Stargate Horizons


Jack speared angrily at the meatloaf on his plate.  Though the present target of his ire, the unfortunate piece of meat was not the source of the emotion.  That unenviable position belonged to Lieutenant Ted Gainsborough, the soon-to-be ex fourth member of SG-1.  During the mission they'd just completed, Gainsborough managed to get the entire team trapped inside one of the structures in an abandoned city for six hours because he mistranslated some instructions.  Jack had picked Gainsborough for the team because of his skill with languages, but he was obviously not skilled enough.

Gainsborough was the second person to be chosen to take Daniel's place on SG-1 and the second person to fall miserably short of filling the archeologist's shoes.  The first person, Airman Greeley, lasted less than a week before asking to be transferred off the team, something to which Jack was quite happy to agree.  If Jack had his way, Gainsborough's time on the team would be almost as short.

It had been three weeks since Daniel's "disappearance", and not a word had been heard from him.  Jack was worried, and he knew that Sam was, too.  Teal'c probably was as well.  He just hadn't said so.

Sam was periodically checking Daniel's bank account to see if there had been any activity and had been searching for other signs of where he might be, but he seemed to have dropped off the face of the Earth.  There was a chance that, if they involved others in the search, they'd have more luck, but they couldn't do that without Hammond's okay.

Nothing had been the same since Daniel's departure.  The team didn't get together in the commissary for meals very much anymore, and, when they did, there was little conversation.  Sam seemed to be working even longer hours, Teal'c had gone back to frowning a lot, and Jack spent more time aimlessly wandering the corridors of Stargate Command.  All of them avoided going to Level 18.  Jack had insisted that Daniel's office be closed and left the way it was, and General Hammond had humored him, though it was only a matter of time before the general said that they could no longer afford to leave the space unused.  Jack's motives for closing the room were simple: the hope that Daniel would suddenly return, wanting his job back.  The colonel knew that it was probably a foolish hope, but he wasn't willing to let go of it yet.

At least one fortunate thing had happened – well, fortunate for SG-1, that is.  A mission to a world named Kelowna resulted in them finding out about a mineral on the planet that was called Naquadria, which was similar to but much more powerful than Naquadah.  Recognizing the possible importance of the mineral, the brass decided that a trade agreement should be attempted.  A few discussions with the Kelownans took place, and the situation looked promising.  SG-1 was scheduled to return to the planet, but the mission was delayed because of Airman Greeley's request for a transfer.  When they finally attempted to dial the gate to Kelowna, they couldn't get a lock.  Several more attempts had the same result.  Wondering what had happened, the SGC contacted the Tok'ra and asked them if they could check out the planet.  The Tok'ra did so, and what they reported chilled everyone to the bone.  Some kind of explosion had destroyed a huge chunk of one of the continents.  Based upon their report of the area of devastation, Sam said that not even a Naquadah bomb would have done that much damage.  However, an explosion involving Naquadria might have.  If SG-1 had gone on the mission at the scheduled time, they would have been caught in the blast.  The bigwigs were mourning the loss of the Naquadria, but Jack was just grateful that he and his team were alive.

Tomorrow was Thanksgiving, a holiday that none of them intended to celebrate.  Jack had made an oath that, if they didn't hear from Daniel on that day, he was going to talk to the general and ask that they be allowed to mount a full-scale search for the archeologist.  He'd beg if he had to.

Finally deciding that he'd tortured the meatloaf enough, Jack got up and dumped his mostly uneaten dinner in the trash.  He really should just go home.

Deciding to do that, Jack headed for the elevator.  He was almost there when he heard his name being called.  He turned to see a young airman coming toward him, holding an envelope.  For some reason, the man looked a little nervous.

"Um . . . sir, the staff that handles the incoming mail was rearranging some things in the office, and they found a few letters that had fallen behind one of the file cabinets.  This . . . was one of them."

Jack took the letter from the man's hand.  When he saw the name on the return address, he started shouting.

"How the hell did this happen?!  How long has this been sitting behind that file cabinet?!"

"T-t-the postmark says it was mailed three weeks ago, sir."


Jack stormed away from the cowering airman and finished his journey to the elevator.  He took it up to Level 19 and strode into Sam's lab.

"This was just found collecting dust behind a file cabinet," Jack announced as he tossed the letter onto the worktable in front of her.

