Daniel was so wrapped up in studying the clutter in the small office that he didn't hear the door open. Sam and Mays, however, rose from their chairs when a stocky, middle-aged woman entered the room followed closely by a slender young man.
"Daniel," Sam said in a loud whisper, attracting Daniel's attention.
"Dr. Jackson, Major Carter, may I present Mem Suli Teggaz: my former history professor."
"Hello," Daniel said, offering his hand, nearly tripping over a stack of books in his haste to greet the historian.
"It's a pleasure," Sam said with a smile, gripping the professor's hand in turn.
"If you're here to help uncover some of our past, then the pleasure is all mine," Teggaz said.
She turned to the young man, Pankeer's equivalent of a graduate student Daniel guessed, and directed him to set a box on her desk before dismissing him. Daniel studied the professor curiously for a moment. Her chin length hair was still mostly dark, although liberally sprinkled with gray. She didn't look more than ten years older than Maysfifty, maybe fifty-five at the oldest. Which would seem to make it impossible for her to have been the professor of the fortyish Mays.
"Excuse me, I don't want to seem rude but...you don't look nearly old enough to have been Inspector Mays' professor."
"Flattery, Dr. Jackson?" Teggaz asked as she took a seat at her desk. Hazel eyes gazed skeptically from under raised eyebrows; she was obviously amused by the idea.
"It's just Daniel, please. And noI just.... What's the average lifespan on Pankeer?"
"Roughly ninety-five years," Mays answered.
"Ah. That probably explains it."
"I take it your people are not so long lived."
"For our generationroughly seventy years," Sam said.
"One is just hitting one's stride at seventy," Teggaz scoffed.
"Apparently so," Daniel said, a slow grin lighting his face.
"So, what is it that you're looking for?" Teggaz asked, setting her folded hands on her desk and gazing expectantly at Sam and Daniel.
"Well, anything about the aliens who once lived here in general," Daniel said, taking a seat across the desk from Professor Teggaz. "Specifically, I'm trying to find out what the connection is between them and the Chandre crystals."
"The aliens discovered the crystals, and developed technology to use them," Teggaz said.
"Yes, I know," Daniel said slowly. "But what happened? Where did the aliens go? Why don't the crystals work anymore?"
"I don't think the books in the general library will give Dr. Jackson or Major Carter the information they need," Mays explained to Teggaz. "I thought maybe the Patun collection?"
"What's that?" Daniel asked quickly.
"It's a regrettably small collection of books about the Praseen culture," Teggaz said.
"Praseen?" Daniel questioned.
"That's what the original natives of this planet called themselves," Teggaz said.
"Can I see them?" Daniel asked, leaning forward in his chair, the lure of new old books irresistible.
"You can, but you won't be able to do much more than look."
"They're written in the Praseen language," Daniel guessed.
"Yes." Teggaz chuckled. "Fortunately for you, I am an expert on the ancient Praseen language."
"Doesn't mean much," Teggaz said with wry self deprecation. "Since there are only about six people on the entire planet who know anything about the language at all."
"Six?" Daniel said.
"Daniel comes from world where historical scholarship is valued," Mays told Teggaz.
"If only it were that way on Pankeer," Teggaz said with genuine longing in her voice. "Your world must be quite advanced."
"It has its good points," Sam said.
"Come then, my fellow scholars," Teggaz said, rising from her chair and waving them toward the door. "I have to attend a budget meeting shortly but I can get you started with the collection."
"You have those, too?" Daniel said. "Budget meetings?"
"A universal evil, I see," Teggaz agreed.
"Um, Daniel, I'd like to get back and take a look at those technical manuals, but I need help with the transliteration program," Sam said.
"Not a problem. Kye!" Teggaz called, the sudden volume of her voice startling Sam and Daniel.
"Definitely a teacher," Daniel said to Sam under his breath.
"No doubt about it."
Jack was doing his level best to ignore the knocking on the hotel door by remaining level. He was stretched out comfortably on a couch in the suite's central room. Davis looked up at him from across the paper strewn coffee table.
"Colonel, if you wouldn't mind?" Davis prompted before returning his gaze to his notes on Pankeeran law.
