"TORMENT OF TANTALUS"
Robert C. Cooper
On a tv screen, some men in white coats, are manually dialling
A chevron engages
"First lock engaged."
The camera pans back and we see Daniel watching the old film
on a monitor. Jack enters the room
"You know we're supposed to be at that
physical assessment thing."
"Oh yeah, I'll go, I'll go, it's just,
let me finish this reel."
"You know you seem a tad obsessed with
"This was transferred from film of experiments
done on the gate in 1945, you don't
find that the least bit intriguing?"
Oh yeah, nothing piques my interest
more then repeated failure."
"Look at them, they're turning the gate
manually, for Gods sake, it's incredible."
"How many hours of this stuff have you
"There's no conclusion of the file,
no summery, no notes, no reason to explain
why they gave up."
"Well whole boxes of material could
"No, the Pentagon said this was everything."
"Oh please, the Pentagon's lost entire
countries. Come on! Doctors have two
days of tests planned for us. Wonderful
On the screen, a man put's on an old fashioned diving helmet
and walks up to the gate, which is open.
"Obviously not. This doesn't make any
sense. Why wouldn't someone have told
us this. I mean, why would they stop
their research if they actually managed
to turn it on?"
The man in the helmet has a rope attached to him. He goes through
the gate, which shuts off and severs teh rope.
Catherine Langford gets out of a car and walks up to her house.
A main answers the door
"Mrs. Langford, there is a young man
waiting for you in the kitchen."
"You let a strange young man in the
"Yes. I'm sorry, he says he knows you."
"Hello. I'm sorry, I hope you don't
"How long have you been back? Oh, my
God why are you back? Colonel O'Neill
said you stayed on Abydos."
"I see you got the amulet."
"Yes of course, I never take it off.
Why avoid my question? What's this all
"Colonel O'Neill, Doctor Jackson was
supposed to briefing SG4 this morning,
he's not here and he's not answering
our pages. Any idea where he is?"
"I haven't seen him in a while, sir."
Back at Catherine's house
"Catherine I couldn't tell you."
"They wouldn't let me! Everything is,
classified, you know."
"When did you become an upstanding member
of the military?"
"I'm not, exactly. And that's why I'm
" I'll make you some tea, then you can
go back to your Stargate Command." "Thousands
of Stargates, planetary shifts. Didn't
anybody think I might be interested?
"That's why I came."
"Now, six months later. You could of
told me sooner."
"Yes, just like you could have told
me there were experiments done on the
gate in 1945."
"My father worked on the research team
that worked on the gate during the war.
Actually, they didn't know what it was
then. But President Roosevelt was like
that, curious. The suspected the gate
was a weapon, could be used as one.
Nothing ever came of it, how do you
"The Pentagon has recently been declassifying
old mistrials, they ran across a number
of file boxes that dealt with the old
experiments. They sent them to us."
"You weren't involved with the research?"
"The military had little use for a 21
year old girl at that time, neither
did my father. I only know what little
I overheard him and Earnest Talking
"I'm sorry, who's Earnest?"
Flashback to the past. A young Earnest and Catherine are sitting
at a fireside
"We get as far as entering the fifth
symbol and the whole room starts to
shake. Today one of the generators exploded
from the feed back."
"Are you going to talk to my father?"
"Oh he know, he was there."
"I might about us."
"Oh. Yes I will."
"Maybe it's supposed to do that?"
"The ring. Maybe it's supposed to shake."
"I don't think so."
"Are you using alternate or direct current
to charge it?"
"Alternate, I thing, why?"
"Try using direct. It might prevent
the charge from bouncing back to the
generator. And you should talk to my
"I will, I promise."
Back to the present
"So you didn't know the government kept
the files from the original experiment?"
"I had my fathers notes. He told me
that was everything they had. Do you
know how many administrations I had
to petition to get this program started
up again? Forty years had passed; the
information was classified and buried.
I never asked for the files, because
I thought I had them. General West never
offered, because he probably didn't
even know they existed."
"So, you don't know that they turned
the gate on in 1945."
