Isabel sat in an Air Force staff car as it drove her onto the military base. She was scared and prayed that it didn’t show. Here she was in a car with a man she had not heard a word about in over eight years and what he had told her sounded like pure science fiction. Colorado was beautiful this time of the year, early spring. Things were either beginning to turn green or still covered in several inches of white snow, until she reached a highly secured gate inside the base.
“Good afternoon, Doctor Jackson,” the gate guard said as Daniel handed over his passes to the Sergeant with a very large weapon slung over his shoulder.
“Good afternoon, Sergeant,” he replied.
“I need you to sign your guest in, sir,” he said as he handed Daniel a clip board though the window. Daniel quickly filled it out with all the information about Isabel he had committed to memory. “Thank you, and welcome to the mountain Doctor Miller,” the Sergeant said and then paused for a second as he connected the name with her face. Before he could say anything, Daniel tapped the driver on the shoulder and the car drove through the gate.
The place was huge. Isabel had seen the Cheyenne Mountain complex on television before but never realized the sheer size of the place.
“Just wait, this is nothing,” Daniel told her as he saw her impressed with the complex.
The car stopped and the driver got out and opened the door for the two doctors. Daniel led her to the huge front door and signed her in at the next guard station. “You need to wear these for the length of your visit. If you decide to stay, we can get you permanent identification, but this will do for now,” he told her as he handed three tags on a lanyard. Isabel instantly put them over her head and flipped her hair over them. Daniel could see the jaw of the airman at the guard station practically drop when he realized who she was.
“Isabel Miller?” the Airman asked, practically drooling over her.
“Doctor Isabel Miller,” she told him firmly, turned her back to him, and let Daniel lead her into the structure.
Daniel couldn’t blame the Airman for drooling over Isabel. And it wasn’t her fault that she looked so incredible in her charcoal suit dress and matching stiletto heels. Earlier in the car, he had to work at not looking her legs or anywhere else on her body.
“So far, it’s just a bunch of gray walls and guys in camouflage uniforms,” she told him as they exited the elevator on level 28.
“Just wait,” he told her as they headed down the hall. “Before we go any further, you need to meet with General Hammond. He will give you final clearance to view the rest of the facility.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence, the click of her heels echoing off the hard walls.
Approaching the General’s door, Daniel knocked on the frame and waited for a response.
“Daniel, how was your trip?” the large, bald Air Force General asked as they entered the office.
“Very good, sir. I would like you to meet Doctor Isabel Miller from the University of Pennsylvania,” Daniel said as he started to do the introductions. “Doctor Miller this is General George Hammond, the commander of Stargate Command.”
“Nice to meet you, Dr. Miller,” the older man said as they shook hands. “Has Dr. Jackson shown you around?”
“No, not yet. But so far, I haven’t seen the big reason for me to leave UPenn yet,” she said with her trademark smile, charming the General.
The General opened his mouth to say something when loud klaxon began to go off and a voice over the PA system said, “Incoming wormhole.”
“I think this is the best way to show you,” the General said as he lead her out of the office to a control room with a large windows overlooking a big gray room with a ramp leading up to a circle that was spinning. Before she could ask what was going on, a large swoosh came out of the center. When things calmed down, in the center of the circle had a pool of shimmering water. Isabel couldn’t take her eyes off it.
“What… what is it?” she asked. Her question was answered when she saw four soldiers emerge from the shimmering water.
“Welcome home SG-8,” General Hammond said into a microphone. The soldiers looked up at the window and the lead man, looked like the leader, and saluted him.
Isabel didn’t know what to say as the wormhole disengaged and everything went back to normal.
“So what do you think of Stargate Command now, Doctor?” the General said, almost smugly.
“Where…how… where did they come from?” she stammered.
“Basically, they crossed the universe in one step, but we have much more qualified people to explain it,” he told her. “If you want the job here with us, it is yours. Doctor Jackson has recommended you very highly.”
“I…I need to think about this a little,” she said, trying to get herself in control.
“I understand. But because of what we do here, I will need your answer before you leave today.”
“Okay, General,” she said finally getting herself pulled together. “You will have the answer by the end of the day.”
“Very good,” he said as he smiled warmly. “Doctor Jackson, why don’t you show Dr. Miller the rest of the facility.” The shook hands again and Daniel showed Isabel out of the office.
He showed her the gym and locker room, the infirmary and the research offices, glanced by the armory and other scientific labs and finished up in the commissary. Isabel hated cafeteria food but chose a relatively safe sandwich and a cup of coffee while Daniel looked as if he hadn’t eaten all day.
“Why didn’t you tell me all of this before?” she asked.
