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"Mister Woolsey.  Come in.  Sit down," Senator Kinsey said cordially to the man who had just been ushered into his office.  Woolsey took a seat on the other side of the desk.

"So, did you give your preliminary report to the president?" Kinsey asked.

"Yes, sir.  It will take some time to put together my final report."

"Just as long as it's finished by the time Hayes and I assume office."

"Aren't you jumping ahead of yourself, Senator?  You have to be elected first."

Kinsey waved his hand dismissively.  "Don't worry about that.  I have complete confidence that we'll win.  Haven't you looked at the polls recently?"

Woolsey frowned.  "Being ahead in the polls doesn't guarantee a victory, as you should know."

"Never mind about that now.  You asked to see me for a reason, I assume."

"Yes.  As you suspected, General Hammond and all of the members of SG-1 that I was able to talk to were completely uncooperative.  I could not speak with Colonel O'Neill because of his injury, but I have no doubt that he'd have shared the attitude of his teammates.  There is one thing in particular that I felt I needed to tell you, though.  It's concerning Doctor Jackson."

The senator leaned forward in his chair, eyes suddenly piercing into Woolsey.  "What is it?"

"He demonstrated a knowledge of certain facts that, quite frankly, took me by surprise.  Some of the things he could have figured out by putting the pieces together, but there were other things he knew that he shouldn't have."

"Such as?"

Woolsey told the Senator what Daniel had said at the end of the interrogation.  Kinsey was frowning deeply by the time he was finished.

"If Doctor Jackson's psychic abilities really are what enabled him to find out this information, he could prove to be a problem," Woolsey said.  "To be honest, the thought that he is able to . . . divine things that should be secret is very disturbing."

The senator was silent for several seconds, then said, "Don't worry about Doctor Jackson.  He isn't going to pose a problem."

"How can you be sure?"

The dark cast to his features lightened as Kinsey put on a small smile.  "What can he do to ruin things?  Psychically change the way everyone in the country votes?  Once I'm vice president, there is nothing that he can do to stop me from carrying out my plans."

"But still—"

"Think nothing more about it," Kinsey interrupted.  "Now, if you will excuse me, I have some other business to attend to."

Woolsey hesitated, then stood and left.  The moment he was gone, Kinsey dropped all pretense of a smile.  He unlocked one of the desk drawers and pulled out a cell phone, one that could not be traced back to him.  He dialed a number and waited for the call to connect.

"This is Kinsey.  Go ahead with the project," he said to the man who answered.


The senator hung up and put the phone back in the drawer, a look of satisfaction on his face.


General Hammond watched the final cut of the documentary, surprised and greatly impressed.  It was much better than he had thought it would be.  The story of the Stargate Program and its history was being told in a manner that made it come alive for the audience.  The various interviews and facts were being presented in a way that blended them into a smooth, cohesive whole, yet was never dull.

As Hammond continued to watch, the documentary got to the interview that Daniel had given in the gate room.  At one point, when the archeologist gestured at the Stargate, the view zoomed out to show the entire gate, framing the archeologist perfectly.  Hammond couldn't help but think that it was fitting to show the man who opened the Stargate in such a way.

"Doctor Jackson's wish for peace is one shared by every person in the Stargate Program," the narrator said as various SGC personnel were shown doing their jobs.  The view switched to a starlit sky.  "But, until that day comes, billions out in the galaxy continue to suffer at the hands of the Goa'uld, and billions more may soon share their fate."

The general was shocked when the scene changed to show what was clearly off-world footage.  Where had Bregman gotten this?  Hammond was about to ask when the narrator answered his question.

"This is Abydos, a world hundreds of light-years from Earth," the male voice said, "the first world to be visited when the Stargate was reopened in 1995."

Hearing the name Abydos, the general knew that this footage could have come from only one person: Daniel Jackson.

The view panned to the spectacular sight of a huge pyramid.

"Many thousands of years ago, a Goa'uld stole hundreds of people from ancient Egypt and brought them to this planet to act as slaves," the narrator explained.  "Slaves they remained until forces from Earth freed them in the autumn of 1995."  The screen now showed the Stargate inside the pyramid.

