Author: Littera Abactor
Rating: PG-13. Ish.
Author's Note: This is dedicated to Resonant, but she doesn't know me from Adam and is not responsible for any of it. It's just a mark of my esteem for her. Among other things.
Spoilers: Are you kidding?
"We are very interested in your Earthian arts," the one with eight eyes said. "We are large fanatics – large?" He turned to Daniel, in an apparent spirit of scientific inquiry.
Great. Now he had two linguistically-fixated negotiators to deal with. And one of them was...rubbery.
"I think you might mean 'big' or 'major.' Large has a connotation more of – size. Physical size." Daniel managed to keep a straight face through that sentence; Jack couldn't help but be impressed. The click-click-idjits, or whatever they were called, were smaller than the Asgard. Although none of the Asgard had wings; that had to increase the surface area a lot, which explained why they kept it so hot in here. Even though the ceremonial negotiation 'uniforms' weren't exactly heavy, Jack was sweating.
"We are big or major fanatics of your Earthian artistes," eight-eyes said. "We would so like to view a skilled performance of your great Earthian art in person. In fact, it is why we have contactualized you."
Jack squinted at eight-eyes. Which great Earthian art?
"We understand," and this was coming from seventeen-eyes, who Jack was pretty sure was the leader. They were getting to the heart of the negotiations, then. He had to admire their speed. "We understand that your most talentness and greatnessly endowed performers appear on your 'cabular television,' yes? But we also understand that this is a functionalism commonality to all humans, that all adult, independent, or grown humans commit in it on surprising frequency." God. Seventeen-eyes was much worse at languages than eight-eyes or fourteen-eyes. Yeah, it was the leader all right.
"Cable," Daniel contributed helpfully. "It's cable television." Jack turned to stare at him; was he thinking? Did he have any idea what these things were talking about? Because Jack was starting to have a few alarming ones. Did Daniel ever even watch cable? Like, late night cable of the kind that nocturnal beings with hyperspace communications technology might be monitoring?
"Cable television," echoed eight-eyes. He sounded gripped. Jack tried to have a satisfying fantasy about throttling someone, but he couldn't figure out who he wanted to kill first. Took a lot of the pleasure out of it.
"Yes. We understand, also, that you have - issues? - with the bringance to our domicile, habitation, or planet of additional Earthians." Seventeen-eyes was picking up the conversation again. "We would not expect to behold, then, your most highly-rated performers." It leaned forward appealingly, nearly falling off the conference table that they'd had specially built to accommodate humans. "But even an amateur performance would be most gripping! And most educational! Consider: scientic information would be exchanged and cultural understanding most facilitatory!"
Daniel nodded encouragingly. "So you'd like us to bring in artists for you to view?" he asked.
"We would not insist on that, nooooo, Doctordanieljacksonpeacefulexplorer, as we understand your 'first contract' issues. We would be so happified simply to behold yourself engaged in such arts as of which you are capable."
Daniel's eyebrows came together and his lips parted. That's it, Daniel; use that great big brain of yours. Fast. "So you'd like me to...perform for you?" he said hesitantly.
"We would so very much greatly feel the pleasure from this," eight-eyes said. "Perhaps your so-esteemed leader Coloneljacko'neillunitedstatesairforce would also display for us? We understand that this is the most common on the Earth, the sharing of the performance and its results." He took a gulp from his glass of something-green-and-slimy, which the entire team had declined with thanks, even though they'd been provided with extra-large glasses, just in case. "We would be most happy to compensate for this, and also for such 'cable premium package billing cycles' as we have missed paymenting for, as we understand that this is a pay-for-service in your culture." Another gulp. "You were interested in our Stasis Generator, were you not?"
"Yes," Daniel confirmed. "We are very interested in your Stasis Generator, and Jack and I would gladly perform for you. Although I have to warn you, we won't be like on cable. We're probably not that good. You know, we're explorers and scientists and, uh, tacticians, not - performers."
Carter turned to Jack, her eyes wide, mouth open. Perform? she mouthed at him. Teal'c stayed impassive and focused on the negotiations, but when Jack studied him for a few moments, he caught the twitch of a facial muscle. Dammit, Teal'c was laughing at him.
"We so very unobjectational to this are," seventeen-eyes said sincerely and earnestly. "We have the greatness of understanding this. We would be honorific to visualize whatever performance is most comforting and customer for you, whatever you might typical engage when you are relaxation in your own privacy of home, yes?" The click-click-idjit was almost breathless with excitement.
"Sure. Sure." Daniel didn't sound all that enthused, but that was nothing compared to how he'd be feeling after Jack had a few private minutes with him to share his feelings about this whole situation.
And they'd probably have those few private minutes very soon. Jack winced. Bad choice of words.
"So." Daniel took a breath. "What have you been seeing, Masterpiece Theater?"
Jack turned to stare at him. That's it, he thought. Proof positive. Daniel's an alien. Damn, we should've guessed; not like he did such a hot job of hiding it, really. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Teal'c looking at Daniel with his own version of an 'are you an idiot?' expression. And he was an alien. Hell. Daniel probably wasn't even carbon-based.
"We are not familiarized with that particular performer of note," eight-eyes said apologetically. "We are more interested in your specialty performances," he added.
"Oh," Daniel said faintly. "Well, um, we're not - Jack and I, we're not that, uh, specialized. But maybe if you told us who your favorite performers are, we could - work something out."
"You know your Earthian nominyms are most confusational to us," seventeen-eyes said. "But I am most fondular of the 'Big Hot Cajun,' I believe he is called."
Silence. Daniel was staring straight ahead, not blinking and not breathing. The penny had dropped, but too late. Way too late.
"Um. Oh. Uh. Anyone – else?"
"The Great Naked One, I believe he is called, we have also tremendous enthusiasm toward," eight-eyes said helpfully. Daniel was turning red. Jack sympathized; he himself felt maybe thirty seconds away from exploding. "And the Iron Man, he also is of great popularity," eight-eyes said helpfully.
Daniel blinked. Jack didn't think he'd ever blink again. Or ever – he glanced at Carter, who was staring at the tabletop, blushing harder than he'd ever seen from anyone. Oh god. He'd definitely never be able to look at his 2IC again. Or at himself in the mirror. If only they didn't need the Stasis Generator so fucking badly. He winced again; that was a really bad choice of words.
One thing was sure, though; he'd eat his gun before he explained this mission to Hammond. He cringed internally, thinking of the report on this one. Death didn't sound so bad, actually. Peaceful. Anthropologist-free.
Teal'c, bless him, took up the conversation, as even Daniel had lapsed into stunned silence. In Jack's case, it might just be permanent. Teal'c leaned forward interestedly, being careful not to knock over seventeen-eyes. "I believe I also am fond of some of your favorite performers," he said, and Jack was definitely checking out Teal'c's cable box when they got back home. If he got back home. If he didn't, he'd make it part of his last request to Carter: be happy, live long, and for the love of god, cut off Teal'c's cable subscription. "So tell me," the big guy continued, and there was something entranced and intense, something almost – Jesus – longing in his tone. "Are you also fans of Julia Child?"