Summary: Daniel's hearing voices again. Sam's tinkering with some power, but will she inadvertently strand the guys for eternity as she does it? Teal'c decides that now would be a good time to learn about chemistry. Yet another cliffhanger, in more ways than one.
Usual thanks to Alph for betaing this tripe *g*. I really don't know how I get away with it.
Time seems to be the most common theme in our discussions recently. I suppose that for me, an archaeologist, that's not necessarily unexpected. But the rest of them are at it too. Trying to figure it all out; timelines, who did what and when - and to whom - and the one that's confusing us the most. Just how are the various places we've visited which are so mind-bogglingly old even standing, let alone in good condition?
Okay, indoor places... If the air is clean, free of fungi, insects, damp... Possibly. But external buildings, or just the outside of these otherwise 'hermetically sealed' buildings, just shouldn't be in place so many thousands of years after they've apparently been abandoned. I guess that 'apparently' is the operative word.
The easiest answer is that the ancient peoples seemed to have better building materials and techniques than us. Perhaps that's too simple an answer, but given that we've visited places we know to be millions of years old... What else - reasonably - can it be?
I'm lying on my back, staring up at the ceiling. Jack's in the bathroom. He'd put a coffee on the side table to rouse me before he entered it, and believe it or not, I haven't started to drink it yet. So I haul myself up and knock it back before he gets out of the shower. He thinks I'm going flaky again (well, more than normal), so I don't want to add fuel to that particular fire.
There. Gone. And very nice it was, too.
Back to time. Back in time? Forward in time? Or is time standing still? Oh hell, there are days I wish I hadn't bothered waking up and this is definitely one of them. I need another coffee.
"Coffee?" I hear as Jack walks through the door, a towel loosely slung around his hips, water dripping off him...
"Are you a mind-reader all of a sudden?" I tease.
"One of my many talents," he replies, his eyebrows waggling.
To stop him worrying about me, and, well, because I enjoy the hell out of it, I reach out, catch hold of his hand and pull him on top of me.
"Multitudinous," he says with a grin. "Innumerable, countless..." He pauses for a moment and then comes up with, "Oodles."
"Sorry," I gasp with laughter. "You were doing really well until then."
"You don't like oodles?" he asks, pretending to be hurt.
"Depends on what there's oodles of."
"Ah. Uh, how about this?"
And he lays a kiss on me - you know, the sort when you could die happy. Only you don't want to because that would mean this ends.
One thing I know for sure is that sex takes his mind off worrying about me. Hell, it takes his mind off pretty much everything. So, in the long tradition of many a wife (and why did my mind just think that? It's just an analogy. Honest), I'm going to resort to the one trick guaranteed to get him on my side.
Am I that venal? Am I, in a sense, prostituting myself just so that I can have a quiet, well, quieter life? I put out and in payment, I get what I want.
I guess most relationships have an element of that in it, at least from time to time. I know that Shau're would 'distract' me like this whenever she wanted to get me away from the hieroglyphs in the pyramid.
Oh, what the fuck? As I'd thought to myself, it's not like I don't get as much out of it as he does.
He's still kissing me. Needless to say, I'm joining in. Giving it plenty of gas. Want him to think I'm still interested in him. Hold up, that's not what I meant. I'm way more than 'interested'. I love him. God, do I love him. I'm seriously attracted to him - though that's not as important, and it gets less so as time goes on. Perhaps that's what I meant by it. I need to show him that just looking at him still does turn me on. I break from the kiss, gasping for air.
I love you, I tell him, unable to say it out loud just yet.
How much? he jokes.
I stop, frown - I can feel myself doing it - and then come up with an idea. Now that I've got some breath back I speak out loud.
"You really want to know?" I ask him seriously.
"Uh, well, I already know," he replies, unsure as to where this is going.
"Really? I mean, do you absolutely, unequivocally know how much?"
"Sure. I don't doubt you, Daniel. You know that, don't you?"
"Of course. This isn't a question of you doubting me, or me doubting you for that matter. It's just sometimes I'm not sure you totally grasp it. The depth of feeling, I mean."
"We share our emotions and stuff all the time," he harrumphs, pointing to his head.
"Let down all of your barriers, Jack. Even the most basic ones you keep up when we're together. The ones you don't even think about."
I see him swallow hard and I understand why. Better than most, I guess. As soon as we became telepathic - even between ourselves - and as soon as we realised the extent to which it reached, we had to work hard on locking away our thoughts, our emotions... And more to the point, blocking other people's thoughts and emotions from our heads when we'd been enhanced. It hasn't been easy.
As a result, we've all developed a set of barriers; the basic ones are the strongest, like reinforced concrete compared to sun-baked brick. The strongest ones, to put it into a more physical context, are 'closest' to our brains, like an inner fortification or a safe room in a paranoid person's house (Yes, we're all paranoid these days and with good reason. After all, there are people out to get us).
Then there are other walls, each with its own 'position'; the 'further' they are from the centre, if it can be said to be so, the weaker they are. I, particularly, have had to work on many sets of barriers which go between those extremes of strength.
We can pick and choose which 'doors' to these walls to open up and which to bolt shut, though it tends to start with the weakest and then work progressively 'inwards', depending on what we want to know. The 'sun-baked brick' ones are the ones we routinely drop to feel our way through new encounters. They allow emotions in, but on a limited level.
The one thing we rarely do is drop every single barrier. To tell the truth, it's a very frightening act. I did it on Arawn's world and though I didn't admit it, I was scared out of my mind that I wouldn't get them back up again.
Give him credit though, he's done it. He nods slowly, staring into my eyes. I stare back into the depths of the brown and soon that's all I can see, so then I do the same thing. I'm terrified, to be honest, and I know he can feel that. I can feel his fear too, but I get the urge to do this.
I've never truly believed that he absolutely does get my love for him. Now he's getting it for real. I shut my eyes and project every emotion, every single tiny bit of it. He may have academically understood I loved him before, might have been able to convince himself I'd never leave him, that I'd never deliberately do anything to hurt him - that I'd die to protect him. Now he's getting it. In cart-loads. Every microgram of love, if it can be measured that way, is flooding into his mind and, more importantly, his heart.
I open my eyes when I hear a thump. He's flat out on the bed, unconscious. Crap. What have I done?
"Jack!" I quickly bring up my barriers to protect him as I shake him and shake him until I see his eyelids flutter and start to open. "God, Jack, are you okay? I'm sorry, I didn't realise it would hurt you."
He weakly reaches out to me and I get the message. I lay down next to him, more or less on top of him.
"Wow," he groans. "You're right. I mean, I knew, at least I thought I did. I believed in you, Danny. I believed every word you said about how you felt for me, but..."
"I know. Trust me, I know."
He looks at me curiously and then there's a look of understanding in his eyes.
"When?" he asks.
Meaning 'when did I discover just how much he felt for me'?
"When Apollo left me and I had no barriers at all. Even through the fear, the panic, the noise, the pain..." I shut my eyes tight as I try to forget the sense memories of that moment. "Even through all that I experienced what you were feeling. Your anxiety for me - your overwhelming terror, really - but most of all, your love."
Doesn't mean I still don't get times of doubt, but hey, I just have to remember that time and they pale into insignificance soon enough.
"Wow," he says again, grinning now.
"Yeah. Wow," I agree. "Pretty amazing, isn't it?"
"Incredible," he nods.
I wonder when the guys are going to emerge? I know Jack's awake because he's already made the coffee and taken it back into their room. He said he was going to have a shower so he'd be a while, but they're taking longer than I thought they would.
I'm just about to knock on their door when I detect something which makes me step back. Intense love. Actually, intense doesn't even come close. I'm just glad that I haven't let any barriers down and this is just one of those 'brush the surface' feelings that we always have around each other, and anyone else we meet, just to see how the land lies, mood-wise. I get the impression that if I were to dig deeper, I'd need a defibrillator to get me going again.
I'm thinking it's going to be a while before we head off to Heliopolis.
In the meantime, I can get myself prepared. I've made sure that all of the cameras have blank cards in them, that we have everything we should need to investigate that element-cum-universal language, DHD-lookalike. Before being dragged off to bed last night, Daniel suggested that we even take things like tape measures and protractors to measure the angles of the placements of the holograms.
I've gone one better than that, I have a laser 'tape' which will do all of that to a very fine degree of accuracy and far quicker than the 'manual' method. We'll need to measure everything, record everything, and look for anything at all that we missed before. All of the previously-made records are back at the SGC and the one thing we cannot do at the moment is go back there to look them up.
Perhaps, if the worst comes to the worst and that room has disappeared, we might need to, but we'd rather not draw any attention to what we're up to in case the NID (and therefore possibly Zeus) gets wind of it.
Teal'c's following Jack's idea about what we'll need. Ropes, survival gear, rations, the usual sort of stuff that Daniel doesn't think about. He's afraid that the room is going to be there and that Daniel will insist on going to it, but that it's going to be in a very precarious state (and, quite possibly, ready to collapse). Needless to say, Teal'c agreed.
Whereas he feels he can 'forbid' me from entering a dangerous place (he doesn't really forbid me, he just makes it plain that he's not happy about it and I usually acquiesce to keep him quiet), he doesn't think he has the right to do more than advise Daniel. And Daniel, being Daniel, usually thanks him for his advice and ignores it as politely as he can. So Teal'c likes to be ultra-prepared for any, even remote possibility of danger. Which also means that I'll get to go and play, because if Daniel's there, I can go. Woo hoo!
I think it was despite his better judgement, but over supper last night, Daniel did drop hints that he wasn't sure about Frankie being 100 per cent right regarding the mystery element being, well, an actual element, at least in its purest meaning.
