Crown Infernal

Stargate: the Fifth Generation

All That Glisters

Summary: some people take a lot of convincing.

WARNINGS: The usual military language
A big thank-you to
for the beta reading

Part 2


"Oh dear," said the high priestess, wringing her hands. "I never thought Orthon would get wind of our mission. Sir Bennegard, Sir Wayland, what do you advise?"

"There is a small fort some two miles north of here in Linden Lea where we can hold out until the Dragon Knights come to our relief," said Sir Bennegard. "Morgil here can take tidings of our whereabouts to the king."

"Meanwhile," said Sir Wayland, "we will discover more of Count Orthon's dastardly plot and the whereabouts of his Nighthawks from this spy here..."

This was the cue for two things to happen. Firstly, a group of men dressed in long black robes and bearing strange looking weapons, burst into the clearing from the opposite direction to Morgil.

Secondly, J led the rest of his team into the clearing, spraying a volley of SMG fire over the heads of those already there. This grabbed everyone's attention, but before he could say anything, Albinia, the high priestess strode up to him, ripping off her headdress to reveal a mop of spiky black hair.

"What the fuck d'you think you're playin' at, mate?! Polemos is five miles further up the road, and you're not supposed to use real weapons there either. So bugger off!"

"What?" J said, startled.

"I said, bugger off! Are you deaf or just stupid?" demanded Albinia.

"We'll go if and when you tell us where we can find the king of this world."

The high priestess gave a hoot of laughter at that. "Not from these parts are ya?"

That's what I told you," Maxine growled, struggling to her feet.

"So who are you really?" asked Sir Wayland.

Maxine introduced herself as the Lady Esther Pepperday, and was halfway through presenting Lord Jefferson Mitchell et al. when Sir Wayland started laughing.

"No you're not. You're no more lords and ladies than I'm a Knight of the Silver Lotus. So come on, who are you?"

"Gatecrashers?" demanded a scowling Albinia.

Maxine and Theo looked at each other and cracked out laughing. "Not... exactly," Maxine giggled.

"So you're not here for Summerfest then?" Albinia asked, looking very suspicious.

"And although you're armed," put in Sir Bennegard, "you're not here for Polemos either, I think?"

"Polemos?" Maxine asked. It was Greek, close to polemic. "Some sort of discussion group?"

This cracked up the locals.

"Well hardly!" Bennegard said when he could breathe again. "It's a war-gaming group, a bit like us but set in the present."

"So you're...?"

"LARPers - Live Action Role-Players. We take the roles of fantasy adventurers - wizards and warriors and so on. We have missions to achieve certain goals. And yes, we do all have proper jobs. My real name's Frayne Bardon, by the way, and I'm a medical student."

"Ah," Maxine nodded, then re-introduced her team with their proper names and titles.

"You're a doctor?" Frayne asked.

"Yes, but not a medical doctor."

"And they're...?"

"Military, yes," J replied.

"So what's the military doing here?" Albinia demanded. She still sounded unconvinced.

"We're a first contact team, and unfortunately, when we first set foot on an unknown world, we have little idea of what might be waiting for us."

"Knock it off, mate. What are you really doing here?" Albinia wasn't giving up.

"As Dr. Pepperday told you, we're looking for trading partners," J said.

"And you're aliens? Yeah, right," Albinia growled.

"Ahh, bambina mia. Why so much anger?" Luc said, sidling up to her with a caressing smile. Maxine smiled to herself as Albinia seemed to melt under his charm offensive.

"Well, every year, we get people trying to get in without paying. I mean, the Challix family can afford the freeloaders, but it's not fair on the rest who do pay their fees."

"I see why you are so upset. That's just theft. But we are not thieves. This is why we want to set up fair trading treaties."

"So why did you sneak in and why pretend to be aliens? You're not exactly green and scaly."

"Most aliens aren't - though there are some that are," Luc said.

Albinia drew back at that. "Look, just drop it. We're not that stupid. You're obviously up to something devious."

Frayne broke in, laying a gentle hand on Albinia's shoulder. "If you're aliens, prove it. Show us your spaceship."

"We don't travel by spaceship. It takes too long, even with hyperdrives," J explained, "plus we only have one such ship, and that is currently in enemy hands."

"Well, how very convenient!" Albinia said scathingly.

