Incidents Series Part 8: The Stone Tablet Incident
by Maureen Thayer
Categories: Drama, Friendship
Content Warning: None
Spoilers: Torment of Tantalus, Full Circle, Fallen/Homecoming, Orpheus
Author's Note: This is the 8th fanfic in the Incidents Series. I would highly recommend that you read the previous parts before this one, if you have not already done so, in order to understand the plot.
This story switches between Hammond's and Daniel's point of view.
I was surprised when Daniel came to my office without a member of his team accompanying him. Of course, I already knew that he now went about the base without adult supervision. At twelve years old, he was mature and responsible enough not to get into trouble, though, for obvious reasons, some areas were still off limits to him.
According to Daniel's memories, he was presently at a ninth grade level of education, but Major Carter had determined that he was actually much higher than that, primarily because he had begun to study intensively, supplementing the knowledge that he was regaining, particularly in the areas of math and various fields of science in which the major and a couple of other scientists on base had been tutoring him. From what she'd observed, Daniel's capacity to learn and retain knowledge appeared to be greatly accelerated, even beyond what could be attributed to his already impressive intellect. She could only assume that it had something to do with his rapid growth and mental development.
"May I speak with you, General Hammond?" Daniel asked politely, his manner more like that of a youth several years older.
"Certainly, Daniel. Come sit down." He took a seat. "So, what can I do for you?"
"I want to have a job to do."
Surprised by the request, I stared at him. "A job?"
"Yes, sir. Everyone here is doing things that are important, helping Earth and fighting against the Goa'uld. I want to help, too."
I smiled, thinking about how different this boy was from the average child his age. I had to wonder if it was because of the things his memories were bringing back to him or because of the situation he was in now.
"Daniel, I appreciate how you feel," I told him, "and I'm very impressed that you want to help, but, physically, you're only twelve years old. It would be wrong of me to put you to work."
"But I want to work. Not all day long. Maybe just a little bit, just to help out. I can read and write nine different dead languages, and I can even speak some of them, as well as we know how. I've also learned a lot of Goa'uld from Teal'c. I could help in the Linguistics Department, maybe translate some things. And maybe I could help in the Archeology Department, too. I know a lot about different cultures."
I studied the earnest plea in his eyes. "Why do you want this, Daniel?"
His gaze dropped from mine. "Because . . . because I know that, if I wasn't turned into a kid, I'd be doing something important. I'd be . . . making a difference."
Everything suddenly made sense. "Daniel, do you think that, because of what happened to you, you're letting down the people who relied upon your skills and knowledge when you were an adult?"
Daniel's head remained lowered. "I can't do the things I could when I was an adult. Jack said that what I did here was important, that I saved people and that lots of missions would have failed if it wasn't for me. Now, I'm not doing anything at all." His voice dropped still further. "I just want to help."
I recognized years ago that Daniel was the kind of man who had a deep desire to help those in need. It was a fundamental part of his personality and had driven him to risk his life many times. I was now seeing that character trait in this younger version of the person I had grown to greatly admire and respect.
I got up and rolled my chair around the desk, placing it beside Daniel's chair. I sat back down, studying the boy before me.
"Daniel, one of the things that I always admired about you was your desire to help people, even at the expense of your own welfare. You have always put other people first. That is a very admirable trait." I stared at the boy's face. "Daniel, I want you to look at me." His eyes finally lifted to mine. "Do not ever think that you are of less value because of what happened to you. You are so very important to all of us. Yes, it's true that, as a child, you can't perform the duties that you did before, but that doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that we still have you here with us. There was a period of time when you were . . . not here, and this place was simply not the same without you."
I laid my hand on his arm. "In just a matter of weeks, you'll have matured to the age of eighteen. If, at that time, you'd still like to be assigned some duties here, I will happily do so. But you are just too young now, Daniel. I cannot in good conscience put you to work, even if it was just a few hours a day."
I did not fail to see how disappointed he was with my answer. I tried to think of something to cheer him up. Then it came to me.
