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"The Trouble With..." by zorb

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August 29, 2006 | 09:02 pm | action | humor
Posted by: nandamai in samcarterfic

Title: The Trouble with…
Author: zorb
Rating/Warning: PG-13
Spoilers: None
Recipient: heidiweidel
Request details: Sam leading SG1 (or another team); the rest of
SG1 (Jack, Daniel, Teal'c) is present; an interesting, non-humanoid
alien or alien influence.

It was P2X-547 that first gave Sam the notion that a more extended
sweep of the area surrounding the stargate might be in order for
unexplored planets. The creatures scattered around the valley before
them were certainly not in those initial scans, and though small and
only faintly pulsing, their round shape and fur-like covering reminded
Sam an awful lot of…

"Tribbles, sir."

The colonel's eyebrows shot up. Daniel blinked. Teal'c cocked his
head, then smiled.

"Come again, Carter?"

"Er, well, they're probably not actually tribbles, just
something that reminded me of them on first glance."


"Sorry, sir. Tribbles are an alien creature from, uh, Star
," she answered, eyes darting away at the last bit. It wasn't
her fault that Mark had been obsessed with the show.

"Carter, you know how I feel about science fiction."

Before she could muster a sufficiently appeasing answer, Daniel let
loose a huge, vocal sneeze next to her. She stepped away pointedly.

"Sorry," he said, pulling a bag of tissues and pill bottles from his
vest. "Must be dander. Or the temperature." He fumbled for his
canteen as the colonel rolled his eyes.

"So what do we know about these kibbles?" he asked.

"Unfortunately, sir, I don't think we can apply the rules of a
fictional Earth television show to a real alien species."

"And why not?"

"Because the Star Trek tribbles mostly just sat around and
reproduced. And these ones –"

"They are moving," interjected Teal'c, raising his weapon in what
passed for alarm with him.

The aliens were indeed creeping forward, ever so slowly but steadily.
SG-1 backed into a defensive cluster, hands going to their holsters –
except for Daniel.

"Whoa, hold on a minute, let's not jump to any conclusions. They
might just be curious about us; try not to look threatening, all

While normally open to Daniel's diplomatic suggestions, the way the
sort-of-but-not-really-tribbles were silently moving forward – she
couldn't tell how with all the fur – raised goosebumps on her arms.
Sam figured her weapon should stay right where it was.

Plus, their numbers were growing.

Seemingly oblivious to the threat of furry death, Daniel crouched
down, spreading his hands out. "Hello. I'm Daniel Jackson. My
friends and I are peaceful explorers from the planet Earth. We come

The creatures cut him off with a rattling hiss, and Daniel jumped back.

"I don't think they understood you," remarked the colonel.

Daniel mumbled something about the difficulties of establishing
communication with no common frame of reference as the hissing grew
louder. Isolated aliens within what Sam now had to term a pack were
quivering, like bubbles in a pot of water on the verge of boiling.

"That's it, we're out of here," said the colonel. "Fall back to the gate."

No sooner did they begin to move, however, than one of the trembling
aliens shot out from its place in the pile and attached itself to
O'Neill's neck. He cried out and whacked the creature hard enough to
send it falling back into the now universally shaking pack. "Run!"

SG-1 didn't need to be told twice as they turned tail and headed for
the gate. The task was easier ordered than done, however, as more of
the creatures had amassed along their previously barren trail, all
hissing and shaking as one, though none flying at them. Sam crossed
her fingers as she ran that their luck would last until they got to

"Oof!" she grunted as she bounced off an unmoving Teal'c. That he
didn't turn to see if she was all right should've been her first clue.
Daniel and the colonel's faces as they pulled up alongside her were
the second.

The stargate platform and DHD were buried in a pile of alien fuzzballs.

"Crap," said their fearless leader, but when Sam looked to him for the
next order, she did a double take. The expression on her face must've
prompted him. "Problem, Carter? Besides the obvious."

"Sir, you've got some marks on your neck. They look like…"

"What?" He slapped at himself wildly.

"A vampire bite," finished Daniel.

That hadn't been what Sam was going to say, but she couldn't deny the
accuracy. Meanwhile, Colonel O'Neill's eyes widened and he barked,
"What?" still seeking the puncture wound with his fingers.

Teal'c raised his zat and pointed it at the creatures.

"Wait!" She held out a hand to him. "We don't want to damage the
DHD." She glanced around the terrain and pointed to their right.
"Sir, I think we should climb that hill."

"Over the rocks?" asked Daniel.

She nodded. "I'm not sure how they're locomoting, but I don't see any
of them in that direction, and I can't imagine they'd have an easy
time getting up there. We can wait it out there."

"Fine, go!" snarled the colonel, and SG-1 took off.

