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Daniel's gaze flitted across the images on the TV screen, scanning the rows and rows of carved text shown in the video.  Earlier today, SG-2 had found the ruins of a monument on their mission and discovered that the colonnade was covered in Ancient text.  Realizing the possible importance of the find, they had quickly taken videos and photos of the text and returned to the SGC.  Everything was then passed on to Daniel.  SG-3 had quickly been sent on a follow-up mission to make sure that there were no signs of Goa'uld or other dangers in the area.  Since they would be covering a pretty large area, they weren't expected back until tonight.

The writing was in a dialect of Ancient that Daniel had never encountered before, so it was taking him longer to translate it.  Because of this, it was going to take a while to finish, but he was determined not to stop until it was done . . . or until someone made him go home, whichever came first.

The linguist was so engrossed in the translation that he didn't feel the presence of the person who was approaching until they were almost at the door.

"Hey, Sam," he said, not turning around.

"Hi," she responded, coming up to his desk.  She looked at the TV.  "Is that the footage SG-2 took on P3X-439?"

"Yes, and from what little I've translated so far, I think that it might have some valuable information.  There are some references to knowledge and learning.  But it's going to take a while to translate it all."  Daniel smiled.  "I'm foreseeing another late night in store for me."

Something that almost looked like disappointment flickered through Sam's eyes for the tiniest of moments.

"You really shouldn't spend so many late nights here, Daniel."  She smiled a little.  "People will begin to think that you have no life outside the program."

Daniel let out a snort.  "I don't have a life outside the program, Sam.  You know that."  He wanted to add that he wished he did have a life outside the program, a life with her, but that would be too pushy and probably make her uncomfortable.

To Sam, that statement was the perfect lead-in to asking Daniel out on a date, and she was just about to do that when he continued speaking.

"You are right about all the late nights, though, and, normally, I might take your advice, but the possibility that the president might at any moment replace Hammond and shut down the gate for three months makes it especially important that anything to do with the Ancients is investigated as promptly as possible.  For all we know, this," he waved his hand at the screen, "might contain what we need to find the Lost City."

Sam sighed inwardly, knowing that Daniel was right.  Anything to do with the Ancients was too important to delay for the sake of a date.

"Well, just don't skip any meals, all right?" she said.  "You know how cranky Janet gets if she suspects that you're not eating properly."

"No need to remind me about that."  Daniel smiled, his eyes dancing with amusement.  "So, I heard about this bet you made with Jack.  Sounds like a sucker bet to me."

Sam sat in a chair.  "Hey, it wasn't my idea.  He challenged me, so I challenged back.  I have to say that it will be interesting to see how well he does on that crossword."  She pointed at him.  "And don't you help him, Daniel."

"Okay, I won't, though I don't know how much help I'd be with that crossword puzzle anyway.  Most of the questions are to do with physics and astronomy, right?  Not exactly my strong suits."

"Oh, please, Daniel.  You may not be a physicist or an astronomer, but if I had that bet with you, there's a very good chance that I'd lose.  That gigantic vault you call a brain has a hell of a lot stored in it, and not just stuff to do with archeology, anthropology and languages."

A little embarrassed by the compliment, Daniel didn't reply.

Sam got to her feet.  "Well, I'd better let you get back to work.  Talk to you later, okay?"


Daniel turned his attention back to the images on the screen, once more immersing himself in the language of the Ancients, hoping that he'd find what they needed to learn the location of the Lost City.

Janet glanced up from the chart she was reading to see Sam come into the infirmary.

"Hi, Sam."


The lack of enthusiasm in Sam's greeting made the doctor look at her more closely.  "What's wrong?"

The astrophysicist glanced about.  "Do you, um, have time to talk?"

"Sure.  Come on."

The two women went to Janet's office.

"Okay, so what's the problem?" the doctor asked.

Sam plopped down in a chair.  "Do you ever get the feeling that someone is playing a colossal joke on you?"

"Um . . . no, I can't say that I have.  Why?  What's going on?"

"Do you have any idea how many times I've tried to ask Daniel out?  Five times, Janet!  Five times.  And, every time, I either got interrupted or something made it necessary for me to put it on hold."  She held up a finger.  "Time Number One, Daniel nearly gets blown up right before my eyes."  A second finger was lifted.  "Time Number Two, the New Year's Eve party."  Up went a third finger.  "Number Three, I actually managed to get most of the sentence out when there's an announcement of an unscheduled off-world activation."  Sam raised yet another finger.  "I didn't even come close with Number Four.  While on the way to his office, I run into him in the elevator and find out that he's leaving, heading out of town for something."  Sam didn't explain further.  No one but she and her teammates knew about Daniel's trip to DC.

