tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

Fandoms I Have Loved 12: Stargate: SG-1

I wanted to get this finished in time for the last episode of SG1. I, um, didn't. (I know you're shocked.) And you may wonder why I bothered to write up an introduction post for a show that a) has been around for 10 years and b) is now over.

I could come up with lots of excuses - "It's really about the fandom" and "What more perfect time to write an intro than when we know it won't be obsolete in a year?" and "The heart wants what it wants" - but, face it, they'd all pretty much suck. So instead, I'll say: that's just how I roll, people.

Plus, I love this fandom a lot. And I'm not saying goodbye to it. Not at all.

I joined this fandom after the show had been on the air for something like twenty-three seasons. (Okay, I think seven, but still.) It was like - you know how, when you're dating someone, you have the horrible moment when you go to his family's house for a vacation? Suddenly you're immersed in his entire family history, which means if you say "oranges" someone bursts into tears and leaves the table, and people say, "But seriously folks" and then everyone collapses laughing, and you set the table wrong and don't know how to say grace and you agree to play Trivial Pursuit but this family plays an edition you've never heard of and cannot answer a single question in, and you have to listen to incomprehensible stories about people who died before you were born, and you keep saying to your boyfriend, "Okay, is that Chris with a C or Kris with a K? And how is he - or she - related to you again?"

And inevitably you end up with your back against a wall, thinking that you always kind of looked down on Cliffs Notes, but if they sold them for this family, you would so buy some, and in the meantime you'd like to turn invisible, please, because these people are really nice, but you have no fucking clue what is going on, and you've reached a state of confusion so severe that it's probably causing permanent brain damage.

Joining SG1 fandom that late was kind of like that. I kept going, "But who the hell is Martouf?" and "But why do I care about this man with the banana?" It was utterly mystifying.

Fortunately, though, fandoms do come with Cliffs Notes, and also they come with porn, which - okay, we're dropping the boyfriend's family metaphor here and now before I can scar myself any worse.

Eventually, I got things figured out, to a certain extent (I'm still kind of WTF? about some things - Moebius, for example), and I found a lot of great fan fiction, so this story has a happy ending. And now I'm going to try to distill that knowledge into, you know, a single Fandoms I Have Loved entry, while still retaining my ability to form coherent sentences. Should be fun!

(But, just as a backup plan: if I lose the coherent sentences, just skip down to the links at the end.)

Things You Need to Know Before We Get Started

  1. Anything with a random apostrophe in it is alien. Unless it's in fan fiction, in which case there's a chance it's just a crime against grammar. But if it's in canon - well, let me put it this way. If "canon" was an alien concept in SG1 (Which I sometimes think maybe it is - like, have the writers seen the show? The whole show? When they weren't on drugs?), it would be written c'aan'on. (Also, it would it kill Daniel.)

    This creates some challenges. I'm pretty sure that Goa'uld is spelled, you know, Goa'uld, but Daniel's wife? Her name starts with an S and ends with an EEE sound and there's an apostrophe in the middle. That's all I can tell you for sure. I just think of her as Sherry, because that way I can imagine a Lord King Bad Vid set to a song I sometimes hear in supermarkets called (I believe) "Oh, Sherry." (The first time I heard this, I seriously thought he was singing "Oh, Sha're, with the eyes of gold," because my supermarket has not invested in high quality speakers. I nearly fell over laughing in the bread section.) Also, that way, I don't have to worry about the apostrophe, because let me tell you, that fucker wanders.

  2. No matter what happens, SG1 will do everything in their power to avoid learning any life lessons or experiencing emotional growth. They don't have time, people! You can't have psychological stability and an intact universe. That is the first lesson they teach in stargate school.

  3. In SG1, science doesn't mean what you think it means. In fact, it's best if you just kind of chuck all your science knowledge in a pensieve while you're in the Stargate universe. Just listen to whatever Sam and Daniel tell you, and believe them; they're usually right. They read the script.

  4. No matter how many times they endanger the human race, the earth, the galaxy, or the universe, SG1 are still our heroes, and we love them. Yes, we do. Yes, even when Teal'c has that tragic attack of scalp fungus.

People You Need to Know

-The Team, v. 1.0-


Job title: Cat-Herder-in-Chief.

