Chapter 5

By the time SG-1 was reunited inside the busy restaurant, Vala had already been seated. Ford sat next to her. Zaphod and Arthur were nowhere to be seen.

"Where did the other two go?" Cam asked as he was seated by the maƮtre d'.

"Zaphod is at the bar ordering himself more drinks. Arthur is probably in the back searching frantically for his girlfriend," Ford replied. He perked up suddenly as he heard a familiar voice. "Hey, I think Trillian is here!"

"Ooh! I love her reports on the Sub-Etha News!" Vala cried. "You know her?"

"Sure! Come on, I'll introduce you," Ford offered as he got up.

Vala leapt out of her seat and dragged Daniel out of his as well. Sam followed to make sure that they stayed out of trouble while Cam and Teal'c stayed put to look over the menu.

After a few moments of weaving through the tables, Ford stopped. He tapped a woman on the shoulder and said, "Hey, Trill. Good to see you! Fancy bumping into you here."

She turned and smiled at him. "Hello, Ford. Good to see you again, too. Who are your friends?" She looked over Ford's shoulder and gasped. "Sam?"

"Tricia?" Sam queried, equally as shocked.

"You two know each other?" Ford asked in surprise.

"We went to grad school together," Trillian explained.

"Small universe, huh?" Sam commented with a smile.

"I'll say," Trillian agreed. She placed a hand on the arm of the large, brawny man sitting next to her. "Anyway, this is my date this evening, Thor."

"Thor?" three shocked voices chorused at once.

"Greetings, Colonel Carter, Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran," the Norse god said in an unusually deep voice.

"That's funny. He doesn't look Asgard-ish," Vala remarked.

"Yes, why is that?" Daniel asked.

"On occasion, I enjoy what I believe your people call role-playing," Thor responded.

Trillian's jaw dropped open. "So this isn't what you really look like?"

"It is not," Thor replied. He touched a device on his chest and quickly morphed into a small Roswell Gray.

Tillian looked aghast. "What about all the times we... you know?"

Sam and Daniel's faces drained of color while Vala suddenly perked up.

"That was a mental image I didn't need!" Daniel whined.

"Oh, come on Daniel!" Vala wheedled. "Don't you want to know how-"

"No!" he shouted.

Sam looked again at Trillian, who appeared to be gearing up for an argument with Thor. She decided to let them be for now and to come back later to talk to them. Ford fell into step beside her while Vala and Daniel continued to bicker as they followed behind.

"Well, that was fun," Ford remarked dryly as they navigated the maze of tables to return to their seats.

Sam shuddered. "Let's not talk about it. I don't even want to think about it." As they reached their table, she added, "I think I need one of those drinks of Zaphod's."

"Whoa there, darlin'," Zaphod objected as he clutched his three glasses tightly. "If you shimmy over to the bar I'm sure they'll make you one, but these are all for me."

Sam raised an eyebrow. Instead of responding, Zaphod quickly took a sip out of each glass as if to mark them as his.

Just as Sam stood to head for the bar, the waitress arrived with Arthur hot on her heels. She heaved a long suffering sigh. "I told you that my shift isn't over yet, Arthur. Now, if you'd stop pestering me and just sit down and order, I could get done sooner."

She looked at the others seated at the table. "Sorry about this one," she said to the portion of the guests that she hadn't already met. "He seems to keep forgetting that to go gallivanting across the galaxy requires at least one source of income."

"I did have a job back on Earth as a producer for the Sky networks," Arthur defended. "But since then-"

"Ooh, did you produce anything I would know?" Vala asked eagerly, interrupting whatever rant Arthur was about to begin.

"Probably not," he admitted. "I mostly worked on importing shows from Canada."

Vala slouched back into her seat with a disappointed huff.

"I'm sorry, do you know much about Earth?" Fenchurch questioned.

"We're from there," Cam answered. "Just left home a few hours ago."

She turned to look at Arthur. "But how is that possible? It was destroyed! I've seen the wreckage!"

"That's a very good question," Sam said with a brilliant smile. "I have a few theories about that. First, we could be-"

"Sam!" Cam shouted. "Can it wait until after we order, and preferable when I'm not around? I've got a big enough headache already!"

Sam gave a self-satisfied smirk to her teammate as she halted her exposition.

After everyone placed their dinner and drink orders, Fenchurch returned to her waitressing duties, not before making Sam promise that they would talk later.

A few moments later the show started. Throughout the meal, Sam could be heard muttering about the physics and engineering required for the restaurant's spacetime bubble. Vala was more interested looking at the other guests, and Daniel was peppering her with questions about their cultures. He tried to engage the others at the table but while Teal'c remained as inscrutable as always, Cam, Arthur, Ford and Zaphod actively ignored him so they could eat their meal in peace.

