Smite 1701

Discussion in 'Creative Writing Archive' started by judgeking, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Made by Richardson

    Smite +1701

    Disclaimer: Blah-blah, I owneth nothing, save for the , no... not even the name of this particular tub-o-smite. Starwars goes to he who is namethed Lucas, and his assorted henchmen/organizations, Stargate is owned by Double-Secret, and the particular name of this certain SD is owned by a company named Paramount.

    (Spoilers: Stargate S6 and below, and S7 up to 'Grace', at which point this interesting fic starts off at.)

    USS Prometheus, BC-303/1, Approaching Outer Sol System

    Most definately another case of SG-1 luck. That had to be what the recent incident had been caused by. A living cloud, alien attackers out in the middle of no-where... at least they were almost home.


    Major Samantha Carter turned in response to the question, looking over to the forward consoles. "Yes?" She moved around the captain's chair, looking down at the console, wondering what could need clarification from her. The small screen was focused in on near-Neptune orbit, a small powersource of some kind.

    She gestured for the crewman to get out of the seat, and sat down, looking closely at the readings, running a few more scans. What was that? She looked up from the console, looking out the forward screen into deep space, looking at the small dot of light that was Neptune, wondering if she would see anything unusual.

    "Sir? There's something we might need to check out..." Carter did not like the idea of something having snuck into the Sol system. They had enough things to worry about as it was, the System Lords, Anubis, Anubis's new warriors. She didn't need more work, she had enough going over the Prometheus.

    "What is it, Major?"

    "An unidentified object in orbit of Neptune, Ha'tak sized, though the readings are off slightly... we'll need to get closer to get a good reading on it." Carter kept her eyes glued to the readout on the object now, as they started passing into the gas giant's orbital plane. She didn't like the situation, not one bit.

    "Alright, then. Helm, alter course for Neptune, max military thrust. Let's see who is sneaking around our back yard." Col. Ronson leaned forward slightly as the low background rumble of the twin ion-thrust engines of the Prometheus kicked up a notch with the ship pulling around to an orbital approach of the blue planet. Crewmembers began moving a little quicker across the ship, hearing the sounds of the enginers fully kicking in. The sounds of a possible battle about to happen.

    Carter watched the display, as the readings slowly began to resolve a little more. Fusion power teltales, ion thrust similar to the Prometheus, though on a far larger scale, wait, that silouette was familiar... She blinked, wondering if she was still feeling the effects of the concussion she had recently sustained during the battle with those alien attackers. That couldn't be right... triangular ship, three main engines, large hanger, one mile long... "Sir... I have a tenative identification on the target."

    "Let's hear it, then."

    "This is going to sound a little strange, but appears to be a Star Destroyer." Carter winced slightly at the sound of it. A little strange? Well, okay, for the SGC, that was a little strange. Near outside the realm of possiblility, but still there. She looked up to several crewmembers on the edges of the bridge looking at her, before she turned around to Col. Ronson.

    He looked at her, half-flabbergasted at hearing something so completely off the wall coming from the Major. "Major Carter, are you sure, absolutely SURE that you're alright? Because if I just heard correctly, we have a Star Destroyer in our system."

    "Yes sir. Almost no doubt about it. I can't get highly detailed readings, but the hull silouette is unmistakeable, sir." Carter turned back to her display, calling up some of the other sensors, trying to get a better reading. 10,000 kilometers, and closing in. Still not close enough for a good reading on some of the sensors, but the radar would work fine. The results were encouraging, thankfully. "It's adrift, sir! Radar imaging from the targeting radars indicates deformations in the hull. It appears safe to close with, sir."

    "Let's not be too hasty about this. It could be some kind of trap." Col Ronson didn't quite know what to make of this. He stood up, heading over to one of the side stations, looking at the radar returns. His heart chilled for a moment, and not because of the cool air aboard the ship. Seeing something so iconic as a bad ship on the radar imaging of his ship shocked him, even more so with the damage that had buckled the hull in multiple spots.

    "Communications, get on the line to the SGC, inform them that we have made a discovery. We'll run back to Earth to pick up the rest of SG-1, and if it's approved, we'll have a look at this so-called Star Destroyer..."
  2. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Ch 1: A Most Fitting Coincidence...

    "Okay. Everyone who thinks this is absolutely an insane idea, raise your hand. Come on, be honest." Col O'Neill 7.1 - Fallen

    The warble of the phone was not exactly the kind of wake-up Col. Jack O'Neill wanted. He wanted a large pay-check, a nice weekend, a lack of potentially world-ending situations for a full year, was that so much to ask? The warble came again, and he groggily reached out of bed, slapping his hand around on the nightstand, feeling for the offending phone.

    There it was. Click. "Col. O'Neill, what is it?"

    "Col., we need you at the mountain as soon as possible." The authorative tones of General Hammond was not what he had in mind as a wakeup call. "How soon can you be in?"

    Jack blinked as he sat up, his blanket falling away as he did. "Sir, is it SG-1 urgent, or normal dangerous urgent?" He looked over at the clock, the dim green numbers spelling out 100 hours shining out of the clutter of his nightstand.

    "I'm afraid it's the kind of urgent that absolutely cannot be discussed Col." General Hammond's slightly apologetic, but demanding voice got a wince of sleepy annoyance out of Jack.

    "Right, Sir. Give me an hour, and I'll be in." Jack blinked again as he swung himself to sit on the edge of his bed.

    "Good man, Col. We'll be waiting for you. This one ought to make your whole year." General Hammond hung up on that enimagtic note, leaving Jack with his now silent phone. He stared at it for a moment, wondering what in the heck the SGC had found THIS time.

    "Probably Danny again... It's him and Mondays..." Jack O'Neill got up, scratching the side of his leg as he sleepily stumbled across the clutter of his room, looking for a uniform he could put on after his shower...

    /SGC, T'ealcs quarters/

    The knock on his door poked at the edges of the former First Prime's Kel'noor'eem meditation.


    Carter opened the door slowly, looking in at the consumate warrior sitting in the midst of his usual sea of candles. "T'ealc, we have a situation, SG-1 has been called up for something we found out in the outer solar system."

    T'ealc raised his eyebrows without opening his eyes, nodding as he took in that once again the team's help was needed. "What situation would require our help, MajorCarter? Has Anubis sent a Ha'tak to scout our system for defenses?"

    "Not exactly." Sam shook her head as she slipped in, shutting the door behind her as she stood near the entrance.

    T'ealc listed in his head many of the odd occurances that he had dealt with since joining the SGC. "A Tel'tac, perhaps, looking to have us grovel before a false god?" He spoke with distain, knowing that had to be it.


    "A replicator invasion?" "Sorry, no." "The Aschen, coming to seek revenge?" "I'm sure they're all enjoying the list of stargate addresses that we sent them still, if they're even alive."

    T'ealc paused, his brow furrowing slightly as he thought of odder circumstances. "A time-warp rift threatening to destroy the system?" "Interesting, but no." "A form of body-snatcher aliens taking control of the Prometheus?" "Has to do with her, but no." "Cosmic Radiation storm?" "No" "A black hole, perhaps?" "You'd already know if that was the case."

    "Indeed." T'ealc finally opened his eyes, looking at Carter, who still stood slightly sheepishly by his door. "I am out of possible occurances that would require our particular brand of expertice that I know of."

    Carter smiled, knowing that T'ealc would get an absolute kick out of this one. "You need to come to the briefing, the only way you'll ever believe this one is if you see it for yourself." She opened the door, getting ready to head there herself.

    "Then I will be there, MajorCarter. This has intrigued my intrest. It has become rare that we have encountered something this far beyond our experience." T'ealc began blowing out his candles, as he mulled over the possibilites in his mind. "As far as I know, we have encountered most universal phenominon, and some multi-reality phenominon."

    "We have had some strange luck, haven't we? But, you finally got part of it. It isn't from our universe, though you'll definately recognize it." Carter shut the door behind her, leaving a bewildered and slightly confused T'ealc in her wake.

    /The Confrence Room/

    Samantha Carter was still perky from having been on Prometheus time, as she checked over the projector and her data. Jack was jealous. How come she was always perky at these odd hours, creating things to get called in over. He looked over, seeing General Hammond come in, dark circles under his eyes from having gotten a similar wakeup to O'Neill.

    "General." "Col. O'Neill."

    The two found their seats, looking around. A large number of laptops, data-booklets, was that a Star Wars DVD? "Carter?"

    "Yes, sir?" She paused in her work, looking over to the now mostly annoyed O'Neill.

    "Why is there a Star Wars DVD in the briefing pile? Is this a mission brief, or a really late movie night?" There was only a slight bite to Jack's voice, the Col. having become used to the odd hours, and even odder briefings of the SGC.

    Carter and Hammond looked at each other, wondering if they should wait, or go ahead and tell Jack. The General spoke first. "Perhaps the explainations should wait until everyone gets here. This is one briefing that will go down as downright odd, even for us."

    "Right, sir. Where is T'ealc and Daniel?" Jack looked around, not seeing the Jaffa and the spacemonkey. He turned his chair completely around, getting up to look into the gateroom. Nope, no space-monkey there.

    The stotic Jaffa choose that moment to make an entrance, striding in purposefully, his normal blank mask on once again. He looked over at the clutter of briefing materials, spotting several of the items that Jack had missed from his point of view, and raised an eyebrow high at that, before striding over to the rich wood table, taking his customary seat. "MajorCarter, I have noticed you have... some rather unusual materials for our briefing."

    "Like I said, you'll never believe this one..." She looked up again, noticing Daniel hadn't come in. She blinked for a moment, before realizing she hadn't even told him. "Uh-oh..."

    Jack blinked. An Uh-oh from Carter was the equivilent of "Oh, SH-!" for most people. An uh-oh before a briefing could only mean one thing, he hoped. "You forgot to tell Danny again, Carter?"

    "Yes, sir."

    Jack sighed, shaking his head. It wasn't the first time, and it wouldn't be the last if he had his way with this mission. He turned to T'ealc, shrugging his shoulders. "Come on, T'ealc. Let's go get Daniel, knowing him, he's probably buried in his lab with a rock or something."

    "Indeed, O'Neill." T'ealc rose smoothly, stepping out from the table and following Jack out.

    Carter looked to General Hammond, and relaxed slightly at seeing the miscievious look in his eyes. "Wasn't intentional, sir. This time."

    "Just remember, intentially misinforming Dr. Jackson to get more time to prepare is not your standard briefing tactic." Hammond smiled in his fatherly way as Carter nodded sheepishly. You play a simple gag once, and no-one ever lets you forget.

    "Yes, sir."

    /Daniel's Lab/

    Jack and T'ealc reached Danny's lair with little problem, and commenced their standard check for booby traps on the door. He had learned a lot since coming, including the importance of a well-defended hide-out. No electric-shock knob, no wires for paint-balloon pulling, door not adjar for tar/feathering... clear. He had to be inside.

    Jack nodded to T'ealc, who nodded back in affirmitive. He grabbed ahold of the door-knob gently, before slowly opening it, hoping that maintence had finally WD-40'd it. No betraying creak, good, he looked inside, seeing no initial trace of his favorite space-monkey. He turned to T'ealc, putting his finger to his lips in the traditional sign of 'Be wewwy, wewwy quiet, we're hunting Daniels.'

    "I don't see him, he must be his BDC's."

    "His what, O'Neill?"

    "His Book Dress Camoflauge." Jack slowly crept in as he spoke, looking about constantly for the misplaced archeologist. Not on the bunk, not at his normal desk...

    "Over here, O'Neill." T'ealc had found Daniel propped up against a bookshelf, one up upreached to a book, snoring softly.

    "Ah, the D section. Dr's, Dancers, for Dummies, and Daniels." Jack walked over, wondering how best to wake him in a non-hostile way. A fluffy feather quill nearby caught his attention.

    "Danny..." Sniff, snort. "Dannny..." Snerg... "Danny, for the love of God, will you not wake up?" ACHOO! Sneerrrrgg...

    "Okay, that was kind of gross, but that'll be an acceptable form of 'I'm awake'." Jack looked at the now gunked end of the quill, which the now blinking Daniel had sneezed all over. Jack's favorite archaeologist looked at him sleepily, not exactly sure what was going on.

    "Jack? What are you doing on-base during the weekend?"

    "It's Monday, Daniel, and we have our weekly crisis to take care of. We're supposed to be having a briefing in the confrence room." Jack looked at Daniel with amusement, before looking up to the once-again blank-masked T'ealc.

    "It's not even Monday afternoon, and we've already got one?" Daniel's sleepy question got a shrug/nod out of Jack. "The cycle is speeding up."

    "Tell me about it, now come on, we're being wait upon by Carter and General Hammond."

    /The Confrence Room/

    They all got back fairly quickly, waking up more along the way, to arrive to the surreal sight of...

    "Carter, for crying out loud, why is there a Star Destroyer on the projector?" Jack was about ready to go up in a fury of frustration. He wanted sleep, not a movie night.

    "Col. O'Neill, there is a Star Destroyer on the projector because we have one in Neptune orbit." General Hammond snapped it lightly, knowing he had thought along the same general lines himself when he had seen it. As the bulk of SG-1 looked at him in surprise, he gestured to the chairs. They slowly skittered over to them, taking seats and looking attentively to Carter. She now had their full attention.

    "On the journey back with Prometheus, the sensors picked up anomalous power spikes in the region of Neptune. When we came in close, this is what we found." Carter clicked the remote in her hand, and the image shifted from the classic shot of the Devestator chasing after the Tantive IV to that of a battered and brusied Star Destroyer lounging in orbit of Triton. Holes had been punched in the upper surface of the ship, dark scorch marks littered her multi-colored patchwork hull, extra thrusters adorned the rear end, and the unmistakable small line of kill sillouettes ran below the main port and starboard Turbolaser batteries.

    "Well, at least it doesn't seem to be much of a threat." Jack leaned back as best he could in his chair, rather surprised at this revelation. T'ealc turned slowly to face the Stargate, a look of indigestion on his face from the revelation. Daniel sat up straight in his seat, pushing his glasses up as he thought of the possibilities.

    "Do we know if there are any survivors?" Daniel was scared of the implications of having such a ship in-system, but this was a cultural goldmine, after all. A whole other history waiting to be looked at. Was it from their universe, was it crossed over? Where, when, how, why did this happen!

    "We don't know at this time, but judging from at least minimal power, it is possible that some of the crew has survived, and is either attempting repairs, or is awaiting some kind of rescue. " Carter brought up a sensor analysis of the ship, pointing out on the corrected diagram showing their visitor the various damages that had been incurred.

    "From the radar telemetry, and the optics on the Prometheus, we have identified major damages, and the various ways of entrance. On the dorsal surface, there is a major breach along the spine of the ship, which appears to be a weapon impact. It streaches several decks into the ship, and terminates 500 meters from the bow, having started at 323 meters from the bow." The mentioned gash flashed several times in response as Carter continued. "Due to the fact that we don't yet know what the armor is made of, we'll have to come in through gaps to prevent any attempt at Transporters from getting refracted. It will also give us a line of sight, since we don't have sensors yet from the Asgard to back up our transporters."

    "Now, on the first step of the superstructure, you can see a lesser impact, possibly a second bolt from the first impact's group. It pentrated at least 50 meters in, and should offer us a way in, provided we can get past blast doors." She shifted to the chunk blown out of the port side of the bridge module. "Once again, likely part of the same attack that caused the previous two impacts, considering the straight line that can be drawn between them. This one, due to the more... fragile nature and thinner armor of the bridge tower, is a bit more severe. As you can see, a large chunk of the portside ventral tower has been blown off, enough that we should just be able to squeeze the Prometheus in under it."

    "It looks like someone chewed this thing up pretty bad, Carter. You sure there are any survivors?" Jack rocked slightly in his chair, wanting to just take a look at the ship in person.

    "We don't know. Considering that the... literature states that there is at least a 20000 man crew, it certainly is possible that one of them might have survived." Carter crossed her arms in front of her, used to Jack's twitchiness.

    "The usual that if there is enough of them, one of them is bound to repeat our luck?" Jack had a deadpan face as he spoke, knowing the ludicrous odds against.

    "Probably, sir." Carter turned back to the projection, continuing. "There have been numerous previous repairs. This large patch of blue-white streching from 400 meters from the bow, and going back to 800 meters on the starboard side may be the repair marks after a ramming attack. The entire upper superstructure appears to be rebuilt using the same blue-black materials used in the..." She cleared her throat, rather annoyed by the title, "Super... Star Destroyers, possibly due to having to replace the hull, may be intentional."

    Jack winced, thinking of what could pull that off.

    "There are several odd structures on insulating platforms along the uppermost level of the superstructure. Judging from the way they are mounted, I would have to say that this ship has been heavily modified with additional sensors, purposes unknown." Carter pointed with her laser pointer to the triple sets of pallets. "Also, there are several notable guns that are not on the replicas or documention of Lucasfilm. These may be standard, but judging from the rest of this ship, are more likely customization."

    T'ealc shifted, wondering from the various tidbits if perhaps it was a scout. "Do we know what actually rendered it adrift, MajorCarter?"

    "Unknown. Also, you can see various numerous minor scorch marks and bucklings, likely signs of numerous battles and little time in dock. This especially seems to be the case with the killboard under the guns." Carter shifted the view to the underside of the ship, and an even more impressive array of damage.

    "Anubis get a crack at this thing?" Jack blinked, the number of holes was... impresive, and jealousy raising. He wished he could get as good of a crack at bad-guys.

    "The energy signatures and blast marks do not appear to be consistent with that, sir. They do appear to match the visual appearance of Turbolaser bolts that we have seen, however." Carter started at the bow. "Here we have what appears to be a set of armor that was retrofitted to repair damage. It appears to be from what has tenatively been called the 'Venator' class Star Destroyer seen in the new film. However, it has been well-fitted and patches have matched up the hull between the original hull and this new piece." She shifted her focus from the rather pristine replacement Republic red hull piece to a more dubious observation.

    "Here, on the starboard side, is what appears to be a series of impacts from a Turbolaser attack. The impacts regularly have punctured through the hull, 20 counted 30 meter holes going from the bow back to almost the reactor bulb. Whoever was shooting at this ship was out for serious blood." Carter flicked along the 20 actual punctures and the numerous more scorchings that lined the blast corridor.

    "Indeed, they have done a remarkable job of damaging the ship from the evidence seen so far." T'ealc was impressed by the sheer beserker rage attack that apparently had been inflicted on the ship. He regretted not having been there to see it, however, but resolved in the back of his mind to view the recordings and find out the ship's tale.

    "Right. Now, over here, on the port side, you can see a dark grey patch that has been built up and appears to be a repair that has been on for long enough to get major emplacements put back onto it, streching in a rough 120 meter wide rectangle going from 326 meters back to 769 meters. Also note the several points where definate intentional openings leading to various equipment, possibly gunports." Carter continued on, getting into a babble-mode.

    "Now, behind the reactor bulb is an interesting one. It may be part of the previous starboad side sequence of impacts, and an attempt to re-aim to the reactor." Everyone straightened up as they saw just how close the ship had come to blooie. A hole had been blown clear from the starboard surface to the port side, with blank screen visible beyond the wreckage of a hole big enough to fly a Y-wing through.

    "Thats... wow..." Jack was sitting on the edge of his seat, looking intently at the hole. At less than 50 meters behind the reactor bulb, there could be no doubt that that was the reason why the ship had stayed in Triton orbit, if not the reason why it was there in the first place.

    "Looks like someone didn't like this ship, and decided to take care of it the same way the system lords like to deal with us." Daniel adjusted his glasses again, having been silent to let Sam speak. Everyone turned to him, a little creeped out at what he had thought up. "What? I'm sure there must have been an imperial version of us, after all."

    Carter nodded slightly, as she rotated the model to show the rear hull. It was hardly touched, damage-wise, but modification-wise was a whole other story. "As you can see, this is most definately not standard issue. The three main engine cowls are approximately 20 percent larger each, with at least a 15 increase in the thickness of the cowling material. The secondary drive thrusters each have been modified in what appears to be an attempt at vector-thrusting, judging from how they have been squared off, with diagonal secondary vents to their various facings."

    Then she pointed to the other two new engines, out on the edges, half the size of the main engines, and big wedges of vroom. "These two, however, are completely new. Judging from their nature, and how they have been split each into halves, I would say these are to allow for emergancy manuvers, likely a measure installed after a previous incident with the ship and one of it's more.. interesting moments. They might provide an after-burn type feature, or several other possibilities. We'll have to look at the controls once we figure them out up there."

    "Up there? We're not actually going up there, are we?" Daniel popped the question, as he leaned his elbows on the tables.

    "Yes, Dr. Jackson. SG-1 will be part of the spearhead element up to the ship, along with every other SG team currently available. This will be our primary focus for the next month, attempting to salvage it, and begin reverse-engineering on various components. For years, we have been praying for a miracle to even the odds with the Goa'uld, and if we have to steal the devil's own to do it, then we can play that game." General Hammond spoke up, his voice grabbing everyone's attention as they all turned to look at him.

    "Be ready in 3 hours, team. This is our chance to fight the pandora's box that we opened 7 years ago. Let's not squander it. Take whatever you feel will help, reference materials of any kind, try and find anything that will help you with command and control of that ship. SG-1, this could well be your finest hour." Hammond stood up as he finished off, saluting Col. O'neill.

    "Yes, sir, we'll do you proud, general." Jack returned it, before turning to Carter. He smiled and put on a pleasant face, though he was on the annoyed side of the house. "Carter." He addressed her sweetly, ready for her response.

    "Yes, sir?"

    "I am never letting you out of my sight again. This has GOT to be the top wierdest and off the wall thing that has ever happened to us. This has topped even space-monkey here's top trouble-making!" Jack started ranting, not happy about this in many ways, though he definately liked the idea of his own lightsaber.

    "Well, sir, you always did want big honking space guns, as I believe you said it, sir." Carter put on her sweetest face, with a maniac grin, as T'ealc moved over to glance at the imagry taken of the ship.

    "But you have pulled a star destroyer out of your hat, for cryin' out loud! How do you find a star destroyer in OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, of all places!?" Jack continued on as T'ealc picked up the topmost photo, of a 4 letter signage on the side of the superstruture.

    "Why couldn't you find the Millenium Falcon or something small and manageable?"

    "Because it's not the SG-1 way, Jack. After all, the Goa'uld, Aschen, Replicators, Asgard..."

    Jack cut off Daniel in the middle of his listing. "Hey, leave the little grey dudes out of this. They're fairly good."

    T'ealc ran the symbols through his head as the team continued slightly bickering, before he raised an eyebrow in intrest. That was unusual. "O'neill, I believe I have deciphered the hull number of the Star Destroyer."

    "-after all I- wait, what? Say that again, T'ealc?"

    "I believe I have deciphered what appears to be the hull number of the Star Destroyer." T'ealc turned around to face the rest of SG-1 as they came over.

    "Are you sure? They use a diffrent symbol system, and we can't even be sure that they use English as their standard spoken language, after all." Daniel didn't know what quite to make of T'ealc so casually deciphering a foreign language, especially one that had supposedly been made up.

    "I am quite certain, DanielJackson. I have 'The Big Book of Star Wars' in my room, and have often referenced it in concern to my life here at the SGC. In it, it has the meaning of every symbol. The hull number reads 1-7-0-1. A most... unusual cooincidence, perhaps." T'ealc got eyerolls and head-shakes from all three other members of SG-1. He was a near religious fanatic of Star Wars, and they probably should have seen this comi-

    "Wait, 1701?" Jack snapped back from his musing when the number sequence clicked in his head. Nearly every american knew that number... it couldn't be, what would be the chances...

    "Indeed, O'neill. It appears that the ship does indeed have our particular 'brand of luck'. Enterprise has been an unfortunate name, according to the annals of 'Star Trek'." Only T'ealc could have pulled off such a realization first without going into a fit of laughter. Jack began to chuckle, before breaking out into all-out laughter. This one was just too much... only here, could something as crazy as the day's sequence have unfolded.

    "God really does exist. Big honkin' space guns, and the name I had originally wanted! He just has one hell of a sense of humor proving it!" And with that, Jack O'Neill broke into a half-hysterical fit of laughter. Once again, fate was playing games with him, but this was one he could appreciate!
  3. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Ch 2: How to B&E a Star Destroyer... FOR DUMMIES!

    Maj. Carter: Life-support systems?

    Col. O'Neill: Check.

    Maj. Carter: Communications?

    Col. O'Neill: Check.

    Maj. Carter: Inertial dampeners?

    Col. O'Neill: Cool! ...and check. Phasers?

    Maj. Carter: Sorry, sir.

    6.1 - Redempton

    "The damage doesn't look so bad from here..." Daniel Jackson looked out the forward windows of the Prometheus's bridge at the battered, bruised, and fairly well mugged Star Destroyer. The rest of SG-1 looked at him accusingly, daring him to make up for having just taunted fate. "Well... err, it can't be fully armed and operational, now can it?"

    While Jack absolutely loved the assistance that Daniel normally provided, this was that once a month time when he just wanted to strangle the archeologist for his normal tempting of fate. He nearly began spluttering, before taking a deep breath, and turning to Carter. "So, we're here, now what?"

    "Well, according to the scans, the shp does still have an atmosphere, approximately standard room temperature comparable to the Prometheus. It's loosing it, though, through the obvious rents, gashes, and buckles in the general hull." Carter stepped forward from the sensor console on the port side, looking out across the scarred ship before them.

    "I can see that. Carter, can we just transporter zippidy-do-da over there?" Jack had to cut Carter off before she broke fully into scientific rambling mode. All he needed to know is what it was, what he had to do, and the general idea of how to do it.

    "Well... maybe, sir." Carter spoke hesitantly, as she looked over at the console readouts again. "The hull has some kind of alloy in it that may prevent beaming over, sir."

    "Now was that so hard, Carter?" Jack put a face of mock sympathy on his face as he put his hat on his heart. Then he slipped on his faithful SGC recon-baseball hat. "So, space-walking is the name of the game, today?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Daniel, record this moment in history, I have just bested our resident Astro-whosits. I obviously intend to never let her live this down." Jack turned from his triumphant self-notation back to Carter, who still looked smug. "Yes, Carter?"

    "So, if you've decided to spacewalk, how are you going to get over there, sir?" Carter crossed her arms, waiting for the inevitable...


    "That's why we're still using the transporters, sir. Partially because I don't feel like glaring down any Lt. who wants to start humming the part where the Tantive IV is captured, and partially because we have no idea whether or not the ship is stable." Carter glanced over at a nervous group who had already been chewed out once for annoying the bridge compartment by choir humming the Imperial March.

    "The SGC has never quite been what could be described as stable." Daniel glanced over to Jack and Carter as he spoke, a shrug of his shoulders showing part of his mixed feelings on the matter.

    "Define stable!" Jack snapped slightly back at Daniel, his temper slowly unravelling from the madness that was his life that year.



    /Triton Orbit, SD 1701 Hull/

    "Err... energizing."

    The flash of the Asgard transporters would have blinded momentarily anyone who might have seen it, provided they had a suit on. After all, without a suit, their eyeballs would get sucked out of their heads and explode in the near-vacuum of space.

    "Jack, did we just get a Starfleet transporter sendoff?" Daniel looked around, at the other members of SG-1, unsure of who exactly had been the one to say 'Energize'.

    "It's not energize, it's a multi-dimensional controlled-" Carter shook her head, stopping before she got carried away, still a habit she had, even with Col. O'Neill doing his craziest to break her of it.

    "Carter, I say we call it energize. If nothing else than to just work out a few headaches. Now where is that hatch you had located?" Jack playfully lectured, getting back into his rhythm as he looked around for the hatch that had been promised, the bulky SGC EVA suit hampering his movements slightly.

    "O'Neill, did MajorCarter not forewarn you that we would be transporting directly onto the hatch?" Teal'c bent over, investigating the pitted and slightly tarnished hull of their section for an access hatch.

    "Wait, you mean-" Jack looked around, as Daniel brushed at lettering on the hull, beginning to interpret it from the quick memorization of Teal'cs... reference books.

    "I've got a sign saying Cargo Lift 20." Daniel got back up, starting to walk across the hatch looking for anything to help out.

    "If we can find a interphase jack, I've got a direct uplink transmitter to the Prometheus that we should be able to fit in with a jury-rigging to get manual control over this lift." Carter stepped slowly across the hull, the dim light of the outer solar system making it hard to read anything. "Major Carter to Prometheus."

    "This is Prometheus, go ahead."

    "Would it be possible to have a spotlight on the area? It's pretty dark out here, and it's hard to make out changes in the hull." Carter looked up to the BC-303 hanging a little over 200 yards overhead, which had matched the Star Destroyer's slow tumble.

    "Confirmed Major, spotlights are being activated now." The landing spotlights of the Prometheus flashed on, bathing the hull in brilliant white light, and throwing everything into contrast.

    "Aww, dangit, Carter, I was enjoying the view." Jack's cheerful complaint got Daniel and Carter to look at him. "What? It's not every day that you get to walk around outside, enjoy the fresh air of Triton, and it's lovely view. Look around, look at all the stars you can see out here, and Neptune! That blue puts Carribean beach surf blue to shame!"

    Carter smiled, seeing that her CO was at least enjoying the unexpected side-distractions of the event. "Yes, sir."

    "Anybody bring a camera? I'd like to get a few pictures of SG-1's first Grand Theft Star Destroyer!" Jack waved his arms in the zero-g, gesturing to indicate the little over a mile long super-warship that they were standing on.

    "Hey, Carter, I think I found something." Daniel was hunched over, 10 feet away. One hand was tracing along a line of text on the hull. "Droid access panel. Would this do for you?"

    "On one hand, I'm impressed. On the other hand, I am scared, nightlight scared that Daniel has learned a whole new written language in less than 5 hours.", Jack quipped as he looked at the panel recessed into the hull.

    "It's not that hard, Jack. Think of it... like internet lingo. LOL and all that. You just need to know the contex, and all will be clear." Daniel stepped back as Carter dropped down and started pressing at the panel, looking for an open button.

    "No mystical mumbo-jumbo. I thought the ancients de-asending you taught you that lesson." Jack watched Carter work, as she pulled her space-modified crowbar out to try and pry the panel open. "And where did you learn L33t speak from?"

    "I took my first step into a larger world, Jack." Daniel smugly looked at the now blinking zing'd O'neill. Carter just kept tugging at her crowbar, before pulling it out, looking from between it and the panel. In anyone else, that wouldn't have been too much of a worry. With Samantha Carter, it was a problem for even Tim Taylor.

    "Teal'c, why have you corrupted him with Star Wars sayings?"

    "O'Neill, I find your lack of faith disturbing." Teal'c smiled as well as Jack began spluttering. He had mastered, as Jack would say, the art of Zing. "MajorCarter, do you reqiure assistance?"

    Jack looked over to her, seeing the crowbar in hand. "Have you been beaten already so thuroughly that you have resorted to the brute force attack, Carter?"

    "Negative, sir. I'd hardly call this a brute force attack. Just proper application of leverage, sir." Carter had repositioned, as she analyzed the hatch, determining that she might have more luck on the other side.

    Jacks eyebrows raised as he considered what she had said. "Pray tell us what you would consider brute force, then?"

    "A 3 caliber HEAT round fired at .5c from the Prometheus's main guns with the new trinium penetrator using the naquada/potassium mix." Carter pulled at her crowbar again, feeling the hatch give way slightly. The sensors of the hatch noticed the manual opening, and began retracting it the rest of the way to prevent damage to the hatch motors, and to allow what it presumed to be a stranded droid access.

    "Carter's mind suddenly scares me more than this ship." Daniel backed away from her slightly, now wondering if Jack was rubbing off on her in the way of his... sometimes pyromaniacal tendancies. The whoosh of escaping air had stopped finally as the hatch finished opening up, a meter-square patch of hull opening into blackness.

    "That's my Major."

    "Indeed, O'Neill. MajorCarter has proven to be a most impressive warrior when properly motivated."

    "You see, sir, science really is good for something!" Carter jumped down into the hole suddenly, causing everyone's heart levels to race, before her head popped back up. "It's only a 5 foot drop to the floor of this. There's a bunch of access corridors, that's why there was such an outgassing."

    'I knew that. Didn't I, Daniel."

    Eye-roll. "Yes, Jack. Let's all get in there, so we can get captured for the thirtieth time, with added flavor from stormtroopers!"

    "My snark-o-meter rates that one a 5, for effort. Let's go."

    After they had all crowded in, Carter hit a green button up by the interior part of the hatch, which cranked itself shut. A small bar below it began filling up, and at halfway, the hiss of air made itself known.

    "Ah, the recompress button. How did you know Carter?" Jack turned around slowly, taking in the gloomy, barely lit and hyper-cramped corridors.

    "It was green. Considering that in the movies, red was bad, and green was good, save for in space battles, it was a safe bet, sir." Carter reached up and removed her helmet after checking the air composition. "The air is fine as well, standard atmospheric mix."

    "Righty, campers, helmets off, Carter, are we still in comms with Prometheus?" Jack reached up, and tugged his helmet off, breathing in the metallic air that had been pumped in.

    "This is Prometheus, Col. We still read you loud and clear."

    Jack raised his eyebrows, surprised the Prometheus was responding before getting called. "Do you have a mic on one of us?"

    "Yes, Col, and you said a naughty thing earlier, but we'll edit that out of the log for you."

    "Rodger that. As soon as we get to a further interior section, we'll be dropping off these suits for pickup, and we'll need our standard gear beamed over, O'neill out." Jack shook his head, surprised they had picked up his annoyed grumble earlier,

    "So, which way, Jack?" Daniel looked around at three diffrent paths to choose from, wondering which way led out.

    "Straight ahead, Danny-boy. Straight to the heart of the problem." Jack pointed towards the middle path, perpindicular to the crawlway that led across the hatch.

    "As good as any, sir." Carter hung her crowbar back into place on her suit, the magnetic lock on it latching it on for her. She started forward, the magnetic boots clanging even as she turned them off, ducking into the gloom.

    "Boys, the lady has led, follow forth." Jack stepped into the semi-darkness after Carter, blinking in the dim light of the emergancy illumination strips.

    Dark metal lined everything, a easy-access grating underfoot, red lights everywhere in a metal web of components lining the walls. Far scarier than a goa'uld Ha'tak. Those were too cheezy to be scary. This... this was something that was for show only in one way, that of ripping you to shreds. Jack O'neill wasn't prone to being scared, but this had him uneased in a whole new way.

    /Deep in the Heart of the SD, 3 hours later/

    At least it had been fairly easy so far. Other than the getting lost in the dark creepy maintence tunnels part. That had been a long, two-hour process of creepy and monotonous trek, until they had burst blinking and surprised into a brightly lit grey-white corridor. They all had breathed a sigh of relief, and taken off the rest of their suits. Thankfully, they had still been close enough to the hull to have them beamed out, and their weapons and gear beamed in.

    Was good for cheering them up. But, if there were suvivors... oooh, boy they were going to have some problems. The next hour past by with much walking, and little sign of anyone. Once, 45 minutes after clearing the tunnels, they had seen an abandoned tool kit, left out and scattered in the middle of repairing some kind of piping. No sign of whoever was using it.

    Nothing at all, not even a droid.

    Even Prometheus had detected no activities on any detectable comm channel. No signs anything was coming online from repairs. Silence... and yet...

    "Anyone feel something... odd?" Carter looked around, turning slowly around, P90 at the low ready. The featureless greyish walls held no change, save for the occasional doors they had checked out, leading to empty rooms, some showing signs of having someone living in them, others cargo bays. Her voice was quiet, a tactical whisper.

    "An unease, and sense of growing wishes to have us leave, MajorCarter?" Teal'c looked around, his staff weapon primed and gripped at the ready. He felt the same sensations, as he looked down the seemingly endless corridor.

    Unlike the Goa'uld, the Star Destroyer was laid out utilitarianly, decorated not at all, built as a ship of war. A ship not built to be a statement of richess, and godliness, but of intimidation by sheer power, built to withstand horrors and live, built to destroy worlds and destroy everything in it's path. Teal'c appreciated that, even if the reasons why were for the same as the Goa'uld. Intimidation, domination, semi-worship of a false god. That he did not like at all.

    "A feeling of haunting, of malice and evil intentions, more than standard issue?" Daniel looked side to side, in the middle of the group, a zat in each hand ready to fire.

    "I know what you mean..." Jack looked ahead, his P90 ready and cocked, his senses all tingling a dangerously familiar feeling. "It's that sort of feeling that-" The whine of several dozen energy weapons powering up right behind him turned his heart to ice. The cold feel of a barrel rammed into his neck, and he slowly raised up his hands, taking his fingers away from the trigger. "We were being stalked."

    He turned around, with the rest of SG-1, to see the corridor lined bulkhead to bulkhead with ominous white and black figures, blasters all pointed at the unlucky team.

    "Rebel scum."

    "Col. O'Neill? Major Carter? Dr. Jackson? Teal'c? Anybody, was that what I thought we just heard? Anybody?"

  4. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Ch 3: The giant mutters

    "Your overconfidence is your weakness..."

    /Star Destroyer Hull 1701's Detention Block/

    "At least it's somewhat well in the way of amenities." Jack leaned up against the bulkhead of the detention cell, looking over at Daniel and Teal'c over on the other side of the small space, the two sitting on one of the bunks, looking grim.

    It was one of the better cells he had been in, for sure. The bunks at least had pads on them, there were the ammenities for the unmentionables, the lighting wasn't too bad, and there were no sharp edges, though that was likely to keep Rebels from having a way to commit suicide.

    "You just had to say it, Jack." Daniel looked over to the fritzy Col., looking at him harshly as he sulked on the bunk.

    "Daniel, you were the one who said we were going to get captured before we even got into the ship. I blame you." Jack crossed his arms over his chest, as he stayed leaned up against the black wall. His sharp eyes got Daniel to look away in annoyance.

    They hadn't been beaten by the Stormies, thankfully, though blasters were pointed back in their direction when 4 stormtroopers had come up and grabbed their radios, only to be beamed out a few seconds later. They nearly had met their end right there, though the captain had come on the comm channels and told them to put SG-1 in the brig.

    Of course, they decided to preserve the secrecy of the layout of their ship, and had proceeded to stun them several dozen times from medium range with their alternate fire. Firm believers in Rule 37.

    According to their watches, which had been left to them, it had been about 5 hours of snoozy time. Almost all of their equipment had been taken, the various scanners they had developed, Carter's Goa'uld crystal-based custom laptop, their vests and tactical packs, everything except the BDUs they were wearing, and their watches. And Jack didn't put it past them to have tampered with those either. Pesky Goa'uld, and double-pesky Imperials. He should have asked to punch a few holes in the ship to make sure they were all dead before coming in, that was what he was beginning to think.

    Daniel began to open his mouth to say something, before his eyes went blank, and he stopped, shutting his mouth as he sheepishly nodded. He had, hadn't he? Alright, so Jack did have a point about that. He leaned back up against the wall, the light fixated in the bottom of the upper bunk casting harsh shadows on his face.

    "You taunted the Dark Lord Murphy, Daniel, he doesn't like being taunted, you know." Jack scowled at his sometimes annoying space-monkey, but wasn't ready to knock his lights back out again. "Now I'm hoping that they figure out we're not rebels. I really don't want to be on this thing if Prometheus decides that it has to nuke it a couple dozen times."

    "If they do nuke the ship, hopefully they'll use the new Mark 8s. Supposedly they have nearly a gigaton on detonation, which might be enough to kill this Star Destroyer if it goes into the breach right behind the reactor or into the hanger." Carter stood by the door, poking her rather uncheerful two cents into the matter. Everyone save for Teal'c winced at the thought of what the Prometheus might be doing, if it was even in their hands still. Those 4 stormtroopers had been beamed over without the Prometheus knowing. Hopefully Zats worked on even them.

    "Thank you, Carter. Remember, these are smarter than the average Gould. They're probably watching us on camera. Nothing about our capibilities needs to be revealed." Jack looked around for cameras or other monitoring devices, hidden or overt. Nope, he didn't see any, but he didn't doubt that they were there. Hmm... but, this gave his normally low-gear brain an idea...

    "Too bad they don't want to believe we're not rebel scum. The Goa'uld are going to be a nasty shock for them, if they can even get their ship fixed." Jack said it loudly, mouthing afterward, 'Start going on about Gould!'. This could work, if they could convince someone to come in and ask them what they were babbling about, they could stand a chance.

    /3rd in command's personal office, 30 Earth Standard Minutes later/

    He looked at the holographic representation of the imaging being currently recorded from their intruder's cell, and the transcript of what they had been going on about. Who in the hell were the Goa'uld? Why hadn't the Empire encountered them, if they had this galactic empire?

    Who was Anubis, what was a Stargate? And who would name a planet Earth? Were those strange energy weapons they recovered 'Zat's? Who were these people? Or was it an elaborate rebel plot? They knew about the Deathstar, and.. wait, how did they know about the second one? His heart grew cold, when he contemplated the thought that the bulk freighters they had been escorting might have been captured, and the secret of the second try lost.

    He rubbed the bacta-soaked compress over his right temple, his bleached brown hair soaked partially with blood from the attack before the jump, and the wild, near-insane ride that the ship had endured for 5 hours before dropping out, in this dark zone. The Captain and the XO had been lost when the command tower decompressed during battle, and he had taken over command, jumping the ship out of harm's way and out of battle, with the three transports that they had been escorting.

    The Imperial Science Directorate said that switching to an Alternate Quantum reality was impossible, due to several problems, but...

    The Chief Engineer was swearing up and down that the hyperdrive motivators were out of alignment, with reality, as if they suddenly didn't match up to the resonance of their location. And that green squid-like ship that had been on the edge of the battle, that dark psyonic scream that had terrified the crew... Something far diffrent than a turbolaser bolt had nearly killed the hyperdrives, and the normal drives, and the the corellian engineer had been screaming at him not to make the jump...

    Looking back, either way was a bad idea, so he had taken the lesser of two options. And they were now lost, in uncharted space without the three giant freighters they had been escorting to Endor.

    He needed some answers, looking at the quartet in the detention block, and the wild stories they had told between themselves, he decided to take a chance. They may be Rebel scum, but they were probably as lost as the lady Enterprise was. The poor girl needed a break from the constant battling she had been in over the past few months, needed a chance.

    He needed to be able to give the crew hope, even if it was mutinying against a Rebel prize crew. They couldn't fix her on their own, no-one was answering on the hypercoms, and these four were the only people who had made contact. With everyone away from the slowly cooling hull, he had no way of knowing what was out there. Time to take a chance...

    No-one had ever accused Lt. Cmdr. Sheridan of being a coward, or foolhardy. He wasn't going to start being either now. With the good captain and his XO dead, he was in charge now, and he intended to take charge.

    Now where did he put his blaster and that spare thermal detonator he had lying around somewhere...

    /SG-1's Detention Cell/

    The team stopped talking when the door buzzed, the first sign that anyone had bothered with them since they had arrived. They all stood up and watched the door, Carter falling back, standing by the Col, both of whom were ready to burst into combatives moves as they waited for the door to open.

    The swoosh was eerily familiar, as it rushed open, a shadowed figure in the opening, with a blaster carbine in one hand, and what looked like a thermal detonator in the other. SG-1 decided that it might not be a good idea to be attempting to wrest the blaster from the interrogator's hand, with that blast-o-joy in the other. They all backed up slowly, so as to give him room to come in without feeling threatened.

    "Good. I was hoping that you would understand the general idea behind my armment." Sheridan slowly stepped forward into the harsh light of the cell, looking at the individuals of SG-1 turn by turn. The one they called Daniel, clearly some kind of historian, no other group still had those rediculous glasses in the empire. The strange Teal'c... talked about as a 'Jaffa' by the team, and apparently a near-human who had sided with them against these 'Goa'uld', and one of the 'system lord's right-hand men.

    Then the Major Sam Carter... apparently the second in command, and chief science officer for the team, specializing in the estrotic fields... Most interesting, she was the polar opposite of the Imperial Navies policies. A woman who was a scientist, pilot, and the second in command all in one, a versitile, and apparently highly effective package. And the eye did not go wanting with her.

    And the Col. Jack O'Niell. He made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but he led. Sheridan had to admit that, he was leading this team, and apparently had absolute obediance when he spoke definatively. The middle-aged man was an enigma, one who had made himself so, who could feed off of his own mystery.

    "So, judging from the outfit, and the little color squiggles on your chest, you're the head honcho of this disaster looking for a place to happen." Jack looked over at the dirty-blond man, waiting to see his next move. He wasn't going to bother trying to disarm him now, he'd go suicide bomber if attacked. Better to wait, and try and convince him to let the team go.

    "Yes, I'm the current commander of this ship. However, I want some answers as to who you are, why you boarded my ship, and as to just what a Stargate is, everything. Now, we can either do this the civilized way, or, I can get unpleasant, and borrow my regiment's interrogation droids. I'd rather not be unpleasant. The laundry systems are out, and this grey uniform is a pain to clean up." Sheridan spoke in a friendly way, genuinely hoping to avoid a more... displeasurable way of getting the information. After all, he had his predecessor's reputation to live up to.

    "Sir, should we?" Carter looked to Jack, getting an approving nod from Sheridan, she knew to follow the command of her leaders, as did the rest of the team. Disciplined, and while having an odd familarity, and havoc-inducing relationship, he used the reference of his own ship for their work relationship. A family, even less likely to be Rebels.

    "I think it should be safe. They're dead in the water, and Prometheus has this hurt ship covered nicely." Jack smugly crossed his arms across his chest, knowing that while he was in danger, at least Prometheus had this ship locked onto, and ready to make into small bits.

    "Alright then, I guess we'll start at the beginning. Sam, I guess trying to explain what's happened to them would be the first order of buisness." Daniel looked over to the astrophysist, hoping she could best break it to them. He'd handle explaining about the Stargate, and parts of the background on the situation, and together Teal'c and Jack would probably explain the Goa'uld.

    "Well, I'd say from various evidence, that you likely have either suffered a massive locational/temporal shift during transit, or you suffered a malfunction in your hyperdrive that transported you through the multiverse." At the increadulous look on Sheridan's face, she continued. "Would you believe me if I told you that there is a 6 series set of movies based around the rise and fall of your empire?"

    "Say what!?"

    "Carter, might not have been the best of ideas." Jack looked at her, before looking back to Cmdr. Sheridan, who was still blinking somewhat in shock.

    "Well, either one is certainly possible. From external evidence, it certainly stands possible. You've got a hole punched clean through your lower surfaces less than 50 meters from your main reactor that's big enough to fly a starfighter through." Carter let that shock sink in as well, Sheridan paleing at that news, knowing at last how close they had come to disaster. "As for quantum traveling, it certainly is possible, we've encountered at least two occasions of it already, though this is most definately several orders greater in magnitude."

    "So, you're saying that this is an alternate reality, where the Empire is nothing more than a fairy tale?"

    "Essentially, yes."

    "Hmm, I can see that if we ever get back, I need to knock some sense into a few egg-heads who think that traveling between quantum realities is impossible." Sheridan shook his head in annoyance, accepting that it might certainly explain why the hyperdrives were de-tuned, something that was impossible normally.

    "Huh... okay, so, Daniel, the Stargate..." Carter was rather surprised at his acceptance. Maybe he had other evidence...

    "Right... in our year 1928, about 80 years ago, we found an unusual artifact in a region of our planet known as-"

    /3 hours later/

    Sheridan had ended up on a bunk, somewhat shocked at the sound of it all on the surface. A previous evolution of mankind? Crossing the galaxy, and then some in 3 seconds? A race of god-pretenders?

    SG-1 had left him alone, despite having the perfect opportunity to overpower him. This was a better one, a Star Destroyer on their side, fully crewed and trained... a dream come true, the miracle break after all. And, Cmdr. Sheridan seemed to believe them. He finally looked up at them, before standing up, and putting his carbine back into a ready position.

    "I assume you have a way of preventing this 'Prometheus' from firing on us? And proving what you claim?"

    Jack, Teal'c, and the rest all looked at each other, realizing that they needed comms with Prometheus.