"But we can show you how we traveled here," J concluded, ignoring the interruption.

"Alright, show us," Albinia said, arms akimbo.

"You do realize they aren't going to believe us if we just show them the 'Gate," Luc pointed out.

"Gate?" Albinia sounded suspicious.

"Bear with me here," J said, trying not to let his irritation show and not quite succeeding, "and very soon, you'll be standing on another planet."

"Oh, like that's likely to happen!"

"Why? Are you afraid?" J asked with his crocodile smile.

"What? No!" Albinia said, while the rest of S.G.-24 looked on as if doubting their CO's sanity.

"Okay, this is how it's going to be. Captain Lucarelli and Dr. Pepperday, unload the trunks of your PATTs. I think they'll stand carrying a passenger each, Dr. Hunter?"

Theo nodded.

"Right Albinia— "

"Erm, my real name's Rowan Vailser."

"Okay then, Rowan. You'll be traveling with Captain Lucarelli and Frayne, you'll be with Dr. Pepperday. What?" J snapped as Rowan opened her mouth to object.

"Who gave you the right to boss people around?"

"That would be my government. Now, do you want proof, or don't you?"

Rowan nodded.

"Right. Captain Lucarelli and Dr. Pepperday will take you to the Stargate. There's a grumpy man there. You can ignore him. Captain, call up the SGC. Tell them everything's going wonderfully, that we're negotiating with our new allies, and that this may delay our return slightly. Then dial the Agora."

"Ah," Maxine smiled. "A safe world with no need of weapons. Brilliant!"

J returned a smug smile.

The 'tourists' followed the PATT's tracks back to the 'Gate with ease. As they traveled, Maxine and Luc told them a little about the Ancients setting up the Stargate system, the First World of the Tau'ri and how evil beings had transported many people from the First World to other planets through wormholes connecting two Stargates.

Rowan preserved a stony, skeptical silence.

Frayne was fascinated. "You really ought to have brought Nevin - Sir Wayland. He's a post-grad physics student and he's mentioned the idea of wormholes going to other worlds a time or two. I thought it was just fantasy. So they really exist?"

"Sure do," Maxine grinned.

"He is going to be so jealous!"

As they approached the Stargate, Maxine said, "There you are. That's the Stargate."

"What? That old stone ring?" Rowan scoffed. "We just use that as a decoration for Springfest."

"You might like to rethink that," Luc told her.


"Because it could kill you."

"How?" Again, the patent disbelief.

"You'll soon find out," Luc said coldly as he parked up in the bushes. He was getting a tad fed up with her constant waves of negativity washing over him. The 'good cheer' just kept on growing as he approached the D.H.D.

Naturally, Bachmann had plenty to say when only two of his fellow team members showed up, both wearing long robes, carrying no weapons and with two other even more bizarrely clad strangers. In J's absence, he was much inclined to assume control as 2IC. Revenge? J had foreseen this and had put his orders in writing. These included Bachmann's remaining in position - per the President's orders - and watching the 'Gate. Bachmann was not happy.

"Stand well back," Luc said as he dialed the S.G.C.

Rowan and Frayne gasped as the watery connection splurged out straight towards them. They were seriously impressed at what 'that old stone ring' could do.

After he'd reported in, the wormhole collapsed, further surprising the locals. Luc then dialed P9Y-606. "And don't follow us," he said to Bachmann. "We don't want to lose another member of the team to the slave market."

"Slave market?" Rowan exclaimed, suddenly paying attention.

"It's okay," Maxine reassured her. "That only happens if you're stupid enough to break the rules - don't steal, don't kill, don't carry weapons and so on. It's easy enough to follow the rules, but one idiot on our team deliberately broke one, even knowing the penalty. You're not carrying any weapons are you?"

"Well, not real ones," Frayne said.

"Hm, better safe than sorry," Luc said. "Anything that might be viewed as a weapon would be best left here."

Once he was satisfied, Maxine grabbed Rowan's hand, led her up to the event horizon and stepped through.

"Coming?" Luc said to Frayne, adding with a grin, "we don't have to hold hands, by the way."

On the other side, they found Rowan looking shivery and nauseous. Maxine had led her to the columns at the beginning of the road to the Agora.

"Well, you were the one who wanted proof," Luc said callously.