"I do actually," Jack said. He got up slowly, noting Davis' utter lack of regret at disturbing him. "Mind, that is. How's a guy supposed to get a nap around here anyway?"
"The Air Force isn't paying you to nap, Colonel," Davis said distractedly.
"An obvious oversight on their part," Jack called back as he opened the door.
"Arvann," Jack said, surprised. He tugged at his shirt, trying to look a little less rumpled. "Er...Arvann?"
"It is good to see you again," Arvann said.
"Uh...yes. Good to see you, too," Jack said. "Come in?"
"I will only take a moment of your time, Colonel," Arvann said, stepping just inside the room. She nodded respectfully at Davis as he crossed the room to join them.
"Arvann, this is Major Davis. Davis, this is Arvann," Jack said. "She's Tollan."
"Ma'am," Davis said, his tone cautious.
"So what can we do for you?" Jack asked. "I assume this has something to do with the mine."
"Yes, Colonel. I've been assigned to assist Dellan, the Tollan representative, with the negotiations."
"Dellan? Where's Marden?" Jack asked.
"Marden has retired from public service," Arvann said. "Dellan was asked by our new high chancellor to undertake these negotiations. With my assistance." Arvann paused. "The Tollan respectfully request that Earth withdraw its claim on the mine."
"Now, see," Jack said, ostensibly to himself. "Until this very moment I would've sworn that the Tollan didn't tell jokes."
"Why should we withdraw our claim?" Davis interrupted.
"You have had more experience with other cultures and other technologies than the Pankeerans. You know how dangerous it can be to attempt to use technology for which you are not intellectually prepared."
"And so we should leave it for the more advanced Tollan?" Jack asked sarcastically. "In a wordyes," Arvann said. She at least had the grace, in Jack's opinion, to appear slightly embarrassed. "You know that the Tollan are advanced enough to understand and use the technology wisely."
"You didn't do so hot with the Goa'uld," Jack pointed out.
"Which is only your interpretation of the events."
"Oh, here we go," Jack muttered in frustration.
"With all due respect for the Tollan and their advanced civilization," Davis said, his tone just short of outright sarcasm. "Earth is not going to withdraw its claim. We have as much right to that mine as you do, and we believe we can handle the technology."
"I warned Dellan that this was likely to be your response," Arvann said.
"Then we understand each other," Jack said.
"Yes," Arvann agreed with a resigned smile. "We do."
Professor Teggaz unlocked a dark gray metal cabinet. From the shelves inside she pulled out a box and handed it to Mays, then handed another one to Daniel before taking one herself. She led them to a plain wooden table where they began sorting through the boxes' contents.
"These look...." Daniel stopped, staring thoughtfully at the book he held. After a moment he looked up at Mays. "When I was being dragged half way across Chandre, Watkins had some old documents he wanted me to translate, and some books. They remind me of these."
"What did he have?" Teggaz asked immediately.
"A map...about so big," Daniel said, spreading his hands to illustrate. "And several books. The only one I used much was a dictionary. The binding was very similar to this one."
Teggaz's lips tightened and she blew a soft snort of disgust through her nose.
"Is there a problem?" Daniel asked, looking from the professor to Mays.
"Some time ago, well before you ever came to Pankeer, several items were discovered to be missing from the Patun collection," Mays said.
"Apparently," Mays said as Teggaz gave another disgusted snort.
"The collection used to be kept in an open storage area, unlocked. They're very rarely used so it wasn't possible to determine for certain when or how the books were lost."
"Not lost," Teggaz said firmly. "Stolen."
"Stolen," Mays agreed. "But when they were stolen was still a question. And why. Until Investigator Maybourne and SG-1 became involved that is. Then I strongly suspected that the stolen documents Watkins had in his possession were, in fact, the stolen documents from the collection."
"Do you know where they are now?" Teggaz asked Daniel.
"Um...well, no, I guess not. The last time I saw them they were on Chandre, in a cabin next to the mine," Daniel said. "Along with some of Scarthen's journals."
"Scarthen's journals?" Teggaz asked, her excitement obvious. "Do you mean original documents?"