“Would you have believed me?” he replied from across the table.
“Okay, well I believe you now and I am interested, but it’s got to be more than just that… circle thing to persuade me to change jobs.”
“Fine, you would be a government contractor, making more money than you do at the University. Full benefits, all the standard stuff. We even have an on-site medical care.”
“Sounds standard, what about research facilities?” she asked.
“Top notch, you saw that. And here you don’t need to worry about grants and publishing.”
“Because I can’t publish to the outside world,” she said over the top of her coffee cup.
“There is that,” he said smiling. “Hey Teal’c, come join us,” he said to the large jaffa. Teal’c took a seat next to Daniel and looked at the woman across the table.
“Teal’c, this is Doctor Isabel Miller, our newest archaeologist,” he told his friend. “Dr. Miller, this is Teal’c.”
“Very nice to meet you Teal’c,” she said as she extended her hand to the large man.
“Indeed, DoctorMiller. It is always nice to meet the new additions to the personnel here. But if you are new to here, why does O’Neill have your photograph in his locker?” Teal’c asked.
Daniel almost snarffed his coffee out his nose. “Who’s O’Neill?” she asked very intrigued with the large black man with a golden seal on his forehead.
“He is the commander of SG-1,” Teal’c responded.
“Okay, well, the picture is from a past life,” she explained not sure by what he meant by SG-1.
Teal’c raised his eyebrow at her, as if he did not understand.
“Do you want the job?” Daniel asked, trying to distract her.
“I have until the end of today, don’t I?” she asked.
“Yes, but there is a lot of work to be done and I’m sure General Hammond doesn’t want you to know all of our secrets if you don’t plan on staying with us,” Daniel told her.
“If you put it that way, then I guess I’ll stay,” she said. “Where do I sign up? When do I get to go through the gate thing?”
“You have not been assigned to an SG team?” Teal’c asked.
“I haven’t even signed any contracts and I still trying to figure out exactly why I’m here.”
“Why would you not want to assist the Tauri?”
“The what?” she asked.
“Teal’c, I haven’t fully briefed Dr. Miller yet on the whole situation here,” Daniel told him.
“There’s more?” she asked, miffed that he had not been completely forthright with her but amazed that there could possibly be more to the fantastic tale.
“There’s a lot to tell and until you sign your contracts, we have to keep some things quiet for international security.”
“What a way to bate the hook, Dr. Jackson,” she said smiling. “Let’s get the paperwork done so I can get up to speed.”
Daniel smiled, knowing that she would be a welcomed addition to the department. She was a brilliant scientist. But when she smiled at Teal’c an odd feeling came across him. He didn’t want her to smile at his friend, or anyone else for that matter, the way she smiled at him.
Isabel spent the rest of the day filling out paperwork. There was no more talk about the secrets that had been hinted at and her curiosity was driving her insane. After Daniel had deposited her in the administrative office, much like the civilian human resources office, he had disappeared for several hours. Swearing that her hand was about to fall off due to all the forms that had to be filled out, she followed a very young blond airman, who if she was ten years younger would be perfect for her, to her temporary quarters. The way the administrative officer, a Captain, told her about the temporary housing sounded like they were doing a favor but now that she thought about it, it sounded more like they wanted to keep an eye on her for a while to make sure she wasn’t a security threat.
Her room was pretty nice, despite the gray walls and hard floor. The bed looked fairly comfortable and her bags that she had left in the staff car had been delivered. Isabel wondered how she was going to get back to her apartment in Philadelphia to get the rest of her things. She had only planned to stay the weekend, not expecting that she was going to stay longer than a few days. Up until she had seen the Stargate, Isabel thought that she was just going to have a little trip on the government’s bill. But after she saw four people emerge from it, her curiosity changed her mind. The way Daniel had spoken about it, the ‘gate’ led to other worlds, many with descendants of Earthlings. There were so many words and terms used, in addition to the military terms, that she was thoroughly confused. Now she had more questions than answers. Like, who are the Tauri, why did that Teal’c guy have that gold thing on his forehead and did he have a last name.
“Hey Daniel, you missed a great trip,” Jack said has he strolled into his friend’s lab.
“Catch any fish?” Daniel teased back.
“Uh, no, almost. How was Philadelphia?”
“Not bad. Doctor Miller has joined us and once she is up to speed, I think she’ll be very useful. Her specialty is reconstructing cultures, figuring out how they lived and why they did things.”
“Cool, so when do I meet this new ‘scientist’?” he asked.
“How about right now,” a voice said from the door. “Doctor Jackson, I was wondering if you could help me translate this one phrase?” she asked, walking into his office carrying several photographs in one hand, not wearing a military uniform but a very sharp suit with a skirt that showed off her longer than life legs.
