Broken Friends

Chapter 15

Sam returned to the SGC in the late morning after allowing herself a bit of sleeping in. She hadn’t gotten quite as much sleep as she wanted, the events at Jack’s house nagging at the back of her mind, but she was still more well-rested than she had been for a good while. Upon entering her lab she found it abandoned, a fact that raised her hopes that the linguistics team had solved her problem as promised. After checking over the equipment, just in case they’d happened to disconnect or dislocate something in their work, she headed for the archaeology and linguistics department located around Daniel’s lab.

The corridor seemed almost as unpopulated as her lab. She finally found one of the linguists that had worked on the alien data in his office, sleeping on top of his desk. The office was strikingly similar to Daniel’s lab, with at least a dozen books and twice as many untidy piles of notes scattered across the desk around the sleeping man. Sam even thought she recognized some of the books as volumes she’d seen in Daniel’s bookshelf.

“Doctor Sax?” she called as she knocked softly on the open door. The doctor – ph. – came awake with a start despite her cautiousness.

“Hm, what, huh, wha…” he blurted while disorientedly adjusting his glasses and removing a sheet of notes stuck to his cheek.

“Doctor Sax,” Sam repeated, alerting him to what had woken him up and gave him a small wave when he noticed her.

“Oh, hello, Major Carter. How may I help you?”

“Have you got any results for me?”

He looked confused so she continued,

“About the data from PQX-830?”

Remembrance quickly dawned on the still sleepy linguist’s face.

“Yes, yes. It’s here somewhere,” He sifted thought the mess of papers on his desk and pulled out a wad of notes marked in different colored tags. “Alright, we have a few diverging theories…”

Sam sighed. That’s what you get for putting a team on it. Dr. Sax didn’t notice her annoyance as he continued explaining.

“We believe the language could be a derivate of Turkish or Hindi. The text itself seems completely unique for the planet and has no linkage to any written language on Earth, so unfortunately the letters themselves couldn’t lend us any aid in determining the origin for the language. Hence we have two possible translations for you, based on probable and logical language construction.”

Sam accepted the pile of papers he handed to her with a half-hearted “thank you”. Heading back towards her lab she hoped that the fact that she held two possible translations in her hand instead of the one she had expected wouldn’t affect her continued work with the data chip.

Once in her lab she closed the door behind her to be undisturbed. She placed the translations on the table while she switched the computers on. Everything ready she finally picked up the linguists’ notes to read them. To her initial relief the notes were fairly well structured, the two translations running parallel over the page together with the original text, but the positive feeling quickly faded when she began reading.

Where she had hoped that the differences would be insignificant, they were in fact devastatingly divergent. If she chose one she would be dividing the data in one way, but if she chose the other she would have to do it another way. If she picked the wrong one she would be risking fragmentation of the information to the point where she in best case would be creating an endless amount of extra work for anyone who was tasked with studying it, and in worst case make it completely unreadable.

With an exasperated sigh she leaned back in her chair. Damn it! Of course, she could take a chance and hope that the one she picked was right, but with no majority vote from the translators she had no idea which one was the best choice. What do I do now? Maybe I should have Daniel take a look at it and tell me which one I should pick. She straightened up when the roguish idea struck her. After all, the linguistics team has spared him a bit of the work so I wouldn’t be violating Janet’s orders too much. Plus, seeing how badly we manage down here without him might make him feel a bit better. Reassured by her reasoning she rose and shoved the translations into her bag.

Bringing it over to Daniel and Jack’s place would have to wait until later though; she did have at least a dozen of other projects that needed her attention before she could leave the mountain with good conscience. The Stargate dialing system was due for a diagnostic overview, something that General Hammond had pointed out to her now that SG-1 was on stand down awaiting Daniel’s recovery.

It was actually nice to be earth-bound for once and have a chance to catch up on her lagging work. The past few months had been intense and they had hardly even had time to welcome Daniel home properly after his descension. We should have a party, Sam thought as she made her way down to the control room.

Sergeant Walter Harriman was on duty at the central computer and greeted her with the special warmth of the family of most permanent members of the SGC.

“Major Carter,” he said with a smile and a nod that replaced the rising and saluting. They had worked together for so long now that strict protocol had long since become simply annoying.

“Hello, Walter. The general asked me to run some diagnostics. Do you have time to help me?”

“Of course, Major.”

Walter rolled his chair out of the way to let her access the main monitor. While she logged in and booted up the diagnostics tools he matched her actions on the neighboring screen. The two computers would be running the tests simultaneously to avoid any mistakes that could hide a crucial malfunction. Having initiated the run-through there wasn’t much they could do but monitor the process, since they couldn’t leave it unsupervised. Sam turned to Walter to let him in on an idea that was slowly forming in her head.

“I’ve been thinking, Walter. We’re long overdue for a party.”

“Yes, ma’am. Any special occasion?” Walter responded jovially. Parties were always good, in his opinion, and they did try to arrange one for the personnel of SGC from time to time. If for no other reason to lift the spirits and let loose some of the tension that their life-or-death business inevitable built up.

“Well we haven’t had a real welcome home party for Daniel,” Sam suggested. Walter nodded. Daniel’s return was an excellent occasion.

“I hear you, ma’am. I’ve talked to a few of the guys about it actually and there are a lot of us that would like to have a chance to tell him how glad we are to have him back.”

“So you’ll help me pull it together?”

“Sure, when do you want it?”

Sam grinned. I can always count on Walter.

“I might have to check with Dr. Fraiser,” she said. “Could be Daniel’s not quite ready for that kind of excitement, but as soon as she gives her go-ahead I think would be good.”

“I’ll get the ball rolling, ma’am, and we’ll be ready to pull it off whenever you give the word.” Walter smiled conspiratorially and was already beginning to check off his mental list of key party arranging people on the base.

Sam felt reassured the party would be a hit; it always was when Walter was in on the planning. The man was a veritable spider in the web that was personal relations on-base. If there was someone he didn’t know, that person was probably not really worth knowing.

The diagnostics took the better part of the day, quite a bit longer than Sam had expected, and she didn’t end up leaving the base until late in the evening. The translations notes were still in her bag but since it was so late she decided going over to Daniel with them would have to wait to another day.

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