...in the Ballroom with the Rope by Aurora Novarum
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Category: General
Genres: Friendship, Humor, PWP - Plot, What Plot?, Team
Rated: All Ages
Warnings: None
Series: None
Summary: Stuck in quarantine, an extended SG-1 decides to wile away the time with board games.

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Story Notes:
Set ostensibly as a 200 tag, it's just all the SG-1 incarnations together.
It was their fourth day stuck in quarantine at the Alpha Site, and SG-1 was starting to go stir-crazy. Teal'c had hidden the base copy of "Wizard of Oz" to prevent General O'Neill from making the team watch it for the hundredth time that week.

They'd originally gone to the Alpha Site for the finalization of the treaty with the Brakavka, an advanced race who took great stock in large numbers and grand ceremony, so various other allies and all available SG units were attending with balloons and streamers and cake–the cake had been General O'Neill's idea. When SG-1 realized Cam was counting his gate travels and that the Brakavka treaty would be mission 200, the team decided to surprise Cam with their own side-mission. 30185 was to be a reunion of SG-1 current and former members, including Jonas Quinn, who arranged to be the Langaran representative for the event.

The concurrent events were a great success, until the Brakavka's favorite ally and honored guest presented their floral gift to SG-9 that turned out to be toxic to humans...and Jaffa on tretonin. The other teams, Tok'ra delegations, and Jaffa were either not exposed or immune and therefore free to leave, but SG-1 and SG-9 got the full brunt of the toxin and were forced to remain until it worked through their systems. The stomach illness had seemed to run its course a couple days ago, but test results still showed enough toxin to be a concern.

So here the two teams were, stuck in quarantine on the Alpha Site until the medical team was certain they were fine. SG-9, probably already suspecting another movie night with O'Neill would be in the near future, claimed concerns about a relapse and called it an early night, so only SG-1 remained in the recreation room.

That's when O'Neill discovered the board games.

"Clue?" Jonas looked at the cover of the thin cardboard box the general threw on the table, studying the detail with interest.

"Wow, I haven't played that for ages." Sam opened the box. "It's a mystery game. Process of elimination for a murder. You've got so many people, weapons, and rooms, and have to figure out who did it, where, and with what. Mark always beat me to the answer."

Cameron laughed at the scowl on her face. "Knowing you, that's probably because you insisted on eliminating every other possibility before declaring you knew."

"What's wrong with that?"

Cameron raised his hands in surrender at Sam's fierce glare. "Nothing, if you're conducting naquadah experiments. I've just found 'Clue' requires a bit of...intuition."

"Really? Sounds like my kind of game." Vala was looking at the game board. "Is this a blueprint to an actual house? It seems quite large, with lots of space to hide treasure."

"Probably not," Daniel answered, "but there are plenty of ones that could look like this, I suppose...which you are not going to visit."

"Of course not," Vala's expression remained innocent. "It's just...this 'game' is sounding familiar."

"I agree, Vala Mal Doran," Teal'c said as he looked at the cover. "There is something vaguely familiar about this scenario."

"Never mind that, Teal'c, we've got to sort the players." Cam was lining up the different colored pieces while Jack started sorting the deck.

"Which one is she?" Vala pointed to an attractive looking woman on the cover Teal'c still held who was wearing a skintight outfit.

"That would be Miss Scarlett," Cameron held out the red piece which Vala snatched out his hand.

She looked around to see all the Earth-born members of SG-1 looking at her, amused. "What?"

"Let's just say it suits you." Daniel answered, looking down at the piece Mitchell tossed at him. "Why do I get purple?"

"Because it's 'Professor' Plum, Jackson," Mitchell shook his head as if Daniel was being unusually dense.

"I'm not the only PhD here," Daniel muttered, but placed his piece on the board.

Cameron held up the yellow piece, "General, care to be Colonel Mustard?"

Jack looked at the remaining pieces. "What's blue?"

Sam responded. "Mrs. Peacock."

Jack swiped the yellow piece. "Mustard it is."

Teal'c frowned. "I have seen this movie."

Vala brightened. "Yes! That's why this is so familiar. We watched this together, Muscles."

"Indeed."

Daniel frowned, furrowing his eyebrows. "They made a movie out of a board game? That's...maybe not surprising."

"I am surprised they made a board game out of the movie, Daniel Jackson." Teal'c countered. He palmed one of the remaining pieces before anyone spoke further. "I will be Mister Green. He was a shrewd warrior in one version of the film."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot about the alternate endings." Cam absently tossed out one of the remaining pieces in his hand to Sam and started rummaging in the box for more. "That was a good flick--Madeline Khan, Christopher Lloyd, that guy who played Lenny on Laverne & Shirley...um what's his name."