“Sure, uh, Doctor Miller, meet Colonel Jack O’Neill, Jack this is Doctor…”
“Isabel Miller,” Jack finished as his jaw dropped when he saw her.
“Very nice to meet you Colonel,” she said as she dropped her photographs on the nearby workbench and went to shake his hand.
“I know Daniel said he was getting a new archaeologist, but he never said it would be you. How do you know Daniel?”
“I was a grad student when he was at Chicago. I was one of the slave interns for the department,” she told him as they shook hands, flashing her famous smile.
“Welcome to Stargate Command,” he said, smiling at her.
“Thanks. I feel so out of the loop here. I’ve never even been on a military base before but I’m catching on fast.”
Daniel didn’t like the way Jack was looking at her, practically drooling over her. She was gorgeous, probably more so now. His body responded to her every time she walked into the room but fought against it because she seemed so completely unapproachable, even more so now that her beauty had aged her like a fine wine. She hadn’t even called him Daniel in the four days since he went to see her, it was always Doctor Jackson.
“Well, I’ll let you two kids get back to work,” Jack said, not sure what exactly was going on between the two of them.
“Very nice to meet you… uh, should I call you Colonel?” she asked.
“Jack is fine,” he replied as he winked at her.
“Then I’ll see you around, Jack,” she replied, flirting back.
“Don’t let Danny work you too hard.”
“I won’t,” she replied, beginning to realize that Daniel wasn’t really liking the exchange going on between the two of them.
Jack winked at her again and turned on his heal, leaving the office with Isabel smiling after him.
“You said that you needed help with a translation?” Daniel asked.
“Oh, yes, here,” she said as she brought over the photographs she had with her. “So that was the Colonel O’Neill that Tea’c was talking about.”
“Yeah, but its Teal’c,” he said, correcting her as if she was a student again.
“Cut me some slack, Doctor. I’ve been here not even twenty-four hours. Not only do I have to learn what the military structure is, but all these aliens. I’ve gotten this entire survey translated except for this one passage. I was hoping that you could help. The last anthropologist who worked on this spent three weeks and accomplished nothing.”
Daniel took the sheets from her and began to look at the passage. “It looks like a derivation of ancient Sumerian.”
“Yes, that’s what I thought at first. But look here,” she said pointing to two groupings of symbols. “If this phrase before this one says, peace and prosperity was destroyed by the visitors from the chappi. The only thing I recognize in this part is the words slavery and conquest. What else was found on this site with these ‘documents’?”
“I really haven’t seen anything like this before but the story sounds all too familiar. The chappi is what others call the Stargate. And it sounds like the goul’d came and conquered the planet, enslaving the local inhabitants as incubators of their young or serving as hosts.”
“Okay, I read your reports on the Goul’d. The parasitic race that seem to be the bane of everyone else’s existence, including ours now.”
“Exactly,” Daniel said smiling, knowing that she was catching on very quickly.
“Have you seen any of these goul’d?” she asked, leaning closer to him.
“Yes,” he said flatly.
“It sounds too amazing to be true.”
“It is all true. We’ve fought against them and have been lucky most of the time. We have allies and friends that are all trying to destroy them.”
“Like who, these guys?” she asked, pointing at the photographs she had brought in.
“No, the civilization that left these behind has been gone for centuries. I’m sure you’ll hear the names Asguard and Tokra before too long, plus the rebel jaffa.”
“On your first day here, in the cafeteria, you met Teal’c?”
“Big guy, gold thing on his head?”
“Yes, he is one of them. Left his family to come over to our side.”
“Wow, is his family… okay?” she asked with concern.
“His son is training with Master Bra’tac and his wife died a while back.”
“Because of his defection?”
“Not really. More of a casualty of war.”
“So sad. And you, an archaeologist fits in how? I mean, you said you were on the SG-1 team with an alien who defected and a military man. It’s quite an odd pairing.”
“There’s also Major Sam Carter. I would have to say I am the diplomat of the team, we all have are parts to play.”
“Do you go…through the…”
“Stargate, and yes we go off world often,” Daniel replied.
Isabel shook her head, trying to understand it all. “It’s just so different here. Sometimes I think my head is going to explode and I’ve only been here a day.”
“I know the feeling,” he said smiling at her. “I think you’ll fit in quickly though.”
“Thanks,” she smiled back at him. “I’d better get back to work. Thanks for your help, Doctor Jackson,” she said as she picked up her photos. “See ya’ around campus Doc,” Isabel said over her shoulder as she left the office, the sound of her heals getting more and more distant.