"Come. Let us sit," Gilmesh said, gesturing toward the table.
As they went to the table, Jack grabbed Daniel's arm. "So, what's going on?" he asked in a low voice.
"Oh, um, basically, we made introductions, and I told them that we were from their original homeworld. That took them by surprise. Then we talked about the Ur-mah-gal. The important thing is that they've welcomed us as friends."
"Well, that's good. You just keep right on making friends with them, and maybe they'll be happy to do some trading."
Everyone settled into chairs, SG-1 on one side of the table, the Hetarans on the other.
"What is this language that you speak with your companions?" Urah asked Daniel.
"It is called English. I was hoping that, when we arrived, we would all be able to understand each other. You see the Stargate, the Chaapa'ai, has a device in it that acts as a kind of translator, temporarily enabling those who travel through it and anyone in its general vicinity to instantly understand the languages that they hear. We have never been able to figure out how it works. The problem is that, sometimes, it does not work. In fact, with certain languages, it never works, like with the language of the Goa'uld. I guess this is one of those times that it did not work since Jack and Sam cannot understand you."
"We have a translating device that may work," Sira told him. She pressed a button on a panel in the middle of the table and told the person who answered her summons to bring a translator. A moment later, one was brought in and set on the table. Sira activated it.
"Can all of you understand me now?" she asked, looking at Jack and Sam, who both smiled.
"Hey, that's cool," Jack said, looking at the translator.
"It certainly is," Sam agreed, her eyes bright with excitement over finding new technology. "I'd love to know how it works."
"We can speak of such things later," Gilmesh said. "Now, we are eager to know of the world of our origins and Hetara."
"Well, the most important thing you need to know about Earth is that the Goa'uld are no longer there," Daniel told them. "It's been hundreds of years since any of them went there. We had no idea they even existed until less than two years ago."
"Did they return to Earth then?" Barbon asked.
"No, not then. You see, when humans rebelled against the Goa'uld, the Stargate on Earth was buried, and all memory of it was lost. It was not until around seventy years ago that the Stargate was found. We had no idea what it was at the time. Fifty years ago, experiments were conducted on it, and, quite by chance, they got it to work a single time, but something happened. They shut the project down, and no mention of their success was ever made. Then, around seventeen years ago, the project was started back up, and the Stargate was eventually opened again."
Daniel went on to recount their trip to Abydos and Ra's defeat, saying nothing about Sha're. He then told them about Apophis coming through to Earth, and the events that followed, again saying nothing about his wife.
"Ever since then, we have been traveling to other worlds through the Stargate," he concluded, "exploring, looking for allies, fighting the Goa'uld, and searching for technology that we can use against them."
The Hetarans were silent for a moment.
"This is an amazing story that you have told us," Gilmesh said. "We admire your courage in traveling to other worlds and continuing to fight the Goa'uld. After our ancestors defeated Duamutef, they only sought to never again see his kind or that of his servants, the Jaffa. The Stargate was buried for centuries before the people decided it was safe to unbury."
"Yes, I know," Daniel said. "I found that out from you historical records."
"Since then, we have wanted nothing more to do with the Goa'uld. It has been a constant fear that a day would come when they would find us and enslave us again."
"But what about the Ur-mah-gal?" Jack asked. "Some Jaffa came to Hetara a few weeks ago, and we saw what the Ur-mah-gal could do. We also saw some of the stuff that you guys made to protect yourselves against the Goa'uld, like that Goa'uld detector you have by the Stargate. I should think that, if some Goa'uld showed up here, you'd be able to take care of them."
The Hetarans again glanced at each other.
"Many things have happened in the years that passed since we came to this new world," Gilmesh said, a note of sorrow in his voice. "A mere two years after our arrival, a nearby volcano erupted. At that time, most of our people were living close together, well within the path of the volcano's destructive force. The move to spread further across the continent had not yet begun, other cities and township only just beginning to be built. We were able to move a large portion of the population to safety in time, but a great many still perished. Our new cities and homes were destroyed in the eruption, along with virtually all of our technology and the means to rebuild it. Since then, we have sought to rebuild our civilization to the level that it was before. There were scientists among the survivors who had enough knowledge to help the process along, but it will still be many years before we are at the level technologically that we were before the catastrophe."
"Well, that translator thing is pretty sophisticated," Jack said.
"It is among the few things that was saved. It is also one of the things that we did not devise ourselves."
"What do you mean?" Sam asked.
