Wormhole Xtra

(spoilers - if you haven't seen Wormhole X-treme, this isn't going to make a lot of sense!)


      by Judith Proctor


      Although she walked briskly, by the time Carter reached the briefing room, the rest of SG1 were already in their seats and General Hammond sat waiting at the head of the table.

      She slipped hurriedly into place. "Sorry, Sir. Will this take long? It's just that I was in the middle of a rather complex set of calculations."

      "I was translating that inscription we found on PK-9231."

      "I was practising some combat routines."

      Her eyes flicked automatically to O'Neill.

      "Hey," he protested, "I was working. I was writing."

      "Writing?" Daniel asked.

      "You know, thing you do with pencil and paper. I appreciate that you chisel all your reports onto stone tablets, but some of us have to move with the times." He leaned leisurely back in his seat, and swung up his feet to rest on the edge of the table.

      Hammond coughed pointedly.

      O'Neill looked at his feet as though they obviously belonged to someone else, glanced around to see if anyone else thought they were his feet, concluded they couldn't possibly be and laced his hands together behind his head to form the perfect picture of indolence.

      Carter caught the faintest trace of a rueful smile on Hammond's face before he began talking.

      "I've called you here in light of a report that just came in from the Operations Centre. As you know, they track the positions of all orbiting space objects and one such item entered the atmosphere this morning. That wouldn't be unusual, but this one developed a positive vector once it reached the lower layers of the atmosphere and landed without burning up, somewhere in Montana."

      "The energy signature?"

      He nodded. "Yes, Major, a goa'uld energy signature."

      "But if they were tracking this as space junk, it must have been in Earth orbit for some time. It could even pre-date the stargate program."

      "According to their records, that is exactly the case."

      "It may have been an escape pod," Teal'c said. "They lack hyperdrive capacity. Most are designed to activate their engines at the last possible moment before landing, so as to reduce the risk of interceptors being sent after them."

      "So," she said, "this one's initial trajectory could have trapped it in orbit."

      "It is a possibility."

      Daniel shrugged. "We'll know more when we get there."

      "You won't be going," Hammond said. "The NID got their hands on this one first. They've already got men at the crash site."

      Carter cursed inwardly. This was a missed opportunity to get their hands on more goa'uld science. The NID didn't tend to be exactly helpful about sharing anything they found.

      "Of course," Teal'c said, "the pod may be designed to self-destruct if interfered with by a non-goa'uld."

      "Now why do I find it so hard to be upset by that?" O'Neill drawled.

      She kept a straight face. Not hard after years of practice. "So, where do we come in?"

      "The craft was open when the NID arrived," Hammond said, "and from what Teal'c has just said, it seems very unlikely that it was opened by anyone on Earth."

      "The pilot," Daniel said.

      "Indeed, Daniel Jackson. If the pod was manned and the pilot left the site before the NID arrived, we have an unknown goa'uld on our hands."

      Hammond came to his feet, dominating the table. "Teal'c is correct. The more urgent task is to determine where that goa'uld is most likely to go, locate it and destroy it."

      As if operated by an invisible string, O'Neill's feet swung down off the table, only to be replaced by his elbows as he leant forward. "Hathor came here, Sir. She sensed the gate."

      Hammond nodded. "We're already taking precautions to cover that possibility."

      "Yes," Carter said, "but Osiris didn't head for SGC. He tried to get information from Daniel."

      "But he had a ship," O'Neill said.

      "Fair point, but I still think he couldn't locate the gate. It may be only the queen goa'uld that can sense the stargate metal over long distances."

      "Could be, but where else might the big ugly head for... Oh no, wait a minute-" O'Neill waved an accusing finger at Hammond "-I am not going there again. Those guys are complete and utter screwballs."

      "Oh, I don't know," Daniel said, "one of their scriptwriters accidentally got an historical fact correct last week." He polished a lens that suddenly seemed to have acquired a speck of dirt. "Not that I watch it of course."

