Stargate Horizons


The next day, a couple of Tok'ra scientists arrived to study the Ancient repository and see if they and Sam could find a way to download the information into some kind of storage device.  Daniel was called in to lend a hand, though he ended up feeling pretty useless as the others talked about things that were way over his head.  He began wandering around the room, looking at this and that.  His attention returned to the conversation when the others began talking about whether or not only people like Daniel and Jack could trigger an interface download and if there would be some way to safely use that to turn on whatever circuits opened the flow of information.  Thinking of something, he stepped forward to mention it, but the words died on his lips as his mind was abruptly filled with a scene that made him freeze in shock.

"Why did you pick me, Oma?" he heard himself ask in the vision.  "Why did you come to me when I was dying and offer to help me ascend.  When I asked you before, you didn't really answer.  Was it just because we met on Kheb?  Please give me a straight answer."

"When I saw you on Kheb, I knew that you had the ability to travel the path to ascension.  With time and patience, any human who is willing to open their mind can be helped upon that path, but a rare few have the ability to achieve ascension with only a little guidance.  You were such a one, Daniel."

"Why?  Okay, so I admit that I'm more open-minded than some people, but there's got to be more to it than that."

Oma smiled.  "You are special in many ways, Daniel, more so than you could know."

"What are you saying?  That I was born different in some way?"

"Your questions will all be answered in time, Daniel.  Simply know that you are a rare individual and always have been."

"Daniel, what's wrong?"

Sam's concerned voice jolted Daniel from the vision that he realized was a memory from when he was ascended.  He blinked and stared at Sam with a dazed expression.  Worried, Sam came up to him.  She laid a hand on his arm.

"Daniel, are you all right?  You were totally zoned out there for a minute."

"Sam, I just got back a memory from when I was ascended."

"What?"  The major got excited.  "What did you remember?"

"Oma and I were talking.  I asked her why she chose to help me ascend, and she told me. . . ."

"What?  What did she tell you?"

"I have to go.  There's something I need to check on."

Before Sam could question him further, he was out the door and heading for the elevator.  He went up one level to his office.  At his computer, he accessed the information downloaded from the lab computers.  All of the information had been put on the base servers, though it had been necessary to dramatically increase the hard drive space to do so.  He went straight to the stuff he'd found about the Ancients.  There had been so much stuff about them that he'd had it all downloaded without going through the specific topics first.  Now, he was hoping that there would be something in there that would answer an important question.

For the next two hours, Daniel searched through the information, skimming over the text on the screen.  At last, he found something.  His excitement growing, he continued his search, going off in a different direction.  The time for lunch came and went without him even noticing.  When the phone rang, he picked it up with a slight feeling of irritation.

"You are missing lunch again, Daniel," said Egeria's voice in a scolding tone.

"Oh."  The archeologist looked at his watch.  "I'm sorry.  I can't stop what I'm doing.  I found something really important in the Ancient knowledge, and I need to pursue it."

"What did you find?"

"I'll tell you everything later."

"All right, but please try to get a little something to eat this afternoon."

"I will.  I'll talk to you later."

Hanging up the phone, Daniel returned his full attention to the screen.  Another hour and a half had passed when he found something else that had him leaning forward in his chair, carefully reading every word on the screen.

Daniel leaned back in his chair, thinking about the significance of what he'd just learned.  He contacted the general's aide to say that a meeting needed to be called with the rest of his team.

Half a hour later, everyone was assembled in the briefing room.

"Doctor Jackson, you said that you found something in the information downloaded from the computers in the Ancient lab," Hammond said.

"Yes, sir.  This morning, I suddenly recovered a memory from when I was ascended.  Oma and I were in a conversation, and she hinted that there was something different about me, something that had made her believe that I could ascend with less effort than the average human.  I decided to look at the stuff we downloaded from the computers, specifically some information about the Ancients themselves, and I found something that answers a few questions we had.  According to what I found, the Ancients performed a bit of genetic engineering on themselves.  They added a special gene that would act as a . . . a kind of key for operating Ancient technology.  Anyone who didn't have the gene wouldn't be able to operate devices that were programmed to work only in the presence of someone who did."

