Daniel slept most of the rest of the day. The next morning, he received a visit from Gary Sanderson.
"Hey, how are you doing, Daniel?" the lieutenant asked. "You sure look a lot better than you did before."
"I feel better. Of course, I'll be happy to get out of here."
"I hear you. Spending time in the infirmary is no fun."
Daniel smiled. "So, I see that you're still alive. I guess Jack didn't kill you after all."
"That's because Sanderson here decided that he wanted to play hero, too," said Jack, who had just arrived.
Daniel's brow knit. "What do you mean?"
"He almost refused a direct order and went after you after telling us through the MALP what was going on. And here I thought that I was the only military person on base who'd argue with Hammond like that."
Sanderson flushed guiltily. "Sorry, sir. I was just worried about Daniel."
"Hey, I have no problem with it, Sanderson," Jack assured him. "Though I'm glad that you obeyed Hammond in the end and came through the gate. I doubt you could have helped very much by yourself, and you might have gotten yourself killed."
Gary nodded. "You're probably right, sir. It would have been foolish of me to go rushing off without reinforcements."
Jack patted him on the shoulder. "Well, what's important to me is that you were willing to do it to help Daniel. You've got guts, Sanderson."
Embarrassed, the young man decided to change the subject. He turned to the archeologist. "I thought you'd like to know that I decided to do some home studying in archeology. I'm focusing on Egyptology in particular. You really got me interested in it on Hetara. If I can work it out with the military, I might even take some classes."
Daniel smiled in delight. "That's great, Gary. It'll be a big asset to the program."
The three men chatted for a while, then Gary left, saying that he'd stop by later.
"He's a good man, Jack," Daniel said quietly after the lieutenant was gone.
The colonel nodded. "Yes, he is. I'm afraid that I didn't cut him much slack while he was on SG-1." He looked at Daniel. "He wasn't the person I wanted on my team. But he is a good man. He's going to be on Ferretti's team after Johnson leaves next month. Lou will take good care of him."
"Good. I think he could make a pretty decent archeologist. There's no doubt that we need as many as we can get."
"That's for sure. You should have seen the state that the Archeology Department was in during those weeks you were gone, not to mention the Linguistics Department. All the SG team leaders were whining about how their requests for translations were taking so long to be done." Jack grinned. "Ferretti couldn't resist saying a thing or two to the Marines who had shown less than the proper attitude about your value to the program in the past. Of course, some of those Marines have definitely changed their tune now – and they're not the only ones."
Daniel frowned in puzzlement. "Why?"
"Why? Daniel, you risked your life to save a bunch of people you have every reason to dislike, including a man you have an excellent reason to hate. That's had an impact on some of those jackasses who questioned your loyalty to Earth. A lot of people also know how you kept Maybourne from being killed by that Ur-mah-gal even after he attacked you."
"How did they find out about that?" Daniel asked.
"Oh, a little birdie told them."
Daniel looked at him closely. "You?"
"I told Hammond, and he did the rest. He knows that you were upset about people questioning your loyalty and has been singing your praises pretty loudly to the naysayers."
"I'll have to thank him for that."
Jack nodded. "Yes, you will."
Daniel shook his head. "I don't know why everyone is making such a big deal out of this. I only did what I had to."
"No, you didn't, Daniel. Nobody ordered you to go back into the city, and nobody would have expected you to do that. But you know what? It didn't surprise me one little bit that you did."
Realizing that Jack had just paid him a very high compliment, Daniel met his eyes and saw pride there. The pride was quickly replaced by a stern expression.
"However, I don't ever want you to do anything like that again. You got it?"
"I'll keep it in mind, Jack," Daniel replied.
"You do that. I think I got a dozen new grey hairs this time around."
A few days passed before Janet finally allowed Daniel to leave the infirmary, despite his constant, daily insistence that he was well enough to be out of there. She was adamant that he was to stay on base for the next several days, however, and that he was to take it easy and not work all night. Jack, Sam and Teal'c made sure that Daniel followed the doctor's instructions about work, dragging him away from his office whenever they caught him working late into the evening. It was more than a little irritating for the archeologist, but he appreciated the fact that his teammates cared about him.
