River of Stars Ch 9 bit – Argh, too


Sam was shuffling translucent pages, reading text and feeling over the printed lines with a thoughtful frown. Daniel was poking at the temple tablet; gingerly, but poking it, going through information Sam had indeed managed to hack out of the local systems, which ha, take that, Kanzeon. And Teal’c was half-meditating over the remains of their dinner, keeping watch for any unwelcome guests to their very nice, possibly bugged, guest quarters in Kanzeon’s Heavenly Palace. Which left Jack free to pick up a pillow and bang his head against the lovingly decorated wall. Hopefully not hard enough to give himself a concussion. Though a spate of unconsciousness sounded really damn good about now.

“Does it truly invoke a sense of contentment when you stop, O’Neill?”

Smart aleck Jaffa. “At the moment, yes,” Jack grumbled. “I just – we just – argh! This? This is not supposed to happen. We’re supposed to get evil gloating, or ‘gee we forgot to mention’, or ‘too primitive’. We’re not supposed to get, ‘Oh, I’m rescuing a whole species, you want to give me a hand?’”

“The question,” Teal’c mused, “is if we aid Kanzeon Bosatsu in her attempts to rescue not only the Furling species, but her own.”

There. Right there. Teal’c had nailed it. Jack glared at the pretty wave-pattern on the wall one more time, then turned around and plopped himself back into one of the comfy chairs.

…Because of course Kanzeon had comfy chairs. She had the Sanzo Inquisition, why not?

“What the hell do I tell him?” Jack poked at a twisted bit of what looked like mandarin orange peel. “A Goa’uld thinks you’re one of her kids’ lost souls? Oh, and no matter what she thinks, you’re not human anymore?”

“It is highly likely Genjyo Sanzo is aware that he is no longer Tau’ri, O’Neill.” Teal’c looked a bit graver than usual. “If they have been in as many battles as their tales indicate, it is unlikely he has escaped serious injury. Cho Hakkai appears to have no small measure of Dr. Fraiser’s skills, and a competent healer notices such differences.”

“Yeah, well, big difference between mad scientist messing with you, and somebody yanked out your mind and put it in another body.” Here and now, Jack would allow himself a shudder. “That’s… MacKenzie would probably have a field day about conservative personality types and obsessions with purity and integrity. But there’s just something wrong about that.”

“Not in cultures that allow for reincarnation and transmigration of souls.” Daniel looked up from the tablet, intent. “She didn’t say he was Konzen, she said he had Konzen’s soul. He’s Genjyo Sanzo. That, well, pretty much fits in with the sort-of Hindu-Buddhist traditions around here. Even gods are supposed to incarnate as other lives, once in a while.”

Jack raised an eyebrow. “So what do you think we should tell him?”

“I… have no clue,” Daniel admitted. “Does it matter? I mean, next to trying to get the Tok’ra to back off so they don’t get tangled up with the Asgard. As long as Earth’s under the Protected Planets Treaty, anything that takes Asgard attention off the System Lords isn’t good.”

“It matters,” Jack stated. “You don’t lie to your own people unless there’s no choice. And he was one of ours.” He thumped the back of his head against a cushion. “Was.”

Wasn’t now, though – and that had finally let Jack put a finger on what Black Ops training had glommed onto in Sanzo’s little soul-shredding speech. Besides the whole tearing his heart apart from the inside out.

“One of the deadly sins is pride.

That had not been a linguist talking. Not a cultural expert. Not even a geek buried in the books.

“We’ve all got blood on our hands. Some of us manage to hold onto something good anyway…. Even if we don’t deserve it. Especially if we don’t deserve it.”

Not a linguist. Not a civilian. That was a priest.

“I think I got raised too Catholic,” Jack muttered. “I don’t know what to do when somebody really believes.”


37 thoughts on “River of Stars Ch 9 bit – Argh, too

  1. Yeah, when you get used to false gods, meeting someone with genuine faith in something and not manically zealot ‘repent-your-evil-ways-and-submit-to-the-will-of-the-Almighty-you-slimebags’ kind but the quiet and simple faith of “I believe” would be kind of head-tilting.

