back into her care. They must have been running on reserve power for some time now and she didn’t know how much longer they could go on for. She’d still no idea how long it would take for the effects of the fruit to disappear from their systems. Her team got up from their short break and followed the Captain as he led them off once more into the jungle after the rest of their SG personnel.


*****


Soames was following the tracks of the errant men, when he came across the trail of cards and was about to follow it, when Jenkins ordered him to stop.


"What have we here?" The Major asked, the smell of his BDUs making everyone turn away as he walked passed them. He tried to ignore the tiny smiles on the faces of the scientists. It was bad enough having fallen for the other traps, without having them witness it too. He saw the trail of cards, but wasn’t about to be fooled a third time. Did O’Neill really think him such a fool? Looking around him, he spotted the entrance to the clearing, the broken branches and disturbed leaves evidence of someone’s passing.


"Your Colonel’s a fool, if he thinks he can outwit me so easily. Obviously, he’s getting tired and careless." He scoffed at Carter and Jackson, then signalled the other three through the gap ahead of him.


They were about half way across when Soames stopped and looked back at his CO. Something wasn’t right here. Something smelled familiar. Something--- He crashed to the floor as the almost invisible gas entered his lungs.


"Soames!" All three shouted at him as they rushed over to the downed man’s side. Carter and Jackson were there first and only the fact that they were already kneeling down saved them from falling any further as they too fell victim to the gas.


"Damn it, O’Neill!" Were Jenkins last conscious words as he crumpled behind them.


*****


The Colonel landed with a thump, his hands too tired to hold onto the vine as he descended the tree. Funny how he used to be able to do this with ease, but his hands refused to co-operate today.


"Come Jane." He demanded, getting back onto his feet and thumping his chest.


Teal’c paused in his more careful descent off the tree, not wanting to attempt the vine swinging that his CO had just failed at.


"I am not Jane." His foot slipped and he banged his head for the second time that day.


"Well, you’re a bit big for Jai and you sure don’t look like Cheeta."


He waited until the Jaffa was on solid ground and led them back to the clearing, trying hard not to laugh as he crept along. Any ability to use stealth seemed to have evaporated in the heat.


"See, what’d I tell ya?" He said as he poked his head through the gap in the trees. Removing one boot and sock again, he indicated for Teal’c to copy the make-shift mask and, together, they entered the clearing. O’Neill stopped just inside, with his hands on his hips, surveying his handiwork with puffed out chest pride. "Wish I could bottle this stuff. Bet you could take an elephant down with it."


"This has still been a *Major* achievement, O’Neill."


"Teal’c, that’s another joke you’ve cracked today. Going for the world Jaffa joke record?"


"As I am the only Jaffa on this planet, the record is already mine."


The Colonel only laughed, shaking his head. "Come on. Let’s get the kids outta here." Holding his breath, he walked over towards Carter and Daniel and tried to pick the Major up. All he succeeded in doing was toppling over himself. Instead, he crawled away for a breather and looked over to his accomplice.


"Crap. I’ve got the muscles of a jellyfish right now. Give us a hand?"


Teal’c wandered over and, together, they managed to haul the Major upright and half carry her between them outside the clearing. Laying her down within eyeshot, they went back and recovered Daniel the same way.


"Should I move Jar-Jar and his playmate too?" The Colonel asked, more or less to himself. "Nah. That’d be too easy."


Wandering back to the fire, he quickly stomped it out and kicked the fruits away, then waited for a few more minutes for the gas to thin out. Searching around the clearing, he found a long length of vine and, cutting it away from the tree it was growing up, proceeded to tie up the Major. Once his feet were tied and his hands were secured behind his back, he took a moment to survey his work and muttered, in a very satisfactory way.


"Trussed like a turkey."


Then he did the same with the Lieutenant, which was a bit difficult as he was struggling to keep his eyes open, yawning the entire time.


Quickly rebuilding the fire with fresh wood, he soon had a new one going in the pit. Then he exited the clearing to create another one where Teal’c was busy making their team-mates more comfortable. They hadn’t seen any snakes for some time, but it didn’t mean to say there weren’t any nasties to be kept at bay. All he wanted to do was lie down and rest now. It had been a very long day and he ached all over.


"Teal’c?" He mumbled as he lay down beside the fire.


"Yes, O’Neill." Came an equally sleepy voice from the other side of the fire, as the Jaffa sat down heavily and crossed his legs.