"After our ancestors drove Duamutef and his servants from Hetara, they began exploring the planet," Sira said. "A few hundred years later, the buried remains of a civilization that must have been highly advanced technologically were found. Several pieces of technology were discovered there that still worked."
Daniel leaned forward, excitement on his face. "Do you know where the ruins are?"
"No, that knowledge was lost. But it does not matter anyway. Everything usable had been stripped from the place."
Disappointed, Daniel leaned back in his seat.
"So, some of your technology was engineered from what you found in those ruins?" Sam asked.
"Yes. Some things we were able to copy, while other things we were able to adapt to our purposes. However, with many of the things we found, we were unable to copy or adapt them because they used materials that we did not have and could not manufacture. This translator is one of those things. That one sitting there is one of only three that still exist." Gilmesh turned to Jack. "As for the things you called Goa'uld detectors, the one that sits at the Stargate is the last one that still functions. It, too, was made from the technology we found in the ruins. It uses an energy source that we were unable to reproduce or replace. It is unlikely that the one at the gate will work for much longer. Then we will have no choice but to bury the Stargate to prevent the Goa'uld from coming here through it."
"Why didn't you ever go back to Hetara to retrieve the stuff you left behind there?" Daniel asked. He caught a look directed at him from Jack, one that clearly screamed, 'I told you not to talk about the stuff on Hetara.' Ignoring the look, Daniel continued. "I know that you believed that the orbit was going to shift again, but don't you have some kind of remote device that you could have sent through to see what the conditions were like?"
"In the eruption, the device that controls the Stargate was damaged," Sira said. "We were unable to use it."
"Whoa, wait a minute," Jack said. "Are you telling us that you can't dial out? How come you didn't tell us this before?"
"It works now," Sira explained, "but it took many years to figure out how to repair it. Ironically, we have been making plans to build a robot probe that we would send to Hetara to see what things are like there. We do not have such technology at this time since it was never something for which we had a need." She smiled. "But, now, there will be no need to send a probe through since you have told us that the world is still habitable."
"Um . . . yeah. There's, uh, something that you should probably know before you go there," Daniel said hesitantly.
"Daniel," Jack said under his breath in a warning tone of voice.
The archeologist looked at him. "Jack, they're going to find out for themselves as soon as they go to the city. Don't you think it's best that we're all honest and up front with each other?"
Jack glared at him, then heaved a big sigh. "Oh, for cryin' out loud," he muttered.
Daniel turned back to the Hetarans, who were all looking at them in confusion. "Our people took most of the technology that we found in the city near the Stargate in the hopes that some of it could be used in our fight against the Goa'uld," he explained.
"I see," Gilmesh said. "I can understand that. As we told you, our people did likewise when they found the ruins. Did you do the same with the other cities?"
"Other cities?" Jack asked, his interest peaking. He noticed the expression on Daniel's face. "Daniel, did you know that there were other cities?"
"Yes, Jack, I knew," Daniel admitted. "It was pretty clear from the records that the Hetaran civilization was quite large and had spread well beyond the area of the Stargate."
"So, why didn't you say anything?"
"Jack, you know that the NID would have wanted to check out the other cities. Would you really have wanted to spend that much time on Hetara?"
The colonel's face twisted in a grimace. "Good point."
"I do not understand," Barbon said. "Why would it have been necessary for you to personally be with those who explored the other cities?"
"Because Daniel here is the only one who can talk to those overgrown cats that you left behind," Jack replied.
"Daniel has been our liaison to the Ur-mah-gal," Sam added. "Without him, they would probably have attacked us."
Urah nodded. "That is understandable. It has been so long since any human set foot on Hetara that, if you could not communicate with them, the Ur-mah-gal might have considered you to be an enemy. When our people first encountered them, it was not a particularly friendly meeting. It took time to forge our friendship."
"Could you not have taught others to speak Hetaran?" Sira asked Daniel.
"Oh, I'm sure I could. Anyone who knew Sumerian would be able to learn Hetaran fairly quickly, but I think we got enough from that one city. I saw no reason for us to raid the other cities, too."
"Then I see no reason why you cannot keep what you found in Ur." Gilmesh said.
"Ur?" Daniel repeated with a smile. "You named the city by the Stargate after the great Sumerian city-state of Ur?"
"Yes. It seemed fitting to do so."
"So, let me get this straight," Jack said. "You're not going to ask us to give everything back?"
"No. We can just travel to some of the other cities and retrieve what we need. Besides, you are enemies of the Goa'uld. If anything you found in Ur will help you fight against them, we would not dream of taking it back from you."