"Michael McKean," Jonas answered.

They all stared at Jonas in surprise. "What? I didn't watch the Weather Channel all the time. It was research."

"Tell me about it," Vala answered. "It's unbelievable how many cultural references are thrown into everyday conversation around here. 'TV Land' should be required study for visitors."

Cam, Jack, and Daniel just exchanged looks. Meanwhile, Sam was looking at the piece she'd been tossed by Cam and frowning. "Why am I Mrs. White? I got stuck with her as a kid all the time. She was the maid."

Cam countered, "She was pretty smart in the movie--a guest, not a domestic servant."

"Really?" Sam perked up and looked at her piece again, not catching the suddenly worried expression that crossed Cameron's face as he seemed to remember something else.

Vala said, "Oh yes, I remember her. She was the one who'd killed all her prior lovers."

Sam dropped the piece to the board with a clatter and glared at Cam. Meekly, Cam held out the blue piece. "Want to trade?"

Sam cocked her head as if considering. Not shifting her glare from Cam, she asked Vala and Teal'c, "What was Mrs. Peacock like in the movie?"

"Oh, she was an idiot," Vala dismissed lightly as Teal'c quirked an eyebrow.

Sam graced Cam with a dangerously sweet smile. "You can keep Mrs. Peacock, Cam."

Cam winced but wisely did not answer. Instead, he directed his attention to pulling apart the rest of the box. "Okay... I cannot find another piece here. We still need one for Jonas, or I'll bow out."

"Or I can," Daniel offered, holding up his purple piece.

"Team activity," Jack glared. He appeared to be still annoyed that ''Wizard of Oz'' was not on the agenda.

"That's all right, really." Jonas answered. "I'm fine watching."

"No, that's ridiculous. There's got to be another piece." Mitchell shook the empty box.

"Perhaps he can be Mr. Boddy," Vala was reading the rules on the inside of the cover now.

"Who's Mr. Boddy?" Jonas asked.

"The corpse." Vala frowned. "This game isn't the most subtle, is it?"

"Mr. Boddy isn't a piece, Vala. He's just the premise," Sam explained.

"How can you solve a murder if there's no Boddy? You need to have a body–corpus delecti."

Daniel groaned. "You've got to stop watching Court TV."

"Can Jonas not be Wadsworth?" Teal'c asked, changing the subject.

Mitchell snapped his fingers. "I forgot about him! Tim Curry! He was the butler!"

"That's right!" Vala chimed in. "The butler did it!"

"You've got to be kidding." Daniel rolled his eyes.

"Only in one version of the film," Teal'c corrected. "It is quite remiss for him not to be on the board game."

"We'll have to make do with a different game piece." Cam snapped his fingers. "I got it."

He pulled out another board game from the dusty shelves and started rummaging through its contents, finally pulling out a small piece for Jonas. "Here."

"What game is this?" Vala started touching the various colorful bills inside.

"Monopoly."

She looked at the box cover, skimming the rules. "It looks fascinating. There's even a banker. Can we play this next?"

Jack, Cam, Sam, and Daniel all looked at each other before chorusing, "No."

Jonas was studying his piece. "I'm a car?"

"I picked the coolest piece from the game. You'd rather be the thimble?" He held up another piece.

"Uh, no. Car is good."

"Okay, so we've got the weapons, we've got the people and we've got the board." Cam looked around, noting the blank expressions on Teal'c, Jonas's, and Vala's faces. "Ah, but maybe we should go over the rules..."

He proceeded to go over the highlights. When he got to the part about moving another player's token into a room for a "suggestion", Sam protested.

"That is not how you play. You can only put things there, not people. It screws up where the other players want to go."

No one else noticed the wicked grin momentarily flash across Vala's face.

Cam shook his head. "That's how I've always played, moving the people and the weapons."

Daniel backed him up. "That's how we played when I was growing up too, Sam. But we could check the rules."

"Yes, let's do that." Sam's expression was one of determination as she reached for the box, but the general pulled the cover out of her grasp and tossed it across the room.

"Ack! I want to get this show on the road. We'll go the way Mitchell said." Jack held up one Clue card that had no picture, just writing on the back. "Jonas's butler dude is signified by this card. Just add him onto your pads. Can we start now?"

Without waiting for a response, he shuffled the three piles and stuck one card from each into the envelope, piling the others and dealing them out amongst the team.

Cam handed the die over to Sam, clearly trying to make up for the Mrs. White fiasco. "Ladies first?"

Vala opened her mouth to speak, but jumped as Cam kicked her under the table.

The game went fine at first, Jonas became fascinated with the "secret passages" of a few rooms, bouncing between them several times in his turns.

