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'Alright, Campers. What've we got?' Colonel O'Neill asked, looking around at where SG-1 was working. Daniel, kneeling by a stone tablet, looked up from the inscription he was translating, pushing his sunglasses up on his head. Teal'c was walking around the perimeter, his staff weapon carried loosely in one hand. Major Carter tore herself away from the portable computer that she was working at, moving to join him.
'Sir, I've detected some strange energy readings from the ruins that the UAV picked up on its initial reconnaissance. It's like nothing I've ever seen before.'
'Worth checking out, then?'
'Thank you, Major.' Jack said, turning to the others and raising his voice.
'Alright, kids, prepare to move out.' He said, and waited as Daniel stood up, advancing towards him.
'Jack, hang on. I haven't finished translating this inscription, yet.' He said, and Jack held up his hand.
'Does it tell us anything about the ruins?'
'Or anything about a strange, possibly alien power source?'
'Then, it'll keep. And I want to take a look of those ruins before nightfall.'
'Daniel, you've got photographs and video. You can study them at dinner if you need to. Now, let's get moving.'
'Energy readings are definitely getting stronger, sir. We must be close.'
Carter said, pacing slowly around the cave, sensor in one hand.
'Whatever's causing the energy surge must be in this room. Hold on, I'm picking up another signal...it looks like there's a hidden door behind this wall.'
Sam knelt down, running her fingers over the wall, until she found a slightly raised stone.
'I think this is it, sir.' She said, reaching out to press it, when Jack spoke up.
'Major, you have seen Indiana Jones, haven't you? I'm just asking, because...'
'Yes, sir. I'm sure it's safe.'
'Alright, Major. But, if a giant stone ball squashes us flat, well, I told you so.'
Sam said, fighting a grin, as she pressed the switch.
Nothing happened for a second until, with a grinding noise that made Jack glance at the ceiling, a door in the wall swung open, revealing another room beyond. Jack activated the spot lamp on his P-90 and swept the interior.
'Daniel, Teal'c, left. Carter, right flank with me.'
They stepped through the door, the musty, stale air making Daniel cough. Barely visible in the gloom, two rows of pillars ran down the centre of the room, leading towards a raised pedestal at the end, where something silver gleaming in the light of their torches. Jack signalled for a halt, turning to Carter.
'Is this what you've been detecting?'
'That's it, sir. And the energy levels are almost of the scale.'
'Is it safe?' Jack asked, taking an involuntary step backwards.
'Yes, sir. Negative for radiation, RF or anything harmful. It's the most stable energy I've ever seen.'
They advanced with caution, reaching the base of the pedestal, where they could get a better view of the artefact. It was a solid silver block with a red crystal set into each face that pulsed faintly.
'Alright. Carter, pack it up. We'll take it back to the SGC and...
'Don't touch it!'
Hearing the shout, Jack turned to see a dark haired man and a woman dressed in black jumpsuits bearing the initials 'SGS'. However, his attention was drawn to the futuristic pistols that they had trained on them with steady aim.
'Howdy, folks.' Jack said, and the man spoke, cool and crisply.
'Identify yourselves.' He said, and Jack glanced sideways.
'Uh, Daniel, you want to step in here?' He said, while something nagged at the back of his brain. Where had he heard of SGS before? He pushed the thought aside as Daniel stepped forward, licking his lips.
'Hello. My name is Daniel Jackson. We're peaceful explorers from the planet Earth. We came through the StarGate. These are...'
'Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter and the Jaffa Teal'c from StarGate Command. We know who you are.' The man said, lowering his pistol and gesturing at his companion to do the same.
'I'm Akashi Satoru, and this is Sakura Nishiori from Search Guard Successor.'
Something clicked in Jack's brain from many of the briefings that he'd been forced to attend. SGS was a Japanese Search and Rescue organisation who, according to Intelligence, had access to advanced alien technology. He hadn't given it much thought until now.
'What are you doing here?' Jack asked.
'We came to recover that.' Akashi said, indicating the artefact with a nod of his head.
'Well, isn't that a crying shame? See, we got here first. Carter, pack it up and get ready to move out.'
'Wait.' Akashi started forward, stopping when Jack raised his P-90. Behind him Carter had just picked up the device, when it emitted a sharp tone, the crystal pulsing angrily. Startled, she dropped it just as the cave began to shake. Sakura dropped to her knees, scanning the artefact with a device that she pulled out of her sleeve.
'Chief, it is a Precious. Hazard level 30.' She said, as the shaking began to get worse, dust raining from the ceiling.
'Go, go.' Akashi yelled, grabbing Sakura and propelling her towards the exit, followed rapidly by SG-1. They scrambled along the corridor, with the shaking threatening to pitch them off their feet.
'Look out.' Jack heard Akashi yell, a second before something struck him squarely in the back, and the roof caved in, drowning out everything with a deafening roar.
As the roaring died away, Jack raised his head, looking around at what remained of the corridor. Their path was blocked by a mound of rubble; huge blocks that he knew would be impossible to move. A groan attracted his attention and Akashi got to his feet, pulling what looked like a cell phone from his jacket sleeve.
'Sakura, do you read me?'
'Chief! Are you alright?'
'I'm alive. Where are you?'
Jack pulled himself to his feet, activating his radio, tuning out Akashi's conversation.
'Major Carter, report.'
'We're okay, sir.'
'What's the situation look like from your end?'
