sequel to 'The Price to Pay'
My first Stargate novel, 'The Price to Pay', dealt with the consequences of decisions and the price to be paid for them. If you haven't read that novel, then this sequel is unlikely to be of interest to you - but just in case you've browsed a couple of pages of this and want to know just how and when Jack became a Tok'ra (and why the hell he agreed to it), and what Maybourne did to end up under an Asgard death sentence in a parallel reality, and how the devil Jack came to have a four-year-old daughter, and why Cassandra put her faith in a convicted traitor and... Well, I was going to write a synopsis for you, but by the time I'd covered the first two chapters it became evident that the synopsis would end up being a minor epic in its own right, so I suggest you buy a copy (available from Knightwriter.org) or else borrow one from a friend. Otherwise, just take the risk, jump in at the deep end and see if you can follow what's going on.
In this sequel, characters are forced up against various personal truths. O'Neill has to deal with the pluses and minuses of his relationship with Kantele, especially when it affects his relationship with Sam. Teal'c has to face up to the most serious consequence of the Jaffa rebellion, including the risk to his friend Rak'nor and his son Rya'c. Cassandra has to cope with a truth she'd rather not have known about, which forces her to ask some very painful questions. Dr Frasier has to deal with an ethical dilemma that affects her principles as a healer. As for Maybourne... When you're Harry Maybourne, truth is a very dodgy commodity and only used as a last resort. His problem is that someone once believed him...
Last, but never least, is Sunlight herself. Her question is simple. Will she ever see her father again?
Writing this sequel presented several interesting problems. Seasons 6 and 7 for starters. Although this novel is AU and set around the end of season 5, later seasons present some background information that I had to choose whether or not to incorporate into the story background. I've tried to be consistent with later episodes where possible, in the details of Jaffa and Tok'ra culture, etc.. However, where a later season flatly contradicts continuity from earlier seasons, I'm sticking with earlier seasons. This is particularly relevant to Jack and Kantele. When Selmak joined Jacob, he warned Jacob that he couldn't just jump into his body, cure his cancer and leave again. Similarly, Jolinar said that she could leave Sam, but only at the risk of her own life. In other words, a Tok'ra cannot take a host and casually move on again: it's a union for life and can only be severed by risking the life of both host and symbiote.
In the same vein, Teal'c cannot sense the presence of Goa'uld. This was clearly the case in early episodes such as 'The Enemy Within' and 'In The Line of Duty', and I'm just ignoring stuff written by certain later writers (eg. The Tomb) who couldn't be bothered to actually watch the previous episodes of the series they were writing for.
Having a symbiote die inside you causes the release of a toxin which can be dangerous for the host and potentially fatal without good medical care. Here, I'm going with 'In the Line of Duty', 'Crossroads' and 'Summit' (and the implications of what happened to Teal'c's father in 'Fair Game') and ignoring 'Nightwalkers'.
Goa'uld larvae take 6-7 years to mature. They may be able to take a host (with imperfect control) when a little younger than this, but there is no way they are ready much before that. (ie. forget 'Nightwalkers' again, but remember 'The Enemy Within') Rya'c would be dead by now if they matured any faster, as he has Teal'c's original symbiote.
Jaffa have no choice but to take a symbiote when they reach puberty. Early episodes were ambiguous on this score, but later ones are clear cut.
Cassandra presented another problem. I wrote her as sixteen in 'The Price to Pay' because that's how old she looked on screen in 'Rites of Passage'. When I finally got to see a DVD with better picture quality it was possible to count the candles on her birthday cake. There were fourteen. However, in 'Holiday', Daniel says that Cassandra was twelve when she came to Earth. That would fit perfectly with her being sixteen in 'Rites of Passage'. Indeed, in '1969' (at the end of season 2) O'Neill specifically states that Cassandra is thirteen at that point. Spoken confirmation O'Neill and Daniel counts buckets more points than a set-dresser who didn't know the back-story (Maybe Sam ran out of candles...) Cassandra is officially sixteen in this novel. (I just got the trading cards. They say she's sixteen too)
Languages. People on other planets appear to speak English, as the episodes would be awfully boring and three times as long if they had to show it every time O'Neill asked Daniel "What did he say?". In this novel, I'm following the same convention if Daniel (or Teal'c, if the language is Goa'uld) is around. If no translator is present, then characters may have to cope with alien languages in the raw. (My thanks to Calle Dybedahl for occasional assistance with 'Asgard'. For anyone who's interested, I use Swedish as it seems an appropriate language.)
The Asgard Treaty. The Asgard treaty with the Goa'uld limits the technological development of protected planets ('Fair Game') and prohibits the Asgard from artificially advancing the technological level of such worlds ('Red Sky') - they would only be allowed to introduce technology if the Goa'uld made a direct attack in violation of the treaty (as is stated in 'Fail Safe'). In other words, following my usual rule, ignore the 6th season episode 'Disclosure' in this regard (unless you want to assume that the Asgard were deliberately breaking the treaty, or that Anubis's actions in 'Fail Safe' had rendered the treaty void).
Lord Yu. The series has a couple of glaring continuity errors concerning Lord Yu. I've had a lot of fun in showing that they all really make perfect sense. And I got to read a lot of interesting Chinese culture and history in the process.
Thanks to all those who said how much they enjoyed 'The Price to Pay' and then said: 'I want to read the sequel'. This zine is dedicated to them. Should you wish to send feedback, vast sums of money or photographs of my favourite characters, then I can be contacted at Judith@Waveney.org
Thanks go to Kathryn Andersen for co-authorship of the SGC filk written by Kantele (the original song is by Flanders and Swann). Thanks also go to Kathryn for the lovely cover.
Thanks to Murray Smith for assistance with questions regarding American law and to Linda Melnick for help with American idioms and to Deborah Rose and all the other people who've allowed me to bounce ideas off them at one point or another.
PS. There will probably be another sequel. I don't think the characters have finished with me yet.
I write faster when I get feedback - hint.