Ancient Long-Range Communications Devices
The Ancients had gene-triggered long range communications devices that appeared like dark stones with glyphs etched in them. The devices were activated by anyone who had the Ancient gene and linked the minds of the users so that each had visions of the other's thoughts. These stones could also be used in conjunction with the communications terminal to form a subspace communications link with people in the same or in a distant galaxy. Full-blown long-range communications links using the stone-terminal configuration resulted in body swapping. After several years of study, the scientists in Earth's Stargate Program have created their own versions of the technology. (8.15 "Citizen Joe", 9.03 "Origin Part 3"; Stargate Universe: 1.01 "Air Part 1", 1.02 "Air Part 2")
Introduction: Alteran and Ancient Historical Overview
The Altera lived in a distant galaxy millions of years ago. When they fled their homeworld in a single starship to escape their brethren, the Ori, they left behind much of their technology, including a long-range communications terminal fully loaded with communications stones. These artifacts were buried over time, but rediscovered in recent years by the second generation of humans who were searching for the truth of their creation. The stones and terminal were separated by those who collected them so that no one person was discovered with all of them. Two of the stones were in the possession of a married couple named Harrid and Sallis, while the terminal was under the watchful eye of their friend Fannis. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin", Stargate: The Ark of Truth)
After the Altera found a new home in the Milky Way, they became known as the Ancients. At the height of their civilization, they launched Destiny, an exploration vessel that was meant to be manned after ships that preceded it had planted Stargates in distant galaxies. Due to their research into ascension, most likely triggered by the occurrence of a deadly plague that swept through the galaxy, they never boarded Destiny, but left the ship and its Stargate-planting companions to continue on their programmed courses, reaching farther and farther out into the universe. Some of the Ancients left the galaxy in their city-ship Atlantis to start over after the plague. Communications terminals and stones made their way into Pegasus and some were taken with the Ancients when they abandoned Atlantis to Earth 10,000 years ago. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1", 1.15 "Before I Sleep", 5.18 "Identity"; Stargate Universe: 1.01 "Air Part 1", 1.02 "Air Part 2")
One of the Ancients who left Atlantis was Moros. He soon ascended to a higher plane of existence after arriving on Earth, but then retook human form with all of his powers after deciding to actively oppose the Ori who had also ascended and were subjugating humans in their home galaxy. Moros, now known as Merlin, stored away a communications terminal in his cavern under the Glastonbury Tor (Avalon) in England. No stones were discovered with his terminal over a thousand years later, but at least two had remained intact elsewhere in the galaxy. (8.15 "Citizen Joe", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 10.03 "The Pegasus Project", Stargate Atlantis: 1.15 "Before I Sleep")
At least three terminals and eight stones were recovered in three different galaxies after the Altera left their home millions of years ago. More than likely, the Altera either brought more with them or built new ones, but modifications to their operations would have been necessary to avoid being discovered by the Ori through their use. It is possible that they didn't use these devices at all after they left home, but instead intentionally kept the stones separate from the terminals in order to prevent intergalactic links. After millions of years of existence, these devices also could have been improved upon or modified so that subsequent uses did not render identical types of links. This might have been the case with the stones found in the Ancient Janus' lab. Janus was known to invent incredible devices using what was already at hand. The stones he had in his lab in Atlantis appeared not to require the terminal to make a full body-swapping link when another stone was used in a terminal in the same galaxy. (8.15 "Citizen Joe", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3"; Stargate Atlantis: 5.18 "Identity")
Stones Found by Stargate Command