    "O'Neill, I have a spare radio in my bag. It may be able to reach Prometheus, and allow for negotiations to begin." Teal'c nodded his head to Jack, waiting for the answer.

    Sheridan looked over to the two, who looked back at him. It couldn't hurt, and it didn't matter if they screamed for Prometheus to open fire, if they were right, they'd likely end up opening fire soon anyway, to prevent the Enterprise from trying to attack.

    He called into the comms, asking for the prisoner's packs to be brought up. Thankfully, no questions asked, just obediance, as the Empire commanded. Now how to save the last bastion of the empire. The packs took a good 20 minutes to arrive, of tedious, slowly nerve-wracking waiting. The thought of a ship at point blank range with at least 100 gigaton missles was driving him crazy.

    The packs all arrived, with everything in them. He watched as SG-1 sighed, going through them to make sure everything was alright, finding things to their satisfaction.

    "I'd say that was one of our better first contacts, wouldn't you, Carter?" Jack looked over to her, as he slung his on his back, throwing Teal'c two double-A batteries to power up his radio. They were quickly clipped in, and Prometheus's chatter popped up in mid-squak.

    "-eat, SG-1 DO YOU READ!? General Hammond has us on a 30 minute countdown to launch, please respond!"

    Jack grabbed the radio from Teal'c, jamming the system to full power and activating the mike, talking fast. "Prometheus, HOLD YOUR FIRE! We've got the captain of the ship with us, and we're ready to beam over! The Star Destroyer has gone neutral, HOLD YOUR FIRE!"

    Everyone was sweating, realizing how close they had come to sparkly oblivion now. Daniel and Sam exchanged glances, as Teal'c watched impassively, and Sheridan twitched nervously. The radio finally clicked back on, Prometheus responding. "Countdown canceled, SG-1. When we beamed over Stormtroopers, we feared the worst."

    Sheridan got in close as Jack was about to respond. "My troops are alive?"

    "Yes, they were just interdimensionally energized/slipped over to the Prometheus, and dropped off there. There will be no side effects other than feeling nausious." Carter stepped up now, as did Daniel. "Would you like to try? Our story is a lot easier to explain once we get over there, we have images and a better record."

    Sheridan disarmed the Thermal Detonator, and his Carbine, putting them into his decidedly non-regulation belt holster. "But, be warned, this had better not be a trap."

    "Got it, keep the guys with the guns off you." Jack nodded, before turning to Sheridan. "You'll have to temporarily surrender your blaster when we get over there, though. The whole 'letting an armed man in' thing and all."

    "Right, I'm ready to see your technology in action." Sheridan hoped they were not planning their deaths, but then again, he had nothing to loose.

    "SG-1 to Prometheus, beam everything within a 3 yard radius of the signal up." Jack clicked off the comms, before cursing. "Drat it, Carter, we have got to get some of the little gr-"

    "Fwwwhhhooom!" The white light of the Asgard Transporter filled the cell, before it faded away, leaving an empty room.
  5. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Ch-4: Light of Day

    "Protect, serve, guardians of the people." Part of the Imperial service oath.

    /USS Prometheus, 20 minutes after beamout/

    Cmdr Sheridan sat in the currently guarded and mostly empty mess hall of the Prometheus, the strange small ship of these "Tau'ri." At least, that is what they said others called them, the name for them in the language of the Goa'uld, the name of a people who fought like the Rebels, but with just cause.

    It was strange, to suddenly be on the flip-side of the coin, to be the Rebel with a cause. So far, the SGC could not pinpoint the Enterprise's start point with their technology, even with the impressive and mighty Asgard computer system that guided the ship. They hadn't even seen the local galaxy group that the Caltania galaxy was. Lost, that was a strange new word for him as well. You got lost on primitive planets, not loose entire galaxies.

    He looked out the strange windows, standing before the four formerly captured Stormtroopers, currently in shirtsleeves, watching his battered ship, as the background slowly spun dizzingly. His... several days ago, he would have rather blown out his brains with a full burst from his carbine than think that, would have thought it tratorous. Now... he was responsible to it, and to his oath as an Imperial officer, to uphold justice.

    But was the penalties for a... Captain, that worked for an independant world to serve, to protect? He had the defense of his oath for the course of actions he was considering, and the morals of the law. He never had liked Imperial leadership anyway, too violent, prone to rash action. The project they had been escorting supplies to, the Death Star that had met it's maker at the hands of Skywalker, the purges, all the dark acts that had occured... sure, it was less than a quarter of the whole...

    The time for second-guessing was over with, and he had ten minutes still to decide what to do. The SGC had given him straight-up terms. Either his ship could surrender, or it could defect into their hands, leave the system, or they could go to hell in 100 gigatons of nuclear massacare.

    He believed now. Seeing the ship, the strange materials, the crystaline-based optical computers, beaming over... he believed now. So, what was there to loose? Save for the crew and his life? What would they say if they decided he had sold them out? Could he face their wrath if they decided to go out fighting, to die on their feet, rather than live?

    He turned around slowly, the light of the spotlights of the Prometheus reflecting off the hull of the Grand Old Lady backlighting his form, the feeling of lost glory sadly hanging around his form. "Gentlemen, it is not normal for a Captain of a ship of the line to consult the average Stormtrooper, but, I need to have a thought on what the average individual aboard the Enterprise is going to say to what I have in mind." His soft voice carried across the quiet of the room, as he looked at each in turn, wondering what they thought. A strange place indeed.

    The four troopers looked to each other, the identical twin clones sandwiching a middle-aged correlian and the leader of the team, a Tattoine man. Seargent 1st class, from the service insignia patch he had sewn on his uniform. His tanned skin stood out in unusual contrast to the normal trooper appearance, as he looked between his men. "Sir, we'll keep an open mind. Now what is it you have in mind, sir?"

    "We can't survive on our own, but at the same time, the empire does not exist out here, or anywhere near. Our primary hope is to ally with the local forces, these 'Tau'ri'. But, they will not help us unless we break away from the Empire, they fear it, apparently have heard of it and it's worst excesses. They're not sure how, but they have." He looked at each in turn as they listened to him, going through various thoughts and emotions. Fear, anger, irritation, surprise, shock, thoughtfulness.

    "Are we absolutely sure they are not Rebels?" The Corellian pointed out the most obvious, and paranoid possibility, looking around at the strangish design of the SGC ship.

    "Given that their technology branches well away from what we would consider the norm, or anyone else in our galaxy, for that matter, yes, I would have to say so." Sheridan had asked himself that same question when he had first met SG-1. But nothing could have explained away their technology, the strange windows, the transporters...

    "Well, I never did much like some of the ideas of the empire anyway. Do they promise to rule fairly, should they win, to work for an equal solution for all parties? If so, I'm game to join up. Anything is better than my current retirement plan of getting sent back to the Jutland wastes." The leading Seargent looked over the newly minted captain with a strange grin. Strange indeed.

    "From what I understand, anything just about is better than the current galactic rulers, these 'Goa'uld'. Enslavement under a false god." Sheridan pulled a seat out from the window table, gesturing for the troopers to follow suit. They reluctantly did so, the clones turning around partially to watch the door, ready to go hand-to-hand if anyone decided to break in.

    "Then let us work to restore justice to this galaxy. Living is better than breathing vaccum."

    Sheridan smiled as he picked up the beeper that the so-called SG-1 had given him for calling them, activating it. "They should show up shortly. And then we will see what this new day holds."

    /1 hour later/

    An hour, in which impossible things had happened. And some very interesting shake-ups between him and General Hammond. The old General was having a hard time believing that the captain of a ISD was willing to step away from the empire, and had nearly ended up annialating the Enteprise anyway, to be convinced to stand down by SG-1 and Sheridan's semi-bodyguards.

    He'd have to remember to reward them somehow, maybe with having them as one of the liason teams to the SGC. They seemed eccentric enough to fit with the somewhat crazy personelle he had seen so far. Though he had yet to bring up that possibility to the SGC commander. No, they, and himself, were far more interested in 3 blips that had slowly drifted into sensor range. Huge blips, that he was unfortunately far too familiar with.

    The transport convoy the Enterprise had been escorting before finding herself lost in space. Each was a Gallofree TZ-900, some of the biggest ever assembled. And completely and utterly lifeless, each and every one. When they got dragged along in the unstable hyperspace wake of the Enterprise, their civilian grade shielding hadn't been able to protect the crews, and the bridge crew of the Prometheus and Sheridan's team looked on in horror of the sight of the warped and misshapened bodies, nearly ripped apart from hyperspace radiations.

    From examination the only good thing they had been able to say for the crew was that their deaths had been mercifully quick, and had barely a second to register that they were in pain before their brain fried. Luckily, though, their cargo was still intact. Parts and raw materials for the DS II. Enough to completely rebuild the Enterprise at least 5 times over. And then some.

    "SG-1, can you determine if the life support systems are intact? If they are, we should be able to solve our problems with the Enterprise leaking air." Sheridan looked at the camera link to SG-1's boarding party, aboard F-1093927. Or, as Col. O'neill called it: Pudgeboat 1. The darkened bridge of the superfreighter was running on emergancy power as the space-suited team investigated, as had been the rest of the ship. Something had drained power, or malfunctioned, so it was quite possible that anything could be wrong with the ship.

    General Hammond looked at him with a withering glare, but turned back to the camera view. They'd start discussing the who's and what's of their newfound relationship AFTER they figured out what to do with these massive 5 mile long superfreighters. Wait a minute... hmm... maybe the personelle transport one... yes that could work quite nicely, provided that the life support worked.

    The camera wielder moved over to what Sheridan and his squad could tell was the enviromental station, which was blinking in various ways. It looked like everything was working, but the details were too fine until Daniel translated. "According to the master status, everything reads as good."

    Sheridan sighed, knowing that the worst two of his problems were solved, short-term repairs of his ship, and someplace to put the crew where they wouldn't be missing that wonderful substance known as 'air'. "Well, good news is always welcomed, I guess, no matter where it comes from. General, would you be willing to make a trip back to the Enterprise to pick up a set of crews for these ships so we can fly them back and start evacuation procedures for the Enterprise and begin repairs?"

    "What? We haven't even decided who will own them!" General Hammond was rather surprised that Sheridan would just even try something like that. Then again, technically...

    "General, would you even know how to fly these ships? Or, what about my crew? The chief engineer estimated less than 5 days before we lost atmosphere altogether. If you want our help, the crew has to stay alive, and that means these freighters and the opportunity they represent." Sheridan pointed at the superfreighter hanging outside the window, drifting along slowly. "I know for a fact that you should be able to construct a makeshift spacedock using those things, we once ran into a pirate cell using a setup that would be viable."

    "Say what?"

    The troopers nodded amongst themselves remembering fondly taking that spacedock. One of the few times that the Enterprise had seen serious action against Rebels, that particular cell having actually committed certain dasterdly crimes that the Empire often said that Rebels committed. The Enterprise, Vengance, Acclimator, and Grand Master had all gone in after it, taking on close to half a million Rebels in a rather nice living space. Of course, they wouldn't tell the SGC that they actually were Rebels, since they were nervous enough as is around them.

    "Sure, it would give you an outer system presence, besides just this one corvette that you have," Sheridan let the murmurs of annoyance die down before continuing, "and act as an outer defensive post, drydock which we can eventually expand, and as perhaps the new home of your 'Stargate', maybe with some kind of two-way transporter setup between the old SGC and here. This way, a foothold situation, as you call them, is contained, you have nearly unlimited expansionary space, and everyone is happy."

    "Alright, SG-1, hang tight, we'll be back in an hour or so, with a crew from the Enterprise to start picking these ships up and bringing them back online to move to Neptune." General Hammond swiveled his chair back to the forward position as the helmsman began plotting in a course back to the Enterprise. A large frown was stuck on tight to his face as he looked ahead. Until the Enterprise and her crew proved that they would actually work for Earth, and the US in particular, he was going to remain skeptical, and highly suspicious of them.

    "Sir! Why not latch onto them and include them in the hyper-field of the Prometheus? Since we're only going to Neptune, less than a lightyear away, she should be able to handle the strain." Carter called out quickly, knowing of what she had done recently using the hyperdrive. She moved in front of the camera, mounted on Daniel's helmet, hoping that the General would approve.

    "You can do that!?" General Hammond and Captain Sheridan turned and looked at each other, surprised at their near identical timing and tone. Captain Sheridan mostly because he had no clue what exactly their hyperdrive was, having seen several diffrences between his and theirs, the biggest being jumping out from right beside the Enterprise, deep in Neptune's gravity well; and General Hammond because he didn't know you could tow in hyperdrive.

    "Yes sir, we could probably tow all three ships in one go, if we can hook them together. We might need to overhaul Prometheus's drive afterwards, but it is possible." Carter looked around, wondering what all she would need for her plans.

    "It should be possible, from what I remember of the class, but the need is not quite that pressing, all we need is one at a time, starting with the personelle one you're on. It's too bad about what happened to the crew and the people aboard, but we need it first." Sheridan watched the slow float of the superfreighter below them, as General Hammond turned between the helmsman and the video feed of Carter.

    "How quickly could you set this up?"

    "The alternate hyperdrive program should already be set up, sir. Just load it up, lock onto the freighter, and go." Carter started moving as quickly as possible, grabbing onto the frame of the ship in the background as Daniel started doing the same, as well as Jack and Teal'c. They knew better than wonder what Carter might be doing, just to follow her example and do the same thing when it came to ships.

    "You heard the Major, latch us onto it." General Hammond turned to helmsman, watching as he searched quickly, finding the alternate drive protocols in a newly added application for the ship. With a few quick manuvers, he snuggled the Prometheus down into a recess in the ship, and nodded to the Operations officer, who latched the landing gear into it, then nodded back to the helmsman.

    "We're ready to go, sir."

    "Very well, jump us out." General Hammond settled down into his seat, waiting for the slight surge of acceleration and the minor disorentation of the hyperspace slipstream. After a few seconds he looked over to the helmsman, not quite sure what was going on. "Is there a problem?"

    "The hyperdrive is powered up, sir but it's not generating a hyperspace window for the jump... Give me a second, and I'll boost the power sl-" The rest of what the helmsman wanted to say was lost as the Prometheus suddenly surged into hyperspace, catching the unprepared standees by surprise and knocking them over. And it ended just as quickly, the Prometheus crossing that lightyear in a few seconds as the slightly overcharged hyperdrive raced to it's destination.

    "Need to work on your compensators a little..." Sheridan got back on his feet, pulling up the leader of the trooper squad with him. He looked ahead to the forward windows, seeing his... his now beloved Enterprise hanging, still wounded, in Triton orbit. Well, somewhat seeing it past the massive bulk of the superfreighter below them. O'neill was right, it is sort of pudgy... It would have made a better spacestation... "But very, very nice. Could you beam me back aboard, preferably somewhere in the engineering spaces, so I can hunt down the Chief Engineer, and get him ready to go on getting things set up."

    "Alright, I fully understand the urgency, but I want you to take a SGC radio with you, and we will beam you back in approximately one of our hours to begin formal negotiations. We'll also beam up anyone in the room with you to begin docking procedures with.. Pudgeboat 1..." General Hammond shook his head at the oddity of the name, and vowed inwardly to never let O'neill name anything ever again. Ever.

    Sheridan chuckled as he thought of what the name invoked. "Somewhat approprieate, but there has to be something better. Ever have a place where people gathered from all across the globe to discuss things, or just to exist together?" He turned to one of the aides, who handed him and the stormtroopers the standard SGC team radios.

    "A handful, Babylon, New York, Paris..."

    "Babylon... sounds like a nice name... Well, I guess that will be the name of our new station, Babylon. Should be interesting to see if we can work together, like your own civilizations." Sheridan looked between his men, as they all nodded ready. They could get their equipment back in an hour. And from the look of their captain, he had something special for them. "Transport us over."

    The fhwoom of the Asgard transporters filled the room, and Captain Sheridan and his troopers were gone.
    moonberserker likes this.
  6. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Ch 5: The rumbling of distant thunder.

    "Smile and wave boys, smile and wave... RUN!"

    /1701's Main Engineering Section./

    The large chamber was what the unitiated would call a monument to sheer Imperial arrogance, a 400 meter long chamber leading from the main reactor to the engine distribution nexus, divided into compartments partially by the currently sealed blast doors meters thick, and 50 meters tall.

    To those who worked the trade of Engineering, it was far more than what outsiders saw. It was a cathedral to raw power, tamed and tapped into a normally awsome and humbling show as raw plasma pumped from the massive mini-sun of the main reactors into the ion thrust drives of the ship.

    Right at the moment, the Chief Engineer Gale Averre could only see the ashes of past glories, as the Enterprise slowly bled out her heat and air from gashes that he couldn't repair without help. Or at least access to a generous quantity of Durasteel. Even with the emergancy repairs in so many of the areas of the ship, she still was springing leaks like a bug net trying to stop mynocks. The room was mostly quiet, and dark, with the structural damage. To the fore, the room was shuttered and atmospherically sealed against the breach that clipped the area.

    His poor engines... worked on so lovingly for so long, and now silent, lest they rip themselves apart from their damage. The cold, the silent conduit under the platform he stood... the dark shadows overhead... the sudden bright light and harmonic c- wait, that wasn't right...

    Sheridan clamped his hand down on Chief Averre's shoulder, eliciting a semi-girlish scream from the rarely excitable engineer. Perhaps too many gloomy thoughts of future ghost stories of the Enterprise. He turned to his captain and the shirt-sleeved Stormtroopers behind him, the Eisley Enforcers.

    Captain Sheridan turned around, crisply nodding to the troopers, who split, running diffrent ways to the far reaches of the ship to gather troops and pilots for getting the Pudgeboat 1 portion of Babylon station up and runninging, and for clawing the Enterprise into a close embrace with it's host.

    "Mr. Averre, I know we have not gotten along in the past, but we now have a mission. I want you to have a compliment of engineers ready within the hour to hook the Enterprise up to one of the TZ-900s were were escorting, and to prepare for extended repair and rebuild operations using off-spec tech without assistance from Corellea Construction or the Imperial Core of Engineering. I know you will treat this operation with the utmost importance and urgancy, and will have it done properly and on time." Sheridan turned around to start on getting together some of the protocols on negotiations and other issues that would be coming up in the coming months, including the never-really-used joint force protocols and rulings.

    And Averre looked on, completely confused as to what was going on. The flash of light, what was that all about. "Sir! Wait, what was all that? The light, the hum th-"

    "Mystical jedi altering the space-time continuum and providing me a transporter. Now go on... I've got plans to make. We're mostly alone out here." Sheridan turned around and left before Averre could ask anymore questions. He couldn't easily explain, and he intended to let the situation explain itself. It was fairly uncomplicated after all. He had bigger fish to fry, like getting started on a new galactic goverment. And Gale was fun when he got flustered.


    "Then I'll let you have fun denying, then!" Sheridan shook his head as he moved for the lift back up to his quarters.

    /Enterprise, Section 15 Deck 46/

    Jacob Stari slid across the corridor on the still somewhat fresh coating of wax, before his boots caught a grip on the deck and regained traction, his momentum in his choosen direction building again. There were times when he regretted the somewhat ill-thoughtout lift system of the Enterprise, and having to make a run from the engineering compartments forward to the pilot's lounge.

    The sound of his boots skidding along the floor as he slid to a stop in the Echo Squadron pilot's lounge got the pilot's attention, a game of sabac halting to look up at the intruder

    "Hey, what are you doing here, Gank?" Echo Lead looked up to the familiar, and somewhat liked trooper. He had earned their respect somewhat, and his nickname at the same time. The Eisley Enforcers had been on a infiltrate and annialate mission in support of one of the Enterprise's anti-pirate missions 2 years back, about a year after Yavin. In the middle of it, a wing of starfighters was preparing to launch from the station to take down the bomber wings.

    Stari had been in position to see a rebel starfighter, one of the rumored H-wings, being prepped as a gunship, and had decided to do something about it. No-one was quite sure how he managed to secure it, given his propencity for tall tales, and the lack of evidence at the scene for the most part, but it was generally agreed that he had snuck up on the guards, and had proceeded to stab one in the throat, whispering, "You've been ganked." in his ear. The rest of the fight had been quick, bloody, and left pieces of dead pirates and rebels scattered everywhere. Then he proceeded to grab the rest of his squad and make off with the already once-stolen fighter-gunboat, and give the pilot wings a surprise they never forgot as the foursome proceeded to start shooting down pirate uglies and generally flew around making a nuisance of themselves humming the imperial anthem.

    The Enforcers had kept the H-Wing, eventually getting help from the engineers in the off-periods to rebuild it into a infiltrator dropship/gunship. It had taken 6 months of work and several head-scratchings, but it could fit a 8-man squad not-so comfortably, had heavy duty TIE engines to replace the old ones, with a set of the TIE systems solar exchange units to help out it's systems, along with weapons upgrades, a modified shield generator, hyperdrive upgrades, and a whole bunch of other goodies that had been scrounged together from wherever they had been found.

    And the pilots, well... anyone who could figure out how to fly that big hunk-a-junk through a battle deserved at least a little recognition. And the fact that he sometimes let them borrow it for gunship missions meant that he could get them to do what he asked for.

    "We need as many shuttle and transport qualified pilots as can be found. We've got rescuers!" The demolitions expert clone pointed towards the door, only slightly breathing hard as the pilots started jumping up, datapads, sabbac cards and other items that had been getting used flying everywhere in their haste to jump into rescuing themselves. The depressurization of the hangers had been a major pain, but... "Just grab your equipment, and be back here in under an hour for the briefing!"

    /Enterprise, Combat Engineer's bay/

    The bay of the combat engineers for the Enterprise was a war-geek's dream. Near anything developed by the Empire for war on the ground could be found in it. From remote turrets of all types to massive walker parts, to the base prefabbed for setup, and some of the best trooper engineers that the empire had ever developed in the opinion of Dran Toral, the Corellian engineer of the Eisley Enforcers. They had formed up at seeing the venetrable engineer, who had been aboard for most of the ship's life and was considered one of the leaders for the companies of miracle workers.

    Between himself and Averre, the Enforcer's custom ship had been rebuilt out of their trophy they had unoffically kept. He could have just as easily gone into starship engineering, only joining up with the Stormtrooper core because he preferred to give things that personal touch. He was just about the most senior engineer, but he was definately regarded as the engineer with the most experience.

    "Gentlemen, as of right now, we are going into full combat readiness. We will shortly be engaged in a war the likes of which we have never seen before. We will be given the ability to cross the galaxy on foot through a narrow 4 meter wide gate, armed only with what we can bring ourselves. Our objective, is to save the ship, and to throw down an Empire that makes our own look like a benevolent democracy." Toral's blunt statement got a few growls and gasps out of the swarmed formation of engineers, the loyalists who would have to be watched making themselves known.

    He nodded, his face remaining serious as he started taking mental notes to get with the captain or someone in charge to discuss the problems that would crop up from the die-hard imperialists. "I will also say this, we are alone in the galaxy, cut off from the Empire, pretty much permenantly from what I understand. But, we have the fortune of being in the solar system of an emerging human power, who has garnered favor with an old race that has technologies far beyond anything I have ever seen. Who will allow us to borrow those technologies for ourselves, provided we behave and help them in freeing this galaxy, and forging a new order."

    The bay went from a dead hush, to frightened grumblings, to the mighty roar of ready and able engineers who intended to follow through with that promise. They all looked at Toral, ready to follow his commands, the respected old trooper smiling slightly with pride over the troops he had helped to train.

    "Get whatever supplies you will need, and be back here within half an hour. We'll be taking a transporter back." At the confused stares, he nodded sagely. "Yes, they have point-to-point transporters." The sudden rush of individuals going to fill personal bags for an extended stay off the ship. Of course, in the case of engineers, this involved equipment instead of clothes. Equipment like pieces for E-webs, base scanners, hull cutters, generator parts, everything that you could carry by yourself to set up your very own ground-base.

    He'd trained them well. At least this SGC that he'd heard about had sense to be underground and buried in a mountain. Though from the sluglaunchers they carried, which apparently were all that they had, other than a few captured energy weapons, they didn't have too much time to advance their sciences. Maybe after they got set up he could get the SGC to let them do some home improvement.

    /Main Firing Range/

    Jacob Dell, the sharpshooter of the Enforcers, and the second of the two clones, looked down the range, at the various leaders and sharpshooters of the Echo Company, 2 Battalion, 1701st Regiment. A few were practicing, trying to keep themselves occupied, but many were listening intently to him, explaining what had happened, what was going to happen. The midset red-headed clone was gesturing wildly with his drink, explaining the whole fight against the Goa'uld.

    "So, you're basically telling me that these things, as far as our unproven new allies can tell, and I do stress unproven, can take you over, infiltrate, destroy, and have a god complex the size of a deathstar?" The squad leader was rather dubiously listening, but Dell had his attention.

    "Yeah, from what I understand. The squad we caught down below was their flagship team that deals with the same kind of wierd phodo we do. Those energy weapons we took off of them were developed by the enemy. From what I understand, they fight a lot like our more rabbly bottom-scraper counterparts." Dell, took a swing of his drink, before gesturing back towards the aft of the compartment, ostenably towards their home galaxy, wherever in corellian hells it was.

    "So they can't shoot for phodo at 50 meters, have little to no grasp of tactics, generally are cannon fodder and don't understand the concept of 'DUCK'?"

    Dell nodded, shrugging. "Sounds about how they described them. Pretty encouraging. Though these new 'Kull' warriors that recently appeared sound more worrying. Should prove to be an interesting fight, provided we can shoot at them from a reasonable distance. 5k sounds good." The laughs of knowing individuals filled the local area. Dell was known for making outragous shots, usually involving the biggest gun he could find in the most complicated fashion when allowed to. Well, when the command staff didn't yell at him afterwards.

    "So we've got 40 minutes to gather together troops? Sounds like it's time to ruin some wanna-bies' day."

    "Sounds like a plan. I'd say be back in 37 minutes to be on the safe side, with a good compliment of weapons. I don't know if we'll be back until they fix the ship." Dell chuckled as he thumped his mug onto the table. He wondered if he was a force sensitive that had slipped through the cracks. Certainly he shot well enough to have been accused of using it once or twice. "And bring friends, too!"

    "Shoot 'em where it hurts, Dell!"

    "Shoot 'em every time!" The clone got up, looking down the range as the group began gathering people up to get ready. His story was pretty unbelieveable, but the Enforcers were one of the best, though the single most unconventional squad. They had gone through enough strange missions that if they said that a planet was made out of cheese, or that time was looping, they would be instantly believed, and the science department that the ship had would be jumping to figure out more.

    The clone gestured to one of the shooters, who handed over his weapon to let the sharpshooter have at it. He took a stance, and fired off 10 blasts to see if he still had it. Even with his loose, casual shots, he punched 10 holes in the rebel-shaped target's center of mass. Wasn't the smiley he was going for, but they were close enough together at 50 meters that he was fairly confident that the jaffa wouldn't be able to tell the diffrence when, or if he met them. He gave the weapon back, and headed for his quarters to grab a few shirts and pants, along with the few personal effects he had.

    /Prometheus Main Bridge/

    "Are we sure they'll work with us? I would rather not take any chances with an organization that was willing to destroy an entire planet, and that has been shown to be far more destructive and inventive than the Goa'uld." General Hammond watched the radio beacons aboard the Enterprise, 4 of which that marked the stormtrooper squad converging back on a single location.

    "Their captain seems a lot like me, with a bit of Teal'c and Danny thrown in for rounding out. I say trust them, and find out the die-hard imperialists in the crew and watch them. The fact that Sheridan seems to be embracing new ideas seems to me like he's one of the better guys." O'neill was back in his shirtsleeves uniform, watching the progress as the Prometheus lined up another of the Pudgeboats next to the other two, lining them up to provide a triangular drydock enclosure for the Enterprise, which they had been assembled around.

    "Imperialists, embracing? Jack, your vocabulary is growing." Daniel smiled as he watched Jack scowl, and turn around to face his cheeky alternate.

    "A one time deal, Daniel.." Jack turned back to the now shadowed front windows, as the small form of the Prometheus slowly manuvered on it's RCS thrusters into the makeshift bay, hovering very very carefully over the forward side of the Enterprise, inspecting it at almost hull-kissing range. At the close range, the crew of the Prometheus could look out, seeing the myrad micro-damages that had been inflicted. Smaller defensive emplacements sheared off, little pittings from various incidents... the ship was a mess, pure and simple.

    "I'm disinclined to trust them, but I'm willing to risk it if you can vouch for them." The uneven lighting of the Prometheus's overhead lights cast strange shadows on Hammond's face as he turned around, facing SG-1.

    Teal'c looked dispassionately to Carter and Daniel, raising an eyebrow. He was willing to trust them, now it was a matter of the rest of SG-1 trusting them.

    "I'm willing to trust them. The captain well knows now that we're not rebels, and as they pointed out, they have no choice but to trust us. There is no way we can opeate that thing without them, and frankly, they could well be our last hope for stopping Anubis. It's only a matter of time before he comes for Earth again." Daniel knew bits and pieces of the full power of Anubis, a scant few of his ascended memories rising to the surface now and again in his dreams. Horrible memories as bad as seeing Alderann go the way of the dodo.

    "I have to agree, sir. Anubis's ships outgun and massively outmass the Prometheus. The technology of the Enterprise might allow us to close the outgunning gap. I hope that she's got enough firepower to stand up to Anubis's mothership, because we still don't have any clues as to the locations of any weapons of the Ancients." Carter was rather dissappointed at having to take this forced relationship of forces. The thoughts of a former bunch of imperialistic brainwashed crazies joining forces with the SGC struck some bad vibes with her, like the aschen had.

    "You know me, sir. This is our big chance to score with something that will put the fear of god into some Goulds. Plus, I like the guy. He seems a lot like me. With a crazy ship that has more guns than the entire US navy." Jack smiled like a maniac, wondering what he could do if they ever built a second one. Once they got the first one repaired. His mind was nearly exploding with potential strategems that were possible with the massive mile long super-battleship.

    "Somehow I don't think this is going to go over well, though... however, if we don't have much of a choice, then I suppose I can live with your reccomendations. Time until beam-back?" General Hammond turned back to the fore of the bridge, looking to the operations console. The operations officer looked at his running clock, which was half-over.

    "24 minutes, sir."

    "We'll have to see what they bring..."

    /Echo Enforcers Bunk Room/

    The small bunk room of the four troopers was a whirl of activity as three of them gathered together all their gear. Duffle bags were tossed fully loaded around, lettering marking them as the troopers personal belongings and gear. Dell's trunk full of sniper gear and low-profile armor slid across the floor, bumping into the rucksack with Stari's pilot alternate helmet and flight-suit and Toral's giant toolbox of goodies.

    "I hope they don't mind us taking the presumption of taking up residence in their base of operations as a peace offering." Dell locked the glove of his backup armor into place, the alternate armor being his sniper gear, ligher, with a camo covering that could be shifted between a few default patternings. The angular armor looked little like standard stormtrooper armor, the dark shade-visor over the wide faceplate having a completely diffrent feel than normal trooper armor. The curved faceplate was intimidating in a whole diffrent way from the skull-like standard stormtrooper masks, machine-like, efficient, deadly.

    "They won't have much choice, there are too many of us to just be cooped up on the station-freighters. They probably want cannon fodder too. We'll just have to prove them wrong, now won't we?" Stari had on his own backup armor, which was pilot modified like his primary armor. Thankfully, the cockpits of their Tie-H was big enough to take a normal stormtrooper in armor. And detonators, cutting devices and other goodies of all descriptions. The mix of demo man and pilot was odd, grenade launchers and all.

    "Heh, they'll probably drool over Imperial base defensive systems. After all, if an enemy gets past this Stargate of theirs, a few dozen e-webs, and other little tricks of the trade will come in handy." Toral thumbed the sharp edges of his massively oversized wrench, easily the size of a Great Axe. It actually worked as a wrench, too, of all standards and sizes, though it was more suited for melee combat. Wrench slayer, he had been called once. He smiled, remembering good ole' times practicing with smashing various large fruits with it, back in the old days. After he had joined the Corps, and gotten senior enough to customize his field loadout, he had taken leave, gone home, and brought back the MOAW with him.

    His armor was pretty much standard, save for the equipment bandoliers that covered it, filled with various goodies that he had developed over the years. Remote spy devices, miniaturized grenades, hacking devices, auto-turret pieces... you ought to be prepared for any situation after all. He popped open his toolbox, the light of the various equipment status blinkers shining forth like a declaration of glory. It was keyed to only open for him, and he always tried to make sure no-one else was around to see his full arsenal. He scowled as he felt the gaze of the clones over his shoulders, and he shut the toolbox, looking at them with a withering gaze. "Do you mind?"

    The two clones sheepishly backed away and averted their eyes from Toral's toolbox, and the sometimes reculsive combat engineer shut it back tight, locking it with his thumbprint. "Lousy whippersnapper clones..." The laughs from the duo behind him got him to smile, knowing that their goofballishness was part of what had kept the Eisleys from loosing it on some of the worse missions they had been on.

    The sound of the hatch opening caught all of their attention. Trik Khaar, the leader of the Eisley Enforcers and a Lietenant in the Stormtrooper core entered in, looking at his troops oddly in the strange tableu. They all stood up for their commander, the crusty and still tanned silent stickler looking at each in turn.

    "The captain agrees with our plan, and many of the officers are willing to believe the story. If we can get them to let us join into their efforts, we will be the flagship team for our efforts." Quick as possible and to the point. He headed over to his own bunk, which was already half-packed as it always was. He was one of the liasons between the trooper core and the upper decks and the dampener on the madmen that were the Eisley Enforcers.

    The rest of his coworkers shouldered their loads as they headed for the armory for their other weapons. It naturally wasn't good to have their weapons 24/7, too easy for a lone trooper to go crazy and go after some poor victim. Some of the problems with only needing a power pack and some easily stolen gas is that it was way too easy to power up and kill someone. Time for the hand-cannons.

    /Prometheus Starboard Landing Bay/

    The flash of the Asgard transporter faded away to the sound of Captain Sheridan's voice in a thunderous call. "Atten-hun!" The sound of over 600 pairs of combat boots snapping to attention cracked across the brightly lit bay, the pilots of Echo Flight, and the various troopers of the Echo Company 2 Bn 1701st.

    Jack's jaw dropped at the sheer variety of various fun weapons and possibilities that were offered by the troopers. And the absolutely massive sniper rifle of the Eisley Enforcer sniper. It was nearly taller than he was, with a muzzle bigger than a fist. Sheer intimidation in a way that the Jaffa had nothing on.

    "Sweet holy hanna..." Carter's astonished shock was worth the annoyance that the imperials had brought aboard so many weapons. Though he could see why they were so feared. They knew the definition of rule 37. Sure, a lot of them had the carbines, but... they had some nasty other weapons...

    "Captain Sheridan, what is the meaning of this!?" General Hammond was not happy that 600 crazies had brought aboard the Prometheus the biggest damm weapons he had ever seen, with some other weapon, packs, base equipment, everything save for food to feed them with.

    "If you're going to support us in refitting and saving the Enterprise, then the least we could do is provide you with a set of troops well-used to plain out wierd that your tales have informed me of. Ones that don't have to answer to allies, or be recruited clandesenly. Free for you to use as you need." Sheridan stepped forward, documentation on the abilities of Echo company on several data-pads under his arm.

    "For anything we choose?" General Hammond was skeptical about this free offer of manpower. There was always, ALWAYS a catch.

    "Well, so long as you take my best squad for use as the liason team with the SGC. They are the best I have ever found, and you already beamed them out once. Eisleys, forward!" Sheridan called forth the bodyguard squad of before. The one with the craziest gear. The giant blaster sniper rifle of doom, one absolutely loaded down with engineering equipment and turret components and that wrench! Then the one with the detonating equipment and some other kind of equipment, which looked somewhat like pilot survival gear.

    At least the leader was somewhat normal, in a normal stormtrooper armor, though his weapon had a grenade launcher under the barrel and other small changes. Though there had to be something about him.

    "They have gone through hell and back again, and will follow your orders. They are crazy and they are at your disposal."

    General Hammond could only blink, as Jack O'neill smiled evilly, thinking of the nightmare teh Goa'uld were about to experience. Teal'c raised an eyebrow, looking over to Daniel, who looked back past a semi-catatonic Carter who was already thinking of what she could do with the proven energy technology and Goa'uld varients...

    The rules have changed. Bigtime.
    moonberserker likes this.
  7. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Chapter 6: A settling sensation

    "Aww, come on, you can see it now, a few shrubbaries, an E-web in a tower overlooking the driveway, the Imperial Flag fluttering in the breeze..."

    "The flag might be overdoing it."

    /Somewhere in the Rockies/

    Dawn... birds chirped and overlooked the construction site of the Air Force's newest base. Deep in the upper reaches of the rockies, high up in Montana, the new base was more than just an R&D facility. After all, so far away from society, it was perfect for the 1701st to settle their roots as the start of their new life. No empire and rebellion, well, a whole new definition of it, with them in the unexpected, and unexplored realm of being the dirty little terrorist fighters themselves.

    The birds flew in, skittering amongst the large block of buildings, the temporarily makeshift road leading into the base busy with military traffic, of the current age, and the more advanced hovercraft of the 1701st... and then the tranquility shattered, as did one unfortunate bird, at a nearby near-sonic transit of an F-302, followed close-behind by a TIE-Interceptor giving practice chase. Various individuals looked up, watching the two give merry hell to their opponents, before screaming back over the horizon and up into suborbital territory to continue their match.

    Not a worry in the world at the moment, not a soul within 100 miles that wasn't either directly a part of the SGC, or working for an organization that knew about it. A safe haven for the crew of the Enterprise, and what would become the SGC's future home when they began work on the underground portion of the base. Everything was going well, and his good fortune kept Captain Sheridan with a smile on his face, as he overlooked his crew's work like a proud father watching his children build themselves a new toy.

    The sprawling mostly 3 story fortress formed the heart of the base, FTL hypernode comm arrays, sensor dishes, radar turrets and all manners of interesting devices for monitoring what would eventually become a galaxy-wide struggle for freedom and liberation. The gray durasteel of it's prefabbed central core was surrounded by the beginnings of native-built complex that would concern itself with more mundane aspects of the battle, logistics, personelle, fun toys involving superheated plasma...

    The president of their host country hadn't really wanted to allow a base to be set up at first, until the SGC had shown him the rather... wrecked state the Enterprise was in at the moment. The crew could have survived on the impromtu spacestation alone, but that would have been rather hazardous, and the offer of a defensive outpost capible of striking back at the Goa'uld from the surface in his country swayed his mind, eventually. Col. O'neill had made the point the best, actually...

    "If we're going to make a deal, why not make the deal that lets us SHOOT BACK!?"

    The next week had been spent frantically finding the quickest location that they could set up in. Montana had eventually been picked, being one of the most remote and uninhabited states in the continental 48, and within a thousand miles of the original SGC site. A huge strech of land had been for sale, and the Air Force proceeded to snatch it up. The cover story for the new base under construction was that it was being used for a new joint-forces experiment, having all of the combined forces of the US working together closer than ever before to try and develop new joint-forces technologies and strategies.

    A truth within a lie, like the Deep Space Radar Telemetry of the SGC. It did look at such things, but more of as a side-result of it's operation, not the actual operation itself. As such was it with Ft. Avalon. After all, they were experimenting with new joint-forces strategies and technologies, along with trying to make all the branches of the armed forces get along. Though it was all a side effect of it's real purpose, the primary ground base for the 1701st, and the crew of the Enterprise, along with the construction facility that would work on the new Prometheus refit that the spare engineers from the Enterprise were working on with the SGC's starship development department.

    Sheridan had heard rumors that they were also developing a cruiser class, based off of what had been supposed to become the BC-304 class, and applying the raw talent and ideas of the SGC to the proven ideas of the techniques of the Empire. The Enterprise had found itself now, once it's own refit plans were finished, as a flagship, a battleship, a destroyer of stars indeed. Some of the things he had heard about the plans for his ship frightened him. This EU that had been developed around the stories told of his galaxy, told of a fellow Star Destroyer mounting a Super Laser... and with the new naquada generators and various technologies the SGC had, they expected to be able to fit one spinally on the Enterprise, giving her a fearsome main gun. They suspected that it potentially could get enough raw power from 8 naquada generators to match the original Death Star's primary weapon, though they were not holding hope on that.

    It had been... rather interesting, that day when he had tried to get into the design center aboard Bayblon, only to find the various scientists blocking the door with a fairly large human wall. That had not stopped him from catching a glimpse of the new planned shape of his ship, far more graceful and smooth, with what looked like a 303's hanger arrangement on the underside, and landing bays on the dorsal superstructure. Add in a far expanded bridge section that looked almost like a saucer, likely with interesting surprises in store, and what appeared to be the whole ship being expanded, he was worried he wouldn't even recognize his ship at all when they were done...

    His ship... the thought was still mind-boggling. Him, the captain of the single most advanced Star Destroyer that had been as of yet, a monster that he suspected would pack far more of a punch once the SGC got done with it and their adding of new technologies. He never would have thought of himself as captain of anything greater than a Dreadnaught, being too much of a maverick, free thinker, and sticking too much to his oath to protect the people. That oath was more for show than actual following, it had seemed like in those dark days before he was swept into this strange new galaxy.

    Now, there was hope for his misplaced ideals, of having made a diffrence, to ensure that he actually worked for something worth working for.

    He looked back out over the fort that was growing, watching the dust plumes from various vehicles traveling along the unfinished roads. An outdoor theater was going up at the moment, a temporary measure to give the crew something to watch in the nights, as the night-crew worked. He had talked to Col. O'neill to ask about what had been picked out for the beginning run for the theater, and he had replied cryptically, "Star Trek." Then he'd smirked and walked off. What in the heck did he mean by Star Trek?

    / Fort Avalon, Montana, Outdoor Theater, 1900 that evening/

    The Eisley Enforcers had finally found their way back to the home camp of the 1701st, after a short stint working with SG-1. Not too much had happened there during their stint, odd considering SG-1's luck combined with their own. General Hammond had been glad when they had left, due to the bad influence they had been on the various SG teams, in the way of dealing with jaffa attacks and packing.

    And, just in time for the beginning of the introductory series of entertainent to help make it easier for them to adjust to the new world they had found themselves in. They scooted along the aisles, finding SG-1 already sitting down and enjoying the speculation going on amonst the various individuals in the audience and proceeded to squish in beside them, the infamous squad's status quickly convincing people to scoot over. Teal'c passed over a 2 gallon sized tub of popcorn, which found itself centered between the Jacob's as the outdoor lights began to slowly dim.

    "So, what exactly is this 'Star Trek'? I've heard it discussed by a quite a few people in rather reverant tones." Stari leaned around the giant bucket of popcorn in his lap, looking at the smirking SG-1 to his right. The primitive screen that had been set up began to glow from the projection reflecting off of it, re-illuminating the area faintly.

    "Now why would we spoil that when you can watch right now?" Jack leaned back in his seat, having watched the film a few times with Teal'c, who had found the series almost as... fascinating, as Star Wars.

    The sound of the opening credits beginning focused everyone's attention on the screen, and the assorted stormtroopers, pilots, and personelle learned a segment of the history of the original ship named Enterprise, and began to understand why they looked up. A ship of hope, a name of hope, that is what was implied in the Enterprise.

    They smiled at the sight of her leaving dock, some loving her looks, hissed at Kahn, cringed at the sight of her mangling by the Reliant. Stood in awe, humbled by the power of the Genesis Device; and chuckled viciously at Kirk's most infamous line, loving how sneaky the Admiral could be still, despite starting to loose his grip. Cheered the Enterprise on as she evened the odds, and proceeded to lay the smackdown on the Reliant. Booed Kahn as he decided to try and take the Enterprise with him, and went silent, at the spectacle of the Genesis Planet, and the last gasp of Spock.

    Nothing the Empire had was that good, almost everything the Empire had being gutted by the Intelligence and Security divisions to be 'compliant' with the Emperor's vision, which was to say: more boring than watching a Tatooine dunescape. But, the sheer magnitude of what the Earthers had thought up astounded them all. A single torpedo that could simply make an entire planet, and fill it with life? An astounding tool... and a far more terrifying weapon than the Death Star. After all, if you could program in a planet, what was to say that they could not put into the matrix... oh, say a planetary level mass worth of ships? Fully crewed and staffed by whoever and whatever you wanted, totally loyal and ready to die at your whim?

    The engineers took notes, the ideas of what the Federation had sparking ideas for their projects, as they saw what had inspired some of the design choices of the SGC designers who were working on the Enterprise. Their Enterprise, not the Federation one in the movie. As it was, they had begun to understand what they were driving at, and some of the toys of the Enterprise, especially those 'photon torpedoes' had been interesting. A ship could look beautiful and deadly, after all, which is what the SGC had been starting to go at.

    The Eisleys looked over to SG-1, having found the movie to be fantastic. And this popcorn stuff was pretty interesting, too! This whole planet had a fresh look at ideas, a new perspective that was starting to make them wonder why in the hell they had ever considered the Empire a good option.

    Toral was the first to speak up, his accent described already by Earthers as 'southeastern country'. "Nice ship, even if a bit impractical. Too bad she was ripped a structurally superfulous new one." He grabbed a handful of popcorn over the objections of Dell, popping a piece into his mouth. Tasty. "And she does prop up some interesting ideas and concepts that I never thought of. Or that we just haven't been able to master. For all that we have a 'disentigrate' setting, it doesn't work very well. Sort of 'burn your flesh from your bones', rather than actually doing the job it claims."

    "Remind me to introduce you to a zat, sometime." Jack slurped at his mostly gone slushie, settling back for the second half of the double header. There was number 3 to see next, with 4 and 6 tomorrow. He wouldn't get to see those, having to go back to base tomorrow for another mission.

    "What's with those big pylons and the outboards mounted on them? Doesn't seem like a good design." Stari looked around the popcorn bowl, stealing a handful himself, earning another annoyed look from his clone brother.

    "The warp drive they were talking about. It warps space to put the ship into a bubble of an alternate space-time where the speed of light is far faster." Carter had studied the series some in order to know what in the heck some of the other geeks in the department sometimes babbled on about. "There are a lot of ideas the SGC has been wanting to try, but we only have a limited understanding of many higher forces."

    "Sounds like a project for industrious individuals to work on so we can proceed to confuse and discombobulate some poor fool." Toral smiled and looked over his engineering goggles that he usually wore, an interested and maniacal gleam in his eyes.

    /Goa'uld Territory, Anubis's flagship/

    The dark god stopped in his tracks, as something far away caught his attention. The game he had been playing had been shifted. He could feel a blind spot, where that meddlesome fool had blocked his vision. Earth... the Taur'i... they had something which could hurt him. It was as if a terrifying force had cried out in anticipation, and had been told to be quiet before it could give away anything.

    He turned to his first prime, annoyed still that he could still not move against Earth in any close time-frame. So what if it was a ship of the Federation, from the symbol that the annoying meddler had choosen? 20 Ha'taks and his mothership would be enough. After all, it wasn't like he had summonded a ship from that dammable Imperium of Men from that alternate universe, or any number of other worse case scenarios.

    The technologies he could get from the wreck, though... it was a bad day when Q summoned the starship Enterprise to be destroyed...

    Too bad it wasn't the StarSHIP, but rather a Destroyer of the Stars... Anubis began plotting, laying out new plans to his First Prime, ripples spreading out from the great game. It would be longer now, though, before Anubis begins his march against Earth. All the better to prepare with. Whispers are constantly heard throughout the galaxy. The Taur'i have new equipment, new ships, at least one more...

    An expidition to Earth Space by a system lord finds itself blown away almost as soon as it leaves hyperspace, by something out there. The system lords chalk it up to the Asgard, and decide to leave Earth alone, lest they bring the wrath of the Asgard down on their heads. Every whisper comes back to the dark ascended who has been pulling the strings.

