Stargate Horizons


Furious and hurt beyond words, Daniel strode into the temple.  How dare Jack speak to him like that, like a recalcitrant child who needed to be put in his place?  What gave Jack the right to treat him with such disrespect?  He should just march right back out of this temple and give that arrogant, bullying jerk a piece of his mind!  Maybe Jack wouldn't be so arrogant after he got a few teeth knocked out or that nose of his broken.

Daniel halted that train of thought.  Who was he kidding?  Jack would eat him for breakfast.  The man was ex-Special Ops, trained in a hundred different ways to kill people.  Daniel wouldn't have a prayer against him.

Daniel's rage abruptly vanished as he became aware of something.  He came to a dead stop.  It was all around him, an oppressive, chilling feeling of wrongness.  He had thought that it felt bad outside, but this . . . this was far worse.  Daniel found himself turning around quickly, his eyes darting from place to place, expecting to see some foul monster leap out at him.  He was convinced that he was not alone, that something was lurking within the structure.  He wanted to leave, to escape outside, to escape from the planet and never return.  Never in his life had he felt such an overwhelming sensation of evil.  He was not the kind of man who got rattled easily.  In fact, it took a hell of a lot to make him jumpy.  Yet, here he was, feeling like he was about to jump out of his own skin.

A scrabbling sound off to Daniel's left had him nearly levitating off the ground.  He spun around, his gun already in his hands, and saw a rat-like creature scurry away into a dark corner.  Not relaxing, Daniel reholstered his sidearm and tried to concentrate on the job at hand.  He was not going to give Jack the satisfaction of seeing him run with his tail tucked between his legs.

There were no ornamentations, carvings or writings of any kind inside the structure.  Daniel could also see no statues or any other kinds of artifacts, with one exception.  In the center of the room was a supporting pillar made of small, uncut stones and mortar.  At the base of the pillar was a round wooden table that surrounded the pillar.  Sitting upon the table were four black trays decorated with whorls of red paint.

As Daniel's stared at the trays, he became aware of a sound at the periphery of his senses.  At first, he tried to ignore it, but, after a while, he no longer could.  It sounded like a voice, speaking in a low, angry whisper, uttering words that the linguist could not understand.  Chills crawling up and down his spine, Daniel looked around.

"Is somebody there?" he asked to the empty room.  There was no reply.  "Who's there?"  Still nothing.

Daniel was just about to turn back toward the trays when something touched him, something ice cold and with a feeling of such darkness and malevolence that Daniel could not stop the cry that issued from his throat.  He stumbled backwards, turned and fled, not stopping until he was half a dozen yards from the temple.  He stood there and took several deep breaths, trying to stop the shaking of his body.  It was a long time before he regained control of himself.  A couple of minutes later, Sam came out of the woods.  She walked up to him.

"Are you okay?" she asked.  "You look a little pale."

"Yeah.  Yeah, I'm fine."

The major looked at him closely for a moment, then decided not to push it.  "Find anything interesting in there?"

For a moment, Daniel was tempted to tell her what had happened, then he decided against it.  He didn't want his teammates to think he was losing it, and, judging by Jack's attitude earlier, it wouldn't take much for him to think that.

"Not much.  My guess is that it's a temple of some kind.  There were no writings at all, and the only artifacts were four decoratively painted trays, possibly used for carrying offerings or in some kind of ritual."

Just then, Teal'c and Jack appeared.  The colonel glanced at Daniel, then looked away, his expression unreadable.

"There appears to be nothing of interest here," he stated, "unless somebody else found something."

"I didn't find anything, sir," Sam told him.

Daniel said nothing.  He simply glared at Jack, then turned his back to them and headed down the trail in the direction of the Stargate.

"Daniel!" Jack yelled.  He received nothing but silence from the archeologist.  Muttering under his breath, he strode off in the same direction.  Sam and Teal'c exchanged a look, then followed.

Daniel was already at the DHD and dialing home when Jack reached him.

"What do you think you're doing?" the colonel asked.

"I'm going home," Daniel replied through clenched teeth.

Jack stepped forward.  "All right, Daniel, now, look—"  He reached out to touch the younger man's arm.

Daniel leapt away from him like he was a poisonous snake.  "Don't touch me!" he yelled.

