Stargate Horizons


Egeria sat on the floor beside the tank, gazing at the larvae within it.  She could already see a difference in them from those she had spawned in all the previous years.  Their movements were more sporadic, less purposeful.  Without the knowledge of the Goa'uld, they had only their inborn instincts and intelligence to guide them.  The rest would come from her teachings.

"My children," she murmured, resting her hand upon the glass.  "You have such a great destiny to fulfill.  I will teach you as well as I am able.  You will learn the value of kindness and honor.  I will teach you to be courageous in the face of adversity and death, for I know that you will suffer those things in the centuries ahead.  You will know that to sacrifice yourself for the greater good is a thing that sets you far above the Goa'uld.  Most of all, I will teach you to love and respect your hosts, to give to them the right to share control of their bodies."

'Egeria?' said the inner voice of her host.


'I am glad we did this.'

Egeria noticed right away the use of the plural form of address.  It didn't surprise her.  She'd caught herself thinking "we" and "us" instead of "I" and "me" quite often these days.  She had gotten so used to the strong, constant feeling of Arria's presence, of their conversations and sharing of thoughts, that she knew she would feel strange and, in a way, incomplete if she was to suddenly lose that connection to her host.  That was yet another thing for which she had Daniel to thank.  If it were not for him, she would never know the happiness of having a close, constant companion with her wherever she went.  She wouldn't know what it was like to never feel alone.

Rising to her feet, Egeria left the spawning room and went in search of the man to whom she owed so much.  Even though it was quite early in the morning, she had a feeling that she knew where he would be.  She found him in the smaller section of the west garden, sitting on a bench and staring with a distant expression at some dew-covered flowers.  He lifted his head as she approached.

"They are born," she said.

Daniel's eyes studied hers.  "And you're sure that. . . ."

"Yes, I am sure.  They are pure and clean, untainted by the evil of the Goa'uld.  Come.  I wish you to see them."

As they walked, Daniel glanced at Egeria a couple of times.  After she left yesterday to go spawn, he had spent a lot of time thinking about what happened between them, and he'd come to the conclusion that what bothered him the most wasn't that Egeria had used her drug on him, it was how he reacted to it.  It had been the same way with the incident with Hathor.  What had hurt the most were his actions, not hers.  Unlike when a woman was raped or when a man was raped by another man, in order for what happened with Hathor to take place at all, it was necessary for him to be sexually aroused, and he'd been riddled with shame and guilt over the fact that he had been.  He had believed that he should have been stronger, that he should have been able to fight it and keep from becoming aroused.  Only after both Sam and Janet just about beat him over the head with all the facts about how date rape drugs affected their victims – and how, in some ways, Hathor's drug had been pretty much the same thing – that he was finally able to begin moving past the guilt and shame.

So, now, he'd been exposed to the Nish'ta'el yet again, only, this time, it didn't just arouse him, it made him lose all semblance of control.  He was completely driven by lust, by the need to mate, and, just like what happened with Hathor, that made him feel ashamed.  In his whole life, Daniel had never had sex with a woman just because he wanted her, and he had never acted the way he did that night.  What the Nish'ta'el turned him into was someone contrary to the kind of man he was, someone he barely recognized.  And he hadn't even tried to fight it.  This time, there was no internal struggle, no part of him crying out that it shouldn't be happening.

Daniel didn't know why he reacted that way.  He could only assume that there was a major difference in the chemical makeup of the Nish'ta'el Egeria created.  Janet had said that Hathor's drug was some kind of super pheromone combined with something like Sodium Pentothal.  Daniel suspected that what Egeria exposed him to was pure pheromone, one that was dozens of times more powerful than Hathor's.

As they entered the spawning room, Daniel's eyes fell upon the tank.  There they were, the first of the Tok'ra race, the race that would someday ally with Earth in a common quest to destroy the Goa'uld.  He wished that he could tell Egeria what her children would accomplish.

Though he knew that, even if he'd never come, this would have happened anyway, it still gave Daniel a certain sense of satisfaction that he'd been a part of it and that he'd been able to witness this turning point in history.

As he thought about all the things that led up to this moment, Daniel suddenly realized that it was all worth it.  Even with all the fear, pain and heartache, he was glad that he'd been here to see this happen and that he'd played a role in it being fulfilled.  He turned and looked at Egeria.  Most of all, he was glad that he'd been given the honor of meeting her.

"This is a good thing that you've done, Egeria," he said quietly.  "I don't think I can express how proud I am of you for doing it."

Daniel's words brought the sting of tears to her eyes.  It meant so much to her that, even after the way she hurt him, he could have pride in her.

