Title: The Princess Crack
Authors: squidgiepdx and elderwitty
Rating: R for language.
Warning: Don’t read if you’re offended by crack!fic. Or if you’ve read The Princess Bride. Or watched the movie. Or any movie – ever. Or if you’ve ever seen Stargate: Atlantis. Or read SGA fic. Or fic of any fandom. Or books – English, Esperanto, or other. If you respect: the English language, the Pope, that guy on the corner who screams when you pass, or the creepy feeling you get going up the creaky stairs at night even thought you tell yourself that it’s just the stairs and not someone with an eggbeater waiting to flatten your soufflé and glue hair on your chickens… don’t read this. Really, for the love of all things holy, this is the crackiest crack that ever cracked at a crack. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. We’re not all that nice to Kavanaugh and even take a swipe at Keller. Jewel’s a nice girl, but Keller’s got it coming (only because the writers MarySued her at the end, though).
Summary: The Princess Bride on crack!(fic).
(squidgiepdx) I was the one who ate the dried macaroni pieces off our mother’s Mothers Day present when I was 6 years old. There. I finally got that off my chest.
(elderwitty) It was me who wrote in red felt tip on the discarded plastic part of the mustache comb blister pack. Sorry, Kirk.
Non-disclaimer: We own everything. Oh, yeah. We own McKay and Sheppard, Ronon’s original hair (but not the S5WOMF), Kavanaugh’s whine, Carson’s accent, the sets, most of Northwest Canada, and every Stargate related idea from the beginning of time. Also? We’ve built own functioning Stargate. Really! You wanna see? Okay, but no cameras, and you have to do your own sound effects.
When Rodney was born, the World’s Most Perfect Ass belonged to Lars Lündørfïskëbräün, a Norseman who fancied himself a Viking, even though their reign had ended a few hundred years earlier. Lars would often put on his silly, horny helmet and go out into his neighbors’ fields, reenacting the Battle of Clontarf with the sheep and the goats living in the pastures. His habit of doing lunges with a calf under each arm as preparation for “battle” should’ve guaranteed that his ass would wear the crown for decades, but Lars was caught in a compromising position with 8 pounds of freshly churned butter, whereupon his fate was sealed. After catching Lars and publicly shaming him, however, his fellow villagers’ health improved, since butter became taboo for decades. Any traveler who asked for it (because it did make a lovely addition to the yak-based soups and stews that were so common during this period) was looked upon with a stern eye, and run out of town.
Rodney, a curious child, was quickly rising through the ranks as he-
Yes? Who is that?
“It’s Rodney. But then again, you’re writing this so you knew that. Dumbass.”
Yes, Rodney, we’re getting to you. What do you want?
“Okay, so Lars Lutefisk or whatever it was. You said what – a few hundred years after the reign of the Vikings?”
Yes, Rodney. What does it matter?
“Well, it matters to me. Okay? What year is it?”
It’s medieval times, Rodney. You live in a hovel, with a pit for a toilet and a boy to tend the farm. Does it matter what year it is?
Rodney stands, arms folded in disdain and mouth turned down in a frown. The camera focuses on Rodney’s twenty-year-old ass, which is rocketing its way up the Most Perfect Ass ladder even as we describe it in all its lush, biteable glory. “Year, please,” he demands.
It’s, uh… 1480? There. Are you happy?
“Yes. Yes, I am.” The camera suddenly zooms out to reveal Rodney collecting his things. “Which way to Italy?”
You’re in the imaginary land of Florin. Italy doesn’t exist here.
“What do you mean, it doesn’t exist? You mean to tell me you’ve dropped me into the Renaissance, right when Leonardo is doing some of his most incredible work, and you put me in an imaginary land?” He snorts disdainfully, frowning at the walls around him as he drops his meager belongings back on the rough-hewn board that acts as a kitchen counter in the fifteenth century. “Fine. Whatever. Can we just get on with this ridiculous act?”
The scene fades, and the Narrator begins again.
Rodney, a curious child, was quickly rising through the ranks as he-
“Do we have to start that again?”
It’s part of the plot, Rodney. It’s what we do.
“Wait. Why are you talking so fast?”
So you can’t interrupt me. Obviously that plan failed. I’m starting over now – Be quiet.
Sooo… Rodney, a curious child, was quickly rising through the ranks as he learned everything in every book that he could read. He was a medieval nerd. His ever-bickering parents-
“Excuse me – why do my parents always have to bicker? I mean SGA? This story? Why? And while we’re at it, why am I the girl?
Rodney’s barrage of questions leaves the Narrator with escalating blood pressure. He sighs. Rodney? Did you even read the book?
“No. I think I saw part of the movie once. Seriously, why waste my time on some drivel when there’s-”
Rodney! If you had read The Princess Bride like you were supposed to, you would have learned that Buttercup’s parents always fought. It was one of their favorite things to do. They even kept score.
“Yes? So what does this have to do with me?”
::heavy sigh:: Rodney? In SGA, did you not complain about your parents and how they argued?
“Maybe… I can’t really remember right now. Stupid writers. And Brad Wright should be shot-”
Out of a cannon! ::clears throat:: Yes, we know. Well, anyway, the description of your parents’ bickering made an impression. At least in fanon. It’s all over the place out there. Just pick up any McShep story that deals with family, and invariably you’re ranting about something your parents did to you. I mean, in “Sheppard’s Law of Martyrdom” by pir8fancier you stuck toothpaste in your ears, for ancient deity’s sake, because your parents would not stop arguing.
Rodney looks outside and sees his parents tussling over who gets to throw the torch on the farm boy’s hovel this month (since today is the day chosen by Rodney’s marvelous random-number generator; a device made from dung and string and ceiling wax, and other farmhold stuff) and burn it to the ground. “Fair enough,” he concedes, before tuning in to hear his parents bicker.
“It keeps him on his toes.”
“No. I say it builds character. Strength through adversity and all that.”
“Seriously? The only bit of dialogue we get in the whole bloody story, and you waste it on that?
Rodney drops his face into his hands, thereby missing a dark-haired youth running out of the burning hovel with all his belongings (he’s used to this sort of thing by now), patting out the small fires on his pants. It’s quite a sight to see, but Rodney doesn’t get to enjoy the gaping hole in the waistband of what look like ancient board shorts, and the furry, muscled flesh beneath.
“What else should I know about this ‘Buttercup’ person? And you never said why I have to play the girl.”
Buttercup grew up much like you, Rodney. By the time she was your age, she was closing in on being the most beautiful woman in the world. I think she was beat out by some Indonesian gal or something like that, but that’s not important right now. Buttercup had two of the most perfect breasts-
“Breasts?” Rodney yells. “I don’t have breasts.”
A slow, appreciative drawl comes from the doorway to Rodney’s hovel. “Sure you do. Just turn around, and look lower.”
Who’s that there?!
“John. You know; the Westley character.”
Well, John, you’re not in this scene yet.
“I was just over there, putting out the fire in my pants. I had to find something to do.”
“Oh great. ‘Fire in his pants’? He’s my romantic interest, and that’s all he can come up with?”
Rodney? Shut up. John? Go away. Your scene starts in a few minutes. Can we get on with this?
“Fine!” they declare in unison and part ways.
Where was I? Oh yes… Curious child, nerd, arguing parents. So anyway, as Rodney’s parents started to age, their health declined tremendously, though their argumentative natures remained as strong as ever. Rodney began helping around the hovel more and more; squatting to pick up vegetables from the field, or doing lunges while getting water from the well. Each stretch and strain of muscle worked a fine-tooth adjustment to his heart-shaped derriere, and moved him up the ladder of the ‘Most Perfect Ass’ roster.
