Carter hovers at the control panels as the gate techs call out the chevons. It's their first chance to download their hunting camera footage. Finally the wormhole connects and the explosion of light and energy fill the room.
The MALP whirs up the ramp and disappears.
"Sir?" She pulls her attention away from the MALP footage and the blinking icon that tells her it's searching for the camera feed. She blinks at Colonel O'Neill. She was unaware he was in the control room.
"How do we get the MALP back?" The practical question stumps her for a moment. He grins at the sight.
"SG-15 is ready for MALP retrieval," announces the gate tech.
"Oh." He watches the newest SG team line up at the bottom of the ramp and smirks a little at the newbies wearing helmets.
"It's their first mission off-world, sir." Carter tells him.
"Ah." He remembers her first few misisons and grins. She was cute with the helmet. Not that wearing a helmet is a bad thing. Just heavy and hot.
Hammond arrives in the control room. "Well, Major?"
Sam doublechecks the MALP readings. "Almost done, sir." She thinks the download will be done in another few minutes.
Hammond leans into the microphone. "SG-15, you have a go." His voice echos in the gate room. The team salutes and heads into the wormhole. The event horizon ripples and changes as they step through and then the wormhole disappears. The light changes in the control room and Jack blinks a few times to adjust his eyes.
O'Neill checks his watch. The snap and flip of the Velcro cover is a familiar sound. He's been pacing the control room since the team left. "They've been gone for 10 minutes," he remarks.
"Yes, sir." Carter is sitting quietly at one of the computer terminals.
"Shouldn't they be back by now?" The colonel paces once more and throws glances down at the Stargate.
"No, sir," she answers. "Major Anderson is doing a follow up soil sample for the geology labs." She catches his wince out of the corner of her eye at the mention of geology. "I asked Lt. Davis to check the battery charge on the camera. The rest of the team is prepping the MALP and guarding the gate. They will be gone another 45 minutes max."
He nods, thinking of the hiking time out to the camera. Setting it on the tree and then back. Geology couldn't have asked for a sample too far away. He hopes.
"Coffee?" he offers
"Thank you, sir." The gate tech holds out his mug. Sam turns a laugh into a cough and holds out her mug as well.
He surrenders to the inevitable and refills the coffee mugs of the gate control crew.
He checks his watch again. Only 5 minutes have passed.
"Carter, page me when they're coming back."
"Yes, sir." Sam nods at him as he goes by to the stairs. The tension in the control room eases as the Colonel disappears. Sam grins. She's used to the Colonel and his quirks, but the gate techs aren't. She refocuses her attention on the video footage the MALP captured earlier. She's comparing the telemetry to the previous visit.
The clank of the Stargate coming to life snaps everyone to attention. Carter pages her CO. "Colonel O'Neill to the control room."
"Incoming wormhole." Sgt. Harriman announces. The iris closes with the odd hissing clank that tells SGC personal they're safe.
"It's been half an hour," O'Neill announces as he reappears in the control room.
"Yes, sir." Sam replies. The final chevron lights and the peculiar whoosh of the energy billowing into the ring sounds. "Pretty much on schedule."
"It's SG-15's idc, Colonel." Walter reports.
He nods. "Open it up." The hissing clank of the iris retracting sounds and the light of the event horizon floods the level. The MALP rolls out of the wormhole and down the ramp. SG-15 follows. All four team members are grinning.
"Welcome back, SG-15." O'Neill broadcasts into the gate room. "Report to the infirmary. Briefing is at," the microphone clicks off as he asks. "1300 hours."
Jack leans back on the railing. "I don't get to do that often enough." He muses. "Sort of fun being the voice of God."
"Well, we're usually on the other side, sir." Sam reminds him.
"Which is also fun." Jack comments. "Mostly."
The engineering team swarms all over the MALP and Carter joins them. He can see his second in command is having fun with gadgets.
"Carry on," he says. Stopping in Hammond's office he reports on the safe return of SG-15.
Hammond replaces the handset of his phone. "Thank you, Colonel."
Jack nods. "You're welcome, sir. Carter and the engineers are checking over the MALP now. 15 went to the infirmary."
