There was no one in the office–not strange in and of itself, but strange when Jack had specifically called him up here. Daniel looked around, then wandered through to the other doorway and looked into the briefing room.
Jack and Reynolds were leaning over the briefing room table, their heads so close together they were almost touching. Daniel leaned against the door jamb and crossed his arms.
"Am I interrupting something?" he asked mildly.
Startled, the general and colonel jumped, knocking their heads together with a thunk so audible, it made Daniel wince.
"Don't you knock?"
"The door was open...and it's the briefing room," Daniel shrugged. "What was so urgent you couldn't wait ten more minutes for SG-1's next briefing?"
"This." Jack waved his hand over the table, and for the first time, Daniel noticed that a large canvas covered the tabletop, almost making a new table in and of itself. He stepped closer. The flourescent overhead lights no longer cast a blinding glare and he could make out the vivid colors and intricate detail of figures on this overly large painting.
"Wow," Daniel leaned close now. The landscapes were magnificent, but as he moved closer, the small people within the painting seemed to shimmer.
"We just brought it back from P5X-029. They insisted. And gave us this as well." Reynolds handed over a rolled up parchment to Daniel. "You remember the natives? Lots of gestures, not much on the talking."
"Right. They had no vocal chords," Daniel murmured. "But fairly advanced, although not prone to military technology. They did have an intricate writing system if I recall similar to..." His voice trailed off as he started to study the writings and hierogylphs on the linen-like parchment. Their writing was just as lovely and intricate as the painting, so that Daniel took a moment to appreciate the artisanship. Calligraphers there were as exalted as in some Asian cultures and...
Daniel's thoughts were interrupted by Jack's sharp voice. Jack never was known for his patience. "Care to read the card to us, Daniel? As in...today?"
Daniel raised his eyebrows. Jack seemed more piqued than normal. When he glanced up, he noticed his friend still rubbing his head surreptitiously. Guess that knock on the head was pretty hard. Whoops. Daniel was almost contrite–almost. He hadn't forgotten how Jack had broken his glasses by playing with them after Daniel had set them aside on his worktable.
In any case, Jack was still glaring expectantly at the so-called card. Actually..." that's not a bad analogy. It is a card. It seems the inhabitants were so grateful at SG-3, 5, 8, and SG-1 running off the Goa'uld six months ago that they commissioned a mural celebrating the grand victory. They give us this small token of the 'Chado-vun' in thanksgiving and welcome our alliance."
Jack blinked. "Small? The thing's ten foot long!"
"No, actually, this is the small version. They've got a life-size one set up on the main mountain." Reynolds pointed to a spot on the landscape where right now, several blurred figures appeared to be engaging in either battle or dancing. Daniel couldn't quite tell from this vantage point. Reynolds continued, "The work is still ongoing, but they apparently couldn't wait to give us this thing on our follow-up visit. Apparently we arrived during their high-festival, so they figured no time like the present. By the way, don't drink their toasting wine. Goes right to your head. Nice people though–peaceful, friendly, and really, really quiet."
Daniel and Jack both returned Reynolds's wan smile. They'd all been there, done that. Daniel turned back to the parchment. "Anyway, it says we are welcome to return anytime to continue our alliance with them."
He rolled up the parchment and stared at the painting again. "The detail on this is amazing. It's their whole country. Look, you can see the Stargate here...huh, they've arranged SG-8 in an actual figure-eight pattern. It's quite symbolic."
"Yeah, but terrible military strategy."
"They're pacifists by nature, Jack. That's why the Goa'uld attack was such a surprise."
"Mm. Reynolds and I were trying to figure out this." Jack pointed to another section near him. It depicted mountain ranges and a tall dark figure with several large grey animals. Daniel raised his eyebrows.
"Oh. I bet that's Teal'c and Anbal with their pachyderm herd."
"I don't remember that," Reynolds shook his head, puzzled.
"Well that's because you were on the other side of the mountains for the siege of the city." Daniel pointed out another spot on the painting/map. Sure enough three green figures were standing by makeshift catapults and herding the populace towards the more fortified city sections.
Jack was still studying the mountain region. "I do not remember Teal'c playing Dr. Doolittle with an elephant herd coming up in this post-mission report."
"Well, it wasn't really like that. They're domesticated...and don't have trunks, but they are slightly bigger. They were strong and able to quickly trample the region where the Jaffa were trying to set up a spot. Teal'c was more directing the shepherds as a distraction so he could sabotage the transport ship. I think that's this thing." Daniel pointed to a strange armadillo shape. It was odd how some things were crisply painted, and others were a mere blur.
"Okay. Then what's this thing?" He pointed at another section near the corner.
Reynolds laughed. "I think that's Major Lorne's team. They were near the agricultural center, and like Dr. Jackson said, the people weren't prepared for battle. He made do with what he had there."
Jack nodded. "Oh that's right. I do remember the pillow factory comments from that debriefing." Daniel watched Jack's expression. It was a cross between incredulous and wistful. He knew Jack missed the action; he never liked flying a desk. Daniel made a point to ask Sam about figuring out an upcoming mission they could plan that would require Jack's presence.