But Rodney wasn’t alone in this bleak medieval period. Long ago, his parents had taken in a young man named John-
“Salve!” John repeats, then adds, “It’s the traditional Roman greeting. You said this was medieval times, right?”
No, John. Not Ancient history. This isn’t rhymer23’s ‘The Fall of the Roman Empire’.
“Yeah, well. You kinda stole the whole ‘breaking the fourth wall’ thing from her, you know?”
Well, she was hardly the first to do it, you know. ::mumbled parenthetical aside:: Sure, she was the one we stole it from, but only because she was the latest we’ve seen use that device. ::sigh:: Okay, starting again. But Rodney wasn’t alone all that time. Long ago, his parents had taken in a young man named John. A Farm boy-
“Okay, so I’m a farm boy. But this doesn’t look like Iowa. There’s Rodney, but where’s Finn? Or is this before Finn? And aren’t I supposed to be a handyman, not a farm boy?”
NO! This isn’t sheafrotherdon’s Iowa-verse. Didn’t you get that when Rodney’s parents set fire to your hovel and sent you leering at Rodney’s ass?
“Yeah, well, I pretty much leer at Rodney’s ass in any McShep thing you folks write. That, and worship his itty bitty Rodney belly.”
Rodney pipes up from around the corner. “Can we stop talking about my ass and other body parts for a while, please?”
Shut up, Rodney. You’re not in this scene.
“Yes, but you’re going to give me a complex. Or body dysmorphic syndrome or something.”
You can’t have body dysmorphic syndrome because it hasn’t been invented yet. That’s not until 1886.
“Well gravity won’t be ‘invented‘ until Sir Isaac Dumbass sits under a tree and gets hit by an apple in the 1680s, or whatever the silly old wives tale is these days. But that doesn’t stop apples from falling out of trees and braining people, now does it?”
John and Rodney hiss insults at each other while the Narrator shuffles some papers, and Rodney’s parents resume acting like peasants on their deathbed. Still arguing.
As I was saying – John was taken in to be the farm boy. His duties are to work with the animals, live in a hovel nearby, and see that Rodney’s every need is fulfilled.
“Heh heh,” John tosses off a porny laugh and waggles his eyebrows at Rodney. “That means we’re having sex.”
No it doesn’t! It means Rodney gets to boss you around, and you have to do what he tells you.
“Ha ha!” Rodney barks, sounding a lot like a certain schoolboy from The Simpsons. “Farmboy? Fetch me that pail of water.”
“Get it your damn self, Rodney!” John responds.
::clears throat:: Excuse me, people. John? Follow the script. You’re supposed to say, ‘As you wish’.
Because that’s how the story’s written. Now do it. Rodney?
Rodney smirks at John. “Farmboy. Fetch me that pail of water. Now.”
John grits his teeth as his eyes cut to slits, staring death into the Fourth Wall POV. “As you wish,” he grinds out, before petulantly stomping off to fetch the water.
As the years pass, the two become closer. They work the farm together daily and spend evenings discussing what the future might bring, sharing their hopes and dreams. Rodney wishes for a star in the sky that can send death to a planet below and John wants a magic sword that can easily fend off anyone threatening them.
One night Rodney asks John to pass the jerked squirrel meat, and John replies, as always, ‘As you wish.’ A few days later Rodney asks John to check for evil minstrels and court jesters under his bed before he retires, and John replies, ‘As you wish.’ It takes Rodney a while to realize that every time John says, ‘As you wish,’ he really means, ‘Look. I’m no good at talking about this stuff. But you’re really hot and you smell good – for medieval times – and I can’t stop gawking at your ass, so how about we get a little hovel of our own and, you know…do it?’ When this revelation hits, it fills Rodney with such overwhelming joy that he can’t help but call out to John, who’s just run out of his burning hovel holding all of his belongings.
“Farmboy? Come here and kiss me!”
John grins, abandons his meager worldly goods to the mud, and rubs his hands together. “Now we’re talking!”
“Uh uh uh!” Rodney stops him with a finger to John’s lips. “What do we say?”
John kicks the ground like an impatient child. “Fine. As you wish.”
John takes Rodney into his arms, dipping him slightly. Their lips meet, and had this been the Ming Dynasty in China, John would have recognized the fireworks going off in his brain. Instead, he just pictures massive clouds of fireflies dancing around the sky (like that really catchy song by Owl City), but the thought of fireflies suddenly makes him start to itch. John’s never liked thinking about bugs.
As he breaks off the kiss, John says, “Rodney? I must go make us a fortune so that we can have a farm of our own. With a hovel that’s sturdy and land that’s fertile. And far away from your parents, so they can’t burn it down.”
“But they’re nearly dead already,” Rodney says, pointing to the couple in a darkened back corner of the hut, far enough away that the casual reader can’t hear what they were arguing about (since they already said their lines on page 3). “Why not just take this place.”
Because, Rodney, it’s not in the script. John must go out into the world and earn his money so that you can break free and finally be alone. Together. Together alone. Whatever. Anyway, John, say a passionate goodbye to your dearest love.
“See ya!” John declares and skips out the door.
“See ya?!?! I declare my undying love to that… that… idiot? And all he can say is ‘See ya?'” Rodney rolls his eyes. “This story doesn’t get any better, does it?”
Sorry, no. Anyway, as John says goodbye to his dearest love, Rodney calls after him.
“But the world out there. It’s filled with dangerous things. Like pirates. And Vikings. And unsecured drilling platforms that leak oil and kill ocean life for thousands of miles in every direction.”
Rodney bites his knuckle with angst.
Ahem. I said, Rodney bites his knuckle with angst.
“Yes, yes, fine.” Rodney bites his knuckle, grimacing at the taste. “Happy now?”
Yes. Thank you.
Rodney’s leaning against the door and gazing after John, who suddenly runs back to Rodney’s side, looking concerned.
“What’s wrong?” Rodney asks.
“The whole angsty knuckle biting thing. That, and I wanted to look at your ass one more time, so I can describe it – in great detail – to whichever pirate may take me captive. Who knows? It may just save my life. It worked for Westley. Here, turn around so I can get a really good look.”
“Westley?” Rodney asks, not turning a whit.
“You know,” John says, pulling a second-hand paperback out of the back pocket of his ancient board shorts; the ones with a hole in the waist that makes Rodney gape and ponder. “Westley. The guy my character’s based on. Didn’t you read the book?”
Rodney’s eyes somehow narrow and roll simultaneously. “No. I did not read the book. When did you?”
John jerks his chin up. “Back on page 3. He sent me away when I joined the story too soon. I had to find something to do.”
“You couldn’t have read the whole book back there. Five years we were in Pegasus, and you never even got to Chapter Three of War and Peace.”
John tsks. “Have you tried to read Tolstoy? Yeah, I thought not. This is a pretty easy read. Here. Take my copy.” With that, John sets out from the house again, skipping off towards adventure and pirates.
“Aww… He does love me. He gave me his book.”
John turns back and calls to Rodney. “It’s true love, Rodney. True love and a perfect ass. Nothing can stop us, because there’s nothing the world loves more than a sappy love story or a hunky guy with a really hot ass.” As he disappears into the forest (the fire swamp lurking somewhere in the distance), he calls back, “And true love means I shall always come for you, Rodney. No matter what.”
