Words were supposed to have form of some sort. He'd known that since he was young. Words were his lifeline to existence. They were the connection between thought and deed, idea and communication. They were amorphous, ambiguous, deliberate, concrete, specific, vague. They were hollow syllables and specific utterances that were given meaning by shared reference and experience. They were simple forms so remarkably complex as to be fleeting.
They were his stock in trade.
Then why couldn't he utter a single, coherent word?
It was exasperating!
He looked at the people around him… his friends. He knew who they were. It took him a little while to put names to the faces, but why couldn't he say their names? How many times in the past had he yelled out Jack's name in warning? Didn't he come back to warn… something…
Why was he back?
He had been ascended… he knew that… but he…
He couldn't remember. All of his memories were slipping through his fingers like quicksilver.
He had to come back. He had to…
He had to warn them –
"Anubis," he mumbled, his tongue barely able to form the syllables.
Daniel's slurred word brought everyone in earshot to immediate attention.
"Anubis?" Sam asked as she tenderly placed a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "What about him?"
Janet spoke quietly. "Sam, he won't be able to carry on a conversation for a little while."
"This could be important, Doctor," Hammond added.
"No doubt, sir, but look." Janet pointed out Daniel's EEG readings again. "The readings have calmed down considerably in the last few minutes, but they're still too fast. I don't know what the added stress of trying to communicate at this moment will do to him. He needs a little time."
Time. Four letter word. The literal embodiment of that which built civilizations and tore down mountains, the universal panacea to all ills. The one thing they were going to have to live through before they could talk to their friend.
One look at Daniel showed the anxiety he felt at being unable to speak to them. They only had to wait a little while. They'd waited over a year for his return, they could wait another hour.
Hammond walked over and put a hand on Daniel's shoulder. The younger man looked up at the physical contact. He seemed more aware of what was going on. At least, he wasn't looking at BDUs like they were an eons old artifact just excavated from the sand and held the answers to all the mysteries of life. "Take your time, son. Tell us when you can."
The base grapevine was alive with the news that Daniel Jackson was back.
Every face Hammond passed on the way back to his office was either smiling or looked happy. There were murmurs in the hallway, excited utterances and cheerful astonishment.
There was a bit of life returning to the halls of the SGC.
Daniel had fallen asleep again, and Janet took advantage of that by using that time to give the rest of SG-1 their post-mission physicals. Each had questions she couldn't answer, all wanted to know as much as she could tell.
How many times could she say she wasn't sure?
She could treat the physical symptoms, but the cause? She could only guess. The descended weren't cast down with an instruction manual. She kept repeating that he hadn't had any more seizures, that sleeping was a normal side effect to the medication, that Daniel was perfectly healthy except for his needing glasses, but as far as the physical effects of becoming corporeal were concerned, she was learning things moment by moment.
That didn't stop the team from worrying. Nothing would until Daniel sat up and tried to con his way out of the infirmary sooner than he should.
"Doc," Jack spoke up for the third time in as many minutes as Janet took his blood pressure again, "the last time we saw him, he was breaking a lot of rules. Do you think the Ascended could have done something to—"
"Colonel, I don't know. When he wakes up fully, we'll be able to learn more."
"You said when." Jack pointed out.
"Yes, sir, I did. I don't think it's an if situation. All of his tests are coming back good and he's more responsive than he was when he first woke up. I'm not very worried about him." She hoped that she sounded convincing because she was worried. How could she not be? This was uncharted territory. "However, this is the second time I've taken your blood pressure. I think you should relax and quit worrying so much or you'll be in the bed next to him. Understand?"
Any protest from the colonel was stopped when Janet raised her hand to keep him from uttering anything other than an affirmative. "Understand, Colonel?"
"Yeah, right, relax. I forced him to choose on Abydos, Doc. What if the Others decided to punish him and this is it? What if he doesn't get any better?"
Janet glanced over at Daniel who was sleeping peacefully. "Oma Desala saved his life, sir. I don't think she'd let the Others do anything to harm him."
"Pbfftt," Jack raspberried the mere mention of the name. "Oma Desala and her whole non-interference-but-I'll-interfere-when-I-want-to crap. She's the one who ascended Skaara and the others pretty quick but she made Daniel lay there and suffer."
