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The Blonde, the Redhead and the Archaeologists
"...When I think about the first time that I saw your
I never felt this way
No I never felt this way
And now I'm thinkin' that you feel the same
And I hope if there's anyway
I'll get down on my knees and pray..."
"Burn" by Sister Machine Gun, Mortal Kombat Soundtrack
She swept into the temple, her robe billowing behind her. At last! Her scouts had located the Ancient Time device! Soon she would be rid of those who stood between her and complete domination of the galaxy! She would send Ash’rak back in time to kill the System Lords who had managed to hold her at bay for so many years.
She approached the wide, stone altar. The center of the device consisted of large square columns, each of them had several symbols on them. To push one affected the others as well, so great care must be taken to align each ‘key’ in just the right way. A small circle on the marble floor near the altar was obviously where the intended ‘traveler’ was to stand. She motioned to the first of seven men who stood waiting for her orders. She pointed to the floor. Without a word the man obeyed, stood in the center of the mark.
The lo’taur, a handsome young human male with long black hair and deep blue eyes, held the book in which she had carefully hand written every scrap of information she had been able to locate on the device, as well as the theories of how the Ancient machine worked. She carefully skimmed the pages. Ah, here it was. A copy of the drawing she had seen in an older, forgotten tomb of a long dead and forgotten king.
She carefully began pushing the ‘keys’. There. That was exactly what the drawing had depicted. She waited. Glanced at the man who stood expectantly within the black circle. Frowned. Maybe this key was just a tad too high. Yes, that should do nicely. Why wasn’t it working?
"Send for my priests!" she shouted, her eyes glowing with anger. Two Jaffa ran to do her bidding.
She studied the symbols. Knew what a few of them meant. That one, near the center, perhaps it should be lower, as it spoke of moving down toward the sun. She pushed gently. Five ‘keys’ near it moved as well, all of them sliding upwards.
No, no, no! This one should be the lowest of all! Angry, she shoved the square stone lower. Three keys on the other side of the altar went lower as well, two went higher.
"Where are those fools?" she demanded, her face red with rage. She was a god! She had the information she needed! Why wouldn’t the cursed thing work?
Two men rushed into the room, bowing low as they approached. "What is it that you wish of us, My Lord?" the older of the two men asked.
"This device does not work!" she screeched. "Your interpretations of the inscriptions on the stones is wrong! I want to know exactly what this says!"
The men approached the stone altar. To fail now meant death...slow, painful death. They spared a glance at one another, then set about to try and decipher a language they did not understand. It was close enough to their own, or so they supposed, that they used an ancient dialect of their own tongue to translate the markings.
"Here is the problem," the younger priest said, sighing with relief. "A sacrifice must first be made to the god who holds the power of the device in her hand."
The Goa’uld smirked. She doubted very much that it said any such thing. The Ancients wouldn’t have been concerned with anyone who might not understand their machine. But her anger was great enough that the thought of killing something...or someone... served to appease her ego somewhat. "Then you shall be that sacrifice."
The young man flinched. "I am your loyal servant, My Lord."
"And as such a most suitable sacrifice, don’t you agree?." She pulled the dagger from the sheath on her hip. "Step forward, and accept your eternal blessing from your god!"
Shaking, the man stepped forward. He closed his eyes as her hand moved over his chest, her fingers caressed his throat. Made not a sound when the dagger entered his belly.
"Lay him beside the altar, that those who built this device might see that I am the greatest of all gods, and will take this machine as my own," she intoned solemnly for the benefit of the Jaffa who watched and waited.
It took several minutes for the young man to die. His pristine white robe was now red with his own blood.
"Dispose of him," she said distractedly, once again examining the ‘key’s of the machine.
Two Jaffa stepped forward, gently carried the body away. Another stepped forward and covertly wiped up the blood that had spilled onto the marble floor...an attempt to keep his god appeased.
She made more adjustments. Watched. Waited. Still nothing happened.
She paced the temple room, staring daggers at the stone device that continued to torment her. With a scream of absolute fury, she aimed her zat’nik’tel at the device and fired twice.
"My Lord, perhaps the device is broken," the remaining priest said, bowing low before the woman who held his life in her hands.
She frowned. Yes. That was the problem. For some reason, the Ancient Time device no longer functioned. It was the only explanation. She approached it again. Yes. That was most certainly the problem. The damned thing was simply too old. Whatever power source it used must have been drained centuries ago.
"Truly, if this were not the case, would it not work for you, the greatest of all gods?"
She spared the man a smile. "You are correct. I had considered the fact that the age of the device might preclude any function." She gave one last glowering look at the stone. Shoved one of the stone keys in a fit of anger, and aimed a kick on the wide stone base, before she turned away from it altogether. "Let us leave here. Before my enemies attack yet another of my holdings."
She swept out of the room as grandly as she had arrived. Within minutes the silence that had filled the temple for a nearly a hundred millennia returned.
Symbols on the keys began to glow, as if lit from within. The lines of writing that marched along the sides of the stone altar were also glowing. A low, rumbling sound was heard, and a wall of stone began to slide apart, the two sections swinging wide. And exposing a large, upright ring. The circumference was covered with hieroglyphs. Nine triangular shapes began to glow as the inner ring began to spin. The triangular shapes clanged into position, and with a mighty roar, a column of what appeared to be water shot twenty feet horizontally from the center of the ring, into the room. Then silence returned.
Two figures came hurtling through the shimmering circle, tossed onto the marble floor like rag dolls. One man. One woman. Both dressed as warriors. The weapons they had been holding had been flung from nerveless fingers, to slide into the shadows against the walls.
The man rolled to his back, the glass and wire object on his face sitting at a peculiar angle. Beside him, the woman landed on her side, long blonde hair covering her face. Both were breathing, but unconscious.
With a hiss, the shimmering center disappeared. Once again the symbols on the altar began to glow. Once again the inner ring began to spin, and the nine triangular shapes clanged into position. Once again a column of water raced from the center of the ring.
Two more bodies were hurled into the room, their joined hands wrenched apart as they were tossed roughly into the room, the force flinging them to opposite sides of the stone ring. The man landed facedown, a similar object on his face as was on that of the first man. The woman somersaulted, falling onto her back; long red hair seemed to form a frame around her head. They were unconscious, but alive.
For the third time since the silence of the temple had been broken it returned. The symbols on the altar ceased to glow, although the half dozen sconces on the walls that had begun burning when the device activated continued to do so. There were no witnesses to the changes that had occurred, only the glyphs that marched mutely across the temple walls.
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