If The Spirit Moves You
By Denny J

He pulled the collar of his jacket up over his ears as a brisk wind ruffled his hair.  It stirred the recently fallen leaves at his feet and shook the few still clinging to the branches above his head.  Their first day on the planet—yesterday—had been warm and sunny, even though it appeared to be late autumn.  A few clouds had moved in today, and now the wind was picking up, sending a slight chill through him.  It reminded him of Teal’c’s words soon after they had arrived and begun exploring the ruins.

“O’Neill, even though I no longer carry a symbiote, I feel an uneasiness about this place.”

“What, you mean it gives you the creeps?”

“The ‘creeps’?” Teal’c repeated.  “Is that not your name for the marines you had a disagreement with last week?”

Sam snickered as Jack answered.  “Different kind of creeps, T.  This is ‘the creeps’—you know, the willies, the heebie-jeebies.”

Teal’c’s eyebrow climbed to his forehead. 

“It means an uncomfortable feeling, like something’s not right,” Daniel explained.

“Indeed.”

They had explored a lot of ruins in their time, and Jack knew Teal’c rarely felt uncomfortable exploring them.  Especially when they knew the place was deserted.  It didn’t appear to be Ancient, so the only reason Daniel was getting to dig around here was because Carter had found some interesting minerals and Hammond had given them permission to stay for a few days so she could collect them.  Jack didn’t figure they really needed three days, but he had a feeling Hammond was inclined to indulge Daniel a little.  In fact, they were all inclined to indulge him a little—they were still enjoying having him back on the team after his year away.

Which reminded him that it was time to indulge in some lunch.  He clicked his radio. 

“Carter, Teal’c, time for lunch.”

“Yes, sir.  We’re headed back to the camp now.”

“Fine.  I’ll get Daniel and meet you there.”

“Good luck, sir.”

He could hear the amusement in her voice.  “Thanks,” he replied.

He turned and walked inside the building where Daniel had been busy translating a wall.  Daniel was sitting on the ground, looking at the wall, every now and then glancing down to write in the notebook he was holding. 

“Find anything interesting?”  Jack asked, then wondered why he’d set himself up like that.

Except there was no response.

“Daniel?”

“Jack?”

“Lunch time.”

“Sure.”

“I mean now.”

“What?”

“Lunch.  Now.  You.  Me.  Go.”

“Oh, right, right.  Sorry, but this is so fascinating!”

“I’m sure it is, but it will still be there after lunch.  Let’s take a break.” 

Daniel still didn’t offer to get up, so Jack moved closer and placed a hand on his shoulder.  He couldn’t believe he was going to ask this again.

“Find something interesting?  Big honkin’ space gun?  The Lost City?”

“No guns, and no Lost City—this isn’t written in Ancient.  But, yes, it’s interesting. It tells the history of these people.  They once had a flourishing society—art, music, literature, trade with other planets.  I haven’t yet found the part that tells what happened to them.”

“Well, we have at least two more days here--I’m sure you’ll figure it out by then.  Now, let’s go to lunch!”  And with that, Jack hauled Daniel to his feet, pulled the notebook out of his hands and propped it against the wall. 

Daniel smiled and said, “Okay, lunch it is.”

~0~

An hour later, Sam and Daniel arrived at the building where Daniel had been translating.  Daniel had shared what he had read on the walls while they were eating their lunches.  Sam was going to check the soil for minerals near Daniel’s building, so she had returned with him. 

“Anyway, I hope I can find a record of what happened to them.  Of course, that means someone would have to be left to write it,” Daniel said as they entered the building. 

He came to a stop next to the spot where he had been sitting earlier.

“That’s odd,” he said.

“What?” Sam asked.

“My flashlight and tools are right where I left them, but my notebook’s gone.”

“Gone?  How could it be gone?”

“I don’t know.  I know I left it here.  Jack took it out of my hands and then left it leaning against the wall.”

“Well, let’s look.  Maybe he set it further away than you thought.”

“Maybe. . .,” he replied, not really believing it.

As he moved further into the room, he spotted his notebook leaning against another section of the wall.

“Here it is,” he said, stooping to pick it up.  “I wonder how it got . . . ,” he trailed off as his eyes caught sight of the words in front of him.

“What is it, Daniel?”

“The writing’s different here.  I may have found what I was looking for,” he said as he sat down in front of the new writing.  “Could you hand me my tools and flashlight, Sam?”

“Sure,” she replied, retrieving his things and handing them to him.  “Need anything else?”

“Hmmm?”

Sam smiled.  “Okay, I’ll check in with you later.”

“Uh huh,” was the only response.

