COUNTDOWN

by: TATE

EMAIL: tatedivine@icqmail.com.au

The usual disclaimers apply.

SUMMARY: Teal'c to the rescue when Daniel touches something he shouldn't... again.

"Well, well, what kind of junk do we have here?" enquired Jack. "Anything we can use?"

"There's a heap of interesting Gou'ald artifacts. As you can see by this marking here..." Daniel pointed to a picture of a serpent, "these were all developed by Apophis." Then pointing to a ceramic wine chalice, covered with lots of little pictures telling a story of long ago, Daniel continued, pretending not to notice the bored look on Jack's face. "I think this is some kind of ceremonial chalice, possibly used for a coming of age ceremony. You see, if you read this text here..."

"Anything we can use, Daniel?" Jack asked abruptly, cutting Daniel off mid-sentence.

"Doesn't look like it, but I have a lot more work to do before I'll know anything for sure," said Daniel quietly, seeing the annoyed look on Jack's face.

"Keep me posted, okay?" called Jack over his shoulder as he walked out of the room.

"Yeah, yeah," Daniel whispered to himself, slightly annoyed at Jack for not understanding how important these artifacts could be. There was always the chance of finding information about other cultures and especially ways to defeat the Gou'ald. *Well, I shouldn't expect Jack to listen to me because he never has before,* thought Daniel sadly to himself.

***

A few hours later, when Daniel had moved on to the next artifact, Sam walked in carrying a cup of coffee for him. Daniel didn't even look at her. He was in a state of deep concentration.

Sam stood there for a moment watching him before asking sympathetically, "How are you going?" and handing him the cup. Daniel had been working for hours trying to figure out what all this stuff was. He hadn't even come to dinner.

"Oh, I didn't even see you come in," Daniel said as he jumped about a foot in the air. "I can't work out what this thing is," he sighed, holding out a long, gold rod covered with an engraved dialect he'd been having trouble deciphering. "I've seen nothing like this before. Not even in any other cultures, but I'm sure it's supposed to do something."

"Didn't Teal'c have any idea?"

"I haven't been able to contact him. I guess he's in the middle of his kel-no-reem thing," Daniel replied, never raising his eyes from the gold rod. "I believe the text is the instructions for this... thing. But, it's also got Apophis's trademark here, on this dial on the end," he said, handing it to Sam.

"Hmm," she sighed, turning the rod over in her hand and then giving it back to Daniel. "So, this can't be good. What do you think it does?" Sam asked as Daniel turned the dial and a smaller rod popped out of the other end.

"Okay!" said Daniel, slightly proud with himself.

The smaller rod had an LCD screen with flashing symbols that Daniel *did*understand, and a vial of some material that made Sam very nervous. Underneath the LCD screen was a small keypad with the same symbols that were flashing on the screen.

"Daniel, what are those symbols?" asked Sam with a waver in her voice.

"It's a countdown, but what is that stuff in the vial?"

"I don't know, it looks like some kind of concentrated naquada, like the stuff we found on P3X3487. Do you think this could be a bomb?"

Daniel just looked at her.

"How much time do we have?"

"I don't know exactly. Do you think we could link the timer up to a computer so we could see it?" asked Daniel, looking extremely pale and worried.

***

"We have 1 hour and seventeen minutes," said Daniel, once he had finished inputting all the necessary data into the computer.

Sam ran over to the phone on Daniel's wall, hit the emergency button and gave the instructions. "Emergency in Doctor Jackson's office. Activate emergency evacuation procedure, authority Captain Samantha Carter."

As soon as she hung up the phone, lights began flashing and a siren began howling as the instructions were repeated over the loud speaker. Within minutes, Jack and Teal'c arrived, sliding in through Daniel's door.

"What is it, Daniel Jackson?" asked Teal'c.

"A bomb! Where the heck were you before I turned the damn thing on?" Daniel asked, glancing quickly at Teal'c.

"What the hell is going on?" called Hammond as he walked through the door, looking straight at Jack

"How the hell would I know, she's the one pressing the buttons!" exclaimed Jack, pointing at Sam.

"Well, I hate to interrupt you, but we only have 45 minutes to turn this thing off," butted in Daniel, pointing at the bomb.

"It's a bomb, sir. We brought it back from PX3742. It's of Gou'ald origin and it looks like it's filled with a naquada concentrate. We need to find a way of disarming it," came Sam's matter-of-fact reply.

"Well, does anyone know how?" asked Hammond again, looking at Jack for answers.

"Teal'c?" asked Jack.

"I have never seen such a device before, O'Neill."

"Well, then I'll have to give it a try." Jack began fidgeting with the LCD screen. "If I can expose some wires then maybe we can do it that way." He pulled the screen off and looked at the wires. "Maybe I can short circuit the clock to shut it down. Here, Daniel hold this wire while I cut it," he said pointing to a green wire. "Hold it still." As he cut the wire, he heard Daniel give a loud grunt as he flew back and hit the wall behind him.

Sam rushed over to him and bent down to check him out. "Daniel. Are you alright?" she asked as she lifted his head to see if his eyes were open.

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine," came the pained reply.

Sam grabbed Daniel by the elbow and helped him to his feet. The moment she let go, he fell back to the floor, unconscious. She checked his vitals. His breathing was shallow and his pulse was thready. General Hammond immediately grabbed the phone and called for Doctor Frasier.

Jack bent down to check on Daniel himself, asking, "Is he gonna be alright?"

"I hope so," said Sam as Doctor Frasier came running in with two male nurses who were wheeling a gurney.