      Carter found it hard to resist tossing in a contribution of her own. "I hear SG7 are running a sweepstake on how many aliens Colonel Danny gets to kiss before the end of the season."

      "Male or female?" asked Teal'c.

      "I gather there was some debate over that one. They weren't sure how to count the slime creature in episode 8."

      O'Neill buried his head in his hands. "Tell me it isn't true," he demanded. "Tell me I didn't get to kiss a slime creature?"

      Hammond was staring round the table in amazement. "Has this entire base gone insane? Is there anyone who isn't watching that infernal show?"

      "Hey!" O'Neill's finger stabbed accurately. "You told me last week that your granddaughters enjoy it."

      "That's different."

      Time to rescue him... "I take it, Sir, that you think there is a possibility that a goa'uld might head for the set of Wormhole X-treme?"

      Hammond glanced gratefully at her. "Indeed so, Major. One of our reasons for allowing the show to go ahead was its value as a potential decoy. SG1 will depart in an hour's time.




"Major!" Martin shook her hand enthusiastically. "It's good to see you again."

      "So you do remember me."

      "I'm off the tablets now. They were interfering with my creative abilities."

      She caught O'Neill's raised eyebrow and smiled. "I'm glad to hear it."

      "Marty," O'Neill said, "we need to talk."

      "Sure, is it about that-"

      "No. There may be a goa'uld on the loose."

      Martin took a panicked step backwards, hit the side of his trailer, rebounded forward and narrowly missed Daniel's glasses with his flailing arms. O'Neill grabbed one arm firmly; Teal'c caught the other, and together they steered Martin firmly up the steps into the trailer. He only stopped struggling when they plonked him down on a sofa and sat one on each side of him.

      "A goa'uld? You're kidding, right?"

      "We are not," said Teal'c.

      "It's only a possibility," Carter said hastily. What the goa'uld had done to Martin's home planet was no joke. It had scared him so badly that he'd suppressed his own memory in order to forget it. At least he seemed to be living in some semblance of normality now, rather than surrounding himself with models of UFOs and other items beloved of conspiracy theorists. Well, the USS Enterprise hanging from the ceiling didn't really count - hell, she'd had one of those herself. Maybe working in the TV industry was good for him, or maybe he was so crazy that he just fitted in without anyone noticing the difference.

      "But you need my help?" Martin asked.

      There was something about him almost begging to be needed. It counterbalanced the fear and gave him a strong resemblance to a puppy dog, asking for a stick to be tossed its way.

      "That's right, Marty," O'Neill said. "We need help from an heroic, intelligent and good-looking alien."

      "You mean, like in the script I wrote for epsiode eight?"

      "Exactly like that."

      Martin's eyes lit up in delight. "What did you think of the slime monster?"

      Something appeared to be caught in O'Neill throat, but he managed to get rid of it with a cough. "Genius, Marty. Pure genius. Now, we'll need to find ways of being around the set for the next few days without being noticed too much. Can you fix that?"

      "Sure!" Martin paused for reflection. "Well probably. Possibly. We're shooting episodes 13 and 14 at the moment. Murray should be easy. One of the extras called in sick this morning. We need someone with his physical build to play a harem guard."

      "A harem guard?"

      "Yeah, you see it's this great plot-line. Colonel Danny has to break into Emperor Zatik's harem in order to rescue Major Stacy Monroe-"

      "She's been kidapped again?" Carter demanded. "That makes three kidnappings and two alien takeovers so far. Why doesn't anyone else get kidnapped? Dr Levant for example?"

      O'Neill grinned. "I'm sure it'll happen before long."

      "If I am to be a harem guard," Teal'c said, "how am I to avoid being recognised? I will do many things for you, O'Neill, but I will not be seen in such a costume by the rest of SGC."

      "You wear a veil," Marty explained. "The slaves aren't allowed to look on the face of any man, not even a eunuch."

