Getting to Know You
2001-02-12 -- login 01:42 UTC-7:00
L26 Quarantine Room A-3
P Wallace MEH
01:02 : Device 1AC-0226 transported from L28 Gateroom to L26 Quarantine Room A-3
Planet of origin P4K-668 : SG-3
01:06 : Quarantine and observation protocols initiated. Baseline data collection initiated.
01:45 : Baseline data collected. Research Record created, shared server AP03. Data tables created and appended.
As per protocol, only change-state observations will be recorded during quarantine.
End notes -- logout 01:55 UTC-7:00
2001-02-14 -- login 10:55 UTC-7:00
Engineering Physics Lab 19C
W Lee PhD
07:25 : Device 1AC-0226 quarantine period completed. No detectable changes in baseline data upon removal from quarantine: dimensions, mass and weight, density, temperature, magnetic properties, and external features all remained unchanged.
08:54 : X-ray, ultrasound and computerized tomography scanning completed. The external surface of the device is impervious to all three. MRI not performed as the external surface of the device is mildly magnetic. Radiological analyses appended. All baseline data remained unchanged post-scanning. Objective data tables (appended) updated.
09:10 : Device moved to Engineering Physics Lab 19C. Photographic documentation performed, with special attention to capturing high resolution images of all inscriptions and symbols. Image files appended, plus forwarded to Dr. Jackson.
Plan: Perform mass, acoustic, and full range electromagnetic spectrometry for ongoing monitoring and analysis. Consider introduction of low amplitude current depending upon spectrometry outcomes. Consult with Dr. Jackson on inscriptions.
End notes -- logout 11:05 UTC-7:00
2001-02-16 -- login 21:40 UTC-7:00
Engineering Physics Lab 19C
W Lee PhD
09:20 : No changes in baseline data following 48 hours of mass, acoustic, microwave, ultraviolet, visible spectrum, and gamma spectrometry. Spectrometry readings non-contributory.
A thin-window Geiger-Mueller probe detected the presence of 4 MeV alpha radiation in the area of the seven indentations below what is believed to be a faceplate. All other surfaces – faceplate, frame, pedestal, underside – were negative for alpha radiation.
This implies a difference, between the indentations and the reminder of the outer surface, in the nature of the material from which the device is composed. Data tables updated.
09:35 : Testing with low wattage, low amplitude current, initiated in cautiously stepped progression. Test leads were applied sequentially to the frame, pedestal, and faceplate areas as per appended diagrams. Applied currents' data added to data tables and detailed procedure notes (also appended).
15:10 : Testing was terminated and leads disconnected. No response to current application.
As I began to set up for conductivity testing of the panel containing the indentations, Dr. Jackson arrived at the lab (approximately 15:18) with a preliminary translation of the pedestal inscriptions.
Squatting on his lab bench, the bulky device vaguely resembled a hunkered-down, discontented troll – or at least it could, maybe, if Bill had actually ever seen a troll and if he was at all prone to anthropomorphism, which he wasn't.
"For you, though," he mumbled, attaching a lead to its surface, "I'm tempted to make an exception. I don't usually assign personality attributes to inanimate objects, but there's something about you that feels almost as intentionally, belligerently stubborn as Colo–"
"So, not making much progress, then?"
Startled, Bill turned to see Dr. Jackson casually leaning against the door frame. Self-consciousness warmed his cheeks as he realised he'd been overheard. Thank goodness the gripe been interrupted just when it had. Bill didn't know Dr. Jackson, had never directly interacted with him before, but all the same he was pretty sure that what he'd been about to say wouldn't have been well received.
"Uh, no. But, well ... well, some. It's not going too badly. Maybe a little bit ... but mostly, no," he tried to answer the question, stumbling over his own innate honesty as he tried to put a better foot forward. And didn't succeed.
Dr. Jackson straightened up and entered the lab. "What, no?" he asked, one hand moving forward to hover over the device. "Not going a little bit too badly, or not making any progress?"
"Both," Bill admitted. "I haven't made much progress, but then again nothing negative has happened either. Scans, spectrometry, low amplitude current application to the outer shell – nothing. Well, nothing except for some alpha radiation detected at the –"
"Radiation?" Dr. Jackson withdrew his hand from the vicinity of the device and stepped back.
"Oh, no, nothing to worry about. It's negligible, and alpha radiation is non-harmful anyway. It doesn't penetrate unbroken skin." Bill indicated the indents. "You might not want to lick the surface in this specific area, is all."
Dr. Jackson stepped forward again, albeit still a bit warily. "Right. No licking."
"Interestingly, it was only detected right there. The most plausible explanation is either a difference in composition of the exterior, or there's some sort of coating been applied to the surface just in that specific area." Warming to the subject, Bill enthused, "The outer shell material is impervious to scanning and is so hard that it's impossible to manually take a shaving; I'm thinking maybe oblique laser, but that's for down the road a bit. Oh, and so far I haven't detected any way to open the faceplate or access the interior." It was all really quite invigorating.
Jackson wiggled his fingers the device. "Go ahead," Bill told him. "It's all right to handle the frame and pedestal. Although, you should avoid touching that. Them." He pointed toward the seven oval indentations ranged in a shallow arc below the device's faceplate. "Avoid them."
"Because, radiation? But I thought you just said ...?"
"Oh, no, no. Not a concern at all. I've already touched one myself, with no adverse effect. It's just that I'd prefer not to introduce an extraneous variable right now – I'm just setting up to perform a conductivity test on the control interface." He indicated the lead positioned next to the leftmost indentation.
"Control interface?" Jackson's eyebrows rose in enquiry. "So you do know what this is, then."
"Well, no," Bill admitted, only slightly abashed at having presumed. "It just ... well, it just looks like a control assembly. I mean, the arrangement of the indentations, the fact that they're labelled, and their location below what's obviously a faceplate or access panel ..."
Dr. Jackson was nodding. "Right," he said, stroking one finger down the side of the device's frame. He leaned backward slightly to look down the length of its inscribed pedestal. "You know, intentional belligerence aside, Colonel O'Neill's not as bad as he seems. With more exposure, you'll get the hang of him."
Rattled at being caught out, Bill pounced on the nearest distraction and flapped a hand at the inscriptions. "Ahh, okay. So I assume you've received the referral – okay yes, well you're here, so of course you received it." More exposure? Oh dear. He hadn't considered that particular implication when he'd been provisionally assigned to Major Carter's lab. "Have you had a chance to study the images? The markings?"
Luckily, Bill's less than smooth avoidance tactic didn't seem to offend Dr. Jackson. He simply crouched down in front of the lab bench, agreeably returning to the original topic. "Yes. I haven't been able to decipher every letter and symbol – the language is a variant of Ancient I haven't encountered before and it's going to take time to get it all – but I can read a fair bit of it." A frown creased his face. "Syntactically, for the Ancients' language, it's mostly sentence fragments. Disconnected phrases."
He ran a finger along a line of markings, moving from bottom to top. "While I find it intriguing, unfortunately it's probably of limited usefulness to you. For example, this line, which is one of the few complete sentences on here, apparently refers to trees breaking in a wind and 'the first' being atop 'the second'. It's not unusual for Ancients' text to be inferential or metaphorical, or occasionally both at the same time. So even if the literal translation is correct – which it may not be – without adequate lexical and situational context, interpretation is actually pretty nebulous."
Bill leaned forward, peering at the inscription under Dr. Jackson's finger, and nodded as if he actually knew what the man was trying to explain. Because professional courtesy was important.
"Accurate translation and interpretation rely on identification of linguistic context," Dr. Jackson explained. "Case in point: taken in isolation, and considering the variety of possible declensions, I've decided this word 'primarius' is best translated as 'first'. But translating the word doesn't, in of itself, provide meaning."
Bill nodded, which seemed to encourage Dr. Jackson. "Okay, so look over here ... see this, in this line? That word appears to be derived from a Latin word which can translate as anything from understand to persist to occupy to, well, a lot of things. It's repeated quite a few times throughout." He pointed in quick succession toward other lines, his speech flying over Bill's head just as quickly. "It's clearly used a verb in most instances, but in some lines of the text, considering syntactical conventions of the Ancients' language, strangely enough it appears to instead be used as a modifier, in close relation to 'primarius'. Maybe. Or, maybe not. Might be to do with derivational morphology, but ..."
He suddenly tailed off, ducking his head slightly. Bit his lip. "But, I'm getting off track. Sorry. The point is, some of my initial translation is far from explicit. It might take considerably more work and time before I know if or how the rest of this," he stood up, waving at the inscribed pedestal then gesturing in turn toward the face of the device, "pertains to that. If the rest of it even does."
Shoving aside most of the spate of words he'd just been exposed to, Bill honed in on one thing in particular. "Wait ... the rest? You just said, the rest of it?"
A quick grin flashed across Jackson's face, there and gone fast enough that Bill couldn't shut down his automatic response in time, leaving him inappropriately smiling then grimacing at nothing. Jackson either ignored or didn't notice the facial indecision, briskly nodding. "What you're calling a faceplate is referred to in the second line of text on the pedestal as 'fensrea', which I'm confident is a variant predecessor to the Latin word fenestra, indicating a window."
"For seeing inside?" Bill's eyes widened, social gaff forgotten. "Or, or, wait ... a viewscreen? Like a monitor?"
"That's what I'm thinking, yes. As to your control interface, well, interestingly, written numbers in early Ancient are somewhat different from Latin numerals. The markings on your indentations? They're numbers. Specifically, one through seven."
Jackson pointed to a faint series of marks alongside two of the numbered indentations below the viewscreen. "And see those tiny symbols, there, and there? I've found references to them in several lines of text on the pedestal. This one is likely an 'on / off' switch, and, if I got it right, that one might initialise an input interface of some sort."
A power switch! Bill excitedly rubbed his hands together and scurried over to the storage unit. "That's, oh, that's ... thank you, Dr. Jackson. Thank you," he effused.
Taking anti-static gloves and face shields off the shelves, Bill turned in confusion.
"Call me Daniel," Dr. Jackson clarified.
Uh, okay? Surprised by the unexpected source of this first offer of informality he'd received since starting at the SGC, Bill stalled a moment by pulling down two non-conductive drop-cloths. Deciding he was cautiously pleased by the acceptance it implied, he agreed, "Okay. Daniel," and fruitlessly tried to reach out to shake hands with his arms full. "And I'm Bill," he added. "Bill Lee." And, oh dear, he moaned to himself ... Bill Lee; as if the man didn't already know his last name.
"Bill." Dr. Jackson nodded and waved off the doomed attempt at a handshake.