"What d'you mean, proof," Rowan asked, looking very sorry for herself.

"You're on another planet. What more proof do you need?"

"Another planet? You're kidding. There wasn't time. It has to be some sort of trick."

"Like that?" Maxine asked as a compact metallic blue space pod shot overhead and disappeared into the re-opened wormhole.

"How did you do that?" Rowan the Skeptic wanted to know.

Luc looked up to the heavens and let out an angry yell that surprised everyone. "For crying out loud, what does it take to convince you?!"

Even Rowan quailed at that. "Well, it's impossible to travel to another planet so quickly, so there has to be a more logical explanation."

Luc rolled his eyes and turned to Frayne. "Is she always like this?"

"Not always, no," Frayne replied. "Guess we're just a little outside our comfort zone. It's one thing to act out our fantasies. Actually living them is something else entirely."

"Ah. My apologies then, bambina," Luc smiled, "and you really are on a different world many light years from your own. What do you call your planet by the way?"

"Tellera," Frayne said.

"Hm, sounds... Tellurian," Maxine mused. "I suspect your people originally came from our planet - Earth - at least ten thousand years ago, and I'd love to study your history."

"You really aren't kidding, are you?" Rowan said, very quietly as if disbelieving her own words.

"No, we aren't," Maxine smiled. "Come on, let's go to the Agora. That's The Marketplace of the Galaxy, though I'm afraid we can only 'window shop.' The Agora has its own currency which we don't have. We might be able to barter though."

Meanwhile, back on Tellera, J and Theo, with a little help from Lt. Kern, were finding out more about P6L-208, and generally exchanging information. This was mostly from Sir Wayland, otherwise known as Nevin Stanbow when not LARPing.

"Actually, the person you ought to be talking to is Eyan Challix. He's Zandar Challix's eldest son. Mr. Challix is a big industrialist who gives us a lot of support - owns these woods - and the horses - and gives us free rein in playing here on condition we look after the woodland. I know Eyan's here today," Nevin said, adding, "He plays King Torin-Ulfric."

He pulled a walkie-talkie out of his mediaeval-looking belt pouch, and opened a channel. "Eyan, this is Nevin. We have some visitors here that I think you're going to want to meet."

"Oh? Not freeloaders, I presume?"

"I don't think so, but come and see for yourself. We're at the campsite at TF195807."

"Fine. I'll be with you in ten. Eyan out."

Ten minutes later, the thud of hoofs announced Eyan's approach. A big black stallion arrived in a cloud of dust. Its rider swung down from the saddle almost before the horse had stopped moving. The rider, wearing chain mail and a slender gold coronet, looked to be in his early thirties and had a commanding presence. He quickly spotted the newcomers and strode over to them.

"Eyan Challix," he announced extending a hand to each of the three remaining members of SG-24. J introduced his team. "So what can I do for you, Major Mitchell?"

"Well, you may find this hard to believe, but we're a first contact team from another planet and we're hoping to set up a trading treaty."

"You're right it is hard to believe..." Eyan said with a glance at Nevin and looking grim. "I think you're just another bunch of freeloaders."

"I think you may see things a little differently when two of my team return from the Agora with Rowan and Frayne."

"The Agora?"

"Yes it's a sort of intergalactic market place."

"On another planet?"


"Light-years away?"

"Yes! Are you related to Rowan?"

"Thankfully, no!" Eyan grinned. "She been giving you a hard time?"

J rolled his eyes. "You could say."

"And how long do we have to wait for their return? Centuries? Millennia?"

J laughed. "No. Just a few minutes."

"A few minutes? How?"

"Wormholes," Nevin said.

"You mean it really works?"

Nevin nodded.

"Apparently so."

"Just a few minutes?" Eyan repeated.

"Yes," J said, "although... two women in a marketplace?"

"On the plus side, they don't have any of the local currency," Theo pointed out, "and I take it your 'gold' isn't real."

"No, just lead painted to look that way," Nevin said.

"They could try bartering," Kern said helpfully.

Everyone groaned.

"Could be a while then," Eyan observed. He no longer seemed totally skeptical though.

Back on P6L-208, the four 'tourists' were getting to know each other a little better on the walk to the Agora. Rowan, taking in the wide variety of fellow travelers along the way and the occasional space craft, was finally beginning to believe that maybe - just maybe - she really was on another planet.