Earnest and Catherine's father are sitting at a table
"There must be over a 100 million possible
combinations. If it's merely a combination
lock used to turn it on, why thirty
nine? Why not six?"
"What are you saying?"
They are not combinations, there destinations,
and we just found one."
Doorway to Heaven could mean any number
of different things. It could simply
mean that anyone who passes through
there will die.
Catherine brings in some tea
For example. Catherine, we have a maid
for a reason."
"I wanted to do it."
"No, I never knew they turned it on.
My father never told me. It wasn't in
his notes either."
"Then there is something more you should
see. Here, watch this."
He shows her the tape
Back in the past
"There was an accident today. An explosion
in the lab."
"I'm so sorry."
"So the man who went through the gate
"Yes. My father must have lied to me.
He said Ernest died in an accident,
"Why would he do that?"
"He probably thought he was protecting
"From knowing that the man I was supposed
to marry chose to risk his life and
go through the Stargate without even
talking to me about it. He choose his
idea, his work, over me."
"I'm sure that he believe that he, that
he would come back."
"He was so young, so full of passion,
like you. You reminded me of him when
I first saw you. That's why I new you
would solve the mysteries of the gate."
"Catherine, I wasn't supposed to show
you this. Actually I wasn't supposed
to show you any of this but now. Computer
enhancements, from the film footage.
I was able to isolate the chevrons that
were locked in before Earnest went through.
"No, another planet, with similar co-ordinates.
And we can go there."
Daniel and Catherine are standing by the table. Hammond enters
Have you completely lost your mind?!?
Who authorized you to revile classified
information to a civilian?"
"If you will just let me explain."
"This is a serious breach in protocol.
These rules exist for a reason, Doctor,
do you think that you are above them?"
"No, no, I..
Jack and Teal'c enter
"It's good to see you again. I trust
the General is making you feel right
"So far he actually sounds worst then
He's a teddy bear."
" Colonel O'Neill, did you authorize
Dr. Daniel Jackson to revel classified
information to this civilian?"
"Absolutely not, sir. In fact I advised
him not to say anything to her. Despite
the fact that she used to run the entire
program, and is responsible for most
of our current knowledge about the gate."
"I'm aware of who she is, Colonel."
"Catherine, this is Teal'c. Teal'c,
this is Catherine."
"Daniel, has told me all about you,
such a pleasure."
She shakes his hand
"Colonel, are you aware of the request
Dr. Jackson has most currently tangled?"
"You've go to go that one step further
"The man who entered the gate in 1945,
was Catherine's fiancée. Now I have
the address of the planet he went to
and we can go there."
"And I'm coming with you."
"General, we know where Earnest Littlefield
went. He could still be alive. A man
who had the vision to see the Stargate
for what it really was, a half a century
before anyone else."
"He sounds like a bonafide American
Sam enters the room
"Sir, there may be another reason to
got to this planet."
"Yes sir. It seems the planet in question
is close to Abydos, so it uses many
of the same points in space locators.
Which explains why the team in 45 could
conceivably dial in with out compensating
for planetary shift. But sir the planet
in question is not on the cartouche
we found on Abydos."
"What's the significance in that?"
"The Goa'uld haven't charted it. They
may not even have been there."
"If the Goa'ulds haven't been to this
plant, and there is obviously a gate
there. Then we would have unquestionable
proof that they didn't build the Stargates."
"The Goa'uld are scavengers, since they
have not traveled to this planet, we
could find technologies to use against
"When it is appropriate."
"Thank you. Thank all off you for your
very thorough analysis of the situation.
But I was already convinced by Dr. Jackson's
initial argument. Earnest Littlefield
could still be alive, and we shouldn't
try to find him."
Gateroom. Daniel, Jack and Catherine are at the bottom of the
ramp. The two men are on either side of her and have their arms
linked with hers. Teal'c and Sam go through the gate. The other
three slowly make their way up to the gate.
"It's a piece of cake. Ready?"
They go through the gate and come out the other side
"Huh, that was some piece of cake!"
"It's hot in here."