Just as the universe was exploding, Thor and Trillian stopped to say goodbye on their way out.

Trillian handed Sam a business card. When she turned it over, it read:

TRILLIAN ASTRA

LEAD REPORTER, SUB-ETHA NEWS

11-23-5-813213-4558914-42-3-3 x377610

"That's my office number," Trillian said. "They should be able to get a hold of me whenever I am."

Sam opened her mouth to ask about the last part of Trillian's statement, then closed it as she realized where and when she was and how she'd gotten there. Instead she asked, "How am I supposed to call you? I don't think AT&T has a galactic service plan."

"O'Neill has a communication device that can access the galactic voice network, Colonel Carter," Thor interjected.

"Oh, he does, does he?" Daniel asked.

"We'll have to talk about this when I get home," Sam declared.

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.

"I wish I could be there to see that," Trillian said wistfully. "Unfortunately, I have to get back to work."

"And I must return to my fleet," Thor added.

They turned and strolled out hand in hand.

"Well, I guess they worked out their problems," Vala noted. She turned to Daniel and added, "It's nice to see that some Earthlings can show their interest in people from other planets."

Daniel ignored her comment, instead standing to get himself ready to leave as the show wound down.

"Well, this has certainly been interesting," Cam said as he also prepared to leave, "But we need to be getting back home. General Landry needs to hear about all of this."

"Yes, I don't suppose he would like being left in the dark. Authorities rarely are," Ford agreed. "Arthur, you better go get Fenchurch. Now, come on Zaphod, time to go."

A few minutes, they were all assembled back on the Heart of Gold.

"Eddie, set coordinates for a friendly planet with a Stargate," Ford directed the shipboard AI.

"Sure thing!" it cheerily replied. A moment later, the ship turned on the Infinite Improbability Drive.

"Is that a real life game of Space Invaders?" Cam asked.

"Being played by Mario," Sam added.

"I'll be real glad when we're back to plain ol' gate travel," Cam commented as he looked at his teammates. He did a double take, then commented, "And now we're all Muppets."

"Wocka wocka wocka!" Fozzie Teal'c exclaimed.

"Normality has been restored," Eddie declared. "I'm delighted to announce that we're in orbit around Magrathea."

A moment later, a holographic head appeared on the bridge display.

"Belgium, not again!" Zaphod muttered as he downed more Gargleblasters.

SG-1 looked at each other, confusion and worry creasing several faces.

"Slartibartfast, please," Ford ordered the hologram before it could begin its prerecorded schpiel.

The image flickered, then let out a sigh. "Very well," it said in a bored voice. The image dissolved.

A minute later, another man appeared out of thin air. "Hello? Oh, it's you. I suppose you're wanting to land?"

"And we'd like to use your Stargate," Cam added.

"I see," he replied. "Well, I'll send your ship the coordinates and meet you there, then, shall I?"

"Alright," Ford agreed.

A few minutes later, the Heart of Gold touched down in an open field 100 yards from the Stargate. Slartibartfast was just climbing out of his hoversled parked next to the DHD.

"Hello, Ford, Arthur, and friends. Welcome to Magrathea," he said joyfully as the group (minus Zaphod, who had finally passed out) approached. "It's always nice to have company."

"We're not staying long," Ford informed him. "We just came to let these guys return to Earth, which, much to our surprise has been undestroyed. Again."

Slartibartfast's face lit up. "Earth? You're from Earth? Have you ever been to a place called Norway?"

"Can't say I have," Cam said. "Daniel, dial it up."

"I did Norway, you know," he continued. "The fjords were my idea."

"Right," Cam drawled as the gate wooshed to life. "SG-1, let's move out."

"Oh, you're SG-1? The mice have told me all about you!" the Magrathean said excitedly.

"Mice?" Sam wondered aloud.

"Don't ask!" Arthur warned. "Just go!"

"Aren't you and Fenchurch heading back to Earth with Vala?" Ford asked his traveling companion.

"Not today, but they left us a device to let us contact them later," Arthur replied as they watched SG-1 disappear through the Stargate. "We were hoping to swing by Ursa 54 still this evening."

"I could go for one of their crushed cheese salads," Ford agreed as they turned to head back to the ship.

"What about me?" Slartibartfast called out to the rapidly retreating backs of his one-time traveling companions.

When he got no response, he mumbled to no one in particular, "I get no respect, I tell you."

~'`^`'~-,._.,-~'`^`'~-,._.,-~'`^`'~

Published 07/21/2015