Author's Note: No copywrite infringement intended, do not own characters or setting, no money is being made from this work, etc, etc, etc - you all know the drill.
February 17, 2005
Stargate Command, Cheyenne Mountain Complex
If there was one thing that Jack learned it was that the universe tended to throw curveballs. Your Jaffa friend is trapped by a weird, giant hammer? You set him free not realizing you left a planet full of Vikings open to Goa'uld attack. SG-1 escapes from an off-world Alcatraz? Turns out you let loose a genocidal bioweapons expert onto an unsuspecting galaxy. The S.G.C. finally finds some big honking space-guns?A glowie energy-squid with the hots for Carter snatches them and floats away. An undercover Tok'Ra 'captures' your team to pass on critical information? His First Prime rebells, killing his former master and leaving you at the mercy of Anubis.
On rare occasion though life turned a tragic event to your advantage. Catherine Langford was one of the people that made the Stargate Program possible in the first place - the news of her death hit hard for all those who were there from the very start. But Daniel claimed that even in death she might have given them a priceless gift.
As O'Neill and his former team gathered in Jackson's office the archeologist opened a leather-bound dusty tomn to show a sketch of an Egyptian mural. The age-yellowed drawing depicted a larger-than-life Ra holding a device the team instantly recognized even from the crude picture.
"Among the items Catherine left me, this one in particular caught my attention." Daniel said by way of explanation "It's an original 1889 edition of The Eye of the Sun. It's, uh, the only one in known existence. It details the customs and the rituals observed by the ancient worshippers of the sun god, Ra. I noticed this while I was flipping through the pages."
"It appears to be a Zero Point Module." Teal'c noted.
The archeologist nodded. "The worshippers of Ra referred to it as the Heart of Light. This is a reproduction of a wall painting discovered by a German archaeologist in 1885. It was destroyed in a museum fire ten years later."
"So, I take it you've discovered the location of this heart? Should I make some calls and arrange for a trip to Egypt?" asked Jack.
Sam frowned. "When the Asgard-sensors were installed on the Prometheus we did an extensive sweep of Egypt searching for any further alien artifacts. The Z.P.M. gives off a specific energy signature - even if it's buried under dirt and rock, we should have been able to detect it. We found nothing. I'm sorry, Daniel, but if it's there, it's probably been depleted."
"It is possible Ra simply took the device with him when he left Earth." Teal'c suggested.
"No, uh, I'm pretty sure it was left on Earth." continued Daniel "I've seen the term 'Heart of Light' referenced before in an artifact retrieved by the Steward Expedition."
Jack looked blank. "And that should tell us... what?"
"Dr. Montgomery Steward had set out to explore several "cursed" Egyptian tombs and temples in the 1930s. He was the one to discover the Isis and Osiris stasis jars that ended up in Dr. Jordan's care."
"Ah... that Steward Expedition". The General cringed, remembering the incident where Daniel's mentor was killed while his old flame, Sarah Gardner, became host to an escaped Goa'uld.
"Most of the artifacts recovered by Dr. Steward were destroyed during Osiris's escape. But one of the surviving items was this." reaching into a nearby file organizer that was "organized" only in the looses sense of the word, Jackson pulled out a photo of a badly-damaged clay tablet. "It's a list of the sacred treasures stored in the Palace of Osiris - a temple-site Dr. Steward studied thoroughly, though he failed to ever find the mythical treasure room. Apparently one of the relics stored there was the 'Radiant Heart of Light, a gift from the House of Horus-Ra'."
Sam started to put together all the pieces of the puzzle "So sometime before being imprisoned, Osiris got the Z.P.M. from Ra as a gift." Sam concluded. "Because neither Goa'uld realized the true potential of what they had, Osiris kept it in his palace as a trinket. But if Ra didn't have it when he fled Earth and Osiris was trapped in a stasis jar for thousands of years, what happened to the Z.P.M.?"
"The Goa'uld keep their personal treasures hidden from others and close to an escape rout. It is likely Osiris's treasure room was located within the secret ship which he used to flee the planet after taking Dr. Sarah Gardner as his host." To a casual observer, Teal'c might have sounded as stoic as before but those who knew him couldn't help but notice the hints of disappointment in his voice.
"Great, so not only do we not have the Z.P.M. but it turns out that some snake has it instead!"
Carter shrugged. "Osiris never knew how to use a Z.P.M. and since neither Anubis nor Ba'al ever used it against us I think it was lost after we recaptured Osiris."
"Or if the Goa'uld do have it, they continue to use the "heart" as a desk ornament." added Daniel.
"Daniel Jackson, I do not understand - when you gathered us here did you not say you knew the whereabouts of a Zero Point Module?"
The archeologist suddenly looked coy "We don't know where it is now, but we do know where it was."
"You can't be serious." Sam proclaimed.
"It's the only way."
"No, we agreed."
Jack looked back & forth between the two scientists, distinctly feeling that he was missing out on something. "Anyone care to explain what's going on to the dumb general in the room?"
"We have a time ship. We can go back and get the Z.P.M." Jackson surmised.
"Hey, Carter wouldn't let me go back and watch the Cubs win the World Series!"
"Jack, this is a unique opportunity. We can go back and take the module without adversely affecting the timeline."
Carter sighed "Actually, sir, he may be right about that."
"You're onboard with this?!"
"I'm not happy about it, but we don't have any evidence to show that the Z.P.M. was ever used by the Goa'uld - in which case, it wouldn't be missed. We would have to be extremely careful to minimize our interaction with the people of the period."
Daniel nodded "We can reduce the risk of altering the timeline by traveling to a point in time close to the present day. Since the site was put under guard by the Egyptian government soon after, our best bet is to travel to 1931 around the time Dr. Steward was conducting his dig."
"Wait, we're talking about traveling to the 1930s but we won't even consider killing Hitler?"
"NO!" both Carter and Daniel exclaimed in unison.
Jack sighed "I hate time travel."