Stargate Horizons


Jack watched as Daniel fidgeted.  The archeologist generally wasn't the fidgeting sort, so it was rather entertaining to watch.  After about a minute, the colonel finally decided to put a stop to it.

"Daniel, will you just chill?  We've still got five minutes before we're scheduled to leave.  Jacob will be here at any second.  He's giving Patricia another treatment with the healing device to strengthen her."

Daniel forced himself to relax.  "I'm just worried that somebody's going to change their mind at the last minute and cancel the mission."

"Trust me.  That's not gonna happen.  According to Hammond, they were all drooling over the thought of all that information we're going to get from Egeria.  This mission has been given top priority."

Just then, Jacob came in.  Sam asked how the little girl was doing.

"She's hanging on.  I don't think the healing device would work on her again, though.  If it wasn't for your idea, I doubt she'd survive until we produced the drug."

While working on the active matrix modules, Sam got the idea of putting Patricia in one of the three cryogenic capsules they had.  It would keep her safely in suspended animation until the drug had been made and could be given to her.  She was going to be put in one of the capsules as soon as Janet was sure she was stable enough.

One of the other two capsules already had an occupant, a Talthusian woman named Ria, who had been a passenger onboard the Stromos.  Her husband, a crew member named Bridan, had been among the people whose personalities were inside Pharrin.  As a way to thank SG-1 for coming up with a way to save her husband, she had volunteered to be the one to temporarily hold Egeria's conscious.  A beautiful woman with long black hair, she reminded Daniel a little bit of Arria, except that, whereas Arria's eyes had been brown, Ria's were green.

Hammond's voice came over the speaker, asking if they were all set.  Upon getting an answer in the affirmative, he ordered the gate to be dialed.  Moments later, the wormhole was established, and Jack began steering the FRED that held all their gear and the active matrix module up the ramp.  With a wish for good luck from the general, Jacob and SG-1 followed the FRED through to Estrania.

As they came out the other side, Jack looked about.  "You know, I've seen just a little too much of this place lately," he remarked.  "You have no idea how much I wish we could have brought the motorcycles."

As they headed for the Furling ruins, Jack glanced at Jacob.  "So, you didn't go into any details on what the reactions of your fellow Tok'ra High Council members were to finding out about the little secret you've been keeping from them for the past three years."

"Well, needless to say, they were not happy about it, although they had to admit that there would have been some danger of a spy leaking the knowledge to the Goa'uld, especially since, at the time I found out about the device, Tanith was still around."

"They're going to keep this to themselves, right?" Sam asked.  It had been decided that it would be best if only the High Council knew about what was going on until after the time device had been destroyed.

Jacob nodded.  "Except for the scientists who helped us, of course.  The High Council agreed that the fewer people who know about the time device, the better it will be, at least until after it has been destroyed."

"I'm surprised that they didn't balk at the idea of it being destroyed," Jack said.

"They recognize that not doing so would be foolish.  Even if the whole thing was taken to Earth, there are some Goa'uld who would still try to get their hands on it, especially Anubis."

"You said that you didn't tell them about my trip back in time," Daniel said.

"No, I figured that would just cause more of a delay.  They did wonder how it was that you guys figured out that the thing was a time travel device and how you knew about the drug Egeria had, but I managed to skirt around that."

"So . . . is there any way that we could just not tell them about that ever?"

Jack smiled slightly.  "What's the matter, Daniel?  Don't want the other Tok'ra to know that you're their daddy?"

"Shut up, Jack.  I'm not their daddy."

"Oh, I don't know about that, Daniel.  After all, your stuff was used to help make them.  That is sort of like being a daddy."

Daniel made a low growling sound.  "First of all, the DNA of my 'stuff', as you so quaintly put it, was simply grafted into the DNA of the larvae.  It did not fertilize anything.  Second, Selmak and a few others are the only Tok'ra left alive that my DNA was used for.  So, I am not the Tok'ras' daddy!"

