She has no idea why she's been called up to the Cheyenne Mountain Visitor's Center. It's the only part of the complex open to the public -- people who come there think they're coming to gawk at NORAD; they have no idea the SGC is here, tucked in beneath NORAD -- and to get up to it she has to change back to her civilian clothes, pass six security checkpoints, and then take a shuttle bus, a process she'll have to reverse to get back to her desk a mile and a half underground.
It takes her approximately forty minutes.
To add to the fun, there's a film crew at the Visitor's Center. Well, that happens. NORAD actually keeps a pretty public face. They even have a web site.
Jack has sometimes suggested that the SGC should have a web site. A blank page.
Jack looks ... guilty.
A strange dark-haired woman walks up to her.
"Dr Jackson? Dr. Danielle Jackson?"
"Yes?" she says cautiously.
There's a man approaching her from the other side.
"I'm Stacy and this is Clinton, and we're from TLC's What Not To Wear."
Her friends don't like her clothes.
Specifically, Sammy doesn't like her clothes.
Well, she always knew that.
But apparently there's a stupid television show -- Teal'c found it -- where if you really don't like somebody's clothes you can get some people from New York to follow them around and film them secretly. Sammy even let them into her apartment to film the inside of her closet.
And they think she dresses badly enough that they've decided to pay her five thousand dollars to -- as far as she understands it -- throw out all her clothes. They want her to come to New York and make her over. Into what, she's not sure.
But apparently it will involve dressing like Suzanne Kiplinger, who wears high heels even at work and only speaks six languages. The last time they went into lockdown and had to try getting out up the ladders, Suzanne broke the heel on one of her shoes.
Dani doesn't want to do it.
But apparently it will shore up the SGC's threadbare cover story for the Deep Space Telemetry Program if she does, since that's allegedly what she does for a living. So General Hammond says.
So she goes.
Two weeks' vacation, they call it.
Sammy helps her pack.
Making certain that she takes everything.
She'll have to be certain to think of a way to properly repay Sammy for taking such an interest in her.
"'Comfortable?'" Stacy asks.
"Durable," Dani mutters.
Stacy stares at her for a moment.
"Now there's one I've never heard before. Have you, Clinton?"
"I don't think so, Stacy."
It's just as well that she's already an academic laughingstock and intellectual community pariah, because if she wasn't, this would finish her off once and for all. They're going to film the week she spends here and show it on television.
She didn't realize she looked this bad.
Quantum mirrors aren't the only mirrors that can ruin your life.
She's out for revenge via VISA.
She doesn't care what she likes. She actually has no opinions on clothes other than that dressing fashionably is stupid. Disliking everything equally levels the playing field. Stacy and Clinton have strong opinions. She takes copious notes.
And she can, though it would stun Jack inexpressibly, follow orders.
When she finishes spending their money, she takes further notes on how to come back later and spend her own.
After the shopping, there's a hair stylist and a makeup artist.
"What shall we do with your hair?" Nick Arojo asks her.
"Anything you want," she tells him. "Really."
When he's done it looks ... softer.
The woman -- Carmondy -- tells her that she has beautiful skin, and provides Dani with what Carmondy calls 'a quick simple makeup' that takes into account both Dani's allergies and her glasses. Not blue eyeshadow, which is what she wears on the infrequent (secret) occasions when she wears any. When Carmondy is done, Dani barely looks as if she's wearing makeup at all. She just looks more ... vivid.
There's something called a Reveal at the end, where she shows off three of her new outfits.
She's chosen the jeans and the chocolate cashmere V-neck sweater with the gold chain necklace and the ankle boots (okay to walk in -- surprisingly so, given the way they look, but she'd hate to try to run in them); the grey flannel skirted suit with the black slingback pumps (she needs a good suit for dealing with the Russians, though she really can't tell Stacy and Clinton that); and the orange (Stacy says it's coral) silk wrap dress with the leopard-print ponyskin kitten-heel slides. She can't even think of running in them. Stacy says the point is to be caught, not run.
Looking at herself in the mirror in her new clothes, Dani feels...
She doesn't know.
The last time she felt anything remotely like this she'd been drugged by a looted Goa'uld sarcophagus and an alien prince and was engaged in slowly murdering her friends. But this, apparently, is how Stacy feels all the time.
