Category: humor, yeah that’s pretty much it
Pairings: none, well none of SG1 anyway
Spoilers/Season: Season 8
Warning: This is a team fic, not a Jackfic, though that General of ours does tend to steal the show. I went with the bunny I got.
Content Level: 13+
Summary: SG1 + kids + alien technology = disaster in the making
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1, its characters and all related entities are property of Stargate SG-1 Productions (II) Inc., MGM Worldwide Television Productions Inc., Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp and Showtime Networks Inc / The SciFi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended.
Archive: Jackfic, Abydos Gate
Authors note: Huge thanks to Aniko, Dee, Yllek, Amanda and Kasi for research and help, and to all other jackficcers, jackficcer relatives, godchildren and dorm-mates who, voluntarily or otherwise, gave their names to characters in this fic. In case anyone is thinking of revenge, know my house is guarded by a large rottweiler named Roxy.
“What does Jack want to see us about that’s so urgent?” Daniel Jackson grumbled, pulling off his vest and shaking powdery dust to the locker room floor.
Colonel Samantha Carter shrugged. “I have no more idea than you.” She stowed her pack in her locker and fluffed her hat head. “But it must be important if we don’t even have time to shower. Especially you,’ she added mischievously, grinning as the archeologist took off his glasses to reveal white owl eyes in a face covered with tan dust.
Daniel scowled at her, and brushed at his cheeks with his hands, managing only to smear the dust more.
“Should we not proceed?”
The two turned to look at Teal’c, uniform immaculately dust free, standing at ease by the locker room door.
Daniel sighed and gave one last scrub at his face. “Coming.”
“Come in, come in,” General Jack O’Neill called as the team knocked at his door. “Sit down, sit down,” he said, waving his arm magnanimously. “Except for you, Daniel,” he added, eyeing the disheveled condition of his friend. “For crying out loud, what did you do – roll in the mud?”
Daniel scowled at him but remained standing near the door. Teal’c took a post on the opposite side, standing at ease with his hands clasped behind his back. Sam decided it wouldn’t look too weak and girly if she were to take a seat. After all, the general was sitting too. She perched on the edge of the chair, and managed not to sigh with relief as her feet screamed for joy. They all looked at Jack expectantly.
He rocked back in his chair, hands folded across his chest. “So, how was p63594?”
“Um,” Sam frowned. He was going to debrief them here?
“It was fascinating, Jack. We’ll need to go back, and soon,” Daniel said, moving forward. “The ruins near the stargate had some of the ancients’ language on them, but then we met a couple of the natives, who took us on a hike to a ruined temple.”
“A long hike,” Sam clarified, wriggling her toes.
Daniel ignored her. “The entire inside of the temple is scripted in ancient text, Jack. And the people there can read it! They call their planet Veszprem, and the ancient language is a dead language to them, like Latin here, but…”
“Great, great,” Jack cut him off with a wave. “Give a full debrief to Colonel Tierney - SG2 will be taking over for you there. Then you need to go home and pack your bags. You have,” he glanced at his watch, “three hours. You might want to shower,” he added, glancing at Daniel.
“Where are we going?” Sam asked. “Sir,” she added belatedly.
“Jack, we have to go back ourselves,” Daniel insisted. “We’ve established a relationship with these people…”
“Nope.” Jack leaned forward and picked up and envelope on his desk. He handed it to Carter. “Surprise, kids. You are the grand prize winners of an all expenses paid trip to our nation’s capital.”
Sam pulled three plane tickets out of the bag. “Why? Sir.”
“With all the bad press the military has been getting lately, especially from this mountain, what with that Colson incident and all, a committee has been formed to try to smooth things over. Or something like that. At any rate, there’s going to be a special kids’ day at the Air and Space Museum. Most of the invited are press and political kids, apparently. They’ll get presentations from NASA, a few of the high ups from upstairs,” he waved up at the ceiling. “And – you.” He leaned back in his chair and smiled beatifically.
“No buts, Daniel. The head of the committee requested you specifically. Sorry, but the rocks and dust on Aspirin will have to wait.”
Daniel rolled his eyes.
“Sir, what are we presenting, exactly?” Sam asked.
“What the world thinks we are doing – Deep Space Radar Telemetry. It’ll be a piece of cake. Carter, you give them a whole bunch of facts, show them a couple of toys that go ‘blip’, Daniel and Teal’c make nice with the kiddies, then go out and have a few drinks on Uncle Sam. I’m sure Carter knows some good watering holes.” He waggled his eyebrows at Sam.
“Um, making nice with kiddies isn’t exactly our strong point,” Daniel pointed out, “Unless Teal’c is teaching them to fight.”
“Do you wish me to undertake such training O’Neill?” Teal’c showed the first glimmer of interest.
“Yeah, teach them how to break their parents’ cameras,” Jack answered, half under his breath, followed by a quick, “kidding!”
Daniel returned to the SGC with just moments to spare. Sam and Teal’c were waiting for him by the entrance, dressed in plain air force fatigues, each with an impossibly small duffel bag. Next to them were two other officers, one of which he recognized from entrance desk duty. So much for Jack’s “higher ups from upstairs.”
As he approached the group, Daniel shrugged at Sam’s raised eyebrow in response to his two large duffels and beat up leather briefcase.