Dumping his armload on the bench, Bill turned to hand one of the masks over, only to stop as he noticed the frown on Dr. Jackson's face. "What? Oh. Oh, I'm sorry. I assumed you'd be staying, but if you ... of course, yes, you have other things to do." Darn it, now he'd have to call one of the other labs for an observer, and wait until someone arrived.
"You're going to try turning it on? I thought you said you hadn't tested the depressions yet."
"You just confirmed what they are," Bill pointed out.
"Oh. Okay, well, don't you have to," Jackson waved aimlessly around the lab, "I don't know, consult with colleagues? Perform hours of testing and planning and safety measures, get permission or something?"
Bill shoved aside a flash of disappointment at the thought the man might not trust him. Because, really, that was understandable. After all, he was still, more or less, the new guy on the block. Dr. Jackson had probably only ever worked in the lab alongside Major Carter, and with her only just beginning to slowly ease herself back into work following her encounter with the alien entity .... But then again, this was his project. He was the lead, not her or anyone else.
"I've just completed close to sixty hours of monitoring and preliminary testing. There aren't any contraindications to proceeding ..." Bill realised Jackson was watching him closely. He deflected awareness of that penetrating gaze by fussing with a pair of gloves. "As far as safety measures go, this thing is too big to fit in the largest sealed glovebox on base, and there's no way to manipulate it without standing next to it. It's going to have to be tried at some point, and all the monitoring equipment is in here."
"So, no? You don't have to re-evaluate and submit justifications? Obtain permission?" A smile slowly crept across Jackson's face. "Okay. Just checking."
The direct result of Dr. Jackson's translation was that a non-invasive means of potentially activating the device became apparent. Dr. Jackson agreed to remain in attendance, eliminating the need to obtain an additional observer for hand's-on manipulation of the device interface.
15:47 : The initial attempt to activate the device, using a probe arm to press the control interface indentation Dr. Jackson had identified as a power switch, was unsuccessful.
A second attempt, with my manual finger press, was also ineffective. Due to a remote possibility the non-conductive lab gloves might interfere with proper contact with the key, I removed my glove. The subsequent attempt resulted in an immediate deep humming noise. Auditory recording analysis will be appended once available.
The key surface did not yield under my finger, however there was an immediate slight tactile sensation of very limited duration (somewhat under one second). It was akin to a vibration, although I suspect that may be too specific a descriptor – subjectively, I felt a slight, low tingle.
The hum was followed within a few seconds by the activation of a blueish-white apparently backlit viewscreen, centred on what had previously been erroneously theorised as a faceplate.
The viewscreen immediately displayed three lines of text (dark grey or black in colour). Dr. Jackson translated this text to be an instruction, stipulating a specific sequence of key presses. Note: the 7 indentations on the control interface are hereinafter referred to as 'keys'.
We did not follow those instructions. I obtained visual light spectrometry readings of the screen (data tables updated) and, after some discussion, I decided to monitor the active device for 12 hours. Further experimentation with the control interface is dependent upon evaluation of any changes from baseline status of all parameters.
At approximately 16:15 : Major Carter visited the lab.
Upon being briefed on the course and progress to this point in studying the device, Major Carter indicated agreement with the planned course of action but declined active involvement.
At approximately 16:30 : Dr. Jackson and Major Carter left the lab.
Dr. Jackson will upload his translation notes and summary conclusions, when available, to this file plus to the Ancients' language database in the appropriate directory.
17:01 : Unfortunately the device shut down midway through data collection. It activated immediately upon a press of the power key and once again displayed three lines of text. The data collection schedule was revised accordingly.
18:12 : The same event occurred.
19:23 : The same event occurred.
20:02 : The same event occurred. I did not reactivate the device.
Repeated data measurements and spectrometry (completed 21:15) are unchanged from baseline measures prior to activation of the device.
Plan: Call in a technician to monitor the non-active device through the night. Re-evaluate and come up with an action plan in the morning.
-- end notes -- logout 22:26 UTC-7:00
2001-02-17 -- login 12:55 UTC-7:00
Engineering Physics Lab 19C
W Lee PhD
07:35 : No changes in status overnight.
Performed all data measurements and spectrometry to establish today's baselines(completed 08:50). Results were unchanged from baseline measures of 2001-02-16 prior to activation of the device.
09:18 : Following re-initiating all documentation and safety measures, I reactivated the device. Laboratory technician in attendance (R Weber). The device hummed as before and thereafter three lines of text appeared on the viewscreen, as before. I placed a call to Dr. Jackson.
At approximately 09:50 : Dr. Jackson arrived at the lab.
Dr. Jackson verified that the three lines of text translate as identical to those that appeared when the device was first activated yesterday. Dr. Jackson suggested the repeated shutdowns of yesterday may have been a result of the device 'timing out' in the absence of a user response necessary for its continued operation. He then left the lab (he was late for a department meeting).
10:24 : The device shut down midway through data collection. I reactivated it with the power key. Three lines of text were displayed.
10:24 : The same event occurred. The handwriting was obviously on the wall (so to speak).
11:37 : The same event occurred. I placed another call to Dr. Jackson.
At approximately 11:55 : Dr. Jackson arrived at the lab.
Dr. Jackson indicated the sequence and duration of key presses stipulated in the onscreen instructions, and I followed them as directed. The display immediately changed to two lines of text, which Dr. Jackson translated as an instruction for a further sequence of key presses.
At approximately 12:00 : Lab tech R Weber left the lab. Dr. Jackson remained in attendance.
Upon my following this next instruction, the device emitted a single low tone and the display changed to one short line of text. Dr. Jackson said it was an instruction to touch a single, specific key.
Upon my touching the specified key, the device emitted a prolonged high pitched tone and the screen displayed a word which Dr. Jackson translated as being the equivalent of 'error'. Several seconds later the screen display changed back to the previous instruction (to touch that same specific key).
Dr. Jackson expressed interest in the specific wording of the instruction – he indicated that what translated literally as 'second next', may or may not simply refer to order of progression. Dr. Jackson to append clarification.
I tried the single key press again, and obtained an identical result ('error'). The screen then, once again, reset back to the same instruction.
Given Dr. Jackson's suspicion as to possible ambiguity in the instruction, Dr. Jackson and I jointly decided it would be wise to consider the possibility of alternate interpretations.
"Well, I don't know, Dr. Jackson." Bill stepped away and scratched his head, baffled as to what to try next.
"Daniel. Sorry," Bill acknowledged. "We pressed that key as part of the first instruction, and everything worked fine. Could it be a different number? Maybe you have the wrong key?"
"No, I don't have the wrong one. The instruction clearly says 'second next single touch three', and the three is this one." Bill inwardly cringed at Dr. Jackson's – Daniel's – curt tone of voice as he reiterated what was already perfectly apparent. "You can see that for yourself: irrespective of whether or not my translation of the number as being a three is accurate, the symbol on this key is identical to the one on the screen."
"Well, it clearly doesn't like what we're doing." And oh, well done; as if pointing out the obvious, for lack of anything better to say, was going to help here. At this rate, Bill would be back to 'Dr. Jackson' before even getting another chance to call him 'Daniel'.
"Uh huh." The irritation seemed quickly forgotten, as Daniel simply nodded and wandered a few steps away to lean against the wall cabinet nearest to the lab bench. "Okay, so if it's not the translation ..." The expression on his face was so deeply thoughtful as to ban interruption. So it was probably a good thing Bill had nothing useful to say.
Abruptly, Daniel straightened out of his slouch. "Then yeah, it must be the interpretation." He had his finger on the key before Bill could so much as process that he'd moved to within reach of the device.
Bill's attempted objection was waylaid by a single low tone from the device, overlaid with a soft, celebratory hoot. "Yeah. There you go. Not progression; it modified the implied subject of the instruction." He absently rubbed the tip of his finger against his t-shirt, watching the screen."Oh, hey, this is interesting ..." he beckoned Bill closer. The majority of the viewscreen was blank, but various symbols were arranged at equidistant points along the bottom edge, two of them backlit with colour.
"That's an icon for the key you just touched," Bill both observed and accused as he pointed to the one glowing a soft purple. A pretty violet – wonder if the colour means anything specific, he mused to himself.
"Yeah, and I'm about to touch another one." He did, and a densely-packed vertical table of symbols sprang up on the left, filling the entire height and about one third of the width of the screen. "A keypad. Excellent," Daniel said with a touch of smug satisfaction. A moment later, though, he was less than pleased as the presumed keypad did nothing but sit there and stare back at them no matter how he tried to access it.
"So apparently it's not a touchscreen, and none of the indentations are directional selection keys. So what's the text table for?" Bill got a dark look in response, and hastened to explain himself. "No, I meant, the arrangement of text within the cells – are there any words, or concepts, or, I don't know ... does it say anything?"
"Hey! Do you have any idea how late you are?"
The harsh interruption came from the lab's rear doorway, then all too quickly was right behind Bill's left shoulder. In his ear. Or, well, actually more inches he cared to think about above his ear, what with the relative difference in height that placed him at even more of a disadvantage than did his ... never mind.
"You're not even changed yet. What the hell, Daniel? You were supposed to meet us topside an hour ago."
Other than to quickly glance up at the wall clock, Daniel didn't flinch nor take his eyes off the device display. "Forty minutes. But yeah, sorry. Got tied up," he mildly responded.
Colonel O'Neill, much to Bill's discomfort, turned his annoyance onto him. "You better not have let him touch that thing, Lindberger."
"His name is Dr. Lee. Bill Lee." Daniel finally looked up from the device. "Look, why don't you go on, and I'll meet you up top after I change. Fifteen minutes, at the most."
"Yeah, well, don't bother. Carter called a few minutes ago – she's cancelled."
That brought Daniel's head up. "Is she okay?"
Bill wanted to know the answer to that as well. He liked Major Carter; she'd been relatively welcoming, all things considered, and he was looking forward to working more closely with her.
O'Neill shrugged. "She's fine. We've been dumped in favour of Cassandra and a vat of pecan praline ice-cream." He slipped his leather jacket off as he turned to leave. "So, it's an in-day for lunch after all. Apparently they're serving meatloaf. Teal'c's going to grab a table for us."
Oh, not a bad idea, Bill thought. He kind of liked the meatloaf. "Actually, lunch sounds great."
O'Neill stopped in the doorway. "A table with only three chairs." He switched his glare from Bill over to Daniel. "In fifteen minutes, we start with or without you." Then back to Bill. "And I mean it, Lee – no touching."
"Jack." The mellow expression on Daniel's face, rather than the verbal rebuke, appeared to be what drove the colonel from the room. "Sorry, Bill," Daniel turned to him. "He's right, though; I should probably head out. We are pretty much stalled here, anyway."