As play continued, Daniel became irritated at a pattern he noticed emerging. After the fourth time of being snatched by "Miss Scarlett" to be a suspect, this time as he was one turn away from finally about to reach the library, he erupted.

"Will you stop suggesting Professor Plum in every room?"

Vala blinked innocently. "Can I help it if you're a very suspicious character, Daniel?"

"But I already sho–" He shut his mouth quickly, but not quickly enough as Sam and Jonas checked off boxes in their suspect pad. "Look, just...there's six other people to play with. Leave my guy alone."

"Throwing you off your game, 'Professor'?" Vala asked with too innocent glee.

Daniel's eyes narrowed and his jaw set as he sneered at her. "You wish."

"Children, play nice." Jack interrupted and showed a card so only Vala could see. "I believe you asked about the professor here in the ballroom with a wrench, 'Miss Scarlett'?"

"Thank you, 'Colonel'." Vala nodded briskly and marked her paper.

After Teal'c and Jonas took their turns, it was time for Jack again, who had just reached the conservatory. He immediately suggested Professor Plum in the room with the revolver, plucking Daniel's piece and redepositing it in the new room.

"Jack!"

"Daniel..."

"The purpose of the game is to find out 'whodunnit', not 'annoy Daniel'."

"But when you can accomplish both..."

Teal'c smoothly interrupted. "Were you not the one suggesting 'nice' play, O'Neill?"

Teal'c showed a card to Jack, who narrowed his eyes shrewdly as he noticed Daniel also making a notation in his book. Daniel apparently noticed the attention because he looked up at Jack with a dangerous smile, blinking innocently. "What?"

Jack shook his head and waved for Cam to take his turn, but the competitive edge already present sparked dangerously around the table as play continued. Daniel's expression became more predatory as he discovered the advantage of being bounced into different rooms during Vala's and Jack's turns.

That's why it was to the surprise of everyone when Jonas who made the first "accusation" of Miss Scarlett in the kitchen with the lead pipe. He opened the envelope to peek and his face fell in disappointment.

"I guess I'm out." He slumped back in his chair after tossing the clue envelope back into the center of the board. "I was certain 'Miss Scarlett' was using the professor to mask her own guilt. It was just a matter of making a guess at which room, so I figured the kitchen, the pipe..."

Everyone blinked at him. Sam spoke first. "Jonas, I thought we explained, it was process of elimination to figure out who did it. We're not playing our characters, and there's no logic to the weapon and location. It's just random."

"Besides I would certainly be more circumspect than using a blunt object like the pipe." Vala appeared affronted at being accused of murder.

"Oh. I mean, I knew that, but I guess I just thought..." Jonas still appeared puzzled. "So I didn't need to be observing that Colonel Mitchell scratches his throat when he's about to bluff on a suspicion?"

"What?" Cam jerked his hand off where it was scratching his throat.

"Perhaps poker should be the next game we play." Teal'c arced an eyebrow.

"I don't think so." Cam shook his head and tried to ignore the appraising looks the rest of his team and their former comrades were giving him.

Game play continued for another half dozen rounds before Jack grabbed the clue envelope an instant before Daniel, shouting "J'accuse!"

"J'accuse?" Sam blinked.

"Yeah, like those mystery detectives." Jack countered.

Daniel was glaring at his friend. "It wasn't even your turn. Your turn was over, it was mine!"

"Nope, between times, fair game for everyone." Jack shook his head smugly.

"I've known the answer since Sam's last suspicion, I've just been waiting for my chance..." Daniel protested.

"Ah-ah. Don't be sore."

"Now I know why you threw the rules away...sir." Sam added belatedly as she glared at both Jack and Daniel. She turned to the latter, incredulous. "You figured it out after my turn?"

Daniel shrugged. "Process of elimination. And we still don't know if he's right. Well, Hercule?"

Jack's smile was enough for Daniel to sigh in defeat. The general dramatically pointed at Teal'c as he laid out the cards for all to see. "It was Mister Green in the ballroom with the rope."

A still-disgruntled Sam studied his paper. "How did you get the rope? You still have two other weapons without checks!"

"Lucky guess, and going by what else was mentioned. Keep it all up here, Carter." He tapped his head.

Sam huffed out a frustrated breath while Daniel bit his lip to prevent speaking a less than kind retort. Meanwhile, Jonas was looking puzzled from his position beside Teal'c. "Teal'c, you had all the answers already."

"Indeed. I knew two rounds before O'Neill's accusation. But the answer should not be correct."

"Lemme see." Cam took the paper. "Jonas is right. Teal'c, the cards are right there. You had it covered, man, why didn't you speak up?"