"Hey, I'm grateful to her that she saved his life, but she could have done better by him. You saw the hell he went through."
"Yes, sir, I did. I was here the entire time. I'm not arguing with you, but do you honestly think that after all that, Oma would let anything happen to him? And it's not just her now either. Kasuf, Skaara and Shifu are all ascended as well."
Jack stood up, towering over her as he looked down at her. "I don't think his family would be able to protect him from the Others if they were out to get him, do you?"
Janet watched Jack walk over to Daniel's bed and sit down in a nearby chair.
He was right. The Ancients, the Ascended, the Others, whatever they liked to be called were the people that built the stargates. These were the people who tried to control time. Would the people that cared for Daniel the most be able to protect him from their wrath if he broke their rules? No, when he broke their rules. Whatever they were, Daniel knew the consequences and took that step over the line to try to save the Abydonians.
Knowing Daniel as well as they did, his choice came as no surprise. Self-sacrifice was his raison d'etre.
There is a place in the nether realm of sleep when someone isn't asleep but not aware that they're awake. It's that level of consciousness that the brain uses as a type of silent alarm clock that helps the sleeper realize that sleep time is over and it is time to wake up. That is the place where memories of dreams reside, in the vast canopy of coming wakefulness only to disappear when full conscious returns, realized only in vague wisps and whispers and déjà vu.
There, tucked safely in that place, Daniel remembered the events that led to his choice.
"Anubis is gathering his forces to attack Earth, Oma. I have to warn them. Maybe they can –"
"You cannot," Oma warned him. "We cannot interfere. We are as the air and sky. We cannot dwell with the ground below."
"I wasn't thinking about dwelling," Daniel said as he tried to explain his position to his friend and mentor. "Just visiting and giving them a heads up."
"Each has a path, Daniel. Each must follow his own. We cannot place another path among them."
It was going to be one of THOSE conversations. He just knew it. "Yes, each must follow a path, but there's no rule that says we can't show anyone where the other paths are, just that we can't choose it for them. There's a difference." Why couldn't the Ascended understand a simple concept like loopholes?
"Anubis is to life as a tall weed in the short grass. One will see him even if he hides."
No, she didn't understand. How could she? How many ages had it been since she was human?
"Oma, when you first helped me ascend, you said that the universe is vast and we're small and the only thing we can control is if we're good or evil, right?"
"Truth is as the bright sun. One may see it even if not looking directly at it."
"Yeah, well we have a saying too. All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing."
Oma considered that saying and must have agreed since she didn't argue against it. "You are a good man, Daniel. Your strength in your convictions has led you to dangerous places. If you choose to leave, consequences will find your new path."
"Leave?" Daniel had thought about leaving, just not yet. Yes, he missed his friends and his home. He missed being "real." There was so much he could do in the ascended realm, but there were so many rules against doing anything.
"You sought to stop Anubis. The Others would have taken action against us had you succeeded."
"Yeah, that's what you told me."
"You have not agreed with my actions," Oma declared.
"I could have stopped Anubis and the Abydonians would have been saved."
"They are," Oma stated what to her was the obvious.
"They're alive, and I'm grateful, but it would have been unnecessary if I had stopped Anubis then." Daniel tried another tack. Maybe Oma could understand friendship? "Why did you take me away from Anubis' throne room?"
"Your path would have ended if I had not."
"You did it because I'm your friend?"
Oma smiled. "Yes."
"And you'd do it again?"
"If necessary. One does not stray willingly else they will lose their way forever."
"Willingly. So you're saying that you understand my convictions meant that I had no choice but to try to stop Anubis?"
Perhaps it was circular logic that Oma was unaccustomed to, but her eyes widened with understanding. "Yes. For friendship, you could not stand by and do nothing. You could not let evil destroy the good."
Daniel walked over to her, hoping that she'd understand more. "The SGC is good. They are a beacon of hope for many who have none. For any to be sacrificed when another choice is available is a destruction of good and lets evil prosper. I couldn't let that happen then, and I can't let that happen now."
Oma nodded her head and placed a consoling hand on his arm. "The Others are watching. If you return to your friends, they will see and take action. They will not tolerate any disobedience to the rules. If you are to warn them, you must return to them fully. I will not be able to protect you otherwise."
