Stargate Horizons


Gennae took Daniel to a hut that looked no different from any of the others except that beside the doorway was hung something that reminded him a little bit of a dreamcatcher.  The chieftain pulled back the flap covering the entrance and motioned for Daniel to go inside.  A lone woman, who appeared to be in her early to mid sixties, was sitting on some cushions.

"Ayarla, this is Daniel, the Insharra of the people who came through the gate," the chieftain said to the woman.

"Hello.  It's an honor to meet you," Daniel said.

The woman's eyes met his.  "But you are hardly more than a boy.  How could you be an Insharra?  Surely you are still only learning."

Daniel smiled.  "I'm older than I look, Ayarla.  But, yes, I am still learning.  No Insharra of my planet can know all there is of our people and history.  It's too much to learn.  There are billions of people on our world, with many, many different cultures.  We have many thousands of years of history, a great deal of which has been lost throughout time.  I have studied languages, culture and history since I was a young child, but there is far more that I don't know than what I do.  Even if I were to live a thousand years, I would not be able to learn it all."

Ayarla nodded.  "Sit, please."

Daniel settled on one of the cushions as Gennae excused himself.

"If it is not possible for your Insharras to learn everything, then how do you preserve your history?" the woman asked.

"We record our history in written form, in what we call books.  Anyone who wishes to learn may read the books and be taught by them.  However, there have been many cultures on Earth that teach as you do, orally."

Ayarla gazed at him.  "So, what is it that you wish to learn from me?"

"I want to know about your people, a little about your history.  Mostly, though, I want to know about Bendrak, what he is, when he came here."

"There is not much knowledge about Bendrak."

"Would you be willing to tell me what you know?"

Ayarla nodded.  "I am an Insharra.  It is my purpose to teach."

"Thank you."

"Before I tell you of Bendrak, I must tell you how my people came to be here.  Long ago, our people lived in another place, another world.  We do not know if the stories are true, but it is said that that world was not our original home, that the home of our distant ancestors was elsewhere and that we were taken from it by evil beings."

"Your people are human, the same race as us," Daniel told her.  "We have proof that the human race began on Earth, on my planet.  Thousands of years ago, a race called the Goa'uld came to Earth and stole people from many different cultures to act as slaves for them.  There's a very good chance that your distant ancestors came from my planet."

"Then you are our people, too," Ayarla stated.

"Yes, in a way.  We share the same origins."

Ayarla nodded, accepting the statement without questions.  "As I said, our people lived on another world.  A day came, though, when a great sickness swept the land.  Our people were dying, and all seemed to be lost.  When there was no hope left, Dengai came."

"Dengai.  Gennae said that he's your god of deliverance."

"Yes.  Dengai saved us.  He awakened the enkali and brought the people through it to here."

"Wait a minute.  It was Dengai who activated the Stargate, the enkali?"

"Yes, this is so.  Before Dengai came, the enkali could not be used.  It was dead."

Daniel had a sudden thought.  "Ayarla, do you know what Dengai looked like?"

"It is said that, most of the time, he was spirit, but that there were times when he appeared as a being of light that flew through the air like a bird, and that, sometimes, he took on the form of our people."

"An Ancient," Daniel murmured.


"Yes.  I believe that Dengai was of a race of beings called the Ancients.  Or, at the very least, he was ascended."  Getting excited, Daniel asked her to continue.

"Dengai brought those who had survived to this world.  But they had lost everything.  Most of their knowledge and skills were left behind.  The few that were left had to begin anew.  They learned how to live and adapt to their new home.  Dengai came several times to see if they were doing well.  But then, he came no more.  Life was good for many years . . . until Bendrak arrived.  It is said that he simply came one day, and many of our people died, their life power taken from them.  It is told that his hunger and his anger was great, that hundreds died that day.  Some tried to flee through the enkali, but they were killed by Bendrak.

