Jack hefted his p90, slung the weapon over his shoulder, and crunched his way across the gritty, sand-filled floor of the main temple. Again. He and his team had been exploring the ruins on P4X-287 all morning, and so far they weren't any closer to learning what had happened to the race that built it than they had been before they left. Carter and Teal'c were on the roof, checking out what looked to be a pretty advanced and powerful telescope--which, Jack told himself, he was definitely going to have a look at himself before they left--while he and Daniel stayed down here.
He wended his way through a series of obelisks and pillars, leaving a trail of boot-prints in the eons-old layer of sand on the floor. At the other side of the temple, Daniel knelt in exactly the same position he had been in when Jack left twenty minutes earlier. He held a small brush in one hand, and was using it to slowly and painstakingly remove more sand from a section of the wall that he was trying to read.
"Well?" asked Jack.
"Well, what?" the archaeologist replied without turning.
"Well…are you done yet?" Jack prompted.
Jack stood there silently for another few minutes, then glanced at his watch. He let his arm drop and peered at the wall again. Then, he paused, looked at his watch again, and nodded.
"No," Daniel said before he could speak.
"Well, are you any closer than you were an hour ago?" Jack sighed.
"I…think…so…" Daniel said slowly. Then he rocked back on his heels and stared at the wall, frowning. "That's different."
"What is?" asked Jack.
"This," Daniel said, lightly touching a particular section of script with his index finger. "If I'm translating this right it says…"
Before he could finish the statement, a tremendous rumbling began, which shook the entire temple. Several of the pillars around them shifted and groaned. Jack whirled around, instinctively whipping the p90 off his shoulder, but Daniel didn't even make it to his feet. The floor under them suddenly sloped inward, sending both men sliding down a long, dark slope. Jack tried fruitlessly to brace himself with his feet and hands, but there was no traction and nothing to grab on to.
"Oof!" he grunted as he came to a rough landing atop a pile of sand. He lay there for a second, trying to catch his breath, then turned toward Daniel, who lay beside him sneezing convulsively. "Anything broken?"
"Don't--choo!--think so," came the sniffling reply.
"Good. Okay, now what?" Jack frowned, peering back up the slope.
"I have no idea, Jack," Daniel replied.
"None?" Jack blinked.
"You always have an idea, Daniel," Jack said.
"Well, not this time," Daniel shook his head.
"Right," Jack sighed again, getting to his feet. He grabbed Daniel's arm, hefting the other man up as well, and then asked, "Just out of curiosity, Daniel. What did that thing on the wall say?"
"Oh, um. Look but don't touch."