"So, what are you going to call them?" he asked.  "They should have a different name."

"Yes, you are right.  I do not want these children to bear the name of Goa'uld.  What do you suggest?"

"Well, you've created them to be a force in opposition to the Goa'uld, and Ra is the most powerful of the System Lords.  How about . . . Tok'ra, 'Against Ra'?"

"Tok'ra.  Yes, that name pleases me.  It is fitting."  She looked at him, her smile fading.  "They are as much your children as they are mine, Daniel.  If it were not for you, I do not think that they would ever have come to be."

"No, I think that, eventually, you'd have done this on your own, Egeria.  It just might have taken you a little longer."  He paused.  "How many will you make using my . . . code of life?  Will it be just these?"

"No.  These are only a small number of what will be born with it.  I will keep your seed alive within me for as long as I am able, and, in those days, I will spawn many more times.  You will be the father to many hundreds of my children, thousands if my strength does not falter."

Daniel dropped his gaze to the floor, uncomfortable with her calling him their father, especially since that wasn't really what he was.

Pushing that thought aside, Daniel asked another question.  "I suppose that you couldn't create another queen, someone who could help you, take some of the burden off you."  Even as he asked the question, he was pretty sure he already knew the answer.  If Egeria could have made a queen, she'd have done so in the previous version of history, especially after making the decision to put her life at risk by going to Earth.

"That I fear would not be possible.  A queen is created at will by her mother through careful genetic manipulations.  The manipulations are complex and must be performed throughout the larvae's development inside the mother.  It requires much attention, which is why she will be the only larva spawned in that cycle.  It would be impossible for me to maintain the low brainwave activity necessary to prevent the Goa'uld knowledge from being passed on.  Any queen to whom I gave birth would be as a Goa'uld, possessing all the evil that is within their memories."

Daniel nodded, his suspicion now confirmed.  "You said that you would teach these larvae while they are not inside Jaffa, but how will you do it?  I mean, how exactly will you pass on the knowledge?"

"Goa'uld queens have a special connection to the larvae to which they give birth.  We are able to establish a mental connection while in close contact with them, not unlike that which passes on the Goa'uld knowledge as they are being formed, except that it is something done completely at will.  When my children are in the pool, I will mentally join with them and establish this connection.  Through it, I will be able to teach them many things in a relatively short span of time, passing on much of what I know, although I would never be able to give them all that is within my mind.  The knowledge I bear is far too vast to give it all to them in so little time.  But I will give them as much as I can so that they have what they need to fight the Goa'uld, knowledge of technology, Goa'uld lineage and history, and many other things."

Egeria took Daniel's hand and led him to the tank.  She lowered her other hand into the water, and Daniel watched as a few of the larvae wandered over to it, as if they were curious.  Looking in Egeria's eyes, he realized what she wanted.  Though he'd really rather not, he put his own hand in the water.  Several more larvae came to investigate it, brushing lightly against his hand.  One in particular seemed to be especially fascinated and wound its body between his fingers.  Then it lifted its head, and Daniel could have sworn that it looked right at him for a moment.

After another few seconds, Daniel removed his hand from the water, resting it on the rim of the tank as he stared down into it.

Egeria gazed at Daniel's profile.  She knew that what she did to him had left a mark upon his heart, and it grieved her that their relationship might never fully heal.

"Will a day come when you will once again trust me?" she asked.  She did not ask if he would ever forgive her, for she feared that his answer would break her heart.

Daniel looked at her.  "I do still trust you about most things, Egeria.  I trust that you would never willingly reveal to anyone what I have told you.  I would trust you with my life and the lives of the people I love.  It's just that. . . ."  He let out a sigh.  "It's just that I don't know if I can ever fully trust that what happened won't ever happen again."  He paused.  "If it did happen again, would I be immune to the effects now?"

"Sometimes, a man will develop a resistance or even an immunity to a particular queen's Nish'ta'el, especially if he has been exposed to it more than once during a short span of time."

"But not always."

Egeria sighed sadly.  "No."  She wanted to tell Daniel that what happened that night would never happen again, that she would never again lose control like that, but she could not say that, for, even in her own mind, she was not certain.  Her love and desire for him burned even more powerfully within her now that she had the memories of their lovemaking.  Someday, her desire for him might take control of her again.  If that ever happened, she knew that she would destroy forever all trust he had in her.

In that moment, Egeria knew what she had to do.

Gently, she took his hand again.  Daniel was shocked when she removed the slave bracelet from his wrist.

"I set you free, Daniel," she said.  "Leave this place and go home, return to your people and their fight against the Goa'uld."

