• Published 3rd Jun 2012
  • 10,935 Views, 468 Comments

Lunar Rising - azore24

SG-1 explores a world filled with odd aliens on the eve of one of their largest holidays.

  • ...

Chapter 1

Colonel Jack O'Neill sauntered into the briefing room, probably only a few minutes late. In his mind, it really didn’t matter. Sure General Hammond wouldn’t be happy with him, but the beginning of any given briefing was mostly pointless for him anyway. Carter would be babbling about some sort of scientific weirdness that she wanted to spend the next thirty years probing or Daniel would be blathering about some centuries-dead race that left some bad doodles on a wall. It wasn’t as if he was just guessing; he’d read the pre-briefing memo on the mission. This time, they’d both be going at it.

All eyes turned to the new arrival; they had wisely just gone ahead with the meeting in spite of the colonel’s absence. Carter was standing in front of the projector screen filled with colorful graphs showing... something. The pre-brief had said that there were exotic particles which would open up a whole new field of study if they could be understood. O'Neill really didn’t need to know more about them than that, save that they were apparently not harmful to people, and so he didn’t see the point in listening to Carter’s technobabble.

Major Carter glared at O’Neill. “Sir, we’ve already been in this briefing for twenty minutes.”

“Yes, you have,” returned Col. O'Neill. “Carry on.” The leader of SG-1, the lead team of Stargate Command, then took his seat. On his left, closest to the board where Carter was giving her presentation was General Hammond, leader of the SGC; Carter’s empty seat was on O'Neill’s right. Across from him was Teal’c, once the second in command to a goa'uld System Lord but had since defected to the humans to help free his people.

Apparently Carter had, in fact, continued with her briefing. She had, in point of fact, finished and asked for questions. O'Neill decided it was best to not ask any; he’d probably just snark about something and pretend he didn’t understand anything she said. If anything was extra important for him to know, Carter would make sure he knew it anyway.

After the Major retook her seat, there was an awkward silence as Jack realized he wasn’t the last to arrive. Daniel Jackson, the team’s resident archaeologist, linguist, and general nerd, was conspicuously absent. A few awkward glances were passed around the room for the few seconds before Daniel stumbled in, a very messy folder clenched in his arms.

O'Neill tsked at his friend, “You’re late Danny boy.”

Teal’c turned his head to O'Neill and raised an inquisitive eyebrow, “You yourself have only just arrived. Are you sure you should be reprimanding Daniel Jackson for his tardiness?” O'Neill could only shoot Teal’c a vexed look as Daniel fumbled with his papers.

“Sorry I’m late,” he glanced pointedly at Jack, “I ran into one of the lieutenants on the way here.” His tone and the mess that was his file implied that he was to be taken literally. “Anyway, while I’m sure Sam’s told you all about the scientific interest the world holds, it also holds some great historical information. These carvings,” he clicked a button and sent the slideshow to the next image, a picture of a wall with various carvings made on it, “are in an old Goa’uld dialect, mixed with a bit of very old Teutonic. From what the M.A.L.P. sent back, it seems to be the history of wherever the Stargate is. Basically, who built it and for what.

“So far, I’ve been able to translate that it’s a castle located in the ‘Everfree Forest’ built in honor of a pair of ruling sisters. There also seems to be a motif of,” he paused for a second, “Teal’c, help me out on this. What does ‘tau’ki’ mean?”

“I do not believe I have heard that word, Daniel Jackson. At a guess, I would say that it refers to another race used by the Goa’uld for hosts and slaves, much as tau’ri refers to the first ones, humans. I could not guess as to what the suffix ‘ki’ means, though.”

“Yes,” Daniel half-mumbled in response, “that’s what I had thought as well. I’ve seen reference throughout what we have from the M.A.L.P. to hooves wherever we would expect hands; perhaps the tau’ki are truly alien beings, along the lines of the Reetou.”

“So,” Jack cut in, “we might be dealing with more invisible spider aliens?”

“Nnnoo... At least, I highly doubt that. I’d guess they’re more akin to horses than spiders. Of course, they could be human as well, and just worship a horse deity. The point is that it’s a really exciting culture to study.”

“Yes. Study,” Jack responded. “Are you sure they’ll want to be studied? We don’t have the best track record when meeting non-human aliens.” He glanced at Teal’c, “Present company excluded, of course.”

Teal’c nodded. Though he appeared for all eyes to be human, he was in fact a Jaffa. The only immediately notable differences were the mark on his forehead, poured of molten gold, symbolizing his high rank when he was in the service of the goa’uld, Apophis, and the x-shaped opening in his stomach which led to an incubation sack. The sack contained a larval goa’uld, too young to take a host whose mind it would overpower and whose body it would use as its own.

Daniel continued on, brushing off Jack’s remark. “Well, from what I can see, no one has been to the castle for a long time. Centuries, even. I’d say it’s unlikely we’ll run into the locals unless we go out looking for them.”