Jack smiled. "Well, that's mighty generous of you. Thanks."
Gilmesh and the others inclined their heads briefly.
"What about the Ur-mah-gal?" Daniel asked.
Sira sighed. "That was another tragedy that befell us. When the volcano erupted, it spewed out a poisonous gas to which the Ur-mah-gal were especially susceptible. Those that did not die in the initial eruption became ill and died within a matter of weeks. Many Hetarans died as well from the gas."
Daniel stared at the Hetarans in shock. "Then they're all gone? There are no Ur-mah-gal left here at all?"
"None," Gilmesh confirmed sadly. "Our people have missed them greatly."
A bright smile lit Daniel's face. "Do you want them back?"
The Hetarans looked at him sharply.
"What do you mean?" Barbon asked.
"The Ur-mah-gal on Hetara miss you as much as you miss them. I think that, if you asked them, they would gladly come here to be reunited with you. In fact, that's one of the main reasons why I wanted to meet you."
An expression of excitement spread over the faces of the Hetarans.
"Do you truly think that the Ur-mah-gal would wish to come share this world with us?" Sira asked.
"Yes, I do, or at least some of them would."
"Yeah, I think they would, too," Jack said, to Daniel's surprise. "You should see how they took to Daniel. They treat him like he's one of their own. He was badly injured in the Jaffa attack, and the leader of the pack refused to leave his side until he was out of danger and could tell it to go home. And when Daniel returned to Hetara a few weeks later, he was greeted like a long lost friend by all of the Ur-mah-gal. They were all over him."
The Hetarans all looked at Daniel closely, making him feel rather uncomfortable. "You must be a special man to be befriended by the Ur-mah-gal so completely in such a short time. Though our relationship with them was one of trust and respect, few of us became as close to them as it sounds like you did."
"Well, they could sense that I wanted to be their friend, and I lived alone right in the midst of them for those weeks that I was by myself on Hetara. I made a great effort to understand their society and be accepted as a part of it."
"Why?" Urah asked. "And why were you on Hetara all alone?"
Daniel glanced at Jack and Sam. "Um, well, it's a long story that's not really important now. I study anthropology and archeology, so I have a lot of experience immersing myself in other cultures. This was not the first time that I've 'gone native' and become a part of a culture that was not my own." He couldn't help but think about Abydos and the time he spent there.
"What Daniel here, being the modest guy he is, isn't telling you is that he became the Ur-mah-gal's leader," Jack said with a grin. "They'd do whatever he told them to."
"Jack," Daniel said, feeling even more embarrassed. "That really isn't true."
"Well, it sure looked that way to me," Jack insisted.
"Me too," Sam said, thinking that Daniel looked so cute when he was embarrassed by a compliment.
Gilmesh smiled broadly. "Well, then we would be honored and grateful if you would be our ambassador to the Ur-mah-gal, Daniel, and help us reforge our relationship with them."
"I'd be happy to, Gilmesh," Daniel quickly responded, delighted that things were turning out the way they were.
The Hetarans asked for some more information about Earth and its people, curious about how things had changed since their ancestors were taken from their homeworld. By the time the questions and answers ended, it was late in the afternoon there. SG-1 was invited by Gilmesh to come to his home for dinner and to spend the night.
It turned out that Gilmesh was the highest authority in the city and a member of New Hetara's ruling body. With nothing more than a word from him, Daniel, Jack and Sam were fully accepted as friends by the other Hetarans. It was very nice to know that they didn't have to worry about unfriendly natives, though Jack, being the kind of guy he was, never fully relaxed his guard.
After being shown where they would be spending the night, Jack and Sam were guided back to the gate for the scheduled check-in. Daniel stayed behind to talk with Gilmesh. The man led him out onto a balcony overlooking the city.
"I must admit to more than a little excitement about meeting people from our homeworld," the Hetaran said. "It is not something I ever thought would happen. We had no way of knowing how to get back to Earth. If we had known, we may have chosen to go home after Duamutef was driven away, though, from what you have told us, that would not have been possible."
"No, it would not. The Stargate would have been buried by then."
"From things that were said earlier, I got the impression that you personally had something to do with the Stargate being reactivated."
"Um, yeah, I am the one who figured out how it worked. I am also the one who found a map room filled with Stargate addresses. It was because of that map room that we have been able to find the worlds that we have. We are really only barely getting started, though. There are thousands of worlds with Stargates all across the galaxy. It will take many decades to explore them all."
