"Can anyone tell me what the number one rule for an anthropologist is?" Daniel peered out at his class, hoping for some bright student to have come to class prepared. Small hope, for the first session of an introductory undergraduate course. Even at the University of Chicago, home of the Oriental Institute and one of the best anthropology departments in the world, freshmen were freshmen.
"Anyone? The number one rule for an anthropologist. What is the one thing an anthropologist must not do, above all else?"
A hand rose slowly in the front row. It belonged to a blonde girl, in what Daniel thought was probably fashionable clothing. Modern fashions changed too quickly for him to keep track of; give him a picture of a Goa'uld, or an ancient Egyptian, or someone from a hundred different times and cultures, and he could tell you their socio-economic status, their political and religious affiliations, and more. Give him a picture of a young adult of his own time and culture, and even after seven years back in teaching, he was stumped. Of the ironies of his life, that was … pretty small, actually. "Yes?" he said.
"Don't go native?" she said.
"I can see you know something about anthropology," Daniel said. It was the answer he'd been expecting, but not the one he'd hoped for. It also proved that she hadn't read the chapter he'd asked the class to read before their first meeting. "Going native is, for some people, the cardinal sin of an anthropologist, and I use the word 'sin' advisedly. 'Going native' does not mean that your research is necessarily flawed, or any less valid than that of an anthropologist who does not 'go native'. In fact, in many cases it indicates that you have a particular insight into the culture you are studying. Yet, even today, decades after postcolonial scholars first pointed out the inherent flaw in that attitude, reports from anthropologists who have integrated into the culture they are studying are viewed with skepticism, sometimes extreme skepticism. Can anybody guess what's wrong with the whole idea of 'going native'?" He made air quotes with his fingers.
He watched them shift uneasily for a few seconds. "I gave you a hint. It was first questioned by postcolonial scholars. Postcolonial studies looks at, among other things, the way colonial regimes create and maintain power over those they colonize, pushing them to the margins. How does the idea of 'going native' maintain the power of the colonists over the colonized?"
Another hand raised, this one belonging to a black kid in the middle, off to the side. Students looked younger to him every year; he had a sudden flash of sympathy for Jack's grousing about young officers. "Yes?"
"It says you think you're better than them," he said. "Like, oh, it's just those natives, you're there to study them like bugs, you're the great scholar from civilization there to report back about what those crazy natives do. But don't you dare think they have any good ideas, something worth living, because then you're not civilized any more, you're one of them."
"Exactly," Daniel said, nodding in satisfaction. "It implies a hierarchy of culture, values, and profession in which the ones who study are inherently superior to the ones studied. It is often associated with assumed value judgments that the cultural practices, beliefs, and attitudes of those studied are inferior to those of the researcher or even morally repugnant simply for being different. So why, then, is that a problem for a researcher?"
Another hand rose, this one from the back. "But don't you have to make value judgments sometimes? I mean, all things are not equal. There are some beliefs and practices that are actively harmful, and some that are good."
"That's true," Daniel said. "And I'm not advocating moral relativism; I never have. But! Human beings have a tendency to assume that their culture is always beneficial, and where others conflict that it is always those others that are in the wrong. When making moral judgments—and I would remind you that it is the job of the researcher to report on what actually exists, not make moral judgments about it—you can't just assume that your own culture is the benchmark for justice and goodness. Much harm has been done by people who believed that. We do not live in a perfect world, ladies and gentlemen. Our own culture is not perfect; there are no perfect societies. Simply because something is familiar to you does not mean it is right. Even something that, at first glance, strikes us as wrong on a gut-deep level may be the right way for that particular culture. Check your assumptions, people. Check your assumptions at the door.
"When you assume that your own culture's attitudes, beliefs, and practices are the norm by which all others should be judged, you will inevitably miss quite a bit. You will fail to see how other cultures work, because you will be blinded by how you think they should work. In attempting to impose your own norm on them, even in a paper they may never read, you create a distance between you and those you study that may prevent you from understanding even the most basic things about them."
