Stargate Horizons


As soon as Jack, Sam and Teal'c arrived back at their hotel room, they contacted the general.

"General, have I got some great news for you," Jack said.  "Thanks to Daniel, we now have a whole bunch of new toys to help us kick Goa'uld ass."

He briefly filled the general in on the stuff about the stele, the Harcesis, and the hidden chamber with its cache of advanced technology, saying nothing about the defense satellites and the decision that had been made about them.

"Colonel, I cannot express how delighted I am to hear this," Hammond said.  "Please give my personal thanks to Doctor Jackson."

"I'll do that, sir."

Jack explained about the need for the Tok'ras' help to remove the stuff from the chamber.

"It'll be tricky, even with keeping the ship cloaked," he said, "but it's the only way we'll be able to get that stuff out of there under the noses of the archeologists, that is unless we got the Asgard involved."

"I'm afraid that you're probably right.  All right.  I will contact the Tok'ra immediately and see if they can send a ship.  I will call you as soon as I find out anything."

"Thanks, sir.  Oh, and tell them that, if at all possible, it would be great if Jacob could be the one to come."

"I'll pass on that request, Colonel."

When Hammond called back, it was with the news that the Tok'ra were on their way with a cargo ship and would arrive at around eleven p.m. Cairo time.  Jacob and two other Tok'ra would be the crew.  Jack gave the general the coordinates for the rendevous point, which Hammond would relay to the Tok'ra when they arrived.

At the proper time, SG-1 left for the place they would meet the ship, which was the same spot where Daniel would be joining them.  The ship arrived just a couple of minutes after the team did.  It remained cloaked as the Tok'ra exited it.

"Hey, Dad," Sam said with a smile upon seeing her father.  She gave him a hug.

"Sam.  It's great to see you.  I have to say that this is really big news.  If the Tok'ra had parties, there would be one going on at Revanna right now.  How on Earth did you find out about this?"

"We have Daniel to thank for that," Jack said.

Sam briefly told her father about the stele, what it depicted, and what Daniel guessed about what it might mean.  Jacob was pretty impressed with how Daniel had pieced it all together.

"Yeah, leave it to Daniel to stumble onto some ancient Egyptian pictures that made him figure out that some Harcesis may have hidden a bunch of stuff here," Jack said, a little smile on his face that almost looked like one of pride.

Jacob looked around.  "Speaking of Daniel, where is he?"

The three members of SG-1 shared a glance.

"He resigned from the program, Dad," Sam answered.

Jacob was shocked.  "What?  Did it have something to do with what happened to Sarah?"

"As the saying goes, that was the straw that broke the camel's back," Jack replied, "but, unbeknownst to us, he was having some real doubts and issues even before then."

"Damn.  How are you guys handling that?"

"It hasn't been easy," Sam admitted.  "We've all missed him at the SGC and on missions, too.  He's working here in Egypt on a dig, which is where the stele was found."

"Well, that was a lucky break."

"Yeah," Jack agreed.  "But then, that seems to be the way it is with Daniel sometimes, being in the right place at the right time to give us exactly what we need to pull a rabbit out of our hat."

"Will he be joining us?"

Sam nodded.  "In about an hour."  She paused.  "There's something that we have to talk to you about.  We need your help with something besides just retrieving that stuff."

Jacob and the other two Tok'ra were filled in on the issue with the defense satellites and what had been decided.

Jacob studied the teammates.  "And all three of you are in agreement on this?"

"Yep," Jack confirmed.  "Yes, I know.  Big departure for me.  Maybe I'm finally finding some wisdom in my old age.  More likely, Daniel's just rubbing off on me.  I was resistant at first, but Daniel was right about what he said.  There is no way that we could build and launch those satellites without it posing a big problem in one way or another.  As much as it pains me to say, we're not grown up enough yet.  Those Nox knew what they were talking about."

"Does George know?"

"No, and we think it's best that he doesn't find out.  It's bad enough that Carter and I are risking our careers on this."

Jacob gave a nod.  "All right.  We'll see what we can do."

"The Tok'ra will want to retrieve the information on the satellites, of course," one of the other Tok'ra said.  "Though we could not deploy them as a planetary defense measure, we may be able to adapt the technology as a sensor array and weapon system for ships."

