Stargate Horizons


Colonel Maybourne walked through the corridors of the SGC, a group of men behind him.  He made his way to the briefing room.  There, he found General Hammond and SG-1.

"Ah, Maybourne.  So not nice to see you," Jack said.

Maybourne ignored him.  "General Hammond, these are the men I've assigned to collect the technology on the planet.  I trust that there are not going to be any difficulties or delays."

"No, Colonel, you have a go to leave with SG-1 for Hetara immediately."

"Why is SG-1 coming?  We can handle this mission just fine on our own."

"They are familiar with the planet.  You'll need them to show you around and explain things to you."

"Yeah, wouldn't want you to go falling down any deep holes or anything," Jack said.  "Well, I, personally, wouldn't have any problem with it, but then, nobody listens to what I want."

Maybourne shot a glare at Jack.  "Very well.  SG-1 can show us the lay of the land, but I want it clear that I am in command of this mission."

"There is no question in my mind on who will be in charge on the planet, Colonel," Hammond said.

'Oh, yeah.  You got that right,' Jack thought to himself.

"All right, shall we go, then?" the NID colonel asked.

"Whenever you're ready, Maybourne," Jack replied.

They all went to the gate room.  As the chevrons dialed up, Jack looked at his fellow colonel.  "This is your first time through, right?"

"Yes.  What about it?"

"Have a big breakfast?"

"No bigger than usual.  Why?"

Jack smiled nastily.  "Oh, no reason."

The vortex whooshed outward, then settled into its usual gentle rippling.

Jack turned to Maybourne and his men.  "We'll go first since we've done this lots of times before and will be able to stay on our feet when we come out the other side.  Now, don't get lost."  He and the rest of SG-1 walked up the ramp and through the event horizon.

Pausing a few seconds, Maybourne and his men followed them.  They exited the other side, feeling chilled, several of them also feeling like their stomachs were going to turn inside out.  Their discomfort was instantly forgotten, however, when they saw what was before them.  A pack of two dozen enormous, obviously carnivorous animals stood a few yards away.  Standing in front of the pack, with an animal on either side of him, was Doctor Daniel Jackson.

"What in the hell?!" Maybourne exclaimed, climbing to his feet.  "Doctor Jackson, what are you doing here?  What are those things?"

"I'm here because I'm an archeologist, and this is an archeological site," Daniel replied.  "I was on this planet well before SG-1 arrived.  And, before you ask, no, my trip here had nothing to do with the Stargate Program.  I came here all on my own.  As for these," he indicated his companions, "they're called the Ur-mah-gal."  A couple of the animals snarled menacingly, their eyes riveted on Maybourne.  "And I don't think they like you very much."

The men with Maybourne looked at the pack nervously, hands on weapons that they knew would not stop the animals if they chose to attack.

Maybourne turned to Jack with a glare.  "What kind of trick is this, O'Neill?"

"Oh, did I forget to tell you about this?" Jack asked with mock innocence.  "So sorry.  You see, Daniel here, well, you could call him the Lord of the Ur-mah-gal.  They really, really like him and will do anything he tells them to.  Oh, and get this.  He's the only one who can speak the language they understand.  Just one of those many, many, many talents he has that is no longer at our disposal because of a certain moronic ass."  Jack gave him a false smile.  "Hey, maybe you know him.  Anyway, Daniel has a proposition for you, so you'd better listen up."

A glower on his face, Maybourne turned back to the archeologist.  "What do you want, Jackson?"

"Oh, nothing much.  I just want my job back on SG-1 and assurances that neither you nor anyone else you're connected to will ever try to get me fired again.  In return, I'll let you take all the technological gadgets you can find in this city, with only a few exceptions and some minor rules of acquisition."

"You'll let us?"

"Yes, that's right.  It's like Jack said.  I am the only one the Ur-mah-gal will obey since no one else can speak the language of the people who used to live here.  Without me telling them to leave you alone, I wouldn't lay odds on you and your people living very long.  Oh, and if you think that these are the only ones and that, if you bring enough firepower, you can wipe them out, go look over that way."