Totally ignoring what he'd said, Jack addressed the Tok'ra in their midst.  "So, Selmak.  Is Anise one of Daniel's kids?"

Trying not to smile, Jacob answered for his symbiote.  "No, she was spawned later."

"Well, that's good, because there's that whole thing about her having the hots for him, and, though I don't know what the Tok'ras' viewpoint is on that sort of thing, the word that would be going through my mind if she was one of his kids would be 'Eww.'"

Jacob stared at Daniel.  "Anise has the hots for you?"

'I am going to kill him.  I am going to kill him,' Daniel was thinking, plotting out the best way to murder Jack and get away with it.

Curbing a smile with extreme effort, Sam wisely chose not to say a word.  Teal'c proved to be equally as wise.

Seeing the look in Daniel's eyes, Jacob decided that departing from the subject of Anise would be a good thing to do.

"To answer your question, Daniel," he said, "I'm sorry, but I can't keep this from them.  They'll have to be told.  And, even if I didn't tell them, they'd find out from Egeria."

Grinning, Jack started to say something, but then Daniel whipped around and glared at him.  No, "glared" wasn't really sufficient to describe that expression.  It was more on the order of Daniel's eyes being two oxyacetylene torches cutting him open like a tin can.  Okay, backing off might be a good idea right about now.  Daniel was a really smart guy and could probably think up all kinds of creative ways to kill him using some ancient method of torture and dismemberment.

Seeing that Jack had gotten the message, Daniel turned back around.  It wasn't so much that he didn't want the Tok'ra to know that he'd had some part in guiding Egeria toward her decisions; it's that he did not think that people should make a big deal out of what he did since he didn't think it was a big deal.  Yes, okay, so he was the one who figured out what to say to steer Egeria in the right direction, but she was the one who had the courage to deny her heritage, reject the evil ways of her species, and do things that would put herself and all she held dear in danger.  All he did was a lot of talking.  She was the one who did the important stuff, the stuff that deserved all the praise and accolades.

Now, when it came to him being the one who provided the DNA for the first Tok'ra, yes, that was definitely something he'd prefer not become common knowledge among them since they would obviously know what would have transpired between him and Egeria in order for her to get the DNA.  The thought of every Tok'ra in existence knowing that he and their queen had sex was way more than a little disconcerting.  In fact, the mere thought of it made Daniel cringe.  He really, really had to talk to Jacob in private about this.  He'd get down on his knees and beg, if that's what it took.  As for Egeria, she would respect his desire for that very private information to be kept secret.  But then there was Jack, who probably couldn't wait to embarrass him by asking the High Council if any of them were Daniel's "kids."  God, he was going to have nightmares about that.  He just knew he was.

Upon reaching the Furling ruins, Sam opened the door to the chamber with the remote, and they went inside.  Daniel turned the lights on, then he and Jacob opened the pedestal.  Sam and her father quickly reinstalled the missing piece, which the astrophysicist had been carrying in a case.

"So, now it's working?" Jack asked, staring at the thing a little apprehensively.

"Yep," Daniel replied, "all ready to send us back in time."

"So, who's going to do the honors of thinking us there?"

"Not you."

Jack glared at the archeologist.  "Hey, I resent that."

"Well, if you think you can actually keep your mind focused on when in time we're supposed to go rather than drift off to the sixties or some other era, then you're welcome to take a crack at it."

Jack was silent for a long moment.  "I'll let Carter do it," he finally said.

"Good idea."

"Actually, Daniel should do it since he's done this twice before," Sam said.

"Fine by me," Jack responded.  "Here's a question, though.  How are we going to know that we've gone to the right time?"

"I figured out that the best way to give the device a precise date is to think in days," Daniel replied.  "Estrania's days are almost exactly the same length as Earth's, so all I have to do is tell the device to send us a specific number of days back in time from today."