That suited Bill fine. Meatloaf was calling. "No, no, that's good. Well, I mean, good to take a break." He reached over and shut down the device. As an afterthought, he taped a monitoring lead to the control interface, beside the first key. Just because. "I'll update the research files while I eat, and we can meet back here after lunch."
Daniel winced slightly. "Truthfully, without some means of data input or cursor control, I really don't know how I can be of any help. I'm pretty confident that's just a raw alphabetical table." But then he shrugged, adding, "I don't think it'll do much good, but if you want to send me some hi-res stills of the screen display, I'll have another look at it later."
Drat. He'd already turned the thing off. Oh well, that was all right – he'd take his laptop to lunch to update the file notes, then return and power up the device again for the photos. He knew the key sequences now.
"If it turns out you need another person for the 'second next single touch three' ..."
Oh crap, that's right. "I need to get a lab tech in as an observer anyway," Bill assured him.
Upon arriving at a plausible alternate interpretation of the term 'second next' in the instruction, Dr. Jackson implemented the appropriate action. Upon his touching the key labelled 3, rather than myself, the device indicated this to be the correct input, by way of a tone and the appearance of a line of icons on the screen.
A further key press, this time of the key labelled 6, brought up a text table on the left side of the screen. Upon attempting to access the text table we determined there is no readily evident way to interact with data and icons on the screen.
Dr. Jackson indicated the text in the on-screen table was simply a non-meaningful alphabetical list, but offered to examine high resolution still images of the screen at a later time, in order to confirm his impression. Images will be appended when available.
12:40 : We decided nothing more of value could be accomplished at this time. I shut down the device via the power key. I locked up the lab after both Dr. Jackson and I exited.
Plan: Return to the lab following research file update and lunch break. Repeat all data measures and spectrometry. Assuming the availability of a secondary observer, and no data contraindications, re-start the device. Follow previous keying instructions to bring up the text table on the screen, and obtain high resolution photographic images.
-- end notes -- logout 13:48 UTC-7:00
2001-02-17 -- login 20:10 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
W Lee PhD
This has gone very wrong.
I don't know what to say. While what's happened is awful, at the same time it constitutes an exciting and significant leap forward in our study of Device 1AC-0226.
It's clear that Device 1AC-0226 is directly implicated in this afternoon's events, however I'm not clear on what proportion of the details require documentation in this file – presently, the value of speculation is questionable, plus there are confidentiality issues to consider.
At this time, insofar as they do not breach medical confidentiality, I am entering into this record those objective observations which are unequivocally related to Device 1AC-0226, plus those second-hand observations deemed reliable that may later aid in determining its role in events.
Summary description of the present status of Device 1AC-0226, as at 19:45 UTC-7:00:
The device is presently located in the SGC infirmary, in Isolation Room 21-A. It is supported on a wheeled non-conductive lab dolly.
There is a circumscribed 16.5 cm x 8.4 cm area of increased temperature (fluctuating; see data table), on the front face of the device's pedestal, located 28.6 cm down from the bottom edge of the upper frame (annotated image appended)
No other changes from baseline data have been detected. Other than infrared, hand-held spectrometry measures are unchanged. The viewscreen remains dark. Its appearance is the same as all the other times the device wasn't turned on
Alpha radiation is as per baseline (persistent 4 MeV alpha radiation in the area of the seven keys on the control interface).
Conductivity and thermal monitoring are ongoing.
To allay any concerns from infirmary staff I have blocked the alpha radiation by placing a layer of cellophane over the entire control interface. It is removed when and for the amount of time required for repeat scanning. Its presence does not impact any other data collection.
At approximately 14:10 : I returned to the lab. Both doors were closed and locked. I entered via the rear door using my keycard.
Dr. Jackson was sitting on the floor, leaning against the base of the lab bench on which the device sat. He was obviously unwell. I immediately called for medical assistance.
When Dr. Jackson realised I was there with him, he indicated that I should check the device.
Good god, what had happened here? Legs shaking, Bill rose from his crouch to do as asked, and found the device just as he had left it. The display was dark, and the lead he'd attached remained in place. Lightly taped to the first key and coiled overtop the control interface, the lead was testimony it was highly unlikely the device had been manually interfered with.
Huddled against the side of the lab bench, Daniel continued to slur a barely comprehensible, "It's still on. Turn it off," even despite Bill telling him everything looked okay.
Bill had no idea what to do next. He got down next to him, grimacing at the feel of bile soaking into the knee of his pantleg. "It's off," Bill told him again, hoping the information was getting through. "Daniel, why did you come back to the lab? What happened?"
Eyes closed tightly against whatever ailed him, Daniel forced out a "Didn't," which only served to confuse Bill even further. He asked Daniel what that meant, but the sole response was a pained retch that curled the man further into his misery. The only thing left for Bill to do was to sit helplessly by his side.
"It's okay. Everything will be fine," he reassured, thinking oh, please let that be true, helplessly glancing toward the doorway. Where the hell were they? Wait... yes, finally. A commotion of feet in the corridor quickly manifested the medical team, and Bill awkwardly patted Daniel on the shoulder, telling him help had arrived. That he'd be okay now.
Upon his urging, I did leave Dr. Jackson momentarily in order to check the device.
I observed the viewscreen was dark, as it had been after having turned the device off at 12:40. I further observed that the monitoring lead I had attached to the device's power switch prior to going for lunch remained in place. I did not touch any part of the device at that time.
Medical assistance arrived several moments afterwards. Dr. Fraiser and her team assessed Dr. Jackson's condition.
First person to reach the lab, Dr. Fraiser quickly threw an arm across the open doorway, barring anyone else from entering. "Do we need hazmat?" she demanded, her gaze flitting between Daniel, Bill, and the device.
No, no, Bill assured her, standing up and opening his arms wide to indicate he was fine. It was fine. All the same, she instructed her team to wait at the door. He stepped aside as she alone hurried over and knelt beside Daniel. "Talk to me," she instructed Bill, all brusque of tone and gentle of hand and eye as she began her examination.
Bill quickly filled her in as best he could. It only took a moment as there was little to say; Dr. Jackson had been helping study the device; he had been fine when they'd both left lab for lunch. And when Bill found him an hour and a half later he was just as and where she saw him now. Not fine.
Tension straightened her body when Daniel once again let out a slurred "turn it off". Bill hastened to explain the device was indeed off, plus that all tests indicated it was, when both on and off, essentially inert. And in any event, he'd had more intimate and longer exposure to it than had Daniel, and felt entirely well. No ill effects whatsoever.
Mollified, she waved her aide forward and turned her full attention to her patient. "Daniel? Hey, are you with me? It's Dr. Fraiser. Can you open your eyes for me?"
The response to her was the same as had been to Bill. "Okay, okay," she soothed. "We'll give you something for the nausea, but I need you tell me what's going on. Can you do that?"
He groaned in reaction to the jostle of the aide applying a blood pressure cuff to his arm. "Spinning. Bad. Can't move ..." The words were forced out with great effort, his voice thick with pain. "Head hurts."
"Your head hurts?" Fraiser ran her hands over his head and neck. "Did you fall and hit your head?" The only reply was a low moan. There was a brief muttered exchange between doctor and aide. "Take his pressure again, then," she ordered, and produced a penlight. Softening her tone, she warned, "Daniel, I need to see your eyes," then gently pried an eyelid open. He grunted and drew his head back, letting out a sharp cry as she flicked on the light.
Daniel pitched to one side, his hand reaching out apparently for anything and nothing. Bill had to look away, really no good at all with this sort of thing. "Photosensitivity; and yes, pretty violent nystagmus," he heard Dr. Fraiser say, then in response to the low voice of her aide, "That high? Okay, I want a nitroprusside drip ready, the moment we get him to the infirmary."
Bill next heard, "Daniel, we're going to move you now," and in short order there was hustle and bustle and groaning and retching, and a splatter of fluid, all accompanied by sympathetic but altogether inconsequential commiserations. Bill's sense of uselessness heightened to the point he had no choice but seek a diversion. He turned his attention toward gathering spectrometers and other equipment, in preparation for the data collection measures he probably ought to have repeated prior to going to lunch.
In due course, the medical team removed Dr. Jackson from the lab. I'm not certain of the time. I imagine the medical response team can provide that information if it's of importance.
While preparing testing equipment to repeat all data measures, I noticed body fluids on the floor and one side of the lab bench. In order to ensure no contaminants interfered with repeat data collection, I moved away in order to obtain cleaning supplies.
Bill stopped dead in his tracks as rapid, shrill beeping came from ... no, that can't be. But there was nothing else in room that could have produced such a noise. He turned sharply, and sure enough, the inactive device was anything but inactive.
A beam of light coming from the area of the viewscreen flashed on and off, in pace with the beeping. He was momentarily dumbfounded, immobilised by confusion as one part of his mind urged him toward the device while another warned that curiosity killed cats. And then he didn't have time to act on either, as the sound and light quickly increased in pace until both were an intense, solid wall of urgency.
Bill was abruptly driven to the floor as a massive burst of white overcame both his vision and his balance. There and gone in an instant, it left him on hands and knees, gasping, rapidly blinking against the streaks and flares of artifact in his field of vision. His ears were ringing.
No, wait ... that was the alarm. The klaxon. He struggled to his feet, vision improving but still partially impaired, and staggered in the direction – he hoped – of the lab's nearest doorway ... only to find himself going to his knees yet again as he tripped over something in his path.
I heard a series of high pitched tones emanating from within the lab, from the direction of Device 1AC-0226. I then observed a narrow-focus beam of white light being emitted from the area of the device's viewscreen
The beam was blinking in pace with the interval between the tones. Both the auditory and visual signals rapidly escalated in tempo and intensity. Upon their crescendo, I was temporarily incapacitated by an abrupt flare of white light, bright enough to transiently impair my vision. It was accompanied by a momentary subjective sensation of displacement.
The impairment abated rapidly, however when I heard the base klaxon activate I remained slightly off-balance and unable to see clearly.
Oh god. Oh, good god. Bill knelt on the floor, staring past the remaining spots in his eyes. Couldn't be, just couldn't ... but, was. He scrambled forward the short distance between them, and with a trembling hand reached out to touch Daniel's chest. Please be breathing, please please please.
Yes, thank you. He was breathing. Good. It's good at least one of us is, Bill thought, his own breath caught in his chest. He knew taking in air wasn't the be-all and end-all of being okay, though – clearly not even close, in this case. Daniel had been in distress when they'd taken him out of the lab, his pain and vertigo worsened by the activity to the point he couldn't cope. And even so, just for a moment Bill thought he might prefer that Daniel to this one – to this deathly grey pallor, lax unresponsiveness, and bleeding nose and ears.
