I don’t do Mary Sue stories but I couldn’t resist including myself, at least as a provider of reference material.
The wormhole whooshed open and SG-1 ambled down the ramp. They handed off their weapons to the waiting SFs and were slowly making their way toward the elevator when they were stopped by General Hammond.
“Colonel O’Neill, did you give Thor a cell phone?” he growled.
“Yes I did sir, I thought it would be less disruptive if he called first when he was in the neighborhood, instead of just beaming one of us away. Is there a problem?”
“I’m not really sure,” Hammond answered a little less angrily. “He called a few minutes ago and he would like SG-1 to meet him at these coordinates.” Hammond handed O’Neill a sheet of paper.
Jack glanced at the page. “What planet?” he asked.
Hammond smiled as he reeled in the now curious colonel. “According to Thor, those are Earth coordinates.”
Jack thrust the page at Sam. "Find out where that is. I know its in North America.”
Hammond’s eyes twinkled as Sam studied the page and smiled. “I don’t know what Thor wants us for, but you might want to pack your fishing gear, sir. Latitude 41 degrees 45.719 North and longitude 83 degrees 19.751 West will put us in Lake Erie, not quite half way between Toledo, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan, I think,” she said.
Jack lifted an eyebrow. “And you know that because?” He shook his head. “Never mind. Undoubtedly its just another one of those bits of useful information that always seems to pop out when we need it.”
“Actually, Colonel,” Hammond added, “those are the coordinates for the Toledo Harbor Light. Its located on an artificially constructed base about eight miles from shore in the Toledo shipping channel. I’ve already been in touch with Coast Guard Station Toledo and they will have a boat available to take you to the light when you arrive. Now I suggest you get on with your medical checkup so we can get our debriefing over with and you can be on your way.”
A few hours later SG-1 was in the air on its way to Toledo, still mystified. Hammond had told them everything he knew in the hall, so they had flown their own F-16’s and packed everything aboard they thought they might need, vests, two sets of camos each, weapons, ammunition, explosives. An extremely hard landing could result in an enormous explosion and a nasty spot on the tarmac.
Fortunately all went well and the four F-16’s were soon parked together on the Toledo Air National Guard ramp. They picked up a rental car across the field at Toledo Express Airport, crammed as much of their gear into the trunk as they could, and set out for Bayview Park in Point Place, the home of Coast Guard Station Toledo.
Daniel was driving, as usual, with Teal’c in the shotgun seat. Sam was in the back with the map and the Colonel was taking a nap, or at least pretending to.
“Okay, when you leave the airport turn East on Airport Highway. You’re looking for US-23/I-475 North. Its about six miles,” Sam directed.
“Got it. So what do you think the Coast Guard is going to say about all the crap we want to drag aboard their boat?” Daniel asked.
“Crap?” Teal’c repeated.
“I don’t know, but I sure hope they will be satisfied with our IDs or we’ll end up in the brig.”
“I don’t think they have a brig.” O’Neill shoved his baseball cap out of his eyes and sat up. This is a small boat station we’re going to. They don’t have any subs or destroyers either.”
“I was under the impression that your navy controlled the submarines,” Teal’c said.
“Yes, they have all the aircraft carriers too, which never seemed right to me,” Daniel said. “You’d think the Air Force would have all the planes.”
“You want to put Air Force planes on Navy ships?” O’Neill asked.
“Well . . .”
“I kind of like the way the Canadians do it.” Sam said. They have a combined service. Oh, we should be coming up on I-475 East in a minute. Take that toward Toledo.”
“I see it. How long do we stay on this?”
“About six and a half miles it says here. Then we merge left onto I-75 toward Detroit.”
“Back to my original question.“ Daniel glanced in the mirror at Jack in the back seat. “What’s our cover story? What are we going to tell these people?”
“Well, since the Secret Service is now under Homeland Security, as is the Coast Guard, we are participating in a joint exercise.”
“I thought the Secret Service just guarded the President and other high officials.”
“Hammond is so devious. He found out they also investigate computer based attacks on our nation’s financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure.”
“Jack, in case it has escaped your notice, there are no stock exchanges, banks, TV stations or even telephone relay towers in the middle of Lake Erie!”
“Ah, but we’ve discovered a devious plot to use the Toledo Lighthouse as a relay point in some sort of nefarious electronic scheme. We’re going to disrupt it and then stake out the place and wait for the bad guys to come back to fix it.”
“And the Coast Guard is going to buy this load of horse manure?”
“We did not pack any of that I hope!” Teal’c growled.