"And the computer on the Tel'tak will be able to confirm if we made it to the right date," Sam said, "We're going to allow a couple of extra days to be on the safe side, just in case there's a delay in getting the ship or during the trip to Pangar."

"So, you're saying that, between the time it'll take to fly there and the extra two days, we're going to have to be in that ship for four days?" Jack asked.

"If we see that we're ahead of schedule, we'll stop at some uninhabited planet.  We can't take the chance of waiting in orbit around Pangar.  We have to do everything we can to minimize the risk that the ascended Daniel will discover our presence."

The colonel turned to Daniel.  "So, are you going to be okay waiting here for that long?"

"As far as supplies go, yes.  As far as my nerves go, that remains to be seen."

"I really don't like the idea of you being here by yourself all that time."

"There's no other choice, Jack.  You see that circle on the floor?  That's the boundary.  The time field, or tunnel, or whatever you want to call it won't work beyond there.  That's also where the force field forms."

Jack looked at the circle.  "Not very big."

"No.  As I said back on base, the five of us, along all our gear, supplies and the case with the matrix module are just barely going to fit.  There wouldn't have been room for anyone else.  Besides, I'll be fine."

"Well, just don't get any ideas to go rooting around in those ruins.  I don't want to come back and find you buried under a ton of rubble.  That would so ruin the good feelings I'll have if we manage to pull off this mission."

"Don't worry, Jack.  Though I may decide to walk around the ruins a bit, I won't go into any of the structures unless they are completely safe."

"No, Daniel.  You will go into the structures not at all," said Jack, his hard gaze boring into the archeologist.

Daniel returned the gaze for several seconds, then said, "All right.  I'll stay out of them."

Jack's face registered his surprise.  "Where's my camera?  He's actually agreeing to do what I told him to.  I need to record this moment for my memoirs."

Daniel gave him a fake smile.  "Are we done now?  Because I'd really like us to get going."

All of the gear and supplies were unloaded from the FRED and put inside the circle.

"What should the rest of us do while you're concentrating on the date?" Jacob asked Daniel once he and SG-1 were inside the circle as well.

"For those of you who are capable of it, keep your mind blank."  Daniel's eyes focused on Jack.  "If you can't do that, then think of something innocuous, like what you had for breakfast.  Just don't think of any dates or specific days in time."

Jack frowned.  "Hey, I'm not gonna be the one who has a problem with not thinking.  I'm an ace at not thinking."

'Riiight.  What was I thinking?' Daniel responded in his mind.  "So, everyone ready?"  Getting nods and answers in the affirmative, he closed the door.  "Here we go."  He pressed the correct symbols, then closed his eyes and starting thinking about the day to which they wanted to go.  He kept them closed while the others watched in fascination as the center part of the pedestal opened and the orb rose from it, now glowing with a bright blue light.  Suddenly recalling that they were supposed to be thinking about nothing, Jacob and the other three members of SG-1 also closed their eyes and attempted to do that, which was no struggle at all for Teal'c, who merely began the process of putting himself into Kel'no'reem.  Jack, finding that his brain was refusing for once to think of nothing, thought, instead, about the runny eggs and overcooked bacon he had in the commissary that morning.  With the help of Selmak, Jacob slipped into a light meditative state.  Sam, also finding that she couldn't keep her mind blank, began running some math problems through her head.

And then the light washed over all of them, flashing out in all directions.  As it faded and the orb slowing sank back into the pedestal, Daniel opened his eyes.

"You can start thinking again now," he announced.

Jack's eyes opened.  "That's good, because this morning's breakfast was definitely not one I care to dwell on for long."

"I didn't feel anything," Sam said.

"I didn't any of the times either," Daniel told her.

The major quickly reinstalled the remote device on the button to close the door.  Gathering their things, the group then left the chamber, closed the door, and went outside.  Right away, they could tell that it was a different time of year.

"That is just freaky," Jack remarked.

