Summary: Sam, Janet and Cassie arrive in Vancouver for a scifi convention
"Hey, Janet, Sam! Look at the cool waterfall!" Cassie exclaimed as they descended the escalator from the airport gates. The large, indoor waterfall was between two banks of escalators
Janet moaned, "Please Cassie. I have to find a ladies room..."
"Shouldn't have had that third cup of coffee just before they flashed the 'Fasten Seat Belts' sign," Sam giggled
"Shut up," Janet said weakly. "Oh God! Look at the lines!"
At the base of the escalators was a large area leading to the Canadian customs desks. About half were manned and the lines stretched back almost to the escalators
"We're going to be here forever! I'm going to explode! I swear to God, I'm gonna explode!"
"Jeez, Janet. There's gotta be a washroom around here. Go find it and we'll get in line."
Janet shook her head, "No, I'll stick it out. It'd probably look suspicious if I got out of line anyway."
Sam and Cassie shared evil glances. "So, Mom, think they have a pool at the hotel?"
Sam answered, "Of course. What hotel doesn't have a pool. Maybe even a whirlpool
"You know, I remember one hotel, in Vegas I think, that had a waterfall going into the pool. Sounded a lot like the one behind us," Sam added as she glanced back at the two-story artificial waterfall
"Goddamn you guys," Janet growled. Between the sound of falling water and the discussion the other two were having, she was really beginning to suffer.
"You know, all this stuff here is supposed to represent British Columbia's natural resources. You know, like the clear running streams, the cascades, the rain forests..."
"Sam, I swear, I will kill you personally. And slowly..."
Sam and Cass started to laugh, "Sorry Mom. You have to admit..."
"Nothing. I have to admit nothing. It's not funny."
"Of course not. Not to you, Jan. But if it were Jack O'Neill or Jonas..."
"What about Teal'c?" Cassie added with a big grin
Janet didn't respond but she continued to do little dances on the balls of her feet. She was too focused on her problem to even get angry at Sam or Cassandra
But the line she refused to leave seemed to crawl along. The young doctor tried to think of things other than water. Vast desert scapes like the one she rode across with Sam and Daniel Jackson in their attempt to stop Osiris. Even the brief stint she had of survival training in California's High Desert before she joined the SGC. It seemed to help a little
Suddenly, a small release of gas and she felt the pressure ease on her tortured bladder. Maybe a bit more?
"Janet!?!" Sam said quietly
"What?" Janet responded innocently
"No I didn't."
"Yes you did. You just did it again!"
"You can hear that?" Janet asked, her face red and showing her amazement
"I have very good hearing," Sam answered. "So, feel a little better at least?" Janet nodded slightly "Good. Cause we're almost there."
In only a few more minutes they went one by one to a customs window. Passing over their declaration cards given on the flight, they all stated their US citizenship, the purpose of their visit and their final destination. Fortunately none of them had any carry-ons more complicated than a cd walkman and their cell phones. (Janet had to practically force Sam to leave her laptop at home.)
In only a few more minutes, all three were through customs and waiting at one of the baggage carousels for their luggage. Sam looked at Janet, "You can go ahead. We'll catch up. Just give me your claim tags Got your phone?"
Gratefully, Janet nodded and passed the tickets on to Sam then raced off to find the nearest women's room near the central terminal
In a short time, Sam found Janet waiting by the exit into the main terminal looking more relieved than she had in quite some time. "Feel better?"
Janet glared at her but nodded. She was too relieved to feel angry at the earlier teasing. She'd just have to get them both back at some point
Cassie came up, tugging a luggage cart, "Everything come out alright?"
Janet shook her head and said, "She is never staying with Jack O'Neill again!"
On the way out of the terminal, Sam stopped at a currency exchange to turn in their American money. Passing the clerk $1000.00, he gave back $1500.00 Canadian
With a big smile, Sam caught up to her friends. "Wow, that guy on the plane..."
"The one hitting on you?" Cassie asked with a giggle
"Yeah, that one. I think he was right. Got one and half times on the exchange."
As Sam showed them the multi-colored money, Cassie said, "Hey, looks like Monopoly money or something."
"Ssh. Remember, you're supposed to be from here," Janet whispered
"I know. Toronto. But the money still looks funny."
"I think it's kinda cool," Sam interjected
They waited at the hotel shuttle stop outside the terminal and soon a small bus pulled up. "Best Western Richmond Inn" was written on it and displayed above the windshield. "That's us," Sam said as she pulled the cart over
In minutes they were out of the airport and headed towards Richmond. Sam stared when she saw a gas station just outside the airport. "Gas is only 80 cents?"