“Hey, I’m all for packing light when trekking miles off – across country,” he amended quickly, glancing at the other officers. “But we’ll have plane and hotel downtime, and I have tons of reading to catch up on.”
Sam grinned, and turned to show the slim laptop case dangling from her shoulder. ‘Yeah, me too,” she teased.
“I too have brought reading material,” Teal’c said, not to be outdone by his teammates. He reached into the cargo pocket of his fatigues and pulled out a well worn paperback.
Daniel squinted at the cover. “The Iliad?”
“O’Neill says that the men in this book are overly emotional, but the battle scenes are ‘bitchin’.”
The NORAD officers were taking in the exchange with amusement. “You people never heard of knocking back a few beers and watching TV when you’re not working?” The tall blond man to Sam’s left asked. “Sorry, ma’am,” he said belatedly noticing Sam’s rank insignia.
“At ease, Captain,” she said, with a slightly condescending smile. “I’m sure we’re all just glad to be out of the mountain for awhile, whatever we choose to do with our downtime.”
“Yes ma’am!” piped up the short slightly pudgy private that worked the desk. “Sometimes late at night it’s so dark and quiet here, I swear I hear bats.”
Sam was rescued from responding by the arrival of Sergeant Siler in a shiny black hummer.
“Nice wheels,” the blond captain said appreciatively as Siler swung open the back for their bags.
“Thank you sir,” Siler said proudly. “General O’Neill just acquired it.”
“Wonder what Walter thought of that purchase?’ Daniel whispered to Sam, who answered with an elbow in his ribs.
The hair raising drive to the airfield was thankfully short. “Heaven forbid he ever gets to fly a plane,” Daniel whispered, this time not getting an elbow.
During the drive and the subsequent flight the SG and NORAD teams became intimately acquainted. The tall non-reading captain, Spencer Kelly, had been with NORAD for about three years and been chosen, according to him, for his popularity with school kids during mountain tours.
The young private, Norbert Harriman, was just out of the academy, Cheyenne Mountain was his first post, and as it turned out he was the cousin of Walter Harriman. That explained, Teal’c later noted to Daniel, the young man’s enthusiasm in spite of such menial duties. Norbert was overawed by his cousin, and very excited to meet one of the teams that worked for him.
“For?” This time Sam was elbowed by Daniel.
“Yes, General O’Neill wouldn’t know what to do without Walter,” he cut in smoothly, enjoying the small dig at the man who had separated him from his latest discovery.
The rest of the flight went fairly quickly, once Kelly fell asleep and Harriman got lost in his game boy.
They had been told they’d meet the air force liaison officer at the gate, and as they approached they were greeting by a booming voice.
“Welcome to Washington, SG1,” called a beaming General Hammond.
“So this is what Jack meant by special request,” Daniel said, moving forward with a smile to shake the general’s hand.
“It is good to see you once again, General Hammond,” Teal’c inclined his head deeply.
“Yes it is, sir.” Sam was greeted by a kiss on the cheek, and then turned to introduce the three NORAD officers.
“Wow. Sir,” squeaked Harriman, eyes wide. “General Hammond! I’ve heard so much about you.”
A sharp salute from Kelly stopped the private’s gushing, and he saluted as well.
With a bemused smile General Hammond led the group to their waiting transport – no hummer this time, but a limo. “I’m still getting used to it myself,” he confided softly to Sam and Daniel as they piled in. Teal’c volunteered to ride ‘shotgun’ with the driver, who gave him an uneasy look.
Unable to discuss the SGC in front of the others, they chatted inanely about the weather, sports, and to humor Norbert, the possibility of bats living in Cheyenne Mountain.
They were dropped at a large hotel just a couple blocks from the Smithsonian, with instructions to report at 0800 to the Air and Space Museum.
“Sweet,” Kelly said, stretched and checking out the hotel. “So what do y’all want to do first?”
“Um, sleep,” Daniel attempted to stifle a yawn without much success.
“Sleep?” Kelly stared at him incredulously. “It’s not even 1800.”
“Jet, um, lag,” Daniel answered, glancing at Sam out of the corner of his eye. P63594 had been about 12 hours ahead of Colorado, and at this point he wasn’t sure how many hours he’d been awake, but knew it was more than 24.
“We flew 3 hours.” Kelly turned to look at Sam, who was also yawning.
“They really are contagious,” she said apologetically. “We’ve been working lots of night shifts, Captain. If we’re going to be good for anything tomorrow, we’ll need to catch up.” She smiled brightly. “Enjoy the town, and we’ll see you in the morning.”
“Right.” Kelly looked dubiously at Norbert, bouncing at the idea of a night on the town. He looked pleadingly back at Sam but the SG team was already in the elevator. “Right,” he said again with a sigh, “come on, let’s go.”
Even with twelve hours of sleep, morning came too early. Sam stretched long, and forced herself into the shower. In dress uniform sans shoes and with still wet hair she padded over to Daniel and Teal’c room next door. The ‘boys’ had been given a suite, and Daniel was on the couch still in his pajamas, papers and assorted Styrofoam coffee cups scattered around him.
Teal’c, resplendent in a navy blue suit, and thankfully without his cowboy hat, turned from the kitchenette to greet her with a wide smile. “Good morning Colonel Carter,” he said, holding out a huge plate of donuts.
