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Casey checked her reflection in the mirror one last time. Her make-up was on, she had curled her hair, and brushed it all to one side. The opal earrings that Daniel had given her for Christmas two years prior were in her ears, and the opal necklace he had given her the previous Christmas glittered against her collar. She slid her feet into her black, high-heeled pumps, tugged on her skirt to adjust it, and sighed. She didn’t know what the wife of a famous archaeologist was supposed to look like, but this would have to do. She opened the door of the bathroom and stepped out. Daniel was tugging the knot of his tie.
He whistled when she walked toward him. "You look gorgeous, Angel."
She smiled. "I was thinking the same thing about you." She pushed his hands away, adjusted his tie, then put his tie clip on. "Nervous?"
"Some. I'll just keep looking at you," he said, kissing the tip of her nose.
"You'll be brilliant. Do you have your notes?"
He checked his inner jacket pocket, pulled them out, glanced at them, then put them back, pushing to make sure they wouldn't fall out. "Yep."
"I guess this is it, then," she said. She smiled up at him. "Remember, Sweetheart, you're the famous Doctor Jackson. Brilliant archaeologist."
He laughed. "Right. I'm the same man they laughed at seventeen years ago."
"No, Daniel, you're not," she said softly. "You're a very different man. Older. Wiser. You've been through things that they can't even imagine. You're The Chosen. You've learned even more in the years that have passed. You're smarter now than you were then, and you were brilliant then. No, my heart, you're a man that they can't begin to fathom. A man that not one of them can ever hope to be like."
He put his hand below her chin, looked into green eyes full of love. "What you do to me, woman," he said softly.
She smiled, kissed his chin, then carefully wiped the lip-gloss from his skin. "Let's go. I want to watch you intimidate the hell out of these self-involved, self-proclaimed scholars."
He grinned, offered his arm, and led her to the transport rings. SG-6 was already there, wearing the smart black dress uniform of Gamma. Teal'c was also waiting, wearing a black suit as well. He was extremely handsome.
"Wow, T, you look great!" Casey smiled up at him.
"As do you," he replied, his smile wide.
Jack and Sam joined them. It seemed that black was the color choice of the day, he was wearing his black Gamma uniform, and Sam was wearing the feminine version of the Gamma dress uniform: a black skirt and tailored jacket.
"We all clean up pretty damn good," Casey said, looking around at the group.
Sam smiled. "Yeah, we do!" She looked at Daniel. "Ready to go show them just how brilliant you really are?"
Daniel smiled. "No. But let's just get this over with."
Coordinates for their arrival had been arranged in advance. They ringed down to the lecture hall, into a small office off the main corridor. Waiting for them was one of the conference organizers, a young woman who introduced herself as Stephanie Miller. The lovely, dark haired young woman had an infectious smile, and greeted them brightly.
"Doctor Jackson! It's an honor to meet you," she said, shaking his hand. She nodded to the rest of the team, and to the members of SG-6. "I'll take your wife, Mr. Teal'c, and General and Colonel O'Neill into the lecture hall, then come back for you and your… escorts. I'll be leading you directly to the stage." She turned to Casey. "If you're ready, Mrs. Jackson?"
Casey smiled at the vibrant young woman. "Lead on, Ms. Miller." She put her hand on Teal'c's arm, and followed their guide out of the room. She stopped and turned around. "You'll do great, Sweetheart. Love you."
Daniel grinned. "Thanks, Angel. Love you, too."
Major Parker and SG-6 were taking this job very seriously. They positioned themselves around Daniel, and would remain that way until he was on the stage speaking.
A A A A A A
Jack and Teal'c were both armed, and Casey and Sam had small weapons in their purses. Marine One and Two had ringed down earlier and conducted a security sweep of the area. They would remain in the lecture hall, standing guard at every entrance and window. If there was anyone from the NID in the audience who tried anything, he…or she…wouldn't succeed.
There were also at least a dozen visible security guards arranged for by the EDA, although none of the Gammians trusted the political group enough to be reassured by their presence.
Stephanie led the four SG-1 members into the hall. It was already filled with scientists, students, and at least a dozen well-known reporters; all waiting anxiously to hear Dr. Jackson speak. As they walked to the front of the large auditorium, the team was stunned when the audience rose to its feet and began clapping.
Training took over, and they scanned the area carefully, watching for any movement that might mean a possible threat. When they were seated, directly front and center of the platform, they heard everyone else settle back into their seats.
"That was interesting," Casey whispered to Jack, who sat on her left.
"Yeah, it was."
"It felt…good," she giggled.