Once they'd reached the Stargate, Daniel looked at Jacob and his teammates.  "I really wish I was going with you.  Be careful, okay?"

Sam handed him the remote for the door.  "We will."

Jacob dialed the address to the world where one of the Tok'ras' ships sat hiding, one he knew would not be used for a mission for another couple of weeks.  As the gate connected, Jack turned to Daniel.

"Remember.  Stay out of the buildings.  I mean it, Daniel."

"Yes, Dad."

The archeologist watched the others walk up to the gate and disappear through it.

"Good luck," he murmured, knowing that they were going to need it.

Getting the ship and the trip to Pangar went smoothly, so, having an extra two days to kill, Jacob and the three members of SG-1 detoured to an uninhabited planet and camped out there.  They used the time to discuss all the trouble they might run into and what they should do in each situation.  It was agreed that, if they were caught, they would refuse to tell their other selves anything about their mission, though it would be obvious that they were from the future.  Sam knew that her younger self would recognize that, to preserve the timeline as much as possible, they mustn't be told anything.  Teal'c and Jonas wouldn't be a problem either.  No, if there was going to be a problem, it would be with the colonel, both of them.  The younger one would try to get some hints on what was going to happen, and the older one would be tempted to tell him.

"Sir, I can't impress upon you strongly enough that you cannot reveal anything about what's going to happen," she said to him.

"Oh, come on, Carter.  What harm would it do for me to tell my other self who won the World Series?"

"And what if he decides to make use of that information and place a bet?"

Jack's face lit up.  "Hey, now there's an idea."

"Sir," Sam said, her voice and expression firm.

Jack sighed dramatically.  "Fine.  I'll keep my mouth shut.  Let's just hope that, if we do get caught, nobody asks where Jonas is."

Sam turned to her father.  "I can imagine how excited the Tok'ra are about getting Egeria back."

"Oh, they're excited all right.  The Tok'ra have been living with the knowledge that we are a dying race for a very long time, ever since we lost Egeria.  Not even counting the fact that many of us die each year because of the fight against the Goa'uld, our life spans are only a fraction of what theirs are because of their use of the sarcophagus.  Eventually, we would have all died of old age without any new Tok'ra to take our place."

"I know it's kind of late in the game to suggest this," Jack said, "but, instead of doing all this, why couldn't we pop in, snatch Egeria after she gives the Pangarans what they need to fix Tretonin, then take her to our time and stick her in the sarcophagus that they have on Egerania?  Heck, we could even do it after she dies and the Tok'ra take her through the gate.  Then we wouldn't get spotted by ourselves.  That wouldn't mess up history, would it?"

"Well, it could, sir," Sam responded.  "How do you think the Tok'ra would respond to Egeria's body being stolen?"

"Um . . . not well, I should imagine," Jack answered, not having thought of that before.

"That aside, I'm afraid that it wouldn't work anyway," Jacob said.  "Egeria was dying from massive cellular degeneration, very much like what happens when a Goa'uld or Tok'ra finally reaches the end of their life span.  A sarcophagus can't permanently repair that.  About the only thing it could do was perhaps give her a few extra months."

Sam nodded.  "According to Oshu, Lord Yu's First Prime, the sarcophagus isn't helping Yu anymore.  He's just too old."

"Right.  Basically, being forced to spawn continually prematurely aged Egeria."

They left the next day, allowing plenty enough time to get to Pangar before the hour they'd decided would be the best time to enter the Tretonin facility.

As the cloaked ship descended to the facility, Sam, Jack and Jacob put on the headsets with which they would communicate with Teal'c.  He would be remaining onboard, keeping a close eye on the scanners that would show where all the personnel in the facility were located.

The Tel'tak came to a stop over the facility, hovering a couple of feet above the roof.

"Okay, Teal'c, once we're inside, climb to ten thousand feet and wait until we're back up on the roof before coming to get us," Jack instructed.  "As we agreed, if it looks like we've been caught, don't try to rescue us.  Hopefully, we'll be able to talk our other selves into convincing the Pangarans that they have to let us go."