"I want you at the briefing, Jack."
"Me?" He widens his eyes.
"You worked on the project as well. I would think you'd be interested in the first run." Hammond stares him down.
"Yes, sir." In fact, Jack planned to be there. If this works it would be a great strategic advantage, even on Goa'uld worlds.
Hammond exits his office through the briefing room heading to the elevators.
Two hours later SG-15 files into the briefing room. They are still excited about their first off-world mission as a team. Chattering and laughter are heard as he and Carter file into and take seats at the end of the table.
All heads turn as the two members of SG-1 take their seats. Carter smiles and pulls out her notepad. Siler rushes in, the final member of the briefing.
"Sorry, General. Colonel." Siler bursts out.
"It's all right, Sergeant." Hammond nods at him to take a seat. "I've asked Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter, and Sergeant Siler to sit in on this briefing because they worked on the camera project." The General explains. "Major Carter and Sgt. Siler built the battery used to power the camera.
Major Anderson nods. "Dr. Miles asked if we could do some follow-up on geological samples that SG-1 gathered. I ordered Lt. Chan and Airman West to watch the gate. Lt. Davis went to check on the camera battery. Both Chan and West had a sight line for him at all times. I checked in every ten minutes when getting to the site for the samples. I gathered the requested samples and returned back to the gate. It was about a 25 minute trip out and back."
"Thank you Major." Hammond turns to the geologist. "Dr.? Please explain the extra samples."
"Well several of the samples collected by Major Carter had traces of Germanium. At first we thought it was just silicon, but a more detailed analysis proved it was Germanium."
Miles takes a deep breath and smiles happily.
"Please continue, Dr." Hammond encourages.
The geologist looks startled and adjusts his glasses. He gazes around the table and is baffled at the lack of comprehension.
Sam jumps in. "Well, sir, what I think Dr. Miles is excited about is that Germanium is widely used as a semi-conductor. It's being used in electronics, solar panels, and in fiber optics." Carter explains. "It's rare in pure form on Earth."
The geologist nods. "Major Carter is correct."
Colonel O'Neill mumbles, "She usually is." As the geologist continues on. "It is mostly found in deposits of zinc and can be recovered in copper or lead deposits. It's not a very plentiful ore here on earth." He stops and takes a breath.
"If we can verify this is Germanium and at a higher quantity than normally found on Earth, it would be an extraordinary find." Miles continues.
Hammond leans forward in his chair "Are you saying we may have found a potential mining site for a major semi-conductor ore?" His eyes gleam as he finally understands the bottom line that the geologist was getting at.
"It's very possible, General." The geologist nods repeatedly. "I'd like to investigate further."
"Run the tests, Dr. Miles. Keep me apprised."
Hammond then turns to Lt. Davis. "The battery charge?"
"Yes, sir." The young red headed officer comes to attention in his chair. "I found the field camera with no difficulty. It didn't look as if it had been disturbed. I took it down, opened the back and with the scanner borrowed from Major Carter I checked the battery charge. According to it, there was a full charge." The young officer casts a shy glance across the table. "I put the camera back together and set it back on the tree."
"Very good, Lt." Hammond offers a nod. "Sgt. Siler and Major Carter will want a full report on this. Copy Col. O'Neill as well."
"Pardon me sir?" Siler interjects. He's been taking notes and now has a few questions.
"How fast was the download of the photos? And the connection?"
The young Lt. checks his notes. "The MALP exited the wormhole at 11:50 Zulu. We exited the wormhole ten minutes later. At that time the download was 45 percent complete."
Siler and Carter exchange disappointed looks.
"I waited until the MALP signaled the download was finished, another 6 minutes and then headed to the camera." The Lt. looks up. "I don't have an idea how fast it was to link to the camera."
"Any other questions or concerns?" The General asks. No one speaks up. "Fine. Dismissed. Good job people."
O'Neill gathers his notes. Doodles of donuts and a sketch of an German farm house decorate the page. Carter sneaks a look at the top page. She grins. "Nice sketch, sir."
