by Val Evenstar
Author's Note: On a totally random whim, I am simultaneously publishing this and 'Such a Time as This' because I've abandoned the SG-1 universe for to long. Both of these were written... a year ago? It's been a while. This particular topic was inspired by an expository speech I wrote. It starts out slow, but don't all mysteries? Let me know what you think of this first little chapter!
The Stargate activated, the empty ring turning into a shimmering pool of blue that lit up the area behind the iris. General Landry, standing at the bottom of the ramp with SG-1, looked up to the control room. Walter's voice came through the speakers in the gateroom. "Receiving SG-5's IDC - they're bringing two visitors, as scheduled."
The General nodded. "Open the iris."
The iris slid open, allowing six figures to come through the Stargate's event horizon. The first four were in standard military green; the other two were dressed in bright tunics, and carrying small satchels.
"Welcome to Earth," said the General. "I'm General Hank Landry, commander of this base. This is SG-1 - Col. Mitchell, Col. Carter, Teal'c, and Dr. Jackson. They'll be going to your world as our representatives."
"Greetings, General," said the taller alien. He was middle-aged, with sharp features, and he wore a pendant on a gold chain around his neck. "I am Councilor Tolan, and this is Ambassador Idris. We welcome the opportunity to start a relationship between our two worlds. You were the first visitors ever to come through our Stargate - I am glad you came as friends, not conquerors." Tolan turned to speak to SG-1. "I hope you enjoy your visit to Cader. It is a beautiful world, and I believe we have many things that will be of interest to you."
Sam smiled politely, playing the diplomat. "I'm sure it will be a pleasure. Thank you for so graciously extending your hospitality."
"I hope it will only be the beginning of a lasting friendship between our peoples."
"Something creepy about these people," Major Hadden said to Mitchell, using a low voice. He'd stayed behind while the rest of his team had left the gateroom. "Like the waking dead, they are. Just look at them, no light in their eyes, no warmth in their smiles or feeling in their words -"
"Save it for the campfire, Major," Cameron said dismissively. "But just so you know, most politician types are like that anyway."
Hadden shook his head and left the gateroom.
Cameron walked up to where the rest of SG-1 was waiting, impatient to leave.
They walked through the Stargate, and space twisted and contracted. The next thing they knew, they were on another world.
The great Gate shut behind them.
It seemed as if they'd come out into a museum, or an art gallery. The room was high and bright, with stately Grecian columns giving the illusion of symmetry and lightness. As they walked away from the gate, footsteps echoing on the cool marble floor, they could see that the Stargate itself was the focus of the room. Like the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, the gate dominated the scene.
"Art and culture, that's what the report said these people were about," murmured Dr. Jackson. "Well, that's art!"
"No welcoming committee, though," commented Mitchell.
"Maybe the tour is self-guided," Carter joked.
The two tall doors at the end of the room started to open. Light outlined the person opening them, who seemed diminutive by comparison with the doors.
"Or maybe they just prefer to be melodramatic," observed Mitchell.
The heavy doors swung all the way open, and the figure straightened. "Greetings, representatives of the Tau'ri. I am Zdarin, your guide. I am sorry that Governor Thallus was not available to greet you himself. Please, come with me, and I will show you some of our great government buildings, museums, and works of art. I will tell you of our people and our planet, and give you answers to your questions."
Daniel's eyes lit up. "That's good, I have a lot of questions. Your civilization's been here for, uh, 250,000 years, and you've been isolated from the rest of the galaxy all that time? Or did you just prefer starships to Stargates, because at about the time your civilization began, you could've known the Ancients, otherwise known as Alterrans -"
"Please, please, Dr. Jackson," Zdarin motioned for quiet. "I will be glad to answer all your questions. Perhaps if I told you of Cader's history, you will find what you are looking for."
They followed him out of the room into a wide, columned reception hall with one side that opened out onto a large courtyard.
"Our people came to Cader about three hundred thousand years ago..."
"I'll show you to your quarters as soon as you check in at the infirmary. It's standard procedure to examine all travelers, to make sure you're not carrying any contagions, and to inoculate you against some of our diseases. I'm sure you do something similar on your world."
General Landry led the two ambassadors into the infirmary.
"Excuse me, General, I don't believe this is entirely necessary," said Councilor Tolan.
"Pardon?" asked the general, turning to face him.
"There is no...disease... on our world."
"We live in perfect health. There has been no - illness -for thousands of years."
"Well, even if that is the case, Councilor, we'll still have to make sure your immune systems can handle everything they're going to be exposed to here," said Dr. Lam as she entered the room.
"Councilor, Ambassador, this is Dr. Lam," said the general.
"Pleased to meet you. Hopefully, this won't take very long - I only need to run a few tests. But if your society has been without disease for as long as you say, I'm afraid that could have had some devastating effects on your immune system."
"There is no need to worry, Doctor," interjected the ambassador. "We still have some physicians on our world, and they have adequately prepared us for what we will encounter here."
Dr. Lam frowned. "Well that's wonderful, but I'm still going to have to run a few tests."
"Our physicians have assured us that we are not transporting any contagions. And our physiology is very different than your own, so we believe that our physicians would be more able to discern any problems we might have."
"I'm sorry if this is inconvenient for you, but I have to follow procedure. It will be quick, if you simply cooperate. I -"
"Um, Doctor," the general said, motioning her aside.
"Excuse me for a minute."
The two aliens watched as the humans walked to the opposite side of the room, talking in low voices. It was a heated discussion; they could see the doctor punctuating her statements with hand gestures, and the general making calming motions as he tried to present his side of the argument. Finally it was over; it seemed the general had won.
"Sorry about that," said the doctor. "General Landry has suggested that I settle for a blood sample, and a full report from your physicians. I'd like to do a little more, but I cannot do anything less."
"Thank you, Doctor, General. Your people did suggest that we bring a physician's report with us; they are with our belongings. We will give them to you as soon as possible."
"All right," said Dr. Lam, and dug a syringe out of her pocket. "Now, if you'll just roll up your sleeve -"
"Doctor," said Idris, laying a hand on the young woman's arm, "Please, allow us to do this ourselves. You see, on our world medicine is not practiced very often, and so it an extremely private affair."
Carolyn blinked. "That's fine, I suppose. See this line here? I need each of these syringes filled up to here, with blood. Oh, you do know how to use these?"
The aliens regarded the instrument, and then nodded. "I believe we can discover how they operate."
The doctor showed them into a room then shut the door.
"Well, that was strange," she said as she approached the general.
He nodded, watching the door. "If you find anything odd in those doctor's reports, you'll let me know."