Janet smiled slightly.  "And Number Five?"

"Oh, that one just happened a few minutes ago.  I was all prepared to ask him, and he tells me that he's going to be staying late tonight to work on the translation of the Ancient text SG-2 found on their mission."

"You should have asked anyway."

"And I almost did, but then Daniel talked about how vitally important it is that anything to do with the Ancients be investigated as soon as possible.  And he's right.  This is too important to put on hold because of a date."  Sam sighed in exasperation.  "You know, having the fate of the entire planet in your hands can be a real drag sometimes."

Janet's smile grew.  "It does sound as if fate isn't giving you a break about this."

"No, it's not, and I just know that, somewhere, somebody is laughing their head off."

"So, when are you going to try again?"

"I don't know.  I guess it all depends on how long the translation takes.  The funny thing is that I can ask him if he wants to go to lunch with me somewhere off-base, and nothing gets in the way."  An idea came to Sam.  "Hey, maybe that's it.  I can ask if he'd like to have lunch with me off-base and then ask him for a date while we're eating.  That might work."

"It's worth a try.  At least you wouldn't have to worry about gate activation announcements."

Sam nodded.  Then her expression changed.  "Although, with my luck, someone will lose control of their car and drive it right through the restaurant window just as I'm getting ready to ask the question."

Janet chuckled.  "Cheer up, Sam.  This can't keep going on forever."

"You'd think so, wouldn't you."

The sound of an alarm awoke Daniel.  He lifted his head and looked blearily at his computer, which was the source of the annoying noise.  A glance at his watch told him that the three hours of sleep time that he'd allowed himself had passed.

With a groan, Daniel arose from the cot, scrubbing a hand over his face.  After silencing the alarm he'd set his computer to give, he went to the coffee pot.  Seeing that it was virtually empty, he set about making a fresh pot.  As the machine busily did its job of making the vitally needed liquid, Daniel headed to the locker room for an equally needed shower.

Despite Sam's lecture yesterday, he had ended up spending the whole night on base, the only sleep he got being the three-hour nap he'd just taken on the cot he kept in his office for such occasions.  The reason for the all-nighter was what happened during SG-3's follow-up mission to P3X-439.  While returning from their recon of the area, the team had spotted a Goa'uld reconnaissance drone investigating the monument.  SG-3 remained out of sight until the drone had left, then hurried back through the gate.

The presence of the drone meant that Anubis might be heading for the planet at any moment, making it even more vital that Daniel complete the translation and find out if it said something about the Lost City.  The fact that Anubis would probably send ships rather than use the Stargate would give them a little time, but there was no telling how much.

The shower helped to clear some of the cobwebs from his mind.  The coffee would remove the rest.  Hair still damp, Daniel returned to his office and made a beeline for the coffeemaker.  Smothering a yawn, he poured himself a cup of the brew, then returned to his desk.

It was about an hour later when Daniel read a passage that banished any lingering sleepiness and had him sitting up straight in his chair.  He read it over twice more to make sure he hadn't made a mistake.

Realizing the significance of what he'd just read, the archeologist quickly typed up a brief report on his translation, knowing that General Hammond would need one before he'd approve a mission.  Once it was done and printed out, he reached for the phone and dialed Jack's cell phone, figuring that the colonel probably wasn't in yet.  After several rings, Jack picked up.

"What?" he answered curtly.

"Jack, I've been translating the Ancient writing on the colonnade SG-2 discovered on P3X-439."

"Daniel, I'll be there in half an hour."

Ignoring the statement, Daniel continued.  "It talks about a library of knowledge, Jack.  I think the monument contains a repository of the Ancients."

"Repository you say."

"Yeah, you know.  That . . . that thing that grabbed your head, made you talk crazy, nearly killed you."

"Well, it sounds like we should stay away, then."

"Well, uh . . . I mean, considering what we know now, we should be able to find another way to access the information," Daniel quickly countered.  "Sam's been able to use Tok'ra crystals to-to-to find a way to transfer all kinds of different energies.  I mean, it's worth a try, Jack.  It might lead us to the Lost City, and you know how important that is.  We should go there as soon as possible."


Daniel was getting the tiniest bit irritated.  It was as if Jack wasn't even listening to half of what he was saying.  And he had just heard an odd sound coming from the phone, almost like running and sloshing water.  What was Jack doing?

"So?" he said.

"I'll be there in half an hour," the colonel repeated.

Good.  That would give him just enough time to talk to Hammond and arrange for a briefing on the mission.  "Okay, bye."

