THE SPHINX CONSPIRACY
FEEDBACK TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
CATEGORY: Drama, H/C.
RATING: PG - (V) (L)
SPOILERS: Forever in a day, Legacy.
Set: Late 1999.
Author's Notes: Finally got this one up. The story is based on an idea that came whilst I was reading a wonderful book "Secret Chamber" by Robert Bauval. The events in this story, however, are purely fiction.
Many thanks to all who have offered such positive feedback
SUMMARY: Daniel finds himself in great danger after agreeing to do a favor for an old friend.
DISCLAIMER: All characters and property of Stargate SG-1 belong to MGM/UA, World Gekko Corp. and Double Secret Productions. This fan fiction was created solely for entertainment and no money was made from it. Also, no copyright or trademark infringement was intended. Any similarities to real persons, living or dead are coincidental and not intended by the author. Any other characters, the storyline and the story are the property of the author.
Daniel Jackson barreled into Jack O'Neill's office, without bothering to knock. "Jack, I've just had a call from a friend of mine. He's brought home some amazing stuff from a dig and he's asked me to come over and take a look."
Jack held up a hand, not looking up from the stack of paperwork in front of him.
Daniel paused for breath, impatience obvious in his stance as he stood, hands on hips, foot tapping. "Jack?"
"Uh, uh." Jack waved his hand. He signed his name with a flourish to the topmost paper and sighed, pushing his chair back and locking his hands behind his head. "Now, Daniel, you were saying?"
"A friend of mine from the University brought back some great artifacts from a new dig," Daniel said again.
"Rocks and stuff?" Jack asked, his eyes twinkling.
"Actually, no. Pyramid texts and stuff," Daniel replied, his blue eyes crinkling as he flashed a wide smile. "Anyway, he wants me to go take a look"
"Since when have you wanted my permission to go anywhere?" Jack asked. "As I recall, on our last jaunt off world, it took us three hours to find you when you forgot to tell anyone that you were going to look at inscriptions at the other end of town."
"Yeah, I'm really sorry about that, Jack. I was sure I'd mentioned it and I know I've got to stop running off half cocked " Daniel smiled again.
"Anyway," Jack prompted.
"Oh right, anyway, my car's in the shop."
"Again," Jack murmured under his breath.
"And I was wondering if you could take me over there? I'm sure you'd find it really interesting." Daniel asked hopefully.
"Sorry, Daniel, no can do. Much as I'd love to come and see these ro-- pyramid texts, if I don't get this paperwork done, the General will have my hide," Jack answered.
"Oh, maybe Sam?"
"Sam's busy working on a prototype UAV, and if you interrupt her, I'm gonna have your hide."
Daniel's face showed his disappointment, but he merely nodded and began to turn away.
"Daniel?" Jack called. He tossed his car keys at his friend. "I'm gonna be here all night anyway."
"Are you sure, Jack?" Daniel asked.
"Yeah, go, knock yourself out," Jack said.
"Thanks, Jack. I'll have it back first thing in the morning." Daniel smiled and turned to leave, tossing the keys in the air.
"Yeah, Jack?" Daniel spun around.
"Three things. Watch the speed, gas it up and put the radio dial back where you found it," Jack said, ticking the items off on his fingers.
"Sure thing, Colonel." Daniel executed a mock salute and left.
Jack grinned at Daniel's disappearing back. He had planned to go home later and watch the hockey game, but seeing Daniel excited at last about something and more importantly, seeing him smile after so long was well worth the sacrifice. Jack shook his head and bent back to his paperwork.
Daniel stopped by to pick up a jacket. Although the days had been warm and sunny, night times here could get very cold and he didn't know when he'd be home.
He thought he might stop by Janet Frasier's house on the way home and take Cassandra to the park. Janet had said that Cassandra was still having some problems fitting in at school and Daniel certainly knew how that felt. Cassandra had confided in him regarding how it felt to be left out and bullied and she seemed to know instinctively that Daniel would understand.
After picking up Jack's car from the lot, Daniel drove through the security check into the warmth of an autumn afternoon. He drove down the mountain carefully, heeding Jack's warning. It felt good to be out of the complex at last. And strangely, it felt good to be alone for a while.
