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Man and Machine
"You belong to me
From the moment I saw your face
This is the one I can't replace
I belong to you
And every day is the perfect day
And even more when I hear you say…"
"You Belong to Me"
by Air Supply
"…so we don't know for certain that this is the Lost City of the Ancients," Daniel concluded. "From the images we have, and the markings I'm able to see, there are at least references to the Lost City in three places."
Duncan nodded. "Okay, let's check it out. The ruins seem to extend for some distance, do you think ATVs would be able to make it through the streets?"
Daniel nodded. "There doesn't seem to be a lot of damage to the buildings, other than neglect. A few have fallen, but most are still standing. I don't see any problems with taking the ATVs, and it would certainly help with getting around. It is a sizable city. The buildings we're looking for are rather spread out, and the 'gate is at least fifteen miles from the center of the city. UAV images show very little as far as ruins along the road that leads from the 'gate to the city."
Another nod. "Okay, load up the ATVs and do it then. How long do you want?"
"Three days, four maybe. We can always have supplies sent through if we need them," Daniel replied.
"I'd like to take a Marine team with us," Jack said. "Those ruins are big enough to be hiding anything…or anybody. Any chance of 6 being able to go with us as well?"
Duncan made a note, then looked up at the general. "Trenton has a staff wound to his leg, nothing serious. Doc wants to keep him down for a day or two. I know that 6 is good at digs as well as defense. I'll let Evan know that he and his boys will be going with you. Turk and his men have been on a few digs as well. I think Daniel would appreciate all the help he can get on this one, right?"
Daniel nodded again. "There is a lot of city to go through. The more eyes I have looking for specific markings, the better."
"Well, this mission is a go. You'll leave first thing in the morning. Aaron, I'm assuming you'll be going along as well?" Duncan said, looking over at the older man.
The Ancient shook his head. "As much as I would like to go, to see if this is a city once occupied by my people, I have several meetings to attend. The First Four are considering acceptance of us into their little group, as full-fledged, voting members."
"Really? That's incredible!" Daniel exclaimed, his eyes wide. When the Tau'ri had first met the Asgard, they had been told that it would be 'some time' before they 'matured'. It seemed that the humans had grown up just a bit faster than predicted!
Aaron smiled. "It is indeed. That we're even being considered for this…honor…is amazing. All that the Tau'ri, and Gammians are considered to be Tau'ri, since you are from Earth, have accomplished since their first steps through the Stargate have been noted. Granted, your …enthusiasm…has caused some…difficulties. But over all, you have helped, protected, and saved each of the First Four, at least once. Also, you are Immortals, created to protect the Innocent. Which you have done admirably. That and the fact that The Chosen is Tau'ri seems to be carrying some weight." He turned to look at his son-in-law. "Reports of your…abilities …are a constant source of discussion for them. I do believe that they're a bit nervous about ticking you off, Daniel," the older man teased.
Daniel's cheeks turned ruddy, but he grinned slightly.
"Anyway," Aaron continued, "Oma and I must be there."
"Anything special that needs to be done if we're accepted?" Duncan asked.
"There will be the usual diplomatic meetings, and probably a reception. Nothing large. We would be expected to host it. And The Chosen, and His Chosen, would be expected to attend," Aaron replied.
"Oh, great," Casey muttered. "Like I want to stand around in high heels for hours listening to diplomats tell me what a 'charming' species we are, and how 'entertaining' we are, and how surprising it is that we haven't blown up the galaxy yet." Her companions laughed, commiserating with her.
"There is one other thing," Daniel said, closing the folder in front of him. "Doctor Steven Rayner has requested to come here. He wants to work in the Center."
Sam was frowning. "That name sounds familiar…"
"He worked with Doctor Jordan, who was my mentor. Sort of took my place when I distanced myself from Doctor Jordan because of my theories," Daniel said quietly. The memories of the days when he was scoffed at by the scientific community still hurt, in spite of the fact that he had been proven right, and was now the darling of that same community of scholars.
"Is this the guy who wrote that book and bought a Porsche with the money he made?" Sam asked.