~0~

Daniel stopped reading to jot down more of his translation.  He looked up from his notes and glanced out the door at the ruins of the city.  This had been a fascinating people.  He could picture them going about their daily lives, planting crops, building homes, fixing meals, playing with their children.  It almost felt like they were still here. 
Jack’s voice came over his radio, calling him to dinner.  Daniel responded and began to gather his tools together, then paused and looked back at the wall again.  He had come to the section that begun to tell what had happened to the people.  As he looked at it, the wall in front of him seemed to shimmer.  He reached forward and touched his hand to it.  It was warm.  Shouldn’t the stone of the wall be cold?  He splayed his hand across the inscriptions and felt the warmth increase.  It spread up his arm, the warmth joined by a tingling sensation.  A warm, tingling, pleasant sensation.

~0~

Jack and Teal’c had been patrolling the ruins--the deserted, empty, crumbling ruins. Overall, it had been pretty boring. Daniel was right—no space guns or Lost City.  Night seemed to come early on this planet, and soon the sun was making its descent towards the horizon.  Jack checked his watch, then keyed his radio.

“Okay, kids, time to call it a day.  Pack it up and head back to camp.  It’s Teal’c’s turn to cook, and I, for one, am salivating at the thought.”

“Yes, sir, heading back now.”

“Okay, Jack, just let me finish this line.”  

“I was not aware I was responsible for this evening’s meal, O’Neill.”

~0~

Jack entered their camp, followed closely by Teal’c.  Jack worked on starting a fire while Teal’c stood watch. 

Twenty minutes later, Sam entered the camp. 

“Where’s Daniel?” Jack asked her.

“He’s not here?”

“No, Carter, he’s not.  I thought he’d be with you.”

“I stopped in and checked on him right after your radio call, sir.  He had gathered his things together and said he was just going to finish the line he was working on.”

“You didn’t wait for him?”

“I had left my sample case near some of the other ruins.  Daniel said to go ahead and get it and he’d meet me here.  I thought he would get back before I did.”

“Carter, what are the chances of him getting up and leaving on his own, without force?”

Sam looked at him sheepishly.  “He really hasn’t changed much, has he?” she said.

“We’ll give him a few minutes, then I’ll call and yell at him,” Jack said.

Ten minutes later the fire was going and their meals were waiting to be cooked.  Still Daniel had failed to show up.

Jack radioed him again.  “Daniel, Carter says there’s only enough coffee left for one cup.  Do you want it?” he said, smiling.

His radio remained silent.

His smiled faded slightly as he called again.  “C’mon, Daniel.  Teal’c says he’ll arm wrestle you for the last cup.”

Still no response.

Jack was frowning now.  He knew Daniel might get distracted now and then, but he wouldn’t ignore a radio check.  Crap.

“Okay, I’m going after him.  Carter, Teal’c, stay here in case he shows up.  I’ll check in as soon as I find him.”

“Yes, sir,” Carter replied, even though he knew she wanted to go with him.

~0~

The shadows were lengthening and the sky turning various shades of orange when Jack reached Daniel’s building.  He could see the faint glow of a flashlight coming from inside.  He stepped to the doorway with his P90 raised.  Daniel was sitting by the wall with his palm resting against the stone, his flashlight lying next to him, his open notebook in his lap.

“Carter, he’s still in the building.  Stand by,” he whispered into the radio.

He called out, “Daniel.”

Daniel continued to sit with his hand against the wall, unmoving and unresponsive to Jack’s call.

Jack scanned the area before entering the building.  He moved slowly towards the archaeologist, who still seemed unaware of his presence. 

He called to him again with a little more force.  “Daniel!”

When he again received no response, he moved forward and placed his hand on Daniel’s shoulder, shaking it slightly.  “Daniel.”

Daniel started at the touch and turned to look up at Jack.  “Jack?  What are you doing here?”

“You didn’t respond to my radio calls, Daniel,” he replied with concern coloring his voice.

“Yes, I did.  I said I had one line to finish.”

“Yes, but I made several calls to you after that.  You didn’t answer any of them.”

“I didn’t?”  Daniel looked confused.  Jack knew he was trying to figure out how he could have missed his radio calls.

“Check it and see if it’s working.  Call Sam and let her know everything’s okay.”

“Sam, this is Daniel.  Everything’s fine.”

“Daniel?  Are you sure you’re all right?” came the reply. 

“Yeah, I’m sure.  Sorry I didn’t hear you guys earlier.”

“Carter, we’re heading back to camp now,” Jack added.

“Right, sir.  Dinner’s ready.”

“Dinner?” Daniel asked.  “What time is it?”

“Late, Daniel.  It’s already dark.”

“Wow.  I must have really gotten wrapped up in the translation.”

“Yeah, you must have,” Jack said, finding it hard to believe it was simply a matter of Daniel getting lost in thought.  “Let’s go.  I’m starving.”

~0~

The rest of the evening had been uneventful.  Dinner had been eaten and, contrary to Jack’s threat, there was enough coffee for everyone.  Daniel had seemed normal, for Daniel, and was animated while relating what the writing had revealed.  Watches were established with Teal’c taking the first one.  Everyone else retired to their tents.

