Bugs in the Gamma Site
One thing Daniel could never understand about politicians in either of his identities was how they could be so narrow-minded. Fudge had spent almost a whole year trying to deny that Voldemort was back simply because he wasn't ready to face the implications of having to wage a new war, Scrimogeur had spent more time trying to give the impression that he was doing something about taking control of the war effort rather than actually trying to find Death Eaters, Kinsey had initially been convinced that America could handle the Goa'uld on their own and continued to dismiss the SGC as failures when their successes far outweighed a few errors, and now Shen was more concerned with her country's reputation than actually stopping to think about what would happen if her country managed to take control of the Stargate...
He knew that there were some good eggs in the basket, of course- Kingsley Shacklebolt had done a good job after he was elected to the position immediately following the war, and Hermione was certainly handling her responsibilities well even if she had been forced to sacrifice some of her personal life to do it (He wondered if it would have made any difference if Ron had survived the war)-, but in most cases they just seemed to be in the game for the power and prestige rather than any kind of desire to help people...
And right now, here he was, stuck in the middle of a crisis in an offworld research facility with a bunch of IOA representatives, each of whom were insisting that they return to Earth no matter how much he and Teal'c had explained that they were being kept here due to official policy rather than any kind of personal 'vendetta' in order to prevent quarantine.
it about politics that almost everyone he'd met who worked in the field had developed selective hearing?
"This is outrageous," the French delegate- Daniel thought his name was Lapierre or something, but he was trying not to think about it too much; a part of him was too busy resisting the urge to make rabbit-related jokes about the name- as he and Teal'c led them towards the gateroom, Woolsey's earlier departure for that part of the facility
"Mr Woolsey assured me that we would be leaving on schedule."
Daniel was saved from having to think of a polite response to that statement when lights began to flicker and alarms began to blare in obvious signs of an imminent emergency, before Mitchell, Sam and Woolsey walked briskly around the corner up ahead of them.
"Back to the elevator," Mitchell said, amid the sounds of gunfire from behind them. "We're going upstairs."
Not bothering to ask what was happening, Daniel turned around and began to lead the IOA representatives in the indicated direction, followed by the rest of his teammates.
"What's going on?" Shen asked.
"We have a bit of a bug problem," Mitchell said grimly. "You don't want to be last."
"I'll explain everything," Woolsey said, looking anxiously at the other delegates.
"So long as you do it in the briefing room," Mitchell said. "I don't know what we're dealing with right now, but I do
know that this isn't the place to discuss it."
"While I was talking with Colonels Mitchell and Carter in the gateroom," Woolsey began to explain, starting his explanation almost as soon as the other delegates had sat down at the conference table in the room, "I learned that Doctor Myers- one of the research staff- was bitten by the RL-75 insect when it managed to breach containment through as-yet-undisclosed circumstances. Myers displayed a turn for the worst after the attack, and was to be taken back to Earth to be analysed in greater depth, but as he was being moved..."
"He suddenly started spewing bugs," Mitchell interjected from his position off to the side of the room, noting Woolsey's hesitation to actually voice what he was thinking about; the imagery it created wasn't exactly pleasant. "Well, we didn't see it ourselves, but the guys nearest him when it happened say that's what it was, and we don't exactly have a reason to think otherwise."
"As you can imagine," Woolsey said, looking around at the other delegates, "until we have determined the cause of this... incident... as well as a means of containing the bugs, our return to Earth must naturally be postponed until the situation is resolved.
With his statement made, Woolsey stepped away from the table, leaving the other delegates to discuss the latest news as he walked over to SG-1, standing off to the side of the room with Mitchell.
"I know that I saw it, but I still don't understand," the American IOA representative said, looking at Sam in obvious confusion. "What happened to him?
"Well, I can't say for sure, but my guess is that the bug must have laid its eggs in him," Sam replied, her voice low to limit the possibility of starting a panic. "They incubated, and when they hatched… well, we know they eat meat."
"I'm sorry I asked," Woolsey said, shaking his head grimly as he walked over to join the other delegates, leaving Sam to turn her attention to the rest of SG-1.
"Well, I think we're past the point of coincidence," Daniel said, looking grimly at his teammates. "There's no question these bugs are the Priors' follow-up to the virus."
"And it appears they were designed to circumvent any attempt to forestall their destructive nature," Teal'c added.
"Deny them crops, and their physiology adapts to a different food source," Sam noted.
"In other words, they start eating us instead," Daniel said.
"Colonel Pearson?" Mitchell asked, activating his radio, only to be met with no response even as alarms around them continued to blare. "Colonel, do you read?"
