TITLE: Friday Nights
CATEGORY: Drama, humor?
SPOILERS: Wormhole Extreme mostly
CONTENT WARNINGS: No bad words
SUMMARY: Perhaps the Stargate Program isn't the only thing Wormhole Extreme paralleled.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Stargate SG-1. Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only. No money has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story is the result of a challenge/request.
What was it about Friday night that kept whispering to Daniel in the back of his mind? Something… something about 9:00… something about a meeting… Sam's lab?
Daniel shook his head, as if to shake loose his memories. So many memories had started to surface that day. Jack had told him that dinner was at 7:00, drove Daniel to his house, and he started remembering landmarks. Jack led him into the house, and the rooms seemed strangely familiar. Pictures helped jog further memories into the forefront of his mind. There were several of the team scattered around Jack's house, but the three on the mantelpiece were the key to several powerful memories. One was a picture of the team sitting in the commissary. Another was a picture of him and Jack arm- wrestling. The third was one at a party… a barbecue? Three insignificant events captured on film, moments of time that others had probably forgotten but that were rare glimpses into a life Daniel was having trouble recapturing. Yet, these three pictures brought back… feelings, if not memories. He remembered feelings of friendship, camaraderie and companionship. He did remember the actual incidents in which the photos were taken shortly afterwards, and Daniel felt more comfortable sitting at the table with his friends, eating dinner and talking about… nothing particular. The routine seemed somewhat familiar.
More wisps of memories came back during the course of the evening… but what was it about 9:00 that was demanding attention?
He walked into the den and noted the slight differences. Wasn't that a new recliner? A bigger television - the television that previously held the place of honor in the living room was now in the guest/rec room - almost eclipsed the den. Old couch. Old rocker. A few more pictures were scattered around but Daniel didn't recognize the woman or boy. A chess game sitting on the table - some things not familiar, yet the room had a familiar feel to it, as if he'd spent time there.
Well, he and Jack were friends. Why wouldn't he have been to Jack's house?
Sam walked in behind him. She was smiling at him.
He still wasn't used to people being glad to see him, to speak with him just because he was… him. "Oh, hi, Sam. Sorry, I didn't hear you."
Sam thought Daniel looked a little lost. Even though he knew the location of every office on the base, knew what his job was, he still didn't really know where he fit into the grand scheme of things on a personal level. Even though she thought he understood they were friends, it was still difficult to watch him try to remember what the rest of them took for granted.
She knew they were friends; she was sure Daniel did too.
"What is it?" she asked as she saw his eyes drift back to the den.
"Did we used to meet in your lab at 9:00?"
"Yes." He remembered that? She watched his forehead scrunch up slightly as he thought.
"Something about the television," he said. "We used to watch a TV show?"
"Wormhole Extreme. You and Teal'c and I would watch it every Friday we weren't off-world. I'd record it when we were. We loved to discuss the storylines."
The look on his face as he recalled something about Friday nights was a happy sight. "I used to analyze the misuse of mythology. Teal'c would tell us about real planets that the show reminded him of. You used to argue about the bad science. Jack doesn't like it?"
He's remembering more and more, Sam thought to herself. "The colonel used to come in and tease us about watching it. You know him and scifi."
"Right. He didn't like the way the colonel was portrayed in the show. Colonel Danning, right?"
"Colonel Danning, Doctor Levant, Major Stacy Monroe and Grell the Robot. Four members of the same team who travel through the Wormhole to distant planets and meet new cultures while they fight a powerful enemy."
She noticed that Daniel was staring at the television. It was almost 9:00, and neither she nor Teal'c would miss Wormhole Extreme. She handed the television remote to him - would he know what it was? "Tell you what. You find the channel, I'll get the popcorn. How does that sound?"
They watched a television show.
That made sense. Visions of the three of them watching the show, discussing the various inconsistencies and plots that were aired came to mind. It was fun… but only the three of them? Why did that seem - not quite right?
Daniel turned his head to see Teal'c standing in the doorway.
"Will you be joining Major Carter and myself as we watch Wormhole Extreme?"
"If you don't mind," Daniel said.
"I would be most pleased if you were to do so. It is an activity we shared before you ascended."
More information… there was a lot that Daniel was going to have to assimilate in order to get his life back on track. So many of his memories were still so scattered, but to hear someone tell him things that he used to do helped make him feel more like he belonged there.
"Oh. Every week?"
Teal'c had been happy to see Daniel in O'Neill's den trying to find the correct channel. This had been a ritual that they had continued in memory of their missing friend. It had not been the same, but it was a reminder of what had once been.
"Does Jack ever watch the show?" Daniel asked. Somewhere there was a memory… something about a secret…
Teal'c smiled slightly as he entered the room. "He has but finds no enjoyment in seeing the colonel portrayed as he is. He does, however, find great amusement in our enjoyment."
"Hey, guys," Sam came back in with three bowls of popcorn. "I've got the snacks. Who's got the -"
"Howdy, campers!" Jack waltzed into the room, carrying a beer and sitting in the new recliner. "Mind if I join you?"
"You do not like this show, O'Neill,"
Granted, he'd rather watch a hockey game, but he thought that maybe, maybe, Daniel would remember their Friday night get-togethers. He'd made a lot of strides ahead in the memory department at dinner earlier. It wasn't unreasonable to think that he might remember Wormhole Extreme. Besides, it was his house and his television. He'd watch Wormhole Extreme if he wanted to, but he had to keep up appearances.
"Just because I don't like it doesn't mean I can't appreciate it... which I don't. Besides, it's a new episode. Doctor Levant comes back tonight."
"Comes back?" Daniel asked.
"Yeah, the actor left the show a year ago," Jack explained. "There was this huge fan campaign by fans all over the planet to get him back. Phone calls, letters, ads, the whole shebang. The SDLers had good ideas, creative ways of doing things, real class about how to campaign. That's hard to ignore."