"It is your choice, Daniel."
"And the consequences?"
"You have seen and learned much in your time here. This knowledge is far greater than many can understand. You will not remember all, only that about Anubis."
Daniel could only speculate at the great amount of knowledge he could lose if he made this choice. "How much will I remember?"
Oma smiled. "Then your choice is made."
It was his choice.
He had to warn them.
There was a sense of complete comfort seeping through his sleep-muddled brain. He was warm, rested and … safe?
There was something dancing on the edge of his awareness, something about not being safe, something about a danger, something he had to tell someone…
A familiar sound interrupted his thoughts. He didn't want to leave his dark cocoon, but there was something… an urgency…
Daniel forced his eyes open. The familiar sound was Jack complaining about the commissary food, how it wasn't fit for human consumption, that was why he ate Froot Loops and couldn't they get a decent cook and –
"Daniel?" Sam's voice was on his right. "Daniel! Janet, he's awake."
The clickety echo of heels on concrete were the next sounds he heard and then the pain of a bright light shining in his eyes was the next sensation.
"Pupils are reacting equally and normally. Daniel? Can you tell me how you're feeling?"
Janet's voice. That was Janet talking. He'd heard her talking earlier, hadn't he? Something about resting and feeling better…
"Give him a minute, you two," Jack's voice was off to his left. "He just woke up."
Daniel blinked his eyes, tried to focus… wait. He could see clearly. He lifted his hand up to his face and felt his glasses sitting there – right, Jack had given him his glasses earlier. He remembered that. That's why he could see.
Looking around, he saw that everyone's attention was directed at him, waiting for something? He saw Jack and Sam on either side of him, Janet beside Jack, Teal'c at the foot of the bed… bed?
SGC infirmary. Why was he there?
Right. He had a vague recollection of Siler and Davis finding him… then sleeping…
Everyone was looking at him rather expectantly. Why? Janet wanted him to tell her how he was feeling? He tried to say something, but nothing came out. Then he cleared his throat and tried again. "Uhm, hungry." he finally said, his voice somewhat rough and not very loud. Jack HAD been talking about food, right?
That seemed to move people out of their focused attention on him. "That's a good sign," Janet said, smiling.
"I've got Froot Loops," Jack suggested as he held up his bowl. "We can send down for Rice Krispies or Cheerios or Corn Chex or Frosted Flakes – you do NOT want what they're serving this morning."
Sam almost giggled. "Sir!"
"The commissary food is quite edible," Teal'c corrected Jack, his eyebrow raised.
For whatever reason, this was amusing to Daniel who almost smiled despite everything.
"Enough," Janet demanded quiet in her sanctum. "Daniel, I want to run some tests –"
"Stop," he whispered, his voice sounding a little stronger than before. Amusement time was over.
Everyone suddenly quieted and stared at him. Perhaps saying stop wasn't the right word to use? He just needed a few minutes to get his bearings, to get back his "sea legs," so to speak. "Need a few minutes." He tried to sit up but he still felt a little weak.
"Oh, no, you don't, Doctor Jackson," Janet placed a hand on his chest and pushed him back down to the bed. "You had two seizures after we found you yesterday, and I'm a little concerned about the results of several of your tests. I'd like to recheck a few things to rule out some of the obvious causes, but you're right. We don't have to do them this minute. I'll have some breakfast brought to you."
Daniel took a deep breath and said with as much clarity as his voice could muster, "Later. Got to warn them about…" He quit speaking. What was it he had to warn them about? Why was he back? He had to tell them about something, some danger that was coming…
"Daniel?" Jack prompted him as he helped him sit up over Janet's protests. "What is it?"
Daniel thought for a moment, and then one name formed in his head, the one name that could bring about the destruction of everything on the planet.
Janet sat in her office and looked at the last EEG reading. It looked much more like Daniel's baseline than it had. It was almost normal.
Looking at his file and all the readings they'd taken since the day before, he was bouncing back remarkably well. But, remarkably well or not, she refused to let Daniel leave the infirmary too soon. There were too many results she wanted to double-check and re-verify. Daniel agreed to stay in the infirmary for a little longer IF he could talk to SG-1 and Hammond immediately. Whatever it was, it was too important for him to disregard and far more important than he considered his own health to be. All of Janet's protests were overruled by a colonel, a major and a Jaffa who argued Daniel's case for him.