Daniel was all too aware of the stares of the personnel at the base, looks that mixed pity and embarrassment. Everyone there knew that Sha'uri had died, but they all too obviously remembered his breakdown, courtesy of Machello's little Goa'uld destroyers and he felt as though everyone was treating him with kid gloves. Except perhaps his own team, his closest friends.
Teal'c still carried an enormous guilt for his part in Sha'uri's capture and death. Daniel had forgiven him long ago, but he did not think that the Jaffa would ever forgive himself. He had appointed himself Daniel's official bodyguard and Daniel knew that he had to allow him that.
Sam grieved deeply for Daniel's loss, but she had hovered over him anyway, like a big sister since they had met and she supported him in everything. She was the only female that he had allowed into his heart since Sha'uri was taken.
Jack O'Neill was probably the only one who truly understood Daniel's pain. He too had lost everything dear to him. First, his son, Charlie had died in a shooting mishap with Jack's own gun. Then his wife, Sarah, unable to bear her own grief and also deal with Jack's guilt and pain, had left while Jack was Abydos, when Sha'uri and Skaara were taken. Jack had lost something then, too. During the first mission through the Stargate, Skaara had become another son to the still grieving father, and now he, too was gone.
Daniel wondered how Jack kept going under the weight of it all and then realized with startling clarity, why Jack kept him so close. They still had each other, but it was all both still had. Daniel had clung to Jack over the past few months as a drowning man does to a life preserver, but Jack, through his comforting of Daniel was receiving what he needed to assuage the pain and rage he felt at Daniel's losses and his own.
"Daniel! How are you, mate? Good to see you again," Dave Cross said, holding out a massive hand in greeting.
Daniel grinned widely at the ebullient Australian professor and shook his hand. "Hello, Dave, it's good to see you too."
"Let's go to my office, Daniel, I've got some interesting artifacts to show you from Giza. I hope you still enjoy good coffee." Dave indicated the way down the corridor as he slapped the younger man on the back.
"Coffee would be great," Daniel agreed.
Professor Dave Cross had been a mentor of Daniel's since his university days. Although he did not completely hold with Daniel's theories regarding the puzzle of the pyramids and why they were built, he had actively encouraged his student to vigorously pursue his theories without fear of ridicule. His encouragement had led to Daniel being laughed out of the established "old boys' club" of archaeology, but Dave had never been a part of that circle anyway, considered by most to be too rough around the edges. He was, however, still held in high esteem by the old guard.
Daniel was led into a roomy office and offered a seat in an overstuffed leather armchair that had seen better days. Dave set about percolating fresh coffee as they exchanged small talk and he caught Daniel up on news of his wife, Cathy and their two young daughters.
"So, Dave, what have you got to show me?" Daniel asked.
Dave lowered his voice a notch. "Actually, Daniel, I've got you here under slightly false pretences."
Daniel raised his eyebrows but did not interrupt.
"I do have something important to show you - a videotape. I need you to safeguard it for me. I thought that with your association with the military, you might be able to keep this under wraps for awhile. My life has been threatened, and that of my family and I don't know who to trust any more."
Daniel sat forward, his eyes wide. "What the hell have you gotten yourself involved in, Dave? Wait a minute, do I want to know?" He shook his head. "Yes, yes, of course I do. What's going on?"
Dave sat back and studied Daniel for a moment. He was well aware that he could be endangering the young man's life by taking him into his confidence. He had long believed, however that whatever the archaeologist was engaged in with the military had to be risky, and perhaps connected to what he had to tell him.
"You're familiar with the stories regarding the Hall of Records at Giza?"
"Yes, of course," Daniel replied, his interest piqued. "It's been said that Edgar Cayce prophesied that a doorway would be found between the paws of the Great Sphinx and it would be found to be the Hall of Records. Bauval believes that there will be papyrus records and the like found, others believe a statue of King Cheops gazing toward the constellation of Orion. Still, others believe it's a fabrication presented by The Association of Research and Enlightenment to substantiate Cayce's prophecies. There's supposed to be a big millenium celebration on New Year's Eve with a golden capstone of various alloys being placed on the Great Pyramid prior to the doorway being opened. There was talk that the Egyptian authorities have already had a sneak peek. God, Dave, what have you got on video and why you?"
"It would appear the vault has already been opened," Dave answered. "My belief is that it supports Cayce's prophecy."
