'A thirsty job but somebody's gotta do it'
Location, a Russian army Mi-8 helicopter flying low over Turkmenistan.
“Two hours, they said, two hours, “ muttered colonel Jack O’Neill ashe squirmed int he uncomfortable seat, “Russians!”
“Well, You have to admit, Jack, the MiG-25 ride was kinda cool,” Daniel replied, kinda liking the idea of seeing Jack squirm to off balance his own discomfort.
“It was fun indeed, Daniel Jackson,” said Teal’c, the Jaffa not phased at all by the mode of travel, “although a bit more primitive then the craft of your government.”
“It got us here, Teal'c. That’s what matters," Daniel countered.
"Perhaps," the Jaffa shrugged.
“Well, I for one felt 10 years older when that Russian pilot thought it was funny to do a few mach 3 barrel rolls,” O’Neill, his stomach starting to act up again at the memory.
“They just tried to impress us, sir,” said major Samantha Carter, “its not often the Russian airforce has to use four MiG-25’s as taxi for three Americans an one Jaffa.”
“I know, Carter, I know,” O'Neill replied, not liking to be chided over, “I just don’t feel comfortable sitting in something that was made by people who were less sober then I am.”
“But you don’t drink, sir?”
Teal’c looked a bit puzzled, then tentatively made O'Neills drinking gesture.
“See, even Teal’c gets it,” O'Neill said and pointed to the Jaffa.
Daniel meanwhile was studying the latest aerial photographs given tothem a few hours ago when they had exited the Russian gate..
“A penny for your thoughts, Daniel,” O'Neill asked.
"I'm just wondering, Jack, what kind of people use nuclear devices as handgrenades."
The idea had crossed Jacks mind as well and he didn't like the answer. So when unable or unwilling to come to an answer he started fidgeting with his gun.
"Well, if memory serves me right the Pentagon was studying nuclear handgrenades in the 50's and 60's. Right, Carter,” he said givng a help me out look at Sam.
‘There were some studies, sir,” the blond major replied, “but nothing workable ever came out of it. Certainly not something in the megaton range.”
“Maybe the Goa'uld have something in that range,” Daniel suggested looking at Teal'c.
“Master Bra'tac once told me that Jaffa weaponry used to include such weapons, Daniel Jackson,” Teal'c replied, “until they proved too troublesome when a group of Jaffa rebelled. So the Goa'uld removed such weapons from their arsenal and rely on orbital bombardment instead when such firepower is necessary.”
“Aren't we the lucky ones,” O'Neill said, “I for one don't relish the idea of somebody lobbing a nuke to my head. Speaking on nukes, how are we on radiation?”
“So far nothing has come up, sir,” Sam said as she checked their geigercounter, “it has either all settled down or it wasn’t all that great to begin with.”
“Clean nukes? Is that possible, Carter,” O'Neill asked.
“Well, yes, sir. If you use a specific weapons grade uranium and the bombard it with-“
“Enough, Carter,” Jack, said, cutting the major off, “I just wanted to know if its possible. I don’t need the science lecture.”
The Russian copilot turned around and said something in Russian while holding up two fingers.
“I guess that means two minutes,” Jack said, he'd been in enough helicopter rides to recognize that without needing translation, “let’s saddle up, people.”
Every SG-1 member for this mission was equipped with a camera and communication transmitter to their helmoets so the SGC could have a direct feed via satellite as to what was happening.
“OK, here it goes,” said O’Neill as he put his headgear on, “general, can you receive us?”“Loud and clear, colonel,”
came Hammonds voice in their earpiece monitor, “what’s your situation?”
“Still on route, sir, but almost there,” Jack replied, “it took the Russians a little longer then expected. Have there been any developments?”“NORAD has informed us that a third unidentified flying object has entered Earth at the same location, some 45 minutes ago. Russian air-defence command claimed that something was detected on their radars leaving eastwards. They claimed it flew at mach 3.5 across Southern Siberia.
“That’s quite fast, sir,” Sam said, “any idea where it went?”“They said they could only track in intermittently and that it went towards the Pacific north of Japan. We had an AWACS from Anchorage on route to Okinawa but it couldn’t confirm their claim.”