Jack woke an hour later with the odd feeling he was being watched.  Turning on to his side, he could see Daniel in his sleeping bag, facing him.  The moonlight was pouring into the tent, reflecting off of Daniel’s open eyes.

“Daniel?”

At the sound of Jack calling his name, Daniel’s eyes slid shut. 

Jack tried again, keeping his voice low to avoid waking Carter or alerting Teal’c.  “Daniel?”

Once again, Daniel didn’t respond.  This was starting to get old.  Jack reached over and shook him. 

Daniel opened bleary eyes and tried to focus on Jack.  “What?  What’s wrong?”

“You were staring at me just now.  Are you going to tell me you don’t remember?”

“I’ve been asleep.  You must have been dreaming,” Daniel replied, scrunching down further into his sleeping bag. 

This was too weird.  First in the building and now in their tent.  Daniel seemed fine, otherwise. Other than totally zoning out on him twice.  He could hear Daniel snoring softly and decided to let it drop for now.  Maybe Daniel was just exhausted.  He would be the exhausted one if he didn’t get some sleep before his watch.  He’d just have to keep a close eye on the man tomorrow.

Still feeling unsettled, Jack drifted off to an uneasy sleep.

~0~

Jack reluctantly left his tent and faced the chill morning air.  Daniel had had last watch and already had a pot of coffee made.  He handed a cup to Jack when he approached the fire.

“Did you sleep okay, Jack?”

“Well, except for waking up and finding you staring at me, yeah.”

“I was staring at you?  I don’t remember.”

“Well, you were probably sleep walking, without the, er, walking.”

“Sorry if I woke you.”

“That’s okay.  You feelin’ okay yourself?”

“Fine, Jack.  I’m anxious to get back to the wall—I think I’m close to finding out what happened to these people.”

“Right after breakfast, Daniel.  You can start heating the MREs; I’ll get Carter and Teal’c.”

~0~

Jack sent Teal’c with Carter while he paired up with Daniel, having decided he wanted to keep a close eye on him today.  The morning was uneventful and soon it was lunchtime.  Jack left his patrol outside the building and went in to join Daniel.  He had been casually checking on the man every 45 minutes, occasionally sitting and watching him for a while until he got bored and went back to patrolling.  So far nothing unusual had happened. 

“Daniel, how ‘bout some lunch?” he asked, pulling out some packages of food.

“Uh, sure, just a minute.”

“Take a break and eat something.  You can tell me what you’ve found so far.” Did he just say that?  That was the third time he’d opened himself up to a lecture.

Daniel looked at him with a smile curving his lips.  He scooted over to sit next to Jack and accepted the proffered food.

“Well, at one time these people worshiped the goddess Ishtar.  She left them and they began to prosper and develop their own civilization.  Much later she returned and demanded they worship her again.  When the people refused, she attacked them.  She used an unusual weapon on those that survived, saying it would cause them to “suffer for eternity”, and then she left again.  The person who wrote this hid along with a handful of other people. They were the only survivors of this world.  I’ve just come to the part where the author says he is writing this down in the hope that someday someone can free them.  After he finished this, the small group of survivors planned to leave this world through the stargate.”

“Weapon, huh?”

“Yes, Jack,” Daniel sighed.

“Cool.  Keep reading.  Maybe her snakiness left it behind,” Jack said as he finished off the last bite of his food and began stashing the wrapping.

~0~

After lunch, Jack decided to take Teal’c and explore more of the ruins, just in case Ishtar had left some toys behind.  Sam was going to test an area on the other side of Daniel’s building.  As mid-afternoon rolled around, she decided to take a break and check on him and see how he was coming with the translation.

The colonel had informed her and Teal’c of Daniel’s strange behavior the day before, and of waking up to find Daniel staring at him during the night.  He said it was probably just Daniel getting caught up in his work, but he thought it wouldn’t hurt to keep checking on him.  Nothing had happened during the morning, which Sam took as a sign things were all right.

She approached the doorway and called out to Daniel as she entered.  “Daniel, you in there?”

There was no response, so she moved inside and immediately saw that he was sitting in front of the wall with the palm of his hand resting against it.  She watched for a few seconds to see if he would notice her.  He sat unmoving—he didn’t stop to write in his notebook and didn’t move his hand across the inscriptions as she had seen him do countless times.  In fact, she had to look closely to see that he was even breathing.

She took a few more cautious steps forward and called his name again.  “Daniel?”

He continued to sit as still as a statue.  She moved close to him and reached out her hand to touch his shoulder.  His head turned in her direction and she gasped as cold eyes bored into hers. 

“Bw-bean,” he said, launching himself at her before she knew what was happening.