"I will await your return, O'Neill."

The colonel, the major and the Tok'ra went to the door and opened it.  They lightly hopped down and hurried to the access door.  Finding it unlocked, they slipped inside.  There, they waited for Teal'c to reach the designated altitude.

"I am in position," said Teal'c's voice in their ears a couple of minutes later.  "There are no individuals in your vicinity.  You are clear to proceed down the stairs to the correct level."

The group of three began to descend, eyes and ears alert, although, with Teal'c keeping watch, they didn't have to worry about someone suddenly coming upon them.

They were almost on the right floor when Teal'c warned them of someone who had just entered the stairwell.  They froze and waited.  Fortunately, the person went down rather than up.  As soon as Teal'c told them that they were clear, they continued the rest of the way.  They opened the door and went out into the hallway.  As silently as possible, they made their way to the room that held Egeria.  They'd almost made it when Teal'c sent a warning that someone was coming.  They hurriedly covered the remaining distant and slipped inside.

Jack pressed his ear to the door and listened as the person drew progressively closer.  If the guy was coming here, there would be no place for the team to hide from him.  The colonel and his companions all breathed a sigh of relief when the person passed by the room and kept walking.

They all turned to the tank.  As they walked toward it, Selmak took over from Jacob, his expression changing to one of distress as he gazed upon the symbiote who was his mother and saw how old and ill she looked.  Knowing that Egeria had aged prematurely and actually seeing it for himself were two entirely different things.  She was too young to look like this.  During the first two thousand years of her life, she had used the sarcophagus, which would have kept her body from aging.  Most of the second two thousand years were spent inside a stasis jar, which would also have kept her from aging.  So she was actually still quite young, yet she looked ancient, ancient and worn out.

Tears in his eyes, Selmak came to a stop before the tank and rested his hand on the glass.

"I read Malek's report about her, but it was still not enough to prepare me for this," he said in a low voice.  "It is very hard for me to see her like this."

Sam rested her hand on his shoulder.  "It'll be over soon, Selmak.  Come on.  We need to hurry."

Containing his emotions, Selmak nodded and set down the case holding the active matrix module.  As Sam got busy with it, Selmak stuck a device on the glass that would transmit his voice through it and into the tank so that Egeria could hear him.  It would also enable him to hear her.

"Egeria?  Can you hear me?" he asked in Goa'uld.

The head of the queen swivelled around to face him.

"Egeria, I am Selmak."

The name got a definite reaction.  Egeria lumbered closer to the wall of the tank, her head coming to rest against the glass.  They all heard a faint squeaking sound.

"I know.  It is good to see you as well, Mother.  I have missed you.  Mother, we need your help.  I cannot explain why we are here or what we are doing.  All I can say is that it is to save the lives of thousands of people."

Sam lowered into the tank a tube with a small, bowl-shaped device on the end.

"I need you to place your head inside the device," Selmak told Egeria.  "It will do you no harm, though you may feel some dizziness afterwards."

Egeria did not hesitate to do so.  Sam turned on a switch and watched as a gauge slowly began to climb.

"O'Neill, someone is approaching."

Teal'c's voice made everyone freeze.  Almost afraid even to breath, they waited, praying that the person didn't come in.  It seemed like a very long time before Teal'c told them that the person was gone.

Jack looked down at the module.  "So, how long is this going to take?"

"Quite a while, I'm afraid," Sam replied.  "For a human, it would be pretty quick, but Egeria's mind contains a whole lot more data than a human's.  This matrix module is far larger than an ordinary one, with many times the storage capacity.  If it wasn't for the Tok'ra, it would have been too big to carry, but they managed to get it down to a reasonable size."  Sam shook her head.  "It's such a shame that we couldn't use technology like what the Ancients developed for the repositories.  They are able to transmit vastly more data than even what's in a Goa'uld queen's mind in just a matter of seconds."

