BILLION LIGHT-YEAR PHONE CALL STARGATE STYLE


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Imagine being stuck on a ship about a million years old, with only the clothes on your back.

Imagine that you are billions of light-years away from home on said ship and praying every day that it will hold together.

Imagine realizing that you may never see your family and friends ever again.

And then, imagine the happiness at finding out that there is a way to make it home–sort of.

In season 9 of Stargate SG-1, we were introduced to a device which exchanges the consciousness of two people over very long distances. Dr. Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran found this out the hard way and ended up accidentally bringing the Ori to the Milky Way.

This device, called the Long-Range Communication Device became a lifeline for the crew of the Destiny.

Thanks to the LRCD, two crew at a time are able to swap bodies with 250px-StargatePropsCommunicationtwo persons on Earth at the SGC. This link allows the people to essentially live in another’s skin. The exchange of minds can be quite disconcerting at first. Each of us is used to how our individual bodies work. Imagine switching with someone else and you become taller, more muscular, or even older.

The LRCD gave the crew the opportunity to give updates on their tumultuous journey home, obtain assistance and for some, see family and friends. Of course, unless the family/friends received clearance and were informed of the situation, the crew had to pretend to be friends of themselves. It wouldn’t do for civilians to know about the SGC, alien technology and the situation of the crew.

Lt. Scott, Chloe and Eli had to pretend to be friends of themselves when they visited home. This led to a few awkward moments.

The LRCD plays a huge role in the series. Without it, our displaced explorers would have lost touch with Earth and the SGC.  Like Destiny, the LRCD is essentially a sort of character within the show.

The device works with a stone which, when placed in a slot and held by someone on alternate ends of the system, swaps the minds. There are only two ways in which the connection can be severed. The first way is if the stones are removed from the slot. The second is one which. usually comes as a result of an attack, on either the SGC or Destiny–power loss.

Through the use of the LRCD, Dr. Rush was able to ascertain that one of the members of the SGC was working with the Lucian alliance. Working undercover after swapping bodies with (you don’t think I’m going to tell you, do you? Watch the show!) a person, Rush unwillingly helps the Lucian Alliance come aboard Destiny. This development brings more trouble, drama and action to the overwhelmed crew.

As with all technology, there are a few downsides. When Destiny drops out of or goes into FTL, there is a temporary loss of connection that tends to be a bit disconcerting. Another issue was that Colonel Young somehow switched with an alien (later identified as the Nakai) who wasn’t attached to the communications stones. This caused a new menace to attack the Destiny and crew.

While in another’s body, you can do anything within the limits of that person’s body. You can get drunk and when you go back to your body, you won’t have a hangover. Whatever injury the host body has, stays with the body. However, severe and extreme injuries such as burning or suffocation are felt by both.

In the case of Camile Wray switching with Dr. Amanda Perry, a quadriplegic physicist needed to help fix the sabotaged hyperdrives, Wray experienced life as Perry had for the last 21 years. Perry, on the other hand, was given the opportunity to walk, talk and breath unassisted and even kiss Dr. Rush.

Of course, the worst downside to this style of communication is that should your body die while you are in another person’s body, you both could die. That is unless both minds end up trapped inside the stones. Should that happen, then both minds could connect with a third body. Only by transferring the two previously “deceased” minds into a large enough computer memory, could they be saved.

Without the Long-Range Communications Device, many of the plots within this series would not have happened. The LRCD helped bridge the gap to enemies and allies alike.

Join me next week when we discuss the three external enemies of the Destiny crew.

Until then,

There were these stones, and if you place them in one of several recesses around the outside of the device, it activates it, and allows you to connect with someone far, far away—across the galaxy, inter-galactically even…Rodney McKay

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