"Then you're saying that you and I have that gene?" Jack asked.

"Well, you probably do, but I don't know about me."

"But if the gene didn't occur naturally, how could any of us have it?" Sam asked.  "The human race that's on this planet now is not descended from the Ancients."

"Well, I'm no geneticist, but there's only two ways that I can think of, either the Ancients played with the genes of our ancestors, too, or some of them bred with some of us, and the gene was passed down.  I mean, there are still so many things we don't know about what they did here on Earth.  We don't even know when the last of them left for good or died out.  There's something else I found as well.  I ran across some notes regarding their research into ascension.  From what the notes say, it appears that they were exploring two different ways to attain ascension, the Oma way, which is a more spiritual approach, and through purely scientific methods involving artificial genetic advancement and technology.  One thing in particular caught my attention.  During their research on the second way, they discovered something, that a few rare individuals were born different, their brains genetically advanced enough that they were closer to being able to achieve ascension than the average Ancient.  They recognized that this might give them the key to figuring out how to make it possible for all Ancients to ascend.  Unfortunately, the notes end there, and I couldn't find anything else about their research.

"Now, if some of the Ancients were born with this rare genetic advancement, then it stands to reason that some of us may as well.  After all, they were basically human, just way farther along their evolutionary path than we are.  Oma told me that there are a few people who have the ability to achieve ascension much more easily, and she seemed to be saying that I was one of them.  Maybe she meant that I was born with that same kind of genetic advancement that made my brain a bit different than normal."

"Daniel, we've always known that your brain isn't normal," Jack remarked.  "So, what's the surprise there?"

Ignoring the comment, the archeologist continued.  "I think we need to pursue this.  It might give us what we need to figure out how they managed to ascend."

"Daniel, you can't tell me that you want a bunch of scientists poking around inside your head."

"No, Jack, I don't, I mean not physically.  But there could be some scans or . . . or something.  Or maybe we could contact the Asgard.  They're the ones who discovered that you're genetically different."

Jack's eyes narrowed.  "Daniel, what's really behind this?  It has something to do with that damn repository, doesn't it.  If you think that some difference in your brain would enable you to take the whole download without it killing you, then you can just get that right out if your head.  You're not sticking your head in that thing.  Period."

"No, Jack, I know that, even if I'm right, I couldn't possibly survive a complete download, but what if I could manage to access and understand the knowledge more fully before I was overwhelmed by it?  We know that the Asgard can remove the knowledge.  They did it with you.  If we had them standing by—"



"No!  I don't care if we do have the Asgard standing by.  We are not going to play with your life!"

"Doctor Jackson," General Hammond said gently.  "I can appreciate your desire to retrieve what's in that repository, but Colonel O'Neill is right.  I could not allow you to put your life at risk to get it.  Major Carter and the Tok'ra scientists are studying the repository, searching for a way to download the information.  Just let them do their job."

"And what if they can't find a way?  That repository might give us what we need to find the Lost City."

"We will cross that bridge if and when we come to it.  Now, if you have nothing further to add, I'll be calling this meeting to an end.  I will, of course, want a written report on what you found."

Daniel paused, then said, "Yes, sir."

Back in his office, Daniel knew it was only a matter of time before Jack came marching in there to rake him over the coals.  It took five minutes.

"Do you have a death wish?" the irate colonel asked.  "Because that's what I'm starting to think."

"I just think that this is important."

"Important enough to risk having your brain totally scrambled by that thing and dying?"

"Like I said, if the Asgard were here to extract the knowledge before it was too late, there wouldn't be any risk of me dying.  You were perfectly okay afterwards, no residual effects."

Jack stared at the younger man intently.  "Daniel, you need to give up this obsession about that knowledge."

"I'm not obsessed."

"Yes, you are.  If you weren't, you would not be seriously considering this.  Trust me.  I know about obsession.  I've had first-hand experience with it.  I know how it can take control of you."

