Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Draka/Stargate Follow-Up

In an earlier post, I included the link to "Snakepit: A Stargate/Draka Crossover" in which a Goa'uld in a crippled starship blundered into the world of S.M. Stirling's Draka in the aftermath of the Final War in which the Draka defeated the United States and our allies. 

It's really quite interesting and well-thought-out.  The author makes the Draka timeline a "butterfly" of the death of Ra in the human revolt that drove the System Lords off Earth (as opposed to Ra surviving and being killed by American soldiers in the mid-1990s, as happened in the movie).  There are other interesting spin-offs, like the Tollans using their advanced technology to conquer and rule over other human societies and the alien called Loki being the one behind the Draka's rise to power.

Well, D.S. has made two additional stories that take place in the interlude between "Snakepit" and the planned sequel, "Stars of Iron," both of which are based on story arcs from "Snakepit."

Here's the first one, "The Rebirth of the Janissaries."

In this one, the Tollans make an arrangement with the Draka to loan them former Citizen commanders of Janissaries (soldiers raised from the slave population, who at this point have been largely replaced by genetically-engineered ape creatures called ghouloons) to train a new, larger Tollan army according to Draka standards.  The Draka Archon Eric von Shrakenberg approves it, much to the aggravation of the Draka secret police who don't like the idea of future "Yoke-fodder" getting too strong to handle.

(That's the point--Eric hates the slave system and basically had to have his hand forced into launching the Final War.  He's making the Tollans harder to enslave in the long run, all while making it seem he's building a strong bulwark for the Draka against the System Lords.)

So the Draka send their officers, who start training the Tollans Draka-style--rather brutally, and with encouragement to commit war crimes.  In this story, the Tollans did not enfranchise the peoples of the conquered worlds until about 40 years before and a lot of the Tollan political elite don't think that was a good idea, so the Tollans don't need a whole lot of encouragement.  And one young Tollan man, who was subjected to various indignities by Goa'uld soldiers along with his fiancee, is showing signs of slipping into the Dark Side.

The second story covers Ann Rayner, a Draka soldier who was essentially killed by an incursion of some kind of advanced silicon-based life-form through the Draka-controlled stargate on the moon.  The Draka and Tollans used a captured Goa'uld sarcophagus to essentially bring her back to life, but she was so damaged, the sarcophagus couldn't rebuild what was there and instead had to rebuild from the basic human template.

There's a slight problem with that, as Rayner is a Homo drakensis, not an ordinary human.  She comes back "funny"--in this case, with her built-in dominance drives dialed down significantly.  She comes to realize that the Draka system is evil as well, at least as far as enslaving ordinary Homo sapiens is concerned (she doesn't mind a symbiotic relationship with the passive, biddable Homo servus because both species are designed for this). 

On leave in the Tollan capital, she ponders a lot while engaging in romance with a Tollan artist (who I was hoping was part of Tollan Intelligence and they'd find out the truth about their new allies, but that's not the case).

Here's the link to that too:

Here's to hoping the secret police don't find out what she's become and try to "fix" her or kill her.  Given that she's still an immortal drakensis, she can steer the Draka in a more moral direction for centuries to come.

If I had the funds and could get the Draka rights from Baen and Stargate rights from MGM, I'd love to produce the "Snakepit" universe as a TV series.  Think SG-1, but far darker, with full-blown villain protagonists.  Given the content, it'd have to be on HBO, Showtime (as SG-1 was, for while), Cinemax, or another premium channel.  Given how much controversy the concept could raise (victorious bad guys rampaging around, lots of sex and violence, etc), getting permission to do this would cost a gigantic sum of money.  And then there'd be the cost of actually making it...

Still, a man can dream.

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