Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and all characters therein are the property of Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Greenberg et al. No money is being made from this story and no infringement of copyright is intended. All original characters are the property of C.D. Stewart.
Summary: This (shortish) story is set time-wise roughly about 150 years after what in real-life would be the end of both real-action series, Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis. I am assuming that Stargate SG-1 will end after ten seasons (2008) and Atlantis also after ten seasons (2015). Rating: T/PG.
QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT
Seattle, Washington D.C., United States of America, early 2160s AD:
Seattle was enjoying one of its rare sunny days. Despite Earth (along with all its colony worlds) now having the advantages of one of the Furling Touchstone devices controlling all meteorological phenomena, there was still no pleasing everyone all of the time. The Earth Touchstone had been installed at Greenwich, England, with much fanfare in 2012; Queen Lamora had given the famous scientist duo Dr Rodney McKay and Dr Carson Beckett permission to study Madrona's Touchstone in situ, and after their leaving with the First Atlantis Expedition in 2004, the information they had gathered had been so comprehensive as to allow Nellis boffins to back-engineer the devices.
However, it had immediately become startlingly apparent that Mother Earth would tolerate only so much atmospheric messing about. Giving traditionally "wet" areas such as Ireland, England and the Pacific Northwest lengthy periods of sunshine would have resulted in blistering drought and quasi-Ice Ages everywhere else; the best that could be managed was to have most of the actual rain fall at night, even if the cloud cover couldn't be disposed of.
Philosophically, Seattle and its Northwest neighbours just carried on as usual. Seattle still prided itself on being the "foodie" city of the Northwest, and Panache had maintained its position of being the city's elite café-bistro for nearly a century. As well as the superb food and immaculate trattoria style décor, it commanded magnificent views across the Puget Sound. All the best…beings…ate there; even the Goa'uld couldn't find anything to complain about.
Enjoying the unaccustomed good weather, the clientele lingered over coffee and lunches, each table a mini-universe unto itself. Nobody paid any attention to the couple sitting at a discreet corner table on the third-storey balcony with a prime view of the Sound, even though the cost of a table on the third-storey balcony with a prime view of the Sound was…well, it had more digits than an inter-galactic Stargate address!
The man had close-cropped (but nowhere near buzz-cut) dark blond hair and sky-blue eyes set in a strong, squareish face. He was dressed in smart "chino" style slacks and one of the newly fashionable retro zip-up sweaters with the wide collars that could be pulled up around the wearer's ears. A tasteful silver-grey colour, it was zipped up to his throat, the wide collar neatly turned down so it in turn covered the narrow collar of his smart-style, thigh-length, brown coat, the fact that it was handmade from real leather subtly declaring that he could pay the café's exorbitant prices. Despite this, his hands had calluses and tiny scars, his fingers ending in blunt, short-clipped and unmanicured nails, as if he spent a lot of time in a much harsher work environment than a high-rise office block. Setting down his cup of excellent coffee, he gave the woman sat across the table from him a gentle smile that any observer, noting her attractive face and shapely form, would likely have completely misinterpreted.
Her hair was a shoulder-length bob of natural ringlets, a vibrant copper-and-fire hue that was accompanied "stereotypically" by a lustrous pair of eyes the bright green of new grass. There were, however, no freckles on her rather sharp blade of a nose. Unlike the man's smart-casual attire, she wore a dress uniform of dark blue, silver eagles upon the shoulder epaulets denoting to anyone cognisant with their meaning that she was a full Colonel in the United States Air Force.
Georgiana Kayla Hammond gave her companion a long look. "So you've decided," she stated rather than asked.
Daniel Jackson nodded, a smile that mixed wryness with sorrow curving his lips. "It's time…it's been time for a while, but since Rya'c died last month, Teal'c's felt that it's for the best…and Jack's finally ready."
About to speak again, she paused as she registered the unconscious emphasis he inadvertently placed on the penultimate word, and demanded, "Just how long have you guys been thinking of doing this?"
For a moment he merely blinked owlishly and then gave her a knowing smirk that confirmed her sudden suspicions. Georgiana blinked herself as she began to grasp the subtle Machiavellian choreography that the four – original - members of SG-1 had employed to get to this point.
It was all history now; vibrant, colourful, thrilling history, the sort of adventurous, desperate stuff that had school kids rigid with eagerness to hear more, rather than bored stiff. Georgiana could picture the momentous events clearly in her mind's eye even though she hadn't even been born; footage of it was replayed almost constantly on countless documentaries, news programmes and docu-dramas. Georgiana's father had barely been an adolescent when his grandfather's position as Chief of Homeworld Security and indeed the whole Stargate Project had been so precipitously revealed to the whole world in 2008.
Of course, by virtue of her illustrious lineage, Georgiana was privy as few were to the story behind the story, many of those things going off in the background that the stirring documentaries and celebratory periodic public recounting never mentioned. As she gave Daniel Jackson a look that usually had her junior officers quivering, Georgiana acknowledged she was one of the few people on the planet who knew that General Jack O'Neill's presence at the SGC on 'That Day' had nothing to do with serendipity.