"So germanium?" The picture makes sense to him and that's all that matters.
"Yes, sir. It has a lot of applications. And more in the near future. I read an article recently that suggested it's a better fit for some computer chips than silicon. And for quantum computing it could speed processing up-"
"AH!" he stops her. "Highly technical terms, lots of rocks."
She smiles again. "It might get Washington off our backs for a while."
Jack nods. That thought had occurred to him. "We can hope." They separate at the stairs. Carter heads to her lab while the Colonel disappears down a hallway.
Siler drops by her office with a memory chip from the MALP. "Here you are, Major."
"Thanks, Sargeant. How'd they look?"
"From what I saw, decent photos. Good range." Siler smiles at something. "I dropped off a copy to Colonel O'Neill and some of the research areas."
Sam thanks him again and turns her attention to the photos. The first shots are of her and the Colonel. The side of her head as she checks the camera for the first time. Two of the Colonel close up making faces. Sam laughs at those. She's not sure how she missed it, but she's not really surprised.
Then there's the one he insisted on posing for with her. Next come three of them walking away from the camera. The camera got a shot of the stargate activating as they left the planet. Sam's pleased about that. It's not a great shot, but it's a way to track comings and goings.
She flips through the landscape shots. A week of trees, sunrises, and the occassional animal. The night shots show more wildlife. Sam flips past a few shots and then backtracks. She sees the Stargate activating The camera caught the excess energy as it billowed out from the ring. The timeline of the shots show that the wormhole was open for about 10 minutes. Sam makes a note of it as she checks the other photos. More of the same. Trees, wildlife, some weather. She's sure the research teams will go over it more closely than she has.
Siler has included the connection speeds and all the computer data for the download . She studies those in light of speeding up the connection.
Two more beta drops for the field cameras go well. SG-2 and SG-8 reported easy places to plant them. SG-8 found a great line of sight for the Stargate in one of the clumps of bushes a few hundred meters away. As the CO for the team was an Army sniper he thought a lower line of sight might bring some new intel. So far the downloads on this are keeping the biology teams quite busy as they are showing a lot of wildlife.
Dr. Frasier and the medical teams have made serious progress on the medicines with the Jaffa's help. The Jaffa potions were analysed and the biochemists have been neck deep in data since the tests came back. They spent two days with the Jaffa healers, before they left, figuring out every type of disease the Jaffa use the potions for. They even got the brewing recipes for the plants and any other non terrestial ingredients that were used.
The Jaffa left determined to work more closely with the SGC to fight the Go'auld. The food they sent with them for some of the rebel camps didn't hurt either. The MRE's aren't as good as the SGC mess, but they are stable and can feel more of their people on a regular basis. Most importantly they are easy to transport if they have to leave their refuge.
On the downside they haven't found any naquadah on any of the planets they've been to. And the last video download was interrupted because Jaffa were on the planet.
"Sir!" Gate technician Siddons calls for the General.
"What is it Sgt?"
"Jaffa, sir." She indicates the computer screens. A few key clicks and the MALP footage are on all the screens. The Jaffa are armed.
"Can you see any Go'auld?"
"No, sir. It may be a scouting party."
The General has Teal'c paged. He arrives at the control room quickly. Taking in the information he studies the Jaffa.
"I believe they are loyal to Morrigan." Teal'c announces as he finally gets a close up of the Jaffa tattoo.
"Morrigan?" General Hammond.
Daniel has followed Teal'c to the control room. "What about Morrigan?"
"Who's Morrigan?" Jack asks. "Hey is that our camera from the first planet?" He studies the Jaffa studying the MALP. "Apparently Apophis isn't the only one who likes this planet."
"Shut it down, Sgt." The general has seen enough.
"But we don't have the video feed, sir!" Daniel protests
"It's fine. We can try again." The whoosh of the wormhole disconnecting fills the room.
"Dr. Jackson, tell us about Morrigan."
Daniel looks up from his papers. "Oh, umm. Celtic goddess. A triple goddess actually. She and her sisters Macha and the Badb were primarly known as war goddesses. Morrigan herself is supposed to foretell doom and death in battle."
