The First Domino
Sam walked down to Daniel's office to see how the latest translation was going. A week ago they had found a strange device on PX84-367 that had been covered in a language that they hadn't come across before. Sam was dying to play with the new technology, but General O'Neill wouldn't let them touch it until they had a better idea of what it was for.
Daniel's door was open, as it always was. Peeking inside she was surprised to see him with his head down on the desk, his face buried in his crossed arms. A gentle snore made Sam smile. She tapped on the door and Daniel jerked awake. He instantly started searching for his glasses.
Sam cleared her throat to get his attention. When he looked at her she tapped the top of her head to inform him that he was actually wearing what he was seeking. Daniel reached up and sheepishly retrieved them.
"Good morning." Daniel chimed groggily.
"Afternoon." Sam corrected.
"Daniel, it's two o'clock in the afternoon."
Daniel looked down at his watch and tapped the glass. Since it was digital the tapping did nothing to dissuade the device that Sam was correct about the time.
"I take it the translation's not going well?"
"What gives you that idea?" Daniel smiled ruefully.
"Did you sleep here last night?"
"Technically I didn't sleep anywhere last night."
"You should go home."
"I'd just have to turn around and come back, I'm due here at 3." Daniel chuckled.
"Call in sick, I won't tell." Sam looked around the room, pretending to see if anyone was listening. "I'll even help you sneak out."
Daniel smiled and just shook his head. Although after looking at the heaps of digital photos and reference books on his desk he started to consider Sam's offer. Sam walked over and picked up one of the photos even though she knew she had no hope of understanding it.
Another tap at the door got their attention. It was the base's delivery man with a medium sized package. He looked briefly for a place to set it down in the cluttered sea of Daniel's office.
"I'll take it." Daniel took the box and placed it on top of the photos. After signing for it he looked at the address. "That's odd."
"Odd?" Sam asked.
"It's from the New York Museum of Art."
Before Sam could remember Daniel's connection to the Museum he found a letter opener and slit open the tape that held the box shut. The contents were hidden in a seething mass of white packing peanuts. Resting on top of the sea of styrofoam was a neatly folded letter. Daniel retrieved the letter and opened it.
"Dear, Dr. Jackson." Daniel read out loud. "During a recent cleaning of our storage facility here at the Museum we came across the enclosed item which we believe belongs to you. Since we felt that it may have sentimental value we thought it important that it be returned to you. Please know that the Museum deeply regrets the tragic accident that took the lives of Drs. Melburn and Claire Jackson... Sincerely, Dr. Garis Director of the New York Museum of Art."
Daniel put the letter down and just stared at the box of packing foam. Sam shifted her weight uncomfortably. She had seen the horrendous accident that had killed Daniel's parents, or rather an extremely realistic simulation of it.
"Would you like me to leave?" Sam asked quietly.
"No, it's okay."
Daniel reached into the box as if he expected to find a venomous snake lying in wait at the bottom. He pulled out an old worn pack that looked like it was from a military surplus store. There was a tarnished brass name plate on the top flap that read 'D. Jackson'. Much to Sam's relief Daniel smiled brightly.
"It's my old travel pack." Daniel said in disbelief.
"It looks like it's seen some miles."
"I had this since before I can remember, I must have dragged it around the world three times at least. My parents and I traveled so much that we never had a home, I think my mother felt that I needed something constant in my life. I must have left it at the Museum in the chaos after the accident."
"I'm surprised they kept it all these years. How long has it been?"
"Almost thirty years." Daniel answered. "It is a museum, they keep everything. Curators are hopeless pack rats."
Sam looked around the shelves that lined Daniel's office that were over flowing with artifacts and various ancient nick knacks. He saw her silent commentary and smiled. Putting the pack down on the table he unbuckled the strap and opened it.
"What is it?" Sam asked.
"Well at one point," Daniel pulled out a small battered carton "it was a juice box."
"It's probably wine by now." Sam chuckled. "Or vinegar."
Daniel wrinkled his nose in exaggerated disgust. He looked back in the pack and retrieved a well worn book with a torn cover. He flipped through a few pages of the book and handed it to Sam. She opened the book and furrowed her brow. Daniel reached out and turned the book around so that she was holding it right side up, but it didn't seem to help.
"It's a word search game." Daniel offered.
"Right, of course, in...ummm..."
"You were a strange child Daniel Jackson."
Daniel laughed. He pulled out a blue shirt and placed it on the table. Sam picked it up and held it out, trying to imagine Daniel when he was young enough to fit into it. When she put it down she found Daniel staring into the pack. The colour had completely drained from his face.
"Daniel?" Sam asked concerned.
"How could I have ever forgotten?" Daniel whispered.
Daniel reached into the pack once more. Sam gasped as he pulled out a tarnished Goa'uld hand device. For a moment the pair just stared at the antique alien weapon.
"Daniel, where did you get that?"
"I found it in Giza...when I was nine."
Danny looked around to make sure no one was watching before slipping away from the group of adults that were working on the front room of the Ancient Egyptian temple. It would be a long time before anyone called him Dr. Jackson. As far as Danny was concerned 'Dr. Jackson' was his father.
The front room of the temple had been interesting, but he had quickly found a desire to search the winding tunnels on his own. His mother always said that he had far too much of his father's blood in his veins, which she claimed caused his reckless curiosity.
Ignoring the slight feelings of guilt for sneaking away Danny walk through the ornate hallways, flashlight in hand. He stopped at a block of hieroglyphics etched into the wall and slowly read them. It was a story of a treasure thief and his gruesome fate at the hands of the Gods.