“Russian radar has degraded a bit since the breakup, general,” Jack said, “I wouldn’t bet my life on it.”“I know, colonel, NORAD has been put on a higher alert just in case. Best speed, colonel.”
“Thank you general.”
The Russian Mi-8 helicopter started its descent. The members of SG-1 readied their weapons.
“OK, people, this will be the first site,” O'Neill said, “The first UFO touched down here. Later we will move on the second location. Let’s do this.”
The Russian helicopter touched own. The crew chief opened the door and SG-1 disembarked. The pilots then proceeded to shut down their bird.
Outside the terrain looked like a fifties nuclear test site. One huge crater now the most dominant feature but the others were pretty impressive as well.
“Those are some big ass craters,” commented O’Neill looking around, “any sign of radiation or fallout, Carter?”
“Negative sir, this is as clean as the site of any normal explosion,” she said as she put away her geigercounter, “it doesn’t appear that any nuclear device was ever used.”
“But normal explosives don’t do this amount of damage, Carter,” Jack said, “this looks like the epicenter of Hiroshima. I may not be mister science but I do know that you need a hell of a lot of explosives to make such a crater. And that one over there is even bigger!”
“I do not understand it either, sir,” Sam said lost for words herself, “It doesn’t make sense. Teal’c, does this look like any Goa'uld weaponry you've ever seen?”
“Not that I'm familiar with, major Carter. The weapons master Bra'tac mentioned maybe. But evenhe had never seen them. I know from my time as first prime to Apophis that he did possess certain powerful doomsday weapons. But they have a much bigger effect. They are also meant as a last resort. To deny the enemy use of that which he had managed to take.”
“That sounds so Goa’uld like,” said O’Neill, “if I can’t have it, no one can.”
“Precisely, O'Neill,” Teal'c replied without noticing Jack's sarcasm.
“Shall we check out the remains of the first UFO,“ said Daniel after Sam had taken some soil samples, “if the crater doesn’t tell us much, may be the debris will?”
“Good thinking, Daniel. Lets go,” Jack said
The SG team left the crater’s edge. Meanwhile the Russian crew had a smoke outside of their machine. O’Neill gave them a quick glance to see if anyone was taking a liquid libation as well. Luckily nothing liquid seemed to be consumed except tea.
The alien ship was heavily damaged and looked far beyond salvaging. It was also circular. Beside it lay the bodies of several dead aliens.
“Hey look, a flying saucer,” O’Neill couldn’t help but remark, “although not so flying anymore.”
“Well, it certainly looks circular,” said Daniel. He knelt next to one of the bodies to examine it.
“This doesn’t look like a Goa’uld, guys. Or a Jaffa for that matter. In fact I’ve never seen an alien like him before.”
“Same here,” said major Carter kneeling next to another.
“I’ve never seen such aliens before either, Daniel,” said Teal’c, “these looked like they were killed with a sharp blade.”
“The fact that some of them are lying in pieces is a dead giveaway, Teal’c,” Jack said examing a dead stiff himself, “these guys were gutted.”
“I wonder what happened to them,” said major Carter.
“From the looks of it, Carter, I’d say they met with the seven Samurai.”
“Strange that these bodies survived the ship being blown up, “ Daniel said.
“It would appear that their armor protected them, said major Carter.
O’Neill tugged his the barrel of his gun underneath one alien’s armor. It came along as he pulled the gun up.
“Flexible stuff,” he said impressed, “It stretches like rubber but can survive Hiroshima level blasts. If the Area 51 types get their hands on it they have us clad like that in no time.”
“It would be a great discovery, sir,” Sam agreed.
“I bet ya it would,” O'Neill remarked as he got up.
“It didn’t stop the sharp blade though,” remarked Teal’c, “so maybe its does have its limits.”
“Still, could be helpful though,” O'Neill said, “it might stop a staff weapon cold, we don't meed that many Jaffa armed with swords.”
Meanwhile Daniel had started to examine some of the ship's remains.
“It doesn’t have much markings,” he said, “I’m so used to Goa’uld or Tok’ra ships being covered in writings on the inside. This one is almost devoid of anything.”