The weeks that followed allowed Daniel to catch up on the massive pile of unfinished translations and archeological work that had amassed in his absence, which made everyone very happy. Daniel, however, was eager for the day that Janet cleared him for full active duty so that he could return to Hetara. He had already expressed his wish to go back there to General Hammond, who said that he'd think about it. The general was concerned about the possibility of the Goa'uld coming back, but Daniel had assured him that, after what happened, it wasn't likely that the Gou'ald would try again for quite some time.
Finally, the day came that Janet declared Daniel fully healed and fit for duty. He immediately went to find Jack.
"I'm cleared for duty, Jack," he announced.
"That's good, Daniel." He studied his friend's face. "And I assume that you're now going to start insisting that we return to that planet."
"Yes, I am. I want to search the records for any mention of where the Hetarans went."
"Daniel, I know that you want to do this so that the Ur-mah-gal can be reunited with the Hetarans, but what if the Hetarans don't want them? They might have so many already that they couldn't take anymore."
"Well, then at least I will have tried. Besides, the Hetarans are obviously technologically advanced. Maybe they'd be willing to do a little trading."
"Yeah, right. Fat chance on that. I'm sure that they'll think we're too primitive, just like the Nox and the Tollans do."
"Yes, you may be right about that, but there's still all the stuff that's left on Hetara. Maybourne's people can't go back and get it unless I'm there."
"You're right about that. Frankly, I'm surprised that Maybourne hasn't bitched about the delay. But then, I'm even more surprised about what he did."
Daniel knew that Jack was talking about the fact that the NID man had actually said some positive things about Daniel to a few people in Washington, those who still had reservations about the archeologist's loyalties. Maybourne hadn't said much, but the little bit that he did say changed a few minds. Jack, of course, figured it was the least Maybourne could do considering that he owed Daniel his life twice over, but it was still a big surprise. He hadn't pegged Maybourne as the kind of man who would pay back a debt he owed to someone.
With Jack at his side, Daniel again approached Hammond about going back to Hetara, repeating all the reasons for the trip.
Hammond was silent for a long moment, then gave a short nod. "All right, Doctor Jackson. You have a go to return to Hetara."
Daniel smiled brightly. "Thank you, sir."
"I'll contact Colonel Maybourne and let him know that you are returning to the planet." The general turned to Jack. "What day do you want to schedule the mission for, Colonel?"
"Tomorrow morning, if that's all right, sir."
"That will be fine. Dismissed."
The next morning, Daniel and the rest of SG-1 stood in the control room as the gate dialed up. Maybourne's people would not be going through until the next day. This time, Maybourne would not be with them. He'd made the excuse that he had other business to attend to, but Jack had to wonder if the real reason was that he didn't want to be in the position of having to personally thank Daniel for saving his life and the lives of his men.
The MALP that was still on the planet was used to check for the presence of Jaffa. None were spotted in the vicinity of the gate, so a green light was given for SG-1 to go through.
Seconds after stepping out of the Stargate, they all heard a short cry in the distance. They turned toward the sound and saw an Ur-mal-gal barreling toward them at full speed. Jack, Sam and Teal'c immediately raised their weapons, whereas Daniel just smiled. Despite Jack's warning, he stepped toward the approaching cat.
The Ur-mah-gal was about forty feet away when it slowed to a quick, loping gait.
"Denali," Daniel said, his smile growing.
With a happy cry, Denali bounded up to Daniel and began rubbing up against him, almost knocking the archeologist over with his enthusiasm.
"Hey, I missed you, too, Denali," Daniel murmured in Hetaran, stroking the cat.
A couple of minutes passed before Denali calmed down. With him fairly glued to Daniel's side, SG-1 headed for the city. Once they got there, Daniel was happily greeted by every other Ur-mah-gal that saw him. A few also greeted Sam, which pleased her quite a bit.