Rodney stands at the door, fingering the pages of the book before he realizes that he, and he alone, will be doing the chores for the farm now. There will be no farm boy to torture. No farm boy to plow the fields. To slop the pigs. To worm the horses. To milk the cats.
Though the work is done grudgingly, Rodney’s ass is toned and shaped with each chore. Soon he’s surpassing other heinies, unknowingly flying up the tuchus chart. On his thirty-fifth birthday, the fifth anniversary of John’s departure, a tall, dark man on a serious-looking horse nears their home. He dismounts and knocks on the hovel door, startling the parents awake and sending them into a bickering rage.
“Yes? I’m over here,” Rodney calls from Farmboy’s former hovel that hasn’t burned to the ground in recent memory (since he sabotaged his random number generator to only go off on the 37th of the month). “I had to move out; they were making me totally insane. What can I do for you?” Rodney looked at the tall man, staring at the strange circular gold mark on his forehead. “Mister…”
“Teal’c, the Count Rugen. You can – no, you will call me Teal’c, the Count Rugen. I’m here with news.”
“Yes, yes. Get on with it.”
“I was tasked to let you know this. Your Dear John’s boat was attacked four years ago by the Dread Pirate Roberts. I’m afraid that all were lost.” Teal’c, the Count Rugen surveys the slop farm, eyeing the sheep in the far pasture with interest. He winks at one, who starts to back away slowly.
“Leave my sheep alone,” Rodney declares. “And, four years ago? Couldn’t you have told me – I don’t know – sometime sooner than now?”
“I’ve been very busy,” counters Teal’c, the Count Rugen, never taking his eyes off the sheep. “I’m a Count. Things to do, places to go. You know. Count-y things.” He ends his statement with an “Ah, ah, ah,” sounding like some sort of creature from a children’s television program. Only way more creepy.
“No, I don’t know. I’ve been stuck on this shitpile for the last few years waiting for John to come back. I should have known it. He always did have a crazy, suicidal streak.” Rodney bends over to pick up a stray piece of slop, giving Teal’c,theCountRugen™ a splendid view of his backside. “And now the prickly bastard’s died and left me here. Alone.”
After a few moments contemplating what uses he could put that ass to, Teal’c,theCountRugen™–
The authors can suddenly be heard having a spirited discussion behind the scenes.
I mean, seriously: Teal’c,theCountRugen™? (C’mon, you know it’s funny.)
Where the hell did that come from? (Me. All me.)
Did we discuss this? (Yup.)
What? We did? (Yup.)
When? I don’t remember that. (A couple of weeks ago – you were home from work?)
OMFG, you mean when I was on Vicodin? Holy shit, I should know better than to answer the phone when I’m on Schedule III narcotics. (And I should really stop taking advantage of that. ::wicked grin:: )
Eh, fuck it. We’ll fix it in beta. (No, we won’t. ::winks at the readers:: )
Anyway, after a few moments contemplating what uses he could put that ass to, Teal’c,theCountRugen™ tucks his 70s style disco shirt (unbuttoned to the waist, the multiple sets of nipples peaking against the fabric) tighter into his pants, using the movement to cover the personal adjustment necessary after such thoughts. “What? It’s not like you’ll never love again.”
Rodney rolls his eyes and looks to the skies, then asks, “Do I really have to say it?”
Teal’c,theCountRugen™ looks confused. “Who are you talking to?” he asks.
“The Narrator,” Rodney responds, nodding his head upward. When Teal’c,theCountRugen™ widens his eyes, preparatory to denouncing him as a heretic, Rodney continues, “Oh shut up, or I’ll make him talk to you, too.”
Yes, Rodney, you DO have to say it. You know, this could be an SGA/Silence of the Lambs crackfic crossover, and we could be playing ‘it put the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again’ right now. Comprende?
“Fine.” Rodney sighs and rolls his eyes again, before stating flatly, “I shall never love again.” After a few beats, Rodney looks up. “You know, I’m just not the pining type.”
That’s the story, Rodney. You have to pine. John’s ‘gone’.
“Oh! Then he’s not really gone. Otherwise you wouldn’t have put quotes around the word ‘gone’. I’ll see him in a few paragraphs, I’m sure.”
Fine. But you absolutely must pine, Rodney.
After a few minutes of thinking, Rodney looks up. “How about I pine over the fact that I haven’t seen a computer in approximately forever? Or the sad state of educational opportunities here in the fifteenth century? The complete lack of indoor bathing and/or toilet facilities? Or – wait – I know! How about the freaking abacus being tops in computing technology, and retaining that position for hundreds of years?
Teal’c,theCountRugen™ opens his mouth, looks around, shuts it again. He pulls the reins on his steed and begins to head away from the farm. He stops after a few feet, taking another gander at Rodney’s truly spectacular backside. “You know, my Prince – Prince Lucius – is looking for a partner to help rule this land. Though it’s probably just a ruse to start a war with Guilder. Interested?”
Rodney contemplates an interlude with a prince. “Well, I suppose I could do something that’ll get me out of this dump until John gets back. Sure. Why not?” As he gathers his things, he ducks into his parents’ hovel and screams, “I’m going with this Count guy. Go ahead and die, you miserable bastards. Don’t wait up!”
The next eighteen pages of the book describe Rodney’s immersion into castle life. The following forty-seven pages detail attempts by Lucius to woo Rodney, as he has wooed others around him by playing at being a charming, wonderful guy. Lucius hadn’t counted on Rodney having moderate to severe allergies to ragweed, pollen and most Florin grasses, however, so the magical potion that he’s relied on in the past doesn’t work. Still, Rodney is fairly content in his situation. Prince Lucius was somehow even able to procure plans for da Vinci’s tank, scythed chariot, and giant crossbow. It seems that princes have really good connections – reaching even to Italy, nominally outside the make-believe world of Florin and Guilder. Rodney spends his time studying the plans and even making improvements, since he knows of John’s love for things that allow him to go fast (mid-1480s timeline notwithstanding) or protect Rodney’s beautiful ass. Most days, Rodney wanders out to the Prince’s orchards and reads under apple trees, dodging the genius-cidal fruit out of spite.
After a good day of reading, he stands up and stretches before leaning over to pick up his book.
“Excuse me, old woman?” a nasal voice calls.
Rodney harrumphs and turns abruptly. “I’m a man.”
Wait. What? No! Stop that! We’re not doing that Python sketch.
“Whatever,” Rodney responds, glaring at the motley crew in front of him. “Who are you? And what do you want?”
The man with the ponytail steps forward. “I am Kavanaugh, the Sicilian. This is Ronon,” he says, motioning to a giant man next to him, “He doesn’t talk much. And this is Teyla Montoya,” indicating the beautiful woman on his other side who is armed with a pair of fighting sticks. “Would you come with us, please?”
Rodney has every right to question the threesome. After all, the Thieves’ Forest hasn’t been culled in weeks.
“Thank you, Narrator. Now why should I come with you, Kavanaugh?”
“Because,” Kavanaugh starts, “We’re going to hand you over to the IOC.”
” The Iocane Oversight Council.”
“Ooh, yes. That IOC. And then what?”
“We’re going to take you to Guilder, bash your head in, and dump you on their doorstep so that Prince Lucius can find you and start a war with Guilder.”
“Wait. You’re going to dump me on Guilder’s front doorstep, and then what – how is Lucius supposed to find me before the Guilderians do? I mean, won’t I – I don’t know – start to smell or something?”
Kavanaugh sniffs himself, then his companions. “This is medieval times. Everybody smells.”
“Fine. I’ll come with you.” Rodney hunches his shoulders as he nears the group. “Doesn’t matter. John’ll find me.”