Janet nodded, "Yeah. And with the exchange rate..."
The driver spoke up, "Yeah, the prices keep going up. Last spring a liter was around seventy-four cents."
"Oh! That's per liter!" Sam nodded. "Now, that makes sense." Then she shook her head, "Forgot about the metric system."
As they approached a multi-lane bridge, Cassie asked, "What are we crossing?"
"That's the North Arm of the Fraser River," the driver said
"Hey! Fraiser! We have family up here?" Cassie asked, momentarily forgetting she was supposed to be from Canada. She pointed to large rafts of timber loosely held together near the banks. "I saw a lot of those in the air."
"Spelled differently, Cass," Sam said. "The river."
"Oh, like the show on NBC?"
Sam shook her head as the driver said, "No, like the explorer, Simon Fraser. F-R-A-S-E-R. Richmond is on an island between two arms of the river. Most of the commerce is along the North Arm
"Those rafts of logs you see are from up in the high country. Timber is a big part of the local economy. That and fishing are still big here."
Within a few blocks of the bridge was the hotel. The driver helped Sam with the bags while Cassie volunteered to get a cart from the lobby. Janet went ahead to get their room keys.
As Sam and Cassie waited for Janet to finish, they saw the sign-up table across the lobby from the main desk No one was there yet but, after all, they were a day early
"That's where we need to sign up when everything starts," Cassie said
"Yep. Looks like."
"I'm excited. Are you excited?"
"You betcha," Sam fibbed. In reality, she couldn't care less about the con or the show that spawned it. But she was excited about spending a long weekend with her extended family away from the SGC
Janet walked up and handed them each a white plastic card the size of a credit card. They were blank except for a black strip running lengthwise on one side. "Here. Each of us has a key. We're in the south tower on the 2nd floor. Room 213."
"Let's go," Cassie said, tugging at the hotel luggage cart
As they waited for the elevator, Sam said to Janet, "I don't know about you but I wouldn't mind a drink or two."
"Back the other way is a bar called the Thirsty Turtle. We can get food there too."
"Sounds good to me," Sam said with a smile
Opening the door, they were greeted with only two beds. Janet had expected as much from her years of traveling with the CDC. "So, Sam, you pick your bed and Cass and I will take the other."
Sam smiled. She remembered what it was like to be sixteen even if her friend had seemingly forgotten. She especially remembered how embarrassed she often felt going on vacation with her father when she considered herself old enough to stay home alone.
"Janet," Sam said, leading the doctor onto the small balcony overlooking one of the parking lots. Once they were out of earshot she suggested, "We can double up. I don't mind and then Cassie can have her own bed. How 'bout it?"
"That was in Cairo. It was dry and all the dust from the tomb..."
"Alright. But if you start, you're sleeping on the floor."
"Yes Ma'am." Walking back in, Sam announced, "Cass, you can have this bed. Your mom and I will sleep on the one closer to the window."
"Why that one?"
"Because there's more room on both sides of the bed if one of us needs to get up. Your bed is practically up against the wall."
Meanwhile, Janet was still on the balcony looking at the hotel tower across the lot. Something was different but she couldn't put her finger on it. Then she realized that along with the Marriott chain's flag and the U.S. flag, they were flying the Canadian Maple Leaf flag.
'Of course they are. What else would they be flying? The state flag of Colorado?' she chided herself. Looking down at the entrance of their hotel, she saw the same thing with a Best Western banner replacing the Marriott
Later, after they had unpacked and settled in, Sam said, "Well, what should we do? No con events today, even registration isn't until tomorrow afternoon."
"We could rent a car and see Vancouver," Janet suggested, stifling a yawn
"I gotta send out postcards," Cassie announced
"And I'm hungry," Sam added
"Let's just get a late lunch and go from there." Janet yawned again. Unless she was on the verge of collapse, she could not sleep on a plane. And she'd been up a couple of hours before Sam or Cassandra, antsy to go on a real vacation before the SGC called
"Okay, before we go anywhere, everyone have their cell?" Sam asked. The other two nodded. They had decided to bring their phones so they could get in touch without trying to track each other down
"Remember," Sam said, holding her phone up. "Not to be used frivolously." She looked directly at Cassandra who gave her a 'Who? Me?' look
Soon they were in the Thirsty Turtle, a small bar and grill at the end of one of the wings of the hotel. There was a pool table and some big-screen TVs scattered about showing hockey highlights. It wasn't too busy and they ordered fairly quickly
Sam sipped her beer, a Molson Canadian, and sighed. "This is the stuff!" she declared
Janet had an iced tea and Cassie had a diet Coke while they waited for their food. Janet eyed the beer and said, "I think Canadian beer a bit more potent than our stuff."
"Don't worry, I'm not gonna get hammered. I promised Short Stuff I'd take her to the mall after lunch so you can get your naptime in."
Janet moaned, "Yeah, if this is anything like the Star Trek con my roommate and I went to during Med School, we won't get much sleep."
A man at a nearby table looked over, "You here for the con?"
"Yes, we are."
"So am I. Brought my nieces. They love the show. I'm Jim Barrents. This is Ashley and Allison."
"I'm Janet Fraiser, this is my daughter Cassandra and our friend Samantha Carter."
"I usually go by Sam."
"I go by Cassie."
"I go by Allie."
"I'm just Ashley," the remaining teen said with a grin.
The two tables talked as they awaited their food. Jim and his nieces were from Green Bay, Wisconsin. He brought them as a 16th birthday present. "Before they get too embarrassed to be seen with an adult relative," he added
"I know what you mean," Janet agreed, rolling her eyes at Cassie
Janet looked at their new acquaintance, "So, you like 'Wormhole X-treme'?"
Jim shrugged, "If there's nothing else on. It's not as good as some of the other stuff out there. Pretty campy. And the lead is like some Shatner wannabe. But the doctor is hot!"
"Uncle Ji-im!" Everyone chuckled at Ashley's outburst
"I have only seen maybe two episodes. Are you talking about the one who looks like Annabeth Gish on 'The X-Files'?"
"No, that's Major Monroe. The doctor's a redhead but she's not in every episode. But she's supposed to be here. You know, the manager here looks kinda like her," Jim said, nodding to an attractive woman at the bar going over paperwork.
(Unknown to any of them at the tables, the manager would be asked several times over the coming weekend if she was the doctor on the show.)
Allie chimed in, "She does. Wow. Maybe they're related?"
"Who plays the doctor?" Sam asked
"Her name is Michelle Charters. She's been on some of the other shows shot up here like 'X-Files' and 'Outer Limits.'"
"So has Yolanda Reese," Allie added. "She's my favorite on the show."
"Mine too," Cassie agreed
"What about you Sam? You watch the show?" Jim asked
"Not really. I...uh, I kinda know one of the creators. And my C.O. was the Air Force liaison for a couple of weeks."
"Oh, yeah, Janet and I are both Air Force. Both majors. I'm in astrophysics and she's a medical doctor. The best anywhere."
"Sa-am!" Janet cried, secretly pleased at Sam's praise
"No, actually we're both in Colorado Springs at NORAD She also has a position at the Academy Hospital."
"So you two are up here for her?" Jim nodded at the teenager
"Yup. Sort of a late birthday present for Cass. Her sixteenth too. She had a kinda rotten birthday so her mom and I decided to make it up to her this way." Sam was proud of how well she understated the near-tragic events of several months ago
"Like I said, it's kinda nice to do something with them before they get too old to be seen with us," Jim said. "An old friend of mine is coming up with her daughter tomorrow, too."
"She your girlfriend?"
"Cassie, that's kind of personal!"
"No, that's okay Janet. We're just very good friends Been best buddies since high school actually. I'm just a single guy trying to raise two hellions."
"So's Janet. Except it's only one hellion," Sam laughed, drawing scowls from her two friends
Both tables were served almost simultaneously and the two groups turned back to their respective tables. After each table paid their tab and got ready to leave, Sam offered to take all three girls to the mall. Jim happily agreed
"I can use a break," he joked
Agreeing to meet in the lobby in twenty minutes, Sam and Janet took their hellion back to the room.
While Cass brushed her teeth, Sam said, "He's kinda cute. And single."
"Samantha Carter! I do not need you to fix me up! And I'm not interested!" Janet paused and added, "I mean, he's a nice guy and all but... Anyway, even if I was interested, he's a thousand miles away."
"What about you?" Janet asked
"Nah, not my type."
"And just what is your type?"
Cassie came out of the bathroom at that moment, sparing Sam the need to answer
In truth, she had no idea what her type was
* * * * * *
The trip to the Richmond Centre Mall was fun. It was only a couple of blocks away and so the four Americans walked over. After setting a time to meet back in the food court, Sam was quickly deserted as the three new friends scurried off to the nearest fashion boutiques
"Come all the way to Canada to go shopping," Sam muttered good-naturedly. "Now, where can I find Cuban cigars..."