Job duties include (but are not limited to): Saving the day, saving the earth, arguing with Daniel Jackson, not really listening to anyone but his team, making things blow up, shooting things, saying "for crying out loud," and choosing expedience over cultural sensitivity.

Sources of angst: The death of his son, the dissolution of his marriage, his forbidden love for Daniel, Sam, or Teal'c, various bouts of torture, being responsible for the deaths/misery/torture of people he loves. Basically, the only source of angst that could not be plausibly attributed to Jack is the trauma of arriving at the Prom wearing the exact same dress as Melissa, OMG!

Methods of coping: Repression, denial, sarcasm, shooting things, pretending to be dumb, pottery (no, really), annoying others.

Reasons we love him: He's Jaaaaaack. Okay, look: he's tough, he's funny, he's smarter than he wants you to know, and he cares way more than he wants to about - well, pretty much about the same things we care about: the other team members, the human race, pie.

Fan fiction notes: He is most often slashed with Daniel and shipped with Sam. And if Jack engages in any lengthy, heartfelt discussion of his feelings with appropriate "I feel" statements and sincere emotion and copious cathartic weeping, either he's been taken over by an unusually sadistic Goa'uld or you're reading badfic.


Job title: Thinky Guy. Also, Talky Guy.

Job duties include (but are not limited to): Saving the day, saving the earth, arguing with Jack O'Neill, not listening to anyone unless they're speaking an unusual language or come from another planet, providing exposition, eyebrow calisthenics, and worrying about cultural sensitivity and, you know, morals and stuff. Also, dying. I really cannot emphasize that enough.

Sources of angst: He watched his parents die when he was eight. His wife got a snake put in her head and then Teal'c killed her. His adopted planet got a boo-boo. He's got the weight of the universe on his shoulders. Also, did I mention he's died a lot? Some of those times were somewhat less than pleasant for him.

Methods of coping: Working. Working harder. Working really really hard. Sometimes I think he dies just to get a chance to put his feet up for a bit.

Reasons we love him: He is smart and caring and lets his sense of responsibility completely change him. He tries really hard. He talks really fast. He wears glasses. A lot of the time, he looks like he needs a hug.

Fan fiction notes: He is most often slashed with Jack and most often shipped with - hmmm. I don't know, actually. If Daniel is alone and unloved and everyone is mean to him and so he cuts himself (or just tries to kill himself), either he's gotten addicted to an alien substance again (in this case, probably called Emo Dust) or you're reading badfic.


Job title: Shiny, Shiny Scientist. With a Gun.

Job duties include, but are not limited to: Saving the day, saving the earth, making it very clear that she is not going to argue because she fully understands the chain of command, providing exposition, providing techno-babble, producing five technological miracles that defy the laws of physics each week, and sometimes taking orders.

Sources of angst: Well, her mother's dead, her father's either disappointed with her career choices or all snake-headed, her best friend gets killed, and her relationships are always set to self-destruct within three episodes. Plus, as one of the writers has pointed out in a commentary somewhere, she's a woman. Boobs make everything harder! (No, I'm not kidding; a writer did basically say that.)

Methods of coping: Working. Also, working on shiny things. Also, riding motorcycles. And shooting things.

Reasons we love her: She is smart and shiny. She kicks ass in the old boys' club of the Air Force. And did I mention the motorcycles? And the shooting of things? Also, she's much less likely to die than any of the other characters.

Fan fiction notes: She is most often slashed with Janet and shipped with Jack. If she gets hit by an ordinary guy and, instead of breaking his jaw, she cries and needs someone (Jack, or I guess maybe Janet) to defend her, either she has a secret plan or you're reading badfic.


Job title: Resident Alien.

Job duties include: Saving the day, saving the universe, killing the false gods, patiently not smacking his teammates when they bicker or are annoying or are just basically not as cool as Jaffa, really working the word "indeed," displaying biceps of awesomeness, dispensing wisdom and handy knowledge, and, in his copious spare time, freeing the Jaffa and leading them to a glorious, false-god-free future. Also, he enjoys television and golf.

Sources of angst: He served a false god for a whole bunch of decades, in the process killing boodles of people and bringing sorrow to any number of planets. That's kind of a bummer, although he doesn't, you know, cry in the rain about it or anything. Also, he has very bad luck in relationships. Also, his people are slaves. Also, he's dependent on the evil alien larva living in what appears to be his lower intestine.

