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Richard Woolsey discovered very quickly that Teal'c had no patience for his manner of questioning.  Angered by the man's accusations and attitude, the Jaffa walked out of the room after only a few minutes, just as he had with Emmett Bregman.  But at least Bregman hadn't been in danger of severe bodily injury.

The next person to be called into the room was Janet Fraiser.

"Doctor Fraiser, is it common practice for you to personally go off-world to treat an injury?" Woolsey asked.

"No, it isn't, though I have been off-world before due to a medical situation."

"Have you ever been off-world in the middle of a battle?"

"Ah, that would be a no."

"Yet General Hammond chose to send you into the middle of a battlefield instead of one of the medics who has more experience in treating the wounded while under fire."

Janet frowned at him.  "In case you didn't notice when you looked at my file, Mister Woolsey, I am a major in the United States Air Force.  I may be a doctor, but that doesn't mean that I don't know how to handle myself in the kind of situation I was in on Sunday."

"No one is questioning your skills or courage, Doctor.  What I am questioning is why General Hammond chose to send the SGC's Chief Medical Officer into that kind of situation.  You are a very valuable member of this facility and could have been killed."

"Mister Woolsey, there are a lot of very valuable members of this facility who regularly risk their lives on missions.  My life is of no greater importance than theirs.  It is of no greater importance than that of Airman Wells, the young man I went on that mission to save.  It was deemed that his injuries were quite severe, and General Hammond believed that my training and skills might be needed.  I agree with his decision.  The slightest mistake could have killed Wells or left him paralyzed.  Now, I'm not saying that none of my staff could have handled it, but I'm glad that I was the one who was there."

"And if you had died?  Would it have been worth that price, to you and to your family?"

Janet stared at the man.  "Do you honestly believe that I'd rather have one of my staff die in my place?  Yes, Mister Woolsey, it would have been worth it if my actions saved that young airman's life.  Even if they didn't, I was there doing my job, what I was trained to do, the thing I swore an oath to do when I became a doctor.  I would do it again in an instant."

Seeing that he was not going to get anywhere with this line of questioning, Woolsey changed tactics.  "Doctor Jackson was with you while you were treating Airman Wells."


"Why is that?  It seems to me that his . . . unique skills would have been of greater use on the battlefield."

"Colonel O'Neill couldn't spare having several men watch my back as I treated Wells.  He decided that Doctor Jackson would be the best one to go with me because he'd be able to handle any trouble that came our way."

"But, still, judging by how quickly Doctor Jackson handled the Jaffa and those ships once he entered the battle, it seems to me that it would have been wiser for Colonel O'Neill to go ahead and send other men with you and keep Jackson.  The fighting would have ended much sooner and the threat to you and everyone else eliminated."

"At the time that Colonel O'Neill made his decision, we believed that there were only six Jaffa to contend with.  It wasn't until we approached the battlefield that we realized that there were a great many more than was reported."

"And Colonel O'Neill didn't think to change his orders?"

"We were in the middle of an intense battle, Mister Woolsey.  Everyone had to act quickly.  We only barely had enough time to find out where Airman Wells was before everyone was rushing into battle.  If Colonel O'Neill had known ahead of time that several ships and dozens more Jaffa would appear the moment we stepped through the gate, I'm sure he would have given different orders, but we don't have the luxury of being able to see the future."

"Except for Doctor Jackson, that is," Woolsey remarked snidely.

"Yes, except for Daniel, who, by the way, saved my life with that very ability."

"Oh?  That was not in the preliminary report."

"Daniel had a vision warning him that I was going to be shot and killed by a Jaffa.  He managed to push me out of the way barely in time.  So, you see, Mister Woolsey, he was exactly where he needed to be.  If he hadn't been with me, I would be dead, and this whole investigation would be quite a bit different."

"Indeed it would, Doctor Fraiser."

When he received a copy of the preliminary mission report of Sunday's events, it was obvious to Emmett Bregman that something had been edited out of that copy.  The journalist had to wonder what was removed.  But the incident with Doctor Jackson and the ghost had taught him a lesson, and he didn't attempt to find out what had been taken out.

Bregman had experienced no further trouble with "Casper" and was extremely grateful for that fact.  He and his crew were now in the process of editing the footage that they'd filmed, putting everything together into a cohesive whole.  The problem was that everything they had was yak, yak, yak, just a bunch of talking heads.  There was no action, no drama.  Despite his request that Doctor Jackson film some activity, the archeologist had returned from the latest mission with nothing on tape at all.