Danny moved on until he came to a dead end. When he turned around he noticed a large crack in the wall that was well hidden in the shadows of a pillar. He shone the flashlight into the crevice and saw that it opened up into a tunnel. The opening would have been too small for a man to get through, but Danny was just a boy and his slight frame fit through easily.
The tunnel had odd markings on the walls, he had no way of knowing that one day he'd be able to recognize the symbols as Gate addresses. The tunnel eventually opened into a small room. There was the remnants of what once might have been a grand bed on the far wall. However that wasn't what got Danny's attention. Near the bed was a small stone table with elaborate carvings.
Resting on the table, under a thick layer of dust, was something completely foreign. Afraid to touch it at first Danny simply knelt in front of the table. The artifact looked sort of like a bracelet, only it had golden caps for each finger and a large circular stone in the center. When he first approached it he could have sworn that the stone flashed a deep orange glow.
His mother's voice echoed through the halls. Not wanting to leave the jewelry behind Danny dared to reach out and take it, feeling a bit like the thief in the story. Once he had it he froze for a moment, half expecting the whole place to collapse. When it didn't he got to his feet and hurried back to his mother in the front room with his new treasure.
"Where have you been?" Claire admonished. "Look at you, you're filthy."
"Sorry." Danny muttered.
"Well, I suppose I'm no cleaner." Danny's mother smiled. "Come on, it's getting late, we need to get back to camp. Put your toy away."
"It's not a toy." Danny replied.
Danny's father walked over to join his family. Melburn reached down and casually took the Gou'ald hand device from his son. He turned it over in his hands a few time, inspecting it.
"Where did you get this?" Melburn asked.
"I found it."
"Which means you weren't watching him." Claire accused as she took the hand device away from her husband and stuffed it in Danny's pack.
"I was watching him." Melburn lied.
"The same way you were 'watching' that time he was stolen by Gypsies?" Claire asked with a raised eye brow.
"He wasn't stolen, he wandered off with them." Melburn replied nonchalantly. "Besides, I got him back."
"You bought him back." Claire said in mock anger.
"Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to." Melburn shrugged with a look of innocents. "It could have been worse...I got a good price."
"Melburn Daniel Jackson..."
"Uh-oh, Danny, the full name." Melburn whispered to his son. "You know what that means."
"You're in trouble." Danny offered with a smile.
"That's right." Melburn chuckled. "But that's okay, I have a secret weapon against your mother's wrath."
"Changing the subject?"
"Okay, maybe not so secret. You're far too observant, Danny." Melburn laughed and tousled his son's sandy brown hair. "Alright everyone, let's go, we've got a plane to catch."
"A plane?" Claire asked in surprise.
"I didn't tell you?" Melburn asked innocently.
"Tell me what?"
"We got a letter yesterday asking us to direct the set up of the newest exhibit of the artifacts we found on the Saqqara dig last month."
"That's wonderful!" Claire exclaimed in excitement.
"Where are we going?" Danny asked eagerly.
"One of your favourite places," Melburn replied brightly "The New York Museum of Art."
Back in the present Daniel put the hand device down. He pulled off his glasses and rubbed at his temples. Knowing that nothing was probably the best thing to do, Sam did just that.
"Two days later they were killed." Daniel finished his story. "They...well, you already know, the Gamekeeper showed you."
Sam nodded, unsure of what to say.
"Until seeing this I really didn't remember much about my life before their death. I never really tired, I didn't really want to remember. Everything turned to chaos afterward. I must have ended up in twenty different foster homes before I was old enough to go out on my own."
"You were never adopted?" Sam asked surprised.
"No. I was..." Daniel paused "difficult, to say the least. To start with I refused to even speak English for nearly three years. Every time they moved me to multi-lingual home I'd just learn a new one."
"No wonder you speak so many now."
"I knew six languages when my parents died, I was up to twenty when I started college. Which is actually how I paid for it, working as a translator."
"So not much has changed then." Sam said with a slight smile. "You're still making a living as a translator."
"I don't recall getting shot at as much when I did this in college."
Sam was pleased to see that Daniel managed to smile. However his light mood didn't last long. He picked the hand device up again and stared at it.
"I wish my father hadn't dismissed this." He said softly. "Everything could have been different. If he'd seen the Gate symbols in the tunnel he would have canceled the trip to New York.
Before today I never really knew why I came to believe in my own theory of aliens using the Pyramids. This was the first domino that started the chain reaction that lead me there, and then eventually here. I guess part of me knew that I had found an alien object in Giza long ago. But my theory of aliens in Egypt could have easily been my father's if he'd taken the time to ask me to show him where I found this."
"Do you think anyone would have believed him?" Sam asked.
"Even if the world didn't believe him, Katherine probably would have contacted him to open the Stargate. He would have been able to do it."
"We might not have been ready then." Sam pointed out. "If the Stargate had been opened back in the 70's the Gou'ald would have had a much better chance of defeating us. We would have lost the element of surprise that you and General O'Neill had against Ra."
"Are you trying to tell me that everything happens for a reason?" Daniel sighed.
"No, I'm telling you that your parents didn't die in vain." Sam replied gently. "You wouldn't be the person you are today if they had lived, and I know they'd be proud of the man you've become."
Daniel smiled sadly and looked back down at the hand device. Getting up he went over to the wall and took down a picture of the Giza Pyramids. In its place he hung the Gou'ald weapon. Walking back over to Sam he pulled her into a grateful embrace.
"Thank you, Sam."
"Being a true friend."