Gilmesh smiled faintly. "We are not so brave or adventurous as you. We had no thought of exploring other worlds."
"May I ask why your people unburied the gate on Hetara if you were not going to use it?"
"There were those among our people who had hoped that, somehow, people from our homeworld would find us and take us home. Once we had the devices your friend Jack called Goa'uld detectors, we felt safe in opening the Stargate since no Goa'uld would be able to step though the Stargate without activating the one that was set up there."
"So, you did have one at the gate. I figured that you probably did. It is a good thing that it was not still there and active when Jack, Sam, Teal'c and Gary came to Hetara."
"Why is this?"
"Teal'c is a Jaffa who rebelled against the Goa'uld and has been fighting with us against them."
Gilmesh's eyes widened. "A Jaffa defied the Goa'uld?"
"Yes. Teal'c is a good man. He hopes that, one day, all Jaffa will be free from the Goa'uld."
Gilmesh shook his head. "I did not think that such a thing was possible. Accounts passed down from those who lived during Duamutef's reign said that the Jaffa were brutal and followed the commands of Duamutef without question."
"Well, unfortunately, a lot of Jaffa are like that. We have had to kill quite a few of them. But Teal'c and his mentor, Bra'tac, say that there are a lot more out there who long for freedom. The Jaffa have no choice but to do the bidding of the Goa'uld until things change."
"And that is your goal, to change things?"
"Yes. We have to. Earth will not be safe until the Goa'uld are gone."
"Again, I admire your people's courage and determination."
"Well, I admire the way your people joined forces with the Ur-mah-gal and rose up against Duamutef. That took a lot of courage, too."
Gilmesh smiled. "Yes, it was a great moment in our history, a great triumph. We have only partial records of our history on Hetara and before. Only what people managed to take with them when we fled from the volcano's eruption has survived. Virtually all records of our history would have been lost if it had not been for the man who was the keeper of the main library. He managed to save much, though it nearly cost him his life."
"Well, then you will be happy to know that the historical records on Hetara seem to be completely intact. I spent days going through them."
"It is still there on Hetara? I thought that your people took everything."
"I would not let them touch that. I was insistent that it remain on Hetara as a record of the people who lived there. We have managed to copy all of the records for later study."
"Are you, then, someone with authority among your people? I got the impression that Jack O'Neill was your superior."
"He is, and, no, I do not have any authority on Earth, except for being in charge of the archeology and linguistic departments at the SGC. I, um, well . . . used my relationship with the Ur-mah-gal to keep everyone from taking things that I wanted to be left alone."
Gilmesh chuckled. "I see. It sounds like Jack was right about your influence with the Ur-mah-gal."
Daniel shrugged. "Maybe it was because I was the first human being these Ur-mah-gal had ever seen and because I could speak Hetaran. I think that, in their minds, I was Hetaran."
"But, Daniel, we were not masters of the Ur-mah-gal. They would not do our bidding whenever we desired it. They chose to be our allies and our friends. There was give and take on both sides of the relationship."
Daniel gave a nod. "I kind of got that impression from what I saw in your records. I do not think the Ur-mah-gal would have done anything I asked them to. I really did not ask them to do much, just to not harm any humans and not allow anyone to break the, um, rules that I laid down when everyone came to start taking the technological things."
"All the same, it sounds like you developed a special and unique relationship with them."
"Yeah. To be honest, I am going to miss them, especially Denali. He is the leader of the pack that I lived with. He and his mate kind of made me a part of their family."
"You cannot take them to Earth?"
"No. You see, the Stargate is unknown to most people there. They have no idea that the Goa'uld exist or that we are traveling to other planets. There would be no way that any Ur-mah-gal could stay on Earth. Even if my government would allow it, they would have to remain virtual prisoners to prevent others from finding out about them."
"And you would be unable to visit them if they stayed on Hetara?"
"I am afraid so. It would not be possible for me to pop over to Hetara whenever I felt like visiting. If I had not learned the gate address for this planet, I would have said goodbye to the Ur-mah-gal for the last time a couple of days ago."
Gilmesh studied Daniel's face. "Is this why you sought to reunite the Ur-mah-gal with us? You do not wish to leave them alone on Hetara?"
"Yes, it is. What I said before was true. I really think that the Ur-mah-gal miss the Hetarans. It is clear that you and they had a wonderful relationship. I want to see that happen again."
"As would we, Daniel. As would we."
"Gilmesh, why did your people leave those historical records on Hetara? Was it just in case someone other than the Goa'uld came to the planet?"