Stunned, Daniel stared at her.  "Why are you doing this, Egeria?" he asked, knowing that it was not because it was the morally right thing to do.

The former Goa'uld queen, the woman who was now the queen and mother of the Tok'ra, cupped his cheek in her hand.  "Because I love you, Daniel, and I could not bear it if I ever hurt you again."

Daniel's throat tightened with emotion.  A part of him wished that he could love her back, but there was still room in his heart for only one woman.

Knowing that he probably shouldn't, Daniel stepped forward and pulled Egeria into a hug.  She held onto him tightly.  After a long moment, he felt a change in the way she held her body.  Then the grip on him tightened even more, and he knew that it was now Arria who was holding him.

"I love you, Daniel," she whispered.

The words almost made him lose control of the tears he was fighting to hold back.  He thought about what Sam had told him, what she'd learned from Martouf.  The symbiote and host love as one.

He softly stroked her hair.  "I am glad that I got the chance to meet you, Arria.  I don't think there was a better person that Egeria could have taken as a host."  He smiled ever so slightly.  "Don't let her curb your talking too much, okay?"

She lifted her head to look at him, the tiniest of smiles shining through her tears.  She gave him a nod, her throat too tight to speak.

The woman's head bowed for a moment.  When it lifted, the eyes were once again those of Egeria.  She gently pushed him away.

"Now leave," she said in a trembling voice, "before my heart decides that it cannot let you go."  She touched his face one last time.  "I will never forget you, my beautiful Daniel."

"I'll never forget you either, Egeria.  You need to know that I am honored and . . . and grateful to have I met you."

Those words succeeded in making Egeria's heart both swell with gladness and tear open in pain.  She pulled his head down and placed a long kiss on his brow.

"No more honored and grateful that I am to have met you," she whispered against his skin.

Their eyes meeting one last time, Daniel turned and walked away.  He went to his room, where he got his BDUs and the things he'd had with him when he was transported to this time.  He didn't put the BDUs on, though, figuring that it would be best not to draw attention to himself.  Instead, he put them back in the leather satchel Egeria had given to him, making sure that everything was present in the vest pockets.

Daniel looked about the room, his eyes going to the gift that Egeria had given him.  He walked up to the small, fragile vase.  On Earth, it would be a priceless artifact, but to him it would be a precious memento from an extraordinary period in his life.  Knowing that Egeria would want him to keep it, he carefully wrapped it up in his BDU shirt and tucked it into the satchel.  He then gathered all his papers on the Furling language, figuring that he might need them.

After leaving his quarters, Daniel did not head for the exit.  Instead, he took a different direction.  He couldn't go yet, not without saying goodbye to someone first.

He traveled the familiar path to the library and opened the door.  Decimus was hunched over some book, busily writing on a piece of paper.  Daniel just stood and watched him.  After several seconds, the old man became aware of his presence and looked up.  He began to smile, then he noticed the look on Daniel's face.  A moment after that, he saw something else: Daniel's bare right wrist.  He knew what the missing slave bracelet meant.

"You are leaving," he said with a sad sigh.  "She set you free."

"Yeah."  Daniel came forward, shutting the door behind him.  "There are things I never told you about me, Decimus, things I would like you to know.  But I can't tell you unless you can swear that you will never breathe a word of it to anyone, including Egeria.  The fate of the entire galaxy may depend on it."

The elderly man searched Daniel's eyes, seeing the seriousness there.

"I will tell no one, Daniel."

"Not even Egeria?  Most here believe her to be a god."

"And you believe that I am one of them?"  Decimus snorted and made a dismissive gesture.  "I have served Egeria from the time I was old enough to be put to work, and, unlike those silly Jaffa, I have not blinded myself to the truth.  If the Goa'uld were truly gods, would you and I have to slave away at translating these books and scrolls into a language that our queen understood?  A true god would be all-knowing, able to read all languages, speak all tongues.  I know that, as powerful as they are, the Goa'uld are not gods."

"Yet you obey Egeria without question."

"She is my queen, my sovereign.  I serve her just as my ancestors served the rulers of Rome, Greece, and other nations of our mother planet.  She is more worthy of my fealty than some of them would have been, if even only half the stories I have been told are true."

Daniel nodded slightly, thinking about some of the brutal, despotic rulers of ancient Earth.  "I can't argue with you there."

The old man gazed intently into Daniel's eyes.  "I swear upon my life and the lives of all I hold dear that I will tell no one what you reveal to me."

Daniel took a seat.  "What if I was to tell you that I haven't even be born yet, that I won't be born for another two thousand years?"

"I would say that is quite amazing considering that I am looking at you with my very own eyes."

