"And that stands for...?"
Jack frowned and fiddled with his digital camera. "Er...Special effects?"
"I don't know, Okay. I'm just guessing."
Daniel smiled and pulled the magazine out of his bag, pretending to read the article advertising the event. The Team were in London to meet with General Adam Boyce, a British military liaison officer, but as the meeting was scheduled for this evening, they had decided to see some sights. Until Jack had gotten wind of this event that is.
"And you dragged me here to see this guy?"
Turning the magazine round, he showed Jack the cover. He was pointing at a dark haired man with incredibly blue eyes. Jack glanced at it and shook his head. He leaned in close and whispered in Daniel's ear.
"Who, Christian Bouchet? Gimme a break, I met all those guys when they were filming the pilot of Wormhole Xtream remember?"
Daniel nodded and turned the magazine back round. Frowning he held it up to catch the light. "He's wearing coloured contacts. No-one has eyes that blue."
Jack raised an eyebrow and smirked at Daniel. He was about to qualify the look when he heard someone clearing their throat behind him. Turning, he was surprised to see three short women dressed in urban commo, caps and black boots, glaring up at Daniel. The one closest to the front tugged at Daniel's sleeve until he too turned around.
"Christian does not wear contacts." The anger in her voice faltering somewhat when the full force of Daniel's own baby blues hit her. Jack gave them a sweeping head to foot appraisal and realised that the women were all wearing home made costumes form the TV show.
"Nice cammo," he smiled. "So what do you guys call yourselves?"
The shortest pushed forward and stared up at Jack from behind black sunglasses, which Jack thought were totally unnecessary indoors.
Daniel snorted and wisely turned it into a cough.
"Wormholers. You a fan?"
Jack wondered if he could get away with saying yes, but beyond the fact that he knew the show's creator, and had briefly hung about on set offering not very convincing military advice, she would eat him for breakfast in no time.
"Nope. I'm here to see James Doohan."
The third woman screwed up her face. "Who?"
Daniel watched as Jack went several shaded of red. He was working himself up for a righteous rant and badly needed distracting. Spotting something that would do the job; Daniel tugged on his friends arm.
"Jack – what the hell is that?"
A large grey dustbin covered with studs and sporting various waving appendages that resembled plumbers tools rolled past them. Jack gave Daniel another incredulous stare. "C'mon Danny, everyone has heard of Daleks."
Daniel shook his head and returned to scrutinising the programme. One or two of the guests he had heard of. And he knew exactly whom Jack was here for but it was so much more fun to plead ignorance. It also had the added benefit of taking Jack's mind off his boredom. He flicked the page and began reading about John Shea. Jack began whistling tunelessly the theme to Dr Who.
"You hungry Jack?"
The Colonel glanced down at his watch and was surprised to see that it was after eleven oclock. He had missed his mid morning doughnut, which probably was not helping his mood. He glanced around and spotted a coffee shop. Daniel handed him the magazine then fished in his pocket for some money.
"I'll get it. You should do some wormhole research," he said as he trotted off towards the shop.
Jack snorted and shouted after him, "that's more Carter's thing."
Daniel asked for two coffees and a chocolate brownie to remedy Jack's low blood sugar level. He wasn't ready to eat yet but the coffee smelt wonderful. When he got back to the queue, which had moved exactly three paces forward, Jack was once again engaged in a heated debate with the scary holer women.
"Scotty?....Chief engineer of the Enterprise?" he was explaining. One of the women shook her head and crossing her arms over an ample bosom, she disagreed loudly.
"Trip Tucker is the Enterprise's Chief engineer. You need to update your sci-fi collection man."
Daniel stepped neatly into what little space there was between the combatants. It seemed a little like a mismatch. In the blue corner, six foot two of outraged Air Force Colonel and in the red corned five foot nothing of disgusted sci-fi fan. Jack didn't stand a chance!
"Excuse us ma'am" Daniel said politely, turning Jack to face the front again. Jack snatched the brownie and muttered under his breath while ripping open the packaging.
Suddenly a steward appeared and asked for people with certain ticket numbers to follow her. The scary holers whooped loudly and double-timed it in perfect formation in her wake. Daniel let out a sigh of relief. Now they might actually reach the doors to the event without someone getting shot.
Two hours later.
"Daniel, look at that!"
Daniel tried to see what Jack was getting excited about this time. They were in yet another queue, this time an autograph line, witch hopefully had at its end the object of Jack's fannish dreams. The line seemed to snake for miles around the huge room. He was pleased that Jack was finally enjoying himself but he was also rapidly loosing the will to live. Jack fished in his pocket and pulled out his digital camera.
"Be right back," he beamed happily. Daniel watched as he trotted over to a large, and very vintage looking car. As his tired and foggy brain began to clear, he made out other details, like the fact that this car seemed to have wings! The name came back to him on warm surge of nostalgia. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
Jack lined up a perfect shot and waited politely for the two people currently draped over the car to get out of the way. They smiled widely and posed but Jack just waited. Finally he cleared his throat and said as politely as possible. "Excuse me folks, you're blocking my shot."
The couple looked a little confused but moved out of the way to let Jack take his picture. When he returned to the queue, Daniel was almost beside himself with barely contained laughter. Jack ignored that to glare back and the two people who were all over the car again.
"Thought they would never take a hint," he growled. Daniel patted his friend's shoulder and tried not to splutter.
"Jack do you have any idea who they were?"