"No, no, no, wait.  Don't . . . don't hang up.  I need a seven-letter word."

Daniel sighed inwardly.  "I told Sam I wouldn't help you."

"Well, then this will be the one thing she doesn't know.  Up, down, charmed, blank."

"Strange," Daniel answered without hesitation, knowing that the clue was referring to different types of quarks.

"Yeah . . . well, thanks anyway."

Realizing that Jack had misunderstood, Daniel said, "No, the word you're looking for is 'strange'.  They're types of. . . .  Hello?  Jack?"  Getting no answer, the archeologist hung up the phone.  "Oh, well.  I wasn't supposed to be helping him anyway."

Shoving his report into a file folder, Daniel headed to Hammond's office.  He explained to the general what he had discovered, stressing that they really needed to go to the planet right away.

"I've already talked to Jack about it, and he said he'd be here within half an hour," he said.

"And he agreed to the mission?" Hammond's questioned.

"That's what it sounded like to me, sir."

Hammond nodded.  "Very well, then.  I will read over your report and let you know my decision.  If I approve the mission, I will assign two other SG teams to go with you.  SG-3 has been on the planet before, so they know the lay of the land, and I believe that SG-5 is clear for a mission today.  We'll brief as soon as Colonel O'Neill arrives."

"Yes, sir.  Thank you."

After leaving the general's office, Daniel went straight to Sam's lab.  He told her about what he'd found and let her know about the possible mission.

"And the colonel knows about the drone SG-3 spotted?" she asked.

"Um, no, I forgot to tell him that part.  We can fill him in when he gets here.  So, do you think there's any chance that you'll be able to download the data with the Tok'ra crystals?"

"I honestly don't know.  It's possible, but we are talking about Ancient technology here.  I may not be able to get a proper interface.  All I can do is try."

"I can't tell you how important this is, Sam.  Think of it, having access to all that knowledge."

Sam's expression told him that she was thinking about it.  "I know.  It would be incredible."

"And not just because it might give us directions to the Lost City."

The astrophysicist nodded.

"Maybe I'd be able to help somehow," Daniel mused, his expression thoughtful.


"I was just thinking about what happened with that healing device.  If I really can control Ancient technology, we might be able to use that in some way."

Sam shrugged.  "I suppose it's possible.  It all depends on if there is another way to turn the unit on."

"You mean besides sticking your head in it.  I'd really rather avoid that."

"Yeah, me too.  The last thing we need is to have that happen again."  Just then, Sam thought of something.  "Maybe we should contact the Asgard, just in case."

"Good idea."

Hammond agreed that getting hold of the Asgard would be a wise move and said that he'd take care of it.  After Sam hung up the phone, Daniel called the guard at the final checkpoint and told him to let Jack know that he was wanted in the briefing room.

At the time that Jack was supposed to get there, Daniel, Sam and Teal'c went down to Level 28.  They checked with the control room and learned that, so far, Thor had not responded to their attempts to contact him.

Daniel looked at his watch.  "Jack's late."

"Just a few minutes," Sam said.  "He might have been delayed.  Come on.  Let's go wait for him at the elevator."

The three members of SG-1 went to the elevator.  The minutes continued to tick by with no sign of Jack.

"Are you sure he said half an hour?" Sam asked Daniel.

"Positive.  He said it twice."

More minutes passed as the three teammates began to grow impatient.  Well, two of them did.  There was some question of whether or not Teal'c was even capable of getting impatient.

"This is ridiculous," Sam stated.  "He's almost half an hour late."

"Perhaps O'Neill was delayed," Teal'c suggested.

"Yeah, he probably decided to stop and get donuts or something," Daniel muttered.

Sam frowned.  "I think I'd better let General Hammond know that we're still waiting."  She went to a phone and called the general's office.  Hammond wasn't happy about the colonel's tardiness, but simply told the major to get to the briefing room as soon as Jack arrived.

It was just a couple of minutes later that Jack finally arrived.  Daniel tapped meaningfully on the face of his watch.  The colonel looked at his teammates in surprise.

"How long have you been waiting there?" he asked.

"You said half an hour an hour ago," Daniel responded in irritation.

"General Hammond's waiting," Sam added.

Jack walked up to them and handed the major a crossword puzzle with a flourish.  "Excuse me," he said with a smug smile as he squeezed between her and Daniel and headed toward the briefing room.

"The fate of the world is hanging in the balance, and you've been sitting in your truck, finishing this?" Sam asked in disbelief, walking beside her C.O.

Totally ignoring her disgust, Jack responded, "I believe it was double or nothing."

