Alternative Destiny series
Title: Exposition in a Can Series: Alternative Destiny, following Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Fandom: Stargate SG-1 Genre: Time Travel / AU Rating: PG Summary: Exactly as the title says. It's been 2 years since the discovery of Destiny. A lot is said, little is done.
Exposition in a Can
Destiny, April 1996 CE
Dr. Daniel Jackson slowly opened his eyes and squinted at the dimmed lights of the ceiling, momentarily wondering at what just happened to him.
"Back with us, Doctor?" came a dry voice nearby.
Trying to respond to the question and the questioner, Daniel attempted to get up from the chair and nearly collapsed onto the cold metal floor when the migraine hit. He barely felt himself being pulled up by a firm grip and helped across the room to a bench that had been thoughtfully placed against a wall.
"Easy there, it'll ease faster if you're upright," said the voice again. "Personal experience talkin'."
"Thanks," Daniel muttered, and indeed, the sharp pain in his head did start to taper off into a dull drumbeat. It was still the worst headache he'd ever had, but at least he didn't feel like he was dying anymore.
Opening his eyes again, Daniel recognized the man who had helped him as the commander of the alien vessel connected to the Stargate Project that Dr. Langford had hired him on for. While Daniel had been thrilled after reading the introductory program files at the vindication of his theories - never mind it was all classified as hell - he had felt rather out of place among the soldiers and technical scientists on Destiny, and wondered what he had been hired for.
Meanwhile, the man sitting next to him was gave him a strange look, before asking, "are you feeling alright?"
"I'm fine," Daniel hastily assured him, and indeed, the headache was getting better as time went. "Ah, you're the commander of this vessel, right? Commander O'Neill?"
The man in question nodded and looked rather amused. He then switched deliberately back to English. "Actually, it's Colonel Jack O'Neill, with two l's."
"Oh," Daniel blinked and had to concentrate on speaking English this time, a problem he'd never had before in his multi-lingual past. "Uh, is this better? I can't believe I didn't even notice."
"Yeah, that happened to me too," Jack noted, "though you're having an easier time switching back to English than I had."
Daniel shrugged deprecatingly. "I guess I just have a lot of experience switching languages, Colonel."
Jack studied the other man closely. "Ah, so, do you still remember all the languages you spoke before the download?" he asked carefully.
It took Daniel a moment to mentally go through all the languages he knew he'd studied on Earth, before nodding a confirmation. "Yeah, they're all there. Why?"
Jack shrugged uneasily.
Daniel studied the other man closely, then blinked away a moment of deja vu. "What happened when you got your download?"
Jack sighed and leaned against the wall. Against his better judgment, he admitted to the other man, "I don't speak Russian or Arabic anymore. That used to be a job requirement, y'know? I don't remember a word of French either, but I barely remembered any of that after graduating high school anyways, so I'm not sure that can be blamed on the download." He waved a hand vaguely in the direction of the interface chair.
"Wow," the implications of that statement tumbled through Daniel's mind. "Are you saying it replaced your, uh, non-native languages with Ancient?"
Jack shrugged again. "No big loss." Especially since he was certain that the brass would never risk putting anyone associated with the Project back on the front lines Earth-side again. "Not like they replaced anything important," he said absently, "like flying Earth fighters with the new stuff about flying shuttles and this ol' lady..." He raised a hand and rapped the walls of the ship next to him.
"Oh wow," Daniel repeated, "so your download taught you how to fly the ship? How detailed was it? I mean, do you just know what buttons to press or did it also teach you how things worked or why--"
"Whoa there!" Jack fended off the deluge of questions. "If I knew the how and why, we wouldn't need half as many geeks around here. Hell, half the time I don't even know what I know." Most of that knowledge was only coming to him in bits and pieces, usually when a stray comment triggered the memory or when necessity forced him to remember it. Trying to deflect the conversation from himself, a topic he was never sanguine to speak of for long, Jack tried to bring the subject back to the Egyptologist. "So, what did you get besides Ancient?"
Daniel stopped and thought long and hard, searching through his memories. "Actually, I'm not sure either...." He concentrated for a moment, then suddenly bolted from his slouched position, eyes widening in shock. "Oh my god! There's... it feels like hints of memories, like they're mine but they can't be mine." Blinking rapidly and trying to digest the sensations, he finally squeaked out, "time travel?!"
