I own neither Stargate nor the X-COM franchise. No infringement is intended, no profit is to be made and I'm just not worth the hassle of suing anyway unless you want a share of the wages of an underpaid Civil Servant.
Geothermal Drilling Platform – Lantean Ocean – December 2004
Still dripping seawater onto the deck the Wraith Queen had an expression on her face that was half snarl half sneer as she came upon the lone human who was working on one of the numerous sets of control crystals that she had slid from the corridor wall. It had been centuries since the queen had fed upon the last of her crew, millennia since she had consumed the life-force of a human or a Lantean, and she was going to savour this meal after such a fast.
The human's eyes widened for a moment and she nearly cried out before she realised it was only a wraith, the deathly quiet down here must have been getting to her. 'You nearly gave me a fucking heart attack' she complained, drawing her handgun from its holster and firing it in one smooth motion, a bolt of green plasma blowing the Wraith Queen's left leg off at the knee.
Major Sheppard arrived at the run when he received the call for assistance finding one of the latest batch of personnel transferred from Earth back at work, kneeling by the open panel and inspecting a crystal while an unconscious wraith was bleeding all over the corridor floor nearby. 'What happened?' he asked nonplussed.
'No idea where she came from, thought I'd better leave her alive so after I shot her I pacified her with a few volts from my baton' the scientist told him. 'Didn't pick up any more with my motion scanner when I checked though' she continued reassuringly. 'I was going to put on a tourniquet but it looks like she's already starting to heal' she added, sliding the control crystal back into place.
The Wraith Queen moaned and look like she was struggling to rise again so Sheppard shot her with the zat'nik'tel fitted to his L2-A3. 'Okay I guess your reputation is kinda deserved' he told the woman scientist who looked remarkably calm and unflustered in the circumstances.
Kershaw smiled. 'You requested science personnel with field experience right?' she asked rhetorically. 'I'm really good at this shit' she declared immodestly. 'Ask anyone' she added.
'Well you did
come with a letter of recommendation from Brigadier O'Neill' Sheppard replied. 'Of course I also know you used to steal and back-engineer alien technology for the NID and they sentenced you to death for it.'
'My mad skills saved me from death row and I do
love the work' Kershaw told him honestly. 'The weird thing is X-COM pay me to do stuff that isn't all that different from what the US Government were going to execute me for' she noted, amused at the irony there.
'Big difference Kershaw' Sheppard responded. 'Unlike your original employer we only screw over the bad guys' he reminded her. 'You're sure there wasn't another one?' he asked. 'I had Zelenka raise emergency forcefields all over the station just in case.'
'Nothing on the motion scanner like I said but without a good psionic with us to try and pick up on them we'll probably want to get limpy there to talk' Kershaw advised then laughed. 'You should have seen the expression on her face when I shot her' she said. 'Priceless I tell you.'
Sheppard nodded. 'The Wraith always have this expectation we'll be afraid of them, totally throws them when we aren't' he observed. 'How the hell did she get way down here anyway?' he wondered.
'Easier to ask than speculate' Kershaw suggested, sliding the panel closed. 'All done here' she told him, getting up. 'Want a hand carrying her?' she offered.
'You can help me drag her' Sheppard replied, 'I'll send someone back for the other part' he added, indicating the lower-leg Kershaw had shot off.
'Any reason why I shouldn't just find somewhere to dump it, like a waste-disposal chute?' Kershaw queried.
Sheppard grinned. 'I've been thinking about shark-fishing off one of the Atlantis Piers and I've been wondering what bait I could use' he told her.
Twenty minutes later after getting the external sensors back on line Zelenka went to find Major Sheppard in what had once been the platform's Medical facility. When he arrived the Wraith Queen they had captured was strapped to a surgical table and had an IV in her arm slowly releasing sedatives into her bloodstream so as to prevent her using her psionic powers to influence the personnel. 'Major I believe I know where she came from' the Czech scientist announced.
'From a Wraith Cruiser that crash-landed out there during the siege of Atlantis' Sheppard responded. 'Already found that out' he said.
'You did?' Zelenka replied in surprise.
Sheppard nodded. 'It took a little while to make her cooperative but I just needed the right motivation' he said, showing Zelenka his side-handled baton. 'A few applications of this baby in it's goa'uld torture setting and it was hard to get her to shut up.'
'You are all going to die' The Wraith Queen hissed.
'Yeah, eventually' Sheppard agreed. 'But not because of anything you did' he replied. 'She tried lying but hadn't counted on us having Mind Probes' he told Zelenka, indicating the X-COM Trooper stood nearby holding one of the metal spheres in his hand. 'She swam here from her ship.'
Zelenka raised his eyebrows. 'Even with the wraith healing ability I am surprised she could do that at this depth' he said. 'We are thousands of metres down and it is nearly a kilometre to her ship' he noted. 'Are there any more?' he asked.
'No, she ate the rest of her crew to stay alive this long' Sheppard told him. 'I'm not sure how willingly they went along with that but you've got to admire her determination to stay alive' he said. 'When we arrived she was taking a nap but we woke her up.'
'Wraith Queens are very strong psionics' Zelenka commented, looking at her with interest. 'We will learn a great deal from her' he said. 'And her crashed ship too' he added.
'Unfortunately she set her cruiser on self-destruct so that might not be possible' Sheppard told him apologetically.
Zelenka suddenly looked extremely concerned. 'Major we are sat on a point in the ocean crust where it is very thin' he said. 'That is the reason the station is here, so as to maximise the amount of geo-thermal energy that could be obtained' he continued. 'The detonation of the power-core of a Wraith Cruiser would be catastrophic' he declared.
'Define catastrophic' Sheppard told him.
'Atlantis may not be far enough away to survive given that we cannot power its shield' Zelenka warned.
Wonderful' Sheppard responded with a sigh. 'Okay how do we stop your ship blowing up?' he asked the queen.
'You cannot' the wraith replied.
Sheppard looked to the trooper with the Mind Probe. 'She's lying' the trooper told him.
'Oh you're going to take some serious training aren't you' Sheppard told the wraith, shaking his head sadly before pressing the baton against her again.
Indescribable pain that made centuries of hunger pale to insignificance once again flooded through the wraith queen, bright light shining from her eyes and mouth as the X-COM copy of the goa'uld torture-stick fitted inside the baton did its job.
Zelenka looked away, he knew it might be necessary, and indeed that the UN had ruled the Geneva Convention and other Human Rights legislation did not apply to hostile extra-terrestrials but it still bothered him to watch the military do things like this. By X-COM standards Sheppard was in fact quite a nice guy, nowhere near as deliberately vicious as many in their ranks, but he was still the product of several years of fighting threats to mankind and his mindset was ruthless when it was called for.
Sheppard removed the baton. 'Let me ask that again' he said. 'How do we stop your ship blowing up?' he wanted to know.
'I will not tell you' the Wraith declared defiantly.
'Yes you will, you'll break long before I get bored doing this' Sheppard told her honestly. 'Why put yourself through it?'
The queen glared at him. 'I will not bow down to my food' she screeched.
'Oh yeah that'll earn you sympathy' the X-COM trooper with the mind-probe responded wryly.
Sheppard leaned over the queen. 'You are not at the top of the food chain' he told her. 'Your species is just an unpleasant disease that this galaxy is infected with and we're the cure' he stated. 'All your arrogance and your deluded superiority complex doesn't impress me' he said. 'You're not scary, you are not powerful, you are nothing but a walking joke' he declared. 'Make that a hopping joke Stumpy' he corrected himself, smirking at her as she directed a look of hatred back at him.
'I will be back at the platform control room if you need me' Zelenka told Sheppard, not wanting to be there for the next round of torture which was surely coming. Perhaps it might have been better if McKay had been on this mission instead of being kept back on Atlantis by Doctor Weir who wanted him to assist Trevoc in starting to assemble the first of the Heavy Ion Cannon the Tollan were shipping through in sections. Many of the other personnel had been drafted into the same project and even some of the Athosians that normally lived on the mainland were helping with the heavy lifting under Teyla's supervision.
When Zelenka arrived back at the control room he found Doctor Coleman still trying to access the platform's database. 'Is there a problem?' he asked her.
Coleman frowned. 'I'm not sure' she replied. 'I accessed all the operating procedures easily enough and I don't think we'll have any trouble getting the platform operational again, or moving it closer to Atlantis where it'll be more useful but when I tried to get into the files which dealt with why the Ancients suddenly stopped the project they're all password protected and encrypted' she told him.
'That is unusual' Zelenka replied. 'I wonder why they would do that?' he asked rhetorically.