Daniel turned away.  Was he obsessed?  Had he lost the ability to think about this logically?

"Daniel, I understand why you want that knowledge," Jack said more softly.  "You had it, and it was taken away from you.  It makes sense that you'd want it back.  But putting yourself at risk isn't the way."

Daniel spun around to glare at him.  "Jack, this isn't some selfish pursuit of knowledge.  It's more than that!  I want what that knowledge can give us, ways to put an end to the Goa'uld, things that could vastly improve life for humanity.  Don't you get that?"

"Oh, I get it, Daniel, but it makes no difference.  I don't want you bringing this up again, because, no matter how many times you do, you're going to get the same answer."

Daniel looked away.  He'd already known that Jack would be against this.

Jack studied the younger man's face.  "You look tired.  When's the last time you took a day off?"

"Um, before the stuff with the Ashrak."

"That was almost two weeks ago.  And when's the last time that you took more than a couple of days off?"

Daniel thought about it.  "I can't remember."

"Then it's been too long.  I want you to take four days off, starting tomorrow."

Daniel turned around.  "Jack, I can't take that much time off.  What if—"

"Aht!  No excuses.  You'll take the time off even if I have to take away your keycard and tell the guards at the checkpoints not to let you in.  And if you keep arguing, I'll make it a week, which I should anyway."

"But what if Sam and the Tok'ra need me to translate something?"

"If it's all that important, then you can come back and do whatever they need you to do."

The archeologist stared at the colonel narrowly.  "You want to get me away from the repository.  What do you think I'm going to do, sneak into Sam's lab some night and interface with it?"

"No, even you wouldn't do something that foolish.  You know that I'd kill you if the download didn't do the job for me.  I just want you to get away for a while and get your head on straight.  Go take Egeria someplace nice and have some fun.  Kick back, relax.  I know that you and relaxation don't generally go together in the same sentence, but I bet you could do it, if you really tried."  Jack smiled slightly.  "And I bet Egeria could help."

Recognizing that he didn't have any hope of getting out of the enforced leave, Daniel stopped arguing.

"If I have no choice but to take this leave," he said, "then I have a lot of work to get done today."

Picking up on Daniel's not-so-subtle hint that he wanted Jack to take a hike, the colonel left the office.  He went to see Hammond and told him about Daniel's leave.

The general nodded.  "I think it will do him some good.  These past few months have been very busy ones."  Hammond studied his second-in-command.  "You're worried about him."

"Yes, I am.  In these years I've known him, he's gone on a lot of crusades.  Sometimes, I think it's genetically programmed into him.  But I've never seen him like this before.  No, I take that back.  I have seen it one other time, when he was willing to risk being trapped forever on Heliopolis so that he could study that universal language thing.  He needs to get away for a while and regain his perspective."

When Daniel told Egeria that he'd been given four days off and that she had, too, he didn't tell her the whole reason why, only saying that Jack thought he needed some time off to relax.  He didn't like keeping secrets from her, but he knew how she'd react if she found out what he wanted to do.  He figured that he might have to tell her eventually, but the last thing he wanted now was to spend the next four days with a woman who was mad at him.

Since they only had four days, and Daniel didn't want to go too far in case he was needed back on the base, he decided that they should stick to doing things within the state.  When he suggested to Egeria that they go to Mesa Verde and explained to her what it was, she eagerly agreed.

From the moment they arrived at the Anasazi ruins, Egeria was fascinated by the architecture and the culture that built it.  Daniel kicked into full-blown archeologist mode and was telling her everything he knew.  After a while, they had picked up a small following of tourists, who trailed them all around the ruins, listening to Daniel impart all kinds of interesting facts and asking him several questions, which he generously answered.  Egeria was both amused and pleased by this and couldn't help but smile.  She could see how much Daniel loved to share knowledge and that he was having a good time.

They returned to the ruins the next day, but, this time, Daniel kept his voice lower when explaining things, deciding that he wanted to share the time only with Egeria.  They headed back for home late that afternoon.