At that moment, Bregman was in the editing room alone, viewing the video that they had compiled so far.  Despite all of his efforts, he never did get an interview with Colonel O'Neill, and now that the man was in the infirmary, chances were that he'd never get it.  Janet Fraiser protected her patients with all the ferocity of a mother bear and wouldn't let him get near O'Neill or any of the other men injured during Sunday's mission.  Bregman had to admire the woman for her dedication.

There was a knock on the door, and it opened to reveal Daniel Jackson.

"Doctor Jackson.  Can I help you?"

"Well, actually, it's kind of the other way around."

"What do you mean?"

"I've been thinking about some of the things you said and what this documentary is going to say, what it should say, despite the fact that the real reason for making it is political."  Daniel handed Bregman an eight-millimeter video cassette.

"What's this?" the journalist asked.

"Take a look."

Bregman put the cassette in and began to play it.  His mouth parted at the opening scene.  The planet had three moons, which were clearly visible in the daytime sky.  There was sand for as far as the eye could see, great golden dunes rising like mountains against the blue sky.

As the camera panned to the right, something came into view that made Bregman gasp.  The pyramid was enormous, breathtaking, almost otherworldly.  Unlike the Pyramids of Giza, this one still had its entire outer casing, making its sides smooth and perfect.

"Where is this?" Bregman asked in wonder.

"It's Abydos," Daniel answered quietly.

The journalist looked up at him, knowing the significance of that planet.

"A while after my wife died, I spent some time there," the archeologist explained.  "I wanted something to remind me of her and the year I spent with her and her people, so I took my camera."

Understanding the personal importance of this video, Bregman turned back to it.  They were now apparently inside the pyramid.  The Stargate was center screen.

"Dan'yer!" came a voice off-screen.  The camera turned, and Bregman saw a young man who looked to be around nineteen or twenty.

"You take my picture, Dan'yer?" the youth asked, curious brown eyes staring straight at the camera.

"Yes, Tobay, I'm taking your picture," Bregman heard Daniel say.  "I'll show it to you after I'm finished, okay?"

Tobay smiled.  "Okay."

The camera was panned around to show that there were several people in the chamber, men and women clearly of Egyptian descent, garbed in sand-colored robes.

After a moment, the scene changed to an enormous, torch-lit chamber.  Huge, bird-headed statues stood against the walls, a representation of the Eye of Ra hanging above the floor at the far end.

"This is the map room," Daniel told the journalist.

"The room where you got all of the Stargate addresses?" Bregman asked excitedly.

"Most of them.  Jack added more later from the Ancients' Repository of Knowledge."

The video now showed a section of wall, where rows and rows of symbols could be seen, the addresses for thousands upon thousands of Stargates.  For once, Bregman didn't mind viewing video footage of inscriptions.

The next scene was that of a city in the desert.

"Nagada," Daniel said.

Inside the city were thousands of people, working and playing, living a kind of life that had disappeared from Earth hundreds of years ago.  There were no cars, no televisions, no computers, no modern conveniences at all, yet the people seemed content.

The camera zoomed in on a group of children playing some kind of game in the dirt, their innocent laughter blending with the sounds of adults talking and working.

Bregman looked at Daniel, seeing an expression of terrible sadness on his face.  "This is all gone now, isn't it," the journalist said.

"Yes," Daniel murmured lowly.

"All these people are dead?"

Daniel shook his head.  "No.  Not dead.  There out there somewhere, where no Goa'uld can ever hurt them again."

"All of them?  They all ascended?"


The video now showed a bearded man who looked to be in his early to mid fifties.

"That's Kasuf, my father-in-law," Daniel said.

"Good Son," Kasuf said.  "These pictures you take are good?"

"Yes, Good Father, they are," Daniel's voice on the video replied.

"They show our world and our people?"


"And these pictures will never go away?"

"I hope not.  I'll make sure that they don't.  Maybe, someday, many others on Earth will see them and come to know the people of Abydos."

Kasuf nodded once.  "Then I am content.  It is good that you do this, that you show your Earth who we are.  Sha're would be pleased."

The image shook slightly.  "Yes, I think she would," Daniel's voice said, a voice that now trembled slightly with emotion.

Looking up at Daniel, Bregman saw that the man was no longer looking at the video.  His face was turned to the floor, eyes closed.

"I'm sorry," the journalist said.  "This must be very hard for you to watch."

