"The museum will be closing in five minutes," a voice through the loudspeaker said.
"Major, do you really think that's her?" one of the men with Major Samuels asked. "She looks too young and at too boring a job to be this accomplished doctor we're looking for."
The woman, no girl would be a better word, that the airmen was referring to was a professional young woman with black hair pulled up into a tight bun, intelligent-looking glasses over midnight blue eyes, pale skin that was most likely due to keeping inside studying, tan slacks, and a purple dress shirt. Despite looking fairly accomplished and professional, the girl also looked like she couldn't be more than seventeen years old. Major Samuels had seen older looking interns on his way in. Certainly this wasn't the expert they were looking for. Doctor Selene Nikolas was a highly accomplished scholar in linguistics, history, and culture. In addition, although she had never studied it, she was pretty handy with how things work and, more importantly, getting things that to work that no one else could. Her theories on some things, no matter how far out they may seem, were often correct. In the past she had been a source of information for the military since she could and often did get her hands on information she didn't need to know. This combination of traits was why the military had called her before and why they were calling her now. Once again they needed her help with a large problem called the Stargate.
The airmen approached the woman, whose back was turned to them currently and had not seen them staring at her, and Major Samuels called out to her.
"Doctor Nikolas?" He inquired.
She sighed, blew a few strands of hair from her face, put her hands on her hips, and replied, "What did I do this time?"
"We're with the Air Force, ma'am."
She turned to face them. "As far as I know, I haven't heard anything that I know is of value or gotten myself into any trouble recently, so what does the military need me to fix or solve? And which one is it?"
"Solve, Doctor, and this is a pretty big riddle, even for you."
"Is there somewhere we can talk in private, ma'am?"
"Yeah, there are some conference rooms down the hall. This way gentlemen."
Selene led them down the hall and into a conference room.
"Have a seat please," she instructed, doing so herself at the same time. "So, what's this top secret—wait a moment."
She climbed on the chairs and disabled the security cameras.
"Okay, now no stupid security guard will stumble across whatever you gentlemen are about to reveal to me."
"Doctor Nikolas, do you recall your tour of duty with us on the Stargate project?"
"As clearly as it was yesterday, Major." As she spoke, her eyes seemed to be looking past him, out of the room, past the layers of the atmosphere, and all the way to the desert world she had visited among her then comrades and Doctor Jackson, who was a life-long friend of hers.
"That's good, Doctor, because we have orders to take you back to the SGC to answer some questions."
"Okay. What about this 'pretty big riddle' of yours?"
"I should let General Hammond explain that to you, ma'am."
"He took over after General West left."
"There's something you're not telling me, Major, but I guarantee I'll find out."
"Ma'am, this is classified, need-to-know only, information."
"With all due respect, Major, I always find these things out; no exceptions."
***Later at the SGC***
Once at the SGC, Major Samuels asked Selene to sign in.
"Well I'll be," she said surprised, "Jack's here too, huh?"
"Yes, Ma'am; his experience will also help in discovering the answer to our problem. We have to take a second elev-"
"I know—I've been here before, remember."
"Oh, of course, Ma'am."
Once they departed the elevator, another airman was waiting to take Selene in to see the general. They reached his office door, the man knocked once, then entered.
"General Hammond, Colonel O'Neill—Doctor Selene Nikolas," The airman introduced the girl.
"Retired!" Jack cried, as if he had been called "colonel" all day. "Hey ya, Squirt," Jack said as he ruffled the girl's hair playfully.
"It is good to see you again, O'Neill."
The general cleared his throat to get the attention of the reunited friends.
"Doctor Nikolas, I've done some research on you in the past few days leading up to this meeting, and I must say I'm very impressed—you graduated college not two years ago at the age of fifteen, did you not?"
"It was nothing really," she pushed it off, sounding slightly embarrassed.
"On top of that, you were at the top of your class, despite being younger than all of them."
"Yeah, that kind of pissed them off."
"You're a walking encyclopedia for knowledge on ancient cultures, languages, and history. You've also been a great help to the military over the years."
"Hey, I just stumble across these things. If it weren't for Doctor Jackson, I wouldn't know half the things I know about ancient culture. He's the one who taught me how to read and speak Egyptian. Although, he was a little rusty with his mythology when we first met, his insight to the culture was quite fascinating."
"I've read some parts of your published work—some theories, some mythological studies, some research notes—but I haven't seen anything even pointing to the fact that you've work for the United States Military yet. Have you ever considered doing that?"
"He was asking me these same things when you walked in," Jack whispered to her, "Only he wasn't praising me for all my accomplishments."
Ignoring Jack, Selene kept her attention to the general. "I've considered it multiple times, General, but I'd have to shot anyone who read it and I'd lose all my sources of information."
"Almost exactly what I said," Jack exclaimed. "I've taught you so well. Chip off the old block, wouldn't you say, General?"
"We're not related, Jack," Selene reminded him.