Kavanaugh nods to Ronon, who throws Rodney over one shoulder, carrying him firemen style. “I doubt that,” he declares with condescension.
What Kavanaugh doesn’t realize: Ronon is entertaining thoughts of knocking him upside his head; Teyla is picturing running him through with her fighting sticks; and there is a man in black following them at a distance.
“See?” Rodney says. “Told you so.” This prompts Ronon to bounce Rodney on his shoulder, nearly crushing his spleen in the process. “Careful with me, you big ape.” Rodney yells, though his words go unheeded by the large Satedan.
The four cross a large field, then cut across a corner of the fire swamp (where they meet an annoying young blonde doctor who is immediately pushed into a patch of lightning sand, not allowing her character to be developed beyond this sentence), all the while followed by the man in black. They board a ship and set sail for Guilder. The man in black gains on them with the help of an ingenious outboard motor (da Vinci’s designs for which were never discredited, so you can’t prove it didn’t really happen. So there, neener neener.) on his own vessel, and corners them on a small ledge at the foot of the Cliffs of Insanity.
“The Dread Pirate Roberts!” Kavanaugh exclaims.
“The Dread Pirate Roberts!” Teyla exclaims.
“Ugh,” Ronon grunts, sizing up the man in black and unceremoniously dumping Rodney on the ground.
“John! I knew you would come,” says Rodney as soon as he gets a look at the pirate.
John whips off the mask. “How did you know it was me?”
Rodney clambers to his feet, puts his hands on his hips and cocks one at John. “Seriously? We lived together for what? Five years? And you lived in the next hovel over for fifteen years before that? I know that hair.”
John puts on a fake pout. “I just got it cut and styled. Found a new hair gel – which is hard to come by in this day and age. I wasn’t sure you’d recognize me.”
“You can call yourself The Dread Pirate Cowlick or whatever-”
“Roberts,” John corrects him.
“Fine. Cowlick. Bedhead. Whatever. The mask covered your eyes, not your hair.” He rushes to John, and the criminal trio looks away while the pair catches up on five years of kisses. “I knew you would come back to me.”
“Always, buddy,” John replies, kissing him deeply, again visualizing a cloud of fireflies, which makes him pull away from Rodney to scratch himself uncontrollably.
“Are you done?” Teyla asks. “Or do you need more time?”
“Naah, we’re good,” Rodney and John reply simultaneously. John notices Rodney giving him a thorough head-to-toe onceover. “I’ve been working out since I left. You like?”
“Yeah, but I was looking at that.” Rodney motions to John’s clothes. “All black? Seriously? I’m never letting you dress yourself again.”
With Rodney at his side, John thrusts his sword towards the three abductors. “What business have you with my true love?”
Kavanaugh crosses his arms and smirks at John. “These two,” looking ridiculous as he tries to gesture to Ronon and Teyla with crossed arms, “are my hired goons. We captured Rodney for the Prince. He is to be murdered and dumped on the doorstep of Guilder so there can be war.”
“Wait,” Rodney starts. “Murder first? Then dump me? Wouldn’t it be easier to take me there and then murder me? I mean, at least that way you don’t have to keep carrying me around.”
Kavanaugh starts to laugh, before cutting it short to squint at Rodney, who has suddenly proven to be ever-so-much-smarter than he.
Before Kavanaugh can respond, John asks Teyla and Ronon, “Why are you with this buffoon?”
Teyla’s eyes focus into the past as she relives a tortured memory. “I am earning money as a freelance terrorist. I’m saving so that I may take revenge on the besmircher of my father’s memory, blackened so many years ago
Ronon grunts before admitting “Eeh. I haven’t killed anybody lately. I was bored.” He looks at Kavanaugh. “Oh, and I guess the money, too.”
John puts the point of his sword to Kavanaugh’s throat. “Give me your purse.”
“I don’t have a purse. I’m a dude. Dudes don’t carry purses.”
The narrator breaks in. Kavanaugh? Internal pockets are a modern invention; they used to be more external and less useful. You should know that it is the fashion of the day to carry a purse if you have money. Historical fact. We read it on Wikipedia, so it must be true.
A sly smile crosses John’s face. “Fine. I’ll do it the old fashioned way. Your money or your life.” His sword has scarcely lifted from Kavanaugh’s throat when a leather sack heavy with golden coins is tossed his way. “Thanks,” he says, sheathing his sword. “Teyla? Ronon? You’re with me now,” he says, handing them the loot. It only takes a second for their allegiance to change (indeed, they’re happy to no longer be bound to the boor), and they stride up next to Rodney and John.
Kavanaugh watches the foursome nervously, whining as they make their way back to John’s boat. “You can’t just leave me here. That’s not fair! I’m a very important person! I’ll make sure the Prince hears about this. And the Count! And then I’ll complain to the IOC! And let me tell you-”
“No, Kavanaugh,” John stops him, “let me tell you.” He pulls out a 9mm pistol and shoots Kavanaugh in the foot.
Wait. What’s going on here? John? Did you just SHOOT Kavanaugh?
“Yeaaah…” he sheepishly admits. “But he was whining. A lot!”
Fair enough. But, c’mon – pistols weren’t invented until the 1800s, and the first 9mm was produced in Belgium in 1901. I’ll let it go because it’s Kavanaugh, but don’t do it again.
“Fair enough?!?!” Kavanaugh exclaims. “How is this fair? This is the freakin’ middle ages? I’m probably going to get an infection and die.”
“Ronon?” John asks, tilting his head Kavanaugh’s direction. Ronon picks up Kavanaugh and dumps him in his own boat. “Tell you what. We’ll point you at France.”
“France?” Rodney asks. “I thought this was medieval make-believe land.”
“Ixnay on the ake-believemay andlay, Odneyray.”
“Great. Pig Latin. You realize the writers stole that from rhymer23, too, yes?!”
Hey, now. I’ll have you know that Pig Latin has been around since long before rhymer23, or even Al Gore’s Internets. It dates back to the time of the RolyPoly Roman Empire. So there.
“Play nice, you two,” John says before dropping a kiss on Rodney’s cheek. “I missed you, Buddy.” Turning back, he points his sword at the cringing Sicilian. “Now, Kavanaugh, do you want to sail toward France, or would you rather head out toward The Shrieking Eels?”
Kavanaugh forgets his bleeding foot for a moment. “Shrieking eels?” He tsks snidely, throwing a sneer at John. “There are no shrieking eels out there.”
“Uh, yeah – there are. You sailed right through ‘em. They knew I was following so they kept quiet. They like me.” He stares flatly at Kavanaugh and adds, “They don’t like you.”
With Kavanaugh thoroughly chastened, John goes on, “We’re going to aim your boat for France. I suggest you find a nice cheese maker there, preferably someone who makes a nice moldy blue cheese. Get yourself a big bucket of cheese, then stick your foot in it. Do that and I promise it won’t get infected. Ancient Pirate’s secret.”
“Great,” Rodney says as Kavanaugh’s boat floats away. “I’m never eating cheese again. Ever.”
Rodney’s statement isn’t true; he continues to appreciate a nice Gruyere with mutton. Though he should probably reconsider, if only for John’s sake, as they will be sharing a pit toilet for many years to come.
“Seriously?” Rodney looks around at the three people staring at him, all thinking about his slightly spastic colon. “Must we talk about my lactose intolerance?”
In an effort to change the subject, John makes a suggestion. “How about we all go get a drink. Yes?”
And there was much rejoicing.