Methods of coping: Meditation, exercise, eating a balanced diet, and, one assumes, occasionally sneaking out of the Mountain in the dead of night to dress up in a Yeti costume and use alien technology on unsuspecting conspiracy theorists. Or, okay, probably not, but in his shoes, that's what I'd do.

Reasons we love him: He is made of awesome, he has sarcastic eyebrows, he manages to look cool even though he's got a giant gold tattoo on his forehead, he kicks nine kinds of ass, and he doesn't sweat the small stuff. Or the medium stuff. Or most things, really. Also, did I mention his biceps?

Fan fiction notes: He doesn't get a lot of action, sadly, but he seems to be shipped most often with Sam. If Teal'c is a flat, emotionless, silent, speechless, boring guy, then either he's been replaced with a block of wood (probably as part of a cunning plan, and I'm guessing this cunning plan would have been Daniel's idea), or you're reading badfic.

-The Team, v. 1.5-

This was only for season six, and it involved Jonas Quinn, about whom I know very little. I think he liked bananas. Beyond that, you'll need to ask someone else.

-The Team, v. 2.0-

I don't know much about v. 2.0 of the team, either. (Well, technically, I don't know much about any of SG1, but I'm writing this anyway. I enjoy exposing my ignorance! It's my main hobby.) Here's how I think about it: it looks like they added John Crichton (but in military costume) and Aeryn Sun (after a disturbing makeover), but in reality they added the original SG1 fanboy and a sort of chaotic neutral thief/sex beast in pigtails.

I think. I'm going to have to get back to you on this.

-The Major Bad Guys-

GOA'ULD: They are snake-like parasites, and they wants your bodies, precious! At least, they do if you are pretty and young and healthy. Good parts: you'll live a really long time. Bad parts: you'll be entirely controlled by an evil alien playing god to various planets. Also, you will be dressed in a lot of gold lame, and possibly also unfortunate accessories.

ORI: Like Scientologists, except their tech works.

REPLICATORS: A terrifying combination of nanotechnology and a Xerox machine with the "copy" button stuck down. For reasons that can only be indicative of pure evil, they tend to appear as spiders a lot, meaning I have to cover my eyes when they show up in vids.

NID: As far as I can tell, they're like the Stargate program would probably actually be if the U.S. government was running it.

-Selected Other Guys-

ASGARD: They are naked alien types who enjoy cosplay and cloning. One of them has a serious hard-on for Jack O'Neill, which is impressive, because as far as I can tell - and believe me, you could tell - he doesn't have any genitals per se. They have lots of technology, but mostly choose to be much less than helpful. Still, it's always good to have a little naked alien around. They come in handy in all kinds of situations. I keep one in my closet for that very reason.

ANCIENTS: You know those people you meet who explain to you about how their bodies are temples and they never touch any substances, and by substances they mean, like, chocolate, caffeine, tea, meat, dairy, and processed foods, and inevitably it ends up with them telling you in great detail about how healing and successful their latest colonic cleansing was, and you just want to smack them? Okay, maybe we mostly have those in California. But multiply them times a thousand and add in giant glowing squids, and you've got the Ancients. They ascended to a higher plane, and they cannot resist an opportunity to let you know it. ("Look how high we are!" they generally say. And then they probably tell you they don't even need colonic cleansings anymore, but one would really do you some good.) Sometimes, Daniel joins them, but they always send him back, possibly because they are afraid that if he sticks around Jack will join them. They can't be all spiritual and mighty, though, because they generally keep Daniel's clothes.

-Everyone Else-

Like I know. Ten seasons! They had fucking Merlin in here, for god's sake! Basically, if you can think of it, they probably did it at least once in the canon. Well, unless it involves blowjobs, but that's why we have fan fiction.

Plot You Need to Know

First, know this: I will not attempt to explain the canon. That requires trained professionals. Also massive sedatives. I will highlight certain points of the canon, but if you ask me to explain anything in a way that makes sense, I will just laugh helplessly. This is ten years of canon, of which I have seen not a single second. Ask someone who actually understands this stuff. (I will provide links to people who do.)