"What do you mean, your belief? Doesn't the videotape show it?" Daniel asked.
"It shows work being done on exposing the doorway, a camera being introduced through the small hole in the corner of the door. Our man was wearing a miniature camera, he caught that much. Unfortunately, he was killed in a hit-run accident before he could send more footage." Dave traced quotation marks in the air to show what he thought of the accident theory.
"Your man?" Daniel asked and ran his hands through his cropped hair. "Jesus, Dave, I think you had better start at the beginning."
"Okay," the professor sat back in his chair. "My man was a member of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. He'd heard that certain factions of the Egyptian government had pushed for a secret opening of the doorway. Apparently, they were hoping that if it proved Cayce's prophecy correct, they would have time before the millenium event to petition to have the whole thing called off, accuse the U.S of interfering in Egyptian cultural affairs or simply release a statement saying that the vault was empty. A good way they thought to ridicule the U.S. and Cayce's followers. Our man got this footage to us, with the promise of more coming, proof of what they found behind the door, when he was killed in a hit-run accident. You and I both know they drive like maniacs over there, Daniel, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth. When I tried to push for more information, I was politely told to mind my own business."
"But you didn't," Daniel interjected.
Dave shook his head. "No, then yesterday, I received a phone call telling me to back off and hand over the tape or more accidents could occur to my family and myself."
"Look, Dave, I think you should go to the police with this," Daniel said.
"With what evidence?" Dave replied. "Daniel, please, just take the tape back with you, they're hardly going to break into a military establishment and you're not known to them anyway. You've kept a pretty low profile for the last few years. In a month or so, they'll either call off the laying of the capstone or go ahead with it. Once it's over, I can present this evidence and more, if I can get it and expose their lies."
"I think you should lay low for a while, not go stirring up more trouble," Daniel answered.
"I've sent Cathy and the girls home to Sydney to visit her family. They'll be safe there," Dave said. "Please, Daniel, take the tape."
Daniel thought for a moment, then stood up. "Okay, I'll take the tape, but I want you to promise me that you'll stay in touch and if you receive any more threats, you'll go to the police."
Dave held his hands up in mock surrender. "Okay, okay, I promise."
Dave Cross packed up and left the University as soon as he'd walked Daniel to his car. He felt a sense of relief mixed with concern that Daniel had agreed to take the videotape
He hoped that he was not exposing Daniel to danger. Still, the young man had the protection of the military, surely he'd be safe?
Entering his home, he debated ringing his wife in Australia to tell her of the latest developments. Then he discarded the idea, she'd been concerned enough when he'd insisted that she and the girls return to Australia, the less said, the better. His thoughts were shattered by the resounding crash of the front door being smashed from its hinges.
"Well, hello, Professor Cross, it's so nice to speak with you again."
Dave Cross backed away from the four swarthy skinned, heavily armed men, the wall finally stopping his retreat.
"I'm sure you remember me from our phone conversations. Let me make things easy for you, where is the videotape?"
Daniel headed Jack's car toward the base. He'd decided not to visit Cassie after all. If even a sliver of what Dave had told him was true, he was not going to risk anyone else's safety. He was aware that he could already be in danger himself. He glanced quickly at the rear vision mirror, but there were no cars behind him. Daniel sighed, he would be relieved to get back, show the video to Jack and let him decide what to do. All this cloak and dagger stuff was more O'Neill's scene after all.
Daniel switched on the radio and winced as the deafening sounds of a heavy metal band assaulted his ears. Mentally reminding himself to retune the dial, Daniel looked down briefly to find the tuning button.
Suddenly the car bucked under his hands and swerved toward the mountain wall. Daniel struggled to control the careening vehicle as it side swiped the rocks, slamming his head hard into the side window. His senses reeling, he fought to turn the car in on itself, but it bounced back toward the guardrail and cleared it, launching itself down the hillside. A small cluster of rocks forced the front wheels up and it somersaulted once before sliding to a halt at the base of the mountain.
Daniel clawed his way painfully back to consciousness. It took him several seconds before he was able to remember the recent events and put them in the correct sequence. He tried to sit up and fell back, gasping as pain knifed through his chest and legs. "Idiot," he muttered. "Basic first aid, Jackson. Check for injuries before moving."