    Through I’ve noticed that the Stargate Universe doesn’t seem to have a Goa’uld claiming to be the Judeo-Christian god . . . have they also fallen into the trope of ‘of course, the primitive people of yore believed in false gods who were actually aliens . . . unless you are talking about my god, my god is totally real divine power and the only one that actually exists’ that completely annoys me.

    Just because the Goa’uld used their names and mythology does not mean that those entities do not exist. Just because Ra called himself Ra and borrowed the symbolism of the god sun didn’t actually make him Ra and doesn’t automatically mean that Ra the sun god does not exist somewhere. And might be rightly cheesed off by this imposer using his name.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stargate takes the out that the Goa’uld left somewhere around 1 AD. Which, oy, as Arduinna points out, is all kinds of facepalm given people would have written that down… and let’s not even get into the village supposedly snatched from the Middle Ages.

      Kryal pointed out that Buddhism theoretically would have no problem with Kanzeon as a goddess (or with Sanzo as a priest), because it can be a non-theistic religion.

      And Sanzo really does believe in greater powers in the fabric of the universe. Helps that he’s handled a bit of it…. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Heh. Well, number one, I’m going by the idea that the Goa’uld left Earth alone way before the switch between BCE and CE, because… well, see the “writing it down”. Writing developed at least 5,000 years ago. The Goa’uld do not like their slaves knowing how to write. Put the math together.

      As for the Judeo-Christian ideas… well, we do have Senator Kinsey. “There is only one God….” I think the general belief of the SGC is at least “Ra et al. co-opted these stories.” After all, that’s what Daniel figured out early on (either in the movie or between the movie and CotG), so that’s the general thought. And other than that and Kinsey, we don’t really see much about the belief systems within the SGC.


      1. I’m willing to allow “occasional raids on Earth by way of Antarctic Stargate”. But still iffy.

        And yeah. The SG ‘verse tends to skip over sincere belief. Which is… well, I guess it makes for easier TV storytelling, but it misses a lot!


    3. I do love Vathara’s world-building, coming up with so many surprises and interesting interpretations of canon. it Is great fun! 🙂

      >> Through I’ve noticed that the Stargate Universe doesn’t seem to have a Goa’uld claiming to be the Judeo-Christian god . . . have they also fallen into the trope of ‘of course, the primitive people of yore believed in false gods who were actually aliens . . . unless you are talking about my god, my god is totally real divine power and the only one that actually exists’ that completely annoys me.

      oh yes I dislike that trope as well, I personally blame Judeo-Christian values for it, a lot of people take the commandment about not worshiping other gods as a reason not to treat other religions and gods as if they are as real as their own or worth respect.

      Has the SGC ever found an alien religion that wasn’t a fraud, or the SGC wasn’t fully justified in wiping out? SGC gets to face all the other gods in one way or another, why not the Judeo-Christian God?

      Just think how cool it would have been if the Ori ware the Judeo-Christian God – not stole the name, like Goa’uld who used local gods as their fursonas. – actually wrote the bible and use their powers to do the things in the Bible, the commandment about not worshipping other gods would be made to make sure all the faith power goes to them alone. Just think of the people’s reaction to the Ori coming over to conquer Earth.

      When the SGC find the ark of truth, a device that can brainwash people to lose faith in the Ori. it isn’t just some random alien religious con nobody cares about they are destroying; it is an actual religion they are destroying.

      I can imagine Teal’c helping the people in the SGC with their crises of faith, caused by them realizing that their god is actually evil.

      I guess it would never happen the moral guardians would kill the writers. I guess I’m just tired of using pagan ‘not really gods because reasons’, while making sure never saying everything that makes something in the bible less special.

      It feels like half the fiction written in the west that has resurrection in it is also bending over backwards to say Jesus did it better, without using mainstream magic. – #hipster Jesus

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Argh. The Ori are definitely not anything related to the Judeo-Christian god; the Bible shows that deity is much more interesting than the Prior’s… mess.