Okay, so there's this big stone circle-y thingy, and it's kind of an interplanetary toilet/telephone hybrid: you dial it and jump in and it flushes you through some hyperspace-type tubes (like the internet, only with whooshy noises!) to a new place.

The Air Force gets hold of it, and Daniel figures out how to use it, and he and Jack go through it and have adventures on Abydos. They learn that there is alien life out there, and most of it has terrible taste in clothing and the will to power. They blow shit up. Daniel gets married to Sherry (or whatever), and stays on the planet; Jack goes home and mopes for a year about, you know, kid dead, wife gone, hot anthropologist apparently straight, that kind of thing.

Then...look, stuff happens, okay? Point is, Daniel's wife (and Skaara, who is Sherry's brother, but he didn't get an apostrophe; maybe there was a shortage) gets a snake put in her head, and Daniel comes back to fight the Goa'uld, being just that kind of take-the-problem-to-the-top guy. Sam joins up. They meet Teal'c and Jack converts him to good with, basically, a persuasive look (why there is not more Jack/Teal'c I will never know). We can has SG1z!

SG1 goes traveling to various planets and starships and stuff. While there, these things may happen:
  • There is technology, mysterious, lethal, or important.
  • There are aliens. (In this world, humans who live on other planets are also aliens.)
  • SG1 gets itself into some trouble.
  • Trouble finds SG1 without any help from them.
  • SG1 gets itself out of some trouble.
  • Daniel dies.
Mix that up, and you've got - well, a lot of it, anyway.

But if there's one thing I've learned from my years in the various Gateverse fandoms, it's that you don't need to know the canon, because subtle visual clues are interwoven throughout that allow you to understand the scope and breadth of the entire universe. These clues are: hair.

-Ten Years of SG1 Summarized Entirely Via Hair-

Jack's hair turns gray overnight, presumably from the stress of herding this particular group of hyperactive Schrodinger's cats.

Daniel's hair gets progressively less floppy as time goes on, which might be an attempt on the hair department's part to reflect his character change and growth, but probably just means the actor got tired of using a comb.

Teal'c's hair consistently proves that less is more, except for that unfortunate experiment with hair growth that we all like to pretend never happened, because the alternative is tearing out our own eyes and wandering in the woods for twenty years.

Sam has good hair, but only in this universe; all other Sams were the victims of tragic hairstyling accidents.

Cameron has military hair. Actual military hair, on a military character. It's one of the wonders of the Stargate universe.

Vala changes her hairstyle like most people change their underpants. (We cannot say for sure if she has underpants; maybe she doesn't and she's compensating.)

No one can remember what Jonas's hair looked like.

Useful Resources

If you actually want to learn about Stargate: SG1, I suggest Arduinna's awesome Stargate Handbook, which has everything you could ever hope to know about the show.

There's also the Stargate Primer, which is kind of out-of-date, but is very useful if you're just getting into the fandom.

You'll be reading a lot about Jack and Daniel if you stick to the slash part of this fandom. If you want to know what they look like - and, um, why writers are so anxious to get their clothes off, and I don't mean that the way you think I do - check out niamaea's photo essays: Everybody's Crazy 'bout a Sharp-Dressed Man (Daniel) and Everybody's Crazy Strikes Back (Jack). Actually, check these out even if you couldn't care less about what Jack and Daniel look like. You'll never look at tablecloths and chinos the same way again.

Thanks to cofax7 and rydra_wong, I can link you to katie_m's Stargate Primer for Farscape Fans. Useful! Informative! Helps clear up some of the confusion caused by the casting of seasons 9 and 10! (The primer also works in the other direction, by the way - at least, it helped me figure out Farscape. It's a primer that swings both ways.)

A Fan Fiction Sampler

It is so impossibly difficult to pick a starter set of fan fiction for this show. There's just so much good in this fandom. The basic structure of the show - open a gate, tromp through, deal with what’s on the other side, return home in pieces, pick up the pieces, repeat - seems to allow FF writers to create plots and cultures as never before. And just generally put all this glorious stuff in their stories. (Including sex. Of course.) And then there's the characters, who lend themselves to snappy dialog and lots of humor - and lots and lots of angst.

So, the first step to finishing this FIHL is acknowledging that I just need to give you some idea of the awesomeness that's out there. (And only the vaguest idea, at that. I don't read a lot of the pairings in this fandom, so I can't really do anything even approaching a comprehensive survey.)