SG-1 gathered several tagged artifacts from an alien lab on P3R-233, the planet on which the Quantum Mirror was also found. Dr. Daniel Jackson was in the process of cataloging the smaller artifacts when Col. Jack O'Neill stopped by his lab to inform him that General Hammond had called them to a briefing. While Daniel busied himself, Jack looked through some of the artifacts and picked up a black stone with glyphs on it. Immediately he became distracted, but didn't tell anyone what happened. Eventually, the artifacts were stored a few levels above where Jack's office was located. (1.20 "There But For The Grace Of God", 8.15 "Citizen Joe")
Around the same time, a barber named Joe Spencer and his wife Charlene went to a garage sale. Joe noticed an interesting stone, picked it up, and immediately had a vision of the Stargate being activated and SG-1 going through it. Joe bought the stone, took it home, and started writing stories based on his visions. As it turned out, his stories were the adventures of SG-1. (8.18 "Citizen Joe")
After several years of having these visions, Joe's business and family life faltered as he became more and more obsessed with the stories. The people in them were so real to him, and he became emotionally attached to them, especially to Daniel when Daniel died, ascended, and then returned to human form to rejoin Jack's team. Unfortunately, Charlene and his friends thought that Joe had sanity issues. After he lost his business and his home, and Charlene asked for a divorce, Joe found Jack to prove that he really existed. (8.18 "Citizen Joe")
Both Jack and Joe were possessors of the gene that activates Ancient genetically-keyed technology. They were connected psychically off and on ever since both touched their respective stones and were in close proximity to them. While Joe had seen visions of Jack's missions (while Jack was writing his mission reports in his office), Jack was experiencing a rather normal and mundane life through Joe's eyes. Joe offered to operate the defense weapons in the Antarctic Outpost if the need ever arose, and Jack went to Charlene to tell her that everything Joe had been talking about was real. (8.18 "Citizen Joe")
Instead of placing the stones back into storage, Dr. Bill Lee studied them and managed to reset them so that anyone could use them. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2")
Stones Used with Long-Range Communications Terminal
SG-1 discovered the long-range communications terminal in the caverns of Avalon. This terminal had eighteen recesses that were designed to have the stones placed into them. This device derived its power from subspace and formed a subspace link to connect its users in separate galaxies. It was meant to be used in conjunction with a second device with its own stones in order to make a full two-way communications link. If one side of the link was only using the stones, then the users' minds were completely taken over by the people who were using the full stone-terminal configuration. This scenario happened when Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran used the two stones from Stargate Command in their newly-discovered terminal and formed a psychic link with a married couple named Harrid and Sallis who were storing their stones in their home. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2")
Harrid and Sallis lived in a village named Ver Ager in the original home galaxy of the Ancients. They were part of the second evolution of humanity in their galaxy like humans were the second generation in the Milky Way after having been created by the Ancients several millions years ago. The Altera, now known as the Ancients, left their home galaxy because they were being threatened by a group of people known as the Ori. Since that time, both the Ancients and the Ori ascended to a higher plane of existence and created their second generations of humanity in their respective galaxies. The Ascended Ori demanded that their people worship them so that they could gain more power in the ascended planes to go after their ascended rivals, the Ancients. People such as Harrid and Sallis were considered heretics as they visited old burial grounds and discovered evidence that the Ori were lying to them. The stones and a terminal had been discovered, but they weren't stored together. Apparently, these original Ancient stones didn't require initialization by someone with the Ancient gene (according to Dr. Nicholas Rush, the use of the gene to unlock certain technologies came after the Ancients launched Destiny and presumably before they left the Milky Way aboard Atlantis). Humans in the Milky Way possessed the Ancient gene because Ancients who lived in Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy returned to Earth 10,000 years ago and blended into the early tribes of man, thus passing on the genetic trait. (8.18 "Threads", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1", 10.03 "The Pegasus Project"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.15 "Before I Sleep"; Stargate Universe: 1.04 "Darkness")
Whenever Daniel in Harrid's body and Vala in Sallis's were in distress, their unconscious bodies at Stargate Command would also show distress. Vala's body died at Stargate Command at the same time Sallis's body was burned to death. Both were revived when a Prior resurrected Sallis with Vala's consciousness still linked. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2")
Another heretic in the Ori galaxy named Fannis helped Daniel and Vala warn their people back at Stargate Command by leading them to the long-range communications terminal that he had hidden away. Once the stones were placed into the terminal, the communications link was made complete, and Daniel and Vala woke up at Stargate Command long enough to tell Dr. Lam and Dr. Lee about the Ori's intentions to invade. A Prior killed Fannis and powered down the terminal, making the link return to its original one-way nature. When Harrid and Sallis were placed on the Ara to be burned alive, Daniel and Vala were about to die as well. Mitchell and Teal'c severed the connection by throwing the terminal and stones into the unstable vortex of a forming wormhole in the Stargate. Unfortunately, Harrid and Sallis became aware of their predicament only a few seconds before they died in the fire. (9.03 "Origin Part 3")
The terminal and stones were removed from Ver Ager and taken to the City of the Gods on Celestis where they were to be destroyed. However, a heretic intercepted them and stored them away in another village named Ver Isca where the leader of the underground anti-Ori resistance lived. (9.19 "Crusade Part 1")
Carter Builds an Emulator
Using the data collected by Dr. Lee while Daniel and Vala were linked with Harrid and Sallis, Lt. Col. Samantha Carter created an emulator that used a Tok'ra subspace communicator and a computer at Stargate Command to mimic the frequencies sent and received by the stones. This project came at a good time because Vala, who had been accidentally transported to the Ori galaxy, used the terminal and a stone to make contact. The emulator was running on the data collected from Daniel's original connection, so it was Daniel's body that Vala connected to. Vala communicated her warning to the team that the Ori had built a large fleet of warships and a large intergalactic Stargate ("Supergate") through which the next wave of their invasion was to come. The link was abruptly severed when the terminal was shot with an Ori staff weapon by Vala's husband Tomin who was sent by a Prior to assassinate Vala's anti-Ori friends who had helped her covertly use the device. Normally, the connection could have been terminated if Carter had simply shut down the computer running the emulation program. (9.19 "Crusade Part 1")
Atlantis Expedition Discovers a Terminal and Stones
One day, a small band of thieves broke into a vault in a village on a planet in Pegasus. This vault contained many Ancient artifacts, including a long-range communications terminal and a box of four stones. One of the thieves, Neeva Casol, saw that the stones were shaped perfectly to fit into the terminal, so she tried one out to see what the terminal did. Suddenly, she found herself walking the halls of Atlantis and seeing a stranger's reflection looking back at her. Feeling threatened, she stabbed Dr. Radek Zelenka and tried to make it off of Atlantis by seducing McKay to take "Dr. Jennifer Keller" out in a puddle jumper for a romantic ride. McKay knew Keller well enough to know that there was something wrong with her behavior. After her capture, Neeva told Sheppard's team who she was and how it was that she ended up in Keller's body. McKay did research into Daniel and Vala's experience and concluded that Neeva had activated a long-range communications terminal and connected with Keller because it had been Keller who last touched a stone that was discovered in the Ancient Janus's secret lab in the city. (Stargate Atlantis: 5.10 "First Contact Part 1", 5.18 "Identity")
While the team was searching for Keller, she was struggling to stay alive. She was about to be executed for Neeva's crimes when Casol's partners rescued her. Later, during a firefight with the village's patrol, one of the partners was killed and Keller's body was shot in the abdomen with a bullet. Keller nearly died when Casol's last surviving partner aimed his gun at her, but was saved when Ronon shot the activated terminal with a blast from his powerful stun gun (which has settings for stun and for kill). (Stargate Atlantis: 5.18 "Identity")
More than likely, the terminal was rendered inoperable by the blast, but at least the humans of Earth have one to study. They also have the two stones discovered in Janus' lab and the four stones from the vault. (Stargate Atlantis: 5.18 "Identity")
Earth's Version of the Stones and Terminal
As stated above, the Stargate Program's scientists have had several opportunities to study the Ancients' Stone and Terminal technology over several years. Combining all of this research, a set of stones and a console have been developed that fit nicely into a carrying case. The stones are dark blue rather than black, and the terminal is a small square console platform with a translucent cover that illuminates when the switch, which is on the console's side, is turned on. Etched on the cover are five circles (one in the center and one in each of the four corners) that indicate where the stones are to be placed (thus why the set contains only five stones). (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.19 "Crusade Part 1"; Stargate Universe: 1.01 "Air Part 1", 1.02 "Air Part 2", 1.03 "Air Part 3", 1.04 "Darkness")
When a person sits at the console's station in the communications lab at Homeworld Command, he places a stone in the center circle and his touch then associates him with his side of the link. He sits at a computer screen that has a camera trained on him so that he can see his own image. This allows the person who eventually completes the link and swaps bodies with him to see what he looks like and to help him get oriented. (Stargate Universe: 1.02 "Air Part 2")
When a person wishes to become the next one available for a link, it's not necessary to remove the stone. The person leaving touches a control on the side of the console which apparently disengages him from the link, and the next person simply places his fingers on top of the stone for a brief while (such as a three-second count) and then he becomes the new link target. (Stargate Universe: 1.04 "Darkness")
As with Carter's emulator, the links created through the devices are easily severed whenever one of the platforms is turned off. It was also discovered that whenever the recently-discovered Destiny disengages or engages its faster-than-light (FTL) engines, active links created through the communications devices are momentarily disrupted, but normal functions return a few seconds later. (Stargate Universe: 1.07 "Earth")
It was fortunate that this technology was developed when it was, for it is the only way that the stranded people aboard Destiny are able to keep in touch with those on Earth. Schedules have been put in place so that each stranded person gets a chance to use the communication stones to interact with their loved ones. The use of this technology is also a way for those who are experts in certain fields to move freely on the Destiny without having actually been stranded there. (Stargate Universe: 1.01 "Air Part 1", 1.02 "Air Part 2", 1.03 "Air Part 3", 1.04 "Darkness", 1.06 "Water", 1.07 "Earth")
[NOTE: See also 10.20 "Unending" and Stargate: The Ark of Truth for the possibility that the Asgard Computer Core was used to duplicate some of the Ancients' technology.]
- 1.20 "There But For The Grace Of God"
- 8.15 "Citizen Joe"
- 8.18 "Threads"
- 9.02 "Avalon Part 2"
- 9.03 "Origin Part 3"
- 9.06 "Beachhead"
- 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1"
- 9.19 "Crusade Part 1"
- 10.03 "The Pegasus Project"
- 10.20 "Unending"
- Stargate: The Ark of Truth
- Dr. Daniel Jackson
- Lt. Col. Samantha Carter
- Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell
- Vala Mal Doran
- Neeva Casol
- Dr. Jennifer Keller
- Dr. Carolyn Lam
- Dr. Bill Lee
- Dr. Rodney McKay
- Dr. Nicholas Rush
- Lt. Col. John Sheppard
- Charlene Spencer
- Joe Spencer
- Tomin of Ver Isca
- Dr. Radek Zelenka
- Ancient Gene
- Ascended Beings
- Asgard Computer Core
- Homeworld Command
- Ori Staff Weapon
- Priors of the Ori
- Quantum Mirror
- Ronon's Gun
- Stargate Command (SGC)
- Stargate Program
- Tok'ra Subspace Communicator
- Ver Ager
- Ver Isca
- Joseph Mallozzi: Close-up image of the case, console, stones from the set of Stargate Universe
- Joseph Mallozzi: Floor Plan for Homeworld Command that shows placement of the Communication Lab where Stones/Console are used
- Joseph Mallozzi: Floor Plan for Homeworld Command's Communication Lab
- Joseph Mallozzi: Early concept drawings of the console (this version had 6 stones originally, whereas on-screen, the device has 5)
- Joseph Mallozzi: Floor Plan for the Communication Lab (Stone Room) on Destiny
--DeeKayP 17:12, 2 May 2008 (PDT)