"I am from the future, Decimus.  I traveled back in time to this era."

Decimus leaned forward, his eyes bright with excitement.  "Truly?"

Daniel nodded.  "It was an accident, I found a device that brought me back to this time."

"Then you are going home now, back to your time."

"If I can.  I'm not sure that I'll be able to get it to send me back to my time."

"And if you cannot?  What will you do?"

"I don't know yet.  I just know that I have to keep trying, for as long as I can."

"This is extraordinary.  A man from two thousand years in the future.  You must know so many things that have yet to happen, history that has yet to be made."


Decimus' eyes abruptly widened.  "You are Tau'ri!  You are from the first world."

"Actually, we call it Earth, but, yes, I am."

Decimus nodded.  "This explains how it is that you know so much about that world and its languages."  He smiled brightly.  "What is it like in your time, this world where my ancestors were born?"

"Oh, it's quite a bit different than it is at this time in history.  For one thing, we are free of the Goa'uld.  I'd like to tell you all about it, but I can't.  If the Goa'uld found out somehow, it could put my world in jeopardy."

"I understand."  Decimus studied Daniel's face.  "Ah, the knowledge you have, the things you have seen that have not yet come to pass.  I envy you."

Daniel shook his head.  "Don't envy me, Decimus.  Some of the things I know are quite amazing, but I also know about a lot of terrible things, horrible events that will be happening, which I do not have the power to stop."

The elderly man gave him an understanding smile.  "Yes, to know the future would be a heavy burden to bear."

He slowly got to his feet, as did Daniel.  The old man came around the desk and pulled the younger one into a tight embrace.  "I am going to miss you, my boy," he said in a roughened voice.  He pulled back slightly, looking up at Daniel with eyes that glittered with tears.  "You won't forget old Decimus, will you?"

Tears filled Daniel's eyes.  "How could I ever forget you, Decimus?  I owe you so much."

The two men separated, wiping away tears.

"Now, go on with you," Decimus said, his voice a little firmer, though still a bit rough.  "Long goodbyes serve no purpose except to make everyone disgustingly maudlin."

Daniel choked out a little laugh.  He really was going to miss this amazing old man.

"Tell Titus goodbye for me," he said.  "I wish he was here so that I could do it myself, but I can't wait for him.  I have a . . . a journey ahead of me, and I need to reach my destination while it's still early.  Tell him that I know he'll be a great library keeper someday."

"I will."

Giving his friend one last smile, Daniel turned and left.  He was a few paces down the hall when he saw a young figure approaching.  He was both happy and sad, happy that he'd get to say goodbye to Titus himself, sad because he didn't want to watch the boy's heart break.

"Daniel!  I came early today because Decimus promised that he would start teaching me the Ikseeki alphabet."

Daniel sighed.  "Titus, come here.  There's something I need to tell you."

As the boy came up to the archeologist, he noticed the missing slave bracelet.  "Your slave bracelet is gone!"

"Yes.  Egeria has set me free."

Titus smiled.  "Then you are a freeman again!"

"Yeah."  Daniel laid a hand on the boy's shoulder.  "Titus, I have to go back to my home.  There are things waiting there for me to do."

There was now sorrow and worry in Titus' eyes.  "But you will come back, will you not?  You must come back."

"I can't, Titus.  I wish I could explain why, but I can never come back.  Where I'm going is . . . is very, very far away, someplace I can't come back from."

"Across the stars."

"Farther even than that."  Daniel bent down and met the eyes of the boy, which were now glistening with tears.  "If there was any way that I could come back, I would.  I'm going to miss you and Decimus.  I'll miss you a lot.  I want to tell you that I know you're going to be a great library keeper, one who will make Decimus proud, one who would make me proud.  So, I want you to study hard and learn all you can."

Titus threw his arms around Daniel tightly.  "I will," he whispered, crying in earnest now.  "I promise."

Daniel held the youth close for several seconds, then gently pulled away.

"I have to go now."  He lightly ruffled the hair of the boy who reminded him so much of himself.  "You take good care of Tiberius, okay?"

Titus nodded.  He watched as Daniel walked away down the hall.  Decimus came up beside him, having heard the conversation.

"Never forget, Titus, that he is a great man," the librarian said solemnly, "a man unlike any other we could ever meet."

The youth nodded.  "I know.  He is a hero, like in the legends of old.  Someday, I will write stories about him."

Smiling at how terribly mortified Daniel would be to hear that, Decimus guided the boy into the library, saying a silent farewell to his friend and wishing him a safe journey across time.