The quartet journey back to the Thieves’ Forest on the outskirts of the city of Florin with very few issues, notwithstanding the crazed looking man running towards a castle with what seemed to be a chalice serving as a beacon. They enter a tavern and approach the glowering man behind the bar.
“Barkeep!” John calls. “Four ales, please.” He rummages in the pockets of his black pants, which seem to cling to his hips by some sort of magical spell, but comes up empty, having passed the purse to his new partners in crime. “Umm, Teyla? You buy the first round.”
Teyla nods approvingly, though Ronon cocks his head to one side and squints. “Why do you get to hold the money?”
Before Teyla can respond, Rodney interjects, “Because you would probably trade it for a handful of magical beans. Idiot.”
Ronon turns his glare on Rodney while he considers that. Now he’ll have to come up with something else to do with his share of the purse. He just hopes that fellow he met the morning before hooking up with Teyla and Kavanaugh won’t be too disappointed. Maybe he can introduce the magical beans guy to his friend Jack.
For a few moments, the team looks around nervously, not sure what to say to each other without a pint or two in them. “Barkeep!” John repeats, more sharply this time. “Ales, please.”
The ill-tempered and unwashed bartender turns to John, all the while keeping an eye on the oddly dressed people around them. He spits into the mug he’s holding and rubs it with a rag that’s seen better days; probably as a bandage on a wounded person’s syphilitic nether regions.
“Gross!” Rodney condemns. “How is that sanitary?” He looks around, noting the condition of everything else around him, then shrugs. After all, it is medieval times.
The bartender finally speaks. “We don’t serve your kind here,” he says, spit-shining another glass.
John is glaring at the barkeep when Rodney interjects, dope-slapping him upside the head. “Great. Of all the joints in all the make-believe lands, you have to take me to Homophobies McBigots. Thanks.”
“Shut up, Rodney,” John replies.
Yes. Shut up, Rodney. That wasn’t even a good insult!
Rodney sighs. “You can hardly blame me for it. You wrote the damn thing.” The Narrator slinks away quietly. “You want me to try again? How about… Bigot Barn? No? Asshole’s Alehouse? The Puckwit’s Fub?
“Rodney! Narrator! Shut up.” He turns to the barkeep. “What do you mean, you don’t serve our kind here? It’ll be centuries before organized homophobia takes root. And-”
“Not that kind,” the bartender snorts. To emphasize his point, he grabs Miracle Radek, the nearest man at the bar and plants a wet and sloppy kiss on him. Drawing back, he takes a moment to chew the part of Radek’s MLT (mutton, lettuce and tomato) sandwich that he gained during the kiss. He swallows before continuing, ignoring Radek’s rant in some unintelligible foreign language, as well as the looks of disgust from his patrons and the small band in front of him. “That type,” he says, pointing towards the sky and causing the team to look up uncomprehendingly. “Narrator types. Don’t trust the lot of-”
The scene fades briefly as the bartender grabs his throat, trying to speak, but unable to produce even the tiniest squeak. His character is suddenly rewritten to have been born without a voicebox, due to the various badgers, spotted beavers and mules that are suddenly thrust into his family heritage. Just goes to show, you DON’T fuck with the Narrator!
Once the scene resolidifies, John yells, “Barkeep,” making one last effort to get their ales as the newly mute barkeep drops his head dejectedly. As he pours the first glass, he sees men dressed vaguely like Nazis sneaking up behind John. Using an obviously well-practiced maneuver, the newcomers quickly surround the team, and before they can draw their weapons (or rather before Ronon, Teyla, and John can draw their weapons while John pulls Rodney behind him, copping a feel of Rodney’s perfect ass in the process – HONK! HONK!) the team is disarmed.
“The Genii? I hate these guys,” Rodney says. “I hope they don’t capture us and force me to create a nuclear bomb out of, I don’t know. Dung and spit and leftover mutton.” He lifts his chin defiantly, adding, “Not that I couldn’t do it, you know.”
“Not this time, McKay,” states the unnamed Genii redshirt (who’s actually wearing olive green, but is quite obviously doomed anyway). “You need to come with us.”
As the team is frog-marched out of the tavern, John looks over at the barkeep. “You could have warned us.”
The bartender starts to speak, remembers the recent rewriting, erases the Special of the Day board (Radek got the last MLT anyway) and writes, “I would have, but your Narrator made me mute.” He points to it smugly.
Since the team is now outside, they don’t see the Narrator’s hands appear behind the tavern. The sound of the roof being pulled off distracts them from the sight of the bartender being plucked from his bar and unceremoniously flicked like a faulty paper football towards the horizon.
I told you not to fuck with the Narrator! Bwahahahahaha!
The soldiers and team stop to discuss the strange movements of the roof (now returned to its regular station). “Do you hear that sound, Ronon?” Teyla asks.
Ronon thinks back to the original Princess Bride manuscript before replying, “Umm… Is it the sound of ultimate suffering?”
“No,” she responds. “It’s the sound of a mute bartender screaming.”
Their journey through the Thieves’ Forest is uneventful.
“Hail!” the elderly Genii leader calls as they reach the portcullis. “Raise the gate and alert Count Teal’c that I have his prisoners.”
A small window opens and a face peeks out. “Whom shall I say is calling, Sir? Also, please remember to always address him by the proper title – Teal’c,theCountRugen™”
“My name isn’t important. It’s imperative that I turn these fugitives over to the Cou – er, Teal’c,theCountRugen™ right away.”
The guardian rolls his eyes. “Surely you have a name. I have to say who it is or he’ll just tell me to take a message.”
“Fine,” the man replies, shuffling his feet. “Tell him it’s Lars. Lars Lündørfïskëbräün.”
The gatekeeper’s eyes grow big. “Lars Lündørfïskëbräün? Crap! I’ll go hide the butter.” He turns to someone hidden from view, and commands, “Give me two minutes to get to the kitchen before you let them in.”
After the requisite two minutes pass, the portcullis clanks open. Teal’c,theCountRugen™ is standing in the middle of the room, white wispy disco shirt open to his pants, displaying his expansive chest. He looks like a cheap knockoff of Solid Gold Dancer Denny Terrio, himself a bad copy of Tony Manero from Staying Alive.
Teyla’s eyes narrow and her face grows cold. “The six-nippled man!”
“Didn’t I tell you about him?” Rodney asks. Taking a precautionary step backward as Teyla shakes her head, he contritely adds, “Sorry! My bad.”
“So,” Teal’c,theCountRugen™ begins. “You must be that Athosian brat I taught a lesson to all those years ago.” He smiles at the memory of the skill he used against a very young Teyla.
“Yes,” she says defiantly. “And while I appreciate you teaching me how to do fivesies at jacks, it is my father’s memory I’m more concerned about.” She spits at Teal’c,theCountRugen™’s feet and foreshadows, “I shall avenge his memory before this day is through!”
“Yes…” The Count sneers, wiping his begobbed foot on a luckless guard. “You do that.” He continues with an evil chuckle, “That is, if you survive the pit of despair.” He turns to Lars and his fellow guards. “Give Rodney to me,” he commands, “for the Prince shall take his hand tonight.” With Rodney in his grasp, he orders, “Take the rest to the pit. They have an appointment with…the machines.”
The guards tremble visibly, though John, Teyla and Ronon are stalwart in their defiance. “No machine can defeat us!” John cries as the three are manhandled from the room.