The device let out a few short, low beeps then fell silent. Struggling to push aside a strange mix of panic and excitement, Bill climbed to his feet and reached for the phone. And as he placed yet another call for help, he couldn't take his eyes off the device. No lights, no sounds, no viewscreen, no nothing. Dark and aloof, it occupied its bench with stark indifference. But not innocence.
Trolls were anything but innocent.
Therefore, I didn't immediately notice Dr. Jackson lying unconscious on the floor in the lab. I called for emergency medical assistance.
The device issued several short tones. I was not at that precise moment in a position to notice if any other activity accompanied them. A few seconds afterwards, however, upon being able to look over at the device from a distance, I observed the viewscreen to be dark. I did not see any external sign that the device might be powered on.
Medical assistance arrived quickly. Within seconds of their arrival, Colonel O'Neill also attended.
Parked in the middle of the doorway, Dr. Fraiser's authority aspired to twice her actual height in front of Colonel O'Neill. "I understand the urgency. Much better than you do." She spared a quick glance at him, then returned her attention to where Bill crouched at Daniel's side. "If that thing is the cause of this, I need to take a moment to consider the risks."
"Sure. Fine." Colonel O'Neill lifted his wrist, eyed his watch for a beat, then snapped, "Moment's up. Get in there."
"Colonel O'Neill," she protested. "I'm responsible for the welfare of every person who enters that lab ..."
He abruptly shouldered past her. "Yeah well, what about your responsibility for Daniel's welfare?" He covered the distance in five giant strides, pointing at Bill on the way as he ordered, "You, get the hell out of the way."
Due to the nature of this unexpected event, concern was again expressed about the possible need for hazmat clothing.
Upon discussion, Dr. Fraiser and Colonel O'Neill agreed that the need to obtain unfettered access to Dr. Jackson outweighed any as yet unidentified potential risks associated with the absence of hazmat protection.
Had I been asked, I would have advised them that was most likely the case.
Bill didn't hesitate to obey, shuffling back out of the colonel's way. Truth be told, he was guiltily relieved to surrender his watch over Daniel. Colonel O'Neill was much better at this sort of thing, Bill noticed as the man slid into place beside Daniel. Steady hands, unaffected by the brusque anger tainting every other part of the colonel, gently touched neck and chest and head, and as he reported what he found his voice was firm and confident.
"Breathing is pretty fast, Doc," he advised, glancing over at her. "Pulse is too. Got blood at both ears." He firmly, then way past firmly, pressed two fingers onto Daniel's sternum. "Yeah, he's out."
A hand unexpectedly landed on Bill's arm, startling him. "Are you still fine?" He turned his head to see Dr. Fraiser paused in mid-step at his side, her whole body straining toward Daniel while she ran her eyes over Bill. He nodded, trying to seem confident and every bit of fine. It wasn't a complete lie, really. His vision was mostly back to normal and he felt okay, other than being shaken and worried – but most importantly, he agreed with the colonel: Daniel came first.
Her arrival at Daniel's side, complete with aggrieved glare at O'Neill, dislodged the colonel, who stood and turned a whole boatload of negative attention toward Bill. "What the hell, Lee. What did you mess with," he accused, waving an arm toward the device. "Fraiser said you told them this thing was inactive. How did this happen?"
Scary man, but a good question. With his own attention now turned to the device, it occurred to Bill he really needed to check it out – just because the viewscreen seemed blank from where he stood, didn't mean it was. He moved with purpose toward it, which happily involved moving away from O'Neill.
Unhappily, he made it to within a few feet of the lab bench but no further. "Hey! Do the words 'no touching' ring a bell?" O'Neill challenged, blocking his way. "No touching, no looking, no nothing. No one's going near that thing until we figure out what happened here."
Bill's analytical side overcame the latent panic still swilling in his gut, snapping to the forefront to quickly parse the implications of that order. "Well, that's impossible," he voiced the obvious.
"Beg your pardon?" A threatening glower accompanied the threatening tone of voice.
Okay, so maybe the obvious to him wasn't so obvious to the colonel. "Assuming the device is implicated," he said, gesturing toward it, "it'll be impossible to figure out what, how, and why this happened without further studying it."
Dr. Fraiser appeared at their sides. "Right now, the most important thing is figuring out if it's safe to move Daniel out of here," she pointed out. "He's deteriorated considerably. If this is a repeat of what happened to him the first time you found him here, once more could well be catastrophic."
General Hammond swept into the lab. "What in the Sam Hill is going on?"
While Dr. Fraiser and her team assessed Dr. Jackson's condition, I attempted to undertake assessment of the device's status, however Colonel O'Neill explicitly ordered me not to do so.
During our conversation regarding Colonel O'Neill's order, General Hammond arrived at the lab.
He was briefed in summary form on study of the device and current events. It was at this time that Dr. Fraiser described a "blinding ripple of light" as having occurred in the elevator while transporting Dr. Jackson to the infirmary.
She maintained the light "came from" Dr. Jackson, but upon my enquiry was unable to state with certainty that it had actually emanated from his body. She was also unclear as to whether the light appeared immediately prior to, or concurrent with, Dr. Jackson's disappearance from the elevator. These are pertinent questions in terms of assessing any presumed link between the device and Dr. Jackson, plus in exploring the plausibility of devising a means to sever such a link, should it in fact exist.
General Hammond upheld Colonel O'Neill's orders as to the device. General Hammond further ordered that a way be found to relocate Dr. Jackson to the infirmary without risk of the same event recurring. That order was problematic, considering the need for direct access to 1AC-0226 in order to collect data necessary for that risk assessment.
The order was then revised: to render exposure to the device harmless so that it could accompany Dr. Jackson to the infirmary. Immediately or sooner. General Hammond then left the lab.
As it was unclear such measures might even be necessary, I took that as implicit agreement that I first determine if proximity to the device in its current state was already safe. Following a short discussion with Dr. Fraiser, Colonel O'Neill allowed direct access to the device.
15:09 : I commenced data collection. The viewscreen was in fact blank and dark.
15:44 : I discovered an increase, relative to previous measurements, in thermal radiation levels at the pedestal. The increase appeared confined to a roughly circular, well demarcated area comprising approximately one-third the area of the pedestal's front surface. It was not detectable at the sides nor the back of the pedestal.
Colonel O'Neill (still in attendance) was advised as to the new finding.
All other measures performed to that point were unchanged from baselines. Spectrometry measures via hand-helds, with the exception of infrared, remained unchanged. Alpha radiation levels at the keys of the control interface remained consistent.
At approximately 15:50 : Dr. Fraiser indicated heightened urgency in the need to get Dr. Jackson to the infirmary.
At approximately 16:00 : Dr. Fraiser strongly indicated greatly heightened urgency in the need to get Dr. Jackson to the infirmary.
Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill transferred the device to a lab dolly, for removal to the infirmary. Colonel O'Neill left the lab prior to transportation of the device.
At approximately 16:15 : The device and I arrived in Isolation Room 21-A. Monitoring and computer equipment to follow.
Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill arrived in the infirmary some time thereafter.
At approximately 17:20 : In the care of myself, Major Carter, and Colonel O'Neill, the device accompanied Dr. Jackson to the CT scanner.
During the scan the device remained parked in the corridor outside the room, approximately eighteen feet from the scanner itself, without any noticeable adverse effect on Dr. Jackson. While that distance is considerably less than is the distance from the Physics lab to the elevator, that successful separation indicates we probably have some ongoing leeway in terms of proximity.
The CT room door remained open, so when considering leeway of proximity it would be prudent to consider the possible influence of obstructions. The device first activated when the lab doors were closed, plus after the elevator door had closed. Although, the lab door was open that second time ... oh, I don't know.
20:10 : Major Carter has informed me that she will from this point forward be actively participating in monitoring plus any further study of the device.
Plan: Major Carter and I remain in attendance. Thermal, conductivity, and hand-held spectrometry monitoring will be maintained overnight. Other than that, there is no plan at the moment, as we remain forbidden to otherwise study the device.
-- end notes -- logout 21:46 UTC-7:00
2001-02-18 -- login 03:35 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
S Carter Maj PhD
Having observed the ongoing monitoring of Device 1AC-0226 over the last four hours, and having reviewed this file in its entirety and spoken at length with Dr. Lee, plus consulted with Dr. Fraiser, I am confident that Device 1AC-0226 in its present state does not pose a proximity hazard.
Neither I nor Dr. Lee can, however, predict for how long 1AC-0226 will remain in its present state. The measurable thermal change and the activity witnessed in the lab by Dr. Lee are, in combination, convincing evidence that 1AC-0226 is not powered-off to the same extent as previously – 'previously' being each and every other time it had been manually shut down.
The earlier steady-state readings, absence of thermal fluctuations, and, of course, the absence of spontaneous activity constitute proof that Device 1AC-0226 is capable of at least two distinct resting states. Variable resting states, in addition to at least one fully interactive state, necessitates internal programming which may or may not be alterable.
The procedure for shutting down was identical in all cases: a single press of key number 1 while the device was in an active state. Therefore it is reasonable to suggest that one or more of Dr. Lee and Dr. Jackson's key presses, made during their last session with 1AC-0226 prior to the adverse events, may have altered the response of key number 1.
This could be the result of their manual entries either comprising new programming, or activating an existing internal instruction set. Both possibilities suggest potential avenues of study.
I have discussed the subject with Dr. Lee and Dr. Jackson.
"No way." The cracked whisper diluted the certainty in his voice, but it was clear to Bill that Daniel utterly rejected Major Carter's suggestion. "From start to finish, we simply followed directions, Sam. We didn't accidentally reprogram anything."
"Unwittingly is probably a better word than accidentally," Major Carter insisted. "It's definitely a possibility we need to explore." Bill wasn't sure that was true, given the application of Occam's Razor to scientific principles, but kept the thought to himself.
"Explore it, how? Lex parsimoniae, Sam," Daniel promptly expressed it for him. "Where do you even begin? That theory is untestable."
Bill winced at the annoyed tone as she shot back, "Oh, and like yours is?"
"No, of course it isn't," Daniel readily admitted. "Which is why I like it so much."
To Bill's surprise, Major Carter suddenly smiled so widely, so brilliantly, that the air of contention around the bed burst, popping out of existence. "You are such a jerk," she said, lightly pushing at Daniel's shoulder. The fondness in her voice, so at odds with the disagreement Bill had heard not seconds ago, was enlightening: a push and pull of equals, with unfailing respect.
"Yeah. So?" The reply would have been undeniably smug, if Daniel weren't so obviously ill and tired.
Bill watched him sag back against the pillows and close his eyes, and watched Major Carter stroke his arm and adjust the covers. Then she tugged at Bill's sleeve and they both moved away, back to his dim, cluttered little corner. His home away from home: a gurney pressed up against the wall, hemmed in by lab equipment. And by the Troll.
