The screen showed a sardonic Japanese man in glasses and a white labcoat, seated at his ease behind an executive’s neat desk. “General Hammond. By now you have a very interesting problem on your hands.” A slight shrug. “I suppose it’s only fair to fill you in on what you may have missed, carrying out Stargate Command’s mission to protect the planet.
“Even now, you’ve never truly delved into why the NID sought out my assistance. You have – not without cause – concluded the NID’s covert elements, who seek to take advantage of off-world technology, have no more noble goals than their own profits and power. And so you have committed what any gamer could inform you is a mortal sin. You are not curious.
“This, is a mistake.”
A montage of images flowed across the screen. A ha’tak in space. An Asgard mothership. A Replicator shattering under a shotgun blast. A glowing ribbon device, shrouded in darkness except for the outline of a hand behind it.
“Years ago, you opened the doorway to a universe that had forgotten our world existed. Since then you have sought to find friends and allies, as you should have. But you have not examined the conditions they put on your aid.
“The Tollans refuse to help us because we are not advanced enough. The Tok’ra likewise; that, and if our medical technology progressed to eliminate ills such as cancer, no Earth-born human would volunteer to become a host. The Nox are pacifists who hide from the universe, and claim to be morally superior to anyone who dares defend himself with violence. And while the Asgard may favor your Colonel O’Neill, the terms of the treaty they amended to protect us will only hold until we gain enough technological knowledge that the System Lords deem us a threat. Which they may do at any time.
“Take it from an MMO designer, General. This game is unwinnable.”
Another montage. Niirti caught half-visible. Ma’chello’s Goa’uld-killers. The NID’s cache of stolen technology. An odd, rectangular cube of sapphire crystal, like nothing the SGC had ever seen.
“Individuals have tried to game this stalemate to gain advantages over the System Lords. Nirrti seeks to create an advanced host for her own gain. The NID look for technological shortcuts, or super soldiers to fight the Jaffa hand to hand. And you, General – you look for allies and loopholes, trying to stave off interstellar foes with guile and bullets.
“You are all missing the point. All of these tactics only gain you advantages if you follow the elder races’ lead, and allow the System Lords’ petty dance of power to go on. And by those rules we cannot win.
“So if you don’t like the rules… change the game.”