"SDLers?" Daniel wanted to know.
"The Save Doctor Levant fans."
"How do you know about that, sir?" Sam asked him.
Oops? Jack knew he had to talk fast. "Come on, Carter. You and Doc were writing letters every week. Teal'c was sending e-mails and making phone calls. From what I hear, when the episode that Levant left aired, there were so many phone calls to the studio that it practically blew up the phone board. It was all the three of you could talk about for weeks. How many times did you guys go online and check out what was going on and when he was coming back? How was I not to know?"
The archaeologist on the show left? He was a fan favorite. He was called the heart and soul of Wormhole Extreme. What was going on?
"Uh, what happened?" Daniel asked.
As they took their seats, Sam said, "It's a long story. The best place to go to find out what happened is at Wormhole Wisdom at www.savedoctorlevant.com. Basically, he left due to what they're calling artistic differences. There's a little more to it than that, of course. I'd say that's just the spiel. Then they brought in another actor to replace him but he was essentially a clone whose character was never developed or given a purpose and was greatly disliked by a lot of fans. Some fans of the show created a website so people who wanted to know what was going on could find out. After that, a lot of the fans started writing and calling. The studio realized their mistake, the new character is leaving and Doctor Levant is coming back. They're promising to get back to what made Wormhole Extreme great - the friendship, the team, going to other planets, meeting new cultures. They listened to the fans."
Ooookay, something here was very strange. "How did they write his character off the show?"
"He got sick, and one of earth's allies had a cryogenic chamber to put him in to keep him alive until a cure was found."
Some of that hit far too close to home. Another memory quickly rose to the fore. "Marty writes Wormhole Extreme. How did he get that information? That sounds like a familiar storyline."
Sam handed him a bowl of popcorn and turned on the television. "Very familiar, but we're not sure. The parallel is very obvious, isn't it?"
"And you and Janet wrote letters?"
"We were trying to save the show, Daniel. Last season was, well, the ratings weren't what they could have been. The storylines needed work. I only saw three episodes that used Levant in flashbacks that I could recommend watching. The rest…"
"How long did the campaign last?"
"A year," Jack said before Sam could answer. "You have no idea how many letters were sent to the studio."
"So the campaign worked?" he asked Jack.
"Like a charm. You should have heard those two when the studio announced that they asked Raymond Gunne to come back. You'd think we'd just beaten the Goa'uld. Even Teal'c was smiling. He didn't like the show without the original team on it. Hammond was getting tired of explaining all those long distance phone calls to the studio. Teal'c explained that it was all for a good cause, so Hammond let it go."
"I believe that General Hammond is fond of the Wormhole Extreme as well," Teal'c explained. "He also wrote letters to the studios asking for the return of Doctor Levant."
Jack leaned over and whispered to Daniel, "See? Huge fans. Everyone one of them is a Wormie. I think Carter is starting to write fan fiction when she's not working on her book about wormholes."
They settled down, took up their bowls of popcorn and watched the opening segment of the show.
Daniel had fun. For an hour, they discussed the show, the plot, the inconsistencies, the plot holes, the fun, the character interaction - just like old times, and he remembered them! The return of Doctor Levant had made both Sam and Teal'c happy. They almost started a wave when Levant was pulled from the cryogenic chamber. They were happy when the replacement character left through the wormhole. At the end of the episode, the original team walked up the ramp, through the wormhole, together. Jack and Daniel both watched as Sam and Teal'c gave a standing ovation at the sight. Daniel couldn't say much about the replacement. He was only there as a background character and was gone in double-quick time.
It was too late to drive back to the base, so Jack offered Daniel the use of his guest room. After a brief explanation that he'd stayed there before, Daniel agreed, yet sleep wouldn't come. He went back downstairs, turned on the computer and was soon online at Wormhole Wisdom. It was very interesting reading and explained a lot of backstage politics and online fandom wars. After several hours of reading interviews, editorials and chat transcripts, he had a much better idea of the year that Sam, Teal'c and Janet had experienced with their favorite television show.
"It's 3:00 in the morning, Daniel," Jack said as he walked in. "That's way to late to be hitting a keyboard. Shouldn't you be catching some zzz's?"
"I was just checking out what happened on Wormhole Extreme. There was a lot going on. I'm guessing Sam and Janet were not happy about all the changes, lack of continuity --"
"Oh, yeah, interesting topic. Every Monday, I got to hear them talk about how bad the episode was the Friday before. Even Cassandra got involved. She didn't like last season. It's tough to watch a show you've invested years in get ripped apart at the seams."
"It must have been hard for them to watch it," Daniel said.
"They kept hoping it'd get good again."
"It was good tonight."
"Yeah, only took a year for it to get that way. Bring back the character that works, get rid of the one that doesn't, you've got the heart, soul and guts of the show back."
Daniel laughed. "Isn't that what the studio said when they announced Gunne was asked to come back. I think there was an online article from them."
"Yeah, Doc and Carter were reading the announcement out loud. I overheard."
Daniel looked at Jack - he knew that expression. "How many times did you visit this website, Jack?"
"Not many. Just once or twice a day."
Daniel smiled. "You're more than just a fan, aren't you?"
"What do you mean?"
Daniel pointed to the Wormhole Wisdom website list of steering committee e-mail addresses. "Isn't this you're e-mail address? I seem to remember showing you how to use e-mail - "
"Yeah, but don't you dare tell anyone. How else can I heckle the rest of you?" Jack said as he walked out. "And shut down that computer. Morning gets here early, ya know."
As Daniel logged off, one thought surfaced. He was glad to have some of his Friday night memories back again.
Feedback is greatly appreciated.
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