Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Pairing: None (Gen)
Disclaimer: Stargate and its characters are the properties of many companies (Stargate Productions, MGM, Viacom, etc.) none of whom are me and none of which I am involved with. This is pure fan-fiction.
Author's Notes: Written for the Sneezefic132 Moodset Challenge. I must give major credit to the Linguist's Geek Code (version 0.9b1) for several of the technical terms as well as several small jokes in here.
Daniel rubbed his sniffly, runny nose against a spot of his dark green, polyester uniform just beside his SG-1 patch and just below his shoulder. He paused for a moment as a tickle played in his nostrils, then ignored it completely and turned back to one of the five chalkboards.
He'd set them up all over his office, which was small enough already but which now felt tight and cramped and uncomfortable to anyone who didn't think ancient alien glyphs made beautiful wallpaper. Daniel quite liked the new ambience, which was lucky as he hadn't found time to leave the office for more than an hour at a time during the last thirty hours. What bit of space wasn't occupied by chalkboards was filled with numerous volumes of translations and histories and just about everything and anything in print that they could find on P5X-132 that hadn't been nailed down or too large to fit through the gate. His computer terminals, most of which were hidden behind the boards which required one to duck and crawl just to see them, glowed faintly with even more glyphs of every sort. He had spectrographic analysis and pattern-matching programs running using every spare cycle he had, but the language was so unlike anything they'd encountered to date that he wasn't very hopeful to find anything of significance. Brute force, intelligence, and ingenuity seemed to be the only combination that would allow him to figure this out and find out what the function of the piece of technology they'd found on the planet was. Well, that and a whole lot of chalkboards.
Daniel quickly scribbled something beneath one section, the smooth piece of chalk clicking and scraping against the board without a single shiver-inspiring squeak. He sniffled wetly as he took a step backwards and surveyed it with a critical eye. Disparagingly he shook his head and rubbed away his attempt with the cuff of his sleeve, not wanting to bother to take the time to locate and use one of the erasers that had gone missing somewhere among the papers and books on his desk.
As he stared at the symbols on the upper right of this particular chalkboard, he felt his eyes water. He wiggled his nose a little and sniffed again. Then he took his eyes off the board for only a brief moment to bury his nose in the crook of his arm. "h'TChhshhhhh!" He bounced slightly in place at the force, then sniffed strongly and raised his hand with his piece of chalk, touching it to the board to write again.
The chalk jumped back almost an inch so he wouldn't make a mistake as he turned his head and glanced over his shoulder. He could make out Sam's blond hair just above one of the boards. He reached over and slid one of the boards so it overlapped another. "Hey Sam. Sorry 'bout the mess." He sniffled again, badly, and rubbed his nose into his shoulder once more.
Then his whole body tensed up and he leaned forward a bit, pressing his nose into his arm. "huhhh-Shhiihh! H'Schphhh!"
She narrowed her eyes at him. "What's going on?"
"Oh!" He perked up immediately and practically leapt over to yet another chalk board. "If I do a transformation on this text, it almost resembles a small bit of what we learned of the language of the Ancients. It's a crude language in comparison, though, and its structure's all wrong. But I think if I just figure out this bit here and apply the same phonological laws I used when speaking with the Mihacrians…" .....e tapped the end of the chalk against the blackboard as his voice trailed off. His eyes were fixed upon the symbols, as though trying to see them in a way that would let them just jump right out at him. He was trying so hard, in fact, that he completely lost his train of thought.
"Hmm? What?" He looked back over his shoulder, then turned his body halfway to better face her. "Sorry, Sam. Got carried away with this stuff. I'm in Language Geek Heaven here."
She smiled. "That's really great, Daniel. But I meant with the sneezing."
He flushed slightly. In truth, it hadn't even been enough to register as an annoyance with him. Not with all the other things occupying his mind at the moment. He'd barely noticed it, really. And it wasn't as though he wasn't used to doing more than his fair share of sneezing normally anyway.
"If you're sick, you should go home," she said concernedly. "I know you want to get this done, and you're by far the most qualified person here to be working on it. And I totally get your commitment to it, I do." She reached over and patted his shoulder- the dry one. "But you've got to take care of yourself, too. You're no good to us in bed for two weeks with a bad cold because you didn't do anything about it early on."
Daniel, whose eyes had strayed back to the chalkboards while she talked, snapped back to Sam in a moment. "I don't have a cold," he insisted. Then he found he had to sniffle badly, and turned his head to do so repeatedly until his runny nose was in check again. Sam was looking at him skeptically. "Honestly. I'm not sick. It's this." He held up the chalk, his eyes nearly going cross-eyed to look at it right in front of his face. "They must have bought a new brand of chalk because the dust's really doing a number on me." He sniffed again, then rubbed his nose against his uniform sleeve again, realizing that the little bit of soreness he felt probably equated to a bit of redness. Add that to an unkempt and fatigued appearance given how little sleep he'd allowed himself since their return and Daniel could completely understand how Sam had jumped right to the sick conclusion.
Her tone seemed much less serious and she seemed much more upbeat when she spoke again, now understanding. "Maybe you should go get a little fresh air," she suggested. Spotting the cuff of his sleeve he'd been using as an eraser so that it was caked with yellow chalk dust, she frowned. "And maybe get a fresh change of clothes."
He nodded albeit half-heartedly. He was so close he could just feel it. All he needed was to make that one little connection. And if he left now there was no telling when that might happen. It was going to take far more than a little sneezing to drag him away from the translation.
"heey-ahhhh..." His face quickly fell, and he raised his arm bending it over his nose and mouth as he held the breath in, hoping the sneeze would hold off a few extra seconds so he wouldn't sneeze on a chalkboard and be horrified at the result. "hehhhh-IHSchhhhhhh!" He snuffled and rubbed his nose into his arm quickly, then he pushed his glasses back up his nose and into place.
Daniel wanted badly to return to the work, but he caught Sam looking concerned and suspicious again. He cracked a smile for her benefit. "Did you know Proto-Altaic has no attested form for the word 'sneeze'?"
She smiled back immediately and shook her head with a pitying sort of laugh. "I won't even pretend to understand that joke, Daniel."
He shrugged. "Like I said: language geek. I blow my nose and get manuscript dust." He sniffled. "And chalk dust."
She chuckled again. "I'll go by the lab and see if I can't find a spare Kleenex box for you," she offered, apparently resigned to the fact that he wasn't about to leave his post any time soon, even though he'd sidestepped that issue.
"Thanks," he said brightly, his head moving slightly back. He could see the symbols he'd been concentrating on out of the corner of his eye, and if he just moved a little more, he could completely make them out.
She just smiled and shook her head. "And I'll scare up an equipment request form for you, too. Whiteboards would at least help with part of the problem."
"Thanks," he said again, his head slowly turning back to the board, feeling safe to give it more attention as Sam made her retreat from the room. Then, as she slipped out between the chalkboards and he was once again completely surrounded, he called out. "Sam!"
Her footsteps halted several steps from the door. Then they swiveled around and she squatted down, bending her neck so she could just look under one of the boards at him.
"Maybe we could round up the others for lunch today? If I stay in here too long with this dust, I'll get too congested to pronounce things properly and throw myself off track."
It was a lame excuse, of course, but she seemed glad to hear it. "I'll see what Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c are up to." And, before he could ask, she added, "And whether Teal'c might be able to stop by and see if he recognizes any of your symbols."
Daniel smiled brightly. "That would be great." When he was confident she was definitely on her way out, he turned his full attention back on the section. He hesitated a moment, sniffling into his shoulder, then he began scribbling on the board again.
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