He shoved his glasses up, checking to see that they were following. They were. It turned out that eleven years of explaining things to Jack was actually good preparation for teaching undergrads, though without the threat of interruption, he was speaking slower now. "This is the first rule of anthropology, people, whether you're doing sociocultural anthropology, linguistics, archaeology, or physical anthropology. Don't impose your own values-systems and assumptions, your own culture, on those you study." He'd always prided himself on that, on his ability to see things from other peoples' point of view. But when it mattered, he'd frozen. Nine years of hindsight had shown him just how wrong he'd been then, and how often he'd failed the first rule of anthropology without even realizing it. "Any questions about this?" he asked. They didn't really have time for an extended discussion, not if they were going to cover the syllabus and class schedule and such, but Daniel would take a good debate over paperwork any day, particularly since they could just read the syllabus.
But there were no questions. He sighed. Really, he hated teaching introductory undergraduate courses. As an untenured professor with a checkered past and a twelve-year gap in his publication history, he was lucky he rarely had to teach them. But the head of Linguistics loved his ability to compare and analyze languages from widely different language families, and the head of Anthropology had been a close friend of Doctor Jordan's. "All right, then, take out your syllabus and let's go over it." He spent the next half-hour explaining the structure of the course and giving a basic introduction to the texts they would be using.
"You have one assignment for the next class period," he said, just before the end of class. "Tonight, the Federal Government will be pre-empting the normal television programming on the major networks for a special presentation, a documentary on a large and important project—" what an understatement "—that is being declassified. The documentary will also be available online, as will quite a lot of supplementary material, which I encourage you to delve into. Remember the first rule of archaeology as you do so. Come to class prepared to discuss it." He smiled, knowing that it was one assignment he could expect everyone to fulfill.
After twenty years of secrecy—a third of his life—the Stargate Program was going public. Daniel was pretty sure that nobody would be able to discuss anything else for weeks to come, particularly not him. Might as well make a virtue of necessity. "Class dismissed."
Back at his office, he stopped to get his mail. "How was the first day of class, Doctor J?" asked Jordan, the administrative assistant.
He shrugged. "Not bad, not bad. Well. I don't think anybody in my anth class read the material I sent them."
Jordan snorted. "They're freshmen, and you expected them to read before class even started? You must be joking."
"Hope springs eternal," Daniel said. "With any luck, I'll survive a semester with freshmen."
"You're lucky it's only one class," Jordan pointed out. "You must have friends in high places if the department gave you a leave of absence and only demanded a freshman class in return."
"Something like that," Daniel said. It would have been easier if he were tenured, and were eligible for a sabbatical. He'd needed the semester off to make sure all the Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistics material from the SGC was ready to be made public. The books and papers had mostly been peer-reviewed as they were written—the SGC had early developed its own system of in-house peer review for such things, because it wasn't as if you could send them out to journals and scholastic publishers. And the SGC had people to do the formatting and such. Still, it had taken a lot of work to determine what needed to remain classified, and what holes existed where they simply hadn't had time, in the mad scramble that was daily life at the SGC, to write things up properly. The current head of the department had helped, of course, but it was a lot easier for a university professor to take time for it than someone actually working in the SGC, and Daniel had been glad to help. He still kept his hand in, of course, between consulting and liaising between Homeworld and the academic community. Homeworld had pulled strings to get him the time off, but the government had limited strings to pull at a private university.
"Now, remember, you need to watch the documentary tonight, Jordan," Daniel said. "You'll regret it if you don't."
"You're being very mysterious about all this," Jordan complained. "Not even a hint about what it'll be about? Why is it so important?"
"Sorry," Daniel said. "I've said all I can. Have a nice evening."
At home, Daniel turned off his "regular" cell phone and cooked some rice, before ladling some fasulia out of the crock pot he'd started that morning. It wasn't exactly like Sha're had made—some of the ingredients she'd used were native only to Abydos—but it was close. After eating, he emptied the crock pot into freezer containers for later use and cleaned the kitchen, as he doubted he'd have the opportunity to cook again anytime soon. He checked the time: the documentary was starting, so the new Stargate Program website should be live.
