Rascals - Chapter 7

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A less than enthused O'Neill walked into the mess hall, following Teal'c and the children. He so did not feel like he deserved this! Fortunately, it was almost 8 PM Sunday evening and there were not that many in the room.

Unfortunately, for the same reason, there were also not much food left to choose from.

"Looks like it'll have to be fried...something with mashed potatoes and veggies." O'Neill said, studying the contents of the counter. He picked up a fork and poked at the undefinable fried meat. It was covered with a thick shell of batter.

"It's chicken nuggets formed as steaks!" The kitchen assistant said, a little offended. "They were my idea, and I think they're cool!"

"Of course!" O'Neill said, rolling his eyes at her as soon as she turned her back to them. "OK, chicken...steaks for everyone!"

He took one look at the children and realised there was no way they could reach high enough to load anything onto their trays themselves. He put the trays on the counter and began loading up - 'chicken', mashed potatoes, gravy, some sort of vegetables, a couple bread rolls...

"Can I have pie? Please, sir?" Lantash asked, having managed to pull himself up high enough on one of the counters to spot the desserts.

"Me too, Jack?" Daniel begged.

"What kind of pie is it?" Sam wanted to know. "Sir." She quickly added.

O'Neill looked at Teal'c. "Do you think Doctor Fraiser will mind?"

"She said the children needed 'real food'. Pie is real food."

"Good enough for me!" He looked at Garshaw. "You want pie, too?"

She nodded. "Yes." Yosuuf answered.

"OK." O'Neill shoveled up pie and vanilla cream on plates and put it on the trays. When he had added a glass of milk for each of the children - and coffee for himself, and orange juice for Teal'c - he realised they had six full trays. Even if he and Teal'c could maybe handle two each, it was unlikely the children could carry the remaining two. "A little help, here, please?" He asked the cashier.

The woman grinned, seeing all the food. Then she noticed the children. She smiled at them.

"Oooh, they're adorable! All four of them wearing cute little uniforms! Are those three triplets?" She pointed at Sam, Daniel, and Lantash.

"No, they're not." O'Neill said, looking at them. True, they did look somewhat alike at this age, all of them with blond hair and blue - or blue-grey - eyes.

They had managed to get all the food over to a table and now sat around it.

Sam suspiciously - and very carefully - cut a small piece off the chicken and tasted it. She made a face and put the fork down.

"Do you want me to help you cut the meat?" O'Neill asked.

"No. I'm not gonna eat it. It's vile."

Daniel, Martouf, and Yosuuf had been listening intently. They promptly put down their utensils as well.

O'Neill groaned. He cut off a piece of his own chicken and tasted it. Not too bad, but not great either, he had to admit. He loaded up gravy and mashed potatoes together with the meat. That was much better. The gravy was a bit greasy, but it effectively hid the taste - and more importantly - the texture of the chicken nugget.

"It's much better if you hide it under the other stuff. See?" He shoveled a large fork-full into his mouth. "Mmmm..."

Sam looked at him with scorn, clearly not believing him.

Martouf carefully speared a piece of carrot and held it up, studying it. The vegetable was quite soft and fell off the fork, sploshing down into the mashed potatoes and gravy. A small amount hit Teal'c on his sleeve.

"Sorry, sir." Martouf looked guiltily at him.

Teal'c just raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

Martouf carefully picked up the carrot with his fingers and put it in his mouth. He chewed it slowly, a disgusted expression slowly spreading on his face.

"I know what we need..." O'Neill got up and went to the counter, grabbing a large bottle of ketchup. He placed it on the table. "Put this on. If you just use enough, it will hide everything else. Trust me, I have much experience with the food here in the mess hall."

With the help of the ketchup, most of the food slowly went down. When O'Neill noticed Daniel had started building a fortress out of the last of the mashed potatoes and some peas, he decided it was time for the dessert. He removed the plates with the last of the offending food and put them on the table behind him.

"So - time for dessert!" O'Neill smiled and put the plates in front of the children who immediately got a happier expression.


Just as the children were about to eat their dessert, SG-2 came into the mess hall, having just returned from a mission. They were tired and hungry, but smiled at the children nonetheless.

"I hadn't noticed we'd started hiring them that young - is Anubis being a bigger problem than I knew?" Major Michael Griff said.

"Very funny!" O'Neill snorted.

"These are the unfortunate victims of an alien machine, which transformed them into children." Teal'c informed him.

Griff and the other members of SG-2 guffawed.

"And here I suspected Jaffa didn't have a sense of humour!"

"He's telling the truth. Unfortunately." O'Neill said, looking so unhappy that the other SG-team members shut up.

"You're not kidding?" They gaped at him, throwing surprised looks at the children.

"I'm Major Carter!" the little blond-haired girl proclaimed.

"And I am Grand Councilor Garshaw of the Tok'ra." A little girl with dark hair told them, her voice distorted in the way usual for symbiotes.

That convinced them!

"Uh...how did this happen?" Griff asked, nervously.

O'Neill sighed and quickly related the story, not wanting to wait for Daniel or someone else to do it. SG-2 finally left them alone, but they snickered now and then. Especially when one of the now very young Tok'ra or SG-1 team-members said or did something that made it very clear they really were small children.

Garshaw had cut off a piece of her pie and carefully poked at it with her spoon. "What is in it?" She asked, suspiciously.

"Apple." Teal'c informed her.

"I do not like that! It is sour!"

"Our apples are sweet. Try it!" O'Neill said quickly, sending Teal'c a warning look. "Besides, I think it's pear, not apple."

Garshaw looked at him, disbelieving.

"It's good." Daniel told her.

"If you don't want it, I will eat it for you." Lantash offered.

"See? The others like it! I'm sure you'll love it! Why don't you just try a little bit?" O'Neill took her spoon and shoveled up some pie with vanilla cream on. He moved it close to her mouth, which she immediately pressed tightly together. "Please?"

"Apples are good for you. There is a Tau'ri saying...an apple every 24 hours will effectively repel physicists."

"Doctor's, Teal'c. Physicians - not physicists!" O'Neill said, exasperated.

"The saying goes, 'An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.'" Daniel smiled. "It means if you eat apples - or fruit in general - you'll rarely get sick and need a doctor."

"I can heal almost any illness or injury!" Garshaw declared. "I do not need this fruit."

SG-2 were by now laughing loudly. O'Neill turned to them. "Very funny! I'd like to see you wise-guys do any better!"

"Offer her something she wants in return for eating." Griff suggested.

"It's a very bad idea to bribe kids - I learned that a long time ago!" O'Neill said.

"I will try this pie if I get some of that!" She pointed at the large glass of cola one of the members of SG-2 was drinking. "It looks great!"

O'Neill shook his head, then got up and went to fetch her some, no longer caring if what he did set a bad precedence.

"Can I have some too, Jack?" Daniel called after him.

O'Neill did not say anything, he just returned with 4 large glasses of cola and put one in front of each of the children. They each happily grabbed a glass.

Martouf took a large drink from it, through the straw. He wrinkled his nose a little, as the bubbles from the carbonation tickled.

"Lantash says this is not healthy...but it tastes good!"

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