"Now, that's something we could use," Jack said.  "When the X-303 comes off the assembly line, it sure would be nice to put weapons on it that could blast motherships out of the sky.  Littler ones for the 302's would be sweet, too."

Daniel arrived at the meeting place right on time.

"I see you left the pit bull behind," Jack remarked with a little smile.

"Pit bull?" Jacob queried.

"I'll explain on the way," Daniel told him.

"They told me about your resignation, Danny.  I was sorry to hear that."

Daniel's gaze fell away.  "Um . . . yeah."  He lifted his head.  "Are we ready to go?"

During the few minutes that it took to reach the ruins, Daniel quickly told Jacob who the "pit bull" was and how she got involved.

"She sounds like quite a lady," Sam's father remarked with an amused smile.

"That she is."

As they approached the ruins, the Tok'ra piloting the ship dropped the power going to the sublight engines as much as possible to make the ship quieter.  They landed it as close to the building with the underground chamber as possible.

All three of the Tok'ra were impressed by what they saw in the chamber.  One problem, however, quickly became apparently.

"How are we going to get some of these bigger things up those stairs?" Sam asked.  "I don't think they'll fit.  And, even if they will, they must be very heavy.  Even with Teal'c and the three Tok'ra, I don't know if we could do it."

"Well, the Harcesis must have had a way," Jack reasoned.

"Could there be a ring platform?"

"I scanned the structure as I flew over it and found no evidence of rings," said the Tok'ra pilot.

"That's no surprise," Daniel said.  "It wouldn't have made sense for the Harcesis to create a hidden chamber that you had to use a code to get inside if any Goa'uld ship flying over it could find the rings and beam people right down here."  He looked about.  "Would it be possible to turn a ring platform off so that it wouldn't be detected?"

Jacob nodded.  "I suppose it would be possible.  There would have to be a control panel of some kind so that it could be turned on and off."

Everyone spent the next five minutes looking for a control panel.  It was found behind one of the devices, which had fallen over, most likely when the building was damaged in the war with the Harcesis.

As they'd hoped, the panel activated a ring platform, which appeared in the floor at the center of the chamber.  With the grinding of stone a hole opened up in the ceiling.

"We're in business," Jacob said.

Daniel frowned slightly.  "I just hope that someone from the camp doesn't see the light from the rings."

"We'll bring the ship down as low as possible."

One by one the larger devices were brought over to the rings on the carts upon which they had been sitting and ringed up into the cargo hold.

As this was going on, Jacob and Sam were at the computer.

"This is an old unit," the Tok'ra remarked.

"Well, we don't know how long it's been sitting here, likely several thousand years."

"The Tok'ra never knew anything about this, the battle with that Harcesis."

Daniel came up to them.  "The Goa'uld probably didn't want to advertise it, especially if the Harcesis was never taken as a host.  They sure wouldn't want their Jaffa and human slaves to know that a human being could have that much power."

Jacob nodded.  "You're right about that.  Even though they apparently defeated him in the end, it would still make some of the Jaffa and slaves start to wonder."

"Frankly, I'm surprised they allowed that stele to be put up to commemorate the battle."

"Maybe they didn't know about it," Sam suggested.  "After the battle, they might not have returned to this area."

Jacob turned his attention back to the computer.  "I'm afraid that there's no way that any of the data can be hidden on this system in the way that we want.  It simply isn't set up for something like that.  However, there is another option.  We brought a unit with us to copy the data onto.  I can transfer everything to it, delete it off of the computer, then do a fresh upload back onto the computer, minus the information on the defense satellites.  In that way, it won't be on there at all, so there will be no chance that it can be retrieved."

"I guess that's the only thing we can do.  We'll just have to hope that something doesn't happen to your copy."

"Well, we could always give you a copy that you can stash away somewhere."

Jacob got busy on transferring the data as Sam wandered over to help move some of the smaller devices to the ring platform.  Daniel began to follow her, but was stopped by Jacob.

"Jack said that your reason for quitting wasn't just what happened to Sarah," the Tok'ra said.  "Care to tell me about it?"