The ominous mood was far from helped when the lights in the meeting-room began to flicker, prompting concerned glances from the other delegates.
"It's all right," Woolsey said, trying to look in control as he addressed the other delegates. "I imagine it's just a little power fluctuation; nothing to worry about..."
Daniel wasn't sure if the nervous laugh Woolsey gave in response was enough to make the other delegates worry about the accuracy of that claim, but the sudden darkness that followed that statement would certainly do the job if the laugh didn't.
"Oh, dammit..." Woolsey muttered, just before the dimmer emergency lighting activated.
"That's enough of this," Mitchell said, walking over to open the door to the corridor outside, just as Pearson and two other soldiers arrived at the other side.
"Colonel," Mitchell said, as he took in the other man's identity thanks to the torchlight from the two soldiers behind him. "What's the situation?"
"Not good," Pearson said, his expression grim as he walked into the conference room. "There were thousands of those things in the pod. They killed one of my men before we retreated."
"You lost the gateroom?" Daniel said, looking at Pearson in shock.
"We need to take it back," Pearson said, ignoring Daniel's query out of a lack of any obvious response he could make to such a statement.
"Sounds like a plan," Mitchell said, before he looked over at Daniel. "I don't suppose-?"
"I don't have anything in my arsenal that could take out that many small-moving targets in time to dial the Stargate, and if these things were created by the Ori I can't guarantee that any barriers I could create would hold them back for long," Daniel said, looking apologetically at his friend. "Offensively, all we
can guarantee are our guns."
"Well, we'll just have to work with what we've got," Pearson said, walking around the group to look at Woolsey. "Mister Woolsey, my man will escort you and your people to the surface. Get you to a safe location. Get you as far away from here as possible until this situation is contained."
"I don't think so," Woolsey said firmly.
"Excuse me?" Pearson responded, looking incredulously at the delegate.
"SG-1 will escort us out," Woolsey clarified. "They're here to ensure the safety of this delegation."
"You understand that no one gets off this planet until the gate is retaken?" Mitchell asked, looking at the American IOA representative in a manner that reminded Daniel of the way Krum had looked at Crouch.
"And I'm sure Colonel Pearson and his people will do everything in their power to make sure that happens," Woolsey replied. "In the meantime, you
will take us to the surface. You will protect us, as per your orders from the Pentagon."
"All right," Pearson said, his tone resigned to Woolsey's demands despite his obvious annoyance as he looked at Mitchell. "Get them out of here."
As the delegates picked up their various briefcases and paperwork and prepared to leave, Daniel wondered how long it would take for this whole situation to backfire on them...
As they walked towards the forests on the mountains surrounding the Gamma Base, Daniel had to admit that he was actually enjoying this part of the job.
It would probably come back to bite them later- his expectations and opinions of the IOA weren't exactly high-, but at least, for the moment, these delegates were getting a taste of what the SG teams went through on a regular basis, rather than being in a position where they could just sit safely behind their desks and criticise the people actually risking their lives for not taking the most 'politically expedient' course of action.
That wasn't to say that Daniel didn't just wish that he could get them all to safety and get away from this whole situation as soon as possible, of course. If there'd been less of them to worry about, he might have tried to set up a portkey- he had been to the auxiliary Gamma research facility once or twice and knew where it approximately was, which should be enough for the relevant purpose-, but with so many people he had his doubts about being able to enchant a large enough object to provide everyone with something to hold on to (To say nothing of the fact that his experience with creating portkeys was limited).
As it was, regardless of his slightly-conflicting desire to make the IOA see what they had to deal with and wanting to make sure that they survived long enough to give the SGC a hopefully positive review, walking was the delegates' only option if they wanted to get to safety, and they were just going to have to accept that and keep up the pace while hoping that what they were doing would be enough to save their lives.
"Excuse me," Woolsey said, walking past the other delegates to talk to Sam from her position near the front of the temporary procession. "Surely we could have taken a Jeep?"
"We're headed to an unmanned research station," one of the Gamma Base soldiers assigned to accompany them said, handing Sam a map to indicate their position. "It's located approximately ten klicks from here through dense forest."
"Then I have to ask if this is really necessary," Woolsey asked. "I mean, couldn't we just wait here until Colonel Pearson gives us the 'all clear'?"
"Our orders are to take you to the research station," Mitchell said, his tone brokering no argument as he looked at Woolsey from his position slightly behind the other man. "That's where we're going."
As the group continued walking, Daniel fell into position beside Teal'c, just behind the other delegates- he didn't want to have to talk with Shen any more than he had already, particularly given that he was still angry at her suggestion that China might try and take control of the program for themselves-, but his suspicions were roused when Teal'c stopped walking and paused for a moment, apparently listening for something.
