AN: Just a little bit of fun whilst I am waiting for my laptop to come out of the shop. Can't continue Beauty and the Beginning until it gets back as all my work in progress is still on it! So in the meantime, here is something new to chew on...unedited and not supposed to be technically accurate in the most part :) like I said, just for fun...fluffy, silly fun.
SUMMARY: As we all know Jack has asked Sam a series of questions over the years. Here are a few of them, starting with "Carter, how come almost everybody in the universe speaks English?" Series of one-shots that may or may not link together.
HEY CARTER: Question 1: "Carter, how come almost everybody in the universe speaks English?" Set in season 1.
SG-1 were heading back to the stargate Daniel and Teal'c in the lead with Jack and Sam ambling along quietly behind them. Both of them seemed lost in their own world of thought. "Hey Carter, I have a question?" Jack suddenly blurted.
"Oh really, Sir?" This could be interesting she thought.
"Yeah. How come almost everybody in the universe speaks English?"
Sam stopped short and looked at him. "Do they?" she shifted from one foot to the other. "I never really thought about it Sir, but now that you mention it...maybe you should ask Daniel, he's the linguist."
"Are you crazy Carter? Look at the expression on Teal'c's face. All he did was enquire as to why the men in the last village wore dresses and he has been talked at for the last three miles! Does that look like a happy face to you?"
Sam took the time to watch her team mates. Daniel was indeed in the midst of deep and animated explanation but Teal'c just looked like Teal'c. "He never looks 'happy' as such." she observed "It's not in his disposition to smile."
Jack smirked a little. "No you're wrong Carter. Teal'c never looks happy because he asks Daniel too many questions. I'm surprised his ear hasn't fallen off or something by now."
Sam dipped her head in silent amusement at her CO's mild joke. "Maybe you're right Sir, I don't know but with regards to your question, maybe the whole universe doesn't speak English, maybe we just hear what they say as English?"
They had started walking again and this time it was Jack's who halted proceedings. "What?" he asked, a short sharp sound.
Sam was grinning, she knew that would confuse him. "I mean, maybe the stargate translates what we hear into something we can understand?" she explained.
O'Neill scratched his head and looked in the direction of they were travelling in. "How?" he asked.
"I don't know, Sir."
"But...how?" Jack asked again, Carter's answer made no sense to him.
Sam sighed and tried to think about how she would put her still forming theory into words that he would understand. She began walking again as she thought. "Well you know how when we first went through the gate..."
"Right, to Abydos. And we couldn't understand the native tongue, but Daniel had taught a few of them English and then he showed us the cartouche."
"Yeah, yeah, geek paradise, I remember."
"And we figured out that the stargate didn't work from Earth to other places because of the fact that Earth had been cut off for so long experiencing the effects of Doppler shift."
"Doppler, yeah that stuff." Jack said with an air of haughtiness, pretending not only that he knew what she was talking about but her explaining the concept was beneath him.
She smiled at his know it all antics. "Then when we got back I created a new programme using the cartouche data and we were able to open the stargate and go to Chulak, a destination we were not able to open before that. I checked we tried it." Jack nodded, he was anything but surprised at his 2IC's diligence. "Now I realise it was only after we reconnected with the current gate network that we were able to understand what everyone was saying in even though they were from all over the universe."
"Apart from the goa'uld. We still don't understand them, with their 'Kree this' and 'Kree that'." Jack's face twitched and flicked his hand out dismissively, imitating the goa'uld's arrogance.
"Well yes, but I think that is deliberate. They started speaking in code or something and over the centuries it became their own language, one that the stargate does not understand...or they altered the gate network to not translate it or something."
"But that still doesn't explain how the gate does it."
"I was getting to that, Sir." Sam paused for a moment to gather her thoughts. "I think that when we reconnected with the up and running gate network that our super computers received some sort of correlative update." her eyes slid to him, he was frowning slightly, more explanation was needed. "Like when the little box pops up on your PC telling you that you need to install some new software updates from the net."
Jack's bobbed up and down, he understood that bit at lease. "So you think the gate held up a little smiley 'help' paper clip?"
Sam chuckled at the image of the gate displaying an office assist icon. "Basically, yes. And what that 'paper clip' did was install a new version of...um...'Universal Language Translations' for us so that we can understand what is being said out there."
"Huh..." Jack took a moment to digest this information. "You really think that's what that thing does?" He pointed at one of the gates in question that was now in clear view ahead of them.
"It's just a theory Sir."
"But you really think it's possible?"
Sam shrugged, "Well, yes I suppose so."
"Huh." Jack said again. "On one hand that is really kinda cool but on another it is so-o not."
"Why's that Sir?"
Jack puffed himself out a little. "Well I thought that Earth's language was just so awesome that everyone adopted it and it spread right out across the whole galaxy!"
Sam watched as delight at that thought played out across his face. "Well Sir, that might be a possible theory but there is one flaw in it."
Jack looked round at his 2IC, of course there was a flaw in his theory. "What?" he asked wondering if that was wise.
Sam licked her lip before she began. Shooting down your CO's ideas was never all that smart but in this case it had to be done. "If Earth's language had been the one to catch on and go galaxy-wide it would have been the language of the time, Ancient Egyptian, not English."
"Oh." Jack felt just a little foolish, that should have been obvious, even to him.
"But I like the idea, Sir." Sam offered him. "How amazing would that have been if it were the case?"
"Exactly, it would have been the best! Can't we just tell people that's the way it is? That everyone else can understand us, not the other way around?"
Sam laughed. "Gosh it would be so much fun convincing people that our tiny planet was so important and influential. I really wish we could get away with that."
"Get away with what?" Daniel asked, now that they had caught up with them and were all standing grouped around the DHD.
"Oh nothing Daniel, it's not important. Dial it up, take us back to Awesome Language land."
Daniel blinked at his friend and then stared at his other one who was laughing so hard she looked like she might fall over. Whatever it was it was definitely not 'nothing'. He would probe about until he found out what they were talking about when they got home but first he had to hit the right buttons...
AN: Okay so first off, this is not purely a DrWho answer. I know it sounds like the whole Tardis scenario and in some ways it is. I came across the concept of this in a discussion between the characters in one of the early SG-1 novels, basically one of them, I can't remember which one asks the other this question and this is part of the answer, but then the story just drifts away from the subject and never returns to it as it is obviously not relevant to the plot. I think it might have been Sacrifice Moon as it is supposed to be set just after Kawalsky dies. But I cannot find my copy to double check...