It's the whole ore-processing thing that's gotten him thinking, something which was brought up by Frankie herself while we were there, comparing it to iron ore, and I see what he means. Though he tried to put it as tactfully as he could, he is right. We're not chemists. We're physicists and engineers. Chemists are the ones who work on the elements and find out what they do, how they work, which ones can be put together and which are best kept apart. Simplistic, I know, but that about covers it.
Of course, the range of what they do is far greater than that simple explanation. Take biochemistry, for example. Everything from mapping the genome to mixing chemicals to create cures for diseases.
Just as in physics, where there are different specialities which 'branch off' from the main subject, there are countless forms of chemistries. But all boil down to the same thing; which elements do what? Which elements make 'workable' molecules? What isotopic qualities do they have? What do they do, how do they react - or not, what happens when you combine them and why does it all work that way? Then they apply it to their own particular field.
Physicists don't do that - well, not often, and seldom out of habit. It's only comparatively recently that physicists have entered the rarefied atmosphere of the chemists' lab (and on the odd occasion, that is a very accurate description, especially when they're working on some of the more unusual gases). Other than physical chemists, or for that matter, nuclear physicists, those who straddle the scientific divide, most physicists tend to leave the really fiddly bits of chemistry to those who are best qualified to deal with it.
In other words, not us.
What we do is take their knowledge and apply it to our fields. Without their work we wouldn't have such useful 'gadgets' as mass spectrometers or spectrographs. Without that, we wouldn't know a fraction of what we do know about the universe. Geologists wouldn't be able to date rocks or know what they're made of. Biologists wouldn't know what makes the various life forms tick. Without the old alchemists, the chemists' forerunners, we wouldn't have science as we know it. They may have started out in a more occult setting, but eventually they became the true scientists we know and owe so much to.
As an astrophysicist, I have a certain degree of knowledge regarding chemistry, mainly to do with its application in identifying the makeup of stars and so on. In fact, I couldn't do my job without that knowledge. I probably know more than some other types of physicist. But would I know all about these various elements to the point where I could enter into a detailed discussion of what each one does and so on, with someone who does know? Uh, nope. Definitely not. I'd be way too worried about looking like an idiot should I get something wrong, or the details start getting too fine.
So, though it hurts to admit ignorance, especially in a scientific area, I have to agree with Daniel that it is a distinct possibility that Frankie's dangerous element may not have been correctly identified. She was close - damned close - and it is dangerous, at least it has that potential. But she didn't have access to much analytical kit, let alone one of those atomic microscopes out in the field, the ones which use X-rays to actually see the structure of atoms.
They're amazing machines: horrendously expensive, massive (they're no ordinary microscopes, that's for sure), but they really do allow chemists to see atoms! I've seen one in action at a university lab and it blew my mind as I truly realised what it was that I was seeing.
Short of looking inside an atom - which we can only really do with spectrographs, looking at the unique light signatures that each element gives off - or particle accelerators where we see the aftermath of particles colliding, but again, only via a readout, I was effectively looking at the smallest thing it's possible to see.
So of course, there was no way for Frankie to do that wherever it was they were when they were taking the machines apart. She'd have been looking at it with an engineer's eye too, I'm sure. I'm not even sure if she used Gimli's spectrographic scanners on it. Even if she did, would she have recognised what she saw as an element in its purest form? Especially as it's not on any list of elements we have. I don't know.
And to be honest, I don't want to hurt her feelings and ask... (Know how Daniel felt last night when bringing the subject up.)
But, having given it some serious consideration, it looks more and more like it's the processing which causes the danger. The thing is, that could mean one of two likely scenarios that we can see - and short of consulting a chemist, one of whom we don't have handy, we can only go on what we can guess at.
One: the metal (we've agreed on that much at least) really is an element and the processing makes it pure. It is the purity of it which makes it dangerous. Some well-known elements in their pure form are very volatile to say the least, so that's not beyond the realms of possibility. It is possible that the rock which contains the ore somehow controls the level of danger from the element itself - like uranium compared to uranium ore (assuming no other elements like radium and so on are in the ore). You can't make a bomb directly from the ore. You can make a bomb big enough to destroy a planet with the purified element if you had enough of it.
Two: the processing adds or takes away something, to or from the ore (well of course it takes stuff away but I'm thinking at the atomic scale rather than large chunks of rock), and it's that which turns a possibly benign material into a potentially addictive, malignant one. His thought, based on Frankie's own analogy, that iron ore is melted with such things as limestone is making us think down those lines.
Even though all of the added items are removed as slag, a small part of their chemical makeup surely must remain, even in trace form, like the slightest hint of carbon from the coke.
It must be damned near impossible - at least on an industrial scale, rather than in a laboratory - to make iron so pure that all it has property-wise is what is to be found on the periodic table. Same number of protons, electrons, the exact density and mass, the precise melting point to any number of decimal places... No extra or missing neutrons creating an isotope. Not even the slightest hint of anything else if looked at in the spectral field. Everything which would identify it as iron and only 'virgin' iron. Wouldn't it?
Unfortunately, this is one area where neither of us has complete knowledge. I know I've heard about engineering accidents caused by mildly-contaminated construction materials, especially metals, so my inclination is towards there being some sort of interaction, particularly when taking into account the massive scale of the processing plant. If that wasn't the equivalent of one of those giant steel mills on Earth, I'd like to know what it was.
No way was it a lab. Not even the largest biochemical research and development facilities with their own, built-on medicine-making factory is that big. We're talking miles across in all directions. And that's why we're thinking contamination. Of course, given that it's alien tech, who in hell knows if we're even close?
I'm not sure if this is going to be important in the end, to be honest. The plain fact is, the processed metal is not something any of us want to go near, especially with the nanocytes in our blood.
There was a third thought and that is that its interaction with the naquada is the key to creating its real power. It is possible that away from the naquada, it's benign. After all, turned into a weapon, naquada is dangerous! But I can handle it on its own with no ill effects. The trouble with the machines that the guys checked out was that they were both powered by naquada. The unknown element then seemed to be the one to do the good - and the harm, depending on your exposure-level.
There is always the possibility that over time, because we're sure we're talking in the thousands, if not millions of years, the naquada had somehow contaminated the other metal, possibly by an exchange of electrons, and some sort of reaction, along the lines of rusting, had taken place.
They were convinced it was an element though...
Ack, stop it Sam! Gold has to be processed, they add cyanide to it if I remember correctly, to get the gold out of the rock. The gold ring on my finger is 18 carat. That means it's only three-fourths pure, yet I'd classify it as an element as it stands. A chemist wouldn't, but I would, even knowing I was wrong. I know it has other things in it - silver, copper, potentially other metals, but it wouldn't matter to me. To me, it's essentially gold. And by definition, it would be gold to Frankie.
Is it possible that she's missed something that simple? Am I going to ask her without some form of proof to back me up? No way in hell. She's way stronger than me!
In the end, the only thing that really matters is the fact that both the Furlings and the Goa'uld had use of the element and used naquada to add power to it. And that is the scary bit.
The more I think about it, the more I think Daniel's hitting the nail squarely on the head. The Goa'uld were nothing more than a mistake by the Furlings. Let's just hope that they've truly realised what they did and are prepared to help us clear up their mess.
A Daniel in love is a Daniel to behold. Always thought that. Thought it when I saw him with Shau're way back in the beginning. It hadn't taken him long to fall for her, or for her to fall for him. Might have been a 'political' marriage to start with, but it probably took all of a day for it to become a love match. And boy, did he love her. Still does. Always will.
She's the only one I've never really been jealous of.
Anyway, I'm currently beholding him again. Or rather, I'm being held by him. The way we'd started out, I thought he was going to get me to fuck him. After feeling what he, er, feels (not compos mentis at the moment, bear with me till I get my linguistic abilities back if you want some variation), well, all I could do was lay down and let him do his worst. Best. Whichever. One thing you can be sure of is it's not somewhere in the middle.
I'm flat on my back, my legs are over his shoulders and he's buried to the hilt. Slowly but surely, I'm being nailed into the bed. I had woken early because I thought he was keen to get to wherever the hell it was. Can't remember much right now. It seems he's changed his mind, at least for the moment. Not sure he's gotten anything in his mind except for driving me out of mine.
God, he's good at this.
"So, we're ready to go?" I ask.
We've cleaned up (I showered again - kind of a necessity given the state he left me in), eaten, washed up the breakfast stuff, checked out the supplies and we're all standing around looking like a bunch of lemons.
"Think so," Daniel agrees.
"Think? Have you forgotten something?"
He shrugs. "Won't know till I get there and realise I don't have something with me."
I know what he means. We're usually having to use something for what it wasn't intended. Planning this sort of trip is kind of like recovering from amnesia. How could you know when you'd gotten all your memory back if you'd forgotten everything in the first place? So how do you know what you're going to need until you get somewhere and find a new situation you weren't counting on?
Hey ho, guess it's time for a beam up.
"Ernest said in his diary that he'd searched around the castle or whatever it was for miles and that there was no sign of civilisation. Given that we have a ship, don't you think it might be a good idea to do a scan of the entire planet, just in case he was wrong?" Daniel asks as we approach the orbiting distance of the planet.
"Works for me," I agree.
Sam nods, sets the scanner and we wait, with more or less patience, for the result. Teal'c, natch, has the most patience. Believe it or not, I come next. What do I care about history and science? If there do turn out to be natives, though, I'm going down armed. The impatient ones are the ones who usually scold us two for lacking patience. Worked that one out? No? Me either. But it's true.
"Nada," Sam finally says. "Poor Ernest really was alone on this planet for fifty years."
"It's amazing he kept any shred of sanity," Daniel sighs.
Then he turns and looks at me, is about to say something when Sam calls out, "Hey guys, look at this. The castle is still standing. At least part of it is. There's a large trace of naquada in the shape of a gate below what's left."
She looks at Daniel, then at me and grins, "When I said you had no idea how close you were to not making it through, I'm not sure you totally grasped it at the time, but that is what I meant," she says, pointing at the signature. And the fucking great gap where it had been. Gulp.