“Where did you get donuts?” Sam asked. “And more to the point,” she looked at Daniel, “where did you get coffee?”
“Free continental breakfast,” Daniel said without looking up from the paper he was studying with a frown. “Teal’c went on a food run.”
“Do you wish me to obtain some coffee for you,” Teal’c asked.
“No, that’s fine; I’ll just take one of Daniel’s.” Sam snagged one of the cups that was untouched and precariously near the edge of the table.
Daniel did look up at that. “Hey.”
“You have plenty,” Sam said, taking a long sip. “And you should be getting ready; we need to leave in 10 minutes.”
“The museum is just across the mall,” Daniel protested. “It’ll just take 5 minutes.”
“And it’s 7:45,” Sam pointed out.
“Ack!” Daniel jumped off the couch and disappeared into the bathroom.
Ten minutes later he was out again, in his usual mismatched brown blazer and pants, and hair only slightly dripping. The team sprinted across the Mall, and made it to the museum with two minutes to spare.
The NORAD team was waiting for them in the foyer, Kelly idly looking at his watch, and Harriman practically bouncing up and down with excitement. “I need more coffee,” Daniel murmured to Sam.
“The NASA people brought a g-force trainer to put the kids in,” Norbert confided in a stage whisper, “but I think between our two teams, we can take them.”
“A g-force trainer?” Daniel frowned. “Is that safe?”
“Who cares,” Kelly replied with a shrug, “it won’t be us being sued.” He laughed loudly at his own joke.
“Good morning,” General Hammond greeted them from the doorway of the museum with a wide smile. “Come on, come on,” he gestured them inside with a wave of his hand.
They entered a large conference room where a tall willowy man in a suit was staring pensively at what looked like a squashed version of a space shuttle. “Nothing yet,” he called.
The shuttle began to rock, and he nodded, smiling in satisfaction. “Yes, that should do it.”
A wrench larger than Siler’s popped out of the door on the side, followed by a brunette head.
“Good to go then,” the brunette replied cheerfully, jumping down from of the shuttle and sliding the wrench into place on the tool belt wrapped around the middle of her snug blue NASA jumpsuit.
Kelly whistled appreciatively. Sam frowned.
“How come she gets to wear comfortable clothes?” Daniel whispered to Teal’c.
Teal’c ignored him, having found a table off to the side containing a coffee urn and platters of donuts.
“Um, sir, those are for the press,” the nervous looking security guard backed quickly away from Teal’c’s glare. Daniel shook his head, wondering what the guy would do in case of a terrorist attack. But then, he decided, Teal’c could be scarier than a whole army of terrorists.
“It’s alright,” General Hammond intervened quickly. “Go ahead, stay and watch the NASA presentation. Sam, Riley here will get you set up in the other room.”
The guard led Sam out of the room, with one backward glance at the refreshment table now guarded by a large Jaffa.
ready, send in the kids,” the pony tailed woman called.
Daniel helped himself to a cup of coffee and leaned against the wall next to a happily munching Teal’c as the group of children was ushered in. They were all wearing nametags and followed by a few harried looking chaperones and some reporters that headed right for the table.
“Good morning, boys and girls,” Said General Hammond. “My name is General Hammond, and I’m from the Pentagon.” The kids did not look impressed, but he went on. “Welcome to our program. Does anyone have any questions before we get started? Yes,” he squinted at the name tag of a tall blonde boy wearing a green camo sweatshirt, “Chris.”
“Do we get to shoot guns?”
“No. Anyone else?”
The boy scowled, and whispered loudly to the girl next to him “At least we get out of school.”
A younger boy raised his hand. “Do we get to fly planes?”
Hammond smiled. “Well, in a manner of speaking. Let me introduce our first guest.” He waved the NASA woman forward. “This is Lt Colonel Amanda Wesson. She’s an astronaut.”
Undaunted, Hammond continued. “She’s an engineer and was a payload specialist on the space shuttle Discovery. Amanda?”
Amanda smiled at the kids as the younger boy’s hand shot up again. “Yes, Rick?”
“What’s a payload specialist?”
“She’s in charge of paying them, silly,” Chris whispered.
Amanda laughed. “Actually payload doesn’t mean money; it means all the things that a space ship can carry. Are you guys ready to become payload?”
The kids stared at her blankly. She gestured behind her at the g-force trainer. “This is our space shuttle. And everyone gets to ride.” Some of the smaller kids cheered. “It’s a training simulator, used to teach real astronauts how it feels to take off into space. Also to teach fighter pilots,” she added looking at Chris who visibly brightened at the word fighter.
The first four kids were loaded into the simulator, the suited man worked the control and the machine began to rock and vibrate wildly.
“That does not look enjoyable,” Teal’c observed. Daniel nodded in agreement.
“From what I remember from basic training, it wasn’t,” General Hammond said, helping himself to some coffee. “But the kids seem to love it.”
One by one they emerged, some looking decidedly green about the mouth, but all of them smiling, even the cynical Chris.
As the kids were ushered by their chaperones out of the room, Kelly sidled up to Amanda. “Nice job there,” he said, with a friendly smile. She gave him a cool nod and walked away.
“Ouch,” Daniel said, coming up to clap him on the shoulder.