Maybe even Clinton.
Since Dani doesn't feel in the least like murdering anybody, she thinks she likes it.
She hugs Clinton and Stacy both goodbye.
She shops for another three days (with her own money this time) and then flies home. There's one last bit of the show to do.
General Hammond is throwing a party at his house. A barbecue. It will be filmed for the show, of course. The moment when her friends see the New Her.
She chooses a glazed cotton sundress in a bright retro print. It's sleeveless and backless, and she's not quite ready to show the General that much skin, so she adds a solid-color cotton cardigan picking up one of the colors in the print. Flat sandals in a neutral hue. The gold chain.
She walks around the back of the house, feigning a confidence she doesn't really feel. Sammy, Teal'c, all her friends -- and some of her enemies -- from the Mountain are there.
The expressions on their faces are gratifying.
And a little irritating.
She was never hired for her looks. She was hired because she was the best at what she could do.
And she's still that. But she has now apparently now added to her other skills the ability to deprive men of coherent speech.
General Hammond says, "Well done, Dr. Jackson."
Sammy says, "Oh my god, Dani."
Teal'c just smiles.
Jack isn't here.
Jack has, apparently, been called away to Washington. Sudden emergency. Testimony.
Dani sighs. "Not like he would have noticed," she says to Sammy.
Sammy looks at her, eyebrows raised. "You want to put money on that?"
"Carter, tell me again why I'm here?"
"It's a surprise, sir."
"Okay, I'm surprised to be sitting in a coffee bar near your house with Teal'c at seven o'clock in the morning."
"Just bear with me, sir."
Well, the coffee's good, anyway. And he isn't in Washington. That's two good things. Three, if you count the fact that Indy gets back to work today, which means they won't have to make do with her idiot replacement any longer.
He glances up at the door as the bell jingles. His eyes narrow appreciatively as the woman in the orange dress walks in.
"Hey, T, check her out." He'd call her a hot babe, but Carter's sitting right there.
"I am aware, O'Neill," Teal'c says calmly.
O'Neill continues to watch appreciatively as she walks toward them, hips swinging.
And ... sits down at their table?
"Hi, Jack," she says.
"'Check her out'?" Carter says incredulously.
"Check who out?" Indy says blandly. She glances at Carter. "So who pays?"
Carter looks like she's about to cough up a hairball.
"You had a bet?" O'Neill demands.
"Is there coffee?" Indy asks innocently.
She's wearing makeup.
"I shall provide the coffee," Teal'c says, getting up.
"I'll join you," O'Neill says.
"'Bet?'" he demands, when they're standing at the counter.
"Danielle Jackson believed you would not perceive any change in her appearance. Major Carter believed that you would. Since, however, you in fact failed to recognize Danielle Jackson as your comrade, it is unclear to whom the victory should be awarded."
"She's wearing a dress," O'Neill says weakly.
"Indeed. Danielle Jackson now possesses many dresses. And many other items of clothing suitable to her age and sex and status. I have seen them."
"You've seen her clothes?"
"She was most happy to provide both Major Carter and myself with a private viewing of her entire new wardrobe. I am certain she would be willing to do the same for you, O'Neill."
He really doesn't think he can deal with a private viewing of Indiana's entire new wardrobe. He glances back at the table. She's got one leg crossed over the other. She's wearing high heels.
He can see her knees.
"He didn't say that," Dani says.
"He did. And I'm going to be spending the rest of my career at Ice Station Zebra, thanks to you," Sammy says.
"Well, you didn't have to remind him he'd said it."
"You didn't have to ask him to go for coffee."
"I didn't ask him to go for coffee. I just asked if there was coffee. Teal'c went for coffee. He just went to keep Teal'c company."
"You are getting way too much fun out of this."
"Who filmed my closets?"
Sammy sighs, acknowledging defeat. "Are you really wearing that to work?"
"For the chance to nail Suzanne Kiplinger in the women's changing room ... yes. Besides, I'll be in BDU's once I get down to 18. And ... I've got driving moccasins in the Jeep, actually. Can't drive in these shoes."
"I've created a monster."
"Yes, Sammy, you have. But don't worry. When you go to New York next month to see Clinton and Stacy--"
"Oh, in all the excitement, I must have forgotten to tell you..."