"You know, it's a real shame that we don't get this kind of greeting from the natives on all the planets we visit," Jack commented. "It sure would make life easier."
As soon as the greetings were concluded, Daniel went to the educational center, Jack accompanying him. Sam and Teal'c remained on guard on the outskirts of the city.
Daniel began searching through the information stored on the educational center's computer. It didn't take all that long before he found something.
"Jack? I've got something," he called.
Jack came into the building and went to the linguist's side.
"Okay, according to this, the Hetarans searched for a while before they found a planet that would work for them. It sounds like they ran into some of the same problems we do, unfriendly natives, nasty environments, dangerous animals. Fortunately, they managed to avoid tangling with any Goa'uld. It took a few months to find an uninhabited world with a good climate. By then, the weather was starting to get bad, so they decided that they'd have to wait for spring since they knew that it would take several months to move the entire population and all of their belongings, and there was no way they could do it through the winter. They set up a huge work force on the new planet to begin building cities and other things they'd need. By the time the long winter was over, quite a bit had been accomplished. As soon as the weather was warm enough, the Hetarans began their move."
"Is there a gate address for where they went?"
Daniel searched the record until reaching the end. "No," he said, his voice heavy with disappointment. "They probably didn't record the address in case the Goa'uld returned and accessed these records."
"Then that's it, huh? We have no way of knowing where they went."
Daniel leaned against the console, a dejected slump to his shoulders. "What I don't understand is why they left all this here. Why didn't they take these records with them? The only thing I can figure is that they left it here just in case someone else discovered the city. Maybe they left it behind as a historical record of their race to be read by people who came to this world in the future." He sighed. "But this doesn't help me find out where they went."
"I'm sorry, Daniel. I know that you really wanted to find them. Hey, who knows. Maybe, someday, we'll run across them. Stranger things have happened."
"Yeah, maybe." Daniel knew that, with all the thousands of Stargates out there in the galaxy, it could be many years before an SG team stumbled upon the Hetarans.
The following day, Maybourne's people arrived. Unlike Maybourne, the other men who had survived the Jaffa attack had no problem with thanking Daniel for saving their lives.
The next couple of days passed uneventfully. None of Maybourne's people even once made an issue about not being able to retrieve a piece of technology because of Daniel's rules about not damaging structure or artifacts. In fact, they were far more polite and agreeable than they were before the attack. Whether it was because of the scare they'd received or because they felt they owed Daniel a favor was something that the archeologist didn't know. Nor did he care. He was just happy that things were going more smoothly.
Daniel spent most of his time in the educational center, going through the records. Sam had figured out a way to transfer the data onto a laptop computer, and the linguist was busily filling up portable hard drives. There was a lot of information to be downloaded, thousands of years of history. Daniel soon learned that that's all the computer in the educational center contained. There was no other information. This led Daniel to believe that he was right about the reason for the computer being left there. Its purpose was to teach any visitors to Hetara the history of its people, perhaps mainly to show how they had managed to defeat the Goa'uld and become a strong, technologically advanced people.
Daniel was going back through the account of the Hetarans' final months on the planet when his attention was caught by an odd phrase.
"May the Ur-mah-gal we leave as guardians of this world be the guides to those of good heart. In their memories we entrust our past and our future."
As Daniel stared at the words, the meaning suddenly came to him, and he grabbed his radio.
"Jack, come in. It's Daniel."
"Yes, Daniel. What's up?" the colonel answered after a few seconds.
"Could you come to the educational center?"
"On my way. Be there in five."
Five minutes later, Jack arrived.
"Jack, I think we may be able to find the Hetarans," Daniel told him.
"Well, I was reading over the account of their emigration from this planet, and I found something." He read aloud the passage that had caught his attention.
Jack frowned. "Yeah. Okay."
"Jack, I think what that's saying is that we can find out from the Ur-mah-gal where the Hetarans went. Think about it. The Ur-mah-gal have genetic memory, so if they were told to remember something, that knowledge would keep getting passed down from generation to generation. Since they were trained to kill Jaffa and Goa'uld, there would be no danger of any Goa'uld getting hold of information from them. In fact, only someone who befriended them would be able to gain their trust enough that they'd pass on any message from the Hetarans. The Hetarans could rest assured that the wrong kind of people wouldn't find out where they'd gone."