"It's the first time I've watched it since I descended."

Bregman paused the video.  "Doctor Jackson, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you giving this to me, but I have to ask why."

Daniel looked at the still image on the screen.  "It's for them and all the people like them out in the galaxy that we do these things, men, women and children, entire civilizations, who have been victimized by the Goa'uld for millennia, forced to serve as slaves, taken against their will to act as hosts, slaughtered by the millions without conscience or remorse.  We do it for them and for all of the civilizations, including Earth, that might fall to the Goa'uld if we don't put a stop to it."

"Thank you, Doctor Jackson.  I promise you that I will use this footage in a way that will honor the people of Abydos.  May I . . . may I quote what you just said?  I think that it's an important statement and should be a part of the video."

Daniel nodded.

"How is Colonel O'Neill doing?"

"Good.  He'll be released from the infirmary soon."

"That's good to hear.  Um . . . I don't know how much influence you have with him, but one of the things that is missing from this documentary is him.  I'd really love to get an interview."

Daniel smiled faintly.  "No promises, but I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you."

After Daniel left, Bregman turned back to the screen and finished watching the video of a world and a culture that was no more, thinking that maybe this documentary wasn't going to be so bad after all.

Hammond walked into the 'interrogation room' and tossed a file on the table before Woolsey.

"I've prepared a written testimony," he said.

Woolsey picked up the file and looked at it.  "This is your detailed mission report."

"I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone."

"Well then, I guess I'm done."

"Then you'll be leaving."

"The president will have my preliminary report by the end of the week."

"I'm sure it will be every bit as interesting as your memo on the economics of the SGC," Hammond told him.

Woolsey stared at the general.  "I won't bother asking how you got that."

"What was the dollar value you attributed to an SG team member?"

"You know damn well I wasn't pegging the value of a person's life.  It is a cold hard fact that it costs millions of dollars to train these men and women, and that is a fraction of the funds being subverted by the Pentagon for this operation."  Woolsey rose to his feet.  "I think it is reprehensible that the taxpayers of this country are paying enormous sums of money to wage a war they know nothing about and are getting little, if anything, in return.  If the Stargate's existence were public knowledge and your actions were being judged in the court of public opinion—"

"You're the one suggesting that sending a rescue team worth twenty-seven million dollars to save the life of one man is a bad business decision."

"You're putting words in my mouth," Woolsey said angrily.

"You said it in black and white, and I don't think you would dare do such a thing if this wasn't a classified operation.  The president has asked a documentary team to get to the truth of what is going on around here.  Why don't we just go down and give them the whole truth as you see it, right now."

Woolsey closed his files, glaring at the general.  "That memo is classified, this investigation is classified, and if you so much as utter even a hint of either, I'll see you are put away in a cold, dark place for the rest of time."

Files in hand, Woolsey headed for the door.

"One last thing, Mister Woolsey," Hammond said.

The man paused and turned around.

"I am damn proud of the men and women under my command," the general told him.  "No one more so than the members of SG-1.  What they and the others with them did on Sunday was a triumph in a war that has taken far too many lives.  I know what you said to them and what you accused them of, and it appalls me that a man like you has been placed in a position to judge people of such fine character and unswerving courage.  Daniel Jackson, for one, is one of the finest, most honorable men I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  That you would accuse him of the things you did is what's truly reprehensible here, Mister Woolsey.  And you should think about this.  If what you said about him was even remotely true, God help us all, because I sure wouldn't want that man out using his abilities for his own pleasure or gain."

"Well, let's hope that your faith in him is not misplaced, General, because I, for one, have to say that his power is not something that should be in the hands of any man."

With a last look at Hammond, Woolsey turned and walked out the door.

Jack slowly and carefully changed into his clothes.  He was very sore, but, thanks to the vest insert, he was alive.

Jack had heard all about what happened on the planet after he was hit, how Daniel saved Janet Fraiser's life, then proceeded to blast Jaffa right and left and bring down two ships.  Looking back on the mission, Jack knew that the smart thing to do would have been to keep Daniel with him and send two or three others with Janet.  With Daniel there, they could have taken care of the Jaffa rather quickly.  But, by the time Jack realized that the situation was a whole lot hotter than he'd been led to believe, there wasn't a lot of time to make sudden changes in the plan.  And there was something else to take into consideration.  It was possible that, even if Daniel had been with them on the battlefield right from the start, that Jaffa may have gotten through and killed Janet.  Jack was pretty sure it was the one he'd seen sneaking through the trees, the one he'd been going after when he was shot.  Looking at it that way, Jack was very glad that he made the decision he did.

