"Here it is Carter," Jack said as he pulled the sedan up to a house, "Home sweet home."
Sam rubbed her eyes, they felt gritty. Looking outside, she had to suppress a sigh. At least she got to choose the names.
The house in question was two stories, with a large deck off one side, steps leading up to the front door and Pepto-Bismol pink. As Sam watched, a large German Shepherd paused to do its business on the lawn. "The van should be here soon," Jack said as he consulted his watch, "We should probably get the house opened up."
Sam agreed and got out of the car, stretching her cramped leg muscles. The other houses on the street were of a similar style to theirs. but none of them were such a nauseating colour. Jack popped the truck and began hauling out their overnight bags.
"Well Mrs. Callaghan, let's go take a look at our new digs." Jack slammed the trunk shut and gingerly made his way across the lawn.
"You're on pooper scooper duty." Sam said sourly as she narrowly avoided a collision that could have ruined her sandals. "Did you ever actually see any pictures of this place sir?"
Jack shook his head, "No, I didn't and remember the name's Charles. Lisa." he added with a wink.
"Alright Charles." Sam said, putting exaggerated emphasis on the name.
They reached the door and Jack set down the bags and rummaged around in his pocket for the keys, "I know they're in here somewhere..." he muttered. "Ah!" Jack said as he produced a set of two keys from the depths of his pocket.
He unlocked the dead bolt first, then the door knob, "We probably don't need to use both the locks. Just the dead bolt should suffice." Sam shrugged and began to move towards the entrance. Jack put out his hand to stop her.
"Don't I get to carry you over the threshold?"
Sam shot Jack a withering glare and Jack backed away. "I think you're enjoying this a bit too much, sir." Sam said as she neatly stepped over the bags and into the house.
The house was situated on a quiet street, in a quiet neighbourhood, in a quiet town. On the outside, it would appear that nothing much ever happened in this small town. If that were the case, then there would be no need for two well-trained United States military officers to put up the facade of a newly wed couple purchasing their first home. There had been some deliberation over the fact that Colonel O'Neill was much too old to be a newly wed, but that was quickly put aside, as he was the best man for the job. It was then decided that Major Carter would act as his wife, as she was also well trained in matters pertaining to the task at hand. Mr and Mrs Charles Callaghan were married in a small ceremony and soon purchased their home.
In this small, quiet town lived an evil of almost unimaginable proportions. Unimaginable that is, to anyone living outside the Stargate program. Most people went about their days, blissfully unaware to the organism known as a Goa'uld; a parasitic life-form that takes human hosts.
Mr. Stanley La Grupa, auto mechanic, generally friendly, plays baseball, just your average American male, or so it would seem. The government had been keeping intelligence on Mr. La Grupa for quite some time now. They believed that Mr La Grupa was in fact a Goa'uld. It is unknown how a Goa'uld managed to get into him or who this Goa'uld believes itself to be.
The mission for Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter is simple. Infiltrate the life of Mr. La Grupa. Get to know the man. Colonel O'Neill at first believed that this was ridiculous, it would be obvious to anyone that Mr La Grupa wasn't quite normal, because for one thing, his voice would have a distinct mechanic quality to it, and for another, he would probably be going around demanding that everyone worship him. Major Carter then informed him that it likely that the Goa'uld may not have complete control over Mr. La Grupa. That changed everything.
Sam wrinkled her nose as she stepped into the house, "It smells like something died in here." she said, fanning her hand in front of her face.
Jack shrugged, "Maybe something did. I noticed that the basement window was open a bit. It's not impossible that something could have crawled in through the window, been unable to leave, and eventually died."
"I'm going to open up the windows. You can check the basement."
Jack scowled, just a bit, and then went to find the steps leading to the basement. Sam smiled as Jack headed off to do her bidding. This marriage was turning out to be rather promising. Sam then turned her attention to opening the windows.
Inside, the house wasn't bad. Sure the brown living room carpet left something to be desired, but it was in reasonably good shape. The kitchen had hard wood floors and the bedrooms, all two of them, were carpeted with a plush blue. The bathroom boasted a large tub, with jacuzzi jets and a shower head. Sam turned the tap on and watched as the water, which was initially brown, ran itself clear.
"Hey Carter, can you come down here for a sec, and bring a plastic bag if you can find one?"
Sam knew she had packed several plastic bags in her overnight bag and went to get one. She wasn't sure that she wanted to know what Jack had found in the basement.
The steps leading down the basement were narrow, and uncarpeted. The basement itself was unfinished. Jack was crouched over the far corner, poking at something with a metal rod.
"Did you a find a bag?" Jack asked, as he heard Sam's footfalls on the bare cement.
"Yes, I had a few in my overnight bag." She approached him, trying not to breathe in through her nose, and handed a bag to him.
Jack took the bag and positioned it beside what Sam determined to be a dead cat.