He went to his desk and opened up his laptop, typing Stargate.gov into the browser. There it was, just as it should be. He spent the next half-hour methodically checking each page and document that he'd been responsible for, to make sure that everything was as it should be. To his surprise, it was—there were no errors, no last-minute changes. (Some of the battles over what should be made public and how it should be spun had been epic, or would have been if they hadn't happened behind closed doors, and there had still been skirmishes as of the last time he checked his e-mail that afternoon.)
His phone rang—the SGC-issued one, that didn't have an off button.
He dug it out of his pocket; years of discipline kept it within arms' reach at all times. "Jackson," he said.
"Hey, Daniel," Sam said. "Hard to believe it's really happening!"
"Yeah," Daniel said. "Wish I were out on a dig, right now. You know there's going to be all kinds of hysteria; it would have been nice to be out of touch while it happened."
"Hey," Sam said. "At least you're not going to be trotted out on national TV every day for the next God-knows-how-long." As the head of Stargate Command, Sam would bear the brunt of the publicity machine trying to put a friendly face on things. There had been a debate whether or not to transfer her to head of Research or give her command of America's fleet of starships, so they could put a civilian in command of the SGC, but it had been decided against.
"My condolences," Daniel said. "You know, you could have retired."
"Yeah, but then I'd be bored," Sam said. "I mean, I'm sure I could get a job in a civilian research lab—especially after the Program goes public—but it just wouldn't be the same. There's no way they could ever hope to give me half the wacky, off the wall stuff I have to deal with here, and I still get my lab time."
Daniel smiled. "It's nice being the General."
"Oh, you have no idea," Sam said with a laugh. "I have a very good staff, who can handle most things while I go off to play with physics."
"No play time for a while," Daniel said. "For either of us, I'd bet."
"Probably right," Sam said.
"Hey, did Teal'c decide to come back to Earth for this or not?" Daniel knew they'd asked him, so they could have a friendly alien face to show people.
"He's not here yet, but he'll be here next week for some interviews," Sam said. "He wanted to miss the first storm. He hasn't decided yet how long he's going to stay, that'll depend on how it goes." She paused, and he knew what she was going to say. Her voice was very careful when she spoke again. "You know, Jack and Clara are spending the next couple of months up at the cabin, just in case."
Of the many things that were staying classified, what had happened to Jack (and the Ancient machine that did it) was the only one that Daniel really cared about. That it had taken twenty years off his physical age would have made it impossibly sought after, if that was all it did. But even after decades of culture wars about sexuality and gender, the American public was not ready for a device that gave men the ability to become pregnant. Daniel was proof of that.
"Teal'c and I will be taking some time off and going to join them," Sam went on. "I'm sure you would be welcome to join us."
Daniel swallowed. "Did … did Jack say that?"
"No." Sam sighed. "But it's true. You know it's true. And I know Clara would love to meet her other Dad."
"Oh, and what would I say, Sam?" Daniel said. "After all this time, what could I possibly say?"
"Well, how about 'I'm sorry I was an ass'! That would be a good start!"
"They're doing just fine without me," Daniel said. "There's no need to reopen old wounds."
There was a pause, one that sounded to Daniel's experienced ear like Sam was restraining herself from yelling at him only with great difficulty. "I swear, I have never known two people so determined to make themselves miserable. You know, Daniel, when we were facing off against the Goa'uld and the Ori, your stubbornness was a good thing. But now it's only getting in your way. You've already missed the pregnancy, her birth, and the first eight years of her life. How much more are you going to lose before you come to your senses? I have no sympathy for you, because it's your own fault!"
"I know that," Daniel said quietly. "Of course it's my fault. I was the one who panicked and ran."
"That's why you're the one who should make the first move and come back! Show Jack you know you were wrong! I swear, sometimes I think you like making yourself miserable. That's the only excuse I can think of for this … this whole mess."
Daniel shook his head, although she couldn't see him. "I hurt Jack too badly. I won't force myself on him if he doesn't want me."
"Daniel," Sam said, voice full of exasperation, "when, in all the time you knew Jack, did anyone successfully force themselves on Jack?"