Sam gasped when she saw who had sent it.

"He mailed it three weeks ago, Carter, on the day he left town."

"Oh my God.  All this time, we thought he'd left without saying anything."

"It's addressed to all of us.  I'll call Teal'c.  He needs to be here when we read it."

As soon as Teal'c arrived and was filled in on what happened, Sam opened the letter and began reading it aloud.

Dear Jack, Sam and Teal'c,
When I resigned, I really didn't know what I was going to do with my life.  I just knew that I could no longer keep working for the program when it felt like I never really belonged there and that there simply was no point in staying, not when I wasn't accomplishing much of anything, at least nothing of consequence.
I've come to the realization that I cannot stay here in Colorado Springs.  I need to get away from here, start fresh.  I contacted a friend and former colleague in Los Angeles named Simon Farmer, and he told me about a dig in Egypt that's being run by an old friend of mine.  They've welcomed me to join the dig.  By the time you get this letter, I'll be on the road to L.A.
I know how sudden this may seem, but, as luck would have it, Simon is going to be flying to Cairo on the 2nd with a friend of his in the guy's private plane, and he invited me to join them.  I've given up my apartment.  Since I was going to be moving anyway, I didn't see any point in keeping it for the five months that I'll be at the dig.  Even if I'd had time to do it, I didn't see much sense in putting all my stuff in storage, so I gave most of it away.  I guess I'll be doing a whole lot of shopping when I get back and find a place to live.
I'm sorry that I'm telling this to you in a letter.  I should have let you know in person.  But I have a pretty good idea how a couple of you would have reacted, and I just didn't feel capable of dealing with that.  I hope you can forgive me.  When I return, we can talk, that is if you even want to speak to me.  You probably think that I'm acting rashly.  Maybe I am.  I just feel like I have to do this.  I have to get as far away from the program and everything else as I can and try to find what I've lost.  Whether or not I'll find it in Egypt is something I don't know.  I'll try to write to you guys, but I can't promise when that will be.  Once I get on the dig, I'll probably be pretty busy.
Included with this letter is information on where the dig is and how you can contact me.  If any of you feel like writing me letters, you can send them to that address.
Well, I guess that's really all I have to say.  I'm going to miss you guys.  I'll be thinking about you on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Please say goodbye to Janet, Cassie and General Hammond for me.


There was a long moment of silence, each of the three people lost in thought over what the letter had said.

"I'm flying out there," the colonel abruptly announced.  The other two people looked at him.  "I doubt I'll be able to get him to come back, but at least I can try knocking some sense into him.  How the hell he thinks that he never did anything of value here is beyond me."

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.  "Daniel Jackson has accomplished many great things."

"We'd all be dead if it wasn't for him," Sam said.  Her expression firmed.  "I'm coming with you."

"As am I."

Jack nodded sharply.  "Right.  Let's go talk to Hammond."

The general was appalled when he found out about the lost letter and declared that he'd make sure something like that never happened again.  SG-1's request for leave so that they could go see Daniel didn't surprise him.  He granted it, recognizing that the three of them needed to do this, both for Daniel's sake and their own.

"When you see him, I'd like you to pass on a message from me," he said.  "Tell him that his resignation was far from inconsequential, that his loss to the program was a loss to all of us, not just to his friends and to Earth, but to the galaxy and our fight against the Goa'uld."

With a nod, Jack said, "We will, sir."

A slight frown on her face, Helen stood under the shade of the tent and watched the man who was carefully brushing dirt away from a broken jar.  The frown was not because he was doing something wrong.  On the contrary, it was obvious that Daniel had not lost any of his archeological skills during his years working for the government, and he was as brilliant as ever.  In fact, he seemed to have added substantially to his depth of knowledge and understanding of ancient Egypt, particularly regarding its mythology.  The same was true for his knowledge of several other cultures as well.

No, the reason for the frown was that there was something very wrong with this man Helen had taken under her wing eighteen years ago.  He was no longer the same lively young man with a passionate, unstoppable drive for knowledge that he used to be.  It would stand to reason that, with the added years of maturity, there would be some differences in him, but the differences were monumental.  In all the time he'd been here, she had not seen even one real smile, one moment when his eyes lit with the passion that she used to see so often.  It was as if something had died deep inside him – or been killed.  Helen didn't know what had happened to him to cause such a radical change, but she was pretty sure she knew who to blame for it.

