May 1, 2007
"This is Andrew Kohl with a CNN exclusive special report. I am speaking to you live from Colorado Springs, Colorado, more specifically in front of what is called Cheyenne Mountain. It is no secret that Cheyenne is the home of NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which has been public knowledge since it was built. However there is more than just NORAD in this mountain. As we walk towards the entrance to the complex, you can see the insignia of my escorts, or the lack thereof. Because this project is so highly classified, the people assigned to it remove any identification to it when traveling outside. But today that will change. Earlier this week President Ryan himself called CNN and offered an exclusive story. Later this evening he is planning on making the official announcement, but in return for several favors we at CNN have done for him, he has allowed us to report this story first. So I was sent with a camera crew to the mountain to follow up on the scoop he offered us. I have spent the last six hours being briefed on this project, and I must tell you it is amazing, almost too much to believe. Because there is so much to the story, unfortunately I will have to only tell you the most important parts to avoid running over time, but follow-up reports are sure to happen. I know that I sound excited, and have yet to tell you, the viewers what the project is even called. I am about to take you into the heart of what is the next stage in the history of the planet. Twenty-eight stories below the entrance of this mountain is the cornerstone of the Stargate Project."
"You can see the tight security as we pass the checkpoint into the mountain. While NORAD is also present, we are traveling down into the mountain, where almost no one has seen before. You may notice this checkpoint at sublevel 11, where everyone must transfer elevators to continue down. Today we are going to meet with the commander of the base, Brigadier General Paul Davis. While we continue the journey down, I will tell you a bit of background about the history of the project. Originally found in the late 1920's in Egypt, the Stargate was brought to the United States, and was tested extensively in the 1940's. These tests were shut down, and the device forgotten in a warehouse for decades. Doctor Catherine Langford, one of the original scientists on the project, eventually persuaded the Air Force to reopen the project. Under the command of General West, the research team led by Doctor Langford and then Captain Doctor Samantha Carter spent years retrofitting our technology to the Stargate, but the breakthrough was made by Doctor Daniel Jackson in 1996. He was the one to decipher the coding system that operates the Stargate. Now, I have referred to the Stargate many times, but never told you what it is or what it does. Considering that we are now on sublevel 27, we will meet with General Davis, and then show you the Stargate."
"General Davis, hello. I'm Andrew Kohl, from CNN news. We have many questions for you, but the viewers most likely want to know the most pressing one first. What does the Stargate do, and how does it work?"
"Andrew, the Stargate is the name we give to a piece of technology that allows us interplanetary travel. We are entering the control room, and you can see it through the windows."
"Wow, this is amazing. Even after being briefed, I still don't believe it! It's huge, almost two stories, with a set of chevrons, and an inner track of 39 glyphs, which are used to dial a connection to other worlds, am I correct General?"
"Yes. I'm not one of the scientists, they could explain it better, but what the Stargate does is create a stable wormhole between from one gate to another which materials and people can be sent through."
"What kinds of people go through the gate? What do they do? What is it like? How.excuse me if I am acting unprofessional, it's just amazing to be here, and actually see something that can take us to other planets."
"Well, at this point the Stargate is not our only means of interplanetary travel, but I'll go into that later, or rather, someone else will go into that later. The SGC is the base of operations for exploration and acquisitions teams who travel through the galaxy and meet new peoples and attempt to bring back useful goods and information that can benefit earth. For example, we mine for a material called naquadah, which can be used in compact, clean energy reactors. A naquadah generator has the ability to provide at least as much power as one of the nuclear reactors on the Navy's Aircraft carriers, yet creates no dangerous waste products, and can be carried by two people."
"How do you get this naquadah? And is it a mineral, a plant, a gas?"
"The SGC has set up many small mining outposts to extract naquadah, which is a quartz like substance. The Stargate itself is made from Naquadah, and is quite variable in forms and uses. Also, recently Beta site was established on an ore rich planet, so our naquadah production is soon to nearly triple."
"What is this Beta site you are referring to? I don't recall it from my briefing."