There was a knock on the door, and Jack told whoever it was to enter.  Daniel, Sam and Teal'c came in.

"Hey," Daniel greeted with a smile.  "We heard that you were up and around."

Jack pulled down his T-shirt.  "Yeah.  Still a little tender, but the doc said I could go home."

"We're lucky that staff blast hit you where it did," Sam said.  "That new vest insert works well."

"I have no complaints, though a bit more padding would be nice.  So, I heard about this Woolsey who was asking questions about the mission.  I suppose that the only reason I didn't get grilled by him is that Fraiser wouldn't let him come within twenty feet of me."

"Count yourself lucky, sir," Sam said darkly.

"That bad?"

"First, he made it sound like we're a bunch of incompetent fools who cower behind Daniel whenever things get dangerous, then he had the nerve to suggest that we should have just abandoned Wells, that it was a bad move to send more troops in to rescue him.  And then he talked as if he thinks that we should go running back to Earth whenever we encounter a risky situation.  Pardon me for saying so, sir, but the guy's an ass."

"Well, at least you weren't accused of being a criminal on a murderous, rampaging power trip," Daniel grumbled.

His teammates turned to him in surprise.

"He actually said that?" Jack asked.

"Pretty much."

"Sounds like the guy's an idiot as well as an ass.  It would have served him right if you'd given him a third degree sunburn."

"Oh, believe me, I was tempted.  Maybe not the sunburn, but I was wondering how he'd like it if 'Casper' had a go at him."

"That sounds like it would have been a good idea to me."

"Yeah.  Too bad he's not here anymore," Sam muttered.

Jack's eyebrows rose.  "Carter, I can't remember you ever being vindictive before."

"Well, he made me mad, sir.  We all did a damn fine job out there, and he twisted it around to make it appear like it was one big mistake and that we were not only incompetent but also negligent in our duty."

Jack looked at the third member of his team.  "So, what did he say to you, T?"

"I do not wish to speak of it," the Jaffa replied.  "If Mister Woolsey were on Chulak I would have taken great pleasure in dismembering him."

"Ooh, that bad, huh?"

"It was most unpleasant."

"Sounds like the guy is in Kinsey's pocket."

"I just hope that the president doesn't believe the things he's claiming," Sam said.

"I'm not worried about our present one.  After all, he's been pretty happy with the job we've been doing all these years, at least most of the time.  It's the new president that concerns me.  If Hayes gets elected, with Kinsey as his vice president, we could be in for trouble.  Kinsey wants all of us out, and, as vice president, he might just have the power to do it."

"I have a feeling we might have to prepare for that," Daniel said.

Jack looked at him narrowly.  "A 'feeling' as in a gut feeling or a 'feeling' as in the old spidey sense is tingling again?"

"Let's just say that Spiderman would be worried, too."

"Oh, joy."

Daniel paused.  "Um . . . I need to talk to you about something."

"Do you want Teal'c and me to leave?" Sam asked.

"No, it's okay.  It's about Bregman."

"That weasel?" Jack said.

"He's not a weasel, Jack.  Yes, he's too nosy for his own good and doesn't like to take no for an answer.  He can also be obnoxious and irritating as hell.  But he's not a bad person."

Surprised, Jack stared at him.  "Okay, so what made you change your tune about him?"

"He said some things that got me to thinking, and I've come to see a different side of him.  None of us like the idea of him being here.  We don't like the thought of this documentary being made.  But it is being made, regardless of how we feel, so we need to make sure that it's done right, that if, some day in the future, it is seen by the public, they'll understand what it is that we're doing here, how important it is."  Daniel was silent for a moment.  "I gave him the video of Abydos."

"What?" Sam said in surprise.  "Daniel, that's so personal."

"It also shows why we do these things, what we're fighting for," Daniel explained.  "All the people like the Abydonians who are out there in the galaxy, people we have saved and who we have yet to save, people we . . . didn't save, they are why we do this.  It's not just for Earth, it's for them, too.  That's what I want the people who see this documentary to know."

Daniel's teammates didn't say anything for a while, absorbing his words.

"I guess you do have a point," Sam admitted.  "Since this thing is going to be done, we should make sure it is done right."

Daniel looked at Jack.  "Bregman asked me to talk to you about your interview.  I'm not going to tell you what you should do—"

"Well, that's a first," Jack interrupted.