"Okay, let's say you're right. How could they tell anyone where the Hetarans went? They can't talk."
Daniel thought about it for all of two seconds. Then his eyes lit up. "Of course!"
"Of course what?"
"Come on, Jack. We need to go to the gate."
Daniel, Jack, Sam and Teal'c journeyed to the gate, accompanied by Denali. When they got there, Daniel led the cat up to the DHD.
"Denali, do you remember the Hetarans, the people who lived here long ago?" Daniel asked the cat. He was able to tell by the Ur-mah-gal's movements and sounds that the cat was answering yes. "Do you remember when they left?" Again, the cat answered yes. "Denali, look at this." He pointed to the DHD. "Do you remember what symbols the Hetarans pushed to get to the world they moved to?"
Denali studied the DHD closely. He then looked up at Daniel and indicated that he did remember. Excitedly, Daniel said, "Denali, I need you to tell me which symbols they pushed and in what order. Will you do that?"
Denali gazed at him for a long moment, then he rubbed his head against Daniel's chest, purring. The archeologist smiled. "I'd say that was a yes."
Slowly, Daniel got the gate address from Denali by pointing at the glyphs one by one until the cat indicated that it was the right one, doing this every time until he had all the glyphs in the correct order.
Daniel looked down at the piece of paper upon which he'd recorded the address. "Well, that should be it, guys, the address to where the Hetarans went."
"Okay, as soon as we get back to the SGC, we'll look the address up on the computer," Jack told him. "Then, if Hammond gives us permission, we'll send a MALP through to check things out."
"Sir, it would be a good idea if we gave the address to the SGC right away," Sam said. "If that planet is one that the computer hasn't calculated the correct coordinates to yet, it will take a few days for it to do so."
"Good thinking, Carter. We'll send them right over. And while the computer is working away on that, we'll finish things up here. If we do manage to make contact with the Hetarans, I don't want to take the chance that they'll decide they don't want us taking any more stuff from here. Once we've got the stuff in our possession, there's not much they can do about it."
"Jack, if the Hetarans lay claim to all the things we took, we need to give them back."
Jack raised a finger. "Ah! I don't want to hear that, Daniel. Finders keepers, losers weepers. They left the stuff behind, and we found it. As far as I'm concerned, it belongs to us. Haven't you ever heard of salvage rights?"
"This isn't a ship abandoned at sea, Jack."
"Doesn't matter. We're not giving it up. In fact, I don't want you saying anything to them about the stuff we took. They don't need to know."
Daniel sighed, admitting that the man did have a point. The Hetarans did leave the stuff behind, so it was only fair that anyone who found it should get to keep it. "All right, Jack. I won't say anything."
The colonel gave him a smile. "Good. Now that that's all settled, let's get back to work, people."
It was another week before Maybourne's people were satisfied that they they'd gotten everything they could get. Everyone packed up and returned to the SGC. Upon learning that the coordinates for the planet had been calculated, Daniel wanted a MALP to be sent through right away, but, since it was getting late in the day, Jack insisted that it would wait till morning.
The following morning, SG-1 stood in the control room and watched the camera image being broadcast from the MALP that had been sent through. Off in the distance, something that looked like a city could be seen.
"Well, that definitely looks like signs of habitation," Jack remarked, "though you can't tell at this distance if anyone's home." He turned to Hammond. "So, sir. Do we have your permission to check that place out?"
The general nodded. "Permission granted, Colonel."
"Whoa, wait guys," Daniel said, his eyes never having left the video feed. "Tell the MALP to stop." The technician did so. "Okay, you see that pole there on the screen? Have the MALP pan the camera up to the top."
As the MALP obeyed the command given to it, the members of SG-1 all saw something that looked rather familiar to them.
"Crap," Jack muttered.