O'Neill chose not to continue teasing Daniel even though they almost always ‘ran into the locals’ no matter how old or decrepit were the gate’s surroundings. Without further interruption from Jack, Daniel was able to quickly speed through the, well, Jack couldn’t exactly call them highlights but he supposed that that’s what they were supposed to be, of the text surrounding the Stargate.

After what felt like hours, Daniel took a seat next to Teal’c. General Hammond stood and took the front of the room. “Is there anything else?”

“Yes, Sir,” said O'Neill, “I didn’t see any DHD in the M.A.L.P. video, so we’ll be wanting a naquadah generator to dial back with.”

“Granted. SG-1, you will be laying the groundwork for an extended scientific expedition. Once you have established that there are no serious threats I will send a science team through to join you.”


“Yes, Colonel, you will be recalled shortly after, there’s no need to keep SG-1 on science detail.” O'Neill pumped his fist in the air, while Sam and Daniel looked just a bit defeated. Teal’c remained impassive. “SG-1, you have a go!”

Carter and O'Neill stood and saluted their commanding officer while Teal’c and Daniel simply stood and respectfully took their leave. The four members of SG-1 headed directly for the locker rooms and changed into their standard uniforms. A short time later the team was in the gate room and ready to go.

In addition to their normal gear - guns, C4, grenades, rations, and the like - the team was also weighed down with scientific equipment so Carter could get the research started, as well as Dr. Jackson’s reference materials. They stood at the bottom of the ramp leading up to the enormous stone ring that was the Stargate. Behind them, in the control center, a team of technicians worked to upkeep the dialing programs which had been slapped together to run Earth’s Stargate in absence of a D.H.D.

A rumbling, felt more than heard, signaled the enormous machines were coming to life as absurd levels of electrical power flowed into the superconducting ring. Suddenly, the inner ring of the Stargate began to spin. The pictographic representations of constellations sped by until one clicked into place beneath one of the Gate’s chevrons which snapped forward and lit up.

“Chevron One, encoded!” called Sergeant Harriman over the gate room’s loudspeakers.

The inner ring once again spun and once again stopped as a second chevron lit up.

“Chevron Two, encoded!”

“Chevron Three, encoded!”

“Chevron Four, encoded!”

“Chevron Five, encoded!” O'Neill idly fiddled with the brim of his cap as he waited.

“Chevron Six, encoded!”

“Chevron Seven, locked!” With that, a great splash of stuff shot out from the edges of the gate and met in the middle of the ring. At contact, the water like substance splashed out to the edge of the ramp in a massive plume of destructive force. The jet came to a head and then swiftly retreated, forming a flat event horizon in the plane of the Gate. Its surface rippled like the surface of the ocean on a calm, sunny day.

O'Neill hefted his portion of Sam’s gear and walked up the ramp towards the event horizon. Behind him, the rest of SG-1 followed him into the old orifice.

As they crossed through the event horizon, everything became light and dark, sound and silence, for a moment too short to even notice. To the team it felt just like blinking on Earth, and then opening their eyes on P3X-597, the designation given to the latest planet they were exploring. They saw exactly what the M.A.L.P. had shown them, a large chamber built of stone. There were no windows, the only illumination coming from the still-active gate.

Colonel O'Neill ordered the team to drop their gear outside the Gate’s splash zone and to establish a perimeter. He didn’t know what was in the castle besides SG-1 and didn’t care to be taken by surprise. As the team finished setting down the scientific equipment the Stargate shut down, the pool of standing energy evaporating away to nothing. The rippling blue light was quickly replaced by the bouncing white of handheld and gun-mounted flashlights.

In the darkness, they could see that a faint light came through the only entrance to the chamber. “Let’s move out!” ordered O'Neill, not exactly trusting hand signs in the low and unsteady light. The team filed out of the Stargate’s chamber and immediately hit a fork. Light seemed to be coming from both directions. “Carter, you’re with Teal’c. Take the left, and maintain radio contact. Check in once you find something, no longer than ten minutes without contact; synchronize watches to eighteen hundred Zulu... now. Go see what you can find.”

“Yes Sir,” Carter replied. She and Teal’c headed off down their path while Daniel and Jack went off in the other direction. The hallways were nondescript, built of some stone O'Neill was sure Daniel could identify. They were cool to the touch and looked much like any other stone-built structure Jack had been in. As they walked through twists and turns, Daniel used some special archaeologist chalk to mark their way back while O'Neill used a pencil and paper to roughly map out the tunnels.

“So,” said Jack to break the silence after hitting their third dead end, “horse aliens?”

“Hmmm?” mumbled Daniel who had been lost in thought. The two seemed to be in some sort of storage area of the castle. “I guess. Like I said, hooves are mentioned frequently. Though, the architecture is much too similar to ours for that. How would they even build things like this without hands?”