Helen saw Greg Jenkins walk up to Daniel, and the two talked for a moment.  Daniel nodded and got to his feet, brushing off his pants.  Greg turned to Helen.

"We're off to Cairo, Helen.  Are you sure you don't want to come?"

"Not this trip, Greg.  Just don't forget the coffee like you did last time."

The man laughed.  "Are you kidding me?  There's no way Daniel would let me forget that."  He gave her a jaunty wave.  "See you later."

The two men got in the Land Rover and drove off.

When, an hour later, Helen heard an approaching vehicle, she thought that Daniel and Greg had forgotten something and were returning.  However, when she took a look, she saw that it was someone else.  Not recognizing the vehicle, she headed toward it.  It came to a stop just outside the dig site, and three people got out, two men and a woman.

"May I help you?" Helen asked.

"We're looking for Daniel Jackson," the grey-haired man replied.  "We're friends of his."

"Friends?"  Helen looked at the three people more closely.  She wasn't sure about the woman, but something about the two men screamed "military", especially the big, dark-skinned man, who stood ramrod straight, his face schooled into a calm, expressionless mask.

Helen's eyes narrowed.  "You're military."

"Yes, ma'am," the grey-haired man confirmed.  "I'm Colonel Jack O'Neill, this is Major Samantha Carter, and this is, uh, Sergeant Murray . . . Jaffe."

"May we talk to Daniel?" Sam asked.

"He's not here." Helen told her.  "He's in Cairo on a supply run.  He won't be back until late this afternoon."

Hearing the note of hostility in her voice, Jack subjected her to a long look.  "Is there some problem?"

"As a matter of fact, there is.  I don't like the military.  From my experience, they really only know how to do one thing, and that's to kill and destroy, cities, lives, and, apparently, souls as well.  I don't know exactly what it is that you people did to Daniel, but whatever it was, it killed a big chunk of his soul."

An expression of worry filled the blue eyes of the major.  "Did something happen?  Is he all right?"

"Physically, he's fine, but that's just about the only way that he is fine."

The new arrivals all exchanged a look.

"Daniel suffered some personal loses lately," Jack explained.  "A friend of his was killed a short while ago, and he lost another friend last year.  His wife died two years ago."

"Yes, I know about his wife.  It's one of the few personal things I managed to get out of him.  But there's more wrong with him than that.  I've known Daniel since he was seventeen years old, and I hardly recognize him.  He used to be filled with spirit and passion, and, now, it's like he's just existing."

Sam, Jack and Teal'c were all distressed by what they were hearing.  They had hoped that Daniel's time on the dig would have helped to heal his emotional wounds, but if what this woman was saying was true, Daniel was no better than he'd been when he resigned.

"I have half a mind to order you off this dig," Helen told them, "but if you really are Daniel's friends, he might like to see you, so I'll let you stay.  You can wait for him in that tent over there."  She waved her hand at one of the tents.  "Just stay out of the excavation areas.  We don't need you traipsing about and stepping on something."

The woman turned her back to them and marched away.

The three teammates grabbed their bags from their vehicle and went to the tent.  It had four cots, a matching number of folding chairs, and a small table with a lantern.  They each picked a cot and set their bags down.

"I'm worried about Daniel," Sam said.

"Ah, she's just exaggerating, Carter," Jack told her.  "I mean, how long has it been since she saw him last?  Of course he's changed since then.  Daniel's probably fine."

"I hope so."

The look on Helen's face when she came up to Daniel told him that something was up.  He and Greg had just gotten back from Cairo and were getting ready to unload the supplies they'd gotten.

"You have some visitors," Helen announced.

Daniel frowned in puzzlement.  "Visitors?"

Helen's expression darkened even more.  "They're from the military, although they claim that they're your friends."

Daniel's expression was now one of surprise.  "Jack, Sam and . . . and Murray?"

"That's their names.  They're in the guest tent."

Wondering why his former teammates were there, Daniel went to the tent.  When he opened the flap and the three people inside saw him, they got to their feet.

"Um . . . hi," Daniel greeted with mixed emotions.  It was nice to see them, but he didn't understand why they'd come.  Had something happened?

Sam came forward and gave him a hug.  "It's so wonderful to see you," she said as she drew away.

