Spoiler: many, but most of them for “The Simpsons” Brief mentions of „Solitudes“, „Frozen“, „Gamekeeper“, „Tangent“, „Prodigy“ and „Disclosure“.
Category: Crossover, Humor
Word count: 5.218
Summary: Jack is pulled into his favourite TV-Show. Sam, Daniel and Teal’c desperately try to get him out…
Authors Note: I wrote this story long before Rick for real became a part of this series. So please believe me that any similarities are coincidences. And as for the Air Force manual and “to macgyver” – that’s true! Many thanks as always to CoriKay for the quick beta and a tiny part also was done by lothithil- it's finally finished! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
read part 1/2 here
Colonel O’Neill looked up into the sky full of stars and took a deep breath. Wherever he was in the world, in whatever mess he was stuck right at the time – when he looked up into the sky he always got calm. All of his problems felt so small considering this infinite wideness. He was just a grain of sand in the universe, nothing more.
But today he did not recognize any of the familiar constellations. Obviously the animators had not put too much work into them and had merely dotted a few random points in the sky. But what the hell, stars were stars. When he was at another planet and stared up into the sky at night they also looked strange after all.
He reflected on his day. Though it had started really weird, it also had had a few nice times. He had told Marge that he somehow had got lost and did not know how to get back home. She offered to let him stay with her family for a few days.
They had had a nice morning, before the kids came home from school and the squabbling began. But that was part of what Jack enjoyed about the Simpsons; their lives were lively and loud and brightly colored. His own life, outside of work, was sometimes too quiet and empty.
Jack managed to successfully negotiate an end to the raging argument between Lisa and Bart.
Afterward, he played football with the boy. It made him feel younger than he had felt in years.
That evening, Homer had taken him with him to Moe’s Tavern, and later they went bowling with Carl and Lenny. Jack managed to get a strike in the seventh frame, and he bought a round of Duff-beer for everyone. The stuff didn’t taste bad at all, and Homer didn’t need to know that Marge had given Jack the money. He hadn’t found anything in his pockets, and even if he had brought his credit card with him he somehow doubted that it would work here.
Now, after a day full of people and voices, Jack sought peace with his old friends, the stars. He was not alone in the tree-house. Lisa sat next to him. She was unusually silent for a little girl. Actually he thought that she was way too serious for her age. That was maybe the reason why she reminded him of Carter.
For a long time they only sat together in silence. Suddenly Lisa announced, “When I’m grown-up I want to fly to the stars.”
The abrupt sound of her voice made Jack wince. Lisa continued, “I want to do so much, when I’m grown-up. I want to stop people fighting each other. I want to invent something important that will change the world for the better. I want to help heal and preserve the Earth. I can’t wait until I get to go to college!”
Why did she tell this all him of all people? Jack wondered. Didn’t she have someone to discuss such things with? Then he remembered the episode where she had some girls from high-school for friends. She had been so happy to finally have friends who understood her. But at the end they had laughed at her, as always.
He was glad that it was dark and she wasn’t able to see his face. He swallowed the lump in his throat. Because he knew she never would get older than eight and only attend the second grade forever. Cartoon people never got older… and cartoon children never grew up. But he had no right to tell her the truth and take her hopes and dreams.
„You can achieve everything you want,“ he said belatedly and then grimaced. He remembered having a similar talk with Charlie after his son had said that he wanted to become a famous baseball-player. Jack himself had once wished to become a professional hockey player in his youth and so he hadn’t tried to talk him out of it. ‘If you really want it and are prepared to work hard for it then you can make it’, he had encouraged his son.
Rather than lie to Lisa - something he wasn’t sure he could do convincingly - he got up and said, “It’s late, we should go to bed”. He helped Lisa climbing down the tree.
The next morning Jack tried not to get distracted by the unnatural color of his face while he was shaving. He had gotten accustomed to the fact that all of the others looked as if they had jaundice. But to see himself that way in the mirror was a little – weird. He continued to wash the face of the stranger in the mirror and finished getting ready. He headed downstairs to see that Marge was making pancakes and the house smelled of eggs and ham.