"Wow, is that Carter?"
Daniel looked towards the center of town. It certainly looked like Sam, or at least a glorified version of her. She looked more like a Valkyrie coming down from the heavens, her arm raised with a glowing spear, her blond hair flying back and around her hat. Understandable analogy with the Asgard influences in the ruins before the natives had taken over this world. In fact...Daniel squinted, suspecting the event this was trying to depict and trying to look for himself nearby without being obvious that Jack would spot "him" first, because...
"Whoa, what is this?" Daniel's perusal was interrupted by Sam and Teal'c entering the room.
"Present from P5X-029," Jack responded promptly. "I particularly like what they did with your hair, Carter." He pointed at the imposing figure in the center of the picture.
Teal'c took in the large picture, although everything must've been upside down from his vantage point. However, it didn't seem to bother the Jaffa. Daniel watched his eyes scan the painting all the way across before raising an approving eyebrow. "It is a good likeness," was all he observed.
"Why is everything blurry?" Sam frowned, then her expression changed to one of inspiration. "Oh," she muttered, then started to run her hand across the frame."
"Um, Colonel, what are you doing?" Reynolds was watching her with as much confusion as Jack and Daniel.
"Well, the people worked with a lot of visual representations and their technology reflected that. I think they...yes!"
Sam pressed something at a corner of the frame, and Daniel watched in amazement as the figures in the painting started to move in a somewhat holographic manner across the painting, enacting the battle in full.
"Whoa. They didn't tell me it did that." Reynolds was shaking his head, his eyes wide.
"Their holographics were pretty advanced. That's how we were able to create this pillar of fire effect at their temple. That's of course before Daniel was able to get the Asgard weapon working. He should be...yes, here."
Oh no. Don't point that out, Sam, Daniel thought to himself, but it was too late.
Jack stared at the moving figure below the glowing figure of Sam. He opened his mouth a couple of times before schooling it in a deadpan expression that wasn't fooling Daniel for one moment. "Daniel was king of the land?"
"It wasn't a crown, Jack," Daniel sighed. "It was an interface with the Asgard weapon."
"I couldn't do it, sir, because I had to manipulate the controls. The people didn't know the ruins were actually an Asgard weapon, much less how to fix it. The technology was different. Plus, there was a linguistic coding with the interface, and...I'm not too good at runes."
"Uh-huh." Jack nodded. "And why did you have to be dressed in a robe?"
"That obviously is a bit of poetic license, just like Sam's armor and SG-8's setting." Daniel shrugged, wishing Sam would turn off the painting.
"It's not very Viking-like." Jack squinted.
"No," Daniel nodded, unable to resist expanding on the reflection as much as he wanted to let the subject drop. "Their own culture is entirely separate, with a hieroglyph almost Mayan. They may actually be related to the Giant Aliens of P7X-377. But since they settled on this planet that had been abandoned by the Asgard, Nordic influences crept into some of their depictions. I don't know what that depiction is supposed to be of, but it doesn't really matter. "
"Daniel Jackson wields the book in the painting as a mighty weapon." Teal'c watched with interest as the tiny Daniel figure seemed to smite the Jaffa merely by reading as the Valkyrie Sam blasted lightning from her hands.
"I guess the pen and the sword are pretty mighty in this case," Jack smirked.
Daniel closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Maybe if he didn't react, Jack wouldn't be teasing them about this for the next month. Who was he kidding? This would be fodder for six months.
"I wonder if we can hang this up on the briefing room wall." Jack looked over Teal'c's head to the wall with the coffee pot table. "Nope, too big. I'll have to ask Walter where we can store it. I mean, it's not like it can be displayed outside the mountain anyway. Carter, maybe you can figure out this technology so all the team reports can be done as mini-movies. This sure is better than the reports I read from the teams."
"I doubt it, sir." Sam's expression was sour as she finally turned off the painting. Too late, she realized the danger.
"Great job, Reynolds." Jack slapped the colonel on the back and whistled as he headed back to his office. "We'll postpone SG-1's briefing for an hour. I better go let Hammond know of our latest...gift. It's better than a fruit basket."
"Yeah, great job, Reynolds." Daniel echoed. Reynolds actually looked sheepish. Four teams were now going to be the subject of General O'Neill's teasing for some time to come.
"How was I to know?" He shrugged helplessly. "It's not like I could insult them and not bring it back."
"No, you couldn't," Daniel agreed.
"It is quite an amazing piece of technology." Sam ran her hands over the surface. "It's actually paint. I don't know how..."
Whatever Sam wanted to investigate about the painting, Daniel didn't learn, because the painting was suddenly lifted up. Teal'c holding it by himself, muscles straining at carrying the large, awkward object.
Teal'c was already heading out the door in the direction of the freight elevator. He called back to his friends, "My quarters could do with some redecorating."
|Genres:||Friendship, Humor, Team|
|Summary:||A thank you gift for the SGC saving the galaxy.|