The next day was spent doing things in Denver, culminating in a romantic dinner and dancing.  The day after that, Daniel's last day off, they didn't go anywhere at all, spending quite a bit of the time in bed.  When they weren't there, they were playing board games, making cookies, or cuddling on the couch in front of the TV.  By the end of that last day, Daniel admitted to himself that he really had needed this.  And it had been wonderful to spend all that uninterrupted time with Egeria.  In fact, he was now wishing that Jack had made him take a full week off.  He and Egeria would definitely have to start planning that trip to Rome soon.

It wasn't long after Daniel's arrival on base the next morning that Jack came sauntering into the archeologist's office.

"So, how did you enjoy your time off?"

"It was fun.  Egeria and I had a good time."

"That's good.  See?  It didn't kill you to get away from work for a few days."

"I didn't think it would, Jack.  We've just been really busy around here."  He waved at the pile of papers on his desk.  "And, as you can see, I am busy again."

"Yes.  Well, I guess I'll let you get to it, then."  Jack hesitated.  "So, are things all straight in your head now?"

Daniel hesitated.  He wasn't going to lie and tell Jack that he no longer had any thoughts about interfacing with the repository.  The four days away didn't remove that desire.

"You don't have to worry, Jack.  I wouldn't interface with it without permission from General Hammond.  I wouldn't have done that anyway, leave or no leave.  And I'm not going to push for it anymore."

"I guess that's as much as I can expect from you."

After Jack had left, Daniel went to Sam's lab to see how things were going.

"Hey," she greeted.  "Welcome back.  Did you guys have fun?"

"Yes, we did."  Daniel walked up to the repository.  An access panel was open, and wires were attached to some of the components inside.  "So, how's it going?"

"I'm afraid that we hit a roadblock.  We discovered that there are some safeguards in place to prevent exactly what it is that we're trying to do.  I guess it makes sense that they'd want to guard this knowledge like they did the stuff in that lab.  They wouldn't want just anyone to have access to it.  I'm pretty sure now that the download wouldn't work for anyone except people like you and the colonel."

Daniel nodded.  "Which also makes sense.  So, what does this mean?  You're not going to be able to download the stuff?"

"No, we're still trying.  It's just taking some time to get around the safeguards."

"Where are the Tok'ra?"

"They went back to the base to get some other equipment that they thought might help.  I expect them back tomorrow."

"I'm assuming that you did make sure that it wasn't their presence that was blocking your ability to retrieve the data."

"Yes, I've been trying since I got here this morning, and I'm still having no luck."  Sam paused.  "Um, Daniel.  About what you said at the meeting. . . ."

"I've already gotten an earful from Jack, Sam, so you can spare the lecture.  The four days off were Jack's way of making me get my head on straight, as he put it."

"It's not that I don't understand why you'd want to do it, but it would be just too dangerous, even if we did have the Asgard standing by.  And there's no guarantee that you'd be able to access the knowledge any better than the colonel did."

"I know, but look at what we gained while he had it.  He gave us a whole bunch of new gate addresses, a new way to calculate planetary distances, that power booster, detailed info on the DHD and, most important of all, put us in contact with the Asgard.  I can't help but wonder what other things we could gain from doing it again."

Sam looked at him closely.  "Does Egeria know that you want to do this?"

"No.  Since it's probably not going to happen, there's no reason to tell her."

The look Sam gave him told Daniel that she didn't agree with him.  Ignoring the look, he returned his gaze to the repository.  "I wonder if you'd have any better luck while I'm here."

Sam shook her head.  "I already tried while Colonel O'Neill was here, and it made no difference.  I have to believe that there is a way around the safeguards.  I just haven't found it yet.  I'm just worried that Area 51 is going to get impatient and start demanding that they get a crack at it."

"How could they hope to have any better luck than you and the Tok'ra?"

"Oh, you'd be surprised.  Some of them have pretty inflated egos."

Daniel returned to his office and dug into the pile of work on his desk.  He made sure to break for lunch and joined Egeria for the meal.  As they ate, the former Tok'ra queen chatted about their short vacation.  She had very much enjoyed the time with Daniel and hoped that they would soon be able to go on a much longer one.