"Yes, how well I know that," Jack muttered.

It ended up taking twenty minutes to complete the copy.  During every minute of it, the team was afraid that they'd be discovered.

As Sam withdrew the tube and coiled it back into the case, Selmak talked to Egeria again, telling her that he needed to get a blood sample from her.  Pushing up the sleeve of his top, he reached down into the tank and carefully withdrew some blood into a small syringe, which he then put in a bag with an ice pack.

"Mother, you cannot tell anyone that we were here or what we did," he told the Tok'ra queen.  "It is absolutely vital that no one knows.  Do you understand?"

Egeria's head nodded once.

Selmak laid his hand on the glass again.  "I wish that I could take you with us, but I can't.  We owe so much to you.  I want you to at least know that your dream is becoming a reality.  The day is coming soon when the Goa'uld will be no more."

Egeria made a few more squeaks, and Selmak smiled sadly.

"What did she say?" Sam asked.  "What did you say?"

"I told her that the Goa'uld would soon be gone, and she said that she was glad and that hearing that made everything worthwhile."

"You mean that you can actually understand those squeaks?" Jack asked.

"Of course I can.  It is my native language, after all."

"Right."  Jack looked at his watch.  "We need to go.  We're cutting it kind of close.  Teal'c and Jonas will be getting to the room with the larvae in less than an hour."

Selmak nodded and turned back to the tank.  "We have to go," he told Egeria.  "I am glad that we got to see each other again."

There were a couple of short squeaks from Egeria, then she moved away from the glass.

Selmak removed the device from the side of the tank, then picked up the case with the matrix module.

The three got lucky and managed to make it all the way back up to the roof without having to hide from anyone.  They then waited there for Teal'c.

Nobody truly relaxed until the ship had left Pangar and jumped into hyperspace.

"Well, that went way more smoothly than I was expecting," Jack said with a smile.  "Missions like this almost never go off without a hitch."

"I guess luck was with us this time," Sam responded.

"Luck and good planning.  As Hannibal Smith used to say, 'I love it when a plan comes together.'"

Sam nodded.  "Will you excuse me, sir?  I want to go talk to Dad."

"Yes, where'd he go off to?"

"He's in the cargo hold."

Sam went back into the hold.  She found her father sitting on one of the cots.  She sat down beside him.

"You okay?" she asked, not sure if it was her father or Selmak to whom she was speaking.

"Yeah," replied the voice of her father.  "Selmak's just a little upset.  It hurt a lot for him to see Egeria like that.  Malek and Kelmaa are both – were in the case if Kelmaa now – younger Tok'ra.  They were among the ones born later, after Egeria went into hiding.  Though it was dangerous for her to stay in any one place for a great length of time, she insisted that she needed to give birth to as many Tok'ra as possible.  She knew that her days were numbered, that, sooner or later, Ra or some other Goa'uld would catch her.  All of the Tok'ra who were born during that time never really got a chance to know her personally, not like those of us who were born before did.  As soon as each batch of symbiotes matured, she'd turn them over to us to find hosts for them and integrate them into Tok'ra society.  Though she wanted to stay and get to know them better, it was just too dangerous."

"So, although it bothered Malek and Kelmaa to see her like that, they didn't have the memories of her like Selmak has."

"Yeah.  I can understand how he feels.  As you know, my mother died of leukemia, and it was really hard for me to watch her get so sick and frail."

Sam laid her hand on his arm.  He rested one of his hands over it and gave it a little squeeze.

"But we saved Egeria's consciousness," she said, "and, if the Asgard can clone her, she'll eventually have a young and healthy symbiote body as well.  All the damage that was done to her old body will be gone."

Jacob nodded.  "Selmak is looking forward to talking to her again once the transfer into Ria's body is complete."

Sam smiled.  "Oh, I think he's going to have to wait in line for that."