Kelly glared at him. “Shouldn’t you be going? Your team is up next.”
“This way, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c called from the door.
They entered a room with bits and pieces of space modules strategically placed. The side of the room held a display of moon rocks with a manikin in a pressure suit walking among them.
Sam was at the front of the room, by a laptop and movie screen, shuffling papers nervously. Seeing Daniel and Teal’c, she waved them over. “Here,” she handed a miniature satellite dish to Daniel, “hold this.”
Daniel took it, accidentally hitting a button on the side that caused the dish to rotate side to side emitting red light and a blipping sound.
“Hey!” Sam dropped the papers and grabbed it back, shutting off the little toy. “They aren’t supposed to see that yet.” She nodded toward the children that were being led in and seated on the floor cross-legged.
“Is that, uh, all we brought?” Daniel asked.
“Daniel, I’m telling them about deep space telemetry, I can’t exactly show them a Zat or a dimensional mirror.”
“A shock grenade might come in handy though,” Daniel murmured, eyeing Chris in the front row.
Teal’c stationed himself protectively to the side, and bowed his head toward Sam. “As would Tacs.”
General Hammond moved to stand next to Sam as the kids started getting restless. “Okay kids,” he said in his biggest I’m-the-commander-and-I-said-so voice. “Time for our next guest. This is Lt Colonel Samantha Carter from Cheyenne Mountain. She’s going to talk to you about Deep Space Radar.”
Chris yawned loudly. Teal’c moved quietly closer. “You will pay attention,” he intoned softly to the child.
Chris gulped and turned to look at Sam with rapt attention. Satisfied, Teal’c returned to position and stood with hands clasped behind his back.
Sam cleared her throat and smiled. “Good morning,” she said.
Thirty little blank faces stared back at her.
“Okay, um,” Sam switched on the projector next to the laptop and started her PowerPoint slides. The screen filled with a photo of a huge white satellite dish. “Can anyone tell me what this is?”
“Direct TV!” yelled Rick. Teal’c glared at him, but Sam decided to go with it. You can do this, she thought to herself; just pretend you’re explaining something to General O’Neill.
“Not quite,” she said, “but it works the same way. When you use a dish for TV, it receives aims itself at a satellite way above the earth, the satellite sends a signal, and next thing you know you have…” she wracked her brain for a TV show the kids would watch, and again O’Neill helped her out, “The Simpsons in your living room!”
The kids stared at the screen as if expecting Bart Simpson to materialize before them.
“What this dish does is a little different,” she continued. “It picks up signals from other types of satellites orbiting the earth, yes but it’s more important function goes further.
“The dish picks up signals from robot spaceships that we send to explore space and some of the other planets, like Mars. We can use our signals like a remote control to tell the ship where to go. Then the ship sends back video that the dish picks up and plays on computers, sort of like TVs.” Sam stepped back, pleased she’d made an analogy the kids could understand.
Rick raised his hand.
“Yes,” Sam prompted, in full teacher mode now.
“Does it get phone calls from aliens?”
“Um…” Sam glanced over at General Hammond, who gave her a nod of confidence. “Not exactly,”
“Mister,” Teal’c felt a tug at his pants and looked down at a little blonde girl staring up at him with blue eyes.
He glanced at her nametag. “Blanka,” he said as gently as he could, “You are supposed to be sitting quietly and listening to Colonel Carter.”
“But mister,” she pointed behind him, “that rock is glowing.”
Teal’c turned around, and saw that one of the moon rocks, the rock closest to the fake astronaut’s heel, was indeed glowing bright neon green.
“Wow, cool,” Chris had come to stand next to Blanka, and was soon joined by all the other children. The chaperones hurried forward and stopped, also mesmerized by the glowing rock.
Sam, relieved at being saved from answering Rick’s question, came over to see what the fuss was about. Her relief soon vanished as before their eyes the glowing green emanating from the rock began to form alien symbols.
She froze in place, torn between curiosity and fear of exposure. General Hammond and Daniel joined her, followed by Harriman.
Hammond, being the astute leader that he was immediately turned to face the children. “That was an outstanding trick, wasn’t it children? Let’s give Colonel Carter a round of applause.”
The kids turned to stare at him, a couple clapping confusedly.
“She didn’t do that,” Chris argued. “It’s doing it all by itself.”
“And now,” Hammond continued loudly, giving Chris a gentle nudge toward the door, “we have some lunch ready for you in the cafeteria, if you’ll follow your leaders,” he nodded authoritatively to the chaperones.
“Mister,” Hammond looked down to see Blanka now tugging at his jacket. “I want to stay and play with the moon rock.”
He hunkered down next to the little girl. “Now darlin’, you go with Norbert here,” he took her hand and placed it in Harriman’s, who stared at him with eyes like saucers, “and he’ll show you some even better toys.”
“Here,” Sam thrust the model satellite dish into his hand, “show them this.”
Norbert opened his mouth and closed it. “Okay,” he said, his voice coming as a high pitched squeak. Tugging the little girl along behind him he fled the room.
“Teal’c!” Hammond barked as the last child fled the room. “Secure the perimeter. No one leaves until we know what we’re dealing with.”
Teal’c inclined his head in acknowledgement and left the room.
“General?” Daniel was crouched over the glowing rock. “Where exactly did this “moon” rock come from?”