Sam continues, "That standing part, at a guess, is where that room was. Ernest said it was the safest place after all."
"And, Jack, there's a power source, but not in the castle. At least not directly. There seems to be a room in the cliff underneath it. A basement possibly? Only it's not much above sea-level."
"Power source? What sort?"
She looks at me with wide eyes as the scan finishes sorting it out. "Naquada."
Whoa. Uh... "I didn't think those guys used naquada much."
"The Ancients did, but they didn't use it like the Goa'uld. They must have or else they wouldn't have had the gate system," Daniel reminds me.
Doh! "Good point. Could be one of theirs."
I look at the scan a little more closely and decide that we really should investigate. Some sort of Ancient tech may prove useful at a later date. Trouble is, Daniel's going to want to go to see that meaning of life thingy. And even bigger trouble is, there's another storm brewing. We would pick this time of year to come, wouldn't we? Ah, for all I know this is always 'that time of year' here. Could be a planet with a permanent case of PMS.
So, we're going to want to check out both places but to be honest, 'safe room' or not, I don't trust that structure to hold out.
"Uh, Jack, we've got our connection with Gimli," Daniel reminds me. "One call to her and we're out of there."
He's got another good point.
"Okay, Sam, Teal'c, you check out the power source. Main thing to look out for is to see if it's close to the sort of naquada generators the Goa'uld use now. Danny, you're with me. We'll go check the atomic doodad. First sign that the castle is going to crack and we go. No arguing!" Especially now we've seen where the gate is.
He rolls his eyes at me. I roll them back at him. In the end, and before this gets physical, Sam taps in the co-ordinates and moments later, we find ourselves in the room with the gizmo.
"Sam, Teal'c? You there?" First things first, check out the comms.
"'Lo? J'ck? Cr..ing 'p."
Sam? Teal'c? You hear me this way?
Just about, Jack. Comms are being interfered with.
Power source or storm?
Don't know yet. I'll need to check it out.
You do that Sam. I seem to remember that the storm here was particularly electrical, so to speak. Perhaps the air is full of static?
I hear her trying not to laugh at me, which probably means that the comms systems we have shouldn't be interfered with by static.
Something like that. Shall keep in touch.
Report in every ten. If you don't hear from us, get back up to the ship and start looking from there. We'll do the same for you.
I was half expecting her to say 'out' at the end of that, it reminded me of our radio traffic back on SG1. I'm getting lots of flashbacks to the 'old days' for some reason.
I look around and see that Daniel's already started up the device and it's as pretty as I remember it. He's oblivious to the danger that's coming, I'm sure of it. How he's missed the gusts of wind that are coming in here, I have no idea, but he doesn't seem to have noticed them.
What is it with him? In some situations, he's the first one to shout 'duck'; sometimes figuratively, often literally. And that was way before we got hit with any alien telepathy and related shit. He'd get this tingling sensation and if we didn't duck when he yelled it, we got hit. Guaranteed. But there's other times, times like this, when he's so engrossed in what he's doing that it's like he doesn't care.
It's not really that, but...
He cares about me, that's for sure. I'm still reeling from what happened this morning. In fact, the more time passes, the more amazed I am. But I have to put that to the back of my mind right now. He's looking at me as if he's going to say that he needs help. And the more I help him, the quicker we can get this done - the quicker we can get the hell out of here.
"Jack, get the camera out and film."
"Everything! But when I point at something, film that."
Okay, I can do that. Jonathan C de Mille at his service.
"Wow, Teal'c, look at this!"
I am looking where she is pointing, but I am afraid that I am missing the significance of the object.
"What is it, Samantha?"
"It's the power source. Only it's not a generator. Well, not as we'd know a naquada generator."
"You are sure of this?"
She shrugs. "Doesn't seem to be connected to anything. Look, no visible connection points."
"Not all power generators have visible connections," I remind her.
"True... Could be something like a microwave generator, transmitting power through a form of radiation. Now, how do we switch it on?"
"Is it not already switched on?"
"No. The ship just detected a 'buzzing' naquada source. Hmm... It's kind of like a TV on standby. It's not on, but it's not off. I just need to find out where the 'on switch' is."
"If it has one."
She looks at me with less patience than normal. "Figure of speech, Teal'c. Even if it doesn't have an obvious switch, it should have something which will make it power up."
"Is that wise?"
"Teal'c, we're here to find stuff out. If we were worried about being wise, we'd never learn anything."
"I thought that wisdom came with knowledge."
She shakes her head. "You'd better speak to Daniel about that. He'd be better placed to explain it. You know what he's like with the whole philosophical stuff."
"I shall ask him."
"You do that, but not now."
"No. He's probably working like crazy on the device. Jack's probably already getting on his nerves saying that he wants out of there, so you might not get the answer you were looking for."
"I see. In the meantime, is there anything I can do to assist you?"
"Help me find the 'on switch'?" she replies.
This is amazing. I'm getting way more than I did last time out. I've recorded all 146 elements that Ernest mentioned. Some are massive! I mean, so many protons and... neutrons and... stuff. Wow. Wonder where they'd fit on the periodic table?
I can't think about the consequences to science regarding that. It's beyond my understanding anyway. Can't wait to show it to Sam. She may not be a chemist, but she's a damned sight closer to being one than me. Wish I had the foggiest clue what it all means.
Though one thing strikes me, the higher number elements on Earth's periodic table - the ones after 92 - are man-made. They are also for the most part, if I remember Sam's words correctly, inherently unstable and don't last long. Fractions of seconds in some cases, but I could be wrong on that point. I also seem to remember that they are, in many of the cases, radioactive, and because of the number of protons and so on, they're heavy. Some are transition metals.
The words 'metal' and 'radioactive' might prove to be significant. But then again, they might not. Dammit, could do with some sort of scientific encyclopaedia right now. Knew I'd forget something.
The suggestion here, however, is that the higher-level elements, the ones that take the place of those man-made elements on Earth, are stable. Otherwise why would they be a part of this?
If they're only artificial, then how would all four races have known about them - at least enough to use it as a universal language? The Nox, for example, don't strike me as being particularly adventurous when it comes to science. They would probably know about all the natural elements, but not necessarily ones which can only be produced in a lab. So even if our scientists on Earth have managed to create these elements, even briefly, they must exist in nature, and possibly in quantity.
Think, Daniel, think. Sam said something about interstellar recycling. The older the elements and gasses and dust and so on, the more it had been reused by stars being created, living and then dying, then blowing them out into the galactic void, ready to be used again, either in star or planetary formation. And I think she said that the older they were, the heavier they were - and therefore further down the table. Which means...
Which means that if they've all been discovered by all four races of the alliance, then they all probably had to have travelled a lot through the galaxy. Because the older they are, the rarer, and I think that means that they're only going to be where the older planetary systems are, or in a nebula which was created by the explosion of a large supernova (quite possibly with this all going on a few times over). Must check with her regarding that, but I'm almost positive she said it.
Anyway, forget that now. The measurements are taken, the elements have been filmed - again - as have the writings on the wall. I can now translate them (the writings, not the elements), which is useful. I never had much time to work on this when we were back at the SGC and most of the stuff ended up at Area 51, much to my annoyance.
The four languages say pretty much what we thought they did: it's basically a peace treaty between the four races, agreeing to work on galactic harmony. No mention of the Goa'uld, though.
"Danny? Look here."
I go over to Jack and see what he's pointing at. There's a set of marks on a wall. It's in a dark shadow, in a sort of alcove, and hard to see. If he didn't have a really powerful flashlight with him, I'm not sure we'd have seen them at all. Wonder if Ernest ever saw it? He didn't mention it, not even in his 'debrief' when he got home.
"What language are they?" he asks.
"Uh... Ancient, I think. But it's not exactly the same. Um, technical blurb?" I offer.
I shrug. "It looks more symbolic than linguistic, but the shape of these symbols at the top are more reminiscent of the Ancients than any of the others. I wonder what it means?"
"Who knows? Shall I film it?"
"Sure. Perhaps we can work it out later. Give me the flashlight and I'll hold it for you while you film."
I move the light as he films, and notice that the symbols move all the way down to the floor. Including the floor. There's a large symbol, in the centre of which we appear to be standing - it starts on the wall, goes down to the floor, and as I twist to look behind myself, I see it goes up the wall behind us.
As we shuffle our feet around (there's no room here to move further away), we see some more of the symbols on the wall. The large one is not dissimilar to the Buddhist wheel. What's that doing next to Ancient symbols? Curiouser and curiouser. I wonder what this is? And why am I getting the impression that it leads somewhere? Okay, I've got to get there, wherever it is, and find out!
Okay, Sam, you need to get this on. Why need is the word I chose I don't know, but my curiosity is burning me. I've got to find out what it does!
"Samantha. Perhaps this is the switch?"
Teal'c points at a small area, about the size of a thumb pad. Could be. I reach over and press it. Teal'c hasn't bothered on the grounds that whenever he tries to operate Ancient tech it ignores him. Suddenly, I see that he was right. A light starts to warm up, the blue-white glow seems to reach out into the darkness.
We see that we're definitely in some sort of basement now; the walls are made of stone, not natural jagged rock. The light is almost like a stream of plasma rather than a flashlight-type beam, but weirdly there's no heat from it. We watch in amazement as it makes its way, snakelike, up towards the ceiling as if it's aiming for something. As it reaches the top, we realise that it's making contact with - well, with whatever it was aiming for, at a guess; what it is, I can't tell. It's still too dark and the ceiling is too far away for me to make it out.
"Can you see where it's going?"
"I cannot," Teal'c replies. "Although..."
"What's up, honey?"
"It is as if it has reached a certain point and has then disappeared."
"Yes. Had I shone a flashlight or even a burning torch at a solid object, the light would have spread out across at least a part of it. But here it just stops."
