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Major Doctors Carter and Fraiser were enjoying a rare and pleasant day of quiet, uninterrupted downtime together. In fact, they were enjoying a typical Sunday afternoon, complete with the Sunday papers and general laziness. Unusually, the SGC, and SG1 in particular, had had a quiet couple of months, resulting in Sam having a 'normal' schedule that included days off because she was only supposed to work five days in every seven, as opposed to being given a block of days off because a crisis had been averted at the cost of near exhaustion. Equally unusual was the fact that Sam's 'weekend' schedule had coincided with Janet's, enabling them to be currently curled up together at either ends of the sofa working their way through a variety of weekend papers and their supplements. The peace was occasionally broken by a rustle of turning newspaper as a page was turned or the summer breeze caught a page as it blew gently through the nearby open French windows. The tranquillity was finally broken by Janet's gentle sigh as she folded away a travel section.
"Hmm?" Sam didn't look up from the science journal she was absorbed in.
"Honey, can I ask you something about work?"
"Sure, what it is love?" Janet knew from experience that, despite Sam not looking up from her paper, she was listening attentively and would give Janet her undivided attention when it was required but until then was quite happy multi-tasking.
"How do you know that what you do is correct?"
"Huh?" The vagueness of Janet's question was enough to tear Sam away from her reading and look at Janet in a bemused fashion.
"How do you know that what you do and assume is the right thing?" elaborated Janet, sensing that Sam was wanting to know more detail.
"Well, if I get it wrong it doesn't work. Janet, are you really asking me about astrophysics?" By now Sam was very confused. Her work always had a correct answer. If she found it, the problems were solved and, often as not, peace reigned. If she got it wrong, no solution was found. Thankfully, Janet continued with her elaboration.
"Sorry, I didn't mean your work personally. What I meant was, when you are on a planet, how do you know that what you see and what we do and assume is right for the planet as a whole?"
"We research and study and listen to the people we meet and try to do the best actions by and for them. Janet, what exactly are you getting at? Am I missing something here?" Sam's confusion was still plainly apparent.
"It's not a serious question, it was just this travel section got me thinking. If we had the gate in the middle of the Sahara Desert, and a scouting party came through it, they would, in all probability, either be confronted with seemingly unending expanses of sand and rock or could conceivably happen upon either ruins of ancient civilisation or a nomadic tribe. They would make a judgment about our planet that would be completely wrong. Equally, the same would happen if the gate was submerged in the ocean somewhere. What I was wondering I guess was, when you go through the gate, how do you know that the people you meet are representative of the planet as a whole? I mean, you only cover a tiny area relative to a planet as a whole and nature isn't uniform." At that point Janet stopped speaking and watched as Sam's face reflected her musings on the subject.
"Good question," was all Sam offered at first. Janet, experienced in conversing with her lover on such weighty topics, waited to see what would follow.
"I guess " began Sam tentatively, "I guess that it is something that we don't really consider much independently from the mission itself. I think we slightly assume that who we meet is representative of where we go, given the significance the Gates had in populating many of these planets. Much of the indigenous civilisation was transplanted to these planets using the Stargate network, suggesting that the majority of settlement has stayed congregated around the Gate. It could be similar to how settlements here started by congregating around either good defensive positions, good transport links or good water and food supplies. For a newly moved population, the Stargate would be the key to contact with the 'outside world,' hence there is little incentive to migrate away from it."
Sam had, whilst she was working through Janet's question, been staring off into the middle distance but, as she concluded her logical reasoning, refocused her intense gaze on Janet. For many, the sheer intellectual power and ability concealed behind those intense blue eyes would have been enough to silence any argument or dispute over what Sam had said, no matter whether Sam intended that to happen or not. In Janet, Sam had not only an intellectual equal but an equal in all things, including spirit and curiosity. Janet had no trouble meeting the gaze and countering,
"But you don't know that. And even if you did, how did the Ancients know where to put the Gates? And what of the cultures you encounter that are truly alien and have no evolutionary connection with Earth?" Janet had by now sat up straight at the end of the couch and was firing questions at Sam with the same wide-eyed curiosity that a curious four year old has for the world, asking 'why' at every turn.
Smiling at her lover's enthusiasm, and at the avalanche of questions her response had precipitated, Sam responded to each question in turn as best she could.
"No we don't know that, we assume it because it is a reasonable assumption and one made not only by us but also by the Tokra and Goa'uld System Lords. The Nox and Asgard may well have technological advantage over us that enables them to analyse a planet as a whole but I really don't know. We bow to the Ancient's superior knowledge and expertise with regard to the assembly and distribution of their transport network. Not a clue."