"I just finally reached the point where I couldn't do it anymore.  I'm not a soldier, but that's what I'd been turned into.  So much of it became about the fighting and the search for technology to beat the Goa'uld, and I felt like I no longer had anything of value to contribute."

"Yet here you are, the one who's responsible for us getting all of this."

"Yes, well . . . I got lucky, right place, right time."

"Daniel, quite often in war, some of the biggest victories are a result of being in the right place at the right time.  The thing is, though, that it was because you were the one who was there, and you had the knowledge and intelligence to recognize what had been found and what it might mean.  If it had been Sam or Jack there, I doubt that they'd have figured it out.  Selmak's not even sure that he'd have realized the significance.  Don't belittle what you did."

"Helen said pretty much the same thing."

"Well, since it sounds like she's a smart lady, maybe you should listen to her."

Thanks to the rings, the loading process went pretty quickly.  On the way back to the rendevous spot, Jack told Daniel that, because he knew what all of the devices were and how to activate them, General Hammond wanted him to come back to the base for a couple of days so that he could explain everything to the scientists.

"Of course, the fact that you can read Goa'uld better than any of the other linguists would sure help with the translating," Jack added, "but I guess we'll just have to get help from Teal'c on that."

"Um . . . I could probably come and spend a few days, maybe a week or two to help with the translations."

"Really?  That would be great.  I could arrange for a military flight for you so you don't have to deal with a commercial flight.  In fact, if you can come right away, Teal'c and I will wait for you, and you can come back with us."

"What about Sam?"

"She's flying back on the tel'tak so that she can oversee the unloading of all that stuff.  Teal'c and I were going to do that as well, but we have to return the car, and. . . ."

"You were also kind of hoping that I could leave right away and come with you?"


"Okay, I'll talk to Helen in the morning.  Actually, this will solve a problem.  The SCA will be arriving today, along with those reporters I mentioned, and having my picture appearing in newspapers and magazine articles might not be such a good idea.  I had planned on making myself scarce, but not being there at all would be better.  I am going to have to figure out how to get into Cairo, though.  Helen has to be at the dig, and every other person there will want to stay in the hopes that they'll get their picture in those newspapers and magazines."

"Could you get a ride partway?  We could meet you."

"Um, yeah, I think so.  The SCA won't be arriving until ten o'clock, so Helen would have time to take me halfway, if we left early enough."

"All right, let's decide on a place to meet.  If you can't get out of there, let us know."

It was no great surprise that Helen didn't have a problem with Daniel leaving for a week or two, not when she knew the importance of what the program did.  She also understood why he wanted to be gone before the SCA and press arrived, and she agreed to drive him partway.

On the drive, she learned a little more about the program and some of the things Daniel had seen out there in the galaxy.  She was fascinated by all the cultures they'd encountered, some originating from civilizations that had disappeared from Earth long ago.

"The Minoans!" she exclaimed when Daniel told her about Tuplo's people in the Land of Light.  "How exciting.  I can only imagine how many questions you had for them."

"Yeah.  After we helped them with a problem they had, I got a chance to talk to them, and I learned a lot.  What with all the stuff I've learned about cultures and languages, if I could actually publish, I'd have enough material for dozens of papers."

"That must be hard, not being able to tell the world what you've learned."

"Yeah.  It was especially hard in the beginning."  Daniel smiled slightly.  "I think one of the hardest was being able to translate Linear A and not—"

"You deciphered Linear A?!" Helen exclaimed.

"Well, not exactly.  I didn't decipher it.  I found out that it was a dialect of Goa'uld, and Teal'c taught it to me."

"Good Lord!  Linear A was an alien language?"  Helen laughed.  "The more I hear, the more amazing it all is.  What a life you led when you were there."

"Yeah, it was really something else sometimes."

When Daniel, Jack and Teal'c arrived at the SGC, they learned that half the base scientists were hovering around the new acquisitions like a bunch of excited bees.  Sam pulled herself away to join Daniel, Hammond and her teammates in the briefing room.

"I doubt that I have to tell you how thrilled everyone is about this," the general said with a smile.  "Throughout these years, we have not had a great deal of success obtaining advanced technology.  Thanks to Doctor Jackson, we now have new technology that will be of tremendous help in our ongoing fight against the Goa'uld."  He turned to Daniel.  "Thank you for agreeing to come here and help us make sense of what you've provided us."

"You're welcome, sir."

"Colonel O'Neill's explanation was, out of necessity, brief, so I would like to hear more details on what you believe is the story on the Harcesis."

Daniel filled Hammond in on his guesses about what happened.  "I'm pretty sure now that the Harcesis was never made a host."

"So, he would have eventually died from old age," Sam said.

"Yes, but if he'd gotten his hands on a sarcophagus or built one for himself, he could have extended his life to several hundred years, just as Pius, Shyla's father, did.  With the knowledge he had, he could probably have pretty much wiped out the Goa'uld long before he died of old age."

"Too bad he didn't succeed," Jack remarked.  "Things would be so much more peaceful around here."  He turned to Hammond.  "General, there's something you need to know.  We found it necessary to reveal the existence of the Stargate Program to a civilian."  He and Daniel explained everything to Hammond.

"Although I'm not happy about this," the general said, "I agree that the situation didn't give you much of a choice in the matter.  Doctor Jackson, do you believe that Mrs. Danson can be trusted not to tell others what she learned?"

"She won't tell anyone, sir.  I'm sure of that.  I trust her completely."

"Even so, my superiors might insist that she sign a nondisclosure statement."

Daniel grimaced slightly.  "Now, that is something she might have a problem with.  She has certain . . . issues regarding the military and government."

"Boy, is that an understatement," Jack muttered.

"I can talk to her about it, but I can't guarantee that she'll be willing to put her signature on that kind of government document."

"Fair enough."  The general looked about at all those seated.  "Some representatives from the Pentagon will be arriving tomorrow to take a look at what you retrieved.  I also understand that the Tok'ra will be returning today."

Sam nodded.  "They had to get the Tel'tak back for a mission."

Jacob did not accompany the Tok'ra who arrived a bit later that day.  By then, Daniel was already busy telling the SGC scientists what each of the devices did and how to activate them.

Jack came wandering in, looking around at all the activity.  He went over to Daniel, who was explaining something to one of the scientists.

"So, you just about done here?" he asked.

"Yeah, pretty much.  I've told them what I know, which really isn't much.  It's funny how I remember every one of these things, remember even building some of them, yet I wouldn't be able to recreate any of them or explain any of the technical stuff.  Now, I need to get started on the translations.  Sam said that everything has been transferred to the base computers."

"Come on, then.  You can do that in your office."

Daniel's brow knit.  "Uh . . . my office?"

Jack smiled.  "Yep."

He took Daniel up to Level 18.  When Jack opened the door to Daniel's old office, and the archeologist got a look inside, he was shocked.

"It's the same as I left it."


"But why?"

Jack shrugged.  "We just hadn't needed the space yet."

Daniel looked at him.  "You did this, didn't you.  Why?"

"I guess I just kept hoping that you'd change your mind and come back someday."

Daniel found himself deeply touched by Jack's actions.  He began wandering around the room, touching things.  He pulled down one of his journals from a shelf.

"We were really surprised that you left those," Jack said.

"I didn't think it would be safe to take them, not when Simon was going to be keeping my stuff for me until I got back."  Daniel put the book back on the shelf.  He met his friend's eyes.  "Thanks, Jack."  He went to the computer.  "Well, I guess I'd better get busy on those translations."

"Okay.  Oh, by the way, you're welcome to stay with me while you're here instead of in a VIP room."

Daniel looked up at him.  Though the man's voice had been casual, he got the feeling that Jack really wanted him to accept the invitation.

The archeologist gave him a nod and a little smile.  "Sure.  That would be great."

"Good."  Jack fished into his pocket and handed him a key.  "Just in case you work late.  Just don't come traipsing in at some ungodly hour.  I need my beauty sleep."

"I won't."

Daniel got to work on the translations.  It being mostly technical jargon, it was a lot more difficult than it normally would be, and he occasionally had to call upon Teal'c for help.

Daniel didn't know how long he'd been working when he became aware that he was being watched.  He looked up to see Sam in the doorway, a little smile on her face.

"What's the smile for?" he asked.

She came in the room.  "It's just really nice to see you sitting there."

Daniel wasn't sure what to say to that.

Sam continued.  "We've really missed you, Daniel, here and on missions.  Nothing is the same without you."

Daniel's gaze slipped away to look at something on his desk, still saying nothing.

"The colonel was pretty awful to the first person who took your place on the team.  Poor Airman Greeley asked for a transfer after less than a week.  Lieutenant Gainsborough didn't last much longer before the colonel decided he wasn't going to work out."

"Who do you have now?"

"Captain Gomez.  She's nice, quite intelligent."

"I was wondering why my replacement didn't come with you guys on the mission."

"That was her idea.  She thought that it might be a little awkward to have her there.  She knows that she isn't really the one we want on the team."  Seeing the look on Daniel's face, Sam then said, "I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have said anything.  You've found a new life, and I know it's making you happier.  I'm really glad that it is."  She managed to catch his eyes.  "I just really miss you and wish you were still part of the team."

"I know, Sam.  I understand."

Deciding that it was time to change the subject, Sam nodded at the computer.  "So, how long do you think it will take?"

"A lot longer than if it was just some historical account or a record of a business dealing.  Lots of technical words that I don't even know the meaning of in English, let alone Goa'uld.  It's a shame you can't read it.  The translation would probably go twice a fast."

The thought came to Sam that she wouldn't want it to go twice as fast since that would mean that Daniel would leave sooner.

Not speaking her thoughts, the astrophysicist put on a smile.  "I was wondering if you'd like to go out to eat somewhere tonight.  Perhaps we could all go out.  It would be fun."

"Sure.  That would be nice."

By the time Daniel went off to dinner with his friends, the air of excitement on base was even higher.  The full significance of what they had obtained was really becoming evident to everyone, especially to the SG teams, who would be among the biggest beneficiaries of devices that could dramatically reduce the number of casualties and give them a greater edge in any conflicts against Jaffa.  Daniel had received several expressions of thanks and pats on the back from men and women on the teams, which made him feel good – albeit a little embarrassed.  If these things saved the lives of people who were going out there to fight the Goa'uld, that alone was enough to make him happy that he'd been able to do this for the program.

The mood was high at dinner, the four friends chatting about this and that.  Even the normally reticent Teal'c was talking more.  Daniel was feeling relaxed and happy and smiled often, which was a wonderful sight to his former teammates.  Yet, at the same time, it brought home to them how very rare such smiles had been during the past two years or so and how blind they had been not to notice.

Sam, Jack and Teal'c all chose not to think about the day that Daniel would leave, not wanting to spoil the mood.  Each one of them was secretly hoping, perhaps against hope, that their friend would choose to stay.

After dinner, Daniel and Jack bid Sam and Teal'c good night and headed off to Jack's place.

"Would you like a beer?" the colonel asked as they entered the house.

"Um, sure," Daniel replied, settling on the couch.

Jack got two Guinness from the fridge and handed one of them to the archeologist, then took a seat in the recliner.  A couple of minutes passed as he silently contemplated the younger man, who was resting his head against the back cushion, eyes closed.

"I'm sorry," he abruptly stated.

Daniel lifted his head and stared at him, a frown of puzzlement on his face.  "For what?"

"For a lot of things, really, mostly for being an ass, I guess."


"Just . . . just let me finish, Daniel.  I don't say things like this very often, so just let me get it out before I change my mind."  Jack stared at his beer.  "I never gave you enough credit for things, all the stuff you did that helped make SG-1 the great team that it's been.  Actually, the program as a whole is guilty of that.  Carter got kudos for the techy stuff, Teal'c got it for the Jaffa stuff, I got it just because I was the team leader, but you sort of . . . slipped through the cracks a lot of the time."

"Jack, I never sought kudos or pats on the back for what I did."

"I know, and how you can be so lacking in an ego has got to be one of the great mysteries of the universe, given the things you can do.  But, just because you don't have a big ego doesn't mean that we shouldn't have given you credit where credit was due."  There was a little pause as Jack shifted uncomfortably in his chair.  "I guess what I'm saying is that, though you have been a royal pain in the ass on many occasions, I kind of . . . grew to admire you."

Shocked by the admission, Daniel didn't say anything.

"I just wanted you to know that," Jack finished, taking a swig from his bottle.  He suddenly got to his feet.  "Well, it's getting late, we're probably both still a little jetlagged, and that meeting with the brass from the Pentagon is at 0730, so we should hit the sack.  You'll find a pair of your pajamas in the guest room from the last time you spent the night."

As Jack walked off toward his bedroom, he was stopped by Daniel's soft voice.



"Thank you . . . for everything."

Jack turned back around, and the eyes of the two men met for a long moment.  Then the older man nodded slightly and continued his journey to the bedroom.  Daniel watched him go, a little smile on his face.

Daniel and the three members of SG-1 stared at the visitors.  They consisted of General Bret Temmerman from the State Department, Colonel Peter Dobbs from the DOD, and Colonel Gerald Osborne from the Intelligence Oversight Committee, the committee that recent rumors were suggesting that Senator Kinsey had his eyes on becoming the chairman for once its present chairman retired later in the year.

"I have read this latest report of the items retrieved from that hidden chamber," General Temmerman said, opening the folder in his hands, "and I have to say that I am quite impressed.  Not only will many of them have an impact on the battle against the Goa'uld, it's possible that some of the technology can be adapted for use here on Earth, including against terrorist attacks and other domestic threats."

"Not to mention military conflicts with hostile foreign powers," Colonel Dobbs added.  "However, there appears to be something missing, at least from the report I received."

Daniel exchanged a brief glance with his former teammates.

"What's that?" Jack asked, doing a good job of pretending that he had no idea what the man was talking about.

"In the report Doctor Jackson submitted about the . . . dream that the ascended boy named Shifu gave him, he mentioned a planetary defense system consisting of a network of satellites that could detect Goa'uld ships thousands of light-years away and were equipped with weapons that could penetrate Goa'uld shields and destroy motherships.  There is no mention of those satellites in this report."

"That's because the plans for the satellites aren't on the computer," Daniel said with a bland expression.

Colonel Osborne of the Intelligence Oversight Committee frowned.  "And why is that?"

"I can't say.  Personally, if I was the Harcesis, I wouldn't have put the plans on there.  I'd have been too concerned about the Goa'uld getting hold of them.  And the truth is that, since all that stuff was in his head, he really didn't have to put any of it in a computer.  We're just lucky that he did."

Jack smiled ever so slightly.  Without speaking even one lie, Daniel had just given a logical answer to the man's question.

"So, you're saying that this Harcesis chose to put all his knowledge on that computer except for that one thing?" Osborne asked suspiciously.

Daniel shook his head.  "That computer doesn't contain even a fraction of all the knowledge the Harcesis would have had.  All it has is the technology, and even that is mostly limited to things that the Goa'uld don't have.  There is a lot of common Goa'uld technology that isn't there, like the sarcophagi, hyperdrive engines, and staff weapons."

"So, you're saying that we're out of luck on those defense satellites," Colonel Dobbs said.

"Yep, that's what he's saying," Jack confirmed.

The man frowned.  "I have to say that a lot of people are not going to be pleased about that."

"Okay, now, just a bit ago, you agreed that the stuff we got was going to be a big help to us in a lot of ways.  And, now, you're griping?"

The colonel's frown deepened.  "Those satellites would have assured this planet's protection against Goa'uld attack."

"So, you're saying that, even given the warning that dream gave us, you'd still have built them?" Daniel asked, wishing that he was surprised.

"We could have come up with a way to avoid the trouble it caused in your dream."

"Well, since that's not an option, I guess we'll just have to keep hoping that Earth being an Asgard-protected planet will continue to be enough to keep us safe," Jack said.  "That's been working fine for the past three years.  So, how about if we all focus on the things we did get instead of the stuff we didn't?"  Jack opened the file before him and started going down the list.  "Number One, a handy gadget that will enable us to turn off any Stargate we want to.  Number Two, a gadget that the techy guys think they can adapt to warn SG teams whenever Jaffa are in the area.  Number Three, and this is a biggy, personal force fields that will protect our guys out there from being shot by Jaffa.  Speaking as someone who's had to deal with those personal shields more than once when being used by a Goa'uld, it would be pretty nice to be the ones who have rather than the ones who have not.  Number Four, a possible way to make things that work like ribbon devices and can be used by anyone, not just people with Naquadah in their blood.  Number Five, a possible way for us to make healing devices that anyone can use.  Shall I keep going?"