~0~

They had only been searching the ruins for a couple of hours and already Jack was thinking they were wasting their time.  Most of the buildings were pretty well destroyed, and it didn’t look like much had been left behind. 
He walked outside, noticing the sky was becoming overcast again.  A gust of wind made him pull his cap down tighter on his head.  As he rounded the corner of the building, a swarm of dark shapes rushed past him, screeching loudly.  He quickly brought his P90 up before realizing it was a flock of birds—big, noisy, black birds.  He let out a breath and relaxed as his heart rate tried to return to normal. He wished Teal’c hadn’t said this place gave him the creeps—now he was getting jumpy.

He leaned against the wall and waited for Teal’c to join him.  Good thing they were only staying one more day; he was sure he’d go crazy if he had to spend any more time in these ruins.  Daniel would just have to video the rest and work on it back at the SGC.  His uneasiness concerning Daniel’s behavior had gone down a notch after an uneventful morning.  Maybe things were back to normal.

Just then his radio crackled, but all he heard was static. 

He clicked the button on his own radio.  “Carter?  Daniel?”

At that moment Teal’c came up beside him and his radio crackled again. This time he could hear muffled sounds and then a strained “Sir.”

Immediately both men took off at a run in the direction of Daniel’s building.  Yep, things were back to normal—for SG-1.

~0~

Fortunately, Jack and Teal’c hadn’t been too far away and arrived at the building in a couple of minutes.  As they approached the entrance they slowed, raising their weapons and surveying the area before entering. 

They were shocked by the sight before them.  Sam was lying on the floor with Daniel looming over her, his hands wrapped around her throat.  She was gasping and trying to pry his hands off of her throat.

Teal’c grabbed Daniel around the neck, causing him to release his grip on Sam.  Teal’c began pulling him away from her, Daniel fighting with more strength than Teal’c would have thought possible.

Jack let Teal’c handle Daniel while he moved quickly to check on Sam.  “Carter—you okay?”

“I will be,” she replied in a whisper.

Jack helped her into a sitting position and then began checking out her throat.  He didn’t think it was bad enough to cause swelling, but he planned to keep a close eye on her.  He didn’t know what the outcome would have been if they had arrived any later.  He couldn’t believe Daniel had been able to overpower Carter.  She always bested him in hand-to-hand training. 

Jack turned to face Daniel who was still fighting Teal’c’s hold on him.  “Daniel, what the hell is going on?”

Daniel looked in Sam’s direction again spitting out the word, “Bw-bean.”

The second the word left his lips, his body went limp.  Teal’c gently lowered him to the ground and checked for a pulse.

“Teal’c?”  Jack said.

“He is alive.  I did not cause him to lose consciousness, O’Neill.”

“I believe you, Teal’c.  Do you know what he said?”

“It is ancient Egyptian.  It means ‘evil’.”

“He said the same thing just before he attacked me,” Sam said in a raspy voice. 

“What happened before he attacked you, Carter?” Jack asked.

“I came in and found him sitting with his hand against the wall.  He didn’t move or acknowledge my presence until I touched him.  Then he turned and looked at me, said that word, and attacked.  It was odd, sir, when he looked at me, it didn’t look like Daniel.  I mean, his eyes were so different, so . . . so cold.” She involuntarily shivered as she thought of those eyes on her friend’s normally warm face.

“Do you think he’s been, you know, . . .,” Jack said, motioning towards his neck.

“I don’t sense a Goa’uld, sir.”

“Then the best thing we can do is get him back to Frasier.”

Jack didn’t know what was going on, but his uneasiness had shot up again at Carter’s description of how she had found Daniel.  It was the same situation he had found him in the previous day and now he was beginning to suspect it had something to do with this wall.  They could be dealing with an alien entity, a virus, or a host of other possibilities.  Bad choice of words.  The sooner they got out of here, the better.  He just hoped they rest of them weren’t affected like Daniel. 

He glanced down at his friend who had still not regained consciousness.  They had no idea what they were dealing with here.  Until they did, they couldn’t take any chances.  He hated what he was going to have to do.

“Teal’c, help me restrain him.  We don’t know what he’s going to do when he wakes up.”

Teal’c turned Daniel onto his stomach and pulled his arms behind his back.  Jack pulled a set of zip ties out of his pack and fixed them around his friend’s wrists.  Daniel was still out for the count and showed no signs of waking up.

“Let’s get him back to camp,” Jack said.

“I will carry Daniel Jackson, O’Neill.”

“Thanks, T.  Carter, are you gonna be able to walk?”

“I’ll be fine, sir.”

Teal’c hefted Daniel over his shoulder and exited the building, followed by Sam.  Jack stooped to pick up Daniel’s tools, flashlight, and notebook, stuffing them in his pack and slinging it over his shoulder.  As he followed his team out of the building, a gust of cold air whipped around him and he swore he heard the sound of moaning pass with it.

~0~

Once they had reached their camp they had pulled Daniel’s sleeping bag out of the tent and placed it by the fire ring.  Teal’c laid him on his side on the bag; he still showed no signs of waking. 