Janet thought about writing a book for doctors who have patients with an indomitable will when they've made their mind up. However, she couldn't blame the colonel from doing anything Daniel asked at the moment. After being without Daniel for a year, if he'd asked for coffee made from fresh Columbian coffee beans, the colonel would steal a Cessna, fly down to South America, hand pick the beans and grind them himself. If Daniel wanted to tell them whatever it was he needed to tell them before being poked and prodded by the medical staff, she wasn't going to argue… much.
She would wait.
If nothing else, seeing SG-1 smiling again was worth the wait.
From her office, she couldn't hear what they were whispering about, but now, the looks on their faces were going from happy to worried in a few moments.
Something bad was coming. It had to be.
Hammond looked at the faces around him.
He saw smiles in the faces of SG-1 for the first time in over a year.
Daniel, thankfully, had regained much of his ability to speak. Doctor Fraiser had given everyone a stern warning against tiring Daniel out before she had a chance to run her tests, but she said it with a smile.
Listening to the people around him, Hammond felt like things were getting back to normal. Luckily, normal for SG-1 was rather loud, involved briefings with moments of humor and verbal banter thrown in for good measure.
Hammond had missed "normal," and he was hearing "normal" by the bucketfuls.
Even though he wasn't back to 100%, Daniel was giving Jack back as good as he got.
Damn, but life was good.
Eating and talking was a bit of a problem, but they'd been enjoying a little easy conversation as Daniel scarfed down his breakfast. It was when Jack asked about 'life in the glowy lane' that Daniel stopped talking altogether.
"Take it slow, son," Hammond reminded Daniel when he saw how much difficulty Daniel was having recalling the last year. "Tell us what you can."
Daniel reluctantly placed his coffee cup back on his now empty tray. He had been hungry. His breakfast disappeared before it could get cold which gave Jack a little more ammunition to pester Daniel with. "I remember being in the gate room with Jack and Oma, and Jacob trying to heal me here…" Daniel's voice, still not as strong as they all knew it would be once he regained his strength, trailed off. He looked as if he were trying to remember something else, perhaps something personal?
Hammond glanced over at Jack who shrugged and told everyone, "We were in this other place before Daniel went with Oma. It was all blurry and shadowy and bright. Then Oma got a wormhole started, we said bye and Daniel went through the gate. Then I was back in the infirmary and the glowy thing Daniel turned into went through the ceiling."
Hammond shook his head. There was a lot to the ascended way of life that no one had explained to him. He was going to have to have a long talk with his premier team. Later.
Daniel continued as if he hadn't been interrupted, but it was like he was relating a half-believed dream. "Then there was this conversation Oma and I had, something about me having to make a choice about Anubis."
Sam leaned forward. "You mentioned Anubis before," she prompted him.
"Yeah, he's got some big plans we're going to have to be prepared for. That I am sure about." He couldn't resist. He picked up his coffee cup and drained the dregs. "Any more?"
"Not for you," Jack reminded him. "Remember what the little power monger said. One cup until she knows you're 100%."
"That's cruel," Daniel mumbled.
"Yeah," Jack agreed. "That's why she's here."
Teal'c, although clearly entertained by the familiar conversational give-and-take between his two friends, was not happy with the name Anubis being mentioned. "What of Anubis?"
"Yes, to business!" Jack chimed in. "No need to make small talk with someone who's been gone for over a year."
Hammond saw Jack and Daniel mirror each other's grins at Teal'c's seriousness.
Yes. Normal. Typical. Hammond had missed this. He briefly wondered if they'd get a mini-history lesson from their friend, and he found he wasn't to be disappointed.