"Yes. Handwritten journals."
"Where are they?"
"I don't know," Daniel repeated apologetically. "I wasn't completely coherent at the time we left.... I know Jack, Sam and Teal'c didn't bring them back. I suppose they're still sitting there, on a table in that cabin."
"Maybourne and the Tollan woman, Arvann, were there, too," Mays pointed out.
"You think one of them may have taken the documents?" Daniel asked.
"I have to consider the possibility."
"But why?" Daniel asked. "The fact that they were there means that they already know where the mine is. What would be the point of taking those documents?"
"Is that all that was in the papers?" Mays asked.
"Uh...yeah. I think so," Daniel said. "There was the map and the dictionary. And another book I didn't really have time to study, but it seemed to be something of a general history. I didn't see anything specific to the mine when I skimmed through it."
"What about the journals?" Teggaz asked. "Could they have contained information?"
"Sure," Daniel said slowly. "I meanI don't know what all they contained so I can't say for certain either way." He gave a small, apologetic shrug. "I was pretty focused on finding a way to get myself the hell out of there."
"Understandable," Mays said. "Watkins was ruthless. He'd already killed his three colleagues. You were either very smart or very lucky to have survived the experience."
"I'd like to claim that it was purely due to intelligence, but luck was a big part of it."
"I wish I knew where those documents were right now," Mays said. "If they contain any useful information...."
"Like how to get the crystals to work?" Daniel asked. Mays nodded. "Well, if the Tollan have them they'll probably never admit it. And quite honestly, I suspect they really are smart enough to figure out the crystals on their own."
"What about this Maybourne character?" Teggaz asked.
"Harry? He wouldn't be able to figure out the crystals even with the help of the journals. I can't imagine what he'd do with them." Daniel grimaced. "Unless...."
"Unless he sells them," Mays said. "Or uses them as a bribe or for blackmail."
"Yep. That'd be right up Maybourne's alley."
"Where's Daniel?" Jack asked Sam as she joined the rest of the SGC personnel for supper.
"Here," Daniel said, hurrying into the hotel's dining room.
"Yes, and no," Daniel said, sitting down next to Teal'c. "I'm going back after dinner."
"Because there's a lot more to learn," Daniel said, as if that should've been obvious.
"I need to do some more research," Sam said, digging into some kind of potato dish.
"O'Neill," Teal'c said curtly.
"Why do you persist in asking 'why' when you do not, in fact, wish to know the answer?"
"Because...I have to have some kind of a story for Hammond?"
Teal'c sighed glumly and went back to eating.
"So...research?" Jack continued.
"Yes, sir. There are only general texts in the library. I'd like to find someone who's actually done studies of the crystals, or at least knows of actual studies," Sam said. She paused to take a sip of tea. "But I still think the best way would be to take one back to the SGC and run some tests ourselves."
"There are no crystals available for study," Teal'c reminded her.
"There has to be one somewhere," Sam insisted.
"And you accuse me of being an irrational optimist," Daniel muttered. Sam scowled and kicked Daniel's ankle lightly under the table. "Hey!"
"Is it even wise to consider taking one of these things back?" Jack asked.
"We take alien technology home all the time," Sam said, puzzled.
"Not without knowing a little more about it," Jack argued.
"Yes, we do," Sam said.
"We do it a lot," Daniel agreed.
"We do, don't we?" Jack said ruefully. "I guess my point is that those are the times we tend to get a great big bite taken out of our collective asses. Is this particular situation worth the risk?"
"Well, sir, I do agree with Danielthere's a very important question we need to answer."
"Why doesn't anyone know how to use the crystals?" Sam said earnestly, leaning across the table toward Jack as she made her point. "Think about itthis planet has been continually inhabited for a thousand years. And those inhabitants are not, and were not, primitives."
"Except in comparison with the Tollan," Jack said snidely, still burning slightly over the tête-à-tête with Arvann earlier in the day.
"Yes, sir," Sam said impatiently. "There haven't been any major catastrophes...."
"That we know of," Daniel interrupted.
"That we know of," Sam agreed. "So how and when did a piece of technological information that important get lost?"