As we stare, I realise it's time to check in with the guys again. We've spoken twice already - it's taken that long to do the filming up there and the finding of the switch down here. We've also given up on comms chat. It's just not working. Might be the nature of the rock preventing communication. At least we have our telepathy.
Guys? You'll never guess what's happened!
I wait for their reply. Sheesh, they must have found something interesting.
Guys? Daniel? Jack!? Can you hear me?
Ok-ay, now I'm not so sure.
"Teal'c, can you contact the guys? I can't hear them."
He's silent for a moment and then he shakes his head.
"I cannot. However, your telepathy is stronger than mine," he reminds me.
"What shall we do?"
"As O'Neill instructed. We shall go directly to the ship and begin our attempt to find them from there."
"All right." I don't like this. I don't like it at all. "Gimli. Can you transport Teal'c and me to you, please?"
Nothing. Okay, I'll try the telepathy thing with her. Perhaps the interference is messing with our comms to the ship.
Hey Gimli. Could you beam Teal'c and me up, please?
"Daniel, would you like to explain what the hell just happened?"
"I'd like to," I reply, "but on the grounds that I haven't got a fucking clue, I can't. And before you ask, I didn't touch anything. I was only holding the light."
He counts to ten in his head, pauses, then shrugs. We've tried contacting the others but now we've even lost our telepathic connection. Not reassuring.
"Better have a look around to see if we can find something."
Something? There're lots of things. But this is scaring me. Do I want to know what's here? Of course I do. Whether it's safe for me to know these things - especially considering Zeus' reputation - I'm not so sure. Hey ho, I'm here now.
Reminds me of how I felt in that room in Thoth's place, somehow. Wonder if there's a connection?
"Uh, Daniel, look at this. This isn't just Ancient writing and it doesn't look like the other scripts on the walls in the meeting place or whatever it was."
I look to where he's pointing and see that it's another set of panels on walls, but this time there's more than either Ancient language or symbols, there are other types of writing. Some of which are darned familiar. Take this one, for example.
"Look, Jack. That's Ogham."
"What's that doing here? They said they hadn't really had much to do with the Ancients, only the Asgard for the most part. And they only knew of the alliance from their folk tales."
"Which would suggest that this place is probably even older than we'd first thought and more to the point, it was used a fair bit. It's possible that their ancestors, the ones Arawn mentioned, had actually come here. Look there - that writing is related to Sanskrit, I'm sure. And there, the cuneiform. Looks Akkadian to me."
"I thought that was the Goa'uld?"
"Later, perhaps. But not necessarily to begin with."
I look at the languages that I can translate and see that they're all saying much the same sort of thing. What of the Ancient 'notes' connected to each piece of other writing I can read leads me to only one conclusion. Thing is, I'm not sure if I either believe this - 'cause we're back to the 'coincidence' thing again - or my conclusion is barking mad. Wouldn't be the first time.
"So? What's it all say?" Jack asks.
"Jack, you do realise that despite my increased abilities, I can only translate languages that I know?"
"Natch. But you've been staring at that wall for the last fifteen minutes. Just reckoned you'd have figured something out by now."
Fifteen? I'd have said five, tops. Oops.
"Okay, from what I can tell this room, if not the whole castle, was built by the Ancients and it seems to be some sort of..."
"Give me a moment, I'm trying to think of the best equivalent."
I stare at the walls and it comes to me. "Lending library. At least the records department of one."
"Look. This set of runes here basically lists the information given to the Tuatha by the Ancients. This set, the one in cuneiform, is much the same only the information is a bit different."
"You reckon the snakes got a hold of that?" he asks.
"Not sure. The Goa'uld most definitely swamped Near East cultures and took over extant, or perhaps even created new gods. But there's enough unfamiliarity in this to make me think it was the language of a different species altogether."
"Which means there are, as we knew, other aliens out there, the Great Friendship, all of whom are probably listed here in one way or another. It doesn't say whether they visited this place or if the Ancients just used their writings as part of the records."
"You know who they all are?"
"Nope. But if we can film what's here, I can start working on finding out who they are. And that may be useful."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that if each group was given a slightly different version of the knowledge, then each one probably has its own gifts, so to speak. We've assumed that the Ancients gave the most appropriate bits of data to those who could use it. The Tuatha, at a guess, and based on their myths and legends, were already able to shape-shift. So the Ancients would have given them information on how to take it further."
"A sort of 'magic evolution'?" he asks.
"I guess. Kind of like what happened to us, only with knowledge not nanocytes. It was up to them to use it in the manner which they felt was most appropriate. And possibly, they chose bits of data which they wanted to use and left out bits which they could have used but didn't want to."
"What I want to know is why it was all shared out."
Protect them. But too late.
Ow. Head hurts. Knees hurt. Floor is stone. Could explain it.
"Oh. Okay. Take it easy, buddy." He holds me as I make it to my feet, watching me carefully as if I'm going to fall again. "You okay?"
"Um, getting there."
"You want to tell me what brought that on?"
"Don't know. Just had a piercing pain through my head."
"Right, we're getting out of here and I'm taking you for a brain scan."
"Jack, we can't go. We need to film this. Besides, we've already worked out that we can't contact the others or even Gimli. May as well find what we've got to find. Perhaps we were meant to come here?"
"But how? Who would have sent us here?"
"I don't know. Truly. But I want to know what's actually here. Maybe there's something here we're going to need?"
And this is the one conclusion I've come to. We've been sent here somehow. And I don't like it. I never like being out of control of my actions. There is just too much of a coincidence that we've ended up inside a room which seems to tell us that we've been on the right track all along. Does that mean we're on the same right track regarding Zeus? I have to forget that for a moment, Jack's talking.
I shrug. "If I knew that I'd be actively looking for it rather than at everything in general. Come on, head's already better."
"When you're constantly using pronouns, I might actually believe that," he mutters, but he does film the walls for me as I start searching the room.
We have a problem. We are assuming that the switching on of the machine has caused our inability to communicate with both the men and the ship. The logical conclusion to that is that we must switch it off and all shall return to normal. However, that is where our problem lies. Despite giving off no heat or some painful affliction, the light is not permitting us to shut it down. Each time one of us tries to reach the switch, a small ribbon of light drops from the beam and engulfs the switch, acting as some sort of shield.
"How long do you think this light shall continue to work?" I ask her.
"It's naquada," she sighs. "Could be thousands of years."
"We do not have that long."
I turn my head as she glares at me. Now is not the time to fight with my woman.
"We need to contact the guys. Get up there somehow," she says, pointing towards where the light is aiming.
"How do you propose to do that?"
I take my flashlight and shine it at the walls. It takes me but a moment to realise that using our climbing equipment, which we remembered to pack, will be of no use whatsoever. The walls are not climbable rock, they are cut, smooth stone. Neither is there any gap between the joints of each stone.
I think for a moment and then remember an image Daniel showed me of a settlement in South America. Peru, I believe. The image showed a great wall with extremely large stones, cut not into pure squares or rectangles but with slightly differing shapes. However, each stone was so perfectly cut that it fitted to the others around it so tightly that not even the finest blade could get in-between them. This is like that.
To be sure, I take out a piton and a hammer and attempt to affix it to the wall. The metal of the piton bends. It will not be possible.
"I don't know," she sighs and sits down. I join her.
I must consider this problem. The room is enclosed. There is no way out of it; no windows, no doors, not even a crack which could be enlarged. For the Ancients to have installed this power source, they must have used some form of transportation device. But unless they used rings, such as the Goa'uld have, I would not be able to detect it. Perhaps there are some? The Goa'uld, after all, did seem to develop their technology on Ancient, and possibly Furling technology.
I tell Samantha what I have thought and we both stand up and walk around in the hope of sensing some transport rings. By the time we have covered the entire floor space, she is looking forlorn. There are no rings.
"I guess we wait for a while," she sighs, sitting back down.
"We could eat to pass some time?" I suggest.
She sighs even louder, then nods. "Get the rations out," she says in the most resigned tone I have heard from her in a long time. "Though be careful how much we use. We have no idea how long we're going to be stuck here after all."
Daniel's scaring me. These sudden headaches - well, debilitating pains, to be more accurate - are really scaring me. They're not normal. What if he's getting some sort of brain tumour? I've already decided that when we get out of here ('if' is not an option), he's having a brain scan. Don't care how much he says he's 'fine', it's happening.
I'm betting there's a connection to that time on Thoth's world. Why shouldn't he be allowed to remember something? I remember him fiddling with his arm, though there's nothing there. It was like he was suddenly wearing a tight armband or something like that.
But I can state categorically, there ain't anything there. I've kissed every inch of that arm since that time and didn't sense anything unusual. Hey, a guy can't be too careful! If I've gotta get sneaky to keep him safe, I'll be as furtive as the foxiest fox.
He's scaring me by doing his job, too. Not only is he translating what he can, as fast as he can, dictating into his machine as I film the various writings, he's touching stuff, attempting to open doors which won't open and getting frustrated...
Hold on, that power supply door in Antarctica. He couldn't open it. I could.
"Danny, hold up."
"What?" he demands.
I wave away his complaints and reach for one of the doors he can't get open. A brief touch and it slides to one side.
"Oh. Thanks!" he says, sticking his head inside the cupboard or whatever it is. "Uh," I hear coming from inside it, "Jack, go around and open all the doors you can, would you?"
I'd ask why but I think the answer would be plainly obvious. Have no idea what we're looking for, but perhaps we'll know it when we see it. So I do as he says, open all the doors... Back up there, I can't get this one open and it looks different from the others.
"Daniel, look here."
He brings his head out of the cupboard, looks curiously at me and says, "What?"
"Can't open this one."
"Wonder why?" he murmurs, mainly to himself.
"What's in the others?" I ask. Didn't bother to stop and look.
"Nothing," he replies after looking in each one.