'Beats me' Coleman responded. 'We know some of the database on Atlantis was protected with extra layers of security but that seems to be data dealing with the Wraith War and their defence programs' she said. 'This thing was decommissioned before the war, we've already established that, and besides which what's so secret about a glorified mining rig?' she wondered.
'We didn't find any files dealing with the platform on Atlantis which were password protected' Zelenka recalled.
'Yes and that's another odd thing' Coleman replied. 'Some of the data I can't access seems to be attached to files that we've already seen on Atlantis dealing with this station' she told him. 'They were just completely missing on the main Lantean system, almost like they had been erased from there.'
'Very curious indeed' Zelenka agreed.
'I've taken a copy of the encrypted files we can bring back to Atlantis' Coleman told him. 'Maybe Trevoc can get into them?' she suggested. 'He got into a few of the other protected files before, like the classified stuff related to that Defence Satellite.'
'Our Tollan friend does have far better computer hardware and software with him than us mere "Earthers" took with us to Pegasus' Zelenka concurred smiling, 'as he has been known to remind everyone repeatedly' he added. The Tollan were more than a little smug about being the most technologically advanced human society on occasion.
'Zelenka this is Sheppard
' his radio squawked to life. 'You know those Ancient Diving Suits you found earlier, well dust them off, we need to go for a walk outside over to that Wraith Cruiser
Coleman looked at Zelenka. 'Do you think he really appreciates the pressure out there?' she wondered.
'Luckily for him no, but I do' Zelenka replied, an expression of dismay written across his face. 'I hope those ten thousand year old suits don't leak.'
'The Queen gave us the codes we need to stop her ship exploding
' Sheppard announced. 'You might also want to start thinking about how we might be able to salvage it
' he added.
Radek Zelenka reached touched his radio earpiece setting it to transmit. 'I'll meet you in the airlock Major' he told him before turning back to Coleman. 'If you can come up with a means to bring a wreck over two kilometres long to the surface while I'm gone you can take the rest of the afternoon off' he told her generously.
'I'll get right on it' Coleman replied, trying to sound serious. 'You know if there's one Wraith ship down here there might be others' she pointed out. 'If we keep the external scanners on the platform running while we drive this thing back towards Atlantis we might find something else' she suggested. 'We'll have to leave a small crew aboard anyway.'
'Is that the sound of volunteering I hear?' Zelenka replied.
'If I'm put in charge of the platform I might be tempted' Coleman told him. 'It's peaceful down here' she said. 'Occasional Wraith hold-outs notwithstanding' she added.
'I will support your request to head this project long-term to McKay and Doctor Weir' Zelenka agreed. 'And I should be going' he said, heading for the door.
Coleman went back to studying the controls of the station, she was certain she could move the platform now. The motors which drove the huge tracks which propelled it along the ocean bed were all still showing as operational and everything else had come back on-line as soon as they arrived, reacting to the presence of the Ancient gene in several of the personnel who had arrived with her in the jumper.
The Ancients certainly built to last, she thought, casting an appreciative look around the control room. There were a few minor faults which would need to be remedied, and a number of systems showing green which might still benefit from a visual inspection just in case, but once they got this thing underneath Atlantis they connect a tether and start sending power to the city. It wasn't a ZPM replacement by any means but it would mean they wouldn't have to have so many naquadah generators running at once to keep Atlantis powered.
There were other technologies here that could be studied and replicated too, Coleman realised. Even those diving suits were eons ahead of anything Earth had produced able to keep you alive in water too deep for a nuclear submarine to go back home. In some ways they reminded her of the first generation suits of Powered Armour, although far clumsier to wear and with less aesthetically clean lines.
Kershaw stuck her head though the door. 'I've finished checking out the drilling controls' she told Coleman. 'I'm going to take ten, get a cup of coffee and then confirm that the auxiliary power-distribution system is okay' she said.
'No problem' Coleman replied, 'if you run in Doctor Abrams on the way can you kick him and tell him he was supposed to be done verifying the backup life-support is still fully functional an hour ago' she requested. 'Tell him to get his ass over to the second airlock to make sure we can dock the other jumper without a hitch when it gets here with the supplies we requested.'