"Oh boy," Jack muttered. It turned out his guess after Captain Carter's download was correct after all. He reached out and shook the other man slightly to regain his attention. "Look, Dr. Jackson--"
"Daniel," the man in question corrected absently.
"Look, Danny, talk to General Hammond about that, and no one else before then, ok?" Jack shook the man again to emphasize his words. "We can talk about it later, but not before you get read in on the right clearance, comprehend?"
"Yeah," Daniel nodded quickly, "yeah, I understand." Into the awkward silence that followed, he tried to change the subject again. "So, uh, were you expecting something like this to happen? My briefing indicated that the results from people using the interface ranged from getting nothing to the bare basics of Ancient language and sporadic systems access."
Relaxing at the safer topic, Jack nodded in confirmation. "Yeah, given who we think adapted the interface for humans to safely use at all, I could guess."
There was a sudden knock at the entrance to the chamber, and the door slid open to reveal Captain Samantha Carter.
"Sir," the captain reported, "I just wanted to inform you we're ready for the last batch of personnel exchange before the move. We're still waiting on Dr. Jackson."
"Thank you, Captain," Jack replied as he rose to his feet, Daniel rising with him. Walking toward the door, he indicated the captain to the archaeologist. "Captain Carter is the third member of our special club, so if you got any questions, better ask now."
Daniel looked to Sam in askance, to which she returned a rueful smile, as the two of them followed Jack down the corridors.
"There's not much to say, Dr. Jackson," Sam told him. "I didn't even get the language from my download. But I did get a lot of technical knowledge that feels like it should be mine, even if I know I'd never learned it before." She didn't tell him that when she'd tried to separately download the Ancient language, it had rendered her unconscious and forced the base CMO to take her off duty for nearly a month due to persistent, intense migraines. No one else tried to force additional downloads from Destiny after that.
Daniel smiled back at the captain. "Please, call me Daniel," he told her. "You said something about a move? I'm afraid I just joined the program and I've got no idea what's going on."
"Oh," Sam looked to her CO, and on receiving a vague hand motion from him, took over the explanation. "We're moving Destiny into orbit around Earth."
"Really?" Daniel looked surprised. "But I thought this was a secret project? I mean, if it's in orbit, wouldn't NASA or someone with big telescopes see it?"
"Not if the ship is cloaked," Sam told him. "Actually, it wasn't until we were testing the shuttles, and someone happened to look out the window and noticed they couldn't see the ship anymore, even though sensors said it was there, that we realized that Destiny had some kind of stealth ability." It had been a good thing they'd already figured out the Destiny's sensors and communications system before then, or else they would have had a difficult time parking the shuttle back onto the ship.
Daniel nodded, and another thought came to him. "Ok, but what about the stargate then? I remember the introductory files said the gate address depends on the location, so wouldn't Destiny have the same address as the Earth gate?"
"Well, that's true for normal gates," Sam explained, "but Destiny's gate appears to be on a separate system from normal gates. For one thing, it's always accessible from anywhere with the same nine-chevron code. For another, it dials out using a different system than normal gates, with itself as a variable origin point. That allows it to be more granular in addressing, such as to the planet it's orbiting, but limits its range over long distances. Theoretically, both the Destiny gate and the Earth gate could have incoming or outgoing wormholes at the same time even if one is in orbit of the other."
Daniel frowned as he followed the explanation. "Wait, does that mean Destiny can't use seven-chevron addresses? I could have sworn I read that you could dial to it with a normal address."
"There seems to be a priority system to the gates," Sam elaborated. "Theoretically, an inbound wormhole could only connect with the normal Earth gate even if Destiny was in the same address range. But if Destiny was in an area with no other stargates in range, then it would respond to incoming wormholes with a seven symbol address. Though, for outgoing wormholes to the same gate from Destiny and a normal gate, it appears to be a first come first serve protocol--"
"Ok campers!" the impatient announcement from Jack cut abruptly into the conversation. "We're here at your departure area. Make sure you've got all your bags with you, 'cause we are not responsible for any lost luggage."