Daniel picked up his coffee cup, remembered it was empty and put it down a little more forcefully than he may have wanted to. Suddenly, he was in professor mode. Hammond could always tell. Daniel would get this focused look to his eye where he could look at everyone and not look at anyone in particular, yet everyone would think that he was speaking directly to them. It was an ability Hammond never quite got the knack for. "We knew Anubis was back a couple of years ago when Osiris and Tanith were working for him. He recruited the descendents of the Jaffa who served him before he ascended; they stole some pyramid ships and attacked a lot of smaller goa'uld posts. It was easy enough for Anubis to absorb those Jaffa into his forces. He hit small targets first to get his troop numbers up. Now, he's attacking large forces. We already know he's trying to find Ancient's weapons. If he does, it won't take long until he's unstoppable." Not only was his voice growing stronger with every sentence, his speech patterns were picking up speed to their pre-ascension levels. "He doesn't want to just take over all the Goa'uld regimes, he wants this entire galaxy under his thumb. Earth too. He's a little upset with us."
"You don't say," Jack joked.
"He's planning on coming here eventually, and he'll be bringing more than two ha'taks with him. He'll bring his entire fleet."
Hammond stood a little straighter. "So if we can disrupt his plans now before he can get all his forces in line, we may be able to stop him from coming here."
"I don't know," Daniel explained. "I do know we have to try."
There was a pause as each reflected on the dangers heading their way when Jack asked, "So, remember anything else?"
"No, that's it. Other than I had to warn you and Oma didn't want me to, uh, no."
Hammond wasn't the only one who saw the disbelieving squint to Jack's eye. That meant one thing. He just picked up on something Daniel didn't say. "Oma didn't want you to warn us?"
"No. That would be interfering."
"But you just did."
"And you're here, not a glowy squid looking thing."
"You're here because you came to warn us."
"Right." There was a bit of a question to Daniel's statement.
"You're here," Jack stressed the word. "They kicked you out because you were gonna interfere."
"Oh, no, that's not why I'm here. Not exactly."
"If I warned you about Anubis, I'd have to descend first because the Others wouldn't like it if I warned you. This way, it's not against the rules."
"And you don't remember the past year?"
"No. I think it's part of the punishment."
"Punishment," Jack almost spat. "The Ancients turned Anubis into what he is and then won't do anything about him, and they're punishing you for doing what they ought to do. Ya know, Oma may have saved your life, but I think that bunch is about as worthless as the Tok'ra in a fight. You're better off without them."
"No!" Jack argued. "Anubis is their fault, and we're the ones having to do the cleanup."
That stopped Jack's next tirade. "I'm right?"
"They kicked Anubis out of the ascended realm but he's still ascended. Anubis was cast out of their plane of existence and no longer has their full powers or abilities, but he's not corporeal either. He is still physically ascended. That suit he wears gives him a physical presence in our world. If he leaves his suit, he could give the Jaffa the impression that he's really a god and one that's more powerful than any of the others. His biggest problem right now is time. He knows the Tau'ri are looking for the Lost City and are just resourceful enough to find it before he does. He has to attack us, but he needs an army to do that. The Ascended won't let him use any of his powers to destroy other goa'uld and take their Jaffa so he has to use more mundane means to wage war. Mundane means corporeal, so he can't bother the Ancients, just us. They won't take responsibility for their actions or deal with the situation for whatever reason." Daniel's voice was back, strong and sure, fast in his convictions and not stopping even if someone tried to interrupt. Not only that, but he was ever the voice of reason where Jack O'Neill was concerned. Hammond couldn't count the number of times he was grateful to have Doctor Daniel Jackson at the same table with Jack, if for no other reason than to temper anger with sensibility.
Sam had been enjoying the verbal show as much as the others, but even she knew when the show was over. "Do you think that he learned of the location to the Lost City before he was cast out but just hasn't had the military power to try to come after it?"
"It's a possibility," Daniel told her. "There's no direct record of the Lost City that I know of."
"Or remember," Jack chimed in.
"Exactly. It may be that Anubis knows something we don't and everything he's doing is toward that end."
"What kind of timetable are we looking at?" she asked
"I don't know," Daniel told her. "If I were to guess, maybe within the year?"
That didn't give them much time, but now they could form a battle plan.
"And this is all you remember?" Hammond asked again.
"I think Oma let me remember that much. I get the feeling that descending wasn't something she wanted me to do, but if I was going to give it up, I should at least be able to remember why I was."
"You chose this," Jack stated. "You gave it all up just to warn us."
"I made a choice that wasn't a choice."