Maybourne and his people turned to the right to see what looked like another couple of dozen Ur-mah-gal a few hundred yards away.

"And that's only a tiny portion of how many there are all totaled," Daniel informed them.  "Unless you plan on bringing an entire army with heavy artillery through the gate, you wouldn't stand a chance."

Maybourne glared at Daniel.  "This is blackmail, Jackson."

"Not at all, Colonel.  It's a negotiation, a . . . trade agreement.  I'm asking for something I want in exchange for something you want.  You are perfectly welcome to turn right around and go back through the gate.  But you will never get what's on this planet without my help.  So, it's up to you.  Feel free to think about it for as long as you like.  We're not going anywhere."

Maybourne stared at Daniel, looking like he was going to pop a blood vessel.  Jack was enjoying himself thoroughly.  Seeing Daniel get the better of the NID man was soooo sweet!

"How do I know for sure that any of the technology on this planet is going to do us any good?" Maybourne asked.

"You don't," Daniel replied.  "I have no idea if you'll be able to use any of it.  That's not my field of expertise.  You saw the stuff that Sam brought back to the SGC.  That should give you an idea of what's here.  It's a big city with a lot of possible technological treasures, things that could be used to help fight the Goa'uld.  It can all be yours in exchange for one small thing."

Maybourne was silent for a long time.  He was up against a wall, and they all knew it.  That damn archeologist was beating him.  Then again, maybe not.

"All right, you have a deal.  While my men start retrieving the technology, I'll return to Earth and work on getting you back in the SGC.  There are a lot of people I'll need to contact, so it might take a few days."

"Oh, I don't think that's going to work out," Daniel said.  "Within a few days' time, your men could get quite a bit accomplished, while I'd have no guarantee that you'll hold up your end of the bargain.  This is how it's going to work.  You and your men will go back to Earth and not return until I hear straight from General Hammond that I have my job back.  Then and only then will you be allowed in the city."

Maybourne almost let out a snarl.  Forcefully calming himself enough to speak, he said, "Fine.  I accept your terms."  He snapped an order to one of his men to dial up the gate.  A short while later, he and his people disappeared through the wormhole.

Jack strode up to Daniel and grasped the younger man's shoulders, laughing.  "Daniel, you made me proud.  That was a thing of beauty.  I never knew you were so good at playing hardball."

Daniel grinned at him.  "I had a good teacher."

Jack laughed again and patted his shoulders.  "You betcha!"  He turned to the rest of his team.  "Come on, kids.  We've got a few days on this planet before Maybourne's people get back.  Let's see if there's anything we really don't want them to get their hands on."

Over the next few days, Daniel and SG-1 scoured the city for any special "doohickeys" that they wanted to have the time to study themselves.  Daniel found some electronic history books that he snatched up so fast that Jack barely had time to blink before they were gone.  Sam, in turn, found some electronic technical manuals.  Since the people at the NID wouldn't be able to read them until they were translated anyway, Sam figured that she might as well take them and give them to Daniel to translate.  Of course, the NID would not be the only ones to get copies of his translations.

It wasn't a surprise to anyone when Jack decided that he was going to get in some fishing while he was there.  He spent a few hours on the river with Daniel's homemade fishing rod while everyone else continued their "treasure hunt."  They all dined on his catch that evening, including a couple of the Ur-mah-gal.

As the days passed, an interesting thing started happening.  Whereas, in the beginning, the Ur-mah-gal simply tolerated the presence of SG-1, as time went by, they gradually became more friendly, never to the level that they were with Daniel, but enough that they would sometimes sit close by and watch what the members of SG-1 were doing.  They seemed to like Sam the best, and the captain found herself quite often petting one or talking to it, even though she knew it couldn't understand her.

"I think it's because they can sense that you're my friends and that you don't want to hurt them," Daniel said to her when they were discussing it as they took a break.

Just then, the Ur-mah-gal that had been shadowing them throughout the day came up and started rubbing itself up against Daniel like an enormous house cat.  Daniel scratched it behind its ears and was rewarded with a purr that sounded like an idling locomotive.

"Hey, Denali," Daniel murmured.

