The room was occupied by four people, a tall fiftyish gray-haired man who stood with a military bearing, a much younger man with light brown hair and glasses, a blonde woman in her mid-thirties, who despite her femininity seemed as tough and military as the older man, and last, but not least, a large black man of indeterminate age who had a strange gold tattoo on his forehead. All were wearing fatigues and appeared to have been snatched from a battlefield.
The gray-haired man spoke, "where are we NOW, for crying out loud!"
"We appear to be in some sort of waiting room," one of his companions responded.
"Ya think?" Mr. Gray-hair said sarcastically.
The Hostess entered The Waiting Room and approached the new arrivals. Turning to the tall, gray-haired man, she glanced down at her clipboard, and said "You must be Colonel Jack O'Neill, leader of SG1".
"That's right," Jack said, slightly stunned to find himself in what appeared to be the `VIP Suite' at O'Hare Airport. "Hey, wait a minute lady, how do you know that?" he demanded.
The Hostess beamed at him, and said cheerfully, "you're in The Waiting Room. It's a place where characters go between fics to recuperate."
"What?" O'Neill said, confused.
Ignoring him, the Hostess smiled up at the lone female. "And you must be Major Samantha Carter, Sam for short, Doctor of Theoretical Astrophysics, instant expert in all scientific fields and the love interest of every male, human or alien, who meets you."
Sam blushed modestly.
"And all that BEFORE being Mary Sue'd to death by infatuated ficwriters," the Hostess said brightly. Sam frowned.
The Hostess consulted her clipboard a third time. Addressing the man with the glasses, she said, "you must be Dr. Daniel Jackson, Archaeologist, Egyptologist, Linguist, Anthropologist, speaker of 23 languages, and a double Ph.D. My, what a marvelous range of accomplishments for someone so young."
"Actually, according to canon I'm 37," Daniel said. "Although the majority of fic writers don't seem to know that."
"You didn't answer my question. Where are we and what the hell are we doing here?" O'Neill snapped.
Ignoring him, the Hostess spoke to the fourth member of the group. "I haven't forgotten you Teal'c. You're the 102 year old Jaffa warrior, who joined the USAF in their fight against the parasitic aliens who are impersonating ancient Egyptian gods in order to rule over the galaxy, leaving behind your wife and son when you left the service of the false god, Apophis."
"Indeed," the warrior intoned. "O'Neill, do you not recall the numerous occasions we have visited this place?"
"Yes, Jack, it does look familiar," Daniel said. Sam nodded in agreement.
"For the last time, lady, where are we?" Jack demanded.
The Hostess gave him a stern look. "Colonel O'Neill, as I said before, you're in The Waiting Room, it's a place in, well, I guess you could call it another dimension. It's where fictional characters come to recuperate between fanfics. You and your team have been through a particularly grueling series of fanfics and TPTB feel you need your rest. You'll be allowed to leave when you're ready, not a minute before. Now just settle down, and enjoy your stay," she said.
"Oh yeah, now I remember. Hey, you mean we're stuck here until someone decides we're ready to go? Peachy," Jack said. "Just peachy."
"Look on the proverbial `side of bright', O'Neill. As long as we tarry in this place of refuge, none of those infernal scribes will be able to torment us with the viscous fruits of their deranged imaginations," Teal'c said.
"Sweet," Jack said. He commandeered the couch, stretched out, and announced "I'm taking a nap". His companions shrugged, accustomed to the sound of the Colonel's ear-splitting snores.
"Not so fast, Colonel. We're very crowded these days. Ever since the fen discovered the Internet, everyone with a keyboard has been writing fanfic. I'm afraid you'll have to share the room with two very nice gentlemen from Cascade," the Hostess said; the others sighed with relief.
Jack reluctantly sat up. "Cascade, now where have I heard that name before?" he said, racking his brains.
"Here's your coffee, Dr. Jackson," the Hostess said, producing a giant mug filled to the brim with steaming black coffee. "I know how much you like your java."