"How could a cat die down here?" Sam asked, feeling somewhat concerned, "It should have easily been able to get back out."
Jack stopped prodding the cat long enough to gesture over to another corner with his rod, "I think that might be some kind of poison in the dish over there. Probably meant for rats, but if a hungry kitty found it first."
"That's terrible." Sam said, as she watched Jack push the cat into the bag, "We should bury it."
Jack tied the bag up and stood up, his knees protesting from having been crouched down for so long, "You said you had more bags?" Sam nodded.
"That's good, because I think we're going to want more than one bag wrapped around this cat. You wanna shut the window on your way up? We don't need any visitors."
Sam went over to the window, and with much effort, managed to get it closed and locked. The basement creeped her out a bit, so Sam hurriedly ran back up the stairs and shut the door at the top.
"Where do you want this one, ma'am?"
Sam turned to look at the mover holding a large china barrel, "The dining room please."
Jack came over to Sam and stood beside her, "They've got a few more boxes and then that's it."
Sam nodded, "Now we just have to unpack all this stuff." She lowered her voice, "It seems rather pointless though, to go to all that work, we aren't going to be here long."
"I know, but we have to invite people over and stuff. We can only excuse the boxes for so long."
"Where do you want this one sir?"
Jack looked at the mover holding a wardrobe box, "In the master bedroom."
"Doesn't it seem odd to you that no one is outside watching the van being unloaded?" Sam asked, pointing to the large window that allowed them a view of the street. "Every time we moved when I was a kid, the streets would practically be lined with people watching, wanting to help, it was like we were the circus."
"It is a little unusual, but maybe everyone is at work or school."
"I thought that the women were all supposed to be bringing casseroles by to welcome us to the neighbourhood." Sam said, "I was hoping that I wouldn't have to cook for the next week."
"All our credit card bills go to the government," Jack said, "We could eat out all the time."
"What kind of newly wed couple continually eats out? We have to keep up the act." Sam said, practically whispering.
Outside, the movers were taking up the ramp from the van and shutting the back doors. Jack excused himself from Sam and went out to see them off.
"Thanks again for all the help guys!" Jack said, trying to sound enthusiastic.
One of the movers nodded, "We've already received payment for this job, so there's nothing left for you folks to do except unpack."
"Lisa can't wait to start decorating!" Jack said, knowing full well that Sam would refuse to do anything but put a few paintings on the wall.
The mover smiled and hopped into the van, "You two have a good life now, ya hear?"
Jack nodded and waved at the van as it drove off down the street. Just as Jack was ready to head back into the house, a small red car parked in front of the house across the street. Jack watched a man unfolded himself from it. He was tall, with dark hair that was almost black. Jack noticed that he was wearing dirty coveralls.
The man waved at Jack, a smile crossing his face revealing teeth so white that from his place across the street, Jack could see them clearly.
"Hey!" the man called over to Jack, "You must be the new couple that we heard was moving in!"
Jack looked both ways before crossing the street. He approached the man, noting that he had brown eyes. "Name's Charles Callaghan." Jack said, extending a hand.
The man took it and pumped it enthusiastically, "Stanley La Grupa, but you can call me Stan."
Jack nodded, noticing that his voice was indeed normal and his eyes were not glowing. "Good to meet ya Stan."
"Is your wife inside?" Stan asked, nodding in the direction of Jack's house.
"Yep, she's probably already getting started on the unpacking."
"Moving's a real bitch." Stan said, "I've done it more than a couple of times myself. What brings you two to a place like this?"
Mentally Jack went over the rehearsed lines, "Well Lisa and me, we just got married about a week ago, we're looking for some place nice and quiet to settle down and start a family."
"You've sure picked the right place then, but if you don't mind me asking, you look a bit old to be just a starting a family, is this a second marriage kind of deal?"
Jack was a bit taken back by this man's forwardness, "Yes, Lisa's my second wife." That part wasn't in the script, but Jack didn't see any harm in saying it.
"I'd love to meet her sometime. Maybe when I'm not looking like a car barfed all over me!"
Jack laughed for an appropriate amount of time at the man's attempt at humour, "Well, I'd best get back to Lisa, make sure that she hasn't started wallpapering without me!"
Stan smiled, "It's sure nice to have some new folks around." he said, and turned on his heels and headed up the walk to his house.
"Who was that you were talking to out there?" Sam asked when Jack got back to the house.
"Our resident Goa'uld. Mr La Grupa himself." Jack said as he looked around, "I see that you've been busy."
Sam rolled her eyes and kicked one of the boxes, "I hate moving, besides I'm tired, I don't feel like opening any boxes."
"Fair enough. You hungry?"
Sam nodded, "Famished."
"I think that it would be normal enough for us to go out to dinner tonight, after all, we probably don't have the pans unpacked yet."