The rest of SG-1 stayed close to camp waiting for Daniel to wake up.  They periodically checked his breathing and pulse, to satisfy themselves he was okay.  Well, relatively okay.  Except for the not waking up part. 
Sam had sipped on some hot tea and her throat gradually began to feel normal again. 

Jack was anxious to head back to the SGC, but was hoping Daniel would wake up soon so they wouldn’t have to carry him all the way to the gate—it was about a four-hour walk over some very rough terrain.  That could be treacherous in the dark.  He also didn’t want to get stuck out there with an unconscious, and possibly compromised, team member if the weather took a turn for the worse.  While he was trying to decide whether or not to chance the trip, Daniel began to show signs of waking.

Jack moved so he was in Daniel’s line of sight and then called his name.  “Daniel?”

Daniel’s eyelids fluttered and then opened.  He looked around blearily and then focused on Jack. 

“Jack?”

“How ya feelin’?”

“Uh, okay, I guess.”  He tried to move his hands to rub his eyes and found he couldn’t.  “Uh, Jack, why are my hands tied?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Well, if I remembered I wouldn’t have asked you, would I?”

“Sounds like Daniel.”

“Of course it sounds like me, who else would it sound like?” Daniel replied, beginning to get aggravated.

“Well, you weren’t acting like you earlier, so I was a little surprised you sounded like . . . you.”

“What?”

“Daniel Jackson, do you not remember attacking Major Carter?”  Leave it to Teal’c to cut to the chase.

“I . . . I what?!”  He looked from one teammate to the next waiting for an explanation.

“Sam came to check on you after lunch and you attacked her.  When we got there you were choking her.  We pulled you off and you passed out.  But first you said ‘Bw-bean’.”

“That means ‘evil’.   I don’t remember doing that.  Why would I do that?”  He looked at Sam and could see bruises forming where his hands had grabbed her throat.  He couldn’t have done that, could he?  “Sam, I’m sorry . . . I—“

“It’s okay, Daniel, you weren’t yourself.”

“We don’t know why, Daniel,” Jack continued.  “But you’ve been doing some pretty odd things—well, odder than usual.  Anyway, I think it has something to do with that wall.  So, until we can get you back to the SGC, we can’t take any chances you’ll do something else. I’m sorry, Daniel, but we’ll have to leave you restrained.”

“It’s okay, I understand.”  But he didn’t.  He had no idea what was going on.  He had no memory of doing the things they claimed he’d done.  Jack thought it had something to do with the wall he was translating.  He tried to think about what he’d been reading, hoping to find a clue that would help him figure out what was happening. 

It was now early evening and Jack had decided he didn’t want to try and make the four-hour trip to the gate in the dark.  They would wait and leave first thing in the morning.  They built the fire up, ate their dinners with minimal conversation, and packed what they could to be ready to move out in the morning.  It was decided to leave Daniel on his sleeping bag by the fire with a blanket over him, securing his hands in front to try to make him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.  Teal’c had first watch and would keep an eye on Daniel as well.

~0~

Teal’c left his position at one end of the campsite and crossed to the fire ring to check on his teammate again.  Daniel had fallen asleep fairly easily, even with his hands tied, and so far had slept peacefully.  Satisfied that Daniel was all right, Teal’c moved towards the opposite end of the campsite. 

The wind had died down, leaving the campsite silent except for a few crackles from the fire and an occasional bird call.  It was time for Teal’c to wake O’Neill for his turn on watch.  He crossed to the pallet by the fire to check on Daniel once more, realizing as he reached it that his teammate was gone.

The snap of a twig alerted him to the fact that someone was behind him.  He swiveled quickly, bringing up his staff weapon just as Daniel rammed into him, knocking him off balance.  He saw the glint of metal in Daniel’s hand as he raised it and Teal’c brought both hands up to intercept the oncoming blow.  Teal’c easily overpowered his friend, disarming him of the knife and forcing him on his stomach with his hands pulled behind him. 
Jack and Sam were both out of their tents, weapons ready, by the time Teal’c had subdued Daniel. 

“What’s goin’ on?” Jack demanded.

“Daniel Jackson has managed to free himself and attacked me with a knife.”

“How did he do that?” Sam said.

“Who knows.  Carter, grab some zip ties—enough for double sets on his wrists and ankles.”

“Yes, sir,” she replied, running back to the tent to retrieve them.

“Carter, bring the med kit while you’re at it.  His wrists are bleeding.”

Daniel continued to struggle as Sam cleaned and bandaged his wounds and then as two sets of restraints were put on his wrists and ankles.

“Turn him over, Teal’c.”

Teal’c turned Daniel over and helped him into a sitting position.  Jack was taken aback by the cold pair of eyes staring back at him. 

Daniel looked up at Teal’c and spoke in a menacing voice, “Mat bw-bean hamat.”  Once again, as soon as the words left his mouth he collapsed.  And again, Teal’c laid him gently back onto the sleeping bag.

“What did he say?” Jack asked.