The clincher was seeing all the rules printed in many languages, mostly unknown to her, on the board opposite the Oplostasio. Maxine made sure their new companions read all the rules through before they set foot in the Agora itself.

To underline the sole danger on P6L-208, that of being sold into slavery, she insisted they go to the slave market. While they watched a couple of 'lots' being sold, she gave Frayne and Rowan an account of Captain Beck's folly.

On the rather circuitous way back to the 'Gate, Maxine went to the cashiers' bench to look in on Noah and Jethro. Fortunately, they were just finishing their shift, so Maxine was able to have a quick word with them.

"We think you're both Americans and that your real names are Noah Baxter of SG-4 and Jethro Hughes of SG-9."

Both agreed that the names sounded "kinda familiar," but could add nothing more to what they'd said previously. Maxine could only hope that if they could visit the Agora on a regular basis, more of their memories might resurface.

While Rowan, and to a lesser extent, Frayne, ooh-ed an ahh-ed over costumes and bales of materials which would be good additions to their LARP wardrobes, Maxine was looking about her for potentially useful items for the next time they came, hopefully with money or something to trade.

She didn't see anything particularly desirable but as they passed through a large circular courtyard, possibly at the exact center of the Agora, she saw something very interesting indeed.

In the middle of the courtyard, there was an ornate wrought-iron signpost with signs, in Greek, pointing in various directions. One was pointing to The Asteropulon or Stargate. Opposite was a sign pointing to The Kosmolimani or Space Port. At the other two cardinal points of the compass were signs pointing to The Allokosmopulon and the other to The Chronokinaton. It was mind-blowing! And she had to keep it to herself until the team was back home alone. Ngkh!

Luc said it was definitely time to make their way directly back to the 'Gate, at which time they realized they were missing one person. It was a bad moment for the two Tau'ri, imagining the worst. She couldn't be that stupid. Could she?

They hastily retraced their steps and found Rowan happily chatting, in Greek, to a woman at a leather-craft booth. Rowan was admiring her work, and the woman had come around to the front of her stall to show off her wares. At the back of the booth a curly haired young girl of about ten years was polishing a shiny red apple on her frock.

Luc, not wishing to attract a crowd of onlookers, reined in his temper and aimed for a low-key approach. "Never do this again."


"Wander off on your own. We thought you'd been taken to the slave market."

"Like I'm that stupid? Thanks! Besides, I thought you said this place is safe," Rowan concluded.

"It is," Luc said grimly. "But if you get left behind, how are you going to find your way back to the 'Gate on your own in this maze?"

"I've got a tongue in my head. I can ask someone," said the unrepentant Rowan, looking smug.

"Fine!" Maxine snapped. "Then how're you going to get back through the 'Gate to Tellera?"

At that point, the stall holder screamed.


All eyes went to where she was looking. The child had dropped her apple and was clawing at her throat. Under the onlookers' shocked gaze, her skin was turning blue and her eyes were bugging out. Then she collapsed. Her mother screamed again.

While the rest remained transfixed, Frayne ran behind the stall to the child. A few moments later, he stood up with the child, now rosy cheeked again and smiling, in his arms. The stall holder's screams turned to effusive joy, thanking Frayne over and over for saving the life of her beloved child.

Frayne disclaimed through Rowan. It was nothing. All he'd done was remove a piece of apple that had gotten stuck in her throat. But the stall holder would not be denied. She insisted on giving gifts, not only to Frayne but to his friends too.

She selected a broad blue suede leather headband decorated with gold thread for Frayne and tied carefully across his brow. Rowan was given the one that had caught her eye in the first place. It was slightly narrower in bright red suede. Maxine's was green and Luc's was crimson.

Kalyca, the stall holder, then stated loudly and clearly to the crowd that had gathered, that these were her gifts to the savior of her child and his companions. It reminded Maxine of Stelios' declaration when he'd given her his gold ring. Presumably this was a convention to prevent innocent people ending up at the slave market.

When all the thanking that could be done had been done on both sides, Luc insisted that they return to the 'Gate immediately if not sooner.

Bachmann, suffering from terminal boredom, regarded the returnees as a target for his ire at being left out of the action, and launched into a tirade about the waste of his time. Or tried to.

Rowan stalked up to him, elbowing her way through the rest and stood with arms folded. "Keep your hair on, Mr. Grumpy," she snarked. "What you've got left of it anyway!"

The unexpected attack reduced him to spluttering, impotent rage. There was something about her that reminded him too much of his late mother. The rest had to turn away to hide their smirks and Luc called up J.

"We're back, Major," he announced.

"What, all of you?"

"Yes sir," Luc chuckled.

"Okay, contact the S.G.C. and tell them we'll be returning at 1800, then fetch the locals back here. And tell Bachmann to stay put."

By the time the 'tourists' returned, complete with souvenirs, there was quite a party atmosphere in the clearing. A whole lot more people had appeared, along with trestle tables and food. There was also a small blue-and-white striped marquee which seemed to be the LARPers' tavern. Eyan's two brothers, Zell and Marl (the evil Count Orthon) and their sister, Emeliss, had also shown up.

SG-24 were treated as guests of honor at the feast, not as freeloaders. Everyone was keen to hear accounts of the visit to the Agora. J especially wanted to know how they'd come by their 'souvenirs.'

"Honestly, it was nothing really," Frayne protested at the end of Rowan's account. "I just did the Aplos Maneuver that we learnt in our first year at med school."

"You still saved the child's life," Rowan smiled.

It turned out that the Stargate was only half a mile south of a quiet little road that joined a main highway. Zandar Challix himself had driven over to see what all the excitement was about. He seemed a decent guy and was open-minded enough to be interested in trade talks.

Theo had already suggested fitting their Stargate with an iris to keep out any "friendly neighborhood bad guys," which seemed a good place to start. J had cautioned against blithely setting foot on unknown planets. Lt. Kern had suggested they might like to have plans for probes of their own, like the Tau'ri AVCOPs. This led to a caveat about people who claimed to be Tau'ri but weren't.

The LARPers then listened enthralled to SG-24's travelers' tales from around the galaxy. These were necessarily edited highlights, but good stories nevertheless, and enjoyed all the more for having Rowan's endorsement. If she said 'Gate travel was true, then it pretty much had to be.

When it was time to leave, most of the LARPers came too, taking SG-24 back to the 'Gate by a short cut. They all wanted to see 'that old stone ring' working. J and Zander Challix had set a date for a meeting with the Tau'ri Trade Delegation.

Bachmann was taken by surprise when the large group of people arrived from a different direction. He looked like there was a lot he would like to say but for once, kept his thoughts to himself. Perhaps it was the challenging look from Rowan that made him hold his tongue.

"Captain Bachmann, would you and Lt. Kern retrieve the AVCOP, please."

As it was rolled out of the bushes ready to send home, Theo gave Mr. Challix a run down of its capabilities. He looked impressed. Some of the young men expressed an interest in the PATTs too. It looked like PATT races might be in their future.

Then it was time to return home. Lt. Kern dialed up home and the 'kawoosh' brought gasps of awe from those who hadn't seen it before. Captain Bachmann followed the AVCOP through the event horizon.

"And it really takes only minutes to reach another planet?" Mr. Challix said.

"That's all," J smiled. "Now we really must go. It's been a pleasure and an honor, sir."

"Likewise," the business man replied. Then the visitors were gone and the 'Gate shut down.

"Amazing." Nevin said. "All this time and we never knew what we had in our own backyard!"

Back in the S.G.C., General Bradfield was waiting for them. Bachmann's face looked stormy as he strode down the ramp. The rest were looking pleased with themselves. This should make for an interesting debrief.

"So, how was P6L-208?" Bradfield asked after their post-mission medical checks.

"A complete waste of time," Bachmann scowled. "They were just another bunch of peasants."

"That's your considered opinion, is it, Captain?" J said, looking amused.

"It is. The whole thing was a bust. Sir."

"Is that the opinion of you all?" Bradfield asked.

"Absolutely not, General," J said while the rest nodded in agreement. "I would say, from what we saw, that the civilization there is on a par with late twentieth to early twenty-first century Earth."

"What?" Bachmann exclaimed. "Then why did they look like mediaeval peasants?"