The whole family was already seated at the table and Jack caught himself thinking that it would be nice to have breakfast every day with others around. At home he didn’t take much time and only quickly drank a cup of coffee. Now he suddenly realized how much the second breakfast in the cafeteria at the Cheyenne Mountain meant to him. Together with Carter, Daniel and Teal’c. They were his family. He suddenly felt very homesick.
He sat across from Bart who was eating pancake after pancake. Jack felt a little sick just watching him. He nodded thankfully when two of the sweet smelling yellow things landed at his plate and started to eat. Between mouthfuls he informed Homer of the decision he had made as he lay awake thinking in the night.
„I’ll go to Colorado Springs today. There is a bus at 11 AM at the bus station. I can’t stay with you forever.”
Lisa looked up from her bowl of cereal. “May we go with him, dad? Please!”
Marge brought the last of the pancakes and took her place at the table.
„Oh yeah, Homie, I’d like to see the new bus station. Let’s all go together!”
„If you want,“ Homer answered, distractedly. He was far more interested in his bacon right now.
Bart thought about whether or not a trip with the whole family would be not cool for a boy in his age, but then decided to come with them. Maybe there would be an opportunity for some pranks along the way. But before that he wanted another pancake!
Sam and Daniel looked on with growing excitement as they examined the illustration that Matt had produced. In the middle of a clearing in a wooded area, a cartoonish Stargate stood. They had told Matt to put it at an isolated place but they never had imagined how picturesque it would look in the end.
„Very nice,“ Daniel finally said. “Now all Jack needs is a DHD.”
„A What?“ Matt asked, appearing confused as he looked back and forth between Sam and Daniel.
„Uh, something like… that.“ Daniel had gotten a warning glance from Sam and hurriedly leafed through his note book till he found a page with the drawing of a DHD. He flipped the book around for Matt to examine.
Matt sighed when he took a look at the picture. “I can’t do it. Too many details. I don’t have enough space for all these symbols. No way.“
„But…,“ Daniel began to stutter a protest, but Matt hadn’t finished yet.
„Did you never notice that every cartoon figure only has four instead of five fingers? It’s just easier to animate. We will have to confine to a few symbols. That’s all I can do for you.“
Daniel weighted whether or not a few symbols less would make a difference.
„Fine,“ he finally said. He flipped to a clean sheet and began sketching. “At least these seven MUST be represented.”
He showed Matt the six symbols that were the address for Earth. He thought for a few seconds before he delineated the last and sevenths symbol; it looked like an S. S as in Springfield.
The weight of responsibility weighed suddenly and heavily on Sam Carter’s conscience. Every time they went through the gate, they had to be careful about every detail so as not to bring unexpected effects upon the life of the worlds that they visited. Every line that they were drawing could conceivably change the lives of every character in Springfield. They had to be careful not to mix up things too much. They owed that to the people living here.
When Matt started to draw again Sam’s mobile phone began to ring. She looked at the display and saw Teal’c’s number. She answered the telephone with trepidation and put him on speaker.
„MajorCarter,“ they heard Teal’c’s familiar voice. “O’Neill went with the Simpsons family to the bus station. Apparently; he plans to travel to Colorado Springs. Something must be done immediately.”
„Stay on the line, Teal’c,“ she hurried to answer, then turned to Matt and Daniel, “Is that even possible? I mean, can he leave just like that? In ‚Pleasantville’ the street went round and round in a circle!“
She somehow clung to this thought but then Matt destroyed all her hopes.
„Yes, I think it’s possible. Homer once has been to Las Vegas and New York, and another time we even sent the Simpsons to Japan, where they were in one of these TV-shows, and remember Bart’s travelling to Australia for his apology…”
Sam interrupted him before he could tell about all the other episodes as well. “Then we have to do something! We can’t let him go just like that! He can’t get onto that bus - no matter what! Please!”
Matt chewed on his pencil. “I think I have an idea.”
It was time to say good bye. Jack never had been good at this. When he had to leave his little family to go onto missions he always had left home early in the morning. When Charlie and Sara awoke, he already was out of the country. No opportunity for tears. Of course they had known he needed to leave, but they never had talked about it. Never.