'Will do' Kershaw agreed, heading off to get her coffee. Other than the sensibly small military contingent who had come along there were half a dozen scientists and engineers poking around the place. Because of the sheer size of the platform they could be here a while, hence the call going out to the city for a couple more people and plenty of food and other supplies. Hopefully she herself would be escaping the place with Sheppard before tomorrow but if the major decided he wanted to leave someone behind with the nerds who could speak their language and knew how to use a gun Kershaw knew she might be here a while.
Ever since her release from Military Prison and return to active service Kershaw had been trying to prove that she was the best at this job. She knew that everyone rated little Miss Goody Two-Shoes Carter over her, and more annoyingly that damn midget Hailey too, but Kershaw knew that when it came to quickly getting to grips with new alien technology then she was second-to-none. Maybe here in Pegasus without the other two as competition she could shine? They had smart people here, McKay was arrogant but clearly knew his stuff and the Czech guy on this job Zelenka was pretty sharp too but they couldn't handle themselves in a firefight too like she could. She was an X-COM Combat Tech, there was a galaxy full of alien assholes to fight, extraterrestrial devices to back-engineer and while she was setting herself goals she wouldn't mind getting the Major into the sack either.
After her break Kershaw headed to her next assignment and after kicking Abrams on the way she dropped in on the wraith prisoner. Still with her cup of coffee in her hand she gave the Trooper guarding the thing a nod of acknowledgement and gave the alien a proper look over. 'They really that much stronger than us?' she asked the Trooper.
'Yeah, if we still used bullets they'd take some killing too' the Trooper replied in the affirmative.
Kershaw sipped her coffee and looked into the wraith's eyes. It looked broken somehow, that could have been the drugs they were still feeding it, the after-effects of the wound or just the fact that Sheppard had gotten it to talk. 'You still in there?' Kershaw asked the alien, snapping the fingers of her free hand in front of it.
'You are doomed' the Wraith Queen responded.
'Bitch is like a broken record' the Trooper observed.
'Be fair, it took us years to get the Goa'uld to start accepting that they weren't the Lords of fucking Creation' Kershaw reminded the Trooper, taking another sip of her coffee. 'Cheer up, we might keep some of you alive in zoos' she told the Wraith Queen.
'You are doomed' the wraith repeated, turning her head to one side as if looking towards, or rather through the bulkhead into the lantean ocean beyond.
Some distance off beyond the range of the sensors on the drilling platform a small yellow craft was observing them from a distance. Thanks to the implant installed in their brains the crew could hear the thoughts of the wraith, they needed the device because unlike their creation they were not naturally psionic. 'It is not the Alterans' the leader said. 'It is something new' he added, turning to the pilot of the small submersible. 'Return us to the colony' it ordered. 'Plans must be made and agreed upon, study of this new threat carried out' it continued. 'We have already waited too long for victory to be denied us now' he declared. 'The ancient enemy is no more, the stars are right, T'leth will rise again
!'Colorado Springs – Earth – December 2004
Cassandra Fraiser made sure the baby was properly tucked in and then looked at him as the infant seemed to be almost studying her between yawns. 'You're a very lucky little boy Jacob James' she told him seriously, using his first two names. 'You've got a Mommy who loves you and who is very pretty and very smart' she continued, 'and you've got a Daddy who loves you too and he's very strong and very brave' she said.
'Your Mommy will take care of all your boo-boos because she's a Doctor and when you're older she'll teach you all about how your body works because she's so clever' Cassandra continued, the baby now definitely smiling back. 'And you'll never have to worry about monsters hiding under your bed because they're all far too afraid of your Daddy' she told him with a chuckle then paused as she heard someone arrive behind her, 'and one day he'll teach you the best way to smash someone's brains out with an entrenching tool' she said, trying not to laugh.
'Cassie!' Janet said in a disapproving tone from the nursery doorway. The babies room situated between Cassandra's own bedroom and the one shared by Janet and her new husband. Their wedding had been a small-scale affair with only a few guests but it had gone perfectly smoothly apart from Commander Russell Sharp waking up on P2C-257 after his bachelor party without any recollection of how he got there.
'Hi Mom, just putting JJ to bed like you wanted' Cassandra responded, turning around.
'I hope that was just for my benefit and you don't normally say things like that to him' Janet stated. 'Russell might think it was funny but I don't' she said.
'Chill Mom, I knew you were there' Cassandra replied. 'Still felt the need to check I'd managed the incredibly complex task of putting a yawning baby to bed?' she asked.