Sam's irritation went up a notch.  She looked back down at the crossword.  "Okay.  Twenty-three across, the atomic weight of boron.  The answer is ten."


"You wrote the word 'fat'."  Sam folded up the crossword and handed it back to Jack.

"Your point?" he asked, snatching the piece of paper from her hand.

'Oh, brother,' Sam said to herself.

As they entered the briefing room, Major Harper was laughing about something.  He was standing beside Colonel Reynolds.  The two men turned around and looked at SG-1.

"Harper, Reynolds," Jack greeted.

"Sir," the major responded.

"Jack," Reynolds said.

Everyone walked over to the table.

"SG-3 spotted a Goa'uld reconnaissance drone while on the planet where they found the colonnade," Sam told Jack.  "Since that obviously means the Goa'uld were aware of its existence, SG's 3 and 5 will be providing backup, if General Hammond approves the mission."

"What mission?" Jack asked, trying to figure out what was going on.  When Daniel called him this morning, he hadn't been paying all that much attention to what the archeologist was saying, his mind focused on doing the crossword puzzle and shaving at the same time.  In fact, he hadn't even heard everything Daniel said because he'd gotten shaving cream on the phone and had to wash it off.  Now, he was beginning to realize that not paying attention had been a mistake.  Apparently, they were now going on a mission that he knew next to nothing about.

General Hammond came in.  "Good morning, SG-1."  He looked at Jack.  "Nice of you to join us."

"Good morning, Sir," Jack greeted.

Everyone took their seat.

Hammond turned his attention to Jack.  "I've read Doctor Jackson's report on his translation.  Given what happened the last time you encountered something like this, I'm surprised you're so willing to take on this mission."

"So am I, sir," Jack responded, still in the dark.

"Jack?" Daniel said.


"Why wouldn't we want to gain access to the greatest repository of knowledge in the known universe, once and for all find the Lost City of the Ancients, and use their advanced technology to save the entire galaxy from the evil oppression of the Goa'uld?"

"Well, there's that," Jack replied after a short pause.

"From the mission file I've read, it's one of those things that whips up from the wall, grabs your head and rearranges your brain, right?" Reynolds asked.

"Sort of," Daniel answered.

"Sort of?"

"It basically downloads the entire library of the Ancients' knowledge into a person's mind," Sam explained.  "That massive amount of data then slowly unspools into your brain, eventually taking over your consciousness completely."

"Except it wasn't meant for a physiology as primitive as ours," Daniel added.

'Hey!  Who're you calling primitive?' Jack objected in his mind.  "Easy, fella," he said aloud.

Daniel put up his hand and mouthed, "Sorry."

"I thought the report said you almost died last time, sir," Harper said, which earned him a long look from Jack.

"The Asgard were able to remove the information from O'Neill's mind before he was lost to us," Teal'c stated.

"So why don't we just shoot Thor a call, get him standing by as backup?" Jack suggested.

"We tried, sir," Sam told him.  "He's not responding."

"None of our alien allies have been particularly reliable of late," Hammond stated.  "Should something happen again. . . ."

Daniel quickly jumped in.  "General, no one's saying that anyone should directly interface with the device.  We're suggesting that it be extracted and brought home for study."

"The engineering team that studied the last one of these devices you found determined nothing after six months of research."

"We believe that that device's power source was depleted when Colonel O'Neill activated it," Sam explained.  "Besides, if Daniel really is able to control Ancient technology as we suspect he can, it's possible that he will be able to turn the repository on without anyone actually interfacing with it."

"Oh, I don't know if I like the sound of that," Jack said.  "What if it beams all that stuff out into the brains of whoever is close to it?"

"I really don't think that would be possible, sir," Sam replied.  "Judging by what happened to you and what you described seeing, I believe that the device somehow downloads its information via a link with the brain through the optic nerves.  That's why it, um, grabbed your head like that and held on."

"Oh, you would have to remind me about that, wouldn't you."

Sam gave him a look of apology.  "Sorry, sir."

"Regardless, this is too important to pass up," Daniel insisted.

Hammond nodded slightly and turned to Jack.  "Recent intel suggests that Anubis has become a serious threat to dominate the rest of the Goa'uld in a very short time.  We have to consider Earth is at risk now more than ever, especially taking into consideration the ominous visions Doctor Jackson has been having.  If the knowledge contained within this device can lead us to technologies we can use to defend ourselves, we must pursue it."

Jack looked at Daniel.  "Why didn't you just say that?"

"Sorry," the archeologist responded.

"You have a go," the general told everyone.  "And be careful, people."

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