"Why don't you try to get some sleep?" Major Carter suggested. "I can stay and do the next set of observations."
Stay. For her it was a choice, but he was trapped here by Dr. Fraiser's overly cautious response to learning of his exposure to the energy pulse. Oh, and what a pulse it was – successful organic matter teleportation, courtesy of the device sitting right there not three feet away from him.
Well, mostly successful teleportation, if you considered health an important criteria.
He'd offered up a simple way to determine if he was affected – simply walking away and not turning back until he'd far passed the distance between the lab and elevator – but that had been rejected out of hand. The expressed reason for rejecting it was a bit of a downer, self-esteem-wise, but Bill supposed it was only practical: there were only two people familiar with his and Daniel's interactions with the device, and only one of them was presently running on all cylinders.
"What did he mean?" he asked Major Carter, accepting her offer by sidling past the Troll to climb onto the gurney. "About liking the idea that nothing we did had anything to do with 1AC-0226 not turning off?"
"That was his way of reminding me to concentrate on what we already know before chasing after what we don't," she answered with a shake of her head. "Subtle, huh?"
Yeah, well, it had been too subtle for him, Bill thought. He hoped that was more because he wasn't familiar enough with Daniel to read him, than it was due to him possibly being obtuse. "Right – if the change in the power key response was a function of some preset internal program, not anything we did, then ... " Bill shrugged. "Then, yes, you may as well move on from discussing how it happened to figuring out what to do about it, regardless of the how."
"Yeah. He's worried about spending too much time on difficult options when an easier one might very well be staring us in the face. And he's not wrong about that. But, the thing is ..." Looking worried herself, she glanced back toward Daniel's bedside, where a nurse was changing an IV bag. "How do we choose the best option, when we don't even know enough to figure out which ones are, or aren't, viable?"
During that discussion an additional possibility – that the power key's altered response was completely independent of Dr. Lee and Dr. Jackson's interaction with 1AC-0226 – was rejected.
The bottom line is that Device 1AC-0226 is presently unpredictable, therefore it is paramount that we discover a way to fully power it down. Toward that end, there are two possible avenues of investigation.
1) Ascertaining what key press or sequence of key presses might reverse the change in function of the power key
There are two possible means of exploring this option: enhanced translation of the pedestal inscriptions; and, attempting to fully power up 1AC-0226 in order to interact with it. Due to the very unpredictability we seek to resolve, the latter option should be avoided for so long as 1AC-0226 remains in a populated, unshielded area.
2) Attaining manual access to the internals of 1AC-0226
Attempts to access its interior via inspection and non-catastrophically destructive means have thus far been fruitless, however we should continue to pursue this avenue of study. Oblique laser shallow penetration of the outer shell should be considered.
This poses a dilemma: the cyclical thermal variations strongly indicate the power source itself may be located in the pedestal, and oblique laser penetration is a destructive process. The inscriptions, translations of which may facilitate either or both of the above options, are located on all sides of the pedestal.
Plan: For the time being, implementation of either of the above options has to wait until such time as Dr. Jackson recovers sufficiently to participate and / or permission for hand's-on access to 1AC-0226 is obtained.
-- end notes -- logout 02:12 UTC-7:00
2001-02-19 -- login 10:15 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
S Carter Maj PhD
At approximately 09:40 : Using prints of the previously acquired high resolution images, Dr. Jackson began work on translating the pedestal inscriptions.
Requesting permission for laser penetration of 1AC-0226's outer shell is held in abeyance until such time as its necessity can be confirmed or negated. This is dependent on Dr. Jackson's progress, and / or any changes in 1AC-0226's status.
Baseline and spectrometry measures were repeated every two hours throughout the night and to this point. With the exception of infrared, all remain unchanged. Thermal and alpha radiation readings are stable and consistent. The viewscreen remains dark.
From this point on, the narrative portion of this file need only be updated twice daily unless new relevant information comes to light and / or any change-state observations occur. Data tables will be updated every eight hours and / or at any point change-state observations are made.
Plan: Dr. Jackson to continue working on the translations. Dr. Lee and I to meet with him at 18:00 to discuss his progress.
Plan: Continue ongoing conduction and thermal radiation / temperature monitoring. Continue to perform spectrometry every two hours. Reduce data collection for other measures to every four hours, in order to help lessen the frequency of distractions interfering with Dr. Jackson's efforts.
-- end notes -- logout 10:28 UTC-7:00
2001-02-19 -- login 18:20 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
W Lee PhD
18:10 : Major Carter, Dr. Jackson, and I met to review status. Colonel O'Neill in attendance.
Dr. Jackson reports minimal progress, due to significant delays and interruptions, and to the complexity involved in interpretation.
Major Carter reports that owing to concerns about unpredictability, General Hammond remains loathe to allow hand's-on study of 1AC-0226. He advises he will reconsider only in the event the situation changes to the extent that Dr. Jackson and / or anyone else are no longer deemed safe, or in the event an unequivocally benign means of completely powering off the device comes to light.
Conversation surrounding impediments to Dr. Jackson's progress and the orders pertaining to direct interaction with the device ensued.
"Like hell you will." Colonel O'Neill drilled a fingertip into the mattress, right beside Daniel's head. Bill wasn't sure if it was supposed to be in emphasis, or an attempt to nail the man to the bed by his hair.
"In case it's slipped your attention, Dr. Jackson, you're still wired for sound and have more tubes stuck in you than does my grandmother's old TV. You're not going anywhere."
"I can't work in here, Jack."
"Just look at your – you can barely work anywhere!" O'Neill erupted. No sooner had the harsh words left his mouth, than he winced and stepped back. "Damn."
Shocked by the outburst, Bill tried to look elsewhere, only for his gaze to pass across Daniel and stutter to a halt at the unexpectedly calm expression on his face – his pale, haggard face, complete with badly bloodshot eyes and accessory oxygen cannula.
"God damn it." The colonel dragged his fingers through his hair, then raised both hands in what Bill at first assumed was apology. But ... wasn't. "I'm warning you, Daniel; I won't go through this crap again so soon." Exasperation oozed out of him strongly enough that Bill imagined dark tendrils reaching across toward the bed. "You do anything to screw yourself up even further, I won't even try to catch the pieces."
Daniel simply nodded. "I know. It's okay."
O'Neill let out a raw laugh. "Oh, I beg to differ: it's far from okay."
Major Carter stepped forward. "It wasn't his fault, Sir. I've already said it, and I'll keep on saying it until you really hear me: it wasn't anyone's fault. I made my own decision, and no matter the result, it was the right one."
Abruptly, Bill was lost. Apparently the focus of the conversation had changed while his eyes were taking a blink. It was probably time to hit the road ... not that there was anywhere he could go to avoid overhearing them. He tried, though, moving quietly back toward the Troll.
No one said anything else, though, and within a few moments Major Carter was waving him over. "Sorry, Bill. Come on back." She switched her attention to Daniel. "The colonel's right, Daniel. There's no way Dr. Fraiser is going to let you out of here. You're not well enough."
"Yeah, well, if I stay in here, I'm not going to make much headway any time soon." Disgruntled, Daniel pulled the oxygen cannula off. "'Time to take your blood pressure again, Dr. Jackson; just need to check the IV site, Dr. Jackson'; 'don't forget to do your deep breathing, Dr. Jackson' ..." He waved a hand over the photographs and papers piled on the bedside table and spread overtop of him, across the bed. "Oh, and of course, my favourite: 'can I move those papers for you', to which the answer is and always will be, get your hands the hell off my work."
"Oh, this is great; he's obviously feeling much better," Carter quipped, looking amused.
Daniel rubbed his neck, sighing. "I'm not ungrateful. Just, frustrated."
"Yeah, well, frustrated is better than ..." O'Neill held up a hand to ward off a nurse who was approaching the bed with an incentive spirometer in hand. "Okay, all right, I'll talk to Fraiser about trying to keep interruptions to a minimum."
Major Carter took the spirometer from the nurse and plunked it down in Daniel's lap. "But there are some things that can't be compromised on, Daniel, no matter how important it is to get those translations done. Collapsed pulmonary alveoli is one of them."
Really? That was the first Bill had heard of that; he knew about the hypertensive crisis the teleportation had caused, but in deference to Daniel's privacy he'd been trying hard to disregard the other snippets of medical information that leaked across the room. Which, he only just suddenly realised, might be a mistake. Oh, or, maybe not, considering that Major Carter was involved and was probably aware of –"
"Altered pressure, Bill. Affected my lungs, ears, sinuses," Daniel interrupted his thoughts. "Atmospheric or gravitation, or maybe both, I'm told. You look like you're wondering."
Bill started to hum and haw – oh no, it's private, he understands that – but part way through he noticed Daniel looked to be fighting off a grin. "It's okay, Bill. He doesn't mind," Carter told him. "I've been meaning to sit down and go over it with you. It's important information."
Yes, very important. Determining what variations of atmospheric, magnetic, or gravitational fields might be involved in the matter transportation process could well lead to eventually making it safe for use. And that was huge. He turned and stared at the Troll, his fingers itching to touch it, to worm their way inside it and tease out its secrets.
Colonel O'Neill evidently read him just right. "No. Big fat no, Lee. No one's touching that thing until after it's completely shut down, dead as a doornail. And even then, it won't be you," he pointed at Bill, then at Carter, "nor you. It's going to a shielded lab at Area 51."
"What? That's it? You just going to send –" Daniel stopped mid-sentence, mouth clamped shut, his jaw clenched tightly enough that the muscles visibly jumped.
"Sir," Major Carter protested. "They can't do that." Bill silently agreed; he really wanted to see this project through. It was instantaneous travel, for god's sake.
A quick look that Bill couldn't read passed between the major and Daniel. She turned to the colonel and very carefully said, "Sir, we can't just turn the device off." Which, given they had no idea how to do that, was so obvious a fact that Bill wondered why she'd bother to point it out.
There was a beat of silence, then Colonel O'Neill muttered "Son of a bitch," under his breath. He turned on his heel, and when he'd come around full circle, he looked even more annoyed than ever. He pointed at Daniel. "Figure it out."
"Stop talking, Daniel. Not another word. I'm ordering you: just get it done." He turned to leave, casting over his shoulder on the way out, "End of discussion."
The outcome of that conversation was that Dr. Jackson's request for discharge to a VIP room was denied, and the previous order – that we find a way to completely power off 1AC-0226 – was reiterated.
Summary information from Dr. Jackson's medical file was shared, which may be pertinent to the way in which the device effects teletransportation. Details and rudimentary analysis to follow when more information is available.
Plan: Colonel O'Neill will follow up with Dr. Fraiser on the possibility of reducing interruptions interfering with Dr. Jackson's ability to concentrate on the translations.