Entering the pit of despair is a slow process, as their guards are very skittish. The prisoners are taken to a room that might be mistaken for an operating theater, if not for the lack of good light, sanitary conditions, and goodwill, along with the sets of stocks lined up waiting for victims. The guards hiss demands for speed at each other as they chain the trio’s feet and lean them one by one into the devices. John tries to fix the details of the stocks into his mind, so he can procure this exact model once they’ve escaped and rescued Rodney. The nice thing about this version is how it makes the ass stick out just-
“You looking at my ass, Sheppard?” Ronon asks, breaking John’s concentration.
“No, no,” he lies. “Just thinking about Rodney.” His thoughts turn back to the present situation. “Hey! Hey!” he yells at the guard, “Watch the hair.” He settles into the stocks on his own terms, getting his position just right, wondering how he’ll have to modify the stocks so they don’t hurt Rodney’s back. He hopes Rodney will be okay with having a kink night more than once a week…
His attention is drawn back to the room as the guards (who are wearing earmuffs though the pit is a sweltering 94 degrees) prepare to leave after hearing, “Two minutes” from someone outside. The quicker ones scurry off, passing on their way out…things…albino things with unseeing pink eyes and ears sewn shut on their way in. “What the hell?” John shouts.
“What?” John’s guard half-shouts. “Can’t hear you. Earmuffs.”
John flips the guard the bird, which was quite different in medieval Florin. It was a two-handed affair that grew out of a night of shadow-puppet boredom. The thumbs were supposed to connect while the fingers spread out and flapped. When you added the “Caw! Caw!” sound effect it really made a lot of sense. But with his hands in the stocks, and a gruff in his throat (he’d have to remember to pad his stock so Rodney’s neck would be more comfy), he looked and sounded like a demented badger that had been kicked in the head one too many times as a child…cub…pup… Whatever you call a demented young badger. If badgers had horns.
But I digress.
The guard pulls an earmuff off. “What do you want? And how dare you insult my heritage with that awful display of – whatever that was.”
“What the hell is going on?” John asks, nodding toward the albino creatures who are moving three large glass-screened boxes into the room. “And what’s with these freaks?”
“Ooh, you’ll wish you were them soon enough.” As an odd, high-pitched voice comes from under one of the boxes and a light flickers in the glass, the guard’s eyes grow frightened. He quickly replaces his earmuff and runs from the room, sealing the three prisoners in with the blind, deaf, pigment-deficient workers.
The box that emitted the first noise flickers again and an awful tune – music such as never been heard outside these walls – begins to play, followed by a booming voice intoning, “This week on The Jersey Shore…“.
Ronon thrusts against his prison, desperately rocking back and forth. “What have you done to us, Sheppard?” he calls out in distress.
All eyes focus on the second box as it sparks into existence just in time for a badly aging woman with very large hair to scream, “You betta check yo’self before you wreck yo’self!”, followed by an announcer threatening, “Tonight on the twelve hour marathon of The Real Housewives of Miami-”
Teyla’s eyes roll back into her head as she cries out, “I call upon the strength of the Ancestors. Please, make it stop!”
The third machine is turned on, an annoyingly perky brunette filling the screen. “Hi! I’m Rachel Ray. I hope you have an extra bottle of EVOO, because today we’re gonna need it!”
John cocks his head and sees his team members trembling. “Come on people… It’s not that bad.” He hears Ronon retch a few times before he projectile vomits, coming pretty close to the nearest box. “Jeez, buddy. That’s pretty harsh.”
With tears streaming down her face, Teyla chokes out, “How is it you…you are not affected by this, John?”
John shrugs. As much as he can while in the stocks, anyway. “I dunno. My mother was dead, and my dad was hardly ever home. I was pretty much raised by our housekeeper. She used to let me watch this stuff all the time.” He sighs, “I guess I’m immune.”
Suddenly, the Narrator makes an appalling noise and bids you – Look! Look! Over there! Shiny! There… That should distract you enough to forget that we learned earlier in the story John was raised in a hovel on Rodney’s farm. That the whole ‘dead mother, absent father, sustained himself by eating Pixy Stix and Mallowbars, grew up watching Guiding Light, Another World, and other daytime drivel, then having his homework checked by a housekeeper before she tucked him into bed’ was just a cop-out that the writers took to make sure John wouldn’t be affected by a device (both electronic and plot-type) that won’t be invented for some five hundred and twenty-five years after this story takes place. Look! Shiny! The narrator waves his hands in a mesmeric fashion while intoning in his best Obi-wan Kenobi fashion, “This is not the story continuity you are looking for.”
Actually, you know what? This is a really good time to check in on Rodney.
Rodney allows his captors to lead him toward the castle, a building far grander (but no cleaner) than the hovel he grew up in. He knows he’s been cast in the part of the “maiden-to-be-rescued” for this reimagining, but if gets even a hint of John’s person being in actual danger, he has a plan to break free and get the others out – plotlines, conventions, and authors be damned! Meanwhile, he plays along to see how the other half lives. (He muses as he walks that it’s probably much closer to “the other 0.4%”.) He tunes back in to hear one of the guards telling the other about the ZPM that was brought in for the wedding. “Wait, what? There’s a ZPM here? Take me to it, now!”
“But, your bride-ness-” the hapless guard begins.
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!” Rodney roars.
“Yes, your br–uh, yes … sir?”
“That’s better.” Rodney congratulates himself on nipping that nonsense in the bud while the guard stammers through an apology, followed by the excuse that he believes the Prince wants Rodney taken straight to his ‘bridal cha–er, uh, um, your dressing room for the wedding, sir’.
“Oh, you and the Prince are besties? Discuss all his plans together, do you? I’m sure you two hang out in the evenings all the time. Why, it’s a wonder that it’s not you heading for the altar. Except that, oh, wait – I’m his affianced! You have to do what I say, so take me to the ZPM!”
Rodney can’t believe his luck as the thoroughly cowed guard (No, he wasn’t mooing. It means he was meek. I’m serious – you could look it up! But if you want, you can imagine him mooing. Go ahead; we’ll wait. Okay – better now? Back to it.) and his cohort lead the way to the ZPM Room. He’s heard since childhood of the power of the ZPM, and can’t wait to see one. Maybe he can even use it to help make good the escape he’s sure John is going to need any minute now. He’s still plotting contingencies and backup plans when they enter a dusty room filled with musical instruments.
“What’s this? You morons brought me to the wrong room!”
“N– no, ma’–sir,” the smellier guard stutters. “This is it. My cousin Bernerd helped move them in. The man who runs it was very impressive.”
“I don’t care if he was on fire,” Rodney snaps. “There isn’t one thing in thing room that starts with a zed.” Seeing the blank (-er than usual) looks on their faces, he continues, “A zee, okay? Nothing in here starts with the letter zee!”
“Um, see. Well, beggin’ Your Fianced’s pardon and all, but this whole thing together is the ZPM. The Great Symbaldi himself told me that he built it and he’s the only one in the world can make it work. Crave pardon again, Princes–SIR! but this is the ZPM – with this he can play all four of these at the same time.” The shorter guard with the ridiculous mustache finishes up his explanation with what he clearly intends to be a courtly bow.
Rodney stares in disbelief while he ponders the utter idiocy of the age he finds himself in. Finally, brain no longer in danger of exploding from exposure to so much stupidity, he finds his voice. “So you’re telling me that the famous ZPM isn’t a power source?”
The guards warily shake their heads.
“And it’s not a weapon of any kind?”
The guards, still shaking, each take a small step backward, toward the door.
“Let me get this straight. The ZPM is a machine for playing multiple xylophones?”