      "I am not a-"


      "Yes, O'Neill. I will play the part."

      "Daniel." O'Neill reached into his pocket, drew out an enamel button shaped like an Egyptian cat, and held it up. "You're a member of the Colorado Archeological Trust come to offer your valuable expertise on ancient languages."

      "There's no such organisation."

      "There is now." O'Neill tossed the badge over. "Founded by my great aunt Lucy, who had great taste in tacky souveniers, in addition to believing that no society should be without a suitable acronym. You're also a fan. Look the part."

      "How do I do that?"

      "Just double the geek factor."

      Martin waved a hand to attract attention. "Maybe he could help the props people. They're always busy making stone inscriptions and the like."

      "Yes," Daniel muttered. "I'm sure I saw the Rosetta Stone on Procyon 4 last week."



The tiny workroom was cluttered with an assortment of lathes, modelling tools, paints and props. It appeared as though a cross-section of weapons and gadgets from the last three millennia had been assembled, taken apart and glued back together in glorious technicolor. Daniel ducked his way under a ceremonial arch which seemed to involve an Assyrian lion crouching on a lintel over two ionic columns.

      "Is anyone here?"

      A background sound of hammering ceased and a head appeared over a bench.

      "Depends on who's asking. If you want the sceptre, you'll have to wait."

      "Actually, I've been volunteered to lend you a hand. Apparently you need some Egyptian wall paintings by tomorrow?"

      "Ever done this before?"

      "Well, how would you feel about it if I said 'no'?"

      "I'd tell you to piss off."

      "Okay, I'm an expert painter and a qualified Egyptologist. At least one of those statements is true."

      The head shook in frustration. "Why do I always get the smart ones?"



Yolanda Rees, aka Major Stacy Monroe, was having another bad day. Today was, specifically, a bad hair day: being possessed by an alien entity apparently made your hair stand on end and your skin turn slightly blue, thus necessitating getting out of bed at an even more ungodly hour than usual to spend an extra two hours in make-up.

      Still, it wasn't all bad, being possessed meant you got some entertaining lines now and then while stalking through the corridors of Cheyenne Mountain and concocting poison gas in the lab, preparatory to taking over the entire Earth.

      "Whatever happened to your hair, Stacy?"

      "Accident with a van de Graaf generator and a spray-on varnish."

      "And the skin?"

      "We discovered a new element yesterday; it has some very strange properties." Who writes this stuff? Don't they know there's no gaps in the periodic table? The only possible new elements would be beyond the transuranics and have a half-life so short you wouldn't be able to sneeze before they decayed, let alone bring back a sample for analysis.

      Pour green liquid into beaker. Add liquid with pink food colouring. Tip in a few chunks of dry ice and stand back to watch pretty fog effect pouring out of beaker. Dry ice is obligatory for anyone aiming to be an alien mad scientist.

      Oh look, your lab assistant appears to be dead. What a pity. She shouldn't have worn that red shirt into work today...


      "Cut!" The clapperboard slammed down, freeing them briefly to deal with the necessities of reality.

      A blonde woman drifted into Yolanda's path, between her and the serious business of grabbing food as quickly as possible.

      "Hi, I'm Sam Carter. Can I get you a coffee or anything?"

      Ah, well, in that case...

      "Sure. I could murder a dog. You were watching, weren't you? Fan?"

      "Sort of. I'm USAF. A lot of folk at Cheyenne Mountain watch the show. Colonel O'Neill was coming down to see Martin Lloyd, so I begged a ride."

      Yolanda tilted her head to one side. "What's with the 'sort of'?" She grinned abruptly. "Tell me, I can take it."

      "Well," Sam began, "it's a bit like 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'..."

      "So bad, you can't resist it, huh?"

      "Something like that. Still want that hot dog?"

      Who was she kidding? "Yep. Double mustard."



And another day dawned.



The trousers were baggy and scarlet, with a broad golden cummerbund to add the final flourish.

      "You look great," O'Neill declared enthusiastically, slapping Teal'c on the shoulder. The turban wobbled slightly, and the veil of fine chains with it.

      "Are you sure this costume is authentic?"

      "It isn't authentic - it's science fiction. Just tuck your zat gun in the back of the belt and no one will look twice."



Painting flats wasn't too bad once you got the hang of it. There were the bits that were just part of the background and needed something generic that would pass muster from a distance, and there were the bits that the camera got closer to that actually needed to be done in detail. There was a kind of satisfaction in actually creating hieroglyphics rather than translating them into English.

      "So," O'Neill's voice said behind him, "is that your latest mission report?"

      "I was toying with the idea, but it wouldn't fit on your desk. This is a history of Ra, culminating with the rebellion of the slaves and his escape through the stargate. I thought it might be useful in drawing any goa'uld attention to this particular set."

      "I have a slight problem with that."

      "Which is?"

      "I can recognise three of the symbols. Would you mind keeping it obscure enough to let me remain in complete ignorance? I'd hate to wake up one morning and find I was turning into you."



Yolanda was enjoying a break between takes. She wasn't needed for the next hour, the male members of the cast were shooting a gunfight and her character, as usual, was elsewhere in a totally different kind of trouble. Still, swopping gossip with a couple of fans at least gave a change of pace. Well, 'fans' wasn't perhaps quite the right word, but what the heck, the Colonel was easy on the eye and Sam was intelligent conversation - a rare commodity around here.

      "Can I have a look at the script?" Sam asked.

      O'Neill took a cautious sip of his coffee, he'd obviously drunk here before, and grimaced. "It won't bear any resemblance to the original version."

      "They never do. Too many cooks." Yolanda spread a liberal sheaf of papers on the table. There was a wonderful selection of rewrites in different shades of puce, but the colonel already had sunglasses - he'd survive. These two were bright enough to be able to work out the general gist of the shooting schedule. "Handle with asbestos gloves. Some bits are even worse than what you saw yesterday."

      "Worse?" Sam said.

      "Yeah, worse. See, yesterday was Tuesday, so I got taken over by an alien. Today's Wednesday, so I get to be a sex object."

      "On Thursdays," Colonel O'Neill interrupted cheerfully, "you get heroically rescued; on Fridays you get some really good lines of technobabble; but Saturday is the real treat, because then you're allowed to take a pot shot at an alien as long as you miss."

      This guy was either a real hoot or a right royal pain in the ass - she hadn't quite decided which yet. Could he take it as well as dish it out?

      She pointed an imaginary gun at him and broke into the old disco routine. "We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill." Sam was with her now, chanting along. "We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to, shoot to kill."

      "Carter," the Colonel said in a kind of mock exasperated voice, "I am going to pretend that I didn't hear that. I do not have a closet Trekkie in my command."

      "And just who was it who lent Murray the entire series on video?"

      "That was Daniel."

      "So who watched them all with him?"

      "That's different. He needed to get acclimatised to American culture."

      Interesting to watch the interplay between those two. O'Neill commanded, but Sam gave as good as she got. "So how come," Yolanda asked, "if Star Trek is American culture, do we get landed with scripts like these?"

      "Someone had to take over from 'Lost in Space,' said O'Neill. "Think of the cultural values inherent in Dr Levant getting hung upsidedown over a pit full of scorpions."

      He had to have made that one up on the spot. "I haven't seen that one yet," she said.

      "You will." The Colonel got to his feet. "If you really want my advice, the problem with this show is that nobody takes it seriously. The producer doesn't, the actors don't, and I don't either. Marty takes it seriously, but nobody takes him seriously, which is hardly surprising. If Carter and I acted the way your characters do, we'd neither of us have survived the Gulf War, and the United States Air Force would be the laughing stock of the entire globe." He hesitated a moment. "Maybe someone ought to take that part of it seriously."