        I actually see a much simpler reason the Goa’uld wouldn’t pick the Biblical God to emulate. The whole immutable Ten Commandments and “Love your neighbor as yourself” are pretty much antithetical to the usual System Lords’ capricious rule over their planets.

        But yeah, the fact that SG-1 goes in and tells people “oh, these are false gods” without considering this is the local belief system… is just asking to bite them. Seriously. Don’t screw with people’s beliefs unless you’re prepared to die horribly.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. true it would need to be an AU, I mostly thought of it to put a twist on “this season’s big bad is a false god who is even more dangerous than the last one” stargate kinda ran that one into the ground.

        for once have the SGC be the ones whose faith was used as a tool for alien conquest.

        As for the Judeo-Christian god being too nice for a Goa’uld fursona. I’m not an expert but I don’t think the Egyptian gods was as consistently evil as the Goa’uld.

        the Judeo-Christian god was not really turning the other cheek all the time himself, he had his moments of overkill.

        But mostly the reason I think the Judeo-Christian god is not a Goa’uld, is because he is never described as remotely human. His most iconic appearances have him described as fire or a volcano. – not part human part fire, that a Goa’uld could more easily imitate.


      3. I suppose the phrase I’m actually looking for is internally consistent. Egyptian myths often have several variants on gods’ origins, powers, etc.

        And heh. 2 things to remember about turning the other cheek. 1) That’s New Testament. 2) In the context of the Roman Empire, people were supposed to use their right hands. So to “smite thee on thy right cheek” was a slap – a blow delivered by a social superior to an inferior, and permitted by law. However, to “smite thee on thy left cheek” a Roman would have to punch you.

        …Which means it suddenly became a fight between equals, and you were free to beat that guy to a bloody pulp.

        So. New Testament isn’t quite as peaceful as you might think. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As my mind is want to do, it latched on to a bit right at the beginning and makes me comment on it.

    Sam, how sure are you that Kanzeon didn’t let you hack those files? Cause that is totally in her MO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, but SG-1 doesn’t know her well enough yet to realize it. Sanzo definitely would, but they’re not talking directly about this to Sanzo. 😉


  3. >>Jack literally beating his head against the wall (with a pillow).

    *snirk, snort, LAUGH*

    >> …Because of course Kanzeon had comfy chairs. She had the Sanzo Inquisition, why not?

    Comfy chairs, uncomfortable people/situations. That’s the way Kanzeon rolls. (At least some part of you is comfortable while she makes your mind, preconceptions, and the previous definition of sanity wither shatter or go whimper in the corner.)

    >> “I think I got raised too Catholic,” Jack muttered. “I don’t know what to do when somebody really believes.”

    I’m tenpted to quote Granny Weatherwax on belief, but Jack doesn’t deserve that. True belief, not fanaticism, is a world-tilting thing. I think Sanzo has finally been cemented in Jack’s head as “Preist (weird, violent, sharp-tongued, and cranky, but legitimate.)”

    Is it just me, or is Teal’c over there quietly weirded out as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Teal’c is definitely weirded out. Kanzeon seems to be on the level. And Sanzo gives him Bra’tac vibes.

      Not to mention “Goa’uld are gods” is easy to deal with. “Goa’uld are actually evil”, nastier, but also relatively simple. “Goa’uld are screwed up and some are trying to save themselves”? That’s a complicated situation, and more than a little unsettling.

      Not to mention, Teal’c’s seen the Asgard take out Heru’ur for violating the Treaty like swatting a fly. To run up against a problem they can’t solve, and had to trust to another species… well, there are 2 factors that make this an eep. First, that Asgard tech isn’t advanced enough to solve certain problems. Second – the Furlings were their allies, and the Asgard couldn’t help them. Not, didn’t want to. Couldn’t.