“Speaking of those markings, what do they say, Daniel,” Jack asked as he followed his friend inside, “those Goa'uld markings I mean? I’ve always wondered about them.”
“Oh, the usual you would find on Egyptian temples, Jack,” Daniel replied without looking back, “the pharaohs inscribed them with their great deeds and accomplishments. Your average Goa’uld having a bigger ego, I’m sure you get the picture.”
“Quite,” Jack nodded, “so this looks very un-Goa’uld then?”
“That or whoever owned this ship didn’t have a need to constantly let everybody know he was some sort of big Kahuna.”
“Either that or he knew he’s big fish,” Jack suddenly realized, “a very big one.”
“Well, whoever he was, he’s either gone or dead,” said major Carter, “maybe we should move on to the second landing site. I’m sure the area 51 cleaning crews can sort things out here.”
“I think so too, Carter,” O'Neill agreed, “did you get all this, General?”“Loud and clear, colonel. The team is already on its way. Best go to site 3 first. It landed last and is slightly closer.”
SG-1 returned to the Russian helicopter. The Russian crew got up, extinguished their cigarettes, put away their thermos flasks with tea and went inside to start up the Mi-8. The rotor blades started to whir and in a cloud of dust the Mi-8 lifted off.
“Site 3 is just 3 miles north of here,,” said O’Neill, “with site 2 just to the west. Let’s keep things sharp, people.”
The Russian helicopter was there in no time and touched down near a small crater. In it lay a small ballshaped object, some 1.5 meters in diameter.
“It looks like an escape pod,” said Daniel Jackson as SG-1 congregated around the craters edge.
“An escape pod that can travel at FTL speeds, Daniel,” said major Carter, “this thing was detected in the outer solar system and arrived here in less then an hour. We don’t have anything remotely on it.”
“There appears to be some writings on it,” said O’Neill, “can you decipher them, Daniel?”
“I’m not sure,” Daniel said as he studied the writings, “it could be a name, it could also just be a serial number. Without a Rosetta stone your guess is as good as mine.”
“Rosetta stone,” Jack asked.
“Yeah, something which gives you the same text in different languages. Like that station where we found that old guy with the four languages, remember?”
“You could look inside,” major Carter as she descended into the crater, “there is a door here with a porthole.”
“What’s inside, Carter,” Jack asked
“Looks like a seat, sir.”
“Just one seat, Carter?”
“It looks like a singleseater, sir.”
“I guess mass invasion of the tiny alien critters is out of the question. But where’s the occupant, Carter.”
“Maybe that bogey that showed up on the Russian radar,” Daniel suggested.
“And he’d leave his ship behind,” O'Neill snorted, “what do you think he is, Superman?”
“Maybe he had a jetpack,” Daniel suggested but earned a disapproving look from Jack.
“Ever tried sticking your head out of the window at mach 3, Daniel? Maybe you could ask that Russian pilot. Although that would probably mean asking for a replacement. So better disregard my suggestion, Daniel. Carter, any idea what caused this crater?”
“Best guess, sir, I’d say it is the standard way for this thing to land sir. There doesn’t appear to be any landing gear. This thing just smacks down at great speed causing the crater.”
“Must make for one a hell of a ride. I’d hate to be the one sitting in one when one of these babies comes down crashing,” O'Neill shuddered at the thought alone, “can you open it, Carter?”
“There doesn’t appear to be a switch, sir,” she said after more examination, “maybe its remote controlled.”
“What, Like a garage door?”
“Something like that, sir.”
“O’Neill,“ yelled Teal’c from behind them. While the ohers were busy with the craft he had studying the ground.
“What’s up, Teal’c,” Jack asked.
“There were several people here,” Teal'c said and pointed to marks on the ground, “I guess some 8 or 9.”
“People, not aliens, right,” O'Neill asked cautiously.
“They do appear to be human like yourself, O'Neill. There’s something strange about these tracks.”
“They appear to arrive and come out of nowhere. As if they came from the air and left that way again. These tracks go that way, then nothing.”
“How can that be?”
“Maybe he was wearing that jetpack,” Daniel suggested with a slight smile. O’Neill rolled his eyes.