"You too, but why are you guys here.  Not that it isn't great, but it's sort of a long way to come."

"Well, you know that letter you sent us?" Jack asked.  "We only just got it a few days ago."

"What?  But why?  I sent it on the day I left."

"It fell behind some damn file cabinet."

"We've been worried sick about you," Sam told Daniel.  "We didn't know where you were or why you left without saying anything.  We tried to find you, but we couldn't find any trace of you."

Daniel was dismayed by the news.  "I'm sorry.  If I'd had any idea, I'd have contacted you."

"It wasn't your fault," Jack told him, deciding not to say that Daniel should have said goodbye in person.  The guy didn't need to hear that.  "Anyway, we all decided to come see you.  We've met the pit bull, by the way."

Daniel smiled ever so slightly.  "That's Helen Danson.  She's never been fond of the military."

Jack's next words were dripping in sarcasm.  "No, really?  I'd never have guessed."

Sam searched her friend's face closely.  "How are you doing?"

"Good.  It's nice doing something that doesn't involve risking life and limb."

Jack subjected the archeologist to a probing stare.  "The pit bull gave us the impression that you haven't exactly been a very happy-go-lucky guy."

Daniel's eyes immediately fell to the ground, and all three of his former teammates saw the walls go up.

"I've just changed a lot since she saw me last," he said.  "I was a lot younger then, and . . . a lot of things have happened."  He looked at his watch.  "It'll be dark soon.  Have you eaten?  They'll be serving dinner over in the big tent in a bit."

Even a fool could see that Daniel was attempting to evade questions about how he was doing emotionally.  Deciding that perhaps they should back off for a while, the members of SG-1 accepted his invitation.

Over a surprisingly tasty meal the old friends talked.  Since stuff about what was going on at the base couldn't be discussed in public, the conversation mostly revolved around what Jack, Sam and Teal'c had been doing personally and things that had been going on back in the States in general.

"How's Janet?" Daniel asked.

"She's good," Sam answered.

"I think she misses having you around to poke and prod," Jack added.  "Things just aren't as exciting around the infirmary without you there, although Siler's been getting into all kinds of interesting predicaments."

"I can't really say that spending time in the infirmary is something I miss," Daniel remarked.

Jack couldn't stop himself from saying the next words.  "Is there anything you do miss?"

Again, Daniel's gaze dropped.  Obviously feeling uncomfortable, he replied, "I miss you guys."

"But that's all?"

Daniel looked at him.  "What do you want me to say, Jack?  You know how I feel about . . . everything else."  He shook his head.  "We shouldn't be talking about this here."

Everyone fell silent and focused on eating.  Once they'd finished and were heading out of the tent, Jack noticed Helen glaring at him.  Oh, yeah.  No love lost there.

They stepped out into the cool desert air.

"We need to talk, Daniel," Jack said.

The archeologist let out a sigh.  He'd known that, sooner or later they would have to talk about this, but he hadn't expected that time to come so soon.  He really didn't feel up to it, but he did owe it to these three people.

"Come with me," he said.  He led his ex-teammates out of the camp and up a low rise.  When they got to the top, Sam caught her breath at the sight before them.  An extensive ruin lay in the distance, looking strange and mysterious in the moonlight.

"Wow," the astrophysicist murmured.

"It was discovered around twenty years ago and has been under continual excavation since then," Daniel said.  "We still don't know what its original purpose was, although it looks like, over the centuries, it was used for a lot of different things.  It was apparently continually added onto over a wide span of time.  I was able to spend a little bit of time there, and I'd love to spend more."  He sighed.  "Unfortunately, I'm not really welcome there.  The ones in charge of the dig know who I am and . . . don't have a very high opinion of me."

Daniel's friends all heard the tone of sad resignation in his voice and shared a look.

"General Hammond asked us to pass on a message from him," Jack said.  "He said to tell you that you leaving the program was a big loss to all of us, to the whole galaxy, in fact."

"I'm flattered that he'd say that, but me not being in the program isn't going to make a difference to the galaxy or even to Earth."

"But you being in the program has made a difference in the past," Sam insisted.  "What about when you went to that alternate universe and got the gate address that allowed us to stop Apophis' fleet?  Earth would have been destroyed if it hadn't been for you, just like it was in those other universes because you weren't there."

