To Friends I’m Known as Monty, But to You I’m Mr Burns

A Stargate Tale

At work today I found myself in a rather difficult and somewhat distressing situation. Professional reasons prevent me from elaborating on the actual circumstances (which is a tease, I know), but my distress was much alleviated when I realised it was exactly the situation Mr Burns found himself in in an episode of The Simpsons.

This quite cheered me up, I mean if it (whatever ‘it’ may be) can happen to a fictional billionaire, then it can happen to anyone! 😀

(And no, I’m not going to give any hints as to the episode. But if you want to imagine me completely unshaven with tissue boxes on my feet, go ahead)

Anyway, that’s not the real reason for this post.

Many moons ago (for my sins) I wrote some Stargate fan fiction (most of which can still be seen in the dusty ruins of the Gate Room). Most of these stories were comical and written in response to various Fan Fic Challenges, but now and then I’d attempt something a bit more serious. One of these was a never completed story – which probably would have ended up being titled Dark Horizons – and the other day apparently for no reason at all it swam back into my consciousness.

Now, if I was willing to venture into the deepest jungles of my hard drive I could probably dig up what I actually wrote of it. However I don’t think I really wrote that much, and certainly not much worthy of publication. I could sit down and rewrite it, but frankly I don’t have the time. So I figured (as the plot is reasonably good – I think) I’d purge my creative ghosts by writing up a plot synopsis, and posting it here.

So here we go….

DARK HORIZONS – (A Synopsis of the Story that Might Have Been…)

We open in the gate room. The standard scene with guards standing around, and the Gate Technician Guy doing whatever the Gate Technician Guy does during his downtime. Suddenly the gate springs to life. The sirens go off, the guards grab their guns, the Iris slams shut, and the Gate Technician Guy yells “Unscheduled Offworld Activation!”. The General hurries down the stairs from the conference room.

An IDC is received and the Iris opens. Six serpent guards with staff weapons cocked stomp out and arrange themselves down the ramp. A tall figure with a golden tattoo on his forehead and dressed in elaborate armour steps through the gate and looks round imperiously. Up in the Control Room General Maybourne sighs and reflects on how much he hates diplomatic visits.

Cut to the conference room. The First Prime (unnamed but quite obviously Teal’c) is informing a nervous Maybourne that Lord Apophis is displeased with the SGC’s lack of progress. Maybourne protests that military operations on Kelowna (not what I had here originally, but what the heck) are going well, but Teal’c cuts him off, stating that Apophis is more interested in the hunt for the Tok’ra Dekmel (OK, I can’t actually remember what name I gave to the Tok’ra, but “Dekmel” will do for now – it sounds Tok’ra enough). Maybourne again protests and explains that he’s got teams sweeping every planet Dekmel has been reported on and that the operation will take time. Teal’c is unimpressed. He suggests that if progress isn’t made soon, Lord Apophis may reconsider the terms of “The Alliance”.

Cut to the home of Colonel Jack O’Neill (Retired). He is out on his deck, peering into a telescope aimed at the night sky – or more specifically at the Goa’uld mothership in permanent geosynchronous orbit above Colorado Springs. An Air Force Officer approaches. Presuming that a passer by has reported his activities, Jack explains that he has a permit for the telescope and can produce it if necessary. The Officer explains that he is being reactivated, effective immediately, and that he is to accompany him back to Cheyene Mountain. Jack reluctantly complies.

Cut to the corridors of the SGC. Jack and the Officer step out of a lift. The Officer gives Jack directions to the Conference Room, then heads off on other business. The facility seems much more militarised than we’re used to, and numerous Jaffa marked with the symbol of Apophis mingle with the troops. Jack wanders down the corridor, and quickly becomes lost. He asks a passing Captain for directions, explaining that the base has expanded substantially since his last visit. The Captain points him towards the Conference Room. He checks the tag on her uniform – which reads “Carter” – and thanks her by name, continuing on his way.

In the Conference room he is met by General Maybourne, and a team of various specialists. He is briefed on the search for the Tok’ra criminal Dekmel, and how vital his capture is to the Alliance. The latest reports indicate that Dekmel is back on Abydos, and since Jack led the first mission to the planet – a mission involving Dekmel’s host Doctor Daniel Jackson – the SGC believes he is the perfect man to track the Tok’ra down. Jack is reluctant, reminding Maybourne that the Abydos mission “didn’t go well”. Maybourne tells him refusal is not an option and orders him to undertake the mission.