Sure enough, the rocky hill was free of aliens, as well as host to
slabs of granite-like stone that propped against one another so as to
create a semi-covered cave. Accumulated grit at the joining points
assured Sam of its stability, at least for now, and they crawled out
of what she hoped was the creatures' direct line of sight. The
makeshift cave felt slightly warmer than the wind-chilled air outside.

"O'Neill, are you not well?" Teal'c's voice drew her attention to the
colonel, whose skin around the wound had taken on a greenish cast
while his face was pale and sweat-drenched where he was seated against
the wall.

"Just…peachy," he rasped in reply before tipping sideways into Teal'c.
Sam went for her first-aid kit while Daniel pulled out his water

"Jack, come on, you need to drink this," he pleaded, struggling to
hold Jack's head and the canteen while Teal'c forced him upright.
"He's warm," Daniel said, glancing over at her.

To his credit, the colonel made an attempt at swallowing. When Daniel
eased back, he coughed and fixed Sam with his commander's look.
"Carter," he managed in a weakening voice, "take com-" And with that,
his eyes rolled back and he slumped over.

"Jack!" No response. Daniel sighed and bundled his jacket for a
pillow as Teal'c set the unconscious colonel down. "Anything you can
do?" Daniel asked her.

Sam hesitated, antivenin syringe in hand. "I don't know if this'll
help at all. It might even hurt."

"It seems we have little choice," said Teal'c.

The green had spread. "Worth a shot," she muttered. No pun intended.
Oh god, she was cracking up. Fortunately, with her back to her
teammates, they missed her completely inappropriate and probably
deranged smile.

The shot had no visible effect on the colonel, but she cleaned and
dressed the wound anyway while Teal'c checked the shelter entrance.
"The beings are still thick in the gate area, though they do not seem
to have grown in numbers."

"That's good, I think," Sam said, replacing her supplies. When she
looked up, she found both Daniel and Teal'c watching her expectantly.
What? Oh, right. Command.

Not that she had any clue what they should do.

Come on, Carter. Think logically.

She could do that.

"Okay," she started, sitting back against the wall, "option one: we
wait. They might go away."

"Might," said Daniel.

She nodded. "I know, and we don't know how long it'd take, either."

"O'Neill may not have much time," added Teal'c.

"Right. So option one isn't much of an option." She sighed.

"Could we not use projectile weapons?"

"Like grenades?" Sam pictured the concussive force of an explosive
propelling furry vampires outward – and back at them. "I think that
might cause more trouble for us than it's worth."

Teal'c hoisted the colonel's MP5 in response.

Oh. "All right, option two: go in shooting, get out as quickly as possible."

"Ah, wait a minute," Daniel broke in. "We don't know for certain that
their intentions are hostile."

There was a pause.

"No, seriously. We might have inadvertently done something
threatening, trespassed, I don't know, but I think communication is
worth another try."

Teal'c looked about as confident in that solution as Sam felt, but she
couldn't eliminate the possibility. "Option three: communication."

Unfortunately, as unappealing as that option was, the first two didn't
look much better.

Sam groaned. "The thing is, tribbles never really made sense."

"How's that?" It was a sign of the team's integration that Daniel
didn't question her non sequitur.

"How does a population that does nothing but eat and reproduce not get
out of control? They handwaved it by claiming a natural predator, but
with no defense mechanism, the tribbles would've been easy prey and
wiped out before they could really get going."

"What was the predator?"

Sam replied, "A reptile," while Teal'c said, "Klingons."

Daniel stared at them.

Sam continued, "But Daniel, those tribbles were fictional. These ones
are very real." She stole a glance at O'Neill, who at least didn't
look any greener than before.

Daniel followed her gaze. "And they certainly appear to have a
defense mechanism."

…defense mechanism.

"But what do they need to defend themselves from?" she muttered.


She was halfway to the shelter entrance. "I'll be right back."

At the opening, she first looked down at the stargate, where the
aliens still congregated. They didn't seem to have increased in
numbers. Score one for her theory.

Poking her head out into the outside chill didn't cause any group
reaction, either. Sam took a chance and slid slowly out of the
boulder's protection until she could see more of her surroundings.
The rocky hill in which they hid was composed of large rocks, and now
that she had time to look, she could see that their shelter wasn't the
only one of its kind. There was no further movement among the rocks,

…except right at the bottom of the hill, where a lone alien was
hopping in fits and starts up the rocks. If she didn't know what the
creatures could do, Sam might have found it cute; the alien would
shake for a few seconds and then pop forward a short distance,
sometimes landing in a stable place, but more often hitting an edge
and falling back. She speculated that either the amount of
preparation or the individual's age had to do with its jumps being far
shorter than those of the one that had attacked her CO.