"The years that followed were difficult.  Every year, Bendrak would come to the villages and steal the life power from many people, both young and old.  The people had no defense against him.  They begged and pleaded with Bendrak to spare them, telling him that the people would all be gone soon if he kept killing us.  Then, one day, Bendrak brought the life receptacles, telling the people that he would show mercy by allowing them to choose whose life power would be taken.  The people would have the span of a year to gather the life power of two hundred people, which would then be given to him.  Every year it was to be the same."

"So, that's how the Time of Tribute began," Daniel murmured.


"What about the temple?"

"Bendrak ordered the people to build the temple shortly after the first Time of Tribute.  He said that he wanted a place to dwell.  He told the people exactly how to build it."

"Ayarla, do you have any idea what Bendrak is?  Have you ever seen him?  My friends said they saw what looked like a black form, a shadow, in the temple."

Ayarla nodded.  "He has appeared to us that way, as dark as Dengai was light.  Mostly, he is unseen.  Sometimes, he takes on a form that looks a little like us."

A feeling of tightness grew in the pit of Daniel's stomach as he began to suspect something.  Hoping he was wrong, he asked, "Ayarla, the times that Bendrak came to the village, did things move about seemingly of their own will?  Did fires break out?"

Ayarla's eyes widened.  "Yes!  But how could you know this?  Every time Bendrak came, things flew through the air like they had been thrown by unseen hands.  Fire shot up from the ground."

"Have there ever been any unexplained storms, times when clouds appeared out of nowhere and lightning struck?"

Ayarla shook her head.  "No, I have no knowledge of such a thing happening, but there have been times when, in Bendrak's presence, a cold wind came."  She studied Daniel's expression.  "You look as if you know something."

"Yeah.  I think I may have some idea of what Bendrak is.  I need to talk to my friends.  May I come back later?"

"Of course.  You are welcome any time."

Daniel inclined his head and stood.  "Thank you for your knowledge."

"It is my privilege."

Daniel left and found the others.

"Did you learn anything?" Jack asked.

"Yeah, and, if I'm right, you're not going to like it.  Let's go back to our hut."

They went to the hut and all sat around the table.

"Okay, so what did you find out?" Jack asked.

"As you all may have suspected, it looks like the distant ancestors of these people were from Earth and were taken by the Goa'uld to another planet.  Now, I don't know what their history was like after that, but, from what Ayarla said, it appears that the Goa'uld abandoned the planet and left the people behind.  Something happened to the Stargate.  Whether is was deliberate or accidental I don't know, but it no longer worked, so the population was trapped on the planet.  Sometime after the Goa'uld left, there was a massive plague, which pretty much wiped out the entire population.  That's when this Dengai showed up.  And get this.  I'm almost positive that Dengai was an Ancient."

"An Ancient?" Sam repeated in surprise.

"Yeah.  This Dengai gathered up the survivors of the plague and took them through the Stargate.  Since they are the original creators of the gate technology, it would have been simple for him to get it working again.  Anyway, Dengai brought them here.  There weren't many people left, so they basically had to start all over again, build a whole new way of life, begin a new history, pretty much start from scratch.  Dengai visited from time to time to see how they were getting along, then he left them to fend for themselves."

"So, where does Benny fit into all of this?" Jack asked.

"I'm getting to that.  Bendrak showed up years later and attacked the villages, killing hundreds.  From that day on, he kept showing up, raiding the villages and stealing the life power from dozens of people at random, both young and old alike.  He was decimating the population.  Well, I guess Bendrak finally figured out that, if he kept doing that, there soon wouldn't be anyone left.  So, he gave the natives those crystals.  You know the rest of it.  The natives began the ritual of the Time of Tribute, and it's been like that ever since."

"All right, so give us the bad news." Jack said.

"I think I know what Bendrak is."

"What?" Sam asked.

"I think he's something like an Ancient."

Jack stared at him in surprise.  "What?  You mean all the way or some kind of half-ascended things like Anubis?"

"I'd say that he's probably ascended all the way."

"What makes you think that Bendrak is like an Ancient?" Sam asked.