"Beta site is the second of our permanent off-world colonies. Alpha site is a military base, and a location for various alien refugees and allies to stay when in need of shelter or medical aid. Beta site is our mining colony, recently established."
"Who are these allies you are referring to?"
"Over the past 11 years, Earth has made many friends, as well as many enemies. Among our enemies are the Goa'uld, the Replicators, and a race we have not yet identified. The Gould are snake like parasites that infest a human or humanoid, and take over their mind and body. They use another species, the Jaffa, to incubate their young and fight their battles. Many Jaffa are currently rebelling against the Gould. These free Jaffa are one of our three major allies. The second is the Tok'ra. While the same species as the Goa'uld, Tok'ra are symbiotic creatures that share the body with their hosts. General Jacob carter and several people from earth are hosts to Tok' ra, later you will have a chance to talk to Jacob; he's on base to visit his daughter. Finally we have the Asgard. They are likely the best known, as they are what people imagine the 'Roswell Grey's to be. In fact, the Asgard have visited Earth before, many times. They are far more advanced than most of the species of this galaxy, but have to combat the Replicators, a mechanical race in their own galaxy."
"You said that there is an enemy you haven't identified yet?"
"Yes. The past few months we have been assisting one of the planets with whom we have friendly relations. Chandi has been under sporadic attack from an enemy we know nothing about. We have been assisting them because they are a valuable trade partner, and have offered several remarkable medicines and chemical products."
"How much does this program cost?"
"This year, the budget was $19.4 billion."
"Almost $20 billion? Where does it go? And can you justify the expenditures?"
"Well, we can justify it easily, both between the allies we have made, and the technology acquired. Many medicines are being tested now, and again the Naquadah reactors can provide powerful, portable energy sources. As for where it goes, Eight billion supports this base, and the 16 teams we operate out of it. Four billion goes to the Alpha site, they have 12 teams. One point four billion goes to Beta site and other mining operations. About a billion goes to research and development at various locations, and the rest goes to the Fleet."
"Fleet? Like the US navy, with ships?"
"No. The Air Force, Marines, and to a small degree, Army, are involved in the Stargate program, but the Navy is not. The Fleet falls under the command of General Vidreen at Space Command. Earth has a fleet of six space faring battle cruisers, the Prometheus class. Capable of interstellar travel, they are a means to defend ourselves from attacks from space. The cruiser Agamemnon, a seventh ship, was damaged beyond repair in a battle two years ago, however the crew was rescued. Two more ships are nearing completion, at this time, and work is expected on others."
"This sounds a lot like science fiction general, is there some way to prove to our viewers that.what's that alarm?"
"Incoming traveler. Sergeant, who is it?"
"It's SG-19's IDC."
"Open the iris."
"As you can see, a large protective plate is in place over the gate to prevent uninvited visitors. Wow! Look at that! That is what they describe as a stable wormhole. And now people are stepping out of it.one of them is injured."
"Colonel Alexandrov, report. What happened to Sergeant Filitov?"
"General Davis, Sir. The mission was a success, but a falling branch hit the sergeant on the way to the gate. His injury is minor."
"All right Colonel. Get cleaned up, and report to the infirmary. Sergeant, report to the infirmary immediately. We will debrief at 1630. Dismissed."
"General, is this normal for the Stargate program?"
"We are a high risk assignment, being on the front lines of combat. We have suffered losses over the years, and we mourn all of them. Our infirmary is staffed by the best doctors in the Air Force."
"You say that you have suffered casualties here? How many?"
"Too many. Stargate Command alone has had 326 people give their lives for their work. Reverse engineering technology has cost another 76. The X-300 program lost 7 people. Russia, the United Kingdom, and China have lost a combined total of around 130. This is not including the losses by our various off-world allies, which are staggering. We mourn their losses, but because of them, Earth is safer from it's enemies out there, and has acquired many advanced medicines, technologies, and even some new inhabitants."
"General, are you saying that there are aliens living on Earth? And are the Russians, British and Chinese involved in this program?"