He knew he was on the ground outside the car but he didn't recall being thrown from the vehicle. He could feel something warm and sticky dribbling into his hair. He put his hand up, touched his forehead and looked at his fingers - blood. That explained his memory or lack thereof. He appeared to have full use of both arms so he carefully felt along his ribs, wincing as sharp pains were elicited from the slight pressure. Bruised ribs? Broken? He couldn't be sure but he knew he wouldn't be climbing out of here. That reminded him of his legs and he carefully lifted his head to squint at them. His left leg lay on the ground, the ankle bent strangely and he knew without needing to feel it, that it was broken. His right leg appeared to be caught up somewhere inside the crushed doorway of the car and Daniel groaned as he saw the blood soaking his pants leg to the knee. Tentatively, he pulled on his leg and arched his back as a scream of agony was torn from his throat. He flopped bonelessly to the ground as the movement sent jagged shocks along the length of his leg, leaving him exhausted and bordering on shock.
The sky above him was darkening rapidly and the night brought with it a cloak of bone aching cold. Daniel shivered and gazed longingly at his jacket, sprawled just out of reach. Suddenly he laughed irrationally. "Jack's car. I've wrecked Jack's car. He's gonna kill me."
The thought of his friend brought a sense of overwhelming loss and sadness coursing through him. "Jack!" he yelled hoarsely. He was aware of the tears mixing with the blood on his face. "Jack," he whispered.
Jack O'Neill started awake as he turned restlessly on the narrow Army bunk. Sighing, he reached for his wristwatch and thumbed the inbuilt light. Six a.m. He sat up feeling stiff muscles in his back twitch. 'I shouldn't have lent Daniel my car. Could've still been sleeping in my own bed,' he thought grumpily. "Caffeine, I need caffeine," he growled as he reached for his pants and shoes.
He limped into the break room still trying to massage the knots from his complaining back. Samantha Carter was already there, poring over the blueprints of the new UAV.
"Good morning, sir," she said breezily.
Jack mumbled something unintelligible at her and she clucked sympathetically at him.
"Army bunks, sir? Not designed for a good night's sleep, are they?"
"You got that right, Carter," Jack agreed. "Daniel will be here in a half an hour and I've got a day off. Blissful ignorance, with a hockey game on the TV and a cold beer in my hand."
An hour and a half later, an extremely irate Colonel slammed the phone down on Daniel's answering machine message. "Damn it! Where the hell could he have gotten to?" he roared.
Sam winced at the anger in Jack's voice. "Sir, is it possible he stayed the night at his friend's place? You know how Daniel loses all sense of time when he's caught up with his archaeology stuff," she suggested.
"Yeah, you're right. Maybe I'll try the University. Any idea of this guy's name?" Jack asked.
Sam just shrugged.
"Okay, we've got to start somewhere. God, he could have called in. I'm going to buy the kid a cell phone for Christmas, no, better yet, a pager."
"Daniel's been under a lot of pressure lately, Colonel," Sam reminded him gently.
"I know, Carter, I know," Jack agreed. He picked up the phone and asked the base operator to connect him to the University of Colorado.
Daniel woke with a gasp of pain as another bout of violent shivering sent stabs of agony through his abused body. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and tried to force himself to breathe lightly. He was successful for a short time before the futility of his situation began to panic him again.
"Oh, God, oh God, please Jack, please come," he whispered brokenly. The words became a mantra that grew fainter and then ceased altogether, as loss of blood, shock and fatigue claimed his restless soul once more.
Jack grimaced at the phone clenched in his hand. "Listen, maam, I am a U.S. Airforce Colonel. I'm not after any deep secrets here. I just want to know if Doctor Daniel Jackson signed in there yesterday to visit someone?"
The receptionist sighed. "Okay, yes he did. He arrived about 2pm and left again at about 4pm."
"Alright, great," Jack said. "Wait a minute, you said he left at 4pm. Did he leave with anyone else?"
"No, sir. He was alone."
Jack closed his eyes and rubbed at the tension building above them. "Who did he come to see?"
The woman hesitated a moment.
"Please," Jack said.
"He came to see Professor Cross," she answered quietly.
"Okay then," Jack replied; now they were finally getting somewhere. "Let me speak to him."
