Dawn entered Colonel Carter’s lab carrying her report on the inscriptions from P5C-4562. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be anything useful in it. From her reading of the accounts inscribed in various monuments, the planet had been abandoned because the Goa’uld had never figured out the advantages of such things as crop rotation, and not cutting down every tree in sight. The ensuing soil degradation and erosion had rendered the land unusable for agriculture, and so they had left, moving the population to a different planet that they could abuse. She supposed that they might have planned to come back to P5C-4562, after letting it lie fallow for a few millennia.
There was no sign of Carter. Dawn checked her watch. This was the time that she was supposed to meet her here. She figured that the colonel was running late. She could see her cell phone laid out in pieces on one of the work benches, and felt a bit of annoyance. She’d told
Carter that the only thing Willow had done was replace the antenna with one that was magically linked to a crystal back in her apartment, but she had insisted on taking the whole thing. She wondered if she could at least get her SIM card back, so she could get a new phone from Willow with the same number.
There was another bench that had some sort of complex crystal sitting on it. Dawn had seen a lot of Goa’uld and Ancient tech that was crystal based, but this one looked different. Most of the crystals she’d seen had been a single hexagonal prism. This one looked like a couple of dozen such crystals had been stuck together into something almost a foot long, and four inches across. There was something about it that bothered her. At first she didn’t know what it was, but she soon recognized the feeling as something that she was sensing as the Key.
It had taken her a little time to come to grips with her new awareness. Most of the time, when she was awake and dealing with other people, she tried to shut out most of what she was sensing of the greater universe around her. When she was alone, meditating, or when her body slept, the Key went out to wander the universe.
But now the Key was directing her attention to the crystal on the bench. There was something … not right … about it. She turned her inner eye toward it, and saw an empty hole in the universe. A space that should have been full of energy, but now was nothing but emptiness. It was a space that needed filling.
She reached out, looking for the power that she needed to fill the crystal. The entire power grid of North America would only give her a fraction of what she needed, so she ignored it, and looked a little farther afield. There was the sun, with nearly all of its energy pouring uselessly into space. If she took some of that power — the part that wasn’t raining down onto the Earth and other planets — and channelled it into the crystal, she could refill that space in only a few minutes …
Dawn’s attention was brought back to the material world by Colonel Carter’s voice: “What are you doing?”
She blinked a couple of times, and focused her eyes on the crystal in her hands, now glowing with a golden light. “Sorry. This was empty, so I filled it.”
Colonel Carter took the crystal out of her hands, and looked at it with an expression of wonder on her face. “That shouldn’t be possible.” She took the crystal over to another of her benches, and hooked it up to one of her machines. She looked at the readouts on its display panel. “That’s not possible!”
“What’s not possible?” asked Dawn.
Carter ignored her question, and instead went to her phone. She pressed the buttons that put her straight through to General O’Neill. “Jack, you have to come to my lab, right away … Dr. Summers just fully recharged a dead ZPM!”