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A week had passed since her last visit with Janet, and Jessie spent the afternoon the same way she had for the last few weeks—sifting through the temple records, zeroing in on what they now hoped would be the final piece of the weapon. Between her weight training sessions with Teal’c, and working on her self-defense one-on-one with Cam, she was hoping she could persuade Janet into letting her go with the team on their next mission. Pushing back from the desk, she stretched her back, glancing at the clock as she did so. It was getting late, and they still had a meeting with General Hammond scheduled to give him an update on their progress. Looking around, Jessie saw Daniel was in the room, but Casey had slipped out sometime in the past few hours. And as usual, Jessie hadn’t noticed. Getting into the zone had its benefits, as well as some significant drawbacks.
Going over the translation one more time, she double-checked her work until she was satisfied with the results. Jessie turned in her chair, notepad in hand.
"I finally got everything pieced together from the last page. Once I translated the fourth set of symbols and plugged them back in, it made sense." After a moment of silence, she looked up. Daniel was sitting at his table where he was working on the other section of text, his own translations filling the sheet of paper in front of him. However, he was staring at the wall, deep in thought. "Hello? Daniel?"
He jerked slightly, glancing over at her. "Sorry. You were saying?"
She grinned back at him. "I was saying that I finished the last page, but you were a million miles away. Everything okay?"
He smiled back. "Yeah, I was just going through a mental list of things I need to do. So you got that one finished?"
She got up and brought her notes over to him. "Well, at least the section I was working on. I’ll start on the next one, but it’s a little different than the others. I’m taking a copy of it with me to work on this evening."
"You can’t leave work at the office, can you?" he teased.
Placing her hands on her hips, Jessie grinned at him. "Look who’s talking!"
It was at that moment Casey stuck her head in the door.
"Hey you two—meeting in five minutes. Come on!"
General Hammond was already in the briefing room, along with everyone else. Cam made a point of looking at his watch, and Jessie gave him a sheepish grin.
"Well, people, what’s the status of this project?"
Daniel handed Hammond the report he had prepared.
"All of the parts have been located, save for one. I’m hoping within the next forty-eight hours we’ll have a definitive location to search."
"How are you doing, Colonel Carter?" Hammond asked.
"Well, Sir, we’ve run diagnostics on the components we have so far, but until we get the final piece, there’s little we can do. How it actually functions remains to be seen."
Daniel adjusted his glasses. "Aside from deciphering the location, we’ve been going through the other sections we took recordings of. The translation I reference on page three talks about Tu-kai-taua being invincible, and something about the ‘focus of activation’. It almost sounds like the weapon, when activated, is protected somehow."
"You think it generates some kind of force field?" the general asked, his attention on Sam.
Sam shook her head. "We have no idea, Sir. Once we have it assembled, hopefully a lot of the questions we have will be answered."
"All right, then. Continue working on the translation. Colonel Mitchell, as soon as they have coordinates, take SG-7 and go find that last part. Dismissed."
Casey went over to Jessie. "Hey, did you finish the section you were working on?"
"Yeah. I’m taking the notes for the next section with me so I can go over it this evening."
"Well, the part I was deciphering referenced the part you were working on. I wanted to show it to you before you left."
Daniel gathered his things as Casey and Jessie talked. They didn’t notice that as Daniel walked past Cam, he surreptitiously slipped a note into Cam’s shirt pocket, with a quiet murmur of, "You owe me."
Seemingly engrossed in the report he was reading, Cam didn’t even look up. However, the report was the furthest thing in his mind at the moment. He waited until almost everyone had left before rising from his chair. Going back to his office, Cam sat down, tossing the now forgotten report onto his desk. Pulling the note from his pocket, he unfolded the paper and read what Daniel had written.
Cam chuckled. "I guess I do owe him." Daniel had not only given him a list of titles, but relevant page numbers as well.
With the information Daniel had provided him, Cam began his research. Luckily he was able to find most of the books Daniel listed in Jessie’s own library, and whenever she was otherwise occupied, he would settle in and read. There was only one book Cam couldn’t find, and Daniel thought it was relevant enough that he let Cam borrow his copy. By the time Cam finished reading everything, he had formulated a plan, jotting down a to-do list as he went along...
Daniel’s prediction of having the last set of coordinates in forty-eight hours proved to be accurate, and with a significant amount of cajoling on her part, Jessie was able to get Janet’s approval for her to go with SG-7. As Jessie loaded up her gear, she grinned as she felt the familiar rush of adrenaline that accompanied a new mission. Standing with Spencer, Pisano and Cam, she was more than ready to walk through the gate once again.
"Colonel Mitchell, you have a go. Godspeed, son."
With that, SG-7 stepped through the shimmering event horizon, and in the blink of an eye found themselves on a planet that held dense vegetation.
"Another tropical treasure trove," Pisano mused to himself.
Jessie gave him a look, which Spencer was quick to pick up on. He nudged Jessie with his elbow, saying, "Hopefully there won’t be any Amazonian inhabitants to deal with this time around."
"Thanks," she said dryly.
Cam laughed, thinking back to their adventure on P3X-973. "Well, the MALP didn’t show any signs of the locals, and there was nothing in the database. Let’s just keep our eyes open, get what we came for and get back home."
Luckily, the structure they were searching for was only about a fifteen-minute walk from the gate. It almost reminded Jessie of a Mayan temple, the way it was stuck in the middle of what technically could be called a jungle. Cam and Pisano kept watch at the entrance while Jessie and Spencer slipped inside.