Chittering distracted her attention from the hopper, and Sam looked up
to find the pile of aliens shaking once again. She tensed, prepared
to dart back inside the cave, when a shadow passed over the crowd.
Sam tracked the shadow upward, and –

"Whoa," she said softly.

A different alien flew in circles overhead. Not enormous, but
certainly larger than the pseudo-tribbles, it was reptilian, with a
long snout and iridescent wings.

First tribbles, now dragons. Was this a recon mission or a drunken
role-player's wet dream?

It didn't matter, because Sam soon discovered the reason
ground-dwellers would have to be able to leap so high in the air. As
the – fine, dragon – dove, a half dozen of the smaller aliens
shot up from the pile, either bouncing off or attaching their teeth
(or whatever) to the predator. More followed, with most falling, but
a few hanging on for as long as the angle remained friendly.

Sam couldn't tell who was winning. She stole a glance back at the
lone hopper to see how it was reacting – just in time to see another
dragon dart out of the rock cavern closest to it, snatch the creature
between its teeth, and slither back inside the rocks with the rest of
the pack none the wiser. As if on cue, the flying dragon twisted in
mid-air, dropping its clingers-on before spiraling back around the
hill and out of sight.

Oh, this was so good to know. Sam didn't wait around,
returning to her team. "Option four," she started, "dragons."

Teal'c raised an eyebrow. Daniel coughed. "Dragons, Sam?"

"Yes! You didn't think we were the only ones hiding in these rocks,
did you?" Daniel's head whipped around to the space behind him, which
was empty except for the drugged colonel. Sam tried not to laugh,
turning it to enthusiasm for her plan instead. "They're the natural
predator we were looking for. I'll bet they live in the rocks because
they retain heat." She patted the stone wall. "So all we need to do
is draw them out, and the tribbles will go away!"

Daniel still looked skeptical. "When you say dragons, do you mean
Smaug or…Mushu?"

"Somewhere in between, but smaller than we are. And far less numerous
than the others." Her teammates didn't look convinced. "Look, I know
it sounds absurd, but I think this is our best shot at getting out of

Teal'c and Daniel looked at one another, then back at her. "Explain
your plan, Captain Carter."

She let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding and nodded her
thanks before launching into the plan. It was simple, but if all went
well, they'd have time to climb down the rocks with their additional
burden, dial the gate, and get out before anything else took an
interest in them.

They were in agreement. Daniel gathered what little gear they'd taken
out, and Teal'c gathered the colonel, whose skin seemed less green
than Sam remembered. He even groaned a little when hoisted over
Teal'c's shoulders. She hoped that was a good sign.

SG-1 gathered at the shelter opening. No change in the aliens'
status. "Okay. Teal'c, wait for my signal. Daniel, on three." She
needed the time to steel herself as much as coordinate with her
teammate. "One. Two. Three!"

On cue, the two sprang – as best they could – out of the shelter.
Their stumbling boots made enough clatter to draw the aliens'
attention, and the pile began shaking again. Sam didn't care, raising
her zat and aiming it at the nearby copse of trees. "Fire!" she
yelled out, doing so herself.

She crossed mental fingers – prayed for a stiff breeze – didn't
realize she'd closed her eyes until Daniel's voice came through: "It
worked!" Opening her eyes, she saw the tree branches in flames, small
but being whipped into greater heights by the wind. Already, the
creatures were starting to move, but they hadn't abandoned the gate
and DHD. That wasn't Sam's plan, anyway.

Time for phase two. She pressed herself against the rocks and
motioned for Daniel to do the same before controlling her breathing
and pounding heart to be as still as she could make them. Come
on…you know you want to…

They did. First one, then a second, then a third dragon crawled out
of various openings in the rocks around them and took flight, seeking
the fire's warmth. Their translucent wings caught the wind and kept
them out of the flames' reach as they circled around.

"Wyverns," Daniel muttered absently as he watched, but Sam's attention
was elsewhere.

The tribbles were retreating.

No time to celebrate – she tugged Daniel's jacket sleeve. "Let's go."
As quickly as they could, the two scrambled down the hillside, not
bothering to hide their movement as the pack of furry aliens
dispersed, many heading back towards the valley in which they'd first
been discovered, but all heading away from the fire and the stargate.
The area was clear by the time they reached the ground.

Daniel made a beeline for the DHD, while Sam turned back to the hill.
She tapped on her radio. "All clear, Teal'c!" She tried to keep an
eye on his progress, slow with the colonel carefully balanced on his
shoulders, as well as watching Daniel's back and monitoring the
dragons – wyverns, she reminded herself. There was no
guarantee they might not seek out larger prey when in numbers, which
had grown to five.