    His intrest grows, as he listens to the growing confusion regarding Earth, the growing forces that they field, wielding plasma weapons now, powerful enough to hurt anything the system lords have, and his own Kull warriors. That little surprise quickly caused Anubis's primary focus to shift back to the Taur'i from his quest for the Ancient cities. They should not have been able to come close to doing that.

    If he still had a physical body, he would have smirked as he directed a whole legion of Kull warriors to the small outpost the Taur'i called "Alpha Base". It was time to find out what they were up to.
    moonberserker likes this.
  8. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Chapter 7: Looming in the night

    "The cold and overreaching fingers of the dark can be found everywhere, and only the light of dawn can bring hope to the night."

    /Fort Avalon, Hanger 51/

    Captain Sheridan looked at the giant beaming smiles on the guards for Hanger 51, which had been picked for the R&D hanger as what the American hosts for the 1701st called an ironic and had to be done joke. He swore to himself that the instant he understood their humor that he would shoot himself as having committed a crime against the universe. He didn't know how they got away with their oddities, possibly this whole nonsense with Anubis, the Enterprise, and everything else was caused as their punishment.

    "So, what has summoned- ooooooooohhh..." Sheridan was about to start interrogating the engineers who were waiting for him in the cavernous prefab hanger, before they parted from the massive gaggle they had been standing in to show their masterpiece that had been 2 months in hasty and slapdash development. The sleek black fighter looked like the specter of death as it stood on the pavement, glossy black Carbonat plating gleaming menacingly in the bright overhead lights, sucking in the light like a spectral omen of death.

    "I told you we'd break him."

    Sheridan stepped over to the spectral looking craft, running his hand along the sleek glossy paneling of it's fuselage. A dark, intimidating craft, but beautiful. The angular structure was rounded ever so slightly, comprimises between the TIE engineers and those of the 302. He squatted down, looking at the small-sized twin gatling mounts that dissappeared into the the underside of it's nose.

    "Slugthrowers?" The engineers looked at each other over the hesitant question, the captain beginning to look at them suspiciously.

    "We took the best of both craft when the F-302 beat several TIE Interceptor squads with one of their own. For a primitive craft,-"

    "HEY!" One of the 302 engineers looked over annoyedly at counterpart.

    "It is extremely capible. So, they suggested that we combine the best of both worlds. And... they started scaring us when we showed them how TIE technology works. And, the result stands before you. The F-302/B prototype, the TIE Spitfire." The Engineer calmly stepped up over the annoyed exclamation of his collegue, standing proudly beside his captain over the best thing that had happened since TIEs themselves. Everyone agreed, no-one was going to enjoy having this on the other side.

    "You didn't answer my question." Sheridan looked over to the engineer annoyedly, wanting a few straight answers about this.

    "No, no I didn't. She has twin .3 caliber gatling pulse blasters, courtesy of these 'Lockheed Martin' people who have so graciously provided us with a few bits and pieces that they have improved upon. They were originally supposed to be standard chin blasters, but they brought us these instead. We didn't really understand how they were supposed to be put together or work until our friends showed us the principles behind gatling technology. They are downright sneaky, inventive, and firepower obseessed individuals." The TIE engineer shuddered at the thoughts of some of the ideas the American and British engineers had come up with, and wanted nothing to do with whatever had caused them to start thinking in those terms. Madness!

    "Thanks. We've been working at it for millenium. Call us primitive if you want, we still know how to build stuff that can make nearly anyone else weep. She is designed to be able to turn 180 degrees at 5000 kps in under 3 seconds, along with pulling manuvers that would leave nearly any other starfighter in pieces, if they could musted the sheer engine power needed to perform them." The American engineer looked smug as he walked around the fighter, showing off the far more massive than standard Ion drivers. American overengineering at it's finest was easily applicable to the little monster of a starfighter.

    Sheridan followed, able to look straight into a drive exaust port big enough to fit himself down. "Hells, do you think you have a big enough exaust port?" The good captain looked up along the dorsal surface of the craft, the two sets of RCS thrusters outset of the stabilizer tails.

    The American engineers and British engineers looked at each other, before laughing hysterically. The flight engineers of the Enterprise looked at each other oddly, still not sure what exactly had gotten loose in their counterpart's heads. Sheridan edged over to his batch of engineers, keeping away from the crazy Earth ones. "Are they always like this?"

    "Usually. We're not really sure what is wrong with them. One of the medical staffers thinks it's something in the water. We've been living off of the ship's recycling plants ever since." The engineers looked nervous, as they gingerly patted their mad creation. They found it fascinating, but treated it gingerly. The way that their counterparts designed it had them wondering if it could sustain normal combat operations.

    "Ooohh, that was a good one. Got another? But, seriously, ya'll take too much effort into overthinking your craft. Granted, we've been doing that ourselves lately, but this stuff let's us go back a bit to the old days..." The engineers looked nostalgic for a moment, before shaking it off.

    "But, anyways, this puppy has been put into the ring with a full squadron of TIE Interceptors and knocked all of them silly. Especially with her missile loadout, and other wonderful little features." The American spokesperson ducked under the wing of the fighter, patting the side of the fusalage lightly, the hatch under there open and ready to load. "She can load 8 Sidewinders in the expanded missile bays, has lockon range out to 6000 miles, which we're working on expanding, and whole bunch of nifty features that are nearly too numerous to list."

    "Why would you waste perfectly good ordinance on another fighter?"

    "Why would you waste a perfectly good life in an ansine close-range dogfght when you can kill 'em all from long range and save the cannons for something that has a hard time moving? Waste stuff, not lives. Easier to make a missile than a life, after all." The engineers inspected the missile brackets inside the mounting bay, checking them motherly for damage from the test series. "Plus it's a bit easier to be sneaky when your opponents are all dead before you even get into visual range and your craft leaves almost no sensor signature."

    Sheridan blinked as he tried to understand why the strange cultures of this world had taken up ordinance loving over proper fighter techniques... He was getting frustrated with the strange ways of this backwards and upcoming planet. Every time he thought he had grabbed ahold of how their culture worked, it slipped out of his grasp like a rock slug...

    /Alpha Site/

    The Alpha Site was calm, quiet, wasn't expecting any havoc. No organization besides the SGC and it's allies knew where it was, and they had shifted it from their old Alpha site due to the Rebel Jaffa and Tok'ra knowing the old site, which was still being mantained as the Beta Site. The Imperials had advocated that course of action, wanting to protect the research being developed there.

    It didn't help much. After all, Anubis was a semi-ascended being, capible of reaching out with his mind to search the cosmos. Then all it took was telling a Ha'tak to patrol nearby, and wait for it to find his prey...

    Carter and her father, as how it was supposed to have been, were working on their new weapon when the fight began. The sound of quad cannons lighting up the skies against death gliders sent chills though staffer's hearts, and stormtroopers rushed from guard positions to do battle with landing troops.

    "We've got to go!" A trooper leaned through the door, wildly gesturing with his blaster towards the door. The alarms began ringing as the AA guns outside continued to blast away on their long-range scanner control, trying to stop as many of the incoming Death Gliders and Alkesh as they could.

    "Come on, Sam!" Jacob Carter started grabbing as much of the equipment as he could, taking one of the prototype modified blasters to save it, as his daughter took the other. The ground shook heavily as the orbital shockwave of a Mrk 8 detonating in close orbit reached the surface, the Prometheus joining the battle above with it's heavy new arments.

    "We'll make for the Galleo, she's got the new model Hyperdrive aboard, we can get out on her!" Sam ran for the door, the prototype blaster in one hand, and a DC-12 carbine in the other. It was make or break time for the defenses of the Alpha site. She hoped the Prometheus could hold against whatever forces the Goa'uld or whoever it was had sent against them.

    Outside the prefab Quioset hut, the base was in pandemonium as a contingent of Jaffa was doing battle with Stormtroopers. Plasma crossed paths as the Jaffa did battle with their new counterparts, green and brown camo'd Stormtroopers ripping into their less competent new rivals. A quartet of troopers broke off from guarding the lab, taking up flanking positions around the Carters as a light flashed overhead, brilliant and blinding.

    SGC personelle who were taking up arms, and the gunners of the defensive positions all hoped that the flash wasn't the death knell of the Prometheus, that she was still alive and fighting for their survival. If she was gone, what chance did the Enterprise stand?

    /Bridge of the USS Prometheus, now SCC-1/

    The flash of a Ha'tak going up brought a cheer to the crew of the Prometheus, as the HAT fireteams shifted to the second Ha'tak that had dropped out over the Alpha site. The very interferance that had made it so hard to find the planet also had meant that they couldn't see their attackers until they were right atop of them. It had been a lucky look out the window that had saved her from being crippled in the first volley, and the new firepower given to her by the Enterprise's donated and rebuilt heavy batteries had given her the power to smite back.

    The newly promoted Col. Pendergast smiled savagely as his ship swung about, the forward HAT battery on her bow ripping into the Anubis uprate Ha'tak with savage fury as the port and starboard batteries came to bear, the light computer controlled batteries ripping new ones from their various mounts on the defiling ship. The little frigate rocked from a nearby blast, as the Ha'tak desperately manuvered to remove the minature daemon from it's tail.

    It flew across the atmosphere of the unnamed planet, bright flashes going up between it and the Taur'i frigate as it savagely pursued it larger but now more primitive foe. The Prometheus screamed overhead in close pursuit, her newly doublelayered shields straining only slightly under the suistained barrage of the rapidly fleeing Ha'tak, which was attempting to pull out of the comm jamming of the planet.

    "Fire for her engines when the batteries come to bear." Pendergast held onto his chair as the Prometheus rocked slightly, a trio of Mrk 8's leaving the tubes and streaking across space, rocking the Ha'tak. He frowned ever so slightly, as it came clear of the nuclear maelstrome, and he wished once again that the Hellfyre Torpedoes that the SGC was developing would hurry up and come out of the development cycle that had sprung up.

    The flash of brilliant blue light as the altered heavy batteries fired again filled both sides of the forward windows, before the Ha'tak's shields flared and failed, the impacts of the main guns spinning it around, trailing atmosphere from the gravitic drive arrays, the ship drifting as it lost all momentum. The Prometheus closed, before her own drives cycled to a halt, drifting in close, before picking off the Ha'tak's guns carefully and methodically. This time, they wanted prisoners.

    "It's adrift, sir. Deathgliders and Al'kesh still flying, though."

    "Clear the skies."

    The light guns and point defense of the Prometheus opened up at full capacity, Terran penchant for overgunning a ship once again playing into the Prometheus's favor in the fight, as 5 Al'kesh bore down on the now confident little ship, which was tractoring the Ha'tak into a more stable orbit as it fought on, intending to have a talk with whoever thought to try and take on the Alpha Site.

    /Alpha Site/

    Sam ducked under a staff blast, the whump of plasma slamming into duracrete fortifications continuing as Jaffa and a few Kull swarmed out of the still active gate. The E-Webs on the main control center were holding them back, though, a massive array of bodies lining the main courtyard, which was ringed by various defensive positions with hundreds of blasters. An unbroken rain of plasma bolts was slowly glassing the ground before the stargate, as the sizzling smell of burning flesh filled the air.

    It took all of Sam's fortitude to keep from spewing her guts from it. She had been in hellish situations before, hell, she had visited the literal representation of hell on Netu, but nothing had prepared her for this. Occasional screams could be heard from behind, as a Kull Warrior occasionally caught an unlucky stormtrooper, pulling spines from bodies and heads from necks, blasting holes in the unwary as the troopers continued to rain death from above.

    The Snawphoooom of a lightsaber igniting convinced her to finally turn around, to see one of the crack troopers holding a prize lightsaber he had captured in the early purges, standing against a Kull Warrior, screaming defiance as he prepared to do battle. She kept going, intending to let his sacrifice mean something. The small landing pad which housed the Galleo was just in sight.

    The ship, a freshbuild YT-1300, which had been built from the specs of an old manual in the engineering spaces of the Enterprise, a bit of back engineering, some of the rather infamously handy Asgard tech, and some guesses from the two parties of Engineering personelle. Her sleek white hull was still unmarred by impacts and weapon scoring, a testiment to her having just been finished the week before.

    "I hope this thing works, or else we'll be in for a very painful time." Jacob ran around the landing gears, running up the boarding ramp with many of the SGC researchers, all carrying various projects of theirs that they had been working on, along with a few stormtroopers as his daughter caught up, ducking into the ship as the whine of the sublight drives started up.

    The clanking of a Kull warrior's boots sent chills into the Galleo's passengers, as Sam charged her anti-Kull weapon, the strange whine reminding her of the Zats as she took aim, and blasted the being off the boarding ramp. "Dad, we've got to go NOW!" Carter dropped into a firing stance, continuing to fire down the boarding ramp as the engines powered up, the whine going into a full-out roar as the intertial dampeners of the custom-built transport lurched.

    Carter hung onto the internal braces as the boarding ramp closed, the dizzying view of the ground below swirling as the ship pulled up and away from the continuing battle with it's precious cargo aboard. As the ramp thunked home, she made for the cockpit, the lurching of occasional evasive manuvers bobbing her in the corridor. The grating on the floor rattled as the little ship floored it to take advantage of a shield drop for her launch, the sky turning from blue to black rapidly as SGC and Imperial antigravs lined up together, rapidly shoving the small freighter up and out of the gravity well.

    Sam ducked through the cockpit door, sitting down beside her father, her stomach still lurching from the leftover unrecycled air. That smell would haunt her for the rest of her days. She looked up to the SGC pilot and Echo flight copilot, who were busy making checks on the various systems they didn't have time to preflight on the ground. The SGC pilot reached over, charging the shields as the ship continued on. A few lances of bright light burned across the sky, sending relief into the various personelle.

    "Oh, thank goodness, they didn't send much against- is that a Ha'tak?" The Echo flight pilot chuckled at the sudden shock of his counterpart, pressing the signal for the gunnery crews to take their stations. It was going to be an interesting battle. He loved these Americans and the way they designed cockpits. A nice HUD, multiple multi-display reprogrammable touchscreen panels, easy to use and intuitive controls, very very nice...

    The multiple guns of the Galleo came into play as she closed against the Deathgliders and Al'kesh desperately trying to play a game of keep away with the Prometheus, doing their dammdest to keep out of her 1000 mile range on her main guns, which continued to practice their small-target aqquisition skills and work on their gunnery.

    Packing a total of 10 emplacements, the tough little craft began by simply flying into the midst of the deathgliders, supporting the F-302's and TIE-Interceptors flying about with her primary set, the Repeater Quad Cannons mounted along her central core, while the smaller blaster emplacements manned by four individuals in the small compartment next to the core worked on discouraging the deathgliders from coming too close.

    /Somewhere else/

    Anubis frowned as the felt the presence of his invasion force end. That wasn't supposed to happen... he had sent two Ha'tak against the forces of the so-called 'Alpha Site'. Nothing the humans had should have defeated them. Well, he would have frowned, and did a reasonable approximation given his energy-being status. The jaffa on his bridge shrunk away from their lord, who began growling annoyedly as he plotted what he would do to Earth when he was ready. 30 Ha'tak and his own flagship ought to be enough, though if they already had ancient weapons, things could be problematic...

    Damm that Q... FWHO-SNAP!

    "You rang?" The smug interdimensional part-time Lord of Chaos looked over to the dark ascended, who was attempting with all of his will to keep from using his powers to try and strangle the self-righteous popous ass. "Now now, that's not a very nice description of me, surely you aren't feeling mad because my Queen is putting your great plan in check, now is it?"

    "The Enterprise will not stand before me, and your veiling of the Tau'ri forces will not protect them for much longer. I will see what you have done soon enough." Anubis's low and hate-filled voice sent chills into his servants, who began fleeing to avoid the coming storm. He stood up, looking down at the uniformed higher meddler. What Q saw in allowing the humans their 'free will' he would never understand. He didn't want to understand. He knew of what the Ori could do, he wanted that power for himself, to strike down the Ancients who currently restricted his own power.

    "Oh, give it a few months, sure, but the grand strategy is already in place. It's rather hilarious to watch the little hairless monkeys go, they have such a way with weaponry. Oh, wait, that's right, you don't like them and want to do away with all of them. Aww, now that's too bad." Q mocked the dark ascended, pretending to give him pitying looks, before shining his fingernails and looking up to him with a mischevious grin. "Oh, and Lorien says hi, check your board."


    "Q!!" The bellow of Anubis's rage could be heard echoing throughout the Mothership, sending Jaffa scurrying to avoid their lord's wrath.
    moonberserker likes this.
  9. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Chapter 8: Thus do heads turn

    "Goddamm! It's like a roman phalanx vs. an armor division!"

    /Orbit, Alpha Site/

    In near orbit, where the curvature of the unnamed planet of the Alpha site could just barely be seen, it was quiet. Mostly. A massive blue blast rocked near space, as a small Alkesh began it's escape run. Energized plasma streamed away from it's rear weapons, desprately trying to avoid destruction or capture at the hands of the frightening Taur'i craft. HAT blasts rocked space around it as the Prometheus roared past in pursuit, leaving the little Gallileo rather shocked at just how well the first Taur'i craft had done with some worthwhile weapons aboard.

    "I have never seen a sight so beautiful as the whipping the Goa'uld are getting right now." Jacob Carter smiled as he stood between the pilots, watching the firestorm in the distance, the last of the Goa'uld resistance in space being crushed ruthlessly by the Prometheus. The former general turned Tok'ra was in awe of the new weapons earth had, though he was worried about the styling that they had taken up lately. They were taking this imperial thing too far.

    "Aw, it's nothing but a bit of good imperial engineering crossed with Terran common sense. You guys definitely know how to look at old ideas in new ways." The Imperial pilot's proud statement sent a shock into Jacob Carter. This wasn't all fanboyism, this was the real deal. He turned to his daughter with an outraged look on his face. He hadn't joined the Tok'ra, gone through all that he had, literally fought his way out of hell for Earth to throw away it's freedom to the Galactic Empire of all things.

    "Sam. Engine Compartment. Now." His voice went icy, no question allowed. It was time to get answers. The pilots looked at each other, familial over protectiveness and generational gaps easy enough to figure out, in a galaxy far far away, or here close to home. The little things that stayed the same had helped to keep the troopers and crew members of the Enterprise from going insane from despair.

    In the back, Jacob turned to his daughter, a look of fury on his face as he let Selmak take over, his Tok'ra symbiont having been filled in on what the Empire was. "Why would the Taur'i ally themselves with a race such as the Empire?" The symbiont's expressing itself made the elder Carter's eyes glow golden, his voice reverberating. The two bowed their head, and the elder Carter continued the berating. "Do we honestly need to remind the SGC of the DEATH STAR? Or all the other nonsense that went on with the Empire!?"

    "There is no such thing as a uniform culture, dad. Not that we've seen so far. There have been small diffrences, and not so small ones. They're from a more liberal side of the Empire. They were at our mercy when we picked them up. Running out of air, unable to fix their ship." The younger Carter looked at her father, defending the position of the SGC. It was a decsion well-made, now that they knew as much as they did about the empire. "What were we supposed to do, leave them to DIE?"

    "Sam, what part of galaxy-spanning empire do you not understand!?"

    "ISD 1701, that's what." Sam's little statement was nearly rebutted before her father's mental transmission clicked into gear, and he started to realize just what ship they had picked up. Sam nodded at the dawning realization, smiling somewhat as she continued. "Yes, that 1701, dad. Her captain is a die-hard 'for the people' type protector. The Enterprise was the cast-off ship for the oddballs and non-conformists of the Empire, those who wanted to actually make a diffrence and uphold the oaths. Not everyone was as bad as portrayed in the movies."

    "Enterprise... Enterprise?" At Samantha Carter's nod of confirmation, her father slowly found the engineering console, sitting down in the chair as he tried to reconcile the various bits of information he had been given.

    "She's being rebuilt in orbit of Neptune where we found her. Dad, we are still looking for alternatives, but even the Empire is better than complete and total annihilation. We have no clue when or from where Anubis is finally going to be coming from, and we have yet to get any closer to finding the lost city or any means of slowing him down." Carter slowly glumed, the thoughts of just how close they were coming to annihilation again. There was hardly any defense of Earth to be had... even with the triumphant feeling of the Enterprise at hand, that nagging feeling of doom at the back of the mind tended to be a mood-killer.

    "There has got to be a better way, Sam. Anything..."

    "What, dad? We're running out of ways to combat him. The Prometheus was a flop until the Enterprise showed up, and now we can actually stand against the Goa'uld in a straght fight. Heck, the Enterprise came with specialists in starship engineering, so we've be- wait, the people on the surface!" Sam began running back to the cockpit to get some help for the surface, which was still in danger.

    "Sam, wait! Sam!" The elder Carter chased after his daughter, the conflict between himself and Selmak inside driving him to distraction.

    We should warn the Council of this Empire! Selmak's mental shout made Jacob stumble slightly as he ran around a crate in pursuit of his daughter. The symbiont was still reeling from the various things presented to it. The Death Star, being able to glass entire planets with just one ship in hours, everything about the whole concept was setting it's worldview into a death spiral deorbit of a black hole.

    And have them do what, exactly? Do we have ships capable of taking out whole planets? Do we have anything bigger than an Al'kesh? No, I didn't think so. We're arrayed against 20,000 imperials who have taken a fancy to Earth and apparently have become indebted to them. Let's just keep this to ourselves, until we can find out more. Jacob started dashing along the starboard aft corridor, making for the cockpit his daughter already out of sight as he tripped again over a crate low to the ground, hopping painfully as he moved on.

    The sudden scream from the engines as the little craft was thrown into some form of wild maneuver nearly threw Jacob's heart into his throat, thoughts of another Ha'tak attacking running through his mind as he ran down the cockpit side-passage, grabbing onto the door frame at a lurch of the inertial dampeners as the Gallileo shifted in some form of extremely high-energy turn. The sight of the ground rushing up at him made him grab a seat as fast as he could, hanging on, hoping that it was a power dive instead of a high-speed docking maneuver with the ground.

    He closed his eyes at the last second, not wanting to see the crash. The sound of the LRT's of the Gallileo made him open back up, to see the craft close-orbiting the Alpha Site at low altitude, standing up to look over to the starboard side to watch Kull warriors getting blown away from pinpoint shots, their bits and pieces that were left flying away from the explosive impacts that killed them.

    The sight of a lightsaber wielding stormtrooper fending off a Kull who was attacking him was somewhat... awe inspiring, seeing the once mythical weapon slicing apart a hardened warrior like he was butter. The scarred armor of the stormtrooper carrying it had seen it's fair share of combat, as the trooper dodged a piece of flying debris, before lunging at another of the still surviving warriors, stabbing him between the eyes and driving him to the ground. The whiteish blade was ripped upwards out of the Kull's skull, slicing through the top, before the trooper looked around for his next victim.

    A MAT blast from the descending Prometheus sent a warrior flying by him, as it dropped to the ground, the air whipping about violently as the exausts and antigrav field of the frigate began to disrupt the local atmospheric conditions, turning the base into a monsoon covered wild brawl as the gunners and computers aboard the Prometheus began to pick off the remaining warriors.

    Jacob and Selmak looked on, the sheer spectacle of the heavy combined arms defense of the base was something that could not be compared to nearly anything the Tok'ra symbiont had experienced. Jacob had rarely even seen the level of firepower turned against the advanced warriors, who were actually falling to capital-grade impaces against them. Even they were vulnerable to a few well-placed turbolaser shots.

    That, Selmak, is what could happen. The Prometheus just ripped two Ha'taks apart with no trouble at all. I wouldn't be surprised if she could take on three or more and survive. The Enterprise is a mile and a half long edition of what she now mounts. I doubt anything short of Anubis's mothership and a whole armada could hurt it. Do you really want to annoy the Taur'i and give Anubis a reason to step up his time... what in the hell... The sight of several dozen troopers rolling out a huge device from a building sent a chill down his spine. Had nothing to do with the already ticking foot-high timer display on the side, mind you, but he was fairly certain it was one of the largest bombs he had ever seen.

    "Um... I take it that would be the measured response that Captain Sheridan wanted to implement." Sam looked down to the procession, led by the lightsaber-wielding stormtrooper, who was using it as a guide wand to direct the absolutely massive and armed bomb towards the stargate. She had a hard time reconciling it with what Sheridan had wanted to implement.

    "Right. We measured it out to about... oh, an Exaton, wasn't it? Just right for putting the point to Anubis that he's not welcome at any Earth installation. Captain Sheridan decided that if we were attacked by Kull Warriors, that if and when we finished them off, we were to roll this little interesting beauty through the gate. 5 capital grade proton torps around a cluster of concussion missile warheads and a Mrk 8. Plus a shaped cone of naquada and another layer about a decimeter thick around each weapon in the casing." The imperial pilot got a faroff wondrous look in his eyes, thinking of the sheer mayhem that a weapon of that caliber.

    The Gallileo was slowly brought into a hover nearby the slow progress of the superweapon, before touching down with a surprisingly small thump for a vehicle of it's size. Jacob Carter fought with his co-inhabitant, who was nearly frantic in wanting trying to stop the progress of the superweapon. The Carters were first out, running across the less broken areas of the central courtyard of the facility over to the rather malevolently merry procession.

    Jacob, you are going to do something, aren't you?

    I'm either wanting to cheer them on, or tell them to stop until we can find out if it's Tartarus on the other side. They are entitled to striking back, though this is a somewhat extreme response. The elder Carter stood watching as the procession continued on, having something to concentrate and focus on. Nothing was quite as scary as the 1701st once they found a target. "Hey, can we hold up for a moment!?"

    The lead trooper gestured to the tower from the gate, signalling for them to redial the last destination, before looking over to the elder Carter, stepping around the procession and deactivating his saber. He saluted him, before stopping a few feet from the elder Carter. "How can I help you, sir? We're about to push our retaliatory strike through."

    "Are we certain that we're striking at the right target? I'd rather not have to report back to the Tok'ra that we cracked the crust of the wrong planet." The elder Carter watched the nod of comprehension from the stormtrooper, before he turned back to one of the stormtroopers behind him.

    "Trooper, bring up a MALP to send through."

    "Yes First Sergeant." The trooper turned around, looking over to the MALP building, whistling roughly over. The small ATV MALP was piloted out at high speed, the little buggy-framed robot bouncing across the broken terrain over to the gate, stopping with an electric motor squeal on the ramp up to the gate. The little camera mounted beside a massive E-WEB on the top swiveled, Sam and her father ducking reflexively to stay out from in front of the weapon.

    The trooper turned smugly back, brushing off a still slightly smoldering spot on his armor that had taken a repeated number of hits from a Kull Warrior's wrist blasters. "Will this do, First Sergeant, or should we get the one with two E-WEBs and shields?" The small electric motor sounds of the servo moving the repeating blaster seemed almost manically cheerful as the operator back in the primary tower oriented it towards the open gate, waiting for orders.


    Jacob Carter looked from the lightsaber wielding stormtrooper, to the lesser trooper, to the MALP, then over to the gate, blinking and reconciling the totally surreal situation he was in with normalcy. The senior trooper turned to the younger Carter, seeing if she was coherent enough to decide.

    She blinked for a moment, before getting back into a semi-coherent state. "Check for a shield on the far side, then send it through." Sam looked between the rippling wormhole and the heavily armed ATV MALP, before the shield test globe was lobbed through by one of the gathered troopers, splashing through the event horizon and through to the other side. They all looked to the control tower for the base, waiting for a yea or nae.

    "Negative contact. Shield on the other side. MALP Control, stand by for firing sequence to blow out the shield." The echoing, amplified voice of the control officer up in the tower dropped the troopers hearts as they paused their massive rolling explosive bundle of joy, waiting for the shield obstructing the other side to be dropped.

    Sam looked at the gate, then began looking around at the various heavy firepower providers to see what would best punch through the gate on the far side in the 30 or so minutes left for them to hold the wormhole. The ripping wind from the Prometheus led her eyes up to it, as a dangerous twinkle began to shine in her eyes. "Tip the gate over. Get on the line to Col. Pendergast, have him line the Prometheus up for a maximum power turbolaser shot through the gate. That'll clear out the gatekeepers."

    Selmak had borrowed control of Jacob's body by that point, looking up at the Prometheus, and over to the assembled troopers, and the younger Carter standing before them, wondering just how much of an influence the imperial troopers were having on the SGC. If this trend kept up, they could end up just as bad as the Goa'uld...

    The Tok'ra stepped over to the younger Carter as the troopers angled the gate over, the flexible mount they had replanted the gate in supporting it as they leaned in over into a 40 degree angle, the Prometheus throttling up just a bit to point it's forward HAT turret at the gate. "Major Carter. Is it wise to perform such an action? Could it perhaps be a neutral party that unwillingly hosted Anubis's troops? We should perform reconnaissance to make sure." The symbiont's reverberating voice got a few looks, though the troopers had heard odder things in their lifetimes.

    The troopers began pushing everyone back from the gate, rolling their IEW away from the gate to prevent the back-scatter from the blast from setting it off as they all cleared out of the way, the Prometheus's main guns charging up for the shot. A few adventurous troopers looked out of windows with their helmets on, hoping that the 'near miss by turbolaser' rating that they were supposed to have was accurate.

    In the tower, the two Carters looked over the broken and blasted base, the small smoking scars of the 1701st having fought off the Kull warriors and the signs of their brief rampage through the base. The lightsaber wielding Stormtrooper First Sergeant stood behind them, as the various onlookers watched the now rough and ready Prometheus which waited to fire. Sam tuned the radio to the Prometheus's bridge frequency, ignoring a few feedback squeals, before picking up the small mike, watching the probe readouts of the gate.

    "Col. Pendergast, we can fire when you are ready." She watched the blast shields on the tower close, as the small signal strength gauge on the main radio panel spiked with Pendergast's response.

    "Rodger, Alpha Site. Fire team Alpha, fire on the mark. Mark!" The end of the grainy transmission from the Prometheus was completely drowned in static and the sheer roar of a turbolaser being fired at near-maximum power, shooting through the small apeteure of the gate...


    Anubis stood on the steps, waiting for the signal for his Kull warrior's return to come through. Strange pangings of unease had been bothering him ever since he had dispatched the Hat'aks a few days before, and now it was compounded and was growing at every moment. He slowly paced back and forth, walking out from before the gate just in time, stepping slowly over to one side, right before the shield flared a blinding white... and completely and totally failing before a 2 gigaton Asgard/Imperial Turbolaser blast.

    The concussive shockwave as the blast gouged it's way through the steps that the semi-ascended Goa'uld was walking upon, and then into his base, sent Anubis flying up and away, tumbling in total surprise from the massive attack as he tried to figure out what exactly was happening. He landed heavily several hundred yards away, his semi-ascended nature being the only thing that saved him. He got back upright, shaking off the confusion from the shockwave.

    He looked around, seeing the shambles Tartarus had been blown into. The bolt of destruction had punched straight through the gate, gouging out a trench along where it had passed from the heat and violence of it's passing by. It had kept on going, crunching into the Kull complex, a massive chunk just completely blown away from the hit. Anubis howled in rage from the massively effective retaliatory strike, determined to make the Enterprise PAY for giving the SGC phaser technology...

    Until the massive bomb merrily bounced out of the gate, ticking rapidly down from 10 minutes, a large smiley face having been slapped on the rounded front as it slowly squeaked to a halt in front of the now completely and totally outraged Goa'uld system lord.

    "DAMM YOU, Q!"

    Tickity-tickity-tickity... DING! "Hello, this is the Mark 1 Hellfire tactical weapon. I will be detonating for you in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Have a nice explosive day." The cheery voice of the weapon on-board computer did not soothe Anubis's outrage. He stood resolute, no physical presence enough to kill him. The Exaton level detonation, however, was more than enough to severely inconvenience him, as the blast rocked the planet.

    The sheer power of the blast sent the whole planet to shaking like a bell, shockwaves rippling through it from the point of the blast. The massive detonation blew the atmosphere of the planet clean off in the local area, a superheated blast wave nearly knocking the orbiting Hat'aks out into deep space. For 200 kilometers all around, the ground was left molten and churning, blasted apart by the blast.

    Anubis was left in his standard glowing ball of energy mode, the devices that normally helped to shape him blown away and disintegrated. Luckily for him, he was partially ascended. Few beings could claim to have survived a point-blank blast from a weapon of that magnitude. He began to wisp his way along, heading for transport back up into orbit. They would pay for the sheer mayhem they caused that day.

    /Alpha Site/

    The various personnel smiled as the gate shut down, the atypical and unstable shutdown of the gate looking very pretty to their eyes. Nothing was quite like scorning Anubis and accomplishing their mission. Up in the control tower, the Carters and various techs relaxed, finding various places to sit down.

    And that, Selmak, is probably what will be their primary mode of base-busting. If that was Tartarus, well, it will be molten hell now. I don't think even the gate survived that blast. They no longer know fear, and frankly, they are far more dangerous than any system lord if they decide that they don't like you. They're smart. That is the primary reason they've survived all this time. If they have a star destroyer being refitted in the Sol system, then within a year they should be able to direct an overwhelming amount of firepower anywhere in the galaxy. Anywhere. Jacob looked on as they tried to re-establish the wormhole, the gate failing to engage several times as his symbiont continued to try and re-engage it's mental transmission.

    "No gate to establish to, according to the DHD diagnostic error code. We got' em. Dialing computer is fixing the pos- we have coordinates. We can send someone to investigate our handiwork whenever we want." The gate tech canceled the dialing program, the gate whining lightly as power bled back out into the ground. The thunk of the chevrons disengaging was somewhat audible a hundred yards away up in the tower, as people began to mill about.

    "Go ahead and dial the SGC, send a report as to our current status and what happened." Sam turned around as the gate tech nodded and began the dialing sequence for the SGC. The object of her gaze was quickly turned to by everyone free at that moment. The slow hum of the lightsaber wielding trooper reinspecting his weapon, having finally done more than snap it to his belt for the first time in years.

    1SG Zeke Cloud looked around at the various people drilling him with their gazes, turning his head back and forth to track all of them. "Can I help all of you?" The snap-hiss of the elegant weapon's deactivation sent a few murmurs about as everyone began to get a good look at him.

    "You're one of the first, aren't you? Did you get that off of a jedi you betrayed?" One of the other troopers pointed his weapon at the elder trooper, who looked through narrowed eyes at him. Tension began to grow in the room, as they all looked at each other.

    "Yes, I'm one of the first. One of the first batch. I never killed a Jedi. I was saved too many times to even think about it. Order 66 came through to see myself and Master Travaas on a mudball outer rim world that the Sepratists had claimed as a foundry world. We stood as the line against which they broke and burned for 12 days. A hundred thousand of us went in, only a dozen of us came back out. And I'm the last." His old, worn voice whispered like the wind in the small room, the gathered group realizing that they were looking at what could be the real face of one of the legends. In different ways for both sets, they all grew quiet, respecting someone who had gone through hell and back, who was a lookalike for a legend.

    "He was killed in battle, wasn't he?" Jacob Carter, slowly stood up straighter, paying respect for someone who might well be as noble as they came.

    "A random piece of shrapnel, of all things. They seemed so invincible... but they fell so easily... in the last charge, just a small handful left, most of our weapons had been drained dry smashing millions of droids apart, and I had just been knocked down by a Super Battledroid. I reached for whatever I could find, and found this... little trinket. Chopped that droid into a couple of pieces, the molten metal left these burns on my face, though." He wistfully turned the lightsaber over and over in his hand, the now tarnished casing almost perfectly smooth, save for a few small control knobs and a guard at the top.

    The room remained quiet, as Jacob bowed his head to let Selmak take over. The symbiont looked into Cloud's eyes, looking for the same fanatic madness that often inhabited the servants of the Goa'uld. Cloud stared right back, clipping the white-bladed saber back to his utility belt, a haunted remembrance of the hell he had gone through echoing in his eyes. "Like what you see?"

    Selmak looked away, knowing that look. "You seem to be somewhat trustworthy, despite what you have said. You have faced much and come away alive. Your exploit would be worthy of retelling by the Jaffa." The symbiont gave control back to Jacob, the strange grey-shaded situation being a bit much at that moment.

    "I'll have to apologize for my Symbiont. Selmak... has been fighting against the Goa'uld for a long, long time. The worst of your former empire was far worse than the Goa'uld. But, what he forgets is that there is better in it as well. You don't seem so bad. It's not always the surroundings that make the individual." Jacob frowned as the gate kawhooshed out, remembering Vietnam, and other conflicts. Things had not been black and white there either... Not all of the rebellion was freedom-loving patriots, after all. Couldn't be. It was never like that.

    "I hated having to fight fellow humans, the Empire itself. It's not been easy. I almost retired, when the purges started 10 years ago. Captain Sheridan is a good man, his predecessor was even better. We were one of the few freelancing troubleshooter Star Destroyers. Kept away from rebels, went after the true villains, the pirate cartels, the slavers, the oppressors. We were the light that stood for the good in the empire. But even we were not enough to keep it from sliding into darkness." Cloud stood, looking back for a moment, before walking out, the crowd parting before him.

    /SGC, later/

    Teal'c, Jackson, O'niell, and Sheridan waited in the partially disassembled conference lounge, the SGC logos having been taken down and the normal table removed, a plastic placeholder table in it's place.

    "Love what we've done with the place. Government-issue tacky." O'niell looked around, at the somewhat bare room, signs of the impending departure of the SGC to Fort Avalon leading a makeshift feel to the room, as General Hammond stepped in. The normally cheerful general had an annoyed, sour look on his face.

    "Anubis suspects. The Alpha site was attacked today, though the advanced technologies that we have been equipped with thanks to your people, Captain Sheridan, repulsed the attack. Unfortunately, even blasters are ineffective, though turbolaser blasts and lightsabers have proven to be surefire ways to disable their shielding. Have a seat, gentlemen." He sat down at the head of the table, eying it suspiciously when it wobbled.

    The quartet of the SGC's top personnel sat down, uncomfortably settling into the fold-up chairs that had been substituted until the move. The news was mixed, the fact that Anubis had somehow penetrated the security of the brand new and secret Alpha site was worrying, cold thoughts trickling down their spines, though the news that they had repulsed the attack somewhat well was encouraging that they could win by overwhelming Anubis one bit at a time.

    "Was there any space combat? From what I understand, the Prometheus is just too fragile at the moment to handle a Ha'tak." Sheridan straightened up as he looked over to General Hammond, who slid over a data-tablet over to the captain. He looked down at it, his eyes narrowing as he began to read, confusion and uncertainty blinking as he tried to figure out if he had underestimated the little ship.

    "The Prometheus completely destroyed one Ha'tak, and is in the process of salvaging another right now. The Asgard technology used in uprating the Turbolasers proved effective, getting double the predicted yield. And the TIE Interceptors proved to be able to handle death gliders. We won't produce any more, thanks to the TIE Spitfire coming into production, but we will keep them in service." General Hammond looked around, reading the various looks on the faces of SG-1 and Sheridan. He laid his hands down on the white plastic of the table, moving a foot to hold the wobbling leg in place.

    "She waxed two Ha'taks? Captain, I think I owe you a drink. Imperial engineering doesn't seem to be too bad after all." O'Neill reached across the table, shaking hands with Sheridan. The two men smiled at each other, before sitting back down, looking back towards General Hammond.

    "They also managed to fire a turbolaser blast through the Alpha Site stargate, to clear out the shield that had been erected on the other side. From the camera footage we got, it does appear to have been Tartarus. They proceeded to send through what they called an IEW through, and said that Captain Sheridan would know what they were talking about." General Hammond furrowed his brow as he remembered that anomalous, mysterious mention in the report, which had never been made clear.

    Sheridan got a far-off gleam in his eyes, before chuckling slowly. "Excellent. They say whether or not the blast was big enough to destroy Tartarus's gate?" He looked through the files on the pad, looking at the survey report photos, wincing ever so slightly at the melted slabs of duracrete, and the crispy damage from Prometheus's close fire support. "And will your people be attempting to salvage the Ha'tak for Earth's use, or will it be donated to the Tok'ra?"

    "We'll donate it to the Tok'ra, Captain. As for Tartarus, we have been unable to establish contact since we sent the bomb through. I'd have to assume that whatever they sent was enough to destroy the gate on the other side." General Hammond looked pointedly at Captain Sheridan, intending to have a few words with him. "Now then, we have to decide whether or not to abandon the Alpha site now that it is compromised. I would prefer to do so, however I would like a few opinions as to whether or not it would be safer to leave it there."

    "Anubis may well attack again, to determine what exactly has transpired at the Alpha Site. If we were to re-enforce the garrison to withstand further attack, we may be able to use it as a stronghold to lure him away from attacking Earth." Teal'c looked around to the others, who pondered the worrysome problem.

    "A few ground-to-orbit turbolaser emplacements that we could borrow from the Enterprise could help re-enforce the Prometheus. From the reports, the shield held against fire from orbit without any strain at all. Put an iris over the stargate, and it should be relatively inpenetrable. From the reports, the biggest problem was once he got Kull Warriors on the ground." Captain Sheridan slid the pad across the table to Col. O'Neill, liking the idea of getting more time to finish the Enterprise's refit.

    "Do we have a spare iris? If so, I'm all for it. Nothing like removing a few Goa'uld from the list. It should be easy to give him a splitting headache." O'Neill looked around the table before looking down at the pad, ignoring most of the more heady sections of the reports, and going straight to the imagery of the fight, and of broken Ha'taks in orbit, with the Prometheus hovering very closely to one, a transporter beam caught mid-stream between the two craft. "Very, very nice, sir. Remind me to send my compliments to Col. Pendergast the first chance I get."

    Daniel took ahold of the pad as soon as Teal'c had quickly looked it over, blinking several times at the image of the Prometheus hovering next to the broken Ha'tak. "General, whatever we do, I recommend we keep it secret. Ba'al will turn on us just as quickly when he finds out we can so easily destroy Anubis uprate Ha'taks, he'll come for us in a hurry. Anubis is going to come again for certain, though. His forces have been handed a blow, and he'll want to see what new weapons we have."

    "Alright then, I'll make my decision in an hour or so. I want all departments on standby for a possible attack. Anubis may well turn his gaze towards Earth, and I want us to be ready as we can be." General Hammond stood up, before clearing his throat. "Dismissed."

    The rest of the group got up, congregating together to talk about their fields. Captain Sheridan looked at the trio of SG-1, staying just outside as they laughed and mingled. He didn't really want to break up the dynamic that was existed. He could watch.

    "So, Teal'c, gotten any more of the Jaffa to chant 'down with the gould' and wave torches and pitchforks?" O'Neill smiled at the stotic Jaffa, as Daniel fixed his glasses, looking like he was about to say something.

    "No, Col. O'Neill. They have been more willing to trust in their current masters with Anubis posing a threat to them." Teal'c looked at his friend, listening to him grumble ever so slightly at his reaction-less response.

    "Well, technically, Jack, they don't have pitchforks... they-" Daniel began to speak, picking up his notes and tucking them under his arm, before smiling some in familiarity as Jack cut him off.

    "Daniel, is this a long-winded talk about how the Jaffa don't use pitchforks, and a historical study of how they got to whatever those freakish tools are that they use today?" Sheridan chuckled somewhat as Jack looked over at Daniel, wistfully rambling along at the archaeologist.

    "Yes, Jack."

    "Good. I was afraid I was loosing my Daniel sense." Jack waited a beat, before Teal'c raised an eyebrow, and Daniel began chuckling as well. "We know each other waaay too well, don't we?"

    "Yes, Jack, we do. I think it was sometime between blowing up Apophis in Netu and blowing up that star that it happened." Daniel chuckled as Teal'c nodded, the trio remembering the good times and the bad.

    "You blew up a STAR?"

    "We always get that, don't we, Teal'c?" Jack looked over to Sheridan, who had not read that particular report yet. The trio of SG-1 opened up somewhat, making space for the imperial officer to squeeze in.


    "Come over, join us. We're not contagious crazy." Jack held out an arm to the former imperial captain, inviting him to join into the group. Daniel turned to him, smiling somewhat, and Teal'c looked over as impassively as ever, though a humorous twinkle resided in his eyes.

    "My staff meeting is not for a couple of hours, I think Jack's briefing is in three... Teal'c isn't scheduled for anything as far as I know, I don't have anything to translate for once, so, why not?" Daniel shrugged, setting his paperwork back down on the table. He wanted to find out a bit more about the still somewhat mysterious captain of the Enterprise. Any cross-cultural anylization would be strictly secondary, of course.

    Sheridan adjusted his still somewhat uncomfortable modified imperial uniform, brushing at the shoulder pads with their US naval equivilent rank on them, the insignia of captain burnished and polished to a shine. "Oh, no... I couldn't interfere with-"

    "Nonsense! Come on, we've got some things in common. Big Honking Space Guns, living on Earth, wanting to annoy the daylights out of a certain semi-ascended annoying black-light snake... Switching sides from an oppressive backwards regime to go between you and Teal'c..." Jack ambled along, rolling his shoulders a little as he spoke, before resting his hands on two of the chairs around the table.

    "Surely you have... diverting tales of various warriors amongst your command that you wish to share, much as we have of ourselves and our exploits. A fair trade of such stories would be acceptable." Teal'c spoke, his voice neutral as he crossed his arms behind his back, standing at a sort of modified parade rest.

    A smile grew on Sheridan's face, as he squeezed into the group, dropping his pad on the table. "Well, I might have a few."

    "Well then, by all means, o' crazy captain of a crazier ship, do tell." Jack looked to be almost painfully smiling at that point, as he waited for a bit of dirt on the crew of the Enterprise.

    "Then let me tell you the tale of a particular trooper named 'Sergeant Slaughter'" Sheridan settled back, having fun as he gruffed out the name of his favorate instructor way back in the academy, relaxing for that little moment in time...
    moonberserker likes this.
  10. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Episode the 9th: Ye' olde Overlord Baiting.

    "Yeah. You, the one with the black clothes and glowery look. Yeah, I'm taunting you! Neenier Neenier!" Jack O'neill to Baal, once upon a time.

    /Late October 2004, P9X-483/

    KAWOOOOSH! The still of a semi-innocent planet was broken by the SGC dialing up, the wormhole burning a hole through thick jungle foliage. The slow gurgling of the event horizon was quickly broken by a SGC MALP-Droid Mrk 1, rolling through, before humming into the air on repulsorlifts. The sensor array and camera at it's top swiveled about, before it began to move through the jungle, the lifts giving it an advantage that the original timeline didn't have. The quirky little prototype had been put together over the past two months by the joint efforts of the SGC and the engineers of the 1701st as an attempt to manufacture a better MALP.

    Remotely operated still from the SGC, it looked for signs of Jaffa activity or Ancient technology. It should have proven to be impassable to MALPS, and SGC teams. Not this time. The smallish droid device wobbled it's way through the underbrush, holding up to the slight strain put upon it. It passed over a small deep ravine, before finding something that made it stop, and do the droid equivilent of a boggle. It reversed course, entering full broadcom line of site to the stargate, and sent a secure datalink burst on what it had found, before thwoobing along on it's antigravs back to investigate further. The SGC was coming...

    /SGC, 4 hours later./

    "So, general, what has the full SG-1 in today?" Jack O'neill turned to General Hammond as he swept into the room, remotely activating the new holographic projector that was set up on the floor.

    "P9X-483 has something that looks to be of great importance. The structure there is littered with writing that Dr. Jackson may find to be familiar..." General Hammond looked at the tall crystal-like spire, with the surrounding towers and structures. And the big, strange lettering around it that littered itself across the surfaces, in some cases looking like graffiti painted on.

    "Ancient writing..." It was said reverantly, getting odd looks for the archeologist from the stormtroopers, and Jack. Carter and Teal'c gave him startled looks, or their variation thereof, as Daniel looked around at everyone.

    "Ancient as in older than the dirt we're hiding in ancient, or ancient as in 'headsucked me and nearly killed me with information overload' kind of ancient?" Jack looked warily at the projection now, beginning to have unhealthy ideas as to what might be hidden inside the complex.

    "Repository type ancient, yes."

    "That's what I was worried about." Jack slowly sank down into his rolling chair, the frame creaking as he shifted. All the stormtroopers of the Eisleys gave him odd looks, wondering what he had meant by headsucking ancient artifacts. That had most assuredly NOT been on the job description for SG-1.