Jack took Maggie on his arm and squeezed her tightly. He put his hand on the top of Lisa’s head and playfully punched Bart’s shoulder. He hugged Marge a little longer and thanked for her hospitality. Finally he turned to Homer.
„You have a great family there, you know that?” Jack wanted to say more, to tell Homer he should always keep an eye on them, but the other man somewhat distractedly glanced over Jack’s shoulder. He was almost drooling and muttering “Mmm, donuts!” Jack had to suppress a smile. Some things just never changed.
It was a big bus station and busses always were coming or going. Jack had gotten out his ticket and was studying it for the umpteenth time, when he suddenly heard Marge cry out.
„Maggie! Oh my God, Maggie!“
Jack abruptly looked up and then into the direction Marge was pointing. There, right before a quickly approaching bus, Maggie was crawling very happily at the street, without realizing the potential danger. The bus was heading straight at her. The driver was sitting way too high, he was not able to see her from his seat.
Jack did not hesitate for one second. He sprinted over and was able to push Maggie out of the way at the last possible moment. Then the bus already was over him. He felt the impact, then nothing.
Sam’s anxiety grew as she watched what Matt was hastily drawing. At the same time she listened to Teal’c’s report over the phone. She felt suddenly weak, her hand holding the phone fell to her side and then she had to sit.
Suprisingly, she noticed that Daniel and Matt did not seem concerned at all. She didn’t understand it. How could they stay so calm when the colonel had been hit by a bus just moments ago and now lay unconscious at the street?
As if Daniel had heard her thoughts, he reassuringly said, „Don’t worry, Sam, he soon will feel better.“ He and Matt grinned at each other. Daniel might not be a Simpsons fan, but as a kid he had watched his fair share of cartoon series. He knew: Whatever happened, the figures never got really hurt.
Their purpose had been to prevent Jack from driving off. And even if it might not have been the smartest way – it definitely was the most effective.
Jack came to, groaning. He was laying at the street – again. This was starting to get old. When he opened his eyes he saw a lot of worried faces. Lisa, Bart, Homer, Marge with Maggie on her arm.
„How do you feel, Jack? Shall we call Dr. Hibbert?” Marge looked thankfully back and forth between Jack and Maggie.
Jack took a moment to consider how he felt. As if a bus had hit him, actually. Hey, but a bus just HAD hit him! He carefully sat up. Shouldn’t he have more to show for it than just a few aching bones? And then it dawned on him: He was in a cartoon series. Cartoon figures could fall down from big heights, burn, get beat up or hit by a bus, but they always stood up afterwards. Except when they ate too much Krusty burgers like Homer who had needed a triple by-pass operation afterwards.
Jack finally got up and tried his arms and legs. Nothing broken, no visible injuries. Janet Fraiser must be out of job in this world. When he thought of the Doc Jack remembered why he actually was here. He looked at his watch. Ten minutes till his bus departed.
„I believe this is a sign“, Lisa suddenly said. All eyes were focussed on her. “I believe it is a sign that Jack should not leave”, she specified.
“Well, it’s possible”, Marge agreed after a while.
Jack unsurely looked from one to the other. He had never believed in signs. He just wanted to get into this bus and drive to Colorado Springs. If he was lucky there also was an SGC and maybe even a cartoon version of Carter. She would be able to help him to get back home.
Then Jack remembered HIS Carter, the real one. She also would try everything to get him back, she already had proven that a few times. Assuming she knew where he actually was. Maybe she was already working at it right in this moment? Maybe he just had to wait and not screw up her plan? He didn’t know what to do. It never had been his forte just to sit around and do nothing.
It was then that he noticed an advertising poster. He stared at it for a long time. He was pretty sure that it hadn’t been there just a few minutes ago. He was not able to find any other than the obvious meaning in it: SDT – WE’RE WORKING ON IT. This poster only made sense if Sam and Daniel and Teal’c already were working on a solution.
“Okay,” Jack said. “I think I’ll stay a little while longer”.
When Teal’c repeated this sentence through the phone everybody was cheering. This obstacle was passed, but there already was the next one.
“So, how do we actually tell Jack about the ‘gate’?”, Daniel asked while the others still were celebrating.
Sam instantly became serious again. Daniel was right, they could not just sent Jack a newspaper with the way to the gate. That would make it too easy for someone else to find!
