“Hey Daniel, are you ready for four days of the fresh air and fishing?” Jack asked his friend who sat in his office, engrossed in new translations from their latest off world adventure.
“Oh, um about that, Jack. I’ll have to take a rain check. General Hammond finally okayed my request for another archaeologist so I’m going to Philadelphia this weekend,” Doctor Daniel Jackson replied as he shuffled his papers, looking for a specific phrase he swore he had only minutes ago.
“Another archaeologist? This isn’t just another excuse to get out of going fishing?”
“Honest, Doctor Miller has an impressive record and we need all the help we can get,” Daniel explained.
“Are you sure? The fish are this big,” Jack said as he motioned his idea of how large the fish were in the lake by his house, though he had never actually caught one.
“My flight leaves tomorrow morning.”
“Ok, but this one better be good looking. You don’t know what you’re missing,” Jack said as he exited the lab, looking for Teal’c to see if he had any plans for the extended weekend.
Daniel took a breath, sat back in his chair and removed his glasses. His eyes were tired, so was the rest of his body. Under three layers of the translations he had been working on was Doctor Isabel Miller’s file. A name he hadn’t thought about in years, a face he hadn’t seen in just as long. The last time he saw her she was the intern who got then task to drop off the handouts at his last lecture at the University of Chicago. It was that lecture that had started him down the road to the SGC.
Isabel stood at the lectern, looking upon the board faces of her students. Two hours of lecturing about the grains used in ancient Mesopotamia wasn’t exactly her idea of a good time either. She knew that the class was punishment for not producing enough grant money last semester. She would much rather be working on the translations for some of the artifacts that had come in from the school’s dig in Egypt that waited for her in her office.
As she flipped to the next page in her notes, she heard one of the doors in the back of the auditorium and hoped it wasn’t another student leaving her lecture or even worse, Doctor Evens, the department head coming in to check on her. Isabel glanced at her watch that she placed next to her notes and realized she still had another twenty minutes to go in class.
“This mortar and pestle was discovered at a dig site by the University of Cairo in 1912. Unlike the other grinding tools that were found, this one was unique. The markings on the base are not like the others. Does anyone know why this could be?” she asked the class after changing slides, hoping someone would have some kind of answer.
“Is it newer than the others found?” one student asked.
“No, in fact it is much older,” she replied.
“Is it ceremonial?” another student asked.
“We think so, since it was found in what we think is the chief priest’s living quarters,” she told them. While she was looking for other questions or comments from her students, she saw someone sitting in the shadows at the rear of the auditorium. That was not Doctor Evens’ style to sit in the shadows or in the in the rear of the room. He would sit down right next to a student and look over their shoulder at the notes they had taken. The figure was more slender than Doctor Evens too. Through the rest of the lecture, Isabel couldn’t help but monitor the unknown visitor.
She reminded her students of the reading assignment for the next class and of the paper that was due in two weeks before dismissing them at the end of the hour. As the students filed out, Isabel gathered her notes while keeping an eye on her unknown visitor. Last time she had a non-University visitor was a reporter wanting an exclusive from her that had very little to do with archeology.
“Doctor Miller?” the voice said from the shadows as she clicked her briefcase shut and put her suit jacket back on. She knew the voice right away, a voice she never thought she would hear again but was unable to forget.
“Yes?” she replied, wanting to keep her cool.
The figure rose from his seat and began walking towards her. “I don’t know if you remember me. I’m Doctor Daniel…”
“I know who you are Doctor Jackson,” she replied a little too curt.
“Is there somewhere we can go and talk?” he asked, not sure why she seemed to be in such a foul mood. Daniel was shocked that she looked even better than the last time he saw her, looking so professional in her pants suit and her beautiful blond hair pulled in an elegant French twist. He was surprised that her students were not hanging around her after class but he was sure her office hour’s appointments were booked solid for weeks.
“I have office hours now. You can call my office if you want to schedule an appointment.”
“I’m only in town for a short period of time.”
“Then I’m sorry to disappoint you Doctor, but I have students waiting for me across campus,” she said as she started walking towards the door, her heals clicking with each step. He followed her.
“How about dinner?” he asked.
“I’m sure you have to eat,” he said.
“I… I have research to get done,” she replied as she started walking again.
“I read your paper.”
“You came all the way from… God knows where, to discuss my paper?”
“Yes and to offer you a job.”
“I have a job Dr. Jackson.”
“Hear me out before you make any decisions.”
“Fine, meet me at The Tortilla Press at eight and you can tell me about this job that I’m not going to take.”
“Great, and Isabel, don’t make up your mind until you’ve heard what I have to tell you,” he said much quieter as he looked into her famous green eyes.
It took her a second to break the eye contact but finally stiffened and said, “Regardless of what I did before I entered school, I am a scientist and I deal in facts.” With that, she turned on her dangerously high heal and left him in the classroom.
Daniel sat at The Tortilla Press, a small gourmet Mexican restaurant waiting for Isabel to show. He had waited over twenty minutes for her to arrive but was worth the wait. She made her entrance like she did years ago, all eyes in the restaurant were on Doctor Isabel Miller in her blue cotton sundress as if she was on the catwalks again, her blond hair bouncing with each step as she walked towards him. Daniel wished that he was not offering her a job but were on a date. He had not had much of a social life since he had returned. He could not remember, literally remember, the last time he was on a date.