Daniel hastened his pace.  The morning was advancing rapidly, and he didn't know how long it would take him to figure out the device.  But he still couldn't go quite yet.  There was one more person he had to bid farewell.

After stopping to pick up a lantern, he made his way outside, his steps traveling another familiar route.  When he got to the construction site for the gallery, Aulus was bent over some drawings, discussing them with one of his assistants.  He spotted Daniel and smiled.  He came striding toward the archeologist.

"Daniel!  What a pleasant surprise.  What. . . ."  He came to a sudden halt when he saw what was missing from Daniel's right wrist.  His eyes ascended to those of the younger man.  Slowly, he covered the remaining distance.

"She set you free," he said in wonder.


"But it has not even been half a year."

Daniel's gaze fell away from his.  "Something . . . happened."

"Something you cannot tell me."


Aulus looked at the heavily-laden satchel hanging from Daniel's shoulder, the lantern in his hand.  That's when he realized why the man was there.

"You are leaving.  You have come to say goodbye."

Daniel met his eyes again and nodded.

There was now sorrow on Aulus' face.  "And you are never coming back."

Daniel sighed.  "No.  I can't.  It wouldn't be possible.  I wish I could explain why.  I don't belong here, Aulus.  This is not where I am meant to be.  I belong someplace else."

Aulus searched the face of the man he had come to care about almost like a son.  "I have known for a long time now that there was something different about you, something that sets you apart from the rest of us.  There is a feeling of destiny about you, Daniel, a feeling that you are meant for great things."

Daniel shook his head.  "I'm not meant for great things, Aulus.  I'm just an ordinary man, of no great significance."

"I believe that you are wrong, my dear friend, that you do not see what you truly are.  I think that history will prove me right."  He pulled Daniel into a tight hug.  "Gods, I am going to miss you, boy.  This place will not be the same without you."

"I'm going to miss you, too, Aulus," Daniel said past the lump in his throat.

The master builder dropped his arms and took a step back.  The archeologist scanned his face, wishing that he could tell Aulus the truth.  But he couldn't.  Though, sober, Aulus would die before revealing Daniel's secret, the master builder sometimes loved his wine a little bit too much, and when he was drunk, he liked to talk.  Daniel could not take the chance that, someday, something would slip out.

"Goodbye, Daniel," Aulus said in a sad voice, the slightest glimmer of wetness in his eyes.  "Take good care of yourself."

"I will."

The master builder looked back at the gallery.  "I will dedicate it to you, a little plaque honoring your part in its construction."

Daniel shook his head.  "Don't, Aulus.  My name does not belong on it.  You built it.  It is you who deserves the credit.  I only helped a little.  Promise me that you won't put my name on it anywhere."

Aulus hesitated a long time before giving a sigh.  "I promise."

The two men said a last goodbye, then Daniel turned and left.  As he walked through the city, he imprinted a memory of how it was now upon his mind.  If all went well, the next time he saw it, it would be an ancient ruin.

At the western edge of the city, Daniel stopped and turned around for one last look.  And that's when it hit him.  A part of him didn't want to go.  For all these months, he'd thought about how much he'd wanted to go home, but now that he was at this point, he knew that he was going to leave a big chunk of his heart behind.  He'd found people here that he had come to love, a way of life that he'd learned to enjoy.

So, if he knew with certainty that he could stay here and not adversely affect the future, would he?  Daniel's eyes went to the Furling ruins, and the answer came to him.  No.  Though he really didn't know if any of his future contributions would make much of a difference, he knew that he could not abandon the Stargate Program's fight against the Goa'uld.  Besides, he had friends there, too, in that time two thousand years in the future, friends that he missed and wanted to see again.

With a firmer step, Daniel resumed his journey.  Some people he passed looked at him with curiosity, then continued with their business.  He never paused, wanting to reach his destination as soon as possible.

As Daniel walked, he thought about what he would do if he actually made it back home.  His plan all along had been to tell everyone what happened, but now he was starting to wonder if that would be such a good idea.  He thought about the rogue members of the NID who were stealing advanced alien technology.  What would they do with a device that could send people through time?  It was a chilling thought.  They would probably stop at nothing to get their hands on it.  Could it be kept out of their grasp?  There was no telling how many people in high places were involved with that group, how many individuals in the government and the military.  There might not be a truly safe, secure place to put the device that would assure that people who shouldn't have it didn't get hold of it.

Daniel hated the idea of lying to everyone, but the dangers in revealing the existence of the device were too great.  He could tell just his teammates and ask them to keep the secret.  If the level of danger was impressed upon them strongly enough, he was pretty sure that they wouldn't tell anyone, but that would put them in the position of having to lie in their reports.  If the truth was ever discovered, Jack and Sam could be court-martialed.