Stunned by the expression of rage and anguish on the linguist's face, Jack took a step backwards.  He remained silent as Daniel turned back to the DHD and continued dialing.  As soon as the wormhole had been established, Daniel sent the I.D.C. code, then escaped through the gate.  Sam and Teal'c came up beside the colonel.  They had seen the altercation between the men but chose to remain silent about it.

"Were we not going to search the area south of the gate, O'Neill?" Teal'c asked.

"We were, but I guess, now, we're not," Jack replied.  All the anger that he'd experienced earlier had disappeared only a few minutes after his altercation with Daniel, leaving him feeling tired, troubled and more than a little guilty.  Now feeling like he really, really did not want to be there anymore, he said, "Come on, let's go."

General Hammond studied the members of SG-1.  They were in the midst of the debriefing on the mission to P7Y-359, and the general could tell that something was up.  It wasn't anything obvious, just a faint undercurrent between the four people sitting before him.  Throughout the meeting, Jack, Sam and Teal'c all kept glancing at Daniel, their expressions ranging from concern to guilt.  Daniel, on the other hand, looked at none of them.  He kept his eyes glued to table throughout most of the debriefing, except for the brief moments when he was giving his report, then he looked only at the general.  Hammond tried to gain some insight as to what was going on from the archeologist's expression, but Daniel had assumed that emotionless mask the SGC commander had seen on numerous occasions when the young man was attempting to hide his feelings.

SG-1 wrapped up their report, which seemed oddly incomplete, and fell silent.  The general looked at all of them one by one, finally focusing on Jack.

"You returned from your mission several hours sooner than scheduled.  You mind telling me why?"

"We didn't find anything of interest, sir," the colonel replied.  "The area we covered was empty of signs that someone had been there recently."

Still getting the feeling that something was going on, Hammond stared at Jack a moment longer, than nodded.  "Very well, people.  You're scheduled for the mission to P5C-801 at 0700 hours tomorrow.  Colonel, please remain seated.  The rest of you are dismissed."

Jack stayed in his chair as his teammates filed out of the room.  Once they were gone, the general turned to him.

"Is there something I should know about, Colonel?"

"No, sir.  Nothing happened that you need to know about.  The area was deserted, not a soul in sight."

Hammond continued to fix the colonel with a penetrating stare.  "Did something happen between Doctor Jackson and one of his teammates?"

There was a long pause that succeeded in answering the general's question.

"There was a disagreement, but I'll be sure to get it ironed out," Jack finally replied.  "It'll be fine."

"I hope so, Colonel.  Things like that can affect the performance of a team.  I expect this to be taken care of before you depart for P5C-801 tomorrow."

"Don't worry, General.  It will be."

Hammond nodded shortly.  "Very well.  You're dismissed."

Jack left the briefing room.  He knew that he should go talk to Daniel right away, but he just couldn't get up the nerve.  Now that they were back home, his guilt about the things he'd said had grown into a nagging ache in his gut.  The more he thought about it, the more he wondered why he'd said those things.  Since Daniel's return, the relationship between them had been pretty good, maintaining an even keel.  Oh, they'd had some of their usual disagreements, but nothing even remotely serious.  The truth was that Jack had not wanted to get into an argument with Daniel.  He'd been without his best friend for a year and was so happy to have him back that he'd tried to show a little more patience toward the archeologist.  Not that he'd always succeeded, but he had tried.  So, why had he gotten so enraged on the planet?  Jack winced internally as he thought about his scathing remarks to the younger man.  He definitely needed to make this right.  It would be best, though, to wait until Daniel had cooled down a little.  Daniel was not the kind of man who could stay angry for long.  Jack was sure that, by this afternoon, the linguist would be ready to talk things out.

Decision made, Jack headed off to his office to begin writing up his report.

Daniel threw his pen down angrily.  He'd been trying to record the events of the mission in his field journal, but he could not stop thinking about the things Jack had said to him.  His anger was building again, and he really felt like he needed to hit something.  Maybe he should go down to the gym and pound the punching bag into submission.  Instantly rejecting that idea, Daniel got up and began pacing, his mind going to the things Jack had said and silently responding to them.

"You are on my team, and as long as I'm in charge, you will do as I say," recalled Daniel's memory.

'Yeah, that's right, Jack.  You're the big boss.  Your word is law, and God forbid if I dare say or do anything against it, regardless of how totally wrong you can be about things.'

"I am fed up with your defiance and disobedience," said the next memory.