"It’s been fun today."


"I have also experienced pleasure, although I am unsure why. I do not understand what we have gained by attacking our own forces, but I have still learned much."


"I feel like I’ve drunk the cellar dry." He could hardly keep his eyes open. Shouldn’t someone be on guard, or something?


"You have not been drinking."


"Could still go a spicy Mexican."


Silence descended on the area, as the monkeys continued to travel in the trees far above them.


*****


Carter came to, wondering at first where she was. She was used to waking up off-world, but she was normally ensconced in a sleeping bag and BDUs. She had a slight headache and brief memories of traipsing through the jungle after the rest of her team flashed through her mind. Quickly she sat up and looked around her. Daniel was lying on the other side of a small fire and, thank heavens, the Colonel and Teal’c were with them. The last thing she remembered was entering the clearing, Soames collapsing, and then her head getting fuzzy. It looked as though they’d fallen into another one of the Colonel’s booby-traps, but he and Teal’c had obviously stayed near enough to move them from it.


Wandering over to her sleeping team-mates, she thought she could recognise the first signs of Daniel stirring, so she left him to look over their once missing friends. Both of them were covered in a multitude of scratches and bruises, their uniforms torn and muddied beyond recognition. For some reason, Teal’c’s symbiote hadn’t yet started to heal all the tiny trails of damage. Whatever had affected the Jaffa, had also affected ‘Junior’. At least it all seemed superficial damage. She tried to wake the Colonel first, then Teal’c, but got nothing more than grunts and moans to get away from the first and a similar, if more polite, response from the second. Giving up on them for the moment, as they appeared to be nothing more than asleep, she started to look for Jenkins and Soames. Wandering around a little bit, she recognised the entrance to the clearing and saw through the gap to where the two members of SG-5 were tied up, still unconscious, a few feet away from another small fire.


She wanted to giggle at the sight and was left in a quandary as to whether to check out the marines first, or help Daniel. The linguist started to moan as his eyes opened and the decision was mercifully taken out of her hands.


"Wha---?" He asked, as Sam came over and helped him sit up.


She grinned at him and indicated he should look around them at their sleeping team-mates.


"Jenkins did it again, huh?" Daniel asked as he got to his feet.


"Hook, line and sinker."


"That would be ‘hook, line and stinker’." Daniel corrected. "Where are they, anyway?" He asked, as he made a bee-line for Jack and tried to wake him.


"Still in the clearing, through there. I don’t think you’re going to be able to wake either the Colonel, or Teal’c. I’ve tried and they’re both out for the count."


Daniel looked worried. "Why?"


"I think they’re just worn out. Possibly the effects of the fruit are simply wearing off, but they both just seem fast asleep. Pulse and respirations seem OK."


"Janet’s going to have our hides for this. Look at the state of them."


Sam just laughed. "It’s hardly our fault. Not even theirs." The pair of them looked like schoolboys who’d been fighting in the playground.


"Which reminds me." Daniel carried on. "We really ought to find a radio and give her a shout. She can’t be that far away by now."


As if in answer to his problem, they heard the unmistakable sounds of people quickly marching through the jungle towards them.


"About time." Muir called, as he saw them ahead of him. "We were getting worried about you when you didn’t answer our radio calls."


"Sorry about that." Carter answered. "The Colonel left another trap of those fruits you told us about. The gas got to us and knocked us out. Jenkins and Soames are through there, still out of it." She pointed through the gap and Muir went to check on his team-mates, as Janet crouched down next to the Colonel.


"Colonel?" She shook him, but got no response.


A firmer shake got a mumbled. "G’way." As he tried to roll away from her.


"Come on now, Colonel. That’s no way to talk to your CMO. Open your eyes for me."


She took the resultant grumbling as a definite ‘no’ and proceeded to examine him without his co-operation. His body was remarkably compliant, even if his mind wasn’t prepared to participate. Once she’d finished, she indicated for her medical team to load him onto a stretcher and went to examine Teal’c. He was no more interested in waking up than the Colonel, although he did open his eyes for a moment before shutting everything out again.


"They don’t seem too bad, considering what they’ve been getting up to. So I’m not going to give them any meds until we’ve got them back to base and got some of this chemical out of their systems. I don’t really want to start the whole ball rolling all over again. Let’s just hope they don’t need anything before that happens."


