Leap before You Look
I exempt myself from disclaiming today, as it is raining and that's as good a reason as any.
Leap Before You Look (or: Slime is What Happens When You're Making Other Plans)
"You just had to go and do it, didn't you, Teal'c?"
Jack O'Neill's voice was a weary snarl of disgusted annoyance, his face twisted in a hideous grimace denoting just how unhappy he was with a certain Jaffa at this moment. Brown Colonel eyes shot irate sparks at his victim from under the gooey white mess currently coating his face; but the formidable warrior who was the focus of the commander's displeasure was unmoved by such theatrics.
"I did nothing," Teal'c sniffed disparagingly and actually had the gall to turn his head quite pointedly in a direction as far from O'Neill's glowering visage as was possible in their present, decidedly untenable circumstances.
"What did you say?" Jack asked him in a low, dangerous tone that sent a shudder of apprehension down Samantha Carter's spine; with half of her body dangling precariously off the crumbling limestone shelf beneath her, the anxious Major was admittedly unable to devote full attention to the royal snit her team commander was working himself into. But there was no mistaking THAT tone; and in some wry corner of her brain, the usually-lovely but now muck-encrusted astrophysicist wondered if it might not be less painful in the long run to just let go and fall down, down, down...Anything to escape these next few moments of Colonel Jack O'Neill in full P.O'd mode.
"I have no need to repeat myself," Teal'c sniffed again; and as Jack's slime-dripping eyebrows tried to crawl right over the top of his forehead, the amorphous but eerily familiar white blob crouching on a knobby outcropping just beneath the Colonel murmured tentatively:
"Uh...might I point out that...at this particular moment and under these specific circumstances...who is at fault--or NOT at fault, I hasten to add--is a bit on the extraneous side. Wouldn't it be better if we tabled this conversation for now and came back to it later, when we're not HERE, in this big, gaping HOLE?!"
Daniel Jackson, a.k.a. the amorphous blob, spit out a mouthful of whatever the decidedly nasty stuff was that was trickling its way down inside his undershorts and wrapped frantic hands around his teeny-tiny, knobby protuberance of safety, gasping once as the slimy stuff coating his body tried to ooze him right off the side of his perch.
"Okay, I understand that sometimes Daniel forgets the rules, forgets my endlessly-oft-repeated warnings NOT TO TOUCH...but you, Teal'c? You, too? Why me, Lord; please, tell me. WHY??!!" Jack mourned loudly. With one hand he reached up to flick a gob of white, mucus-like slime out of his eye and sent the now-motionless Jaffa who was dangling next to him another killing glare.
"I am not Daniel Jackson," Teal'c rumbled, his voice quietly reprimanding. "I do not require the incessant repetition of your overly solicitous admonitions to assure myself of what is or is not safe. Furthermore, I am reasonably certain that Daniel Jackson does not require such advice, either. And...I did not TOUCH anything."
"Well, if you think--" Jack began snappily but then stopped in mid-tirade, a look of confusion forcing its way past the gunk on his face. "Huh? What the hell are you babbling about? I'm trying to tell you something important here, give you a bit of valuable insight about the tactical error you just made...one which has landed us ALL in a mess of trouble, I might add...and you hang there acting all hurt-feelings and superior. What's with that?"
"I had no way of knowing that just such an eventuality as this would occur if I put my foot on that particular patch of ground, O'Neill," Teal'c explained with some asperity. "It could just as easily have been YOU who tripped this cunning and cleverly hidden trap. Or Samantha Carter. Or even Daniel Jackson, for that matter."
The Jaffa's slime-slicked arms trembled minutely now from the strain of holding on so tightly to the prickly branch of some unfortunate shrub he'd managed to grab and pull halfway to hell with him when first he felt himself falling; the shrub's roots still held tenaciously to the soil some eight feet overhead, but Teal'c could feel the slow, inexorable tugging of tendrils of root ripping slowly and painfully free of the earth. Soon his lifeline would tumble haphazardly into the abyss beneath them, and he would be taken along for the ride.
"No, it could NOT have been any one of the rest of us," Jack replied snarkily, and as a shaky Samantha Carter panted out, "Why not?" from her steadily eroding perch some five feet below her team mates, Jack scowled blackly and retorted,
"Because it WASN'T one of us; it was Teal'c. And I would like just a simple admission of that fact from the Big Guy, just to clear the air here as we wait to die swift, probably horrid deaths."