    "You'll be moving out in a few hours, once a jungle equipped hovertank is shipped over from Fort Avalon. The vegitation is similar to the deep regions of the Amazon jungle, the entire area extremely hilly and difficult to traverse." General Hammond called up a topographic map of the region that the MALP-droid's scanners could read, the narrow path showing massive terrain shifts from something.

    Everyone winced, or gave their approximation of it. The approach up to the droid's spot was going to be positively nasty. Jack's back began to slowly protest painfully just looking at the terrain map.

    Jacob Stari nodded, knowing who was probably the soul who had 'volunteered' to try and figure out how to fly a hovertank through that mess. Khaar simply gave him a knowing gaze, before looking back to the map. Yeah. The volunteer had already been picked.

    "Make your preperations, and good luck SG-1." General Hammond turned to the newly expanded team, watching as Earth's finest rose to their feet. As he exited again, to talk to a few individuals, SG-1 began to converse amongst itself.

    "You as good of a general pilot as you say you are, Stari?" Jack looked over to the first of the redheads, who grimaced, knowing how painful most hovertank compartments were.

    "Fairly good. I do best at sneak'n'steal, though." Stari moved over, getting into the semi-huddle which began discussing the general details of how to execute the mission.

    "A few ever-utilitous lightsabers could come in handy. I'll see what I can dig up." Toral pulled out his pad, making a few notes on it as he planned. "Perhaps some blasting charges for entering without the last residents permission."

    "C-4 or Blastex?" Stari ticked it off with almost no thought catalouging what he needed to be requisitioning from stores.

    "Maybe a little bit of both. Plan for worst and best case scenarios. I'd rather not do more damage than necessary, even if all we'll find is another headsucker." Jack made a check on his own list, 'Avoid the headsucker things this time if at all possible.' He straightened out his uniform and scooted away from Daniel.

    "Right. Plan for possible resistance? I can bring my big gun along if need be..." Dell smiled as the mention of his big baby started all of SG-1 to protesting. The last time he had practiced on earth, the richocet of his weapon's blast bouncing up into orbit had caused the most spectacular aurora that had been seen in several years.

    "Yeah.. I'm not quite sure that the ancients build that tough. Let's not bring it. If we find a Ha'tak buzzing about, you can bug me about it when we get back." Jack winced at the thought of that weapon, not wanting anything to do with it on a mission that was supposed to be reconnisance. Maybe the next time they had to take out a Goa'uld compound...

    "Alright. That's okay. I have plenty of other entertaining weapons." The Eisleys winced at that little statement, and the members of SG-1 prone to nervous sweating began to worry profusely.

    "Standard documentation equipment. We'll need to make sure that even if we only get one shot at this planet, we at least get as much information from it as we can." Daniel had a happy smile on his face again, the sheer archeology dream that he was presented with making him break into a tic. This was what he had been looking for for so long.

    "And if we should happen to find something that looks somewhat valuable, and is easily pilferable? Grab what we can?" Toral's eyes gleamed with an unhealthy look of slightly greedy manical thoughts. It never hurt when you were trying to understand a culture, if you grabbed everything not nailed down.

    "Well, if it seems really, really important, sure. Otherwise, we'll be too loaded down with trinkets and other thingies to get back to the gate. And since it does seem to be a mostly untouched complex, expect our luck to be pretty bad in the Goa'uld avoidance department. There'll probably be an army of 'em." Jack grumped at the standard luck of SG-1, the good run they were having quite likely having run out this mission. SG-1 was cursed, after all.

    "So, shouldn't that mean bring my gigantic happy gun?" Dell looked over hopefully, getting annoyed looks from the old SG-1. "No? Okay."

    "Riiight... I knew it. We're also the craziest team. I should'a figured it out a long time ago." Jack nearly banged his head against the wall in frustration. They were completely and totally nutz.

    /SGC, Gateroom, 6 hours later./

    The whine of a hovertank slowly repulsing it's way down the entrance shaft to the gateroom filled the air, as the old core of SG-1 looked up at the craft slowly dropping towards them. They never had heavy backup before, and the addition of semi-heavy armor was a welcome change, at least. The twin blaster cannons mounted on the forward section of the turret looked rather nasty, along with the various other bits and pieces on it. All the oldtime personelle of the SGC not actively dialing the gate looked up to the strange sight, one that would become far more common in the new SGC complex at Fort Avalon.

    "It looks a bit big to fit through the gate..." Carter watched Dell talking into an commlink up to his brother, er... clone, err... those two were rattling for the brain at times.

    "The outrigger panels can fold up against the fuselage when needed. It'll fit." Toral fixed his engineering helmet further down onto his head, his brightly polished wrench still defying physics somewhat in it's back holster. "Then on the other side, Stari just drops them down, we get on, everyone is happy. Save for whatever fool decides to mess with us."

    "Looks like it'll be fun, though a bit uncomfortable." Jack watched the repulsorcraf set down on the hard floor, bouncing ever so lightly off of the back wall, the hot exaust wavering the air before the control room, earning a glare from General Hammond. "At least the building is paid for, otherwise that could have been bad for our loan..."

    "Sorry, it doesn't have rear-view mirrors!" The echoing voice of Stari came out of the open hatch as he put it into stationary hover mode, and popped up as best he could to watch the gate activate. 5 chevrons encoded, it was getting into the fun part.

    "Imperial engineering. No common sense, no sense of pride, not even functionality, really. The great war of the cheapest bidder..." Toral glowered at the tank, never having liked several of the design decisions, as he loaded a box onto one of the holsters on the side of the turret that the SGC had welded on. Several individuals proceeded to load further materials onto the craft, sensor gear, food and water, Dell's BFG smuggled in inside of several diffrent crates along with various other weapons and grenades...

    "Chevron 7, locked." KAWHOOOOOOOSH!

    "I don't think I'll ever really get tired of that... and I still think it looks like one of your 'freshers flushing." Stari ducked back into the tank, bringing it up a little higher off the ground, the outriggers retracting against the hull as he was slowly guided up to the gate.

    Jack watched the big grey warmachine slowly ripple through the gate, before shrugging under his new body-armor, which was being tested early, thanks to the help of the imperials. He turned to SG-1, pulling his P-90 close to him. "Well, General, we'll see you when we get back. SG-1, let's go. Lots of toys to test, lots of stuff to pillage."

    "Just remember, pillage, THEN burn." Assorted groans replied Dell's helpful joke. SG-1, the other 7 not in the tank, stepped up the gate, squeezed tight together on the ramp, walking through the event horizon, and into jungle beyond, as well as a huge amount of trouble waiting.



    The sound of Stari leaning out of the tank, and puking on the ground in front greeted the rest of SG-1 as they came out the other side of the gate, the clone leaning heavily over the front of the tank, heaving and wretching somewhat. Jack was taken slightly aback, as he looked to Khaar, who shook his head, and gestured to Dell, who started walking up to the tank to see how he was doing.

    "Never saw him react like that to the gate before. Carter, anything unusual with the gate?" Jack turned to his XO, who gave a quick look of thought, before shaking her head.

    "Not that I noticed. It might have been going through the gate in an enclosed vehicle, though." Carter moved up, as the wretching noises stopped, now more of a coughing wheeze.

    "Something like that..." Stari flopped back, leaning onto the upper surface of the tank to try and steady his nerves. "It felt kinda wierd when I rolled through the gate, then I just got sick, and popped out as fast as I could..." The clone sprawled somewhat as Toral and Dell grabbed onto the handholds of the tank, pulling it along to get it out of the way of the gate, Toral thrashing at the undergrowth with his super-wrench. The silence that began to grow began to unnerve everyone. SG-1 slowly began to scan the trees with their weapons, looking for why nothing was crying out in the distance, until they realized, there was nothing out there.

    "You all hear that?" Jack whispered now, just loud enough to carry over the humming whistle of the repulsorlifts. He tightened down his cap onto his head with his non-trigger hand, bad black-ops experiences coming back to him.

    "Hear what Jack?" Daniel looked around the area, a Zat at the ready as he looked at the verdant green foliage, noting only a few sunlit motes that denoted insects flitting amongst various strange, colorful flowers high above.

    "The sound of silence, DanielJackson." Teal'c carefully gripped the large Clone Wars era rifle, which had been proportioned similar to a staff weapon, looking along it as he watched for the slightest movement in the trees. Nothing. Only the slightest swaying of a breeze shifting them. "The sound of an ambush waiting."

    "Let's not get too gloomy, campers. As soon as Stari gets his gut back into a condition that's not leaving him spewing, we'll move out. Carter, know where that MALP-droid got to?" Jack slowly moved up to the tank, climbing up onto the port outboard, looking out and watching for movement as Carter came up, fiddling with the reciever she had.

    "It's still surveying the exterior of the complex. I've sent the signal to meet up back at the gate, it should only be four or five minutes." Carter climbed on as well, on the other side from O'Neill, watching warily as well. The quiet of the jungle worried her as well. She looked up to see Stari climbing back into the tank, as Daniel climbed up beside her, sitting more towards the front of the repulsorcraft.

    "Well, it's better than taking a month to get someplace, then finding out when you got there after 15 days of searching that nothing was there." Dell climbed up on top of the turret, manning a repeater turret as he climbed down into it's crew pit.

    The thwoombing of the droid's smaller anti-gravs caught their attention, the team looking out through a small opening in the nearly inpenetrable jungle growth to see the droid emerging. It wobbled over to them, beeping in a droid language. Jack looked around the turret at Carter and Jackson, wondering if they understood a bit of that.

    "Well, Carter? You helped design that thing, you understand what it's trying to say? If it's saying the droid equivilent of either 'Timmy fell down the well' or 'Jaffa attack imminent' I'm going to be very annoyed." Jack looked from the brain-duo of SG-1, then back to the droid.

    "No, sir. I don't have a clue. Daniel?" Daniel shook his head, then looked over to the Enforcers. "No. I don't know what quite to tell you, sir." Carter looked somewhat apologetic, before looking at the droid again.

    Jack grumbled, before pointing a hand at the droid. "Speak English!" Jack waited a few beats, until the droid beeped again, this time somewhat questioning in it's manner. Jack wanted to facepalm, groaning as Teal'c smiled and Daniel laughed. The crazy Col. frowned at the droid, which continued to hover overhead, beeping at the SG-1 leader. "Fer'crying out loud, Carter, didn't you install one of those speech units in the thing?"

    "No, sir." "Then what good is it?" "Advanced Recon in force and telemetry reporting, sir. Not field reporting, though. Sorry, sir." "Darn upstart MALP. Next thing you know, we'll be getting replaced by 'em." "Never sir."

    Jack glowered up at the droid as Khaar climbed up onto the back of the craft, getting up onto the turret and sitting down up there. Stari put the craft into drive mode, lurching it into motion and turning it towards the opening, popping open the vegetation removal blades at the foreward end of the repulsortank as he sliced into the thick undergrowth.

    "At least it's a new kind of trees."

    "Yes, Jack. I think we all notice that." Daniel shook his head, as he pulled out his camcorder with his other hand, recording the local fauna as they moved out.

    "Indeed, O'neill, they are most stimulating to look at."


    "Yes, O'neill?"

    "Let's not talk about the ways we can misinterpret that. Not talk about it or ever mention that again."

    / 45 minutes later/

    "Are we there YET?"

    "No, sir. It's only been 45 minutes sir." Carter was starting to get annoyed at Jack's constant chatter, though the unnerving silence of the planet wasn't much of an alternative. She looked down at her palmpilot, wondering herself how close they were. She couldn't take much more pestering, at the rate Jack was going. "Maybe we can find something else to do while we wait..."

    "Nine thousand bottles of beer on the wall?" Jack looked over to the wincing looks of the whole SG-1. "No? What about I spy. I spyy with my eye... something that starts with a... J"

    Everyone free scrambled to spot Jaffa hiding in the trees, looking around, before turning to Jack with annoyed looks on their faces. Teal'c raised an eyebrow instead, glancing sidelong at Jack.

    "Teal'c. That's what I spotted." Groans. Teal'c closed his eyes, trying to ignore Jack for the moment.

    The MALP droid swooped down over the group, turning it's sensor to Jack and beginning to beep-whistle-whoop at him. Jack looked up, pointing his weapon at it. "WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP! Dop-beep-wheeoop!"

    "Carter! The MALP is sassing me! I want the old MALPs back, they don't talk back!" Jack's cry of annoyance resulted in eyerolls as everyone tried to ignore him. The repulsorcraft whined harder as it climbed up a high degree slope, chugging up like the evil twin of the little engine that could.

    "It technically beeps back, Jack. At least you can't understand it." Daniel shook his head, as he started looking around with the sky breaking clear of the dense upper levels of jungle, hanging onto the tank to keep from sliding backwards.

    "Sure he can. It doesn't like him. Can't exactly blame it, even if he is a manically loveable character." Toral smiled as he looked up at the droid, having programmed in the little quirk into the droid just to mess with Jack for the hilarity of it. His prank was working so far. Might work a bit too well, though.

    "Can we disable the little speaker on it somehow? So I can ignore it sassing, and probably calling me dirty things?" Jack kept an eye on it, wanting to shoot it a few dozen times as they continued to chug up the hill, the whining of the repulsorlifts continuing to build as the top of the slope got steeper, pitching them into a nearly 50 degree angle.

    "Indeed. It does become repetative after the first few times." Teal'c looked ahead, watching for any teltales of action, as the jungle slowly broke away, turning into bushland as they climbed higher. Everyone began to tense further at loosing the dense cover of the jungle, watching the foligage slowly break down further and further until the rounded over the top slope...

    And the bushes broke away to reveal the massive citadel spire, crystal-looking towers shining in the sun despite the layers of dirt that had slowly been built up on them from various sources. A massive complex, city-sized, surrounding a central tower that streched up into the sky. Miles across, even. Everyone went silent at the magnificent sight, and Stari slowly brought the tank into a stationary hover so he could climb out to get a better look at it.

    "Would you look at that... You don't think..." Toral looked over to Daniel, who was surveying the cityscape with his camcorder, taking in the sight like a thirsty person in a desert oasis.

    "I'll say this, you guys got some good equipment, and if it wasn't for it, we'd never would have found this... Carter, what was the betting on finding a nearly untouched ancient city?" Jack relaxed, setting his weapon down to look ahead, as Stari looked out of his open hatch at the city. Grass swayed across an open plain, which was oddly distorted, like there was more of the city buried that couldn't be seen.

    They all just took a moment to look, as if it would vanish if they came any closer. Their luck had been so good lately, it had to be too good to be true. Grass ripped in a stiff breeze that swept across the plains, shaking the tank slightly. Stari put the tank into drive, slowly easing towards the city.

    "This is it, Jack. This has got to be an even better find than the Enterprise... This could have the weapons we need to defeat Anubis!" Daniel's shout echoed across the plains, a triumphant voice raised in thankfulness to whatever was letting them succeed again and again. The archeologist stood up on the tank, zooming in on the structure to look at it even closer, inspecting the slight damage it had sustained over the years. "Other than the graffiti, it looks fine."

    "What's it say, Daniel?" Jack looked out, scanning along the plain for Jaffa. A slight sense of unease began to poke at his heart. It was too easy. Even easier than the last couple of missions. But, nothing. Not even insects now. He looked up into the bright blue sky, looking for any signs of deathgliders flying overhead, though no small black dots moved above. Just a few fluffy clouds.

    The whine of the repulsortank's engines grew into a throaty roar as Stari opened up all the way on the throttle, accelerating towards the city. "We hope you have enjoyed your ride today, next stop is a mostly untouched ancient city, apparently having been in a volcanic eruption that has half-buried it. We thank you for taking Eisley Transit, and would like to see you back again sometime." Stari tried to keep from chuckling as he spoke, pulling off an aircraft captain's voice fairly well.

    Daniel ignored him and looked at some of the writing, trying to translate it as best he could in his head. "I see... the gate address for Earth, and what appears to be a warning of pestilance and natural disaster. Possibly a volcano." Daniel didn't like the look of the writing on the city, and wanting to be somewhere else now.

    "I have spotted one, DanielJackson. To what appears to be the north, smoking." Teal'c looked out across the plains to the massive mountain that threateningly smoked in the distance. The MALP-droid bweeooped affirmitive, sounding smug. Teal'c just raised an eyebrow, before ignoring it.

    "We'll have to keep an eye on it. It looks pretty active." Carter held onto the tank as they accelerated still, wind whipping at her exposed hair as they passed 25 miles an hour, before leveling out there.

    "No cantankerous pyramid of natural power is going to bother me. Let it ash, let it ash." Toral snuggled in his grenade launcher closer to him, wanting to blow quite a few things up. It just felt more natural in action instead of on the practice range. An auto-turret he had set up in the jungle traverse slowly tracked around behind him.

    "We'll be fine." Khaar settled into the tank commander's seat further, using more of the blast shields around it, feeling worried as well. He felt like he was being watched.

    They quickly reached the central tower, hovering around it looking for a door. The tarnished metal and gleaming still mostly reflective windows seemed unbroken, until a balcony slowly rounded around the tower as they moved along. Stari slowed and finally let momentum bring the tank into a hovering slow carress of the wall below it, the balcony still two meters above the group.

    "Dell, you can drive pretty well, take over from Stari. Toral, with Stari and SG-1. Col. O'Neill, if you want..." Khaar slowly tracked up the side of the tower, pausing at a flicker of movement high above. He watched for a moment, before Jack responded.

    "Demolitions? Sounds good to me. Don't look at me like that, Daniel. This is something we have to search, and I'm not letting headsucking repositories, stubbron doors, deathtraps, Jaffa, Goa'uld, or anything else stand in my way." Jack stood up, shouldering up his pack and grabbing two side sections, hooking them into the Molle lacing on the sides of his pack. A few grenades, a couple of magazines; a blaster carbine, spare power packs, and a few gas canisters for it. Just in case.

    "I wasn't going to say anything. Just... make sure that we don't blow up anything important." Daniel suppressed a sigh of dispair, knowing but not wanting to carry through with it. The archeological find of... pretty much ever, and they would have to result to tomb-raiding. His nightmare, all over again. He hoped to never have to do something like that, shooting up a find.

    "Relax, it'll be fine Daniel. Anyone got some grappling hooks?" Jack looked up to the balcony, wondering how to get up.

    Dell eased into the driver's seat as Stari unlatched his weapon off the holster atop the tank, slinging on his own rucksack, grunting only slightly under the unwieldy weight. He squatted down, picking up his helmet and clicking it down onto his bodysuit's collar latches, sealing shut with a clicking hiss.

    "Remember, hovertank? Dell, bring us up two meters." The filtered voice of the clone reminded SG-1 of who had been the first one to speak back on the Enterprise. Jack smiled as he filed away his funny blackmail material.

    Everyone hung on as the tank lurched and rose wobbily up to the balcony, hovering at the right height. Jack was the first to slide off the vehicle and onto the city, jumping up and down a few times to make sure the balcony wouldn't fall off. He reached out a hand to Teal'c who used it to haul himself onto the balcony as well.

    "Come on, it's fine guys." Jack held out his hand once again as Dell turned the tank around slowly, putting Carter and Daniel into range. Daniel hopped off easily as Jack winked at Carter, helping her down. She just sighed under her breath as they all turned to Stari and Toral, who both hopped off before anyone could help them off.

    "See, I like our new stormtroopers. They even help themselves down. You just have to provide the food, and they feed, clothe and wash themselves. They even shoot straight! Everything you could ever need!" Jack smiled as he walked into the doors in the middle of the balcony, looking up at the arches overhead, tarnished green with age.

    "Jack, they are not our pets, and we don't get to say 'Good Boy' to them." Daniel was constantly panning around to soak in every detail as they moved in. It took concentration on his part to keep from bouncing up and down like a kid in a toy store as they walked in.

    "I know. Hey, Dell, Khaar, just... circle around, have fun with that thing, and if you see any Jaffa, see how well they splat." Jack waved as the two pulled away, accelerating off and away. The humm of the repulsors faded out as they whirled around the tower, starting an orbit of the city. "Alright. Take anything that looks fairly important. If it's not glowing, in it's own room, or something else, don't bother."

    "Right. Are we going to split up?" Stari looked around, as Jack walked out the door, hanging around as the lights lit up in the corridor beyond. The group walked out into the hall, looking at the strange archetecture.

    Jack frowned for a moment, before nodding. "Teal'c, go with Stari and Toral. Sam, Danny, you're with me. Take your time. The hovertank's got a good radio in it, and we've got that MALP-droid... thingy." He walked slowly down the hall one way, doors opening at his passage, leaving Stari and Toral to wait as Teal'c slid over to them.

    "Good boy my ass. When we get back, want to crazy-foam his locker at the SGC?" Stari looked over to Toral, both of them grinning for a moment as Teal'c raised an eyebrow. The stormtroopers were odd individuals as far as he was concered. They made the Taur'i look sane, after all.

    /On the other side of P9X-483 Prime/

    In the darkness of the massive dust nebula, a Hat'ak slowly cruised. The area was long held in Goa'uld tradition to be haunted, a forsaken place that swallowed up many that entered it. The system lord Ba'al decided he would no longer take any part in it. Once again, the ripples of the Enterprise began to grow, Ba'al taking a risk he would not have in the original line. The Taur'i, and their surprising new weapons were trouncing his Jaffa in engagements. They had completely demolished a naquada refinery of his just the previous week.

    He stood before the window in his throne room, scowling at the thick dust, which obscured his Hat'aks sensors, and his view. Inky black-brown swirls parted slowly, a glow growing. Possibly just another dead end, but... One could never be sure.

    "My lord, sensors are picking up the signature of a chappa'i. Directly ahead. A planetary system." His first prime called ahead to him, before looking back to the readings. Ba'al turned around, his robe swishing around him as he made his way to the controls, taking over from his first prime. A viscious smile grew on his face, as he began to pick up the energy reading of one of the ancients miraculous power-crystals.

    "Yes, you see, nothing bad here, just as I said. And at least one ancient power-crystal. An o- well, now... my luck is in today." Ba'al smugly engaged the Hat'ak's hyperdrive, jumping up and sprinting for the 6th planet of the system. This could make all of them pay...

    "My lord?"

    "Prepare the troops for landing. Tell them to be careful, we have a wonderous find we need to preserve." Ba'al looked out, smiling maliciously. Perfect. He could use this. He could use a great deal of what he had found. SG-1 was not going to stop him this time.

    /Down in the bowels of the complex/

    "I don't get it. None of these confounded, obstinate doors want to open for me, but the blasted contraptions will open for you, Stari. Why?" Toral was grumbling after 5 hours in the complex, having slowly worked deep into the bowels of the city. Strange things had been happening, doors not opening for Teal'c and himself, but for Stari. A couple of strange devices that had warped reality that they decided to leave alone...

    "Oh, they probably don't like you. Twangy and all... The next thing I know you'll be going down to this 'deep south' we've been hearing about, and drink that 'moonshine' stuff while watching NASCAR. Ooooohhh..." Stari laughed back at the engineer, until a massive door opened beside him, revealing a vault-like room, with honeycombed walls filled with strange probe-like devices. "Well, they don't glow, but this looks very, very important. Want to grab one?"

    "You go first. We have a spare for you." Toral looked at the demolitions/pilot man, rocking back on his heels just a bit, rubbing his nose to rid himself of the irritation of milleniums of dust. The city had been a tomb for the most part, only slightly uneasy from the stillness, but annoying.

    "Indeed. If anything should, as O'neill would say 'headsucker freaky', you are the logical choice to go first. The ancients have many... unusual and difficult to understand devices that are dangerous in the wrong hands." Teal'c stood to one side of the door, looking around inside at the racks and racks of the devices. Something reminded him of a loaded missile bay, though he couldn't understand why... Such feelings in the service of the SGC had often given him excellent warning.

    "Cowards." Stari confidently walked into the room, looking around and glancing to either side at the honeycomb racks. He walked up to one, jumping up and down in front of it, then making faces at it. "See, nothing wrong here." He leaned down on it, his hand pressing up against one of the devices. He thought about how funny it would be if one of them shot out between the two of them standing outside...

    ZWOOOMP! The ancient drone lit up, shooting out in it's squidy glory and shooting past the startled pair and into the wall beyond with a massive smashing crunch, punching through and through the next wall, dissappearing out of sight. By that point, Teal'c and Toral had slammed up against the wall, shocked out of their minds. Then they realized that their cover would cover them from precisely shit if one of those things decided to come after them.

    "SITH! What in corellian hells was that!?" Toral crouched down, combat instincts telling him to present as small a target as possible as he shouted wildly over his shoulder.

    Stari, in the meantime, had hit the deck, finding his little joke to be not so amusing in real life.

    /Orbit of P9X-483/

    The drone had shot out of the far side of the city from the orbiting Khaar and Dell, but it was on a nice course for Ba'al. The confident system lord watched from his throne as his jaffa prepared for battle, unaware of the danger coming towards him, until his Hat'ak rocked from the impact, alarms ringing as several critical systems began to fail.

    "My lord, we have been attacked! Ring transports and the hanger doors will not work! Our shield generator has exploded!"

    Jaffa guards ran around, moving for controls or handholds as secondary explosions far below rocked the ship, the artificial gravity fluxuating rapidly from the detonation of the overpowered drone and the destruction it wreaked. Ba'al's smug look had rapidly turned into a towering rage as his stricken ship lurched a bit more, standing up against the fluxuating gravity.

    "Incompetents! Repair the damage, move us to the other side of the planet to keep the defense systems from attacking us again!" Ba'al's eyes flashed with anger, his voice reverberating as he lost his normally strong composure in the heat of the moment.

    "Yes, my lord!" The first prime activated the controls that fired the ship's engines, the drives engaging stutteringly, lurching the ship out of the direct line of fire of the complex below, looking drunken in it's movement as it's course was constantly corrected to account for off-axis thrust. With every lurch, he worried if his god was getting mad enough with him to kill him on the spot as the Goa'uld slipped on his hand device.

    /back with the trio/

    It had taken everyone a few moments to work up the courage to move from their spots, Teal'c the first to move, looking around the corner to find out exactly what had gone on. "Are you intact, JacobStari?"

    "Yes, I'm fine. What in the blazes was that?" Stari slowly rolled back to a sitting position, before slowly sneaking away from the racks, not wanting too much to do them. He looked back, seeing the blackened honeycomb that had been fired, the one he had his hand on... he began backpedaling away, rolling around the doorframe out into the hall.

    "Whatever the contraption was, it certainly is one hell of a missle. What did you do, Stari?" Toral glared over to the demolitions trooper, who just turned his head, the faceplate of his helmet obscuring his face. "Stari, answer me."

    "Alright, so I just thought about how funny it would be to have one shoot off between the two of you, then put my hand down on it lightly, like you saw. Then, ZWOOOMP! and away it went." Stari gestured to help describe what had happened, skipping one hand off the other to demonstrate the drone flying off.

    "Not very funny, was it? Teal'c, you want to grab one, maybe? I'm not sure that one will not go off the next time either of us grab one." The two troopers slowly backed away into the hall, crouched down, wondering if another one would go off as they slowly edged away. Nervousness didn't come often, but it twinged at them as Teal'c raised an eyebrow and looked towards them, a stotic look that could mean anything, before he started walking forward, heading over to the honeycomb rack.

    Stari and Toral edged a little further back, unable to see what exactly was going on thanks to Teal'c standing before the rather heafty number of the micro-missiles. The sound of an object unlatching made them back away a bit more, until Teal'c turned around, taking off his rucksack to carefully place one of the deadly honeycombs in a bubblewrap roll that the group had started bringing, wrapping it up and putting it down in the bottom of the gigantic ruck. He looked around the room, seeing if anything else was in there worth grabbing. A small tablet was scooped up, as the trooper duo waved him out, getting worried with each passing moment Teal'c was in there. Ancient tech seemed to be a bit scarier than they had originally thought.

    "Teal'c, you're not.. nervous about that thing on your back?" Toral slowly backed away from Teal'c as he came out, Stari standing beside him, eyeing the bulge at the bottom of the ruck warily. They weren't... entirely sure it was going to stay inert until they got back to the SGC. The troopers looked both ways down the halls. Only one or two encounters with the Jaffa had occured on the Eisley's watch, and though the warriors were clumsy, they still had their moments. Who knew what the disturbance might bring.

    Teal'c looked both ways, wondering what the two were looking at, before raising an eyebrow. "The possibility that it may activate does concern me, SeargentToral, however I have pointed it down to ensure that it travels in a somewhat safe direction. That would be... the simplest solution to the problem." Teal'c straight-man answer had Stari choking back a laugh, knowing that was something neither of the two had considered. The Americans had been rubbing off on Teal'c.

    The group began prowling down the halls, following a repeated set of signage, hoping that it would lead them somewhere. Usually a sign that repeated one set of symbols was either the fire exit, or a directional guide to an important room. If it led to an exit, well, at least they'd be able to give Daniel a few clues to the language.

    The sounds of their steps echoing through the halls were starting to get unnerving, the materials of ancient floorings for some reason echoing loudly, even with their silence-sole boots. Of course, jaffa would be even louder on these floors, so they might miss the small trio's movements in the great loud clapping of angry, impotent marching.

    Stari nodded vaugely in thought at that, thinking of Teal'c. Why had he changed sides, why was he working for Earth. He had even less in common than the crew of the Enterprise, less reasons to help. He had the best job in Apophis's armies, if what he had been told was true. Stari glanced over, wondering about the SG-1 member.

    "Say, Teal'c. I read your brief awhile back, when we first joined up. That whole misson on Quinn's world, with that 'sploding varient of naquada. It wasn't exactly clear why you joined up with the SGC... I understand why you stayed working with them after your initial turning, bu-"

    Teal'c furrowed his brow ever so slightly, Stari turning back straight ahead, getting the point. The deep grumble of annoyance from Teal'c was... rather daunting. He looked through a door that had auto-opened, looking around at bare crates, unadorned and unmarked, before turning straight ahead again, looking down to the junction in the corridor, nudging Toral right beside him, before pointing to the signage changing it's direction of pointing, heading off towards the center of the city.

    "I do not often speak of it. Apophis was... a fool. I could stand the injustices no longer. Does this answer your questions, JacobStari?" Teal'cs deep and resonating voice was as stotic as ever, though the annoyance in the air was palpable. Teal'c slowly scanned about, a staff weapon lashed to his pack, a blaster pistol at his hip and P90 in hand. He liked to cover all the bases. "Was it not the same partially, for your turn to the Taur'i?"

    Stari and Toral slowed a bit, looking at each other, then over to the black-BDU clad form of Teal'c. The insinuation wasn't a very pleasant one for them. The uncomfortable silence reigned for a little while longer, as they covered their movement into the other corridor,

    "The Empire wasn't that bad..." Toral replied quietly, unconvinced. He didn't want to admit it, even in his own head, but the direction the Empire had been trying to take had been getting out of hand. 6 billion dead, for a failed strike at the rebels, and a fit of anger. Sad waste hardly began to describe the Alderann massacare.

    "Then why did they build the Death Star, a weapon built only for destruction, chaos and terror? Why was it used in anger and malice?" Teal'c dark and roiling voice making the two back away again somewhat. Long ago people had determined Teal'c had about 4-6 facial poses. Puzzlement, Stotic, Anger, Vengance, All-out insane laughter, and extreme pain. At that moment, the two troopers got to see his Angry face. They quietly began planning their wills, not having been with Teal'c long enough to know he wasn't angry at them, but at their former Empire.

    "Couldn't that be laid at the feet of one madman? Tarkin was the one to blame for the Death Star's genisis and use, if what we were told is correct." Stari winced as he said it, remembering that not all of the information coincided with that particular point of view. There were... rumors, dangerous rumors.

    "Tarkin was not the creator of the idea of a Death Star. Your... emperor... thought of it long before your empire formed." Teal'c was in the mood to tear preceptions apart. He had moments of firebrand revolutionary, at least in jaffa format. Experience talking, as he grimly concentrated on his task at hand, trying to put an unpleasant thought of standing on the Death Star bridge watching it destroy Earth passed through.

    "Wait... what?"

    "Did you not know that your leader was in on the plan to create the death star from the beginning, since before the empire was founded?" Teal'c responded once again, stotic and having calmed his voice down into it's normal unemotional tone. The two stormtroopers were not exactly in the proper frame of mind to comprehend it. The crunching glass sound of shattered ideals was filling their heads.

    Thoughts of how it couldn't be possible, how it had to be a lie rushed through their heads. Scenes of the old archival footage of the Jedi Temple issurrection passed through their minds, thoughts of BDZ's. Thoughts of one or two times having to fire into screaming masses of women and children, who supposedly were being herded as moving cover for suicide bombers. They had never found the truth in that matter either.

    "No.. the empire is better than that. It's supposed to be the last hope for peace..."

    "Peace through fear and destruction is worse than no peace at all, SeargentToral. A lesson I learned most painfully." Teal'c turned on his P90 mounted flashlight, as they entered into a stairwell, the lighting in it conspicuously dark. He frowned, and began to follow the dimly flickering signs, which pointed down the stairways.

    They followed in silence, unwilling to press the issue.

    / Upstairs somewhere/

    Jack distrustingly looked at the floor, after the mysterious rumbling down below, he wasn't totally convinced the city was safe, though he had to continue to chase Daniel, who was steadily climbing higher and higher into the upper city. The tarnished gold embossing on all the walls still had spots that shone brightly with gilt. Sam was ahead of him, her youth proving to be his undoing. How Daniel had managed to climb 50 flights of stairs was still beyond Jack.

    Heck, even complaining about climbing 30 flights of stairs was beyond Jack at that moment, as he slowly took each step, looking up the seemingly endless staircase. Next time, he'd leash Daniel. He really was getting too old for the SGC way of life. The sound of Carter and Daniel arguing energeticly ahead in the passageway echoed down to him, as he stepped up onto the next landing, leaning over the balcony banister to look up. Ug, that was dizzying.

    "Sam, we have to do something to record all of this!"

    "Daniel, we're still limited by time and capacity! We're just supposed to grab a few things, take a quick look around, and come back. We're not a full-blown archeology team."

    "We're supposed to find whatever it takes to win against Anubis! Sam, this could be the lost city we've been looking for!" Daniel's raised voice echoed down to Jack, as he shook his head and started climbing again. Why couldn't there be a transporter or something?


    "Hey, LT. You see the hole in the ground up ahead?" Dell slowed the hovertank down, stopping by the edge of a large crater in the ground. The hole looked like something had exploded in the city, the bottom mysteriously blast-scarred. Khaar climbed up out of the gunner seat, hopping quietly down off the turret, then off the outboard, the soft dirt swallowing up the soles of his boots without a sound.

    He trudged through the soft plains over to the hole, looking into it, and down into a corridor in the city. Something had blasted up and through, the outgoing force enough to create a spall effect, which left the ragged crater behind. Khaar looked up into the sky, following the straight path that the whatever it had been had taken, before looking back in. He cricked his back as he got up out of his squat, before trudging back to the tank, knocking his feet off on it's sides.

    "Missile. Can't tell what kind. Looks like launched from a room in the city." Khaar swung himself back into his seat smoothly, as Dell began pulling bits and pieces out of various containers, the Eisely leader doing his best to keep from screaming in frustration. The only known handheld turbolaser in existance, getting put back together after having been smuggled out. Joy.

    "Don't fire that off unless you have a Ha'tak to shook." Khaar settled back in, plugging the interphase for the systems back into his helmet's computer. Dell carefully put his weapon down into the seatwell next to him, grinning manically under his helmet.

    "Right. You want to go hopping through the gates until we find one?" "No."

    Dell shrugged, before whipping the hovertank around the crater, not too worried about the crater. The LHT was the class of tank chosen for preliminary SGC usage because of its advanced technology and intuitive repulsorlift tech. Aka, the onboard computers compensated for sudden terrain shifts, amongst other things.

    Khaar slowly began scanning with the missile pods and main gun of the tank, twisting the turret about. He wasn't taking any more chances now that a possible danger had been spotted. Nothing like feeling a bit of indigestable worry to get the blood going. Finally, something to put his team to work. It had been boring, safely, mind-numbingly boring the past dozen missions or so on SG-1. Now, it seemed that the luck was back, and about to go into full swing.

    The vacation was nice, but they were stormtroopers. They LIVED for wild, insane action. The only ones out of their compliment that had got a chance to get going again had been the Alpha Site personelle. Still no signs of whatever had been shot at, though. They had to come out eventually.

    Here goa'uldy, goa'uldy, goa'uldy, the Eisleys only want to blow you to hell...

    /Central Tower Control Room/

    Jack trudged up the last few steps, thighs aching from the insanely tall staircase. He could still hear Daniel and Carter arguing, this time over something else, it sounded like whether or not they could pull a few control crystals without risking a systems meltdown. Jack shook his head, before trudging achingly into the massive room beyond the doorway.

    The bright light of the late-afternoon sun streamed through stained glass windows, casting brilliant reflections across the golden floor, the room a riot of reflected colors and light. The strange stargate varient at the narrow end of the room shone brilliantly, crosslit by the starting to set sun. The green digital gate symbols were definately not standard on any gate that he knew of, and they didn't resemble the Milky Way symbols. He blinked for a little while, before realizing he had seen a gate with similar symboling and color scheme before.

    The Asgard homeworld. It was an Ida gate, here, in the Milky Way. That was something new... Jack slowly looked about, taking in the upper balcony of the room, looking up at a strange hatch above. He slowly lowered his gaze, resting it on the bank of control stations at the far end of the room from the gate, watching Sam and Daniel gesturing wildly and arguing loudly.

    "Daniel, we have no idea whether or not we can even touch those crystals!"

    "CAMPERS! Calm down. Loot and study in equal proportions, we have no clue whether or not we'll get back." Jack silenced the two, knocking out his hat on his knee, before putting it back on his head and readjusting the bill yet again. "And this has to be the work of the little grey dudes, that gate is like the one on their homeworld."

    "Sir?" "Say What, Jack?"

    "The gate. It is the same as the one on the little grey dudes homeworld." Jack decided to play the ultra-simplistic attempt card, if that helped out. He headed over to the spiral staircase up to the control balcony, as Daniel and Carter began arguing over why that would be.

    "Must have been a diplomatic station or something, Daniel. That would explain the other gate out there."

    "Sam, why? The Ancients could dial out to the Asgard galaxy with normal gates, why make a new one?"

    "Daniel, Carter, what happens if the Asgard galaxy doesn't have the same coordinate system?" Jack looked at the DHD console in the middle of the control center, his secretly not so dimwitter mind going over the facts. He could dimly remember some of the escapade to the Asgard homeworld, and he idly began pressing buttons. He wasn't too surprised by the lack of an engagement by the strange gate, but the fact that it began powering up for a wormhole was interesting. "Huh... the dump still has power..."

    "Sir... wha- we haven't been able to get any reaction, how?" Carter came over, pressing at the console herself, only to find it still non-responsive to her.

    "Must have to do with the whole headsucky bit. The same thing that makes them come after me must let me make the city go." Jack idly waved his hands over more consoles, seeing large screens light up and dodads come online. He slowly spun in place, watching as the room began to beep and come alive, a screen lighting up with what looked like a star chart. "I'll give 'em this, the ancients knew how to build a snazzy place."

    "Well, I'm sure even they were capible of falling to pride. It's certainly looks like it's designed okay. What does this-" Daniel slowly reached in towards a large button, as his statement caught the attention of Jack and Carter.

    "Bad spacemonkey! Don't touch anything!" Jack's shout jolted Daniel for a moment, before Jack ran over and got between him and the console. "We just got the place. Let's not invoke our luck before we have to." Jack looked at the console again, hoping that it wasn't anything important. The ancient script made it hard to be sure, though. The big button in the middle looked important.

    "Let's just take this room one bit at a time, and nothing could go wrong. We're thousands of lightyears from the nearest system lord, and the only jaffa closer is Teal'c. There is nobody who could possibly come close, and the city is fi-" Fwhhoooommmmb... Jack blinked in the semi-dark room, the goldenish light playing sudden tricks with his eyes as he realized what he had said.

    "Yes sir, you tempted Murphy." Carter clicked on her flashlight, playing it around the room, which had completely shut down again.

    Their radios crackled, Toral hastily apologizing. "Sorry 'bout that folks. Don't worry, we'll put one of the crystal... thingies... back in in a jiffy." The slow re-activation of the lights, blinking on stutteringly was rather disturbing, as the trio upstairs looked at each other in worry.

    "I swear that was not my fault." Jack wardingly held up his hands, P-90 clipped to his vest, as Carter ran to the window to look for Death Gliders.

    "Jack... what was that about me taunting Murphy?"

    "It's NOT MY FAULT!"

    /rewind just a bit, ZPM room/

    Teal'c appraisingly looked over the massive hole blown in what was once a door. Their signpost guide had led them to this semi-central point in the city, which was massively armored and re-enforced. When the door had refused to open for Stari, he had been annoyed. When it had refused to open for a shaped C-4 charge he had considered it an offense. When it refused to open for a fullerine laced block of Blastex, he considered it an affront to his honor and declared war.

    24 pounds of Boomex and C-4, in alternating layers on the hinges, along with a central blast and duranium fragmentation particles, and a durasteel shaping sheath did the trick. Violently with great enthusiasm. They had hid in a side-passage 400 meters away. At 200 meters, the walls began to get scoarched. 50 meters, the blackened walls began to show heat blistering. The door to the room was embedded on the other side, scrape markings and small blast damages showing it's violent entry and removal.

    "Perhaps 24 pounds of explosive was a few too many, JacobStari."

    "You can never have enough 'splodies. There is no such thing as overkill." Stari stepped into the room, looking at the central pedastal that had just barely been missed by the huge door, looking around at the various screens and guages. "You know... I sorta get the feeling that this is either the reactor monitor room, or the central control room."

    "Indeed. The defenses do indicate that this is a room of great importance. Let us take care that we do not cause damage..." Teal'c turned around from inspecting a console to see Stari bouncing two glowing crystals in his hands, starting to juggle them, as a third was slowly being raised up.

    Then the lights went out. "JacobStari. Please put one back."


    /just over the horizon/

    Ba'al was most annoyed. But that was alright. He would have his revenge. He would have this city. Whatever fool had dared to damage his ship would find out what it felt like to have it fall on him. He watched as Death Gliders launched, his ship sputtering forward across the landscape. Oooh, yes, he was going to have quite a bit of fun when they got to the city.

    "My lord, we will be at the city in approximately 30 minutes." The first prime turned around to his lord, who smiled, having recomposed himself over the past hour as they had come down around the planet, out of the guns of the city.

    "Excellent. I have to commend your efforts to keep us out of the way of those cursed weapons. Just make sure that next time it doesn't hit us." Ba'al smiled, standing up and coming over to the window. The bare tip of the city could be seen, as he straightened his robes. "Prepare my personal equipment."

    The Taur'i were inspiring, especially that strange one that he had scavenged that armor from. It had been most enlightening, though he would not say so openly to his subordinates. The materials were interesting, but his own material was better. His armor was a piece of beauty, and would prove to be the undoing of the troublesome Taur'i.

    "Yes my lord."

    Yes, they had given him the clues needed. This 'combined arms' that the Taur'i had developed was a most invaluable system, along with their various strategems and ideas. He had torn the thoughts out of Jack O'niell's mind, along with other plans from the Taur'i he had interrogated over the years.

    His designers were being forced into a new direction, learning from the Taur'i way. They were dreadful annoyingly deadly meddlers, but they had changed the galaxy. It was only fair and thoughtful to his Jaffa to change with the Taur'i. Soon... very soon he would be the true ruler of the cosmos. This day would be the first test of his new plans for his Jaffa. Training had begun for their new weapons, and tactics were being developed after having looked at the encounters with the Taur'i.

    Too bad for him, they had allies now.

    "Aww, Ha'tak fall down, go boom"


    The first sign of trouble was the small beep. Small little unassuming thing, ignored by SG-1 in their frantic quick runthrough of the city. Up in the control room, the local conditions map began to blink in a frame of red, as a symbol denoted itself coming down from the highlands nearby. A minute later, the city sensors picked up the hot charge in the Ha'taks main guns, and decided that was a very bad thing. It took approximately 5 seconds for the old gravitic-transform speakers to warm up, and begin the assault siren.

    It took 3 seconds more for the minds of SG-1 to process the alarm, the strange warbling sound took a moment to register. It took another minute for their hearts to stop racing, especially those that had been through the early crisis's in the cold war. The sound of air raid sirens, even slightly alien ones, would always be chilling to one Jack O'Neill.


    "What in the blazes is that alarm? Don't tell me we've done something to something important!" Toral looked about, the lighting changing ever so slightly with the alert. He mushed the stock of his Deecee into his shoulder pad, waiting.

    "It appears to be an air raid siren, SeargentToral. Perhaps we should begin moving to an egress."

    Teal'c remained stotic, gripping his staff weapon, waiting for O'Neill. He began to move faster, heading back along the path they had taken. "Col. O'Neill should call us soon."

    "Teal'c, pack it up, the city's spooked, and I'd rather be out of here when whatever caused it shows up or happens." O'neill's voice squaked over the walkies, rather indignant at the interruption caused by the alert in the city. "Khaar, get the tank back to the entrance, we'll meet you there."

    "I concur, O'Neill. I will move my team to the exit." Teal'c looked over his shoulder to Toral and Stari, who grumbled, then turned around to follow the jaffa. They were just starting to grow fond of looking around the old city.

    The trio skidded around the corner, hearing a thunk of a security door engaging behind them, securing the mysterious crystal compartment they had recently left. "Rapid departure now!" Stari grabbed a block of Blastex from Toral's equipment webbing, boots screeching slightly as they ran down the hall, following their path back outside to safety. No-one wanted to be trapped in the old city.

    The sound of things moving in darkened sections of corridor, of things shifting in the dark warehouses down below made them run faster. Whatever it was had the Ancient construct ready to do battle.


    "Carter, chances on it being the Gould?" Jack slipped in a pile of dust as he ran down the stairs, before picking himself back up and running for downstairs. Daniel's protestations had only lasted for a few moments, before he gave it up and kept up with Jack and Carter. He winced every time they passed what looked like stain glass windows, wishing they had the time to take more documentation photos.

    "Fairly good, sir. The MALP-droid didn't pick up any natural disaster indicators." Carter checked her scanner pack, frowning at a small reading. "I'm getting fluxuations in local gravity. Could either be an earthquake or an anti-grav system." She picked herself up off the archway she had propped herself on and jumped down a set of stairs to catch up with her CO.

    "Well, I don't want to stay to find out!" Jack's boots squeaked as they tried to catch on the slick ancient flooring, dusty clouds rising up into the air from the running. Jack shined his flashlight down into the interior corridor, running for the exit. Occassional emergancy lights strobed red in the hallways, as they made for the exit.

    "Jack, do we have a plan?" Daniel dashed to catch up, glad that all the years of being on SG-1 had gotten him in shape and ready for mad dashes. He stopped for a moment, looking down to what looked like a labratory, before wincing in annoyance and kept going.

    "Get out, find out what's going on, and either deal with it or run away! The same plan we always have!" Jack jumped over a small step in the hall, wincing at the feel of his body protesting the extreme movements it was being put into.

    "You'd think we would have a better plan!" Daniel shouted back up to Jack, arms pumping with both zats n hand as he ran to keep up with his two guardians.

    "Well aware of it! If you come up with one, feel free to let me know!" Jack shouted back once more, as he ran through the way back once more, trying to remember ambush spots and chokepoints where they could fight off assaults in emergancies. "Carter, we need better weapons, no excuses now!"


    /Khaar and Dell/

    Khaar looked over the plain, watching the wind starting to shift and blow, the vegetation bending over from the strong wind. Backwash, was his assessment. "Ready your weapon. We've got trouble." He slid down into the commander seat fully, closing the hatch over himself.

    Dell looked over to his rifle, before looking ahead, then down at the controls, putting the hovertank back into motion. As the vehicle pulled around the central tower of the building wating for both teams, the two came into view of the source of the wind. Ba'als Ha'tak hovered at the edge of the plain tenatively, as battalions of Jaffa marched towards them through the waist-high grasses, body armor that had most definately NOT been on the familiarization video.