Sam was already at the door and putting her sandals on. "What do you feel like?" she called to Jack.
"I feel too damn old for this whole thing." Jack replied.
"That wasn't what I meant. What do you want for supper?"
"Pizza? Chinese? Italian? I don't really care. I say that we just get in the car and drive until we find a restaurant."
"Sounds good to me." Sam said as she pulled on her jacket.
The day was quickly turning into evening and the air was getting chilly. It was a pleasant temperature after the sweltering heat of the afternoon. "We still have to bury the cat." Sam said, getting into the car.
"I know. We can do that when we get home. I don't feel like burying it before I eat."
"Where did you put it anyway?"
"The cat?" Sam nodded.
"Oh, I put it under the deck."
"Just so long as it isn't in the house any more. Do you suppose that we could get the house painted?"
"Why? You said yourself that we aren't going to be here long."
Sam tugged at the seatbelt as it dug into her neck, "I know, but I don't know if I can stand living in a pink house for any length of time."
Jack laughed, "It is pretty horrid, isn't it. Well, I guess we could hire some painters. It would be the normal thing to do. Most people don't want to live in a pink house."
"I can't believe that we agreed to do this."
Jack stopped at a red light, "We didn't really have much choice. The President himself hand picked us for this assignment."
"If Mr La Grupa really is a Goa'uld," Sam said, "I should know it the first time I get into close proximity with him. If he is, I don't see why we can't just call in a SWAT team to deal with him."
"I guess they want us to get to know him."
"Mr La Grupa, or the Goa'uld?"
"Both, if possible. I think that a Chinese restaurant up ahead on the right."
Sam looked out the window, "Well with a name like Hoy Ping's Chinese Kitchen, I think that's a pretty safe bet."
Jack flicked on the turn signal and pulled into the lot. "How are we supposed to get to the Goa'uld?" Sam asked, "It's not as if we can go up to him and say 'Excuse me sir, would you mind if we chatted with your Goa'uld for a few minutes?'"
"I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Jack said, throwing open his door, "But if you don't mind Carter, I'm hungry and I'd like to get something eat. No more talking about Goa'ulds, it really suppresses my appetite."
"Do you think we could get Daniel, Teal'c or Janet up here to visit us?"
Jack waited for Sam to get her jacket unravelled from the side mirrors, "Well, I guess we could pass Janet or Daniel off as relatives, but Teal'c?"
"He could just be a friend coming for a visit." Sam said, tugging her jacket back down around her waist.
"We'll have to see what Hammond and the rest of the boys up high have to say about that one."
Jack pushed open the door to the restaurant and breathed in the aroma of fresh Chinese food. Sam stepped in ahead of him and they stood behind the sign that read, "Please wait to be seated" The restaurant was empty save for a young man seated at a corner table, but they waited anyway.
"Table for two?" Jack smiled and nodded at a young Chinese woman, who picked up two menus from the holder on the wall, "Smoking or non?"
"Non please." Sam said politely.
"Right this way then." Sam and Jack followed the woman to a table on the other side of the room from the young man.
"What is it with this town?" Sam asked, opening her menu, "It's like everyone locks themselves up in their homes and never leave."
Jack checked his watch, "It's only six, maybe it's still too early for the supper crowd. People must go out, otherwise restaurants wouldn't be here."
"Can I take your drink orders?" asked the same young woman.
Sam and Jack both ordered iced teas and told the woman that they still needed a few minutes to decide on the food.
"I say that we go for this platter for two." Jack said, stabbing his finger at the menu.
Sam nodded, "Sounds good to me. I'm so hungry right now that I'd eat almost anything." As if to back up that statement, Sam's stomach growled.
"I'm gonna find the washrooms, I didn't get a chance to wash my hands before leaving the house." Jack said, standing up and looked around. There was a sign for the washrooms on the wall, right above a door.
Sam watched Jack go, trying not to notice his jeans and leather jacket. "Are you ready to order now?" Sam looked up at the smiling face of the waitress, who was taking drinks off a tray.
"Uh yeah, I am. We'll get this platter for two here." she said, pointing at the menu.
"Ah yes, very good choice!" the waitress said, gathering up the menus. Sam smiled at the woman and watched her walk away.
Sam looked out the window as she waited for Jack to return. A few cars drove by, their headlights flashing in the window. Across the street was a hardware store, closed for the night. "Did you order?"
Jack sat back down again and Sam nodded, "Yeah, about a minute ago."
Jack took a sip of his iced tea and then pushed it away, "Wow, that's sweet."
Sam took a small sip and grimaced, "Extremely sweet. I can't even taste the tea. It's like sugar water with a bit of lemon flavour."
"I knew I should have ordered some cola, at least that always tastes the same no matter where you go."
Sam smiled and took another small sip of her sugar water. She and Jack then passed the time until their food arrived with idle conversation.