Sam spluttered to herself in the back seat. “Look for exit 209 Ottawa River Road,” she said when she stopped laughing.
“Its coming up now.”
“Okay, when you come off the expressway keep going straight. There is a fork to the left, but you keep straight on 108th Street until you get to the light at Summit Street. Then turn right and follow Summit Street down to the third street on the left, which is the entrance to Bayview Park.”
“You know instead we could just go one block to Monica’s house. I bet she would give us dinner before we start, or at least some decent coffee,” Daniel said wistfully.
“Do the words ‘secret mission’ mean anything to you, Danny?” Jack asked. “This is not the time to visit you fan club members. Maybe next trip.”
“Here’s Summit Street. So who are we?”
“We’re using our real names and IDs. The Secret Service has given us some credentials to show we are assisting them. You’re the linguist, Sam and Teal’c are the techies, and I’m the boss. Here’s a baseball cap. Since Teal’c has to wear one I got one for each of us. They say Secret Service on the front.”
“Colonel,” Sam said as she fingered her hat. “I can see why ATF or the FBI would have lettered baseball caps, but does the Secret Service really advertise like that? Doesn’t the word ‘secret’ imply they are trying to be inconspicuous?”
“I don’t know if they have baseball caps or not. I had Harriman run into town and get these made up last night. They’re part of our cover.”
Daniel made the turn into Bayview Park, trying to control his mirth. He figured they would not make too good an impression if he fell out of the car laughing at their destination.
“Bear left at the fork,” Sam said, “and go all the way to the end of the road. The station is on the right.”
As Daniel pulled up to the gate the sun was sinking in the west. By the time they had been ID’d and properly greeted it was twilight. The team was issued PFDs and climbed aboard the Coast Guard boat, still in their flight suits. Jack decided to leave most of the gear behind, taking only their flack vests, radios and duffles, with sidearms and P-90s secured inside.
“Good evening folks,” the Coxswain greeted them. “This isn’t the most comfortable riding vessel but you will find some bench seats below. You are welcome to stay in the wheelhouse if you like, however it will be a little crowded. Fortunately its a warm night and the lake is calm. Have you all been aboard small boats before?”
“I have not,” Teal’c said. “I am not fond of water, except for bathing and drinking.”
“I think we have some dramamine in the first aid kit.”
“What is dramamine?” Teal’c asked as O’Neill stated flatly, “That will not be necessary. Murray will be fine.”
The crew members cast off the lines as Sam hopped up on the chart table, out of the line of traffic, O’Neill leaning against it casually at her side. Daniel leaned against a cabin window and watched the helmsman. Teal’c stepped out of the cabin onto the back deck and watched as the vessel moved away from its slip and out into the channel. Although the river was not wide at this point, this was the most water he had ever seen. As they passed the coal docks on the right they saw an inlet to the left and a passage beyond it which curved behind an island.
“Monica lives back there,” Sam said, pointing behind the island. “You can’t see her house from here.”
“And again with so much knowledge,” O’Neill mumbled. “I’ve got to ask, how do you know?”
“She sent me an aerial photo.”
“So,” O’Neill said, addressing the Coxswain, “tell us about this lighthouse.”
“Well, sir, as you know, its located in the Toledo Channel. Its made of stone, brick faced, on a concrete crib. Its got four levels, including the light room at the top of the structure, and it also has a basement. Originally the mechanism which controlled the light was mechanical, sort of like a grandfather clock, and the chains controlling its movement ran all the way from the tower to the basement. The keeper had to go down there once a day and wind it up, so to speak. The lighthouse was built in 1904 and has two separate apartments for keepers, who used to rotate. It was automated in 1965 and, of course, nobody lives there now. The Fresnel lens which used to be in the tower is now on display in downtown Toledo at COSI. It used to flash white, white, red, and I understand the natives were very upset when they pulled the lens. More to the point, there is no proper landing stage. We’ll bring you up close to the rocks and you can step out from the bow. We built up the rocks in a random pattern when the light was automated so that vandals would have a hard time gaining access. Also, all the windows on the first floor have been boarded up, so it will be dark in there even in the daytime.”
Teal’c turned from his observation of their back trail. “This is certainly a well lit area,” he said. “Too well lit if there were enemy craft approaching.”
“Well lit, its pitch black!” O’Neill objected.
Both he and Sam looked back the way they had come.
“Oh, my, that’s beautiful,” Sam said. “All those lights on shore. And there’s a red one sticking out of the water. What’s that?”