-- end notes -- logout 18:35 UTC-7:00
2001-02-20 -- login 12:10 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
S Carter Maj PhD
Baseline and spectrometry measures remain unchanged. Thermal and alpha radiation readings are stable and consistent. The viewscreen remains dark.
Plan: Dr. Jackson to continue working on the translations.
-- end notes -- logout 12:14 UTC-7:00
2001-02-20 -- login 20:54 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
W Lee PhD
I have been interviewed, and have been instructed to elsewhere document the details of this evening's events and my interactions with Major Carter and Dr. Jackson .
I am including here my objective observations of Device 1AC-0226, plus only such information, as to those events and interactions, that lends context to my observation of the device.
At approximately 17:00 : Major Carter and I met to discuss recent observations.
Soon after Major Carter's arrival, Dr. Jackson asked to speak with us .
"I don't think he's looking too good," Bill quietly observed. "Is he? What do you think?"
"I think I agree with you." Major Carter glanced across the room, to where photos and sheets of paper were piled on both overbed tables, plus strewn across the bed. "He's working himself into the ground."
"Well, shouldn't we do something? Stop him? Help him?" Bill followed her gaze, frowning at the sight of Daniel juggling a whiteboard and sheaf of printed images, trying to keep the IV line from getting in the way as he struggled to hang on to both and write on the whiteboard at the same time.
"I wish we could. I wish he didn't have to bear the brunt of this," she said, "but right now, he does. And the best way we can help is to stay out of his way."
Bill didn't understand that. Well, okay, he sort of did, because the translations were the only thing going right then, given their orders ... really dubious orders, but he was fast learning about military facilities and the weight placed on orders from above. No, the part he actually didn't understand was why she hadn't waded in there to help, and why she'd advised that he keep his distance as well. Because hey, at least Bill could hold up the whiteboard. No?
As Bill surreptitiously watched, Daniel scribbled on the board, then brought his knees up in the bed. The papers overtop his legs shifted, most of them sliding off to the floor, but Daniel only had eyes for those he held. Beside Bill, Carter's attention sharpened and she shifted forward in her perch on his gurney.
"Uhh, guys?" Daniel suddenly called over to them, still staring at the board. "Could you please come over here?"
They did, only to be greeted by an upraised finger. "Wait. Just a sec," Daniel muttered, and after more than just several of those seconds, he impassively looked at up at them. "I've got it," he told them, then immediately revised that. "Well, actually, I got it hours ago."
"It?" Bill questioned, not wanting to take 'it' for granted. Surely if Daniel had figured out the translation he'd be a bit more animated than this? This was exciting stuff. "Do you know what it says?"
"I knew what most of it said days ago, Bill. I just couldn't interpret it," Daniel told him. "But I've got it now. The right declensions, the syntax, context."
"So it's a grammar thing?" Major Carter asked lightly.
"Hm, close enough." Daniel's lips twitched, but the implied amusement didn't break free. "I've finished reading it through."
"So you understand all of it now? That's, that's really great. So ...?" Bill urged, eager to hear any tidbit that'd bring him closer to understanding the device.
"So, its central purpose isn't transportation," Daniel told them. "Bill, you remember that word I mentioned, the one littered here and there, that I was confused about? The one that appeared to be used both as a verb and a modified noun?" Bill hadn't a clue, but nodded anyway. "Well, once I got a better handle on context, it was a lot easier to figure out."
A nurse interrupted, chirping upbeat greetings to them all as she attached a bag of medication to the IV's secondary line. Bill floundered in a mix of confusion and suspense as Daniel and Major Carter spent the interruption sharing another of those silent looks he had no hope of interpreting. For all he knew, they were telepathically discussing toilet paper.
As the nurse left the room, Bill surrendered to the realisation that he might not be able to keep up with these two. "What, then?" he asked. "It definitely transported you."
Daniel's gaze was firmly on Major Carter as he said, "That word I'm talking about? It's verb form is properly interpreted not as to understand or to grasp, but as 'to control'."
"Control, as in harness forces that enable matter transportation?" Bill asked, feeling his excitement build at just the thought of possibly learning how it works, and maybe even replicating it, instead of just being a bystander to other races' technology. "So, it's a research device? That's what it is?"
Daniel was impassive, not responding one way or the other, but ... "Oh, I'll bet that's what it is. There's probably data in there that could –"
"So, I think I need to leave now," Major Carter interrupted. "Yeah, I should go. You guys have fun." She glanced over her shoulder at them as she headed out the door, leaving Bill astounded that she'd leave at a time like this, when insight might be at the tips of their fingertips. That she had gone, left him feeling vaguely nervous.
Daniel watched her go, then turned back to Bill. "Sorry, but no. The word isn't used in reference to the ..." Daniel illustrated with a grasp and move gesture, "beaming thing. In fact, the beaming thing itself isn't even referenced as such anywhere."
Not as such? "As what, then?" Bill asked, becoming more lost by the moment.
"Nothing good," was the only response.
Dr. Jackson informed us he had made an important leap forward in understanding, facilitating his ability to interpret the inscriptions with a greater degree of confidence.
He referred to the nature of the difficulty he'd had with context, which he had now solved. He also informed us of a few particulars to do with translation, illustrating via the example of a specific Latin word (meaning to understand), and its interpretation.
Major Carter had business elsewhere and left, subsequent to which Dr. Jackson indicated there were several ambiguities he had not yet resolved.
Daniel began to gather together the papers strewn everywhere. Bill tried to get more out of him but failed, and reluctantly bent over to pick up the ones on the floor. He popped right back up again, though, as Daniel casually told him, "There are just a couple of things I have to clarify; I'm going to need to see the inscriptions themselves to do that."
"What? You want to go look at the Troll ... uh, 1AC-0226?" Bill felt himself blush at his slip, covering his embarrassment with a gesture toward the IV pump and all else tethering Daniel in place. "You can't do that."
Amusement came closer to breaking free this time, in a subdued huff and raised eyebrows. "Oh, I'm sure we can find somewhere to plug the Troll in over here."
To ...? "It doesn't need to be... oh," Bill stumbled, then recovered. "Yes, well, very good, but all joking aside, I don't know. Don't you already have images of everything?" Bill didn't even want to think about what Colonel O'Neill might say if he gave in to the request and Daniel's health worsened, whether just incidentally or not.
Daniel reached across to the bedside table and produced one of the printed photographs. A mottled, dried stain wrinkled the paper, obscuring most of the image. Gently, with a quiet seriousness that nipped Bill's intentions in the bud, Daniel told him, "Don't bother offering to reprint it, Bill. It's not all that I need. Please."
"The pedestal is too low; we'd need a higher dolly," Bill pointed out in a last gasp attempt to dissuade him. Well, second to last – he held back on invoking the name of O'Neill, as his coup de grace.
"Oh, believe me, getting down on the floor wouldn't be at all difficult. But if makes you feel better, the chair is probably low enough." Daniel began to swing his legs out from under the covers. "Look, I know you don't understand, but trust me: I need to see your Troll. Because, another equally accurate interpretation of the use of the 'control' word is, 'possess' ..."
Making direct eye contact, Daniel told him, "And the subject that word modifies is, well, actually ... you, Bill."
In light of those unresolved ambiguities, Dr. Jackson maintained he required access to the pedestal inscriptions themselves.
At approximately 17:45 : Following discussion with Dr. Jackson, I took thermal and alpha radiation readings of Device 1AC-0226 in preparation for moving it over so that Dr. Jackson could view the pedestal inscriptions.
Thermal and alpha radiation readings remained unchanged. The viewscreen remained dark.
17:58 : With the assistance of the duty nurse, Dr. Jackson transferred to the chair at the bedside. I then pushed the dolly supporting Device 1AC-0226 over to him.
Dr. Jackson leaned forward in the chair to view the inscriptions on the left side panel of the pedestal.
Such a simple, ordinary expression. Just four little letters. And in this case, uttered with such quiet composure as to seem entirely benign.
In the moment after it passed from Daniel's lips to Bill's consciousness, time seemed to warp for Bill. The viewscreen was at once both dark and lit with white; the nurse at once standing sentry behind the chair and bolting for the alarm.
Bill wondered if he'd just swallowed his tongue, in his surprise. When Daniel turned to him, though, all big eyes and humble apology, Bill found his tongue was still in place after all. "Oh my god. What ... why? What?" Too bad he was too anxious to use it effectively. Colonel O'Neill was going to dismember him.
"It was an accident," Daniel told him. "I'm so sorry. You saw: I was off-balance."
Dr. Fraiser rushed into the room, followed closely by a strapping big male medic. She took in the active device, and Bill, and Daniel in the chair right next to it, and stopped dead just inside the doorway. "It's fine," Daniel told her, his voice only just carrying across the distance over the noise of the klaxon. "It's harmless. You can come in."
Bill ignored the ensuing conversation, staring at the active display, at the blue-white of the viewscreen and orange of two backlit icons flashing on and off. Three vertical lines of text extended downward, to the bottom of the screen. The flashing was ... wow. Way too bright.
"Huh. It's an incident report," Daniel said, squinting as he leaned forward to study the display. He raised a hand to his eyes. "Okay. So that hurts."
"Then stop looking at it," Dr. Fraiser snapped, her hand on Daniel's shoulder pulling him back in the chair.
Bill's eyes were smarting as well; he could only imagine how uncomfortable it must be for Daniel, with his photosensitivity not yet completely resolved. "There must be a way to turn off the lights," Bill thought aloud. "To cancel them." Because hey, the screen was pretty useless for anything else while they were there – and this clearly was not a useless device.
Daniel shrugged off Dr. Fraiser and leaned forward again. "Yeah. It says to either touch them to bring up the details for each," he told Bill, "Or touch this icon to clear the display." He pointed toward the bottom left of the screen.
Just as more people came pouring into the room, chief among them Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill, the klaxon snapped off to leave a pronounced silence. So Bill had no trouble whatsoever hearing O'Neill quietly, calmly, and far too precisely for Bill's nerves, warn them, "Either of you touch that thing before Carter assures me it's safe, and I'll kill you myself."
Dr. Jackson lost his balance and reached out in an attempt to prevent a fall. In doing so, his hand inadvertently contacted the control panel.
This contact was approximately adjacent to the number 1 and number 2 keys. I am not sure which key(s) was responsible, given our theory that the function of the number 1 key, the power key, had previously been altered.
Regardless, the device activated. The duty nurse immediately sounded the base alarm.
At this time, the screen remains as was immediately after the device activated (images and visible light spectrometry data appended):
The colour of the activated screen is as prior: a blueish-white.
Toward the top of the display are two large icons roughly spherical in shape. They are backlit a very bright orange, and continually flashing on and off, one cycle approximately every two seconds.