Daniel shook his head.  "Since I'm partly to blame for us being in that predicament, that doesn't really count."

"How the hell do you figure that?" Jack asked.

"If I hadn't unburied the gate on Abydos, you would never have known about the map room or that there were other Stargates.  You would have continued to believe that Abydos was the only one and never gone anywhere else.  The other Goa'uld wouldn't have even found out that it was us who killed Ra, so Earth wouldn't have been a target."

"I don't think you're right about that, Daniel," Sam responded.  "When Apophis came through the gate, we all assumed that he came through the Abydos gate.  We'd still have sent a probe through to Abydos—"

"A box of Kleenex," Daniel interrupted.

Sam blinked in surprise.  "What?"

"Jack sent a box of Kleenex.  General Hammond was originally going to send a nuke, then decided on a probe.  Jack decided that Kleenex would be better."

Sam looked at her C.O., and he shrugged.

"The Kleenex was cheaper."

Sam paused before continuing.  "Um . . . okay."  She turned back to Daniel.  "Regardless of what we sent, it would have been flattened upon reaching the other side.  When that happened, we'd have started to wonder what was going on, where Apophis came from.  Sure, back when you and I first met, I believed that our gate only went to Abydos, but that opinion would have eventually changed, as it would have for others.  Both of the Stargate Programs in the alternate realities we've encountered didn't have you to remind them of stellar drift; they thought of it themselves.  We would have, too, in time.  And, like them, we would have figured out how to calculate the locations of other planets.  We would have gotten out there in the galaxy at a later date, but we would still have gotten out there, which means that, sooner or later, we'd have been targeted.  And we wouldn't have had you to give us what we needed to save Earth."

"And I would have remained in the service of Apophis," Teal'c stated.

"Frankly, Daniel.  I don't know how you can think that you never did anything of consequence," Jack said.  "That is just plain stupid.  Carter and I would have been frozen popsicles in Antarctica if you hadn't figured out where we were."

Sam nodded.  "The Tollans would have been taken away by Maybourne."

"We may not have discovered the location of Setesh and destroyed him," Teal'c said.

"We'd probably have made the deal with those racist clones," said Jack.

"Either the Gadmeer or the Enkarans would have been destroyed," Sam reminded the archeologist.

Teal'c spoke next.  "We would likely not have discovered the truth about the Aschen."

"You know, the three of us could keep right on going with this," Jack said, "but we shouldn't have to.  Any sane, rational person could see that you did important things while you were there.  Why you can't see it is a mystery to me."

Daniel appreciated what his friends were trying to do, but he couldn't escape the belief that he hadn't done enough.

"Sure, I got that gate address," he said, "but that was just a case of sheer dumb luck, and I wasn't the one who destroyed Apophis' ships.  All I did was manage to get myself shot.  Maybe I did do something good every now and then, but nothing I've ever done seems to have changed anything, not to the big picture, and most of what I've done probably would have worked out okay anyway or been done by someone else."  Daniel turned toward the camp.  "There are some things I have to do before I go to bed.  I'll be getting up early."  He glanced at the others.  "You guys are welcome to stay a couple of days, if you want to, although there won't be much for you to do around here.  I'll, uh . . . see you in the morning."

Not waiting for them to say anything, Daniel headed back down the hill.

"Daniel Jackson is unable to see the truth of our words," Teal'c said.  "He believes that his accomplishments were insufficient."

Sam sadly watched Daniel disappear into his tent.  "I don't know what we can do to make him change his mind."

"Well, it's obvious that nothing we say is going to do the trick," Jack responded.  "He's being as pig-headed as ever.  You know what we need right now?  Clarence.  He made George Bailey see the light.  I bet he could do the same for Daniel.  I think giving Daniel a little look into what things would be like if he was never born would do the trick."

Teal'c looked at him.  "You speak of the movie 'It is a Wonderful Life'."

"'It's', Teal'c, not 'It is', and, yes, that's what I'm talking about.  Too bad there are no angels around lookin' to earn their wings when you need one."

Not knowing what else to do, the three teammates returned to camp, hoping that, somehow, they'd be able to make their friend see the truth about himself.

By the time SG-1 went to breakfast the next morning, Daniel had been hard at work for over an hour.  After the meal, they went in search of him and found him at a table, tagging and cataloging artifacts.