"Teal'c?" Daniel asked, looking anxiously at his friend before he heard what must have attracted Teal'c's attention originally; a strange, high-pitched buzzing, accompanied by lower sounds that sounded vaguely like flapping wings.
"What is that?" another Gamma soldier asked, as the other soldiers and the delegates up ahead turned around to look at Daniel and Teal'c.
"It's the bugs," Sam said, raising her weapon in preparation for a possible attack.
"What's happening?" another soldier said from behind Daniel and Teal'c, looking down at his feet as the others turned to look at him. The ground seemed to tremor for a moment before the bugs suddenly burst from the ground, devouring the unfortunate soldier before anyone could do more than point their weapons at the bugs as they began to disperse, leaving no sign that their victim had ever been there.
"We have to move!" Mitchell yelled, looking back at the delegates. "Now!"
Not needing further instructions, the ground began to run onwards towards their destination, Teal'c taking up the rear to better keep an eye on the bugs. After they'd been running for a while, they came to a clearing at the end of a path that ran alongside a ridge, prompting Sam and Mitchell to halt their rapid progress and turn to look at the others, Mitchell issuing a command to halt that the rest of the group quickly obeyed.
"I think it's safe to assume that the bugs got off the base," Chapman said, the British delegate panting for breath as he looked at the other members of the group.
"They must be using their echo-location to hunt their prey," Sam said.
"In other words, us," Daniel said, looking pointedly at the IOA delegates to ensure that they understood the implications of that last statement.
"Where can we go?" Lapierre asked, looking anxiously at the rest of the group. "They move underground!"
"We need rocky terrain," Mitchell said, his voice low as he leaned over to confer with Sam. "Somewhere difficult for them to move..."
"We can try the caves," another airman said, standing at Mitchell's other side as he spoke to Sam. "This way."
Following his cue, the rest of the group followed the airman along another path until they reached the caves in question, a basic tunnel in the stone wall surrounded by trees and other foliage. As she approached the tunnel, Sam took up a position just inside of the cave entrance, allowing the delegates to run past her as she looked at the young airman.
"Get them inside," she said, looking firmly at the junior soldier, the three men of SG-1 gathering around their teammate while the other military men moved the delegates to safety.
"They're coming," Mitchell said after a moment's pause as the team took up their positions, the sound of the bugs approaching now virtually scarred into their brains after what they had witnessed during the earlier attack.
"They're highly sensitive to sound," Sam said, looking over at her teammates. "The concussive force of our weapons should be enough to drive them back."
"And I've got a few sound-related spells I can do in the process," Daniel added, pulling out his wand and aiming it briefly at the barrels of his teammates' weapons, briefly aiming his wand at their ears before focusing the seemingly simple stick on the ground himself. "It's not much, but I just enhanced the sound that your bullets will make when fired and did a quick muffling spell to shield your eardrums from the worst of the backlash; it might help us drive the bugs back more quickly."
"If it saves ammo, I'm all for that," Mitchell said, checking his weapon as he took up position. "Where do we shoot?"
"Just fire at the ground," Sam replied, the team raising their weapons to fire at the ground in front of the cave. The rapid series of bullets from the guns, further enhanced by Daniel's quick enchantment to the weapons moments prior, quickly proved sufficient to drive the bugs back, leaving them facing a forest that was once again silent apart from the expected sounds of nature.
"Very nice," Mitchell said, Sam nodding in agreement at his assessment.
"All right, folks, listen up," SG-1's leader said, turning around and walking slightly further into the cave to address the delegates. "We're surrounded by rock here, so there's no way the bugs are digging in. We've got the entrance covered. Everything's going to be fine."
"Until we run out of bullets," Daniel said, his voice low as he looked at Mitchell when his friend walked back to the cave entrance, wanting to ensure that the other man acknowledged the fact that they weren't out of the woods yet.
"Couldn't you just-?" Mitchell asked.
"Like I said earlier, I don't have any spells for taking out that number of bugs even if I could be sure that the Ori haven't added anything else to them, and even if I did we've no guarantees that I wouldn't just get tired and run out of energy before those things... well, overwhelmed me," Daniel replied grimly. "I'll do what I can, but we need to face facts; we're not getting off this planet unless we can retake the Gamma base or contact a ship."
Daniel didn't need to see the grim expression on Mitchell's face to know that the other man's thoughts were similar to his own thoughts on this matter; unless their luck drastically changed in the next few hours, neither of those scenarios were likely to happen...