    "I'd definately call that a problem..." Dell strafed the tank back behind cover as the first rank locked out staffs and began volleying fire in their direction, plasma bolts just barely missing them and shooting across the plain, sheering tops of trees and beginning the start of a forest fire. Dell threw the hovertank into full throttle, turning around and gunning it for a better position. "I'll find cover, fire as we move?"

    "Affirmitive." Khaar took the remote for the E-Web on the micro-turret, listening to the whine of power relays charging. The whine of repulsors built to a roar as Dell threw them into full power, jumping up on the anti-grav field onto a balcony just off the ground. A scream of scraping metal marked Dell's hard turn as the tank's repulsors overcompensated and dragged the left side into the decking.

    "Sorry, hang on!" He pushed the tank up against the marble-tarnised wall, zigzagging with the contour of the inner towers and throtting back as they grew close to coming back out into the open. He flicked the safeties on the main guns, looking over to the missile launcher status lights. "All munitions green. Cannons hot, primaries ready for firing. Ready on mark."

    "Prepare to fire for effect. Bring us around, 2 rounds down." Khaar watched the heat sensors mark down locations of Jaffa battalions charging the city. They didn't seem to understand that charging a tank was considered a trademarked bad idea.

    A light touch to the starboard controls, and the hovertank drifted out nearly silently from behind cover, guns cycling up to power. The jaffa didn't even notice at first, continuing to charge and fire for it's last position. Dell flipped the firing safety covers that the SGC techs had put onto the firing studs for the main guns, before giving the Jaffa the typical imperial warcry of outgoing laser cannon shots.

    FWAKOOM! The fireball rolled up into the air, Jaffa diving for cover from the sudden assault. Staff blasts thumped over the top of the tank as those farther away from the blast returned fire in the general direction of the SGC vehicle. Chunks of blasted metals clanged off the tank as bits and pieces of the ancient structure were blasted off the walls.

    "Full magazine, starboard missile battery. Alpha spread." Khaar sent his own semi-random fire back out as he adjusted the remote sights for the weapon. Red shot through gold, some bolts explosively colliding in midair, others randomly deflecting off into the distance. Smoke rose over the city, the sunlight beginning to diffuse as a black cloud cast a twilight gloom onto the battlefield.

    The tearing scream of 10 micro Ion-drives activating at once ripped through the air, the red-purple of proton torps streaking out, going ballistic and creating a rippling fireball across the forward flank of the jaffa army advance. They turned and ran, heading for the nearby towers. Enough of that, they'd let the Ha'tak take care of the the Taur'i monster. The warning alert of the emergancy shield klaxons blared in the two's ears as a low powered shot from the Ha'tak blew apart the balcony the hovercraft had been hovering over, sending it bouncing into the wall before tumbling to the ground, repulsors just barely catching it in a proper upright position.

    "And THAT is why imperial engineering rocks! Permission to return fire?"


    The Jaffa turned a minute later, as a lone figure with an absolutely massive rifle came screaming around the corner, before putting it to his shoulder and aiming up at the Ha'tak. The peal of outgoing turbolaser fire rang out again, as he was bodily slammed into the ground by the kickback. Ba'als Ha'tak got to taste plasma as a reminder not to screw around with SG-1.


    "You hear that?"

    "Staff wea-" Carter's response was cut off by a warcry and staff FWUMP! that rocked over her head. P90s opened up on full auto as Jack and Carter took cover to return fire. Daniel dived into a nearby connecting corridor, knowing to just get the heck out of the way during a firefight. A surge of Ba'als warriors, looking to get away from the hovertank outside that had begun to open fire on the troops again now ran into blaster-pistol and P90 fire.

    Jack popped up for a moment, picking a jaffa that looked to be organizing the assault, and proceeded to unload 10 rounds center-mass, wincing at how many it took to punch through the new, more advanced-looking solid breastplate. It almost looked like a golden section of stormtrooper armor. As the hapless squad leader started to get up, a trio of red tracers from Daniel's borrowed blaster-pistol slammed into the pitted section, slamming him back over, char smouldering as jaffa proceeded to pour over him for the assault.

    "New armor, Carter. This is NOT good." Jack ducked back down into the alcove he was using as cover. He ducked back around firing at another, watching him stagger back, but take the hit. Carter's additional fire threw him to the ground twitching as one of her rounds punched through and proceeded to liquify his organs trying to find a way out of his armor.

    Daniel's blaster rang out for a few semi-aimed shots, a lucky one catching a jaffa in his tattoo, the unlucky sap floping to the ground with a wet thump. The electronic buzz of Daniel's zat firing in as rapid of a procession as he could muster charged the air, a few jaffa falling to it before counter-fire forced him back. "I think we need a diffrent path, Jack!"

    "You THINK? Tell me something I don't know, Daniel!" Jack leaned around his corridor, emptying out his magazine with a full-auto burst, watching the onrushing tide come at them. The sound of a three-round burst from a deecee blaster rifle accompanied the sight of a jaffa getting nailed, boots meeting head on the way down.

    Jack looked over to Carter, who looked at him over slapping a new magazine in, before seeing a smoke trail of a launched grenade pass between them, and the bloody explosion that followed as the fragmentation ripped several jaffa apart. They looked back with surprise along their path to see Toral and Stari kneeling in the middle of the corridor, belting out punishment. A maelstrome of blaster fire countered the new staff blasts, as the two advanced, Teal'c hovering over Daniel protectively, returning fire with two-handed blaster-pistol fire.

    "Now you didn't see THAT in the movies!" Jack pumped his fist, feeling the tide turning back into their favor as Stari climbed into the alcove with him, burst-firing, and them ducking back in with Jack. He proceeded to reach across the stormtroopers chest as the clone reached for his spare coolant pack, grabbing a random grenade, and finding the safety stud that had been shown in the familiarization vid. He leaned over, tossing the grenade down the hall, before ducking back in.

    The deep bass of the grenade detonating concussively shook the green-tarnished halls, blackened char skittering across the floor. Stari looked over to O'neill, his rifle electronically whining as it powered back up to full. "Cover me while I move."

    Jack gave him a short look, before the clone jumped out into the hall, firing rapid bursts down into the unorganized crowd of attacking jaffa. Jack leaned around beside him, going on full-auto suppressive fire. Haze filled the air, flesh smouldering on the jaffa side of the hall, Stari and Toral advancing forward on the crowd of beserker-attacking jaffa, calmly mowing them down, before ducking back into alcoves ahead.

    "Carter!" "SIR!" "When they call for it, we go full-auto, and try and catch up!" "Yessir!" "Danny, Teal'c, same thing, try not to shoot me!"

    The sight of the stormtrooper duo stepping back out into the halls was his only cue, and he took it. "MOVE!"


    The arrival of the death gliders had shifted Khaar's attention skyward, E-WEB fire rising up into the sky as he attempted to hit fast-moving targets with the anti-infanty cannon. Didn't help the jaffa on the ground, who now were cowering flat to avoid being splattered on the front prongs of the hovertank. Dell had discovered some... unorthodox tactics that online and local players on the SGC Halo circuit had developed, and put the methodology to use. No matter what, getting sideswiped with a 50 ton MBT tended to ruin your day.

    FWAKOOOM! The explosive crack of detonating laser bolts thumped through the air, thinning the thousands of jaffa further as the imperial rampage continued. The situation was bad, plane's lost both wings type bad. The E-Web was starting to overheat, after having claimed 10 gliders overhead. Both missile packs were gone, the currently difficult to reproduce proton warheads wasted on a second jaffa battalion, thinning a tenth of the of the assault in an orgy of destruction.

    The two nearly cracked their heads on the forward instruments of their positions as the tank took a drop the wrong way, repulsors reacting hard and causing the craft to bounce heavily. They would wait and fight until they died, if that is what it would take to make sure that SG-1 extracted. It was what they did, part of their creed. A family bond that was far more than Earth armed forces usually developed.

    The once verdant field was now a torn battlefield, great swaths of dirt blown up, craters from the tank's main guns smoking. Carnage, horrible carnage was the order for the day. The screams of the wounded and dying were almost swallowed up by the sounds of the warcries of the living, the thunder of the intense fire and counterfire. Another day in the life for the two. A scene that had repeated itself far too often for the two troopers. Since the last raspy gasps of the confederacy, to the pirate actions of the dark times, to the rebellion's rise. A hundred times they each had been in the thick, there would be a hundred more. Mechanical, now. Point and shoot, point and shoot.

    "Sierra-Golf One-Charley, This is Sierra-Golf One-Alpha, situation grim, we need you to evac now."

    The radio crackled for a moment, before clearing, the sound of the firefight staticly emerging behind O'neills voice. "The is Sierra-Golf One-Charley, we're on our way. Heavy resistance, over." The sound of a jaffa scream trailing off into a gurgle sounded just after, a gunshot cut-off as Jack clicked off.

    "Main gun control transfer." Khaar pulled out the commander seat cannon controls, looking up through the upper sighting slits. A wet thump, and blood specks splattered on the slit as the upper half of an unlucky jaffa bounced onto the upper section of the tank.

    "Control transferred. Get them out of the skies." Dell was starting to worry about the shield generators, a somewhat sick whine starting to develop in them as yet another deep thwoom of death glider staff cannons smashed against the tank, bucking it yet again. Time was running out.

    The mechanical whine of the actuators for the main cannons engaging vibrated the seats of tank, the cannons moving upwards and tracking as of yet unknowing death gliders. Where the E-Web was a single-man AAA battery, the twin main cannons were the equivilent of putting a 40mm flak gun in their way. The imperial battlecry sounded out again, and the glancing blow sent a death glider spiraling out of control, fireball spilling out across the ground.

    A good start.


    Daniel ran to catch up with the team, the combatants of SG-1 leapfrogging up, pushing the jaffa back with every , while he kept behind somewhat, out of the line of fire. A few snapshots had been taken of the fighting from his vantage point, watching the two stormtroopers acting as the point for SG-1's long-awaited all-out ass-kicking of jaffa legions.

    He came around the corner, watching Carter butt-stoke a jaffa before double-tapping him in the face, before turning to the wall, seeing a massive memorial mural. He jumped back, backpedaling across the corridor to the opposite wall, and starting to take pictures. It was unprecidented, even for the ancients. There was no way that he couldn't take the chance.


    "DANIEL!" Jack grabbed ahold of the shoulderband of his tactical vest, dragging him towards the exit that had been cleared out, the archeologist trying to dig in his heels, boots squeaking on unbroken floor, and stumbling as they hit a small blast crater.

    "Jaaack! We need to at least document this!" "Need to leave, NOW!" "Jack, it's the whole reason the city's here, the place is a-" "DANIEL, COME ON!"

    Jack bodily grabbed Daniel, pushing him ahead of himself, trying to get him out. Daniel gave up, and ran for the exit, blaster pistol in hand. Jack followed, running out the door onto the balcony beyond, looking both ways, and grabbing Daniel, pushing him left. The archeologist ran his camcorder along the battlefield, now looking about and getting exactly what the complex was, part of what had happened.

    The hovertank was firing up into the sky, the main cannons firing slowly, shards of broken death-gliders scattered across the battlefield. The verdant jungle was ablaze, the sky now a twilight smokey mess. 20 minutes of intense fighting had turned the plain into a destroyed mess reminicient of a WWI no man's land, Ba'als Ha'tak semi-crashed and smoking, a blast scar across its surface. A nearby blast sprayed dirt up the side of the city, Daniel holding up his arm to ward off the hot particles.

    FWHOOM! The sound of tearing metal screached through the air as a death glider crashed into the ground levels of the city, fireball rising up. The caphacony of blasts, blaster fire crossing staff blasts, bullets ricocheting and echoing, dying death gliders continuing to cook off and detonate small naquada pockets, the oxygen detonating occasionally from some with explosive concussions.

    Ahead, Teal'c and Carter had climbed onto the tank, taking cover behind the supplies as Stari and Toral crouched on the catwalk just above it, using the railing to cover themselves as they held off jaffa.

    "Move, Daniel! Gogogo!" Jack started sprinting, feeling his age as his joints began to creak slightly, knees hurting as he was missed by staff fire. Daniel sprinted to catch up, heaving as he pushed his body to the limit. Almost there, the wide-open catwalk remaining, fire all about them. In future days, Jack would look back on that mad dash, wondering how in the heck he managed to avoid the massed fire of thousands of jaffa, as inaccurate as they were, still one of them had to have gotten lucky. Somehow, though, they reached the blasted end of the catwalk, taking flying leaps across open space onto the tank, crashing into it with wild abandon, Stari and Toral jumping on slightly more expertly, catching themselves with their weapons.

    "Dell, MOVE! Get us to the gate!" O'neill flopped onto his back, grabbing the combat strap as he went. The clone had hopped out, though, sitting himself into a topside gunner seat as Stari jumped in, not even bothering to properly seat himself before gunning it. Centrifigal force tugged at everyone hanging on, as the tank whipped around, exausts blazing as Stari revved it to a standing start.

    A swarm of death-gliders swooped in, blasts falling all around them as the insanely piloted tank whipped around and through the city, quickly outpacing it's foot-bound land pursuers, leaving the far more dangerous airal assault all over them.

    The pursuit back to the gate would become one of the single most-watched clips of gun-camera footage in the SGC. A harrowing journey that streched for 5 miles of jungle, one for the record books. For new recruits, the sounds of the two halves of SG-1 finally merging into one working whole, the anger and frustration of all of them, as they dodged blasts, cries for help as they were nearly knocked off the tank time and time again, the sight of O'neill and Dell working together to hold the clone's turbo-sniper rifle in place, shooting a glider from the skies. A hundred exploits of valour, a hundred times of death being told to fuck the heck off.

    A baptism of fire. In later years, even as the compliment of SG-1 changed about, old faces leaving, new ones coming, the departure of Daniel and Jack, the deaths of others in the line of fire, the remaining veterans would look back to that day and tell of how SG-1 as it was meant to be was truely forged. Look back on that day, with bitter memories of having lost a treasure, for a time, and not so bitter ones of the thoughts of Ba'als face, once they found out what exactly those crystals were, and utter thankful joyous celebration when the fruits of their labor paid off. Anubis, when he came, found the surprise a little less welcoming, however.


    "So. You failed at capturing SG-1? ... Forgivable, if what I have been shown is true." Ba'al watched again, the sight of the strange new vehicle of SG-1. There could be use for something such as that. He would have to make one for himself, once he had studied how it had been used. Another of their infernal inventions, to be sure. But one that looked like it could be of immense use, especially in cowing some of the more difficult worlds. At the least, it looked like it could just squash a Kull Warrior, much like it had many of his own.

    But, the real prize was the ancient's cityship. One had been discovered, once. Now it was bits of crushed rubble in orbit of a forsaken planet on the outer rim. The real prize would be the ancient power crystals that were in the bowels of the cityship. Those would allow him to be invincible to Anubis. The usurper would find himself banished to the void from hence he had come crawling from once again.

    Only a handful of Goa'uld had the genes needed to allow them to operate the city fully, all of them remaining his mortal enemies. Luckily, the outpost he had discovered in his territory, devoid of power and weapons, allowed him to develop a partial bypass. He would have partial control over the city VERY shortly.

    He stood up, the 10 Jaffa assigned to escort him through the potentially booby trapped city snapping to attention, their new armor rattling. Ba'al frowned slightly, knowing that he still had a bit to go yet, judging from how the new additions to SG-1 had ran through his jaffa much as jaffa would run through unarmed peasants.

    "Come, we have a new capitol to set up. There is work to be done, so that the Taur'i will soon learn proper humility." Ba'al began to smile, the city continuing to keep his mood from souring, despite the damage done to it by the battle. A little bit of work would restore it nicely. His first prime bowed to his god, before marching in lock-step with the rest of the escorts, who had formed up around him.

    Outside in the corridor, jaffa and slave work crews rushed back and forth, commiting repairs to the ship, nanite swarms mending gashes in walls where conduits had blown, or where the crash landing of the ship had buckled the corridor. Ba'al looked out upon it with the distain of an owner watching people repairing his property, when it should never have been busted in the first place. He could always replace the ship, though. It was the power crystals that he really, really wanted. Everything else wasn't worth his time.

    With a flourish of his robe, he stepped up onto the ring platform, fiddling with his controls, setting it to lock onto the rings within the city. Four jaffa surrounded him, before they vanished in beam of the rings, zapping across the small gulf between the central tower and the Ha'tak, to beam into one of the teleport closets aboard.

    Ba'al let the Jaffa open the door for him, stepping out into the control room of the city. He smiled, spreading his arms wide as he laid claim to his new domain. His glor-

    Fwooommmb... The flickering of the lights, followed by the complete blackout of the city was not what he had in mind for a grand entrance. Dammed Taur'i...
    moonberserker likes this.
  11. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Part 10: Ashes to glory

    "Like the phoenix, it will all rise again."

    //Outer Rim//

    The ash was still falling. It had been coming down for almost 2 years, now. Since they had stood their ground, and fallen. He looked out into the dark skies, the ash clouds that forced them to wear breathers still. The skies that had betrayed them, that had let the Goa'uld come. The parasites were supposed to be no match for them. Where had it all gone wrong? Maybe the dammed Taur'i had been right all along. No matter now, no gate, no hope. Only a few thousand left. Every ship that had tried to escape from the underground hangers had gone down in flames.

    He frowned, as the ash clouds began to glow, looking up at the aurora effect beyond. They had never done that before. He studied it, coming to the conclusion that a battle was being fought close in to the atmosphere, the discharges ionizing the upper reaches. One master exchanged for another. He sat down, the softly falling ash slowly dusting him down as he attempted to understand the movements above from the way the auroras moved.

    There. The sudden flash indicated a reactor going critical. The clouds roiled for a moment, before the sight of small chunks of Ha'tak falling in the distance came to him. He looked back to the clouds, watching the bright lights above. His people could not take another master. This was their last echo.

    Strange. He had never just looked up at the sky like this before. Not before, when the gentle, deceiving stars were out, not to look up at first the fires of their original home world, or the glow of molten crust far beyond more recently when Anubis had taken his wrath out upon them. It seemed that the Taur'i way had at last infected him.

    He chuckled for a bit, before fishing around in the thick ash on the ground, feeling for his weapon. He would at least go down on his own terms, if it came to it. Let them come.

    Arcs of bluish light raced across the sky, hundreds of them, and another great flash, this time a faint clap of a detonation accompanying it. A low, rumbling moan echoed through the air, before scaling in pitch. The clouds roiled in a way that suggested something had passed through them not a few moments before. That was new. After the first month, no death glider had dared enter the atmosphere. A new propulsor, as well.

    Multiple thunderclaps, now, explosions blowing open the cloud momentarily in the distance, the echoing sound of a strange electronic yowling chirp that repeated itself many a time over going continuously now. The way it sounded, it seemed to be the echo of whatever weapon the new invaders were using. Perhaps not all that powerful, considering how rapidly it sounded out in bursts.

    The overhead auroras had died down now, the battle above apparently over. He smiled grimly, warning on his comm link that trouble would be approaching shortly. At least his people were warned. The rumbling moan passed overhead again, this time slower, a formation of the craft now, a line of disturbances across the skies. He looked up, frowning as the dim spot of a spotlight trying to shine through the clouds appeared.

    The air began to vibrate, a deep roar developing, ion engines in an atmosphere. Definitely not Goa'uld, then. A faint thought passed through his mind, what if... what if the Asgard had come, what if the Taur'i had managed to understand and replicate the Ion Cannon given to them, and had managed to complete the battle cruiser they had been working on. Could it be...

    4 disk-shaped transports dipped out of the skies, forward mandibles mounting lights that tracked across the ashen plain. Something new... the roar of Ion drivers grew ever louder, the four transports spotting him, slowly settling down, the mysterious moaning fightercraft finally dipping down out of the ever-present ash. They looked like sleek black angular deathgliders, but with arments that had never been seen on one before.

    He charged his weapon, just in case, as the four transports touched down into the soft ash, cycling down some, before a figure stood up from a hatch on one.

    "Hello! This would be the the Taur'i express rescue service! Need a lift?" English... Narim smiled broadly, thankful that the best had come to pass.

    "Yes! Thank you for at least coming! How did you-" He had so many questions, about how they had done it, what those fighters were, what had happened in the intervening years!

    "We'll explain later. We need to know where you guys are situated at so we can drop the Prometheus for a landing! We'll drop the loading ramp!" The figure ducked back down into the strange transport, a loading ramp indeed lowering down from the side with a whine of hydrolics. He took only a moment to look about at the destroyed landscape, before rushing up to the craft, climbing up the ramp.

    The austere interior matched the utilitarian exterior, and definitely seemed to be Taur'i military construction. But, he hardly spared a glance at it, instead looking at the man waiting at the top. He wasn't in the uniforms he had come to associate with the Taur'i. He was different. Had a slight regal air to him.

    The gray, stark uniform had only one conceit to how the Taur'i marked status amongst their forces, the multiple bars indicating a commander of forces. Strange that they were on his shoulders, though. He extended his hand in greeting, and Narim took it, shaking in their way, glad to see the 'primitive, backwards' Taur'i. Which culture had so far withstood the might of the Goa'uld so far, after all?

    "Sorry about the delay. We've been stuck handling one crisis after another, and haven't been able to get the Prometheus free until now." The commander let go, and gestured forward and to the offset control cabin. Narim bowed back to him, before taking up the invitation.

    "It is rather remarkable that you have managed to make it out here at all. Thank you for your assistance, though I fear a few small transports will not be enough to move 10,000 of my people." Narim stepped through the pressure door, looking out in a slight bit of surprise, and some of finally returned bemusement that the Taur'i had advanced far enough technologically to have lifted off without him even noticing the slight lurch.

    "That's what the Prometheus is for. Earth's first frigate. She should be enough to get us back to Earth, and get all of you into cover there." The commander had climbed in beside him, rubbing at a slight goatee that he appeared to be attempting to grow.

    "If I understand your language correctly, a frigate is a small naval vessel, correct?" Narim leaned over the pilots, orienting himself, and pointing in the direction of the local mountain chain, a few miles off. His transponder would keep them from outright destroying all the transports, but there would still be rather pointed questions.

    "Right. She's still enough to reliably handle two Anubis uprated Ha'taks at once." The commander watched a tic in Narim's face, seeing him trying to handle the fact that Earth had somehow caught up, indeed sprinted ahead of the Tollans in some areas. "Still a work in progress, though. We're trying to finish off the last refit so she'll be fully operational, but the structural work we're about to do to her will have to wait until we get another ship patrolling our system."

    "You have not even completed it? No, the more pertinent question is how did you develop the technology to effectively manage a feat such as the one you suggest it can do." Narim entered in his identification code into his comm unit, a Taur'i concept that had caught on since the burning. The Tollan had a few fears, that the Taur'i were not ready for such power, but, at the same time, the cinder of Tollana was reason enough to say that enough was enough, and that it was time to throw the rules out the window, as the Tollan's rescuers would say.

    "Oh... They didn't really develop it, so much as refine what was brought to them by my ship. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to get back when they're done with it." Sheridan smiled with an unhealthy glee, considering the sheer firepower that might be unleashed. The true deserving ship of the classification 'STAR destroyer'.

    "You let the Taur'i have unfettered access to your ship? Are you MAD?" Narim used his considerable self-control to keep from crashing the ship and running in terror. They were almost at the mountain refuge. He hoped he'd be safe again there. Doubted it, though.

    "No... slightly off-kilter, possibly. Have my own plans, most definitely. I've read the reports on your people. Frankly, the Taur'i don't need your help anymore. They've bounded to nearly as high on the technology ladder as a people can go now. Their madness... their wonderful interesting madness has been unleashed upon the galaxy, and nothing will stop it now. The question is, will your people try to outrun it futilely, or are you going to grab onto the controls and hang on for dear life?" Sheridan looked out the windows, seeing the mountain as the ship slowed down.

    "How could we control the way the galaxy moves?"

    "There is a station being built in the sol system. An anchorage unlike any before. The first hub of a new galactic civilization. And I plan on using the technology from my ship to mold it to my will. Think about it. We'll drop you off wherever you want, but I would recommend coming home with us. You'd be surprised as to what you see." Sheridan ducked out of the cockpit compartment as the ship settled down, talking into a comm-link that was strapped to his hand. Prometheus came for her charges, a big blocky gray angel from above.

    //3 hours later//

    Well, that had gone rather well, all things considered. The Tollan had agreed to at least stay at Babylon station for a while, and were already ready to go. Had been ready to go for ages. He leaned back in one of the aft cockpit seats of the Galileo, looking across to Narim, who semi-sullenly watched the Prometheus launching from the ground, the gray and white frigate gently lifting off with anti-gravs, sending a swirling plume of ash into the air. The Galileo banked as the rumbling shock wave of disturbed atmosphere passed, shaking slightly, as the Prometheus lifted up into the air.

    Narim held on, knuckles going white as he worried that the ship would crash. Sheridan looked over, smiling a bit at the nervousness of the Tollan. Nothing much to worry about, though. He had been told of the comparison between his fond old imperial tech, and that of the 'Russian federation'. Dirt Cheap, dirt simple, perfectly reliable, and pure concentrated amazing.

    "Forgive me, my brothers, if I have led us to our doom..." Sheridan's smile slowly died, as he realized what he had forced Narim to do. The same choice that he had made, with far less factors that would let him be forgiven by those who had begun to look up to him. He had given him one of those... Kobiashu Marus. That was it. Dammed if he did, dammed if he didn't.

    Sheridan looked away, turning to the reactor readout, trying to be interested in it, as the pilots plotted a course out of the atmosphere. This wasn't what he wanted. He hadn't wanted to break what was left of the Tollan, which was likely what was about to happen. Dammit, he had to start thinking things through before wildly blundering into them. He was supposed to be a star destroyer captain, not acting like an impulsive foolish captain of a corvette.

    He shook his head slowly for his actions, before rolling his shoulders to work out the tension that had wormed it's way into his back. Burdens of command indeed. So that is what his beloved captain had been talking about. A shame he had been up in the command tower when it had been blown clean through by that... squidish craft. Thingy. Creature... whatever it was that had so nearly destroyed them in concert with that black menace.

    "Narim, is it? I apologize for having put you in this position. I... went through about the same two months ago, when we first came here. I sympathize with what you're going through. But... I had no choice. We need a race that others look up to in order to help cement the alliances we're starting to put together." Sheridan turned around, looking up to the pilots, who put on their helmets and switched to active noise canceling to let their captain have a private talk. He turned back to Narim, who was looking ahead through the clouds of choking ash and dust.

    "Why not the Nox, then? Why us? Surely you have been told of how the Tollan refuse to lend technology or trade with anyone. My people have entrenched themselves even further into that position with the recent events. We hoped beyond hope that the Taur'i would help us, and we received no such thing." Narim was... bitter. Melancholy, disgusted that things had been stooped so low. He felt... weary, tired of the fighting, of the constant maneuvering to keep the worse elements of Tollan society from taking over. Tired of Anubis, the Goa'uld, the Taur'i. Tired of having to deal with the whole thrice-dammed galaxy.

    Oh, look, ash had collected on his shoulder... Narim brushed it off slowly, taking time with it as he let his mind shut down most of the way. He hadn't realized how hard the past two Taur'i years had been on all of them. He was so...

    "Narim, Narim!" Sheridan's voice seemed to float in the air, as he felt himself being rolled over. He realized he had fallen over. A small amused smile crossed his own face, as he looked up into Sheridan's. "Stay awake, until I can get one of the doctors aboard the Prometheus to look at you. Narim, listen to me. Pay attention!" He blinked as he tried to focus in on Sheridan, feeling the captain prop him up, lifting him up to roll him back into the seat.

    It was all so overwhelming... oh... look, stars. He smiled more broadly, at seeing the stars for the first time in so long. He could see the Prometheus, gently floating beside them, along with all 9 other transports that had come. He reached for them, trying to get up, before Sheridan grabbed it back down. A noise permeated the numbness that he had swaddled himself in, and Sheridan seemed to panic somewhat at that, hurriedly strapping one of the Taur'is primitive restraints over him, before jumping back into his own seat, strapping down as well.

    Then, the engines of the craft before them began to glow white hot, before they began to blur and jump ahead at impossible speeds, each vanishing with a bright flash and a faint afterimage. A whine built up from somewhere within the craft, and then the stars filled the forward view ports solid with streaks, and he blacked out, knowing nothing more.

    //SGC, 12 hours later//

    "So, General, what seems to be the problem? You seem rather tense today. Honestly, it can't be about the fiasco on P9X-483 still is it?" Jack O'neill watched from his cheap plastic chair as his favorite buggable commanding officer paced around the briefing room. They were about halfway through the move to the new site at Fort Avalon, which certainly wasn't helping anyone at the SGC relax, but this seemed to be a bit more serious.

    "It was supposed to be, Col., until our mutual business partner and associate Captain Sheridan decided to steal the Prometheus for something he claimed to be a 'urgent priority mission'. He also took all of the gunship transports and has not been seen, with or without the Prometheus since. No contact, no traces of her hyperwake at any of our automated tracking outposts, it's like he disappeared off the map." General Hammond shook his head as he walked, before stopping at the windows overlooking the Stargate, a deep scowl on his face as he pondered what could have happened to the ship.

    "I haven't been able to find them with any of the sensors we borrowed from the Enterprise, nor has her own sensor suite been able to find them since we re-mounted it on Babylon to detect them." Carter looked back to her laptop, writing new algorithms that would hopefully increase the resolution and range on the sensors. A large mug she had just been given sat beside her, steaming ever so slightly.

    Daniel looked at it, smiling for a moment, before Carter glared at him and drew her mug closer to herself, shifting it around so the logo on the front of it was visible. 'Alpha Geek' indeed... Daniel innocently chuckled, before going back to organizing the foot-tall stack of briefing aides he had brought with him, shuffling the various bits into a neat orderly pile.

    Teal'c looked between the two of them, an eyebrow raising as he pondered the significance of the mug. He personally had no materials to bring for the briefing, other than word of mouth from goings on at the beta site. He cleared his throat, making Daniel and Carter look to him for a moment. The new half of SG-1 were fighting over the few donuts left over from the former first prime's pre-briefing assault on the donut cache that Jack had brought in, before noticing that everyone had begun looking at them.

    Shaking his head slightly, Khaar wondered what he had done to deserve such an insane team. "Gentlemen, the general would like to get on with his briefing, stop." Dell and Stari looked between each other for a moment, before putting the delcair down and wiping their hands with a few napkins. No harm done yet. Khaar turned to General Hammond, politely performing a sitting bow, which the general nodded his head in thanks for.

    "Thank you Lt. Would you happen to have any insight at all as to where Captain Sheridan might have been going with the Prometheus?" Hammond sat down in his seat, wondering if things would ever get normal at the SGC as he settled into the grumbling chair. Probably not, this was likely as close as he would ever get to it, considering what the SGC had gone through in 7 years.

    Khaar sat back a bit, thoughts running through his mind as to what could be going through his captain's head. It took him a fair bit to think through what all had seen his captain doing over the past two months. "Reports. Mission reports, in fact."

    General Hammond nodded, he had watched the Imperial captain suck up mission reports like a sponge for several weeks as he caught up with the current situation in the program. Which gave him a thought. He'd have to check with the 2002 series of files again, the captain had been highly interested in them when he had gone through the archives. "Did he ever let you see which ones, Lt.? Any information you have could be vital for our success in locating him."

    "I'm not sure. I saw one in particular that he looked at multiple times, but I didn't get close enough to identify it as a particular file. He mentioned something about Anubis, and a word that sounded like tomana, tolara..."

    "Tollana..." The chorus from most of SG-1 and General Hammond stopped him, as they turned to each other and started chattering amongst themselves in rapid-fire questioning and conversation. They seemed to be speaking a short-hand gibberish to the Imperials,who tried to swivel their heads rapidly to keep up with the mad near-argument. They were mad, it was a well-established fact by that point.

    "Sir, Dr. Jackson, Teal'c, shouldn't we be asking how much firepower he took, in case he ran into trouble?" Stari sipped his large mug from the on-base defac, the sound of his last gurgling slurps helping to break up the running argument. Khaar slowly put his hand to his face, still wondering how he had screwed up so bad as to get that particular clone. Last time he had bothered asking the old captain, he had just cryptically smiled before shutting his door in the Lt's face.

    Stari set his mug down, chuckling ever so slightly as he noticed the surprised looks on the faces of the SGC old guard and General Hammond. Wonderful thing, playing dumb. It let you get away with all sorts of naughty things. "Honestly, what? I'm obnoxious, not stupid. Captain Sheridan comes from the Imperial school of negotiations, shoot first, demand a surrender later. We've been designing a new smaller bulk freighter, and the prototype is already built, but instead he takes the frigate that's being worked on. Why? He's expecting at least a Ha'tak."

    Jack nodded his head, having to agree with the sentiment. "He makes a point, General. If he did go to Tollana, he's probably expecting Anubis to have Ha'taks in that general area. The Prometheus is at least combat worthy, after all." Jack leaned back in his seat, as Carter looked at him slightly funny. A bad thought came to his mind, and he looked back to her. He really, really hoped that he wasn't right for once. "It is space worthy, right?"

    "Sort of, sir."


    "I hope not sir."

    "Col. O'neill, when Captain Sheridan gets back with the Prometheus, I want a long chat with him. Bring him to my office as soon as he shows up." General Hammond had a stern look on his face, as Carter fiddled with her laptop again, looking intently at it. He looked over to her for a moment, before looking over to Jackson, clasping his hands together on the table and straightening out some. Time for something to take their minds off the Grand Theft Starship. "Dr. Jackson, would you care to give your presentation now?"

    "Oh, uh, yes General." Daniel jumped up, turning on the projector, and pulling apart his stack of documents, passing everyone at the table a copy of his report on the ancient complex. "P9X-483. It's what we've been looking for, one of the Ancient's major cities."

    "Say again, Dr. Jackson?" General Hammond was flicking through the folder for a moment, before the thought of Ba'al in charge of a city fully of the equipment of the ancients stopped him. He solemnly slumped back in his seat, looking up to Jackson, who nodded gravely. "Oh."

    "Yes,and likely he's begun moving Ha'taks in, so we can't make a move until the Enterprise comes online, General. This could be catastrophic, but there is nothing we can do at the moment." Daniel pushed his glasses back up his nose, pulling out a laser pointer alongside the projector remote, clicking over to his main find on the city. The memorial mural.

    Jack's eyebrows went up as he remembered that particular incident with a slight bit of annoyance, remembering how hard he had to pull to drag Daniel away from it. It looked a lot like what he had taken a glimpse at while yelling at the little space monkey. A few dozen big words, likely, describing some wonderful achiev- wait, was that... it looked like mutilated people. What the heck? That couldn't be right. The ancients were into peace and harmony and fluffy bunny stuff...

    "Umm... Daniel, are you sure that this city was created by the ancients? This doesn't seem to be their style. Maybe Goa'uld tacky, but not ancient." Jack eyed the projection of the mural, wondering who had really put it on the wall. Something pricked at his brain, like he had seen parts of it before. He looked back at the picture, snatches of words coming to mind. Re- Red? Recl? What was that...


    The Col. snapped back into the real world, shaking his head rapidly, trying to clear out the confusion. He looked at Daniel and Teal'c across from him, who both had concerned looks on their faces. What had he been thinking about again? And why were they looking at him like he had...

    "I started spouting Ancient-flavored babble again?" Jack looked around at everyone, not sure what had just happened.

    "A little bit. You seemed to be trying to remember a word or something. This has to be ancient, then, and important if it's dragging memories clean out of what is supposed to be dead and buried knowledge from your repository experience." Daniel straightened himself up as he looked back to the mural projected on the wall. He had suspected so. Too bad they had to go so fast.

    "It can't be, Daniel, the Asgard removed all of the knowledge from his head. There is no way that he could be starting to go into remission now." Carter shook her head in worry over he CO, who just pointedly looked over to her.

    "I still want to know what the heck the whole head-suck episode you people refer to is. Seriously, it sounds like something out of a bad horror holovid." Dell mimed what he thought they were talking about, pretending to have a giant alien going after his face. Toral groaned in disappointment as the two clones had a balled up piece of paper from the Col. bounce off of them.

    "I give you a 3 on the good performance scale."

    "3 out of 5 isn't bad." "Three out of ten." "Oh..."

    "JACK! Are we done yet?" Daniel was about ready to crumple the roll of briefing documents in his hand as he waited for the silliness to end. Jack just gave him a look, before settling down into his seat. Daniel cleared his throat, getting a sympathetic look from General Hammond before continuing. "Right, this mural, while I haven't fully translated it yet, speaks of the ancients founding a secondary colony far off somewhere, during one of their travels. The... city-ship helped to found a galactic civilization there, one that eventually settled to a galactic peace. Following that, they mostly pulled out, allowing a new race that had begun to develop to take over. They apparently called the ancients the 'precursors', and tried to emulate them. Then, an indeterminate time later, close to the end of the ancients civilization, there came a massive threat that they called for help against."

    "Does it say what that threat was, DanielJackson?"

    "No, not that we have translated so far. It does say that the allies were wiped out, along with nearly the expedition, and most of the the life in that galaxy. However, they had some sort of re-seeding program, and set up apparently a re-seeding of the ancients evolutionary roots in that galaxy, possibly as a way of paying tribute to them. Where this galaxy is, I don't know, but quite likely it would be a good place to look for help, if we can find a Stargate address for it." Daniel moved his pointer over to what appeared to be the other race's knockoff Stargate.

    "So...Dannyboy, where are we- let me guess, we've got to go back to find it." Jack groaned as he realized just what he would have to do now. No luck, no luck at all. Well, other than the Enterprise, but still, no luck.

    "DanielJackson. The course of action you suggest will put us into direct confrontation with Ba'al. A prospect I do not look forward to. By now, he will have moved as many of his Jaffa as he can spare to the city." Teal'c was none too fond of the possibility of having to go back to the ancient city, no matter what was there. Not without the full 1701st backing him up. And the Enterprise providing close air support.

    "It's less of a problem of going back, and more of one of finding it. I've found out why the lost city is so hard to find." Daniel changed the slide again, to show a section of the mural depicting the city launching into space, the team's hearts sinking, while one began thumping with hope for a possibility...

    "You're saying that the ancients cities were all space-flight capibile, Dr. Jackson?" General Hammond had leaned up over the table, every alarm bell he had ringing as he looked up to the city. "So, Ba'al could have taken the city anywhere in the galaxy?"

    "I'm not so sure about that odoriferous and disturbing possibility General. Myself, Stari, and Teal'c may have pulled the regulators for the city." Toral searched through his own briefing packet, before locating the pictures in question. He slid them across the table after taking a look quickly to make sure he had the correct ones. Strange bits for regulators, or whatever they were. "These right here. We grabbed two. We were going to take three, but that shut the city down."

    "So you believe he likely cannot get the city off the ground?" General Hammond relaxed, thankful that at least Ba'al couldn't get away with his prize. At Toral's hopeful nod, he looked to Carter, who started pulling up power consumption data on what few ancient devices they had recovered, to see possibilities. "Well, Major? Do we have enough data to tell?"

    "No sir. Not at this time, though if they are regulators, or some sort of batteries, the city would be on 1/3rd power. It might not be enough, but, I'm forced to agree with other sentiments here. We need to send as large a force as possible, as quickly as feasible to secure the city. Ba'al is already fielding new armor for his soldiers, and he may have been inspired by our hover tank. His armor was certainly somewhat based upon the Stormtrooper armor on our new teams." Carter looked away from her computer, thinking of a few worst case scenarios that could potentially occur, should Ba'al be... in an inspired mood by the month's events. Certainly all the system lords were upgunning their ships and equipment, the inertia of previous millennium shattered by the past few years. Twinges of thoughts ran through her mind. Why now, why at all? What had changed, now, in the past year that had started the trend now?

    "I will see what further information I can get on any of our shipyard projects, if we have anything space worthy, I will have an expedition ready as swiftly as possible. Major, is there any sign of Captain Sheridan, or the Prometheus on sensors?" Hammond nodded as he quietly made a note to himself. One long, long talking to was in order. This had pushed the limit, and the captain would be hard pressed to get out of the situation he had pushed himself into this time.

    "I've reconfigured to look for either our own type of hyperdrives, or his now. No sign still." Carter apologetically responded as she stayed glued to her screen.

    :"Keep us posted, Major. Dismissed."

    //The er... 'courtroom' of Q//

    "What the..."

    The sounds of raucous taunts and shouts of outrage filled the air, waking Captain Sheridan from his deep slumber he had been in. The cold hard grate he was laying on helped to jerk him back awake, as he looked around at the horrendous crowd that surrounded him on towering stadium seating, blood-red banners draped from pillars, a golden eagle standard resting upon them. "Not good... "

    The filthy crowd continued to shout from nearly to the rafters, looking like a court of hobos and vagabonds. Warning bells were ringing in every last one of Sheridan's alert speakers in the back of his mind, as he slowly and carefully backed to the wall, watching the crowd slowly step down and move towards him. He could feel that he had none of the knifes that he had fallen to sleep with on him still, whoever had put him in the strange courtroom had done a good job on disarming him. They had even gotten the disassembled knife he had hidden in his pauldrons.

    Two bursts of gunfire dispersed the crowd some, driving them back as two soldiers in strange padded uniforms fired their carbines into the roof. Sheridan slowly looked between the two as they drove the crowd back into the stands, the icy feeling of dread growing, as he watched them huff some sort of chemical from a chest dispenser. The gonging ring of a bell sounded, and the captain slowly turned his head to look at an asian herald, who scowled in his direction.

    "I see you are already ready to present honors, prisoner. Good. Much better than the last ones. All rise, for the honorable... Judge Q!!" He rang his instrument again, the crowd standing up in awe and silence.

    Sheridan winced, as he remembered just where he had seen it all before. First he becomes real-life science fiction, then he took himself a little stroll down a yellow brick road next door to Star Trek. Kriffing perfect.

    "I find your thoughts annoying, mortal."

    Sheridan looked up slowly, craning his neck until he could look up into the eyes of the self-proclaimed god. "Let me guess. Should only need one try. Q." He warily relaxed his pose, looking up into the crimson-robed being's face. He was showing off a bit more than what he had apparently put on for TV, since he seemed to be real.

    "Oh, testy, but correct el capitano. I know what you're thinking, I've decided to put humanity on trial here, or that this is your own personal trial." Q looked down at the Imperial captain, waving the crowd and his guards back as he slowly lowered his chair some. The smug grin on his face was all Sheridan needed to keep it business-like.

    ~Treat him as a force-adept of the Emperor,and just don't do anything... rash, that's it...~ "The thought had crossed my mind. But, if this isn't a trial of humanity, or of myself, then what? As far as I know, you only use this for your... little shows, so you're putting something to the test here." Sheridan stepped forward, over the stool he was supposed to be sitting on, to get closer to Q. Better to be close enough to him that hopefully the faux soldiers wouldn't open fire on him.

    "Interesting... he's smarter than he looks, isn't he folks?" Q turned looking at his audience, who all cheered and laughed as the power incarnate enjoyed his show. "You are indeed perceptive, captain. I'm not putting you, or your pitiful race on trial. Both obviously are not yet ready for such a daunting event. No, ooh-ho no, I have a bigger game to play, el capitano." Q leaned back in his chair, kicking his feet up some. Sheridan seemed to be an excellent new rival to spar with.

    "So I'm guessing I'm either a witness, or evidence to whatever show you have to play, I assume?" Sheridan sat down, ignoring the angry glances from the guards to his sides as he glared up at the pest above. Thoughts of what exact game could be in play crossed his mind, wondering just how long he would be getting put through the wringer for.

    "Once again, perceptive, one track, intriguing, and so utterly wrong." Q leaned forward, as he inspected the captain. Should he show him the true shape of the game, and watch as his puny mortal mind unravel from the universal truths revealed to him, should he borrow his dear rival Palpatine's methods and turn Sheridan into his pawn, willing or unwitting? Oohhh, the delicious choices to be had!

    "So, what is going on? Or will you just be talking at me for the next few minutes?" Sheridan made a show of yawning, and feigning disinterest to try and bait the superbeing. He looked at his crono, before leaning back against the wall. "Feel free to babble if you're going to anyway. I'll just be sitting over here."

    "Giving up already? That seems so...lackluster, for a captain of the Imperial Navy. Aren't you all supposed to be hard-lining, straight arrowing your way to victory?" Q verbally tripped at the sudden disinterest from the formerly hard-biting captain. That wasn't right, not at all. Mortals were supposed to make sense.

    "Well, if it's not having anything to do with me, directly or indirectly, then I have no need to really find out. I mean, if it's played amongst the higher beings of the local reality, then why does it concern us? So long as you keep it on your upper planes, I don't see a reason for myself to know about it." Sheridan worked at the underside of a nail, pretending to clean it. "Unless you're that insecure, and you feel a need to tell everyone everything that goes on in you life, at which point I really don't want to know, and want to back to the ship."

    "Wouldn't you like to find out what piece you play? Honestly, you're being a pawn for every being that comes along." Q played with his hands like a magician, revealing a pawn with Sheridan's face upon it. He wobbled it along, playing with the personalized pawn piece, before vanising it back into the void from which it came. "You could be so much more than a pawn. You have potential, you know. Far more than you know. You could be so much more..."

    "Not interested in becoming your own personal pawn, Q." Sheridan narrowed his eyes, warily keeping track of the would-be god as he performed his semi-grand measures before him.

    "Are you really sure, captain? Think of it, a galaxy to mold in your own image..., your concept of right and wrong to be spread across the stars. You can do what you need to do to protect your men, to do what needs to be done. You have powerful allies, Sheridan. More powerful than you could possibly imagine." Q pulled out a handkerchief,draping it over his hand, and pulling it off to reveal a new figure of Sheridan.

    This time, he did move up. In all black, the small figure stood tall, a hand out in warning, a gauntlet upon it. Not a robe, but a black uniform, a semi-cloak upon his miniature form. Admiral epaulets lined his shoulders, a dark look upon his face. Whisps of things swirled around the figure, images of possibilities swirling about him. And what looked like a sword in his other hand, blood dripping from the blade.

    "A champion. Of what,~" Q pulled the figure away, making it vanish. Sheridan stepped back, realizing how close he had gotten, before looking down at his own hands, as if seeing blood there. Did he po- wait, no, it couldn't be...

    "Of what, I'll let you decide, Capitan." Q sat back in his chair, grinning as Sheridan started to say something, before glaring at the superprick above him. Q frowned once again as Sheridan began to calm himself down and control his reaction. He had a better temper than Picard, or at least controlled it better. "Consider it my game, for now. Since you're so eager for a challenge, find what you are really standing for. Perhaps I might drop by to check on you later, give you a few more hints. Catch."

    Sheridan had only half a second, as Q fast-pitched a glittering faceted object at him, throwing his hands up to catch it, only to find himself getting knocked backwards by the impact. Q gave a little wave to him as he reeled backwards, off balance. "See you soon, Sheridan..."

    Sheridan banged the back of his heels against the backplate of the fresco that should have been behind him, only to flip clean over it, falling into a quickly expanding black void. Stars appeared around him as he fell, swiftly leaving the physical boundaries of the courtroom behind, falling through a starry void, hearing his own shouting cry in his ears, along with what sounded like the wind in his ears. A nebula wisped by, and he looked below him, to see the sight of the Galileo rushing up towards him, and all went black.

    Q vanished the scenery, going back to his currently preferred haunt for his new realm. Temporary, true, but it fit his current disposition. To mortal eyes, it would appear to be a cheap 21st century motel room, some super-chain hotel, barely 2 star. It was all he could afford to have. The continuum was hard to manifest here. Not welcome, not wanted by the inhabitants. He had to win, if he was to survive. He looked at the board, the once black pawn signifying the Tollan turned white, next to the Rook signifying Prometheus, and the white pawns representing the Assault Transports. Almost back to safety, to the Bishop representing the Babylon Anchorage.