The next view was of an ancient city in the desert.  It then switched to various scenes of the Abydonian people within the city as the narrator continued speaking.  "For thousands of years, the world of the Abydonians remained unchanged, a living example of a culture that disappeared from Earth hundreds of years ago.  They had no modern conveniences of any kind, none of the things that many of us on Earth take for granted, yet they were content with what they had.  Their children played in the street much as ours do."  The screen showed a group of young children playing.  "Their women worked to prepare food for their families."  A woman grinding some kind of floor could now be seen.  "Their men worked with their hands and primitive tools to keep their families sheltered."  The view changed to several men up on the roof of a building, making repairs.

"Abydos was a world rich with history and culture."  Scenes of artwork, hieroglyphic inscriptions, and examples of architecture paraded by on the screen, culminating in a magnificent chamber that would be the dream of many an archeologist.

The view focused on a beautiful little girl with long black hair and enormous brown eyes.  The child turned to the camera and smiled.  The image froze on that scene, then went black.

"It is now gone," said the narrator in a low voice.  "In 2003, Abydos was destroyed by the Goa'uld.  The children of Abydos will never again play upon its streets.  Their fathers and mothers will never again tuck them into bed at night.  The air will no longer ring with the sound of people working and playing amidst a wonderful and vibrant culture.  In the space of a few seconds, it was all wiped out forever."

The blank screen changed to a view of a spiral galaxy.  "Such wanton acts of destruction have been committed many, many times by the Goa'uld, a race without conscience or compassion."

Scenes of the Abydonians returned to the screen, woven in with views of people from around the Earth.  "It is for the Abydonians and other victims like them and all of the countless billions still living upon Earth and in the rest of the galaxy that the men and women of the SGC fight every day in a ceaseless battle to put an end to a terrible evil.  Doctor Daniel Jackson expressed it best when he said, '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.'"

The scenes faded away as the image of an American flag waving in the wind came onscreen.  "The words of Doctor Jackson remind us all of how much we owe to our armed forces and the civilians who work beside them."  Still shots of several SG teams were now being shown as the flag remained faintly visible.  "They have turned the tide of world wars.  Young men and women from our great country's four corners have humbled history's worse times.  We carve our thanks in stone.  We stamp it into metals.  We carefully tend to the vast fields where the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom now lay.  More than ever in our history, we cannot fail to pass these stories of courage to the next generation."  A view of the spinning Stargate as seen through the observation window showed on the screen.  "We must capture their imaginations while paying tribute to all those willing to die for the preservation of our way of life."  As the final words were spoken, the blast doors closed, and the image faded to black.

"It's a shame no one's ever going to see it," Hammond said in a soft voice, turning to Bregman.

"Really?" the journalist responded, surprised.  "You, uh . . ." he turned off the VCR, "you don't think it's a little sentimental?"

"No.  It's good."

"Well, that's . . . a relief . . . hearing that from you of all people, especially given how you felt about what I was doing.  I mean, I understood how you felt, but still. . . ."

Hammond got up and came around the desk to shake hands with the journalist, who got to his feet as well.  "I'm a big enough man to admit when I'm wrong.  I'm glad you stuck with it."

"That . . . means a lot to me, sir."

"I've . . . written a lot of letters to the next of kin.  Nothing ever seems like it's enough.  They deserve more.  This is something more."

"Thank you, sir.  I really hope that, someday, the American public will get to see this documentary so that they'll all know what you people are doing for us."

A short while later, Emmett Bregman pulled his car away from the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.  Before it completely disappeared from view, the journalist pulled over and got out of his car.  He looked back at the enormous opening in the side of the mountain, thinking of the wonders that lay beyond that only a relative handful of people on Earth even knew existed.  Smiling at the fact that he was one of those lucky few, Bregman got back in his car and drove away.