“It does look like the people arrived from the west, O’Neill,” Tealç said looking at Jack.
“That’s where site 2 is,” Jack said. Teal'c nodded.
“Then maybe we should go there, Jack,” Daniel said, “this looks like another cold trail. I can't read those markings. We might as well go and look over there.”
“I think so too, sir, “ said major Carter, “there is little I can do here also. Maybe I could open this back at the SGC with adequate equipment, but not here.”
Jack nodded in agreement. This place was colder then site and that had been the oldest site.
“Alright,” he said, “general Hammond, do you concur?”“Affirmative, colonel, proceed to site 2. Will you take the helicopter?”
“Nah, we’ll go on foot. Its close by. Plenty of time to take the Russian death trap on the way home.”“Alright, but be careful.”
“Oh, I will, sir,” Jack grinned.
“There is another crater, sir.” major Carter said as she pointed to another crater with another spherical ship inside, “looks like the same setup.”
“I still can’t understand why anyone would build a ship that uses a crash for a landing,” O'Neill shuddered, “it’s stupid. Let alone painful in the occupant coming down.”
“On the contrary, O’Neill,” Teal'c said witha look of dreamy admiration in his eyes, “this would make for one hell of an assault landing craft. The explosion of the landing would knock out and confuse the enemy while delivering you right into their midst.”
“If you say so Teal’c,” Jack said without much conviction, “suddenly that Russian chopper ride doesn’t seem so bad.”
“There is something else here, look,“ said Daniel and pointed the other direction.
There was indeed something there, it looked like a large white box.
“Let’s check it out, ” said O’Neill and SG-1 approached the object, guns at the ready.
“Well, what do you know,” Jack said with disbelief in his voice as he recognized the object, “it’s a bloody fridge.”
“What’s an refrigerator doing in the middle of nowhere, Jack,” Daniel asked.
“How the hell should I know, Daniel, why don’t you check it out?”
He hadn't actually meant for Daniel to do it but the archeologists did it anyway.
“Be careful,” said major Carter, “it could be a-“
Too late as Daniel Jackson opened the refrigerator and looked inside
“Are you thirsty, Jack,” Daniel asked while still looking inside.
“Sorta, its kind of hot in here,” Jack asked surprised.
Daniel grabbed something inside and then threw it towards O’Neill who grabbed it.
“Coca Cola,” Jack said as he recognized the soft drinks can, “of all the things. Hey, nicely chilled.”
O’Neill popped open the can and took a swig.
“Ah, classic,” he sighed, the first swig always tasted the best, “I never liked that new stuff.”
Major Carter did not look very amused.
“It could have been a trap sir,” she said angrily.
“Relax major,” Jack smiled at Sam, “I’m sure Daniel can find you something.”
“I can give you a diet, Sam,” Daniel grinned.
“Alright, give me that,” Sam sighed in resignation, causing Jack to smirk.
“Teal’c, what can I get you?”
“Do you have any fruit juice, Daniel Jackson?”
“It has mango,” Daniel replied holding up an unfamiliar can.
“That will be fine,” Teal'c nodded and catched the can Daniel tossed at him.“SG-1, what the hell are you doing,”
came the impatient voice of general Hammond back at the SGC.
“Just having a little break, general,” answered O’Neill, “it’s a bit dusty here, sir. It’s true what they say, sir, things do get better with Coke.”“We had to go to a lot of troubles to get you there, colonel,”
Hammond's voice said in a tone that he was not bloody amused.
“There is nobody here sir,” Jack shrugged, “it seems to me that whoever was here took care of whoever, or whatever landed on site 1 and then had a relaxed wait here. Ah, a Coke sure goes down smoothly in this heat. Can we take along cool boxes on our next mission, general?”“Get on with the mission, colonel. Oh, and the answer to that question is no.”
“Hey, you guys have you checked out the sell by date on these cans,” said major Carter.
O’Neill took a final gulp then checked the underside. It said best before 10-19.
“Do I see this right? Mine says best before 10-19. As October 2019?
“Unless they mean 1919,” said Daniel.
“That would make them a bit to old and undrinkable, Daniel. Besides, I think they used bottles back then.”