"You know what? Maybe there is something you can do to help. Doctor Wolde was recently assigned the task of reorganizing the base archives, and I bet that he'd really appreciate some help going through those boxes."
Daniel smiled. "Sure, I can do that."
I returned his smile. "Well, then it's all settled. I believe that he started on the job today, so, if you'd like to, you can go straight over there. I'll let him know you're coming."
Daniel got to his feet. "Thank you, General Hammond. I'll go right up there."
I watched him hurry off, chuckling. I decided that, once that task had been completed, I'd have to think up some other ways that Daniel could fulfill his desire to help.
Though there have been challenges to overcome because of Daniel's transformation into a child and the things that have happened since then, this experience has brought more enjoyment than troubles. There has been a soft spot in my heart for Daniel for a long time now, but witnessing him gradually maturing from the age of a small child of four has deepened my feelings for him. More than once, I've wished that I could take him home with me and introduce him to Kayla and Tessa, have the joy of watching him play with them.
It bothers me that Daniel is being denied the companionship of other children. It isn't good for any child to live only among adults. I know that he is most likely regaining memories of playmates he had when he was a child the first time around, but that just isn't the same. During the times that Daniel was allowed to go off base, his teammates did occasionally take him to playgrounds, where he had the opportunity to play for a short while with other kids, but even that was no longer possible. Since his kidnapping and the discovery of how powerful his telekinetic abilities were, my superiors had made it clear that Daniel was not to be allowed to go on any other outings until he'd reached adulthood.
A twelve-year-old boy should have friends his own age. Any day now, he'll begin the transformation into adulthood, and I worry about him not having any peers to talk with about all the physical and emotional things that he will be experiencing.
But there really is nothing we can do about it. We can only be thankful that this will all pass quickly, that, in several more weeks, Daniel will be an adult again. Until then, we'll just have to do our best to make sure that he is as happy and content as possible.
I hurried into the archives, excited that I'd been given a job to do. It wasn't something really big, but it would help out Doctor Wolde.
I thought about what I overheard yesterday. Two of the people from the Linguistics Department were talking about me, and one of them said that they'd be glad when I was an adult again and had all my memories back so that I could go back to helping with the translations. He said that some things weren't getting translated because I was the only one who could read the language. It made me feel bad. If I hadn't been turned into a kid, I'd be doing translations, and going on missions, and other things that were important. I was already feeling kind of bad because I couldn't do anything to help fight the Goa'uld, but that made me feel even worse.
Maybe if I did a really good job helping Doctor Wolde, General Hammond would change his mind and let me work on translations.
Doctor Wolde smiled when he saw me. He's Ethiopian, which is so cool. Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world and played an important part in ancient Egyptian history. Doctor Wolde is really proud of his heritage, and I've talked with him a lot about his country's history.
"Daniel, my young friend!" he greeted. "I just now received a call telling me that you are going to be helping me in here."
"Is that okay?"
"Of course it's okay, more than okay. You will be a big help to me."
I smiled, glad that he thought I'd be a big help.
Doctor Wolde had already started, so I dug right into one of the boxes. Ever since Jack, Sam and Teal'c brought me there for the first time, I'd wanted to go through every single box to see what was inside, and, now, I would get to do that. I'd already looked at everything that was over in the section of the archives where all the artifacts not in boxes were kept. Jack told me that, as an adult, I'd wanted all the artifacts to be on display there, but there were just too many being brought back from missions.
Doctor Wolde and I went through the boxes one at a time, checking to see if what was inside matched what was listed in the computer. We found that some stuff didn't get entered in the computer properly. I was glad to see that on all the records that had my name on them, there weren't any mistakes.
All the boxes were going to be reorganized so that they were on the shelves in the order that the missions they were found on took place. That way, if somebody was looking for something in particular, all they'd have to know is what date it was brought back to Earth, and they'd be able to find the right box.
There were so many interesting things in the boxes that I asked Doctor Wolde a million questions. He could only answer some of them and told me that I'd have to do some research in the base computers to find out what a lot of the things were. I knew that a lot of information on the computers was classified, so I figured that I'd have to get Sam to help me.
