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Moebius Squared -- S.N.A.F.U.

I was chatting with a reader the other day who said that he wished more of the SG-1 novels featured Vala. Most of them are set before season eight, so no Vala, but Moebius Squared, my upcoming SG-1 novel with Melissa Scott, is set right after Continuum. And thus there is Vala! Mainly written by me, as I love Vala. I have a big thing for the trickster archetype, especially when they come through when the chips are down.

This is from the second chapter of Moebius Squared, and takes place a few days after Continuum in our timeline, where as far as everyone is concerned nothing much happened! Baal's time travel installation has just been found, and the rest of SG-1 has gone off world to investigate it. Vala missed the boat because she had stayed behind to spend some time helping Baal's host adjust, as she said she was going to do at the end of Continuum. So she's the only one at the SGC when things get interesting....




Vala Mal Doran was bored. Bored, bored, bored. She wandered around the briefing room picking up first one thing and then another. Laser pointer. That was kind of cool. Would it be diffused by glass? If she shone it through the window into General Landry's office and made the little red point of light dance around on his desk….

Landry looked up. "Will you stop that?"

She took that as an invitation to come in, pocketing the laser pointer as she did. "Explain to me again why I can't go join the team?"

Landry sighed. But he didn't look all that fascinated by his paperwork either. "Do you know how much power it takes to open that gate? Do you know how expensive that is? We have thirty SG teams and the Atlantis expedition. Which means the gate is flapping all day. Not only that, there are scheduled check ins from twenty or so different sources in every 24 hour period, teams checking in, Atlantis dumping mail, allies…. We can't open the gate every time somebody wants to go somewhere. You were offworld when SG-1 left. There is no critical reason you need to be on this mission. So. I'm not opening the gate so you can go join them. You can wait right here until they get back."

"Teaching me a lesson?" Vala perched on the edge of his desk.

"Teaching everybody a lesson about conserving power and time. We don't use the gate unless it's mission-specific."

"You're crabby today," Vala observed.

"Thank you." Landry bent over his paperwork again.

Vala didn't move. "This wouldn't have anything to do with Dr. Jackson returning to the team since he got out of the infirmary after yet another attempt to move to Atlantis went entirely and completely pear shaped? Because if it does, I have to tell you that I'm completely over Daniel."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Landry said. He didn’t look up.

"Really. Actually."

Landry did look up then. "I could care less. Is that clear? I am not your gal pal, and whoever you have a thing for or don't have a thing for, I don't care."

"I don't think that's what gal pal means," Vala began, but the warning claxons interrupted her.

"Unauthorized gate activation!"

"Not again," Landry said, getting heavily to his feet. "Let's go see who wants what." He went down the stairs to the control room, Vala trailing him.

The airman on duty looked up. "Sir, the IDC is the Tok'ra High Council."

"Open the shield," Landry directed. "And tell them they're welcome." He didn't sound precisely thrilled, but then Vala supposed the Tok'ra High Council were pretty much the definition of a cheerless lot. Unfortunately, they were also the definition of really important allies. Landry straightened his tie.

The shield retracted, and five Tok'ra stepped through the glowing blue of the wormhole, two women and three men in the tan and white clothing the Tok'ra preferred. Two of them looked vaguely familiar. Maybe she'd seen them in the background at the extraction? She hadn't paid all that much attention to every attendant. She thought she'd at least seen that one in front with the shock of brown hair.

A lieutenant met them on the gateroom floor, exchanging pleasantries gamely, and then escorted them into the control room to Landry.

"General Landry," the young man with brown hair said gravely. "It is an honor to meet a man about whom I have heard so much."

"Thank you," Landry said.

"Vala Mal Doran," Vala put out there.

"We bring a matter of concern to the Tok'ra High Council," he said formally.

"If you'd care to take a walk up to my office, I'd be delighted to discuss it," Landry said with a look at Vala that pretty clearly said stay here and out of the way.

"We would prefer to discuss it here," the woman at his shoulder said. Vala heard the buzz of the zat'nik'tel arming a bare second before the bright stun beam caught her full in the chest.


Vala awoke with a shoe in her mouth. Perhaps not exactly in her mouth, but with the toe resting at her lips. One eye opened. The shoe was attached to a foot in a black sock, attached to a leg that seemed to be attached to an unconscious General Landry.

Another foot, this one moving. Someone in Tok'ra boots stepped over Landry's body. Vala closed her eyes quickly. It wasn't hard to stay still. She wasn't sure she could move if she tried. Every muscle in her body felt like lead. Still, she was conscious and aware. That was better than everyone else who had been in the control room. She had no doubt that the airmen on duty were also unconscious.

They didn't know who she was, Vala thought, as she heard the sounds of hands on keyboards. They didn't recognize her as the woman who had once been host to the Goa'uld Qetesh. It must be some residual effect of that, the naquadah still in her blood or something, that had rendered her slightly less susceptible to the zat than Landry and the others. Which meant the only place they had seen her was probably where she had seen them -- at the extraction ceremony she'd attended as a member of SG-1. They didn't know she wasn't Tau'ri.

More keyboard clicks, and then an all too familiar sound. The gate was dialing. The Tok'ra had done whatever it was they'd come for and were dialing out.

Another set of steps. "Are you done?"