"That isn't necessary, Colonel," General Temmerman answered.  "We are all aware of the tremendous value of the technology we've obtained.  This acquisition is the single greatest one we've made since the program's inception, with the possible exception of the technology that enabled us to create the F-302's and X-303."

"Yes, and we have Daniel here to thank for it," Jack said, making the archeologist's gaze shift uncomfortably to the table.

"Something else we are all aware of, I assure you.  Doctor Jackson?  The president wishes me to express his gratitude for what your knowledge and insight have provided us with."

"Thank you, sir," Daniel murmured.

The meeting continued, the participants discussing possible uses for the technology, as well as safeguards that would need to be put in place to protect it from theft by such people as the rogue NID group that had been stealing alien technology.

After the meeting ended, Daniel went to his lab and resumed the job of translating the things that had been on the Harcesis' computer.  Jack stopped by a short while later.

"That went well," he said.  "As usual, we had a jackass or two in the bunch, but, all in all, it was very productive.  Oh, by the way, one of the things the eggheads are getting to work on right away is that healing device.  We may have had one of those things for a while now, but having the actual technical stuff for one of the original models is giving them very high hopes that they can make one that will work for anyone who can learn how to use it.  Fraiser's pretty excited about that.  It could save a whole lot of lives, not just in the infirmary but also on missions."

Daniel smiled and nodded, thinking about the look that had been on Janet's face when she was told about the device.  There had been so many lives lost due to injuries sustained on missions.  How many would now be saved if they succeeded in altering that technology?  And there could be a day when it would be adapted for use outside the program, healing thousands, perhaps even millions in the decades to come.

And then there was what the Tok'ra might be able to build with the defense satellite technology.  Sensors with the capacity to detect Goa'uld ship activity thousands of light-years away, giving them and Earth a valuable tool in keeping track of the movements of their common enemy.  Weapons that could be used to destroy motherships and other large targets.  Sam was already talking about the possibility of specially designed cloaked ships that could make sneak attacks on the Goa'uld, swooping in and striking, then darting away, something that made Jack grin and rub his hands together in gleeful anticipation.

Jack jerked his head at the computer screen.  "So, how much longer do you think it'll take you?"

"Um, based upon what I've gotten translated so far, I'm thinking maybe a week, perhaps a little more."

"A week, huh?"

Daniel nodded.  Neither man said anything about what would happen after the job was finished.

It ended up taking Daniel just six more days to finish the translations.  Typing in the last few sentences, he shut down his system and went in search of his ex-teammates.  As luck would have it, he found them all in the commissary.

"Daniel," Jack greeted.  "Nice to see you break away from that computer.  Come have some pie."

Daniel hesitated before responding.  "I'm finished."

The others paused, sharing a brief glance.

"A bit ahead of schedule, eh?" Jack remarked, keeping his tone light.

"Yeah, a little.  It got easier as I went along.  I guess I got used to translating stuff that I didn't understand."

Sam was now playing with her blue Jell-O rather than eating it.  Jack looked at her, at Teal'c, then at Daniel.

"Let's go up top," he said, knowing that the moment had arrived for them to finally talk about the topic they had been avoiding.

After getting their jackets, they ascended to the top of the mountain.  The sky was clear, the air cold and crisp.  The light snow that had fallen a couple of days ago crunched beneath their boots as they walked to where they could look down upon the countryside below.  None of them spoke for quite a while.

"I'm not going to ask you to stay," Jack finally said.  "I want to, but I know that you've been happier there on that dig than you've been here in a long time.  None of us want you to come back if it's going to make you feel bad again."

"We all want what's right for you, Daniel," Sam told her friend, "even if it means we'll hardly ever see you."

"Indeed," Teal'c stated, the single word holding a wealth of meaning.

