ETA: D'oh. I must thank JD for his sharp, real-time beta. *waves* It's much appreciated!
season: probably mid-2nd
Sometimes Daniel thinks that the first translation team got closer to the essence of the word. Chaapa’ai is an awfully poetic term for something as essentially practical as the mechanism for ‘Gate travel. But it suits the artifact, with its circle of wavering light like a slice of ocean between him and the stars. Door to the heavens might be a happy medium. In that disc, the blur of our world fades into unknown silence, as the ripples of quantum mechanics spiral down an endless avenue of escape. Infinite light promises an infinite lightening, he caught himself thinking once.
He rarely sees it so with his waking eyes, anymore. Too busy reviewing linguistic or cultural data from the latest mission, or psyching himself up for their next encounter with an unknown people, to bother looking closely. The Stargate is just that: a simple passage from one place to the next, not a thing in itself. A moment in time, not something to be pondered. Like the side roads on a long commute to work, where familiarity causes all attractions to become invisible.
The funerals remind him, the wreath disappearing beneath the surface of that shining slice of light.
And in his dreams, it stands alone. Its shimmer beckons, promising ease, rest, repose. Chapaa’ai never has any definition here beyond that first, flawed one. The one that he disproved. Door to heaven. His feet are anchored to the ramp, and he cannot look away. There is nothing but a longing to take those few steps, to throw himself past the event horizon, to release the weights he chose to carry. For those moments, all his world is blue and silver.
But it always fades. Darkness takes him, or surreal bronze landscapes. Or, most often, yellow sand, black hair, soft skin, and laughter.
He wakes with tears on his cheeks, and thinks of Sha’re, and does not remember the infinite possibility of escape.