“He said, ‘Die evil servant’,” Teal’c replied, looking from his still friend to his C.O.

Jack ran a hand through his hair as he tried to decide on the best course of action.  Dawn was only a few hours away, and Daniel was out again.  Hoping he would be himself again when he woke up, Jack made his decision.

“We’ll stay here until it gets light.  Hopefully, Daniel will be awake by then and we can head for the gate.  Two people on watch at a time—someone needs to be keeping an eye on Daniel at all times.  Teal’c, you mind taking an extra shift with me?”

“I would be happy to, O’Neill.”

“Carter, you can relieve Teal’c and do the second shift with me.”

“Yes, sir,” she replied, gathering up the first aid supplies and heading back to her tent.

~0~

Just as the first hints of dawn were lighting the sky, Daniel showed signs of waking up again.
Jack motioned for Sam to stand behind him with her zat ready as he approached his teammate.

“Daniel, you okay?”

“Jack?  What’s going on?” he asked, realizing he couldn’t move his hands or his feet. 

Jack crouched down so Daniel could see his face.  Daniel’s eyes looked normal again.  There was no sign of the anger he had seen in them the night before.

“You attacked Teal’c, remember?”

“I did?”  He sounded lost and a little scared.  “Is he okay?”

“He’s fine.  Here, let me help you up.”  Jack reached out and pulled his friend into a sitting position.  He knew he had to be stiff from lying in the same position all night. 

Teal’c came out of his tent and joined the rest of his team by the fire.  “You spoke to me after you attacked me, Daniel Jackson.  You said ‘die evil servant’, once again speaking in ancient Egyptian”

Daniel looked puzzled as he considered the words he was supposed to have spoken. 

“Does that sound familiar, Daniel?” Sam asked.

“Yes.  I think it was on the wall I was translating.  The people called Ishtar’s Jaffa her ‘evil servants’.  Jack, I think I need to see the wall again.”

“Not a good idea,” Jack said, shaking his head. 

“You have to let me finish reading it.  It might explain what’s been happening.”

“Daniel, I think our priority is getting you back to Frasier.”

“But she’s going to want as much information about what’s happened as we can give her.  And the only way to get that information is to let me see the wall again.”

Jack really didn’t want to risk something happening to Daniel, but he also knew his friend was right—the wall might have an explanation for what had been happening.  He reluctantly agreed.

“Okay, we’ll go back to the wall—but if things start getting wonky, we’re outta there.”

~0~

They had cut the ties from Daniel’s ankles so he could walk and had retied his hands in front, allowing him to use his notebook.

Once back in the building, Daniel settled himself in front of the section of wall where he had left off.  He opened his notebook and reread the last entries.  Finding his place on the wall, he began translating to himself again.  His teammates arranged themselves around him, zats ready if it became necessary.

A short time later Daniel spoke.  “Well, I’ve figured out what happened to the people who lived here.”

After a few seconds of silence, Jack said, “And that was . . .?”

“Ishtar’s weapon trapped them in this wall.”

“They’re in the wall?” Jack asked.

“Yes, and it says that only an ‘enlightened one’ can release them.  It must mean an Ancient or an ascended person,” Daniel said.

“Why would she leave a loophole like that?” Jack asked.

“I don’t think she did, sir,” Sam answered.

“But Daniel just said—,”

“I know, sir, but what if it was an Ancient weapon and Ishtar adapted it but couldn’t keep an Ancient from being able to counter its effects?”

“A Goa’uld would take pleasure in giving its victims what appeared to be false hope, knowing an Ancient would not interfere,” Teal’c offered.

“Damn snakes,” Jack muttered.

“Ishtar knew giving them hope of release would be even more torture for them,” Daniel said sadly.  “Somehow my touching the wall must have released some of them.”

“But you’re not an Ancient and you’re not ascended anymore,” Sam said.

“I know.  I’m not sure why it worked.  Maybe just the fact that I was once ascended was enough.”

“Perhaps you have some residual attributes left over from your time as an ascended being,” Teal’c offered.

“Well, whatever the reason, I need to touch it again.  Maybe I can release the rest of them.”

“Whoa, whoa,” Jack said.  “How many are we talkin’ about?”

“I’m not sure, it could be several thousand.”

“Assuming I’d let you do this, wouldn’t that take awhile?  And where are they going to go if you release them?” 

Jack was thinking of all kinds of reasons why this was a bad idea.

“I’m not sure, but I think once they left me they ascended, or their spirits were released.”

“Well, so far the ones that were released haven’t exactly been friendly—Casper they’re not.”

“You’ve got your zats—use them if you have to.” Daniel was determined to do what he could to try and free these people, but he wouldn’t put his friends at risk.

“You’re still assuming that I’m gonna let you do this.”

“Jack, we have to.  Can you imagine being trapped for eternity?”

No, he couldn’t.  Crap.  He really didn’t want Daniel to do this.  Why was it that Daniel always seemed to be the one taking the risks? But he also didn’t know if they could leave here knowing what they would be dooming these people to. 