Daniel didn't respond for a long moment.  Keeping his gaze on the view, he finally began to speak.  "When I left, I felt like my entire life had been a failure, that nothing I ever did was enough.  I thought about Sha're.  I could have spent my life with her, but I chose to unbury the gate out of curiosity, and, because of that, I lost her.  I thought about all the fighting, all the deaths.  When Shifu came here and talked about me finding my own path, I told him that what I was doing was my path.  I said that I'd chosen it to honor Sha're's strength.  Even after he showed me what the path I'd chosen could result in, and I agreed that I needed to find a new one, I really just kept going the same way.  But then Sarah was killed, and it all suddenly came crashing down on me, how many deaths I'd had a hand in, how taking the . . . the way of the warrior made me lose sight of myself and who I used to be."

He paused, but the others remained silent, waiting for him to continue.

"After you guys left Egypt, I spent a lot of time thinking about everything, about the stuff you said.  I think that, with no great personal expectations hanging over my head, no struggle to save lives or pressure to find ways to fight the Goa'uld, I was able to put everything into perspective and really look back on my years with the program.  I thought about all the things we did, the people we helped, the evil we put a stop to, and I realized that I'd been wrong.  My life hadn't been a complete failure.  I had helped to make a difference.  In the huge expanse of the universe, maybe a lot of those differences were small, but they did matter, at least to the people they affected.  Yes, some of the things I was a part of ended up costing lives, and I wish that could have been prevented, but for every life that was lost, many others were saved through our actions."

Daniel's eyes lowered to the ground.  "I told Jack that by being just a teacher and archeologist I couldn't be disappointed in myself since I would have no high hopes for what I could accomplish.  But I realize now that, if I did that, just . . ." he lifted his head and gestured toward the sky, "turned my back on what's going on out there, I would be doing something far worse than any of the mistakes I've made and the ways that I've fallen short of what I wanted to achieve."  He paused a moment.  "'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,'" he quoted.  His eyes finally met those of his friends.  "I'm not the kind of person who can do nothing.  I never have been."

Sam's breath caught, hope growing inside her, as it was within her teammates.  "Daniel?" she said questioningly.

A smile slowly grew on Daniel's face.  "So . . . do you think that Captain Gomez will be terribly upset if I took back my spot on the team?"

Upon hearing those words, Teal'c smiled, Sam's eyes filled with joy, and Jack . . . Jack started to laugh.  He came forward and pulled Daniel into a hearty embrace.

"If she is, Danny, I'll find some way to make it up to her."

After a moment, the commander of SG-1 stepped aside to give Sam a turn.  She pounced on Daniel and gave him a hug almost tight enough to make him grunt.  Then Teal'c came forward and grasped the archeologist's forearm in the traditional Jaffa greeting, his other hand resting on his friend's shoulder.

"Come on, Daniel," Jack said, slinging an arm casually over the younger man's shoulders.  "Let's go talk to Hammond about getting you rehired and back on SG-1."

As they walked back to the base entrance, Daniel thought about what he didn't tell his friends, something he hadn't thought about when he was so lost in his feelings of guilt and failure.  By belittling his own accomplishments, he had been doing the same to the people who were right there accomplishing them with him, Jack, Sam, Teal'c and all the others at the SGC who had been struggling to win against the Goa'uld and help people along the way.  They were all in this together, every one of them, along with the Tok'ra and their other allies, and it would be together that they'd eventually succeed.

Daniel's thoughts turned to what lay ahead.  With the new technology they'd obtained, it could be that their progress in the fight against the Goa'uld would make great strides forward.  But, even if it didn't, even the small steps forward mattered, every gain bringing them that much closer to their goal of freeing the galaxy from the hold of the Goa'uld.  And every time he helped achieve one of those steps forward, he would know that he was making a difference, that he wasn't a failure . . . and never had been.

"To climb a mountain, you must take a single step at a time.  The foolish man sees only that it is taking too long, but the wise man sees each step as a victory in itself."


Yes, I know that this fic is quite short and that some of you might think it should have been longer, but it told the story I wanted it to tell.  Sure, I could have spent more time focusing on Daniel's angst-ridden time on the dig, but let's face it.  Until that stele was found, nothing he did there would have been all that exciting, and I think I covered the angst enough.  As for what will happen as a result of Daniel's discovery, that's a whole other story, a sequel that is already in the planning stage.  This story was about Daniel's descent into his feelings of guilt and failure and how he ultimately rose above them.

By the way, in case you're wondering about the source of that quote at the end, it's mine, although I have no doubt that others have said similar things in the past.

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