Jack looked at Daniel, back to the two people, then back to Daniel again and shrugged.
"They're the actors that played the two children in the film. You just asked them to move aside in favour of the car."
To his credit, Jack actually flushed but didn't embarrass himself further by going back to apologise. He merely avoided that area of the arena for the rest of the day.
Daniel was wishing he hadn't drunk quite so much coffee. His bladder was complaining wildly as he scanned the hall looking for the restrooms. Jack was happily checking out the camera images so it was fairly safe to leave him for a moment. Finally he saw a door that appeared to be the most likely suspect and headed for it as fast as possible in the crowded hall.
He was almost there when an eerily familiar voice stopped him in mid stride.
"Hey – did your friend get beamed up yet?"
Daniel turned but kept walking backwards towards the door. The three women approached him from different vectors, a tactic even he could appreciate. Pasting an unconvincing smile on his face, he finally backed right up to the restroom door.
"Hello ladies. Unfortunately no, no he's still with us."
The women laughed and began digging stuff out of carrier bags and waving them in his face. One had a picture of a short guy wearing a torn version of the cammo they were sporting. The owner of the picture had a feverish glint in her eye.
"Now if you want an action hero, this has to be your man," she gushed waving the publicity photo at Daniel again. He reached behind him, located the door handle and yanked it open.
"Excuse me ladies, nature calls."
And the door closed leaving him in the dark. Daniel felt around for a switch, wondering why the hell the lights were off, and immediately regretted it when he saw the mops and brooms arranged neatly along the wall. What he thought was the restroom, was actually the janitor's cupboard.
His bladder chose that moment to remind him that there were pressing issued needing addressed but he could still hear the triad of holers cackling outside and decided he would just wait them out. Through the tiny window in the door he could just make out Jack's head in the autograph queue but it hadn't moved forward at all.
Just as he spotted the other door at the back of the cupboard, it was bumped open by a wheelchair. The chair's footrest impacted with Daniel's ankle and he let out a whoop of pain. The man pushing the chair stopped in shock and pulled it back, its occupant reaching out a steadying hand to the hopping archaeologist.
"Are you ok son?" he said in a strong voice, which seemed at odds with his frail frame. Daniel rubbed at his shin and nodded.
"Fine, I'm fine thanks."
The man pushing the chair glared at Daniel disapprovingly. "Sir, this area is not for the public."
"Ah – yes, sorry about that. I thought this was a restroom," Daneil appologuised, noting the plastic security ID card pinned to the guy's t-shirt.
The man in the wheelchair smiled up at him. "There is a restroom through the back there. It's for staff and guests only, but I won't tell if you won't. Say are you a fellow Canadian? I can't quite place the accent."
Daniel looked down at the smiling man and finally saw to whom he was talking. He glanced up at the window and saw Jack waiting patiently in line, then back at the man. "Actually I was born in Egypt Mr Doohan. Daniel Jackson. Nice to meet you"
"Oh, thought I detected an accent there, sorry. And sorry about your ankle. I'll have a word with the captain and get the navigator sacked," He hitched his thumb over his shoulder in the general direction of the man pushing the chair, who just sighed and indicated that Daniel should open the door.
Daniel shook Jimmy's outstretched hand then held the door open for them. The three women had gone and Daniel finally saw the signs he had missed earlier for the restroom. He got there not a moment too soon.
Back in the queue, Jack was almost at the table. Daniel took the camera from his friend while Jack fished for some money to buy a photo.
"Where the hell have you been? Chulak?"
Daniel smiled as the wheelchair navigator caught his eye.
"Would you believe I've been in a closet with Mr Scott?"
"Very funny Space Monkey. Heads up – we're here."
Jack handed over his cash, chose a picture and grinned at his icon like a puppy dog. Doohan lifted his pen and raised his eyes to smile benignly at yet another adoring fan, but a familiar face caught his eye.
"Daniel. Didn't I just leave you in the closet?"
Jack's mouth fell open and gaped at his friend in shocked disbelief. Jimmy turned his gaze onto Jack and smiled indulgently.
"Who's it to son?"
" Er Jack and Daniel."
Jimmy smiled and scrawled on the picture with a flourish. Jack thanked him, they shook hands and as they two friends walked across the hall, Jack glanced down at the picture.
Jimmy had written on it "To Jack and his buddy Daniel, a good man to share a closet with. Sorry about the ankle."
"It's a long story Jack. Can we go eat now?"
Jack glanced down at the photo and then once more around the vast hall and grinned at his friend.
"Sure, I got what I came for – I'm happy."
Daniel followed the striding Colonel and murmured under his breath. "Then I'm happy too Jack, I'm happy too."
Notes: They say that when you are starting off, you should write about what you know. Now, I'm not saying all of this happened to me, but most of it was inspired by actual experiences I had at my very first convention. I did stand in a queue for two hours to get into the SFX convention in Manchester. I also really did ask two people to move aside so that I could photograph Chitty Bang Bang and later discovered that they were probably the actors. Also the thing with the wheelchair, really did happen to me. The wheelchair handler pushed Jimmy's chair right into me but it was in the middle of the hall, not in a closet. I almost landed in his lap! A gent of a man and sorely missed.
This was also the convention where I went the night before to see if I could get tickets early, and walked into the gents loos by mistake to see someone who looked a whole lot like Michael Shanks standing at the urinal. Fun times!
Some images from the actual London Expo SFX sci-fi convention that I found on the net.