"Not just any someone, Daniel. You."
Daniel's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Me?"
Gilmesh smiled. "Not you personally. Your people, people from our homeworld. Even then, after so many millennia, there were those among the Hetarans who hoped that people from Earth would find out where we were taken and seek us out. We left the records there for them to read."
"Along with a clue on how they could find out where you went."
"Yes. We kept the address to our new home out of the records in case the Goa'uld returned and read them." Gilmesh shook his head. "I never believed that people from the homeworld would find us, not after so long." He smiled again and clasped Daniel's hands. "But here you are, and I could not be happier. We have at last been reunited."
After Jack and Sam returned, they and Daniel enjoyed a pleasant meal with Gilmesh and his wife, then retired to guest quarters.
"So, I'd say this mission is turning out all right," Jack said, "though there are going to be a lot of disappointed people when we don't come back with any high-tech goodies."
"There is still a chance that the Hetarans may have some technology that would be of value to us and that we could trade for, sir," Sam said. "It's a shame that they can't reproduce those translators. Something like that would be great for SG teams to carry. I suppose it's possible that we could reproduce them using materials found on Earth, but I have my doubts that they'd let us take one apart to see how it works since they only have three left."
"Yeah, and I was hoping we'd be able to learn how to make more of those Goa'uld detector thingies."
"Well, we do have the ones from Hetara. There is a chance that we'll figure out how to make them work."
Jack turned to Daniel. "You're looking pretty pleased about everything, Daniel."
"Yes, I am. I came here in the hopes that the Ur-mah-gal could be reunited with the Hetarans, and that's what's going to happen. Gilmesh wants to go to Hetara tomorrow."
"Tomorrow? Well, they're certainly not wasting any time," Jack said.
"I'm surprised that Gilmesh wants to go himself," Sam commented. "He's a pretty important man around here."
"Yes, but he feels that, as a leader among his people, it should be his duty to extend the hand of friendship to the Ur-mah-gal. Besides, I think he's excited about going. His grandparents used to talk about Hetara, the Ur-mah-gal, and the way things were back then. I only read a portion of the records about that time, so I didn't know the whole story. A lot of people died because of the shift in the planet's orbit." He shook his head sadly. "And then they come here, and another natural disaster wipes out more of them."
"Yeah, talk about a string of bad luck," Jack murmured.
"Daniel, I'm confused about one thing," Sam said. "I'm no expert in volcanic eruptions, but if there was an eruption that big in this area only a hundred years ago, wouldn't the evidence still be visible?"
"Yes. The volcano is on the other side of the range of mountains to the north. There is a narrow canyon between this valley and the one on the other side. The Hetaran's were living in that other valley. They wanted some space between them and the Stargate in the event that the Goa'uld did come through and managed to get past the force field. The canyon was easily defendable and would make it very hard for the Goa'uld to reach the Hetarans. If you went through that canyon now, you'd see a virtual wasteland on the other side. Some trees have regrown, but it's going to be centuries before a lot of the evidence of the eruption is covered up, and some of it never will be. The mountain range helped to shield this valley from the majority of the destruction, though molten rocks and pumice ejected by the volcano still caused a lot of damage and set some fires. And, of course, there was also the ash, but the winds carried most of that in the other direction, and, thankfully, the eruption was short-lived. If it had gone on for several days, most of the Hetarans would have been wiped out since the winds would have shifted and blanketed this valley with red-hot, suffocating ash. It was in this valley that the Hetarans took shelter. After the eruption was over, most of them moved further away, beyond the mountains to the south so that they'd be out of the danger zone. This city was built to keep an eye on the Stargate and to act as a welcoming place for any friendly visitors who might come through the gate."
"Ah, sort of like a big Welcome Wagon, eh?" Jack remarked.
"They weren't so friendly when we first showed up."
"Well, that's pretty understandable, don't you think?" Daniel asked. "We were the first people they'd ever seen come through the Stargate. Of course they're going to be leery of us." Daniel studied Jack's face. "So, am I going to be allowed to take Gilmesh to Hetara?"
"Well, it's fine with me, but I'll have to clear it with Hammond. I'll go back to the gate in the morning."
"Don't forget, sir. We're several hours ahead here," Sam reminded him. "It will still be night in Colorado."
"Yeah. You'll have to tell Gilmesh that he will have to wait until a bit later in the day for his trip."
Daniel went to bed that night filled with excitement over the reunion that would be taking place tomorrow.