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Unascended -- On the Hunt

A reader asks if I will "drop some little snippets to feed us starving piranhas" about Unascended, so yes, I will!

Please join Teyla, Rodney, Ronon, Daniel Jackson and Ember on a mission....

Rodney piloted the puddle jumper out of the orbital Stargate, frowning as the sensors began to build a picture of the world that turned beneath. Teyla was in the shotgun seat, with Daniel and Ember behind, Ronon lurking just behind the Wraith. Rodney could feel Ember's wry amusement at that -- not an official guard, but more than enough reminder that he was the alien here, the enemy tolerated as temporary ally.

*You know,* Teyla said mentally so that both he and Ember could hear it, *There are more people who understand mind speech on this mission than those who do not.*

There was a momentary pause, and Rodney felt the Wraith's amusement just as he himself laughed. Right now he was the normal one. And that was different.

"What's funny?" Daniel asked, squinting at the sensor picture.

"Nothing," Rodney said. He turned the jumper slowly onto a search grid.

"So what happens now?" Daniel asked.

"We scan the planet for anything interesting," Rodney said. "Mostly," he glanced at the screen, "It says it's 99% water with a few volcanic islands that rise above sea level. No ice caps. Reasonable atmosphere, but hot."

"How hot?" Teyla asked.

"28 degrees C in the temperate zone below us," he said. Rodney shrugged. "Hot but not horrible."

"So we're scanning for naquadah?" Daniel asked, leaning over the seat.

"Or any other exotic materials. Or buildings. Or humans. No humans so far."

"Those are awfully small landmasses and awfully isolated for humans," Daniel said, his eyes on the map the sensors were building.

Ember also leaned forward. "That is so. But the Ancients liked islands for their experiments."

*I know* Teyla said mentally, and then glanced over at him as though she had not meant to speak, a swift, disturbing flash of an island surrounded by icy seas, of a Stargate flaring blue through falling snow -- Osprey's memories, her long ago memories of the first Wraith queen who shared her blood. The memory was tinged with fear.

*It's ok,* Rodney thought. *This isn't that.*

*Well I know that,* Teyla replied, the warmth of her mental touch like a hand on his arm, appreciation of his friendship and happiness that he had reached out in kindness.

"Ah," Ember said behind, as though he had understood something. "Not so different."

"What?" Daniel asked. "Am I missing something?"

"They're doing that mind thing again," Ronon said. "We're both missing something." He sounded annoyed. "It's rude to have conversations half the team can't hear."

"You're talking telepathically?" Daniel said.

"It's residual Wraith telepathy, ok?" Rodney snapped. "I can hear Teyla and she can hear me. And apparently Ember can hear both of us. I can't help hearing her, so there's no need to be a pill about it."

"I thought you were both just speaking normally," Ember said. "I didn't intend to listen to something private." He sounded abashed as he turned to Teyla. "I apologize. I did not mean to eavesdrop on your conversation with your pallax. Please accept my regret."

"Her what?" Daniel leaned in with an expression that looked like he was taking notes.

"Pallax," Ember said. "One of a queen's chosen companions."

"He is not my pallax," Teyla said. "Rodney is my friend."

"Is that not what I said?" Ember sounded confused.

"We are not physically involved," Teyla said patiently. "To humans there is a distinction in terminology."


Daniel was all over it, of course. "So you're saying that the mental intimacy of the telepathic bond suggested to you that Teyla and Rodney were…."

Ember nodded seriously. "I made the erroneous assumption that he was her pallax from the warmth of their speech. He is, after all, an extremely high status Cleverman of distinction, and I presumed that he was also high in her favor."

"That's certainly true," Rodney began.

"It is possible to esteem a male greatly and consider them a close friend without implying physical intimacy," Teyla said to Ember. There was a note of amusement in her voice as she glanced at Rodney. "While it is certainly true that Rodney is brilliant and distinguished, that does not imply that I intend for him to be the father of my future children."

"What? No, I…."

Daniel's glance was going back and forth like a man watching a tennis match. "So you're saying that…."

"His genetic material would be highly desirable," Ember opined.

"I am certain that it would be," Teyla said.

