I’ve mentioned before that I love stories where enemies have to work together, and as a result, I have read and recced numerous fanfiction that does just that. This month, I tried desperately to find a story that broke out of my comfort zone and wasn’t about some evil asshole being forced to get along and cooperate with the good guys. I was unable to succeed in my endeavor, and so I am here today to rec yet another fic to you about some evil asshole being forced to get along and cooperate with the good guys.
During Stargate SG-1’s tenth season, our heroes go on a quest to find the Holy Grail. These episodes, “The Quest” Parts 1 and 2, were incredible. I swear that they only existed because the writers thought it would be awesome to see our heroes team up with two of their worst enemies and make them all fight a dragon together. As such, when I found a fic taking place during “The Quest”, I just had to read it. W is For Wordless starts right after the dragon is defeated and the characters are gated to a new planet in order to meet Merlin. The fic follows on with the second half of “The Quest”, except that it’s told from the perspective of one of Ba’al’s clones.
W is For Wordless is completely canon compliant. It is simply the events of the episode told from Ba’al’s point of view. This is interesting because during the episode, we actually don’t get to know what Ba’al is thinking. After the characters meet Merlin, Ba’al makes a snide comment about him, and Merlin responds by using his awesome magic science powers to steel Ba’al’s voice. While our heroes are fairly grateful that they don’t have to listen to Ba’al talk anymore—because let’s face it, he is a giant asshole—the loss of his voice is really problematic, and in more ways than one.
Unfortunately for our heroes, they also need Ba’al, and they need him to have the ability to talk to them. Our characters are trapped on the planet Merlin brought them to, and they cannot get the gate to dial them elsewhere. Sam might be a genius, but Ba’al knows more about the Stargate system than she does, and the characters can only escape if they can work together. Unfortunately, Ba’al’s inability to talk makes that rather difficult. Making matters even worse, they’re on a time limit. Ba’al and SG-1 share a common enemy in a psychically gifted woman named Adria who is hunting them down, and she’ll kill all of them if they can’t figure out to escape in time.
Outside, the surroundings had changed once again. So the device didn’t just beam them to one location, but one of several. A circuit of planets, as Carter put it. Even with his knowledge of dialling devices, Baal wasn’t sure how such a system could be implemented. An alteration to the DHD of course, with the obelisk as a transmitter, but finding what had been changed could take longer than they had at one place, and might even be different at the next.
All of which he could have told them, had Merlin not stolen his voice. Instead, he had to listen to Carter hoping she could fix the DHD and dial somewhere else. And then Mitchell forced him out to help her. He was nobody’s assistant! Not to mention it was damn cold. The flurries of snow made it impossible to see.
Almost snow-blind and trying to operate SG-1’s tiny computer device with frozen fingers, Baal quickly lost track of time. He struggled to think, never mind work, and it was all but impossible to offer any assistance when he couldn’t talk to Carter. So Jackson calling them over the radio came as a relief. It sounded urgent. Baal was just glad to have an excuse to get in out of the cold.
I’ve already mentioned in an earlier post my thoughts on the Ba’al clones. To simplify, they are not very well written, and personality wise, they are exactly like their original and show no hints of expressing their own individuality. That is also unfortunately true for W is For Wordless as well. However, when I can get around that, I have always loved the Goa’uld as villains, and Ba’al is no exception to that. The Goa’uld are terrifying—they have the ability to possess people, and they also believe themselves to be gods. In other words, they’re giant, maniacal snobs. Ba’al, however, unlike the other Goa’uld, never bought into the ruse of godhood and has even openly mocked it. He’s also has a much easier time adapting to new situations and putting differences aside to reach common goals.
“The Quest” is not the first time he’s worked together with SG-1, specifically with Sam Carter. Sadly, we don’t see him all that often, so we don’t get to learn as much about his character as we should, especially since he’s got no less than twenty clones running around the galaxy. W is For Wordless gives us a unique insight into one of his clones, and it does it at a time when his character is at his most vulnerable. He’s trapped on a planet with his enemies and he cannot talk.
W is For Wordless is a rather short story at just over a thousand words long, so it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to read. If you were a fan of “The Quest” episodes and enjoyed seeing Ba’al and SG-1 team up, this fic is definitely for you. Be sure to check it out here on AO3.