Ask Me No Questions...


P8C-369 looked like a peaceful enough planet when SG-1 walked through the stargate. Vala Mal Doran would have used the word “boring”. But this was the first normal exploration mission the five-man team had been on since the defeat of the Ori and the end of the interminable debriefings the IOA insisted on, and all of them were relieved to be back out in the galaxy. Of course, General Landry’s way of putting it was that they were slap-happy about the prospect of getting away from Woolsey and the committee pulling his strings, but Vala wasn’t quite so sure about that. No one seemed happy about slapping anyone. It must have been an Earth expression she’d have to ask Daniel about later.

Speaking of Doctor Daniel Jackson, he was finishing up an examination of the DHD while the two lieutenant colonels, Cameron Mitchell and Samantha Carter, secured the perimeter with the Jaffa Teal’c. The two Tau’ri were chuckling about something they’d watched the night before. Vala didn’t know what that was, unfortunately; she’d turned down the invitation to join the others for a team night to try her chances with a new scientist in Sam’s department. They’d had a nice enough dinner together in her room, but the chemistry hadn’t taken it further than that. The black-haired woman sighed. She’d have been better off with the team. At least then she would have had the entertainment of flirting with Daniel and Cameron and watching their reactions.

The female rogue jogged ahead of Daniel while he prepared his digital video recorder and started off to join the rest of the team. “So, do you think we’re going to find anything?” she heard Cam ask as she reached the other three.

“What do you think?” Sam retorted with a grin and a twinkle in her eye.

“Will it makes the folks at home happy?” Cam replied, also smiling.

“Doesn’t it usually?” Sam asked.

“Do you really want me to answer that?” Cam asked.

“Would I have asked if I didn’t?”

The two officers stared at each other for a long moment, obviously fighting back laughter. Vala was just confused. What were the two of them talking about? What was with all the questions? From what she could see, they weren’t ignoring their surroundings; in fact, their eyes were sweeping the area as much as the silent Teal’c’s. It was only their conversation that was out of the ordinary.

Mitchell cleared his throat and gave a brief chuckle. “Am I really supposed to know why you asked?” he finally responded.

Daniel joined them just in time to catch the man’s last question. “What’s going on?” he asked.

Vala was just glad she wasn’t the only one in the dark. “Exactly what I was thinking,” she agreed, trying to get in on the conversation. She wasn’t used to being the quiet one.

“Don’t you know?” Sam aimed at Daniel with a look that was a transparent attempt to convey some kind of message.

“Why should I?” Daniel asked slowly, his own expression asking if he’d gotten it right. Sam grinned in response.

“That’s what I want to know,” Vala said firmly, tired of being left out.

Cam stifled another laugh. “Why shouldn’t you?” he asked the archaeologist. Daniel just looked at him with raised eyebrows.

“Do you truly expect Daniel Jackson to know everything?” Teal’c asked suddenly. Vala was surprised to see the corners of his mouth twitch upward for a moment.

“Oh, so now you want to join in?” Cam threw back at the Jaffa, his smile widening.

“Why shouldn’t he?” Daniel asked, his face serious. But if Vala looked close enough she could see a matching sparkle in the crystal blue eyes behind his wire-framed glasses.

Vala huffed in irritation. What was wrong with these people? “Why are you people talking like this?” she snapped.

Cameron turned his gaze on her, his smile even brighter for whatever reason. “And how should we be talking?” he asked.

“Is the village the UAV detected nearby?” Sam asked Daniel. She just shrugged when Daniel gave her a surprised look, and they both choked back a snort of laughter.

“Have… have we gone three clicks from the gate yet?” Daniel finally replied when he was back in control of himself, his face serious again.

“You haven’t answered my question,” Vala complained. She started in surprise when Cameron just sighed and shook his head at her statement and turned back to the others.

“Are there any signs of hostiles?” Cam asked the others, sighing again.

Sam shared a look with Teal’c. “Have you seen any, Cam?” she asked, shaking her head.

Well, Vala was glad to see that her teammates were at least partially paying attention to what was going on around them, no matter how they were speaking. She was still frustrated that she wasn’t in on whatever joke they were playing; she somehow knew it wasn’t aimed at her specifically. And they were lucky it wasn’t. She’d been surfing the internet from the computer in Daniel’s lab, and was now sure she had some classic ideas for practical jokes.

