((30 second recap of "Sojourn" and "Paragon"))
Having settled into work at Stargate Command quite well, Jason Carter
is in a research lab with Dr. Bill Lee
, and the two have already begun to bicker. Jason is of the belief that they should give up on the now years-old attempt to construct a time dilation device with interstellar ranges, but his older partner believes it's still worth merit. The young man's aunt, Col. Samantha Carter
, proposed it at the start of the war with the Der'kal as a way to contain the growing threat ("Behind Enemy Lines"), but they were never able to get a working model. Now Lee wants to keep the research as a potential counter to future conflicts, but Jason doesn't see the point. They lack the power generation, for one, and there would be infinite unforeseen consequences to freezing time across dozens of star systems. Innocents would inevitably be caught in the bubble, and they'd risk trapping people in there with whatever they were trying to keep locked away. Maybe they can pull out the file and try again in a decade or two, but for now, there are better things to work on.
Dropping the subject for now, Lee asks if Jason can be a bit more specific. After all, he still has the data crystal
Janus gave him before he died ("Sojourn"), and it had a collection of the Lantean's memories from his adventure through time. As Bill recalls, it has an extensive record of what's scheduled to happen in the coming years, so why not just pull it out and see what they end up inventing? Then he laughs, pointing out that they'd be wreaking all sorts of havoc with the timeline. Smirking, Jason admits it'd be a goldmine for new ideas, but that's exactly the problem they'd run into. He pulls out the necklace on which he keens the crystal and gives it a tug, saying that he hasn't so much as peeked since he got it. Maybe someday he'll sneak a look, thug he never has any intention of sharing what he sees. The two of them laugh again, then turn around when there's a knock at the lab door. A pair of UN soldiers are there with a female official, and she smiles warmly when she sees the crystal around Jason's neck before asking if they have a moment to talk.
Upstairs, Dr. Danielle Talbot and Maj. Rebbecca Eaton are in the control room watching coverage of a meeting of the UN General Assembly at the other end of Manhattan. It's the first such event since the transition of power to the organization from the now-defunct Free People of Earth ("The Parting of Ways, Part 2"). Sipping some coffee, Rebbecca points to the ambassador from New Zealand, boasting that her home nation is on the Security Council this year. And with the reforms made to the supranational body following Earth's liberation, that actually means something now. Danielle chuckles, teasing that America's been on the Council all along, but she mockingly wishes Eaton the best of luck in catching up. It should be an interesting meeting all the same, and the diplomats have quite a mess to work out in the aftermath of the Der'kal occupation. The major cities may have been put back together, but the vast majority of the planet is still in desperate need of repair.
Suddenly, they hear shouting from the stairs, and they look out to see Jason Carter ranting at a woman flanked by two soldiers coming towards them. Raising an eyebrow, Talbot remarks that he's not usually one to cause a fuss, he's usually too tied up in his work down in the research wing. The two of them walk over to the entrance and ask who their visitor is, and the official introduces herself as Linda Dames
, a Welsh political scientist now working for the United Nations. She explains that she politely requested the young Carter's presence at UNHQ to discuss a matter of planetary importance, and he refuses to cooperate. Glaring at her, Jason steps forward and says that she wanted him to hand over Janus's memory storage device for study and information download at a UN facility, and that's something he's never going to do. It was given to him in trust and he's not about to betray that.
Holding up a hand, Danielle asks if they're talking about the same thing she thinks they are; the crystal containing an account of the future, the one Janus passed on after his ship came crashing down at the Beta Site. Dames nods, saying that the Committee on Interstellar Affairs has requested the record for examination. They hope to provide a history book of sorts for the next few centuries and beyond that they can use to foresee events like the numerous alien invasions the galaxy has suffered. Now it's Eaton's turn to hold up a hand; the UN wants to get a grasp on exactly how the future's going to unfold? Ms. Dames doesn't see anything wrong with that, but Rebbecca already understands why Jason reacted so strongly to the idea. This sounds like it could go very, very bad, very, very quickly. But the official isn't too concerned about that, handing over a federal warrant to take the prodigy into custody along with the crystal. The Pentagon is apparently very interested in the direction this could go.
Talbot looks over the paper for a long moment, hoping to see some loophole. But as a former employee of the government and United Nations itself, she already knows there won't be one. Sighing, she hands it back and tells Jason that he'll have to accompany Ms. Dames back to UNHQ for now. But she promises to get a call to Homeworld Command and demand to speak to someone about this as soon as she can. Not dissuaded, Dames smiles at her sweetly and thanks her for the cooperation. Her escorts turn Jason toward the exit and lead him down the stairs, the young man staring back at Eaton and Talbot worriedly.