      Teal’c is currently running that through his head, and the fact that Earth is an Asgard ally as well, and not liking that potential scenario one bit. No.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. >Teal’c is currently running that through his head, and the fact that Earth is an Asgard ally as well, and not liking that potential scenario one bit. No. >
        Yeah two issues I can see.

        1: Humanity can run into a major threat and the Asgard just go “I don’t know how to fix this, good luck y’all”
        2: As they are allies, the Asgard might dump issues on Humanity’s lap that they can’t figure out and expect humanity to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. >>And Sanzo gives him Bra’tac vibes.

    I find this hilarious, adorable, and slightly frightening. (I think that mixture suits the situation well.)

    Yeah… Teal’c doesn’t say much, but he’s almost alway THINKING and noticing things. The big (short), scary (grey), Asgard are looking less big and scary and more overwhelmed and faliable as time goes by. It… does not actually instill comfort knowing the major power on your side has failed an entire allied species once already…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. *giggles* Jack’s finally connecting the dots that Genjo may have left a scholar and a linguist, but he’s literally been through hell and back, sometimes with the three at his side, and he Believes. His faith is as strong as Aziraphael’s from Good Omens, and just as unshakable.

    *snickers* and yeah, Sam may have hacked Kanzeon’s computers, but it was very likely that Kanzeon was snickering and curious to see what they would be looking for.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well Jack, you’re found your problem. When something isn’t broken, you can’t ‘fix’ it. You can break it (I defy you to find a tool with which to do so when we are talking about *Sanzo* but is within the realm of theoretically possible) and try to remake it in your image, but I wouldn’t call that fixing it. Just because it’s not your exact belief system doesn’t make it wrong or evil. Or, y’know, a belief system at all, kinda get the impression that Jack is either an atheist, an extremely disillusioned agnostic(as in there is a higher power, but it either doesn’t care or is actively malicious) or a very, very bitter and non-practicing Christian…
    I had a point. It grew wings and flew away, but I don’t want to delete anything I wrote either… Must be time for bed…


  7. >>going through information Sam had indeed managed to hack out of the local systems, which ha, take that, Kanzeon.>>

    To which my bunnies displayed the image of Kanzeon in a swivel chair, petting something furry and to her mind cute (meaning scary as hell to everyone else) and saying “Exactly as planned.” *laughter*

    Sanzo: “My Hag Sense is tingling . . . she’s up to something, well, she’s always up to something, but knowing her, it’s going to give me a migraine and piss me off.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Agnostic/atheist Jack..that’s what i was thinking about! Dumb, but practical in stargate. Stargate is atheist afterall. I feel sorry for them. I like sane and trickster gou’ald too.


  9. You know with all the Youkai, genetics mixes etc I can’t help but see River of Stars as an AU of the Urban Legends universe.

    Here Kanzeon was the one to try and restore the Furlings on one of their terraformed worlds. In UL the Ancients decided to do it while:
    A:screwing up royalty like they constantly do.
    B: The Ancients looked at various Furling traits and ‘pruned’ out stuff they didn’t see a point to. After all XYZ instincts and mental states etc etc are signs of lesser and primitive species, don’t know why the Furlings would bother keeping them. They’ll thank us for it after the population is re-established.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. >*Wry G* That’s an interesting take on the situation. Will have to poke that for further reflection.:)>
      When the bit about UL Youkai (and presumably a lot of other species that could interbreed with humans) were artificially created I tried to figure out WHY the Ancients would have done this.

      1. Weapons research (see Ancients track record thereof)
      2. Medical experimentation like we do with rodents and other animals.

      The Furlings situation here gave me a third option.


  10. Everybody military has already complained about it, but of course the lack of a continuing character chaplain (and gun-totin’ chaplain’s assistant) is one of the big unrealistic weaknesses of Stargate. Never showed most of the ceremonial or traditional side of the Air Force, either. Again and again, the show lost obvious opportunities to portray Air Force or Colorado Springs quirks.

    So it is almost pointless to complain that other cultures weren’t covered realistically, when the show’s basic culture wasn’t done well either.


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