“I believe I have an idea,” she said slowly.
“Me too!” Daniel grinned.
Jack still was staring at the sign when another one right appearing next to it got his attention. A neon-green arrow was blinking and showing just one word: “CHAAPA’AI”.
Jack smiled to himself. That was typical for Daniel, always over the top. He followed the arrow with his eyes and suddenly saw the yellow brick road, starting right at his feet and leading into the direction of the arrow.
He whistled appreciative. ‘Off to Oz,’ he thought. Then he hugged everybody again for good measure, waved a last good-bye and started to hit the road. Luckily they let him go alone and did not try to follow.
The road seemed to meander in all directions before it finally led him out of the town. And it didn’t seem to end. Where did Carter sent him? He was sure it must be her idea. She knew how much he loved this movie. Often enough he had tried to confuse some aliens with his quotes.
He just would have to trust her. Hour after hour he walked on till he finally came into a dense forest wood. After another hour he found a little clearing. And in the middle of it indeed stood a Stargate.
While Daniel and Matt were busy with all the drawings Sam had not been idle. By phone she had directed Sergeant Siler who had installed a web camera in O’Neill’s house. It was filming everything that happened on his TV screen and broadcasted it during a secured internet line directly to the computer in Matt’s office so they were able to follow all the things that happened and, if necessary, could act immediately. Still Teal’c stayed to watch things. Who knew whether the colonel maybe had an overeager cleaning lady who would switch off the TV. In that case he might be trapped in there forever – something Sam did not want to consider at all.
A second line went to the SGC and Sam also was connected by phone with the general, to be able to let him know their next steps.
Luckily O’Neill wouldn’t reach the forest for several hours, so Matt had enough time to finish drawing the DHD. Just when he had made the last lines and Daniel nodded approvingly, the colonel set foot at the clearing. Sam exhaled, that had been close. But the rest should be a piece of cake, right?
Jack took some time to hide in the shadow of the trees and made sure that nobody had followed him. He really needed no witnesses for his travel home. But everything stayed quiet. It had become dark again and he felt like the last man on Earth.
He shook off the feeling of forlornness and slowly walked up to the Stargate. Soon he would be back home. When he came nearer he also saw the DHD. But it looked a bit odd. At least half of the symbols seemed missing.
Jack stood a while and tried to find the right symbols. Usually he let Carter or Daniel dial out, but of course he also knew the coordinates of Earth. But he had actually memorized their exactly location on the DHD rather than what they looked like. That’s why he was a bit confused by this different arrangement.
“What the heck is he waiting for?“, Sam murmured.
Jack had finally decided and was about to press the first button when he heard a noise right behind him. Quickly he turned and wished for his weapon. But when he recognized who was standing behind him he relaxed a bit.
There was a man in a dark suit and a red-haired woman wearing a blue suit. The man started to talk: “I’m agent Mulder and this is agent Scully from the FBI. Can you tell us what that thing is?”
„Where did they suddenly come from?“, Sam asked flabbergasted.
Matt shrugged apologetically. „They are probably still in the woods since that episode where Mr. Burns started to gleam greenish and Homer thought he had seen an alien… I’m sorry, I had forgotten about it.”
For the umpteenth time Jack thought ‚I know’ when Mulder was introducing himself. But aloud he said, “Colonel O’Neill, Air Force. – No, sorry, can’t do. How did you find it anyway?”
A piercing glance by Mulder. “Sorry, can’t say either.”
„Well, then. Would you please excuse me?“
But Mulder apparently hadn’t finished yet. “Air Force, huh? You’re with the guys that experiment with UFOs in Area 51?” Defiantly he blocked Jack’s path.
‚If you only knew how right you are’, Jack thought, while he remembered his unplanned travel into space together with Teal’c. His brain was whirling, trying to find a way to lose those two nosy guys.
His laughter sounded a bit forced. “UFOs? You’ve watched too many B-movies.”
That was Scully’s cue. “This ring is made from an unknown material. I tried to examine it, but it is so hard that I could not get any probe to penetrate it. I’ve never seen something like this before!”
Jack realized that he could not fool them any longer.