Three vertical lines of text are centred below the icons.
A row of small icons is ranged across the bottom of the screen.
The device, Dr. Jackson, and I remain confined to Isolation Room 21-A. Major Carter is just now completing whatever data collection she deemed necessary. She will update the file and data tables ... whenever she does.
Plan: No longer my purview.
-- end notes -- logout 21:18 UTC-7:00
2001-02-20 -- login 22:15 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
S Carter Maj PhD
Baseline plus full range spectrometry, plus an exhaustive range of other measures performed on Device 1AC-0226 in its active state. I will not list them all here; data tables have been updated and a new procedure list appended.
All data is unchanged from the latest time of collection prior to the accidental activation of the device, with the exception of visual light spectrometry. Thermal and alpha radiation readings are consistent with last previous.
Lt. Bowers (duty nurse at the time of the accident), Dr. Jackson, and Dr. Lee have been examined by Dr. Fraiser. Other than an exacerbation – due to over-work, as per Dr. Fraiser – of Dr. Jackson's previously existing ill health, she found nothing of concern. They do not appear to be suffering from any ill-effects as a result of exposure to the active device.
Dr. Jackson is now confident he is able to translate and correctly interpret the language. He is unable to file an updated translation report at this time, however has informally advised me that his translations indicate the device will remain in its present state until such time as manual input, via either or both of the control interface and touchscreen, is performed.
Having analysed the data collected, and consulted with Dr. Fraiser and with Dr. Jackson, I am confident that Device 1AC-0226 in its presently active state does not pose a proximity hazard.
Plan: Report these findings to General Hammond and Colonel O'Neill. Continue monitoring.
-- end notes -- logout 22:25 UTC-7:00
2001-02-20 -- login 22:40 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
S Carter Maj PhD
General Hammond and Colonel O'Neill have been fully briefed.
General Hammond orders are that we restrict our interaction with 1AC-0226 to pursuing clarification of whether or not we are capable of controlling 1AC-0226 via completely powering it down.
Plan: Test our ability to shut down 1AC-0226.
-- end notes -- logout 22:45 UTC-7:00
2001-02-20 -- login 23:24 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
S Carter Maj PhD
23:02 : Dr. Lee and I attempted a manual shutdown of 1AC-0226 via a single press of key number 1. The device appeared to shut down, in that the screen blanked. Dr. Jackson not in attendance.
The thermal radiation changes persisted, denoting the device was probably in a resting state rather than being truly powered all the way down.
23:07 : A single press of the number 1 key resulted in the immediate re-activation of the viewscreen. The display is identical to that of immediately prior to this attempt at a shutdown.
23:18 : Findings reported to General Hammond. Orders received: attempt to obtain clarification of how to shut down 1AC-0226 via accessing onscreen information.
Plan: Inform Dr. Jackson of this decision and assist him in accessing such information, in whatever way he deems most effective. Dr. Lee is aware.
-- end notes -- logout 23:35 UTC-7:00
2001-02-2 -- login 10:55 UTC-7:00
SGC Infirmary – Isolation Room 21-A
W Lee PhD
At approximately 04:00 : Major Carter arrived at Isolation Room 21-A as prearranged, in order to assist with ongoing data collection.
Monitoring as per the new procedure list (of 22:15 UTC-7:00 yesterday) had been performed throughout the night. All measures remained consistent. The viewscreen display remained unchanged.
At the time of her arrival, Dr. Jackson and I were in discussion as to the contents of 1AC-0226's viewscreen.
"What are you doing?" Major Carter almost jogged across the room toward them, obviously surprised to see them both hunched over the Troll. The question sounded partially accusatory, and probably rightly so, Bill acknowledged. They had permission now, so while technically they weren't doing anything wrong – aside from doing it at a ridiculous time of day – they really should have waited for her.
"Messing with it," Daniel abstractedly said, then pointed at another specific cell in the data table on the screen. "This one next," he instructed, and Bill did as asked. The string of characters centred on the screen grew by one more.
"The flashing orange lit up the whole room once the lights were dimmed for the night," Bill tried to excuse their having started without her. "It was really hard to get any sleep, so we finally decided to turn them off."
Standing behind Bill, she leaned forward to see the screen. "I see you didn't stop there, though, did you? I hope you've been documenting." Fortunately, she sounded more interested than annoyed. Bill held up the digital camera as evidence of his supposed diligence.
"Is that the alphabetical table?"
"Yes." Daniel pointed to another cell. "Now this one." Before Bill could respond, Carter reached from behind him and touched the screen.
Unfortunately, absolutely nothing happened. It was only then that Bill realised how much he'd been relying on the hope Daniel was wrong. On the hope that failure to find what they were looking for wouldn't matter.
She tried again, with the same result. "It won't work for you, Sam," Daniel told her. "Except for the power key, which will only switch it between hibernation and fully active now. Oh, and you can use this key ..." He pointed to the control interface indentation labelled with a six. "It's apparently broken." She frowned at him, the obvious question no doubt on the tip of her tongue.
"It does what it's supposed to do, but, no tingle," Bill filled in, working to cast off his disappointment. "The other keys all produce a faint sensation, but that one doesn't."
"Bill can use all the keys, but apparently no one else can. Except for the one without the tingle. So," Daniel shrugged. "Broken".
Bill noticed he hadn't mentioned the number three key, that both tingled and had now worked twice for Daniel, once back when Daniel had originally touched it, and again not quite an hour ago. He understood that choice, though; the less said about that specific keying sequence the better.
"Count yourself lucky, Sam," Daniel said. "It may not work for you, but it took a serious dislike to me." He flashed a wry grin, then ducked his head into Bill's field of view. "This one," he reminded him, pointing again to the cell he'd chosen, then to another. "And this one next."
Bill did as asked, and their query grew in length. "It's an on-screen keyboard, Sam. I've accessed a help file of sorts, and we're just about to ask it another question. This one and these two, and then enter, Bill."
"Another? So what have you already ... oh, wow," Carter leaned in further as Bill entered the query and the keyboard abruptly disappeared, making way for long lines of text that immediately filled the screen.
I explained to Major Carter that we had successfully turned off the incident report icons, and it was jointly decided that we would carry on interfacing with the device, in an attempt to locate information as to how to power down the device.
Images were obtained of all screen changes and will be appended when available.
We accessed the previously discovered on-screen alphabetical table via a single press of the number 6 key, as before.
Using the table as a touchscreen keyboard, we accessed what Dr. Jackson explained to essentially be a query-based information file.
"What does it say?" Carter asked, poking ineffectually at the screen a couple of times.
It was a few minutes before Daniel leaned back in his chair. "Nothing helpful." His voice was thick with fatigue as he tipped his head back and rubbed his eyes. "Sorry. I guess I messed up the question. It's giving me historical and sociocultural information. You may as well clear the screen, Bill."
Major Carter reached out and massaged his shoulder. "I'm sorry. You'll get it, though," she encouraged. "It'll be all right."
"Oh, no, that got done almost an hour ago." Daniel waved off her concern. "The instructions were dead easy to find; touch an icon and you're there. It it was a simple reversal."
Bill almost smiled as her eyes widened in obvious delight. "Oh, that's great Daniel. Are you sure? Absolutely certain?" Almost smiled ... but not quite, because despite Daniel's confidence, Bill wasn't willing to assume the instructions they'd just followed had in fact freed Daniel from the Troll's malicious interference. No matter what the display instructions told them, Bill needed to see it to believe it.
"Okay, wait just a minute here," Carter suddenly said, her smile fading. "You found the instruction and believe it worked, so ... what's wrong?"
"Who said anything was wrong?"
"Oh, please. The day Daniel Jackson ignores historical and sociocultural information is the day there's something terribly wrong. Is it that you're worried about what might happen when we test it? That's understandable, Daniel. We all ..."
Daniel grimaced as she trailed off, then hung his head when she turned a penetrating look onto him. "If you've disconnected yourself, then why are you still searching the device? And don't bother telling me you're trying to turn it off." She firmly grasped both sides of his head and brought it level to make eye contact. "What's going on?"
"I'm pretty sure you have somewhere else you need to be."
"No, Daniel, I don't."
Uh oh. Suddenly finding himself caught between two notched bowstrings, Bill slid out of his chair. He moved back, and leaned against the side of Daniel's bed where he was far enough away not to intrude but close enough to hear them. Whether included in the conversation or not, he was personally entangled enough in the situation that he had every right to hear whatever might be said.
"Jack's order was specifically just to me for a reason, Sam. You're under General Hammond's orders ..."
"Which include a directive to assist you in whatever way you think best," she shot back.
That seemed to give him pause for thought, but then he asked her, "Okay, but ... assist me in doing what, exactly?" He took one look at her face and nodded sharply. "Right. So he did specify."
To Bill's surprise, it appeared that last volley had won the battle – whatever the hell it had been about? Partway to the door, though, Carter stopped and came back. "I'm glad you're safe, Daniel." She kissed him lightly on the cheek, adding, "Stay that way. Both of you."
Under Dr. Jackson's direction, individual characters from the table were selected, by means of simply touching them on the screen, and similar to our own form of data entry, letters were combined into words and sentences, to form a query.
Dr. Jackson entered a variety of simple, inconsequential queries in order to become familiar with the system. He then entered a query preliminarily related to carrying out orders defining his priorities in interacting with the device.
The query failed, producing a response unrelated to the intended question. Dr. Jackson surmised he had erred in formulation of the question.
Major Carter left the room at this time, as she had other commitments.
They both stared at the open door after she left, Bill with questions swirling in his head and Daniel with a closed-off expression on his face. After a moment, Daniel turned back to the Troll's screen, saying, "Let's get back to work. It has to be in here somewhere."
Bill settled back in next to him. He touched what Daniel told him to touch, and erased the screen every time Daniel said they'd hit a dead end yet again. There was one time that seemed promising to Bill, when Daniel sat staring at the screen for far longer than Bill thought was warranted, given that the entry wasn't very long. When he asked if that was it, though, if that was what they were looking for, Daniel quietly said, "No. At least, not yet," and refused to elaborate.
Eventually, after two hours of touching and reading and erasing, during which time Dr. Fraiser and her staff periodically interrupted with IV checks, growing progressively more insistent about their need to deliver medical care, Bill hesitantly ventured, "What if we can't find it?" The more they bombed out, the more worried he was becoming.
"Whether we find a way to remove you from it or not, it'll be all right, Bill. You won't be going to Area 51."
"I don't know. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad." Open mounting anxiety, insert nonsensical blather. "I mean, 1AC-0226 will be there, and I am a research and development scientist ..."