Jack grinned. "Yeah, it did!"
Stephanie had left them, and hurried back to the office.
A A A A A A
Daniel tugged at the sleeves of his shirt, fidgeted with his tie.
"Nervous, sir?" Trenton asked.
"Yeah, a little bit," the archaeologist admitted.
The dark haired young woman bounced back into the office. "The Chancellor and the other dignitaries are taking the stage right now, and you'll be introduced. Are you ready?"
Daniel flashed a smile at the young woman. "As I'll ever be. Let's go."
SG-6 remained around him as they walked down the hallway, and through the door that would lead them to the side of the stage. Daniel was glad to know that all of the personnel who had ringed to the planet were wearing special sensors, and that each of them were being carefully monitored on the Phoenix. Not one of the Immortals trusted the NID, or the politicians of Earth. He could hear the Chancellor speaking as they made their way to the stage. He waited, tugged on his tie one last time.
"It is with great pleasure that I introduce as our keynote speaker for the conference on the Value of the Stargate for Exploration, an alumnus of UCLA, and the most brilliant archaeologist of our time, Doctor Daniel Jackson." The gray haired man looked toward the wings of the stage where Daniel waited. Applause thundered through the auditorium.
Daniel walked onto the stage, SG-6 behind him now. The four military men positioned themselves behind the young archaeologist. For one moment Daniel was nearly frozen with fear. When he had given his last lecture, the night that Catherine Langford had picked him up, and told him about the Stargate project, there had been fewer than a dozen people in attendance. Before he had been halfway through his presentation, he had found himself alone.
He cleared his throat, took his notes from his pocket, and looked down at the first row. She was there, smiling up at him. He could see the love in her eyes from where he stood. He felt her warm, soothing caress, and it brought a smile to his face.
"Good afternoon. I'm Doctor Daniel Jackson. I would like to thank Chancellor Earnswelle," he turned and nodded at the man, received a nod and smile in return, "for inviting me to speak to you today."
He looked out at the audience, saw the rapt attention in so many of the faces. "Archaeology is probably the most important science that we have. Through exploration, examination, and extrapolation we learn where we as a people, as a species, have come from; where we have been; what we have learned over the course of our history. To look back allows us to learn enough to look forward with hope, and confidence."
"General O'Neill, we have movement in the hallway. Two people. Four more waiting just outside the room where you ringed down," a voice said quietly into Jack's ear. He touched the tiny device, sending a signal alerting the communications officer that the message had been received. He tapped it twice, the signal to alert the Marine teams that waited around the huge room. He would hear anything that was said now. He glanced over at Teal'c and nodded.
The Jaffa tapped his receiver twice. He would also hear all that was spoken by the teams as they swung into action.
"In 1928, at an archaeological dig," Daniel continued, "the Stargate was discovered in Giza. The scientists who discovered it didn't know what they had found, only that it was a monument of some sort. We now know that it's made of naquadah, which is a quartzite metal that's not found on Earth; and weighing about 64,000 pounds, is shaped like a monumental standing ring. Two spinning concentric rings work together to set coordinates that permit interstellar travel. The outer ring contains nine chevrons that lock on a symbol. Seven are used to set a destination within Earth's galaxy, and eight are used to set a destination in another galaxy, although such intergalactic travel requires a tremendous amount of energy. It is not known what the ninth chevron is for. It is my theory that the ninth symbol may actually be used to travel through time. The inside ring has thirty-nine symbols, called glyphs, that refer to constellations. These symbols may also be pronounced, although that discovery wasn't made until the Stargate Program had been in place for not quite two years. To dial the Stargate, an 'address' is needed, and consists of a specific number of glyphs from the group of thirty-nine symbols. The first six symbols set a coordinate in a volume of space, and the seventh refers to the point of origin."
"Phoenix, this is Marine Two Alpha. We have eyeballs on the two in the hallway. One male, one female. They're armed, dressed to rumble. Request permission to take out targets."
"Marine Two Alpha, this is Phoenix, permission granted. Zat them if you can, General O'Neill and President MacLeod want them captured if at all possible. When you have them, advise."
"Copy that Phoenix. Zat and advise."
"Phoenix, this is Marine One Charlie, approaching ring room. Advise location of bad guys."
"Marine One Charlie, bad guys inside the room now, two by the window, two near door to main corridor. Suggest using side door."