“That’s what I mean to find out,” Hammond answered. “I’ve got some calls to make. You two stay here and find out what you can, but Daniel,” he paused, waiting for the archeologist’s full attention.
“Yeah?” Daniel glanced back over his shoulder.
“Don’t touch it!”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “General,” he called after Hammond, “while you’re making those calls, you might want to tell Jack this writing is very similar to some I just found on Veszprem.”
“Really?” Sam crouched next to him, frowning at the symbols.
“Yeah,” Daniel sighed and rocked back on his heels. “Can’t read them yet though. It’s not the ancient’s language, closer to their own. I need my notes.”
“Ah.” She sat next to him, reveling in the new silence. “No hurry then?”
“Doesn’t look emergent. It’s a nice calm shade of green.” Daniel stretched his legs. “Maybe Norbert will bring us some lunch.”
Teal’c walked through the museum, checking that things were secure. He’d waited at the locked doors till airmen arrived from the Pentagon to be stationed. Now he walked thru large rooms filled with an impressive amount of models and artifacts from obsolete spacecraft.
The children were getting restless in the cafeteria, with only Norbert to entertain them. Teal’c had dispatched an airman to assist, and was putting off returning himself as long as possible.
He entered the room containing the NASA g-force simulator. The room appeared empty; however the simulator was rocking slowly from side to side. As he watched, it stilled, and then started rocking again.
“Is someone there?” he called. There was no response, but the machine stilled again.
Teal’c strode to the door of the simulator and rapped sharply on it. “Come out,” he said sternly. “Or I shall come in.”
The door slowly opened, and out stepped a sheepish looking Spencer Kelly, his dress uniform jacket missing, and shirt partially unbuttoned.
“Are you injured?” Teal’c asked, taking in the officer’s disheveled appearance.
“Um, no,” Kelly did not meet Teal’c’s eyes.
“Neither am I.” Behind him Amanda Wesson stepped out, tugging up the zipper on her jumpsuit. Her hair was in a tangled cloud about her flushed face.
Teal’c stared at them incredulously. “Report to the cafeteria immediately!” he snapped.
“Okay, okay,” Kelly buttoned his shirt, and took the jacket Amanda handed him. “What happened? Did I miss our turn or something?”
Hours later Daniel, Sam, Hammond and Teal’c sat at the conference table in the staff room at the museum. Daniel had a notepad in front of him where he had scribbled every word the rock had displayed before turning back to a plain cold rock an hour before. Next to it he had his laptop that an SF had brought from their hotel. He tapped keys and stared at the words, wishing he could make sense of them.
“How can a museum not have a wireless connection?” he asked for at least the third time that hour.
Hammond sighed. “The plane from Peterson should have been here by now,” he said looking at his watch. “But when it does get here you will have all your notes and the SGC database, I promise.”
Sam stretched her neck and leaned forward resting her arms on the table. “Let’s go over what we know.”
Teal’c folded his hands. “The ‘moon’ rock is not indeed from the moon, but from Area 51.”
“Maybourne’s people must have brought it back from one of their ‘shopping trips’,” Sam mused.
“Colonel Hopkins from Groom Lake said they had run all kinds of tests on it but decided it was just a rock,” Hammond said. “Which is why they sent it here along with some other innocuous artifacts.”
“Maybourne wouldn’t have taken just a rock,” Daniel pointed out, “it must have spouted the writing for them as well, but then they couldn’t make it work again. So then why is it working now?”
“The storage facility is cold and dry,” Sam said. “Maybe the warm air, body heat of all the people gathered in the room set it off?”
“That would mean the message is meant for a large number of people, which makes sense. Or would, if I could figure out what the message actually is.”
Daniel was interrupted by a tentative tap on the door. Teal’c opened it to reveal an exhausted and tousled Norbert Harriman, red splotches all over the front of his un-tucked uniform shirt.
“Are you bleeding?” Hammond asked in alarm.
“No, sir,” Norbert said miserably. “There was a bit of a food fight.”
“Are you not supposed to be watching the children?” Teal’c asked. “And keeping them under control?”
“Spencer and Amanda are there,” he answered.
“And who will keep them under control?” Daniel muttered to Sam who smothered a grin. Teal’c had shared his outrage with his teammates.
“We’re doing our best,” Norbert continued, “but the kids are pretty wild, and between you and me, General,” he lowered his voice and looked right at Hammond, “I don’t think they are all entirely human.”
“I see,” Hammond said gravely. “And is there a reason you left your post and came here other than to tell me you think the children are aliens?”
“I mean it, sir,” Norbert insisted, his voice rising in pitch. “That Blanka, she’s a terror. I’ll bet she made that rock do whatever it was doing that we’re supposed to pretend wasn’t real.”
There was a commotion in the hallway and Teal’c opened the door again to look. A squealing dervish hurtled past him followed by two others. Norbert stumbled back out of the way and fell flat on his backside.
Daniel grabbed at a child’s arm and missed, nearly falling off his chair. Spencer Kelly ran panting into the room. “Geez,” he gasped, “look away for two seconds. Where’d they go?”
“One’s under the table,” Sam jumped back in her chair as her leg was grabbed.
“Children!” Teal’c bellowed. “Come out this second!”
