River of Stars Ch 7 bit – Reputations

As they headed through orchards to the temple – and it did look like a Buddhist temple, though the snakes carved with the fu-dogs were a definite local touch – Daniel noticed Goku drop back to walk beside the shaken acolyte. “Don’t worry,” the young youkai confided, in what was probably meant to be a whisper. “Sanzo’s like that all the time.”

Which didn’t make Daniel feel any better, as they rounded a corner to approach the opening gate, and-

Um. Are those bullet holes?

“Oh, Blessed Kanzeon Bosatsu,” a monk groaned from the anonymous safety of the back of the crowd, “it’s Genjyo Sanzo!”

Daniel blinked. He’d never seen that many people scatter, and still try to look like they weren’t.

“What’d you do to these guys?” Jack muttered under his breath.

“My job.” Striding forward, Sanzo zeroed in on an older gentleman in somewhat more ornate robes, who’d apparently reached the unhappy conclusion there was no way he could sneak off fast enough. “The people of Takei village have been destroyed. I request that you send an armed rescue party, to search for any survivors. Well armed; there may still be two or three insane youkai in the area.”

Request, huh? Daniel barely kept himself from eyeing the heavens. When Jack used that tone, what he really meant was, this gets done, or I will personally hold you accountable for the reason why.

…Whoa. He’d thought that Sanzo had to be fairly important, sure, based on the chakra, and other things, but- Sanzo’s got as much pull as Jack does?

Apparently so; the head priest winced, but didn’t voice a word of protest, politely beckoning them all inside. “Will you and your… companions, be requiring shelter?” The glance at Sam was definitely disapproving.

“Easy, Major,” Gojyo murmured when anger lit the astrophysicist’s gaze. “They don’t get meat or sweets here, either. It’s not personal. Honest.”

Sanzo ignored it all, though Daniel was sure he heard every word. “We won’t be staying.”

Daniel blinked, convinced he could almost hear a mass, Thank God! from every monk in earshot.

Come to think of it… there were a lot of suspiciously clean robes around here. Which kind of implied they’d been doing a lot of laundry lately. And given monks like these, if their usual duties were close to those he knew on Earth, generally weren’t given to large-scale grubbing in the dirt….

Oh, for the love of… no. No way. He couldn’t have scared a whole monastery that much!

Then again… he’d believe Jack could do it.

Still, it was a little hard to worry about it, walking into a building that set all an archaeologist’s inherent scientific avarice squealing with glee. Definitely Asian architecture, but they still have some Egyptian-Goa’uld influences; those are lotus-carved pillars! And- He stopped dead, in front of a hanging scroll.

“Gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond….”

“He knows the ancient script?” the high priest hissed to Sanzo. “But he’s-”

“A scholar, from very far away.” Jack’s polite smile didn’t reach his eyes. “Danny?”

A version of the Heart Sutra. In Ancient. It hurt to walk away.

But they had a mission.

Sometimes, I just wish….

“We’ve got a whole library back in Chang’an,” Gojyo offered.

Which made him the target of a half-dozen skewering looks.

“What?” the redhead shrugged at Hakkai. “I’ve seen you drooling at book-lenders before.”

“I don’t drool,” Hakkai protested.

“Nah; you just look like it’s New Year’s, and you can’t pick which mochi to try first,” Goku grinned.

“Books aren’t mochi….”

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35 thoughts on “River of Stars Ch 7 bit – Reputations

  1. Yes, nerd spotting all the books just waiting to be read needs no translation. It’s a universal constant.

    Sorry, Danny, but yes Sanzo does scare the regular monks that badly. It might be the bullets that been known to whiz past their ears, it might his distinctively unmonkish companions, it might outlandish for a monk behavior he engages in, it might be jealousy of his position, it might be fear of his power, it might be the color of his eyes, and it could be that he insists that they actually do their damned jobs all of their damned job not just the bits they find pleasant and actually holds them accountable when it doesn’t get done . . . the reasons are legion.

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    1. *G* Oh yes. Danny is just beginning to grasp Sanzo’s importance here. It’s not just “carries a superweapon”!

      And I so hope to write some epilogue stuff when people aren’t trying to kill each other and books are exchanged. 🙂

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  2. >>Books aren’t mochi
    They’re not? Need to me…

    And nice to see someone noticed that Sanzo descending on a monastery is a Bring Me My Brown Pants situation.

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  3. Um…

    SG1 has been questioning Sanzo’s rank from the beginning and have been putting it in the box “about the same as Jack” since they’ve first contemplated it.

    They’ve even been told he’s high rank in chapter 5:

    “Sanzo is the highest rank of spellcasting priest,” Hakkai said frankly. “There are only four or five at a time. Even if an heir should start as an acolyte, his training in the temples only goes so far. The master handles the rest.” (Sanzo is a special, SPECIAL snowflake with the temperment of a wolverine with hemorrhoids and a stomach ache.)

    Despite Sanzo being a certified Brown Pants Situation at all times (doubly so if you know what that title MEANS, infinitely so if he’s been to your temple before,) I don’t quite understand why Daniel is gawking. (It may be the 13 hour workday making me slow as well..)

    Sanzo is high enough ranked (badass enough) to not only guarantee (mostly) safe passage to a System Lord, but an AUDIENCE and (likely) /SAFE PASSAGE *BACK*/ without hesitation. If that’s not a sign he’s damn near top brass, I don’t know what IS.