The stargate opened up with a kawoosh just as Teal'c reached
the base of the hill. To Sam's surprise and relief, Teal'c crouched
down, and O'Neill, of his own shaky power, swung his legs around and
planted firm feet on the ground. The two of them made their way to
the DHD with Teal'c supporting the colonel only around his waist.

"Carter, are those…?" said the colonel on their arrival. He was still
sweating and looked pasty, but decidedly human-colored.

"Wyverns, sir," Sam replied.

"Weren't they smaller and…fuzzier before?"

"We're good to go," said Daniel.

Sam smiled. "I'll explain it all on the other side, sir. Now get
through the gate."

"Yes, ma'am."

Before Sam followed her team through the gate, she took one last look
at the wyverns swirling and swooping around the flames.

Nobody back home was going to believe this one.

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Comments {15}


(no subject)

From: partly
Date: August 30, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)

So. Much. Love.


Daniel still looked skeptical. "When you say dragons, do you mean Smaug or…Mushu? Love that line. Smaug would have been very scary. I also loved Teal'c answer of "Klingons" to what were the Tribbles natural predators.

Although I think she should have just opted for shooting the stupid Tribbles. I hated them when they first showed up in Trek.

Great job.

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R for Rambo

(no subject)

From: zorb
Date: September 5, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)

Thank you! I kind of like the little fuzzballs, myself, but shooting this particular variety would probably have incurred the wrath of the rest of the pack. Glad you enjoyed it!

Reply | Parent | Thread

One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear

(no subject)

From: amilyn
Date: August 31, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)

Oh...the geektastic fun! I just love the hopping vampire tribbles. :-)

I like Sam in command.

Very nice, and very funny.

Reply | Thread

R for Rambo

(no subject)

From: zorb
Date: September 5, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)

Geeky fun is what I was going for! Thank you!

Reply | Parent | Thread


(no subject)

From: gunhilda
Date: September 1, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)

Vampiric tribbles! LOL!

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R for Rambo

(no subject)

From: zorb
Date: September 5, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)

Exactly. Thanks!

Reply | Parent | Thread

mostly waving

(no subject)

From: winterfish
Date: September 2, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC)

"Crap," said their fearless leader

Love the vampire tribbles...and that Teal'c knows exactly what Sam's talking about when she mentions them. Great story. :)

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R for Rambo

(no subject)

From: zorb
Date: September 5, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC)

I figure early Teal'c had a lot of free time to catch up on Earth pop culture. Glad you liked it!

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(no subject)

From: shutthef_up
Date: September 6, 2006 03:50 am (UTC)

Oh, I loved it! Vampiric tribbles and dragons!

I loved how resourceful Sam was and the fabulous exchange between her and Daniel about just what kind of dragons they were! Geek Love!

Fabulous and extremely enjoyable!


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R for Rambo

(no subject)

From: zorb
Date: September 7, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)

Well, you know how I love those geeks! *g* Glad you enjoyed it (and thanks again for my fic)!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Fig Newton

(no subject)

From: sg_fignewton
Date: September 7, 2006 12:22 pm (UTC)

It takes a talented mind to dream up vampire tribbles, much less wyverns as predators.

Daniel still looked skeptical. "When you say dragons, do you mean Smaug or…Mushu?"

Hee! So much love.

Sam as I love her best - part of the team, but ready to take charge. I wondered how you would fulfill the criteria of having her in charge and having Jack along, but you worked it out quite nicely!

Reply | Thread

R for Rambo

(no subject)

From: zorb
Date: September 7, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)

Thanks! Fulfilling both criteria was definitely one of the toughest things about writing the fic. Fortunately, the vampire tribbles solved that problem. Glad you liked it!

Reply | Parent | Thread


(no subject)

From: heidiweidel
Date: September 9, 2006 07:45 am (UTC)

*apologizes for the seemingly impossible request of Sam in charge with Jack in tow*

Thanks for a delightful fic! I loved the clever and humorous take on my request. It's fun to see how you fleshed out (or fuzzed out, as the case may be) "non-humanoid." I concur (as Teal'c would say) with those who liked Teal'c's knowing about Tribbles, and Daniel’s references to Smaug and Mushu. And I like how Sam figures out how to get out of their fix. Lots of geeky fun!

(Note: sorry to take so long to read and comment…life has been rather hectic for the last few weeks. This was a lovely break from reality!).

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R for Rambo

(no subject)

From: zorb
Date: September 11, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)

You're very welcome! I had fun trying to choose the particular non-humanoid to play with in this fic and somehow ended up with two of them. Geeky fun is what I was going for. I'm glad you liked your fic!

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(no subject)

From: kuonji14
Date: October 5, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)

lol! Very amusing, without being over the top. Thanks!

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