Daniel could have sworn he felt the walls shake. A small blond head peaked out from under the table, followed by a larger one.
“Run away!” yelled a voice back in the corner. Chris barreled past the table toward the door. Rick and Blanka ran after him. They neatly avoided Teal’c, pushing past Spencer instead, Blanka running between his legs.
They escaped the room with happy shrieks. A second later there was a loud “oof” from the corridor, followed by “For cryin’ out loud.”
General Jack O’Neill appeared in the door, a boy in each hand held by the backs of their shirts. Blanka followed him, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Trailing behind him and giving the children wary glances as he stuck close to his SF escort was Captain Hagman, the backup linguist at the SGC.
“Jack,” Hammond rose to his feet with a huge smile, “glad to see you finally made it.”
“Sir,” Jack nodded to him, released the boys to Teal’c and Spencer, and gave a surreptitious rub to his knee.
Everyone began talking at once. Daniel pounced on Hagman and the boxes the SF’s were carrying for him. “Did you bring the software for the translation program we were working on?”
“Did Colonel Tierney’s team go back to Veszprem?” Sam asked.
“Can we let the children go home now?” Norbert whined.
Chris and Rick joined Blanka in crying.
“Hold it, hold it,” Jack waved his hand with no response. “Everyone shut up!” he yelled.
Total silence. Even the children stopped crying and stared at him.
He cleared his throat. “That’s better. Now, Carter,” O’Neill said, barely suppressed impatience in his voice. “I was dragged out of my cozy quiet office where I was on a roll with paperwork and onto a plane with a scientist jabbering in my ear for six hours while we took the scenic route around some tornados in Kansas. I have to wear this,” he gestured wildly up and down his body indicating his dress blues, “instead of my nice comfortable clothes. And no sooner do I get here then I am attacked by these kids, who would make pretty decent marines, by the way. Now for crying out loud could you just tell me what the hell is going on?”
“Kelly, Harriman, please take the children back to the cafeteria,” Hammond said quietly.
They each took the arm of a boy, who gave no resistance. Blanka however latched herself on to O’Neill’s leg, staring up at him with eyes bright in her wet face. “I wanna stay here with you Mister,” she said in a quavering voice.
Jack bent down to her. “Now, sweetheart, we’re going to be talking about grown-up things that are really boring. Why don’t you go with,” he looked up quizzically at Norbert, “you’re the front desk guy, aren’t you?”
Norbert drew himself to his full height, about a foot shorter than Teal’c who stood behind him. “Private Norbert Harriman, General Sir!” He saluted sharply.
Jack frowned. “Any relation to…”
Jack rolled his eyes. “Lord help us.” He looked back at Blanka who was eyeing both of them doubtfully. “Go with Norbert here, and I promise I’ll stop by and visit later, okay?”
“Okay,” she put her hand trustingly in Norbert’s.
The kids and NORAD officers left the room. Teal’c motioned the SF’s to guard the door.
Jack straightened, stretched his back, and looked at Sam. She opened her mouth to speak, and he raised his hand. “Ah. The short, English version, please.”
Sam folded her hands. “Glowing moon rock from area 51 spouting alien language Daniel saw on Veszprem. Quarantined kids. Chaos.” She leaned back in her chair with a smug smile as the men stared open-mouthed at her.
Jack closed his mouth and sat in the chair across from her, folding his hands likewise. “Okay. So what do we do?”
“Well,” Daniel began, “first we need to know what the rock is actually saying.”
“You told me you found tablets with the Ancient’s language on Aspirin,” Jack said.
“This isn’t Ancient. It looks like what I saw of their vernacular,” Daniel explained.
“Like the sign outside their sports coliseum,” Sam said helpfully. “Some of the words I saw looked like that, but I wouldn’t have thought of it if you hadn’t said.”
“Wait a minute,” Jack sat up straight eyes alight with interest. “You didn’t tell me they have sports.”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “That’s hardly the point, Jack.”
“How do you know?” Jack challenged. “Maybe this rock is saying ‘get your scorecards here’ or something.”
Refusing to dignify that, Daniel turned to Hagman. “Were you able to make contact with the Veszpremi?”
“Colonel Tierney’s left shortly before we did. They were to contact the SGC once they made contact with the villagers, and ask that man you spoke to,” he gestured vaguely.
“Minister Lajos,” Daniel prompted.
“Yes. To come back to the stargate with them and speak to you via the MALP.”
“Well what are we waiting for?” Jack stood. “Bring those doohickeys we brought and Daniel’s laptop to where this rock is, and let’s get started.”
Daniel closed his laptop and gathered his notes with Hagman’s help. “The people on Veszprem appear to be of eastern European descent,” he told the other linguist, “and their language looks vaguely familiar, a bit like ancient but more like something else I can’t quite place.”
“Eastern European,” Hagman mused. “Are the letters Cyrillic?”
“No,” Daniel balanced his laptop precariously with one hand trying to show Hagman the page with his copying of the writing.
Jack grabbed the laptop just as it started to slide in slow motion to the floor. “We’ll be at the rock in a minute, kids. Show him that. Come on.” He pushed them ahead of him out of the room and sidled up to Teal’c in the corridor. “So tell me more about these sports, T.”
“We did not observe any directly, O’Neill. They showed us their stadium on the way to the temple, and Daniel Jackson at first thought it was a temple also.”