"Where will all these things go?" Sam asked, bending down to study a small statue that was missing most of its left arm.

"Eventually, some will be displayed in museums," Daniel answered, "the better pieces.  The rest will be stored someplace."

Jack reached out to pick up a cracked bowl, but Daniel stopped him.

"I wouldn't do that, if I were you," the archeologist warned.  He jerked his head toward something off to the right, and Jack turned to see Helen glaring daggers at him.  The colonel quickly returned his hand to his side, not wanting the "pit bull" to bite it off.

"So, what's her problem with the military?" he asked.

"There are a lot of reasons for it, some of them very personal.  She's seen a lot of terrible things perpetrated by the military and governments of many different countries, not just acts against people, but also priceless works of art destroyed or confiscated."

"Okay, but, no matter what she's seen or experienced, it doesn't mean that every military is bad or that everyone in the military is no good."

"No, but she's had a lot more bad experiences than good ones."  Daniel's lips twitched upward slightly.  "But don't worry, Jack.  She won't pull out her gun unless you break something."

"She has a gun?"

"Oh, yes.  She's kept one under her pillow ever since thieves snuck onto a dig one night and tried to steal some of the artifacts."

"You know, the thought of a gun in that woman's hands makes me more nervous than an attacking army of Jaffa."

"She would indeed be quite formidable if armed," Teal'c agreed.

"Yeah.  I bet Bra'tac would just love her."

After finishing what he was doing, Daniel headed off to one of the excavation grids, choosing one at the far end of the dig when Jack insisted on accompanying him despite the archeologist's warning that if he started whining about being bored, Daniel would have him booted out.

For the next hour, which felt like three times that long to the silently bored colonel, Jack watched as Daniel and another man slowly and painstakingly uncovered bits and pieces of artifacts, each one treated like it was of great value, even the little shards of pottery that, to Jack, appeared to be worthless.  After an hour, the other man was called away, leaving Daniel and Jack alone, none of the nearby grids presently having anyone working on them.

"So, is this what you're planning on doing for the rest of your life?" the leader of SG-1 asked.

Ignoring the tone of the man's question, Daniel replied, "Not exactly.  I'll be staying with the dig until April, then going back to the States to find a place to live and some kind of job.  I haven't figured out yet what that job will be, although Simon said that he could probably get me a teaching position at one of the smaller colleges in L.A.  I might decide to come back to the dig next fall."

"So, teaching and digging in the dirt.  Not quite as big and important as saving Earth and the galaxy from evil aliens."

Daniel sighed loudly.  "Just leave it alone, Jack."

"I can't do that, Daniel.  Obviously, you're bound and determined to believe that your contributions to the program weren't very important, but you can't possibly think that anything you do here or standing before some classroom will be more important than helping us fight the Goa'uld."

Daniel stared at him angrily.  "I know that, Jack.  I know that, on a galactic scale, being a teacher or being an archeologist on some dig isn't as important as what the program does, but that the whole point.  The program is big and is important, and, during all those years I was at the SGC, I wanted to help change things for the better, to make a difference, but what difference did I make?  Every Goa'uld I helped kill was just replaced by another.  I may have aided some civilizations, but how many others did I help damage or even destroy?  Remember Cimmeria?  I destroyed Thor's Hammer, and, because of it, hundreds of their people were killed by the Goa'uld.  I wanted to help people, Jack.  I wanted to make things better, but I failed.  I have no grand illusions that what I'm doing now will help the galaxy nor even Earth, but at least I won't be disappointed in myself when I have no high hopes for what I can accomplish.  And, as a teacher and archeologist, I'll no longer be destroying things and taking lives."

Rising to his feet, Daniel strode away.  Jack got up as well, thinking of following him, but he was stopped by the appearance of a third person.

"Why can't you just leave him alone?" Helen asked angrily, having seen the altercation between Jack and Daniel.  She hadn't heard their words, but she'd watched Daniel's body language and seen the look on his face as he all but ran away.  "Haven't you people done enough to him?"

"Now, look," Jack said, not in the mood to take any more from this woman.  "Daniel said that you had a lot of reasons to hate the military, but we are not the enemy.  You don't know what this is all about.  Yeah, you knew Daniel years ago, but you know next to nothing about his life for the past six years."