"Oh yeah. Anybody see away in or out
of this place?"
"There appears to be only two doorways."
A naked man appears. Presumably, Earnest Littlefield
"Aw, for crying' out loud.
"Dr. Littlefield?" "Earnest?" Hello,
I'm Daniel Jackson, we just came from
the Stargate.Yes, that thing...Star-gate."
Earnest pushes Daniel
Earnest sniffs back some tears and hugs Daniel
"It's about time."
He walks over and hugs Jack
He walks towards Sam and she just manages to jump out of the
He hugs Teal'c instead
"Daniel, do something."
Daniel points towards Catherine
"You don't recognize me."
He mumbles something and leaves the room
"Fifty years, that's all he has to say."
I'll go see if I can find him."
Daniel follows him and comes to a room that has a covered dais
in the middle
Do you have anything to wear?"Clothes?"
"Oh, going home."
"Yes, we're taking you home.
Earnest puts on some old rags
"So much time. Did no one try again?"
"That's along story. Are there other
people here?""No one else lives here?
How about nearby?" E"Are you saying
you have been completely alone here
for 50 years?"
Earnest hands him some fruit
Back with Sam and Catherine
"I don't know what I expected. I mean
I can't believe he's right here. Light
years away but still so close, all this
"I think he's probably having a little
trouble dealing with it to."
"I felt like a school girl. My heart
was beating faster then when I came
through the gate! Ha, you think you're
old and wise."
"I don't think the heart ever grows
"I can't even fathom what he's been
through. Such a long time. I don't even
know that man."
"Why don't you go and talk to him?"
Daniel finds Earnests journal
"It's a calendar, isn't it?"Have you
been able to figure out who built this
place, or who used to live here?"
""Repository, philosophy, astronomy"
"I assume you mean the ancient Egyptian
city. People would could come from everywhere
to gather, scholars, community leaders.
It was also the central place of worship
for Ra. Are there ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs
here? Symbols that indicate Ra? This
could be very important."
Daniel reads the book
"'Four distinct languages, writing is
unlike anything I have seen on earth.
Catherine say's there probably alien.'
"She found me long ago."
"'We walked for miles today, but still
found no signs of civilization. Catherine
seems concerned, but I am not. As long
as she is here with me, I will never
feel alone. It seems impossible, but
everyday were here together, I love
"My father lied to me."
I'll leave you two."
Daniel leaves the room
"Yes, your going to have to believe.
This isn't easy for me either."
You look, different."
"I'm old Earnest. So are you."
"We, we had a wonderful life together."
"I couldn't imagine you Earnest. In
my mind, we didn't have a wonderful
life together. I thought you were dead."
"Forgave me. You forgave me long ago."
"No. I didn't."
"Doesn't seem to be anybody else around.
I tell you this place used to be pretty
sweet, but it's seen better days if
you know what I mean."
"I thing Professor Littlefield has been
alone since he got here."
"A storm approaches."
"A pretty big one at that."
"It comes every year."
"Now look kids, we're right on the edge
of a cliff here, I don't think this
place can stand another big hit."
"We should take our leave."
"No we can't, not yet. We have only
begun to explore this place. Figure
out what it is, what it used to be."
"We'll launch a survey balloon. Now
lets take the professor and Catherine
home, we'll leave the probe here, let
it monitor the situation, until the
storm blows over, then we'll come back.
"I tried for years to make it work."
"You never tried to entering different
glyphs in this thing?""We call this
the Dial-Home Device. Basically you
enter the correct address and..."
"Daniel, Why don't we just show him."of
SG-1 goes up to the DHD. A look of shock
crosses the faces as the look at it.
"What the hell?"
The centre crystal is damaged
"I thought the probe was supposed to
detect stuff like this?"
"We got visual confirmation of its presence,
but the damage was obviously covered."
. "It's not working."
"It was like that when I got here."
"That's why you never came back.
"Does this mean we're not going home?"
"Well since we're going to be hear awhile.""I
would like you to see something."
"Come on, it's the safest room in there
is. You know? Especially in a storm."