"It wasn't until 1945 that the first tests were conducted using the 'gate. Those tests ended in tragic failure. The scientists involved simply did not understand the true function of the 'gate. In 1997, Doctor Catherine Langford had heard about my 'fantastic theories'," Daniel smiled, noted that several well-known archaeologists shifted in their seats, "that the Pyramids in Giza weren't just tombs for Pharaohs, but landing sites for alien spacecraft. She contacted me, and brought me in on the Stargate program. I deduced that the cover stone associated with the 1928 Giza dig site referred to constellations, and figured out that the seven symbols that comprise a Gate address refer to six coordinates that fix a point within a volume of space (as in the six sides of a cube), plus the point of origin. With all seven symbols in hand, it was possible to dial the Gate. On Abydos I discovered the Abydos Cartouche that has allowed us to extrapolate the addresses for literally thousands of planets. When Brigadier General Jack O'Neill had the knowledge of the Ancients downloaded into his brain, he added several hundred more 'Stargate addresses'. That incident, by the way, was when we learned that the symbols could be pronounced, in the language of the Ancients.
"Today, the Stargate is allowing us to meet other civilizations, other people, to learn more about our own history, and to bring new advances to our world. It allows us to reach out and offer assistance to those in need. Just as the Internet made Earth 'one community' the Stargate is making our galaxy, our universe, one community."
"Phoenix, that's a copy. Moving to side door now."
"Copy Marine One Charlie. Zat if possible."
"Copy that Phoenix. Marine One Charlie, Beta, and Delta request permission to enter room."
"Marine One Charlie, Beta and Delta, permission granted. Advise when bad guys are down."
"Copy Phoenix, zat and advise."
"Unlike the explorers of our past, we do not seek to conquer. We seek instead to share knowledge. However, just as the explorers of our past discovered, there are those who do not mean us well, who view us as enemies, or worse, as a people to be conquered, defeated, oppressed, used as slave labor, or as a source of human hosts. We battle these enemies, and we will prevail, just as the explorers of the past prevailed over those who sought to destroy them.
"Each trip through the Stargate allows us to learn more, each adventure offers us hope for the future. Even as we fight against those who would dream themselves our masters, we must never lose sight of the fact that we are Peaceful Explorers.
"The Stargate is our ship, our way into the unknown. The thirty-nine symbols on the inside ring of the 'gate are our maps, our coordinates. It would be a disservice to the people of Earth, and of the SGC colonies who protect the home world, as well as to the other civilizations we have met - many of whom are now allies - to allow this exploration to be stopped. Only by going through the Stargate to other planets, and learning about each one, will we learn more about ourselves. The more we learn about ourselves, the brighter our future becomes."
The sound of zat'nik'tel fire in the hallway outside of the auditorium created a stir among the gathered crowd, murmurs broke out. SG-6 immediately surrounded Daniel, and the five men immediately beamed to the Phoenix. Jack, Teal'c, Casey and Sam were beamed aboard as well. Within fifteen minutes, all of the Marine teams, and their six prisoners, had beamed aboard the waiting ship.
A A A A A A
"Well, Casey, you were right, as always," Jack said as he tugged at his tie. "Sam, can you get the Chancellor? Let him know that we'll be holding that reception here on the Phoenix."
"I can do that," Sam replied. She glanced at Casey and smiled. Once again her young friend's 'gift' had saved their lives.
They had barely arrived on board the Phoenix before the young Immortal had started getting bad feelings about the lecture. Jack and Teal'c had devised the plan that had just been implemented, and the Chancellor had been contacted, and arrangements made for a reception on board the ship if anything should happen. The reception would allow Daniel to meet with those who wished to speak to him, and to answer questions that the scientists might have. The guest list had been checked as carefully as time had permitted, but as Daniel had pointed out, even if there were an NID agent among them, if they were having the reception on the Phoenix, then something would have already happened. Chances were that any NID agent would be given the abort order. If not, that agent still had the problem of getting off of the ship. And that wouldn't be easy with two full contingents of Jaffa guarding the rings.
Casey walked over to Daniel and put her hand on his arm. "I'm so sorry, My Heart."
"For what, babe?"
"You didn't get to finish your lecture. It was good, too!"
He grinned. "Thanks, Angel. I'm kind of glad to have gotten out of it."
"I've never given a lecture to that many people before. I was pretty nervous."
She smiled, reached up and pushed his hair back. "I couldn't tell. Well, you sent a copy to the head of the Archaeology department, so it will be passed around, I'm sure. They're probably bringing up the guests for the reception."
"Probably. Ready to be bored to death?"
"I'm never be bored when I'm with you," she said.
He gently tapped her nose with his fingertip. "I'll ask you about that when all of this is over!" He offered his arm, and they walked to the holding bay where the reception was being held.
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