"You'll be a research subject," Daniel snapped at him. "And if they ever get wind of this thing's purpose, they'll have you enslaving other research subjects against your will, and they'll torture them with matter transportation experiments."
Daniel's anger blazed incandescent as he made sure Bill wouldn't be blathering nonsense about this ever again. "Highly advanced genetics knowledge, human / non-human differentiation, Bill; it's right there in the query file. I may be just a linguist, but I think it's pretty clear: we're both proof our DNA is close enough to the creators of this thing for enough compatibility that it doesn't outright kill us. I doubt the same can be said of animals."
Bill hung his head at hearing it all laid out in the open for the first time. He'd understood the implications not long after Daniel had filled him in on what that very first keying sequence had done, but up until now they'd only actually talked about the need to reverse or defeat it. Hearing the compelling reasons voiced aloud, well, that irrevocably made it real.
But really, deep down, he'd known all along it was real, voiced or not. Deep down, he'd known enough to fear for both his and Daniel's futures pretty much as soon as he'd been told about it ... about how he'd been programmed in as the 'primarius', the master, and the only possible operator of the device. Detention, imprisonment, bondage ... elegantly enforced. He'd become the controller the moment he'd followed the very first instruction the Troll had thrown at them. And with the second sequence, ending with Daniel's single key press, he'd gained his first captive.
Bill knew Daniel was probably right about Area 51's potential test subjects. Probably even their closest DNA relatives wouldn't last long, considering the effect just two teleportations had on Daniel. Area 51 might start with the best of intentions, with animals, but their subjects would likely die far too quickly to satisfy the NID.
"Sorry, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped at you." Daniel sighed, a deep, weary exhalation that worried Bill even further. He sounded just about done in.
If this man couldn't find a way to release him, no one could. "So what are we going to do?" Bill whispered, not really expecting a response. What was there to say?
"Jack ordered me to figure this out, to take care of it, and I will," Daniel told him.
Bill's brain stalled out momentarily, at that. But a second later, with a mental jolt, he abruptly understood what Daniel and Major Carter had been arguing about. And wow, had he been slow on the uptake, or what? "Rope," he blurted. "He gave you some rope. Colonel O'Neill realised the order to send the Troll to Area 51 meant you'd have to go with it. So he gave you an open-ended order that ... "
It was as if a locked gate had suddenly been opened, giving him a glimpse into Colonel O'Neill's domain. "He's transferred the responsibility onto himself, if there's any fallout from us skirting around General Hammond's orders."
Daniel nodded. "I'm the only one who can read the language, and you're under my direction right now, so you're protected. You understand? You are under my direction here." When Bill nodded that, yes, he understood, Daniel told him, "But Sam isn't. She's vulnerable, Bill. Especially if anything goes astray here."
Goes astray? "Uh, goes astray, how?" Bill hesitantly asked, not sure he wanted to know just how things could go any further sideways than they already had.
Dr. Fraiser bustled in, stopping beside them, hands on hips. "You need to stop before you both collapse from exhaustion. I'll give you twenty minutes more, and not a minute longer." Her voice softened with understanding, though, as she told them, "There are some people on the way from Area 51. General Hammond's given them permission to see this thing. They should be here in a couple of hours."
Dr. Jackson reformulated the question, however the next attempt also produced an unrelated response. He continued to attempt to successfully refine the question.
Following two hours of such efforts, in spite of a lack of success Dr. Jackson affirmed his commitment to successfully carrying out his orders. However, Dr. Fraiser intervened. She insisted we postpone further attempts until a later time, as Dr. Jackson required medical attention.
Dr. Fraiser further informed us of the impending visit of Area 51 personnel.
As she left, Daniel sagged back in his seat and muttered something indistinct under his breath that sounded to Bill vaguely like, "Okay, so now it's yet" ... but that didn't sound like it could mean anything, so he figured he must have heard it wrong.
With another long sigh, Daniel tiredly sat back up and suggested, "Let's just try one more thing, okay? It'll just take a minute, then we should probably pack it up for a while."
Bill settled back in at his side, touching this and that until a full query was created and Daniel told him to enter it. It was fairly short and didn't take long to read. Without having him clear the screen, Daniel rattled off a longish sequence of key presses so quickly that Bill had a little trouble keeping up. But he did, and right after he keyed the last one, the screen blanked. Completely blanked, so that Bill thought maybe they'd actually just powered the thing right the way down as they'd been ordered – no, too soon; you're still in there, his fear shouted at him – but then the Troll abruptly blinked back to life.
The screen was blank, just a sheet of blueish-white. No query response, no keyboard, no nothing. "Was that supposed to happen?" Bill asked, turning to look at Daniel. "What was that?"
Daniel rubbed his mouth, mumbling through his hand. "Ah, I have no idea." He then spoke up more clearly. Surprisingly briskly, in fact, for someone so very tired. "Okay, so let's do this: press three, three, one, then six, in that order ... then let's go have some breakfast."
Okay, why not. As Bill reached for the control interface, though, Daniel stopped him with a touch to his hand. "Bill, I realise you feel the beaming thing is an important technology, that it should be studied, and I understand why ... but I think you know how the NID might choose to study it, if they knew what this thing can do, right?"
Right. Except, when it came right down to it ... "I'm not sure I can lie, Daniel," Bill whispered. At what price, silence?
"Yeah, I know. That's okay," Daniel said. "Three, three, one, six, Bill, in that order. We'll talk about it later."
We jointly agreed to try one last query prior to abandoning our efforts until later in the day. That query offered instructions for two separate, sequential sequences of key presses, which we attempted.
The result was that the viewscreen momentarily blanked, then re-activated to display a single line of text which Dr. Jackson translated as the rough equivalent of "waiting, input when ready".
07:44 : Interaction with Device 1AC-0226 terminated upon the insistence of Dr. Fraiser.
At approximately 08:15 : Dr. Jackson was feeling unwell, and received medication.
08:50 : I completed a repeat of all data collection measures, performed as per latest procedure list.
All measures unchanged from last previous. Cyclical temperature variations of the previously noted thermal changes (on the front of the pedestal) remained unchanged. Ongoing real-time temperature monitoring maintained.
The device remained active, with a single line of text on the display, as noted above.
10:32 : I was awakened by the arrival of Area 51 personnel, accompanied by Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill. Colonel O'Neill chose to absent himself to Dr. Jackson's bedside.
Dr. Jackson remained deeply asleep. Colonel O'Neill refused Area 51 personnel's request to wake Dr. Jackson for confirmation of the translation of the single line of text on 1AC-0226's display. I explained to them that Dr. Jackson had already translated the line as indicating the device was in some sort of waiting or ready state.
10:35 : A member of the Area 51 'official rubbernecking bystanders club' (as per Colonel O'Neill) unexpectedly reached out and touched the control interface. He claims he touched the indentation key number 6 in the desire to activate the onscreen keyboard. Major Carter concurs as to the key, as she was standing directly behind him and had good view of the control interface panel.
The device immediately shut down. The attached temperature monitor pad registered a prompt reduction in heat at the front panel of the pedestal.
A number of attempts, by several different people, to restart the device using control key number 1 (formerly the power key) failed. After some time of this, Major Carter requested that I attempt to restart the device. My attempt also failed. I further attempted to gain a response by pressing all the control panel indentations singly and jointly in various combinations, also without success.
At approximately 10:48 : Colonel O'Neill remained adamant in his refusal to wake Dr. Jackson. I do not blame him. It's a dumb request, as Device 1AC-0226 is currently non-operational and there's nothing to read. Major Carter suggested that she and Area 51 personnel adjourn to the lab to study The Research File.
At approximately 10:50 : Major Carter and all Area 51 personnel, save one who remains with Device 1AC-0226 to further observe whatever he wants to observe, have left the infirmary. Colonel O'Neill remains. He appears quite content.
Plan: Not my purview.
The control interface is completely unresponsive. I am perplexed as to what could have caused the sudden shutdown. Other than the enigmatic 'ready-state' message on the screen prior to Area 51 personnel's interference with 1AC-0226, there was nothing untoward nor ambiguous in my and Dr. Jackson's interaction with the device nor any indication that it was about to malfunction.
I remain in attendance.
For the record – even though this is not the appropriate record in which to note this – I would like to express my thanks to Major Carter and Dr. Jackson, and also to Colonel O'Neill, for such an instructive experience.
-- end notes -- logout 11:45 UTC-7:00
2001-02-21 -- login 15:44 UTC-7:00
Engineering Physics Lab 19C
S Carter Maj PhD
This entry is made in order to complete the SGC local Research Record on Device 1AC-0226.
All data tables and detailed procedure notes have been updated and bundled with all existing image and translation files, in preparation for sending to Area 51. As Area 51 has no interest in narrative notes, this narrative file will not accompany the data bundle.
Unfortunately, due to a camera malfunction resulting in images not being saved to the digital memory card, images taken of the viewscreen display during Dr. Jackson and Dr. Lee's interaction with the device earlier today are unavailable.
Transfer of the device itself to Area 51 is pending Dr. Fraiser's assessment as to Dr. Jackson's fitness to leave the infirmary – it will not be moved until such time as Dr. Jackson can be moved.
Dr. Jackson appears confident that a test of his ability to safely be removed from the proximity of 1AC-0226 will be successful. Dr. Fraiser remains unwilling to release him as yet. She is also unwilling to move the device from the infirmary as a means of performing the test; as the device pulls Dr. Jackson back to its location, she is concerned about a delay in treatment should the test fail. Area 51 will just have to wait.
Dr. Lee has successfully returned to the lab, and beyond, with no adverse events as a result of the increase in distance from Device 1AC-0226. This may be inconsequential, however; both he and Dr. Jackson disagreed with the prevailing sentiment that Dr. Lee might have been afflicted with the same misfortune as was Dr. Jackson, and neither belief was ever tested before now.
Device 1AC-0226 remains unresponsive, including to Area 51 personnel's rash application of high voltage electrical stimulation. The previously increased, cyclical thermal radiation from the front pedestal panel has been constantly monitored, and as at 12:15 UTC-7:00 was found to have returned to its earliest measured state – thermal reading in that area is now identical in temperature and stability to the remainder of the device's shell.
I have thoroughly reviewed all documentation and data on Device 1AC-0226, and cannot find any indication as to why it powered down, nor why it remains unresponsive. The control interface appears dead, however some hope remains that 1AC-0226 may yet respond to stimulation at some point in the future. If not, my recommendation to Area 51 would be to pursue breaching the external shell, in order to gain access to its interior as an alternative means of study.
While there is no tangible evidence toward which he can point in support of his belief, it is Dr. Jackson's opinion that Device 1AC-0226 is bricked.
-- File closed: 2001-02-21 , 16: 00 UTC-7:00 -- logout 16: 01 UTC-7:00