Daniel could see the conflict in his friend’s face.  “Jack, it’ll be okay.  Let me try—maybe I can get them to understand that we’re not the ones who trapped them here.  That we’re here to free them.”

Jack sighed knowing the debate was over.  “All right, how are we gonna do this?”

~0~

Daniel had laid aside his notebook and sat cross-legged, positioning himself so he could touch the wall, hands still bound as a precaution.  His teammates flanked him on either side and behind him, zats in their hands.

“Daniel, if you’re able to communicate, see if you can find out what happened to Ishtar’s weapon,” Sam said.

“Okay, Sam, I’ll try.”

He reached forward and placed one palm flat against the wall.  He felt a warmth seep into his hand, spreading slowly up his arm.  He then began to feel a presence inside him.  Sounds drifted to him and he began to distinguish them as words.  He tried to focus his thoughts into conveying that fact that he and his friends were here to free them.

Then, one voice became clear.  “Are you an enlightened one?” it asked.

“I was once ascended.”

“Ah, enlightened indeed.  You will free us?”

“I want to help you, but first, can you tell me what happened when I touched the wall before?  Something happened to me that caused me to attack my friends.”

“I am sorry that happened.  Let me explain.  When we first saw you and your friends, we assumed you were just another group of travelers.  Many have come over the years—most just look around and then leave.  In the beginning, some came and took what little was left of value in our city.”

“Did they take Ishtar’s weapon, or is it still here?”

“No, Ishtar took it with her when she left.  But some of the travelers even came into this building and touched the wall.  None were able to free us.  Most of us had given up hope that an enlightened one would ever come and free us.  When you came in and began reading the wall, we could feel the presence of an enlightened one.  But then we saw the woman and the Jaffa.  Some thought Ishtar had returned to torment us.  We moved the book that was in contact with the wall in hopes you would read about our plight and touch the wall.  When you did, we sent Jori into you to try and discover your true purpose.  When you returned, Jori was gone.  I believe he decided to flee while he had the chance.”

“That must have been when Jack couldn’t raise me on the radio.  And he said he woke up to find me staring at him—but I have no memory of that.”

“Yes, I believe he must have left you then.  If your friend touched you, it would have allowed Jori to leave.  When you came again, we sent Senat into you.  It was a mistake—his hatred for Ishtar caused him to react violently when the woman entered here.  He must have thought it was her.  Did Senat leave you then?”

“No.  I later attacked my friend, Teal’c, the Jaffa you saw with us.  He is no longer in service to the Goa’uld, but now fights against them. I think Senat must have left me after that.”

“I am sorry that we have caused you and your friends so much pain.  We have been waiting so long for someone to free us; it seemed too good to be true.  I understand if you do not wish to help us now.”

“But I do want to help you.  Tell me what I need to do.”

~0~

Jack’s uneasiness had hitched up a notch three seconds after Daniel touched the wall.  It was at that point his friend’s demeanor changed and he sat as though in a trance.  Calling his name had elicited no response, and now they were waiting for Jack’s signal that it was time to call it off.

Which he hadn’t yet.  As much as he wanted to pull Daniel out of there, he knew he needed to give his friend some time.  Nothing had happened yet, and he hoped there would be some sign that Daniel was making progress.  He would give him a few more minutes.  Which, as it turned out, he didn’t need to do.

“Jack,” Daniel said quietly, still facing the wall, unmoving.

“Daniel?”

“I’ve made contact with them.  You need to follow my instructions so we can release them.”

“What if they attack again?”

“Trust me, they won’t.  They mistook Sam and Teal’c for Ishtar and her Jaffa.”

Trust him.  He could do that.  He just hoped this was really Daniel they were talking to.  “Okay, what do we have to do?”

“Sit down close to me.  Each of you needs to be touching me, too.  They will enter me, and then move through you three.  This will help release them at a faster rate.”

The three of them sat next to Daniel, laying their zats close by.  Each of them reached out and laid a hand on Daniel’s shoulders.

“I feel like I’m at a séance,” Jack groused.

Teal’c raised his eyebrow and looked at him questioningly.

“I’ll explain later, T,” Jack said.

As soon as Daniel felt his friends’ hands on him, he felt a flood of consciousnesses flowing into him.  As they passed through him and into his friends, the warmth he felt in his hand and arm began to spread to the rest of his body.  The warmth increased to a burning sensation as the trapped spirits continued to flow through him. 
Jack could feel Daniel’s temperature begin to rise.  “Are you okay, Daniel?”

Daniel began to sweat, but didn’t answer.  Jack began to feel his own hand warming and assumed Carter and Teal’c were feeling the same sensation.  Daniel’s temperature continued to rise and he began to tremble.
Daniel felt like his body was on fire—there were so many of them.  He could feel them passing through him and into his friends on their way to final release.  The voice he’d heard earlier spoke again. 