"This is different," Daniel said. "Jack's funny about children, you know that. He'd never deny his daughter her other parent, even if he … hated the other parent."
"He doesn't hate you," Sam said, "though personally I wouldn't blame him if he did. Just come to the cabin, Daniel. Please?"
"Thanks for the invitation, Sam," he said.
There was a long silence from the other end. "All right," she said at last. "Don't know why I thought going public might change anything. Guess I was just excited at the thought of the four of us together again."
"I'm sorry," Daniel said, feeling even more guilty.
"Teal'c will probably swing through Chicago to visit you, while he's here," Sam said. "Look tonight's very busy, I have to go. Take care, Daniel."
"You too, Sam," Daniel said.
He slipped the phone back in his pocket and stared blankly at the wall in front of him.
The next morning, Daniel followed his normal morning routine. He ate a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice, showered, shaved, all as usual. The trip to campus took the average amount of time.
When he arrived on campus, however, things changed. Stares and whispers followed him as he walked through the campus to his office.
"Is that him?" "He doesn't look like he did on the show!" "I wonder if I could transfer into one of his classes?"
Daniel sighed. As he'd expected, it hadn't taken long for people to connect the Doctor Jackson who had been a founding member of the SGC, a member of SG-1, and the head of the AA&L department for over a decade, with the Doctor Jackson who was now an adjunct faculty member.
Twenty years ago, he'd have been pleased at the fame. Now, he just wanted to live quietly. Alas, there had been no way to preserve his anonymity. He'd been too important to too many parts of the program, over the years.
Jordan caught him as soon as he entered the building. "Doctor Jackson, you are a man of many hidden talents. Which the directors would like to speak with you about. They're meeting in Conference 3."
"I have class in an hour," Daniel pointed out.
"Your classes are being covered," Jordan said.
Daniel just bet they were. "All right," he said.
At the door of Conference 3, Daniel did not hesitate. "Good morning," he said, entering the room.
As one the directors turned to stare at him. Some were welcoming, appreciative; others were visibly angry with him. Compared to a budget meeting with the IOA, it was nothing. And it was laughable to compare it to some of the hostile audiences he'd faced. Everyone was there: the Dean of the Humanities, the Directors and Assistant Directors of the Oriental Institute and the Franke Institute, the Director of Linguistics, the Director of Anthropology, and the Director of Graduate Studies. The room was crowded.
"So kind of you to deign to join us, Doctor Jackson," said Doctor Farber of the Oriental Institute. "You haven't been answering your phone."
"Sorry," Daniel said. "I was getting too many calls."
"I can imagine," said Doctor Di Voto of Linguistics.
"I'm disappointed in you, Daniel," said Doctor Rivera. "You've been with us all this time, and never a word to anyone. This … this is huge. This will completely reshape everything we know, not just about Ancient Egypt, but about so many other cultures around the world. This touches on everyone's discipline. You knew we were missing most of the picture, and you said nothing. Doctor Jordan would have been disappointed in you."
Daniel tilted his head. "I tried to point out some of the holes in the current theories before I was even recruited to the Stargate Program," he said. "It wasn't well received. And my work with the SGC was classified—I wouldn't have had any more proof than I had then. I'm sorry the deception has been necessary, but I understand the reasoning behind it. And my hands were tied."
"That's what you've been doing on those digs," Doctor Farber said sourly. "The two years before you were here, and every summer. That's why you weren't publishing much from those digs: you were there to spy on them, make sure they didn't find anything inconvenient."
"That's not true," Daniel said. "I was there to make sure that if they found anything dangerous, it would get handled safely so that no one would get hurt. I wasn't publishing much about them because I was spending all my time documenting and writing papers on what I learned at the SGC, which I didn't have time to do when I was a full-time gate team member as well as the head of Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistics."
"Oh, come on," Farber scoffed. "It's been thousands of years since the Goa'uld abandoned this planet, and many times that since the Ancients left. What could possibly still be dangerous, after all this time?"
"At least four archaeologists and several other personnel have been killed by things they discovered in the last twenty years," Daniel said. "Including Doctor Jordan."