"Nothing? At all?"
"Nada. Zip. Zilch."
"So why the doors?"
He shrugs. "Perhaps there was something there once?"
I think for a bit - hey, I can think if I need to - and consider something he may not see.
"Think about it. If you have something you don't want anyone else to get their hands on, you can do one of a few things. You can lock it away in a bank vault, you can attach various security devices to it, or you can hide it in plain sight."
He waggles his head in a sort of agreement. "The best defence against a thief is not a six foot rod, it is poverty."
"A Zen saying, or at least words to that effect. The empty cupboards thing, I mean."
I stop, think about what he's said and realise he has a point. Covering for that, and not wanting to admit that I agree with him (got to keep him on his toes), I continue as I meant to go on.
"So - many doors, lots of cupboards. Much potential for stuff," I point out. "Someone comes here, how, I don't know, but probably much in the same way we did, and you know they're going to be at the very least curious if not downright thieves, so you let them open doors. After a while, they find nothing, they give up and go away. They might not bother looking in every cupboard if all the others are bare."
"But you had to open the doors," he points out.
I get another thought, and it ain't one that I like. "This place was most likely built by the Ancients. So only an Ancient, or someone like me who's been fucked about by them could open them."
He sees what I'm saying, so to speak.
"You think they were hiding something from an Ancient?"
"Possibly. Or someone they thought would be able to operate Ancient tech."
He sits on the floor, his eyes open wide and his mouth's following them in their direction. I reckon he's gone even further down that line of thought than I just did.
"Zeus," he mutters. "Oma was at the very least disconcerted by the thought of him."
"Disconcerted? Daniel, I may not know much about these floaty people, but I know fear when I see it, and she was shit scared when you mentioned him."
"So they must be afraid that Zeus could get here and find whatever it is that's behind that one door which doesn't open for an Ancient who doesn't know how to open it."
"I'd say so."
"The question is, then, do we even attempt to open it?"
"What do you mean?"
He looks up at me and frowns as if the answer is plain. It probably is.
"Remember what I've been saying? We can't fight Zeus with technology which he doesn't already know about or possess."
"You're assuming that he doesn't possess what's in here," I say, pointing to the door.
"On the grounds that he hasn't taken over the galaxy yet, I'd say there's a good chance he hasn't."
I'm bored. Scared for the guys, scared for me if I'm honest - don't want to starve to death after all, and this place is creepy... don't want it to be my tomb. Ugh! But mainly I'm bored.
Despite this being a totally enclosed room, space, whatever, we can hear the storm approaching outside. Now, I reckon we're going to be safe. At least unless the ceiling caves in, but let's not go there. No, what I'm most worried about is the guys if they're still 'upstairs'. Will they get out of there before the storm hits? Will they be stuck? Or worse...? Nope. Ignoring that thought too.
We've searched every inch of the place that we can search. There are no markings on the floors, on the walls or even on the machine. Well, nothing we recognise on the machine. Nothing at all elsewhere. We keep trying to switch it off every so often, hoping that at some point it will let us, but so far not so good.
God, I wonder what the guys are up to? Wonder if they think we've gone back up to Gimli and are looking for them? Hope not. Are they still just looking at that element holograph thing? Have they gone to Gimli and are looking for us? Hope so, but somehow doubt it. So many questions, not a single answer. Not the sort of state a scientist likes to be in. Not even a hypothesis to work on. No theory. Nothing.
I'm going to think something which would have my old English teacher in a real state. A double negative, only it's correct in this case.
I really don't like nothing.
If my theory is correct and we've been 'sent' here, directed somehow - by Oma perhaps? - then it is possible that we need to open that door. I look at it closely. It's big, seems to be a door into the wall rather than one of the other doors which are more obviously fronts to cupboards or something similar.
I guess we're only calling this a door because of our experience in Antarctica. It's a rectangular shape marked out like a door, this time though it's big enough for us to step through, but it's hard to see if the marks are actually breaks in the wall or just carvings to represent a door.
Oops - just thought. Wonder if the lights at Antarctica are on a sort of timer switch? Hope so or else they may get really ticked with us for leaving them on... Get back to the subject in hand, Jackson!
Another thought's just struck me. The element projector only works by measuring the atoms against their position on the floor. Is that important here? I look down at the floor and again see that symbol which looks like the Buddhist wheel, just as I did in that alcove. Did that send us into this room? Some sort of transport device or pressure-pad door opener, on an alien scale, naturally.
Though the Ancients seem to have connections with the Buddhists of old, they were originally thought to have connections to the Romans. But why the Romans? Yes, the language is like an even more ancient form of Latin but it doesn't look like it. Of course, the old Indo-European language which connects most European languages to even modern-day Hindi have the same basis. Might be where the connection is? But the philosophical emphasis is most definitely more Buddhist than anyone else's.
Having said that, it seems that Zeus, once he'd moved on from Greece - probably after it ceased being a power - went and joined, if I can use that phrase, with the Roman Empire, possibly via the Middle East if Gula was there. What is the connection between the Romans and the Indians two and a half thousand years ago?
Back then, the Romans weren't a force to be reckoned with. That only happened a bit later. So was it the Ancients? Were they behind the first language that we can trace in that region? Was it just that or was there more to it?
Oh God, I'm getting confused. Okay, stop trying to make connections. I get the feeling that perhaps the Ancients moved around anyway. Let's just look at what we've got here.
The 'door'. What's on it? Some writing? A few symbols, sure, but are they symbolic language, mathematics or even a 'magic' code? Who the hell knows?
"Perhaps it says 'door'?" Jack says. I'd laugh at his attempt at a joke but I don't have much of a sense of humour right now.
Uh... "Jack, I think you might be onto something."
"What? I was kidding!"
"I know. But I remember something, a Zen koan - a paradoxical proverb for which there is no real, or perhaps more correctly, no obvious meaning. Now, how did it go? It was something along the lines of a monk writing the Chinese ideogram for 'mind' on the wall, window and gate of his house. Um, another man said that a gate should have the symbol for gate on it. The answer was basically that it was perfectly obvious that a gate was a gate so why would it need naming?"
"And this helps how?"
"Mind. The ideogram was for mind. What was the first thing that happened to us that we really noticed when we'd been evolved? Not the slight improvements we recognised with hindsight, but the trigger for us recognising it at all."
"The telepathy and related shit?"
"What, you mean you have to open the door with the power of your mind?!"
I shrug. Possibly? Got to give it a try.
"I know this isn't going to be easy, but don't think of anything right now. And whatever you do, don't feel afraid."
"What do you mean?"
"If I'm going to stand any chance with this whatsoever..." I look at him and swallow hard. "No barriers. I just can't work if I'm picking up on your fear."
And this time we're not at home, safe in our bedroom. Neither do we have any backup. No one to even attempt to help me. Jack's going to have to protect me somehow, only he doesn't know how to, and I don't know how to either.
Scared? I'm crapping myself.
Samantha is betraying her anxiety more than she normally does. The storm is getting closer and closer; even through the thick wall which we assume to be on the side of the sea (if one puts one's hand on it, it is slightly colder than the others), we can hear the waves crashing. If only we could connect to the men, she would be more relaxed. Each time we try, however, we only become more frustrated.
This reminds me of the time I was captured by Tiwaz, afraid for my woman and my friends, yet unable to do anything, and, for the first time, truly understanding the sensation of boredom.
I could suggest something to take her mind off our problem, but do not feel that she will be particularly receptive to the idea at the moment.
We have spoken of many things. Ideas, plans for the future - including a future without Goa'uld in it. But these are, currently, trivial thoughts. We cannot plan for a future we cannot know. All we can do is hope that things are well and shall be well.
The more I consider Zeus, the more he unnerves me. Hades was, once he had broken his cover, an easy opponent. Too sure of himself. Too like a typical Goa'uld.
As Daniel has said, though each of them has a different personality, some being more reasonable than others, they all appear to have the same fatal flaw, and that is their ego. They do not accept the possibility that they could be wrong, that they may have misjudged a situation. Each time they reach that point, we are able to defeat them. With some it takes longer to get to that point than with others, but eventually, they all reach it.
Has Zeus? I wonder. Or is he, as the Tauri say, the exception that proves the rule? Aware of his own abilities and inability? Does he have, to use an appropriate phrase, an Achilles' heel? If so, how do we find it? I pose this question to Samantha.
After a period of thought, she replies.
"I just don't know, honey," she says with a sigh. "I only hope that Daniel comes up with something."
I deliberate for a while and then think of another question. "Do you think that Daniel knows more about this potential battle against Zeus than he is telling us?"
She shakes her head vigorously.
"Daniel wouldn't keep something as important as this from us."
"If he considered it to be the right thing to do, he would."
Again, she shakes her head. "Jack would sense it even if he couldn't 'hear' it. He couldn't keep knowledge from him. At least he would know that Jack would suspect something was up. That would put a barrier between them. Did you see them acting oddly this morning?"
"No, if anything, and though they said little on the way to this planet, they appeared even closer than normal."
She frowns, then tells me something. "I was going to knock on their door this morning. They were taking too much time getting ready. As I got there, I sensed something. Initially I thought they were, well, being them, if you know what I mean."
"Having sex?" I suggest.
"Exactly. But it was more. Much, much more than the normal emotions which leak out at times like that. It nearly knocked me off my feet. Actually, on the way here, I cornered Daniel and questioned him about it."
"Oh? What did he say?"
"That they had let down their barriers completely so that Jack could finally and totally comprehend how much Daniel loves him."
"I see." That is a unexpected revelation, as neither man is renowned for letting themselves become emotionally vulnerable. Then I think about what Samantha has said and ask, "Is there any way in which I could do the same for you?"
She is startled into silence, then she shakes her head gently, takes my hand and squeezes it, then says, "There's no need, honey. I already know."
I am relieved.