'I'd estimate that there's at least a ton of rock blocking the tunnel, sir. C4 could probably shift it, but that would just trigger a larger cave-in.'
'Negative, Captain. Clear the ruins and hold your position. If you don't hear from me in an hour, return to the StarGate and report to Hammond.'
'...Yes, sir' Carter replied, and Jack turned to Akashi.
'I don't suppose you've got some fancy gadget that can get us out of here? Transporter? Laser drill? Anything?'
'Why should I help you? You got us into this mess, and you expect me to fix it? '
'Excuse me? We're in a survival situation and you're worried about who to blame? My only concern is getting us out of here alive!'
'Us?' Akashi asked, his face twisting in scorn.
'Hey, you're not my first choice either. We don't exactly have many options. If we want to escape, our chances are better if we work together.'
Akashi turned away, activating his communicator again.
'Sakura, we're going to try and make our way to the western exit. Return to DaiVoyager and get the excavation equipment, just in case.'
'Go! If anything happens, you won't be able to help us.'
'Carter, go with her.' Jack ordered, adding
'She needs someone to watch her back.'
'Chief, he's right. And, I can take care of myself.'
'Alright. Get moving.' Akashi said, and Jack activated his radio again.
'Teal'c, do you think you can find your way to this western exit?'
'Alright. You and Daniel rendezvous there, and keep in touch with Carter. Radio us in 30 minutes.'
Turning casually, Jack looked around for the Precious, only to see Akashi picking it up and stowing it in his backpack with a cool smile.'
'Well? What are you waiting for?'
'I've wanted to meet you for some time, Colonel.' Akashi said, as they made their way through the corridors of the ruins.
'Yeah?' Jack replied, looking at him in surprise.
'Yes. I wanted to see if you really were as stupid as you seem to be.'
'Excuse me?' Jack retorted, feeling his temper rise, but Akashi didn't back down.
'I've read the mission reports from the SGC that were shared with our government, Colonel. How many times has your programme put the world at risk? How many times have you nearly destroyed yourselves by meddling with alien technology? The Touchstone? The 'Message in a Bottle'? Linaya? The Replicators? Not to mention the Goa'uld nearly destroying the planet more times than I care to count.'
'Hey! We dealt with every one of those problems!'
'But you haven't learnt. Even now, you're looking for more alien technology, with no concern for the damage that you can do. SGS exists to keep Precious safe from people like you.'
'We're at war! Maybe you don't get it, but the Gould want to wipe us out. We've beaten them back before, but we can't hold out forever. We need every advantage we can get!'
'No matter the cost? Look what happened here, Colonel. What if you'd brought this Precious back to your StarGate facility? What damage would have been done then?'
'What about you? You have access to some pretty advanced technology, by the look of it. Why are you keeping it a secret?'
'Proprietary Japanese technology, Colonel. And SGS has its own share of enemies to deal with it.'
Akashi paused, and his expression seemed to soften a little.
'For what it's worth, Colonel, your actions in destroying those two Goa'uld Motherships were heroic. We were monitoring the situation, but our Government forbade us from tipping our hand too soon. But, when we saw that your Gliders had survived, we were preparing to launch a rescue mission, despite our orders.'
'Well, I guess that makes it alright, then!' Jack said, not bothering to conceal his sarcasm.
'Look, we've got things wrong. But we also took responsibility. We fix our own mistakes, unlike some of our 'allies'. You've heard of the NID? They're the ones who really...'
Jack's sentence was cut off as another tremor shook the tunnel, pitching them off their feet and the Precious dropped out of Akashi's backpack, tumbling across the floor. Before Jack could shout a warning it activated, the floor cracking where it struck, heading straight for Akashi. Akashi desperately threw himself forward, grabbing a handhold just as the ground disappeared beneath him, leaving him dangling over a chasm.
'What are you waiting for?' He yelled. 'Get out of here! You've got the Precious, so just save yourself. That's what you wanted all along.'
Jack stood up, glancing at where the Precious lay and then back to Akashi, before sprinting over and grabbing his wrists. Bracing himself with all his strength, Jack pulled him up, dragging him away from the edge just as the ledge gave way.
'Now who's being stupid?' Jack gasped, and Akashi laughed despite himself, getting to his feet and extending his hand to help Jack to his feet.
'You could have left me and saved yourself.'
'No, I couldn't. We don't leave people behind. Besides,' he added, with a grin, 'I think Sakura would have killed me if I had.'
'Yes, she would.' Akashi replied, and Jack's smile faded, as he added
'There's no way that she would let you leave with the Precious.'
'No, that's not...forget it. Let's get out of here.' Jack said, gesturing to the new hole in the wall that the Precious had just created with the latest tremor.
About an hour later, SG-1 and Boukenger stood in front of the StarGate, Akashi holding the Precious in his hands.
'Thank you, Colonel.' He said, bowing respectfully and Jack shrugged.
'I reckon we're even. Like you said, it's too dangerous to take back to the SGC. Do me a favour, though. If you do study it, let us know what you find out, will you? I'm sure Carter and Daniel would love to hear about it.'
'That won't be a problem, Colonel. Here, I want you to take this.
Akashi said, taking a small device from his backpack and handed it to him.
'This communicator is on an SGS frequency. If you need help, it'll get you straight through to our main headquarters in Tokyo.'
'Thanks. Where will you go now?'
'That's the life on an adventurer, Colonel. You never know what's going to happen.'
'No, you don't. Good luck, Akashi.'
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