"I have a feeling that the real question is why did it get lost," Daniel said.
"Okay, I'll admit that sounds like something we need to know," Jack said. "So how do we figure it out?"
"I need to do more research, sir."
"I asked for that, didn't I?" Jack said to Teal'c.
"You always do, O'Neill."
As Jack finished dressing the next morning, he looked over at the other side of the room. Daniel was sprawled on top of his bed, still dressed in his clothes from the previous day, his glasses tossed carelessly on the bedside table.
Jack hadn't bothered to check the time when he'd heard Daniel return from the University, but he knew it had been in the wee hours of the morning. He walked around to the side of the bed and leaned over to shake Daniel's shoulder. A split second later his knees made an abrupt and painful acquaintance with the floor as he tried to untwist his arm.
"Jack?" Daniel blinked at him over the edge of the bed, still holding Jack's arm in an awkward position. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Trying to wake you up," Jack shot back. "Which apparently you are now, so would you mind letting go of my arm?"
"Oh, sorry." Daniel released his grip on Jack's arm and rolled back to the middle of his bed.
"Sir, if you're done bothering Daniel, the rest of us are ready to go to breakfast."
"Me?" Jack protested. He looked up at Sam, waiting patiently at the door for Jack to answer. "I didn't do anything."
"Daniel?" Sam asked.
"Go on. I'll catch up with you," Daniel said, rolling off the other side of the bed and heading into the bathroom.
Jack got up and brushed off the knees of his pants with a scowl before following Sam into the central room.
"It's hell getting old, isn't it, Jack?"
Jack's head whipped around to see Maybourne leaning against the wall just outside his bedroom. Smirking.
"Excuse me?" Jack said, straightening up to his full height.
"Well, there's you: a combat trained, special ops veteran. And then there's Dr. Jackson: a sleeping geek." Maybourne's delight was obvious. "And yet he managed to take you down."
"Dumb luck. Could've happened to anyone."
"If you say so."
"And I'm gonna tell him you called him a geek," Jack said as he followed Harry from the room.
"What did I miss?" Daniel asked as he joined the rest of the team in the conference room. He slid into the chair next to Jack, still straightening his tie.
"Nothing," Jack said, already bored. He gave Daniel a good hard look. "Did you eat anything?"
"I grabbed an energy bar before I came," Daniel said distractedly, looking around the conference room while Jack gave a pointed sigh.
There were half a dozen small tables set in a semi-circle, each acting as home base to one of the claimant delegations. At the open side of the U was the arbitrator's desk.
"Dr. Jackson, what does that placard say?" Major Davis asked, nodding toward one of the delegations.
"Um.... IntelliCorp." Daniel frowned. "Who are they?"
"Fifty bucks says it's the company that had the original documents stolen from them," Davis said.
"And they're making a claim?" Daniel asked.
"Why not? Everyone else is," Jack said dryly. "I'm just surprised the snakes haven't shown up yet."
"It's early yet," Sam said.
"Thank you, Little Mary Sunshine," Jack said.
Jack shook his head and continued to study the people gathering in the conference room. He caught sight of Inspector Mays, standing quietly by the main door and nodded an acknowledgement. Mays made a slight nod in return, and Jack continued his perusal of their opponents.
"Maybourne's table is looking a little empty," Jack observed.
"Surely even if he is in league with the Association he would not be foolish enough to make the connection publicly known," Teal'c said.
"Yeah, but without any obvious support he's going to have a tough row to hoe," Jack said.
All conversation ceased as an older man entered the room. Jack studied him carefully as he approached the arbitrator's table. Superficially he wasn't very imposing. Jack estimated him at just under six feet in height with a lean build, although a bit jowly. The narrow fringe of hair encircling his head was completely gray, and his eyes were a washed-out blue. But the sharpness of his gaze as those eyes swept the room suggested to Jack that this was a man who was not to be taken lightly.
"If we're all ready to proceed?" Kelling said in a dry voice. Jack found himself unconsciously sitting straighter, like most in the room. A slight smile crossed Kelling's face. "Very well. I will not insist on the full adherence to the rules of negotiation...."