"I wouldn't…. I mean," Rodney flailed.

"In order to preserve genetic diversity, and to produce offspring with the most desirable traits, a queen selects carefully among her zenana each time she chooses to bear a child," Ember said to Daniel, who was trying to ask a question. "I am simply stating that McKay's offspring would doubtless possess his high intelligence and good looks."

"Well, of course they would, but…." Rodney said. He was fortunately interrupted by the buzzing of the jumper's scanner. "Ah ha! It looks like we found something."

"What is it?" Ronon asked.

Rodney adjusted the controls. "It looks like a building with an artificial power source. That way. Toward that archipelago." He turned the jumper's course toward it. "Let's go check it out."

"An active power source might be…" Daniel began.

The jumper's alarms shrilled, map replaced by telemetry.

"…an Ancient installation launching drones," Daniel finished.



( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 1st, 2014 02:33 pm (UTC)
Ember is an interesting addition, certainly! Though it does definitely create some culture clash. Of course Rodney and Teyla are involved! Er, no.
Apr. 1st, 2014 02:38 pm (UTC)
And now I'm wondering what Rodney's children would look like. Would they be completely human or partly Wraith? Also, would he be able to produce offspring with a female Wraith?
My brain is going into weird places again...
Apr. 1st, 2014 05:53 pm (UTC)
That's a good question! Clearly the genetic manipulation of humans by Wraith that created The Gift could be passed on, or Teyla and Torren wouldn't have it. So presumably it's possible that Rodney's telepathy could also be passed on!
Apr. 2nd, 2014 11:52 am (UTC)
Very excited to hear that a Stargate novel is coming out again soon. It's been soooo loooooong since the last one and anything with Daniel in it is gonna be awesome.
Please post the release date when you know it
Apr. 2nd, 2014 02:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Unascended
It's fun to work on! We're still months from the release date, however, since we're still writing it!

If you're a Daniel fan, there will be a new SG-1 novel before Unascended. Titled Two Roads, it's by my friend Geonn Cannon and the parts I've read of it are great!
May. 21st, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Unascended
Разделяю вашу точку зрения!!
Shawn Edwards
Apr. 3rd, 2014 01:07 am (UTC)
Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was wonderful reading this. It does raise an interesting point-do wraith have sex like humans or like the iratus bug? Are Wraith and humans...compatible? Huuummm... I hope there are no children present here today!

Are they looking for Elizabeth? What tipped them off as to her mortal condition? What in the world is Daniel doing in the Pegasus Galaxy? Oh the questions I have!

Patience, patience; so I keep telling myself... Yeah right!

By the way, do the Wraith refer to the original human race as Lanteans or Ancients?
Apr. 5th, 2014 10:54 am (UTC)
Interesting questions indeed! *grin* MGM gives us no answers, but this is what I think.

I think Wraith have sex like humans, not like the iratus bug, as they seem physically similar in most regards. They're obviously mammals, if you look at Wraith queens! I would guess they're physically compatible but not cross fertile, like lions and cheetahs. But of course we know that barrier can be overcome with genetic engineering, thereby creating the Gift in humans.

They are indeed looking for Elizabeth! As to why -- you'll have to wait. Daniel was here at the end of Inheritors and he hasn't left yet. He wanted to stay and find out more about the Ancients, so he's still here when stuff happens. Many many questions to ask! :)
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:06 am (UTC)
Definitely mammals, definitely compatible, and with a bit of tweaking, there are no end to the possibilities. Ah, fannon, I do love thee.
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:09 am (UTC)
Well, it makes sense. If you can simply remove the Iratus DNA and get Michael, they have to be pretty close!
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:20 am (UTC)
Absolutely. It would not take a great deal to make them cross-fertile, either, which is bound to have occurred to (more than) a few clevermen, and others, along the way. Particularly as Wraith have a tricky little problem with maintaining genetic integrity, extinction and out-competing their food source.
Apr. 6th, 2014 12:00 pm (UTC)
I'm sure it has occurred to a few clevermen, and certainly for those who have no realistic expectation of ever having a queen's attention....
Apr. 6th, 2014 12:03 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... doesn't that raise some interesting possibilities for the future? The not too distant future, too.
Apr. 5th, 2014 04:06 pm (UTC)
Given that evolution is most commonly accepted as "descent with modification", it is impossible for them to not be mammals. Even if they were modified to the point that they deserve their own clade, they'd still be mammals - much in the same sense that birds are technically dinosaurs, even if we commonly lump them under Aves instead of Dinosauria. The extent of their modifications might warrant a new genus, but they're still ape-descended hominids. It just happened that their modification was artificial, rather than a result of natural selection.

