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Posted January 27, 2006
Fan Fiction: Eclipse
Sam shifted in her chair, mentally cursing the Colonel for not coming with her to this meeting. Paperwork? Right. He just didn't want to paste on a supportive smile and try to act interested in a science mission, even if it had been his idea in the first place. Lately, whenever they got a break from military-themed missions or end-of-the-world scenarios they'd been doing all the Daniel-esque archaeological surveys they'd avoided the year he was gone. It was her turn for a working vacation, Jack had said. Now she just had to sell the General on it.
"Sir, I'm aware that PM3-44G is not on the priority list for future missions. The initial MALP data indicated an extremely dry environment, with a very long planetary day and no signs of either past occupation or unusual mineral deposits. However, further examination of the data has revealed some interesting anomalies."
The general glanced back down at the report folder in his hands, lips pursed, then raised his eyebrows at her. "If you are referring to the multiple suns, Major, may I remind you that this is not the first time we have encountered that phenomenon?"
Sam winced. She hardly needed reminding; she had been on the SG team on the mission in question. There had not been enough time to send a MALP through for the customary extended survey before the team had Gated through, and they had been unaware that P9Q-281 had possessed two suns. They had been stranded on the planet by a malfunctioning DHD, and had nearly died of the heat before Jack, affected by a mental download from an Ancient device, had miraculously managed to come up with repair instructions.
"I'm aware of that, sir," she said, "but this system is different. The surface of the planet is very warm, but not enough to endanger human life, as long as we bring plenty of water. There are three suns, not two, and they appear to be aligned in such a way that the environment maintains an almost steady temperature; the MALP detected a variance of only ten degrees Fahrenheit during the entire 48 hours it was there, and the planet went through at least one full rotation in that time frame. I would need to do a more in-depth study of the planetary alignments in the system to be sure, but it looks as though PM3-44G never experiences true nightfall; at most, there might be an hour or so of semi-twilight while all three of the suns are at or near the horizon."
"I take it this is highly unusual?" Hammond asked, his expression slowly shifting from mild disapproval toward indulgent interest.
"Very much so, sir," Sam confirmed, nodding slightly, eyes wide. "The odds of a stable system like this forming naturally are quite small. I would, of course, be unable to do much direct observation due to the solar glare, but I think a UAV with a special electronics package could provide some of the data I'd need to confirm my hypothesis. Also, there was enough organic material in the samples to suggest that there is carbon-based life on the planet somewhere, or was, at some point; I'd like the chance to explore that."
She took a deep breath; time to hit some selling points. No matter how much the General liked his flagship team, he would need some sort of justification to note in the files. "Further, it seems likely that the third sun, the smallest, was once a gas giant like our Jupiter. If that is the case, and PM3-44G was a more hospitable planet at some point in the past, then Daniel might have a chance at finding some evidence of civilization. There had to have been a reason for the Ancients to put a Gate there, after all. If not, then our investigation might still be able to shed some light on the type of life-forms that might flourish in other extremely dry environments a little closer to home. Mars, for example. If NASA is serious about eventually colonizing the planet, they'll need to do more than just thicken up the atmosphere. The soil there is extremely sterile, and there is very little water available, so any organism that could be introduced without requiring extensive imports from Earth would be extremely valuable."
"Breathe, Major," the General said, chuckling quietly, and closed the report folder. "All right, you've convinced me. I'll put PM3-44G into the schedule for next week. Now go on; you haven't left the base before me one day this week."
"Ah, yes sir. Thank you, sir." Sam grinned at him, a little embarrassed but exultant at having won her point. Science-oriented or not, this was going to be a mission for the record books; she could feel it in her bones.
© 2006 Jedi Buttercup.