I didn't want to stop for lunch, but Doctor Wolde insisted, so we went to the commissary.
"Well, there you are!" Jack said as he saw us come in. He came over. "I was just about to have the Marines start combing the place for you." He was smiling, so I knew he wasn't serious. I bet General Hammond told him where I was.
"I've been helping Doctor Wolde in the base archives," I told him anyway. "We're reorganizing."
"Ah. Sounds like pretty boring work to me."
"No, it's not boring at all! There are so many interesting things in there."
"Well, I'm glad that you're having fun. But don't forget we have a date to play chess this evening. I'm gonna beat you this time."
I grinned. Jack hadn't beaten me at a game yet. "Well, you can try."
"Hah! You just wait and see, Jackson. You are going down this time!"
Doctor Wolde wanted to discuss some projects with two other people that were there, so I had lunch with Jack, Sam and Teal'c instead. I talked about some of the most interesting things I'd seen so far. Sam and Teal'c were able to tell me what a few of them were.
"After we're all done with the organizing, could you help me find out more about some of the things, Sam? I can't get into most of the stuff on the base computer because it's classified and needs a password. Can I have a password?"
"Um, I'll see what I can do, Daniel," she said. "There are the security and clearance issues to work out. But I can probably get you clearance for some things."
After lunch, I went back to the archives. Doctor Wolde wasn't there yet, so I decided to just start looking through the next box. At the bottom of the box was something wrapped in cloth. It was heavy and felt solid. I could tell by the way it was wrapped that somebody wanted to make sure it didn't get damaged.
I was very careful when I unwrapped it. It was a stone tablet carved with characters in a language that I'd never seen before.
As I stared at it, something really weird happened. I started to understand what it was saying. How could I read it when I didn't even know what language it was?
I was so interested in the tablet that I didn't hear Doctor Wolde come in.
"What have you got there?" he asked, startling me.
"It's a stone tablet with writing on it."
He must have seen that I was frowning, because he asked what was wrong.
"I can read it," I told him.
"Well, considering how many dead languages you know, I'm not surprised."
"But . . . but I don't know what language this is."
Doctor Wolde held out his hand. "Let me see."
I gave the tablet to him. He looked at it, and his eyes got big. He stared at me.
"You can read this?"
I nodded. "What's the lost city it's talking about?"
"Um . . . Daniel, I need to go make a phone call. I'll be right back."
As Doctor Wolde left, I wondered what was going on and if this was going to cause trouble.
I hung up the phone, a frown on my face. The call was from Doctor Wolde, who'd just informed me that Daniel had discovered that he could read Ancient. He'd come across a tablet inscribed with the language and began to read it. Ironically, it was the very same tablet that revealed to us that the newly descended Doctor Jackson had gained the ability to read Ancient with ease, the tablet found on Abydos when he was ascended.
How could this be possible? If all the memories of Daniel's adult life were repressed, how could he have the knowledge of a language of which he possessed no memory?
I called SG-1 to the briefing room and told them what had happened.
Teal'c was the first to respond. "How is it possible that Daniel Jackson can read Ancient?"
"Good question," responded Colonel O'Neill.
"Well, we have to consider the fact that, after Daniel descended, he had no memory of his year as an ascended being, yet he did retain the ability to read Ancient," Major Carter pointed out.
"So, you're saying this is the same thing?"
"Not exactly, sir. Oma buried Daniel's memories in his subconscious. In the months that have passed since then, he's recovered some of those memories, but the vast majority are still buried and show no signs of ever coming back. The fact that he did retain the ability to read Ancient when almost everything else of that time is inaccessible to him likely means that Oma arranged it that way. This time, Daniel's memories are coming back to him, just gradually as he ages, almost like the memory centers of his brain have been programmed to release each memory at the correct time. Being able to read Ancient already is completely out of order. By rights, he shouldn't get back any knowledge of that language at all until his memories reach the time when we first encountered it on Heliopolis. The thing is that, for all we know, Daniel may have had the ability to read Ancient right from the start. I'm now wishing that we hadn't removed everything in his office that had to do with the Ancients when we removed his journals and the other things we didn't want him to see. We might have discovered this much sooner."
