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The Science of "Stargate: SG-1"

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by KJC

 

August 16, 2004

 

 

The Stargate is a wormhole created through use of a material not found on Earth—naquada—and is most likely based on the Rosen-Bridge Theory, minus the alternate universe deal.  It activates by use of a dialing device, and appears within a circular shaped gate, which spins as it is dialed and locks in the combination in order to send one where one wants to go.  The wormhole can send a traveler nearly instantaneously from one planet to another, even if the end point is several galaxies away.  This works by imagining a long string: one end being the point of origin, and the other end being the destination.  The wormhole brings these two ends together forming a circle, and creating an instantaneous mode of travel.  The symbols on the Stargate are, in fact, constellations, and dialing in the correct order of these constellation symbols will get you to your goal.  There are thousands of possible combinations.

 

The original “Stargate” movie explained the existence of the massive and mysterious pyramids as something quite different from what many people would expect.  Some postulated that the pyramids would have been impossible for ancient man to have constructed, and “Stargate” built upon this theory, showing us that the pyramids did indeed come about from human labor, but from human labor and a little bit of help.

 

The pyramids, “Stargate” speculated, were built for a few purposes: to glorify the gods (the alien Goa’uld), and to serve as a stable surface for the great sky ships of the gods—a landing pad of sorts.  The ships were built shaped like a pyramid, and would settle on top of the manmade pyramids for a time so the god could visit his people.  When he left, the people had a reminder of his power and might, a replica of the god’s ship, and a symbol to them of his power over them, a monument that towered over their small cities.

 

This was the background of the “Stargate” premise, and everything, it seems, points back to the Egyptians, who at one time were one of the most powerful races in the ancient world.  Their gods were named from the Goa’uld who oppressed and enslaved them: Ra, Apophis, Hathor, and Nirrti (just to name a few).  Other races also had gods who were named after the Goa’uld and the Asgard, an ancient race that feels it is their duty to look after the human race.  Thor, the thunder god of the Vikings, was a leader of the Asgard.  Baal, a Canaanite god and also a Goa’uld, was a system lord for the people of P4S-237.

 

Another thing to point out is the word “god” itself.  Webster’s Dictionary defines god as meaning “a supreme, deified being,” which the Goa’uld clearly wanted the people of Earth and other worlds to believe.   “Stargate” cleverly suggests the name of the race that declared themselves as gods, as Goa’uld, or Gould for short.  Over time, this name might have transformed into the word we know today: god.

 

Like the Egyptians, the human race overthrew their gods, the Goa’uld.  In desperation, many of the Goa’uld took humans from all over the Earth and sent them through the Stargate or on ships to far away planets.  They wanted someone to worship and labor for them, and on many of these planets, god worship was still carried out.  If met with resistance, the Goa’uld would wipe out entire planets.  On some, however, the urge for freedom was too strong, and many Goa’uld system lords were overthrown.  The most powerful Goa’uld, however, remained.  Among them, Ra and Apophis, rival system lords, were the worst.

 

The Goa’uld, however, had a weakness.  They do not naturally come in human form.  If one was ever to see a picture of a Goa’uld system lord, one would see that they look quite human.  One could be no farther from the truth, however.  The Goa’uld are a parasitic-like race, looking very much like a small black or white snake.  They have advanced minds, however, and Ra, the most powerful of the Goa’uld, discovered that to extend his life, he could take a human as a host.  They invade a host’s body by either penetrating the skin near the back of the neck, or by entering through the mouth.  From there, they invade the brain and nervous system, controlling every action of their host.  The one that they have taken lives as though they are in hell, unable to control their actions or speech.  Invaded hosts are discernable from other humans by the warped voice and glowing eyes.  Logically, the voice may be warped if the Goa’uld has not mastered absolute command of the vocal cords, however the glowing eyes are slightly inaccurate.  There is no living being on this Earth that can make their eyes glow like the Goa’uld, but that may be unexplainable when moving to the wider universe around us.  It is well to depict another species in a form totally different from humans, for if they were originally from a far away galaxy, they most likely had lived in conditions very different from Earth.