Ah. A play on words in true Jacksonian style.
"Only from you would that make sense," the colonel observed. "So what do we do next?
"We find the Lost City."
"Sure you want to risk this?" Jack asked Daniel as he helped him to his feet. "Doc says she wants to keep you here for a while. Poke, prod, pinch, see if you're all in one piece."
"I'm in one piece," Daniel said as he found his balance after standing up for the first time that day. "And I want coffee. Do you honestly think I'll get any if I stay here?"
"Uh, no. By the way," Jack looked around to make sure no one was in earshot and whispered, "I had Siler run down to Starbuck's. There's a fresh supply hidden in my office."
"Let's get moving," Daniel said.
"Oh, no, Doctor Jackson," Janet walked over quickly. "You are not leaving. We haven't finished half the tests we're going to run and – "
"Janet, I'm fine. Even you said so," Daniel told her as he picked up his jacket. "There's too much to do to just lie around here."
"I'll look after him, Doc," Jack quickly volunteered. "Carter and Teal'c will too. He just wants to take a little walk, that's all. Like he said, he needs to get his sea legs back. It's been a year since he's walked on his own. Right, guys?"
Both Sam and Teal'c nodded and voiced their opinions in the affirmative.
Janet saw the four of them looking at her with vivid determination. There was no arguing with this group when they set their mind to something, and Daniel uttering the words, "Can I get out of here now?" had spurred them into action. Teal'c went to the locker room and found some of Daniel's clothes at the bottom of his locker – unused for all the time he'd been gone. Within minutes, Daniel was dressed in his BDUs and ready to leave.
"All right," Janet finally conceded defeat. Daniel needed to move, to get out of the infirmary for a reason he hadn't articulated yet, and that was good enough for the other three members of the team. If that's what Daniel wanted, then come hell or high water, the other three would get it for him. She had no doubt that somewhere on the base was a fresh supply of Daniel's favorite blend. Luckily, Daniel's demands were usually more sensible. "The second he starts getting tired, I want him back here. I've got a couple of dozen tests to run on him, and the only reason I'm letting him out is because he seems to think it will help."
"We'll bring him back later, Janet," Sam promised.
That was a piecrust promise – one easily made, one easily broken. The second Daniel said he needed to do something else, the promise to bring him back to the infirmary would fly out the window.
Daniel was a little wobbly with his first two steps, but then he was walking under his own power. Teal'c and Jack stood on either side of him just in case, but within a few moments, he was walking out the infirmary doors with a steady gait.
"Where to?" Jack asked.
"Your office. I need coffee. Then we need to search through every bit of Ancient's text we have."
Sam took the lead. "We can start with the tablet we found on Abydos. You said it mentions the Lost City."
"I did? What tablet?" Daniel asked.
Sam stopped and looked back at Daniel. "The tablet we found in the hidden room in the Abydonian pyramid. The one you said was more important than anything else there."
"You don't remember what happened on Abydos?" Jack asked him.
"No. What happened? Are Kasuf and Skaara all right?"
Jack looked at his friends, took Daniel by the arm and led him down the corridor saying, "Come on, I'll tell you about it. It's not the best news you'll hear all day."
PERSONAL MEMO: Regarding status of Doctor Daniel Jackson
FROM: Major General George Hammond
TO: Lieutenant General Alexander Vidrine
As per my attached reports, I have reinstated Doctor Daniel Jackson to full status on SG-1. I have approved his reimbursement of one year's pay, hazard pay and restitution for working with a potential ally for this past year. General Jumper has ordered that a domicile and transportation be procured for Doctor Jackson at our earliest possible convenience. He has undergone a variety of tests from our medical personnel over the previous two weeks and has adequately passed all fitness and endurance tests required for an off-world team. I have also included Colonel Jack O'Neill's report which endorses Doctor Jackson's return to SG-1 see attached memo: O'Neill, Jonathan, Colonel, regarding Jackson, Daniel, Doctor.
I cannot adequately stress the need for a fully staffed linguistics and archaeological department. The information of a forthcoming attack by Anubis has made this need far greater than before. Anubis' use of the Ancient technology and Ancient language is, in my opinion, a greater danger than the Goa'uld represent alone. I have reinstated Doctor Jackson to his former position as head of both departments and respectfully request your perusal of his recommendations of the inclusion of additional scientific staff see attached memo: Jackson, Daniel, Doctor, regarding Scientific and Linguistic Personnel.