"Rules? What rules?" Jack whispered at Davis. Davis gave Jack a distracted shake of his head. "Do we know what the rules are?"
Davis impatiently pulled a folder from his briefcase and shoved it at Jack. Jack opened the file to find the "Rules of Honorable Negotiation" before immediately flipping it closed.
"However," Kelling said, looking at Jack. "I will insist that all parties behave with respect for myself, the proceedings, and for their assembled fellow claimants." Kelling paused while he took his seat. "For the official record I would like all claimants to state their name and the basis for their claim. Let us begin with our off-world visitors."
"Major Paul Davis, United States of America of the planet Earth," Davis said crisply, rising from his seat and nodding his head respectfully at the arbitrator. "Our claim...."
"Forgive me, Major Davis," Kelling interrupted. "But according to the documents submitted to me a Dr. Daniel Jackson is the claimant from Earth, is he not?"
"Um...yes, he is," Davis agreed, thrown off stride by the interruption.
"Where is he?"
"Right here, sir," Davis said, gesturing toward Daniel.
"Can he not speak for himself?" Kelling asked with a pointed look.
"Yes, sir, I can," Daniel said, rising from his seat.
"Then may I ask why you haven't?"
"Major Davis speaks on behalf of my government," Daniel explained.
"But your government has no right to make a claim, nor does Major Davis," Kelling said. "Only you do." "I understand that," Daniel said. "Then is this your claim or not?"
Jack glanced at Sam. She was looking back at him with the same apprehensive look that he knew was on his own face. Then Jack noticed that Davis had his own anxious look, obviously fearing that Daniel would inform the entire gathering of his reluctance to pursue the claim.
"It is," Daniel said finally. "However, the claim isn't a personal one per se. I'm not interested in owning a mine or developing technology. I'm an archaeologist. I don't truly understand how crystal technology works, and I'm not all that interested in learning. But I do understand that this could be very important to the people of my world."
"I see," Kelling said, making a notation on the paper in front of him. "Well, if the findings of this arbitration were to be in your favor, you may do with it as you wish...within reason. But, I repeat, the claim must be yours."
"Would it be possible for Major Davis to speak on my behalf?" Daniel asked. "He understands process and the implications better than I."
"He functions as your counselor?"
"Lawyer? Yes, that's exactly what his function is," Daniel agreed.
"That is acceptable," Kelling said. Daniel quickly sat down as Sam, Jack, and Davis all let out a sigh of relief. "Would the Tollan delegate please state his or her name and the basis for the claim."
"Yes, by all means, let's hear from the brain trust," Jack muttered. Davis just rolled his eyes and went back to his files.
"Mays? Mem Teggaz," Daniel said with surprise as he opened the hotel room door.
"Forgive us for intruding," Mays said.
"No, noplease, come in." Daniel led them to the couch. "I'm afraid I don't have long; I need to catch up with the rest of my team before the conference reconvenes for the afternoon. What can I do for you?"
"I wanted to show you this," Suli said, holding up an aged envelope.
"What is it?"
"A document. A letter, I believe. Written by one of my predecessors and sealed. It has been passed down from one historian to the next for generations. Each chooses the person they think will be the next generation's most dedicated historian." Suli gave Mays a reproachful look. "At one time I thought I would be passing it on to Brenton. Until he decided that protecting the public was a 'better' use of his skills."
"It takes all types," Daniel sympathized, thinking of his teammates.
Mays simply shrugged good-naturedly.
"It's a moot point now, I suppose," Suli said. "The time has come to open it."
"Do you know what it is?" Daniel asked.
"I can only guess. But Patun lived at the time of the last aliens."
"Really?" Daniel dropped into a chair facing Suli and Mays, his eyes wide with excitement. "He knew them?"
"He was the man who gathered the collection you looked at yesterday," Suli said with a nod.
"And the letter?" Suli handed Daniel the envelope.
"'You will know when the time is right'," Daniel read from the front of the envelope. He looked at Suli. "What makes you think now is the time?"
"I feel it," Suli said with a shrug. "Go aheadopen it."