The guards stop shaking and start nodding. Or, well, Smelly does. Mustachio keeps on shaking until Smelly jabs an elbow in his ribs. Their relief at making the Prince’s bride (to-be) understand shines on their faces. (Sure, it shines like a glowworm in a box around the corner in a cave, but still. Shining.)
“So, the Xylophone Playing Machine is known as the ZPM? Not the XPM, as anyone with even a single brain cell would know is correct?”
The guards tilt their heads like dogs hearing a high-pitched noise. (aka, twinch – a very useful Sniglet.)
Too disgusted to even try educating them on the intricacies of the alphabet, Rodney commands the guards to take him to his room. On arriving, the pair crowds the door to get a glimpse of how the gentle folk sleep, but Rodney shuts the door firmly on them (and their smell and facial hair [and maybe a pinky toe]). Spying a huge vase of flowers on the dresser, he decides to read the card before throwing them out the window to appease his allergies.
Dear Florin –
Congratulations on your engagement. I hear your princess
has a hot ass. Too bad he has to die. Have fun with the
honeymoon and the assassination.
See you on the battlefield! Love –
Rodney sighs as he pitches the blooms into the moat, hoping against hope that they might make it smell the tiniest bit less revolting. Great. Now he has to come up with a plan to save everybody’s ass, including his very hot, very own.
And, now, we take you back to the Pit of Despair – as the camera focuses on Rachel Ray.
“Today on the show, we’re going to bone a duck!” she declares, over the sounds of Ronon and Teyla vomiting uncontrollably.
“Doesn’t she mean, debone a duck?” John wonders absently. As the question hangs in the air, the woman onscreen picks up a bottle of thick yellow liquid and proceeds to do something so intimate to the duck with it that it’s immediately banned worldwide.
“That’s it,” he declares. “We’re breaking out of here.”
The escape method John uses involves such incredible incredibleness that it simply can’t be properly rendered in words. Suffice to say that it takes half an hour of noisy work (which doesn’t bother any of their captors, since they’re deaf, and the rhythmic properties of which seem to soothe Ronon and Teyla somewhat), before they break free. Equally inexplicable is the reason why the entire pit of despair is covered in a thin layer of blueberry juice. And that each person they encounter on their way out of the pit is exactly one inch shorter.
The trio makes their way into the castle.
“Okay, what’s the plan,” John asks. “Besides finding Rodney.”
Teyla’s eyes glitter with anger. “I need to find the six-nippled man and enact my revenge for what he did to my father, oh, so many years ago.”
“Yeah, you keep bringing that up. What’s all that about?” Ronon asks.
Teyla takes a deep breath. “I come from a long line of toasters, and-”
“Toasters?” John asks. “You mean the little machines that-”
Don’t say it, John. We covered your ass earlier with the Jedi mind trick. Don’t make us have to use it again. Teyla? Please continue.
“Mine are a proud people, steeped in the ancient arts of service and honor. One morning Teal’c,theCountRugen™ appeared at my Father’s business, in desperate need of assistance.” Her voice tightens, sorrow tingeing her words. “My father went straight to work. He was a master at his craft; there was none better.”
“So, he was a tradesmen,” John clarifies. “What was his trade? Swordmaking? Knifemaking? Carpentry?”
“He cooked breakfasts. But his true passion – what really got him out of bed in the morning – was toast. He could move a piece of bread over the fire so that it toasted evenly. Crisp and tasty on the outside while still warm and chewy on the inside. He once had a crisis of faith when the town elders voted to move from yak-based butter to goat. I was forced to go live with my third cousin twice removed for a fortnight while Father rebuilt the entire kitchen in preparation…”
John and Ronon glance at each other before turning back to Teyla. “So what happened with Teal’c,theCountRugen™?” John asks.
A gentle tear traces down Teyla’s cheek as she resumes. “When I saw Father from the corner of my eye, I stepped away from the table, taking my jacks and thanking Teal’c,theCountRugen™ for imparting his knowledge of fivesies. I hid in a corner and watched as Father brought him a feast like no man had seen before or since. With two kinds of toast and five different types of jam – can you believe it? Some people called him crazy. You never serve more than three choices of jam. But Father… Father knew best. He knew that if he could please the Count, we would be set for life.” Teyla daubed at her eyes, surreptitiously wiping her nose at the same time. She moved as if to hold Ronon’s arm for support, but it was actually just an excuse to scrub her disgusting hands on Ronon’s even dirtier shirt.
Her eyes darkened as she recounted the next part of the tale. “Teal’c,theCountRugen™ ate and ate, while my father fretted in the corner. You see, he didn’t even touch his toast. It just sat there on his plate. Mocking my father. The Count finally threw his napkin onto his plate, smearing it with the five jams. When my father asked why he hadn’t touched it, the Count had the audacity to claim that the toast was burnt. Burnt! He demanded that it be removed from his bill. I watched, staring into my father’s eyes,” she chokes back a snot bubble, “and saw the exact moment that his world crumbled. Taken from him in an instant. He had nothing to live for anymore. After the Count left, my father said he had something important to do and sent me to my room to work on my butter-application technique. To my everlasting regret, I obeyed him without question.”
“What happened?” John asked, throwing in a hand gesture to hurry Teyla up. After all, they still had to rescue Rodney.
“Father sat down and wrote me a note, which was hard since all we had in our cottage were clay tablets. Every last dime was spent on toast development. Anyway, he told me he loved me, said that there was only one way to restore honor to our family name, and hoped that I would understand someday. I found him-” Teyla gasped, biting her knuckle (all angsty, like Rodney should have back on page six). “I found him face down in the toasting fire. Dead! But that wasn’t even the worst part.” Neither Ronon nor John take the bait, so she continues, “He was burnt on one side! That is the ultimate disgrace for people from my village.” She leans over and blows her nose on a purple drapery that she had just realized was beside her.
John and Ronon look at each other, wondering if the story is over, before Ronon suddenly says, “Dun dun dunnnnnnn!” like the sting in the soundtrack of a noir film.
Quick as a flash, Teyla grabs a knife from Ronon’s hair and holds it at his throat. “What was that for?”
“I dunno,” Ronon confesses. “Just seemed like it needed a sound effect or something.” She nods as she calmly hands the knife back.
John hides his face in his hands and, like every reader still with us, wishes for the last fifteen minutes of his life back. He rolls his eyes and wipes his face, hoping to dislodge any signs of frustration found there.
“So, okay,” he drawls, looking at Teyla, “What was I saying? Oh yeah. What’s our plan?”
“I must find the six-nippled man and-”
“Yeah, yeah, we got that part. Now I need to save Rodney. Ronon? What are you going to do?”
Ronon skims the last few pages of the used paperback he’s been carrying around. “I don’t really know. Looks like I’m supposed to go find transportation of some sort.” He tosses the book over his shoulder, where it catches on the purple thing that Teyla just soiled and sticks briefly before sliding down the fabric in a manner far too disgusting to describe.
“Okay. I’m going to go get Rodney. You,” he points at Ronon, “go find us transportation. You,” he points at Teyla, “go find Teal’c,theCountRugen™.”
“Here I am!” Teal’c,theCountRugen™ calls from the end of the hall.
Teyla’s eyes narrow to slits. “I’ll be right back,” she promises before charging at the man. Upon reaching him, she cuts him with a look. “You know why I’m here, Teal’c,theCountRugen™.”