'Well, what do you expect, Jack, when you never listen to me?  You rarely accept my advice, and you almost never give any credence to what I'm trying to tell you.  It is so damn frustrating sometimes!'

"I am sick of your attitude, the way you think that everyone should do what you want to do and what you think is right."

'I don't think that people should always do what I want, but it would sure be nice if, every once in a while, you would trust in my judgment and accept that maybe, just maybe, I might be right on occasion.'

"And then there's your insistence on exploring every rock and building on the planets we go to.  Every time we find something like this, all you want to do is explore."

'I'm an archeologist, Jack.  Of course I want to explore.  It's my job to investigate all archeological finds.  That's what archeologists do!  If you don't like it, you shouldn't have me on you team!'

"Even when the Goa'uld are breathing down our necks, you want to go off and play with your rocks."

'That is totally unfair and you know it!  How many times have I been right there beside you, taking out the Goa'uld?  I never let my archeological interests distract me from a dangerous situation.'

"And, now, all of a sudden, you say that you don't want to?"

'That's right, Jack.  I didn't want to!  I didn't like that place.  It felt . . . it felt wrong, wrong and . . . and evil!  But you wouldn't listen to me.  You never listen to me.  You have no respect for the things I say.  You have no trust in my judgment.  I'm just some pathetic geek to you.'

"I am so damn sick of this!"

'I'm sick of it too, Jack.  I am so sick of the disrespect, the insults, the denigration, the lousy way you treat me.  Is that how you treat all your friends, Jack?  Is it?'

"If you're not whining about one thing, you're whining about something else."

'So, is that what you think of me, that I'm nothing but a whiner?  I guess so.  I guess you have no respect for me at all anymore, do you.'

"I don't want to hear about your 'feelings' about this place."

'No, you never want to hear about anything from me.  You always shut me up or ignore me.  What good does it do for me to be on the team when you don't pay attention to anything I say?'

"It's all in your head."

'Yeah, all in my head, Jack.  All in my head, like when I told you I went to that alternate reality, like when Ma'chello's little parasites infected me, like when Sha're spoke to me through the ribbon device.  You always think it's just in my head, not real.  God, you really do have a low opinion of me, don't you.  Every time I tell you something that's a little hard to believe, you think I'm nuts.  Good thing I didn't say anything about what happened in that temple.  You'd probably have had McKenzie throw me back in the rubber room.'

As Daniel thought more and more about Jack's words, his anger changed to a deep, awful, aching pain.  He'd begun to develop a headache, but it was a minor irritant compared to the raw wound in his heart.  He was finally realizing the truth about the way Jack felt about him, and, God, it hurt.  It hurt so much that Daniel wanted to cry out from the pain.

"So suck it up, stop whining, go do your job, and get out of my hair!"  Jack's final words rung in his mind like a death knell.

'Maybe that's a good idea, Jack.  Maybe it's time that I did get out of your hair, time that I go do my job somewhere where you won't have to deal with me anymore.'

Daniel sat down heavily at his desk.  He rested his face in his hands and realized, to his surprise, that his cheeks were wet.  Dashing away the tears, he straightened.  Suddenly coming to a decision, the archeologist rose and walked out of his office.

General Hammond looked up and saw Daniel standing just outside the doorway.  "Come in, Doctor Jackson," he said.

Daniel came into the office and shut the door behind him.

"What can I do for you?" Hammond asked politely, trying to read the young man's expression.

Daniel took a deep breath.  "I'd like to request a transfer out of SG-1."

Shocked, the general stared at the archeologist for a moment.  "May I ask the reason why?"

"I've come to the conclusion that my skills are no longer needed on the team," Daniel replied, keeping his tone even.  "I feel that I will be of more value to the program if I concentrate on what I'm trained for, namely, studying the artifacts and archeological sites that are found on the various worlds.  My talents would be of more use doing that than being on a military team like SG-1, to which I can offer little of value."

Hammond studied Daniel closely.  The man's nearly emotionless voice and the unusual stiffness of his posture clearly indicated that something was wrong.  Something had driven the archeologist to make this drastic decision, and the general wanted to know what it was.  He was certain that it had something to do with whatever the "disagreement" was that took place on P7Y-359.

"Did something happen on your last mission to bring you to this decision?" he asked gently.