"That's Denali?" Sam asked, thinking that the cat did look familiar.

"Uh huh."

"That name sounds familiar.  Isn't there a national park in Alaska by that name?" Sam asked.

"Yeah.  The name means 'The High One'.  Denali is the leader of his pack."

"You mean like the alpha male?"

"No, not really.  Their social structure isn't exactly like any animal on Earth.  Denali is the leader of his pack, but the others aren't in complete subservience to him, and he won't punish any pack member that argues with him or does something that he doesn't like."

"Ah, sort of like you and the colonel, huh?"

Daniel gave Sam a playful shove.  "Very funny, Sam."  He turned back to the Ur-mah-gal, who had settled at Daniel's feet and was watching them with interest.  "As I was saying, their behavior patterns and social structure doesn't completely match any animal on Earth.  Like, for instance, wolves and lions generally have only one pack or pride in any given territory, but there are three different packs of Ur-mah-gal living here in the city right now, and they socialize with each other freely.  According to the Hetarans, members of different packs will even breed with each other.  When that happens, however, one of them will join the pack of the other, the female usually being the one that moves to the other pack.  The reason for this is that they are monogamous and mate for life, which is pretty rare for animals on Earth.  Reka is Denali's mate, and if you watch them together, you can tell that they really care about each other."

"So, how come Denali is so attached to you?  He is the one who's with you most often, isn't he?"

"Yeah, he is.  He's also the one who insists on sleeping with me most nights, him and Reka.  I guess they sort of, um . . . adopted me.  Reka has no cubs this year."

Sam laughed.  "Well, Daniel, I have to say that they are the most unusual adoptive parents I've ever heard of."

"Hey, don't knock it.  They're a lot more attentive and friendly than some of the foster parents I lived with."

It was five days after Maybourne's departure when Jack and Teal'c were greeted by the voice of a very pleased General Hammond when they went to the gate for the daily check-in.

"Colonel, there's a certain archeologist I need you to go fetch so that I can give him some very good news," he said.

"He's back in the SGC and on SG-1, sir?" Jack asked, already grinning.

"Yes, he is, Colonel O'Neill, with the blessings of the president himself."

"Yes!" Jack shouted.  "That is great news, sir.  I'll go fetch Daniel right away so that you can formally welcome him back.  Would you like him to come through the gate so that you can do it face to face?"

"That's an excellent idea, Colonel.  You go get him and send him on through."

Jack and Teal'c almost ran all the way back to where Daniel and the others were.  They burst into the room, startling everyone.

"We did it!" Jack exclaimed.  "Daniel, you are back on the team!"

Sam cried out in delight and grabbed Daniel in an enthusiastic hug, almost knocking him over in the process.  Daniel was laughing, the biggest smile they had ever seen on his face.  Once Sam let go of him, Lieutenant Sanderson stepped forward and shook Daniel's hand.

"Congratulations, Doctor Jackson."

"Thanks.  Um, I'm sorry this means that you'll lose your place on SG-1."

"Hey, don't worry about it.  I had a feeling right from the start that I wouldn't be staying on the team for long.  They never stopped trying to get you back, and I figured that, sooner or later, they'd succeed.  You belong on SG-1, Doctor Jackson.  It's your team."

Jack came up and slung an arm over Daniel's shoulders.  "Come on, Danny Boy.  The General wants to welcome you back personally.  Let's take you home."

Everyone packed up their stuff and made the trek to the gate.

Jack stepped aside and gestured toward the DHD.  "Daniel?  You do the honors."

With a smile, Daniel did what he had thought he'd never have the chance to do again: he dialed home.  As the wormhole blossomed into existence and Sam sent the G.D.O. signal, the linguist told the Ur-mah-gal that had followed them that he'd be back soon.  Then, with Jack's hand on one shoulder, and Sam's hand on the opposite arm, they all walked through the gate.

As they stepped onto the metal ramp on the other side, loud applause greeted them.  General Hammond came forward and took Daniel's hand.

"Welcome home, Doctor Jackson.  It's good to have you back."

"Thank you, sir.  It's great to be back.  So, when can I get back to work?"