The coxswain didn’t have to turn around. “That’s the lower range light. If you look up you’ll see another red light way up on top of a building. If you keep those two lights in line you know you are in the channel.”
They were past the island now and the boat picked up speed in the channel. Twilight had faded and SG-1 could see only the blinking lights on the buoys and the lights of one large vessel further out.
“What’s that boat?” Sam asked.
“That’s a dredge ma’am. It spends all summer going up and down the channel clearing out silt and dumping it. They maintain the channel at a depth of 30 feet.” He turned his head to O’Neill for a moment. “How long are you planning to stay at the lighthouse, if I may ask, sir?”
“Don’t know. It will depend on whether the bad guys show up. We may not even need to call on you for a ride back. Depends on whether we want to confiscate their transport.”
The journey continued in silence. Finally they could see a white light up in the air and they knew they were approaching the lighthouse. The coxswain swung the boat around and turned on his spotlight. He nosed the vessel into just the right spot on the rocks and SG-1 moved to the bow and hopped off onto the island. Crewmen slung their duffle bags across and then the Coast Guard vessel backed off, turned, and headed back to shore.
What is that sound?” Teal’c asked.
“Foghorn,” O’Neill answered. “Come on let’s get inside.” He produced the key he had been given at the Coast Guard station and approached the padlocked door.
Once inside the team geared up and used the flashlights attached to their P-90’s to examine the first floor. It was completely empty.
“Okay, looks like Thor hasn’t made it yet. Carter, here’s the key to the generator room out back. You and Daniel take a look in there. Teal’c, you and I will explore in here. Let’s split up. I’ll take the second floor, you take the third. Then we’ll move on up to the lens room.” O’Neill started up the stairs.
“What about the basement?” Sam asked.
“I doubt Thor decided to wait in the basement. We’ll save that for last. I’m guessing he’s up top if he’s here, checking out the view.”
Sam and Daniel moved out the door and crossed the small open area to the generator room. Inside they found, surprisingly enough, a generator and not much else.
“I wonder why there’s no door between the two structures,” Daniel mused. “This building is right up against the wall of the lighthouse.”
“I can think of two reasons,” Sam answered. “If this building was added later they may not have wanted to destroy a wall to put in a door. But I think the real reason is that the generator would have been gasoline powered when it was installed and they did not want the gas fumes or the carbon monoxide it produced to get into the living quarters. Also it would cut down on the threat of fire in the main building if this one went up.”
“You know when you think about it, our grandparents and great grandparents did some pretty wonderful things architecturally. I have great admiration for what our ancestors accomplished. Imagine building this structure in the middle of a lake. They even built the island. I can’t wait to see the basement! Let’s get back over there, if you’re done examining the machinery.” Daniel’s voice boomed inside the metal structure.
There was a loud flapping sound overhead.
“What was that?”
Sam grinned. “I’m guessing you disturbed the sea gulls on the roof. Monica says that the roof usually looks like its painted white because of all the sea gull droppings. Once in a while the fireboat comes out here to practice and hoses it down.”
“You called her before we came, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but I told her we probably wouldn’t get to stop and visit. She did give me more information about this lighthouse than either you or the Colonel want to know.” Sam stepped through the door and turned to secure the padlock.
“I resent that. I always want to know more about history.”
“Really? Okay then, Augustin Fresnel invented the Fresnel lens which was used in this lighthouse until the mid 90’s. He made a breakthrough when he attached a piece of black paper to one edge of a diffracter and saw that the bright bands within the shadow vanished. He deduced that the bands were produced by light coming from both edges of the diffracter, but since bright bands outside the shadow remained, he determined that they must result from light reflected from only one edge of the diffracter. He calculated formulae which gave the position of the bright and dark lines based on where the vibrations were in phase and where they were out of phase. He then used his formulae to give theoretical results on interference patterns obtained by reflecting a light source with two mirrors.
The first lighthouses used open flames for light. Tests showed that an open flame lost nearly 97 percent of its light and a flame with reflectors behind it still lost 83 percent. The Fresnel lens, however, was able to capture all but 17 percent of its light. Because of its amazing efficiency, a Fresnel lens could easily throw its light 20 or more miles to the horizon. The glass prisms of the Fresnel lens were shaped and positioned in such a way that the light from the single source inside the lens was reflected outward horizontally through each prism. In this way, the light streaming outward in all directions was maximized into large beams shining out to sea. The number of beams depend on the configuration of the prisms, which can vary greatly. The Toledo Harbor light had a three and a half order lens.
Different lighthouses display beams for differing periods of time in order to be distinguished from one another.”