There was a brief hesitation before Daniel replied, as if he was choosing his words carefully.  "It just became apparent to me that I don't belong on SG-1.  It and the other teams like it are out there primarily to fight the Goa'uld and to find technology that we can use in that fight.  I'm not a soldier, and I know next to nothing about advanced technology.  I'm an archeologist, anthropologist and linguist, something that Ja—"  Daniel stopped abruptly and took a deep breath, "something that, more often than not, is not needed on missions.  Most of the time, I'm just a fifth wheel, serving no real purpose."

Hammond leaned forward, positive now that the disagreement had been between Daniel and the colonel.  He'd suspected this before, but hadn't wanted to confront Jack about it, not before giving the colonel time to patch things up.  Well, this had now moved beyond a minor concern to something very serious, and it was up to the general to try making one of the SGC's most valuable people see the truth about his place there.

"Doctor Jackson, I know for a fact that what you said is not true," he said in a gentle, fatherly tone.  "Your contribution to SG-1 has been invaluable in the past.  I could name dozens of missions that would not have been successful if you had not been on the team, and I can name dozens more that would have been disastrous if it weren't for your skills and knowledge out there in the field.  Now, I don't know what happened on P7Y-359 to drive you to make this decision, but whatever it was, I think you need to discuss it with Colonel O'Neill and your other teammates and come to a resolution."

Daniel shook his head, fighting to keep his emotions hidden.  "There's nothing to discuss, General.  I'm pretty certain that Colonel O'Neill will agree with my decision.  I've given this a lot of thought, and it's the best thing for everyone."  He swallowed tightly.  "If . . . if you can't give me a transfer, then I'll have no choice but to tender my resignation."

Hammond stared into Daniel's eyes, seeing there a glimmer of deep pain.  He also saw that nothing he said was going to change the young man's mind.  With a regretful sigh, the general nodded.  "Very well, Doctor Jackson.  I will grant your transfer, effective immediately."

Daniel relaxed slightly.  "Thank you, sir.  If it's okay with you, I'd like to take tomorrow off.  I, um, have a lot of things to think about."

"All right, Son.  You take as much time as you need."

"Thank you."  Daniel walked to the door, then stopped.  Keeping his back to the general, he said, "Sir, I . . . I just want to thank you for all the times that you've been there for me and for making me feel like I was a valued member of the SGC despite the fact that I'm not military.  Your support and respect has meant a lot to me."  He then opened the door and left.

Greatly disturbed by the archeologist's final words, Hammond stared at the closed door for a long moment.  He then got on the intercom to his aide.  "I want to see Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter and Teal'c in the briefing room ASAP."  One way or another, he was going to get to the bottom of this.

Daniel quickly returned to his office and shut the door, then wearily made his way to his chair and sat down.  He rubbed his temples in an effort to ease his headache, which had been getting progressively worse.  Daniel knew the chances were good that his ex-teammates would be coming to see him as soon as they learned the news.  Sam and Teal'c would no doubt try to talk him out of it.  As for Jack, he'd probably be steamed at first, but, in the end, he would decide that he was better off without Daniel on his team.  He'd made it abundantly clear that Daniel was nothing more than an irritant to him, a pain in the ass, as he'd said more than once.  He didn't want or need Daniel.  He'd be happier with another soldier on the team, someone with skills that the Air Force colonel could value and appreciate.

Ruthlessly shoving his grief down into a dark corner of his heart, Daniel took a few ibuprofen and tried to focus on work.

"What's this all about?" Jack asked as he entered the briefing room and saw Sam and Teal'c there.

"I don't know, sir," the major replied.  "I was just told that the general wanted to see us."

The members of SG-1 took their usual seats at the table.  The general came in a moment later.  Sam took one look at the somber expression on the man's face and knew that something was wrong.  The fact that Daniel was not with them made her even more worried and puzzled.

"Sir, what's wrong?" she asked.  "Where's Daniel?"

Hammond looked at her for a moment, then at Jack and Teal'c.  He took his seat at the head of the table.  "Doctor Jackson has requested a transfer.  As of a few minutes ago, he is no longer a member of SG-1."

"What?!" exploded Jack.  "I don't believe this!  I'll go talk with him, General.  We'll get this straightened out right now."  He began to rise from his chair.

"Hold it right there, Colonel!" Hammond barked.  "You will go nowhere until I'm told what this is all about.  I want to know what happened on P7Y-359 to make Doctor Jackson think that he no longer has a place on your team."