Proving that there was never a dull moment at the SGC, a mere two days later, Agent Malcolm Barrett contacted Stargate Command about something the NID had discovered in a warehouse in Los Angeles, the site of a massacre that killed thirty-two people.  This led to Daniel, Sam, Teal'c, Doctor Lee and Agent Barrett finding out that a rogue NID sleeper cell had been playing God and created a Goa'uld/human hybrid.  In the end, the hybrid, a woman named Anna, killed the only surviving scientist on the project, then herself, destroying any chance of finding out who was behind the project.  The three members of SG-1 and Agent Barrett all knew that, whoever those people were, sooner or later, they'd cause trouble again.

Daniel, Sam and Teal'c had gotten back to Colorado Springs late last night.  Within minutes of the archeologist's arrival home, he had received a call from Jack, who wanted to know all about what happened.  The colonel was presently on desk duty by order of Doctor Fraiser, who was refusing to let him return to full active duty until given a clean bill of health.  Needless to say, Jack was feeling rather restless and impatient.  Daniel had no doubt that there would be more questions once he got to work.  The mission debriefing would definitely be an interesting one.

Checking his watch, Daniel saw that he needed to hurry.  Grabbing his car keys, he headed to the door.  As he opened it, something made him pause.  For the last few days, his "spidey sense" had been tingling like mad.  When they went to Los Angeles, Daniel had figured that what happened there was what set it off.  But, now, it had suddenly started back up with a vengeance, which meant that something else was wrong.

With extreme caution, Daniel left his house, locking the door behind him.  As he headed down the walkway, he looked around, eyes searching for anything amiss.  Two houses down, he saw a lawn maintenance service truck and two guys getting ready to start working on the person's yard.  Even as Daniel watched, one man started a lawnmower at the same time as the other started a hedge trimmer, breaking the morning stillness with the awful racket.  Other than that, no one was in sight.

As Daniel approached his car, he saw that someone had smashed a beer bottle or two in the street.  Pieces of glass were strewn all about, some of them in front of his car.

With a sigh, Daniel fetched a plastic shopping bag from the trunk of his car and carefully started picking up the pieces, putting them in the bag.

"How many bottles did they break?" Daniel muttered to himself as he kept picking up the glass.

Daniel was bent over, reaching for one of the big pieces when his sixth sense suddenly screamed a warning at him.  He turned and looked up to see a car barreling down on him, the sound of its engine covered by the racket of the yard equipment.

With reflexes honed by his years fighting the Goa'uld, Daniel threw himself backwards, rolling toward the cover of his car.  The speeding vehicle raced past mere inches from him and continued up the street, not slowing.  It swerved a few times, as if the driver was not fully in control, then screeched around the corner, nearly taking out the fire hydrant.

Heart racing at the near miss, Daniel sat for a moment on the pavement, then got up.

"Hey, Mister!  You all right?" called one of the men who had been working on the neighbor's yard.  The lawnmower and hedge trimmer were now silent.  "Damn drunk driver.  He was going all over the street."

"Yes, I'm fine," Daniel answered.  "Thanks."  He looked down at the glass that was still on the street.  Deciding that it was just going to have to stay where it was until someone else swept it up, Daniel fetched the plastic bag from the road and got in his car.  He sat there, thinking about what had just happened.  A drunk driver.  As dangerous as Daniel's job was on some days, it seemed almost strange that he would nearly be killed by something as commonplace as a drunk driver.  He didn't think that it could be anything more than that.  Who here on Earth would have a reason to kill him?  Daniel really didn't want to think that could be a possibility.

The archeologist knew that, if he told Jack about this, the colonel would instantly be transformed back into the Mother Hen from Hell.  Daniel really didn't want to go through that again, so he decided to keep it to himself.

He started his car, backed it up a few feet, then pulled forward, going around the glass.  On the drive to the mountain, he thought about the upcoming weekend.  He and his teammates all had Saturday and Sunday off, and he was considering asking Sam if she'd like to go do something with him, not really a date, just two friends having a day together.

Daniel knew that, sooner or later, he'd have to find the courage to ask Sam out on a real date.  But he had told her that he wouldn't ask for anything other than friendship, and he didn't want to pressure her for more, though the kiss they shared in the forest of the Alpha Site gave him hope that perhaps Sam wasn't totally opposed to something more.

Putting that thought on hold for now, Daniel continued his drive to the base.

