Diamond in the Sand

“No, Daniel, I will not authorize you to go out into the desert like a reckless person,” Jack said as he paced his office.

After the watching the video footage, Jack and Daniel agreed that Daniel had to go to the National Geographic headquarters in DC and be interviewed. Maybe he could also ask that the footage could be cut; the less shown, the less people in the know who could see that there was still Goa’uld technology to be had right here on Earth, the safer it would be.

“Jack, hello. I am an archeologist. What do you think I was doing before I opened the Gate?”

“Giving lectures that no one took seriously.”

“Before that Jack.” Daniel turned away, desperate to compose himself. He was ready to jump across the desk and strangle Jack. “Look, I know what I am doing. This is my parents’ work; the least I can do is finish it. Make sure it is safe. It’s important to national security and all that.”

“Daniel you don’t have to appeal to my sense of national duty,” Jack got up and rounded the desk. Crossing his arms, he regarded the young man. “That is why you are going to do a wonderful interview, telling how wonderful your parent’s finds were, then we will all head to Egypt. I hear it is searing hot this time of the year. Kinda like P2X-5418.”

“You complained the whole time.”

“Well… I’m sure this is different.”

“Not really.”

“Well at least I will die on Earth.”

“You are just trying to find a positive note in all this, aren’t you?”

“I have not had a decent vacation since I took this command. I just want to do something more to stick it to the snakes.”

“And a dig – which by the way I have no clue where to really start – is your idea of a vacation?”

Jack shrugged as he walked back around to his chair. “Hey, how often do I get dirty anymore?”

“I’ll call the National Geographic Society and set up a time. I’ll email you an itinerary as soon as I know,” Daniel said. Before he opened the door, he looked back at Jack. “Teal’c and Sam don’t know, do they?”

“I pride myself on making decisions that others must carry out,” Jack said beaming.

“And to think you didn’t want to be in charge,” Daniel muttered, as he turned to leave.

Within hours, Daniel had called airlines and hotels and booked an interview with the National Geographic Society for the next day. Satisfied that things would be getting done in a reasonable timeframe, meaning less time that he had to listen to Jack whine, was the best.

He slowly made his way once more to Sam’s lab, sure that she would be both irritated and intrigued that Jack had even considered them going to Egypt.

“You need to remind him of the last time we went there, Daniel. I’m sure he would reconsider,” Sam said after listening patiently to Jack’s idea, as Daniel carefully laid it out.

“Yeah, but that would mean he would scrap the whole expedition.”

Shaking her head Sam scooted around the table, watching the printer spit out results. “No. He knows how important your parents’ work is to you. He understands and will put his personal feelings aside.”

“I know. So you on board?” Daniel asked, grabbing a refill of coffee.

Sam turned and, with a sparkle in her eye, she smiled. “To dig and find the biggest discovery the world can’t know about? We do that everyday. Might as well do it among famous ruins.”

Daniel flew to DC, Sam accompanying him since she had a presentation to give with some colleagues on the space junk floating around Earth. As the flight went across the flat lands, they talked about the various projects they still had slated and the recent books they had actually finished.

“That book in ever constant progress is still waiting. Those Naquadah mining techniques used on P7X-4677 need to be inspected. I’m handing more ‘fun’ projects to my staff,” Sam said as she leaned back. “All I want to do is backward engineer something. Learn about some new gaseous formation… something interesting.”

“How about digging in the sand?” Daniel offered. “Ok, so maybe that’s my thing. But it will be nice to have everyone back together and working on this. We’ve been a team for 7 years, or 6… does ascension count?”

“Only if you were kicking Goa’uld butt while on the higher plane.”

“How could I have descended and faced Jack otherwise?”

“Well, the loss of memory claim worked very well.”

“I suppose. It will be nice to be back doing my job,” Daniel said looking out the window. “Hey, Sam look,” he said and pointed to the landscape below.

Leaning across him, Sam smiled as she watched Arlington Cemetery and then the Pentagon come into view. “Never gets old.”

“It has a ‘homey’ quality to it doesn’t it?” Daniel asked as they glided over the water and touched down.

“I still prefer the mountains.”

“Well, have fun at your long, boring lecture. After, I’ll show you the other kind of mountains.”

“Oooo, sandy deserts. I need to hit the five nearest coffee shops on the way to Pentagon Station. These boring meetings are up there with the all staff board meetings we have at the SGC.”

“Duck out early and we can explore the Air and Space Museum and maybe the National Gallery,” Daniel said as they exited the plane. “I’ll call you as soon as the interview is over.”

“Sounds good. Talk to ya later.”

Daniel had a good interview, covering his parent’s major discoveries, their death, and his own accomplishments, glossing over the empty lecture halls and lack of new articles in the past few years. The interviewer, a petite red head, who disturbed Daniel at first since she vaguely reminded him of Hathor, was very kind and understanding about his parent’s death and his own lack of personal achievements.

“Thank you, Dr. Jackson. I appreciate you coming out here and opening yourself to us. Is there anything else we can help you with?” Dana asked.

“I was wondering if you have any more of the footage you used in the documentary. I have the tape at home, but I was amazed at how clear your copy was. I’m sure you cleaned it up and digitalized it; if I could have a copy like that… it would be a wonderful addition to my collection.”

“Certainly, right this way,” Dana said, leading Daniel down the corridor. “We use extensive digital tools to clean up old footage. The one we received was a copy of your original, lent to us by the New York Museum of Art. We had to clean it so we could use it.”

“You got it from New York? What else did they send?”

“Pictures, a map of the stone temple they were displaying when… the accident. Also a very faded parchment of drawings, etchings I think, from the corridor dig.”

“May I see that as well? It does not sound familiar, but I have so much stuff… it could be among the files I have from the many expeditions.”

“I’ll set up a room that you can look at it,” Dana said, smiling once more. “Here is the editing room. Doug Bue, this is Dr. Daniel Jackson, son of Mel and Claire Jackson. Doctor, Doug can help you with any technical questions, including any pieces you wish to be left out. I’ll go set up the parchment and come get you as soon as that is ready.”

“Thank you, Dana,” Daniel said, satisfied that things were once more falling into place.

Calling Sam as he left the editing room, he quickly asked if she had a break to meet for lunch. He and Doug had talked about how best to show the corridor footage and had gotten the last pan around the room, the one showing the sensitive material, edited. For the sake of time and all.

As Dana led him into the white inspection room, Daniel shed his suit jacket and draped it across the chair.

“Is your girlfriend coming by to inspect the document also?” Dana asked as she carried it to the table.

“Excuse me?” Daniel nearly choked.

“The woman whom you called. Will she be coming by to inspect the parchment also?”

“Um, no, no, I don’t believe so. She is in a meeting at the Pentagon,” Daniel said.

Dana nodded and placed the parchment on the table and set gloves next to it. “Call me when you are done.”

Daniel mumbled thanks as he put on the gloves. Whipping around, Daniel almost collided with the closed door; he had forgotten to tell Dana Sam was not his girlfriend. Shaking his head slightly and knowing Sam would laugh it off, he sat back down and lifted the glass cover from the document.

The rich colors still clung to the page, making the bright colors stand out from the faded page. It had the distinct tea stained look that most papyri had and the edges were fraying, but other than that it was in pristine condition. A small note was set along side the papyri:

Found on dig, 1960, Mel Jackson. Side chamber, Sphinx Corridor.

Daniel sat looking over the images. Taking his phone and thanking Jack that he insisted on upgrading all their phones, without asking, to camera phones, he snapped pictures of the whole document, knowing that it was a real lead in their next leg of the journey.

Chapter 4