"Could you clarify, Doctor?"
"Most my work for the military has been classified, which is natural since I'm a sort of trump card. As for my sources…well, if you were a criminal and you know who was telling the military about things, would you go hanging around her? My sources don't do anything major, but they have connections and secrets to the top of the criminal food chain, the lords of the underworld, as I like to call them, and they're more frightened by them then the Military. Now, what's this about Stargate and some major problem?"
"Down to business? I can do that. This way."
He led Jack and Selene to the infirmary where four men with X slits through their stomachs were having tests done on them.
"These people, or aliens, came through the gate and killed four of my people and kidnapped another," the general said.
"Well they didn't come from Abydos, sir," Selene said. "They were human."
"Are you both sure that Ra is dead?" the general asked.
Selene answered yes in several different languages and Jack simply stated that "unless he could survive a tackle warhead blown up in his face" he was positive.
"These aliens were guarding another man. I got a good look at his eyes: they glowed."
"Well…" Selene said. "Isn't that interesting?"
They walked down the hall and the general asked the colonel about how he felt about the stargate program. Selene noticed a door closing. The team who had been with her, Jack, and Daniel on the first mission to Abydos were inside.
"Kowalski and Ferrdie? yes," the General finished and answered for her.
"Tell me about Daniel Jackson," Major Samuels asked, or more so, demanded, of them both.
"Why are they questioning my men?" Jack demanded.
"They're not your men anymore. You're retired."
Selene giggled. "That one finally came back to haunt you, huh Jack."
"Now, Daniel Jackson."
"It's all in the report," Jack said.
"Is it?" Major Samuels questioned.
"What's this all about?" I asked.
"You didn't like Daniel Jackson, did you Jack?"
"Daniel was a scientist."
"What am I?" Selene demanded. "A duck?"
"He sneezed a lot!" Jack defended himself. "Basically he was a geek, Sir. You, Selene, are not. You're cool. And you don't sneeze your brains out."
"So you didn't have time for him?" the major asked.
"I didn't say that! He also found the way home for my men, Selene, and m; something like that kind of makes a person grow on you."
After going on about the mission briefing, the general asked if everyone they knew on Abydos, including Daniel, were dead. When they both lied and answered yes, the general stood up and said. "Good! Then you both won't mind if I authorize a go ahead on our plan."
"Sir?" Selene asked as she followed him out.
When they got to the Gate room, they were arming a bomb to go to Abydos. 'Crap,' Selene thought.
"General, you can't do that," She protested.
"The count down's already started…unless either of you have something to add."
"General Hammond," Jack said, "I regret to inform you that my report was not entirely accurate."
"You didn't detonate the bomb."
"Well yes and no," Selene said.
"I did detonate the bomb," Jack said. "But it was aboard Ra's spacecraft when it went off and eliminated the threat. However it was in orbit at the time. Nothing on the planet was destroyed."
"Daniel Jackson is alive and living with the people of Abydos."
"You disobeyed direct orders, why?"
"Because they were no threat to us."
"That's not your decision to make."
The two men argued back and forth. Selene commented on some of the things, but knew that she was not military and therefore wouldn't be paid much attention to in this argument.
Finally the general lost his temper and ordered Selene and Jack to be taken to a holding room.
"Colonel O'Neill, sir," Kowalski saluted as we came in the room.
"Retired, Kowalski. Loose the salute."
"Me and Ferrdie didn't tell them anything."
"Ferrdie and I!" poor grammar annoyed Selene more than anything else on Earth.
Both men sent her annoyed looks.
"Hey those kids saved my life too," Kowalski said as the three sat down at a table.
"We're not kids," Selene said. Again the two men looked at her. "Young adult."
Jack rolled his eyes.
"That one kid idolized you. Remember? Weird name—what was it?"
"Skaara," Jack and Selene said at the same time.
Selene missed Skaara. What they had had on Abydos was special.
The general came back into the room and Kowalski stood at attention.
"How many people did you say were on Abydos?"
"That we saw…" Jack thought about it for a moment.
"Five, maybe six, thousand," Selene offered.
"That sounds about right," Jack said.
"Does this mean you're not sending the bomb?" Selene asked.
"It means I'm open to other options."
Jack convinced him to let him take another team through the gate and so the Stargate program was reborn. Jack would be leading the front line team known as SG-1 which would consist of him, Captain Samantha Carter, and Doctor Selene Nikolas. Major Kowalski would lead SG-2. Both SG-1 and SG-2 would go on the first mission to Abydos on recon to bring back Daniel Jackson. Selene was excited about going back to Abydos: she missed Danny; she missed the hot, dry air of the desert; she missed the feeling of the sun on her face; she missed the smells of the Abydos village; but, most of all, she missed Skaara and what they'd had when they were together on Abydos. Since she was always ahead of her own age group, and therefore never with people her own age, she had never had a boyfriend before, and, after meeting Skaara, she didn't want another one. She wanted Skaara; no one else.