Ignoring him, Daniel continued.  "Just think about it, okay?"

Jack sighed.  "All right, I'll think about it."

"I, too, must reconsider my actions in regards to Mister Bregman," Teal'c said.  "Daniel Jackson is correct that we must strive to see that those who watch this documentary know of the importance of our fight.  There is much that I could say about the Goa'uld and my people."

"And I guess that there are a few other things I could say," Sam admitted.

Jack looked back and forth among his teammates for a few seconds, then sighed explosively.  "Oh, all right!  I'll do the damn interview.  But I am not going to answer any questions that I don't want to."

And so it was that Emmett Bregman was made a happy man, well, as happy as he could be without the action footage that he really wanted.  He was surprised enough when Jack O'Neill came for his interview, but he was downright shocked when Teal'c came up to him, saying that he was now ready to speak with him.  On top of that, Bregman got some more good footage with Major Carter.

The journalist knew that he had Daniel to thank for the sudden cooperation of the man's teammates and felt even sorrier that he'd gone behind the archeologist's back like he had.  He was still very curious about what secret Daniel and everyone else was hiding, but he was not going to pursue it.  He owed the man that much.

Bregman and his camera crew were coming back from filming some background shots when the journalist caught sight of Daniel.

"Doctor Jackson!" he called.

"Hey," Daniel said with a slight smile.

"I want to thank you for getting your teammates to talk to me."

"I didn't really.  I just told them what I thought about this documentary, and they decided on their own."

"Well, thank you anyway."  Bregman glanced at the camera.  "Uh, would you mind if we got a last statement from you?"

"Uhhh . . . no, I guess not," Daniel replied hesitantly.

"I promise I won't ask anything I shouldn't."

The linguist gave a nod.  "Okay."

"Do . . . you think that General Hammond would mind if we did the filming in the gate room?"

"I don't know.  We could ask."

Since there were no teams due back and no missions scheduled for the day, General Hammond gave permission for them to film in the gate room.  The camera was quickly set up.  Bregman had Daniel stand on the ramp to the Stargate in such a way that the camera could be zoomed out to show both him and the gate.

"Okay," Bregman said, thinking for a moment about what he wanted to ask.  "Doctor Jackson, as the . . . as the visionary who figured out the truth about the pyramids long before any of us knew what was out there in the universe, as the man who opened the Stargate for our world and made all this possible, what is your wish for the future?  What do you want to see happen with the Stargate and the Stargate Program?"

"I want to see us succeed in what we're trying to do.  I want to see us put an end to the threat that the Goa'uld pose to all human beings and all the other races who only wish to live free and in peace."

"And if that ever happens?  What next?"

"The Goa'uld aren't the only evil that's out there.  There is so much more for us to do in that regard.  But, beyond that, there are friends and allies for us to make, worlds, peoples and cultures beyond our imagining for us to find, learn about and explore.  I hope that, someday, the Stargate will primarily be a . . . a bridge to the wonders and diversity of the universe."  Daniel's face lit with passion.  "This . . ." he waved his hands at the Stargate, "this device is a gateway to the greatest dreams of any archeologist, linguist, historian or explorer.  There is so, so much out there for us to learn, to experience.  Meaning of life stuff!  And if a time ever does come when the Stargate is made public, I hope that the people of Earth will recognize it as the wondrous thing that it is and know that everyone here at the SGC has done their very best to use it in the way that it should be used and have fought to maintain the integrity of the human race as we went out there into the galaxy."

Bregman nodded in satisfaction.  "Thank you, Doctor Jackson.  Speaking personally, I hope that such a day does come and that I live to see it."  He motioned for the camera to be shut off, then stepped toward Daniel.  They shook hands.

"Thank you, for everything, Doctor Jackson," the journalist said.  "In case we don't see each other again, I just wanted to say that it was a privilege meeting you."

"Thank you."

Bregman started to turn away, then paused.  "Oh, and if you should ever, uh . . . talk to Casper, tell it . . . no hard feelings, all right?"

Daniel smiled.  "I'll do that, Mister Bregman."

Daniel stayed in the gate room as the journalist and his crew left.  A few seconds passed, then, all at once, everyone in the control room and gate room began clapping.  Embarrassed, Daniel looked up to see Jack, Sam, Teal'c and General Hammond looking down at him through the observation window.

The general leaned forward and spoke into the microphone.  "Bravo, Doctor Jackson.  I couldn't have said it better myself."

Next Chapter

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