Stargate Horizons


The next morning, a team was sent through the gate that, along with SG-1 and SG-5, got started examining the temple for whatever was generating the shield.  By early afternoon, every stone and log in the temple had been thoroughly examined.  There were no hidden compartments and no sign of any kind of device.

"All right, so if it isn't coming from the ship, and there's nothing hidden in the temple, what's generating that shield?" Jack asked.  He and rest of SG-1 were alone in the temple at the moment.

Daniel was standing near the center of the temple, his eyes looking about at the roof and walls.  "We've been looking at this the wrong way," he abruptly said.

"How so?" Sam asked.

"Whatever it is that's blocking the sensors, it's limited to the boundaries of the temple.  It doesn't extend beyond the walls or roof at all.  Now, I don't know much about these things, but if a shield was being generated by some kind of device, wouldn't it cover the temple like a dome?  How would you get a shield to conform precisely to the shape of this building?"

"I didn't think of that," Sam admitted.  "The only way you could do that was if there were transmitters placed on every wall and in the ceiling, each one generating its own field."

"Or maybe there is no device here at all."

Jack stared at Daniel.  "What?"

Daniel turned to Sam.  "The UAV that was sent here was equipped with sensors to detect heat patterns, right?"  Sam nodded.  "Yet it failed to spot the Dicharins, even though there's a village only a couple of miles from the gate.  Now, I can understand why we didn't see the structures in the village on the video feed, but why didn't the sensors spot the heat patterns of the people in the village?"

Sam frowned.  "Daniel, what are you saying?"

"What if what's blocking the sensors is a natural occurrence?  What if there's some natural substance on this planet that interferes with any kind of scanner or sensor?"

"Would that be possible?" Jack asked.

"Yes, I suppose it could," Sam answered, "but it couldn't be anything in the atmosphere since, if it was, I wouldn't have been able to use the infrared scanner at all."

"I learned from Gennae that the stuff these logs are coated with is made from a tarry substance that comes from a bog that's a few hours' walk from here," Daniel told his teammates.  "The stuff, once it dries, is waterproof.  The Dicharins coat hides with it and put the hides underneath the thatching on their roofs to keep the rain out."

"You think that the tar has something in it?" Jack asked.

"Well, when the UAV approached the village, the Dicharins might have been frightened and taken shelter in their homes.  If the tar does have some substance in it that blocks the ability of sensors to penetrate it, the UAV wouldn't have been able to see the heat patterns of the villagers."

"But what about the walls?"

Daniel walked over to the wall to the left of the doorway.  His gaze went to the ground.  Kneeling, he ran a finger through the dust of the mortar they'd chipped away.  "Sam, look at this."  He held up his finger.

The major bent over and saw that the mortar had a faint sparkle to it, though barely noticeable and only in direct sunlight.

"This doesn't have the same texture as regular mortar, not what we use on Earth nowadays," Daniel mused.  "But then, different materials have been used throughout history as mortar for stones and bricks, so that doesn't necessarily mean anything.  However. . . ."

"Those particles could be some kind of mineral or metallic substance that is causing the interference," Sam finished.

Daniel nodded.  "It's worth checking out."

"I'll take some samples back with me."  Sam gathered up a few broken pieces of the mortar and put them in one of the container she used for soil samples.  She then got a boost up to the roof and took samples of the substance coating the logs.

"Daniel, if you're right about this, it's possible that this whole planet or at least this entire area is a resource for a substance that could be used to prevent ships and structures from being penetrated by electronic sensors," Sam said, growing excited.  "That would be a very important discovery, both for use against the Goa'uld and on Earth."

"All right, you take those samples back to the base and get to work on them, Carter," Jack ordered.  "Daniel, maybe you can find out from Gennae how they make that mortar.  In the meantime, the rest of us will get started tearing down this temple.  All of the demolition and construction equipment we could fit through the gate is here, so it shouldn't take us long to remove the roof.  Then we can demolish the walls."

"Okay, but before you leave, Sam, we can test my theory by going back to the village and seeing if the infrared scanner will penetrate the roof of one of the huts," Daniel said.

"Good idea."

Shortly after their return to the village, Daniel's theory was proven to be correct.  Excited by the discovery, he and Sam asked about the mortar that was used in the temple walls.  They learned that the mortar was made from several natural ingredients, including the soil, and that the Dicharins used a similar mixture for their pottery.  Sam dug up a soil sample and, sure enough, a few inches down, she found the same glitter present.  Taking the samples of soil, mortar and the tar-like substance, as well as a piece of pottery, she and Daniel returned through the gate.

A few hours later, it had been conclusively confirmed that the tar, mortar and soil all contained an unknown mineral that interfered with sensors.  When Daniel placed his fresh cup of hot coffee underneath the bowl they'd brought back, the infrared scanner was unable to detect the heat.

"This is amazing, Daniel," Sam told him.  "Do you realize what this means?  If we coat ships like the 302's and Prometheus with this, it might make them invisible to Goa'uld sensors.  Up till now, the only way that we could make a ship invisible to sensors was if we had a cloaking device onboard, and the energy needed to operate one made it impossible to install one on the 302's, even if we could have gotten hold of one to use.  This doesn't need an energy source.  All we'd have to do is figure out a way of incorporating it into the hull.  We'd have to redesign our sensor arrays since the barrier works both ways, but it could work.  And then there are all the domestic applications.  Buildings coated with this substance could be made impenetrable to spy satellites."