"Coffee! No I don't want any damn coffee. I'm sick of coffee. Do you have any idea how much coffee these writers have me drink? Gallons!" Daniel cried, before launching into his `Dance of Fury'. "Every story has me chugging down at least a quart! I have to travel with my own private `Porta-Potty' because of all the coffee I'm forced to drink. I'm telling you any more coffee and I'm gonna need a kidney transplant!" he yelled, grabbing the mug and throwing it against the wall.
"Oh my goodness," the Hostess said. "I didn't realize it had come to that. Would you like a nice cup of hot cocoa instead?"
Without warning two more people appeared in The Waiting Room. One was a tall, ruggedly handsome (albeit balding) man, the other man was both younger and shorter with long, curly dark brown hair, blue eyes and a cute pug nose.
"What the hell," "Where on earth," the new arrivals said. "It's all right Chief," the older one said, relief evident in his voice. "I recognize this place. We're in `The Waiting Room'."
"Thank god," the younger one said. "For a minute, I thought we'd been kidnapped again." Looking around the room, he spotted a familiar face. Smiling broadly, he said "Daniel, Daniel Jackson, it's good to see you again, man."
Daniel blinked. Peering back at the new arrival, a puzzled frown creasing his forehead, he said "I'm sorry, am I supposed to know you?"
"Daniel, don't you remember me?" the short curly haired man said. "It's me, Blair Sandburg. You know, Blair, also known as Chief, Darwin or Hairboy. Anthropology Professor at the University of Cascade, consultant to the Cascade Police Department. Partner and roommate of Jim Ellison, the former Army Ranger who uses his enhanced senses to fight the enormous number of international arms dealers and serial killers who infest the small city of Cascade. Calls himself "The Sentinel". None of that rings a bell?" he said incredulously.
"Uh, no, sorry," Daniel said sheepishly.
"Come on, man. Think. We've been in a lot of crossovers," Blair said, tossing his curls.
"That's right! Now I remember," Daniel said. "We usually met in college. Sometimes Jim and Jack were in Special Ops together."
"Now you got it," Blair said. "Speaking of Jim and Jack, where are they?" he said, looking around for his partner.
"They're over there in the corner," Sam said.
"I believe O'Neill and JimEllison are currently engaged in a debate over whose truck is bigger," Teal'c said.
"So Jim, whadaya here for?" Jack asked.
"Oh the usual, Chief got himself kidnapped by a serial killer/psycho/old enemy we thought dead and I had to use my Sentinel senses to perform an impossibly heroic rescue. Anyhoo, we're here to rest up before going back to Cascade," Jim explained.
"I'm getting a little tired of constantly being kidnapped and rescued. What do these fanfic writers think I am, some kind of `Damsel in Distress'? And do they have to always make me out to be so weak and helpless? " Blair said.
"I know the feeling," Daniel said sympathetically. "Most of the Stargate SG1 fanfic authors treat me the same way. If I'm not being injured (most of the time due to my `clumsiness' - I ask you, would a klutz be allowed on an elite military team?) I'm either captured in battle or abducted by aliens. To top it off, for some reason a lot of the writers seem to have me confused with `Niles Crane'. Honestly, do I look like some wimpy little geek," he said, stretching to his full height of six feet and flexing his biceps. "One of them even had me terrified of a spider once."
Jack snorted. Both Jim and Blair chuckled. Sam started snickering, while Teal'c, really losing it, smiled.
"It wasn't funny," Daniel yelled.
"Hey, you're saying that YOU'RE tired of being rescued, Blair? Try looking at it from my point of view for a change," Jim said. "Every time I turn around, hairboy's gone and I have to cancel whatever plans I may have had, track him down, save him, at the risk of my life, thank you very much, and then spend more time nursing poor little Blairikins back to health. I have to say it's getting a little old, Chief."
"Sounds familiar," one of the SG1 team muttered to Daniel's embarrassment.
"Okay, ya got a point there Jimbo," Blair said.
After making themselves comfortable, the conversation turned to the phenomena known as `Ship'.
"What's the deal with that anyway?" Jack asked. "Why do these writers insist on pairing up every character on the show, regardless of rank, compatibility, or the inevitable consequences?"