"Ah...no, I shouldn't," Daniel said, trying to hand the letter back to Suli.
She gestured impatiently. He looked to Mays for support, but Mays simply shook his head, deferring to Teggaz's authority.
"Okay...." Daniel carefully opened the time-brittled paper and pulled out a single handwritten sheet.
"Well?" Suli asked as Daniel's eyes scanned the page.
To my successor My name isor perhaps I should say wasArmen Patun. And for many long years I hated the Praseen.
Daniel looked up at Suli, but she gestured for him to continue.
The Praseen have, for all my life, sought to bury Pankeer's past. The past I have sought to know. I know now that I was wrong to hate them. In fact, Iwho for so long fought the actions of the Praseennow help them to obscure and mislead. A traitor to my own academic discipline perhaps, but I understand that it is necessary.
The Praseen did not bring humans to this planet, others did. But they were entrusted with our care. It is out of loyalty to this obligation that they now seek to destroy the evidence of their involvement with us. Destroy their own past.
For you seemany years ago something happened. Something terrible and frightening. It is the reason that the Praseen fail now even to the point of extinction. And in an effort to avoid a similar future for humans, they have erased all knowledge of this event. Even further, they have attempted to block any interest in the study of historytheirs or our own. They have caused it to become not just meaningless, but reviled. I understand now, and I forgive them.
But I know there will always be others like me. And in time the stigma will lessen, and natural curiosity will prevail. I have convinced the Praseen of this. I have made them understand that eventually humans will find the knowledge, by design or by accident. Thus, a legacy of sorts has been prepared. To answer curiosity. And avoid doom.
The answer is in the Maze.
Daniel stared at the letter a moment longer, before looking to Suli, herself lost in thought.
"What does it mean?" Mays asked.
"I don't know. But I'm afraid it may have something to do with the crystals," Daniel said.
"I agree," Suli said with a firm nod. "We must find this legacy. Soon, before the mine is reopened."
"I'm gonna go...," Daniel said slowly after explaining his reason for being late in returning from lunch.
"Where?" Jack asked.
"You can't," Davis said.
"Yes, I can," Daniel told Davis. He turned to face Jack. "I'm not sure exactly. Some ruins of the alien civilization. Mays said he could take me there."
"Why?" Jack asked.
"Because I think it's important."
"This letter said that something terrible happened. I think we need to know what that something was. This place is the only significant ruins ever found of the alien civilization."
"But does it have anything to do with our current mission?" Jack persisted.
"Maybe. The reason the Praseen suppressed the study of history was to prevent anyone from finding out how to use the crystals."
"I don't think you can be sure of that, Daniel," Sam said. "If they were trying to prevent the use of the crystals, why didn't they suppress the study of chemistry or physics?"
"I don't know," Daniel admitted after a nod acknowledging Sam's point. "Admittedly I'm connecting some widely scattered dots right now, but I think we need to fill in the blanks. We need to know."
"I need to talk to a geologist," Sam said.
"Well...I need to start at the beginning. I want to find out what they know about the geology of that region of Chandre. How were the crystals formed? What are they made of?"
"Can you do that now?" Jack asked, glancing at his watch.
"Yeah, sure," Sam said, nodding. "Inspector Mays gave me the names of a couple of people at the University who might be able to help."
"Do it," Jack said. He turned to Daniel, waving his hands to cut off the protest he knew was coming. "No, Daniel. Let Carter find out what she can. Depending on what she learns, we'll decide whether to proceed with these ruins. In the meantime, your presence is more or less required at the talks."
When they finally returned to their hotel room that evening, Daniel tossed his files onto the bed with a look of utter disgust.
"Daniel...," Jack began, not entirely happy with the situation himself.
"It's a joke, Jack. That's not negotiation, that's petty jealousy and snide superiority," Daniel said. He yanked his tie off and tossed it on the bed. "I hate diplomacy."
"I thought that was just me," Jack said, sprawling back on his bed and sighing as his vertebrae slowly, painfully, clunked back into alignment.
"We've been here before, Jack. A mad race to get our hands on something without really understanding what that something is," Daniel said, sitting down on the bottom corner of his bed.