 

While in larval stage, the Goa’uld also take hosts, some of whom are known as Jaffa.  Men are chosen who have many of their internal organs removed in order to hold the Gould in their stomach.  The larvae enters through an X-shaped opening in the man’s abdomen and replaces, in an essence, his main system functions.  The larval Goa’uld and the man depend on each other for survival.  The Goa’uld cannot live for long outside of the man, and the man cannot live for long without a Goa’uld.  It is the perfect symbiotic relationship.  Once the Goa’uld matures, it leaves the man for a permanent host, and the man must find another larval Goa’uld to replace the one that had sustained him.

 

As for the Stargate itself, we know that the Goa’uld, who claim to have made it, did not, in fact, invent many of the items that they use: including their ships, weapons, and other technology.  Their technology has been pirated from the Ancients who originally created the Stargate—and now there are four races who have taken their place and collaborated together to maintain the Stargate, a gate to other worlds.  Of these Ancients, only the Asgard still communicate with the human race.  Apparently, humans are destined to be the fifth race once we get our act together and stop killing each other.

 

One may argue that a flaw in the Stargate story is the different levels of culture that the SG teams meet.  In some cultures, they are primitive, thousands of years behind Earth’s present technology.  In other cultures, they are thousands of years ahead of our present technology.  How can that be if they are all human?  Humans do not have different levels of intellect, no matter where they have been relocated.  This can be explained by looking at when the people overthrew their Goa’uld system lord.  The Goa’uld took humans from Earth, and at various points in time, the humans were able to overthrow them.  In some cultures, it took a longer time to overthrow their system lord than others.  The Goa’uld oppress their people in most cases, thus preventing them from advancing at the same rate as humans who did not have a Goa’uld overlord.  Thus the various levels of advancement are explained.

 

The makeup of the Stargate teams requires at least four members per team: a military leader, at least one other military personnel, an engineer, and a linguist or historian who also provides a civilian perspective to an otherwise mostly military-run team.  The military leader’s purpose is to get the team out of sticky situations if necessary and also serve as a diplomat of sorts.  The engineer’s purpose is to observe and assimilate new technologies should the need arise.  The historian or linguist is there to communicate with any people that the team may encounter, and also learn about the cultures that they may meet.  The number four is significant in that if the team needed to split up for any reason, they could divide into even numbers.  If one was injured, a person could remain with them while the other two could go for help and watch each other’s backs.  Four is also a small enough number that it avoids much detection if a situation requires the team to stay undercover.

 

The team known as SG-1 was unique in that one of their team members—Teal’c—took the place of the other military personnel and provided an alien perspective to the team while also serving as military backup.  In SG-1’s case, Colonel Jack O’Neill leads the team, Major Samantha Carter is their technology expert, Teal’c provides military (though alien military) backup and alien representation, and Dr. Daniel Jackson served as the ambassador (of sorts) for the team whenever a language barrier proved to be a problem.  His job was also to act as a civilian observer and monitor the culture around them and use his knowledge about what he learned to Earth’s advantage.  After Daniel Jackson left the team, Jonas Quinn provided a civilian/alien perspective to the team, as well as serving as resident linguist and historian.

 

The Stargate Command program is run by the United States Air Force, and served as a secret project for several years before being exposed to a few other nations (Russia, Great Britain, China, and others) in order to ensure Earth’s safety against the Goa’uld.  The greatest military forces on Earth had to be aware of the Stargate program in order to ensure the safety of the people of Earth in case an attack from the Goa’uld ever occurred.  The Air Force, being a faction of the military, is a good representation for Earth.  Earth should be represented by strong, smart people, and the military can deliver that where civilians or normal government sometimes cannot.  The civilians chosen for the teams, however, must pass rigorous military tests in order to ensure that they have what it takes to represent Earth and also to survive if a bad situation comes up.

 

All in all, “Stargate: SG-1” has proved over and over again that they do their research.  Many myths and legends serve as a background for the cultures that they meet.  The science is well thought out, though at times can be bordering more on fiction than on true science.  When introducing scientific theories as a basis for some of their stories, the theories are explained clearly and logically and are backed up in the story.  It is more than a science fiction show; it is a show about culture, people, and myth.  It delivers a true science fiction telling.