"Teal'c are you familiar with any of those names?"
Teal'c inclines his head. "I am familiar with Morrigan. A spawn of one of the very oldest Goa'uld queens Danu."
"Danu, the mother goddess." Daniel's blue eyes gleam with excitement. "No known mythology survives about her. If she's a queen that might be where the mother goddess comes from."
"So Teal'c is this Morrigan a system lord?" Jack asks.
"I am unsure. She has slowly built up her forces. There were setbacks some years ago that nearly eliminated her domain. The children of Danu quarrel fiercely among themselves for dominance."
Jack snorts. "And that's different from the rest of them?"
"They rarely engage in battle with Go'auld outside their family line." Teal'c clarifies. "Unlike Apophis who battled the other system lords and even underlings for supreme power."
Daniel gets it. "Really? That's fascinating. Even though Ra, Apophis and Heru'ur were related, sort of, they battled each other." Daniel points out.
"Indeed Daniel Jackson. But they also fought Yu, Nirrti and Cronos. Ba'al was long an underling of Ra and fought my forces. As was Bastet." Teal'c clarifies. "Heru'ur has been known for many centuries as a conqueror. There was no one he would not attack. But I cannot remember a battle with Morrigan."
"Bastet and Apophis were mortal enemies in Egyptian mythology." Daniel offers.
"That's great, Daniel." Jack jumps in. No way does he want to hear the stories. "But back to the subject at hand. This Morrigan is starting to branch out maybe?"
"It is possible." Teal'c offers.
"So what you're saying is this Go'auld could be looking conquer more territory and move up to be a system lord?" Hammond has followed the conversation of his people and bottom lines it.
Teal'c nods. "It would not surprise me, General Hammond."
Hammond sighs. There always seems to be new enemies to fight. "Very well. Thank you, people."
Jack wanders into Carter's lab. For once she's not working on the field cameras. She's reading a journal and making faces at something. She scribbles on the margin and shakes her head.
"Whatcha doing, Carter?" Jack stops in front of the work table. It's clean and empty of any tools. He can't remember when that happened last.
Sam sits up straight. "Hi, sir. Just reading. New astrophysics journal." She flops it down face first. "What can I help you with?"
O'Neill shakes his head. "Nothing. We dialed into for telemetry download to P53X 3D7. Got interrupted. Bunch of Jaffa were there."
"Oh, whose?" She leans forward on her elbows.
"Teal'c says it was Morrigan. She's some Irish goddess of battle." Jack shrugs. "Maybe trying to move up the ranks."
Sam sighs. "Maybe Dad was right."
"Do tell? What has Jacob been saying?" He mimics her pose on the table. He can guess what Jacob would have said, having had his own conversation with Sam's dad.
"About us killing off Go'auld. He says they keep getting worse every time one dies. I mean Apophis taking over both Her'ur and Sokar's armies didn't exactly help." Sam slumps at the table. "Sometimes I think this will go on forever. Same battles, different enemy." For once Sam looks sad.
Yep, same conversation he had with Jacob. "It took them thousands of years to gain this much power, Carter. We've done okay in the few years we've been at it." Jack says. "Yeah a few setbacks. But the Jaffa are gaining their freedom, we have allies in the Tok'ra, there's a lot of chaos out there." He waves at the ceiling. "That's what we want." He shrugs. "Well, it's what the Tok'ra want. And it makes strategic sense. New rivals, new domains keep them off balance."
It's odd that he, O'Neill, is the cheerleader. "And seriously if we weren't out there, they'd still be battling each other. That's what they do." Jack pulls a face. "Who's to say without us, Sokar would have attacked all the system lords and won? Or Nirrti would have killed Cronos anyway?"
Sam thinks about it and nods. "You're right, sir." She looks up and catches his pleased grin. "Thanks." Sam pulls her journal toward her and picks up the pencil she was using to make notes.
"That's what commanding officers are for, Carter." He steps out of the lab and suddenly sticks his head back in. "Hey, I had some thoughts about speeding up the download. I'll send you and Siler a note."