No, there was only one thing he could do.  He had to keep the secret to himself.  No one could ever know about his trip back in time.

At last, Daniel reached the ruins.  Fortunately, there was no one around to witness him going inside.  He headed straight to the room with the pedestal.  After lighting the wick of the lantern and setting it on the floor of the chamber, he scanned the symbols on the device that he hoped would take him home.  He knew the meaning of quite a few of them now, that is if all his work these months had not been in error.  Among the things he knew now was which one would open the door.

Confident that he'd be able to reopen it if there was a problem, Daniel pressed the button that would close the door.  Nothing happened.  Frowning, he pressed it harder.  Though the button depressed as it should, the door to the room did not seal the entrance.  What was wrong?  Why wasn't it working?  He tried another button, one that his research indicated would turn on the lights in the room, something he had wanted to avoid doing just in case someone came into the ruins before he got the door shut.  It, too, did nothing.  He tried a couple more buttons, all with the same result.

Daniel pulled the papers out of his satchel and scanned his notes, looking for something that might give him a clue as to what was wrong.  And then he had a sudden, horrible thought.  What if it was out of power?  Would there be some way to recharge it?

The archeologist's eyes went back to his notes.  After a couple of minutes, they fell upon one thing in particular, one of the sayings about which he'd wondered.

"A door must not be opened in the presence of evil."

All at once, Daniel understood what its real meaning was, why it was on a wall in this room.  With that understanding also came the knowledge of why it was that Egeria and none of the Tok'ra ever discovered that this was a functioning piece of technology.  It's because it wasn't functioning – not for them.  Somewhere in this device was something that could detect if a Goa'uld symbiote was anywhere in the area.  For all he knew, the sensor's range might extend all the way into orbit.  As long as any symbiote was here, the device would not work.  Apparently, by the time SG-1 had come to Estrania, the sensor no longer functioned, otherwise Teal'c's presence would have shut the device down.

Daniel stared at the thing.  What was he going to do?  Though it wouldn't be easy, clearing the planet of symbiotes would be possible.  The problem was that, to do that, he'd have to tell Egeria the truth.  He had full confidence that she would never willingly tell any Goa'uld about it.  If he asked her not to, she wouldn't even tell the Tok'ra.  She obviously couldn't use it herself, and, even if she could manage to get it to work, he figured that she was smart enough to leave it alone.

No, the problem wasn't Egeria; it was Ra.  The Tok'ra did not know the whole story of what happened to Egeria after she was captured.  There was a good chance that Ra tortured her before he killed her.  That thought made Daniel sick, but he had to face the fact that it was likely.

Egeria was a strong person.  He wanted to believe that no amount of torture would make her break.  But could he be one hundred percent certain of that?  Did the memory recall device exist at this time?  If so, what if Ra used it on her to extract information?  That thought sent a chill down Daniel's spine.  If Ra pulled thoughts of him from her mind, the Goa'uld would recognize him when they met on Abydos and. . . .

'Crap.  Don't think about that.  Don't think about the fact that, by coming here, you might have wrought disastrous changes to the timeline.'

Pushing those thoughts out of his mind, Daniel put his brain back on track.  The point was that telling Egeria the truth would be taking a terrible risk, a risk too great to take just to get him back home.

So, what was he going to do now?  Find a remote spot on this planet and become a hermit?  Go off through the Stargate to an uninhabited world and stay there the rest of his life?  Perhaps he could go to Heliopolis, finally get the chance to study that universal language.  Would any of the four races still be assembling there at this time in history?  If the Furlings were there, maybe he could talk them into sending him back to his time.

Sitting down with his back against the pedestal, Daniel stared morosely at the doorway that stubbornly refused to close.  He closed his eyes and rested his head back against the stand.  He suddenly felt tired.  He'd gotten no sleep to speak of last night, and, now, he felt like all his energy had left him.  He needed to make a decision on what he was going to do, but he just felt so weary.  All this time, he'd thought about the day he could go home, and, now, he was never going to make it back.  He was trapped, stranded in a time that was not his with few options open to him.  The only option that he'd truly want to pick was the one he couldn't pick.  He could not stay here.  His presence in the city, interacting with Egeria and the Tok'ra for however many years he lived, would be far too dangerous.

With a sigh, Daniel picked up his notes and stared at the words and lines he'd translated in the hope that there was something, some clue hidden somewhere that would lead him to some kind of on switch.  Yeah, right.  Like that was likely.  It wouldn't be too bright for the Furlings to have an on switch that any Goa'uld who learned their language could find.