“But 2019 would put it into the future,” said major Carter, that would mean-“
“Time travel, Carter,” O'Neill groaned, “I know. Damn, I hate time travel! Why can it never be easy?“
O’Neill looked towards Teal’c who was still drinking from his can.
“Don’t you have anything to say, Teal’c?”
“I like mango,” the Jaffa shrugged.
O’Neill rolled his eyes and sighed.
“Alright. The break is over, people, “this goes to Area 51. Back to the other ship.
The other ship turned out to be slightly different. For starters it was open. It also didn’t have the same markings as the other. It seemed devoid of them. While Teal’c stayed outside the crater the rest of SG-1 ventured into it in order to take a look inside the space ship.
“It would appear that this ship was made for humanoids, sir,” said major Carter looking inside. A big man could fit in here.”
“So it would seem, Carter. Daniel, can you discern anything about this machine? “
“Not a whole lot, Jack,” Daniel shook his head, “there doesn’t appear to be any more writings inside then there are outside. Maybe if I go inside I can see something.”
“Be careful, Daniel.”
Daniel acknowledged O’Neill and stepped inside. For his size there was plenty of elbow space, although Teal’c might have had a little more trouble. Daniel checked around but beyond the buttons it didn’t appear that anything had writings on it that could be a clue towards its origin.
“I’m sorry Jack,” he eventually said, “there doesn’t appear to be anything here except these control buttons. And for all I know it could say on and off.”
“Damn, not even a made in Rigel 6 or something?”
“Well, there’s a touch screen here on the door. I could press some buttons to see if it turns on. Then we could learn some more.”
“Tempting, but let’s not do that, Daniel, for all we know it launches you towards Pluto and then we have to pester the Tok’ra to come and rescue you again. Better to come out of it, let the Area 51 boys work out a sweat favoring this thing out.”
Meanwhile major Carter was on here knees examining the underside of the opened door.
“Hey, you guys, check this out,” she said, “there’s some sort of symbol on the door.”
“Can you see it Carter,” Jack asked as he knelt beside her.
“Not really, sir, maybe if we could lift this door?”
“OK, Daniel, get out, Teal’c, give us a hand.”
The Jaffa shouldered his weapon and went to help his team mates lift the door. Which turned out to be surprisingly easy. As the door came up the symbol became visible. It was a black disc with an upside down white arrow on top with a smaller black triangle, also upside down, inside.
Suddenly Teal’c stepped back
“I think I know this symbol,” Teal’c said, somewhat disturbed.
That worried O’Neill as he never knew Teal’c to be shaken by anything unless it was something big.
“You know this symbol, Teal’c? Are you sure about it?”
“I think I do, O’Neill. I have never seen it myself. But master Bra’tac once described it to me when he trained me to become first prime to Apophis.”
“What is it, Teal’c?”
“The Goa’uld are powerful, but sometimes not always powerful enough. Or sometimes they just lack the necessary manpower or resources to do what they set out to do. Master Bra’tac once said that there once was a world, extremely troublesome, that repulsed attack after attack. Briefing Apophis about the latest defeat Master Bra’tac feared for his life, but he was lucky as he was not in charge of that assault. Apophis seemed shaken as if not knowing what to do. Whatever he tried he could not take this world, but he coveted its resources. He then proceeded to call upon the services of a certain warlord.”
“Another Goa’uld,” asked Daniel, but Teal’c shook no.
“No, this warlord is not of Goa’uld origin, Daniel Jackson. Apophis ordered master Bra’tac to retreat. Within a week he was ordered to return with a single base ship. The warlord had send his finest force. They met Apophis and received payment. Then they went to the surface. Within 10 minutes all resistance was broken. Within 2 hours every living being on that planet had been killed. The worst part of it was that their number was only five and they didn’t carry any weapons but their bare hands.”
That shook SG-1. Five beings capable of laying waste to an entire planet with their bare hands..
“This vessel bears the markings of that force, O’Neill.” Teal'c said as he pointed at the symbol.
“Do you happen to know the name of this warlord, Teal’c,” O'Neill asked.
“Master Bra’tac called him Frieza.”