Before she can reply he leaves again. She hears him humming the Simpsons' theme song. Sam shakes her head and grins before her attention is pulled back to the article she's reading.
The MALP stands at the end of the ramp as the chevrons are called out. O'Neill appears behind the gate tech. "Where's this one going?"
The gate technician is too well trained to jump, but he hesitates a moment. "The General approved sending a probe to …..(Svoriin), sir."
One eyebrow quirks. His memory of the planet is good, but there wasn't a lot of cover to put a camera around by the gate. "Well, here's hoping the bugs are gone." O'Neill moves to the window and looks down. A field camera is strapped to the back of the MALP.
"From your mouth, to God's ears, Colonel." Hammond says. He refused to send a team to set the camera up as they've done with the others. Until and unless they have proof the bugs are gone or have a better way of protecting the teams from attack. Jack agreed with him.
They had a bug body and a stinger, he thinks, but after Teal'c started to transform he lost track of what happened to them. Area 51 probably. Jack makes a mental note to check. He wonders if Kevlar would help protect against the bugs.
The MALP rumbles up the ramp and is sucked into the wormhole. Soon it is beaming back video of the planet. Svoriin still seems deserted as far as anyone can tell. The sensors indicate clean air, minimal radiation. No bugs swooping around, but they only came out after they were on the planet for a while. He shudders at the memory of them.
Ten minutes go by without any bug sightings. Siler drives the MALP further out from the gate, hoping to see some signs of life.
Suddenly the video feed jumps. "What was that?"
"I don't know, sir. I think it ran over something."
Siler directs the camera down and backs the rover up. In the corner of the screen is a bug body. The camera pans further and more corpses are seen. Jack counts 7.
Siler switches computers and suddenly the field camera download is started. Slowly photos fill the screen.
"Sir could you get a portable hard drive for these images?" Siler asks O'Neill.
"Check on the MALP storage level. Closet 3-K. It's silver. About 6 inches across." He never takes his eyes off the MALP sensors. Jack hurries to the elevator. He's back with the hard drive in minutes. Siler plugs it in to the computer for the download.
"Coming up on 38 minutes." The tech reports.
The wormhole collapses as the final image appears on the screen.
Jack shakes his head. "We gotta speed that up." Siler nods. They've been tinkering with the connection, but nothing seems to work. This newest download even seems to indicate the MALP needs to be closer to the Stargate to work as fast as they need it to. Depending on proximity isn't ideal. But as Carter reminds them it took a while to figure out the camera battery.
Back in the machine room, O'Neill tosses his pencil away. He rubs his forehead and groans.
"Sir?" Siler looks up in concern.
"My head is spinning." He admits. Jack rubs his eyes.
"Maybe we should take a break," Sam suggests. "Try not to think about it too much."
The men look at her. She shrugs. "Nothing else is working."
Jack grins. "If you had suggested cake I would have thought someone had Ma'Chello's body switching gizmo out of storage."
Siler barks a laugh before he can stop himself. O'Neill beams. He got the famously inflappable engineer to laugh. Siler packs up his tools scattered across the work bench.
"We've tried all the normal ways. We tried new theories, and came up with our own." Sam sighs and fiddles with a pencil. "It's just out of reach."
"We'll get it, Major." Siler encourages her. "We got the battery done. Took longer than we expected." He reminds her. "But it works."
Jack comes over and pats her shoulder. "It'll come," Jack echos the engineer. "Let's take a break for a few days." He looks around the machinists room they've been playing in. "I probably have memos to read anyway."
In his office he does have memos and reports to read. He sorts through the science ramble, tosses the actu
al mission reports into his in basket to read when he has more time, and skims the memos.
New teams being formed, visitor warnings. Jack makes a note to ask for leave to avoid the regular Kinsey visit.
"Huh," Jack mumbles. He rereads the memo detailing the Tok'ra rescue of SG-1 from the asteroid. "I wonder," he says. Pulling up the inventory database he scrolls through the objects. Rubbing his eyes after 45 minutes he gives up and shuts it down. He jots down his idea on a Simpsons pad and gets ready to go home.