Wow! It's been quite a while since I've uploaded anything here, and my latest attempt with "Universal Soldier" proved to me how quickly I forget how to do it. That one should be fixed by now.

The Writing on the Wall

They were just symbols on the wall. Nothing more than lines and arcs that represented the words her family, friends, and even her ancestors took for granted. Still, the stranger seemed to be very interested in the markings, pointing at them, while mumbling to himself. Sha'uri was at a loss as to what was so fascinating.

But they were important to him, so Sha'uri, being the obedient daughter of Kasuf, stayed with the stranger called Daniel, and followed him around as he mumbled, and raced from one symbol to the next, spouting off words that sounded vaguely familiar, yet nothing she could understand.

"Cypian. Rem-e-n-jef. Bah-ka-naf-sema. Tah-parief," he mumbled, as the light he carried illuminated symbol after symbol. Sha'uri listened, hoping to find some kind of understanding in the words Daniel spoke, but still the answer eluded her. She watched as he moved on, talking to himself and to her, studying the symbols with an intensity that worried her. What was so important about the symbols she and her people were not even allowed to understand? And more importantly, what would happen to the strangers if Daniel insisted on studying them?

"Tah-par-ief?" Sha'uri asked hesitantly, worried for their safety, yet wanting to help.

"Tah-par-ief," her new friend repeated, eagerness shining in his eyes.

It was a beginning, Sha'uri thought as she nodded her head and repeated the word. What they were doing was forbidden, yet Daniel did not seem to be worried. In fact, he embraced the knowledge as he encouraged her for more.

He pointed at another symbol, then said, "Neh-jed?"

"Neh-dah," Sha'uri corrected, as understanding dawned on her. He did not know the correct pronunciations of the words of her ancestors. She smiled as she thought about it. She was going to be able to help him after all.

She could see that he understood, and this pleased her. She followed him as he began speaking in his own language, faster and faster, moving around and touching other pictures, and waiting only long enough for her to give him the correct pronunciation, before moving on to the next one. He continued to point to the symbols on the wall, mispronouncing the names and repeating the correct word when she gave it to him, over and over again, until they reached a wall filled with pictures that told a story, one that she had never heard before.

His excitement was contagious, but Sha'uri kept her distance, even as she listened to the words Daniel spoke as he deciphered the writings. Learning what the symbols meant was not a good thing, in fact was grounds for punishment, and she worried anew for the stranger's fate. Yet, she stayed with him, listening to the story he told as he read the writing on the wall, a story of her ancestors and how her people had been enslaved. She listened and she worried. But most of all, she understood, and she hoped that one day she would make a difference. Maybe one day her people would be free.

They were just symbols on the wall. Symbols that represented words and stories, and Daniel couldn't control his excitement as he raced from one corridor to the next, pointing at the symbols he knew from his studies of Egyptian hieroglyphics, while speaking their names in Ancient Egyptian, then repeating them when Sha'uri corrected him. Language was his forte, his whole life and he knew that he was close to finding the clue he needed to get home. Colonel O'Neill and his men were relying on him to come through on his promise, and Daniel was determined to help them.

The local girl, Sha'uri, followed him around, helping him to understand the correct pronunciations, as well as her language. He absorbed it all, as he stared at the pictures on the wall. There was a story here; all he needed to do was figure it out, to find the right symbols to activate the Stargate. The answer had to be here, it was driving him crazy that he couldn't find it.

He continued to stare at the symbols, uttering the names of the ones that looked familiar, while tracing his fingers along the lines and arcs that made up the characteristics of each one. Hieroglyphics came easy to him, having learned what the symbols meant when he was a child. Translating them, even here on an alien planet, was a piece of cake, especially now that Sha'uri gave him the missing link. And he was grateful to her, his mind whirling with the implications of what her translation of the words meant. It was the same as in ancient Egyptian, just pronounced differently.

He stared at all the hieroglyphics carved into the wall with a whole new light. The answer had been there the whole time! His mind went into overdrive as he stared up at the symbols, each one branding themselves into his brain, as the meanings became clear. He could read them now, and even though Sha'uri was still a little hesitant, she still helped him to learn more about the language written on the wall, as Daniel worked out the puzzle of the story that was written for all to see. The people of Abydos were descendants of an ancient civilization on Earth. They were humans.

"It all makes sense now," he told her in her language. He looked up at the pictures that told of an alien being coming to Earth, then harvesting slaves from the people who lived there to bring to Abydos. His theories had been right on, and this was yet one more piece of evidence to prove what he had always known. The pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty had not built the great pyramids.

He smiled at his new friend, than began to tell her the story that was written on the wall, a story of the beginning of a new culture, and of the events that led to her people being enslaved. He told her this as more pieces of the puzzle that had plagued him for years fell into place. He had been right all along, and after years of seeking the truth, he finally had an answer.

They were just symbols on the wall, but to Daniel, they represented his life's work. And more importantly, the symbols gave him peace of mind. He wasn't a crackpot after all.