We cut to Abydos where Jack is standing on the crest of a dune. It is night. From the condition of his clothing and gear it’s clear that he’s been on the planet for several days, if not weeks. He consults a map crudely drawn on a sheet of Papyrus, and looks down on a small oasis where a campfire burns. He draws his sidearm and walks down to the fire, where a figure wrapped in a desert robe typical of the Abydosians sits. As he approaches the figure greets him and pulls down the robe’s hood – it’s Daniel.

Jack rapidly trains his gun on the Tok’ra, and orders him to accompany him back to the Gate. Daniel/Dekmel seems unconcerned and bids him to sit down, pointing out that they’re the only ones there and there’s no hurry. Jack is unconvinced. Daniel/Dekmel points out that he’s being rude, and that on Abydos it’s tradition for old friends to share a drink on meeting. He offers a gourd jug. Jack refuses. Daniel/Dekmel laughs and claims poison is far too crude a method for him to use. He takes a swig himself and offers it again, pointing out that it’s far safer than drinking from the oasis – although he’s sure Jack knows all about that.

Jack refuses the drink and remains standing, his gun trained on Daniel (I’m going to refer to Daniel/Dekmel as simply “Daniel” from this point in, OK?). A discussion ensues between the seemingly relaxed Tok’ra and the obviously tense Jack. Daniel reveals that he knows all about Jack’s mission to capture him. He’s also familiar with Jack’s service history, and suggests that it reveals an honourable man who can’t be happy serving a master such as Apophis. He counters Jack’s objections with an offer – the Tok’ra could use such a capable warrior, and with his help, Earth could one day be free of the Goa’uld.

An increasingly distressed Jack rejects the offer, saying all he wants is to bring Daniel in, so he can go back to his retirement. Daniel becomes angry, claiming Jack owes the people of Abydos for what he did to them. Jack protests, saying he had no way of knowing that the nuclear warhead he used to kill Ra in the mines would react so strongly with the naquada ore. Daniel speaks passionately about the resulting devestation and fallout sweeping around the planet, about radiation sickness and poisoned water killing the people and their livestock, about watching his wife die, and only surviving himself by joining with a Tok’ra symbiote. He angrily makes his offer again, saying it’s Jack’s last chance.

Jack has now totally lost control of the situation and knows it. He refuses the offer and demands that Daniel accompany him back to the Gate or he’ll shoot him. Daniel laughs bitterly and asks what will happen to him if he kills the man Apophis wants so badly. Jack admits that he’ll be executed, and begs Daniel to come with him, saying that he can cut a deal and won’t be treated badly. Daniel refuses – a government that that executes so many of it’s own military is hardly likely to be concerned with the rights of prisoners. He produces a rusted pistol from his robes, and points it at his own head, demanding that Jack lower his weapon, of he’ll shoot himself.

Jack demands that he lower the gun. “What, or you’ll shoot me?” asks Daniel with grim humour. Jack, close to breaking down, begs him. Daniel states that it’s not an option. “Lower the weapon or I’ll shoot!” yells Jack. “Now!”

A shot rings out over the dunes.

Cut to the next morning. The oasis is swarming with SGC personnel, unloading crates and erecting a tent over a large bloodstain in the sand. General Maybourne – with a look of deep displeasure etched on his face – steps out of a helicopter, its rotors winding down. He approaches the Major in charge of the site who explains that they aren’t yet sure what happened. The day is already hot, and he mops at his head with a handkerchief as he talks.

The blood is human, but that’s all they can tell until the lab tests for blood type and Goa’uld proteins come back. There’s so much of it though that the owner couldn’t have possibly survived, even with a symbiote. There are tracks leading away from the oasis, but they quickly peter out. An airman carrying a box stumbles as he passes. The major grabs his arm, “Careful son”.

Maybourne returns to the helicopter, and it takes off back towards the Gate. Maybourne asks the pilot (who was just a generic pilot when I started writing this years back, but who in retrospect is clearly Major Sheppard) about the Major, commenting that he seems rather old. The pilot says he doesn’t know anything, but then hesitantly asks permission to speak freely. Maybourne concedes. The Pilot says that – according to rumours – the Major used to be a General. He opposed the Alliance – thinking that Earth could survive without Apophis – and was demoted to his current rank.

Maybourne is surprised he was merely demoted. The Pilot explains this was just after the Abydos mission. “Before the adoption of the Summary Penal Code” Maybourne realises.

The chopper continues into the rising sun. “He really thought we could survive on our own?” asks Maybourne. “Yes sir” answers the Pilot. “We couldn’t you know” continues Maybourne “The Alliance was the only option we had”. “Yes sir” agrees the pilot. Maybourne peers into the sandy distance – “We couldn’t have made it on our own”.

FINIT

So that’s that. It may have worked, or the summary above may be as good as it would ever have got. But at least it’s now out of my head 🙂

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