Janet, used to Sam's technique for dealing with barrages of questions, smiled at the ordered response whilst mentally matching question with answer. Smiling, she countered,
"So you're gambling on doing the right thing?"
"Yup, but we've tried to rig the odds slightly in our favour."
"Is that the right thing to be doing?" Janet's tone was turning slightly serious at this point, prompting Sam to consider her response with a little more care than she may have otherwise.
"I genuinely don't know. I do know that it is the only thing we can do currently. If we let this become a major issue, we would never be able to explore more than one planet since it would take years to survey and analyse a planet in its entirety. On the other hand, there are times when we should probably consider some places in greater depth before making decisions and taking action. From what that note suggested, it seemed that we were potentially going to court disaster if we took an encounter with another race on a planet at face value, though what the details were and are we may never know. In reality, if we adhere to the primary military objective of the SGC, we are probably going about it as best we can. However, we both know that the SGC embraces more than just military tactics and research, looking at social, anthropological, archaeological and medical areas as well. In these areas, we probably move through planets too fast and that is a shame and potentially erroneous." Sam concluded her thoughts looking incredibly pensive and, whilst Janet had intended to let the matter rest, couldn't help but continue prodding, curious as to what her lover was thinking of now
"Is there any hope of a solution or a way of making more widespread analysis?"
"Umm, theoretically, yes. If I could work out a way of launching satellites into a planetary orbit that could then transmit data back either to Earth through the Gate or to a data collection point on the surface, we could find out lots of information relatively easily. The problem, aside from the cost, is that to launch something into orbit, you really need to know about what you want to orbit around in terms of size, mass, gravitational pull etc to ensure that you end up with the satellite in the right orbit without burning up. That's just something I cannot do. Alternatively, the Asgard may have a 'doohickey' that may be helpful, but until then, we're stuck continuing as we are in our haphazard way." At this, Sam once again looked straight at Janet, only this time she had a rather sheepish grin on her face, as if to say 'What can I do?'. To her surprise, Janet returned the grin before saying
"Or corner a passing Ancient and ask them?"
The seemingly ludicrous remark struck Sam as being rather amusing, since Janet knew as well as she did that their only hope of asking a passing Ancient about the finer points of Gate distribution and planetary analysis was to wait until Jack had their collective memory or intellect integrated into his brain again, at which point, the question would appear somewhat trivial. Before she could stop herself, Sam was quietly chuckling. Soon, Janet had joined in as she realised what Sam was laughing at. After a while, when the papers had fallen to the floor and the giggles had subsided, Sam opened out her arms inviting Janet into her embrace with a husky 'Come here', a directive that Janet gladly followed. Once she was comfortably settled against Sam, she said
"This is nice."
"What, discussing Intergalactic philosophical issues or snuggling on the couch?"
"Both. The fact that we can discuss intergalactic philosophy, makes the Democratic nomination seem rather mundane doesn't it?" teased Janet.
"True. I think my answers to any questions you may have on the Democratic nomination would be just as vague as on planetary exploration and philosophy though."
"And far less interesting, but you weren't vague, you answered my questions, and satisfied my curiosity .." At this, Janet rolled around in Sam's embrace so that she was facing her lover, before concluding huskily " ..on planets, that is."
"Oh really? What else are you curious about?" teased Sam flirtatiously.
"Many many things " came the equally flirtatious reply.
"Would I be able to satisfy your curiosity?"
"Oh yes, you certainly could, given the opportunity .."
"And what would you be curious about now?"
"Whether you are enjoying my hands being where they are as much as I am enjoying having them there perhaps?" enquired Janet, in reference to her hands which had slipped up the back of Sam's shirt and were now caressing her back tenderly.
"Oh, I think I can satisfy your curiosity on that matter with a very conclusive response .." And, before Janet could think of a reply, Sam's hands had mirrored Janet's own, and her lips had sought out Janet's, meeting in a kiss that could only be described as incendiary. As they parted, both ladies were breathing hard and looking slightly flushed. Regaining her composure first, Sam teased
"Was that satisfactory evidence for you Doctor, or do you need more data?"
Janet's only response was to sit up straighter and grab Sam's hand before moving to stand up, saying as she did
A request that Sam was only too happy to oblige. And so, with all thoughts of their earlier discussion forgotten, the two lovers retreated to enjoy an afternoon of tender loving making. Monday morning would see them once again worrying about saving the planet from all manner of horrors and taking decisions based on isolated aspects of other planets and cultures on exactly the issues that Janet had questioned Sam on. But that was Monday. Today was Sunday, a day off to do as lovers do, and as Major Doctors Carter and Fraiser did.
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