"So, when are you going to stop procrastinating?" Janet asked Sam as they sat eating their lunch.

Sam paused in the act of taking a bite of her sandwich.  "Procrastinating?  About what?"

Janet glanced about to make sure no one was within earshot.  "About asking Daniel that question we talked about."

"Oh."  Sam put down her sandwich.  "I haven't been procrastinating, not really.  I mean, we've been kind of busy the past couple of weeks, what with the film crew, and the mission, and the stuff with Woolsey.  And then there was what went on yesterday."

"Sam, the film crew left over a week ago."

The astrophysicist sighed.  "Oh, all right, so I have been procrastinating a little."  Janet just looked at her with an amused expression on her face.  "Well, you know, it isn't easy asking your best friend—"  Sam halted abruptly, not wanting to take the chance of being overheard.  "Asking him that kind of question," she finished.

"Maybe under different circumstances, but, Sam, you already know how he feels about this," Janet pointed out.  "There is no question of what his answer's going to be."

"Yes, I know.  I guess I'm still just scared.  This is really big, Janet.  It could change everything."

"Yes, it would change some things, but I can't help but think that those changes would be for the better.  You can't deny that the . . . benefits would be pretty darn terrific."

A vivid memory of her and Daniel making out by the lake jumped into Sam's mind.  "You can say that again," she murmured.

"Just do it, Sam," Janet told her.  "Chances are that, if this is going to happen, you're the one who will have to take the next step.  Considering what happened before, Daniel isn't going to try again unless he feels that the response will be different."

Sam picked at the crust of her sandwich.  "I know.  We do have this weekend off.  I guess I could ask if he, um, wanted to do something Friday night or Saturday."

Janet smiled.  "Why don't you go ask him after lunch?"

Sam shook her head.  "I can't.  I have to run some diagnostics on the system that regulates power flow to the gate.  The technicians detected a minor glitch.  There's a mission scheduled for first thing tomorrow morning, so I have to be sure everything's working properly."

"Well, just don't put it off for too long.  I think that Daniel deserves to be put out of his misery, don't you?"

Sam nodded.  "Yes, I guess you're right."

It had been a relatively quiet day for Daniel.  Of course, "quiet" at the SGC merely meant that no life and death crises had arisen.  As usual, he'd been busy with artifacts and translations, which always seemed to stack up when he was gone, even when it was just for a day.

The busy workday had only partially succeeded in taking Daniel's mind off the fact that his sixth sense was continuing to send him a mild warning about something.  It had never bothered him this much before.  Except for a short respite, it had been nudging him continually for the past week.  Something was definitely up.  He'd already tried once to find out what the problem was, with no success.  Maybe it was time to try again.

Daniel leaned back and closed his eyes.  With the ease of much practice, he reached the state of mind in which he needed to be, but, no matter how hard he tried, he was unable to "see" anything.  This was not the first time that he'd failed when trying to bring on a vision, but it was the first time that he hadn't been able to see anything at all.  No, actually, when he tried a few days ago to find out what was wrong, he'd had the same results.  So, what did this mean?  Was he losing his precognitive abilities?  How could that be possible?

With a sigh, Daniel opened his eyes.  Whatever had his sixth sense in an uproar, he was just going to have to hope that, when it happened, he'd have time to do something about it.

The feeling of Jack's presence pulled Daniel's attention away from his thoughts.  The colonel appeared in the doorway a few seconds later.

"Hey," he said.

"Hey.  How are you feeling today?"

"Well enough to be back on active duty."

"Not according to Janet."

"Yeah, well, what does she know?"

"So, are you here just to complain or was there another purpose to this visit?"

Jack came up to the desk.  "I was thinking that you could come over tonight, maybe catch a game, shoot the breeze for a while."

Though Jack's tone was casual, Daniel sensed that the man really wanted him to come over.  "Um, sure, I can do that."

Jack smiled slightly.  "Good.  Shall we say around seven?"

"That's fine.  Do you want me to bring dinner?"

"Nope.  I'll take care of it."

"Okay, I'll see you then."

After the colonel had left, Daniel resumed working, wondering what the reason for this get-together might be.

Next Chapter

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