Stargate Horizons


Ten minutes later, Jack, Sam, Teal'c and SG-9 were exiting through the gate onto P7Y-359.

"Is it just me or is anyone else experiencing a sense of deja vu?" Jack asked.

"Does not the term deja vu refer to a feeling that you have been somewhere before?" Teal'c asked.


"Then, since we have been to this planet on two previous occasions, it is logical that we would feel that we have been here before."

Jack looked at him and rolled his eyes.  "Never mind.  Okay, kids.  Let's see if we can find those guys with the funny hats."

They went down the path in the opposite direction of the temple, keeping an eye out for both friendly and unfriendly inhabitants.  About two miles from the gate, they came upon a village.  The dwellings were constructed of tree limbs and branches woven together and had thatched roofs.  They blended into the surrounding forest.  It was no surprise that everyone had failed to see the structures in the video feed coming from the UAV.  However, it didn't explain why the natives' heat signatures had not been detected by the UAV's infrared scanner.

The natives scuttled away from the SG teams, mothers grabbing their children and ducking into huts.  A small group of men approached them.  Jack recognized the one who had talked to them earlier.

"Why do you return?" the man asked.  "Have you not angered Bendrak enough?  Do you seek to bring his wrath down upon all of us?"

"We're not here to make anybody angry," Jack told him.  "We're here because of our friend, the one who's sick."

"The one who entered the temple without tribute?"


"But he must surely be dead now."

"No, he's not, but he is very sick," Sam said.  "We're trying to find a way to make him well."

The natives looked at each other, muttering under their breaths.  Then the spokesman for the group turned back to Jack and the others.  "It is not possible for the one you speak of to be alive, not if Bendrak took his life power.  Such ones die quickly."

"Okay, that may be true for your people, but our friend is still very much alive, and he needs your help," Jack told him.

"Our help?  How can we help this one that Bendrak has taken the life power from?"

"It has to do with the differences between your people and ours," Sam explained.  "We may look the same on the outside, but there are probably ways that we differ on the inside, and that's the reason why our friend is still alive.  That difference is keeping him alive longer."

"How can differences inside the body stop what Bendrak has done?  Life power is life power.  It is the same for both men and animals."

"Bendrak takes the life power of animals as well?" Teal'c asked.

"Sometimes, though it does not feed him as well as the life power of the people.  He must take many more to appease him."

"So, what's in those crystals you take to the temple?" Sam asked.

"Life power."

"Wait a second," Jack said.  "Are you saying that you sucked the life out of people with those things, then feed it to that Benny guy?"

"Throughout the year, those who are old or are very ill are called upon to offer their life power as tribute to Bendrak.  It is a great honor, for it means that the rest of the people will be spared.  Once their life power has been drawn, the receptacles are stored in the Vault of Life until the Time of Tribute arrives."

"And just how many people have to offer their lives every year?  You were carrying twenty of those crystals into the temple."

"This is just the first day of Tribute.  The ceremony will continue for nine more days.  On each of those days, twenty receptacles will be brought to Bendrak."

"Are you saying that, every year, two hundred of your people are sacrificed to this Bendrak?" Sam asked, horrified.

The native nodded.  "It has been so for five generations."

"What happens if you do not have two hundred individuals who are willing to submit to this?" Teal'c asked.

"All of the people make sure that there are two hundred life tributes.  If there are not enough old or sick ones during the year, then others volunteer to make sure that the quota is met.  One year, when I was but a child, we fell one short because a receptacle was dropped and broke, releasing the life power within.  It happened on the final day of Tribute on the journey to the temple, so there was no opportunity to collect a replacement.  Bendrak was very angry.  He came to this village and took the life power of five people as punishment, two of which were from children.  We have never allowed such a thing to happen since then."

Sam excused herself and her teammates and drew them aside.  "Sir, if this area has only small villages like this one, the population wouldn't be large enough to withstand losing two hundred people a year.  In a few more generations, they'll all be gone.  Bendrak is driving them into extinction."

"Perhaps the population is larger than what it appears," Teal'c said.

"That may be so, but what's happening here isn't right.  These people are living in fear of that thing.  If Daniel was here. . . ."

"I know, Carter," Jack said.  "He'd want us to help them.  Okay, so how do we do that?"

"We could find another world for them to live on, as we did with the Enkarans," Teal'c suggested.

"That could work if the population is small enough, but we don't know how far this Bendrak can travel," Sam pointed out.  "If we relocate all the people within, say, a fifty-mile radius of the temple, and Bendrak goes out beyond that radius and starts raiding other villages, we could just make things worse.  It sounds like that thing is really demanding.  He could get pretty mad if we steal his easy source of 'food' and decimate the population that's left."

"Okay, this is something that we're going to have to figure out later," Jack said.  "Right now, we need to talk one of these people into going back with us."

They returned to the others.

Jack addressed the spokesman.  "Okay, um . . . what's your name anyway?"

"I am called Gennae.  I am chieftain of this village."

"Well, I'm O'Neill and this is Carter and Teal'c."  The members of SG-9 introduced themselves.  "As we said earlier, our friend needs help, and we think you can help him."


"We need to find out how you are different from us," Sam told him.  "We're hoping that, if we learn this, our doctors can find a cure for our friend."

Gennae shook his head.  "I have told you that there is no cure.  Once a person's life power has been taken, it cannot be given back."

"Well, maybe this Benny didn't take our friend's life power.  Maybe he did something else to him," Jack reasoned.

"Either way, there is nothing that can be done to heal him."

