Dec 272015

Points of Origin is the second volume of Stargate SG1 and Atlantis stories under the heading of The Travellers’ Tales as edited by Sally Malcolm. This edition consists of ten stories by various authors and covers many themes and characters. I’ve avoided any spoilers but obviously some plot elements will be discussed but will certainly not ruin your reading experience.

Points Of Origin

Points Of Origin

The novel opens up with a story about General George Hammond as he takes command of the complex deep with Cheyenne Mountain codenamed Stairway To Heaven. He is not the go get ’em kind of officer but has achieved his rank through hard work and excelling in his duties, reliable and trustworthy are his traits. He is to oversee the closure of this facility and then he will retire and enjoy the rest of his days with his friends and family. He opens up a file belonging to a Captain Samantha Carter and a chill runs down his spine, memories long forgotten come rushing back from a few days back in 1969. This story really kicked off the anthology well, we learn some of the major events in the life and career of Hammond and some character tie ins that had be smiling like an idiot.

Sheppard awakes in the medical bay as Kellar looking down at him asks again, what is your name, please tell me your name and he answers her and reassures her and she in turns reassures him that all is well, just checking. John talks to Carter and they discuss a recent mission where the team investigated a mysterious “dead” city but he finds it difficult to explain the events that occurred. Something happened in this alien place and the gate diagnostics show anomalies but Sheppard cannot quite explain  the missing time no matter how McKay presses him for more information and the revelation presents more questions than answers. Peter gave us a rather dark Atlantis story which would have worked well as a standalone episode and while most readers will always say they want all the answers leaving things with a huge question mark worked very well for this story.

Dr Janet Fraiser enters the SGC to find the usual suspects, Jack being a very bad patient and Siler once again being bandaged up but a mission is being assigned with a need for some medical support and Janet and her team volunteer to tag along with SG1 although Jack is staying behind undergoing his long overdue medical. On the planet her team begin the investigation of a disease which is affecting the local population made more complicated by the military conflict currently ongoing with a neighbouring state. This story is very good for fans of Janet, we learn more about her relationship with Cassandra as well as her medical and leadership skills and her first experience of the Stargate and assignment to the SGC, the untold stories often fill in gaps we never even knew needed filling.

Sateda before the fall, Specialist Ronon Dex along with his friends have left the training camps for his world’s military and journey across his homeland by train heading towards the capitol. They make an unexpected stop near a small community which has been hit by an earthquake, there are deaths and injuries and the soldiers are offering aid, the nearby dam seems to have survived intact but the locals claim an ancient statue has been stolen and that caused the earth tremors. Ronon, Ara and Tyre despite some doubts over the importance of the statue are sent to investigate the theft (Travellers are suspect) and to return it before the next quake hits and destroys the dam. Iron Horse really hit the spot, again offering background to characters in this case Ronon and a number of Satedans we do meet in the series proper and giving us an insight into Sateda and it’s similarities to Earth.

Things are humming along at the SGC with the sole exception of Daniel falling asleep at the most inconvenient times much to the amusement of everyone, Jack takes Daniel back to his Daniel’s home and he immediately falls asleep leaving Jack to do some minor housework, it’s all good until a couple of Jaffa break into the house demanding the location of their Lord Osiris or the one name Daaneel. At this time though Osiris has been removed from Sarah Gardener and she is once again embracing life and currently on a shopping spree with Janet and things start to get hilariously complicated when Teal’c turns up, the Sam with Pete in tow arrive and finally Sarah and Janet wonder into Daniel’s home. This is comedic story and the slapstick ramps up throughout, you just know they’ll all be laughing about the events in Daniel’s home for years despite the unfortunate events in the back yard:)

Zelenka briefs the Atlantis personnel on a discovery made in the system’s asteroid belt, an object which is not made up of the naturally occurring elements within the belt so the team board a jumper to investigate and they find something very familiar but not listed on any inventory of Atlantis but things are not what they seem and events soon conspire towards the destruction of Atlantis. I can’t go into too much detail about the plot but that aside this story works very well for the characterisation of Rodney and the guilt he still feels over a significant event not that long ago, there is plenty of tension and good banter between the characters.

After the events in the SGC when Carter was taken over by an Entity from P9C-372 it’s obvious to anyone that knows Jack then he is disturbed by his actions, Sam is ordered to take off her work and relax off base. The Tok’ra and an SGC team gate in having suffered casualties and Hammond calls in Colonel Dave Dixon to add support to SG1 and the other teams as the Tok’ra reveal that Chronos is hell bent on recovering an element known as B’tac’nesh which only occurs naturally under very rare conditions but is prized for it’s destructive capabilities. The SGC teams and Tok’ra head towards the planet and find only death and ruins and then the Jaffa appear and fighting begins. Karen provides a welcome return for Colonel Dixon as played by Adam Baldwin in the series and while the plot is important to set up the events they turn out to be not that important, this is a story dealing with Jack and his emotions towards Sam including the guilt he feels having chosen to “kill” her when she was controlled by the Entity. A very good character piece without the more shippy language you would have got if Sam and Jack had been together rather than Jack opening up to Dixon.

The Asgard came to an abrupt end in the final episode of Stargate SG1 and in this story we learn an awful lot about the events that led up to the choices these powerful and wise aliens made knowing they were doomed and that their legacy had to endure. Hermiod who we met onboard the Daedalus (you remember the rather sarcastic one) makes a final report to the high council about his time serving with the humans in addition to well kinda journal entries during his mission which included investigating a Hive which the find floating in the void. Hermiod learns much about himself and the Atlantis personnel while this mission plays out and the I’ll admit the final sentence left me teary eyed:)

Jack returns to his cabin in Minnesota to take some time and adjust to not being in command of SG1 anymore and is rather surprised to see a rather larger mountain overlooking the local town which was not there the last time he visited his home away from home, maybe like the fish in his small lake things are not quite the same on the world post ancient Egypt travels. As Jack interacts with the local townsfolk he notices some people who had family now don’t seem to recall them and so he calls in the rest of SG1 to investigate. Piper’s Song is classic alien in a small town narrative almost in the same vein as some of the classic scifi “b” movies of yesteryear as Jack knows something is wrong but can not understand what but of course once Sam and the rest of the gang bring their intellect and experience to the fore the mountain is revealed to be something quite different and the clock is ticking if they are to save many of the townsfolk.

Sam has just accepted command of Atlantis and is a little worried she may not be upto the job, she’s worked under two very different styles of command one of the more hands on Jack O’Neill and the other sit back and let the people do their thing from General Hammond and General Landry infact a note from Jack offered up command advice along the lines of the latter despite his inability not to poke his nose into all things. Colonel Sheppard and his team are on a mission to Talaverna to not only trade for their famed wine but to visit a reported Ancient shrine which is said to ascend the worthy but is it as simple as that? This story delves deep into the psyche of Sam Carter as she adjusts to command and learning to trust her people, it takes time and there are many false steps but the characterisation is spot on and we get a good mystery involving the Ancients.

Points Of Origin is another excellent addition to the Stargate books as released by Stargate Novels / Fandemonium and is currently offered as an ebook and paperback.