For Want of a Gate

Daily Writing Exercise: Science Fiction, worldbuilding. Filing off the serial numbers to build a non-Stargate Atlantis home for Imaginary Gate Team 5. 338 words.

500 Words Story Index


They found the first arch deep in the heart of a tundra forest, protected by a buried temple that’s been lost for eons. For a long time, everyone thought it was just luck that the right person was in the right sort of crash to lead to its discovery.

We used to be quite adept at ignoring the impossible, so in the beginning, it was just a weird empty arch in the middle of the temple. Ignored, save for a passing mention in the notes, we were too caught up in the wonders that surrounded it. 

Because it’s only a door when the right sort of people are nearby. It opens for those unnerved few whose brains have a chemical quirk that lets their synapses talk to the something that is the door network. 

But talk isn’t quite the right word any more than something is.

Once we’d figured out what’s going on (or at least the basics) we could coax the door to open in a slow shimmering curtain of nothingness that falls from the top like thick molasses. After it reaches the bottom there’s a fractal tree of other doorways, a shimmering map overlay that seems to be layered in multiple dimensions.

As long as the door is open we can pass back and forth with ease. But once it’s closed we can’t always open it from the other side– thankfully home can easily re-establish the connection.

We started exploring because that’s what humans do and find that most doors lead to new planets and possibly new timelines, although it’s very hard to tell. There is rarely anyone on the other side of the door so the government’s set up several long-term explorations groups that operate from forward bases one doorway deep.

We were happy in our ignorance, playing Magellan against a backdrop of stars. 

Then one day the doors to home stop working and a wide section of the map turned gray and unresponsive.

Now we’re learning why our door was buried the hard way.


Author’s Note: …and that’s how I get a Stargate Atlantis’verse (of sorts) for Imaginary Gate Team 5 to play in!

I hereby name temporarily name this ‘verse the Open Windows’verse for the saying ‘when God closes a door he opens a window’.


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