As Egeria talked, Daniel started to feel guilty, the secret he was keeping from her weighing on his conscience.  The dark-haired woman finally noticed his distraction and asked him what was wrong.  Several seconds passed before he replied.

"Um . . . I have something to confess to you, but I know you're going to be mad about it."

Egeria frowned.  "Daniel, did you get injured again?"

"No, no.  I'm fine.  This is something else."


"I'll, uh, tell you this evening."

Egeria studied him closely.  "All right."

Daniel was nervous for the rest of the day, not looking forward to Egeria's reaction to what he had to tell her.

He joined her in his quarters after dinner.  He remained standing as she took a seat on the bed.

"Okay, first of all, I want to promise you that I wouldn't have done anything unless I got permission," he said.  He told Egeria about the memory he'd regained and what he'd learned from the stuff they'd gotten from the lab computers.  After a long pause, he then told her the rest of it.

"You requested that you be allowed to interface with the repository?" Egeria asked in a tone of voice that made no secret of what she thought of that.

"Well, no, I didn't actually request it.  I just threw the idea out there."

"But you would be risking your life."

"There would be risk involved, but if we contacted the Asgard beforehand, they could extract the knowledge before it went too far."

"But there would still be a risk," Egeria said in a hard, angry tone.  "How can you care so little about your own safety, Daniel?"

"It isn't that I don't care about my safety, Egeria.  I just. . . .  There are things that are more important than my personal safety, and gaining access to what's in that repository is one of them.  It could give us everything we need to defeat the Goa'uld."

"You speak of 'could', and 'maybe', and 'might', but the truth is that you do not know, you cannot know, if it would give us anything that would help at all.  You could be risking your life for nothing!  I know that you may someday die on a mission.  I know that you could lose your life in this fight.  I accept that.  But to risk your life for what you may or may not learn from that repository is not something I can accept."


"No!  You will speak of this no further!"

Before Daniel could say anything else, Egeria strode out of the room, slamming the door behind her.  Too angry to go to her quarters, she went down to the gym.  She hadn't spent any time there before now, but she had heard that some people exercised to cool off when they were angry, and that was definitely something she needed.

She spied Teal'c on one of the benches and went over to him.  She stared at the various barbells and other exercise equipment with a frown.

"Are you in need of assistance, Egeria?" Teal'c asked.

"Yes.  Please show me how to use these things."

Surprise made one of the Jaffa's eyebrows elevate.  Nevertheless, he picked up one of the lighter barbells and instructed her on the proper way to do arm curls.  He watched as she performed the exercise, a look of intense concentration on her face.  Once she had done the ten reps on each arm that he'd suggested, she handed it back to him.

"Show me how to do something else."

Teal'c took Egeria over to one of the machines and showed her how to do leg curls.  After that came a couple of other exercises.  He told her that her muscles would be sore if she did too much, but he could see that she was determined to keep going.  Finally, he decided to find out what was going on.

"In my experience with women, I have determined that, when one is angry, it is usually because of something that her mate has done or said.  Therefore, I am assuming that Daniel Jackson is the source of your anger."

Egeria stopped what she was doing and stared at him.  "You know of his suggestion that he interface with the Ancient repository?"

"Yes, I was present at the meeting when he spoke of it.  You are angry that he would consider doing something that would endanger his life."

"Yes.  In the months that I came to know Daniel on Estrania, I saw how he was willing to risk his life for the sake of others, but this is pure foolhardiness!"

"I agree that to do what he suggests would be unwise, but this is not the first time he has chosen a similar course of action.  Have you heard of the discovery we made on a world that was once a meeting place of the Asgard, the Ancients, the Nox, and the Furlings?"

"No.  I know of the Asgard and Ancients, and Daniel has told me that the time device on Estrania was created by the Furlings, but I have no knowledge of the Nox."