Reveille, by Shalott, aka astolat. Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

As I've said before, this story sucks people into SG1 fandom so fast that sometimes it happens in the middle of conversations. You'll just be casually chatting to a fangirl, and then there's a WHOMP, and suddenly she's in SG1 fandom. That's pretty much what happened to me, anyway. (Not to worry; the WHOMPing doesn't leave marks, except, you know, a sudden love of a new fandom.)

Why? Well, this story is fun. And it really shows off the delightful perfection of the Jack and Daniel dynamic (and why it's so very appealing to turn that into a Jack/Daniel dynamic). There's intoxication and telepathy and humor. And, best of all, you need no canon knowledge to read it. The first time I read this, I'm pretty sure I still thought Sam was a boy. So, seriously: it's a delightful romp with no prerequisites besides a love of slash. Why aren't you reading it already?

The Other Half, by Anna S., aka eliade.

This one's another sucks-you-in story; many a fangirl has lost her Stargate virginity to Anna S., and trust me, it's a good way to go. Anna knows how to show you - and Jack and Daniel - a good time.

And there's just so much to love in this story. I mean, there's Jack first-person narrative - no, seriously, don't run screaming; this may just be the best use of first person I've seen in fan fiction. It's that good. (And, for this story, really kind of necessary.) There's unfortunate and gaudy jewelry, which is something of a canonical theme, so it's nice to see it here. And there's slavery, which is not, in itself, an awesome concept, but trust me: on Jack O'Neill, it looks good.

You don't need to know the canon to read this; you just need to love slash. (And if you've got a thing for sarcasm, costume jewelry, and a little BDSM? This story is made for you.) This is the slavefic that slavefic haters love; this is the first-person narrative story that first-person-haters love. This, in short, is something you should read right now.

Commodity, by keiko_kirin. Gen, according to the author. (Some readers may view it otherwise.)

Every one of Keiko's SG1 stories is worth reading, but this one works particularly well as an introduction to what the FF of SG1 has to offer. Because - okay, in many ways, this could be an episode. SG1 visits an alien culture, gets into trouble, gets out. And I love the way the team works together in this; for much of it, they're separate, but they still think and function as a unit, and I love that.

But there's also - well, put it this way. I think there's a reason this story isn't a romance, even though the author could easily have made it so: it shouldn't be. There's too much other important stuff going on, and it's too much about the team and the culture they find - romance just doesn't fit in here. And that's why this is perfect to include as an intro both to SG1 (because, seriously, these people do not have time for the more fun parts of life; hell, I'm surprised they manage to shower regularly) and the gen side of this fandom's fiction, which typically goes much deeper than the show itself can.

(By the way - if you're curious about what Keiko can do with slash, get thee to The Road Between the Walls, which is another fabulous Stargate adventure, with all the slash and alien cultures and plot you could ever hope for.)

First Impressions, by Pares, aka kormantic. Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

I talk so much about Daniel dying - well, and there's so much of it in the canon - that I figured I'd better recommend at least one story in which he does just that. In this, Daniel is dead: to begin with. Except there is definitely some doubt about that. (Sorry. Couldn't help it.) Which makes this really the perfect dead-Daniel story, because as many times as he dies in the canon, well, he's also still alive in the canon, and that's not because he's a sun-resistant vampire or a very linguistically gifted zombie. For Daniel, death is kind of like a truck stop: a mildly unpleasant place you have to go through on your way to somewhere else.

So, Daniel spends some time sitting in the parking lot of his metaphorical truck stop in this story. And, as always, he does not let death, certain or indefinite or simply improbable, stand in the way of his greatest natural gift, which is causing trouble for his team, and especially for one Jack O'Neill.

Plus, they all go to Vegas. And Jack and Daniel have sex. And Pares reveals the light-hearted side of two things many people fear (for good reasons, let me add): death and casinos. I really don't see how you could ask for better.

Elvis Has Left the Building, by Salieri, aka troyswann. Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

I love humor. You show me a story that will make me laugh and I will be your adoring slave for life. (Or, okay, until I get distracted by the next funny thing. I can't help it. I'm easily swayed.) And when I found this story - well, I remember I'd been reading through a siege of really great but really painful SG1 stories, and wondering if maybe this wasn't the fandom for me, and then I found this, and I realized that it so was. Because any fandom that can contain both this story and the brilliant but painful The Cost of a Used Spaceship (by Marie Blackpool) is most definitely a fandom for me.