"He's the one," Daniel confirmed. That still stung as well. He had struggled financially for years, especially after leaving Dr. Jordan's employ. There had been a few grants, small ones, all of them had run out by the time Catherine Langford had found him, at the lowest point in his career. He had been a man ostracized, discouraged, and broke that rainy night. Catherine had offered not just a way to make enough money to survive, but to prove his theories correct. He remembered hesitating, fearful that the offer was nothing more than another way for his theories to be ridiculed.
Even though he had found acceptance with the group of people known as SG-1, and those working at the SGC; had proven, at least to himself and those involved with the program, that his theories were indeed factual, the first two years with the SGC hadn't been the greatest financially. General Hammond had stood up for him, demanding that he be paid at least the minimum allotted to scientists by the Department of Defense. Within a year after that, he was the top paid archaeologist, top paid linguist, and top paid anthropologist in the Department. He had managed to save some money, had been awarded a nice 'bonus' for several of his discoveries, and all of it had sat in the bank drawing interest while he had been Ascended. By the time he had met Casey, he was 'comfortable'. But he still hadn't been in a position to buy that Porsche. Now…there was really nowhere on Gamma to drive a car like that the way it deserved to be driven. And that thought took him aback…when had he ever really wanted a Porsche? He hadn't, he admitted…until Steven Rayner had been able to purchase one with earnings from a book…while his own work, which proved his controversial theories correct, remained top secret. Until four years ago. The realization left him with a sense of disappointment in himself. He cut off any more thoughts about his induction into the SGC, and the circumstances surrounding his arrival at Cheyenne Mountain.
"The one we told terrorists had killed Sarah, and taken artifacts in hopes of selling them to make money for their cause?" Sam was asking.
He nodded. "I suppose he was able to put two and two together when the truth about the 'gate was made public."
Sam nodded. "I imagine so. I don’t think he actually believed the story we told him."
"Probably not. He's not a stupid man. He was pretty sure that my theories were right before we ever left that pyramid," Daniel said.
"Okay, why would he want to come here, especially since he's been proven wrong, and you've been proven right?" Casey asked. "You said that you and he were never…friends."
"We worked closely together on a couple of projects," Daniel replied. "But no, I don't think we could ever have been called friends. I have no idea why he wants to come to Gamma."
"Maybe he just wants to work with the man who knows what the hell he's talking about," Jack said, a slight grin on his face. "Let's see, how did the last Time article put it…'Renaissance Man of the SGC, the Brilliant Doctor Daniel Jackson'."
Daniel grinned in return, a slight flush on his cheeks. Thanks, Jack, he thought. His mental excursion down memory lane had left him with a bitter taste in his mouth. It was nice to be reminded that he was able to do the job put before him, that those who worked with him had enough faith in his abilities to trust him completely.
"Was he the reason you and Sarah broke up?" Casey asked quietly. That sudden possibility left her worried. If Sarah had left Daniel for Dr. Rayner, how long had he remained in love with her? Was he still in love with her, at some level? Sam had told her that Daniel had repeatedly tried to rescue Sarah from Osiris. Her best friend had remarked that she thought it was a need left over from his inability to save Sha're. Casey knew that a part of him still loved his late wife, and always would. That was expected. But the idea that another part of him still loved Sarah stung. How many parts of him belonged to other, nameless women? She shook her head mentally. Stop it! She had to stop being so damned jealous…so…insecure. He loved her. How many times had he proven that? The dark fear in the back of her mind refused to be quieted, it continued to squirm and mutter.
Daniel smiled, reached out and took her hand. "No. I managed to screw that up all by myself."
She returned his smile. The answer offered comfort to her heart, quieted that dark fear…for the moment at least.
"So, do you want him here?" Jack asked, cutting to the heart of the matter.
"He's damned good at what he does," Daniel replied. "We could use an archaeologist with his experience, his abilities."
"That wasn't the question, Daniel," Jack said gently. "Do you want him here?"
"I don't think it really matters what I want, does it? I mean, I have to think about what is best for the Center," Daniel said, staring at the folder in front of him.