As Isabel walked to Daniel’s table, she masked her nervousness with her supermodel smile. Once again, she felt like it was eight years ago in her graduate school days. She could see him watching her and the butterflies in her stomach tripled. He looked good in his sports coat as he waited for her. His hair was much shorter than the last time she had seen him and looked to be in better shape than she could imagine.
“Doctor Miller, thank you for coming,” Daniel said as he stood as she approached the table and shook her hand.
“You did pique my curiosity, not that I am looking to move. I’m up for a major grant.”
“I know. Let me explain,” Daniel told her as he pulled a piece of paper form his jacket. “But before I can, I need you to sign this.”
Isabel looked at the document. “What does the Department of Defense have to do with ancient Egyptian studies?”
“If you sign this, I can explain,” he said as he pushed a pen in her direction.
Isabel carefully read the document. It seemed to be a standard confidentiality agreement. As she read it, two large margaritas were delivered and they placed their dinner orders. After she read it twice, Isabel finally signed it.
“I haven’t joined the Army or anything, have I?” she asked.
Daniel laughed. “No, not exactly,” he said as he put the signed document and his pen back in his jacket pocket. “Now, the reason I have come here is to offer you a job.”
“And I already told you I have a job. Get to the parts you couldn’t tell me earlier and it had better be good. I really should be in the lab.”
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important,” he said as he lowered his voice and leaned towards her, smelling her perfume and driving him crazy. Daniel was glad that she had chosen such a noisy restaurant in the middle of Center City Philadelphia.
“Okay, Dr. Miller. Since I was asked to leave the University, I have been a consultant for the Air Force. I was originally brought in to work on a translation from a relic found in Giza. What I deciphered was the coordinates to a place called Abydos.”
“So, my Egypt 101 class knows about Abydos,” she told him less than impressed. “What does a city from thousands of years ago have to do with you falling off the face of the world for the past eight years?”
“I’m getting to that. I spent a year living on Abydos.”
“What?” She said cutting him off. “You mean to tell me that you went back in time?”
“No, not at all. The coordinates I discovered was for the Stargate. The Stargate took me to a desert planet called Abydos. The Abydonians were descendants of Earth, taken by aliens thousands of years ago.”
“Wait. Not that “aliens built the pyramids” theory again. That got you laughed out of the academic community,” she said sitting back in her chair and taking a large gulp of her drink. “My reputation is precarious enough without bringing in ‘little green men’ into the mix.”
“Actually, they’re gray,” he told her with a smile on his lips. If she weren’t so annoyed with him to try to bring her into his crazy theories, she would be aroused by his presence. All she could think about in graduate school was how she wanted to be with him like this, sharing dinner together, like on a date. But this was not a date, and probably on his expense account too. But back then; he was consumed with his work and his girlfriend at the time, a Doctor Sarah Gardner, who worked with him.
“You’re not making sense Doctor. If you don’t tell me what kind of job you are talking about, I’m out of here,” she said firmly.
“Okay, okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.” Daniel took a drink, knowing the suspense and curiosity was bugging her. “This Stargate that I told you about, creates a wormhole between the point of origin, Earth in our case, and another Stargate on a planet hundreds or thousands of light-years away. The Air Force has sent me to offer you a position in the archeology department at Stargate Command.”
Isabel couldn’t take it any longer and cracked up laughing. “Doctor Peters put you up to this, didn’t he?”
“I know it sounds crazy. It did to me at first too. Come with me to Colorado and let me show you. If after you see that all that I have said is true, then make up your mind.”
“Before I leave this table, I need to see some hard proof that you did not just escape from a mental hospital or are setting me up for some practical joke.”
“What do you need?” he said as he pulled his wallet from his pants. “I’ve got my government contractor’s identification, my pass to Cheyenne Mountain, um, my pass key to the elevator,” Daniel said as he pulled cards out of his wallet like they were playing cards.
Isabel looked at each of the cards under close scrutiny, checking to see if they were fakes. It was Daniel’s turn to sit back and sip his drink. He was intrigued with her examination of the cards, her slim fingers running over the edges, handling them as if they were delicate artifacts. He wondered how her fingers would feel as they ran over his body. With that thought popping into his head, he almost choked on his drink. She looked up at him to make sure he was okay, her mossy green eyes meeting his icy blue ones.
“Does everything seem to be in order?” he asked her as he reached for his cards, still in her hands. Accidentally touching her hands, he could feel an electricity hum between them. The spell was broken with the waiter delivering their food.
“Everything look legitimate. But like I said before, I have a job,” she told him.
“Come to the SGC and let me show you the amazing wonders the galaxy has revealed to us. If you still aren’t interested, then you can come back and teach here, no questions asked as long as you keep what you see confidential. You could be back in time for your Tuesday class.”
“Fine, I could use a break, courtesy of the government,” she resolved as she picked at her food, nervous of what she could be getting herself into accepting his offer.