Sam and Daniel looked around in bemusement as they realized they'd already reached the Destiny's gateroom.
"Sorry sir," Sam told her CO.
"Don't worry about it, Carter," Jack assured her. "You know me and technical explanations. You ready for your big debut?"
"Shaking in my boots, sir," Sam joked back.
"You're giving a presentation?" Daniel asked her curiously.
"Yes, a report on the sciences we've learned so far from the Destiny Project and the progress of the technology we've been able to research and develop from it--" Sam began.
"A very, very long report for the muckity mucks in Washington who fund this shebang," Jack clarified before she finished. "I almost fell asleep checking through the first draft," he stage whispered to Daniel.
Sam rolled her eyes at her CO's antics. "You only say that, sir, because almost every single item I mentioned had crossed your desk at some point or other, despite your hate-hate relationship with paperwork."
"Ouch!" Jack pretended a wound over his heart. "But may I remind you, Captain, that this paperwork monkey is getting to watch the ride back to Earth firsthand, while you have to chum it up with politicians and the brass?"
"Thanks for reminding me, sir," Sam replied sarcastically, before being distracted by the formation of the outgoing wormhole to Earth. "On that note, I better go before I try to find an excuse to stay behind. Coming, Dr. Ja--I mean, Daniel?"
"Yeah," Daniel muttered as he mechanically followed her, staring entranced at the stargate. "I need to talk to General Hammond about something."
Shaking his head ruefully, Jack turned when the wormhole shut down, and departed for the control center. He arrived to see a somewhat familiar figure examining the control chair chair monitors closely.
"Special Agent Kennedy," Jack drawled lazily, "here for the dog and pony show?"
The man in question straightened and looked back with a distinct lack of amusement. "Colonel O'Neill, I'm here to oversee the transfer of Project Destiny to Earth orbit on behalf of the NID," he stated formally.
"Right, like I said," Jack said. "Make yourself comfortable." He dropped into the commander's chair, which lit up on contact. "Sergeant Benson, is everyone ready for departure?"
"Aye, sir," reported the senior master sergeant sitting at a nearby console. "Everyone is accounted for, Earth has been informed of our ETA, and the scientists on the observation deck have indicated their readiness, sir."
"Let's get rolling." Jack sat back in the command chair and mentally reached for the neural interface to Destiny's systems. Mentally, he rescinded the command to maintain position and confirmed the ship's course to refuel and then enter orbit of Earth.
The monitor before him blinked, which was the only indication that the ancient vessel was now soaring on its way into the Solar System.
Jack rose to his feet and stretched, happy that there was not even a bare twinge this time from the mental interface. Either the doctors were right that he was building an immunity to it, or his private guess was right that he was just building up pain tolerance for the effects. Unfortunately, he was only military personnel who was even able to get so far, since most other attempts to actively use the neural interface for more than the basic linguistics download resulted in incapacitating migraines at best and short term comas at worst. Currently speculation was that the ability to handle the two way signals via the interface must be related to the so-called ATA gene.
Still musing about the foibles of Ancient computing design, Jack idly beckoned to Kennedy as he walked toward the door. "Well that was fun," he said to no one in particular. "I'm going to swing by the mess hall and then head for the observation deck." As an amateur astronomer, this was one show he didn't want to miss.
Agent Kennedy looked between the him and the control chair in confusion, before following the departing man. "Wait, you mean that was it?" he asked when he caught up.
"Yep. What were you expecting? 'Number One, engage?'" Jack quipped, mimicking the two-fingered hand motion from the captain of a particular TV show.
"Don't you need to calculate the course or something?" Kennedy demanded.
Jack pretended to be dense. "Why? Destiny's got fine sensors, and she knows the layout of this system better than any of us. I don't teach the ol' lady how to suck eggs." It was a certain interpretation of the truth. Actually, Destiny had plotted a course past the sun a few weeks ago in order to recharge its solar energy reserves. But Jack had to countermand the ship from departing just yet until the paperwork finished coming through about the move.
"So then why did you need to be there?" Kennedy continued, aggrieved. "You hardly did anything!"