"Daniel, so help me! Do you want him here?" Jack asked again.
The young archaeologist looked up. "The truth?"
"You'd lie to me?" Jack said, raising an eyebrow.
He smiled, shook his head slightly. "Like I said, he's good at what he does. The Center could use him. And…" he broke off, studied his hands.
"And…?" Sam prompted, her blue eyes smiling encouragingly at him when he finally glanced up.
"And it would be kind of cool to be his boss," Daniel admitted in a low mutter. Another realization that left him questioning himself. When had he become so vindictive over petty hurts and grievances?
"Now that's what I wanted to hear!" Jack exclaimed, a grin on his face.
Daniel looked up at him, couldn't help but grin. He had never before in his life had a friend like Jack, a man who would stand up for him, back him up, no questions asked, his faith as unshakeable as…as Casey's. "I told Casey to have him send a resume. If he's serious about wanting to come here, he'll do it."
"Oh, I like that," Sam giggled. "Lets him know right away that there isn't any of this 'it's not what you know but who you know' at this SGC!"
Casey giggled as well. "Although, in this case, it's who he knows that is getting him the scrutiny."
Duncan was grinning as well. "Want me to give him the full security work-up?"
His blue eyes flashing, Daniel's grin broadened. "Yeah. Make sure he has to have a complete physical when he gets here, too. Just to get him used to it."
"Daniel, I just thought of something…to do with the mission," Casey said.
"We should take Stephanie, Todd, and Ramir. They haven't been on a dig since they've been here, and you said that you could use all the eyes you could get looking for the relevant symbols," she said.
Jack frowned. "Have any of them qualified with their weapons yet?"
"They can hit a stationary target. I doubt if they could under fire," Daniel admitted. "But then, neither could I when I first joined SG-1."
Jack studied his friend. Daniel may not have been able to hit a target back then. But he had proven himself to be invaluable. And one of the bravest men that he had ever met. "If they can just fire their weapons I'll be happy," he said.
"I'll let you inform your people," Duncan told Daniel. "Jack, you know who you want, I'll let you take care of that."
"Just out of curiosity, Mac, what is it that you do around here again?" Casey asked, her green eyes dancing, and focused on the hand that was wrapped so tightly in Daniel's.
"I am your Supreme Leader," Duncan replied, not missing a beat.
Casey snorted, then burst into giggles. "Supreme Leader my ass! We're carrying you, MacLeod! You're nothing more than a pretty figurehead!"
By now the rest of the team was laughing.
"Keep it up and you'll be spending the night in the stockade for insubordination."
"Promises, promises," she retorted playfully. She glanced at Daniel, the wicked smile on her face alerting all to her frame of mind. 'Feel like playing the Warden and the Prisoner?'
Daniel's tried to bite back his grin. 'Could be interesting. Who's who?'
'According to Mac, I'll be the prisoner. What do you think I'd have to do to earn my freedom?'
The grin on Daniel's face made his friends laugh, even though they weren't privy to the 'conversation'. 'Oh, it would take a lot of…sucking up. Or off, whichever.'
Casey giggled harder.
"Would you two knock it off!" Jack demanded, his cheek twitching.
"And on that note, I think this meeting is over," Duncan laughed. "We'll debrief with everyone who is going later this afternoon." He looked at his wristwatch. "Let's plan it for about four."
"That's sixteen hundred, Jack," Casey said, not looking at the older man.
"Thanks, Casey," he countered.
"Okay, give…what has you in such a good mood today," Duncan said, looking at the young blonde Immortal.
She shrugged. "I just…I guess I'm just…I'm just in a good mood is all." She suspected that it had a lot to do with Daniel's…foray…into her mind, changing memories so painful that she couldn't bear to look at them. Knowing that her adoptive father had loved her, understanding Helen Webster's past, knowing that the woman had suffered greatly in her own childhood was putting a different light on memories. Even the fears that she still harbored were…different, now. Most didn't feel as…threatening…as dark and black as they once had. They were still there, several just beneath the surface. But for the most part they were…different. The only thing that remained the same was the knowledge that if Daniel was ever lost to her, for whatever reason, she would lose her mind. She had nearly done so once. There was no doubt that if he were gone, she would go completely insane with grief.