"Give me a hand.""Thanks"
"Keep at it, well be back."
They go back to Earnests room. He takes the cover off the machine
in the centre, which brings up gold writing on the walls. There
seems to be four different languages.
What is this place?"
Daniel reads from Earnest's journal
Reading; "'I believe this room is some
sort of meeting place, where four alien
races denoted by the symbols, and distinctive
writing on the walls would gather, possible
to share knowledge, or discuss relations,
like a United Nations of the Stars.
"You're right, I would have."
Sam and Teal'c are trying to repair the DHD
All roads seem to lead here, which means
this is likely the power source."
"I believe you are correct."
"It could take years to figure out how
to put these crystals back properly.
I think we can figure out a way to rig
the power source directly to the gate,
and then dial out manually."
The others are still looking at the alien device
"This looks familiar."
He touches it and a bright light shoots out, and turns into a
3D hologram of shapes, covering the room
"Daniel, does the mean anything?"
"Well, if this was a Mecca of sorts,
an alien united nations, this has to
"I know this."
"Of course, high school chemistry."
"One proton, one electron, hydrogen."
"Silver, Iron, barium, xenon."
"Oh my God, so many electrons, how can
"I have been here a very long time,
"Excuse me. Are you saying that all
of these are atomic,things?"
"These images are graphical representation
of the basic elements, electrons revolving
around a proton. The number of electrons
indicate the element."
"There are only currently 111 elements
on the periodic table."
"Only 90 when I last looked."
"This is incredible. I mean we have
only been able to speculate on the actual
appearance and structure of an atom.
The fact that four completely alien
races chose to represent it in an almost
"The basic elements are what make up
the universe, they are the basic building
block...of course! How do you ensure
universal communication? You reduce
the method of communication to the most
basic element; common to everyone and
everything that exists in the universe!
Jack, this is a true universal language."
"Turn the page."
"Turn the page!"
He touches the device and new objects appear
"Are you saying, that this, that this
is like a book?" Ernest nods.
"I tried to read it. I tried to understand
"A hundred and forty six elements, letters,
or symbols, if they're letters, if they're
pictographic, I mean this could take
a life time."
"Daniel, before your head explodes,
may I remind you that we have more important
thing to deal with right now?"
"How can you say that, don't you know
what this could mean?"
"This could be the key to understanding
our existence. Everyone, everything's
"The collaboration of these four alien
"None of which would mean squat, if
we don't get out of here."
Offworld gateroom. Teal'c and Sam are still working. Jack and
"How's it going?"
"I'm trying to connect the power source
from the dial home device directly to
the gate. I'm about to run a test. Where's
"Oh Earnest is showing his a new toy."
A fancy light show that maybe the key
to our existence, or something like
The building is crumbling around them
"Ah, you want to pick up the pace on
this a little bit?"
The gate begins to activate
"You did it!"
The power dies
Jack grabs Sam and pulls her out of the way. When they all get
back up, they find that the DHD has fallen through the floor,
into the sea
Daniel and Earnest are looking at the writing on the walls
"This is how you knew what this place
"Then you recognize it too."
"Othala, the Norse rune thought to represent
the collection of numerous power and
knowledge from past generations."
"And the gathering of clans to celebrate
a common interest. You know there's
more then just a coincidence here. That
means that human were here, centuries,
maybe eons ago."
"No, not humans, aliens. This is Thor's
"Thor was a Alien?"
"Oh yeah, that's another long story.
But a good one."
All right, basic survival training.
We know what we have. What do we need?"
"We have the Stargate, we need the dial
"Thank you Teal'c."
"The element the gate is made of, absorbs
energy directly, internal functions
will convert and store that energy in
capacitor like reservoirs. But the inside
wheel will only unlock and spin freely
once there is enough reserve power."
"So what we need is Energy."
Daniel is filming the room
"This is useless, it's not allowing
for any relative perspective. I don't
understand, how did you incorporate
the three dimensional nature of the
"Of course, you measured the elements
from a central point, degrees from zero
around in a circle, and height above
The others walk down the stairs into the room
"What's up guys?"