"Someone's gotta tell her to move," Jack drawled. "Apparently the people who built Destiny didn't believe in console access. You wouldn't believe the number of systems that aren't accessible from just punching buttons. It used to drive our engineers nuts." Of course, they were getting better at their attempts to try linking up Earth based computers to the Destiny computers to try and access those systems directly without having to resort to the Ancients' neural interface. Unfortunately, that effort was still very much a work in progress, with the two very different computing systems failing to communicate most of the time.
Kennedy stared at Jack sceptically, but Jack diligently ignored him. If the man hadn't bothered to read the (admittedly tedious) reports on the Destiny command system structure, Jack wasn't going to enlighten him. He hated technical explanations when he had to listen to them, and he wasn't about to start giving them.
"How long is our ETA to Earth?" Kennedy finally asked.
"Ooh, about 11 hours or so," Jack informed him cheerfully. "The astronomy guys had five pages of requests the minute the news came through, so we're going at a comfy cruising speed instead of full throttle ahead."
Of course, his decision to approve the scientists' requests had nothing to do with his own interests in astronomy... At all. Whatsoever.
Washington DC, Earth
Captain Samantha Carter took a deep breath and silently counted back from ten for the umpteenth time during the Q&A session of her presentation. She couldn't for the life of her figure out why Senator Kinsey of the Senate Appropriations Committee was so antagonistic toward the Stargate and Destiny Projects, especially since the former was still in the setup stage, and the latter had already more than proved its worth.
His main rhetoric against the Stargate Project seem to bounce between accusing the military of incompetence at handling the Hathor incident, and dismissing the Goa'uld as a possible threat against Earth, ending with the conclusion that the Stargate shouldn't be opened up to travel to contact with other planets at all.
While Sam could argue the incompetence point, considering her own role in the incident, there wasn't much she could say to convince the man of the threat the Goa'uld presented. Unfortunately, the information on the time travel and alternate universe aspects of the Destiny Project had been kept classified only to the President and Joint Chiefs in Washington, which included the reports from their alternates about the races, politics, and general dangers of the galaxy. Everyone else only knew of the schematics and gate addresses in the material that had appeared during Jack's initial download, and most assumed it was created by Destiny due to some accidental mental command from Jack.
"Senator, with all due respect," Sam finally was able to get a word in edgewise, "the Stargate Project hasn't formally launched yet. Shouldn't the determination of whether it will add value wait until there is more information?"
"Yes, Senator," came the voice of agreement from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also in attendance, "especially since the viability of the Stargate Project has very little to do with the subjects of today's presentation. Do you actually have any questions about the research and development that have come from the Stargate and Destiny Projects?"
That seemed to momentarily stymie the senator, as there honestly wasn't much to criticize about there. The crystal technology used for Destiny's advanced computing systems had already been reverse engineered. While the prototypes weren't of the caliber that the ship had and the methodology wasn't suited for mass-manufacture yet, it was already decades beyond where Moore's Law had taken Earth modern computing.
In the area of weapons technology, although zats still required materials not found on Earth, the stunning weapon technology of Intars and Wraith stunners both had prototypes already under testing and almost ready to be put into limited service.
Most incredible of all, the information in the Destiny database about fusion and solar power had already turned from theory into schematics - the only limitations there were likely more to be due to the social/political/economic impact of switching from oil than due to technology. The first fusion-powered aerospacecraft prototype, based on the design of Destiny's existing shuttles, was already off the drawing board, with the potential to bring Earth one step closer to achieving true spaceflight of its own.
Finally, Senator Kinsey seemed to find his voice. "Well, the only question I would have is why this research needs to be carried out under military secrecy. I believe that which grows in shadow, but withers in the light of day...does not belong on the vine..."
Sam tuned out the rhetoric that she had already heard once before. It was obviously aimed at the other attendees of the presentation with far more involvement in the political scheme than herself. Personally, she didn't think there was too much of a danger in publicizing the discovery of Destiny - if only so her father would stop trying to make queries getting her back into NASA as he'd already called once to do - but the call wasn't hers to make at all.
As the Q&A session erupted into another political debate from the audience, Sam sneaked a peek at her watch. By her estimates, the Destiny should be passing Saturn's orbit by now on its way to the sun, and she was missing it all.
Life just wasn't fair sometimes.