Now it was Sam who burst into giggles. "Gee, I wonder why?"
Daniel blushed again, and Jack and Teal'c gave the young man a questioning look. He shrugged. "Have to get my fix, don't I?" was all he would say.
"This so totally proves my point," Jack declared. "This team has more sex than all the rest of the teams on this base combined!"
"Well, two members of the team, at least," Sam laughed. She winked at her two blushing friends.
Duncan wiped tears from his eyes. "You realize that if we have to keep the minutes of this meeting, it's going to be…"
"X-rated?" Casey supplied.
"Unbelievable," the Highlander laughed.
"Sort of like the one where we all decided that we didn’t want any more children," Casey agreed.
"Okay, team, let's get to work," Duncan said, standing to his feet. "And in case I haven't mentioned it before, it's damned good to have you all back."
A A A A A A
The three graduate students were overjoyed at the news that they were at last going on an archaeological dig. And with the famous Dr. Daniel Jackson, no less! Daniel carefully explained to them that it was vital that they followed all instructions to the letter, no matter how odd those orders might sound to them, and that they carried their weapons at all times; that the trip was as much a military mission as an archaeological expedition. Teal'c had suggested that the young people carry zat'nik'tels, simply because pinpoint accuracy was not as important with the Goa'uld weapon. Daniel had agreed, and was busy showing it to them, explaining it as best he could.
She poked her head up from behind the crate where she sat, on the floor, artifacts spread out around her in a haphazard display, trying to put a clay pot back together. "What?"
"C'mere, would you?"
She got up, walked over to where Daniel stood with the students. "What?"
"Love you, Babe." He pointed the zat at her and fired.
She went down, twitching and moaning in pain.
"One shot stuns. Two shots kill. Three shots dematerialize. Don't fire three times," Daniel said.
Finally able to get to her feet, Casey walked over to Daniel, her green eyes flashing with Fire, took the weapon from his hand. "Love you, Stud Muffin." She fired…twice. "When he wakes up, tell him that his ass is grass and I'm the lawn mower," she huffed.
Todd, Ramir, and Stephanie stared; wanting to laugh, not wanting to bring Casey's ire down upon themselves. They watched as she turned and stomped out of the Center.
Five minutes later Daniel took a deep breath. It was the first time the students had actually witnessed an Immortal reanimating. "Oh, shit, that hurt," he muttered.
"Mrs. Jackson was…taken quite by surprise," Ramir said hesitantly.
"Yeah, I kinda figured that out," Daniel replied. Knew in the instant he shot her that he had screwed up. Big time. He had seen the flames jumping in those beautiful green eyes when she pointed the zat at him.
"She uh…" Stephanie started, then lowered her eyes.
"What did she say?" Daniel asked. Knowing full well that Casey was totally pissed off, he was aware that she had no doubt had a lot to say about the ordeal.
"That your ass is grass and she's the lawnmower," Todd said. His cheek twitched. He snorted. Turned his head to look away. Gave into the laughter that bubbled inside him. "I think she was really…upset."
"Yeah, I figured that out, too," Daniel said. He had merely been explaining the weapon to the three young people. She had known that! They had no clue about a zat, had never seen one used, had no idea what to expect. And it wasn't like she had never been shot with one before! His brain told him that he should have talked to her about his…demonstration…before actually shooting her with it. Yeah, where was this good advice ten minutes ago, he grumped to himself. "Any idea where she went?"
"No, sir," Ramir replied. "She left the Center. Perhaps she went to your office?"
He stood to his feet. "There will be a briefing at four. Be on time," he said, then hurried out the door.
"Wow," Stephanie said softly.
"What?" Todd asked.
"I always thought he was brilliant. That was the dumbest thing I've ever seen!" she replied, shaking her head.
Todd and Ramir exchanged glances, and shrugged.
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