“Magic,” quipped O'Neill. Daniel was about to respond when they rounded a corner and were bathed with light. The tunnel had suddenly given way to an enormous room. It seemed to have once been a throne room, though any chairs present were long gone. The room was ringed in opulent columns which had to go at least four stories up to meet the ceiling. Just as impressive were the windows, still framed but devoid of glass for the most part, which rose from about three feet from the ground nearly to the ceiling as well.

Jackson and O'Neill had entered through a concealed door to the side of the raised platform where the throne had likely stood, probably a passageway for servants to unobtrusively access the throne. Up the columns crept pale ivy which snaked into the throne room through the tall windows. The delicate artistry of the columns and regal platform contrasted with the plain stone of the floor, walls, and ceiling. The only other door to be seen was a tall Gothic opening in the opposite wall.

“Incredible,” breathed Daniel, “it’s just like cathedrals on Earth, minus the crucifix designed into the floor plan. I’d say this is more a palace than a castle, maybe a religious site to worship whatever goa’uld was here.”

“Speaking of, do you have any ideas what a horse goa’uld would look like? How would they even survive without being able to give hammy speeches and cackle maniacally? Maybe they have donkeys for Jaffa and use ponies as slaves?”

Daniel sighed and pushed up his glasses, “I was thinking more of a horse-themed goa’uld. Maybe Epona.”

“You’re no fun, you know that, right? I’ll check in with Carter and Teal’c, you go enjoy these wonderful ruins.” With that, O'Neill grabbed the radio on his vest and called the others. “Carter, Teal’c, you there? Daniel and I are in what looks like a throne room. Have you gotten to the outside yet?”

There was a second’s delay as O'Neill waited for them to respond. Carter’s voice came through loud and clear, “We’re here, sir. We’ve come out in some sort of chamber. There’s a large artifact of some sort in the center, a bunch of spheres on a pedestal. Beyond that, I can’t see anything that stands out. Teal’c’s gone up a tower we found to scout out the surroundings.”

“Teal’c, see anything yet?” asked O'Neill.

“Not yet, Colonel O'Neill,” responded Teal’c. “I have yet to reach the top of the tower, but I will let you know what I see once I have done so.”

“Good, do so,” Jack said as he walked to a nearby window. Through it he could see another structure down the hill from the building in which he stood. Looking at the building he could see its roof was completely gone and that it looked less than stable. “And be careful,” he added, “these buildings don’t look to be in the best shape.”

Teal’c simply replied, “Am I not always careful, O’Neill?”

Jack looked out at the scenery surrounding the castle. They were surrounded by forest as far as he could see from his admittedly terrible vantage point. Down the hill, past the other building, O'Neill could see a deep chasm; hopefully there would be a bridge that went with it.

A bit of motion caught the colonel’s eye. He could see something moving past the windows of the other structure. “Carter,” he radioed, “would you mind waving your hands?”

“Sir?” said Carter, more than slightly confused. She did so anyway, wondering why when she noticed the large windows of the building she was in looked up at another.

“I thought that was you,” said O'Neill as he waved back at Carter. “Once Teal’c gets back from his tower, meet up in this building. I’m going to go check in with Hammond.”

“Yes, sir.”

O'Neill turned back to the throne room and walked over to Daniel, who was studying the inscriptions on the archway leading outside. “Find anything yet?”

“Surprisingly enough, I have. The language is shockingly similar to English in its grammar, and most of the vocabulary is standard Goa’uld.”

“Aaaaand?” prodded O’Neill. He never did enjoy listening to scientists go on over minutia when all he needed was the meat of the matter.

Daniel swallowed a retort, deciding it wasn’t worth it. He mumbled through a few lines of preamble that were probably unimportant for the moment before getting to the heart of the matter, “Behold! Here sit the noble Princesses Celestia and Luna. Let,” he puzzled for a moment and sighed: he knew exactly how Jack would react to the next word and wasn’t looking forward to it, “nopony question their just and fair decrees.” Daniel grimaced as Jack’s face lit up and a grin appeared on his face.

“So, we have pony aliens, then? And here you were saying that they would be horses. How could you ever have been so silly?”

Daniel groused at Jack who sniped right back at his friend. The routine was an old one at this point, Daniel loved to gush on and on about archaeology or linguistics or whatever new culture SG-1 had stumbled upon, and Jack didn’t enjoy scientists going on and on about their work in any capacity. Even so, the verbal attacks they made on one another never went beyond friendly banter.

Their radios crackled simultaneously as Teal’c’s voice came through. “Colonel O'Neill, I have reached the top of the tower. I believe I can see a small village on the horizon, no more than half a day’s walk if the jungle is particularly thick.”

“Excellent,” said O'Neill. Checking the sky and his watch, he added, “We’ll go check it out today. Carter, Teal’c, you join me in the gate room. We’ll contact Hammond and move the sciencey stuff to the throne room. Daniel, you keep translating. I think we might want to know exactly how Pony culture differs from ours.”

There was a pause.

“Sir, did you just say pony culture?”