Jack lounged on one of the benches in the nearly filled observation deck, idly playing around with a tube of sunscreen while looking out at the bright loops of solar prominence extending past the window. He barely registered the NID agent who ran into the room, pushing by several scientists to confront him.
"Colonel O'Neill!" demanded Kennedy in a slightly panicked voice, "why are we flying into the sun?!"
Slowly, Jack turned away from the awesome sight in front of him to peer over the edges of his sunglasses at the other man in perfect bewilderment.
"Because we are flying into the sun," he told Kennedy slowly.
"Are you suicidal?!" Kennedy demanded.
"What?" Jack looked at the man oddly, wondering Kennedy even read any of the reports coming out of his ship at all, and what he was really on the ship for if he hadn't. "Destiny is just making a refueling run on our way to Earth. You know, solar powered? Literally?" He knew all of that information had been on the preliminary report for this trip, as evidenced by the number of astronomy equipment and scientists that had then flocked to the observation room.
Kennedy gulped and squinted out the window. "Is...it safe?" he asked finally.
"Of course it's safe," Jack told him. "It's been doing it for god knows how many thousands of years."
"Is it actually going to go...through the sun?" Kennedy persisted nervously.
"Somewhere between the convective and radiative zones," Jack replied blithely, not able to resist showing off the little hobbyist reading he had been doing on the subject ever since the chance came up. Looking at the confusion on the other man's face, he took pity on the NID agent. "But, if it makes you feel any better, you can always go hide in one of the crew quarters for the next, oh, ten minutes or so." He gave a false grin up at Kennedy, and then dismissively turned back to the window again.
Surprisingly, however, Kennedy did not leave the room as Jack had expected. Instead, he felt Kennedy sit down on the bench next to him, prompting Jack to look away again from the window in askance.
"Well, Colonel O'Neill," Kennedy said nervously as he looked around the equipment filling the room to finally face the spectacle outside the window, "I guess this is a once in a lifetime chance."
Jack studied the other man for a long moment, before snorting and tossing the sunscreen over. It looked like there wasn't going to be a problem after all.
Meanwhile, Destiny plunged into the bright fires of the sun.
Stargate Command, Earth
Dr. Daniel Jackson absently mumbled to himself as he poured over the contents of the various photographs spread across the table, occasionally pausing to scribble barely legible notes onto a notebook. He was so engrossed into his studies that it took several moments before he realized that General Hammond had entered the room and had been trying to get his attention.
"Oh, I'm sorry, General," Daniel quickly apologized, rising to his feet. "I didn't realize you were there."
"Yes, I could see that, Dr. Jackson," replied the General with a grandfatherly smile. "I came to tell you that I've passed on your request for the classified research done on the Stargate back in 1945. I expect the files to be shipped over as soon as someone figures out which basement they buried it in."
"Thank you, general, that's great news!" Daniel enthused.
"I'm glad to hear that, Dr. Jackson," said Hammond, "though I'll admit to being curious about what you expect to find there."
"Oh," Daniel shuffled awkwardly, before admitted, "uh, I don't actually know. It's just something I felt like I needed to do after the download. I think it might be from the memories my alternate counterpart left behind, but I didn't have time to ask Colonel O'Neill about it before I left."
"I see," Hammond found the very concept of alternate future doubles leaving behind fragments of memories to be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, he was one of the few who had to deal with that knowledge. "Well, I don't have to remind you again, Dr. Jackson, that the knowledge of those alternate future counterparts and everything related to them are classified to a whole level of its own even in the Stargate and Destiny Projects, do I?"
"Uh, no, of course not," Daniel quickly assured the man. "I understand completely not to say anything unless there's a clear need, and then only to you or Colonel O'Neill."
"Good." Reassured of the good doctor's discretion, General Hammond turned to lighter topics. "Now then, how is your work coming along?"
Daniel brightened as he always did when it came to his work. "Oh, it's been going great! I've finished the stuff from the Mayan temple already. Now I'm working on these Goa'uld control panels - I'm guessing they came from a pretty old ship of theirs, from the condition of the panels. The syntax, and the architecture - it's absolutely fascinating!"
"Yes, the panels belong to a Goa'uld ship," Hammond told him once he managed to get a word in edgewise. "To be exact, the ship belonging to Osiris. The temple was the one we found Hathor in."