"Daniel said that?" Sam asked, distressed.

"Yes, he did, plus a whole lot more, though I got the distinct impression that there was even more left unspoken.  Doctor Jackson seems to think that his skills and knowledge are neither wanted nor needed on SG-1."

"Well, that's just stupid, sir," Jack said.  "He's just angry right now.  He'll come around."

"Is that so?  Well, why don't you enlighten me as to the reason why he would be so angry, Colonel.  Obviously, the 'disagreement' you told me about was more serious than what you saw fit to reveal."

Everyone shifted uncomfortably.

"Um, it . . . it was a bit more than a disagreement, sir," Jack admitted reluctantly, "more like a, uh, argument.  Kind of."  'Yeah, right, except that you were the one doing all the yelling.'

Hammond frowned.  "Go on."

"Well, sir, Daniel had . . . misgivings about the temple," Sam said.


"Daniel Jackson said that it was giving him a feeling of unease," Teal'c explained.

"It was creeping him out," Jack said acerbically.  "Gave him the willies."

"He didn't want to enter the temple," Sam told Hammond.  "In fact, he said that we should leave the area.  He was pretty adamant about it."

Hammond's eyebrows rose in surprise.  He looked one-by-one at the remaining members of SG-1.  "Did any of you get the same feeling?"

"We did not," Teal'c replied.

"It was just his imagination, General," Jack said.  "It was just some empty old temple.  There was nothing there.  There was no threat."

"Colonel O'Neill, in all the time that you've had Doctor Jackson on your team have you ever known him to say something like that or react in that manner?" Hammond asked.

"Well, no, not that I can remember," Jack admitted.  "It's usually the other way around when we find some old ruins or something like that.  Daniel wants to stay and explore."

"And he's never before reacted like he did to that temple," Sam added.  "Daniel's not the superstitious type, and he doesn't 'creep out' easily.  In fact, he usually takes even the weirdest, most unbelievable things in stride."

"Yet, this time, he didn't," Hammond said.

"That is correct, General Hammond," Teal'c confirmed.

"Well, since Doctor Jackson did investigate the temple, I am assuming that you chose to ignore his feelings and advice."

Both Sam and Teal'c looked at Jack, who shifted in his chair again.

"Yeah, uh, that's when he and I got into our . . . argument," he muttered.

"What sort of argument?" Hammond pressed, his tone making it clear that he would not be satisfied with anything less than the complete truth.

"I . . . guess I sort of told him to stop whining, suck it up, and go do his job," Jack muttered, his eyes not meeting his C.O.'s.

Hammond's eyes narrowed.  "And what else?"

Jack stared at a spot on the table.  "Um, I may also have said something about Daniel's tendency to want to spend most missions like he's on an archeological dig and, uh . . . a few other things about being tired of his attitude."

"I see."  The general turned to the others.  "Major, you and Teal'c are excused."

"Yes, sir." Sam stood.  "Um, sir?  Will it be just the three of us on the mission tomorrow?"

Hammond nodded.  "Until a replacement for Doctor Jackson is chosen, you will continue your duties as a three-man team."

Sam turned and left, Teal'c behind her.  A replacement.  Nobody could replace Daniel.  Nobody.  During the year that Daniel had been ascended, Jonas Quinn had tried to take the archeologist's place, but he had not been nor could he ever be Daniel.  There wasn't anyone in the world like Daniel Jackson.  He was brilliant, courageous, intuitive, ingenious, and possessed an unlimited capacity for compassion and understanding.  He was the heart and conscience of SG-1 and the SGC, their voice of reason and humanity.  Without him on their team, there would be a hole that no one could completely fill.

"Teal'c, I'm going to go talk to Daniel," Sam said.  "Maybe I can say something to change his mind."

"I, too, would wish to do so, Major Carter," the Jaffa said somberly.  "It would be a great loss to SG-1 if Daniel Jackson were to leave."

"Yes, it would.  I just hope I can find the right words to say."

"If you are unsuccessful, please inform me, and I shall endeavor to find the correct words to speak."

Sam smiled faintly.  "Okay, I'll let you know how things go."

Sam headed for Daniel's office with the hope that she'd be able to change his mind.  She had a feeling, though, that the words Daniel needed to hear were ones that only Jack O'Neill could speak.

Next Chapter

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