“It looked more like a temple than a stadium,” Daniel called defensively. “No seating area, roughly hewn walls and rocks scattered all over the inside.”
“I saw some of the children practicing the sport they play there,” Sam said, coming up on Jack’s other side. “They call it korcsar, and it looked really complicated. Reminded me a bit of quidditch from the Harry Potter movies. Though without the flying,” she added as an afterthought.
They entered the lunar room and all stood in a huddle around the astronaut manikin.
“So which one is it?” Jack asked, after a moment of staring at the cluster of rocks.
“This one,” Daniel answered, pointing to the rock closest to the astronaut’s heel.
“Ah,” Jack nodded and stared at the rock. “It looks like a rock.”
“That seems to have been the opinion of the scientists at Groom Lake also,” Hammond said dryly.
Daniel and Sam set up the laptop with the cable modem and Ethernet cable Hagman had brought, connecting the computer through what seemed like a mile of cable to the digital cable feed in the movie room. As a finishing touch they hooked up a webcam and aimed it at the rock.
“Now what?” Jack asked.
“Now we wait for Tierney to call,” Daniel looked at his watch.
“Hmm.” Jack walked restlessly around the room, tugging at the collar of his uniform. Deciding he was just among friends, he shrugged off his jacket and unbuttoned a few buttons of his dress shirt. “Hot in here.”
“We think the device is activated by heat,” Sam explained. “Which is why it never worked in Groom Lake.”
“Then why isn’t it working now?” Jack asked.
Sam looked at Daniel, who shrugged, checked the internet connection and looked at his watch again.
“Perhaps it is malfunctioning,” Teal’c suggested.
“Which we won’t know until we know what it was supposed to do in the first place,” Daniel said impatiently.
“Very true.” Jack wandered closer to the exhibit, poking idly at the astronaut with a long finger. “Hey – this fella’s got a hole in his atmosphere suit. He wouldn’t survive long if he were really on the moon.” He crouched down low to have a closer look at the tear in the astronaut’s suit leg. “Looks like it was cut with a knife.”
“One of those children,” Teal’c muttered darkly.
“They’re a little stir crazy,” Jack shrugged it off and started to stand. At that moment his bad knee, the one with no cartilage, the one the aliens always targeted, and the one Chris and Rick had slammed into decided to give out. Down he went, flailing, onto his backside and onto the rock.
“Ouch!” Jack yelped, biting back a few choice other words. After all he was a general now and had a certain dignity to preserve. He rolled off the rock and rubbed his backside.
As his behind parted from the rock, it began to glow. Green words began to appear, holographically projected just above the surface.
“Jack!” Daniel yelled, nearly knocking the general over again in his haste to get to his side. “What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything. I fell. And that’s gonna leave a bruise, thank you very much for asking.” Jack stopped, just noticing the words. “Whoa. Cool. How did that happen?”
“That’s what I’m asking you.”
“It started when the general, um, touched the rock,” Sam said. “Must have been activated by the contact, rather than heat. Is it the same as before? And are you okay sir?” she asked as an afterthought.
“Yeah,” both Jack and Daniel answered at the same time.
“One of the children most likely touched it the last time,” Teal’c observed.
“Yeah, your little friend there,” Daniel said.
Jack stepped back to let Sam and Daniel closer to the rock. He glanced down at the open laptop. “Hey, your computer’s beeping.”
Sam and Daniel wheeled around and rushed back to the laptop. The communication screen showed Colonel Tierney. “Hello Dr Jackson,” he called.
“Were you able to meet with Minister Lajos?” Daniel asked, switching on the webcam.
“He’s right here with me,” Tierney moved aside to reveal a tall thin man dressed in a dark brown tunic and matching cap. The man leaned down to peer at the camera, displaying up close one of his large dark eyes and a tuft of grey flecked beard.
“Minister,” said Daniel, positioning himself in front of the camera. The man jumped back as if stung then smiled sheepishly.
“Ah, Dr Jackson,” he said loudly, “So good to er, speak with you. This device is amazing! And is the lovely Colonel Carter with you also?”
Jack smirked and elbowed Sam, who blushed.
“Minister we found a… device,” Daniel said, “that displays a language similar to yours. I’m going to turn the camera to face the device; I’d like you to observe it.”
He turned the webcam to the rock which was fortunately still waxing lyrical. There was a sharp intake of breath from the minister then silence.
“Minister?” Daniel and Sam said together.
“Praises be!” Came a cry from across the galaxy. “You found the eredményjelzo! We thought we’d lost it forever!”
Everyone stared at the laptop with their mouths open.
After a moment of shocked silence, Minister Lajos called out tentatively “Dr Jackson?”
Jack moved over in front of the computer, nudging Daniel out of the way. “Yeah, Minister, General O’Neill here. This red mango thing of yours, is it dangerous?”
“Dangerous?” Minister Lajos repeated, then laughed, “of course not.”
“Good.” Jack nodded abruptly. “Carry on then.” He stepped back next to Hammond. “So, George,” he murmured, “rumor has it you have season Redskin tickets. That true?”
Hammond looked startled. “Yes, actually it is, but…”
Jack waved a hand in the direction of the others. “No danger. Our job is done and the kids will want to play. Where are your seats?”