"Any time you like, Danny. Come on, just think that door open. You need to get it open. OW!"
He hit me. Why? I was only encouraging him.
He shakes his head, tells me to shut the fuck up and then stares at the symbols on the door. I recognise when he's gotten a clue as he reaches out to touch one of them. As he does, I hold my breath, waiting for the door to suddenly disappear or something, then he smiles when it doesn't do anything.
"Okay, what's up?" I ask him.
"I was right, but I have to go about this in a certain way," he says, more to himself than to me.
I watch with mounting curiosity as he stands back, looks at the image of the spoked wheel which is on the floor, then kneels down, gets a pencil out of his pocket and puts it on the one spoke which is pointing directly at the door. I'd ask what he was up to, but somehow I don't think I'd get a very civil answer at the moment.
He's counting the spokes, though why, I haven't a clue. Guess he's using the pencil to mark out where he started from - just as well as there's loads there. Finally, he nods to himself, stands up and says, "31."
"31? 31 what?"
Well I'd guessed that, I just want to know what 31's got to do with anything. I try again.
"And this means...?"
"That I was right."
"You already said that."
"Yes, but I didn't say why. Now I know."
You know, he says that talking to me is sometimes like talking to a brick wall. Actually, he sometimes says that it's easier to get a straight answer out of a brick wall. The words 'pot', 'kettle' and 'black' spring to mind.
"There are different forms of the Buddhist wheel. The dharmacackra. It's more common to see the eight-spoked wheel which represents the ariya maggra, the noble eight-fold way. But the 31 spokes represent 31 levels of existence. Eleven of desire, sixteen of form and four of formlessness."
"Formlessness, Jack. Remind you of anything?"
"You mean we've got to be one of those floaty Ancients to get into this place?"
"Perhaps, or perhaps it's just representative of the knowledge. Anyway, going back to my previous thought of the ideogram for 'mind', there's something else which is making a connection in my head. Whether I'm completely on the right track or not I don't know. Guess I'll only find out in a minute, but it does mean I have to get this right."
"Whoa! Wait there. What are you going to do and what do you expect to happen?"
"I'm going to stand, think and the door will open," he answers with a shrug. "But then again, it might not and the thing about only ascended Ancients being able to enter the room will be true."
"You're not going to suddenly ascend or whatever it is they do, are you?" I'm getting kind of worried now, especially as he's in one of his 'I'm going to do this my way, no matter the consequences to me' moods.
"I don't think so," he replies cautiously. The caution is 'cause he's scared I'm going to try to stop him.
"I have no idea how they ascended," he shrugs. "Have you?"
"Thought it had something to do with dying, like that poor monk on Kheb."
"Might do. Might not."
"What's the other thing?"
"Yeah, I know you. There's some other tack you've taken which is directing you this way."
Now he blushes a little. Not something that's normally seen outside of the bedroom. Let's not go there right now, shall we?
"Well, remember on Kheb the thing with the candle?" he asked, blushing a bit more furiously now.
"Never forget it," I agree. At least I understand the red face now.
"Well..." he starts, then he frowns. "One crack about Superman or any other cartoon character and I will hurt you," he warns.
I put my hands up in surrender.
"Well," he starts again. "One of the elements of Buddhism - and whether the two things, that of Buddhism and the ascension of the Ancients are directly connected or not, we're pretty much agreed that there's a cohesion between the philosophies and beliefs, aren't we?"
"We are. So... Elements?" And there's that word again...
"It's called abhijna. It's been translated variously but always to do with knowledge, sometimes covering a higher or even supernatural knowledge, including forms of ESP."
"What do they do with it? Light candles with their minds?"
He shrugs. "Jack, what did I do with the staff weapon pointed at me on Annwn?" he asks quietly.
Okay, I'll give him that one.
"There's a list of things, from telepathy and clairaudience to walking on water or through walls."
"Whoa, back up there. Walking on water? Are we back to the Jesus thing again?"
"He was supposed to have studied in India, according to some traditions, remember? It was more the walking through walls thing I was thinking about, though."
"And you're supposed to do this, how?"
"I think I have to stand on the hub of the wheel. It stands for the central core of discipline, including that of the mind."
"What, then think yourself in there?"
"I hope so."
I'm not sure I agree.
Teal'c looks at me with his 'concentration face'. It's a subtle change from his 'I am a Jaffa and glad of it' one; the one he wears out of habit. Most people wouldn't recognise the difference, especially in the gloom of this cave, room, whatever, but I can see it.
"You have been mentioning elements a lot. However, I have also heard mentioned other words in similar circumstances and wish to know if they are just interchangeable with the word 'element' or are different somehow."
"I see. What words would they be?"
"There are many, but some are 'isotope', 'proton', 'compound'... To name a few."
"Okay. Well, an element is a very good descriptive word. It's a... well, a thing, a piece of something, a substance, taken down to its very basic level where it cannot be broken down any further without destroying it completely. It's effectively a collection of identical atoms which contain the same amount of protons, electrons, neutrons and so on. A proton is part of an atom, a stable positively-charged particle which is equal to the negative charge of an electron."
"And a neutron?"
"A neutrally-charged particle found in the structure of the atomic nucleus. You see, it was long thought that an atom was the smallest thing there is, but now we know it to be constructed of varying amounts of these particles. Each element has a different number of protons, and the larger the number, the heavier the atom."
I don't go into strings and quarks and so on, that could just confuse matters.
"I see. And what of the other words?"
"A compound is a mixture, a chemical 'union' of two or more elements. It is strictly defined by the relevant proportions of each element. For example, you can get many compounds with silicon in it. SiO4 - we just say the element names in a shorthand form - is one atom of silicon with four of oxygen. It forms long chains in a tetrahedral structure. It's a common compound found in rocks. Add four atoms of hydrogen to it, its structure changes and it becomes H4SiO4, otherwise known as orthosilicic acid."
"What is the difference between that and a molecule? I have heard that water is so described and that has two hydrogen atoms and one of oxygen. That specific type of water must have the fixed ratio of each element as you have described regarding the compound."
"Ah, you love to ask the easy questions, don't you?" I ask rhetorically. "In simple terms, a molecule can be a compound, but not all compounds can be molecules. Molecules are joined together by chemical bonds whereas compounds can be joined together by chemical or other forces, such as ionic or electrostatic."
"I see," he says thoughtfully.
"It's not always easy to state that one is one thing or the other," I offer. "A single molecule cannot be broken down into smaller components without losing its identity. Also, a molecule does not have to be a mix of two or more different elements. Ozone, for example, is a grouping of three oxygen atoms."
He thinks again and then asks, "You have previously stated that some elements have been created. Is it not then possible for many more to be created by adding protons to a smaller element?"
"It is, but it isn't easy. Many of the newly-made elements exist only a few seconds or minutes. Some, however, are longer-lasting and have proved to have devastating consequences, along with some good ones."
"Plutonium. It's extremely important in the production of nuclear power, so that's the good bit, at least if you're a proponent of nuclear energy. But it's also used in nuclear bombs. That's the really really bad bit."
"I understand. One must be careful when one creates such elements."
"Is there a difference between atoms and isotopes? I have often heard the two words mentioned together."
"An isotope is an atom which has the same atomic number as an ordinary form of the atom but a different number of neutrons. Because the proton number is the same they are classed as that particular atom. But the atomic mass is different because of the neutrons. This can be useful at times. For example, some isotopes are radioactive..."
"Is that not dangerous?"
"There's radioactivity around us now, Teal'c. It all depends on the quantities and types of radiation as to whether it's particularly dangerous or not. Anyway, radioactive elements are inherently unstable to a greater or lesser degree. The isotopes decay the atom to what is known as a 'daughter' form.
"For example, just about every known living thing on Earth contains carbon, and there are two carbon isotopes which are of particular interest. Carbon 12 and 14. 14 is the radioactive isotope and it's the one which decays whereas carbon 12 is stable. Because we know the half-lives of these elements, it's possible to date things by counting the number of 'daughters' in relation to the 'parent' atoms, so to speak.
"Dependent on the nature of the item being dated, different isotopes are looked for. Carbon 14 is only any use for reasonably 'modern' items, up to about 50,000 years old, because of the rate of decay. Rocks are dated using elements with much longer half-lives, such as uranium 235 which decays to lead 207 over a far greater period of time."
I pause for a moment and then ask, "Is there a reason for asking this?"
"I am not sure. I remember that on our first visit here, there was much shock at how many elements were present in the universal language. I was just wondering if those above the elements found on Earth which are naturally formed were created or found elsewhere."
"That I don't know," I sigh. "I've thought of it a lot. Given that we found naquada, and that is on the higher end of the extended list we found here, I dare say that all the others must exist to some extent or other."
He's quiet; thinking, I guess.
"Is it possible that Frankie was unable to recognise this new element as being on the list because it had an unstable amount of isotopes in its purest form? She would undoubtedly have seen it in its 'daughter' form, as you put it."
"It is indeed possible. It all depends on whether she was able to actually count the protons or not."
"Perhaps we should ask her?"
I think on that and then smack my head and shake it. How the hell could I have forgotten that? All that thinking about this subject for no reason whatsoever. Damn! That'll teach me to be too clever by half! What a waste of time and effort! I'll blame Daniel - he got me thinking about it in the first place.
"Samantha? What is wrong?"
"She already did count the atomic mass. She said it was beyond that of the list."
"Is this relevant?"
"It could be. It all depends on whether the four races shared everything they knew regarding the various elements."
"You believe that the Furlings kept one to themselves?"
"It's possible, honey. It's very possible."
And I don't like the sound of that one little bit.
Okay, Daniel, now's your chance. Prove your theory. Or look like an idiot - again.
I'm standing on the hub and staring at the door. Of all the symbols, there's one which looks familiar but I can't quite place it. Think; what does it remind you of? It looks like an ideograph. Chinese? No. Not 'descriptive' enough. Far too simple. Break it down into its component parts. A rectangle with another one going off at an angle, creating a triangle on the top and a sort of trapezium with two parallel lines going vertically.