"You don't know that!"  Jack was getting angry at the man's pigheadedness.  "We have medicines and machines that you people don't have.  You said so yourself that any of your people would already be dead if this had happened to one of them.  The fact that Daniel is still alive means that he does have a chance.  Now, all we need is for one of you to come back with us to our world for a little while.  They won't be hurt.  Our doctors just want to take a look at them and see how your people are different from ours.  Then the person will be brought back here."

"To go to your world we would have to travel through the enkali?"

"Enkali?  You mean the Stargate?  The large ring that you pass on your way to the temple?" Sam asked.


"Then, yes, you would have to travel through it."

"That is forbidden.  It used to be that many people sought to escape Bendrak by passing through the enkali.  For each one who did, Bendrak took the life power of two others.  To save our people, we made it forbidden to use the enkali."

"How do you keep people from sneaking through?" Lieutenant Sayers asked.

"We deny them the knowledge of how to use the enkali.  Only a few of high standing in each village know the secret of how to make it work."

"Well, whoever we take with us will only be gone temporarily," Jack told him.  "We'll bring him back as soon as we can."

Gennae shook his head.  "No.  We cannot take the chance.  Bendrak may still grow angry, especially now during the Time of Tribute.  After that time is completed, Bendrak will sleep for one moon.  At that time you can return and take one of our people with you, for there will be no danger."

"Daniel won't live another nine days!" Jack exclaimed.  "We need one of your people to come with us now!"

"This is not possible."

"Um, sir?  Maybe you should let me try talking to them," Sayers said to Jack.  "That is mainly why I'm here."

"Yeah, sure.  Knock yourself out.  But don't take too long.  Daniel doesn't have that much time."  The colonel turned to his teammates.  "Come on.  Let's scout the area."

They left the village and headed back down the path.

"Sir, if we can't convince the villagers into letting one of them come back to Earth with us, what are we going to do?" Sam asked.

"We'll take one of them regardless."

"But what if Gennae is right?  We could be condemning two other people to death.  We can't do that."

Jack stopped.  He rubbed a weary hand across his forehead.  "I know."  He looked back toward the village, then in the direction of the temple, his expression thoughtful.  "We'll just have to give Benny another target."

"What do you mean?"

"I'll stay behind after you take the native through and remain here at the Stargate.  If Benny goes on a rampage, I'll be the first one he meets up with."

Sam stared at him.  "Are you saying that you'll offer yourself as a sacrifice?"


"Did not Gennae say that Bendrak takes two people for every one who goes through the Stargate?" Teal'c asked.

"Yeah.  That's the only flaw in the plan.  I'm hoping that I can, uh, talk him into just taking me or, better yet, leaving all of us alone.  Maybe if I explain that the person who went through with you is coming back, he'll cool off and go back to his temple."

"That may not be possible, O'Neill."  The Jaffa stood straighter.  "I will remain as well."

"Teal'c, I can't ask you to do that."

"You are not asking.  I offer this freely."

Jack looked into the big man's eyes, seeing that there would be no reasoning with the Jaffa.  "Okay."  He turned to his second in command.  "Come on, Carter.  It's time to go make a deal."

They returned to the village and found Sayers in an animated discussion with Gennae.  The lieutenant broke off and walked up to them.

"It's no use, sir.  No amount of bribery is going to convince him to let one of his people go back with us.  He's too afraid of what Bendrak will do."

"Well, we've got another deal for him," Jack said.  They walked up to Gennae.  "Okay, here's the deal.  If you let one of your people go back to Earth, Teal'c and I will stay behind and offer ourselves to this Benny guy if he decides to get angry.  We'll remain at the Stargate so that we will be the first people he sees if he comes."

Gennae looked at him in surprise.  "You would willingly offer two of yourselves for the sake of one?"

"That's right."

"This one called Daniel must be of great importance to your people for you to do this."

"Yes, he is.  He is very important to us."

"Is he an Insharra?"

"An Insharra?"

"A wiseman, one learned in the ways of the people and of the past.  Insharras are of great importance to us, valued above all, for they teach us the old things, guide us in our lives, and keep the ways of the people alive."

Jack nodded.  "Yeah, that's what Daniel is."

"Then it would be a terrible thing to lose him.  I will discuss this with my people."  Gennae went off to talk with some of the other villagers.

"I hope you know what you're doing, sir," Sayers said.

"So do I, Lieutenant.  So do I."

A few minutes later, Gennae returned.  "We accept.  It would be a great sin if we did not attempt to aid your Insharra.  They are worth more than the lives of any two others."

"Great!" Jack exclaimed.  "So, who's the volunteer?"

"I will go with you."

"But are you not needed by your people?" Teal'c asked.  "You are their leader."

"It is possible that Bendrak will be angry with the one who comes with you and choose to take his life power.  As the leader of my people, I cannot ask any of them to face this danger if I am not willing to face it myself.  Besides, I am old and will soon offer myself as tribute.  This is the best thing.  My successor has already been trained and is ready to take my place should I die."

"You are a man of honor and courage, a true leader to your people," Teal'c said, bowing his head in respect.

"Thank you for your words."

SG-1 and 9 went to the Stargate with Gennae.  Sam dialed up.

"Sir, are you sure you want to stay?" she asked the colonel.

"It's the only way, Major.  I won't put the lives of two innocent people at risk to save my own skin, especially not since this is all my fault in the first place.  Let's just hope that, if Benny does attack and steals our, uh, life power, Doc Fraiser comes up with a cure for all of us."

Sam nodded.  "We'll be back in a few hours, sir.  Be careful."

Next Chapter

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