“Whatever,” the tall man replies. “I’ve been on a gluten-free diet all my life. Didn’t your father know that?” When Teyla stands taller than she ever has, he adds weakly, “It was just toast…”
Rising up on her tippietoes to be eye level with the sniveling man, she leans in for the kill. “Your father was a hamster, and your mother smells of elderberries!” she hisses. She begins blowing raspberries at the traumatized man, beating the sides of her head, each slapping sound causing Teal’c,theCountRugen™ to cringe until something snaps. He grasps the tails of his shirt, crunches up his face in terror and runs off camera, crying like a… Like a… I don’t know. Something that’s really, really sad. And cowardly.
Wait, wait, Teyla. You got that wrong. It’s your mother was a hamster, and your father smells of elderberries. Go out and come in again. I’m sure we can get Teal’c,theCountRugen™ back in here so we can redo it. Guess he’ll have to go to makeup for some touchups first, though. It’ll just-
Teyla points the finger of admonishment at the Narrator. “No,” she says defiantly. “That was intentional.”
But. But. The Pythonites! (*) They’re gonna-
She brandishes her F.o.A. once again. “No. I do not fear their hedgehog.”
After a brief break to regain her composure, she returns to John’s side, noting that Ronon has already slipped off to fulfill his assignment. “Wow… I have been preparing for that confrontation my entire life. Now that it’s passed, I don’t know what to do.”
John nods and pats Teyla’s shoulder as a gesture of support, but has no words of sage advice to offer. “Come on,” he says, pulling her back to reality. “Let’s go get Rodney.”
The pair uses a house phone to call the front desk. “Yes. I’m… You know. That Count guy. What room are Prince Lucius and Rodney in, please?”
They hear quick typing before the guest services coordinator informs them that, “They’re in the Honeymoon Suite. It’s on the same floor you’re on, Room 1150. They’re on their way back from the ceremony now, so you’d better hurry if you want to catch them before the wedding night starts.”
“Thanks,” John replies before hanging up.
They quickly find the room and tip the guards at the door to let them in. Teyla hides behind yet another purple tapestry while John lies on the bed, much like Westley at this part of The Princess Bride. They wait.
And wait some more.
And even longer.
Finally, there is movement at the door. “I’m never eating bran muffins before a banquet ever again,” Rodney says to the supposedly empty room. He crosses to his dressing table and idly fingers a knife he laid there earlier in the day, contemplating his fate.
Rodney takes one last look at his perfect ass before picking up the knife. He holds it just below his right ass-cheek and tries to psyche himself up. He closes his eyes tightly and attempts to thrust the knife in, but stops at the last second. Time after time he wills himself to do it, only to repeatedly chicken out.
“Turn around a little so I can get a better look at that ass,” John calls from the bed.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Rodney demands. “I’ve been waiting for you to say your line. You think I didn’t notice you the second I walked in here?” When John throws an odd look at Rodney, he continues, “It’s your hair. I think it’s sentient or something. It comes into a room five minutes before you do.” John laughs. “I knew you were here even before you did.”
“As did I!” a voice exclaims from the doorway. Prince Lucius stands there in full royal wedding regalia. “But you’re too late, Sheppard. He’s mine.”
“Oh, get over yourself, Lucius,” John retorts. “You two aren’t even married.”
“Of course we are,” the prince replies. “You think we get all dolled up in this formal crap for nothing?”
“I can prove it,” John says. When Lucius raises disbelieving eyebrows, John calls out, “Narrator?”
The trio looks towards the sound of the voice, and Teyla takes advantage of their distraction to blow her nose on the tapestry. “Are Lucius and Rodney married?”
No, John. But how did you know?
“Because the authors of this dreck were too lazy to write the freaking wedding scene. That’s why,” he replies.
Once again, touché.
Rodney regards the Prince. “You really are an idiot, aren’t you?” Lucius nods before realizing what he’s agreeing with. “Sincerely, a first class idiot.” Rodney thinks for a moment. “No, wait a minute, I take it back.” He pauses briefly before declaring, “If an idiot and a moron had a baby, and that baby was dropped on its head – repeatedly – and that child was hydrocephalic besides, the contents of its diaper would still have a higher IQ than you.”
Teyla claps approval and John’s eyes grow wide. He enthuses, “Wow, buddy. That was pretty darn good!” Rodney preens. John snaps at the prince, “Lucius, we’re not through.” He raises his sword to Lucius’ neck and says, “To the pane!”
The blood drains from Lucius’ face and stammers a reply. “I don’t like pain. I mean, ask anybody. Ask Rodney-”
“Not p-a-i-n, you asshole. P-a-n-e.” When Lucius doesn’t get a clue, John twitches his sword towards the glass. “Go over to the window, dumbass.”
“Ooh,” Lucius replies. “I can do that.” He looks out at what would be the rest of his wedding party (had a wedding taken place). Instead, he sees the dirty, barely literate huddled masses of his kingdom standing out his window. “Oh, my. This is bad,” he says, surveying the signs they’re holding up. Most of the placards have only a giant “X” on them. A few others have large arrows pointing to the few signs that do have actual words on them, like ‘Lucius Bad’. Or ‘Lucius Sux’. Or the most popular, variations on ‘Ur ugly and yer mama dresses you funny’. The scene shakes Lucius to his core. He fiddles with his ruffled collar and cries out, “But… But… I picked out this suit myself!” After leering at Rodney’s ass one final time, Lucius runs from the room in search of Teal’c,theCountRugen™. They end up enjoying a cathartic cry together.
“Well,” John says. “That just about does it.” He glances out the window, hoping to see Ronon and their transport, but the courtyard is filled with villagers. They seem quite content to stay put, even after John calls out, “Come on, guys. We need this space clear. We’ve got a stunt to do, and then one last scene. Move back, willya?”
Don’t worry, John. I got this.
The sound of hooves on cobblestone clears a few villagers from the area below the castle windows. As Ronon nears, the twang of a Satedan blaster can be heard as he fires into the crowd, the rest of which disperses almost instantly.
“Nice!” After a few minutes, John adds, “Thank you.”
Don’t mention it.
None of the three are that anxious to be the first to go out the window. As Teyla leans out to check her goal, John and Rodney give her a helpful push, sending her tumbling out the window. With her usual grace and favor, she lands upon her charge (though the animal looks more steer than steed) with nary a hair out of place.
After witnessing her jolting landing, John winces at Rodney and Rodney winces back. They’re each instinctively cupping their balls protectively in their hands. “Umm,” John calls down. “We’ll take the stairs.”
Once out in the Courtyard with their compatriots, lifting Rodney into his saddle and climbing onto his own beast alongside, John shares a round of glances with his compatriots. A glance that asks, ‘So what’s the plan for tomorrow?’
John grabs something from his saddlebag and tells Rodney to stand up in his stirrups. Thinking he’s about to get ‘the kiss’ (the one the movie Grandpa describes as ‘the most perfect kiss of all time‘), Rodney closes his eyes and leans closer to John. After a second of no contact he feels something brush past his ass. He opens his eyes and looks back as John settles an extra blanket on the saddle before patting it. “What the hell?”
John smirks. “I have plans for that ass. I don’t want it bruised.” With the dirtiest leer that he can muster, he adds, “Yet.”
He grabs a quick kiss from Rodney and prepares to lead them out through the castle gate. At that moment, a violent crowd (very like the one at the climax of Monty Python and the Holy Grail) appears, armed with Spam, face-slapping fish, and stuffed dead parrots. John gets his tiny band out of there as swiftly as he can, and they count themselves lucky that either the silly walks or housecoats slow the unruly crowd tremendously.
(*) Okay. So we would have explained it, but we figure those people who were going to get it, got it, and those that didn’t, stopped reading.