... Or at least they would be if evolution in the SG 'verse wasn't heavily altered by the Ancients. I've tried mapping out our galaxy's Tree of Life according to SG canon in my head, and it's... painful, to put it mildly.
Apr. 6th, 2014 12:04 pm (UTC)
Well, lots of things in the canon don't entirely make sense, so we've just had to do the best we can with constructing a history that fits around the "facts", as contradictory as they sometimes are!
Apr. 3rd, 2014 09:06 am (UTC)
Heheheh... a lovely moment, of which I hope to see more.
Apr. 5th, 2014 10:55 am (UTC)
I won't say Ember's precisely having fun, but he's certainly learning something! :)
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:02 am (UTC)
And how alien, for Ember, their social structure must feel. I love that exploration, so that difference can be embraced and enjoyed. This is what really excites me about Legacy - the transition of the Wraith from enemy to allies, and even friends. I really, really want more. :)
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:10 am (UTC)
Ember's as fascinated as Daniel, I think.

This is what really excites me about Legacy - the transition of the Wraith from enemy to allies, and even friends.

THANK YOU! That was our big point!
Apr. 5th, 2014 11:24 am (UTC)
More than friends, at times. Which will cause some disturbance in The Force, but isn't that surprising given you have a telepathic species, and one with the potential to become so. Lots of exploration available for those able to give it the attention it requires.

You are most welcome, hon, btw. You all are. :D
Apr. 7th, 2014 03:23 pm (UTC)
*squees* Thank you so much for sharing this gem! It's wonderful! It's so good after all this long time, to read more about the whole bunch! Well, especially about Ember, of course! :D *is not biased at all*

The chemistry between these guys is fantastic and the dialogue flows so naturally, I can picture them quite vividly. Daniel being fascinated about Wraith culture and Rodney utterly torn between embarassment and pride - and Queen Teyla ruling them all.
Apr. 7th, 2014 07:23 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're enjoying it! Teyla is definitely having a new experience, but it's working!
Ron Crabtree
Apr. 17th, 2014 01:47 pm (UTC)
I'm looking forward to reading this when will it be published?
Apr. 17th, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Our deadline to turn it in is April 30, so we're nearly done. The editorial process (depending on how quickly things go at MGM) usually takes 3-4 months. So August/September most likely!
Ron Crabtree
Apr. 18th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
Awesome I discovered and read the other 6 books in the last week and a half and am left chomping at the bit for more. I'd like to see something similar for SGU maybe even for the SGC.

A suggestion though It would be easy enough to send messages and email with reports. Perhaps Jennifer and Rodney could talk better via email? I think both could communicate better that way, her being able to explain things with out his interrupting and him because it might help him put his foot in his mouth less.

Apr. 19th, 2014 10:02 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed them! That's great to hear.

Unfortunately for Rodney, Jennifer isn't where she can receive regular email right now, but I think you're right that he'd express himself better in email. The breakup scene -- I wanted the reader to understand why Rodney was making a mess and at the same time see that he was putting his foot in it. I'm glad that worked.
Corbin Laitipaya
Apr. 30th, 2014 04:57 am (UTC)
Love the books.
Cool stuff, that is a very big understatement but I can't express it in any other way.

I would like to know if Rodney can *hear* Ember or any other wraith like he can Teyla. I think you kinda implied that he can't or at least can only feel emotions but some clarification would be nice. I love how in depth all this goes, you do a great job with the franchise and can't wait for more.
May. 1st, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Love the books.
Thank you so much!

Rodney can indeed hear Ember or any other Wraith. He's still capable of fully telepathic conversation. Telepathic Rodney! That's scary! :)
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )