Trigger Finger

by Kathryn A

Challenge:Multi-Fandom Lyric Wheel 2005
Universe:Stargate (Season 1)

There was no warning. Oh, Jack might have noticed how twitchy the man was, but the main thing on Daniel's mind was paying for his bottle of milk. He'd gotten home very late after an unexpectedly long (and of course dangerous) mission, to find that the milk in his refrigerator smelled like a bad batch of kefir. He was looking forward to a nice, restful night on a soft, warm bed with fresh, clean sheets. And some cereal and milk in the morning.

But all that was shattered when the man in front of him in the queue pulled a gun on the cashier, yelling, "I'm not stupid! The corporate parasites track your movements with credit cards!"

Daniel froze, even before the man yelled "Nobody move, or the corporate lackey gets it!"

Oh god, I hate people trying to solve problems with guns! But he certainly didn't want to be the problem that needed solving. How ironic to be killed here on Earth by a random act of violence after all the brushes with death he'd had on other planets.

Yeah, but then you were with SG-1. He was surprised, and not surprised, by how alone that made him feel. You managed perfectly well for years all over the world, in places where normal tourists were warned not to go. What makes this so different?

The gunman wore a black army-surplus vest over khaki pants and matching T-shirt, but it was too crisp, too new. There were no rank insignia anywhere. This guy was a civilian.

He's a human being -- not a goa'uld. There's a chance he'll listen to you. But a paranoid voice in his head whispered How do you know he's not a goa'uld? The answer was simple: a goa'uld would have killed them all already. A goa'uld wouldn't be this nervous.

"Nobody's moving," Daniel said calmly, though his hands were sweating. His plastic bottle of milk felt wet and slick in his hand. He clutched it harder.

"Did I ask you to say anything?" The gun was suddenly in Daniel's face. "I twitch my finger and you're dead. One finger."

Daniel swallowed. Don't look at the gun, look at the man. Get him talking. You've got to communicate. "How many people do you think it took to make that gun?"

"Shut up!" the gunman said nervously. "I've got the gun, so you have to pay attention!"

Daniel slowed his breathing, like he would do with a nervous mastage. "I'm listening." He stared at the man glaring at him, projecting calm. This is a human being. He has reasons. Find them out.

"How many?" the gunman said at last.

"How many what?"

"How many people did it take to make this gun?"

"Hundreds," Daniel said. "Miners to mine the iron, men in the mills to forge the steel, factory workers to make the parts -- all to make one gun." He'd had a lengthy lecture from Jack once, about the reasons why American firepower would always be superior to anything the Russians produced. It basically boiled down to the strength of the US industrial base, and the fact that Americans didn't spend every weekend drinking vodka. Daniel never dreamed that the information would actually come in handy one day. "That gun made the corporate parasites rich."

"Did not," the gunman said. "I got it on sale."

"They'd already gotten their cut," Daniel said.

"They have to pay!" the gunman said. "Them and their alien masters!"

Daniel blinked, trying to school his face to neutrality.

"Think I'm crazy, do you?"

Yes, of course, but how many grains of truth are there in your ravings, I wonder? "No, you're not crazy," Daniel said slowly. "I know the aliens are out there." Let's match truth for truth, shall we? "My wife was abducted." He didn't realize how much the bare words would hurt, like splinters of glass in a wound he'd thought closed. "What did they do to you?"

The man's hand was shaking. "They killed my Sarah." He firmed up his grip, and said grimly "They have to pay!"

"Yes, they have to pay," Daniel said quickly. "But do you attack victims, dupes, slaves? No, you dethrone their masters." Daniel remembered the first time he'd ever shot a living target -- the container of goa'uld larvae in front of the temple on Chulak. He remembered the rage. "You kill the snakes," he said.

"You do understand," the gunman said with astonishment.

"I do," Daniel said firmly. "We're on the same side."

The man lowered his gun and pointed it at the floor.

And Daniel brained him with the bottle of milk.

Jack's never going to let me hear the end of this, he thought.

Author's Notes

This was done for the 2005 Multi-Fandom Lyric Wheel, for Ilana, using one of her requests, "The Gun Song". I'd originally thought of doing a "Blair Sandburg is caught in a holdup" story, but that kind of story has been done so often that I even bored myself after I'd written my first piece of dialogue. So then I found out that Ilana listed Daniel Jackson as one of her interests, and re-cast the situation with him as the star. That proved to be much more interesting.

Thanks to Nico "vilakins" Mody for beta-reading!

The Gun Song

Assassins soundtrack

      It takes a lot of men to make a gun,
      Many men to make a gun:
      Men in the mines
      To dig the iron,
      Men in the mills
      To forge the steel,
      Men at machines
      To turn the barrel,
      Mold the trigger,
      Shape the wheel-
      It takes a lot of men to make a gun...
      One gun...
      And all you have to do
      Is move you little finger,
      Move your little finger and-
      You can change the world.
      Why should you be blue
      When You've you little finger?
      Prove how just a little finger
      Can change the world.
      I hate this gun...
      What a wonder is a gun!
      What a versatile invention!
      First of all, when you've a gun-
      Everybody pays attention.
      When you think what must be done,
      Think of all that it can do:
      Remove a scoundrel,
      Unite a party,
      Preserve the Union,
      Promote the sales of my book,
      Insure my future,
      My niche in history,
      And then the world will see
      That I am not a man to overlook!
      And all you have to do
      Is squeeze your little finger.
      Ease your little finger back-
      You can change the world.
      Whatever else is true,
      You trust your little finger.
      Just a single little finger
      Can change the world.
      I got this really great gun-
      Shit, where is it?
      No, it's really great-
      Shit, where is it?
      It's just a .38-
      It's a gun.
      You can make a statement-
      With a gun-
      Even if you fail.
      It tells 'em who you are
      Where you stand.
      This one was on sale.
      It- no not the shoe-
      Well, actually the shoe was, too.
      No, that's not it-
      Shit, I had it here-
      Got it!
      Yeah! There it is! And-
      All you have to do
      Is crook your little finger,
      Hook your little finger 'round-
      Shit, I shot it...
      -- You can change the world.
      Simply follow through,
      And look, you little finger
      Slow them down
      To a crawl,
      Show them all,
      Big and small,
      It took a little finger
      No time
      To change the world.
      A gun kills many men before it's done,
      Long before you shoot the gun:
      Men in the mines
      And in the steel mills,
      Men at machines,
      Who died for what?
      Somthing to buy-
      A watch, a shoe, a gun,
      A thing to make the bosses richer,
      A gun claims many men before it's done...