    Dozens of Ha'tak pawns had converged on the former location of the Tollan, Anubis working on outdated information. Almost time. Midgame was upon them. The winnowing had to begin. So far, so good. Now, to make sure Anubis wasn't in position until his counterstrike was ready. Perhaps baiting him into attacking the Alpha site again...

    //Anubis's Throne Room//

    The dark gloom of Anubis's throne room at night was broken by a small burst of light, in a rarely-entered side chamber. The darkly cloaked semi-ascended madman frowned, glowering over Q's movements, as the rook representing the Alpha site became a little clearer to understand. What... he could see a colony forming on the surface, new construction going up. The image was still wavery, but he couldn't take a chance. It had to be destroyed.

    A slow set of commands later, and a full squadron of Ha'taks was sent. If two wouldn't cut it, perhaps 10 would. Production had increased to industrialized levels for the craft, and he had created a new Kull warrior plant to produce enough of the creatures to man his quickly growing armada. He wasn't able to out-tech Q's forces for the moment, but he could swarm them to death. 200 Ha'taks to crush the Prometheus. He would watch Earth burn until the it was a glass marble in orbit of it's pitiful sun, then he would set a black-hole connected Stargate in the star's heart, and supernova it, to remove the last traces of their ever existing.

    Yes, not quite everything according to plan, but the fool had no idea of his true plan. The Ori far-off in their own galaxy had the right idea, but he intended to run with it. Plans had been set in motion, ones that even he could not undo. He would have the Dakara Device, and he would wipe life from the galaxy, making it into his own personal image!

    Hold on a moment. Perhaps he was getting somewhat ahead of himself. Obviously, Q had a master plan of his own. So... perhaps he had some questioning to do in the ascended planes. Something bigger was going on than the other ascended would talk about normally with him. They spoke in hushed tones when Q entered the planes. Whispers in the dark, that were kept from him. Many spots in the galaxy were now hidden, ever since he had arrived. Locations that he had simply not looked at due to time constraints now couldn't be looked at at all. The mysterious destruction of his fleet at the new Taur'i base. Q was teasing him, leading him by the nose... like a lamb to the slaughter, as the Taur'i would say.

    He only needed a bit of time, and more information. And a Taur'i to strip the mind out of.

    //SGC Sensor Monitoring Station, Pluto//

    The techs had been up for three days straight, watching Prometheus disappear off all the trackers, then searching relentlessly using the remote arrays for her wake anywhere in the galaxy. To say they were exhausted would be an overly simplistic and catastrophically understated statement. About to drop dead, having drank every last bit of caffinated drink and having eaten every last sugary crumb in an attempt to stave off the inevitable passing out would be closer. They layed out across the control room, flopped onto the instruments, one blinkingly trying to stay awake until the SGC called, to ask for a replacement crew. The hastily constructed prefab complex was nearly shut down, dark, save for the lights in the control room, all 10 techs inside.

    The bleep-BLEEP of an approaching contact was almost too little to wake him up, as he groggily sat up in his chair, adjusting his headphones as he stirred, shifting in his uncomfortable seat. The bleep-BLEEP rang out again, as he sat straight up, mumbling in sleepy confusion, before glancing around the room. The blinking of the hyperwake detection system alarm took a moment for him to recognize, before he pushed off of his seat, bouncing slowly in Pluto's low gravity, easing across the room in a graceful arc. Thankfully, the low gravity allowed him to easily touch down, or else he would have ended up in a tangled mess from his exhausted landing.

    Rubbing his eyes with one hand, he tapped the status icon on the array, watching as a local starchart popped up, adjusting itself, numbers flicking by on the side indicating the centered upon coordinates. A set of icons appeared, in friendly green, IFF transponder codes listed beside them as the display zoomed in on the rapidly moving icons. His mind's first response was to think ~huh, thats funny, isn't that the ship we're supposed to...~ The second involved a string of swearing a minute long as loud as he could, as he fell over backwards trying to go for the system alert back to the SGC, flopping onto the deck with a quiet thud.

    The other techs stirred, blinking and looking at him funny as he bounced to his feet, adrenaline now rushing in his system as he ran back, activating the comm array, calling back to Babylon station. Other icons popped up on the screen as the other craft Sheridan had sent out began to return, having managed to sneak in closer thanks to their smaller size, a gathering beginning. The Sol System began to snap to life, squadrons of F-302s scrambling around Earth, /A class variants rushing out of action stations on Babylon, and Earth to intercept the incoming contacts.

    A storm quickly brewed in the SGC, personnel awoken from the slumber and dragged from odd corners of the base quickly rushing to stations as they were called to arms.

    In his office, General Hammond looked up from his late-nigh paperwork, scowling. Hopefully, it was the ship he was expecting, judging from the alert pattern. Incoming friendly forces identified. Alert for possible pursuit/emergency situation onboard. Sheridan over his head and coming in hot. Wonderful. SG-1 was bad enough about that. He pressed the new hololink button installed into his desk, calling for the comm links issued to all of SG-1, and other key personnel.

    The devices had been modified to look somewhat like a flip-phone walkie talkies, and were smart enough to not activate their more advanced features in public, they would at least capture the holo-image of the various individuals they were assigned to. The images of Carter and Daniel popped up immediately, shimmering slightly and glowing as their links adjusted for interference before settling out. Next came the medical departments on their central dedicated links, Dr Janet, the doctor aboard Babylon station, and the CMO of the Enterprise currently stationed at Ft. Avalon.

    It took a minute before Jack and Teal'c popped up, the leader of SG-1 looking sleepy and restless as he rubbed his eyes. The sight of Teal'c looking over from his link, then sliding into Jack's image was somewhat disturbing, at least for a moment.

    "What? Teal'c over and watching a marathon with me." Jack looked around, the glowy heads on his end freaking him out just a little in return.

    The images of the system defensive post commanders came on as well, from the 2 F-302 bases on Earth, at Fort Avalon and out in Siberia, to the control posts for the defense grids of the 5 current mining outposts being established in-system, and that of the current grid barely started in America. And that of the newly elected Vice President, not yet in office, Kinsey.

    "Mister Kinsey, may I ask what you're doing with a SGC-only device?" Hammond glared at the image of the long-time bane of the SGC, who had nearly gotten Earth annihilated several times by mismanagement and blind ignorance and unwillingness to support the once unlikely venture. His rise to Vice Presidency had given half of the SGC ulcers at the thought of having to put up with his antics on an even greater scale. The holos of all the contacted commanders and staff began to scowl as they watched his image. Little chance to impress the imperials, they had heard some of the tales, and had to be restrained from doing some rather foolish things before they could finish being told his 'exploits'.

    "General Hammond, why shouldn't I? As the newly elected Vice Pres~" He began to speak, before the Russian commander began cursing in several dialects of his native tounge, cutting him off.

    "Mister Kinsey, you are not Vice-President until January 23, 2005. Until such time, that device by your rational should remain in the hands of the currently sitting president." Hammond smiled for a moment, before ignoring the spluttering politician and turning to the Medical section of the floating display. "I need all medical personnel brought in immediately. The Prometheus is inbound, running heavy. We expec~"

    "Who authorized the Prometheus to leave the sys~"

    "No-one did, Mister Kinsey. Captain Sheridan borrowed it on his own for a rescue mission to Tollana." Hammond was near-growling by that point, growing weary of having to listen to the arrogant politician. "I assure you, his actions will be addressed and accounted for. If his mission bears fruit, you will be amongst the first to know. God night, Mr. Kinsey." Hammond brought up the control functions for his link, setting Kinsey's transciever to ignored status.

    The outburst of applause from O'neil's image made Hammond almost reach for the bottle of antacid in his desk, before he restrained himself. No, not yet. "All personnel are to come back to their duty stations, medical personnel ready at their posts, depending on where Sheridan brings Prometheus to."

    "What do you want to do with the ambassadors from Kellwona, Herbidia and the other Protected Planets treaty members over here at Babylon? The station commander is getting as anxious as they are as to why they were asked to co~"

    "The WHO?" General Hammond began to seriously consider that bottle of antacid, and chugging it until he couldn't feel his stomach anymore...

    //AT-1300 Assault Transport Galileo-Inbound Sol Sys//

    Sheridan grimaced, still rubbing his head, and looking at the strange crystal in-hand. The one proof he hadn't just had a strange dream. The small, quiet sounds of the cockpit did nothing to disturb his contemplation, as the hyperwake of the Prometheus loomed outside, the distortions filling the darkened cockpit of the small transport with the eiree light. The two pilots of the small transport just looked between themselves, before looking back at their instruments.

    The angles coldly rubbed against his hand as he thought through what had woke him... the strange, apparent encounter with the superbeing Q... somewhere, out there, some reality, all that his crew had grown addicted to was real. That maybe every depicted universe had an element of truth to it. Heady stuff, that could make someone think. One thing led to another, to another, to the thought that out there, beyond his current plane's edges of existence, there could be a million other hims, doing a million other things. How many of him out there were captains of a ship, how many were dead, had children, were monsters like Q seemed to imply he was...

    No, fear was a little death, fear clouded his mind, he would not fear. He would do. Plans were in motion that he could not stop, a gathering had begun. He had to finish what he started, or else be smashed by the avalanche he had begun. He had to make order out of the chaos of this galaxy, or else a victory for Earth, would be victory for the fires of war, a call to the hounds of death to come out to play.

    No time, no time like the present to start, as he held the crystal up, letting it refract the strange lights of hyperspace, the loud hum of the hybrid-created hyperdrive vibrating the deck. Strange thing, a brown in some light, purple in others, almost iridescent, a near-glow...

    "We should be coming up on Babylon Station outer markers in 20 minutes, sir. You may want to have the passengers brace for deceleration." The warning of the pilot made him look away from the almost hypnotic shimmer.

    "Right, sound the warning at one minute, will you?"

    "Yes sir."

    Sheridan ducked through the pressure door, stretching his legs as he walked over to the main passenger hold. The small groups of Tollan were talking with each other, some discussing the mathematics of hyperdrives, others, families, were together, comforting their children, reminding themselves of better days as they snuggled together. Waiting for the madness to end. Others, a group in the darker portions up near the forward hull, talked in whispered tones, a holo of a Ha'tak displayed as they grimly talked about how it could be potentially damaged and disabled. Work to be done, for the people still alive.

    "Can I have everyone's attention?" At the turning of 30 heads towards him, amongst the improvised seats and small crates of saved heirlooms and work. "We'll be dropping out of hyperspeed in about 18-19 minutes, I'm asking everyone to settle into their crash seats and prepare for deceleration. We've been happy to help you, and we will be giving instructions as to how to link up with friends and family who arrived on other ships when we dock."

    Hopeful looks turned to him, as he wondered how he had gotten to being a flight attendant. Impulsiveness had won out over careful thought, again. A bad habit he needed to break himself of, before he got into a situation. Like facing 200 Ha'taks or something.

    A slow stroll through the aft-facing hatch slowly brought him around to the crew cabin, where the more unfortunate cases who were having breakdowns were being kept, a single crew member keeping watch with a injector of sedative in case any of them began having an episode. Narim still was laying on the back bunk, the shock of what all he had been through apparently sending him into an apathetic state. Sheridan watched from the hatch, before wordlessly passing onwards. The engine compartment and the aft cargo holds were as full as the forward spaces, and he repeated his warning again to them, watching as they buckled in, remembering the roughness of the first few transitions to hyperdrive.

    A slow walk brought him back to cockpit, boots rather quietly clanging on the deck, as he made a new plan. Time to do what he had been putting off doing, start up a midiclorian count exam for everyone in the known galaxy, his own crew included. The force was a problem he did not need at that moment.

    "Minute out, sir. Buckle in." The pilots were strapping themselves in as they spoke, the ripples of hyperspeed beginning to slow, streaking out into more star-bow like objects. A hasty buckling of his own straps took only a few seconds, leaving him watching in his panoramic view of hyperspace as ripples turned to streaks, turned to a dazzling tunnel of multicolored lights, then shrank into points of light, the bulk of Neptune rapidly coming up, Triton filling their view ports as the Prometheus and her escorts slowed, full braking thrusters flaring through space as they rounded the icy moon.

    On it's other side, was a massively busy complex, hidden from Earth, and especially Hubble and it's European counterparts that had just been brought online, the home of the slowly regrowing and healing star destroyer that had started the whole damn mess. Babylon station.

    The station now was festooned with makeshift antenna and docking complexes, space crowded around it as tasked out YT-1300s approached, orbiting the station as they waited for their turn to drop off their precious diplomatic cargoes, dodging massive bulk freighters that were little more than engines with cargo pods wrapped around them, waiting in a swirling dance for their chance to drop their cargo off at the massive refinery/industrial plant that had sprouted from the station, a massive circular framework marking the start of a more... planned out and organized station, a permanent solution that Sheridan had thought up, and tasked his engineers to.

    He unbuckled, as Prometheus was granted priority clearance, gazing out on the massive frame that was quickly being assembled, the small Russian contengient already starting the equaling frame that was to orbit the site, gazing in a proud awe at what his crew was already putting together. The hub of the SGC's future system defenses, the cradle of galactic-wide civilization.

    Flights of the new TIE Spitfires formed up, escorting Prometheus in and clearing the way, clearing through the intricate ballet of ships, which wouldn't be at all out of place in any system of his own galaxy, a bit of home that was about to become moreso, if everything continued on schedule. The first small components of the station were to be assembled next month, and start the habitable blocks of the massive new docking platform for Babylon, the expansion to accommodate the upswing in traffic to come.

    "Transport 1701-7; this is Babylon control, relaying course to you, over."

    "Rodger control, moving into docking lane. 1701-actual aboard, requesting priority clearance, over."

    "Clearance granted, 1701-7. Updated course incoming. General Hammond wants 1701-actual at Avalon immediately, over."

    Sheridan unbuckled, reaching up for a spare pickup, hanging on as the small craft gracefully dodged Prometheus's thrust-wash. "This is 1701-actual. Negative, stand by for a full ambassadorial meeting, critical negotiations to start as soon as possible. Clear a room for 100 ambassadors and a few aides. Stand by to transport myself, and one other aboard."

    "Rodger 1701-actual." The grumbling on the other end of the mike was near-audible, as the controllers grumbled about the strange chain of command currently involved in their operations.

    Sheridan grabbed his beacon, jogging around the refugees as they looked at holographic images of Babylon station. Didn't take more than a minute to get around to the aft quarter, where Narim was being kept. And a few minutes later, Narim was safely in Babylon's med-station, getting anti-depressants into his system, and slowly being revived by the expert medical personnel.

    //Fort Avalon, flightline//

    Kinsey growled at the blustery weather, bundled thickly in his jackets as he dodged hovercarts and Humvees, looking for General Hammond and his merry band of miscreants so that he could get the true word as to what was occurring out at Babylon station. Bad enough he had been locked out of the comm network by General Hammond, now he couldn't even get any word from his moles inside the SGC. So, next best thing to having a network, go find out about it yourself.

    Sighting the rag-tag group of Teal'c, Jacob Stari, Col. O'neil, and General Hammond, all in flight suits and preparing to head out, he hung a right, marching towards them relentlessly. Stari was the first to spot him, and ran for the fighter he had been given permission to borrow, scrambling up the ladder and diving into the TIE Interceptor as quickly as possible, shutting the hatch. Hammond glared as he moved himself between the future vice-president and his subordinates, intending to defuse any upcoming argument.

    "General Hammond, how hard is it to get a lift with permission from the currently sitting president? I've been repeatedly turned down by transport control, despite showing papers validating my request!" The irate ex-senator glared over the shoulders of the General, watching the two longtime thorns in his side slide out of sight as best they could.

    "Mr. Kinsey, unless you want to spend the next two hours in a small cramped fighter with either Col. O'neil or Teal'c, I would suggest you wait for a transport to return. These are the only two fighters outbound to Babylon station anytime soon. Now then, I'm sure you're stubborn enough to bother trying, but consider that you'll be alone in a cramped space with one of two men you have relentlessly dogged for 7 years now. I wouldn't personally want to try it myself, but if you're crazy and determined enough, far be it for me to stop you." General Hammond smugly looked back at O'neil and Teal'c, glaring once at O'neil's sadistic smile, before looking back at the blustery future vice-president, watching him flounder for a response.

    "What about that clone, what's-his-name... Stari!, who just jumped in that TIE Interceptor?" Kinsey looked over at the panoramic cockpit window, glaring at the pilot inside, who slid back so he could hide in the shadows within.

    "Well, if you want to sit two men in a one-man fighter, be my guest."

    "Switch him out with O'neil, or Teal'c!"

    General Hammond all but groaned, before he reluctantly gestured for Stari to get out of his cockpit, the pilot wincing as he realized what was going on. "Stari, fly with... Mr. Kinsey here, take Teal'c 302/A. Teal'c, you're already trained on the TIE Interceptor, I would hope..."

    "Indeed." The word rumbled out of the tall first prime. He had gladly taken the courses, eagerly soaking up the knowledge of the true mechanics of one of his favorite diversions.

    The poor clone pilot quietly crawled down his ladder, trying to avert his eyes from Kinsey so that he hopefully wouldn't ask any questions. Luckily for the General and company, it only took a few minutes to get the irritating politician into a flight suit over his own, and ready to go, and the three craft were soon taxiing to the runway, or hovering in Teal'c case, as he put himself into the hoverlaunch corridor.

    "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Kinsey leaned up behind Stari in the small, cramped cockpit, the retrofitted module barely big enough for the two of them as it was.

    The growl from Stari was the only answer he got at that moment, as he sat annoyedly in the pilot's seat, watching all the instruments since he had to turn off the backseat controls. Nothing worse than a nosy, irritating politician when in a two-seat craft. With a small line of craft still waiting to take off, there was nothing for him to do but wait.

    Kinsey narrowed his eyes, before sitting back into his seat, letting the restraints retract down onto him. A tough one to crack, this one. This was going to be a long, boring flight. He looked down, inspecting the controls, trying to understand the designers of the craft, the hybrid vehicle showing it's mixed Imperial/American engineering origins.

    "Flight 297, you are cleared for launch. Proceed down your current runway. You are go for orbital launch."

    Kinsey braced himself, as the mammoth roar of the fighter's engine's burst into full power, the slight press of 1 g shoving him back into his seat some, as the fighter hurtled itself down the runway, then straight up into space, his surprised scream lost in the roar of twin ion engines as General Hammond's fighter hurtled up behind him, followed by Teal'c at a more sedate pace.

    On the ground, a lone figure watched the three fighters disappear up into the skies, a small glove-hidden camera recording the sight of the three fighters. He bundled himself against the cold more tightly, before walking down the flight line, looking for something more to gather photos of. MI6 was going to be very interested in the American's new project. He had seen a lot of things in his time, from Dr. No's island, to the plots of Goldfinger, but he had never seen anything like this... This was something her majesty was going to be very interested in. The time of the British Empire might not quite be over. Now where would they keep a technical manual for those fighters at?

    //Babylon Station 1 hour later//

    The hastily converted storeroom still bore signs of the roughly handled cargo that had been within, faint stains on the floor and a thick chemical smell in the air as the main new powers in the galaxy stood. Earth, represented by Mr. Woosley from the US; the Imperials, Captain Sheridan standing defiant at the center of the maelstrom; Nox; Tollana, represented by the shaky presence of Narim, who's ashen face was defiant to the storm of controversy; Herbidia, represented by an Ambassador Kel'ka, one of the last free independent states in the galaxy.

    Sheridan had began the meeting with a simple, decisive statement. The galaxy was to mobilize if it wanted to be free, and he would loan out the technology to do it with. The ambassador from Nox had quickly gone white, having already inspected the weapons aboard the station and knowing what power they had. The younger, smaller protected worlds were either giddy with joy at the possibility of being able to fight off the Goa'uld, or outraged that their nearby rivals would be able to strike at them, or in a few other cases deranged anger that he would dare threaten their neutrality and safety from the Goa'uld.

    Now, he stood, as insults were hurled, the various ambassadors, human and not in near fist-cuffs as they argued and fought over who would get what, and if they should be attempting to grab for the technology at all. Accusations of favoritism and worse came from various parties, as Sheridan finally decided he had enough.

    "LISTEN!" The bellow of anger stopped the brewing fight, everyone looking towards the now livid captain, who stared out across the throng of ambassadors with a righteous anger ready to be unleashed. "This, here, now! is the time for action. There will never be this so-called 'ideal time' to slowly build up forces, to say this is our galaxy, our home! This is not a time of peace, of reason; but of tyrannic madness and insane war and destruction! I joined my own forces with the Taur'i in the hopes that one day, before I died, that I would see a galaxy stand in peaceful harmony, that we could all be mature enough to stand together in prosperity and safety. instead, I find this! A group of bickering civilizations, afraid to rise up together, competing against each other at a time we can ill afford it, when the specter of death can no longer be put back into his cave."

    The representative of the other Tollan faction rescued stepped forward at that point, determined to stop the madness before it could spread, not yet realizing just how far Sheridan had spread his tendrils of persuasion. " Civilization? You call warmongering, wantonly providing lesser peoples-" Much of the crowd gathered and glowered at his pronunciation, solidifying against his condescending, somewhat hateful tone. "- the ability to scorch all life off a planet, sparking off acts of aggression that will~"

    Sheridan jumped over the front table, to confront him directly and cut him off with his own furious, rapidfire tirade. "Civilization is not about the removal of the beast, Ambassador." He made the word sound like it had to be spat from his mouth as he marched across the wide space, collar mike picking up the words with little effort. " Civilization is knowing where, when and why you should release it, of containing our dark sides, channeling it and controlling it instead of letting it control you. It is protecting others, no matter the cost to yourself, to make the universe a better place with every step, even if the road is dubious at times. To use your own horrors to fight off the greedy dark, and to fan the light into a brilliant flare for at least one day more. Who is the more successful civilization right now, Earth, or the Tollan? I'll give you a hint, your people are renting our space, not the other way around."

    "I must agree with Captain Sheridan." The sight of Narim slowly and shakily standing up quieted the area once again, the civilizations that knew of the Tollan quietly backing down. "The time to mobilize is now. The tyranny and oppression of the Goa'uld has run long enough, inflicted enough pain and suffering as is. We have all hid, cowardly, in the far reaches, behind allies such as Earth, and the Asgard for far too long, avoided standing for ourselves at all costs. WHY? This is OUR home, our worlds, and I for one will support any and all effort by the Tollan remnant to end this terror. I propose immediate deliberation on the splitting of efforts towards resource gathering, construction, and the raising of full defensive fleets for all home systems until such time as a sufficient force can be gathered to assault Goa'uld positions, and a time line set towards ending the Protected Planets treaty in favor of a takeover of Goa'uld positions."

    The room exploded into motion, Woosley standing up to protest to Captain Sheridan over the passing out of Earth's technology, the Peace at Any Cost faction stepping forward to block the motion, even as even more flocked towards Sheridan, trying to climb over and around those that were trying to drown them out.

    "I SECOND the motion!" Sheridan again cut through the noise, slowly stepping over to Narim's section of the table, many of the ambassadors coming to their rallying call.

    "Narim, you cannot possibly be serious about this. Be reasonable, sane, Tollana has always stood for peace and~" The other Tollan ambassador found himself cut off as Narim slowly wobbled around the table, furiously staring him down.

    "And it BURNED! No more, not again, NEVER AGAIN!"

    Sheridan put his hand on Narim's shoulder, holding him back from doing something crazy and foolish. "Narim, calm yourself. Not this time, not this place. Will any worlds stand against this motion?" A few whispered amongst themselves, but held their tounges. They couldn't force it down with the amount of support the motion had. "Then it is settled then, we begin negotiations on the distribution of Imperial technology, and the formation of a military alliance." That went better than he thought it would have.

    //Flight Bay 12//

    The roar of three TIEs coming in for a landing rippled through the bay, as the three transporting fighters slowly slid in, hovering around as they slowly found their assigned landing zones, Teal'c latching his Interceptor into it's own rack, the whining roars slowly dying down as the main doors slid shut over the atmospheric forcefield. It had been 5 hours since Prometheus had returned, and still no sign of approaching Ha'taks, time to stand down to a somewhat calmer state. Many of the fighters scrambled on emergency control flights slowly pulling back into their berths, weary pilots crawling from their cramped fighters. A thankfully false alarm.

    General Hammond surveyed the slow bustle of the bays as the mechanics finished shutting down various fighters, cleaning them up already even as the last few rolled into their berths. A glance over showed him Kinsey slowly wobbling out of his own seat, having been harried the whole way out by Staris rather... daunting silent acrobatics, the infiltration piloting crosstrained Stormtrooper having given him the craziest ride of his life. Nothing personal, at least that was his story. Just mandatory practice of his evasive maneuvering skills to keep him in practice.

    Certainly had him reeling, though. It was all O'neil could do to keep the insane smile off his face at the sight of Kinsey wobbling on dizzied legs, clutching the wing of the 302 he had rode in on to keep himself up. He would have to get the surveillance camera footage after this, this was comedic gold.

    "I trust you understand why I had asked if you could fly on another flight now, Mr Kinsey? We did forewarn you." Hammond watched as Kinsey slowly straightened, wobbling across the hanger for the door, ignoring all of them as he tried to save his dignity.

    "Rather ungrateful, if you ask me. I mean, alright so I did ignore him the whole flight, but it's not my fault he was trying to annoy me. Seriously, how was I to know he got spacesick?" Stari shrugged, pulling off his helmet wearily as Teal'c slid down an access ladder nearby.

    "It was hilarious, though. General, I hope you let us copy over the tapes so that we can sell them on the SGC black market, not that there is such a thing." O'neil stretched his back, feeling his bones slowly creaking as they popped back into alignment. Old age and the SGC way of life had done one heck of a number on his back.

    "Indeed, the sight should provide a distraction for the various factions within the mountain. Enough of one to hopefully keep your office from being disturbed." Teal'c rumbled, the stotic jaffa at least looking calm and collected.

    "We'll talk about it later, let's make sure that Kinsey doesn't cause an incident." General Hammond started marching, technicians already swarming over their landed fighters.

    //Babylon, amidships//

    Woosley, the bureaucrat selected from the US government to represent Earth, was busy chasing down Captain Sheridan, the sight of a suit tearing through the halls in fast pursuit of the Imperial officer surprising many as he hunted his current bane of existence down. Briefcase in one hand, a leaf of documents trying to support his case against the exchange in the other, he was close to catching the Captain, having tracked him down to the R&D section of the station, where the refit plans for the Enterprise were well underway, and where Earth was busy combining it's knowledge of local physics with the refined sciences and technology of Imperial engineering to make strange and dangerous new weaponry and vehicles.

    He didn't exactly expect to literally run right into the back of Sheridan, though, nearly loosing his papers as he caught himself. A group of Tollan engineers, part of the newly militant group, were busy looking over one of the proposed corvette designs, with a small group of the project designers looking on, trying to make sense of the changes already being proposed. He straightened himself up, even as Sheridan prepared to do battle with the many-headed hydra of bureaucracy.

    "I imagine I already know why you hunted me down, Mr. Woosley. You're here about my promise of technology to the various worlds in our newly formed alliance, right?" Sheridan kept himself collected, as he ran through the various other problems that might be about to ensue from the little near-disaster of the meeting earlier.

    "Correct, captain. you have no legal authority to trade out the technology gathered by the US government to various worlds around the galaxy. We cannot abide by your callous use of our~" Woosley straightened up his tie as he spoke, drawing himself up even as Sheridan waved him down.

    "I have not traded one bit of the technology or advances you have come up with. I traded what I came here with, that which is already on the Enterprise, and anything the Tollan can come up with off of it. Fair enough, and I avoid stepping on the toes of my allies. Does that sound fair to you?" Sheridan gently tapped his shoes, enjoying the squirming going on for Woosley's part.

    "Fair enough, I suppose. However, this whole course of action was neither endorsed nor created by the US government, and I imagine they will not at all be pleased." The future ambassador of Earth in the making put his documents away, snapping his narrowly opened briefcase back with a rather viscous-sounding snap of latches, annoyed that he had been foiled. No matter, it was a fairly profitable setup, even if his superiors had not come up with it.

    As if reading his mind, Sheridan smiled, shrugging slightly. "I don't see why they would be annoyed, other than the whole 'everyone has imperial technology' part. I brought the Tollan back, they're adding their knowledge to the creative madness of your engineers and the sheer raw power of my ship's systems, we will soon be having swarms of corvettes criss-crossing the galaxy, beginning the slow ascent into a galactic republic. I say everyone except for the Goa'uld came out a little bit ahead today." He turned around, popping one of the draft proposal datachips out of the projector into hand, gently chucking it to Woosley, who fumblingly caught it. "Show that as well, to them. It's the current basic draft for essential systems, but it's being designed to be a 'public face', for your program, something to hide in plain sight, as well as being completely functional."

    "Well, I~"

    "It's fine, right?" Sheridan turned around to the engineers, who all nodded, having spares anyway just so that they could pass around draft spares. "Right, then. Go ahead and give it to whoever you need to, then, in order to assure the American government that we are completely and totally sane, and planning this well ahead of where they are thinking at. They just want to survive. I'm trying to do that and set up the foundation for a future government. I'm sure they'll understand that since we have a biiit more experience in that, that we'll handle that side of things without them." A smug smile graced his face, though he imagined it wouldn't be that simple.

    "I'll pass along your assurances to them, but I don't think they will agree. Thank you, Captain, if nothing else, you have eased a few worries, though... your free reign may be limited after this little incident. I will see you at the next 'council meeting', or whenever my superiors have need of you again, then." Woosley nodded, before turning around to leave, curt, measured steps leading him away.

    Sheridan grumbled, before turning back to the corvette plan, hoping that he could steer the design direction a little bit into what he needed. Now what was the worst that could happen? Kinsey showing up?


    "Where the hell am I?" A certainly valid question from the longtime annoyance, as he looked around the four-way corridor, trying to figure out how he had gotten there, and which way the overall command section was. Gray bulkheads stretched out as far as his eyes could see in all directions, crisp-uniformed crew members swarming around him, mixed with a few non-uniformed individuals and stormtroopers. Not a one payed attention to him, other than to part the traffic flow around him as he looked around in confusion.

    Lost on a station full of Imperials... he began to realize that he REALLY didn't think this one through. Where could a Star Destroyer captain hide, anyway? The future vice-president frowned as he inspected the crowd. A body caught his eyes, he recognized the clothes the individual wore, as he began to push through the crowd as inconspicuously as he could, trying to catch up. The Tollan were dead, so where did this man come from? Kinsey straightened up his grey flight suit, as he slid sideways between a large cargo pallet being moved and the wall, tapping the Tollan lookalike on the shoulder.

    A heartbeat passed, the senator sliding across the paneled bulkhead in an attempt to keep up The individual turned around, to growl in remembered irritation when he identified Kinsey. He began to turn back around to keep moving before stopping, turning around and flattening up against the wall of the thoroughfare to find out what the irritating man wanted. "Can I help you, Senator? I would have thought it would take you a little longer to discover we had been rescued."

    "I didn't even know, how are you people even still alive?" Kinsey looked at the weary face, still rather thin from a restricted diet that had gone on for two years.

    "Ask Captain Sheridan. I have to thank him, and your people overall. He came to our rescue, when no-one else in the galaxy would." The Tollan turned and slipped back into the crowd, leaving Kinsey to himself.

    Sheridan, a rescuer of the oppressed, and foiler of evil... damn, he was turning out to follow the American way a little too well... and he was proving to be a useful asset, even if completely unpredictable. Why did he bother rescuing the Tollan?

    "Mr. Kinsey, I didn't expect to find you on Babylon. I take it you're here over the 'incident' earlier?" Sheridan stepped out the crowd, almost like a stealth fighter dropping out of the skies. No warning, only a surprise assault.

    "Captain Sheridan, I've been looking all over for you. I take it my reputation proceeds me?" Kinsey straightened himself up, steeling himself to bring Sheridan under his thumb.

    "Oh, we've heard a tale, or two hundred. I had to put out a station-wide announcement for the personnel to leave you alone when I found out you had commandeered your way onto a flight out. My people... don't like politicians much. A rather sore point for them, after some of the things over the years. I'm actually surprised it took you this long to confront me. Surely such a man would have visited sooner, to at the least make an annoyance of himself, if nothing else." Sheridan gestured for Kinsey to follow him, as he began to barb his words. Nothing like brutal honesty to make someone squirm. Emphasis on brutal.

    "I would hardly call myself an annoyance. Just a concerned party looking on with worry as to how my government conducts itself." Kinsey stepped up, slipping into the gap Sheridan was creating in the crowd.

    "And I would hardly call negligently stopping the only line of defense for a world, repeated interference with a proven and working command for political reasons, blackmail, ignoring confirmed warnings, and generally being an ass the work of a concerned party, Mr. Kinsey." Sheridan managed to keep from growling, a polite voice delivering a steel message. The crowd didn't spare a glance, as Sheridan led Kinsey away, heading down a corridor that would lead them further away from General Hammond and his band.

    "Oh, then what would you call me?"

    "A party to throw out an airlock. Stripped, first, of course, we can't waste flight suits." Sheridan chuckled darkly weaving through the crowd as he listened to Kinsey get angry. "Honestly, I could no more trust you than I could one of my ~former~ Emperor's force enforcers. You've been playing the system to your own benefit, and you are a potential threat to my men. You should be able to understand why I have kept my plan of action to myself. Interference isn't something I need right now." Sheridan wasn't watching Kinsey, but if he did, he'd see the slow smolder flickering across the corrupt politician.

    "If I'm such a threat, then why didn't you let your crew space me, then? Afraid of what we might do in return?" Kinsey knew he was being insulted, and wouldn't stand for it. No uppity captain was going to get the best of him, in any arena. "Yes, I've acted in my best interests, and I would do so again, if I had to. What gives you the right to be judge and jury? What gives you the right to act without the permission of the US government?"

    "Because until the Enterprise and her crew become a part of the United States military, and signs oaths of loyalty to your government, we remain the ranking authority of the Galactic Empire, and a body unto our own. You're standing on my territory, Mr. Kinsey, and here I am free to do as I please. If I was amoral and self-interested as yourself, I could have easily taken Prometheus for my own some time ago, and taken control of Earth with orbital supremacy. Not much you could have done to me even with your 'Goa'uld buster' IBCMs. Primitive weapons, and not much of a match for a properly equipped corvette, even." Sheridan kept himself from having to spit at mentioning Kinsey's name, unenjoyedly having to spill several of his cards. "Frankly, I don't want it. What I do, is for the benefit of my people, and if Earth and the galaxy receives some of the joy, so be it."

    "Hardly a better position than my own, Captain. So, you're doing everything for the benefit of your people? Why rescue the Tollan?" Kinsey followed Sheridan, as he got onto a turbolift, interested to find out what Sheridan's weak points were. The small, stark lift left them nothing to focus on but each other, the grey walls offering no sights to focus themselves on, forcing them to stare each other down.

    "Two reasons. One, while your people are getting good at your technology, the Tollan are undisputed masters of the local technology, and also brilliant. And, they're utterly respected amongst the local races for having provided many of them with assistance at various points before getting cast down. Perfect backers, for convincing everyone to work together. If the Taur'i could rescue the Tollan, and secure a partnership with them, think of what they could do with you." Sheridan was slowly tapping his arms, crossing them in a half-feeling of warding off. He was starting to feel slimy just talking to the man. He had little doubt, now, why SG-1 was so unenamored of him, and why they had very subtly suggested an 'accident' for him.

    "But, they have worked for Anubis in the past for their own safety. What is to say they won't betray you for their own safety again?" Kinsey had read the report, and nearly destroyed his office in rage that the best potential supply of technology had been destroyed. He had been distraught that the Tollan had been allowed to escape by SG-1 before, and at the time, he had begun to despair that the end was coming for Earth. How wrong he had been. How... foolish he had been...

    "Nothing like showing anyone a fully operational superlaser to convince them that they're working for the newest big bad wolf on the block. I know what you think of me, Mr. Kinsey, of what you think of my crew. I will say this, what is shown in the movies, and the local sector lives are not the same thing. Much as many of the soldiers in Japan and Germany were just trying to provide for their families, or somewhat decent men. The fighting men of the Empire, and the citizens of what used to be Tollana are the same way. What's the phrase? Men fucking up in a fucked up world. The actions of a minority are not the intentions of the majority." Sheridan grabbed ahold of the handrail around the car as it shifted direction, throwing Kinsey off balance a little since he hadn't been expecting it.

    "So, just the harmless remnant? We'll see. Still... " Kinsey turned away, not wanting to look Sheridan in the eyes as he said it, something he hadn't even done for SG-1. Then again, they had never brought in the Tollan remnant and formed a massive defensive alliance. "Impressive work. This is the kind of thing I was expecting out of the SGC. I should probably leave, and get back to the President."

    Sheridan stood silently for a few moments, fingers twitching behind his back. "Well thank you, Mr. Kinsey. I'll set the lift to head back to the hanger, and I'll send General Hammond and his group back as soon as possible for you to head back. Your attention is rather promising, but please try to keep a distance until you prove yourself to be... an honest politician, please. My men would appreciate it, and so would the SGC..."

    "Certainly." Kinsey reached out, holding a hand out to Sheridan, who grudgingly took it to shake. A start. Not necessarily a good one, but one none the less. And perhaps, a new way.
    moonberserker likes this.
  12. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Chapter 11: An exercise in WTH!

    "Seriously, you guys are never, EVER allowed to be within 50 miles of Skittles again."

    //Fort Avalon, November 27th//

    Snow filled clouds gloomily filled the skies, and the sound of work and play filled the spaces amongst the buildings of the hybrid fort, as the residents turned out for work and play at the slowly growing establishment, a miniature city of it's own continuing to grow out of the Montana wilderness. Asphalt streets still black and new hummed with the sound of construction trucks and transports filled with soldiers and stormtroopers, bustling about their somewhat merry business.

    The troopers were quickly growing used to life on Earth, and the strange wondrous new things that came along with it. The theater was quickly being converted to a multi-screen indoor complex, shut down for a few months due to the snow that was beginning to fall, the central citadel overshadowing the new location, as it continued to grow, now a 10 story mega-structure that had quickly filled out with the system defense headquarters relocated into it.

    Magnificent bastards, the lot of them. Especially Kinsey. He had been... helpful in a scary way for the past few days, having personally diverted efforts in Avalon's direction to try and have the fort completed on schedule, and had actually shown up with a massive delivery for the thanksgiving ball to celebrate the halfway mark of permanent construction. Of course, after making his speech, he had scurried away as fast as possible, but it was a first. O'neil ended up nearly having an anxiety attack over the next few days, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Apparently, Kinsey was going around one-shooed lately.

    The various convience stores began to open, jingling tunes filling the air as the rather unusual facet of American life began to make itself known to the stormtroopers and engineers of the Enterprise. Back home, such stores had died off long ago, or had never been needed, with the ultra-long range and simplistic fueling systems of landspeeders. Here, the aisles of impulse buy-merchandise was like a siren song, the ease of snacking and it's attendant joys luring them back again and again, like kids in a toy store.

    Then came the skittle incident, involving nearly all the skittles on Fort Avalon, 300 troopers, silly string cannons, and a host of other implements of silly destruction. It was never discussed again, except in reference. Very frightened and reverent reference. Skittles were never allowed on Fort Avalon again, even as the troopers turned to other methods of madness, beginning to tinker with their war-machines, machinist shops beginning to work on new designs, constantly filled by off-duty individuals trying to create the nastiest machines ever devised by sentient beings.

    The two AT-AT's were on display as they were worked on, the best of the best trying to put them to better use in the massive machine bay for them.

    Khaar looked up at it, waiting for O'neil to show up so they could eat and discuss at the same time some of the issues that had cropped up in the month for their respective halves of their team, including the Thanksgiving plans. And how accommodations in Avalon were to be handled. The primitive ground transports still made him wonder how the Taur'i on Earth had come so far for what they had.

    The doors of Avalon central opened, O'neil and Carter emerging with recent galactic maps, which would hopefully paint a better picture of the current train-wreck in the making out in the great black. With everyone slowly pulling together and forming a grand network of sensors and signal interceptors, it was only a matter of time before the Taur'i could start being poltergeist for the galactic residents. Ghosts of the nastiest varieties bent on stopping the Goa'uld and creating a new galactic order! Okay, maybe a bit much there. Khaar would settle for overthrowing the Goa'uld and ending the immediate threat.

    O'neil noticed him, and gestured for Carter to follow, heading over to the military transport speeder Khaar was leaning against, the Enforcer his usual taciturn self. In the back seat, Toral was reading over the design ideas for the new combined personnel weapons system, unaware of a telescopic eye watching through the window from across the parking lot.

    "Well, we've got the mission planning briefs. Where's everyone at, the Block, or at my place?" O'neil was jovial as he spoke, having seen the nice seeds of true discord already, wanting to share them with the rest of his team as he got in the passenger side, Carter right behind him as Khaar got in.

    "The Block." Nice, to the point. Khaar could make Teal'c seem talkative at times. The groundspeeder pulled out of it's parking spot, sliding gently into the light traffic as they headed off for the primary stormtrooper barracks, and home to the Enforcers. The 5 story, 3 acre building/minifortress/citadel of sugary terror known affectionately, and terrifyingly as 'The Block'. Joy.

    //Deep Space, Mustering Sector for the Armies of Ba'al.//

    Oooh, seething wouldn't even begin to describe his mood at that present second. With his new city pretty much out of action, he had no way of harnessing it's weapons and technology for his advantage, and the best he could use it for was Intar practice for Taur'i street fighting. Dirty and brutal combat. He found he actually liked it. Inelegant, true, but then no solutions were, other than perhaps gassing the whole city. Clever little creatures, those Taur'i. Or, in their words 'damned bastards.' Yes, that would do nicely.

    The recordings of his troops showed that they were still binding themselves to the old methodologies, to his terror forces. He'd have to break them of that, he had a dedicated Jaffa terror force, he needed an army now to deal with the Taur'i. They had proven to be unstoppable when evenly matched in numbers, and often even when outmatched.

    First priority, though, was discovering what the purpose of the heavy vehicle that SG-1 had escaped on. Almost like a Staff Cannon platform, except... mobile, not some kind of distance barrage device, but a weapon for closing with the enemy and crushing them. The design was curious, to say the least. He needed one of them alive, but he could perhaps put something together. A little more time, and he might understand the whys and hows of the Taur'i vehicle.

    Their 'rifle's on the other hand, made an infinite amount of sense. Designed to hold as much of their primitive solid ammunition as possible, comfortable and fitting to the firer, spots to mount additions to the weapon, and the sights all came together to create a formidable weapon. Reports had come to him in the past that they had killed his Jaffa at hundreds of meters, and after experimenting with the few he had captured, he began to believe it.

    His new 'staff rifle' caused confusion in his new army, the Jaffa unsure as to how to use it. He was admittedly not the best marksman himself, but his Jaffa took his example to heart. It was... strangely satisfying, to destroy the life-size replica of Jack O'neil, the design's rapid fire and powerful impacts ripping the target into flaming bits. Oooh, so satisfying.

    Now, what was he forgetting that seemed so important?

    //The Block//

    A 5 story, solid brick and Ferrocrete heart of terror that slowly beat within the hidden heart of Ft. Avalon, the center of the horrifying mind-rotting slow American corruption of the 1701st. A slowly growing suburban mold that continued construction day and night, two new wings going up even as SG-1 pulled up, the semi-distant sound of the constant construction going up a few acres away in the newest section. The whole area could best be described best in a familiar metaphor. "You will never find a greater hive of memes, sugary silliness, and football. You must be cautious." It had been a frightening thing when the clones had let go of their repressed childhoods, throwing off some of the stifling rigidity of the Empire.

    "Money up on the latest issue going down live today at the Block." O'neil looked up and about as he stepped slowly out, relying on his special ops years to keep him safe, watching for anyone nearby. No-one was safe from the silly anymore, even General Hammond had been caught in an incident. Found it hilarious, too, after telling off the stormtroopers involved. High up, on the fourth floor of the building, Daniel leaned out of a window, waving the group up to the common room that the Enforcers lived in.

    O'neil looked ahead to the double doors of the Block, already starting to hear the Indiana Jones danger theme playing in his head. He limbered up, letting his awareness go into automatic mode. "I hope they haven't picked up another one of those... what are they called again, Carter?"

    "Memetic themes, Memes, sir." Carter clutched her laptop briefcase closer, planning on brandishing it like a shield as she slid up near her commander protectively, power in numbers and all that. Toral and Khaar stepped out of the skimmer as well, stepping out onto the pavement and asphalt.

    "Odds are against it, sir. I hope... They should still be coming down off the Skittle Incident" Carter began heading forward, turning onto the narrow concrete path leading to the front doors. It was almost like stepping through the gate to one of Anubis's worlds. Far more humiliatingly amusing and less dangerous, of course, but no less unnerving and guard-raising.

    "Don't let them smell your fear, and they won't bother you." Khaar stepped up ahead of Carter, already starting down the path as she took notice, Toral coming up on her other side, guarding the group's flank with an over sized whiffle bat.

    "Really?" Carter had heard some strange tales, but...

    "Of course not! Nobody has senses that good!" Toral laughed raucously as he waved to Daniels with the bat. The Enforcers had found leading Carter on logic Goose Chases was rather amusing. A lot like telling a 5 year old something horrible to make them give them their candy. So wrong, but success tasted so sweet... The elder Correlian pointed forward with his whiffle bat, taking a heroic pose. "Onwards, to glory and donuts!"

    "Hey, that's my line!"

    "Sorry, sir." Toral passed the bat to O'neil, who brandished it about, testing it's balance. A mad smile graced his face, before he struck his own pose, and then marched forward, towards the doors. carter just looked at Toral and Khaar, growing annoyed that they continued to feed her CO's silliness, before she chased after him.

    Inside, as the doors thudded shut, it was ominously silent, the whispering whoosh of the AC, and the gentle hum of the fluorescent lights overhead the only things that disturbed the gently flowing quiet air. O'neil looked down the cross-corridors, watching for any signs of movement or signs of practical joke traps out and about. "Maybe they're taking it easy, after the base housing department complaints..." Carter didn't entirely believe it herself, but was willing to be optimistic, as she tucked her briefcase tighter under her arm, ready for an assault.

    "Don't jinx it, just head for the stairwell." O'neil warned Carter of murphy-taunting, as he got ready to Nerf anything that approached into oblivion. He had lived in barracks a few times, and knew what it could do to minds. The beige-colored brick walls silently soaked up some of the light, adding a feeling of foreboding as SG-1 tactically moved across the lobby, bunching together for protective backup, as they headed for the stairwell.

    Khaar kicked the stairwell door open, rolling around the frame to look up the stairwell shaft up towards the fourth floor. A quick hand gesture later, and the rest of the command team of SG-1 slipped in, sliding up against the wall as they looked for paintball gunners, water-balloon bombers, and other hazards. O'neil moved to the back of the group, Khaar taking spear point as they climbed up the stairs.

    Their footsteps echoed over and over as they moved up, mocking their anxious anticipation, the settling building seemingly alive and waiting for their eventual slipup, groaning and crackling with each movement. The clicks of boots on vynil were distorted and darkly morphed by the cramped void, sound more like the mad giggles of a god of chaos who was planning the end of reality, driving the tension to unbearable levels. The fourth floor waited silently as they stepped up onto it's balcony, a quiet stillness in the shifting building, an unnatural void of sound.

    Toral pushed it open with a foot, ready to jump back inside at the slightest sign of trouble as it slid out on it's arc. Empty, save for the small figure of Dell at the far end of the corridor, who waved them down in his direction as quietly and unobtrusively as possible. The group began running down to him, fanning out slightly into a wedge formation to cover their flanks as they ran through the cross-corridor intersections. A dash to safety, trying to keep from being ambushed, as somewhere far off in the echoing corridors, the sound of a small scuffle broke out, a faint battlecry heard. “Nerf for the Nerf God!”