Teal'c briefly told her about the people they first encountered on P3X-774.  "Long ago, the Nox, Asgard, Ancients, and Furlings gathered on a world that we call Heliopolis.  On that world was a device that Daniel Jackson determined was a book written in a true universal language that used holographic representations of the elements, such as oxygen, nitrogen, and helium.  He believed that the book might contain information of great significance.  Unfortunately, the building in which it resided was unstable and gradually falling into the sea.  While we were there, the DHD, which was already damaged, was lost.  To power the Stargate, we devised a way to use lightning from the storm that was raging.  But Daniel Jackson did not want to leave.  He wished to remain so that he could study the knowledge in the device."

Egeria was surprised.  "But he may have been trapped there."

"Yes, this he knew and accepted.  He believed that the knowledge was important enough to take the risk.  Daniel Jackson is a man of great passion and conviction, and his desire for knowledge is unquenchable.  When he wholly believes in a course of action, he will not waver from it.  His determination and perseverance have saved many lives, but it has also endangered his life many times."

"I know of his self-sacrifice, Teal'c.  I have heard of some of the ways that he has risked his life for the welfare of others.  But this is not the same."

"Is it not?  I believe that it is and that it is connected to his time as an ascended being.  When he was ascended, he possessed the knowledge of the Ancients, yet he was denied the ability to use that knowledge to help others.  He was forbidden to use his knowledge and power even to help individuals who were his friends.  Now, a device that contains all that knowledge is in our possession, and Daniel Jackson is determined that, this time, it will be used to aid humanity.  If it means endangering his life for that to be done, then he believes that it is a small price to pay."

Egeria let Teal'c's words sink in.  Daniel had talked very little about the year that he was one of the Ascended, mostly because he had almost no memories from that time.  How would she feel if she had vast power and knowledge, yet was not allowed to help even one person with it?

Thanking Teal'c, Egeria returned to Daniel's quarters.  She stood before the door for a moment, then knocked.  A few seconds passed before he answered.  He was clearly surprised to see her.

"I didn't think you'd be wanting to see me any time soon," he said.

"May I enter?"

Daniel stood back and let her in.  He shoved his hands deep into his pockets, his gaze on the floor.  He gave a low sigh.

"I'm sorry that I made you angry.  I know that you don't understand why I—"

"I do understand, Daniel."

Startled blue eyes met Egeria's.  "Y-you do?"

"Yes.  I did not when I left, but I saw Teal'c, and he told me some things.  You have spoken very little about your time as one of the Ascended."

"Because I don't remember much.  Up until a few days ago, there were really only two incidents that I remembered completely.  The rest has been just bits and pieces.  I know of some other things that happened through mission reports and what Jack, Sam and Teal'c told me."

"You were not allowed to help anyone, not even your friends."

Daniel's gaze fell away from her.  "The Ascended have rules against any kind of interference."

"Did you know that when you chose to ascend?"

"I . . . I knew that they had rules.  I knew that one of them was punished for interfering in the fate of a civilization and that Oma was an outcast for helping people ascend.  But I didn't know that the Ascended weren't allowed to help anyone at all, that, if I became one, I'd had to stand back and watch terrible things happen and be unable to do anything at all to help.  If I had known. . . ."

"You would not have ascended?" Egeria asked gently.

"I don't know.  I thought that ascending would be a way for me to do more, that it would finally give me a way to . . . to make a real difference.  But, instead, I had to impotently stand by as people I cared about suffered.  One of the only concrete memories I have is of Bra'tac, a Jaffa friend of ours, and Teal'c's son, Rya'c, being captured by enemy Jaffa.  I knew what would happen to them, and I wanted to help them, but I couldn't.  I remember how angry and helpless I felt."

Egeria heard the pain in his voice and went to him.  She guided him to the bed and sat beside him.

"There is more," she guessed.