"Son, you can start right this instant, if you'd like.  Since you were never officially fired, there wasn't much to do to return you to full active status as a consultant.  You'll find your office just the way you left it.  Your fellow teammates made sure of that.  But, right now, I happen to know that Doctor Fraiser is anxiously awaiting your presence in the infirmary.  Once you're done there and have gotten cleaned up, come to the briefing room.  I want to hear all about what you've been up to for these past few weeks.  It sounds like you've got quite a tale to tell.  Colonel Maybourne and his people will be here first thing in the morning to return with you to the planet."

By the time Daniel made it to the briefing room a couple of hours later, he'd lost count of how many people had welcomed him home.  Even several of the Marines welcomed him back.

Daniel recounted to General Hammond everything he'd done since leaving Earth.  The general was fascinated by the Ur-mah-gal and how the archeologist had befriended them, realizing that there probably wasn't another human being on Earth who could have managed it.

"Sir, there's something that concerns me," Daniel said.  "It bothers me that there are still people who doubt my loyalty to Earth.  I would never do anything to endanger this planet.  When I helped the Tollans, it was not an act of disloyalty."

"I know that, Son.  I never had a doubt in my mind about your loyalty to Earth.  Those other people just don't understand that you were protecting our integrity by doing what you did.  I'm confident that, in time, they will recognize your loyalty to this planet."

That evening, there was a little party at Jack's house.  In addition to SG-1 and Lieutenant Sanderson, who was invited at Daniel's insistence, Doctor Fraiser and Cassie were also present.  The little girl had been all over Daniel when she first arrived, delighted that "Uncle Daniel" was back.  It wasn't long before the archeologist found himself repeating the story of how he befriended the Ur-mah-gal to Cassie and her mother, who were both amazed by the tale.

"You have no idea how relieved I am that you're back, Doctor Jackson," Janet said when they were alone.  "Colonel O'Neill, Captain Carter and Teal'c were unbearable while you were gone."

"Yeah, that's what Sam told me," Daniel responded with a smile.

"I should imagine it makes you feel pretty good that they missed you so much."

"Yes, it does.  It's good to have friends like them."

Early the next morning, Daniel returned to Hetara with SG-1 so that he could talk to the Ur-mah-gal and explain what was going to be happening.  Maybourne showed up two hours later.  The first thing Daniel did was show the men which buildings were dens for the Ur-mah-gal so that everyone would stay out of them.  After that, he showed them the educational center, making it clear that they were not to touch it.  And then he told them the rules, that they were not to damage any structures or artifacts in order to get at the technology without clearing it with him first.  That's when Maybourne lost what little patience he had.

"Doctor Jackson, you have no authority to give us orders or tell us what we can and cannot do," he said.  "You may be in control of these creatures, but, now that you're back on the payroll of the U.S. government, you are under our jurisdiction.  If you threaten us with those animals, I will have you arrested.  We are in charge here, and we will take everything we want in whatever manner we want, regardless of what we have to tear down to get it."

Instead of the anger and dismay Maybourne had expected to see, there was a little smile on Daniel's face.  The archeologist turned to Jack.

"Would you like to break the news to him?"

"Love to," Jack replied.  He looked at the NID man.  "Here's the deal, Maybourne.  There's another little detail that you may not have been told.  Since, one," he held up a finger, "this is an important archeological dig, and Daniel is our archeological expert, two," another finger came up, "he is the only one here who can read the language, and, three," up went a third finger, "Daniel is the one who controls the Ur-mah-gal, General Hammond has put him in charge of this mission.  In other words, he's the boss, and you take orders from him."

"Not a chance, O'Neill.  I am not taking orders from a civilian archeologist!"

"Well, that's exactly what you're going to be doing, Maybourne, so live with it.  It is within Hammond's power to give command of a mission to a civilian if that civilian is the best qualified to be in command.  Daniel is most definitely the one most qualified to be in charge of this mission.  If you don't like it, you can take it up with the general."

"Oh, I intend to, O'Neill.  I'll go as high as necessary."  He turned on his heels and left.