The interior was dimly illuminated, and Spencer switched on his flashlight to get a better look at the walls.
"The other planets didn’t have the part inside the temple," he said as he examined the engravings. "Instead, there were directions to where it had been buried."
"So, basically we’re looking for a map?"
The better part of an hour was spent examining the interior walls, but the translations weren’t pointing them in any specific direction.
"Spencer, were all the other ‘directions’ engravings, or was there some other kind of medium used?"
"Only engravings on the walls."
Jessie was in the process of reading the inscriptions a second time when Cam came in.
"How’s it coming?"
"It’s not," Spencer said, frowning. "This isn’t like the other places. We haven’t found any mention here of the component."
Cam turned around to find Jessie staring at one section, her finger unconsciously tapping out a rhythm against her flashlight.
"I’m not sure. This part is…"
"It’s…different. It doesn’t follow the cadence and pattern of the rest of the translation. Nothing hugely different, but…"
"What’s it say?"
Jessie took a step back, studying it. "Well, the gist of it is, seek, raising your eyes to the heavens…well, hell," she muttered. Stopping, she redirected the beam from her flashlight to the area above the inscription, illuminating the angled ceiling. Sweeping the light slowly across the stone, her eyes came to rest on a barely perceptible line. Reaching up, she began prodding the area.
"Watson, you don’t think there could be any booby traps around here, do ya?"
"Well, there’s always a possibility, but if you don’t take the chance, you won’t…"
There was an audible click, and before Jessie could finish, a section of stone came out slightly from the wall, hinged in the center. She glanced at him before gingerly rotating it 180 degrees, finding engravings on the backside of it. Just then a rumbling echoed throughout the enclosure, and Jessie had no time to react as Spencer tackled her, knocking both her and Cam sideways as a large stone landed where she had been standing just seconds before.
Jessie raised her head, spitting dirt from her mouth as she looked back behind her.
"Booby traps, Watson," Cam said with an exasperated tone. "You really need to talk with Jackson about that—he’s got plenty of experience."
Jessica murmured her thanks to Spencer before turning an eye on Cam. "Yeah, well, that's all fine and good, but I think we’ve found the map."
The trek to where "X marks the spot", as Spencer put it, was without incident. A dig about two feet down revealed what they had been seeking—a box containing a small panel roughly the size of a postcard—the last part of the weapon. Packing it away, the team headed back to the gate, keeping a watchful eye on their surroundings. Arriving at the clearing, Spencer keyed the home address into the DHD.
Cam looked at his team, gesturing as he said, "See, a nice, uneventful mission, for the most part. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about." Bringing up the rear as they walked through the event horizon, Cam had no idea they were bringing the trouble home with them.
After their debriefing and post mission checkup, Jessie stopped by Sam’s lab, finding Spencer working alongside Sam trying to figure out how to assemble the weapon.
"Hey Spence, Sam."
"How you doing?" Sam asked.
"Pretty good. How’s the doohickey coming along?"
Spencer grinned at Jessie’s choice description, while Sam shook her head. "Someone had a sick sense of humor; this thing reads like Chinese stereo instructions."
Jessie walked over to the table, looking at the parts Sam had put together, along with the wires and probes attached to everything. "Got any idea how it works?"
"Unfortunately, no. The diagrams are pretty specific, but the explanations leave something to be desired."
Jessie reached out and ran her finger along the edge of one of the panels. She frowned. "Why is it cold?"
Sam looked up, moving around to where Jessie was. "Where?"
"Here," she said.
Sam reached out and touched the same spot. Glancing at Jessie, she replied, "I don’t feel anything cold."
Jessie touched the panel again. "That’s weird. When I first touched it, it felt like it had been in a refrigerator."
Sam checked the other panels just to make sure. "That’s the arm you injured, right?"
"Maybe the nerves are still healing, and the sensation’s a little off?"
She shrugged. "I guess. Is there anything I can get for y’all before I head on out?"
"Nope, not unless you’ve got the English how-to version for this thing hidden somewhere."
Jessie grinned. "Sorry, can’t help you there. I’ll catch up with y’all tomorrow."
"See you later, Jess."
Spencer waved, before turning back to help Sam.
Jessie stopped and talked with Daniel and Casey briefly, but soon headed on home. She wasn’t feeling too good, but she didn’t want to mention anything to Janet for fear she’d yank her off active duty once again. A headache had set in, and that damned scar on her back was throbbing. Thankfully traffic was light, and it didn’t take her any time at all to get home. The first thing she did was grab two ibuprofen, knocking them back before stretching out on her bed for a little while.
She wasn’t aware of dozing off and awoke with a start, surprised to see two hours had passed already. Her headache was gone, though, so she went and turned on the shower. Looking for something comfortable to put on, she grabbed a pale green sundress out of the closet before stripping off her dirty clothes and dumping them into the hamper. Stepping into the spray of hot water, Jessie adjusted the showerhead until the stream was pounding down on her back, massaging the muscles that were knotted up. Only when the water started to cool did she shampoo her hair and wash her body, the water rinsing away any residual grime from her afternoon trek.
Stepping from the shower, she dried off and then turned her attention to her hair, working on getting the tangles out. Letting her mind wander with the rhythmic pulling of the comb, she soon became aware once again of the slight throbbing of the scar on her back. More annoyed than anything else, Jessie grabbed the towel with her other hand and wiped it across the mirror, turning so she could take a look. All was quiet for several seconds, the silence finally broken as her comb hit the floor.
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