"Then tell me what it is that did so much damage to his psyche.  If it wasn't working for the government and the military, then what was it?  What leached the spirit, and heart, and passion out of him?"

Because of the classified nature of the job, Jack couldn't answer her question, and, even if he could, it would just reinforce her belief that the military was to blame, since, in a way, it was.  Daniel was a man of peace, but his position on SG-1 had made it necessary for him to kill and destroy.  He wanted to help people, yet, through unfortunate circumstances, had often been involved in causing harm instead, most devastating of all being his part in the deaths of the two people he'd wanted to save more than any other.  He had been desperately trying to make a difference in their war against the Goa'uld, but saw every gain as only temporary.

Jack knew that third feeling all too well.  Over the past couple of years, he had been feeling pretty much the same way, that they were fighting a battle in which they were making little to no headway.  Because of that, he had been letting his military side take over more.  Do anything it takes to destroy the enemy and win.  Don't question whether or not it's right or if there's a better way.  The events with the Eurondans last year was a prime example.  He wanted that technology no matter what, and he didn't want to see that what Daniel was saying was right and made sense.  He did it again with the Gadmeer.  Daniel wanted to find a peaceful solution, but Jack didn't have the patience for that.  His solution was to destroy them.

And that was another part of the problem, a part in which Jack could take a big chunk of the blame.  Not only was Daniel struggling to make things better, he was repeatedly having to butt heads with the military way of thinking as he did it, most often from Jack.  Instead of supporting his friend, Jack argued with him, becoming one of the primary forces in Daniel being made to do things that were against his principles.

Given all of this, was it any wonder why Daniel felt like he didn't belong, why being on SG-1 and working for the program had been slowly chipping away at his soul?

Not answering Helen's question, Jack turned away and walked in the opposite direction Daniel had taken.  He returned to the place he and the others went last night.  In the daylight, the ruins looked different.  He could see the tents of the camp, a camp full of people going about their job of uncovering history, blissfully unaware that the history they believed they were revealing wasn't the whole truth.

After about ten minutes, Jack was joined by Teal'c.

"Carter was right," the colonel said.  "This thing with Daniel is our fault, and not just because we failed to see what was happening to him."

"You believe that we are responsible for Daniel Jackson's feelings of inadequacy."

"Not just us, Teal'c, but the whole program.  We turned him into a warrior, something he never wanted to be.  Think about what he did before he joined the program.  What do archeologists, anthropologists and linguists do?"

Sam, who had been coming up the hill and heard what Jack said answered the question.  "Archeologists uncover history and preserve it for future generations.  Anthropologists study people and cultures to expand our knowledge of humanity.  Linguists study languages for the same reasons, to expand our knowledge and reveal our history."

"They are all things that teach and preserve," Teal'c said, "peacefully contributing to the betterment of mankind."

"Exactly," Jack agreed.  "That's who Daniel is inside; that's what he's always wanted to do.  But then he gets involved in the program, and what happens?  In the beginning, he could still do those things.  We discover those Mongol people, and Daniel gets to help make things better for them.  We go to the Land of Light, and the same thing happens, plus Daniel learns things about their culture.  The same goes for Argos, the Tollans, the people that the Keeper was lying to about the state of their planet, heck, even the miners on that planet with that cursed sarcophagus who now have a better life because Daniel took the time and effort to talk some sense into a woman he should have hated for what she did to him."

"It would be like a dream come true for many archeologists and anthropologists," Sam said, "being given the opportunity to discover and learn so much about so many people and cultures."

"Yeah, but then things started to change.  It became less discovery, learning, and helping and more killing and destroying, and no matter how hard Daniel kept trying to help people, to do good out there in the galaxy, it just wasn't enough anymore."

The picture suddenly became so clear to Sam.  "Why didn't we ever realize this before?" she asked in an anguished voice.

"Because we're military, because Daniel was good at pretending that he was okay . . . because we never bothered to really think about it.  We expected him to adapt and not have a problem with it.  That's the military way of thinking.  Suck up, do what you're ordered, and put your feelings on a shelf somewhere."  Jack looked over his shoulder and spied the figure of his friend.  "Maybe Daniel is better off here, where he can be himself rather than what we forced him into being."  He turned back around and, in a voice tinged with sad acceptance, said, "We need to let him go."

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