143 N 42nd street New York City, United States 2011
The conference hall at the Stromburg Institute in New York City was one of the best places to give a lecture. The top floor could seat thousands, and the lower conference rooms could hold a few hundred. There was no cafeteria, but that wasn't a problem for most. Certainly not for archaeologist Dr. Daniel Jackson, that is. His biggest problem is that he spent litterally his last dollars and asked for his last favors paying to get one hour into the Stromburg Institute's largest room. And now, the fifty people seated in that large room were walking out of his lecture.
The topic of the lecture was the true builders of the Giza pyramids. Daniel had a vast knowledge of the pyramids and their interiorshe'd been in them more than half his lifeand he knew that the estimates and so-called 'facts' about the pyramids were mostly wrong. He didn't have exact proof, but that was what part of this lecture was about: getting people to rally behind him and fund his research.
Things were not going well. Over half of the fifty people had left the room. gLook, people, if you were to look inside the pyramids, you'll find nothing. No hieroglyphs, no writings of any kind, not even a... a... an old building permit to show people they were building a pyramid there,h he cuckled, though no one else did. The few still intently listening were yawning and staring at him with stern eyes. gI don't... I don't know how to make you all believe me.h
Suddenly, someone stood up. He was some Egyptologist that everyone went to for translations and the like. gDr. Jackson, I'd like to remind you that more than one expedition into the Giza pyramids have found writings, and have found indications of those who built the pyramids. Your claims have no base, Doctor.h
gNo, my findings,h he corrected him, gdo have base. All the expeditions and all the stupid tourists running around the pyramids like they were amusement parks have found is just what governments and the people who make money put in the pyramids to excite people.h He took a dry-erase marker and put a series of six symbols up on the white board. gI found theseand only thesenear the pyramids. Not inside, not miles away. I found these in the remains of a dig from 1928.h
A female voice asked, gThe Langford dig?h All seventeen heads in the room turned to the door to see an elderly woman standing there. gIs that where you found your great discovery?h
Daniel answered, gYes.h
gYou can all go home. You'll be paid for your attendance. Dr. Jackson, please come with me.h
Daniel watched as everyone in the room finally left. The only two people in the room were the elderly woman and Daniel himself. He set to work putting his research back in his briefcase when a man wearing United States Air Force badges took that over for him. He followed the elderly woman up to the roof. gI'm not sure we're allowed to be up here,h he said to the woman.
gThe man who owns the place is a friend of the family.h
gAnd who is the family? The Langfords?h
gCatherine Langford. I was ten years old when my father found that piece of rock with those symbols on it.h
Daniel did the math in his head. gYou're ninety-three?h
gYes.h She smiled. The folds of her face lifted with her lips. gWe found something else that day. I'd like you to come take a look at it.h
Daniel looked up. gSomething else?h
O'Neill Residence Colorado Springs, United States
Sara O'Neill stuffed the cigarette into her mouth as she pulled the plate out of the sink. The government car pulled up to the house, but didn't enter the driveway. Two Air Force personel stepped out and walked up to the front door. They politely knocked, then just walked in.
gYou're here for Jack?h
gColonel O'Neill, ma'am, yes. Is the Colonel in?h
gYes, he is.h
gMay we speak to him?h
She pulled the cigarette out and tapped some ashes into the tray. gYou can try.h
Jonathon 'Jack' O'Neill sat on the edge of his son's bed, holding the weapon that had taken his son's life. Why Charlie had decided to use the weapon, he would never know. His baseball trophies and pictures of the family were all over his room. No kid on the planet was greater than Charlie O'Neill.