"What happened?" Doctor Frasier asked as she bent down to examine Daniel before the nurses lifted him onto the gurney.

"He got a pretty bad electric shock from this thing." Jack looked over at Daniel. "You look after him, okay?"

"I'll do my best. I'm sure he'll be fine, Colonel."

"All right, people, we've got to disarm this thing now." Jack paused as he looked at the timer on the computer. "What the hell is going on now?"

"It seems that when you cut that wire, you sped up the countdown process, O'Neill," answered Teal'c.

"Well, stop it!" General Hammond barked.

"I don't know how, sir. With this amount of concentrated naquada, well, if this bomb were to go off, it would be a reenactment of Hiroshima," said Sam.

"Can't you just take the vial of naqueda out?" asked General Hammond.

"You can't. It's hard wired to the clock. If anyone tries it'll blow." At this, General Hammond threw his hands up in the air in a gesture of defeat.

"How much time do we have left, Sam?" Jack asked, starting to look very worried.

"15 minutes, but it's counting down fast."

"Well, what do you plan to do about it?" General Hammond stared at Jack waiting for an answer.

Jack turned to look at Teal'c. *He has got to know. Why is he acting like he doesn't know,* came the immediate thought.

"6 minutes, sir."

Still looking at Teal'c, Jack yelled at him "C'mon, Teal'c, you have got to know!" Teal'c just raised his eyebrow and stared blankly back at Jack.

"1 minute," called out Sam.

Teal'c suddenly looked as if a light bulb had just flashed on over his head. He strode over and picked the bomb up. "O'Neill, you must turn the dial 3 stops anti-clockwise, but it must be synchronized with the code inputting system."

"What?"

"As Teal'c presses a button, you click the dial over once," explained Sam.

"That is correct, Captain Carter."

"Okay then, Teal'c, are you ready?" Jack asked quickly.

"Yes, let's begin."

The first click and number slowed the timer, and by the last, the LCD screen was blank.

"Do you think we did it?" asked Jack, putting the gold rod down gingerly on the table.

"It seems so, O'Neill," answered Teal'c as everyone turned to look at him.

"How'd you know what to do? I thought you had never seen this thing before," questioned General Hammond curiously. Teal'c didn't answer. He seemed deep in thought. "Well," Hammond continued, "Good work, people. Briefing at 0900 tomorrow."

***

Once in his room, Teal'c began his kel-no-reem. He needed to remember before everyone started asking questions. *How did I know what to do?* He couldn't quite work it out. Suddenly there was a loud knock at his door and then Jack just walked in without waiting to see if he was invited, as usual.

"All right, Teal'c, come clean, how the hell did you know? And while we're at it, why didn't you say anything right away?"

"I did not know straight away and I still can not remember. I must finish my kel-no-reem and then I will explain, O'Neill."

"Alrighty then," said Jack sarcastically before he opened the door and left.

***

By 0900 the next day, all but Teal'c and Daniel had arrived. Daniel would be spending the next few days down in the infirmary recovering as Doctor Frasier had reported a few minutes before the briefing was to begin.

"Does anyone know where Teal'c is?"

"I am right here, General Hammond," said Teal'c from the doorway. He slowly walked to his seat and sat down as General Hammond began.

"Can someone explain what the hell happened down there?" the General asked, as usual looking to Jack for the answers.

"I think Teal'c can," Jack replied, looking Teal'c directly in the eyes.

"During my time as First Prime of Apophis," began Teal'c, "we would carry out, what you would call, ethnic cleansing missions on various planets where the people had come to believe that Apophis was a false God. While on the planet Arembia, I found the plans for this weapon. The scientist who designed it had planned to use it as a weapon to attempt to wipe out the Gou'ald. When I presented the plans to Apophis, he believed that it was a very powerful weapon indeed and decided we should build it and use it to assist with the ethnic cleansing."

"So Apophis was just going to use this as a way to kill all those who didn't believe in him?" Sam interrupted.

"Yes, and I was involved in the manufacturing of the weapon."

"Why did you keep this information from us?" asked General Hammond.

"I did not recall it completely until my kel-no-reem. We tested this weapon on a planet called Kondal. It was occupied by a primitive race of the Tauri. I was in charge of this test although I did not wish to be. Those who did not die were left with many deformities."

"And why didn't you say anything?" asked Jack, not quite buying Teal'c story.

"I did not remember it, O'Neill."

"Maybe Teal'c blocked it out as some kind of defense mechanism because he felt so guilty about what he had done," answered Sam. "It is quite common for people to repress memories of things that are so disturbing to them."

"That is possible, Captain Carter. I cannot explain it," Teal'c replied softly, his eyes cast down.

"That may well be the case, Teal'c, but even so we are going to have to discuss this further. Nobody here doubts your loyalty but you can imagine what the NID would make of an incident like this, if word got out. That's all for now, people. Dismissed." Hammond closed the meeting with a wave of his hand.

***

As Jack walked into the infirmary, he could see Daniel lying in a bed on the other side of the room.

"So, I hear that you and Teal'c stopped the bomb," Daniel called out as Jack slowly walked over to him.

"Well, yeah. We did avert the small catastrophe you almost caused us. But never mind, Daniel. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before you find another little surprise for us," Jack said, grinning. He reached out a hand and ruffled Daniel's hair.

"Hey, that's not fair, Jack. It's not always my fault, you know," Daniel said, in mock indignation.

"Nah, it's not your fault you don't know not to play with other people's toys, Danny boy. But that's okay. You keep us on our toes. Take care, all right. I'll see you tomorrow." Jack sketched a wave in the air then headed out the door.

The End

BACK