By the time they had Teal’c strapped onto a matching stretcher, Muir had managed to cut his team-mates free and woken them up. They wandered back out of the clearing, looking decidedly sheepish to have been found unconscious. They watched as the two patients were hoisted up off the ground, Jenkins holding his fingers to the bridge of his nose. After all, they’d been left in the vicinity of the gas for a lot longer than SG-1 and he’d already had a stress headache. Fraiser took one look at the bedraggled Major, replete in stained and sodden uniform and couldn’t help but ask.


"Are you alright Major?"


He eyed the Colonel with barely concealed anger and answered with a clipped.


"Yes, Ma’am."


Fraiser just nodded.


"We’ve done more tests with the fruit samples you sent over. You’ll be pleased to note the only residual effects are a slight headache, but I can give anyone a mild painkiller if they feel bad enough."


Jenkins muttered. "Not necessary." Whilst everyone else just shook their heads.


Satisfied that everything was OK, Muir automatically led the way back through the jungle towards the camp. It would be a few hours walk and dark by the time they arrived. At least now they could work out a more direct route and avoid any more of the Colonel’s handiwork. The Captain wondered what was going through O’Neill’s mind as he slept. Was he dreaming and what were the dreams about? He wished the Colonel could have seen Jenkins’s face as he’d woken up. It had been a picture and one he’d remember a long time. He liked being in the marines, liked the SGC and he liked his unit, but this mission had also been a hoot, taking down the sometimes overtly anti-USAF Major a notch or two. Reading the mission reports later on would be a scream, but he doubted it would be talked about much once the dust had settled. True to their reputations, only SG-1 could have managed this.


*****


The Colonel woke up to the distinctive smell of the infirmary and the quiet noise of nurses going about their business.


"I think he’s waking up Janet."


That had been Carter’s voice. What the hell was he doing back here again? At least beep-beep seemed to have taken a vacation. Oh, heck. Vacation. Now it started to come back to him. Hazy images of sneaking through the jungle with Teal’c, feeling as drunk as he’d ever had the misfortune to be. Where *was* Teal’c?


"Colonel? Are you going to wake up for us this time?"


This time? How many more times did he have to wake up in this place? It was getting damned repetitive. Repetitive? Oh, yeah, taking the marines out time and again. Now *that* had been fun. So how come he was back here again? Guess the only way to find out was to actually wake up. Plus it was the only way to stop the annoying pesterings of the Doc too. When you were awake she wanted you asleep. When you were asleep she wanted you awake. You just couldn’t please some folk. Slowly, he prized his eyes open.


"Well, hello there. Glad you could join us at last."


She had that damned pen-light in his eyes before he could avoid it, then she was putting a straw to his mouth. He took a quick swallow of the cool water and looked around him. Carter and Daniel were looking at him, grinning fit to bust, and Teal’c was propped up in the next bed. The Jaffa was no longer laughing, like he had vivid images of him doing earlier, but their large friend looked content. Why was he covered with so many scratches though? Shouldn’t Junior be taking care of all that? Looking down at himself, just to check everything was where he last saw it, he realised he was covered with bruises and grazes himself.


"What the hell happened to me?" He groaned, much to the delight of the other humans present.


Carter sat on his bed, avoiding the IV that was helping flush her friend’s system of the chemical imbalance caused by the rind within the fruits.


"The fruits you ate caused a reaction with the meds you were on and similarly affect Jaffa and their symbiotes. That’s why the Goa’uld left the planet. It makes them and made you drunk, for want of a better description."


"So that’s why I feel hung-over then?" He asked, still feeling tired. "Did I really do all that stuff I remember?"


"What? Like nearly drowning Jenkins and Walker, Walker spraining his ankle, dropping all that fruit on Jenkins’s head and then knocking us all out with that gas? That stuff?" Daniel could hardly stop laughing.


"Yes, *that* stuff."


"Indeed, we did, O’Neill." Teal’c answered from the other bed, a curious half smile on his scratched face.


"That was quite an adventure you got up to, Sir." Carter commented, pleased that after twenty-four hours of straight sleep, her CO was awake again.


"What? You call that an adventure?" He mumbled sleepily, as he decided he’d had enough for one day. He tried to picture Hammond’s face as they’d been brought back from their enforced holiday. Guess the General wouldn’t be doing that again for a while. Only his team, SG-1, could find trouble in the middle of nothing. Yup, he’d done good. "You ain’t seen nothin’ yet."


*****The End*****