Mitchell only shook his head in response to the question put to him while Vala pondered. Then Daniel moved ahead so he was side by side with the team leader and gestured for them to stop at the top of a hill. “Is that the village from the UAV video feed?” he asked.

“Was it that empty in the footage?” Sam replied.

“Wait, are those people I see?” Mitchell asked after a moment, pointing at a moving shadow between the buildings.

“I don’t know about that,” Vala said, looking for herself. “It seems a bit quiet to be occupied.” She glared at the others, exasperated, when the three Tau’ri just looked at her and shook their heads. Maybe she’d be able to find a use for those practical joke ideas after all, if the slightly smug knowing look in Daniel’s eyes was anything to go by. “What?”

Daniel looked at Cam. “Do you really think she hasn’t picked up on it yet?”

The younger man shrugged. “Can there be any doubt?” Daniel just shook his head and rolled his eyes.

“Colonel Mitchell, would you agree that the shadows you observed earlier are merely local animals?” Teal’c asked, gesturing to the space Cam had pointed at before just as a pair of deer-like creatures emerged and bounded off.

“What do you know?” Cameron said lightly, smiling at the sight.

Vala crossed her arms over her chest. “You don’t want my answer to that,” she grumbled.

Daniel looked at the village through a pair of binoculars. “Would you believe that I suspected the village would be abandoned, and that I‘m pretty sure I mentioned that at the mission briefing?” He gave the others a pointed look.

Cam grinned at him. “Would you believe that we remembered and just wanted to keep the game going?”

“This is a game?” Vala parroted, indignant.

“Should we quit?” Sam asked, grinning at the others.

The three males of the party shared a look. “Sure,” Daniel and Cam said, while Teal’c chimed in with, “Indeed.”

Daniel shrugged. “It’ll make it easier to talk about what we find, anyway.”

Vala’s gaze traveled around the circle of teammates. “I take it this had something to do with whatever you were watching last night,” she said as more of a statement than a question.

“You could say that,” Cam replied a touch mysteriously.

“Oh, stop with the games,” Daniel said, finally taking pity on the confused and irritated woman. “We were playing Questions Only. It’s a game where you can only speak in questions.”

The alien woman’s brows rose. “And is this a common game on Earth?”

The archaeologist frowned. “I don’t think so, but I may not be the best person to ask. We got it from the TV show we watched.” He looked at Cam. “Didn’t we?”

“I know I did,” Sam confirmed. “I’m sure Teal’c can say the same.”

“I can,” the Jaffa agreed. “We did not participate in party games such as this on Chulak.”

“I’m in the same boat,” Cam said. “I hadn’t heard of it until I started watching Whose Line. But it sure is funny, isn’t it?” He grinned.

Sam shook her head. “Maybe, but it sure is hard. My first instinct is to answer the question, not ask another one.”

Vala made an impatient gesture that drew attention to her. “What is this Whose Line?”

Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Cam answered. “It’s an improvisational show with four comics playing different games. I’ve been taping it ever since I caught episodes of the British version years ago. We had a marathon last night to lighten the mood after all those IOA interviews.”

“And I missed it?” Vala pouted. “I could have been laughing instead of making nice with someone too plain for my tastes over a dinner from a restaurant I don’t wish to dine at in person if the attitude of the delivery person is anything to go by. Life’s just not fair.”

“Perhaps we shall indulge in such a marathon again at our next team gathering,” Teal’c reassured her. “Now, however, I believe we should return to our mission. The ruins require examination.”

Daniel smiled and started walking, his digi-cam running. “I’m really looking forward to this.” Sam laughed and followed him, her eyes wary for potential dangers and her mind on any finds she might make herself.

Vala wore a satisfied smile as she watched Teal’c walk after them contentedly. “I’m looking forward to the next team night. I can’t wait to be part of the next game.” She traipsed down the hill.

Cam grinned as he looked down on the others. “Me, too. I am so looking forward to it.” He readjusted his backpack and followed his team. “I love it when my team comes together.”

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