It doesnâ€™t take long for them to gather the rest of the team and bring them up to speed, and Col. Cameron Mitchell leads them out the Oâ€™Neill Terminalâ€™s public exit toward a waiting SUV. Going through a dossier of personnel on the Committee mentioned by Linda Dames, Dr. Daniel Jackson notes that there are a good number of pre-conquest Earth power players represented. Most positions were replaced by either resistance fighters or members of the refugee faction when global governments got back on their feet. But here they have a body made up of political and corporate interests from the â€œold order,â€ so to speak, individuals who Daniel keenly remembers did everything they could to resist the influence of the Alliance of Great Races. Nodding, Vala Mal Doran asks if he thinks they want Janusâ€™s crystal to continue the same old fight, using the knowledge to blunt the power of the Allies. If it were to succeed, Earth could effectively guarantee that it remains the most powerful force in the Milky Way for centuries, if not forever. Itâ€™s a worthwhile goal, of course, but not like this.
They pull up in front of the UN compound a few minutes later, brushing past the resurgent media and security and ducking inside. Taking the dossier from Daniel, Mitchell reads off the three Committee heads theyâ€™ll be dealing with shortly, noting that they are, indeed, all important figures from before the Derâ€™kal sacked Earth (â€œStar By Starâ€). The first is an appointee from China, Hu Feng
, who oversaw the actions of domestic corporations for the Communist Party. The second, a German by the name of Joseph Bosse
, was a key member of the European Parliament and proved instrumental in backroom EU political deals. Lastly is the daughter of a Brazilian industrialist, Silvia Covas
, who has earned a reputation as a brilliant but ruthless businesswoman in her own right. Whistling appreciatively, Eaton mutters that theyâ€™ll have their work cut out for them, but their best bet is probably to focus on Bosse first. She has no idea how China managed to get themselves a seat on the board given that their actions doomed the planet (â€œDivided We Fallâ€), and the Brazilian sounds like someone uninterested in the consequences when the potential bounty is so great. Cameron agrees, and they turn a corner toward the appropriate wing of the building.
In one of the spacious hearing chambers nearby, the three world figures are sitting behind a raised wooden platform, looking down at Jason Carter and the two soldiers that escorted him there. Pulling off his glasses, Mr. Feng asks the guards to hand over the data crystal in question to verify that itâ€™s the one they want. Nodding, one of them extends a hand and asks the young man to give it up. When he doesnâ€™t, the other grabs the chain and yanks it free, passing it up to the Committee over its ownerâ€™s forceful objections. The three of them take turns looking it over, then place it on the edge of the desk, none of them looking away for more than a few seconds at a time. Ms. Covas scans an ISGC report and points out that this isnâ€™t an ordinary data storage device; it has no plug, and works via neural interface on contact. And of course, itâ€™s coded to respond only to Jasonâ€™s DNA, meaning theyâ€™ll need him to cooperate in order to get a look at its contents.
Entering from the hall, Mitchell notes that itâ€™d be pretty unethical to force someone to do that, and even more unethical to hook them up to a memory transfer device against their will afterwards. Mr. Bosse shifts uncomfortable, but Feng just sneers, telling the others that he knew SG-1 would make their way down here eventually. Waving them off, Covas suggests the team get their facts straight before making such bold assumptions. They have no intention of forcing Jason to do anything, and theyâ€™ve already thought up a number of ways to continue should he absolutely refuse to work with them. For example, they have technology from Atlantis capable of creating biological Replicators (SGA: â€œThis Mortal Coilâ€). They could easily use some of the DNA they already have on record and make a copy, or even just a culture of genetic matter hooked up to a computer program. The possibilities are endless, really.
Except, interrupts Daniel, for what theyâ€™re talking about doing here. Creating a repository of how the future is meant to play out would be disastrous, and they could spend a year going into detail on them. Pulling away from his guards, Jason says that theyâ€™re talking about messing with the fabric of reality itself; they could completely erase time as they know it. The history they create may work a dozen times after they begin changing events, but eventually things will start to shift in a big way. And when that happens, the future that Janus saw will be gone forever, replaced by something completely unforeseen. But thereâ€™s more to it than just the potential alterations this would make to the timeline, thereâ€™s the fact of what the Committee is proposing in and of itself.