"Geez, did YOU ever get up on the wrong side of the bed this morn," the blob that was Daniel exclaimed peevishly, and Jack O'Neill glared down between his legs at the white form hanging off a cone-shaped bit of nameless geology below him.
"Well, EXCUSE ME if falling through some giant loogie into a big old, honking hole puts me in a bit of a foul mood," Jack sneered, and Samantha Carter glared right back at him with one gunk-free blue eye, indignant on Daniel's behalf as always.
"Well, excuse ME, sir," she puffed out, then gave a tiny squawk of dismayed surprise as two fingers slid off her handy shelf and almost sent her toppling headlong into nothingness. "Well, excuse ME," she repeated spunkily once her heart had crawled out of her throat and back down into her chest. "But in case you gentlemen hadn't noticed, I fell faster and farther than any of you, and when one or more of you guys go, you'll all hit me on your way down. I think I have as much to complain about as anyone, given those particular circumstances." Her one exposed, sapphire-blue eye glared daggers up at Colonel O'Neill, who didn't dare turn his gaze away from hers for fear of meeting the equally unfriendly chill of Teal'c's unnerving stare beside him.
"You're right, Sam," Daniel agreed contritely, very cautiously sliding one hand to his head to dig through the goop on his face in a vain search for his glasses. "When we go, you'll be a pancake. A SPLATTERED pancake, to be sure, but still a pancake. I'm so sorry, Sam, in advance. You know I'd never squash you flat on purpose."
"I know, Daniel, and I appreciate that," Sam smiled ruefully up at the blob who was like a brother to her.
"I would like to apologize in advance, as well, for crushing your body into an unrecognizable smear atop whatever hard surface we shall ultimately impact against," Teal'c called out gravely, and Sam sniffled a bit with the heartfelt emotion the Jaffa's words had stirred within her breast.
"Well, I'D apologize, too, if it wasn't for the fact that by the time I land on you, you'll already be jelly and so it won't make much difference," Jack muttered with the smallest trace of chagrin. "But I WILL say I'm sorry for slipping the lemon juice into your conditioner and making your hair turn green that time. Nasty bit of business, that."
"That was YOU?!" Carter fumed, her goop-coated eye glaring malevolently up at her commander like unholy fire. "So help me, sir, if we ever get out of here--!"
"Imminent death, Carter," Jack reminded her a bit desperately, sending a nervous, ingratiating smile her way. "We're all facing permanent extinction here, if you recall; so I don't think a short stint with a lime-green 'do' is in any way comparable. Forgive and forget, whadya say?"
"I say that the Colonel should keep careful guard over his own personal hygiene products once we return to the SGC," Teal'c spoke up musingly, one dark eye observing Jack through rivulets of congealing glop. "It would indeed prove unfortunate should the Colonel suddenly find all his attractive silver hair molting from his head, just as with the great Ku'cha'la bird on Chu'lak. If I recall correctly, just prior to losing its topknot feathers and becoming completely bald, the bird's feathers turn rather interesting shades of pink and purple..."
"One more word and I'm taking you ALL down with me," Jack snarled; and it was at that moment that the unseen alien entities who had set up this trap in hopes of capturing sentient off-world life forms to study sent each other vibrations of keen disappointment. Realizing that they had mistakenly captured some race's miscreant children in their net--and being not wholly without compassion for immature younglings who don't know anything about anything yet--the patient alien scientists activated a powerful but basically harmless air generator which effectively blasted the gel-coated figures of SG-1 up, up, and into a conveniently located bed of gritty sand a short distance from their trap.
As the four sand-coated, slime-covered humans untangled themselves one from another and set up a most unpleasant caterwauling back and forth, one of the longsuffering alien observers remarked diffidently:
"I hope those young ruffians hightail it back to their planet before their parents find out what sort of mischief they got themselves into here."
"A pity," his partner mused, watching as Jack O'Neill dug a sand wedgie out of his pants and disgustedly slapped his slime-filled baseball cap on his thigh. "For a moment I thought these might have real potential."
"Maybe in a few millennia, Zigoub; maybe then," the other sighed indulgently. And with mild amusement the aliens who were smart but still had no earthly idea about humans watched as their intended research subjects stepped, itching and squelching and arguing vociferously, back through the stargate.