"Carter says these crystals would let us have a big honking space gun that isn't quite so big and honking," Jack said.
"So...a little, weeny space gun?" Daniel asked.
"Size isn't everything," Jack said, provoking a laugh from Daniel. "You have to admitthose crystals do sound like a good thing."
"Sound a little too good to be true?" Daniel asked pointedly.
"Yeah," Jack said reluctantly. "I was kind of thinking that myself."
"Come in, Carter," Jack said, waving to her from the bed.
"Are you okay, sir?" Sam asked as she pulled up a chair from the corner of the room.
"Just old," Jack mumbled. "What's up?"
"Well," Sam began hesitantly.
"Spit it out, Carter."
"The more I find out, the less sense it makes," Sam said.
"How so?" Daniel asked.
"Some geological studies have been done of the Vasuman area," Sam said. "When they got the transporter operational again and were looking to colonize the moon, they did a basic survey. They had no idea the crystals were out there so their studies weren't aimed at trying to explain them in particular, but what they found just doesn't fit."
"How so?" Daniel asked.
"It's the wrong kind of rock."
"Wrong kind of rock?" Jack said.
"It appears to be igneous. I noticed that when we were in the mine, but at the time I didn't really think about the significance."
"The fact that it's igneous is significant?" Daniel asked.
"Generally speaking, you don't get that kind of crystal formation in obsidian," Sam explained.
"Generally speaking?" Jack asked pointedly. "It's an alien planet, Carter."
"Isn't it possible that the processes that formed the crystals are different here than they are on Earth?" Daniel asked, following Jack's line of reasoning.
"Well...yes," Sam conceded. "But we normally find that the natural physical processes are the same on every planet; it's just the ingredients that vary."
"Maybe the aliens did something to it," Jack suggested.
"Like what?" Sam asked.
"I don't know, but it wouldn't be the first time we've found some alien whammy at work," Jack said with a wave of his hand.
"Right. Well, I took the liberty of forwarding what information I was able to gather back to our geophysics people at the SGC, along with a sample of the obsidian. It's not the same as studying the crystal, but if we can determine the exact composition of the surrounding rock it just might give us an idea of what the crystals are made of," Sam said.
"Anyway, I'm hoping that one of our people will have an idea."
"Daniel, I know you're just itching to get out there and dig something up," Jack said, putting up a hand to forestall the argument he knew was coming. "But you don't even know where to dig yet."
"We're working on it," Daniel said stubbornly. Then he sighed. "Well, Suli is working on it. Mays and I are tied up with this conference most of the time."
"Let's all just get a good night's sleep and reevaluate in the morning," Jack suggested.
"Good night, sir," Sam said getting up from her chair. "Night, Daniel."
"Night, Sam," Daniel said as Sam left the room, closing the door behind her. He turned to stare at Jack, still lying flat on his back. "You're a real wet blanket sometimes, Jack."
"It is my honor to serve," Jack said with a snide salute.
"Oh," Sam said softly, startled by the call. "Sorry, Inspector, I didn't notice...."
Mays put a finger to his lips and motioned her away from the conference room door. Inside a heated debate between the representatives from Chandre and the Tollan was still going on. Sam closed the door again and moved toward Mays.
"Would you please give this to Dr. Jackson?" Mays asked, holding out a folded piece of paper.
"Er...sure," Sam said, accepting the note. She frowned slightly and looked at Mays. "Why don't you just give it to him yourself?"
"I'm not staying," Mays said, gesturing at his clothing. Sam realized that he was dressed in civilian clothes rather than his uniform. "Please tell Daniel I'll be in touch."
"Right. Okay," Sam said with a nod.
Mays smiled and offered a small bow before walking away down the corridor. Still slightly puzzled, Sam slipped into the conference room. Her absence and reappearance had gone unnoticed in the midst of the debate. She slipped into her chair before sliding the paper down the table past Jack to Daniel.
Daniel frowned slightly at her before picking up the paper and reading. His frown deepened as he stared at the paper.
"Carter?" Jack whispered. Sam just shook her head. "Daniel?" Daniel responded by waving his hand as if brushing away a gnat.