"A few months after I ascended, Jack was captured by Ba'al, who tortured him over and over again, sometimes to death.  Jack would then be put in a sarcophagus, and the whole thing would start over again.  I came to Jack in his cell.  He wanted me to break him out, but I told him that I couldn't.  Instead, I tried to encourage him to ascend.  He refused.  I don't remember any of this, and I hope to God that I never do, but every time I think about the fact that I was there and couldn't lift a finger to stop what was happening to him, it makes me sick.  Jack said that he thinks I did help him, that I managed to sneak around the rules by telling Teal'c while he was in Kel'no'reem that if they got one of the other Goa'uld to attack Ba'al's stronghold from orbit, it would give Jack a chance to escape.  I don't know if he's right about that."

Daniel paused.  Egeria could tell that there was something more, so she remained silent.

"Abydos was destroyed because of me," he said in a low, anguished voice.  "I found out that Anubis was going there to get the Eye of Ra, the last piece he needed to complete a super weapon.  I told Jack about it, and SG-1 went there.  I couldn't directly interfere, but I helped them find a hidden chamber that I had always suspected existed.  We found the eye there and a tablet speaking about a lost city of the Ancients where we could find powerful weapons.  The situation was getting pretty tense.  A huge force gathered by the other Goa'uld had arrived to battle Anubis, and there was a big danger that Anubis would attack Abydos.  Above all, I knew that the information about the lost city couldn't be allowed to fall into his hands.  I'd apparently made a deal with him that, if he got the eye, he'd leave Abydos alone and would let SG-1 go free, so I told Jack to give him the eye, that I'd make sure Anubis kept his bargain."  Daniel shook his head, the sheen of tears in his eyes.  "I was such an idiot.  I don't know what happened after that.  I'm guessing that I confronted Anubis, and the others prevented me from stopping him.  He fired the super weapon at the planet and destroyed everything."

"Oh, my Daniel.  I am so sorry."

"The only good thing that came out of it was that Oma ascended all of the Abydonians.  I don't know if it was out of a sense of guilt or if she did it for me or for some other reason."  Daniel got to his feet.  "I know that the Ancients must have a reason for their rules, but I think about all the good that they could do in the universe with their knowledge and power, all the good I could have done, and it makes me so angry."

Egeria stood as well and wrapped an arm around his waist.  "And that is why you want that knowledge in the repository.  You want to use it to do what you were not allowed to do when you were ascended."

Daniel said nothing.  He only stared at the floor.

Egeria rested her head on his shoulder.  "I wish that knowledge could be given back to you without it risking your life.  Is there not still hope that Samantha and the Tok'ra can retrieve it?"

"Yeah, they're still trying.  They found out that there are safeguards to prevent the stuff being downloaded, but they are attempting to bypass those.  If anyone can do it, Sam can."

Egeria looked up into his face.  "I am sorry that I became so angry with you.  I love you, and I do not like it when you disregard your own safety."

Daniel wrapped his arms around her.  "I know, Egeria.  I understand.  I already figured that you'd be mad at me, which is why I didn't want to tell you."

"Why did you tell me?  I may not have learned of it if you did not."

"I felt guilty about keeping secrets from you."

Egeria smiled and kissed him softly.  She ran a fingertip around the edge of his lips.  "I have heard of a custom of the Tau'ri."

"Oh?  What custom is that?"

"It is regarding a couple making up after a fight."

Daniel began to smile.  "Ah, that custom.  Yes, that's a particular favorite of mine."  The smile became a grin.  "So . . . do you want to make up?"

"Very much so," Egeria replied in a sultry tone before pulling Daniel's mouth back down to hers.  He lifted her up and carried her to the bed, where they very quickly stripped each other of their clothes.  It did not take long for them to become fully aroused.

They rode out their passion with the same quiet intensity that they always did when making love on base, not wanting others to hear.  As their climaxes struck, they muffled each other's cries with a kiss.

The lovers continued holding each other as their bodies cooled and their pulses slowed.

"I believe that this Tau'ri custom will be one of my favorites as well," Egeria remarked.

A laugh burst out of Daniel.  "Well, I'm hoping that we won't have a reason for it all that often.  Having you mad at me is not pleasant."

"Then I will strive not to get angry with you too terribly often."

"Thanks.  I appreciate that."

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