"Beats me," Blair said. Even though he was a highly educated anthropologist, trained to understand the most subtle nuances of human behavior, when it came to shippers, he was completely stumped.
"What I can't figure out is why so many people tune in to action/adventure/science fiction/military action or cop shows to see ROMANCE," Daniel said. "That makes about as much sense as watching ER for the cooking tips. If they want a soap opera, why don't they just watch `General Hospital'?"
"Yeah, you're right," Jim said. "The worst part of it, is that they crank out thousands of the most ridiculous, unrealistic love stories every written, and judging by their work, it's also pretty obvious that the majority of these `writers' have no sexual experience whatsoever."
"Tell me about it," Sam said. "Most shipper fics read like they were written by a thirteen year old who was inspired by Harlequin romances. You wouldn't believe the crap I have to put up with. I swear 90% of the fanfics on Heliopolis have me and Colonel O'Neill making googly eyes at each other and generally acting as if we were a couple of love-struck teenagers. It's sickening."
"It is indeed most unpleasant," Teal'c agreed. Jack scowled at them.
Sam wasn't finished with her rant. "Just for the record, I DON'T listen to the Backstreet Boys, Titanic is NOT my favorite movie, and I am NOT giving up my career to move to some godforsaken cabin in Minnesota and have lots and lots of his babies," she complained. "If the shippers think that an ambitious, career driven, gung-ho military brat like me would find being a housewife fulfilling, I'd like to know what they're smoking."
"One thing I want to know," Jim said. "How come you guys never get court-martialed? I was in the Army, and believe me, if I'd put the moves on a junior officer, I would've been breaking rocks in Leavenworth quicker than you can say `fraternization regulations'."
"Shippers live in a parallel universe where an Air Force Colonel can schtupp his second in command and everyone from the Joint Chiefs of Staff down to the base janitor approve," Daniel said. "Half the time the President himself gives them special approval, because, gosh darn it, they're `in wuv'."
"Uh huh. THAT sure sounds plausible," Jim said.
"I'm usually paired with psychos who try to kill me. Unless, of course, it's her crazy ex-boyfriend," Blair said sighing. "For once I'd like to meet a nice, normal girl and go on a real date. Nothing fancy, just dinner, a movie afterwards, maybe a nightcap back at her place. Is that too much to ask?"
"I hear ya," Jim said. "I can't remember the last time either of us had a date that didn't end in a kidnapping, a shootout or attempted murder. It's getting a little old."
"You think THAT'S bad? At least you guys get to stay on earth. We're constantly taken prisoner by horny aliens who want to keep us as their love slaves. Do you have any idea how embarrassing our debriefing sessions are? YOU try to explain to your commanding officer just why you were wearing a see-through lace teddy and six-inch heels when the marines came to the rescue," Sam bitched. Daniel shuddered at the memory.
"Yeah, I'd say that ship fics are the bottom of the barrel," Jack said.
Teal'c gave him a disbelieving look. "O'Neill, surely you jest, or have you forgotten that particular subset of fanfics known as `hurt/comfort'."
At his words, his five companions simultaneously gasped in horror. Sam blanched, Jack shuddered, Jim trembled, while Daniel and Blair tried to crawl under the couch.
"Indeed, O'Neill, you have omitted the vile tales created by those fiendish scribes who delight in tormenting innocent fictional characters with endless injury, torture and illnesses," Teal'c said.
"Good point, big guy. I gotta say ship is a little better than those `Danny gets a booboo' stories so many of these writers think up," Jack said. "If you've never seen one they all read the same: Daniel gets hurt; we save him; Teal'c usually carries him back through the gate tenderly cradled in his arms; and we all end up in the infirmary, standing around his bed."
"Ugh," Jim and Blair said in unison.
"Yup, that's about right," Sam said. "If you've read one, you've read them all."
"Tell me about it. If I had a dollar for every time I've sat by Blair's hospital bedside, I could retire a wealthy man," Jim commiserated.
"Yeah, well it's no fun being the whumpee either," Blair retorted. "When it comes to beating up me and Jim, I think the writers have set some kind of record."
