Long-time student and associate of noted archaeologist Dr. David Jordan, and colleague of Drs. Sarah Gardner and Daniel Jackson. Rayner was present at Jordan's Chicago-based institute when the team recovered sunken Egyptian artifacts from the ill-fated Stuart Expedition in the early part of the twentieth century.
Rayner and Jordan were investigating item 14c, the Osiris jar, which Rayner believed contained the mummified heart of the three thousand year old Egyptian pharaoh. Rayner left Jordan alone, and in that period of time Dr. Gardner opened the canopic jar and became possessed by Osiris, the Goa'uld symbiote that lay in stasis within. She destroyed Jordan and all evidence of her escape in a lab explosion.
Rayner gave the eulogy at Jordan's funeral and later caught up with Dr. Jackson who had returned (from a five-year disappearance) for the funeral. He was not pleased to discover the return of Jordan's "prodigal son," believing Daniel had returned to take the place of Jordan and interfere with his work. Rayner persisted in continuing his archaeological investigations, deducing a gold amulet was the key to some part of Osiris' royal plans.
Steven traveled to Egypt and interfaced the gold amulet into a console at the head of a worship chamber, which immediately allowed a Goa'uld starship command console to grow from the shelf. He was then attacked by the Osiris-possessed Sarah Gardner and rendered unconscious with her hand device. Shortly afterward Jackson, Major Carter and Dr. Fraiser arrived on the scene. Fraiser declared he would survive if they removed him from the area immediately while orchestrating a good cover explanation for what had happened to him.
The Curse - Rayner delivers the eulogy to his professor and friend, Dr. David Jordan, and discovers Daniel Jackson has returned into his colleagues' lives.