„Okay, I’ll admit it’s a secret government project.” He had Mulder’s full attention now. “We work together with the governments of Great Britain, France, Russia and China. It’s important for the safety of Earth. You have to believe me!”
He gave them a stern look. “I’m sure there will come the day to reveal it all. Then we can talk as much about it as you want to. But at the moment you have to leave me alone. I ask you to trust me!”
„Matt, do something!“
„What do you think I am trying to do, Daniel?!“
Mulder looked as if he was about to say, „I don’t trust anybody than Scully,“ but she was quicker. “Come on, Mulder, there is nothing for us to do here.”
She nodded good-bye to Jack and started to pull the still reluctant Mulder away.
Jack sighed with relief and waited till they had vanished into the woods. He gave a silent ‘Thank you’ to whomever had helped him to get rid of them. He knew that normally it wouldn’t have been as easy. They would at least have asked for his ID.
He turned back to the DHD. Quickly he pressed all seven keys and then the red button in the centre. “Kawoosh” and there was the familiar flush before the event horizon stabilized.
He froze when he suddenly heard a startled gasp behind him. Slowly he turned while cursing inwardly. He should have known that it had been too easy. There was Mulder, staring wide eyed at him.
Jack stared back. He had no clue what to do next.
Matt was cursing inwardly. He should have known that it had been too easy. He shouldn’t have underestimated Mulder.
Daniel grabbed a slip of paper and a pencil and started drawing hastily. Everybody else looked astonished what slowly developed under his fingers.
Jack looked frantically around when he saw something lay at the DHD which definitely hadn’t been there before. In one fluent motion he bent, took the Zat and fired at Mulder who went down immediately.
“I’m sorry,” Jack murmured, meaning it. Then he did not hesitate any longer. He turned, run up the three steps to the Stargate and disappeared into the gate.
Behind him Mulder stirred and dizzily saw how the gate closed. Where was O’Neill? Vanished without a trace. Scully would say he had imagined it.
Nobody would believe him.
„General, he’s coming through now!“, Sam yelled into the receiver. They had forgotten to draw a GDO for the colonel, and it was about time to open the iris. Strained she waited till she heard the general say, “He’s arrived, major. You did well. You can come back now.”
There was much cheering in the little office. Sam was hugging Daniel, then Al and Matt. They really had done it.
„Thank you so much for everything!” Sam looked happily from one to the other. “Sorry that we leave so fast, but we have to go home!”
“It’s okay, Sam.” Matt was shaking her hand for a very long time. “If you ever need our help again, just give us a call.”
“Well, I hope not,” Daniel said, and everybody laughed.
„Yes!“ Jack threw his arms into the air while he was walking down the ramp. Home sweet home. He was glad to be back in this grey mountain. But why was everybody staring at him? Had he developed a third eye or what?
He looked to the general who was standing in the control room, and gave a salute. But instead of a Welcome-back-speech he only got a “Dr. Fraiser to the Gateroom.”
Slowly his hand fell down and when he finally had a good look at his fingers he realized that he still was as yellow as a quince and flat as a flounder. Damn.
Some hours later Daniel and Sam were running into the infirmary. As soon as Daniel had opened the door he stopped, almost letting Sam crash into him. When she finally was in the room as well, she noticed everything at once: The still flat colonel in his bed, Teal’c at a chair at his side, General Hammond and Janet, who just was reporting to him.
“I’m sorry, General, but I have no idea how to treat this!”
Janet sounded resigned, something that didn’t happen very often. And that concerned Sam big time.
„How do you feel?“, she asked the colonel, who seemed to grow more impatient by the minute.
”Peachy, just peachy, if you don’t look at the fact that I could work as a bedside rug at the moment!” O’Neill gave her an irritated glance. “Please don’t get me wrong, I am really thankful to you and Daniel that you brought me back home, but didn’t you overlook a minor detail?”
Sam’s brain was working overtime and Daniel looked the same. Obviously he then said the first thing that came to mind, “How about a tire pump?”
Jack almost was falling out of his bed. “You must be kidding!”
Daniel shrugged and murmured something like, „It usually works in cartoons“, but then he was wise enough to drop the topic and asked instead, “What exactly did you do when that… happened?”
