The Infinite Improbability of Gate Travel
Timeframe: Time is an illusion. Lunch time doubly so.
Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Stargate or the Hitchhiker's Guide. I do own a copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide, but unfortunately, just the printed one by Douglas Adams. Unless you count my Kindle with internet access to Wikipedia as a real-life Hitchhiker's Guide…
Author's Notes: Yeah, the worlds of these works aren't really likely to coexist. But the story just presented too many good ideas to let it go...
This story has been languishing on my hard drive for years. I finally got a good idea for a title and, after looking it over again the other day, decided it was probably as good as it was going to get and I should publish it. It's complete and 5 fairly short chapters which I plan on posting once a day.
"Welcome to Stronzalla Gamma, home to some of the best trading in the galaxy," Vala Mal Doran announced to the team as they exited the wormhole.
"From the UAV readings and Vala's intel, it looks like the nearest town is several klicks away," Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter informed them as they stepped down from the Stargate platform. Checking a compass to make sure she had her bearing correct, she pointed to the forest in front of them. "We just have to follow that path."
"Well, let's get moving," Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell ordered his team.
"Before we do that, we may want to change into these," Vala interrupted, producing a bundle of clothing from her backpack.
"Why?" Dr. Daniel Jackson asked suspiciously.
"Well, not only are our uniforms hideously drab, they tend to attract attention. And believe me, you don't want to attract much attention here," Vala forcefully stated.
Both Cam and Daniel's eyebrows shot up at that statement. Teal'c and Sam each raised just one.
"Vala? Is there something you'd like to share with the class?" Cam questioned.
"Like, say, a deal that went south here? Or some other reason we may need to have our weapons at the ready?" Daniel probed.
"What?" a surprised Vala asked. "Oh, no, nothing like that. It's just that the people here might get a little … edgy if they see people tromping around in combat gear. We should really try to blend in."
"I've got a bad feeling about this," Mitchell mumbled.
"Now, let's get everyone changed," Vala stated, starting to separate the items of clothing.
She grabbed a cream colored ruffled top and a pair of brown trousers. "Sam, these should work well for you."
"Here you go, Muscles," Vala said, handing Teal'c a black sleeveless shirt and a pair of khakis.
"Thank you, Vala Mal Doran," Teal'c responded. "Did you not bring something to cover my head?"
"Oh, no one will even notice it here," she assured him, already moving on to the remaining members of the team.
"These should fit you," Vala said to Cam as she gave him a brightly colored shirt and black silk pants.
"And these, Daniel, I spent quite a while picking out especially for you," she smirked, handing him the remaining clothes.
"What about you?" Daniel demanded as he took the stack of clothing.
"Oh, I'm already dressed," Vala replied. She unzipped her jacket, revealing the black leather outfit she had worn when she had initially come to the SGC.
"I thought you said the idea was to not bring attention?" Daniel questioned.
"We don't want the wrong kind of attention," she clarified. "Now, hurry up and get changed! I can't wait to see you in that outfit."
"Vala, these are like 3 sizes too small!" Daniel complained as he held up the brown leather pants disdainfully.
"They're supposed to be tight, darling. But if you need some assistance with them, I'd be glad to help," she offered suggestively.
Daniel grumbled, probably cursing her in a language none of them could understand, as he snatched his outfit back from Vala's grasp and wandered somewhere a little more private to change. The other men followed off to one side of the path while Sam proceeded to the other.
"I don't usually wear any tops this tight. At least not without a jacket to cover it," Sam tried to object after she changed into her rather snug get up. Vala wasn't paying any attention, though. After a few more attempts to get her attention were also ignored, Sam finally gave up and gave in. As she looked at some of the outfits that her teammates were sporting, Sam decided it could have been a lot worse. After all, Vala could have brought an outfit like hers for Sam! Cam looked like a deranged sea pirate that had picked out his clothing in the dark. Daniel was squirming uncomfortably in his ultra-tight leather pants. Teal'c, by contrast, looked relaxed and very normal.
Sam did have to admit Daniel looked good in the clothes Vala had chosen. The pants were accompanied by a matching brown leather vest over an equally tight black tunic. Vala seemed utterly mesmerized by the sight.
"Well, do we meet your approval?" Daniel inquired.
Vala licked her lips subconsciously. "Yes, you certainly do."
"Alright, then let's move out," Cam instructed.
"Oh, there's one more thing," Vala added, eliciting groans from Daniel and Cam.
"What now? There aren't any green bug-eyed monsters in the village waiting to eat us, are there?" Cam cracked.
"Probably not," Vala dismissed. "There usually aren't any Vogons here, and they wouldn't want to eat us anyway. Now, feeding us to the ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, that's another story…"
"Excuse me?" Cam asked incredulously.
"Here, look it up," Vala offered, handing him a device that looked very similar to a Palm Pilot. The message on the cover, written in large, friendly letters, said "Don't Panic."
"What's that?" Sam wondered aloud. Her interest was always piqued by a shiny new gadget.
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," Vala stated, as if it should have been obvious. "This is what I wanted to say. You're all going to want to have a look at it before we reach the village so that you'll have a better idea of what to expect. Now, come on. Let's hurry up and hide our gear here and get moving so we can arrive in time for Happy Hour."
"This is amazing!" Sam gushed as she examined the Hitchhiker's Guide. Cam had handed it over 10 minutes into their walk and she had been pouring over it ever since.
"I knew that you'd enjoy it," Vala said with a smirk. "I didn't show it to you before because I wasn't sure that you'd ever give it back. I only had my own personal copy before, but I picked up that copy on a … supply-collecting mission recently. Being the wonderful, kind, beautiful, generous woman that I am, I decided to share."
"How magnanimous of you," Daniel said in a voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Isn't it?" Vala asked, ignoring his tone. "One thing I find particularly humorous is the entry for Earth."
Sam punched a couple buttons and brought up the entry.
"Earth," the book said aloud. "Mostly Harmless."
"That's it?" Cam asked. "That's a bit ... short."
"Well, there is a limited amount of space and an awful lot of galaxy to fit in one little book," Vala justified. "It was even shorter before the last update."
"How could it get any shorter?" Cam exclaimed.
"The first time I checked, it only said 'Harmless,'" Vala replied.
"I do not believe this book to be accurate, Vala Mal Doran," Teal'c stated.
"Well, I'll admit the writing does contain some eccentricities," she acknowledged. "For example, there's a separate article about the Tau'ri that mentions your rise as a galactic force even though it doesn't make the connection between your people and your planet. But it really does have some good information if you just search for the right thing. Look up the section on the Goa'uld."
"Goa'uld," the book intoned. "A parasitic race of sentient snake-like creatures with delusions of god-hood."
As the rest of entry came up, Sam let out a sharp gasp. Before her eyes was the most comprehensive list of information about the Goa'uld that she had ever seen. Broken down into sections, it contained maps of System Lord controlled space including disputed regions, space coordinates of capitol planets, current power hierarchies, techniques for avoiding detection on a Goa'uld-controlled planet, trade strategies for making deals, theories on blocking thoughts and wresting control from a symbiot, and even a list of substances that could temporarily or permanently disable the snake. There was even a link to information about the Tok'ra.
"This is amazing!" Sam said for the second time in as many minutes.
"You're welcome, Sam," Vala said with a giant grin. "Now, we're almost there, so try to just follow my lead. And don't gawk at everything like a bunch of primitive monkey-men!"