Stargate: Far Horizons

sg1farhoizonintroHere’s a short peek of my short story contribution to the Stargate SG-1/Atlantis anthology, “Far Horizons” — Volume One of The Travelers’ Tales.

“Perceptions” takes place shortly after the events of season seven’s “Heroes” and “Resurrection” and before “Lost City.”  It’s the team’s first off-world mission after Dr. Janet Fraiser’s memorial and funeral and while SG-1 must overcome Anubis’s super soldiers to get home, they find themselves individually and collectively dealing with the inevitable grief of loosing a significant influence in their lives.

***

Cold metal pierced his skin, bringing wave after wave of pain. Liquid sloshed, movement becoming possible in ways that it should not. He bent, arced, thrashed against a host no longer made of bone and cartilage.

Realization dawned when he bumped into the walls of a symbiote tank. Still… He could not see. He could not hear.

If only he could not feel.

He refused the relentless pressure, fought to deny the sounds and images filling his senses.

Until he could fight no more.

“Do not resist,” boomed a voice in the dark.

A black-hooded figure filled his view, its face obscured in a swirling miasma of energy.

“I am your lord, Anubis.”

***

  1. Denial (n): {psychology} – a condition in which someone will not admit that something sad, painful, etc., is true or real. The first reaction following loss.

“Closer. Closer.” Colonel Jack O’Neill braced his disrupter against the empty Goa’uld queen tank, taking aim at the oncoming super soldier. After a wicked fire-fight, SG-1 had retreated inside Anubis’s latest drone factory – a chamber of horrors with slick marble floors, granite walls and a sky-high ceiling. The disrupter had enough juice for one more shot. That was all he’d need. That and a hundred yard dash through the tunnel ahead of them to the Stargate and his team would get home in one piece.

SG-1 would make it to the gate. Their first mission since Janet Fraiser’s funeral wasn’t going to fail.

The doc’s death had hit them hard, but they’d been hit before. Loss always sucked, he knew that. He had the T-shirt, a whole closet of them, to prove it. What he’d had enough of was missions gone bad. It was time for a win.

While a mission in the win column wouldn’t bring Janet back, it would move SG-1 forward. The team wasn’t gelling anymore. This first mission back was supposed to give them the chance to do just that.

But first, they needed to get to the gate.

The air reeked of burnt ozone. Smoke filled the tunnel leading to the gate ahead of them as well as the one to their rear. The solitary drone advanced, red plasma bursts erupting from its wrist weapon. The thing was a killing machine, both literally and figuratively.

The super soldier stomped across the central chamber, its black metal boots clanging against the marble floor. Obviously, the silent element of surprise wasn’t a factor. Anubis trained these living machines to tromp all over the galaxy, hence SG-1’s visit to do a little damage to the System Lord’s new factory. Anubis may have skipped town, but apparently he’d left some house-sitters. If it wasn’t for the disrupter Carter and her dad cobbled together, SG-1’s collective asses would be toast.

Two drones down, one to go.

“Any moment,” Jack promised his team.

Teal’c flipped on his staff weapon from his position behind a neighboring column. Crouched beneath the tank, Carter and Daniel hugged their P90s. All of them as ready for the fight as Jack.

Screw MacKenzie and his two-bit shrink shop. ‘You need time to process. Time to accept,’ the SGC’s resident psychiatrist had blathered on before the team headed out. As if SG-1 hadn’t dealt with death before. No, what SG-1 needed was a win.

Hell, if anything, Fraiser’s death was fuelling this mission. Anubis was the latest in a line of sanctimonious megalomaniacs that needed to end.  What better motive was there than wanting to hit that slimeball where it counted?

The super soldier stomped across the marble floor, searching left and right. Jack sucked in a breath, leveled the disrupter, and waited for it to get a wee bit closer. He’d shoot the thing dead and get his team home.

According to Jacob Carter, Anubis called them ‘Kull Warriors.’

Well, kull this–

Jack squeezed the trigger. The disrupter’s cobalt blue energy arc smashed into the drone straight on. The thing collapsed. A mechanical doll with its battery yanked out.

“Plant the C4, Carter, and let’s get out of here.” He holstered the spent disrupter and stood up. He winced as a spasm twisted his guts, a reminder that, even with a few weeks off, his wound from the P3X-666 fiasco still wasn’t healed.

“Daniel, Teal’c, grab whatever you can carry that’s useful–”

“Useful how, Jack?” Daniel crawled out from under the tank. “There’s nothing here.”

“There’s gotta be something.”

Teal’c strode to a box beside the tank and slid the lid back. He pulled out a shiny red crystal as big as a baseball. “This central control crystal might aid Major Carter’s research.”

“Now you’re thinking.” Jack turned toward Carter.

She hadn’t budged from beneath the tank. If anything, she hugged her rifle tighter.

“Carter. The C4?”

“Sorry, sir.” Out came the C4, the receiver, and the remote transmitter.

“You all right?”

“Yes, sir.” A barely perceptible swallow.

Jack took the C4 gear, knowing a lie when he heard one. They’d barely spoken since the funeral, and when they did, Carter would only talk about Cassie, not Fraiser. It was the proverbial elephant in the room; big enough that they couldn’t ignore it, too impossible to accept.

He offered his free hand to Carter. “A hundred yard dash down the tunnel, Major. Last one through the gate buys dinner.”

With a faint smile, she scrambled out from under the tank. “Dinner sounds good, sir.”

While Carter packed up the crystal, Jack took care of unfinished business. He pressed the C4 against the tank, plugged in the receiver and pocketed the remote. “I’m thinking tacos–”

A bolt of red plasma shattered the tank.

To read more, buy the STARGATE SG-1/ATLANTIS ANTHOLOGY, FAR HORIZONS.

Step through the gate…

From the early days of “Todd” the Wraith to Teal’c’s first experience of the SGC, from Atlantis’ past and future to good old-fashioned SG-1 adventures, Stargate SG-1 & Atlantis: Far Horizons brings you a wealth of exciting stories from across the Milky Way and Pegasus galaxies.

Whether you’re a fan of STARGATE SG-1 or STARGATE ATLANTIS, there’s something for everyone in our first anthology of Travelers’ Tales, with ten short stories from ten fantastic Stargate authors:

* Jo Graham
* Melissa Scott
* Peter J. Evans
* Amy Griswold
* Keith R.A. DeCandido
* Suzanne Wood
* Diana Dru Botsford
* Geonn Cannon
* Sabine C. Bauer
* Sally Malcolm
So step through the Stargate with us and see what’s waiting beyond the event horizon…