"It does sound like a cliché, but there really are aliens living on this planet. Several have been here for almost a decade now, and all of them are involved with the Stargate here, so don't ask me about taxi drivers. Most of them have licenses, but none of them drive cabs. I've had a few people ask about that already. And I believe that the president will address the involvement of other nations in his speech tonight. Now if you will excuse me, I have to speak with Colonel Alexandrov."
"Thank you for your time General. All right. Our escort has suggested that we seek out General Carter to speak with. Excuse me, Sergeant.Siler. Do you know where we could find General Carter?"
"Try level 23. I'd hurry though, him and the colonel are planning on going home for the day here soon."
"Thanks. From what we know of the base, sub-level 23 is mostly personal quarters. They are really sub levels, but it seems that people here just call them levels. OK, here we are. We can hear some voices down the hall."
"Dad, come on! Jack will be home tomorrow, and I wanted to have some time for just us and Katie."
"Excuse me, are you Major Carter?"
"Used to be. And who are you?"
"I'm sorry. My name is Andrew Kohl, from CNN. Would you mind speaking to me for a few minutes."
"Umm, OK. Where should I start?"
"Actually, could you explain what you meant by 'used to' be Major Carter?"
"I'm a lieutenant colonel, and it's Carter-O'Neill"
"I apologize. The briefing papers I read were mostly history and information about the base, and didn't have too much on the people involved. O'Neill? As in Colonel Jack O'Neill? The one who was part of the original Stargate mission?"
"Yes, that's him. He's a general now. And don't sound so awe-struck. His ego is big enough as it is. It's one of the things I love about him, even if I want to strangle him sometimes. I really love that man."
"Where is he right now?"
"Jack is still at the Alpha Site. He's the commander of the base there, and like a military governor of the colony. He will be here tomorrow, but today I was planning to spend some time with my father and Katie."
"Is Katie your daughter?"
"Yes. She's about six months old. And this is only her third visit back here."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Katie was born at the Alpha site, so technically she isn't an Earthling. And the way leave works is that all personnel work for 3 weeks, then get to come back to earth for a week. If you work out the timing a bit, you get two two-week vacations every three months."
"What is it like at the Alpha Site?"
"Well, as an assignment, it is very nice. Like I said, the vacation time is extremely generous, and so is the pay. The actual planet is unpolluted, and quiet if you leave the colony for about a mile. The base there has a dozen teams, and about 200 support personnel. All told, the colony has nearly 900 people there, including a number of families. It was only a base until a few months ago, when the President decided to expand it. Part of the reason that this program is being revealed is so that Alpha Site can be opened up to more families and the people we need to continue to build and expand. The only drawback to the base and colony is that there is a rather strict construction code, so most of the buildings aren't really attractive. Also, we tend to be cut off from Earth news."
"So you don't find it odd to be living on another planet?"
"Not really, especially with everything I have gone through. Even my love life was strange."
"What do you mean?"
"I'd rather not go into that. Dad! Glad you are ready finally! This is Andrew Kohl, and his cameraman, and they are taping for CNN news."
"Actually, ma'am, we are live."
"You are? You mean that my comments about Jack was heard by however many millions of people? Oh, crap. Dad, you and Selmac want to say something? I'm going to go sit down for a minute. I love him, but Jack is going to be impossible after this."
"Thank you for your time, Colonel. And I wouldn't worry about it. Other people have done a lot worse. General Carter, do you mind speaking to us?"
"Not at all."
"To start with, who is Selmac?"
"Selmac is my.partner I guess you can call it. She's a Tok'ra symbiote inside of me. Why don't you talk to her?" "Greetings Andrew."
"Um, greetings. You are Selmac?"
"Yes. Though I may not look like much, I am one of the leading Tok'ra. Jacob is not pleased with my description of our appearance. He can be quite vain at times."
"So you both share his body?"
"Yes. We communicate mentally, and both share this body equally. Jacob says it is like having a wife inside of his head; though I am physically neither male nor female.please ignore Jacob when he says I nag. I do nothing of the sort."