"Yeah," Daniel agreed. "You can bet that, if it's triggered, it will generate a force field completely around the Stargate, trapping any unwanted visitors inside. It might even disable the gate so that whomever is trapped can't escape back through." He looked at Teal'c. "I'm sorry, Teal'c, but you're not going to be able to go. That thing will detect your symbiote."
"What if it's rigged to go off if anyone steps through the gate, regardless of whether or not they have a snake in them?" Jack asked. "We don't know how paranoid these people became."
"It wasn't triggered by the MALP going through."
"Yes, but that could just mean that it will only activate the shield if it detects an organic lifeform coming through the gate," Sam pointed out.
"Then what are we going to do, just give up?" Daniel asked, clearly upset at the prospect. "Guys, we've gone into situations more potentially dangerous than this. It never stopped us before."
Sam gave a little shrug and looked at the colonel. "He is right about that, sir."
Jack looked at the SGC commander. "General?"
"It's your call, Colonel," Hammond responded.
Jack thought about it, weighing the danger against the possible benefits. "Let's do it," he finally said. He was rewarded by a grateful smile from Daniel.
"Thanks, Jack," the archeologist said.
A short while later, SG-1 was in the gate room. Teal'c, very unhappy that he would not be accompanying them, was frowning severely. Not that he usually didn't, it was just a lot more severe than normal.
"I am greatly disturbed that I cannot accompany you, O'Neill," he stated.
"Yeah, we're going to miss you, too, Teal'c. If we meet the Hetarans and they're friendly, we'll explain about you and ask them to let you come through."
The establishment of the wormhole put a stop to any further conversation.
"Okay, kids. I'll go through first," Jack said. "If everything is okay, I'll give the all clear. Got it?"
Daniel and Sam indicated that they understood.
Jack went through the wormhole. As he came out the other side, he was half expecting a loud alarm to sound, followed by a force field snapping up around him. When nothing happened, he relaxed and walked up to the MALP. Looking in the camera he said, "Everything's fine, General. Send Daniel and Carter on through."
A few seconds later, he was joined by his teammates.
"Apparently, this one is also set to go off only if it detects a symbiote," Daniel commented.
"Either that or it's no longer working," Sam said.
"So, shall we go check out that city?" Jack asked.
They headed toward the distant structures. They were only about three hundred feet from the gate when a group of armed men came rushing out of the forest to SG-1's right. Sam and Jack immediately raised their weapons.
"Jack, don't!" Daniel cried. "Let me talk to them." He turned to the men, who were now standing a few yards away, their gun-like weapons aimed at SG-1. In Hetaran, he said, "Please. We mean you no harm. We are not your enemies."
Obviously startled that Daniel knew their language, they stared at him.
"Who are you? From where do you come?" one of them asked.
"My name is Daniel Jackson. This is Jack O'Neill and Samantha Carter. We come from a world called Earth."
"Why have you come here?" another man asked.
"For many reasons, one of which is that we have been to Hetara, to the world you came from years ago, and we wanted to meet you."
This statement sent a shockwave through the men, who began muttering amongst themselves. After a moment, they turned back to Daniel.
"You have been to Hetara?" the first man who had spoken asked.
"Yes," Daniel confirmed. He paused. "And the guardians are still there."
All of the men gasped. "The Ur-mah-gal yet live?"
The archeologist nodded. "And thrive, at least as well as they can given the severe winters."
The men muttered amongst themselves some more. When they turned back this time, they lowered their weapons.
"Please. You must come with us," said the one who had done most of the talking. He gestured toward the city.
Figuring that they didn't have much choice, SG-1 went with the men to the city. Everyone they passed stared at them, some with curiosity, others with fear.
Considering the technology that had been in the city on Hetara and taking into account that a hundred years had passed since the evacuation, Daniel had been expecting to see signs of a highly advanced civilization. Instead, what greeted them as they entered the city looked to be about equal to Earth technologically. Sam and Jack noticed as well, but said nothing. They all remained silent as they were led to what looked like a government building. They were ushered into a room with a large conference table. Saying that someone would see them shortly, their escorts left, shutting the door behind them.