"Yes," the one at the dialing computer replied.

The new voice was appraising. "Which of these is Landry?"

"That one."

Vala tensed.

"Help me lift him up where he can be seen from the floor. She needs a little persuading."

Who needed? There were more sounds, and Vala shifted slightly. She could flex her fingers. Movement was returning. She was a long way from being able to jump two people, but feeling was coming back. She needed to see the dialing address. It would be displayed on the monitor of the central workstation. If she could lift her head a few inches she ought to be able to see it. Vala looked out through her lashes. Not quite. The edge of the desk was in the way.

The two Tok'ra were lifting General Landry up, his head lolling forward. He could be seen through the window. If there were shouts or voices down on the gateroom floor she couldn't hear them. The glass was too thick.

Whatever it was seemed to suffice, for they lowered him heavily into the controller's chair. Now it was Landry's arm that blocked her view of the dialing computer. "Let's go," one of them said.

They stepped over her hastily on their way out. She heard their booted feet on the floor outside.

Vala raised her head. The dialing address. It wasn't one she was familiar with. Fishhook, star, boat. Shield, torch, dragon's tail. And the circle above the pyramid, of course. Her head spun. Gathering her strength, Vala pushed up on both elbows. Her legs didn’t work very well, but she lunged forward and dragged herself to her knees on the edge of the desk. She could just peer through the bottom of the window between the monitors.

Sitting on the floor of the gateroom in front of the open wormhole was a puddle jumper. Which suddenly made the bit with Landry make sense. Only one person currently assigned to the base and not on an offworld team had a naturally expressed ATA gene -- Dr. Carolyn Lam. If the Tok'ra were trying to steal a puddle jumper, they'd have to get someone to fly it. No doubt Dr. Lam had refused. At least until they'd demonstrated that her father was completely in their power.

The two Tok'ra from the control room were doing something, opening a device beside the puddle jumper, one Vala recognized all too well. A timed charge. Detonating in the gateroom, it wouldn't damage the gate and the explosion wouldn't be bad enough to break the heavy bulletproof glass of the control room windows. However, the unconscious airmen on the floor of the gateroom would be toast. And it would probably screw up the power supply cables to the gate badly enough that it would be hours if not days before the gate could be used again. The Tok'ra looked around nervously, as though not certain that the door was secure. It was closed, of course. But there were plenty of people who could override it. In fact, probably right now people were trying to get onto this level. They would. Vala was sure of that. But not fast enough. And with the wormhole open, no offworld teams could get through and interrupt.

She dragged herself to the communications console, keeping her head down. And of course they'd slagged it. There wasn't anything but the loudspeaker to the gateroom working, the low-tech handset that Walter used to warn people on the floor when the gate was about to activate.

Still, she had to make sure they didn't set the timer….

There was someone's pistol on the floor under the desk. Fat lot of good that did. It wouldn’t penetrate the bulletproof glass either. And nobody kept an automatic in the control room. Vala patted her pockets absently.

The laser pointer. The one she'd picked up in the briefing room. Could the Tok'ra tell the difference between a laser pointer and a laser sight? She bet not.

Vala opened the intercom and turned on the pointer, letting it play through the glass, dancing over the side of the puddle jumper as though hunting a target. "Get your hands up!" she said authoritatively. "We have you covered. Drop your weapons!" She sighted the pointer on the nearest Tok'ra, red dot against the side of his head.

He dodged reflexively, his friend shouting something as the pointer swung to her. The first Tok'ra made a dive for the puddlejumper doors, the second following after. If she'd actually had a P90, Vala would have had a perfect shot.

Unfortunately, what she actually had was a laser pointer, so she was reduced to shouting for them to drop their weapons and stand down while the tailgate of the jumper came up and the jumper leapt forward through the open wormhole.

"Damn it," Vala said quietly as the even horizon died.

Beside her, Landry moaned.

Still hanging on to the edge of the desk, Vala bent over him. "General Landry? Wake up. It's Vala. Come on. Rise and shine."

He opened his eyes, then squeezed them shut again. "What in the hell?" he whispered.

"It's not good," Vala said grimly.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
jetnova16
Aug. 20th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
Normally I am more into StarGate Atlantis novels, but this does sound interesting. Also, it would be nice if Moebius Squared also features Atlantis.
jo_graham
Aug. 22nd, 2012 11:47 am (UTC)
Sorry, no Atlantis in Moebius Squared! Well, not directly. We do get to see what happened immediately after the Ancients left Atlantis for Earth....
jetnova16
Aug. 22nd, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
That's ok, because we never got to know about Atlantis after the Ancients left Atlantis for Earth.
Erick Brockway
Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:05 am (UTC)
Actually, that's perfect! Wanted to know about them coming back to Earth, and also what happened to Baal after the symbiote was removed.
jo_graham
Sep. 3rd, 2012 02:00 pm (UTC)
There's quite a bit about what happened after the Ancients came to Earth, as the team that is stranded in the past has ample opportunity to run into the Ancients on Earth. Of course at that point Ra has turned up and tried to turn it into his personal playground...
ltcjs
Aug. 24th, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
Error
I was reading and you had landry say Open the shield? Shouldn't it be open the iris. The only shield I know of is on the Atlantis stargate. The iris protects the earth stargate.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )