The Good News and the Bad
THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD
Part Eight of 'Father of Mine,' a short time after the events of 'No Time For Primates.'
Additional Disclaimers: The Simpsons
belong to Matt Groening, Twentieth Century Fox and a bunch of other people. "I am not Yet Dead," written and composed by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, is a song from the musical Monty Python’s Spamalot
. If you’re a fan of Monty Python, then you know that Spamalot
is awesome, regardless of whether you’ve seen it or not, and you’d be right. Any copyright infringements were not intended. This song was used for entertainment purposes and to enlighten the ignorant masses to the brilliance that is Monty Python. The Simpsons
references were also used for entertainment and not for profit.
Spoilers: Additional spoilers are for a certain episode of The Simpsons
. If you've seen it, you'll know which one I mean. If you haven't seen it, you wouldn't know which one I mean. They're not huge spoilers, honest, Scout's Honor *holds up three fingers.*
Author's Note: Is anyone still reading this serial? Yeah? Yay! Geez, it's been a while, hasn't it? Don't despise me for taking so long to update, okay? I'm a former Girl Scout. If you've ever lived in the United States around February/March/April, I was one of thousands who sold you/tried to sell you delicious cookies. You can't possibly hate me…um…
Author’s Note #2: Why are you reading this? Go read the story! Go, now! Enjoy! Can you tell I have way too much fun writing Author’s Notes?
Summary: All is well at the mountain…until it stops being well and becomes the opposite, that special word that encompasses that what-the-crap-is-happening feeling.
Alright. Worst-case scenario: the entire mountain was now a much shorter pile of rubble.
No, scratch that. Worse-case scenario: the entire mountain was now a much shorter pile of rubble, and a Goa'uld ha'tak was seated on top of it.
No, I'd got it. The entire mountain had been blown to smithereens, the space monkeys' ship was sitting on top of it, and a whole score of hairy little aliens were descending upon the population of Colorado Springs.
None of these were, in fact, the case. I can't express how glad I am of that. The ha'tak would have been a nightmare, one that I was afraid that even the best contingency plans, laid down over eight years, wouldn't be enough to combat against. We'd had too many close calls with the Goa'uld to lower our guard. Even with the Prometheus
constantly stationed in the solar system, there was always the chance that it wouldn't be enough. It almost hadn't been enough last spring, and I really didn't want to think about the events of last spring.
The space monkeys attacking Colorado Springs would have been a bit much, too.
Those were the various worst-case scenarios that I could imagine. I could also think of a number of not-quite-the-worst-but-pretty-close-to-it scenarios.
I suppose now you're wondering which one came true. Well, let me give you an answer that's going to shock you.
Nothing was wrong.
There was a glitch in the phone lines.
Yep, that's right. A glitch.
Or something equally technical for which I really didn't care to hear the explanation but which Carter half-rattled off anyway.
"And why exactly did I keep hearing songs about monkeys?" I asked.
"I…don't know." Carter made a face. "Not yet."
The lack of a situation was a bit of a comedown. It was a welcome comedown, let me not be unclear on this point. However, considering I was running on adrenaline, I felt a teensy bit annoyed that I'd had to make a trip to the mountain instead of a trip to my nice, warm comfortable bed.
I began to crash. If I didn't get any sleep soon, someone was going to die.
Carter looked anxiously and apologetically up at me from her seat at a console. There was plenty of light to see by, but the gray paint on the walls gave the place a dreary look. This sensation was completely cancelled out by the view through the big glass window into the Embarkation Room. The Stargate caught the light of the overheads and reflected it, casting light into shadow, and boy am I tired if I'm thinking of poetic imagery at a time like this.
"I'm sorry, sir, but it's going to take some time to sort out the glitch."
"Fine." I sighed. "Work on it and then get some sleep. That goes for you, too, Danny."
Daniel stood on the other side of Sam's chair with his head cradled in the palm of his hand. His head shot up and he blinked rapidly. "What?"