"That's enough." Kelling's voice carried authoritatively over those of the arguing claimants. Only Daniel seemed unaware. "This is neither the time nor the place for arguing Chandrian constitutional affairs or Tollan history."
"Your honor," Dellan began.
"Not. Now," Kelling enunciated precisely. Discomforted, Dellan sat back. "For those who have forgotten, or perhaps never knew, this is an arbitration to determine who has primary right to the crystal mine under Pankeeran law. All other matters are secondary and as such will not be discussed at this time.
"You've all submitted claims, some of which are rather feeble to say the least," Kelling said, looking at Maybourne.
Disconcerted, Harry leaned forward as if to argue, then shut his mouth and sat back. Kelling's gaze traveled to SG-1's table.
"It is genuinely unprecedented to have aliens making a claim. But we must proceed in an effort to expeditiously resolve the issue so that mining operation may commence as quickly as possible."
"Uh oh," Jack muttered under his breath when Daniel suddenly tuned back into the discussion.
"Dr. Jackson? Are withdrawing your claim?" Dellan asked eagerly.
"Uh...that's not really up to me," Daniel admitted.
"It is your claim, isn't it?" the Pankeeran delegate asked.
"That's...not really the point," Daniel said, evading the question of 'his' ownership of the claim for the moment. He stood up, looking around at the other delegations. "That's not what I'm talking about anyway. I was referring to reopening the mine. It's a bad idea. That mine should be left alone. At least until we know more about why it was abandoned."
"You can't be serious?" Maybourne said.
Sam looked at Jack with a puzzled frown. Jack shrugged back. He had no more idea of where Daniel was headed than she did.
"Lookyou all want these crystals for technology. Weapons. I hate to admit it but I think maybe we shouldn't be trying to jump ahead like this."
"Something we have tried to tell you repeatedly, to no avail," Dellan said. Arvann stared fixedly at the far wall, obviously knowing the reaction that statement would bring.
"You," Daniel said, shaking his finger at the Tollan delegation. "You really don't have anything to brag about. Yes, you developed a technologically advanced society but what good did it do you? You still got wiped out by the Goa'uld.
"The thing isthere is no evidence that building more advanced weapons will help any of us," Daniel said, ignoring the indignant glare from the Tollan man as he rose to his feet. "Even the Asgard, as incredibly advanced as they are, are not immune. They're on the run from the Replicators, and the Goa'uld have found ways to fight them, too."
"What are you suggesting?" Kelling asked, his attention fixed on Daniel.
"The four greatest races in the galaxy, the most advancedwhere are they?" Daniel asked.
"Dr. Jackson," Major Davis tried to interrupt.
"The Asgard are embattled, and dying. They can't solve their own biomedical problems for all their great knowledge. The Furlings, well, at the moment they are still an enigma. The Nox.... Isolated. Yes, they seem to live quite contentedly, but they have no contact with the rest of the universe. And I can't help but think that they may fall victim themselves if they continue to deny the evil that exists out there," Daniel said, waving his hand skyward.
"And then there are the Ancients. Smart enough to figure out how to transform themselves into an entirely new form of existence...and they do nothing. Worse than nothing, they've allowed one of their own to wreak havoc on innocent people, to destroy entire worlds." Daniel looked around the room, frustration plain on his face. "What makes you think that crystals or technology or weapons is going to help you?"
"And what about the Goa'uld?" Harry asked.
"What about them?" Daniel tossed back. "The Goa'uld are scavengers. They take anything and everything they can. They've done it to the Asgard and the Ancients. Sojust for argument's sakelet's say we figure out how to build some nifty new weapon with these crystals. Then what?"
"We could try kicking some Goa'uld ass," Jack suggested.
"Maybe. For a while," Daniel agreed. "Until they do what they did to the Tollan and figure out how to steal or subvert our shiny new technology. And then we will have handed our greatest enemy its greatest weapon."
"So you think we should just ignore the crystals?" the IntelliCorp representative asked with a patronizing sneer.
"No," Daniel said. "I'm just saying we should wait until we know exactly what we're dealing with."