“Sam,” Daniel interrupted as they stepped back inside the lighthouse, “I think you’ve strayed into science. I have almost no idea what you’re talking about now.”
“I’m sorry, its just basic high school physics, you know, prisms and light refraction.”
Daniel just stared at her. He opened his mouth to speak but was saved from putting his foot in it when Jack and Teal’c came back down the stairs.
“There’s nothing up there we didn’t know about, but an attic and the lighthouse ghost, both of which our guide failed to mention."
“And many, many sea gulls on the balcony outside the lens room,” Teal’c added, as he sat down on a step and began using his belt knife to clean the bottom of a boot.
"Ghost?" Sam and Daniel said together.
“Yes, I guess Monica forgot to tell you about the manikin in uniform staring out a window. I almost shot it. Well, Thor’s not here. I guess we’ll wait and see what happens.”
“Try him on his cell phone,” Daniel suggested.
“Good idea.” O’Neill flipped open his phone. “I think he’s in my speed dial somewhere. Let’s see.” He punched a few numbers and they heard “The Ride of the Valkerie’s” coming from below them.
“You programmed his cell phone, didn’t you sir?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, I was going to use the theme from Battlestar Galactica, but I couldn’t find the old one in a hurry and the new one sucks.”
They all clattered down the steps to the basement.
“Thor, buddy,” O’Neill said, just before he whacked his head on the low archway which was the entrance to the room where Thor was standing.
“Ouch!” Who designed this basement, midgets?” He rubbed his head.
Teal’c found a light switch at the base of the stairs and flipped it on. The surprisingly dry basement was illuminated by a few 60 watt bulbs.
Sam rummaged in her vest pockets and used an alcohol wipe to clear the dirt smudge on Jack’s forehead. “The skin’s not broken, sir,” she said, “but you’re going to have a goose egg.”
“Yeah, yeah, don’t fuss, Carter. I’m fine.” He winced as he touched the bruise. “As I was saying, Thor, its good to see you again.”
“I am gratified to see you as well, O’Neill. Major Carter, Doctor Jackson, Teal’c, it pleases me to see that you are all well.” He inclined his head to the other members of the team.
“For what reason have you called us here, Thor?” Teal’c was getting down to business.
“Please step through the arch and watch your heads.” Thor indicated that they should join him in the small room.
“Now he tells us,” O’Neill grumbled.
When his favorite aliens were assembled around him Thor pressed the button on a control he held in his hand and a small stargate, complete with iris, appeared behind him, situated nearly against the back wall of the room. “This is a present for you,” he said, handing the control to O’Neill. “I have brought you your own private stargate. Next time you have a problem with Senator Kinsey, or anyone else who wants to shut down your gate, you will have a way to contact me or leave the planet in secrecy. The gate will remain invisible and is shielded by a false wall which disappears when you press this button.”
“I am overwhelmed,” Jack said. “This is the nicest thing any of our allies has ever done.”
Thor nodded. “The Asgard council wanted to do something special in return for all the help you have given us, but it was thought that anything done through your government would not be directly beneficial to SG-1. Frankly, we do not trust your government. Please do not tell anyone else about this. General Hammond knows, but he has promised me he will not reveal our secret.”
“Thank you, Thor. We really appreciate it,” Sam said. “But won’t Goa’uld spy ships be able to pick up the naquada signature of the gate from orbit?”
“They will not. I have reinforced the metal roof of this structure with a shield. The sea gulls were not happy about it at the time, but they have already adapted.”
“What about the Coast Guard?” Daniel asked. “What if they come down here and bump into the gate.”
“That is unlikely. This basement was covered in dust when I arrived. No one has been down here in at least ten years, judging by the strength and thickness of the spider webs. However, it might be wise to have someone in the area check every once in a while, just to make sure nothing is disturbed.”
Sam and Daniel looked at each other. “We’ll get Monica to do it,” she said. “She can come out in her boat at night periodically. We can rig the locks so she doesn’t even have to come inside. She’ll be able to tell by checking them, if anybody’s been in here and, since she belongs to the Coast Guard Auxiliary, she’ll know when they are sending someone out to do maintenance on the light.”
“Good. Now I will beam you aboard my new vessel, the Teal’c, and return you to the SGC. I will explain the additional functions of the hand controller on the way.” He pressed a button on another controller and they found themselves aboard Thor’s ship in orbit above Earth. “By the way, O’Neill, I would like to change the sound which is made when my cell phone is activated. Can you program it to play the theme from Wormhole Xtreme?”