I pointed a finger at him. "Get some sleep. Now." To Carter, I said, "Give me a report in the morning." I paused. "Later in the morning." I thought this over. "You know what, how about we make it this afternoon."
I shuffled past her. I knew that the technician seated to Carter's left was tracking my progress to the door. The guard standing next to the wall tensed when he saw my grimace. Looked like I'd need to go see the doc. The painkillers I'd taken just weren't doing the trick. I'd worry about that when I woke up.
I patted Daniel's shoulder on my way past, and he started again. He fell into step behind me.
"Sir," Carter called.
I paused, but I didn't feel like testing my pain threshold by turning around. "Yeah, Carter?"
There was a pause. "Nothing, sir."
Okay. Maybe she was about to ask about Cleveland, though who knew. I didn't want to talk about it here in the Control Room. I continued to shuffle and gritted my teeth as I descended the three steps into the corridor.
Mad breakfast chefs, blue Jell-O showers and wacky phone connections; those were the highlights of life at the mountain in the past twenty-four hours. If only those I’d hadn’t dealt with anything else in that time.
I pushed Daniel in the direction of his on-base quarters. He didn’t protest, though he did mumble a bit about a translation or whatnot. That was normal, so I ignored him. I waved off a number of questions after my health as I shuffled my way to my bunk. Once there, I promptly collapsed. Hulk Homer smashed his way through the solid wall of my office. "Homer mad! Homer smash! Homer want donuts!"
She-Hulk, looking like an all-green version of Marge, appeared out of nowhere, carrying a crossbow in one hand and a sword in the other. She twirled and delivered a roundhouse kick to Hulk Homer's jaw. Hulk Homer fell with a crash to the carpeted floor. She-Marge threw the crossbow aside, straddled Hulk Homer and held the sword to his throat with a snarl.
I leaned forward in my chair and peered at them over the edge of my desk. Huh. That was interesting. I wondered if they came in yellow, too.
Xander Harris was perched on a corner of the desk. His eyes were pinned on the fight.
"Bummer," he said.
My eyes snapped open. The phone on the bedside table shrilled out an unasked for wake-up call. According to my watch, a little under an hour and a half had passed.
I closed my eyes again. Visions of angry green Simpsons
characters danced behind my eyelids. Hulk Homer sported a spinage-colored bruise around his left eye.
The phone shrilled a second time. I patted the table, searching blindly for the phone. It had to be around here somewhere. I was determined to find it, preferably as quickly as possible, and hang up on whoever was calling. If it was urgent, they’d have to come knocking. I wasn’t moving otherwise.
I found the phone. Unfortunately, my search came to an end when my hand knocked into the cradle and sent cradle and phone tumbling to the ground.
The noise of the crash as both objects hit the floor was drowned out by the music pouring out of the phone’s tiny speaker.
"/ I am not yet dead / I can dance and I can sing / I am not yet dead / I can do the Highland Fling / I am not yet dead / No need to go to bed / No need to call the doctor ‘cause I’m not yet dead! /"
I jumped, and then I let out a quickly stifled yelp of pain as my ribs lodged a formal protest. Ignoring them, I reached over the side of the bed for the phone.
The back-up singers joined in. "/ He is not yet dead / That’s what the geezer said / No, he’s not yet dead / That man is off his head / He is not yet dead / So put him back in bed / Keep him off the cart because he’s not yet- /"
I replaced the phone in the cradle.
Someone wasn’t dead. Well, that was always good news, I supposed.
I sat up slowly. I wasn’t getting back to sleep now. The phone rang again. I ignored it.
My eardrums didn’t stay protected for long.
Warning sirens boomed through the intercom. "General O’Neill to the Control Room!"
I sighed even as I got up and made my way to the door and the hallway beyond it. "Now what?"
I opened the door. I froze. I can’t really say I felt surprised at what I saw just beyond my quarters. I was beyond feeling surprised by anything. Barney the Dinosaur could have walked in hand-in-hand with Apophis and a singing goat and I wouldn’t have been surprised.
There was only one thing to say in this situation. So I said it.
"Oh. That’s what."