I turn my head from right to left to look at it sideways and then it suddenly dawns on me. It's an open door!
Right, that's it. I stare at it, focus my mind and let down all of my barriers. Despite his best efforts, I can feel Jack's fear for me, but he's doing all that he can to protect me from it. That's okay, I can deal with that. I'm scared for me too. What's behind the door? I must open it. Oma wants me to.
Whoa! Where did that come from? Never mind. Think. Think of a door opening and picture Oma at the same time. Come on, come on, I need this door open. I can't take Zeus on if I don't. Don't know why I know this but I do. Nothing's happening. I feel my body almost collapse.
"Perhaps you need to say something?" Jack tries when he sees me resting.
"Say something? Like what? Open sesame?"
And no, the door didn't open then. That would be way too easy.
"Uh, what's the Ancient for 'open the fucking door'?" he asks.
I'll admit to laughing at that one, but maybe he's got a point. So I try again, waving my hand at him to keep quiet. I stare at the image, think of Oma and then think 'ianua aperi' and hope that I've got my declension right...
Whoa again! It worked! I look over at Jack and grin, but before he says anything I say, "I was more polite than you."
He laughs, pats me on the back, and then - not letting me take a step - he points his flashlight at the darkness that's now before us, goes to the doorway and looks in there.
"It's empty," he announces.
"No it's not," I counter. Otherwise, why in hell's name would I have just had to have gone through all that? Unless we're too late. Please don't say we're too late!
"Come on, Jack, let's go in there. Nothing ventured..."
"Nothing lost," he mumbles, but he steps inside. I quickly follow him before he changes his mind.
"Can you sense any power source? You know, like in Antarctica?" he asks.
But as soon as he finishes saying it, there's light. Not sure where it's coming from. I mean, there's no light bulb. There's just light. Weird.
"Hello?" I call out. "My name's Daniel. This is Jack. We're peaceful explorers but we're here on a very specific mission. Our world is in grave danger and we believe that there's something, some information or someone here who can help us."
Danny? There's no one here. Who the hell are you talking to?
Jack, if you'd gone to extraordinary lengths to keep this place secret, would you just come out at the first sign of someone entering?
He looks at me and shrugs. There's no sign of anyone. Dammit.
"Please," I beg. "Show me what it is I need to know." I stop for a moment and then say, "We are friends to the Ancients, the Nox and the Asgard. We haven't met the Furlings yet, but we'd like to be friends to them too. We're enemies of the Goa'uld."
Yet you have one among you.
We jump a mile. There's no one here, just a voice. Once we've scraped ourselves off the ceiling, I gather my few remaining wits (the rest have all gone on strike, or on holiday or... Hell, they're just gone) and answer.
"If you mean Teal'c, who's down with our friend Sam near that power source..." (at least I hope they're still there) "...then don't be afraid. He's an enemy of the Goa'uld too. He has much reason to hate them and fights along with us, the Tauri. We're from Earth. Home of the Ancients."
I let it rest there but hear, How did you know that? Oma never said so.
She did - didn't she? I could have sworn she did. We're guessing, but we've got to be close, Jack, I say instead.
You were sent here.
It's not a question, it's a statement. How do I answer?
"We think so. Too many coincidences, odd similarities have happened. We felt driven to come here."
Jack, shut up.
What is it you seek?
"That I do not know," I admit. "Only that I feel there is something you can do to help us in our fight."
Whom do you fight?
Here it comes... "Zeus."
You cannot fight him.
"Not as such, no. We understand that. But we are trying to protect our people. He got hold of the scripts which were given to the Titans. We have good reason to believe that he intends to take over the Earth in the near future, possibly the galaxy later on. Earth has been given some ships which were, um, upgraded by the Asgard. There's no telling what damage he could do if he got his hands on one of them. At the very least, we must get him off the planet and away from them."
What will you do then?
"Again, at the moment, we do not know. We're hoping that as we search through various records, meet with old friends, many of whom are represented by the writings on the walls out there, we'll get some clues."
Before the being, voice, whatever it is, gets a chance to say anything else, Jack interrupts.
"Uh, excuse me? Could you let us know one thing? You say you know that Teal'c's with us. Is he okay? Is Sam okay?"
There is a pause then we hear:
They are safe and well.
"That's good," Jack says in that tone which says a) he really is glad but b) he's frustrated because the information wasn't all that he wanted. "Are you blocking our communications with them? Either the comms," he says, pointing to his bracelet - though whether this 'voice' can see it I don't know - "or our telepathy?"
It surprises the hell out of me that he's admitted to that, but then again, he's probably reckoned that the intelligence behind the voice has already worked out that I've gotten some sort of telekinetic powers or else we wouldn't be in here.
The communication is being interrupted by the power source which allowed you entrance.
That's some actual information! Wow!
"Can it be overridden?" Jack asks. "Only we need to let the guys know we're okay."
If the power is turned off, then you will be in here forever.
"That's not good," Jack states.
"Should you attempt to switch off the power again, Samantha?" I ask. "It has been some time since you last tried."
She sighs, moves to the power source but yet again, the ribbon of light descends and acts as a shield.
"I wonder," she says quietly to herself.
"You wonder what?" I ask.
"Perhaps there's some other way into this? Where are my tools?"
"In the bag where they always are," I remind her. "Is taking it apart a constructive thing to do?"
"More likely destructive," she admits. "But it might help me turn it off and that may allow us communication with the guys."
I must admit to having reservations about this idea, but I hand her the bag when requested, and then shine the flashlight at particular places as she points to them. It will not be easy. I cannot see a way to enter the 'box' which, we assume, contains the power. As it is naquada, breaking it will not be possible.
"Look, there's a crack, a line. Just there," she suddenly says, sounding excited.
I look at where she is pointing and see that there does indeed appear to be a break between the otherwise solid container's 'walls'.
"Perhaps that is the door, in a manner of speaking."
"That's what I thought," she nods. "Now, where's my Tok'ra cutter? Maybe that will help?"
Ya know, disembodied voices don't do a lot for my nerves. Neither does the fact that we've left Sam and Teal'c alone with a power supply which, if switched off, will strand us, wherever the hell we are, for eternity. Nope, not liking that at all. And knowing Sam, she's going to have worked out that the power is somehow stopping communication telepathically. She won't like that. As the voice has said they're still down there - at least it seems that's the case - she's going to be trying to switch it off.
"Uh, I think we may have a problem with this whole 'forever and ever' thing," I put in during a break as Daniel breathes. He's been trying to persuade whoever this is to assist us and he ain't getting very far.
He looks at me in shock and asks, "Why? Our, um, our new friend here has already stated that when it's time for us to leave, we can go back to the place we entered this room from and basically think ourselves back into the castle."
"You're missing something."
"Carter. Power supply. Tool kit."
I leave him to do the math.
"We need to get a message to our friends to stop them attempting to switch off the power," he says rapidly to the voice. Intelligence. Person. Whatever.
It is not possible for you to communicate with them.
"Um, what about if one of us leaves this room? Could we communicate with them then?"
It is not just this room which is shielded. You would have to return to the place from which you entered this whole repository.
He looks at me and shrugs. "Jack, you're going to have to go."
"Because if there's anything here in a different language, you aren't going to be able to read it."
Damn him and his logic.
"How am I supposed to get out there? I'm not as telepathic, kinetic or whatever as you are."
You must leave this room and stand on the hub of the wheel. This time you must turn to face in the opposite direction. Think of where you were before.
Think? I'm not exactly renowned for my abilities.
"Jack, if you're right and Sam's already tinkering, we don't have much time. Do you want to stay here for the rest of your life?"
"Well then. GO! I'll be safe here, won't I?" He looks up and around as if to indicate to the... thing that he's speaking to it.
You shall be safe.
Now, you see, I don't like taking disembodied voices at their words. I prefer to look into someone's eyes to see if they're telling the truth or not. But Daniel's got a point, and it was my idea in the first place... Hang on, I want both of us out of here. I'm about to say it when I get 'the look' from Daniel. What was the point in us coming here if we don't get anything out of it?
"Fine. I'll go. But don't be long!" I order.
I'm not liking this one little, tiny, itty-bitty bit.
Stay out of trouble.
He looks at me, sighs and pushes me on my shoulder. I get the message.
So. Hub of wheel - check. Look in opposite direction - check. What's that on the wall? Looks like one of those strange symbols which was on the door to the room.
"Uh, do I have to think anything in particular? Like a command in Ancient?" I ask, remembering how Daniel got us into that room in the first place.
You do not. Just concentrate on wishing to leave the room.
"Uh, okay. Thanks."
To be on the safe side, I stare hard at the symbol - can't be too careful, that voice is probably pretty ancient and they say the memory is the first thing to, uh, do something - and think myself back into that alcove. And think. And think. It's not working.
"Have they switched the power off?" I yell.
They have not yet succeeded. But you are correct to assume that they are attempting it.
"Think harder, Jack," comes Daniel's voice. "You can do it."
I turn around, flip him the bird, then try again. I have to get out of here!
Sam? Sam! Teal'c? Answer me!
I hear Jack's voice. It's faint, but I can tell he's panicking.
Jack? Don't worry. I think I'm about to solve the communication problems.
STOP! Whatever you do, don't turn off the power source.
Oh hell. I'm inside the casing. I've been watching something that's now scaring me. There's a glow around what I'm assuming to be the central point of the power but it's fading.
Uh, Jack? Why? I ask, not a little tentatively.
'Cause if you do, Daniel's going to be stuck in a room for the rest of his life! I've only just managed to get out of there to try to communicate with you. We heard that if you switch it off, there's no way to get out of there.
What's in the room?