What we have here is - well, a great team story, for one thing. Because nothing brings a team together like getting routinely outmaneuvered by a moose, am I right? And - but what else do I need to tell you? SG1 + Moose = awesome beyond all words. It's fun, it's funny, and there's no prior canon knowledge necessary. Go for it.

Rings, by Tallulah Rasa. Gen.

As I think I said somewhere way up there, one of the hard things about writing any kind of introduction to SG1 is - well, ten years of canon. It's very complicated. And these characters do change over the years; even I could not possibly confuse season 10 Daniel with season 1 Daniel (I mean in a characterization sense, although in fact I couldn't confuse them in a physical sense, either - it's much easier to confuse season 10 Daniel with Cameron than with his own earlier self). So, it's like I'm trying to show you the elephant just by letting you pat its trunk.

This story is my attempt to remedy that: it's snapshots (neatly labeled by season, which helps) of SG1 as they grow, change, and move through and then beyond the canon. The dialog - well, this is how I hear SG1 when they talk in my head (oh, shut up - like characters don't talk to you all the time, and if they don't, I don't want to hear about it). It's perfect. And it gives you what I couldn't, a sense of growth and progression.

Plus, the central metaphor, if I may slip into Pretend English Major Mode for a second, is trees, which is very appropriate. See, one thing you learn from SG1 - from the vids, from the canon, from the screenshots, even - is that the universe looks a lot like British Columbia: full of trees. So I'm finishing on a story that is a lot like the universe, really.

(...Wow. I'm so deep.)

Want More? SG-1 Recommendations Sites

It's been a long time since I used any SG1 recs pages, actually. But even if I haven't used these, I've checked them out, and I've liked what I've seen. If that gives you any kind of confidence at all.

Polyamorous Recs: Stargate: SG-1, by nestra and shrift. The gold standard of multi-fandom recommendation.

Stargate: SG-1 recs, by norah. MMWD provides lots and lots of links with short summaries - perfect if you're looking to glut yourself on quality fan fiction, in other words.

Stargate: SG-1 recs, by thefourthvine (me). I'm kind of the opposite of MMWD; I provide very few links and I talk and talk and talk about each one. (And if you got all the way through this post and you don't know that, well...) Basically, I'm only including myself in this list because I wrote this post; the other sites will serve you better if you're just getting into the fandom.

Princess Cimorene's Stargate recs, by cimness. (Scroll down; the SG-1 comes under the Atlantis stuff.) Cim provides short summaries and lots of links to great stories, and - rarest of rare - she'll tell you what she didn't like about a story she's recommending.

The Rec Room: SG-1, by cupidsbow. This site (okay, journal-thing) is incredibly useful, not the least because cupidsbow recs vids as well as fan fiction. That's a rare and wondrous thing. And her taste is great.

Arduinna's Recs: Stargate SG-1, by aka_arduinna. Arduinna's devoted to this fandom, as her SG Handbook indicates, and she provides consistent recommendations with longer, more detailed summaries.

Destina's Slash Story Recommendations, by destina. If you're looking for the angstier, darker, or more bittersweet side of this fandom, this is where to go. This page hasn't been updated in a while and is most likely dead, but there are still lots of great stories here, some of which you won't find other places.

ETA: katie_m has provided helpful links to sites with good het (Jack/Sam) recommendations in the comments. Yay!

And rydra_wong has some further recs site suggestions here. Double yay!
Tags: [fandoms i have loved], stargate: sg-1

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  • 208: A Long and Winding Road

    The One That Makes My Brain Turn in Circles, Trying to Figure out If You Can Fight Destiny or Not. For the Record, I'm Hoping That I Could and Spock…

  • 203: Re-Entry Is a Doozy

    Best Beloved recently pointed out to me that it had been approximately seventeen years since I had recommended anything, which had of course…

  • Conscious Television. Or Something.

    A couple of times a month, Best Beloved, the earthling, and I will go out to breakfast at a locally renowned diner-ish place. It has a shelf by one…