Jacob smiled as well.  "Yes, I do believe that there is a certain archeologist waiting for us who will be the first one in line for that."

Daniel looked at his watch.  If everything went according to plan, Jacob and his teammates would be on their way back now, bearing the matrix module with Egeria's consciousness.  He felt a little quiver of excitement.  He couldn't wait to talk to her.  Of course, she'd have a million questions.  She wouldn't know anything about his ascension, so that would be quite a shock to her when she found out.  A lot of things were going to be a surprise to her.

There was one thing that dimmed Daniel's excitement.  If the Asgard could clone Egeria's body, once her consciousness had been transferred into it, she would very likely leave Earth to go live with the Tok'ra.  How often would he see her then?  Probably not often.  He knew that he shouldn't be thinking of that, that he should be concentrating on the fact that she'd be producing new Tok'ra, but he couldn't help it.  The selfish part of him wanted her to stay on Earth.

Sticking a few things in his pack, Daniel headed out into the ruins.  He'd been doing this every day, covering a different section of the city each time.  Today, he'd be going someplace he had been deliberately avoiding up until now.

Despite the ruined state of the city and all the debris he had to go around, Daniel was still able to find his way, though it took far longer than it did whenever he went this way when the city was whole.

At last he reached his destination.  He came to a stop . . . and smiled.  The gallery had survived.  There was some damage to one corner, but, other than that, the building that Aulus once said would be his crowning achievement had made it through the destruction.  It was beautiful, looking just like the drawings the master builder had made.  Daniel approached it, his eyes going here and there to the things that had been influenced by his suggestions.  He went all the way to the foot of the steps and stopped.  He ached to go inside, to see how it turned out in there.  But he'd told Jack that he wouldn't go into any of the buildings.  Maybe he could just peek in the door.  He wouldn't really be going inside, then.

Daniel stood there for around half a minute longer before he couldn't stand it anymore and ascended the stairs.  The big doors had rotted away long ago, leaving the doorway open for him to look inside.  He cast his gaze about, looking at the pedestals and niches in the walls that had once held works of art.  His eyes followed the grand staircase up to the second level, of which he could not see much beyond the marble railing.  He was so very tempted to step beyond the threshold and go see what he couldn't from there.  He sighed.  He'd made an agreement, and though he hadn't actually promised in so many words, he'd feel guilty if he went back on it.  Maybe when they came back to Estrania to destroy the time device, Jack would let him go into the gallery.

Taking one last look around, Daniel went back down the steps and continued his exploration.  He'd been at it for around an hour when the sound of thunder made him turn.  Dark clouds were looming on the horizon, heading his way.

"Oh, great.  Just what I need."

He hurried back to camp and began sticking everything into the tent.  Thinking of the miserable day he was going to have sitting in his tent while it poured, Daniel picked up the last few things and stepped toward it.  He then paused, his thoughts going back to the gallery.  It would be a whole lot more comfortable waiting out the storm there than in the tent.  He wouldn't have to go inside to stay dry.  He could stay at the top of the stairs, where the roof extended out several yards across the entire front of the structure.

When another rumble made him turn and see what looked like a heavy sheet of rain falling in the distance, Daniel made up his mind.  Leaving the tent and most of the supplies, he grabbed everything he figured he'd need and rushed to the gallery.  He was ascending the final few steps when the storm reached him, and the heavens opened up.  Dashing under the cover of the roof, Daniel watched it come down for a few seconds.  He then went over to the wall and put down his stuff.  He set up the camp chair and got his journal, prepared to wait out the storm.

Two hours later, it was still raining and showing no sign of stopping any time soon.  Daniel began to wonder if he should have brought the tent and set up camp here.

It was another hour and a half before the rain finally stopping, but the clouds that still filled the sky warned that more rain could come.  Deciding that perhaps he'd better check to make sure that everything at the camp had made it through the winds that came with the storm, Daniel grabbed a rain poncho and headed for the Stargate.