"Because Mister Green would not have used the rope with the other choices available. Nor would he do it in the open space of the ballroom. That is not how it happened in the movie. Yvette was killed with the rope in the hallway."

"Who's Yvette?" Sam blinked.

"The maid," Cam answered.

"I thought Mrs. White was the maid." Daniel answered.

"Not in the movie. We've been over this part already." Vala huffed as if bored and leaned back in her chair, stretching out to take up half of Daniel's and Teal'c's chairs as well as her own. "So Teal'c figured it all out."

"Hey, Teal'c didn't give the answer, I did." Jack protested.

"By cheating," Daniel muttered.

"I believe this game is flawed....I prefer the movie," Teal'c intoned.

"All right, game over. Let's pick something else." Jack stalked over to the shelves to see what other games were left. "How did 'the Sweet Valley High' game end up here?"

Teal'c opened his mouth to respond, but Jack quickly overrode him. "Ack! Never mind, it was rhetorical. How about 'Risk'?"

"What's it about?" Jonas asked.

"World domination," Daniel answered.

Vala made a face of distaste as Sam asked, "Isn't that what we fight in our day jobs?"

"Good point," said Cam as he joined Jack over by the game section. "There's Trivial Pursuit'...and hey it looks like someone made up SGC version game cards! Even the aliens can play...er, no offense, guys."

"Someone seems to have too much down time in their duty roster," Jack frowned.

"It sounds interesting," Jonas got up to look at the game board.

"Trivia sounds too much like Daniel's work..." Vala yawned.

"Hey!"

She continued as if Daniel hadn't interrupted."I think Muscles had the right idea and we should play poker next."

"Sounds good to me," Sam responded.

"Oh, I don't think so." Cam was trying too hard to change the subject. "And isn't it getting late? Hey, check out what I found. Yahtzee!"

"What is it?" asked Jonas.

"A dice game–set up like poker, but no bluffing," Jack rolled his eyes. "Which if you asked me defeats the purpose."

"Aw, come on, sir. I think it sounds great. Yes, Yahtzee." Cam looked like he dodged a bullet as he opened the box. "What the hell...?"

He pulled out several multi-sided die and spreadsheet-like sheets listing a much larger combination of scoring options.

"Way too much downtime," Jack repeated as he closed the box lid.. "Poker it is."

"Sounds good to me," said Jonas.

"But I..."

"Face it, Mitchell, you're outnumbered." Daniel said.

"That's what I'm afraid of. "

They were interrupted by Doctor Lam's voice sounding over the intercom. "General O'Neill?"

Jack headed over to the intercom. "O'Neill here."

"General, the latest results have come back showing you, SG-1 and SG-9, are all clear of toxins. You can come back to Stargate Command. I'd like to keep you all, and Mr. Quinn, overnight here for observation, but otherwise, I think there's no more danger."

"Yes!" Mitchell whooped, only looking vaguely more chastised at the look O'Neill shot him. The glare didn't diminish the looks of relief on everyone else's face.

"Understood. We'll be back within ten. O'Neill out." He released the intercom, letting his own gleeful relief show on his face while he had his back to the others. He schooled his expression back to hard-nosed general when he looked back, but it was clear he wasn't fooling anyone–not even the usually more intimidated Jonas Quinn or Cameron Mitchell. Sounding gruff, he pointed to the door. "Daniel, can you awaken our sleeping beauties and tell them the train's leaving?"

"Sure, Jack." Daniel grinned as he left, elbowing Mitchell as he walked by, "Saved by the bell."

Jonas eyed the other games. "We'll still be stuck together a bit longer. Perhaps we should bring one of these back with us?"

Jack eyed the Sweet Valley High and corrupted Yahtzee games. "No."

"Perhaps we can requisition the Clue movie from the base library," Teal'c suggested.

"Works for me," Cam suggested, avoiding Sam's glare.

"Or 'Wizard of Oz," Vala suggested.

"Or not," Teal'c responded with an intimidating glower as he followed his teammates out of the room.

"Or...not." Jack agreed, reading Teal'c's expression as he passed.

Only Jack and Cam were left, each seeming to want to be the last to leave–the rear protection for SG-1. Jack finally hung his arm paternalistically over Cam and pushed him out so they left together. "So...you disappointed you won't get a chance to take your teammates's paychecks by faking your poker tell?"

"I–I..." Cam's eyes were wide with surprise, unable to cover. "How did you–"

"Son, I was raised on the bluff. I know a con. Maybe we can get the poker happening when we get back on base. With me as your wingman, we can probably clean them out. I still need to win a c-note back from Daniel." He clapped Cam on the shoulder and led him out the door. "Come on, back to Kansas we go."

Fin.
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