"Why would a person want to become a.host? I don't understand why a person would willingly share their body and mind with a symbiote."
"I will allow Jacob to explain, as he has a more human perspective on this subject. Here he is." "Selmac does too nag. Anyway, to answer your question, there are a number of benefits. For one, the lifespan of the host is extended to around twice as long as normal."
"Also, the symbiotes have thousands of years of experience and wisdom, so you can learn countless things you would not be capable of otherwise. Finally, the symbiote is capable of healing most diseases, injuries, and infections. I was actually dying on cancer when I was blended with Selmac. The Tok'ra have seen many grievous losses, and are actually in need of a number of hosts."
"With those sorts of benefits, why wouldn't everyone want to become a host?"
"Well, like you said, you are sharing your body and mind. You will receive hundreds or thousands of years of memories, many of them painful or bad. Also, the symbiote has to like you. You will both be spending the next hundred years plus in closer contact than you would have with any person. Overall I believe it is worth it, with a few minor exceptions."
"What are those?"
"I have been on several missions that did not turn out well, but as a military man I can accept that. What is more bothering to me are the bland food and the utter lack of doors in a Tok'ra base. I did manage to convince them about a year back that more of a variety in clothing would be a good idea at least."
"So, no doors?"
"It is a really strange feeling, believe me. I have been a Tok'ra for some eight years now, and still can't get used to it."
"Ok, I'm sure this is a question the viewers would like to know. What does it feel like to travel through the Stargate?"
"Well, it's like a roller coaster ride, but in a blizzard. And it helps if you don't know what is happening to your body Sam could explain it, but you are better off not knowing. Actually, let me make a phone call, let me see if I can talk Paul into it."
"Hang on a minute.Paul? Yes, This is Jake. I'm sure you have already talked with our reporter friend. Actually I was thinking that there is a supply shipment going out to the Site today, and Jack comes back from there tomorrow.do you think it would work? It's non-combat, should be no problems. And I'm pretty sure that it would turn out on TV.yes. Ok. Well, I'll ask and see. I'm headed home in a minute, but Sergeant Gane can help them. Ok, thanks. Talk to you when I get back on base Paul."
"What was that about?"
"Andrew, Selmac suggested something, and I agree. How do you think the viewers would like to see someone actually going through the Stargate?"
"I think that would definitely be of interest. Wait. What's the catch?"
"Only that it's a wild ride, and you would be stuck at Alpha site for a day before you could get back. Also, we would only be able to keep the gate open for about 20 minutes, which is how long it will take to move all of the supplies through, so after that it would be the end of your live feed."
"But I would be broadcasting from another planet?"
"Yes. And you would have a chance to talk with Jack O'Neill."
"All right. I think the people would like to see it. Where do I go?"
"Sergeant Gane, your escort, will get you ready to go. I'm going home though, so you will be on your own. I'm sure Sergeant Davis will tell Jack you are coming first."
"Sergeant Davis? You mean General Davis?'
"Either one. Walter Davis is the chief Stargate operator. We also have a Sergeant Norman Davis on the night shift. It makes more sense if you work here, trust me. It was fun, but I'm going to head home now. Sam? Let's head off, I'm sure Katie's looking forward to a visit from grandpa."
"Thank you General Carter."
"I'm ready Dad. And of course Katie likes your visits, the way you spoil her."
"Well, viewers, in a few minutes we will all be seeing what it is like to travel across the galaxy to another world."
"Sir, this way please. I'll escort you to the gate room, and because you aren't going on a mission, you should be fine with what you have. You can get a toothbrush or anything at the Site."
"Thank you, Sergeant.so back to the Gate room.wow. There is a difference in seeing it from the control room and actually seeing it in the same room. Is that all of the supplies going through?"
"No, there is a lot more. That's why it will take about half an hour or so. They get resupplied every four days or so, and send back anything they have found or retrieved about twice a month for our people here to look at. About two years ago we started a policy of recovering all weapons and technology possible from our enemies, especially after battles. We have amassed quite a stockpile. Zats are especially useful. There's talk about trying to reverse engineer them for use by police and such."