"Step away from the pedestal Daniel."
"The dial home device just fell through
the floor into the ocean."
"So what are we going to do?"
"That thing may have a power source
in it that we can use to get the gate
"Ah...No! You don't understand, this
book could contain knowledge of the
universe. I mean this is meaning of
life stuff.I have to get more of it
down on paper before we leave, there
must be something more you can use.
What about using energy from Teal'cs
"It's not powerful enough."
"Please there's not much time, we have
to get inside that thing."
"This whole place could join the DHD
at the bottom of the ocean any minute,
"Great, shoot it!"
Daniel moves to the side, and Teal'c shoots. It has no effect
"I'm obviously no scientist but couldn't
we use that Ben Franklin thing?"
"The element of the gate is made up
of a superconductor. It'll observe energy
in may different things: Heat, Nuclear,
solar, static, if we could channel a
lighting strike into the gate, it might
provide us with enough power to dial
in and make it through."
"How do we attract lightning to the
"Not directly, we will have to rig something
up on the roof. And hope that the sudden
and enormous charge doesn't destroy
the gate's mechanisms."
A while later, Jack climbs back in through a window
"We got it Teal'c!" He gives Carter
the wire that is hooked outside. Carter
hooks it to the wire on the Stargate.
"Daniel won't come up, he's obsessed
with that thing. So much like you used
The Torment of Tantalus."
Tantalus was a king in Greek Mythology,
banish to Hades, forced to stand in
water that receded when he tried to
"Everlasting, unending temptation."
"He was reaching for something that
was, out of reach."
"That sound familar. Some might say
that, that's what makes a man great.
If we all accepted what was with in
"Sometimes what we have is of more value.
It takes a great man to recognize that.
I didn't. I was a fool."
"Ernest, you have suffered enough. No
since wasting time in the past, right?"
Earnest picks up his helmet
"Ah, look, for the peak of the roof,
it will attract the lightning.
"You get Daniel. (To Teal'c)"Take this
to the roof."
Earnest goes to Daniel
"You have to come, now."
"Not Yet. Come and get me when they've
got the gate running."
"There's not enough time."
"I have to finish this."
"It's not worth it."
"Well our history as a people would
be very different if everyone felt that
Lightening hits and the gate is activated
"Teal'c let's go! Start dialing in.
We only have seconds once the gate is
Back with Daniel and Earnest
"What you did was courageous!"
"What I did was stupid."
Jack runs down the stairs
"Come on boys we got to go, now!"
"Look I will be fine down here.
"Go on, go on."Daniel, we can come back."
"No, what if the castle crumbles around
the gate, I mean this, this, could all
be lost, if I stay I could unbury the
"What if it falls into the ocean."
"I'm willing to take that risk."
"I'm not! Let's go!"
He grabs Daniel and drags him towards the stairs
Jack let's him go and Daniel runs over and grabs Earnests journal,
taking the chance to have one last quick look around the room
"It's a piece of cake.
"Not from what I remember."
Daniel and Jack are making their way to the gate. The building
is crumbling around them. They enter the gateroom.
Sam jumps through the gate. Daniel and Jack run up the steps,
"Stargate receiving squad, stand ready!"
"Wormhole is destabilizing, still no
"Come on guys."
"Stand by people."
Jack and Daniel jump through the gate and arrive in the SGC gateroom
"You don't know how close.
Later, they try to dial up the planet
"Chevrons 6 encoded." "Chevron seven,will
"Well, I think it is safe to say that,
that place is gone."
"You still have my book."
"Captain Carter is working a computer
model right now."
"Go to reactor seven."
"And here's the bright side, you're
"Yes. Thanks to you."
"Look at it this way, if you ever run
into those aliens, that made up the
language, you can ask them what it means."
"You better let us know this time."
"I will, I promise."
Earnest hugs Daniel
"Catherine, hug me."
Jack and Catherine hug
Jack." Cat and Ernest look at each other
and there smiles get bigger. they walk
to each other and give
Catherine and Earnest hug each other