The woman paused again for a moment, then spoke, her voice suddenly shaky. "Professor Cross was attacked and killed in his home last night."
"What?" Jack sat bolt upright in his chair and then seeing General Hammond standing in his doorway, motioned him in anxiously. He managed a few more scant details from the upset receptionist, then thanked her and hung up.
"Colonel?" the General looked questioningly at him. "Any news on Doctor Jackson?"
"I think Daniel may be in some trouble, sir. The friend he went to see yesterday turned up murdered in his home last night, apparently in a bungled home invasion."
"I'm sorry to hear that, Colonel, but I don't see what you're basing your supposition on."
"It's just a hunch, sir, gut feeling, I don't know." Jack shrugged. "I just know Daniel. He's got my car, he wouldn't just not show up or at least try to contact me."
"Very well, Colonel. I'll have the local police put out an APB on him and send some men out to his apartment."
Jack nodded and motioned to Sam. "Thank you, sir. We're going to go and look for him as well.
The General nodded. "Keep in touch."
Daniel was beyond pain now. He lay exhausted on his back and watched as an eagle slowly circled high above him. He knew he could not survive his injuries or his exposure to the elements for much longer.
Although he felt desperately sad at leaving his friends and life behind, he wondered if he might be reunited with Sha'uri in the afterlife. The trouble waS he did not know if he believed in an afterlife. He knew he wanted to believe, but he had always been such a pragmatic, logical thinker. He smiled gently as he remembered Sha'uri's impatience with him as she pointed out the beauty of the moons and stars above Abydos, only to have him equate it to yet another Stargate address and go rushing off to find his notes. How he wished now that he could have that time over to simply drink in the wonders of her world.
" Where are we heading, Colonel?" Sam asked, as she backed her car out of the car park.
"I don't know yet, Major," Jack sighed, as he scrubbed his hands over tired eyes. " Just drive. Hopefully, it'll come to me."
"Maybe we should start at the University and backtrack?" Sam suggested.
"Sounds like a plan, "Jack nodded.
Sam drove slowly down the mountain road, trying not to think of the hundred awful scenarios that kept pushing into her mind. Jack's eyes were glued to the road, peering closely back the way they had come, then swinging around to the path that lay ahead. The gut feeling that he'd had earlier in the day had grown stronger and Jack had a pervading sense that their time was growing short.
"Wait, back there. What's that?"
Sam slammed on the brakes, but Jack was already halfway out of the car. He ran back and bent to brush at the tar with his fingertips. "Skid marks and shattered glass," he said, almost to himself. Standing, he crossed to the rock face and then turned back to Carter who was just emerging from the car. "Someone hit the rocks here recently."
He ran to the other side of the road and leant over the guardrail to peer down the steep embankment. "Oh, Jesus, Daniel." Jack's heart climbed into his throat, then slammed down to his feet, rocking him back on his heels. The car, his car, lay tilted on its side, crumpled like a discarded piece of tinfoil. Turning back to Carter he yelled, "we've found him. Get help here. I'm going down."
"Yes, sir," Carter ran back to the car and scooped up her cell phone, punching in the numbers as she watched Jack vault the guardrail. "Oh, God, Daniel, please be okay," she whispered.
Jack slid and skidded his way down the slope, his heart hammering in his chest. As he reached the wreck, he stood stock-still, as though unsure how to proceed. He could see no one on this side of the car or on the ground. He picked his way carefully around the debris and then drew in a shocked breath.
Daniel lay on his back, his face ashen. His eyes were closed and Jack could not tell if he was breathing. He dropped to his friend's side, laying a shaking hand against the ghost white face. "He's so cold," Jack muttered, moving his fingers to feel for Daniel's carotid pulse. He exhaled a long held breath as he felt the faint, slow thrumming beneath his fingertips. Looking around, he saw Daniel's jacket lying a few feet away. He grabbed it and laid it gently over the injured man, then looked him over more critically.
Daniel had a deep gash above his right eye that had bled profusely but had now stopped. His right eye was swollen, as was his cheek on the same side. Jack could see that Daniel's lower right leg was trapped in the wreckage. It too had bled heavily and Jack shuddered at what damage may be concealed within. The left ankle had an obvious fracture and Jack worried also about internal injuries. He reached beneath the jacket and found Daniel's icy hand. He squeezed the cold flesh, urging the circulation to keep flowing. "Can't leave you alone for a minute, can I?" he whispered.