Jack immediately tried the door and found it locked. "Crap." He turned to Daniel. "Okay, so what was all that about? What did those guys say?"
Daniel did a brief recap of the conversation. "They were apparently surprised that the Ur-mah-gal have survived in the harsh environment all these years," he concluded. "I wonder why since the Hetarans would have seen for themselves that the Ur-mah-gal and other wildlife were adapting to the climactic changes."
"Who knows?" Jack said. "What I'm more interested in is why this place isn't more high-tech than it is. Considering what's on Hetara, I was expecting a lot more than we're seeing here."
"Perhaps they prefer not to flaunt their technology," Sam suggested.
Daniel nodded. "That is possible. Look at certain regions on Earth. They have access to all the latest technology, yet you'd never guess it by looking at the houses they live in."
"Soooo, these guys prefer the simple lifestyle?" Jack asked.
"Well, I'd hardly call it simple, Jack," Daniel objected. "By Earth standards, this is a modern city, though definitely not as modern as I was expecting."
Their speculations were halted by the arrival of a group of three men and one woman.
"Which of you speaks our language?" a tall, thin grey-haired man said.
"That would be me," Daniel replied.
The man pointed to himself. "I am Gilmesh." He pointed at his companions one by one. "This is Urah, Sira, and Barbon."
"I am pleased to meet you. My name is Daniel Jackson."
"Daniel?" the man named Urah asked, frowning. "That is a very old name in our history."
The archeologist nodded. "Yes, it is. It is Hebrew in origin, a name used among the Israelites, also called the Jews."
The Hetarans stared at Daniel in utter shock.
"How can you know of such things?" Gilmesh asked.
Daniel looked at all of them. "Because we are from the first world, the world that your original ancestors came from."
Several exclamations arose at Daniel's revelation.
"You are from our original homeworld?" Gilmesh asked, clearly stunned.
"Yes, we are. I am familiar with your people's origins, the ancient civilization of Sumer. We know that, thousands of years ago, your ancestors were taken from Earth by creatures called the Goa'uld and brought to Hetara to act as slaves."
The Hetarans stared at Daniel in amazement.
"We no longer dared to hope that a day would come when we would meet people from our first homeworld," said Sira, the lone woman in the group. She looked at Daniel closely. "But how is it that you speak our language? It is not the same as the old tongue of Sumerian."
"We have the records you left behind in the city on Hetara to thank for that, the audio and video recordings. They were invaluable in learning your language."
"Then you really have been to Hetara?" Urah asked.
Daniel nodded. "Yes. I spent two weeks there before I was joined by others from my planet. We have spent another three weeks there since then."
"And the Ur-mah-gal are still there?"
"Yes, they are. When I was alone on the planet, I lived among them and became their friend."
The Hetarans looked at each other.
"We did not know if they would still be alive," Barbon told Daniel.
"Why? I mean, according to the records I found, you lived on Hetara for several years after the planet's orbit shifted. You would have seen how the Ur-mah-gal and some of the other native animals were adapting to the climatic changes."
"After we left Hetara, our scientists continued studying what happened and came to the conclusion that there was a strong chance that the planet's orbit would shift again, making it uninhabitable," Sira explained.
"Oh. Well, that did not happen, at least not yet. There is quite a population of Ur-mah-gal on the planet, from what I could tell."
"And do they still remember us?" Gilmesh asked, a note of hope in his voice.
"Yes, they still have the memory of your people, passed down through the generations. It was one of them that showed me the symbols for this world so that we could come here."
The Hetarans studied him intently. "Then you must, indeed, have become their friend, for the Ur-mah-gal were told only to give that secret to someone they trusted, someone they knew would bring us no harm."
"Yes, I am their friend and they are mine."
Smiles spread over the faces of the Hetarans. Gilmesh stepped forward and laid his hands on Daniel's shoulders. "Then you and your companions are welcomed to New Hetara as friends and brothers."