"God, I wish you were here, Sam," he murmured.  "I bet you could find the sensor and disable it."

Seeing nothing in his notes, Daniel got up and began going over the writing on the walls of the room.  There was writing elsewhere in the ruins as well, but he figured that if there was anything at all that was going to help him, it would be here.

Daniel's instincts drew him to the wall that contained the various sayings.  As he scanned the text, it occurred to him that, if you wanted to hide something in plain sight from the Goa'uld, a great way to do it would be to disguise it as something they'd considered worthless.  He doubted that there were many Goa'uld that would pay much attention to these kinds of sayings.  They'd look upon them as a bunch of silly rubbish, of no value.  They certainly wouldn't consider that instructions for the device would be hidden within the words.

During the months that he'd been studying the language, Daniel had devoted only a small portion of his time translating the sayings.  He now realized that was a mistake, one that he needed to correct now.

Starting at the top of the wall, Daniel began the slow, laborious task of translating sentences of a language that he still didn't know fully.  He'd been at it for around forty minutes when he found one that made him pause.

"Our thoughts have the power to take us where our feet lack the skill to tread."

On the surface, one might think that it was talking about the imagination's ability to take a person places that they couldn't go in reality.  What made Daniel think it might mean more than that was the saying right below it.

"If time is a river, the mind is its bridge."

That seemed to be talking about both imagination and memories.  With our memories, we could go back into our own past; with our imagination, we could envision the future and create a picture of the more distant past.

Many people would look upon these two sayings as merely words of wisdom, but they were both present in a room that contained a device that sent people through time, on a journey that you could not take by physically walking – a device that had no visible means to set the date to which you wanted to travel.

Daniel thought about the day he found the device and accidentally activated it.  Since that day, he'd wondered why it brought him back to this time.  Why this moment in history as opposed to any other?  Up until now, he hadn't come up with an answer except that it was a case of pure happenstance.  But, now, he was remembering what went through his mind the second before he was engulfed in the light.  He'd been thinking that it would have been nice to have known what Goa'uld lived in the place he was about to die.  And, lo and behold, he got his wish.  The device took him back to a time when he could learn what Goa'uld had lived here.

There was no dial, no clock, no physical settings for controlling where the device sent you.  It was all done with thoughts.  With the mind, you could cross time.

Daniel looked back at the device.  But what good did this do him if he couldn't get the thing to work?

His will hardening, Daniel returned his focus upon the writings.  Come on.  It had to be here.  There had to be a way.

Another hour passed, an hour of Daniel wishing that he'd asked the Asgard for a Furling/English dictionary.  There were too many characters of the language that he still couldn't read, too many sentences that he couldn't fully translate.  What if the one he needed was among them?

Then his desperate search came to a screeching halt on one sentence.

"To escape in the presence of evil, one must look in perpetual shadow."

Daniel blinked and read it again.  Huh?  It was totally illogical.  It made no sense.  On a wall filled with a plethora of wise, truthful, and meaningful statements, this one stuck out like a sore thumb.  In fact, it seemed to be saying just the opposite of what you'd expect.  Evil was always pictured as something of shadows and darkness, whereas light was a metaphor for good.  Granted, this was the way humans thought of it, but would the Furlings' way of thinking be the exact opposite?

"To escape in the presence of evil. . . ."  It was what he wanted, to escape this time when there were evil Goa'uld symbiotes present all over the place inside Jaffa.

Perpetual shadow.  Daniel looked about the room.  Right now, there were lots of shadows, but if the lights were turned on, most, if not all of them, would vanish.  The doorway had an eastern exposure, which meant that when it and the front entrance to the building were open, the room would be illuminated with the morning sun coming in at an angle.  His eyes fell upon the pedestal.  There was only one spot in the entire room that would always be in shadow.

Grabbing the lantern, Daniel got down on his hands and knees and looked on the underside of the large dome top of the time device, which, like a mushroom cap, extended far out from the stand upon which it sat.  He found more writing there, going all the way around, but there was only one area upon which he focused: the one on the opposite side of the room as the doorway, where there would be a shadow even when the morning sun was coming into the room.  That spot contained a lone sentence.

"On the twelve marks of time's face, six is the key."

"Great," Daniel muttered.  "Of course it couldn't just say, 'Push this button.'"

Daniel got to his feet.  He stared in frustration at the device.  The twelve marks of time's face.  If this was Earth, he'd say it was referring to a clock, but Daniel wasn't seeing any clocks around, so it had to be something else.

