Diamond in the Sand

A transfer in Italy and the team was off once more to the sandy countryside of Egypt. Daniel had secured the Visas and faxed all the necessary paperwork from the Air Force to the Egyptian Antiquities Service Agency, having to do some creative work with Teal’c. He magically became a scholar from Nigeria who was working with Daniel; he stayed in the short turban covering to conceal the gold tattoo that was very noticeable to everyone outside the SGC.

Once they had touched down at the Cairo airport, Colonel Amund of the Egyptian Air Force greeted them.

“General, Colonel, Doctors,” Amund said, saluting both Jack and Sam. “I am Colonel Amund and will be your escort to the dig. If you have any problems, please come and tell me.”

He nodded once and walked to an awaiting jeep, letting the four team members carry their own bags and place them in the vehicle before they piled in and set off to the dig site.

Daniel was a bit nervous. He had kept dodging Jack’s questions about the dig site, hopping that there would be some way to tell him that he was even not really sure where to begin. During the flight, between lecturing Jack on how to be patient and careful while on site and the fact that there would be hard work involved, Daniel had poured over the various workbooks and entries that were from the dig, hoping to narrow down where the exact entrance was. Daniel had been to Giza enough to know that the sands were pocketing with dig sites, and half started excavations. To find the right point of entry was going to be difficult.

“You know where we are goin?” Jack asked as they left the paved highway for a rocky stretch that seemed to be heading right for the Pyramids.

“Of course, General. Your fax was very specific on where your camp should be. I assumed you and your excavation team had talked,” Colonel Amund said with a bit of a smile.

“Yes I assumed that too,” Jack said as he turned to look at Daniel, who was watching the pyramids come closer. “What happened to ‘communication is key?’”

“You will be informed as soon as we get there. Don’t worry. And, yes, I know what I am doing and, yes, I have accommodations all taken care of.”

“I still am not too keen on desert life,” Jack muttered as the jeep bumped over the rocks and onto a makeshift pavement.

“Think of it as living on P2X-5418 for a bit longer,” Daniel said, turning to smile at his friend. “And besides I think you said you liked Sam’s rather hot version of tamales. It is a desert and will get very cold.”

“If you were not my friend…” Jack said, turning away to watch as they slowed to a stop. “More sand then you can shake a stick at.”

“Here we are, General, Colonel, Doctors,” Colonel Amund said as he swung the door open, retrieving their gear from the back. “I have all ready delivered the list of supplies, Doctor Jackson. If you need anything else, please contact me on the short wave.”

“Thank you, Colonel. I will call if we need anything else,” Daniel said as he shook the Egyptian’s hand. Watching him turn around and leave, Daniel breathed in the sandy air, catching a bit of the Nile scent beyond the plateau. He was sure he could hear the Sphinx purr to his right, and saw the green across the Nile, inviting him into there cool shade. He was home, on a dig, retracing his parent’s steps and hoping to uncover the diamond in the sand that he was most likely standing on.

“DanielJackson,” Teal’c’s hand rested on his shoulder, breaking the silent spell.

“Yes? Oh! Yes,” Daniel said as he spun around, seeing Jack and Sam already squaring off, Jack trying to figure out what the tackle boxes were here for (getting excited most likely thinking about fishing) while Sam tried to keep him away from the sharp tools and equipment.

There had to be order, and Daniel was about to show how much of an expedition director he could be.

Second day and no one was complaining that they had moved fully into “tent city SGC” as Jack lovingly called their cluster of four white tents. Dressed in lightweight clothing and with water bottles littered about them, Daniel was fairly confident he had located one of the first entrances his parents diaries talked about.

Teal’c tapped away at the hardened clay sand, while Jack would inspect the openings, probing where next tap should be. Sam was busy preparing meals and pouring over documents with Daniel, watching him as he tried to find more clues in the Gou’ald text.

Hours went by, and Jack, Teal’c, Sam and Daniel settled down for a quick bite, exchanging information. After cleaning the pots, they went to the entrance, which Teal’c had been working on.

“You guys cleared away a lot,” Sam said as she looked at the two-foot hole.