O'Neill had heard the two Air Force officers enter the home and ask for him. They had come down the hall and into Charlie's bedroom, just then. gColonel O'Neill, sir,h one of them said, gwe're liasons from General West's office. You're to report to Cheyenne Mountain immediately, sir. You've been reactivated.h
Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs, United States
Daniel sneezed quite loudly in the elevator going down to the fourteenth level of Cheyenne Mountain. The man next to hima major, by his rank insigniasasked, gCold?h
Daniel shook his head. gAllergies. Happens when I travel.h The major nodded his head. They exited the elevator when they arrived at floor fourteen. Of course, the floors in the Cheyenne Mountain complex were in descending order instead of ascending, as the floors were all below ground. The major swiped his card in a card reader and entered another elevator. It took Daniel a couple seconds to realize that he, too, was to get in the elevator. The major pressed the button for the twenty-third floor out of a total of twenty-eight floors. gWhat's below twenty-three?h
gNeed-to-know, sir, need-to-know.h
The twenty-third floor was just as bland, tunnel-designed and expansive as the first floor looked to be when he'd arrived. It was a wonder how anyone in the Air Force could take working underneath a mountain. The major led him through seven sets of corridors to a room designated 'Rock Room'.
gIs that a joke?h Daniel asked.
gIt wouldn't surprise me, Doctor.h The major swiped his card in the reader and the door opened. A large cartouche stood in the center of the room, held up by ropes and cables. gThis is your new office, Doc.h
The cartouche was at least four stories high, perhaps higher. A large centerpiece contained the six symbols he'd found at that dig. Below them was another hieroglyph, one he'd never seen before. It appeared to be a pyramid with a sun above it, two figures praying to either side. It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. gThis was at Giza?h
gIt was, Daniel,h Catherine's voice came from behind him. She had come in the room from a different entrance. gFound in a separate section from the main dig, but still in the same general location. Cover stones.h
gThe symbols. What are they for?h
gWe haven't figured that out yet,h she said. There was something about the tone of voice she used that told him there was more to the story than that. He didn't press for it, however. He figured he'd learn something about it. She hustled him over to a white board with several hieroglyphics on it, not to mention a piss poor translation of the hieroglyphs. gDoes this mean anything to you?h
Daniel took the eraser and erased several sections. gWho translated this? Frankly, it's embarassing to be in the same room with it.h He fixed some of it. gIt's not 'locked away', it's 'sealed and buried'. Not 'forever', 'for all time'.h He crossed out two more sections and fixed them. gOkay, so now it says, 'Our Lord, the Sun God Ra, has brought forth this gateway. However, after our rise, it was sealed and buried for all time. We called it the Stargate.'h
Catherine nodded her head slowly. gImpressive, Daniel. Now, get to work figuring out those symbols, okay?h
gGive me one thing: Why is the US Air Force interested in a five thousand year old cartouche?h
Daniel was suddenly aware of a fourth man in the room. He was a few inches taller, with short brown hair. He wore the insignias of a colonel. gMy report says ten thousand.h His voice reminded Daniel of an old TV show... Mac-something-or-another.
gSorry, no, that's preposterous. The ancient Egyptians didn't even exist ten thousand years ago,h Daniel said, turning to the colonel. gAnd who the hell are you?h
gColonel Jack O'Neill. Air Force. And my report is conclusive. Carbon dating puts this cartouche and all other stone tablets recovered from the Langford dig as ten thousand years old.h
Daniel blinked. Did this guy really think he knew more about the Egyptian culture than him? No one knew more about the Egyptian culture than him!
gDr. Jackson, I'm going to assume is who you are, this project and all things pertaining to it are now under the highest classification the US government has to offer. You're on-base movement is restricted to this room, the nearest rest room and the coffee machine outside this room. Anywhere else you go requires my permission and security personel.h He turned and walked out of the room, not even so much as a good bye or even a fuck you to signify his departure.
gExcuse me, Daniel,h Catherine said as she left.
Dr. Langford caught up with O'Neill as he rounded the corner. He was hoping she wouldn't have been able to catch himthe woman was in her nineties, for chrissakes. He turned to her. gYes, Doctor?
gColonel O'Neill, I was told I'd have complete authority over this operation. General West gave that to me.h
gThere's been a change in plans. I've read all the reports, and I was in there when Jackson retranslated that message. Need I remind you what we found fossilized at that dig?h
She frowned. gNo, you needn't. Look, Colonel, why are yo here?h
He took a deep breath, then said, gI'm here in case you succeed.h