Can't see the problem

Dear Johnny Fanboy,

I have a number of nit-picks regarding the Stargate SG-1 episode Arthur's Mantle.

1. First of all, can you please explain why Teal'c does something that strikes me as a little odd? He is stalking a rogue Jaffa, Volnek, who has gone a bit loony! Volnek has a cloaking device that hides him from sight. However, Teal'c also has a cloaking device, and the beauty is that cloaked people can also see anyone else who is cloaked. As Teal'c is hunting a man who is cloaked, why does he wait until he sees a sign (a broken tree branch) that Volnek has passed nearby before activating his own cloak? Wouldn't it make his life easier if he had it switched on while he searches for the man?

2. Also in this episode (and I may have missed something here), if Carter and Mitchell are out of phase and can't touch anything in our reality, how come they are able to tap two of the keys on Merlin's computer to answer "yes" and "no" to questions?

3. How are Mitchell and Carter able to breathe, cast shadows and walk on the floor without falling through it?

4. Finally, can you explain why Mitchell can be heard and seen by the cloaked Teal'c, but he can't touch him? Are they in the same dimension or not?

Steve Hannah

Johnny Fanboy replies:

1. Maybe the cloaking device only works for a limited period of time and Teal'c doesn't want it running out of power when he needs it most. Alternatively, he could be testing his own abilities as a hunter, therefore he activates his cloak only when he knows that he is already close to his quarry. This may or may not be connected with Jaffa codes of honour in battle.

2. Do pay attention! It is clearly explained that the keyboard is designed to be operated in either dimension.

3. This question also applies to a very similar episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled The Next Phase. I theorise that the sheer mass, permanence and/or fixedness of certain objects in "our" dimension, such as planets and buildings (and starships in The Next Phase), achieve a level of existence in the neighbouring dimension. This is how Carter and Mitchell are able to walk though the base or on the surface of a planet. Smaller, less permanent, less fixed objects, such as movable items of furniture and living organisms - including trees, which grow - do not achieve existence in that other dimension. It makes sense that atmospheres would surround planets in the alternate dimension just as they do in our own reality, and so the characters are able to breathe. Light also must exist in the other dimension, otherwise Carter and Mitchell wouldn't be able to see. Either light is able to pass between dimensions or it is produced by "permanent", fixed objects, such as light fittings and suns. This is why light falls on Carter and Mitchell and why they cast shadows.

4. The cloaking technology is not exactly the same as the phasing technology, though both are products of Ancient science. Although the cloak enables Teal'c to see and hear Mitchell in the other dimension, and vice versa, Teal'c doesn't fully enter that other dimension. He retains a physical presence in "our" reality. If the cloaking technology pushed the user fully into the other dimension, Volnek wouldn't have been able to harm anyone - or break any tree branches - while cloaked. This is explained further in the DVD release's audio commentary, in which writer Alan McCullough tells us that Teal'c is actually halfway between our dimension and Mitchell's.

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