Daniel tested the rubble around the opening, seeing if the clay would now break off and make the hole passable. “I think we can get in,” he said as more of the wall crumbled against his hand.

“Is it safe though?” Jack asked.

“Grab those 4x4s and let’s frame the entrance. Then we can bring some in to make braces with,” Daniel said as he headed over to the woodpile.

“Excellent choice,” Teal’c said as he too helped carry the beams over.

Finally they had two more braces that they carried into the corridor. Bringing flashlights and small kerosene lamps with them, the team slowly walked down the bare hall, waiting to come across some identification marks that they were in the right one.

It took another two days of carefully removing rocks and bracing the corridor before they got to the collapsed part of the corridor. As the light bounced off the walls, slowly turning into short scenes of processions of worshippers heading toward the temple, Daniel became more and more excited.

But his heart almost stopped as the light hit the collapsed part. Leaning against the wall, he eyed the chunks of ceiling and dust. “Wow,” was all he breathed.

Sam came beside him as the others began to set up another brace. When she rested her hand on his arm, he turned to look at her. “Congratulations, Dr. Jackson, I think you rediscovered the Sphinx Corridor.”

“I think so. This is… more then I had ever expected. The walls, I could spend hours just translating, but what is beyond here is the most evidence of a Gou’ald presence on Earth we have ever really found. This would have proven my theories that the Egyptians had not built the Pyramids for temples…” Daniel looked back toward the corridor. “We need to set up the camera for this one.”

“I was waiting for another photo moment,” Jack said as he finished pounding the cross section into place. “T grab the stand; kids make yourself happy. On the count of ten.”

Jack set the camera and hurried to stand beside Daniel, knowing that this was not only the best way to spend some down time, but also the best way to be back with his team. The flash lit up the area and for a second they all cursed as spots floated in front of them. After the cob webs cleared, they once more turned toward deconstruction, carefully digging through the clay and dirt, making another hole, getting closer to the room where the Jackson’s had first documented the strange golden devices that later would be identified as Gou’ald in origin.

Each rock was carefully taken from the pile, turned around and inspected to see if it was a ceiling piece, and then put into a pile accordingly. They worked slowly, dusting off the smaller rocks and placing them in boxes. Daniel was pleased that he did not hear a sound from anyone. They all chatted about what they wanted to do when they got back to the SGC and what important missions were slated.

Jack found that working with his hands cleared his mind and he was able to finally make some headway in his many selection decisions considering whom to appoint as new SG leaders, and forming their teams. He knew it would save spending a hundred more hours staring at folders and recommendations.

Teal’c imagined what it was like for his brother Jaffa to have built these great temples so long ago. He had seen many wonders while he was First Prime and had been the overseer for many temples erected in Apophis’s honor and to celebrate victorious battles. He had even been a worker before Bra’tac had taken him under his wing. He also wondered if there were any Jaffa’s who doubted the Goa’uld’s hold on them and wanted to die free from their grips.

Sam was going over her dissertation on gamma-rays and after glow theory. She had been asked by many of the new staff if the theory would interfere with the Stargate activity, prompting her to go back through her notes and lectures on the new discoveries. The theory had been around for a while. The gamma-rays interacted everyday in the universe, never interfering with Earth, but there had been concern on other planets from the other side of the galaxy on these outbursts. She knew from the recent observations and articles in magazines that these were natural and really did no. But she was proud of her team for asking to be educated.

Daniel simply threw himself into his work. He had always found some silent joy in the dirty, hard work of digging and uncovering the past. His parents’ love of preserving the treasures for future generations that had also made its way into him. No matter how often he saw the same artifacts or exhibits, he felt proud of what his colleagues were doing, even if they laughed at him for his ideas, despite the fact that they were right.

“Daniel! I have a hole here!” Jack said excitedly.

Sam and Daniel shared a short glance as they watched Jack climb down two ceiling chunks. “What did ya find, Jack,” Daniel asked.

“I think we have cleared a big enough gap over here to put a smaller brace and get through,” Jack said, jabbing a thumb over to where Teal’c stood.

“Wonderful. Let’s see what we find on the other side,” Daniel said, sweeping his flashlight over the opening. “Let’s set up a brace and have an adventure!”

Chapter 6