Jack thought that it should have been obvious by now, but since Daniel still questioningly looked at him, he sorted it out to him again. “I had been watching the ‘Simpsons’”.
But Daniel didn’t flinch. „And then?“
„And then? Then nothing! When the thunderstorm grew stronger I wanted to switch off the TV. And then just – pitchdark!”
Daniel seemed excited all of a sudden. “A lightning bolt! There must have been a lightning right in the moment when Jack was touching the TV!”
General Hammond looked questioningly to Major Carter, till she finally nodded. “I think it is possible, Sir.”
“So we only need to generate a similar lightning strike to bring Jack – uh, back to his originally form.”
Janet suddenly had an image of Daniel dancing an African rain dance. Even though she would have loved to actually see that, she said, “I don’t think I can take the medical responsibility for that.”
“Janet, a lightning bolt usually is totally harmless for a cartoon figure.” Daniel was pretty sure about it. Or not?
Jack had looked from one to the other while they were discussing his fate. He decided it was time to say something himself.
“I really don’t want to be the first one to find out that it wasn’t harmless! And aside from that I don’t want to wait for weeks for the next thunderstorm and then go up attached to a kite up at Cheyenne Mountain. Isn’t there any other possibility?"
Teal’c hadn’t said a thing so far. That’s why everybody was surprised when he now put his two cents in. “How about a Zat’n’ktel? Its energy is similar to a bolt and yet harmless for a human.”
This time General Hammond looked to Dr. Fraiser. Her eyes brightened up. “I think that could work, Sir! Teal’c, could you get a Zat? And I have to ask everybody else to please leave the room.”
Soon Teal’c came back with the weapon, and while Daniel, Sam and the General left the infirmary, they heard Jack yelling, “Listen, this time on three!”
Then the door closed and the waiting people only heard a suppressed curse. After five seemingly endless minutes the door re-opened, and when they hastily went back into the room there was the colonel in full live size, complaining, “I said on three! Will you ever learn to count, Teal’c?!”
Teal’c’s eyes twinkled in response and suddenly all the tension of the past two days ended in laughing, in which finally also Jack joined in. He knew that only a few minutes ago he must have been quite a sight and was just happy that the whole thing was over now.
But to make sure that really everything was as it should be, he walked over to the little sink in the corner and looked into the mirror. His face had its usual color back, but a slight yellow haze remained. But that surely only was because of the artificial light in here, right? Hopefully Janet would let him out of here soon.
In the spur of a minute he decided, “How about all of you coming over to my place in the evening? We’ll do a Simpsons-marathon!”
Expectantly he looked from one to the other, but they did not seem to share his excitement. Till Teal’c deadpanned, “I’m sure it will be an interesting evening. I have taped every minute of your adventure in Springfield.”
Jack froze and turned to him, “You haven’t!”
And Teal’c, the same Teal’c that never showed any emotion, gave him a full grin.
Sam quickly said, “I’ll bring the pizza!”
“And I’m bringing the wine!”, Daniel chopped in.
“And I’ll make the salad!” Janet wouldn’t have want to miss it for the life of her.
General Hammond looked at the revelling group and shook his head. But he had to hide a smile himself. It was indeed the first time he saw Colonel O’Neill speechless. Quietly he made his way back to his desk.
Everything was well again deep down in Cheyenne Mountain.
Epilogue – one week later
Matt was sitting on his desk and looking at two pictures. One showed a man around fifty in Air Force uniform, who was seriously looking into the camera. The other picture was a drawing of the same man in typical Simpsons style. There also was a short letter. In bold and powerful letters Jack had written:
”Just so that you know whom you helped. I’m following your show for years but never would have thought that our paths would cross one day. I thank you for everything you did to help me going back home. I hope you’ll never lose your creativity.
Colonel Jack O’Neill”
At this moment the door opened, and Al was looking around the frame. As always he seemed full of energy.
“Matt, I have a great idea for a new episode! How about Homer exploring the third dimension?”
Matt looked up from his letter, immediately convinced. Soon the two of them were discussing and drawing, outlining and arguing, just as they had done for years.
And hopefully would continue to do for quite some time.