"Oh, of course," Daniel realized, though in retrospect, he should have thought of it earlier if he hadn't been so bedazzled by the translating work. "There were three Goa'ulds on Earth all this time - Hathor, Osiris, and Seth."
"Hathor has left Earth," Hammond told him. "We are still looking for the wreck from Sheldon's ship, but at least Osiris is contained for now underwater. We haven't been able to find Seth from the, ah, information we had on him, which leads us to think either something's different than the other timeline, or that Seth is also no longer a problem."
"Well, there have been five thousand years of possible changes to be introduced to the timeline," Daniel mused. "I'd like to try and find him the old fashioned way, if I might, General?"
"Dr. Jackson," Hammond smiled at him in amusement, "that was one of the reasons we hired you."
"Of course it was," Daniel grinned back. "Ah, but back to these pictures of Osiris' ship. Have we been able to retrieve it? Does it still work after all this time?"
"That's what we need to find out," said a new voice at the door. The two men turned to see Sam Carter walk though the door, still dressed in her blues. "Sorry sir," she addressed the general. "I was looking for you to report in and I couldn't help but overhear."
"Not a problem, Captain. Why don't you explain the upcoming mission to the good doctor here while I check in with Destiny again. They should be minutes from home by now." General Hammond gave his favorite officer a fond smile before departing the room.
"Ah, mission?" Daniel asked, wondering what else he'd missed while he'd been floating in his bubble of wonderment at being introduced to the Stargate and Destiny Projects.
"Right," Sam smiled at him and sat down across from the table. "Osiris' ship was actually the first site of the three Goa'ulds that were found on General Wests orders. While we were able to excavate and remove a lot of the smaller pieces of technology at the site, we hadn't figured out a way to move the ship itself without drawing suspicion from the wrong people on that part of the world."
"Yeah, I guess packing a giant house-sized pyramid onto the back of a truck and shipping it to the nearest port is a little far-fetched," Daniel mused. "Even if it wasn't alien technology, the Egyptian government probably wouldn't have gone for that kind of treatment to a piece of the pyramids. So what's the plan then?"
"The only alternative would have been to fly it out, and we do have good indications that it will be in working condition." Sam gave Daniel a meaningful look, indicating that she meant the reports from the alternate timeline. "But the main problem with that is to figure out how to fly it, and secondly, how to do it without raising suspicions."
"I'm guessing the first part is why I'm translating these photos," Daniel surmised.
"Yes, and for the second part, that's one of the first orders of business when the Destiny arrives. We've recently located the ring transporters on the Destiny, so we can use that to transport down into the Goa'uld ship."
"...So if the Egyptian government wakes up to find a small pyramid gone, there's no evidence of anyone approaching the area to point fingers at." Daniel wasn't sure if he should feel impressed or disgusted with the plan. "Uh, I hate to be the one to bring this up, but you do realize this is theft on a pretty big scale, right?"
"Well, I think the State Department was supposed to have taken care of it," Sam tried to assure him. She looked at the archaeologist in concern. "Are you going to be OK with this mission?"
Should he? Daniel wavered for a moment. He looked down at the photos in front of him for a long time, trying to imagine what it was like in the other timeline, when Osiris had escaped his prison and then flew the coop from Earth in his spaceship. He suddenly had a flash of memory -- Sarah... Anubis...
"I'll go," Daniel answered before he was even aware he'd come to a decision.
As he watched Sam leave the room, satisfied with his answer, Daniel pondered the fact that just how much of himself was truly himself, and not the echoes of another man.
"Hey there, Professor," Jack greeted the arriving Daniel and Sam brightly. "Carter," he nodded to his new 2IC. "You've met Special Agent Kennedy from the NID?"
"Uh, hi," said Daniel, before correcting Jack, "and it's Doctor, not Professor."
"We've met," Sam replied with a nod.
"Go too see you again, Captain Carter, and good to meet you, Dr. Jackson," said Kennedy. "I'm just here to observe."
"Right-o, and daylight's a-tickin', so let's be on our way," said Jack as he all but herded everyone out of the gateroom.
They eventually arrived at an empty circular room. There was a lieutenant standing to one side, who had been pouring over some readings on a datapad before coming to attention at the arrival of superior officers.