“It is almost over, Daniel.  I do not know how you came to be in a human body again, but you are welcome to join us, if you so desire.”

“Join you?  You mean ascend?  Is that possible?”

“Yes, your energy is joined with ours now.  You may come with us.”

Go with them?  Ascend again?  His memories of that year were gone.  All that knowledge lost.  Would it be worth leaving again to get them back?  What if he could find the location of the Lost City?  Earth needed that information to fight Anubis.  He had unfinished business with Anubis, that much he had learned.  But his friends had also said the rules of the ascended wouldn’t allow him to help them.  And did he really want to leave them again? Most all of his memories prior to ascending had returned and he was enjoying the company of his ‘family’ again.

Suddenly he was aware of something changing inside him—his whole body was tingling now.

“Sir!” Sam’s exclamation echoed through the room.  A white light began emanating from Daniel’s hands, then slowly began spreading over the rest of his body.

“Oh no, not a chance!” Jack shouted, immediately recognizing the transformation.

“Wait!” Daniel thought, realizing his words had been mistaken for agreement.  It hit him then and he knew that he was on the right path.  If he ascended he knew he wouldn’t be allowed to help his friends, but maybe he could do more as flesh and blood.  He pleaded with the voice, “Thank you for your offer, but my place is here.  Please, let me stay.”

“Very well, if you are sure. You will not be harmed by our transference.   Thank you again, Daniel.

Daniel felt the heat begin to ease as the last of the trapped beings left him, leaving him with a sudden emptiness that seemed to pull him into it.  He let it. 

Just as Jack started to pull Daniel away from the wall, Daniel’s body went limp.  Jack caught him and eased him to the ground.  The white glow disappeared and his temperature soon began to return to normal.  Thinking they were in for a wait, Jack was surprised when Daniel began to stir.

“Daniel?” Jack asked.  “Daniel, can you hear me?”

“Wha--?” Daniel’s eyes blinked.

“Are you okay, Daniel?” Sam asked.

“I think so,” he replied, even as his cooling body began to shiver.

“Get a blanket, Carter.  We don’t want him to go into shock.”

“Yes, sir,” she replied, going for one of the packs they had left against the opposite wall.

“Better?” Jack asked after Sam returned and draped a blanket over him.

“Yeah, thanks.”

“Were you able to release all of those trapped, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c asked.

“Yeah, they’re free now.”

“Good.  Much longer and I was afraid you were gonna join them,” Jack said.

“No chance, Jack.  Been there, done that, came back without the t-shirt.”

Jack and Sam both chuckled, while Teal’c simply smiled.

“Did you find out what happened to the weapon, Daniel?” Sam asked.

“Ishtar took it with her—it’s not here.  Sorry, Sam.”

“Well, ya done good, Daniel,” Jack said.

“Thanks, Jack.  There’s just one more thing.”

“What?”

“Do you suppose you could untie me now?”

Sam laughed out loud and Teal’c’s lips curved into an even bigger smile. 

“I don’t know, Daniel,” Jack replied.  “I think it may be the only way to keep you out of trouble till we get home.”
“Jaaaack!”

~0~

The next morning SG-1 stood at the base of the stargate platform, ready to punch in the symbols that would take them home.  The stargate was placed at the top of a hill, and Daniel was standing facing the direction of the ruins.  A couple of the taller buildings could be seen peeking over the treetops in the distance. His thoughts rested on the wall and the new addition to its story—the addition he had hastily written on paper from his journal and taped to the wall, containing the simple words ‘They have been freed.’  He knew the paper wouldn’t last, but he felt some satisfaction in writing those words, in being able to help free a people ‘trapped for eternity.’  In being able to tell anyone who read it that the Goa’uld weren’t as all powerful as they claimed to be.  Maybe he would be able to make a difference now that he was back in human form.

Jack approached him and laid a hand on his shoulder.  “Everything okay?”

“Yeah.  I’m still trying to figure out how I was able to release them.  I mean, the person I communicated with called me an “enlightened one” but I’m not ascended anymore, so it shouldn’t have worked.  Maybe Teal’c’s right and there’s something leftover from when I was ascended.”

“Guess we’ll never know,” Jack said, even though he was pretty sure their assessment of his friend as “enlightened” was correct and had nothing to do with being ascended. 

“At least they’re free now,” Daniel said.

“That they are,” Jack agreed, “thanks to you.”  He knew Daniel wanted a more permanent record of these people’s fate, and when they got back to the SGC he was going to have a word with Hammond about having a plaque made.  Then he would only have to talk him into letting them make a return trip.  Piece of cake.
Sam finished punching in the coordinates and the gate flared to life, settling into the shimmering blue pool.  As Daniel moved to enter the event horizon, a breeze blew across his cheek and lingered, giving him a warm, tingling, pleasant sensation.  It moved on and Daniel smiled before stepping forward towards home.

The End

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