      He fielded Sam's unspoken query with ease.

      "Not me, Carter. I don't do serious." He sketched them a mock salute and departed for pastures new, his easy stride taking him rapidly from sight.

      You learnt something new every day. She hadn't taken Sam for the fighting kind, more of a desk-jockey. "You were in the Gulf War?" she asked.

      "I clocked a fair bit of air time. These days I take life quieter. I do deep-space tracking for the space shuttle and other projects."

      "And Colonel O'Neill?"

      "Classified. He doesn't say, and I don't ask."

      That joker? Classified? "No offence, but he doesn't really seem the type."

      Sam chewed her bottom lip in concentration. "He is and he isn't. I think that's essentially the problem. You don't really have a clear idea of what it means to be in the military. If you don't know, how can you portray it realistically?"

      She had her dead to rights there. Yolanda tapped a thoughtful finger on the table. "How long would it take you to give me a feel for it?"

      "About a week."

      "What can you manage in an hour...?"



Major Stacy Monroe looked extremely fetching in the long flowing robe, probably because it left very little to the imagination. With the instincts of a true Air Force officer, she did her best to rise above the occasion and imagine that she was wearing something else completely different, preferably battle dress uniform, but it was hard, especially when you were faced with a six-foot tall harem guard who held his scimitar as if he knew how to use it.

      So what if it was made of wood - Stay in character, Monroe - it could give a pretty painful chop if it connected. With the usual mixture of technological levels that they were prone to find on these alien worlds, the guard was provided with a backup weapon that looked at least a thousand years more advanced than the scimitar - a gun shaped like a small snake, tucked into the back of his cummerbund. Probably made of plastic, or maybe resin - Monroe, if you don't treat it as real, then no one else will believe in it either - okay, highly lethal then; hope it doesn't get pointed at you.

      Ah, Colonel Danny to the rescue. You could always count on him to show up at the dramatic moment. Two lines of snappy dialogue, wait for the harem guard to raise his scimitar, after all, you're not allowed to shoot them until they've spotted you, then 'bang' - shame about the lack of any special effect. Guard falls over dead, back-up gun flies into a corner, Danny comes forward, arms outstretched in effusive greeting.

      "Major Stacy!" If he calls me that just one more time...

      Handsome woman in wonderful exotic dress comes up behind him. Hang on, wasn't the evil alien queen supposed to be in tomorrow's episode? Oh, well, hang around and look helpless for another minute or two.

      {bold on}"{bold}{bold on}What have you done with the stargate?"{bold}

      Nice one - like the glowing eyes.

      Hey, that harem guard was supposed to stay dead. If he's not careful, he'll ruin the take.

      {bold on}"Where is the stargate?"{bold}

      That glowing hand device is rather cute, but poor Colonel Danny looks like he's in agony. Hang on a moment, Nick isn't that good an actor...

      Guard's reaching behind him, hasn't realised the gun has gone, doesn't know where it landed.

      Go for it Monroe!

      Dive for that gun; grab it, come up shooting.

      Wow! That's some special effect. Sparkly electric bits all over the place. Danny's down, evil queen is down. Don't hesitate, she's still moving, finish her off. More sparkly stuff.

      Stay in role.

      "Are you all right, Sir?" Give him a hand up, he still looks pretty shaken.

      "Thank you, Major-"


      "Major Monroe."



      Carter and O'Neill running towards the bitch queen. O'Neill saying something about a wiring fault in one of the props, Carter says it must have discharged the entire power pack in one go. Not to worry, he's a paramedic, he'll sort it out. The woman is just unconscious - like hell, but who apart from myself was close enough to be sure - they'll help her.

      Harem guard holding out his hand. I guess he wants his gun back. Why doesn't that surprise me? Then he does surprise me:

      "Thank you, Major."

      Maybe when this show folds, I'll apply to join the Air Force.

Send feedback to: judith@blakes-7.com

Back to Stargate Fiction
Back to Top Page