After the vanquishing of Anubis and the appointment of General Landry following Colonel O'Neill's promotion, it had been decided to give budgetary control of the SGC to an "International Committee", something the SGC personnel viewed with despair and exasperation. But an unsuspected saviour had come in the form of one Daniel Jackson – the man currently sat across from her blandly smiling and regrettably not doing a lot of quivering!
His years as an archaeologist with museums and universities in New York and then Chicago had tutored Daniel only too well in the way that bean counters and pen pushers often failed to save priceless artefacts by quibbling over mileage costs and trying to eviscerate staffing budgets. He had also long since lost his naïve notion that the USAF and SGC and their political leaders would do something for no other reason than it was the right thing to do.
Having long tended to follow military protocol because it made life easier for his 'sister' Sam and – annoying, yes, but still 'brother' – Jack than any great belief in it being the 'best' way, Daniel had realised he had an unsuspected weapon at his disposal in that most people had long forgotten he was a civilian and therefore had more leeway in his actions than most.
Using his considerable familial inheritance and his SGC work, he had taken out a couple of extremely lucrative patents on some minor environmental technologies back-engineered from alien artefacts, and when the screaming and blustering started he got Generals O'Neill and Hammond to help him make a case for the SGC to be "self-funding" for an experimental period of eighteen months. More than happy to see the SGC fall flat on its face and wallow in debt from trying to manage its own running costs, the Committee had confidently agreed with casual largesse to the 'sales pitch'.
Now Georgiana sat back in her chair and deliberately folded her arms, looking at the smiling Daniel as she rethought over in her mind what she knew and fitted it into this unexpected new information.
Of course, what the Committee had forgotten was that self-funding meant SGC personnel had a great deal more latitude in how they spent what was, essentially, Daniel Jackson's money. For a start he had prevailed upon Sam Carter (Georgiana would have given a great deal to know just where she was right at this moment!) to provide the SGC with a Naquadah-powered, crystal-based generator that had an operational life of 20,000 Earth years and which could even dial gates in other galaxies. Taking the SGC off the national grid had saved them 20 million dollars per day in electricity bills alone.
Then Daniel had gone to work on Dr Lam, General Landry's then still-estranged daughter. More adventurous with potentially beneficial alien treatments anyway than her predecessor, Dr Janet Fraiser, Dr Lam had nevertheless understood that she was replacing a greatly loved and admired member of the SGC and had quickly seen the opportunity presented by having a member of SG-1 asking for her co-operation. In short order, lengthy and expensive Earth-based medical procedures were phased out by faster, shorter, safer and mostly non-invasive Ancient, Asgard and even Goa'uld healing techniques that were also far less expensive.
The International Committee, used to the ego-boost of the SGC going cap in hand for cash, realised too late it had shot itself in the foot. By using technologies to increase efficiency and cut down on using fossil-fuel resources, the SGC had managed to be more effective and more cost-effective, repeatedly coming in under-budget and therefore able to do pretty much what it wanted within its annual budget without having to jump through the International Committee's pernickety hoops.
Not that it was ever mentioned – the flag-waving patriotic dramas you could usually find on any vid-channel at any given time were understandably reluctant to highlight the bald fact that the SGC had saved the galaxy and its 'reward' was to be harassed by a bunch of bureaucratic bean-counters whining that saving the galaxy was not a cost-effective use of American taxpayers' cash. That sort of thing definitely took the shine off the whole situation.
On That Day though, such an outcome was in the future, although nobody had twigged that General Jack O'Neill had been in the SGC so he could see Daniel Jackson on the quiet about their little plan. Colonel Cameron Mitchell, SG-1's leader at the time, had been away at Nellis, showing the young Turks the right way to fly the new X304s, since the only other USAF pilot of comparable skill and experience, then Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, was far away in the Pegasus Galaxy fighting the Wraith as part of what would become the First Atlantis Expedition. Indeed, it was General O'Neill who had arranged SG-1's little off-world trip on that day – ostensibly a combination of nostalgia and intelligence gathering against the Ori – so he and Daniel could exchange progress reports on 'Operation Financial Freedom' without danger of being monitored. They'd only been gone a couple of hours when all hell had broken loose…
Georgiana smiled at Daniel, giving up on her not-that-serious attempt at intimidation. She grasped as most didn't just how lucky they'd been at that time, because everyone including the SGC was worrying about the 'Evil Ancients' and their Priors; the idea of a major attack by a Goa'uld System Lord never entered anyone's head, as the prevailing wisdom was that the Goa'uld were a spent force – Anubis had wiped out most of their power himself and once Oma Desala had heroically removed him there were no Goa'uld capable of stepping into the gap – cue mass freedom for everyone!
Clearly in her mind's eye Georgiana could picture the images of documentaries watched a thousand eager times in her childhood, of the momentous events that had occurred in less than twelve hours…
Continued in Chapter 2…
© 2005, C. D. Stewart