Major Carter turned to me. "Sir, I can only assume that this has to do with his ascension. I think we need to see if there's anything else that he remembers."
"Whoa," Colonel O'Neill said. "Are you saying that Daniel might get back all those memories of when he was ascended?"
"It's too soon to say that, sir. I just think that we need to test him and see what's going on. The incident on Erebus would be a good test. It's the only solid memory Daniel has recovered of that year."
I nodded. "Very well. Do what you feel is necessary to determine if Daniel is regaining some of those memories."
I was really nervous as I walked toward Teal'c's room. I knew that something was going on. The way that Doctor Wolde reacted to me being able to read that tablet meant that it was something really big, and, now, Jack had asked me to come to Teal'c's quarters. I wondered if I was in trouble.
I knocked on the door, and Teal'c told me to come in. Both Jack and Sam were in the room, too, and so was Doctor Getty, one of the people in the Linguistics Department.
"Hi," I said, not sure what else I should say.
"Daniel, you're not in trouble, so relax," Jack told me.
"Then what's wrong? Is there something wrong about me being able to read that language?"
"No, not wrong, Daniel," Sam replied. "It's just something that you shouldn't be able to do, not yet."
"What language is it?"
"It's called Ancient. It's the language of a race of beings that we haven't told you about yet. You have a special . . . connection with them. You spent some time sort of living with them."
"Yes, but, because of something that happened, you lost all those memories except for the ability to read their language."
"You mean before I lost my memories of being an adult?"
"Uh huh. This all happened a while ago."
"We want to find out if you might be getting some of those memories back, Daniel," Jack said. "But, first, we want to see how well you can read Ancient. That's why Doctor Getty is here."
Doctor Getty gave me a piece of paper that had Ancient written on it. It was a whole lot easier to read this time, and I translated it.
"Well?" Jack asked Doctor Getty after I was done.
"It was a perfect translation, sir."
I saw Jack, Teal'c and Sam all look at each other. Doctor Getty was told that he could leave.
"Okay, this is what we're going to do, Daniel," Sam said. "Teal'c is going to show you a couple of photos. Then he's going to help you meditate and try to get you to remember something that happened when you were with the Ancients. Okay?"
Teal'c showed me a picture of a Jaffa who was a lot older than him.
"This is Master Bra'tac," he said. "He was my mentor and is a close friend and ally in the fight against the Goa'uld." He showed me another picture. "This is a photograph you have already seen. It is my son, Rya'c. When you were with the Ancients, you witnessed Bra'tac and Rya'c being taken prisoner, but you could do nothing to aid them at the time. I wish for you to try to remember that event."
Teal'c lit all his candles, and I sat on the floor with him. I could now meditate pretty well, though it was harder on some days than others.
Teal'c helped me get into the meditative state, then he began to talk about Bra'tac and Rya'c, trying to get me to remember, but I couldn't remember anything about them, not even meeting them.
I think that Teal'c was just about to give up when, all of a sudden, I got this picture in my mind of Bra'tac dialing a Stargate. Rya'c was with him. The gate was all dialed when, suddenly, there were a whole bunch of Jaffa surrounding them, pointing staff weapons at them. I gasped and opened my eyes.
"They were going to go through the gate, but a bunch of Jaffa captured them!"
Sam, Jack and Teal'c looked at each other again.
"Tell us exactly what you saw, Daniel," Sam said. I did what she asked. They all looked very serious after I'd finished.
"Does this mean that I'm getting those memories back?" I asked.
"Maybe not," Sam answered. "That memory we asked you to recall is one that you'd managed to recover from those that you lost. It might just be that, for some reason, you're getting those memories back faster than the other ones of your adult life."
"Then maybe you should try to get me to remember something I didn't get back."
"We know of only a few things that happened while you were with them, Daniel."
"Stuff that's bad," Jack said. He looked upset.
I started to get upset, too. "I did something bad?"
"No. No, Daniel, you did not do anything bad. Like always, you tried to help people. It's just that some bad things happened, things that I'd really rather you didn't remember."