"Oh, for cryin' out loud," Jack muttered.  "Doesn't that guy ever stop being a pain in the ass?"  He looked at Daniel.  "I guess I'd better go with him to keep an eye on him.  Don't worry, Daniel.  We've got all the cards this time around.  Maybourne's not going to get what he wants."

Maybourne and Jack returned to the SGC and went straight to General Hammond's office, where the NID man loudly objected to Daniel being in command of the mission.

"Colonel Maybourne, let me make something clear to you," Hammond said sternly.  "Doctor Jackson was the first person on the planet, and, at the time, he was not an employee of this government.  Secondly, he has been accepted by the local population and has become part of their community, has, in fact, become their leader, from what I gather."

"They're animals!"

"Are they?  According to Doctor Jackson, they understand the Hetaran language, began answering to the names he gave to them almost immediately, appear to have their own language, possess the memories of previous generations, and may possibly be empathic.  That sounds like a hell of a lot more than an animal to me, Colonel.  For all we know, they could be as intelligent as we are.  Regardless, they are the dominant species on that planet, and since Doctor Jackson has become their leader, he is, for all intents and purposes, the ruler of that planet.  Therefore, a very good case could be made that he has the right to refuse us access to the city.  In fact, he could order us off the planet.  Instead, he's letting us take the technology from the city, asking only that we not damage the structures and artifacts or remove certain items.  So, Colonel, I would suggest that you accept Doctor Jackson's terms gracefully and be content with what you can get."

"You know, Maybourne, this is your own fault," Jack said.  "If you hadn't gotten Daniel kicked out of the program, he'd have only been a member of my team when we went to Hetara and would have had no power to stop you from tearing the place apart."  Jack grinned.  "Ain't payback a bitch?"

And so it was that a very unhappy Maybourne returned to the planet.  His men got to work on removing the technology under the watchful eyes of Daniel, the rest of SG-1 and the Ur-mah-gal.  Daniel had explained to the cats what Maybourne's people were and were not allowed to do, and they turned out to be good watchdogs, not letting Maybourne's men get away with doing anything that was against the rules.  In fact, they were so good at it that nobody tried anything even when one wasn't around for fear that there would be reprisals if Daniel or an Ur-mah-gal found out.

Maybourne's men worked quickly and efficiently, gathering any and all pieces of technology that they found.  Items too large to move all in one piece were carefully disassembled for transport.

While this was all taking place, Daniel was busy videotaping and taking rubbings of the inscriptions that were on the walls for later translation.  He also continued his search of the ruins for books and non-technological artifacts.  Lieutenant Sanderson, who had requested to continue working with the team for the duration of the mission, gave him a hand, the two men spending hours together each day talking about anthropology and archeology.  Sanderson was actually surprised when he started developing an interest in archeology, particularly Egyptology, listening in fascination as Daniel talked about the history and mythology of Egypt and how it tied in with the Goa'uld.

"You make it sound a whole heck of a lot more interesting than my teachers in school did," the lieutenant commented one day.

Daniel smiled.  "Well, maybe that's because Egyptology has a whole new meaning for us now.  When you were in school, the Egyptian gods were only myths.  We now know differently."

"Yeah, you could be right."

A couple of days later, Daniel was asked to come to a circular building he hadn't been to before.  When he got there, he found Maybourne and one of his men standing outside, along with an Ur-mah-gal, who was watching them closely.  But Daniel paid little attention to them.  His eyes were immediately drawn to what he could see beyond the large open doorway of the structure.  It was an incredible mural depicting the battle against Duamutef and his Jaffa.

"Wow," Daniel murmured in a hushed voice, entering the building to get a better look at the painting.  Turning in a circle, he found that the mural went all the way around.  "This must have been a memorial or perhaps a museum dedicated to the victory against the Goa'uld."  He glanced at Maybourne.  "Thanks for telling me about it."

"I didn't call you here to show you the pretty pictures, Doctor Jackson," the NID man said unpleasantly.  He pointed at a device in the center of the room.  "That is a holographic projector of some kind.  It appears to work in conjunction with sensors that are implanted in the walls.  We want to remove it."

