A Watergate missing scene. Daniel's thoughts aboard the plane as the team and Doctor Markov fly to the Russian gate in Siberia. Oneshot.

Disclaimer: Mine, all mine! Oh no, wait…


A Walk in the Park

I am not afraid of flying, I am not afraid of flying.

I chant this mantua over and over in my head and try to resist the urge to grab Jack's arm with both hands. The plane trembles slightly and I realize that I'm not accepting my own reassurance.

Fine. I'm afraid of flying. I don't like airplanes, I hate heights, and no matter how often Sam or anyone else explains the physics of it to me, I can never quite reconcile myself with the fact that something this large and heavy can be held up by nothing but air. Oh, I know how it works, and I'm familiar with the statistics of how much safer one is flying than driving, but somehow knowing and accepting are two different things. I guess that's why it's called an irrational fear.

Of course, when I'm on a commercial flight and the plane dips, the worst that's going to happen is that I'm going to grab the armrest and embarrass myself in front of whatever stranger happens to be sitting next to me. Now, however, if I lose my nerve I'm going to embarrass myself in front of two astrophysicists, a Jaffa, and an air force pilot. As the Goa'uld say, mai'tac.

The plane dips, and I clasp my hands together between my knees and try to look unconcerned. No one seems to be paying attention to me anyway, and I'm fairly sure the worry lines between my eyebrows can be interpreted as concern for the situation with the Russian 'gate and not the situation of us thousands of feet up in the air over an icy wasteland.

I am not afraid of flying. I am not afraid of flying.

I need a distraction. Normally I'd read a book, but since that's out of the question I turn my brain to the problem at hand. Doctor Markov is explaining how the Russians found the gate we thought had blown up on Thor's ship. Jack plays it cool and doesn't admit to knowing anything about the Foxtrot sub that was taken over by the Replicators, although it's clear to everyone present that Doctor Markov knows that we know more than we're admitting. Although I've gained a lot of experience as a diplomat since I joined the SGC, I must admit that politics still sometimes make my head spin.

So Doctor Markov convinced the Russian government to activate their 'gate rather than expose our program in an effort to force us to share our finds. Hey, wait a minute…

"How did you activate it?" I ask.

Doctor Markov pauses, as if reluctant to answer. "We have a dialing device," she finally admits.

"A DHD." I can't believe it. "You found the one from Giza."

"It was confiscated from the Germans during the Second World War."

This explains a lot, including why we didn't get any crossover between the two 'gates. Doctor Markov explains how they only kept the DHD hooked up when their 'gate was in use so that none of our teams ended up in Siberia, and so that they could ensure the safe return of their teams to their own base. Until they encountered their present problem, it seems the Russians had a pretty good idea of what they were doing. I wonder how they figured the 'gate out so quickly…

"We're going to have to jump."

What? I look at Jack but he doesn't return my glance.

"Out of the plane?"

Well, I guess I no longer need to worry about the plane falling out of the sky, as it appears I'm going to be falling out of the plane.

"There are forty seven people down there who may need out help," Doctor Markov says seriously. Jack leans forward as he answers.

"Look, you don't have to tell me what's at stake here. We've got seven teams off world who can't get home until we fix what you screwed up."

You could be a little more polite about it, Jack. After all, we've had a few times where we screwed up pretty badly, too, like the time we brought an extremely contagious disease back to Earth that turned everyone who contracted it into a Neanderthal, or the time we brought Apophis back to earth and nearly got killed by Bahl, or the time we opened the gate to a black hole, or the time… well, yeah.

He's considering now, and I'm trying not to look to anxious about the outcome of his decision. Nevertheless, I'm biting my lip and I can feel those worry lines on my forehead getting deeper. Jack's the one with the graying hair, but I think I'm going to end up with a lot of stress-induced wrinkles when I'm older. Beside me Teal'c appears to be asleep.

Finally Jack puts his hand up to his microphone and speaks into it.

"Stu, Gear 'em up. We're a jump."

Definitely not the words I wanted to hear. But what choice do we have, really? The gate's down there and we're up here, and the runway is iced over. Sam hands me a parachute as I internally weigh the advantages and disadvantages of jumping versus flying back to the airport and finding some means of ground transportation. The advantages win out, barely.

Meanwhile, Teal'c is getting the abbreviated version of Parachuting 101. Surprisingly, he seems about as happy about the situation as I am. So much for Jaffa stoicism.

Now the whole back of the plane is opening up, and we're moving over to it. The wind's whistling in our ears, and I can't help noticing as they push our box of supplies out of the plane that it's a very long way down.

Alright Daniel, stop being such a baby. Is this really any more frightening than the stuff we go though everyday? More frightening than, say, being held on a prison planet with a bunch of criminals who would be more than happy to kill you upon the slightest provocation, or being transported to an alternate plane of existence where none of your friends know you? How about hiding out on and planning to sabotage a Goa'uld mothership on its way to destroy Earth, or having your wife taken prisoner by the Goa'uld and made one of them, and eventually having one of your closest friends kill her in order to save your life? I survived all of that; jumping out of an airplane should be a walk in the park.

I can hear Teal'c's protests over the noise of the wind.

"It's easy," Jack assures him, patting the ripcord for the parachute on his left side. "Just jump and pull this."

I'm quick to locate the ripcord on my own parachute, making sure I know exactly where it is. It seems like there should be more instruction for those of us who've never jumped out of a plane before.

"This does not seem wise, O'Neill" Teal'c replies.

"I said it was easy, not wise."

Great. I wonder how solid these helmets actually are and give mine a good rap to check as Doctor Markov tells us to rendezvous at the base if we get separated. I guess landing isn't an exact science.

Doctor Markov doesn't hesitate an instant as she walks to the edge of the opening and leaps off into space, and Sam's jump is elegant and graceful, like a diver. I guess she's done this a few times before, since she was an airforce pilot, too.

"This does not seem wise," Teal'c says again, but Jack ignores him and gives him a good shove off the edge. I make up my mind that I am not going to need Jack to push me out of the plane.

I move to the edge, offering Jack what's supposed to be a confident smile but probably came off as a worried grimace. He gives me a look of understanding and a pat on the shoulder, which is surprisingly comforting. I turn my eyes to the ground below.

Okay, Daniel. Think about the teams offworld, who could be in trouble and unable to come home. Think of Jim, SG-4's new linguist, who's become a good friend in the two weeks he's been part of the SGC. Think of Major Reynolds, who's going hunting this weekend with his father, who he hasn't seen in over four years. Think of Emit on SG-11 whose son's fourth birthday is in two days. Think of all the good men and women whose families will never know what happened to them if we don't get our 'gate working again, and of the scientists down there on the ground who may be in trouble and in need of our help.

I take a deep breath and jump.


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