There turned out to be a couple of places she could go and so she did some price shopping. Cubans weren't cheap but she did promise Jack. And she thought the general would appreciate one or two himself
Wondering if Jonas liked cigars, Sam bought several from a news vendor kiosk at the north end of the mall
Deciding Jonas probably wouldn't care for cigars, she opted to get him a couple of pins, one with the Canadian and American flags and one with the Canadian and British Columbian flags. She'd already decided to get Teal'c a Native American hand-carved fish in honor of him going along with the colonel on several fishing expeditions
Relaxing in the food court with a soda and the local Vancouver paper, Sam quietly waited on her young charges
* * * * * *
"Sam! How could you let her buy clothes? She has more than enough at home. And most of those she brought with her," Janet lamented
"Sorry. I just..."
"Mom, it's my fault. I saw the blouse and I had to have it. I've never seen anything like this in Colorado Springs. Look," Cassie pleaded as she held the blouse up
"You just never noticed it before, young lady. Clothes in Canada aren't any different than Colorado. Except for the French writing on the tags. Did you at least get those postcards?"
Cassie slapped her forehead, pained expression on her face
Trying to change the subject, Sam asked, "How was your nap?"
"Fine. I'm not nearly as tired as I was. But I'm starving. That salad did not fill me up..."
"Let's go to Fisherman's Wharf. Supposed to be some good restaurants down there."
"Walking distance?" Sam shook her head. "Cab?"
Sam nodded and added, "Or we could rent a car..."
They opted for the rental. This way, they weren't 'trapped' at the hotel or at the mercy of the local rapid transit system
They dined at one of the seafood establishments along the historic wharf and wandered up and down the old district. Before long, only Janet, who had napped earlier, had any energy left
Driving back to the hotel, a ten minute trip, was too long for Sam and Cassandra. They were both nodding in the car as Janet drove through Richmond. The sympathetic side of her won out and she opted to be gentle waking them at the Richmond
After getting them to the room, Janet didn't exactly feel like calling it a night. It was only 9:30 after all. She earlier noticed the Foggy Dew, an Irish pub nearby, and walked over there. After ordering a pint, she circulated through the small, midweek crowd
"Hey!" a familiar voice said from behind her. Turning she saw Jim Barrents. "Care to join me?"
With a smile, Janet sat on the barstool next to him. "Hi. Thanks. Nice to see someone I recognize."
"Yeah. So you flyin' solo tonight?"
"Yup. I took a nap earlier and now, while Sam and Cassie are snoring, I'm out and about. You?"
"Left the girls to the hotel cable. They want to try on the outfits they bought today. I need to remember to thank Sam for taking them."
"She had fun too."
"Good. You know, I do spoil them but, since their mother and father passed away..."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Janet said. "And I'm sure you aren't spoiling them."
"Thanks. They're good kids and I am slowly learning not to give in. But they do have me wrapped around their collective little finger.
"Kinda knew it would be that way if I ever had a daughter anyway, so I'm not surprised."
"I did the same with Cass when she first came into my life. Her family is...gone too. I took her in and then officially adopted her a couple of years ago."
"Must be rough with no one else to help out," Jim observed
"Oh, Sam's there a lot. She's a godsend. And Cassandra adores her."
"Hey, I was thinking, when Krista gets up here with Mina, the girls are getting their own room. If it's okay with you, I'm sure the girls would love to have Cassie with them."
"Thanks. I...I don't know though..."
"Yeah, I understand. You don't know me or anything. If you change your mind, the offer's open.
"And it'd give you and Sam some time together alone," Jim added
"Sam and I?" Janet was confused for a moment then her eyes widened, "Oh! Oh no, it's not like that. We're just friends. Really."
Jim nodded, his eyes locked on the pint in his hands, "Sorry. I know how the military is so..."
"No, really. We are just friends."
"Oh! Now I really feel like an idiot. I just thought... Well, from the way the two of you act together. You're very close. I guess I just... Sorry."
"No. That's okay." To show there were no hard feelings, Janet signaled the bartender for another round.
* * * * * *
Entering the room, she saw they had left the bathroom light on for her. Glancing at the beds, she saw her friend and her daughter both sleeping quietly
Janet went into the bathroom and changed into her sleepwear: an old concert t-shirt and boxer shorts. Then, after brushing her teeth and taking care of other business, she turned out the light and stumbled out of the suddenly darkened room
Climbing under the covers next to Sam, she glanced at the blonde. Sam opened one eye to slit, still more asleep than awake.
"Night Sam," Janet said softly with a smile
"G'night, sw'tie," Sam muttered already falling back into a deep sleep
Even with the three beers she had, Janet lay sleeplessly next to her friend, reflecting on how nice it felt to be sharing a bed again. If only...
Eventually she succumbed to sleep herself
And soon, the only sound in the room was the soft snoring coming from the person with sinus problems
Next: X-treme Convention 2