"Because it was their equivalent to our downtime. They were just having fun. One was a med. student, another's studying physics, including wormhole physics. The land they use belongs to a Zander Challix. He's an industrialist and his sons and daughter run their games. Mr. Challix is interested in doing business with us and I've set up a meeting with our Trade Delegation for next week. It'll be interesting to see what comes of it."

"It will indeed," Bradfield smiled. "Anything else to add, lady and gentlemen?"

"Yes sir," Maxine responded. "We visited the Agora again to capture the interest of the Tellerans. While we were there, we looked in on Noah Baxter and Jethro Hughes. Their surnames seemed to ring a bell with them, but they couldn't otherwise add to what we already know. However, if we visit them whenever we go to the Agora, maybe more memories will surface."

"That where you got those fancy headbands?" Bachmann asked.

"That's right," Maxine said.

"Where'd you get the money from?" It sounded like an accusation.

"We didn't. Frayne, the medical student, saved a child's life and her mother gave us each a headband as a gift by way of saying thank you."

"So happy endings all round then," Bradfield smiled and brought the debriefing to a close.

Bachmann didn't hang around, and Kern was keen to get home as his mother had been unwell.

When they'd gone, Maxine said, "Let's have supper at the Sunny Side Up. Theo, can you page Ash? I think he'd want to be in on it too."

J shot an enquiring look at her. "In on what, exactly?"

"Tell you all later."

Ash was pleased to see his friends looking so satisfied, happy even.

"So the mission went well?" he asked.

"Very well for a change," Theo said with a fond smile.

"This is the way it should be," Luc agreed, "finding other planets and setting up free and fair trading treaties."

"Assuming they are free and fair," Maxine warned and told them about Warren's intention of tying things up in the small print. "The devil could well be in the details."

"On the other hand," Theo commented, "I don't think Zander Challix will be a total push-over. He's a successful businessman and he'll probably have a reasonably competent legal team."

"Hm. Maybe Warren will get screwed instead then," Ash grinned.

"Okay," J said as the last of the homemade apple pie had been consumed, "Now give, Maxine. What's all the mystery?"

"It was when we were heading home and we went through a circular courtyard," she said. "There's a big wrought iron sign post in the middle. I think it's at the dead center of the Agora. Anyway, there were four signs pointing, I think, north, south, east and west. Two were pointing towards the Stargate and the Space Port."

She broke off to have a sip of her soda while the other four glowered at her.

"And?" J growled.

"And the other two pointed to the Allokosmopulon and the Chronokinaton."

"And?" J said again.

"Allokosmopulon. Allo means 'other,' kosmos means 'universe' and pulon means 'gate.'"

She waited for the penny to drop. Luc worked it out first. "You mean there's a quantum mirror there," he said in a low voice.

"I think so," Maxine nodded.

"What about the other thing? The crocki-whatever?" J prompted.

"The Chronokinaton?"

"I think I can work that one out," Ash said with a grin. "Chrono- is to do with time, like a chronometer, and kinaton sounds like kinetics - movement - so I think that sounds like there's a... "

"Shhh!" came a chorus from his companions.



I didn't make the LARPers up. They are real, if a little weird. Our daughter is one of them... {G}

Irish Comedian Dara O'Briain's 'Tough Gig' in front of a bunch of LARPers

This is a B.B.C. comedy programme, and Dara is brilliant!!!. Enjoy! 8-)

Basic Information

Stargate: the Fifth Generation - Home Page


Dramatis Personnae + Glossary.

Timeline and 'Future History'

The Preludes

Prelude - I: Maxine

Prelude - II: Theo (Flashback)

Prelude - III: Coming Together

The Episodes


SG-24 Part 1
SG-24 Part 2


Crown of Steel - Crown of Night: Part 1
Crown of Steel - Crown of Night: Part 2


More Questions than Answers: Part 1
More Questions than Answers: Part 2


The Mirror Cracked: Part 1
The Mirror Cracked: Part 2


Perdition, Catch My Soul: Part 1
Perdition, Catch My Soul: Part 2


The Storm is Come Again: Part 1
The Storm is Come Again: Part 2
The Storm is Come Again: Part 3


All That Glisters: Part 1
All That Glisters: Part 2


Heirs and Graces: Part 1
Heirs and Graces: Part 2


Hitched: Part 1
Hitched: Part 2


Chaosium: Part 1
Chaosium: Part 2
Chaosium: Part 3


Crown Infernal