"Doctor Jordan?" Rivera said, startled. "What happened to him?"
Daniel shrugged. "Isis and Osiris—a pair of Goa'uld—were removed from their hosts and imprisoned in stasis fields inside a pair of canopic jars by Seth. They were in that shipment of artifacts Doctor Jordan and his team were studying. When they opened the Osiris jar, he escaped and took Doctor Sarah Gardner as his new host, and then killed Doctor Jordan. Osiris kept his head down and went through the motions of Doctor Gardner's life for a week or so, trying to find Isis and get his bearings. During that time he killed a lab tech and Doctor Jones, the curator, to cover his tracks. Fortunately for us, the Isis jar had been damaged and mislabeled, and Isis was dead. Unfortunately, Osiris managed to reach a hidden ship and escape offworld. It took several years for us to capture him and remove him from Doctor Gardner."
"So that's what happened," said Doctor Cho of the Franke Institute. "The official story never made much sense to me." She nodded in satisfaction.
"Most of our cover stories weren't very good," Daniel said. "We were only able to keep the secret this long because the truth was so strange nobody but crackpots would believe it."
There were a few snickers around the table.
The Dean of the Humanities spoke up for the first time. Doctor Weiss was a petite woman, with an air of authority. "Doctor Jackson, I understand that you could not speak freely until now, and there are probably a good many things you know that are still classified. I may not like it, but I understand it. And even if I didn't, I would overlook a great deal more to take advantage of the priceless opportunity you have presented us with. The Board of Directors is in the process of creating a new division, focusing on interstellar cultures. Obviously it will take time to create, but when it's done, you will be the director. If you know anyone with experience in the field that might be willing to come here, let us know and we will recruit them."
"The SGC won't like that," Daniel said. "We have a hard enough time getting and keeping enough AA&L experts, without universities trying to lure them back."
"But surely, it's to the SGC's long-term interests to have schools training future generations of scholars," Di Voto said.
"Besides, perhaps it would be possible to set up an exchange program," Cho said. "We send them some professors and grad students to work there, in exchange for their researchers coming here. They get researchers, and we get a well-trained and experienced department. Everyone benefits."
"That could work," Daniel said. "At least for base personnel. Fieldwork would be harder. The offworld training program is intense, and a lot of people don't make it. Going offworld is dangerous, a lot more dangerous than any dig here on Earth, even for planets we've cleared as safe. I would love nothing more than to see proper teams of researchers doing in-depth work on any number of worlds, but that depends on the researchers in question being able to handle the training. That's partly physical fitness, but partly also a willingness to work with the gate teams who provide security."
"Military escorts?" Doctor Rivera said, frowning.
Daniel nodded. "Most of them. But most gate teams have at least one civilian, usually a scientist or diplomat. Gate teams know how to handle dangerous and unusual situations. No one goes anywhere alone, and the teams are there to make sure the researchers stay safe."
"In any case, we won't be making the arrangements today," Doctor Weiss said. "Doctor Jackson, please look into that for us."
Daniel nodded; he knew the basic outlines of what the SGC was planning to do with the outside researchers who would come once the Gate was public knowledge, but he'd have to check with Sam for the specifics. "When do you plan on classes starting for this new department?"
"Today, if possible," Weiss said. She smiled at his appalled look. "But tomorrow would be almost as good. You've been relieved of your other classes, and we would like you to teach at least three classes on Stargate-related things, starting immediately. I would think that the Goa'uld language, the Ancient language, and an overview of galactic history might be good choices. I'm sure you've taught all of them before, to new recruits for the SGC."
"Well, sort of," Daniel said. "And anyway, that's been a while. But, sure, I could do that." He frowned, thinking of all the work it was going to take to revise his old syllabi into something suitable for the university setting. Educational training at the SGC had been quick and dirty, and catch-as-catch-can between crises. That was assuming he could find his old syllabi. He should have expected something like this; of course one of the finest research universities in the world wasn't going to pass up a chance like this. On the other hand, he'd been swamped just getting everything ready for the Reveal, he hadn't had much time to think about what was going to happen afterwards. "It should be intergalactic history, not galactic, though; the Ancients had a major presence in three galaxies that we know of, and the Asgard in another one, and we've at least visited all four."