"Sir," Sam said.
Jack looked at her. "Carter, you know what I'm talking about, and you know that he'd be better off not remembering."
I could tell that what he was talking about must be really bad.
"The aid Daniel Jackson gave to Master Bra'tac and me after the ambush of Kresh'taa would not be a memory too traumatic for him to recall," Teal'c said.
Jack stared hard at him. "You may be right about that, Teal'c, but trying to get him to recall what he did for you would mean that we'd have to tell him you-know-what about that whole thing with the Ancients."
Now I was really curious. "What you-know-what?" Nobody answered.
"I think we need to back off on this," Jack said. "If Daniel really is starting to get back memories of when he was as— when he was with the Ancients, we're going to find out eventually anyway. I say we just wait and see what happens."
Sam nodded. "I think you're right, sir. It would be best not to push it."
"But now I want to know what happened," I said.
Jack looked at me. "You'll be far better off not remembering until you get to the age that it happened, Danny. In fact, if it was up to me, there are certain memories of that time that you would never get back."
I saw a look in Sam's eyes, like she was sad about something. Maybe Jack was right. Maybe the things they were talking about was stuff that I really wouldn't want to remember. Even so, I still wondered what it was. Jack said that I didn't do anything bad, but I was afraid that maybe I did, and they just didn't want to admit it.
Jack, Sam and Teal'c took me to dinner in the commissary, but I had a hard time concentrating on eating. I kept getting more and more worried that I'd done something really bad when I was with the Ancients. Finally, I decided that maybe I needed to ask somebody else.
For the second time in as many days, I found Daniel coming alone to my office. He appeared to be upset and worried about something. I knew about the results of the test of his memory and the decision that had been made not to push him any further. I had agreed that it might be best if Daniel's memories came back in their own good time.
"What's wrong, Daniel?" I asked as he came in. "Did something happen?"
Daniel didn't speak for a moment, then he suddenly blurted out, "Did I do something bad?"
I frowned at the question. "Daniel, what are you talking about?"
"Jack said that bad things happened while I was with the Ancients, and I'm afraid that I did something wrong, something really terrible that they don't want me to know about."
"Ah. Sit down, Daniel." He took a seat. I looked him straight in the eyes. "You trust me, don't you?"
"And you know that I wouldn't lie to you unless lives depended on it."
I leaned forward over the desk. "You did not do anything bad, Daniel. We only know a fraction of the things you did while you were with the Ancients, but I have confidence that you never did anything bad. Based on what we do know, you probably spent a lot of that time trying to do good things."
"Then what is it that Sam, Jack and Teal'c don't want me to know?"
I sighed, wondering how I could answer. "Things happened during that time, Daniel. You managed to help with a few of them, as well as you were able, but you were prevented from helping in some other ways, and, because of that, some tragic events took place."
"Why wasn't I allowed to help?"
"That is something I'm afraid I can't tell you, Daniel. All I can say is that the Ancients have certain rules, and they didn't want you to break them."
"Then how come I didn't leave them and come back home?"
I smiled at him. "You did, Daniel, something for which we are all grateful. You came home to us, where you belong, where you will always belong." I leaned back in my chair. "Now, I don't want you to fret about this anymore. When the time is right, your memories will return. Just let it happen when it's meant to, Daniel. Enjoy the memories that you have now and the ones that you will be making in the days ahead."
Daniel paused a moment before replying. "Okay."
I gave him another smile. "Now, I do believe that Doctor Wolde is expecting you to help him again today. There's still lots of work left to do, so you'd better hurry and get up there."
Daniel got to his feet. "Thanks, General Hammond."
As Daniel left my office, the smile slipped from my face. His teammates and I all know that the time will come when Daniel will have no choice but to remember yet again the circumstances of his ascension and learn of the tragic consequences of his failure to stop Anubis. I wish there was a way that I could protect him from those memories, but I cannot. But Daniel is strong. He will weather the storm of those memories and get beyond them. And we will all be there at his side to help him get through it.
THE END . . . until Part 9.