"I'm not sure what gave me the idea.  It was some things that Ayarla told me.  I asked her some other questions, and the answers made me almost certain I'm right.  Whenever Bendrak showed up in the village, things would move about and go flying through the air.  Flames would shoot up from the ground.  You remember Kheb?"

"How could I forget?" Jack replied.  "Oh, please don't tell me that thing can do the lightning trick."

"I don't know.  If he can, he's never done it here.  But he apparently can control fire and move objects without touching them, just as Oma Desala can, and it appears that he has at least some control over the wind."

"But the Ancients we have encountered have not shown the evil that this Bendrak has displayed," Teal'c pointed out.

"Yeah, and they don't do that life draining thing either," Jack added.

"I didn't say that Bendrak was an Ancient, just that he's something similar to one.  Look, we don't understand the whole process of ascension, how a corporeal being can be transformed into a lifeform that's basically pure energy, yet retain all its personality and memories.  So, who's to say that it couldn't happen in a different way, unlike what happened to me?  If a corporeal being can be transformed into an energy-based lifeform, then it stands to reason that there might be different ways of achieving it."

"He's right," Sam said.  "According to what we know, the Ancients discovered the secret of how to ascend, to transmute themselves into a form of life that is made up of energy.  So, if such a thing can be done, then it is possible that someone found a way of doing it differently."

"Anubis did it," Daniel pointed out.  "He somehow discovered how to ascend even though he couldn't possibly have reached the level of enlightenment that appears to be a requirement to become like the Ancients."

"Yeah, I don't think a Goa'uld would get into that whole Zen thing," Jack remarked.

"For all we know, Bendrak's species might have naturally evolved into what they are now."

"So, what you're saying is that we're dealing with some Ancient-like bad guy here who likes to eat the life . . . power from flesh and blood people."

"It may not be a case of just liking to, Colonel," Sam said.  "This Bendrak is a form of energy.  What if he needs to replenish that energy by taking it from others?"

"You mean like recharging his batteries?"

"In a way."

"Okay, so why is he here?  These Ancients can travel all over the galaxy.  Why didn't he go someplace where there are a lot more people?"

"Because he was stuck here," Daniel replied as if realizing something.

"What makes you say that?" Sam asked.

"It was something that Ayarla said.  She said that the first time Bendrak came, he had great hunger and anger and killed hundreds of people.  This might be a case similar to what was done to Orlin.  Orlin was banished to Velona because he interfered with the civilization there.  He was unable to leave until we came along.  Then he hitchhiked back with us to Earth."

"But that brings up two questions," Sam said.  "First, why didn't he take the opportunity to leave the planet when one of the Dicharins fled through the gate?  Not only did he not do that, he punished the Dicharins so that they would never use the gate again.  Second, if Dengai was an Ancient, why would he have left these people here on a planet where he'd know they would be attacked and killed by Bendrak?"

"I can't answer the first question, but I think I might have an answer for the second.  Dengai probably didn't know that Bendrak was here.  If Dengai was like Oma Desala, whom, according to what Orlin said, is acting outside the boundaries of the Ancients' society and defying their rules, he might not have been privy to a lot of information.  When Dengai brought the Dicharins here, Bendrak could have been on the other side of the planet.  He must have been pretty far away since he didn't become aware of the  Dicharins' presence until many years later."

Jack shifted his position, his knees telling him that they were not happy about him sitting on the floor.  "So, what you're saying is that Benny was off somewhere else when Denny—"

"Dengai," Daniel corrected.

"Dengai brought these people here, then he ended up stumbling onto them sometime later and had himself a little smorgasbord."

"Colorfully put, but, yes, that's what I'm saying.  Bendrak could have been stuck here for centuries, taking the life power from animals to keep himself alive.  When he found these people, he saw in them a much better source for what he needed and lost control, went on a feeding frenzy."

"Gennae did say that the life power from animals didn't satisfy Bendrak as much as those from humans," Sam recalled.

"Okay, I have another question.  How come Dengai wasn't punished for interfering like you were?" Jack asked.  "You said that he visited here for a while after moving the people here.  That means that the Ancients didn't exile him or make him mortal again."