    “Do I even want to know, or should we just lock the door?” O'neil moved back from the hallway door, bat still at the ready as Dell slammed it shut, locking it firmly and throwing the latch, the full SG-1 finding seats in the shared commons dorm that the Enforcers shared. Standard bland metal and wood Army furniture filled the floorspace cheaply and sturdily, and rather unflatteringly dull. The new couch was nice, and completely filled by Stari, Carter who had flopped down in, and Toral. O'neil looked about, remembering familiar times back in the prehistory of his career, seeing himself living in a place similar to it. The holotank on the wall still burbled, having been adapted from the Enterprise and set to translate tv footage into something more manageable for itself, glowing faintly with CNN footage of a bombing run in Iraq.

    "Well, I am. The Nerf God man has been going on for a few hours, and you know how things can get here once they spiral out of control." Dell pushed off the door, and headed over to Carter, watching as she popped open the briefcase, pulling out the various datapads containing the galactic brief for their next mission. "So, what's the next wonderful locale we depart to for a wonderful 1-5 day vacation?"

    "Well, congratulations, we've won the fabulous choice of..." O'neil reached over, picking up the three pads describing the location options Hammond was giving them, "one suspected Anubis held world, one Ba'al held world, and one suspected independent nastiness held world. Which door will we pick? Let's learn more about the possible prizes, shall we?"

    "Anubis has the Kull warriors, Ba'als the one upgrading his Jaffa with our tactics and advanced technology, right?" Dell looked over O'neil's shoulder, trying to look at the worlds, skeptically recalling what he had been told and experienced over the last few months.

    "Indeed." Teal'c stood back from the window, slowly coming over to the group, steaming mug of... something, in hand.

    "I say independent then, third parties are usually our better missions." Daniel sipped his cup of synthesized kaff, the Imperial drink competing rather well with coffee, brushing his glasses back up his nose. Nothing like a relaxing deserted world, though a bit lonely.

    "Right, well, the world was reported in by Herbidia as part of our multiplanetary Stargate ops coordination program. Apparently, it has... hazardous interesting ruins, something about a spectral presence or whatever the hell that's supposed to mean . Probably afraid of ghosts..." Dell shuffled in his jacket, the supernatural taken a bit more seriously thanks to the influence of the force. When people are obviously doing things that could not be backed by rational physics, such things as ghosts become much more rational to believe in.

    "We've encountered a lot of things over the years, but ghosts are not one of them. Could be anything... Nearly anything, anyway." Carter shrugged, tugging on the collar of the black jumpsuit she was wearing, reading a spare copy of the report. Apparently, the stellar coordinates marked the planet as being in one of the spiral arms on the far side of the galaxy, a region entirely unexplored by the SGC expeditions, or most of the spacefaring civilizations of the galaxy, for that matter.

    "I believe this is one of the 'forbidden worlds' marked for being unconquerable by the Goa'uld. Perhaps these specters are the cause." Teal'c could vaugely recognize the address, but not much more than that. With Aphopis stressing not going to the world, there was little further information to find.

    "Never know, it could be Asgard engineering, or those extra-dimensional beings we discovered with the crystal skull." Daniel kept on sipping his drink, as he mentally nibbled away at the possibilities, leaning back from watching out the window. It was getting hazardous to present an identifiable figure, what with two skirmish lines of troopers in the courtyard furiously bombarding each other with massed nerfbolt rounds. "Maybe even Re'tu."

    "The less we encounter those invisible pains, the better Still, better choice than the other two. Report says temperate, current seasonal temperatures in the mid 70s, oh, look... TREE's! Someone loves the galaxy-wide trees!" O'neill twirled the pad back onto the coffeetable in annoyance. Whatever had gotten into the ancients to create a galaxy-spanning network of interstellar gates, and then mostly hook it up to tree-worlds was beyond him. Then again, he was always able to take his silk hammock with him. Usually he couldn't pull it out, but there were times.

    "Jaaaack, Jaaaaaack! The trees are out to get you!" Daniel wriggled his fingers at the CO of SG-1, watching him, speaking in the mocking/hypnosis parody kind of voice. If nothing else, the Eisleys had been taking him aside during the weekend, and forcing him to grow more of a mock-u-wit. The kaff was gone now, why was the kaff gone? Daniel looked down at the cup, not wanting to get up to go to the small kitchenette to get another.

    "Nice forest. Looks coastal, from the moss and all. Some mountains in the background as well. Defoliant is always fun. Hard for a forest to bother you with no forest to bother you." Toral leaned on the back of the couch, unheedful of the glares from Dell just below him.

    "Machetes, and the new mass-production lightsabers only. The US Government takes Smokey the Bear very seriously. The last SG team to start a forest fire and say that the forest started the fight ended up all busted 3 paygrades. I LIKE my new house, thank you very much." O'neill glared at the stormtrooper engineer, agreeing in spirit, but unfortunately bound by the rules of the US of A. A right pain, but they did have a point. It'd be rather horrible to burn down someone's national forest. Hell, they were in enough trouble as it was, with all the stars they had popped over the years. What was the last count, 3? Yeaah, they didn't need to blow up any more stars...

    "Could always take a hovertank like we did last time. The gate is supposed to be moved in by next week, so the motor pool is right here. Just saying..." Stari held up his pad as a shield, just in case Jack decided to chuck a throw pillow or something at him in annoyance, cringing a little at the expected annoyance. At the pondering hmmm, he leaned around it, seeing Jack count off the command keys on the table, looking over the various vehicular keys.

    "So what all of intrest is there, besides the purported ghosts?"

    "A couple of caves with Naquada readings, a nearby clearing with suggestions of ruins, and the spot... where someone was cut in half?" Daniel's questioning worry was followed shortly thereafter with several spittakes.

    // 20 Mi NE, nearest resident's cabin//

    The satellite broadcast blared in the background, hardly noticed in the small, thickly built cabin, the occupant out on the ruggedly built side porch, looking out across the pristine frontier, to a narrow gap a few miles off, and what lay beyond that, the newest base of America, Ft. Avalon. His telescope, normally oriented at the filled night sky, was turned on a new target, watching the quickly growing base, not believing a damn word of the official story. He had been part of a coverup himself, and when you could look at something out of your front porch, it was far easier to figure out the truth for himself. Joint training center his ass.

    No story he had been fed so far would explain the strange vehicles fliting about in the valley off to his south, the strange noises that echoed through the hills. Haunting, familiar noises, ones thought to only be works of fiction as impossible machines moved about in his small field of view. It had only taken a week or so to make him break out his expensive european vodka and teas. Better to try and think about what he saw drunk, than sober.

    "In other news today, Stark Industries has announced a breakthrough in theoretical physics, having recently accidentally discovered a way to generate an anti-gravity field, while developing their newest government contract. Reports indicate that a massive research team has been put on the breakthrough, hoping to develop uses for this as soon as possible, to see if popular fictional depictions of the force are in fact possible or realistic. We will have more information as the story unfolds." The CNN reporter's babble would have elicited a snort from the aging sub captain, had he been inside, instead of out on the cold porch, sipping his drink. If Stark Industries had 'discovered' antigravity, he had a whole soviet surplus fleet to sell.

    Instead of sitting in his nice, flannel-pattern recliner, he was outside, looking through the overcast gloom towards the base that had haunted his dreams of late, his mind coming up with impossible scenarios in his sleep to account for the fantastic events that unfolded before his very eyes. He rocked back in the oak chair he sat in, watching some kind of repulsorlift vehicle move amongst the buildings with his high-power telescope, the former soviet sub captain highly suspicious of the true nature of the fort. Nothing like a good mystery to break him out of the funk that had been entrapping him for the past few years, since he had given up the last hopes of finding his daughter, since the last event that had gotten his heart pumping. If nothing else, despite all the horrific tragedy of 9/11 it still put immediacy in his life, sucked him into the moment, in it's own frightening way.

    He leaned forward again, setting the thermos of tea down as he adjusted the magnification of his telescope, wondering once again in a corner of his mind why no-one had come along to force him to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or force him off his land. Perhaps they felt he could be trusted, since he technically was supposed to have gone down with his ship almost 20 years previous. He adjusted the aim of his scope, moving it along the base, over to the airfield, what little he could see over the low ridge that obscured the far end. Maybe not having to pay taxes due to services rendered had it's other perks as well. He had certainly been given an interesting sight to study.

    The set of hangers closest to the base soon opened, a dull roar starting up, echoing over the hills, the intimidating wavering wail of two more fighters preparing for launch. Rather unstealthy, but they won the psychological battle. The rumble built to a roar, as they taxied out onto the main runway, before thundering down the tarmac, the click of a golden stopwatch recording their launch timing for velocity calculations later. As they quickly ascended, the moaning wails quickly dropped off as exsahust baffles locked into place, the old sub captain frowning in consideration. He might have been able to track their ascent when he was younger, but now they simply flew out of sight too fast for his eyes, two thunderclaps of completely displaced air shaking the ground as they ascended, likely into orbit at the rate they were going at.

    What were the bloody yanks up to? And for that matter, what were his old employers doing mixed up in the matter? For the past several months, Russian long-range transports had been constantly flying on final approach in clockwork intervals, the sound of Russian props having nearly induced a heart attack the first time they flew overhead, worry that he had at last been found out leaping in, before they had tracked to the south and touched down. Then there was the strange scramble, about two weeks before, when dozens of the strange new American fighters had launched in quick succession, along with what looked like... Tie fighters, and other things.

    The news reports were all blathering on about the tensions between his motherland and the US, but the tales he watched unfolding before his very eyes told a very diffrent tale down in Ft. Avalon.

    "Perhaps, a phone call, and a trip are in order." Marko Ramius mused on his strange life as he drowned his shot of vodka with one swig, before getting up to call a few old favors in. He had made his own way for 20 years, almost. He would not be denied the truth.

    //England, MI 6 HQ//

    "And you're certain this is what our engineers were sworn to secrecy over? Rather trivial matter..." M looked over the reconstituted TM's for the F-302A, wondering why the Americans had bothered to go through so much trouble to hide the refit of their new local defense fighter. Britain had just received two squadrons that the US had said it could afford to give up, now it seemed that was because they had traded up. For that matter, where the bloody hell had the yanks gotten some of the technology from? Project Bluebook could only account for part of the design, much of it items deemed theoretical, or near-impossible to build according to the reports.

    It had been a good thing Bond had been investigating the project for the past few months, ever since the disclosure to her majesties goverment. The fact that they had managed to operate in near total secrecy had meant that MI 6 had failed drastically at it's job. With Bond on the job, finally knowing about it and it's location, they had slowly been trawling through the SGC's records, learning the full truth about what had been going on, and getting a better picture of the current situation. Until 4 months ago, when the base suddenly locked down. The sudden massive increase in security had yet to be explained to the rest of the countries involved, along with what Bond reported to be a slow abandonment of the Norad side of the operation. The rushing to complete Ft. Avalon was something that had the world in an uneasy quiet, as well. It had been a long time since the US had opened up a base on it's mainland, and to put such a rush into a research, training and general garrison base left everyone saying it in the back of their minds. They had found something, something important. Something had changed.

    "This is part of it, yes. The base makes no sense whatsoever. Sights right out of science fiction, troopers that act like children exposed to Earth's more... colourful side for the first time ever. I've watched TIE Interceptors of all things, fly in formation overhead; looked at the refits they've been applying to Prometheus. Either this is a grand ploy to confuse everyone and throw them off of whatever they've discovered, or they've found something even I'm not wanting to believe." Bond sipped the Vodka Martini he had managed to sneak into the building, trying to nurse away the headache that had been plauging him since he left Avalon, slightly before, even. Trying to keep the documents safe, and the sheer mind-warp of what he had seen were slowly getting to him. He was a secret agent, not a galactic sabotuer!

    "Ah. And the prints and other items?" M waved her hand across the portable hard drive, and the technical sheets for other strange craft, that she couldn't immediately recognize.

    "The yankies had a few better than just the fighters. They lied when they said that fighters were all they had. Ships, at least two of them with more under construction. It took a few hours to download the smaller one's full schematics onto the portable hard-drive, but the full instructions for building a 'Prometheus' are ours now. Ugly little bastard too. The plans a for the refit of the one already finished, but it should let us build it from scratch." Bond's smug smile grew a little wider as he pushed over a photo taken on Avalon of the Prometheus, the framework of her forward section being dismantled for moving forward, not even a week before. The slow creak of the chair as he leaned back only made M's frown grow deeper. A personal best for himself, the highest-level security he had ever breached.

    "Nice work... We can certainly make use of these, though the Americans will likely grow suspicious when we start asking for various raw materials. I'll need to speak with a few engineers over the materials you've gathered, but I believe that the magnitude of the importance of your latest finds warrants an audience with her majesty on your part. Very soon. Anything else to report?" M stood up, picking the hard drive, technical manual, and photographs in hand as she prepared to run them down to the MI 6 labs for further dissemination. She was already wondering just how much the Americans had pulled over her eyes, and what else she had been missing.

    "This was the vast majority of what I was able to get to in a short timeframe."

    "Then stay in the area, 007. Her majesty will want to speak with you as soon as I make arrangements for it to happen. Keep out of sight, and don't do anything... stupid, will you?" M sighed, thinking of his previous leaves and the madness he tended to cause even when relaxing. "We don't need another Monte Carlo incident. We've still got paperwork left to file from the last."

    "Alright, fair enough. I'll spend the time wisely, then. See you in a week?" Bond tipped the rest of his glass back, as he casually rolled to his feet in that strange fluid way he had. The 00 agent began to head out the door, listening for M's response along the way.

    "Yes, do that, for all our sakes. If the Americans find out we have this..."

    "Yes, I know, possibly the end of the world as we know it, as well as other dangers. About the same as a normal work day. Hopefully better. I know, I'll be extra-discrete this week." Bond slipped out the door with that quiet way he had, disappearing into the hall, somehow vanishing from sight in the scant few moments it took for M to walk over.

    "Damn that man, sometimes."

    //Alpha Site, new codename: Reach//

    The small, now permanent colony now sprawled across the landscape, under the scenic morning skies. Work had progressed quickly, with Zeke Cloud now promoted to the Command Sergeant Major of the site, leading the way towards self-sustainment. Already, industry was starting up, milling wood for housing and creating large multistory buildings for businesses and management of the site, a central perimeter for the base around the gate. The biggest thing holding up declaration of full self-sustainment was farmers and foodstuff growers to find a suitable site. While the area was flat enough, the soil was poor, coastal, unable to sustain long-term growing. It had become a nice little trade center, an impromptu dirt and grate landing strip just to it's south to handle traffic ready for after Anubis began his next attack.

    With various Imperial molds being used for the base walls and for some of the central structures, it had grown to resemble it's larger sister-base, Ft. Avalon, as it snugly tucked itself into the small plain between the nearby mountains and the harbor to the north. A few thousand people, civilians of all walks, and military, had moved in already, with plans to eventually make a major city out of the base. Some had already begun planning for constructing a downtown area, as the first few factories had been assembled to the mountain-side of the colony. Naquada Reactor sites, and production lines for construction equipment and the like.

    It was a worthy project, something that had kept Cloud busy from dwelling on his past actions, and made him feel... almost young again. Light clouds high above, alien birds chirping in the air as the sound of the light traffic in the streets beyond and construction cranes moving for rapid construction efforts brought a smile to his face. It had been a long, long time since he had participated in something completely and totally wholesome and positive, and it was good to be a world-builder instead of a destroyer. And maybe whatever the psychiatrists had him on was helping as well. At least, it was supposed to, anyway...

    Observations indicated that the planet was in the midst of it's summer cycle for the local hemisphere, which meant they had plenty of time to build up and prepare. Orbital mapping had begun by the various AC-1300s of the local defense wing, mapping out the local area, and had pinpointed the current best possible locations for shield generators, which had been promptly and hastily errected as marker beacons were launched for various valuable strategic and resource locations on the local continent. A third of the planet was already covered with the invisible blanket of protection, nearly to standard core-world levels already over the settlement, and slowly weaker farther out, until fading out over the oceans to the west, and east.

    The defense grid was looking good, as he looked across the skybridge, out towards the nearest planetary Turbolaser battery, which watchfully was pointed towards the sky, a hulking structure of durasteel and trinium on the horizon. The others were in a general circle around the visible battery, aimed out at the sky and manned with a small crew each. Too bad that they were unwilling to risk testing them, for fear of setting off a highly visible discharge in their obscuring nebula. It was one of the few things that had kept Anubis from finding them save by sheer random chance.

    Now, it was just a matter of time of waiting until the program went public, so that the carefully cultivated Earth business culture could be unleashed upon an unsuspecting galaxy. Screw the Confederacy and the corporate sectors, Earth had hostile business and retail battle down to a true science. Until then, he enjoyed eating at the Aafes and other exchange-authorized stores that littered Reachvile (he hadn't come up with the name), like fallen leaves from a storm. The various armed forces had used branch stores at highly classified bases before, just not *This* classified. At least their franchises knew how to look the other way and whistle.

    A nice, easy, quietish assignment. Nice change of pace.

    Alarm klaxons blared warning as the planetary shield snapped into being, a shimmering ceiling of protection against the oncoming onslaught just picked up by the long-range sector sensor grid. The giant PA voice system automatically began to direct the civilians to shelter and military personnel to station. The gate nearby quickly upended, iris and shield snapping into place as the dedicated turbolaser emplacement locked onto it. No Kull invasion now. Best defense, a healthy offense at the only two access points available. 6 gigaton shots from massive multistage planetary anti-orbital batteries fired in rapid succession would discourage repeat visits from everything but the Enterprise, once she was done.

    Oh, well, so much for his quiet few years before retirement. Thankfully, the SGC had quite eagerly soaked up the 1701st's skill in defending a planetary installation from orbital attack, something they had been sorely lacking. And a little bit of tactical planning ensured the one weak point was going to be a very tough cookie. Interesting little phrase they had developed. Cloud wondered where it had come from as he unclipped his saber from his uniform belt, marching crisply towards the command center. He was profoundly thankful that they had returned his saber intact after getting an intensive class in upkeep and design of a lightsaber in the technical discussion he had given to Carter and several of their top engineers. The weapons were being planned to be issued out to the troops as a new tool, when they got the mass-production lines going.

    He let it flare to life, looking over the pure white blade with a bit of satisfaction, before snapping it back into a powered-down state, looking over to the gate, making doubly sure it was completely locked down. Harrumphing quietly, he looked up at the skies, looking at the marbled scintillating barrier high above as it crackled against atmosphere. It was a worrying sight, to be sure, bad memories involved, but he shoved them aside, trying not to dwell on his more horrific memories. Better to think of the... rather wonderful day in the neighborhood, as it were, as he strode along, towards Base CIC.

    A platoon of US marines clad in Imperial army flak jackets and armed with an improvised mix of M-16's and DC-11's passed him at a light jog, making their way for a secondary rally point, where a landing would be, as he crossed the skybridge to the bridge. All of them were a little nervous looking worried, having never repelled a planetary assault before. He gave them a small reassuring look as he passed, their commander saluting as he passed. He half-wished he hadn't given up his life story sometimes, now he was practically drowning in reverence and hero worship. Especially the ones who wanted to find out what Jedi were like...

    A quick clearance check with the now doubly re-enforced command center entrance checkpoints, and he passed through into its utilitarian corridors, squeezing through various blocks from ongoing functionality expansion and renovations. Staffers were urgently running from room to room, handling the as of yet unfinished battlenet, It was an unlikely proposition that the attack would make it through the fire in orbit, but no amount of preparation could be dismissed. They were the distraction, the bait, the ones who had to last as a decoy. And the nine hells take whoever dared throw themselves at them.

    The guards at the door to the main CIC stopped him for a moment, before letting him in on checking his ID, the meter-thick blast door irising open onto the controlled pandemonium inside. All the gun crews were online in a conference call, some staticy, some clear, as the base commander had them on standby for action. The multilevel room was centered around the massive holographic battlespace projector, showing multiple displays of out to a lightyear out, an AU out, and planetary orbital maps. Lines of fire were projected for the hopeful aim-points of the various turbolaser batteries, along with a status graph for the sectors of the planetary shield brought up to power. The slow red dots of 10 Ha'taks inbound at a rather leisurely pace slowly dipped into the planetary orbital projection, still out beyond the farthest moon.

    Everyone watched anxiously, as the icons of the 50 ship fighter and gunship group rose into the low orbitals, swirling out to avoid being in the line of fire when the planetary turbolaser grid opened up. Holding patterns were nice and all, but with no true anti-capital warheads developed yet to be produced by Earth, and the tiny stock of anti-capital grade proton warheads back at Earth, the best the fighter group could hope to do would be to play keep away for the planet against the deathgliders. The gunships were a little better off, given that though the heavy firepower the next generation was slated to get hadn't been developed yet, they could mount the Mrk 8 nuclear weapons in a fairly large quantity. There were about 30 ready to launch across the 5 of them.

    Didn't make anyone feel any better, even as time to firing position clocks began to appear next to the stats of each Ha'tak, as local sensors began to pin down their types and exact locations, data being fed out to the turbolaser batteries. The line of fire markers slowly drifted onto target, passive targeting still in effect as the massive batteries armed themselves. Some crossed their fingers, hoping the cobbled together weapons would actually work. Most of them were superheavies pulled off the Enterprise, and given as many supercharging upgrades as could feasibly given, and could potentially explode just powering up.

    "Status?" Cloud slowly stepped down into the inner circle, looking across the display with a bit of malicious awe. Sound-adsorbent carpet soaked up his footfalls and dampened the normal clatter and clamor that the control room activity would create. His terse attitude snapped technicians to attention and parted the way for him as the faint lines continued to track with the slow moving Ha'taks.

    "All parties in position, ground and air forces at Red Alert, all general quarters have been sounded. One attempt to pass the gate, currently neutralized. All batteries report tentative passive aqqusisiton of 10 Anubis uprate Ha'taks of various marks. Ready for active targeting and fire. They don't appear to have detected us yet, Sergeant Major." The sergeant who had been handling things until Cloud had arrived stepped down, as he informed his superior of the activity that had been continuing on to that point.

    "Good. Keep it that way. Hold fire until low orbit, not a shot before. The less time they have to react, and the less they know of our capabilities, the better." Cloud snapped out his orders as he slipped on a headset tuned to the battery channel, listening to their chatter, as the blips closed ever steadily closer. Whispers of worry, and anger could be heard throughout the room, as men and women prepared to watch humanity's first true taste of vengeance, the blip's tracking indicators steadily changing as they grew closer.

    "This is firing control to all crews, lock and load all weapons, remained safed, stand by to fire. Range is going hot." Let it never be said Cloud did not have a sadistic streak of humor, as he called up the qualification standards, planning on making the attack into something profitable. They had disturbed his nice day, he might as well be rather sadistic about turning it into something completely normal, and rather enjoyable for himself.

    The Ha'taks continued to close, drifting into orbit, slowly clearing the various moons and rocky debris that serenely circled Reach. Cloud watched as the aqquisitions solidified, the Ha'taks slowing as they began to realize the situation they had allowed themselves to slip into. Cloud prepared himself, as lock-on brackets faintly began to glow. "Firers, targets coming up, set safeties to fire, stay in you lane, and knock 'em down."

    The brackets glowed and turned solid as active sensors locked in on the ships, lights dimming as the massive set of naquada generators used for main post power diverted much of their energy to the already energized turbolaser batteries, the room rocking slightly as the recoil created seismic disturbances. The sky outside turned brilliant, blinding white as the mighty batteries, as yet untuned, punched holes in the sky as tracer and fire lanced into space. A sudden, rolling thunderous roar left people screaming as untuned, mighty weapons declared war upon the interlopers, aurora forming in the sky as the normal laws of physics were suddenly and brutally sodomized.

    High above, bright lances of green formed a chain from heaven to earth, fighter pilots watching in awe as Goa'uld ships visibly were slammed into, shields flaring brilliant blue and gold from the impacts as the ships were slammed across the skies. While the ad-hoc upgrades were far too impractical for the Enterprise herself, they made for a nice psychological impact, as if Zeus himself had reached out, and declared that the interlopers would DIE. Crews scrambled as their ships immediately began to strain, under an assault even the Asgard would be hard-pressed to match.

    The bright light of the wrath incarnate of humanity began to fade, the bloom of the un-trapped energies quickly being brought under control by the gun crews as they tuned their weapons, tightening containment fields to account for the sheer raw energy. The full power of 7 naquada mark 3 generators powered each turbolaser, equivalent to pumping the full power of a ISD reactor over the course of an hour into each shot, power cables sizzling with energy, glowing white and humming ominously. The buildings slowly stopped groaning, as braver individuals walked out into the now suddenly baking day, to watch near-blinding green light arc into space, as the gunnery crews walked their shots on-target, the slow rate of fire picking up as the crews dared.

    In space, superstructures groaned, and squealed as the kinetics of the shield interactions began to take their toll, crews running about while they still could. Conduits began to spark from induction overloads feeding back along their length, fires breaking out only the beginning as the thundering apocalyptic barrage knew no end. What passed for Jaffa engineers could only look on in horror as their power cores and shield generators began to glow white hot, blindingly hot, from the energy feeding back into them, the ships beginning to rock like mere corks in a hurricane.

    The normally grand interior quickly began to resemble a charnel house, as inertial dampeners struggled to hang on, the crews being tossed about as if in a skyscraper in a 10.0 earthquake in Tokyo. Bridge crews held on for dear life as they began to weave insanely, the pyramids barely missing each other by minuscule margins as they took manic attempts to remove themselves from the hellfire, practically tripping over themselves in their attempts to escape.

    The first to die was an elder, a refit from the beginnings of Anubis's travels, over a thousand years old. A relic, that died in fire, her reactors imploding in a massive shockwave that rocked the region, a few shards of her structure slicing through the sky, impacting on her sisters. The concussion could be heard on the surface, causing people to duck, fearing that a turbolaser had gone up in disaster, as the shockwave rippled across the planetary shield, re-entry streaks splashing into explosions upon the shield high above.

    The next two attempted to evade, only to at last fall prey to murphy's law, turning into each other's paths, slamming together in a jarring impact that collapsed their shields, before locking together in a destructive jigsaw of crumpled metal. The crews had time to look over the damage in horror, before both ships were transfixed in brilliant light as supercharged turbolasers bit into trinium alloy. They hovered, shaking, before the energy cooked off the internal naquada stores, which had never been designed to take the stresses placed upon them, their hulls designed for far less brutal combat. Tiny shrapnel was all that remained of them, flung forth in a metal storm from their firey demise. The twin-linked fireball soon found itself disrupted as their sisters blundered through, hulls ringing with impacts.

    Inside the still remaining ships, the situation was deteriorating rapidly, as structural timbers were ripped from the walls, buckling in twain from the forces exerted upon them. Jaffa cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced, as their world collapsed upon them, superheated steam from support systems boiling them alive, and flying shrapnel turning them into swiss Jaffa. The next Ha'tak to fall was merely bracketed by four blasts as gunners concentrated fire, the hits crumpling in the rim, turning it literally inside out.

    The shards of it's death slid through space, a glittering crumpled mess, even as the combining weight of fire from the planet ripped them apart with horrible ease. Hellfire danced about in space, as a glittering blue-green arc swung lazily, a gunner changing targets, sweeping across another elderly craft, the overload cutting it's shields, the fire almost bisecting it in two, the energy release ripping the last parts apart in a tangle of girders as the two halves were flung across space. Half-vaporized bodies hung, icily, in the void, floating about. At least, what few that survived the continuing bombardment from below.

    Fighter pilots circled the battle loosely, unwilling to risk venturing closer, fearing getting caught up in the titanic energies. A blast of the magnitudes being casually flung into space would be annialation incarnate for a tiny Spitfire. Well, that, and there were no targets worth engaging... left.

    Below, people cheered as secondary explosions began, slowly killing what remained as a shimmering aurora of destruction continued on in low orbit, the magnetosphere of Reach crying out from the massive charges being ripped through the various radiation belts. Cloud patted a few of them on the back as he threaded his way through the crowd, unwilling to cheer with them. They had soundly crushed the fleet, and next time, if they had gotten word out, it would be far, far larger. Especially if Anubis was anything like the Emperor, as a horrible, nagging suspicion in his heart suggested. Failure was unacceptable, unforgivable.

    As the planetary shield continued to occasionally flash with falling debris, fighters and the gunboats began to push some into a graveyard in orbit, where the remains could be studied, SAR teams climbing out of the gunboat's airlocks to look for unlikely survivors in the shattered remains, to hopefully gain some clue of what Anubis already knew. Hopefully, they could salvage what little remained of the ships, for Naquada and Trinium, for the various bits and pieces that could be re-purposed for use.

    Cloud slowly squeezed through the tightly packed throng, to where the Alpha Site commander watched, stopping beside him. Worry lines etched across his aged face as he joined him in looking over the crowd. "Now he won't stop. The next time, it'll be fifty."

    "Good, the gunners say they're not done zeroing their weapons yet."

    //Tollan Section, Babylon Anchorage//

    Just a bit of metal and twine, a skeleton with several module levels of habitat, reclamation and other equipment bolted into a still wobbly frame, but it was a fine start. Narim stretched as he looked about his still, quiet cabin, still in a heavy bit of a daze as to the insanity of Sheridan's plans, of the massive progression of events. A home had been quickly built for the Tollan, as Sheridan began to make preparations for a second refugee trip, giving hope for the small few thousand Tollan who had escaped that horror. Here he was, Prime Minister of the new Tollan Federation... a strange, strange sensation, being the head authority of his people.

    The small, sparse space had been the first to be assembled, the bare metal walls still unfurnished even now. Captain Sheridan had insisted that Narim get the cabin, for services rendered to the US and Imperial Remnant, pushed into place to be the seed from which the rest of the Tollan sector of the anchorage was built upon. The command core was the only thing under full-scale production at that moment, it's full skeleton completed, though unfurnished and mostly just the structural braces.

    And, it had all just... grown from there. Corridors had snaked out from his door, work droids tirelessly forging and assembling every minute, every hour unceasing. Wholesale rooms were wedged and locked into place, Tollan making changes to accommodate their technology as areas became locked down and pressurized, a long tether over to the main Imperial section providing the temporary umbilical as the Tollan worked as hard as they could, squeezing in. The first three decks were completed already, the command decks and a bit of utilities, work progressing as Tollan continued to shove into the growing mountain of metal in space.

    They were content to share what small space they had, after their horror of a time on their second home, the dark tunnels, the stifling ash in the air. The bright, but extremely crowded corridors could be lived with after that. It was only for a time, as they worked in shifts with the tireless automons of the Imperial Remnant to construct their home into it's skeletal cradle. Not a very nice home yet, but it was a home, one they would make into something to be proud of. And they knew they had to hurry. If there was anyone else back on New Tollana, Sheridan would be starting to bring them back in maybe 6 months, as Prometheus went into full refit. Hopefully he would, though. There was only a few of them, and population growth took time. At their current rate, the Tollan would be swept away in the Taur'i tide by then.

    Narim smiled a bit, as the small calico kitten he had been gifted by Carter tottered toward him, mewling piteously. A 'welcome back to Sol' present as it, err, he was. His roommates tended to stay away from the room with the small thing inside, it tended to scratch at them at times, especially when they disagreed with his plans and policies. Though the exact reason why he'd splutter through every time the issue was brought up. The little kitten soon found himself picked up and cuddled, Narim listening to it's purrs as he considered his strange fate, gently scritching it's chin.

    Twice turned a refuge, because of his people's dammed pride, their unflinching pacifism in circumstances that had been pushed upon them. The Taur'i had warned that they needed to prepare, even offered assistance, and had delayed the inevitable, but a lack of change, a lack of even a wish to change had nearly doomed them. And here he was, here they all were, hiding behind the Taur'is newfound might, hoping the monsters of the gate would vanish and never return. The young kitten mewed in his arms as he clutched it a bit to hard, batting and nibbling at his fingers until he stooped and returned it to the deck.

    It was time to stop hiding behind ideals and make things right, become part of the solution. The Tollan had not made war for hundreds of years, they would start now. If he had his will. The time to stand for the people of the galxy was at hand. It didn't take a Tollan scientist to see the battle lines being drawn up, between Anubis, the System Lord alliance, and the remaining free peoples of the galaxy. They had to do something or else all would fall, and there would be no Sheridan to rescue them all.

    The Tollan remnant had been investigating a few options already. Well, those who fully agreed with him, anyway. TIE technology was being mated with Tollan systems, and slipped onto the new spaceframe the Americans were building. Wasn't much, but it would be more than they had ever had before, in terms of a military.

    Narim rolled to his feet, moving over to the kitchenette to gather up a drink to muse over, calling up a holographic projection of the latest construction figures. The prototype of the new frame was to guard the station, supposedly. They had developed it, they wanted the first few frames that they were building for their own needs. Especially with the direct hostility Anubis had against them. They were the known threat, everyone else languished in obscurity at the edge of the Goa'uld empire. Not everyone was pleased with the arrangement, but with the prefab spaceyards being shipped out with their ships, there wasn't much they could say. The Taur'i were at least being nice enough to let them build their own, or whatever else they wanted to. Not much to argue over.

    It was very hard to complain that someone was getting all the best toys when they gave you all the parts and tools to the 'do it yourself kit' one day and told you to do it yourself. When a few inevitably did complain, the Taur'i had asked them why they felt they deserved the undivided fruits of Earth's shipyard, which were tailored to it's specific needs; why they felt they had higher priority over the one that was actually being gunned for, and had the best chance of completing several ships, ESPECIALLY the Enterprise. After all, they had been given all the tools needed to make their very own shipyards and their very own ships, and that all they had to do was add naquada. The ambassadors had began to protest a little more, until Col. O'neil had suggested that the spoiled children needed their diapers changed.

    After Captain Sheridan had gotten done kicking him off the station for a month, the complaints had died down somewhat, in the wake of the backlash from Earth, suggesting that the worlds shut up and sit down. They had done nothing, until Earth had shown up and started sharing the wealth, and that frankly, they didn't really even have to share. Sheridan had spent a great bit of relish on explaining that it was only Earth that had gotten the momentum going on the nice galactic alliance that everyone was so eager to take advantage of, only Earth that had bothered to provide designs for everyone to use. If they didn't like it, they had plenty of time to form their own alliance long before the Taur'i had shown back up. But, they hadn't.

    A general nightmare and a half, that. At least it was mostly over. Several of the worlds had already gotten their yards in, and had fully unpacked them, hard at work making their own homebrew copies of Babylon, seeing how a massive spacedock could be useful already. Sheridan had even been helpful enough to explain the whole purpose behind the station, including the trade aspects, though a major selling point was the nice enclosed service bays for easy maintnence, though there were several changes in the general plans of each station.

    That was AFTER a hectic few days in intense negotiation with the US goverment to let go of the plans to help cement the alliance. Narim never wanted to do anything like that again. Though Vice-President elect Kinsey was extremely helpful, citing a 'military pragmatism' viewpoint. While spreading the plans out a bit, having backup stations never hurt.

    His small calico proceeded to combo-break his chain of thought, batting at his leg and crying for attention. A small bowl of milk later, and a stiffer drink of his own, he found himself sitting by one of the holographic imaging windows, looking at a real-time view of Sheridan's master project. The inelegant wedge did have an interesting appeal all of it's own, the framework and internals of it's expanded body mostly completed, save for an outer skin of the modules to come. All the systems inside were still being put together, at least most of them. Most of it was legacy systems from before, scheduled to be refitted out over time. The new gravitic drive strips had been laid down at last, reverse-engineered from Goa'uld tech, along the edges of the brutally majestic ship. Tiny pinpricks of light in the dark enclosure of the freighters marked welders at work, bust completing power couplings, and attaching the protective cowling for the system.

    He didn't entirely approve of the ship's purpose, original(Especially not that), or new, or some of her asthetics, but it was a fascinating design. But the Taur'i had turned a vaugely interesting ship into an artwork of concentrated death and destruction. If nothing else, the Taur'i were to war what the Tollan were to science, and possibly moreso than that. The new reactor, a slim, cylindrical thing, was being towed into the bay now, even as the old bulbuous fusion reactor was being towed free. The wary technicians were very carefully moving it, keeping it well away from anything that could so much as bump it a little. The interior was apparently still superheated...

    Of course, since it wasn't expected to really have a use in any ship, they were considering a salvage option of sticking it into the lower bowels of Babylon, once the main station was started. Save what they could, and such. Recycle the leftover salvageable tech, since some of it couldn't be built again. A sad strange melancholy from the Imperials on that. A fresh start, but no hope of seeing their families, none of the sights they had grown up around. An entire civilization, gone in a single fight, a few minutes of horror.

    Narim could somewhat understand, in his own situation, but at the same time... a whole civilization, one in desperate need of help. Civil war, terrorists running rampant, whole planets literally disintegrated... a horrible time for their whole galaxy. A shame. A horrible shame...

    The Enterprise was their only home. 'She' was their great unifying family, the last thing they had to really focus them. Sheridan had pulled out all the stops to make sure that 'she' would pull out within the next 3-6 months, to get going once again, before his crew could really start to let the reality of what had happened sink in. He barely let himself stop to think on it, himself, as far as Narim knew. The rest of the crew was coping so far in however they knew how, he had heard that there was strange happenings going on at Ft. Avalon on Earth. Something about stormtroopers amuck, or however Col. O'neil had put it.

    He still didn't understand why the Imperials called the Enterprise a female. It was a strange, nonsensical habit, one that even the Tok'ra agreed was foolish, nonsensical. Only the Taur'i shared it, and apparently even they didn't all agree on it. Narim decided he didn't want to even consider the, what was that Taur'i psychologist? Freud? Yes, the Freudian implications, of the 'gender' of the Enterprise. He was a scientist, not a psychologist, or, well, a politician. Maybe the universe was telling him to change careers...

    He shifted his attention closer, as his kitten started playing in the hologram, to a smaller, close-up dock, where the first Polaris lay half-completed. The small, diminuitive craft was an attempt to hide the Stargate program in plain sight by the Taur'i, who had decided to get a little extra out of it, to turn it into a patrol corvette and such. The box-wing design was... interesting, so to speak. It streched the plausability of the mainstream technology on Earth, the US claiming to have 'invented' or 'revealed' several technologies in order to prepare for it, including the cheap ion drivers.

    A 'Trojan Horse', as they called her. Sad, that even the strangest of their analogies had military connotations. It seemed bred right into them. Helped out, as well. It was to be the first step toward disclosure, as mandated by Kinsey and Sheridan working together on an Imperial first contact protocol. The slightly flared nose cone module had been recently completed, the small black script running along it's length giving it's name. 'Columbia II'. A reminder of the small craft that had so recently disrupted their space program.

    The Polaris class was one of the strangest things he had ever seen. Strange, ungainly little thing, it hadn't been designed with comfort, something he would never understand. It wasn't meant to cross the galaxy. But it was a start. With a set of gravitic drives in the double wing, which was itself coated with the Ion panels of the triple ion engines for the craft, it was expected to outrun and outfly anything in the skies.

    Narim gently scooted his kitten away from the holographic window as he picked up it's control, zooming in on the corvette, a sense of strange pride coming into his mind. He had helped make her, studying for several days and codifying the general final design. He had to admit it, he had turned function into form. It had a sense of sleekness to it, looking deadly, yet strangely peaceful. A deep draught of his drink later, and he began to consider just what the Tollan were looking for, if they were to make any kind of difference in the galaxy. Maybe it was right for them.

    He didn't quite want a Constitution, they would be too intensive for the Tollan people at the moment. He felt a strange bit of wanderlust, in the back of his tired mind. The occasional awe that the Imperials showed, as they explored the galaxy, was refreshing to him, as he had continued his occasional therapy for his troubles.

    Perhaps. He had a few stealth systems he was looking at reverse-engineering from the Taur'i and Imperials... maybe he could combine them, and throw in some Ion cannons with mods from the parallel technology developed from the Imperials... yes... he was already beginning to see what he needed to convince the council... that wasn't that hard...

    He wouldn't be able to get the half-done Columbia, but there were five more small slips under droid construction...

    His thoughts turned back to the galactic civilization that Sheridan had been discussing with him, about how he wanted to make a few changes. For the most part, the alliance as it stood right now, the pitifully few 40 or so of the alliance council represented all of the known civilizations that were either using the stargate or were in space under their own power. Not enough to control the galaxy. The Free Jaffa, if they ever managed to throw off the Goa'uld, would barely control a third of it, as well. And they would barely be able to expand, considering their ignorance.

    Maybe... if they could do something to gather all of the lords together...

    No... it might be a little more than the Taur'i would be willing to accept...

    Still, it was a theme of Imperial and Taur'i works, to better and improve the galaxy, and be an example of hope. He just hoped it was enough to withstand the flood of Anubis's wrath.

    //Babylon Station, Imperial Sector, Same Time//

    Sheridan sat back in the small room he had appropriated as an office, considering some of the preliminary reports. Salvaging as much as they could of the Enterprise's imperial roots, they could have her back out in space in three months with no testing. But she'd be... unstable. He didn't want to fly with her busted, but until they had more than one ship ready to go, it was all they could hope for. The Prometheus was being worked on as carefully as possible to preserve her combat strength.

    Wasn't enough, really. Analysts were suggesting a 6 to 1 ratio of Polaris to Ha'tak for parity, with uneven odds down to three or two. One simply didn't have the guns or powerplant to take a Ha'tak. Anything less, though, would be ripped to shreds, save for massed fighter attacks.

    The other reports, he didn't even want to look at. One, was the first round of Midiclorian tests, the other, an analysis of the... crystal, that Q had given to him. Either in themselves had uncomfortable connotations if he was right. Together, and he didn't even want to look at them. He had been young, when the purges had started, but he remembered them. Remembered the madness of those days. But then again, at the same time, there was the 'evidence' that the Taur'i had.

    Did he want to go down that route? If he did have... the Force, it was a problem. A huge problem. He had seen how well they had managed to keep themselves impartial in battle, to say, not at all. Maybe their training, maybe the nature of the Force itself. Either way, as far as his elicit studies briefly during the purges had told him, was an extreme that he had no inclination of going to. The madness of unfettered emotions run amuck, or of the stark implacable stoic... involvement, of the Jedi. Or, at least the old order. But then again, the new order he had read about wasn't much better. It was a step, yes, but...

    He looked at the pile of datapads on his desk, hoping he still had a few to look at before he was forced to read the... other two. Logistics of keeping the Enterprise going without a supply of parts, possibilities of refitting the existing systems with a few Taur'i modifications, to keep the advancements the old systems had over the relative inexperience of the Taur'i. Deck restructuring plans... all read...

    He wondered why him... why had they attacked the Enterprise. He had been looking through Earth media for possible references. Nothing in the chronicles of their universe, or in Star Trek. Or either of the three series of Battlestar Galactica. Where had they come from. If they had picked up on his own universe, it stood to reason that they had picked up on the universe that the organic ships had come from. But there was a lot to go through. And, if they could cross dimensional barriers, then there was some serious trouble brewing...

    He suddenly realized he had picked up the bloodcount chart unconsciously while he had been musing on the attackers. His own name was at the top of the list. Kriff. He didn't need any more problems. Odd, that Stari was rated so high in the count. And Col. O'neil had some creep-age beginning to infiltrate his own system. Whenever midiclorians found a new species they tended to infiltrate it in short order. For some reason, they were par- ug... more wonderful news to tell the SGC.

    He tossed the pad down, going to the crystal analysis, looking it over. A hardness off the scale, odd. Lithium crystals interspersed in a diamond matrix that was... off. He couldn't make sense of it. Some kind of 4th or 5th dimensional flux, what was that supposed to mean? Wait, dilithium maybe? No... couldn... never-mind, it was Q he was thinking about. Though, the report indicated it was quite well cut for a focus...

    At least it wouldn't talk back to him. He looked up to the shelf in a corner, where the crystal sat in plain sight, shimmering in the white lights. He resisted an urge to throw it in the nearest fusion reactor. It'd probably just make it overload and explode.

    He grumbled, deciding to check his old flight skills. Having come from a mixed flight and helm background, he had had his time in a TIE. He had still kept up with his qualifications occasionally. Besides, he hadn't been checking with the fighter corps very often, it was time to check up on them again. Maybe even borrow one for a few hours. Keep himself going for a bit. Needed to keep busy. The busier he was, the less time to think about the force, and Order 66.

    // Lake Kendles, Mn//

    Marko Ramius understood patience. He had learned harsh lessons on the subject, in his younger days, under the oppressive bootheel of the Union. He could wait. He had waited, quietly, for several days, while his contact dropped everything for the urgent matter that needed to be dealt with. 30 miles was a long way to drive, for an old man, even one so ruggedly surviving such as himself. So, he had stayed in the local hotel, waiting for his long-standing contact to come up and over the hill, to have a little chat.

    Lake Kendles was a small town, not even big enough for Wal-Mart, or anything else. There hadn't been much of an economic boom from Ft. Avalon's construction, much to the disappointment of the locals. With the fort remaining under lockdown, it was unlikely that they would see anything more than the small spattering of interstate traffic for some time. The small mainstreet was deserted, the early winter chill driving everyone to ground for shelter, snow banked against building facades.

    The old sub captain remained in his seat in the central cafe in town, where Ryan had given his word to meet up with him at. A nice spot to settle down for a secluded talk. No spy satalites bothered coming this way, the CIA and the FBI didn't look twice at such a small town, much less anyone else. No-one would come so far out the back woods to meet, everyone assumed. Too far out of the way when haste was needed. How wrong they were...

    The sight of strangers in the cafe would insure privacy. They came in all the time from the interstate running near by, a regular occurrence. What was one more in an endless parade of guests, to be noticed? He adjusted his position as he sipped the slowly cooling black coffee, his thick fleece jacket crinkling with photos for his old friend to 'have a cow' over, as the American phrase went.

    He smiled, strangely pleased with himself, that he still thought in his native tongue. It had been a long, long time, since he had last seen those shores, so far away. He did not think he would see them again in his life. The sound of a waitress approaching perked his attention, as he accepted the refill with a few kind words and a Russian blessing. The locals knew he was an immigrant, and some looked upon him fondly. He was known for being one of the voices of reason in the county meetings, and most of the locals didn't mind him. He even occasionally made some money teaching Russian to interested parties.

    They at least knew how to brew a nice strong coffee, nearly as strong as russian naval coffee, even the 'expresso'. One should never rush coffee. It dulled the tounge-curling power of the drink.

    The rough puttering of an out-of-shape Ford Escort slowly pulling up caught his attention, as he looked up to watch the weathered black car that gently and cautiously pulled in alongside his own red and black pickup. He knew that vehicle... it was the preferred motorpool car of one of the CIA's top-tier analysts.

    Ah, the scambled eggs had arrived. Something warm, and mostly solid, to fill his needing stomach. He proceeded to busy himself with his food, paying seemingly no attention to the things going on around him. It was relatively easy to look in the security mirror up in a corner, to see the form of his one-time savior ducking into the cafe, looking for him. A few moments of confusion were quickly replaced by quick movement, as he moved over to the side corner of the cafe, sliding into the booth with the still rather calculatingly intimidating ex-captain. The steam coming from his mug rose up in a manner to add a strangely mystic and mysterious manner to him, curling around his face, and adding a hint of surreal oddness to the scene. "Well, it's good to see you again. Life still treats you well?"

    "Good to see you as well, Ryan. I live, and likely will for a long time to come. This is... an interesting place, but, this is not why I called. We have, business to discuss, I believe. Something rather important." Ramius smiled, in his odd way; his cheerful, deadpan voice barely carrying as he set down his drink, settling himself backwards into his seat some, listening to the squeaks of leather and rubber. He steepled his hands together, as he began. "I called, because I want to know the truth, dear Ryan. There are things going on, that are far bigger than just Russia and America. Your country has been growing sloppy recently. What has really been going on these past few years? I think I know better than to expect those night explosions a few years back were some mere innocent meteor, now that I have a few pieces." Ramius kept his voice down, as he picked at his eggs. No need to tell everyone that there was semi-clandestine business going on.