That's when he noticed that all the way around the central part of the dome, the part that opened when it activated, were little grooves in the metal.  He'd passed them off as simply decorations.  He counted them and found that there were twelve.  And then he saw something else.  So tiny that it would be easily overlooked was a single raised dot right on the rim of the central disk.  The dot was in line with the very top groove, what, on an Earth clock, would be the twelve o'clock position.  Daniel stared at the groove on the opposite side, the one that would be six o'clock on an Earth clock.  The length of the days on this world were virtually the same as Earth's and, again like Earth, had been divided by Egeria into twenty-four units.  If the Furlings marked time in similar increments, it was feasible that they'd design clocks with twelve numerical positions, just like Earth did.  The problem was that there was no way to know if the numbers were laid out the same.  What was the twelve o'clock position on an Earth clock could be the one o'clock position here.  There really wasn't any way to know.  He just had to make the assumption that the positions were the same.

Praying that he was right, Daniel placed both hands on the central disk and tried to turn it.  For several seconds, it refused to move, then slowly, grudgingly, it began to rotate.  Daniel turned it until the dot was in line with the six o'clock mark.  Beneath his fingertips, he felt the slightest of vibrations.  He immediately hit the button to close the door and, much to his relief, watched it slide shut.

Smiling, Daniel looked back down at the device.  The smile vanished when he saw that the center disk was slowly turning, making its way back to its original position.  Realizing in dismay that the thing was on a timer, Daniel also guessed that he had just one shot at this.  If he missed this window of opportunity, he wouldn't get another chance.

Closing his eyes, Daniel pictured in his mind the area as it was or, rather, would be over two thousand years from now.  He imagined himself in this room, what he was doing when he activated the device that first time.  Knowing that it probably wouldn't mean anything to the device, he also firmly put the date and time in his mind.  Then, keeping those images in his thoughts, he opened his eyes and pressed the symbols to activate the time device.

Like on that day months ago, the top of the dome slid open, and a blue orb began to rise from the opening.  Daniel stood still, eyes yet again closed, nothing in his mind but the images of what point in time he wanted to go.  He heard the hum growing louder as the light from the orb shining through his closed eyelids grew brighter.  And then the flash came, engulfing him in brilliance.

Cautiously, Daniel opened his eyes to see the door sliding open.  The first thing he noticed was the light shining in through a hole in the roof of the other room.

"Daniel, come in."

The muffled voice made Daniel jump a mile.  He stared down at the satchel in surprise.

"Daniel, respond," said the voice that the archeologist now realized was Jack's.  He went to the satchel and quickly rummaged through it for his radio.

"I'm here, Jack."

"Where are you?  I've been looking for you for the last five minutes."

"Um . . . sorry.  I . . . I got caught up in something.  Where are you?"

"I'm outside the ruins.  I've dragged Carter out of there.  It's time to head back to the gate, and I don't want to hear you complaining.  So, get your butt out here."

Daniel looked down at what he was wearing.  Crap.  He never changed his clothes.  He'd intended to do so after closing the door.

"Okay, I'll be out in five."

"I'll be counting the seconds."

Daniel hastily pulled his BDU's and other things from the satchel.  After removing his sandals and the loincloth, he got his boxers on, then pulled off the tunic.  Pants, T-shirt, socks, boots, vest and sidearm were donned with lightning speed.  He did not put on the jacket, which was wrapped around the vase.  Very glad that he'd had the foresight to stick all his things back in their original vest pockets before leaving the palace, Daniel stuffed all his notes in one of the pockets and put his Roman clothing in the satchel.  After blowing out the wick of the lantern, he hid it and the satchel in a small alcove in the wall.  He ran a hand through his hair to smooth it down, picked up the vase, and exited the ruins.

Jack was looking at his watch as Daniel approached his teammates.

"You're late," the colonel said.


Daniel couldn't stop himself from smiling as he looked at his fellow members of SG-1, thinking that it was really great to see them.

"What's the smile for?" Sam asked, returning it.

"Oh, nothing.  I just had a pleasant thought, that's all."

"Well, my pleasant thought is to get back home in time to at least catch the second half of the game," Jack responded.

Sam noticed that there appeared to be something wrapped in Daniel's jacket.  "What's that?" she asked.

Daniel carefully unwrapped the vase.  "It's a vase, seventh century Roman."

"You found it in the ruins?"

Daniel paused only a moment before replying.  "Yeah."

Sam looked at the vase.  "It's beautiful.  It looks brand new.  It's amazing that it managed to survive."

"Yes, it's in excellent condition.  If it's all right with General Hammond, I'd like to take it home."

"I don't see why he wouldn't allow it.  After all, it's only a vase."

Daniel smiled secretly, wondering what she'd say if he told her the truth.

"Yeah, only a vase," he murmured.

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