He was almost within sight of the gate when he heard voices and came to a halt.  Were the others back already?  Did something happen that made it necessary for them to turn around before they even got to Pangar?

Daniel was just about to resume walking when he heard the voices again.  This time, he could hear part of what they were saying.

They were talking in Goa'uld.

'Oh, crap.'

Yet again, the incredibly bad timing of the Goa'uld had struck.  Jaffa had come through the gate.  Upon seeing his camp, they must have realized that someone was here, someone from Earth.

'This isn't good.'

What was he going to do?  Where could he hide?  The gallery?  No, they'd probably search the place because it was in such good shape.  Daniel thought of the palace.  When he'd examined it more closely a couple of days ago, he saw that the section right around where the library had been was still intact.  Could he hide in there?  Possibly.  But he really didn't know what condition it was in.  It could collapse in on him.

Daniel realized that there was only one safe place he could hide.  But could he make it there?

The archeologist turned and ran, thankful that the clatter of the Jaffa armor that he could now hear approaching would hide the sound of his footfalls.  He ran to the gallery and grabbed his flashlight and a few other things he might need, stuffing them into his pack.  He tossed the rest of the stuff inside.

Knowing that it would be faster, he gave a silent apology to Jack, then dove inside.  He didn't pause to admire the architecture as he ran straight for the back exit, the one Aulus put in at Daniel's insistence in case of emergency.  That door, too, had rotted away, enabling Daniel to keep right on running.

Daniel had to pause occasionally in his dash through the city to catch his breath and rest.  By the time he made it to the western edge of the city, he was exhausted.  He stopped, hands braced on his knees, lungs heaving.  He looked at the long stretch of road that was laid out before him.  If the Jaffa got here before he'd made it far enough down the road, they'd be able to see him, yet, if he left the road and used the grass for cover, they'd spot his trail and track him.  As it was, he'd have to be careful to walk only on the stones of the road, avoiding the grass, dirt and everything else that would show his passage.

Maybe this had been a bad idea.  Maybe he should have just found someplace in the city to hide.  But it was too late now.  He couldn't go back.  By now, there could be several dozen Jaffa seeking the Tau'ri who were here.  He had to keep going.

Moving at a walk out of necessity, Daniel struck out onto the road that would take him to the Furling ruins.  He trod as carefully as possible, avoiding stepping on anything that would leave a trace that he had been there.  He just hoped that the heavy rainfall had hidden the tracks that he, his teammates, and Jacob made four days ago.

Daniel frequently stopped and looked behind him, eyes searching for any sign of Jaffa.  When he reached a bend in the road, he relaxed a little bit, knowing that the tall weeds would partially hide him from view.  He took the opportunity to stop and sit down for some desperately needed rest and a drink of water.  After allowing himself five minutes, he rose to his knees, holding a pair of binoculars.  Remaining hidden behind the grass, he searched the edge of the city for signs of Jaffa.  He was just getting ready to lower the binoculars when he spotted something.  His heart sinking, he saw six Jaffa come into view at the head of the road leading out of the city.  They paused and appeared to have a discussion.

"Don't come this way," he said in a murmur.  Thirty seconds later, they completely ignored what he'd said and started down the road.


Not knowing what to do now, Daniel sat back down on the road.  How was he going to make it the rest of the way to the ruins without being spotted?  Yes, with the lead he had, if he made a run for it, he'd be able to reach them before the Jaffa caught up to him, but then what?  The last thing he wanted to do was attract attention to those ruins.  If they believed he was hiding in there and realized that there was a door blocking the entrance to another room, they might start blasting it to get inside.  Eventually, they'd get through, and then they'd find the time machine.

That's when a horrible thought struck Daniel.  In two days, Jacob and his teammates would be coming through the gate, totally unaware of what was going on here.  Would the Jaffa be gone by then?  If not, his friends would walk right into their hands.

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