    "What exactly are we talking about? There are many things currently going on, some more important than others. I can't just start listing off programs for you. Honestly, I shouldn't actually tell you anything, really." Ryan had a horrible sinking feeling in his gut that he knew exactly what Ramius was talking about, and what just happened to be 50 miles away. He was one of the select few outside of the military that actually knew and understood what was going on, privy to Avalon's secrets. And Ramius, well, as as various online contacts put the term, a determinator, sure to push through anything that would dare oppose his will. Better to hide it behind doublespeak than to have him into something sensitive.

    "It would be something very important, it seems. Something hard to hide, considering what it entails. I'm only aware of a few edges of it, after a little digging, mind you. Interesting, fascinating, really." Ramius stabbed a chunk of egg forcefully, wagging his fork about as he spoke, out to goad Ryan a little, get him off-balance.

    "It's hard to answer something when you don't understand the question. Provided I'm even allowed to answer it." Ryan buried his hands back in his coat, feeling the bite of cold even in the cafe, the windows doing little to hold heat in, as the lettering on the glass showed frost from the subzero temperatures outside.

    "Something much like the Red October, I'm afraid." Ramius slipped into Russian to name his last boat, the issue still rather delicate when brought up. Russia was fairly certain the US had made off with it, after recovering the wreckage of Alpha, but could prove nothing. With no sign of the October, and with Ramius and his command staff squirreled away in remote parts of the US, away from spy hotspots, there was nothing to be found.

    "Perhaps it is literally the case. I assume you remember where I decided to build my cabin, correct?" Ramius wanted none of the spy games, not as concerned for his well-being as he would have been in his younger years. He had no family, and would die a now childless old man in the woods. Better to go out solving a grand mystery, perhaps. Perhaps the blunt-force trauma method was in order. He was too old to be dancing around bushes in the cold of the Rockies. The strange wonders he had seen had sparked something in him, a small, last ember of adventurous spirit, before the dark.

    Ryan nodded, as he thought of the small clearing on the steep hillside that the old captain had bought. A nice steam fed through from a glacier, had some fish in it. "South side of Bear Mountain, as I recall. The last time I was here, back in spring, you were getting some help to assemble the frame of the place." Ryan began to kick himself, realizing that due to Ramius's status, he could have well fallen through the cracks when it came to the grand clear-out for Fort Avalon's secure zone. And he began to squirm more, when he thought over the view, and realized just what it faced out over. Nothing like TIE-Spitfires to wake someone up in the morning.

    "Yes, I finished, before the cold came. Reminds me of home. The locals are nice, and the view is absolutely lovely. Including the little feature that got all my neighbors evicted." Ramius was speaking somewhat figuratively, of course, as he whimsically continued on with the uncomfortable conversation. Even before, his nearest neighbor was 5 miles to his east. The eggs were only half-eaten, as he reached into his thick jacket with his free hand, pulling a photo envelope out from within the black recesses. The plain white paper made Ryan wish he could run away right then, wishing it was merely something mundane like exploding photos. The real situation was far worse.

    "I took the... liberty, of documenting my points of interest."

    Ryan slowly pulled the envelope over, as Ramius leaned forward in his seat, the old mastermind smiling some, as he took a last sip of his now cold coffee. Ryan hid his wince as best he could, at seeing a small, grainy and medium-quality image of an F-302, the small silhouette circled for emphasis and easy locating amidst the clouds. An uncomfortable silence descended upon the two, as Ryan flipped through the rest of the photos, before quietly shuffling them into the envelope, stuffing it into his pocket as quickly as he was able to. The frown and disappointed anxiousness was evident on his face, rubbing his chin in frantic thought as he tried to get out of the mess he found himself in. "I'll see what I can dig up, but... for your own sake, old friend, I'm asking that you don't dig any further. This is something... that should not be disturbed."

    "You know I can't do that, Ryan." Ramius stoicially stared down the CIA spymaster, as he finished off his drink.

    "I have to tell you. This is... well, we've disappeared people for not much less." Ryan tried to keep the gruffness out of his voice as he warned Ramius off once again, knowing it would do little to discourage him.

    "That's part of the excitment, isn't it? I'll just have to be on the lookout, then. Until the next time, perhaps?"

    Ryan got up without a word, clutching the photos tight in his jacket, knowing that he would have to burn them. Ramius would find out, it was only a matter of time. But could he be trusted to keep quiet? Possibly. If he found out, before disclosure, there were ways of dealing with that... As he swung out the door, he could see Ramius watching him from inside, waving once, as he crunched through the powder banks. He just climbed into his Escort, unable to return the sentiment.
  13. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    Ch 12: Sith Out, Dude.

    "Sure, it's all fun and games until SOMEONE GETS CUT IN HALF!"
    ~Attributed to anonymous Jedi Master, 30 ABY

    //SGC, Avalon//

    The rumbling of naquada on naquada began to shake the room, as the gate was spun up, the various members of SG-1 looking at each other expectantly. The new home of the SGC was getting it's first tryout, the gate being activated for the first time since it's move.

    The Eisleys, and the old school SG-1 shifted as they waited, listening to how things sounded in the newer, more spacious gate-room. A better setup than the old missile silo used before, it was purpose-built to handle the... unique threats, that had thus far to that point emerged from the gate. A fitting thing, that SG-1, flagship team of Earth's communications with and explorations of the galaxy at large, and beyond. The huge wide room was now designed to be a much more friendly looking first glimpse of Earth for all the dignitaries to come, abet with heavy firepower lurking in the corners.

    "So, campers and general ever'do'wells, it's about time we traded up." Jack O'Neil looked across his team as he beamingly praised the new establishment. He looked back towards the vehicular entrance ramp, to where the control room windows laid recessed into the wall, where General Hammond watched quietly. The new place was nice enough to cheer even his grumpy old self up.

    Dell leaned up against the small anti-grav equipment pack, the unusually small pad carrying just enough to get them through several days without hassle, as he quipped back. "Still doesn't feel very secure. Where's the heavy turbolaser that's supposed to be pointed at the gate?" He looked out over all the various pop-up defensive positions, and the various guards-at-arms waiting around the gate, mentally figuring in his head how much firepower was barred at the portal. Shaking his head he rechecked his gear somewhat meticulously, patting down his DC-17, before slipping on and activating his helmet, patting the lightsaber bayonet strapped to the side of his weapon gingerly. Never hurt to be sure. He had heard the stories, both reports and secondhand, and was not interested in becoming chunky salsa.

    "Well, only 10 SG teams are still operating off of Earth. The rest go through Reach. I believe it's a universal diplomatic gaffe to point a gun in an ambassador's face." Daniel adjusted his the Imperial Army flak vest he had borrowed as insurance. He inwardly agreed with the sentiment, though, considering all the... hostile things, that tended to come through gates.

    "Not now, no reason for fighting at the moment. We're supposed to run out of Reach ourselves most of the time, after all." Jack adjusted his cap and ballistic eye-wear as he limbered up for action. At the same time, Toral shot as unnoticeable a look as he could to Khaar. The old correlian had served with the Lieutenant for a long, long time. Since he had arrived on the Enterprise, that hushed day 5 years before as he reckoned. He had seen how the good old captain had treated him, and he had a fairly good idea of what he had been doing for the years previous to that.

    Khaar merely caught his eye, nodding. He was fingering his lightsaber bayonet quietly, along with the makeshift personal shield he had Toral cobble together for him. A dark look was on his face, as he quietly prepared himself. He had hidden a lot, from his past. Various experiments, to try and make a... hunter. Investigations of various creatures, famed for their... abilities. He was one of a few unique individuals.

    A voice interrupted Toral's musings, as he shook off the feeling. "Is there something wrong, Sgt. Toral?" Teal'c had been noticing for some time how Toral and Khaar had become moody, and almost nervous, suspecting a personal problem, hoping to... correct it before getting out on mission, but they had refused, to this point.

    "No, no... it's nothing." Toral squirmed as he spoke, pinned under the heavens-piercing gazes of Khaar and Teal'c, both expecting him to do the right thing, their purposes at cross purposes. Both leaders, potent and epic in wrath...from what he saw. But, Khaar knew him far better, knew how to get at him. Silence, for now. The topic was an age neither of them were to ever talk about again. The Taur'i didn't need to know, no matter what the good 'captain' said.

    The piercing look Jack shot him was even more worrying, as he did his damnedest not to give the game away. He tended to be... impulsively mouthed. He frantically began to run over the final parts of his 'got it' checklist again, to keep his mind clear and focused. P90, check; lightsaber bayonet, check; MRE's for a week, check; spare jumpsuit, check; two pair of boxers (juuuust in case), check; batteries, check; various toys, check; knitting kit, check;.... stargate survival kit, check; character shields... wait, that didn't sound right...

    "Chevron 7, locked." KAWHOOOOOSSH!

    Jack smiled as he turned around, slowly walking up the new duracrete ramp, looking over his team. "Alright, here we go, but just... try to remember where we parked the gate this time, right Daniel?" Jack turned around, trying to keep down the disco flourish at the sight of Daniel spluttering. The thought of driving in an Abrams tank was passing through his head as he stepped through the horizon.

    "Thank you for remembering, sir." Carter packed her impromptuu 'tricorder' scanner into her pack, following Jack up the ramp, listening to the strange gurgles of the event horizonoscillations.. She was planning on enjoying trying out the cobbled together imperial sensor package that she had gotten help developing.

    "Indeed. I have packed 'breadcrumbs'."

    "Jack!" Daniel was left, looking over to the Eisleys as he straightened himself up, the aggravated look still etched into his face as he watched Teal'cs retreating form. "It wasn't my fault... well, not that time, anyway..." Daniel scowled, as he adjusted the large ruck on his back, shuffling under his equipment as he headed up the ramp. The Eisleys followed in close succession, each of them looking at each other in formation, still wondering what the heck truly happened here, between the lines, on each and every day. There had to be something in the water. They stopped at the event horizon, looking at each other expectantly, before turning, and stepping through...

    Into night. Strange stars danced above them in the purple-black skies far above, through a thick atmosphere glittering with aurora ionization, casting flickering shadows upon the eerie landscape. Apparently, the initial survey by the Malpdroid was wrong, or else the world was in an extreme flux of some kind. Jack and Carter were igniting glow sticks, and breaking out flashlights, as Jack sullenly grumbled under his breath, glaring at the Malpdroid, the same one that had made fun of him before. He waited until no-one else was looking, before giving the obstinate droid the finger, and getting on with set up procedures.

    "Isn't it supposed to be broad daylight? What happened to the sun and happy day? These woods are downright creepy!" Jack continued with his rant, scowling at the darkened skies, feeling the slightly extra push of gravity in his knees, as he cracked his back. A little more light appeared, as the gas giant the planet orbited emerged from behind the tall trees, adding a bit more glow to the area, it's own pale blue reflected light muddying the aurora flickers.

    Khaar ignored Jack's cry of how photos didn't do creepy trees justice, as he crouched, looking at the stargate platform, then looking out, noticing the still slightly dead trail of grass and disturbed plants, mentally analyzing what had happened. Trails formed in his mind, as he started to piece together what had happened in the clearing, slowly crouch-walking out along the pathway that clearly had someone dragged through it, looking carefully at the blades of grass. A disturbing picture began to build in his mind, as he failed to find the expected blood, instead, dead grass, a few smears, yes, but no signs of rain, or other mitigatory factors.

    "Did the report say if the casualties' wound was cauterized?" Khaar looked up, looking along the treeline for eye-shine, as he combat-whispered as best he could to the others, cycling through the infrared and nightvision cycles of his helmet's imagers. Nothing, not bugs, not birds, no mammals, no movement other than the wind. No heat sources at all. An unnerving silence, as the stargate shut down. Something was wrong.

    "It did not, Lt. Khaar. Something watches." Teal'cs bass rumble behind him was a little unnerving, considering how easily he moved, like a ninja, as the Taur'i would say of him.

    "Trooper and Jaffa senses tingling?" Jack more nosily approached, certainly quiet, but not the unnatural absence of sound that Teal'c had. Hells, the helmet audio didn't pick him up.

    "Indeed, Col. O'Neil."

    "I've found the trail, except, no blood. I need a light on the ramp." Khaar's soft voice was icy cold, as he warily scanned. He stood up, slowly, armor clacking together with moment, as he followed O'neil's flashlight beam over to the now inactive gate, shining across the full surface of the steps, Daniel contributing his own light as well. Not a drop of blood, not a stain, not a crusted over remnant. Toral warily locked and loaded his P90, shifting into a more weapons-ready stance, making Daniel jump a little. Dell and Stari both moved together as they saw the rather alarming missing element, going back to back in alarmed wariness, the heightening alert of the Eisleys having an effect on SG-1.

    Khaar clacked the magnetic clamps of his lightsaber bayonet onto his weapon, as he dropped into a low ready, his helmet light switching to a dim glow as he spoke. "Cut a man in half, and he'll bleed. Cut a dead man in half, and he'll drip until dry..."

    "Unless his form is ripped a viscous new one and finds that his new posterior has been quickly resealed by a insanely hot gubbin." Toral's earthy voice finished off the cold statement, as he slid his blast protections into place, as he checked over his lightsaber protection list in his mind.

    "Couldn't rain have washed the blood away?" Daniel optimistically hoped that the implication wasn't there. He was slowly, almost instinctively, drawing his new blaster pistols he had been wearing since Dell had begun teaching him the finer points of shooting and gunslinging. His voice was half-swallowed by the dark clearing, as Stari shook his head in sad shame, as the clone stooped, sweeping at the grass.

    "Too dry, there's been no rain for weeks." Stari frowned as he spoke, standing up and locking his helmet into place.

    O'Neil tensed, as he slowly tracked out the trail from gate to treeline, before looking suspiciously at Khaar. He had seen a dossier on him, what was definitively known, and what Captain Sheridan had seen fit to release from the command notes, and other secret sources. He had been the blackest of black ops, his record more blacked out than not, much like the Col's. And there had been gaps. Punctuated by mysterious injuries that could have only come from one real logical explanation. An arm cauterized off, even. How could you do that, except by lightsaber, especially when added up to everything else. Khaar had been lucky the graft had been accepted by his body well.

    "Well, let's find out what happened. The location can't be too far..." O'Neil decided he needed to be asking hard questions in regards to Khaar, and soon. He had gone too long on good faith. Time for the answers he should have asked for when he was assigned the Eisleys. As he clipped his own lightsaber bayonet into place, as a thunderous rumble echoed overhead. He looked up, to see the dark form of a thundercloud slowly descending into the area, flashes of lightning rumbling through it, plunging the area into true darkness. "New plan, rain preparations first, then we go get answers."

    "Why so serious, Jack? Aren't we supposed to dance in the rain, in the pale moonlight?" Daniel had a smile on his face as his poncho was slowly pulled from a pouch. He knew what the real priorities were.

    "Shush, you."
  14. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    //Babylon Anchorage, Same Time//

    Sheridan really didn't want to read the report that glared venomously at him from his desk. Kinsey had convinced the President to shoot down a US takeover of Sheridan's alliance, after pointing out that Sheridan had been the sole organizing force, mostly by misappropriating US funds and material for his little 'project'. While Earth would be serving as a 'legitimizing' force, it would not explicitly back and be the main force of the alliance. As far as he was concerned, Sheridan had built it, and he could keep the damn group.

    Sheridan, on the other hand, just didn't understand it. He was a soldier, not a politician. He couldn't understand why anyone would pass up a clearly advantageous support group like the alliance. Woosley, even, who had become a supporter of many of his policies, tried to keep out of the way on the matter, remaining a mostly neutral voice on the council. Positively infuriating, that they wouldn't stand up for their own good.

    Surprisingly, though, it was Narim, and the Tollan, those who had the least, out of everyone, who were the busiest, acting as the firemen of the alliance, putting out the various bushfire disputes, providing the outside voice of suggestion in stalled research projects, living up to their enlightened benevolent leaders reputation. Perhaps... maybe, maybe... it would be a longshot, dependent on how quickly he could look for further survivors... It would be a hard sell to Narim, who had enough on his shoulders as it was. And, THAT was annoying others, who wanted top slots, resentful that the Tollan had a seat on the central council instead of them. Many of them were squabbling simply because they didn't like the suggestion of fighting the Goa'uld, and had declared all the rest lost in madness.

    The whole business seemed superficially more and more a bad deal with each passing moment.

    He leaned back in his cramped, uncomfortable chair, which had been shoved into his even tinier temporary workspace, gazing up at the glowpanels on the ceiling, as he nursed a growing migraine. The small shelves were filled with his assorted career memorabilia collected over the years, which he was already beginning to consider throwing out in disgust.

    The sound of his door chime jingling rather obnoxiously made him sit up in annoyance, as his visitor waited outside. The wary captain reached under his desk, slipping his blaster pistol out of the holster installed underneath, as he touched the open control on his desk keypad. The door softly opened with a pneumatic hiss, as the currently bedraggled form of the Enterprise's Chief Engineer Avarre leaned in, taking a long glance at worn-down condition of his newish commander.

    "You wanted a report on Lady E?"

    Sheridan wordlessly nodded, putting his sidearm back into place down below, as he gestured for Avarre to take a seat. As he took the small padd, he rubbed at his aching head, hoping to put aside some of the concerns he had been dealing with over the past few days. "No more major delays, I hope..."

    "Same things as always. The gravitics have been tested out finally, and they don't have enough of an acceleration curve to be effective. We've already started working out how to keep the Ion drivers, and hopefully we should be done shortly in that matter." Avarre's stained coveralls left slight grungy oil and lubricant stains on the 'stain-proof' chair, as he twisted about uncomfortably, brushing at the dirty uniform as he squirmed.

    "Wonderful. We'll be lucky to even think about getting her out in 6 months if this keeps up..."

    "The better news is that the forward assembly checks out. If we can get enough power, it should possibly equal a full scale weapon. The local elements help out tremendously, and we can certainly put a lot more stress on it without fear." Avarre hated seeing the Enterprise listless, and helpless like she was, her new systems not yet near ready for testing, let alone combat.

    "So, about the new reactor core... will it work? I'm not in the mood to kriff around with antimatter and naquada for no good reason. We both have seen what the two can do individually..." Sheridan glanced up from the report, scrolling over various departmental reports, on the laying of the new interior armor belt, and on how the new outer hull frame had finished primary construction. The notes on the new reactor were... odd, to say the least, raising his eyebrows with concern, as he looked at Avarre.

    "Well, all the basic components already existed. The basic premise of antimatter power, naquada containment systems from the Tollan, some of the Asgard technologies left to the Taur'i, some of our own equipment... right now there's only two, three problems with it. How to produce enough antimatter; how to completely focus and benefit from the reaction, and who the kriffing hells designed the damned thing!" Avarre didn't fully trust the smaller, far more advanced reactor. Something about it... sent strange tingles of dread down his spine. Sure, he had no choice but to use it, since there was no way the old system could possibly hope to support the Lady E's new power load, but antimatter reactors were as new a concept as hypermatter reactors, and both were highly twitchy still, the Venators had been retired as quickly as possible after a few... mishaps.

    "I figured it was going to be risky. I see you have the command tower half-finished in it's rebuild... Did you find... his body?" Reverent quiet filled the air, as the two remembered their rather maverick ex-captain, who had perished in the assault on the command tower.

    "No, sir. He was most likely sucked out into the anomaly the forced us close to. He's not in any of the compartments." Avarre mumbled softly, perhaps chanting a corusanti blessing for the dead. He brightened up, then, forcing his grief away for the moment. "The new sensor pallets are half done already, however, I hope you note. I've installed two where the old domes used to belong, to either side of the bridge armor sheet. We're looking for suitable locations for their counterparts. She'll be done, it'll get done."

    "I would hope so." Sheridan idly flicked a finger at the 'dilithium'; crystal that sat on his desk now, having moved mysteriously there the night before.

    "Well, at least the essential repairs are done, and the inner armor belt laid. It's integrating all the new technology and specifications, for the most part now, and making it all work without blowing up. That, and assembling the modular outer honeycomb layer." Avarre disapproved of the idea of taking the good lady out without a proper shakedown, but with things going as they were, he didn't trust things to remain clear long enough to try. He'd be lucky if they could slap enough armor modules together to fit the gaps in the outer layers in time for whatever Anubis was planning, let alone actually make everything work.

    "Just remember, she's meant to be a tool, a hammer. Don't loose sight of it, and go sticking an inertial dampener into the mix." Sheridan slid the padd back across the desk to Avarre, so he could keep the damned thing, grumbling about it as he thought over events.

    "No, I'm just thinking about durasteel plating over the hitting surface. She'll at least be underway on her own power in six months." Avarre put on a hopeful smile, even as he turned around, mumbling under his breath the followup. "Or we'll be sucking snakes in six months, chanting 'hail, Anubis'."

    "What was that?"

    "Nothing, absolutely nothing." Avarre was just starting towards the door again, when the station choose that moment to go dark, and silent, as the power went out. "No need to panic..."

    The station then went and proved him wrong, as the deck bucked wildly, pitching him slightly, as the horrible groan of stressing metal and rattling joints echoed through the structure. As the lights came back on, Sheridan unamusedly stared into Avarre's face, as the engineer clutched to him tightly, splayed across the desk. "May I ask, what the kriff are you doing?"

    "It felt like a hull breach..."

    //Meanwhile, Felgar's Lab//

    "YEEEESSSS!" The onetime disgruntled, nearly dismissed scientist waved his arms and legs in the air as he leaned back on the maintenance workbench that he sat on. It was madness, Brilliance, the Current Pinacle of MAD SCIENCE! He brushed his disheveled, smoldering, somewhat unkempt hair from his eyes, as he looked upon his handiwork. His long lab work-coverall, coattails flapping slightly in the smoky air currents from the aftermath of his experiment, coiled around him as he looked down the converted cargo bay he had appropriated to form his impromptu firing range.

    Alright, he should have put more thought into his experimental superlaser firing range, but that was the beauty of improvising! After all, it wasn't every day that you figured out how to miniaturize a full-strength array to a single beam, fit it into a small, cramped space, and MAKE IT WORK! It was incredible, awe-inspiring! Heck, he blew his own mind, wondering how he had managed to do it. Sure, with the hyper-compressed alignment coils, and the perhaps not-quite up to specification flux capacitor it hadn't worked for long, but it was the concept that mattered. Though, that pesky arc lightning detonation had blown up a good bit of the system, but that was amazing in and of itself. Oh, he hoped dearly he had managed to get that on the cameras, he could study how the arcs had progressed for WEEKS, learning about how a superlaser suffered a progressive chain-reactive failure! Electricity and advanced particle flows were so cool...

    He gazed at the mostly destroyed prototype, thoughts of further developments he could create from the concept, a third and fourth generation already filling his mind. It was so easy now! He could understand how Carter could so effortlessly work through the equations, and see through her problems. But, at the same time, she was soo... simplistic! It was as if... she was muddling along, instead of cutting straight to the chase!

    When he had first looked at the technological blueprints and makeup of the Enterprise, it had actually hurt, as even his mind had attempted to fit in the discoveries inherent in it's construction into the world as he knew it, the sheer forces of nature involved nearly enough to give him a stroke. He had tried to use the ideas for a little while, causing massive failures that didn't even approach the sophistication of the multi-generational technology involved in a Star Destroyer. Then, he had woken up on his couch one morning, with an intense blinding hangover receding from his mind, with no clue how he had gotten home, to find a massive stack of blueprint plans and handwritten notes in his own script. That wasn't the oddest part, by far, though, considering his sudden understanding of Imperial technology. Heck, a child could, well, he wouldn't actually recommend a child get involved, actually, but it could certainly be fun for the whole family from what he had discovered. It all made sense now, it all fit into neat individual nooks of physical laws, metaphysical force reactions, each unto it's own place and time!

    Carter had brushed him off, but that was okay, he had managed to convince Captain Sheridan to let him attempt a series of experiments aboard the station, closer to the materials as well as farther away from the Earth, after all, science didn't take sides, and if he had a little accident, the less the better, in this case! Of course, if anyone actually bothered to look, and if they realized that they new naquada/antimatter reactor was his work, he knew of a few that wouldn't even consider that a safe enough standoff distance. Well, he was pretty sure that was far enough away, anyway...

    It was probably a good thing that it had checked out on the first try, then. At least his newly built droid assistant was making sure people got the best impression of him now. R0-ZE, Rosie in a more human name. She fit right in with his mad little ecosystem, alongside his semi-fiance/girlfriend, and the few assistants who occasionally braved the lab's hazards. He wasn't quite sure where the droid had come from, other than that she had appeared mysteriously as he had gone over several plans he discovered when he had woken up.

    At least the small, strange music that had floated in and out of his mind had greatly helped him in his efforts to refine his thoughts and concepts, until he could at last try out the Mark 5 superlaser. A shame that the weapon had ended up malfunctioning into a meltdown, BUT IT HAD WORKED! Well, for three seconds, anyway. His manic laughter echoed through the chamber for several more seconds, even as R0-ZE's modified astromech body hovered in on her repulsors. Her sensor dome twirled she took in the disaster zone, somewhat dismayed, as she activated her environmental shields.

    "I'd ask if the test was a success, but I see it broke... well, exploded..." She apologetically mused as she hovered over, her voice breaking into Felgar's madness place, causing him to taper off his now mad chuckles. His girlfriend was up in the firing control suite, making sure that the whole area wouldn't blow up again if a capacitor overloaded.

    "No! Nay! It went superfluously, stupendously! It WORKED! Okay, only for three seconds, but that has no relative bearing on the heart of this manner! Maybe a fault in the flux capacitor, or the casualtive differential focus, but either is easy enough to fix once I get the deadwood away!" Felgar jumped to the floor, brushing his coat off as he began to circle his lamed beast, not quite willing to touch it, knowing that the surface was at least 500 degrees from the internal arcing.

    "I'm not so sure, boss... did you make sure to warn the station commander that you were about to fire that thing off? We should probably apologize about the giant hole in the station, and all...." The highly converted astromech chittered in her own way, worriedly, as her sensor imager twitched as she found herself still running her old protocols, systematically scanning the large breach and cataloging repair efforts with her repair subroutines. She found it comforting that she had something to do if her benefactor somehow quite likely got himself accidentally killed in the future.

    "Oh, I'm sure they won't mind too much, it's just a..." Felgar never quite got to complete his absentminded brushing off, as Captain Sheridan stormed in, having tracked down the explosion at last.

    "I won't mind wh- GREAT KRIFFING FORCE, what did you do to my station, Felgar!" Captain Sheridan did his best impression of the Tsar Bomba, as he turned his head, taking in the exploded superlaser, following the path of scorched deckplates, and strewn wreckage through the blackened chamber, out to the protected breach in the side of the station. His mind wrapped itself around the rat's nest of rejected assemblies and incomprehensible mechanical workings, understanding a little bit better what the Taur'i meant by 'Cthulhu' and 'Lovecraftian' now, as Felgar's mad mind was at last exposed.

    Avarre followed silently in the bombastic captain's wake, staring in slack-jawed surprise, and a slight bit of awe at the massive prototypes of various ideas half-built, stepping the last bit through the airlock door. It was in a way his worst nightmare as a chief engineer, the mad organization seeming to half-defy physics as even he knew them, resisting his mind's ability to understand where and how to repair things at a few moments glance. Some of the things seemed like theoretical concepts once read about... before, only brought to fruition. Others, made intuitive sense, in the fashion that they should have been completely impossible. He began to open his mouth, to protest the grievous slaughter of the known rules of building equipment, especially the main rule of telling other more experienced people what you were doing so that they knew what happened when it blew up in your face, before Sheridan turned around, a furious glare in his eyes. He promptly proceeded to stay shut the kriffed up quite nicely.

    Felgar flustered up somewhat, as he fell back under the Penetrating Gaze of the imperial captain, shuffling to clean himself up as he tried to come up with the best explanation for his actions. He spoke at last, when Sheridan began to quite angrily clear his throat, still babbling. "Well, um, I fired off a prototype single stage multifocusbanded superlaser, planetary strength, at just a hair too much power?" Felgar's first semi-hesitant, then increasingly bold and triumphant explanation left Sheridan in the cold, and Avarre's mouth hanging low on his body, as he quickly planned an excursion to some place like Dakara, which he heard was nice, especially the nice Goa'uld who would keep him safe from the madman as he tried to come up with a better response than to run away screaming in terror.

    "And this explanation means what, exactly, Mister Felgar? I come from the Air Core of the Imperial Fleet. I never have, and most likely never will understand engineering design explanations of this type. In basic basic, please." Sheridan was still learning patience with engineering types, finding that many of them... were somewhat insane, for some reason. So, he was going to try and be understanding with the fact that Felgar was going to personally oversee the repairs and handle a great deal of them himself, as soon as he understood how the damage had been inflicted, though generally, he didn't understand how a supposed superlaser managed to inflict such a disappointingly small bang.

    "He figured out how to make a single-stage and single beam superlaser, sir." R0-ZE hovered down from the ceiling where she had shot up to when Sheridan had stormed in; the captain barely batting an eye, as she took up a defensive position besides her benifactor.

    "Are you INSANE!? Single stages always fail catastrophically, and no-one has ever gotten anywhere near an acceptable yield for cost out of a single-beam superlaser!" Avarre took a protective step back, having read some of the more classified fleet journals describing attempts to scale down superlasers for axial weapons for the past three years, and progress had been abysmal at best. Explosively catastrophic at worst. If what he had said was true, then this would be the most successful superlaser test of this type... well, ever.

    Felgar eagerly nodded back in return, as he gestured at his wildly strewn papers and schematics showing his disorganized research into the matter. "I noticed. I want to know why! I need to know why! The physics are here, they're possible! Especially with the addition of our native elements! We have the tensile strength and energy densities to make fighter-sized superlasers possible! Why don't we have them? I answer the question, for science in general, understand, and we can advance so many fields! Zero-point/hyperspace interactions, for a start!" Felgar's fist pounded into hand as he more vigorously responded, that strange quiet musical sound building in his head once more. He could do this, he could overcome the 'impossible'. Everything was possible, for SCIENCE! He whipped around, avidly looking for a whiteboard to illustrate his idea better, as Sheridan held up a hand, realizing that his mind was about to be snapped in twain likely, by the scientist/engineer.

    "No, Felgar. Fix the hole, and feel lucky that I'm willing to let this slide, this time; given your... comparative success. Your government may not be as forgiving as I am..." Sheridan had an uncharacteristic smirk, as he about-faced, deciding that he might consider letting him start research again, if only to keep Avarre on his toes, that little moment was actually rather... fun. But he'd have to be on another station, yessir...


    Notes:Oooh, yes. That's exactly what you think there. It should be quite interesting to see what happens in the future from a sparky combination of high energy physics, and programing mastery. I expect that maybe the safe standoff distance would be nChaos Earth, possibly further. Felgar has always reminded me, once I knew what I was being reminded of, of a spark on the verge of breaking through, but not quite there. His unusual combination of programming knowledge (See Avenger 2.0, which would have happened not long at all before the Imperials showed up), and high energy physics (See also same episode, along with his other times), suggests that if he had attempted to concentrate his experience on one subject, he might have actually broke through. In this case, the thought of introducing him to the plans for a superlaser, well, that's just mean to Anubis, ain't it? It's also quite amusing how lovecraftian a spark would be to an engineer, or other logical mind, the sheer unbridled CHAOS! in the name of SCIENCE! that is unleashed by their very presence is enough to break any such individual, as seen here. Yes, he's not just a spark, he's a powerful one. Expect great things from him in the future. Terrible!, but great....
    moonberserker likes this.
  15. judgeking

    judgeking Logical Alcoholic

    //Day 1.5; Unnamed World//

    "Are you done yet?" "No." "Are you done yet?" "No." "Are you done yet?" "Burn the forest down and come back to me on that." "Are you done Yet?" "Archeology does not stop for the wicked." "Are you done.... yet?" "Next time, I will have Jack ban you from jello for an eternity of sugarless suffering."

    "You... kriffing bastard." "No I am not done yet." Daniel's smug proclamation was the end of the discussion, as he continued his work, slowly and methodically brushing the dirt away from the walls of the strange tomb. A unearthly, frightening inscription was slowly coming together from the various pieces put back together from the large tablet fragments that had been remounted on the wall; and though he didn't fully understand the strange Goa'uld dialect, the message was clear.

    Once, according to the fragmentary tale, 'shadows and light' had come to this now quiet and deserted world, quarreling, and hunting. Though none knew what they were hunting for, in their conflict, they had eventually destroyed the local tribes, save for a few scattered individuals who did not have the resources to rebuild their civilization. Somehow, they had eventually gathered the resources and individuals to come back, and dedicate their former world as a warning, of the horrors of the... what?

    Daniel frowned, as he searched for another piece to fit into the remains, clearly smashed intentionally, trying to find out what he was being warned about. The stone tablets screached across the floor, as he slid them back into one of the fading rays of light from the cracks in the vaulted roof, making the stormtroopers wince from the feedback howls in their helmets.

    "Careful with that!"

    "A little help then?"

    Daniel rechecked the translation as he tried to make sense of the cryptic pictograms and hieroglyphics remaining. Beware... beware what? The angels of the light, and the dancers in the dark? Odd, and clearly metaphors. "Nevermind. Have either of you heard of anything that would be called 'dancers in the dark?"

    "Well, I suppose my mum...." Dell chose the unoriginative route, as he fidgeted again. The strange whispering flutter he had heard had returned. Almost menacingly this time.

    "You don't have a mother. You're a clone." Stari looked up into the vaulted ceiling, watching the cracks in the ceiling. His senses were warning him of something up there. Unnatural, unseen. The clone turned away, to cover the entrances, over a hundred yards away. The lights moved...

    Daniel paid no heed, as he slowly copied the warning down. His mind raced as he made out familiar symbols now, a copy of the warning in a more familiar dialect. The gilded tounge M~

    Daniel stopped as he found himself at the end of the tablet, the rest broken and chipped off, deliberately. He could see what almost looked like precision tool marks that had cut the tablet apart, destroying the message. Not goa'uld behavior. None had ever actually used high-end tools to perform a disfigurement of any warning about them. Half the time, if it didn't decry them as false gods, they just left it up. Better PR against their enemies, he supposed.

    "Stari, Dell, check to see if the rest of the tablets have any signs of being hit with a stone saw. Particularly high tech ones. Someone doesn't want word to get out." Daniel stood up and pocketed his notebook, taking another look through the rippling shadows now that he understood what had happened. He mentally kicked himself, as an acheologist, he had been trained to look for modern tool marks, and vandalism of most varieties. Investigating untouched tombs and cities had made him soft over the years, lax.

    Everywhere, the signs of advanced, deliberate vandalism could be spotted, marring what looked vaguely like important passages. Joy. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's going to take longer to get this done than I thought."

    Stari slumped his shoulders in defeat as he heard the news, slowly and resignedly putting his carbine away. "No blue jello, then? I kid. What happened, did someone decide to take an eraser to the texts, or did they suddenly start talking in jibberish?" The camo-striped trooper brushed off his gauntlets as Daniel annoyedly glared, wondering why his brother wasn't getting ready to help.

    "Well, I suppose a power saw would count as an eraser, yes." Daniel merely handed a tablet piece to the redheaded terror, the heavy stone piece causing the trooper to stagger back under the wieght. Daniel ignored the cry of surprise, as he mapped the room out once more, trying to figure out if the missing pieces were all the same, or if something could still be salvaged.

    "How in the hells could you carry this thing!?" Stari stumbled back a little more as he struggled with the massive weight, Dell almost reaching forward to help him, as the demolitions expert finally got it under control, smushing it up against a convient wall with a harsh grating of stone on stone eroding. The shadows in the room shifted as they were distracted once more, Not that anyone would normally have cared, anyway.

    Daniel stepped around the central platform of the room, running to the other side as Stari awkwardly waddle-stumbled after him, desperately trying to keep from dropping the rock on his toes. The dusty scientist soon grabbed it back from him, carefully setting it back down in comparison to a more weathered, darker colored tile. Close enough to work with, he supposed, as he ignored the labored breathing of the clone as plas-steel clacked on stone.

    "Beware the gilded tongued one, he who walks like a man, with the voice of a snake.
    He who speaks for the dancers in the dark, the web weavers who trap our horrors.
    They shall consume you, with those who look as unto angels shrouded in evil.
    Beware those who as what you really want. For you shall recieve your damnnation from them."

    The archeologist frowned as he took it all in, furiously filling in a charcoal sheet for transcription later. Then paused once again. Ships, depictions of ships. And, more importantly, depections of what the ships were doing. Of people clutching their heads in panic as a great black tide swept across the land. Of spines and horrible, viscious petaled squid. Of-

    "Hello there."

    Dell slowly sighted in the space between the intruder's eyes, repressing the instinct to shoot as soon as he had a target. He had no clue where this new... development, had come from and he didn't want to know. All he knew was that a slimy feeling guy with slicked black hair in a business suit of all things had simply walked out of the oddly writhing shadows. He was either a lawyer, a goa'uld, or something far, far worse, and he didn't really think he wanted to know.

    "Freeze, hands on your head, down on the ground. ON THE GROUND!" Stari locked his rifle into his shoulder, stepping forward aggressively to deal with whoever it was. The slimy lawyer looking man just... smiled, clasping his hands behind his back as the trooper moved for the takedown.

    "Now why would I do that? It would be rather disturbing to have those kinds of relations when I haven't even introduced myself." The smile grew a little more, as a harsh whispering scrape undertoned his words. Daniel looked to Dell, wondering what they planned to do about the intruder, as he picked up his tools.

    "Because we have a great many guns, and intend to shoot you until you stop moving if you don't. How did you get here, who are you, and more importantly, what the hells did you think you could do here?" Dell more calmly moved forward, wanting to motion Daniels behind him to make sure he was out of the line of fire, and behind a layer of meatshield and armor. The archeologist more than recognized the situation, and shuffled out of any line of fire, practice with O'niell coming in handy at that moment as the tense standoff continued. The clone twins looked at each other for a moment, before nodding tersely, slowly stepping away from each other to form a crossfire with the newcomer in the middle, as Daniel stuck behind Dell to keep out of the way.

    "The name, is Morden. I'm afraid I rather wish you wouldn't ask that second question, though. The first, I'm not really allowed to answer, and as for the third?" Morden, as he had introduced himself, slowly stepped further from the shadows, a darkness seemingly sweeping with him, his expensive looking black suit shrouded, as harsh skittering continued throughout the room. Something insectile, huge. The slimy individual chuckled, as he raised his arms in a grand sweeping gesture. "Well, my business is you. All of you. And a message to your 'captain'. Lt. Commander Sheridan, wasn't it? A shame, about your captain. We made certain he wouldn't survive, no matter what happened. A pity ~HE~ brought you here."

    The whine of blasters preparing to fire began to ominously whistle, as Stari moved back, putting the door at his back somewhat near Dell for fire support. And to put a shaft of light between him and the target, and the shadows that were following him. Something was in that morass, and usually it was best to purge uncertain spots with fire. Too bad he forgot his kriffing flamethrower.

    Daniel scowled from behind his protective escort, as he threw his toolkit into his ruck. "So, a better question I imagine would be just what exactly you're planning on doing. I mean, if you're trying to send a message, it usually involves bodies, since you seem to be out to kill him. So, how does a man in a business suit plan on stopping two armored trigger happy special operations soldiers. You must have a plan, and I doubt we could actually do anything to stop it if you're so confident."

    "Of course I do. My associates would be happy to show you." Morden bowed his head, as the Shadows lunged....

    //Babylon, Same Time//

    Narim rubbed his forehead as he tried to work out his headache. The good captain had just delivered the wonderful news that the Americans wouldn't be taking most of the burden off of his, and the rest of the Tollan remnant's shoulders. A particularly ~wonderful~ development, there. His people were too busy streched out doing brushfire damping work to effectively work on some of the updates to the Enterprise, and building their semi-permenant home, amongst other things.

    At least the droid automation was performing adequetely. Sort of. O'Niell had kept on checking in on the situation until he had been forced to leave earlier in the week. And, of course, he had to be obfusciating and confusing as normal. He certainly had fooled many of his collegues, but he hadn't been able to do the same with the Tollan Remnant. He was actively watching for something...

    Narim shook his head, as he looked at the bottle of pain relievers. Best not to get addicted to them yet. There was still work to be done on the Polaris Project, and then he had the council meeting to go to, and then working on sending someone to look for more survivors from New Toll-... when had he taken on so many responsibilities? He couldn't remember the last time he had gotten a few hours uninterrupted sleep anymore...

    It all was clamoring for his attention, demanding that someone who could at least look at the big picture keep track of it all.... how did everyone else do it? He looked down at his hands, watching them tremble slightly, from something, be it stress, or the early signs of a breakdown? He couldn't tell anymore...

    A light caress of a button summoned his aide, who shuffled into the room from the antechamber beyond quickly. "Narim?"

    "I need someone to take over some of my responsibilities. Find someone who can manage the Polaris Project, if you would please?" Narim's careful requests made her sigh in relief slightly, as he leaned back into his chair, enjoying the 'recliner'. Wonderful Taur'i invention....

    His aide relaxed, letting out the worry that had been bugging her. Narim had been taking on every duty in sight for a while, afraid to let the rest of the remnant take over anything, lest they drive themselves towards oblivion once again. Many of them had learned the lessons of Anubis well, despite what he thought. "Yes sir."

    "One more thing...." Narim leaned his head forward as she started to exit the room, shaking down into the plush of his chair. "Could you let the council know I'll be slightly late? I hope it won't be too much trouble for you."

    "Not at all, Narim...." She smiled, as she watched him lean back once more, unknowingly starting to drift off to sleep. Best to let him relax for now.... the council had been put on temporary hiatus anyway, as the various ambassadors were being ferried to Babylon with their own diplomatic ships anyway. It's not like anything could go wrong in the meantime...

    // Astral Plains, current location of the being known as 'Q'//

    "Hallowed are the Ori." The sound of marching footsteps could be heard outside the door, as Q looked through the peephole, preparing. White robes could be seen through the small sight, swirling, before a milky grey eye leaned up against it from the other side. "Surrender to our will, and no harm shall fall."

    "Hallowed is my boomstick." Click-clack. BLAAAM! The smoking pump action shotgun, or rather what could be processed of it's existance to a mere 3/4 dimensional being, unloaded through the firing slit in the door, the death rattle of an ascended being heard through the thick oak. Serves him right. "I'm afraid I'm not your type! Much too rebellious, and filled with thoughts of letting the youngsters have their fun! White's just not my color! Now go away, nobody likes door to door solicitors!"

    "Your destruction is our~" CLICK-CLACK! BLAAAM!

    "Persistant, I'll give them that." Q slid a chair up against the door, barring it further temporarily so he could go back to foiling Anubis's plans. This had to work.... and, of course, the Americans, particularly that Kinsey, weren't listening. Pawns in the game, then. Best to hurry. It was easy enough to forge the documents needed. The hard part would be running interference, and keeping the Ori out of his little room.

    He wasn't sure who had told them of his presence, and he honestly couldn't care. This was bad, real bad. So far from the continuum, his power was waning. He had to win.

    "And we will cast jud~" CLICK-CLACK! BLAAAM!

    //Fort Avalon, Outskirts.... November 21//

    Ramius's coyote grin was kept carefully hidden as he rubbed his beardless face, a sad necessity. While he was willing to give Ryan time, it definately wasn't that much time. Surprisingly, for a base of this size, they had not yet put up a perimiter fence, and had allowed him to sneak on post through the lightly falling snow in the night.

    Foolish Americans... all the easier for him, he supposed, and anyone else wanting to take a look. He could play the part of elderly contractor, it wasn't that hard. Why, he had been for a little over a decade for the US navy, so it would be relatively easy.

    The woods slowly cleared as he watched carefully along the deserted back road, stepping onto it when he insured as best he could that no-one was watching. Nothing to it now, but to march right on in. Probably even pick himself up a bottle of vodka while he was in there, just to add a bit of veracity to his story.

    The quiet snowfall continued as he marched right on in, waving once to a truck that happened to pass him by. Nothing to worry about, act like you belong there, and are merely slightly important and outside the chain of command, and no-one bothers you.

    A half hour's walk soon had him cresting the last hill between him and the fort, the soft glow of street lamps and security lighting cast down over the massive hive of construction that was continuing even now. All too easy now. The old sub captain picked up a slow jog, easily letting the slope carry him down into the developments, planning on getting lost in the crowd.

    Mind you, he wasn't the only one in the area. Even as Ramius infiltrated the sidewalks, intent on finding a public location to listen in on, another was busy driving in the front gates.

    Bond merely smiled to the checkpoint guards, disguised only slightly, as a british liason to the stargate program. Simple, yet annoyingly devious. He revved the annoying... Ford Mustang, inwardly slightly annoyed that he had to drive the American muscle car, sliding through the front gate and down the main street of the post, looking carefully for a good spot to change identity in.

    The commisary and main shopping complex had been mostly completed already, for the families moving in nearby in the housing complexes going up. Perfect. The large parking lots were mostly empty, so he could just lean back and switch facial hair for something fuller. Cliche, but, cliche works. And passing off as a scot with an epic beard and straggly hair would do wonders for disrupting tracking.

    As the silvery muscle turned off into the parking lot, Ramius watched carefully, planning on heading in at first. He stopped, though, as he realized he recognized the occupant, past the scruffy fake mustache he was ripping off. The last time he had run into that fool of a man, he ended up in the hospital with a gunshot wound from stopping his appropreation of multiple dozens of secret documents. Given the nature of this new base, he doubted that Bond was up to any good here.

    Ramius stopped, watching from the street as he tried to look inconspicuous in the darkness, watching as Bond emerged from his vehicle with a massive beard, apparently trying to look like a scotsman. Ramius felt oddly insulted for some reason, wondering how Bond had thought that was going to work. Oh, wait.... Americans... wouldn't know most nationalities if they up and hit them upside the head with a ballistic missile submarine. He actually had people claim he sounded scottish. And french, and about 15 other supposed nationalities. It would probably be best to insure that Bond would not be coming back.

    The two slowly stalked their ways across the parking lot, Ramius carefully sticking behind the numerous trucks and SUV's, watching Bond from around them. The agent seemed oblivious, as he headed in, apparently attempting to build a cover story for himself. Hmmm.... yes, that could work.... Ramius moved up once again, walking briskly now as Bond entered through one of the side entrances. Time to drive him someplace more suitable for interrogation.


    Bond couldn't help but feel a terrible unease, as he looked about for a nice brand of vodka for a martini in his motel suite. He was almost certain he was being tailed, but he hadn't yet identified his chaser. The somewhat narrow aisles of the class six section of the store had allowed him to loose the tenacious individual, at least temporarily, as he looked about. His trenchcoat swished slowly around him as he adjusted himself, feeling his concealed weapons digging annoyingly into his sides. Agent Q seemed to have the latest batch of hairbrained and interesting gadgets once again, and he wondered if they were really necessary at this point. He'd rather just take the laser watch, and a few other toys, and keep it simple.

    The 00 turned around the back of the aisle, finding the vodka at last, as well as a stocky, old man with an oddly familiar fur-covered hat on, stout jacket firmly wrapped around his form. He hesitated for a moment, before stepping forward. "Can I get in?"

    "Why certainly, Mr. Bond." The old man stepped aside, as he reached into the cart behind him. Bond took a moment, stepping up to the drinks, before the words caught up with his mind. He froze, realizing exactly how he had been addressed, before turning back to the stranger, readying a sedative agent.

    The thick russian words he heard as he turned sent chills for the fraction of a second he remained concious. "Stop. Shoveltime."


    Two hundred pounds of secret agent collapsed to the ground, the relative emptiness of the store preventing anyone from hearing the impact as Ramius carefully replaced the thankfully unbloodied shovel into the cart, and parked in in a corner. The corners cut to save time on construction meant that there were no cameras that could see this section.

    Witnesses that would be questioned later only remembered seeing an old, vaguely european looking individual half-dragging a wild-haired drunk murmuring something. Most figured it was just a drunk being rounded up. The new CIA liason, one Mr. Ryan, grumbled and made phone calls, when he realized two of the fiercest banes of his life had run head-on into each other.
    moonberserker likes this.