"Look buddy, no one, and I mean no one, gets whumped as much as we do," Jack said.
"I've been tortured by experts," Blair said.
"So have we," Sam said, unimpressed.
"We've both been brainwashed," Jim said proudly.
"I've been dismembered," Daniel countered.
"Ew," several people exclaimed simultaneously.
"Hey, OUR canon even had me DIE," Blair said.
"Only once?" Jack sneered. "Amateur. We've all been killed off at least 3 - 4 times, and that's just canon. I don't know how many times the ficcers have offed us. I think I lost count somewhere around the 3,000 mark. Getting revived by superior alien technology is one of the perks of the job," Jack said smugly.
"Showoff," Jim muttered.
"What about the constant character assassination?" Daniel asked. "Sometimes I get the feeling that half of these writers have never seen the show."
"I hear you, man. They really do a number on us. I especially hate it when they have us acting like children," Blair said.
"That's not so bad. A lot of the time they turn us INTO children," Sam retorted.
"You're kidding. How does that work?" Jim asked.
"It's easy, just ignore every known fact about human physiology and the aging process, don't even try to explain where the 100+ pounds of adult flesh have disappeared to, throw in some meaningless technobabble about alien technology, and presto, you have a fic," Daniel said. "Oh, it also helps to ignore the fact that anyone suddenly transformed from an adult into a six year old would promptly curl up in a corner, wet his/her pants and start crying for mommy."
"Sounds charming," Blair said dryly. "At least they're not songfics. There's nothing quite like hearing Jim serenade me with an N'Sync tune."
Daniel scanned the room as if he were looking for someone. Seeing no one but his teammates and two companions, he relaxed. "There's one thing we should be grateful for," he said.
"Oh, and what's that, Little Mary Sunshine?" Jack said.
"You're half right," Daniel said, grinning.
"Don't be so cryptic, pal," Jack said, irritated.
"There's someone missing," Blair said, picking up on the hint. "I think I know who you're referring to."
"Oh no, not her," Jim said, not daring to speak the dreaded name.
"I believe you refer to `She Who Must Not Be Named'," Teal'c said quailing at the thought of yet another confrontation with the evil one.
"Oh I get it now. You guys are talking about `Mary Sue'," Jack said, pleased with himself for guessing correctly.
"NOOOOO!," Sam screamed in horror.
At that moment the door to the next room opened and a woman appeared. Trembling in fear, the six hoped against hope that they were mistaken as to the identity of the latest arrival. Sadly, their worst fears were about to be realized.
Exuding an aura of pure evil, the newcomer turned to face the assembled group. "Hi guys, long time no see," she said, radiating malice. "Jack, I can't wait to get for our next fic. I'm an alien princess and you get to marry me. Blair, next time I'M going to rescue you from the torturers and spend six months healing you. Jim, I'm the woman from your past whom you've never been able to forget. Teal'c, don't worry, you're going to get brainwashed yet again after being captured by a gorgeous female goa'uld, and guess what? I'm going to be your new mistress. Daniel, I'll make you forget all about what's-her-name and Sam, I do believe there's a NC-17 slash fic with our names on it."
Shrieking with terror, the six ran to the exit. Desperately they pounded on the door, frantically calling for help.
Finally the door opened slightly. The Hostess poked her head into the room. "Goodness gracious, what's all the fuss about?" she said, perkier than ever.
Shoving her aside, the six captives fled, the sound of their footsteps rapidly fading.
"You can't get away from me that easily. Don't worry, I'll find you no matter where you go," Mary Sue called after them.
The Hostess picked herself off the floor, spotted Mary Sue, and said "Oh my goodness. I didn't know you were going to show up. I'm afraid my guests weren't exactly glad to see you."
"It doesn't matter. I'M always glad to see them, and that's what counts," Mary Sue said with an evil cackle, before vanishing in a cloud of sulfurous smoke.
"That's unfortunate," the Hostess said as she turned out the lights. "It looks as if all six of them are in for a rough time. Well, they're used to suffering," she said with a shrug.