The voice startled him, as weak as it was.
"Easy, buddy. I'm here. Help's on its way," he said, stroking Daniel's forehead.
"Dream?" Daniel mumbled.
"No, Daniel, it's not a dream, but I'm here now and you're going to be fine. Just hang onto me, Danny." He felt the weak answering squeeze in his hand and lowered his head, praying that Daniel was strong enough to fight a little longer. Hearing a commotion up the hill, he looked up to see a Search and Rescue team heading down to them. Giving Daniel's hand another squeeze, he spoke quietly to him "Help's here. You hang in there, buddy. It's almost over."
Jack had flown into the base with the rescue chopper after Daniel had finally been freed from the wrecked car and now he paced the waiting area restlessly. He looked up as Sam and Teal'c entered.
"How is DanielJackson, Colonel O'Neill?" Teal'c asked.
"There's no word yet, Teal'c, but his injuries were severe and exposure, loss of blood. I just don't know," Jack said, sinking wearily into a chair.
"But you do know DanielJackson," Teal'c replied. "He will fight"
"Yeah, I know that, Teal'c."
"Sir, the accident investigators have released a preliminary report on the car," Sam said. "It appears two of the tires were shot out."
"Shot out," Jack echoed. "Who the hell would want to kill Daniel?"
Before Sam could answer, Janet Frasier and another doctor emerged from the operating theater.
"Colonel, Sam, Teal'c, this is Doctor James, the orthopedic specialist General Hammond called in to consult."
The doctor shook hands with all three, then motioned to the seats. "Let's all sit down. I know I need to. Daniel's injuries were fairly severe and he'll require extensive treatment and therapy," he began.
"You mean, he'll make it, though," Jack interjected.
The doctor held his hand up. "There's a lot to get through, Colonel, so let me finish. I know you're anxious to see him."
Jack nodded and stayed silent.
"Daniel has four broken ribs, caused most likely by impact with the steering wheel. They'll be painful but will mend. His left ankle is badly broken, it's been set and pinned. He suffered a compound crush fracture to his right ankle and foot. It has also been set with a plate and pins, but there is the added burden of infection, so we will need to keep a close eye on him. He had a nasty gash to his head and a severe concussion, but no skull fractures. He was also severely dehydrated and hypothermic when he was brought in, so the next few days will be a battle for him."
"He'll win," Jack said determinedly.
Doctor James smiled. "Yes, I believe he will. We'll be keeping him in an induced coma for a few days to allow his body to rest and heal, so he's on life support." He waved off Jack's next question. "Yes, Colonel, you may see him."
One week later:
Daniel moved restlessly in the hospital bed as Jack O'Neill moved the chair nearer to the bed and took the young man's hand. Blue eyes opened wearily and a ghost of a smile whispered across Daniel's face. "Jack. Glad you're here," he said.
"You won't believe how glad I am that you're here, buddy," Jack answered, smiling. "How's it going?"
"Slowly," Daniel replied. "Doctor Frasier says they caught the infection in time, in a few weeks, I can start physical therapy."
"That's good," Jack said.
Daniel averted his eyes for a moment. "Jack?"
"Dave's dead, isn't he?"
Jack sighed. "Yes, he is, Daniel. I'm so sorry."
"They killed him to get the videotape and then they tried to kill me," Daniel said quietly.
"That's the way it appears. We spoke to Professor Cross's wife in Australia. She told us about the video," Jack answered.
"Poor Cathy. He was a great guy, Jack. Truly one of the good guys," Daniel said, sadly. "What about the video? Did you find it?"
"Yes, kind of a mangled mess. Not salvageable. Sorry, Daniel," Jack said.
"So I guess we'll have to wait for the Millenium to find out if Dave was right about the prophecy," Daniel said.
Daniel thought a moment, then sat upright suddenly, gasping in pain as he did so. "Oh, God, Jack, your car."
Jack pushed him back gently onto his pillows. "Easy, buddy, easy or Doctor James is going to put you back into a coma to stop you jumping around."
"But, Jack, your car, Oh God, I'm so sorry."
"Don't worry about it, Daniel," Jack said soothingly "I never liked the color anyway."
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