    Laughing at stuttering monks acting like new recruits around Jack is fun, but passage to/from an audience with a Goddess? That’s where you eep and bring the brown pants, because Jack- you can’t just go see the President. Sanzo CAN. And bring interesting vict- guests as well.

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      1. It’s a version of a translation of the Heart Sutra. Check out Heart Sutra on Wikipedia for details thereof. (Under translation of the mantra in the sutra: “Edward Conze attempted to render the mantra into English as: “gone gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all hail!””.)

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      1. Actually, Sanzo is probably *higher* then Hammond, but on Earth, people with that much authority generally aren’t leading strike teams. And remember, he’s only been gone for two years. They likely can’t conceive of anyone trusting a former enemy that much. The SGC as a whole still doesn’t trust Teal’c!

        And despite the fate of the zombies, they aren’t really grokking ‘hip-pocket nuke’ as easily as, oh, Simon does in Around. Which, actually, is a pretty good comparison situation. If SG1 had run into Sinbad, and nobody had said anything, they likely wouldn’t have picked up on the fact that Sinbad is a king until they got there. And for sure would not have known that he went dungeon crawling, and has seven different WMDs he can whip out and use whenever. Sanzo isn’t quite the same, but he’s pretty close.

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      2. Exactly. SG1 has continually compared Sanzo to Jack, however- half of this ficbit is Daniel doing so- and I’m just… not sure why Daniel is surprised NOW and when they mostly knew Sanzo was AT LEAST as high up on the command chain as Jack. It’s like being surprised that Hammond has paperwork: well, yes, water is wet, the sky on Earth is blue, the Idiots are annoying, Hammond has paperwork, Sanzo maxed out a rank somewhere. (I can understand them not getting HOW important he is- ditto the “*higher* than Hammond- but… being surprised he can “request” a temple and put the fear of Sanzo in the priests? Peanuts.)

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      3. Hmm. I suppose the best answer I can give is, how do you see Jack exercise the power at a Colonel’s command in Stargate? Most of the time, we don’t. He’s in charge under Hammond, and he runs SG-1. Outside of that, people salute him and do their jobs. We don’t get to see Jack say “jump” and other people go “how high?” much, because their situation doesn’t really lend itself to that. Jack isn’t usually dealing with other military bases.

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      4. Pretty much! The real confounding factor here for SG-1 is, people of Sanzo’s level of authority on Earth generally aren’t out in the mud getting shot at. Hammond winds up in messes when the whole base is hit, but he’s not supposed to be on the front lines.

        …You might think of it as being like one of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church being in the middle of an active battlefield serving to the wounded – and shooting anyone after the medics. It’s just outside of normal Western concepts!

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    1. Daniel doesn’t gawk at Teal’c either. He really should. Teal’c’s position as First Prime of Apophis is likely as close to being a Sanzo, power-structure wise, as the System Lords get… only Teal’c threw that over to follow Jack, and has willingly been his subordinate since. So that comparison doesn’t really hit for most of SG-1 the way it should.

      Also, take into account the way the chain of command works in the SGC and how they deal with System Lords. Jack can’t just go see the President, no – but Hammond can call the President, canon, anytime. Face to face on Earth would be silly, given the travel delays involved. But with the Stargate, SG-1 deals with System Lords face-to-face most of the time they ever deal with them. So for SG-1, oddly enough, a System Lord who rules whole planets has “less status” and is easier to access than the President of the United States.

      To the monks of Shangri-La, Sanzo is the living hand of Kanzeon on the planet and one of the scariest things in the galaxy. To SG-1, Kanzeon Bosatsu is “just another System Lord”.

      What we have here is a failure to communicate….

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      1. Ahh…. this is going to bite them soundly, isn’t it?

        This actually does help a lot. (And the whole thing with Teal’c cannon always did Just Bug Me. He was IMPORTANT. He ran WORLDS- he’s not just a grunt.)

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  4. *cackles* I *almost* feel sorry for the priests of that monastery, but if they pissed Sanzo off enough to have bullet holes in their walls, they brought that sh!t down on themselves!

    *snerks* And Daniel, don’t worry. I’m sure there’s an acolyte there that will follow along behind you with a bucket and mop for the drool. Well, one that hasn’t passed out in relief at the thought of Sanzo and Company *leaving* as quickly as possible since they’re not staying the night.

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      1. Oh, undoubtedly!

        (Heh. *points you to description of Hakkai’s library in WT* For those who don’t know, it will hopefully start posting soon….)

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  5. On an unrelated topic, I had a thought about the Muten Sutra.

    When Sanzo got hit with it, he pretty much fell into a pit of shadows. Which, supposedly, began undoing his existence. But it kinda reminded me of the Shadow Realm in Monochrome Factor…

    In the manga, at least, when Akira stayed in the shadow realm, he was more or less erased from everyone’s memories… Or buried very, very deeply. I’m not sure whether the forgetting bit was an added effect, or a natural one caused by the shadow realm, but if it was natural? Sanzo very well might have been dumped into the shadow realm, and fished back out by Goku.

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      1. Thing is, getting dumped into the shadows shatters your shadow, I think? So how would he avoid that little detail? ‘Cause the side effects really are something else…

        Wonder how well priests line up with adepts… or even the Shin and Rei.

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