"There could be a lot of reasons, but I'd say that the most logical explanation is that the other Ancients never knew what he did.  The Ancients were probably watching me pretty closely since I was newly ascended.  And they may have thought that there was a good chance I'd break the rules, which they were right in thinking.  Dengai probably wasn't under observation."

Sam nodded.  "That makes sense.  We know that Oma Desala was around when you came to Abydos.  She's probably the one who had the job of keeping an eye on you."

"Daniel, if you're right about all this, at least the part about Benny being sort of like an Ancient, that means there's no way for us to get rid of him," Jack concluded.

"Maybe yes, maybe no," Sam responded.  "I mean, we don't know if an Ancient can be killed.  When that alien weapon exploded, I really don't know if Orlin died in the explosion.  He never returned, not even to say goodbye.  It's possible that the force of the explosion disrupted Orlin's energy pattern, scattering it.  He might not have been able to recover from something like that."

"But we do not know this for a certainty," Teal'c stated.


"But there's one thing we do know that interests me," Daniel said.  "Gennae said that, after the Time of Tribute, Bendrak sleeps for a month.  Why?"

"Good question," Sam said.  "It may be possible that he needs time to assimilate and fully absorb the energy taken from the Dicharins."

"Which means that, right now, he may be vulnerable, in some sort of hibernation or stasis."

A slow smile came to Jack's face.  "And, if he's sleeping in that temple, then we have a target zone."

"But how do we kill him?" Daniel asked.

"A small Naquadah bomb might do it," Sam mused.  "If I'm right about Orlin, the explosion could disrupt his energy enough that it would effectively kill him."

"But a Naquadah bomb would wipe out everything for miles around."

"We'd have to evacuate everyone within the blast radius.  With enough help, we might be able to do it.  We could use several UAVs to search for other villages and habitations.  The biggest loss of time would be getting to the villages, convincing the inhabitants to go with us, then leading them all to the Stargate."

"Why couldn't we bring the pieces of one of those big transport helicopters though, assemble it on this side of the gate, and use that to transport the Dicharins?" Daniel asked.

Everyone stared at him in surprise.

"Now, why didn't I think of that?" Jack asked.  He smiled.  "That's a great idea, Daniel.  Of course, if this whole area is covered by forest, which it looks like it is from the video the UAV sent back, we'd have trouble landing the helo, but we could send troops down to clear landing zones.  With the right tools and enough men, it wouldn't take much time to clear an area big enough for the helo to land."

"We'd have to have representatives from this village go with the helicopter to talk with the other Dicharins.  Otherwise, they'd probably be too scared to go with the troops," Daniel pointed out.

"There is one difficulty," Teal'c said.  "If we detonate a Naquadah bomb in the temple, the blast will surely destroy the Stargate.  We would be unable to return, and any Dicharins who were left here would be stranded.  If Bendrak was not destroyed in the blast, the remaining Dicharins would be completely at his mercy."

"Yeah, there is that problem," Daniel admitted.  "But, if we leave things the way they are, the human population on this planet will very likely become extinct.  Gennae said that the population in the twenty villages he knows of has been declining gradually since Bendrak came.  They may all be gone within the next generation or two."

"Well, if those twenty villages are the only ones and they're no bigger than this one, we shouldn't have any trouble getting everyone off this planet within the space of a month, barring any big delays," Jack said.  "I can go back through the gate in the morning and tell the general our plan."

"We also need to find a suitable planet to take them to," Sam said.  "These people are completely human, so any earthlike planet would probably work.  I'm sure that it wouldn't be difficult to find one."

"Judging by the building materials they use for their homes, it's unlikely that this area gets much snowfall, if any." Daniel pointed out.  "Since that's the kind of climate they're used to, we need to keep that in mind."

"So, it sounds like we've got a plan.  Carter, you and I will return to the SGC in the morning.  You can get the guys there started on finding a good planet, and I'll work on getting everything rolling for moving these people.  Daniel, it's going to be up to you to talk to the natives and convince them that this is a good thing.  Teal'c, you stay here with Daniel and keep an eye on everything."