Yeah. But Daniel's convinced beyond reason that it's going to be the key to beating Zeus. Or at least a clue.
Well, you'd better tell him to hurry up, Jack. I've opened the casing and though I can't be sure, I think the power is dwindling by itself.
I can't communicate with him unless I go back in the room.
I would not advise, that, O'Neill, Teal'c puts in.
Because Samantha had already opened the casing before you made contact. We had observed, almost from the moment of our entry into it that the power source seemed to be fading gradually. That had given us hope that it would switch off by itself. However, just before you made contact, I noticed that there was a sudden drop in the level of light being given off inside the box. I surmise that whatever it was you did to allow contact drained some power.
Shit shit shit shit SHIT! I had to get out of a room - it can only be entered when the power source is on. Exited like it too, for that matter. We'd got in there by accident. Explain later. Only had the idea that you'd be trying to turn it off when the voice said if the power went we'd be stuck, because it said it was that which was blocking comms.
I think there's a long story there, but I don't think we have time to ask.
Sam. Do you think there's enough power for me to re-enter and grab Danny?
I stare at the glow. It's starting to diminish rapidly.
No. And unless Daniel hurries up, there's not going to be enough to get him out as it stands, without putting any extra strain on its resources by you using some.
He curses up a storm. I can imagine him stamping around, kicking at walls and so on. Feel like doing it myself.
O'Neill! Fewer tantrums and more action! Teal'c orders, bringing Jack's rather impressive list of cusses to an end. Had no idea that his vocabulary extended that far - or into so many languages.
What the hell am I going to do? he demands.
I stop and think.
Do you have everything you went there for?
What the hell does that have to do with anything?
Because when we all get out of here, Daniel's going to be mighty ticked with you if you leave anything behind.
I hear a pause. Which is kind of weird, but it's not like the sort of thing where you know that the person next to you is pausing as they think of something to say, because that's more seeing it in their body language. Even though Jack's silent, I can actually hear that he's pausing. Actually, it's more than weird, it's freaky.
I've gotten most of it. He's got the notes he's been taking.
Good. See if you can get to a part of the castle, even outside it if necessary, and contact Gimli. I have a feeling that even if our comms are being shielded, she should be able to find us somehow. And when the power gives out, if Daniel's still stuck inside a room, she's going to have a much better chance of searching out his life-signs.
He agrees. I guess he wants to be doing something. I, on the other hand, close up the casing. I've done it for two reasons.
One is that it is possible that opening it up has somehow accelerated the weakening of the energy source. It might have been drawing some power from that part of the case. How likely that is, I don't know, but it is possible. With any luck, this will boost Daniel's chances of getting out of wherever the hell he's in in the same manner that Jack did.
The other reason is that if all goes to hell; if the power goes and we can't find Daniel... I don't want to see the moment that happens. It would be bad enough to leave this place without him. I'm not sure Jack would even go. But for me, I'd have to live with the memory of seeing the light go out, knowing that there's the possibility that whatever it was I did to open this damned thing... it was that which caused him to die.
Now? Now I pray. Hard.
I look up at Teal'c and see his eyes are wet. He's not quite crying, he's not inclined to. But he's figured what I've figured.
He doesn't want to leave Daniel behind again, either.
"Okay, we're on our own," I say.
Why do you say that?
"Well, you know? I'm not really too sure. All that I know is that recently, I've been having a few problems."
"Yes. Blank moments. I go see an alien, next thing I know I either can't remember a short period of time or I've blacked out completely and woken up with a headache. Then I keep getting strange voices in my head. Not that I've told the others. My instinct is telling me to keep that to myself. Don't know why, it just is. One of the occasions that's set this off was when we met Oma Desala. Do you know her?"
"Good. Uh, by the way, who are you?"
I am the keeper of the records.
"Ah, I see. Are you alive? Are you one of the ascended ones?"
I cannot answer that question.
Great. Okay, carry on. "Well, it's my thought that someone or something has blocked certain memories. Some information that I've been given, possibly. I'm hoping it's the sort of information which will assist us when the time comes to find and deal with Zeus. Hope so, anyway. I'm not totally sure. But the way things have been working recently, I'm getting the feeling that some people want me, and only me, to deal with this problem we've got."
Have you any idea why you were the chosen one?
Chosen one? Makes me sound like I'm someone special.
"The only thing I can think of is that I've been evolved."
This voice sure does like asking questions.
"Yeah. Long story short, we came into contact with some Furling nanocytes on one of their planets. I ended up in a sarcophagus - against my will, I hasten to add - some time later. That seems to have boosted whatever it was the nanocytes did to me. Jack and Sam are telepathic and have some better, more human abilities. Hand-eye co-ordination, stamina, that sort of thing."
"Some sort of telekinetic ability, but what it is and how far it goes, I don't know."
"How do I test it? You have to understand, humans are not normally telepathic let alone have telekinetic abilities. I don't know how to test it, or what to test for. I'm just discovering what I can do as I go along."
If you are the one chosen to oppose the evil one called Zeus, you must have been marked as special.
You know, that almost sounded like a thoughtful tone from it.
What is your name?
"I told you. It's Daniel."
Your full name. Do you have other names to distinguish you from other humans?
"Ah, I see. Daniel Nicholas Jackson."
What do your names mean?
"Mean? Um, Daniel means 'as God is my judge' - it's Hebrew. Nicholas comes from Greek and means 'victory of the people'. Jackson is just a family name. Literally 'son of Jack'. One of my distant ancestors probably held that name."
And 'my' Jack always found that ironic, if not downright amusing at times.
"Jack is a pet form of John which again comes from the Hebrew and means 'God is gracious'. Why? Is it important?"
Perhaps. There are times when one being is named for a reason.
"I don't think so. I mean, my parents were just ordinary humans. My middle name, Nicholas, is my grandfather's name. It's common to use close relative's names like that."
It doesn't answer, it's like it's thinking. But of what? Is my name important? It's just an ordinary name.
"Look, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands of Daniel Jacksons on Earth. They're common names."
That may be so, but you are not a common man, it is plain to see.
"Uh, thanks. I think. Does this mean you're going to help me?"
Oh, thank God for that! Whichever god is responsible, I mean it.
"So - how?"
A wall lights up and I see one of those things which downloaded the knowledge of the Ancients into Jack's brain. I'm not sure about this.
"Uh, is that a repository of Ancient knowledge? One of those one-time-use-only things?"
You know of those?
"Yeah. Jack had a... coming-together with one some years back. On the upside, we did get to make proper contact with the Asgard because of it. They wiped it from his brain."
You were not angry with them?
"What? NO! Grateful! Absolutely nothing but grateful. The human mind just can't cope with such detail, so much information. Jack was dying as a result of it. And if this thing here is one of those, I'd rather leave here without any help, thanks. I mean, sure, as an archaeologist, knowledge is the greatest treasure there is to me. But there's no point in having knowledge if all it's going to do is kill you!"
I step back now, nervous of what I'm seeing.
You cannot deal with Zeus without this knowledge.
"I can't deal with him if I'm dead or insane!"
There's another silence, then I hear a female voice in my head.
Daniel. You will have to trust me. What is there will not harm you.
Harm me? Or hurt me? And who are you?
You do not recognise me?
Oh God, there's something familiar. Who...
Do not try to remember me. It is safer for you if you do not.
So how can I trust you?
It is your choice. In that repository is the knowledge of how to counter the abilities of Zeus.
Is that all?
Is that not enough?
That's not what I meant. At least, it's not the way I meant it. I don't want anything else. And I don't want anything that Zeus can get hold of if he were to capture me.
Even if you should be captured, the information will be safely locked away in your mind. You shall act without understanding what you are doing or why, from time to time, but it is in your own interests to lack that understanding.
Or else Zeus could use it?
Exactly. Under the right, or rather wrong circumstances, if the information was at the forefront of your mind, he could extract it.
No, but he does have access to technologies stronger than you have yet met in your travels.
He won't be able to get at this, even if all of my barriers are down? Say, I'm unconscious, for example? Or just barely conscious enough for my mind to be accessed but I'd be too weak to maintain any walls.
Nothing and no one shall access this information. Not even you. You will not even know that it is there.
That's the most positive thing I've heard today. Which rates today as being one of the most depressing ones of recent years.
"Okay. I'll do it."
I say that out loud so that the keeper can hear me, and whoever it was who was talking to me. I'm trying to fix her voice in my memory but already, it's fading. As is the memory of what we were talking about. I mean, we were talking, weren't we? Were we? Who's we?
Uh oh, not again...
Step up to the repository. Do not fight it. You must hurry, your time is quickly running out.
As I get ready to stick my head in the machine, I ask, "What do you mean?" but if the keeper answers, I don't hear it. Ow!!!!
O'Neill has managed to transport us all to Gimli. All, that is, except for Daniel. The ship is searching for him, sending out scan after scan, looking for any human biological signs, alive or dead. So far, there is nothing.
Samantha is watching the reading regarding the power source. She does not wish to watch it but at the same time, she cannot turn her head away. Her face drops with every passing moment.
I am watching the scans regarding the state of the weather and the physical condition of the castle.
O'Neill informed us that they could not hear the storm raging inside the room where they were stuck, though he had noticed wind gusting into the first room they entered. It is doing little for our nerves to see that yet more of the cliff face is falling into the sea, taking with it the parts of the castle closest to the edge.
It is now clear that they evacuated the room with the atomic display with not much time to spare. One wall has collapsed and the room is open to the sea. The storm is getting more and more fierce by the moment, it seems. If Daniel does not emerge soon, the area which O'Neill described to us from where they were transported will be closer to the edge of the cliff than is comfortable.
Another large piece of rock has fallen into the sea. This is not doing much for my state of mind.
"Come on, come on Danny," O'Neill mutters under his breath. He cannot take his eyes from the bio-scans. "Don't do this to me. Not now, dammit. Come on."