"We already ringed a probe down while we were waiting for you," Jack told them. "Everything reads normal, so in you go." He beckoned to Sam and Daniel, before walking into the room himself.
"You're coming too?" Daniel asked in surprise. He looked around and saw that only other people in the area were Lieutenant and Agent Kennedy, and neither of them showed any inclination of following. "Wait, it's just the three of us?"
"Yes?" Jack prompted back at him, obviously not seeing a problem. "Who else will we need?"
Sam shrugged and entered the ring room as well. "If everything goes well, we shouldn't meet anyone down there," she explained, "and if things don't go well, less people means less awkward explanations to make to get out of there."
"Exactly," Jack said, while putting on a pair of sunglasses. "Comin'?" He waited until Daniel joined the group, then addressed the ship. "Destiny, transport us down to the closest ring station."
There was a flash and the impression of great many metal rings, and the next moment, they were standing on board Osiris' ship.
Jack gave a slow whistle as he took in the room. It was more impressive to see it in person than from photographs... even if it was only his second alien ship.
"Wow," Daniel whispered in awe.
Carefully, the trio made their way to the control consoles of the ship. Daniel took out the notebook where he had made the translations of the writings on the console and handed it over to Sam.
"So, uh, how are we going to do this?" he asked nervously. "I mean, what if someone sees us and tries to shoot us down?"
"It has a crude form of shields and stealth system," Sam said, double-checking the translations and making adjustments to the console in question. "They're a bit rusty after all these millenia, but I should be able to rig it to work. It's only the Mark I Eyeball we really need to worry about," she joked. Seeing the looks from the two men, she shook her head. "Never mind. Sir, I think we're set."
"Yeah, well, let's get this over with," Jack said. He stepped up to the front consoles and placed his hands over the reb orb at the center. Immediately, they all heard the whine of power systems starting up, and the floor beginning to vibrate.
"Whoa there!" Daniel protested as screens all around them began to light up. "Uh, you know how to drive this?"
"Funny thing that," Jack told him. "I seem to have these vague memories of flying Goa'uld ships, light fighters, and stuff."
"That's good, right?" Daniel asked nervously, clutching onto a nearby console and trying not to push any buttons.
"--But I still don't know a word of the language," Jack finished amiably.
"Wait, what?!" Daniel barely had time to exclaim before the ship lifted off the ground with a lurch. "Seatbelts! Tell me there's seatbelts!"
"Sorry, Professor," Jack grunted as he braced himself with one hand while wildly jabbing at the console with his other hand. "Hang tight there."
Sam pointed to a nearby screen that was blinking. "Sir, I think the ship is trying to indicate something."
"Well I'm listening," Jack cracked. "Professor, what does it say?"
"Uh, it says power is at 65% and speed is increasing at 25%," Daniel said. "At least, I think that's what it said. The words flickered by a little fast." He clung to a nearby seat as the ship jerked to the side suddenly, and then resumed heading upwards. "And it's Doctor," he added as an afterthought, clinging even tighter to the console.
Luckily, or perhaps because fortune favors fools, the little ship managed to make it up into space without too many problems. After a little bit of further confusion at navigating around the planet instead of away from it, they slowly made their way above the United States, and then back down, no doubt spawning even more stories of alien abductions by the time they landed at the R&D center in Area 51.
Jack insisted on them all taking the rings back up to Destiny after that. As much as Daniel wanted to spend more time with the ship, he resigned himself to searching after the ghost that was Seth.
Notes: 1. I changed Kennedy to Special Agent instead of Colonel. It never made sense to me why the NID, which is supposed to be the civilian oversight organization, would have military officers as their agents (eg. Col. Kennedy, Simmons, Maybourne). It makes more sense to have them all as Special Agents (like Agent Barrett). 2. So how much are Jack/Sam/Daniel influenced by the traces of their alternates in their downloads from Destiny? As much as plot requires... >.> 3. I'm having Destiny fly through a star instead of just skimming the surface (photosphere?) as it apparently did on the show. At least, past the convective zone is definitely far enough to qualify for "through" the sun. This is mainly for the cool factor and also to show off Destiny's studly shields.