"I bow to your superior knowledge of the subject," Weiss said. "If there are any other classes you could teach on short notice, we would be overjoyed. In addition, we'd like you to guide the reading of some of your fellow faculty, and moderate the occasional faculty discussion group, to help develop our depth in the area. Plus, we'll be having open forums for the student body to ask questions and discuss the issues surrounding this."
"I'm not going to have time to breathe, much less eat or sleep, for the foreseeable future, am I?" Daniel asked. He'd been busier at the SGC, but … he'd been younger, then, and it had been a matter of life and death. On the other hand, he genuinely liked teaching, and he loved the subject, and it wasn't like he had much of a life anyway.
"Probably not," Rivera said.
The meeting had gone on for another several hours, hashing out details. After that had come a meeting with the adjutants who would be taking over his classes, to turn over his material and syllabi. After that had come a meeting with the Board of Directors. After that had come his office hours, but so many students had shown up that he'd had to cancel and security had come to clear the building. That hadn't stopped his fellow faculty from finding all sorts of pretenses to stop by his office to ask him questions, or sometimes just to stare at him from across the hall while he got his coffee.
All in all, Daniel was very glad to get back to his apartment. It was quiet.
He made himself a sandwich and checked his e-mail. One of the people at Homeworld handling the Reveal had sent him links to all the news stories Daniel might need to know about, and he read them while he ate. Daniel had to shake his head at some of the crazier stories. Much as he'd hated the secrecy, he'd have hated to deal with this nonsense while trying to fight the Goa'uld and the Ori.
There were still a lot of articles to go through when he finished his sandwich, but he abandoned them to dig out his old syllabi from the SGC. It took him a while to remember where they were on his computer, but he never deleted old files for just this reason. Unfortunately, they were old enough that they were in a file type his computer balked at reading—apparently Word 97-2003 was no longer supported at all. Which he supposed wasn't surprising, given that it was 2017. A quick Google found an app that would convert them to the current Word file type, and he opened up the Goa'uld language syllabus.
Daniel groaned. He'd forgotten how much had been done since the last time he taught the class! There hadn't really been a textbook until Daniel wrote one, in the two years he'd worked digs between leaving the SGC and coming to Chicago. Although he'd gotten great feedback about his textbook from his colleagues at the SGC, he'd never actually used it himself. It had been mostly handouts, quickly done handouts at that, and the course had been structured around the schedule and craziness of the SGC. He was going to have to create a syllabus almost from scratch … hopefully the handouts would still be worth something. The Ancient syllabus would probably be in just as bad a shape, and as for intergalactic history, they had learned so much in the last nine years …
Still, there was nothing for it. He waded into the mess, trying to get something workable in time for classes the next day.
Two hours later he got up from his desk to stretch. His shoulders and neck were killing him. He couldn't work the same kinds of hours he could when he first came to the SGC, that was for sure.
As he wandered around his living room, a photograph on the wall caught his eye. It was a photograph of the team, the first version of it: him, Jack, Sam, and Teal'c. There was one of the later versions next to it, with Cam and Vala added and without Jack, but it was the picture of his original team that held his interest. Biting his lip, he took it down and pried off the back, staring down at the picture that was revealed.
Sam kept sending him pictures of Jack and Clara. He always printed them out—no electronic frames for him, he liked actual paper. But he couldn't stand to look at them all the time, to remind himself of his stupidity.
They looked so happy together, Jack and Clara. Jack had always loved kids, more than anything else, and Daniel was glad he had another one.
For a second, he was tempted to call Sam and tell her he'd take her up on that offer. But no, he was busy. And he doubted he'd be welcome. And he wasn't going to go anyway.
It was better to stay out of their way. Particularly now, when all this attention was focused on Daniel. He'd hate, more than anything, to bring the storm of public scrutiny down on Jack and Clara.
Biting his lip, Daniel replaced the back of the frame and hung the picture back in its place. He sat back down at his desk. He had work to do.