The Jaffa inclined his head in acquiescence.

"I'm going to go back and talk to Ayarla some more," Daniel told them.  "She and Gennae are the most influential people in the village.  If I can convince them of the plan, I'd say that the rest of the villagers will go along with it."

"Okay, you go do your stuff, Daniel," Jack responded.

The archeologist headed back to Ayarla's hut.  Along the way, he spied Gennae.

"Hello, Daniel.  Ayarla told me that you and she shared much knowledge and that you believed you had learned something important about Bendrak," the chieftain said.

"Yes, I did.  I was just going back there to talk with her about something.  I need to talk with you about it as well.  Could you come with me?"

"Yes, I will come."

The two men went to Ayarla's hut and she welcomed them inside.

"My friends and I have a plan," Daniel began.  "We think that we know of a way to kill Bendrak."

The two natives looked at each other.

"How could this be possible?"  Gennae asked.

"Well, it's hard to explain, but there is a device called a Naquadah bomb.  It is very powerful.  It causes something called an explosion, which does great damage.  We think that, if we place one of these bombs in the temple while Bendrak is sleeping, it will destroy him."

"This would be a wonderful thing, if it could be done," the chieftain said.  "We would no longer have to give Bendrak tribute."

"Yes, you would be free from him forever.  But there is a problem.  The destruction from this bomb would be so great that this entire area, for a distance of many days' walk, would also be destroyed.  All of your people in all of the villages would have to be taken from here.  Otherwise, they would all die."

"But where would we go?" Ayarla asked.

"We would take you through the enkali to another world, to a new home."

"Then we would have to start all over, like the way it was when we were first brought to this world by Dengai."

"Yes, but, this time, you'd have our help.  My people will help build new villages for you.  We'll make sure you have food, and clothing, and whatever else you need.  You will not lose your history and culture since your Insharras will be with you.  We'll come and visit you often to make sure things are going well for you."

"This is a great and generous thing that you are offering to us," Gennae said.  "For what reason would you do so much for our people?"

"Because it is the way we are.  Many times, we help others when they are in need of aid.  You are our friends, and we want to do what we can for you."

Gennae bowed his head.  "It was indeed a blessed day when you came to our world.  We must talk to the people and tell them of these things.  Tonight we will gather with the elders of the village."

"Good.  Jack and Sam will be going back to Earth tomorrow to get the plans started."  Daniel rose.  "Well, I'll leave you two to discuss this."

"Wait.  I would like to see your companions and give thanks to them as well," Gennae said.


They went to the guest hut.  Jack and Teal'c were there.  Gennae expressed his gratitude to them.  A moment later, Sam came in.  She was holding a red crystal approximately the size of a baseball in her hand.

"Uh, Carter, isn't that one of those things that sucks a person's life out of them?" Jack asked, looking at the thing warily.

"Yes, sir.  I wanted to take a closer look at one.  Don't worry.  They can't be turned on accidentally.  It takes a certain amount of concentration, sort of like the Goa'uld ribbon and healing devices."

"Yeah, well, just be careful where you point that thing."

Daniel stared at the crystal with an odd feeling.  There was something about it that almost looked familiar, something dancing at the periphery of his memory.  "Sam, can I see it?"

"Sure."  She handed it to Daniel.  The crystal was an octahedron, but it was not perfectly symmetrical.  One of its eight faces was larger than the rest and slightly darker in hue.  Daniel gazed at the crystal, trying to grab hold of the memory that was hovering just out of his reach.  Something . . . something was wrong with it.  It wasn't right.  It should be different.

"Daniel?" Sam inquired, puzzled by the look on her friend's face and the way he was staring at the crystal.

"Daniel, I don't think—" Jack began.

Suddenly, the crystal blazed with a pure, blinding white light that seemed to engulf the archeologist.

"Daniel!" Sam cried.

Next Chapter

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