The Wind from Nowhere

by Ted Sadler

The planet, whose name Jonas knew but O'Neill didn't, was the usual collection of trees, shrubs and minor wildlife, but had been utterly devoid of any higher intelligence for at least a thousand years. A six-day trek through the forest and the lower slopes of mountain uplands was wearying, and his super-inquisitive mind was running down. Even the Colonel and the Major had stopped flirting with each other, and Teal'c was being, well, Teal'c. Jonas realised that he had never heard or seen the Jaffa being anything other than taciturn and sombre. The Colonel was threatening to get a dog to accompany them on future missions like this, for entertainment value.

The bland MRE field rations did nothing to enliven the prospect of brightening things up. It was Jonas' turn to cook the evening meal, and thinking ahead, he had collected a number of berries from native plants during the day to spice things up a little. Of course, he'd tasted them all first and nothing had given any bad reactions, so he was aiming at a complete menu. They set up camp and he started a small fire to prepare "dinner". O'Neill noticed him adding some of the berries to the rations in the pot.

"Lady and Gentlemen," he announced, "As morale officer for this army, I do believe that the time has come to re-open the WFN Challenge. Jonas is unknowingly following in Daniel's footsteps with the cooking."

Carter and Teal'c sat up from where they were resting.

"How long since we did this?" asked Sam. "Must be a year."

"Indeed it is." replied Teal'c. "Who has the trophies?"

"I do!" replied Sam. " I was outright winner on the last two occasions." She beamed with pride, and dug into her back pack. Eventually she brought out two small metal drinking cups, one red and the other blue.

"What's this?" asked Jonas. "May I see them?" He examined them closely. Each cup had variations of the letters C, T, J inscribed many times, and just the odd O written on them. The final two letters in each case were C and C. "These are trophies? Why are there two of them? What's WFN?"

"The red one is the culinary cup, the other for performance in the field." replied Jack. "Just wait a few hours and it'll all become clear to you. The trophies will be awarded at breakfast tomorrow morning. The winners must guarantee to keep them safe during future missions."

Despite repeated subtle variations on these questions, Jonas received no further useful information. Teal'c did however reveal that the Challenge had on previous occasions prevented him from entering a proper state of Kel'no'reem relaxation and meditation.

Dinner was uneventful. Despite the berries, the corned beef hash still tasted like chicken in gravy. It was a warm, balmy night, so no tents were put up, and with O'Neill taking first watch the other three settled down in their sleeping bags. Although it was still early, conversation soon died down as the mission had been so repetitive and boring. Jonas was still dying to know what the mysterious challenge was all about, when the unmistakable sound of someone breaking wind rent the air. He immediately looked over to where Teal'c was resting, but the Jaffa's immutable expression made him realise that it couldn't have been him. But he couldn't believe it could have come from the Major.

"Carter! That was one of yours!" came O'Neill's voice from the upwind camp boundary where he was on patrol. "I'd recognise that note anywhere!"

"Just jealous!" replied Carter, nestling in her sleeping bag.

Jonas was shocked. He knew enough of Earth culture to realise that "ladies" didn't do this sort of thing. And he'd always thought of Samantha as a refined lady. But Teal'c's reply, louder and deeper, was soon upon them.

"One - one!" came O'Neill's voice from the perimeter.

Further contributions from Sam, Teal'c and even Jack were not long in coming. Soon, fits of giggling joined the noises of nature, with Jonas unable to contain himself in either activity. After one particularly Herculean effort from Teal'c, the Jaffa found himself laughing uncontrollably. It was so infectious that tears were soon running from everyone's eyes, leading to further contributions to the contest.

Eventually the laughter died down, with Teal'c announcing that he was taking himself a little way from the camp in order to start Kel'no'reem. In the light of one of the moons, Jonas saw him sitting cross-legged in the meditating position. He lay back, thinking that the evening's entertainment was over. However, every few minutes, the silence was broken by Teal'c's laughter starting up again.

Next morning at breakfast, Jack handed the red cup to Jonas and the blue one to Teal'c. "Lost your title in the cooking department, Carter." he said to Sam. "And Teal'c was the clear winner in the field last night. Jonas, you have to get a letter Q engraved on the cup."

"Thanks, Colonel." he replied. "Please would you now tell me what 'WFN' stands for?"

"The Wind from Nowhere." replied Jack.

"But, ah, may I ask a delicate question." Jonas persisted. "I understood from reading literature that breaking wind was essentially a male pursuit on Earth. I must say that I am surprised that there are so many C's on the blue cup."

Jack opened his mouth to reply, but Sam cut in. "Jonas, I may well decide to be a 'lady' off-duty occasionally, but in this unit I can march, fight, shoot, live, die and damn well fart with the best of you!"

"Quite so, MajorCarter." said Teal'c. "You are a formidable warrior."

Jonas Quinn realised some time afterwards that this event, more than any other, marked his acceptance into the SG-1 family.