"It's short for something. Teal'c and a few others know; the rest of us don't bother. They are just Zat guns to us. Really a nifty weapon. First shot stuns, second kills. So police could shoot a person with no worries about injuring them, and only use a second shot if necessary. You ready to go through? I'm not sure if the camera will transmit what it looks like inside a wormhole, but it probably won't. So you will have about 20 seconds of static. You two will see it though."
"Anything else I need to know before I go through?"
"Yeah. You come out just like you go in, so try not to trip. And breathe out just before stepping through. It helps. Once you get to the Site, get out of the way; we move stuff through pretty quickly. You'll have about 30 seconds before the first crate will follow you through."
"Got it. Thanks. Here we go." "Oh, crap. I feel sick."
"The first step is a doozy. You get used to it quick though. And don't worry, I sure not everyone saw you lose your lunch. Some people watch other news shows. I'm General O'Neill, Jack. They told me you'd be coming. Oh, and to all the friends and family back home, hi! Now you all know what I do for a living."
"Ug. Excuse me. That trip is not fun for the weak of stomach. General, why don't you talk about yourself for a minute while I recover."
"Ok. No problem. I'm a general, happily married with a six month old who is usually here with me and my wife, Sam. I've worked on the program for eleven years now. I'm also very interested in hockey, the Simpsons, Playstation and Gameboy. I'm also pilot and jump qualified, and have a lot of ribbons and awards for my time in the program. They stopped giving us multiples of purple hearts though a while back. They were running low."
"You have been injured? General Davis was telling of the fatalities from the Stargate."
"Oh yeah, I've been injured, many, many times. So have a lot of others. I've even been killed before, as has some other people."
"You don't look dead."
"I know. There are races with much more advanced technologies than us. It's nice sometimes."
"What would you say the most important things you have done are?"
"Well, myself and SG-1 have saved the world, quite literally, more than a dozen times. Teal'c is the one who keeps track. Now Sam leads SG-1 officially, and I tag along when I feel like it. I'm also the favorite person of the Asgard to talk with, especially Thor. My wife is quite popular among them as well."
"Who are the Asgard?"
"Oh. Short little grey fellows; actually they look like the Roswell greys. That may have been then, Thor never told me one way or the other."
"How often do you go through that thing?"
"The Gate? Oh, usually around twice a week. Used to be more like four to five times a week, but I do less field work now."
"Now you are commander of the base here?"
"Yep. And I'm military governor, sort of like Sheridan on Babylon 5. It's all Teal'c's fault for getting me to watch that show with him."
"Teal'c has been mentioned before. Who is he? I didn't get to that part of the files."
"Wow, you skipped over T'? He was part of the second mission through the gate! Well, Teal'c, or Murray as he sometimes goes by on Earth or off world is a Jaffa who once worked for Apophis, one of the Goa'uld system lords. He defected and helped us escape captivity with a bunch of other prisoners, and has been part of SG-1 since. Yes, Lieutenant?"
"Sir, the supplies are almost completely through, so we will be shutting down in about five minutes."
"Thank you. Dismissed. Well, Andy, we have five minutes left. I'm assuming that you are going to want to talk to me more on tape later, maybe look around the base, talk to other people. I'm normally not this generous to all of our visitors here, but hey, thanks to you, I'm on TV! So anything else you want to ask before we go off-air?"
"All right. One last question. Why did you join the Stargate program in the first place?"
"To be honest? I don't really like to talk about that part of my life. Short story is that the first Stargate mission was going to be a one-way trip, and at that point in my life, I didn't mind. Now, though, I have friends, and a family I love, and I'm in charge of almost a thousand people here. If you had told me back then that this would happen, I wouldn't have believed you. But it's been worth it. Sam, if you are watching this, I love you. Showtime's over in 15."
"I will be with you tomorrow with more CNN exclusive footage. But for now, I'm Andrew Kohl, reporting to you from across the galaxy. Good evening everybody."