Hammond smiled broadly. “Fifty yard line. You think the SGC can survive without you till Monday?”
“Youbetcha. I feel a sinus infection coming on. Can’t fly.” They shared a grin. “Got a third ticket for T? He’s never been.”
“Do you mind?” Jack turned to see Daniel glaring at him.
“I said carry on,” he said defensively. “It’s stopped again anyway.” Everyone glanced over at the rock which was indeed again still and grey.
Daniel turned back to the computer. “Minister, this eredményjelzo, what exactly is it?”
“It was left by the forefathers,” Lajos explained.
“He means the ancients,” Daniel clarified quickly for the others.
“We had it for ages,” the minister continued, “along with many other artifacts. Then about two decades ago, some of our scientists were able to get it to function, not only function but to be reprogrammed in our more modern language,” he beamed proudly, and then his face fell. “It disappeared five years ago, along with other artifacts, but none has been so sorely missed.”
“Ask him what it’s saying,” Jack prompted Daniel, who glared at him again.
“Um, what is it saying?” Daniel asked.
Lajos frowned. “I can tell you in the language in which it is written, but am unsure how to translate so you will understand.”
“Go ahead,” Daniel said, starting a recording program on the computer. “We’ll work on the translation once I have more of your language in the database.”
“Üdvözli Önt a Körcsarnok eredményjelzoje. Az eredmények megtekintéséhez nyomja meg az eszköz oldalát.” Lajos said, enunciating the words slowly and clearly.
“Gesundheit,” Jack muttered.
Daniel had him repeat the words several times for the computer, and started matching the pronunciation to the notes he had taken of the letters.
Hagman leaned over. “Some of those sounds are vaguely familiar,” he said. “I think you are right about Eastern European, but definitely not Russian… try Hungarian.”
Daniel called up the translation program, selected the language and fed the words into it. “Got it!” he cried in triumph, then was silent.
“Well?” Jack prompted.
Daniel looked at him, face beet red. “It’s saying, um, ‘Welcome to the Korcsar Stadium scorekeeper. To begin to track and display the score, please press the side of the device.’”
There was a moment of silence, then Jack crowed, “I knew it! Sports! I TOLD you! High five T!”
Teal’c raised an eyebrow. “Okay, never mind,” Jack continued. “But I was right.”
“Apparently,” Daniel sighed.
“You have completed the translation?”
Daniel sighed again. “Yes, we have.”
“Will you be able to return the eredményjelzo? Our Korcsar games have simply not been the same since it was lost.”
“Of course we can,” Jack told him, “We’ll send it through the stargate as soon as we return. Tierney, pack up your team and bring them home.”
“Yes sir,” Tierney called from the background.
The MALP feed shut down over the minister’s effusive thanks.
“Well, I guess that’s that,” Daniel shut the laptop. “We can take the artifact and go back home, right?” He looked hopefully at the two generals.
“Just itching to get back to that planet, aren’t you?” Jack laughed. “Yeah, go ahead, start packing. Carter you wouldn’t mind overseeing things for a couple days would you? Great!” He turned to Hammond without waiting for an answer. “So, tailgate or restaurant?”
Before Hammond could answer, the door burst open, and someone pushed past the guarding SF. They stared in amazement at a bruised and battered Norbert, shirt torn and a pair of broken glasses in his hand.
“Sorry, sir,” the SF began, but Hammond waved him away.
“It’s alright,” He said. “Son, what happened to you?”
“I told you those kids are evil,” Norbert squawked. “Can we PLEASE let them go home now, for the love of Pete??”
Hammond stared at him in fascination, the corner of his mouth twitching. “And where are your fellow officers?”
“How should I know? They went AWOL hours ago. Probably locked in a closet together.”
“Wouldn’t surprise me,” Daniel murmured, earning a waggling eyebrow from Jack.
Hammond nodded slowly. “Dr Jackson, are you absolutely certain that there is no longer any danger?”
“Yes, General,” Daniel took pity on the private. “None whatsoever.”
Hammond nodded again. “Well then, I guess you can…”
Norbert was out the door like a shot before Hammond could finish “… let the children go home.”
Gear gathered, SG1 walked to the doors of the museum. “Ah, fresh air,” Jack took a deep breath.
“You weren’t in here nearly as long as we were,” Daniel said, scowling at him.
“Details.” Jack waved him away.
“Time to go already?” Spencer Kelly came up behind them, a huge smile on his face. Behind was Amanda Wesson, smiling also and finger combing her hair. She walked past them, turning for one last look at Spencer, and pantomimed a phone call.
He nodded and winked. “She gives great payload,” he confided to Daniel as he sauntered past.
“Now that was definitely more information than I needed,” Daniel said, rolling his eyes.
As they descended the steps, an ear-splitting scream resounded behind them. “Nooooooooooooooooo!”
Norbert appeared in the doorway, Blanca dragging him. She spotted Jack and shrieked again. “Nooooooooooo! You promised!”
She ran over to Jack and grabbed his leg. “You promised you would come and play with me!”
Jack looked over the screaming child’s head to Hammond. “Can we make that four tickets?”
Time frame: None specified.
Pairings: None specified.
The team has to go to a science museum and give a talk about "deep space radar telemetry" to a group of school kids.