I would urge the Joint Chiefs to recognize the sacrifices made by Doctor Daniel Jackson for the SGC. I am forwarding a request to the President that official recognition be given to Doctor Jackson for his many contributions to this base, to this planet and to our allies. He has laid the groundwork for a possible alliance with the Ancients, the creators of the Stargate system and by far the most powerful beings we have encountered. Their unwillingness to interfere officially has proven to be an obstacle but we believe that this code of conduct is not absolute. We are pursuing any and all informational leads that can aid us in establishing a dialogue with them.
The one task we are seeking to accomplish is locating the Lost City. We have many artifacts that Doctor Jackson has been translating and he has found several references regarding the city and its location. I have included Doctor Jackson's reports pertaining to these artifacts and will maintain a current log of this information.
It is our fervent hope that finding the Lost City will allow us to defend not only Earth but also the galaxy itself against Anubis.
Hammond placed his memo on top of the pile of reports he was sending back to Washington. He glanced at the stack and saw the familiar names of the four members of SG-1.
It had been a long time coming.
The day Daniel ascended, Hammond knew that things had changed irrevocably. Yet, at the SGC, irrevocably was a word like death. It wasn't always permanent. When fate gave a slight twist, things could go back to normal.
SG-1 would be put back on mission rotation the next week. They'd spent the last two weeks getting Doctor Jackson's life back in order, and it was two weeks well spent. When O'Neill had explained the events on Abydos and the ultimate outcome, Hammond learned that Doctor Jackson knew more swear words in various languages than he'd first imagined. He was angry at himself, at the Ascended, at Anubis. But, as Colonel O'Neill had pointed out, the Abydonians were still alive. They were ascended, just as he was and knowing Skaara, he was having as much trouble keeping to the rules as his brother-in-law had.
Life got back to normal after that. Between the barrage of tests and training sessions, Daniel proved to be as fit for duty as he had ever been. O'Neill had put him through his paces on the firing range, Teal'c had worked with him in the gym, and Doctor Frasier had spent countless hours taking samples and testing his physical condition. Off time, Daniel had stayed at O'Neill's house until he could find a place of his own, courtesy of the United States Air Force. Major Carter and Teal'c were frequent visitors in their off hours, and the team had rebonded as if a year hadn't passed since they were all together, Abydos notwithstanding.
In a way, it was as if the last year hadn't happened, that they hadn't been separated.
Yet, with his premiere team back together again, that didn't mean that the mundane routine of running the base had changed. No, indeed. Some things were the same as they'd always been.
Hammond pulled out another memo sheet and wrote:
PERSONAL MEMO: Regarding the use of base computers to engage in the fighting of cyber aliens in online games
FROM: Major General George Hammond
TO: Colonel Jack O'Neill
It has come to my attention that certain individuals have once again reinstated the use of the base's Internet connection to play online games. It would be prudent for these individuals to cease and desist any and all gaming activities unless working KP in the kitchen is preferred to following this directive.
It has also come to my attention that Colonel Prescott at NORAD has lost five successive games in a row. In light of the good relations we strive to maintain between the personnel of this base and NORAD, it would be acceptable that one more challenge to NORAD be issued and the game lost by said SGC personnel. It may also be advisable to procure a Playstation for SG-1's personal use. I understand that a certain colonel lost the last three games to a certain archaeologist before his ascension. I have no doubt that a rematch can be scheduled.
Your acceptance of this proposal has already been taken into consideration.
George smiled a self-satisfied grin. Not much happened at the base that he didn't know about. Jack wouldn't like the memo, and to tell the truth, Hammond didn't mind a little downtime, but the online games stole too much bandwidth and could cause the servers to become too busy to deal with daily activities. Letting Prescott win their last match would be punishment enough for Jack.
That taken care of, George glanced at the duty roster and saw the name SG-1 at the top of next week's assignments.
SG-1, Earth's premier team heading off to adventures unknown. And like the cliché stated, one for all and all for one.
No, SG-1 wasn't just a team. It was what a team should be.