Daniel looked more closely at the walls and saw tiny objects imbedded in them.  He went to the main unit and turned it on.  In awe, he watched what had been static, two-dimensional paintings gain depth and come to life, the figures moving across the walls, Ur-mah-gal attacking and killing Jaffa by the hundreds as Duamutef stood by, watching impotently.

Turning the projector off, Daniel turned to Maybourne.  "Sorry, but I can't let you do that," he said calmly.

Maybourne's eyes narrowed.  "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that, Jackson.  This is highly advanced holographic technology that could be of great use to us."

"How?  You can't use it as a weapon against the Goa'uld.  In fact, I can't think of any way that something like this could help us fight them."

"The battle against the Goa'uld is not the only thing that will benefit from the technology we gather on this planet.  There are hundreds of potential Earth applications."

"Yes, you're right, but my answer is still the same.  If you manage to find one that's not being used, you're welcome to take it, but that one stays right where it is."

Daniel walked past Maybourne and headed outside, thinking that it might be a good idea to call for Jack.  He'd gone a few yards when an irate Maybourne grabbed hold of his arm in a bruising grip and spun him around.

That proved to be a big mistake.

An ear-shattering roar sent chills up the NID man's spine.  He turned around just in time to see an Ur-mah-gal charging him.  Before he could do more than back up a step, it was on him.  He let out a scream as he fell to the ground beneath twelve hundred pounds of muscles, teeth and claws.

Suddenly, there was the sound of a voice, and then the weight was gone.  Maybourne lifted his head to see the Ur-mah-gal now standing a few feet away, Daniel talking to it softly, his hand on its head.

Still shaking from the attack, Maybourne stared at Daniel.  "You called it off me?"

"That's right."


"Because I'm not like you, Colonel.  I may have a lot of reasons to hate you, but I have no wish to see you dead."  He glanced down at the Ur-mah-gal.  "But I want you to think about this.  I could have let her kill you, and no one would have put the blame on me.  You owe me your life.  What's that worth to you?"

Maybourne was climbing to his feet when several people came running into view.  Jack was among them.  He took one look at Maybourne's torn, bloodstained clothing and guessed right away what happened.  But he asked anyway for the record.

"Okay, so what happened?"

"Colonel Maybourne did something that the Ur-mah-gal took exception to," Daniel explained, rubbing his upper arm where the colonel had grabbed it.

"Uh huh, and I think we can all figure out what that was.  You really are stupid, Maybourne.  You're lucky that Daniel's the nice guy he is and didn't let that thing eat you."

"Yes, I guess I am," Maybourne said in an odd tone of voice.

"Go get those cuts taken care of.  You're a mess."

After Maybourne and the others left, Jack turned to Daniel.  The archeologist was busy calming the Ur-mah-gal, which was clearly still upset.

"Okay, Daniel.  What happened?  What did Maybourne do?"

"Nothing much.  He didn't get a chance.  All he did was grab my arm, and Danu was on him."

Jack shook his head.  "I thought Maybourne was smarter than that.  What happened to set him off?"

Daniel took him inside the building with the mural.  "He wanted this, and I told him he couldn't have it," the archeologist replied, turning the projector on.

"Whoa!" Jack exclaimed.  "Now that is cool!"

"Yeah, isn't it?"  Daniel gazed at the scenes being played out, his eyes glowing.  "Sam has got to see this.  She'll flip."

"I'll let you surprise her with it," Jack told him, smiling at the childlike look on his friend's face.

Daniel turned the projector off and went back outside with Jack.

"It's probably a good thing that you're the one who's got control of these things," the colonel said, gesturing toward the Ur-mah-gal that attacked Maybourne.  "If it had been me, I'd probably have let it eat him."

Daniel shook his head.  "No, you wouldn't," he said confidently.

"I wouldn't?"

"Nope.  You may not like Maybourne, but you wouldn't let any human being suffer that kind of fate."

Jack thought about that.  "Yeah, you're right.  Maybourne may be an unscrupulous son of a bitch, but even he wouldn't deserve to die like that."  He grinned.  "But I might have let it chew on him just a little bit."

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