"Wouldn't that be a big problem if certain other countries got hold of the stuff?"

"Yes, but they'd have no way to manufacture it since it doesn't exist on Earth.  We'd just have to make sure that large quantities weren't stored anyplace where it could be stolen.  And this stuff is going to have to be kept top secret."

"I should imagine that includes keeping it secret from some of the other countries that know about the gate, like Russia and China."

"Yeah, that would be my guess."

They fell silent.  Sam broke the silence a short while later.

"Daniel, none of us have even thought to ask you what you think of all this.  Finding that ship has put a tremendous responsibility on you.  Not only that, but it's probably going to lead to a whole lot of questions about you and exactly how your ascension then return to human form affected you physically.  How are you handling all that?"

"I've tried not to think about it too much," Daniel admitted.  "I have to admit that it makes me uneasy.  I don't want to be turned into some kind of guinea pig."

"That won't happen, Daniel.  We won't let it.  After I was inhabited by Jolinar and found out that I could control some Goa'uld devices and detect the presence of a Goa'uld, some people wanted to run tests on me to see if they could figure out how it all worked.  I said no, the colonel said no and the general said no, and that was the end of it.  They couldn't force me to undergo testing since it would have been a violation of my rights.  The same would be true for you."

"That's good to know."

"And how about this whole thing with the ship?  How do you feel about that?"

Daniel thought about it for a while, his gaze on the table.  "I guess my biggest concern is that I'm not worthy of Evin Har's confidence in me.  What if I'm not . . . mature enough to control this kind of power?  What if I make a mistake?"

Sam's hand covered his and gave it a squeeze.  She looked straight into his eyes.  "Daniel, I know you.  You have always been a man whose compassion, integrity and strength of will was something I greatly admired, but over these years that we've been together, I've seen you grow and mature so much more.  You have more inner strength than anyone I've ever known, Daniel.  If I could choose anyone on this planet to be the . . . the keeper for that ship, it would be you."

Embarrassed, but also pleased that Sam would feel that way about him, Daniel smiled faintly.  "You're very good for my ego, Sam.  You know that?"

"You have an ego?" she said teasingly.

Daniel's smile widened.  "Yeah, I have one.  Not much of one, but it's in there somewhere."

"Well, I will consider it my personal duty to boost your ego whenever an opportunity presents itself," Sam told him teasingly, knowing that the archeologist would never get a swelled head, no matter how many nice things people said about him.

The temple was gone, the broken remains in a pile off to the side of the clearing, and the ship was in the process of being uncovered.  Care had to be taken in digging it out so that there would be no chance of damaging the hull.

The NID was making noises about wanting to take the ship so that they could study it, but the president had told them that, at least for the present, the ship would be remaining under the control of the SGC.  At the personal request of General Hammond, the president had not told the NID the reason why.  The truth would have to be revealed eventually, but the longer they could keep it a secret the better.

To help appease the NID, abundant samples of the unique mineral that had been found on Dichar had been sent to them.  Their scientists, who were all excited by the potential of the mineral, were working at finding ways to use it.  Of course, the moment that the NID found out about the mineral, they started talking about conducting massive mining operations that would have made a mess of the countryside.  Having learned their lesson during the disastrous events that occurred when they attempted to make a Trinium mining treaty with the Salish Indians on PXY-887, General Hammond made it clear that any mining operation would be conducted sensibly and with as little damage to the land as possible.  It would also be conducted far away from the habitations of the Dicharins and would only be started after a mutually beneficial treaty with them had been made.

Before the excavation began, Daniel went through the ship's control screens and took hundreds of digital photos so that they could be studied and translated back at the base.  He and Sam had been working from morning till night on the project.  They had been taken off the duty roster for off-world missions so that their full attention could be devoted to learning all they could about the ship.  Unable to help their teammates with their project, Jack and Teal'c decided to help with digging the ship out, that is until some bad weather moved into the area, putting a temporary halt to the excavation.

On Friday, Hammond ordered the team to take the weekend off, making sure that Daniel and Sam understood that they were not to set foot on the base.  Since Janet was also taking the weekend off, she, Sam, Daniel and Cassie decided to take their trip to Mesa Verde.  Daniel was really looking forward to it.

It was now early Friday evening, and he was busy packing a bag, though his mind wasn't really on what he was doing.  In such a short time, his life had gone through another major change, one that had placed a great weight of responsibility on his shoulders.  Despite Sam's words to him, the archeologist had to wonder if he was strong enough to bear that responsibility and all that came with it.

Daniel then recalled some of the last words that Oma spoke to him before he ascended.

"The success or failure of your deeds does not add up to the sum of your life.  Your spirit cannot be weighed.  Judge yourself by the intention of your actions and by the strength with which you faced the challenges that have stood in your way."

Letting those words ease his concerns, Daniel headed for the door, flipped off the light and exited his office.

No matter what the future would bring, he would try his very best to live up to the confidence that Oma Desala and Evin Har had in him and to the principles that he had lived by all his life.  In the end, that's the best that he, or anyone else, could do.


THE END . . . for now

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