'I can't help it' Janet defended herself. 'I fuss' she admitted.
'I know, I remember what you were like when first came to live with you' Cassandra replied. 'I'll go see if the Commander wants help making dinner downstairs then' she said, heading for the staircase.
'Why do you call him that? It annoys him you know' Janet told her before she left the nursery.
'You just answered your own question' Cassandra replied, 'if I run into him at the SGC or Area 51 I call him Dad in front of other people because when we're there that
'Why do I detect the dread hand of a certain Brigadier-General in this?' Janet asked suspiciously.
'Wow Mom, we ought to get your psionic strength and skill tested out because that's some awesome supernatural insight you've got working for you there' Cassandra replied, grinning to herself as she disappeared from Janet's view.
Janet sighed then moved to look down at her son who was now drifting off to sleep. 'You've also got a big sister who loves you very much' she told him. 'And one day when she's giving you advice on how to have fun yanking your parent's chains ignore her' she said.
Russell Sharp would never claim that being a good cook was one of his skills but he knew how to prepare three, or generously four, dishes well enough for them to be edible and one of them was the Sweet and Sour Pork which was what he was currently making. 'Need a hand Commander?' Cassandra asked him, poking her head into the kitchen.
'Not with the food, just lay the table' Sharp replied. 'And don't call me that at home' he told her yet again. 'It makes me sound like some rigid military disciplinarian that runs his household like he does his unit.'
'Oh come on, we all
know that it's Mom who's in charge' Cassie responded, hoping to get a bite out of him.
'So you do
listen to what we get up to in the bedroom?' Sharp replied deadpan. 'She's such a stern mistress and the way she cracks that whip...'
'That's a more disturbing mental image than anything
I saw in Kinsey's head' Cassandra cut him off before he could go any further.
'You should know by now that when you cross swords with me I fight dirty' Sharp replied. 'I'm still surprised he agreed to you taking a stroll through all his grubby underhanded little secrets' he said.
'Compared to what I've seen in the heads of goa'uld prisoners it was nothing' Cassandra told him. 'He was given a choice of someone else if he wanted.'
'You or Jonas Quinn because no other psionic with enough power had the security clearance' Sharp noted. 'Either a former member of SG-1 or someone that calls O'Neill "Uncle Jack".'
'He called me an alien' Cassandra told Sharp, recalling her time with Kinsey. 'I mean right to my face.'
an alien, at least in the sense you're an extra-terrestrial anyway' Sharp replied, stirring the rice that he had simmering on top of the oven.
'Like I told the Vice-President I prefer
to be referred to as Hankan-American' Cassandra responded, crossing her arms and with an indignant expression on her face. 'When people hear "alien" they expect you to be green and have antennae' she complained.
Sharp smirked. 'Or possess strange inhuman powers' he added.
Cassandra narrowed her eyes. 'Read a few minds and be able to move crap around the room with your brain and everyone accuses you of being a freak' she muttered to herself.
'You still need to lay out the cutlery' Sharp reminded her. 'And while you're at it take the wine out of the fridge and open it' he continued. 'It needs to breathe.'
'Can I at least have a glass myself?' Cassandra requested.
'It's alright by me but you'd better get an okay from your mother too' Sharp replied. 'Where is she anyway?' he asked.
'Probably still watching JJ' Cassandra decided.
'She'd better stop doing that before he gets old enough to notice how creepy it is because he'll end up maladjusted otherwise' Sharp said.
'Yeah because when he finds out his big sister is a genetically-engineered telekinetic from another planet and his dad fights alien monsters for a job while pumped up with performance-enhancing drugs those
revelations won't warp him at all
' Cassandra responded sarcastically.
'Just as long as he doesn't find out he only exists because an alien gadget accidentally reversed his father's vasectomy at the same time he'll be fine' Sharp said confidently.
Cassandra adopted an evil smile. 'So is keeping this secret from him worth you buying me a car for Christmas?' she asked.
'No but how would you like a trip to Atlantis to see your boyfriend instead?' Sharp replied.
'Atlantis?' Janet exclaimed.
your mother turns up' Sharp said sadly. 'We'll talk over dinner' he said.
Janet was only going through the motions, pushing the food around the plate as the three of them sat in the dining room. 'You can't seriously be expecting me to be okay with you sending my daughter to another galaxy' she said, astonished that the man had ever believed she could be.
'Cassie is an adult and I wouldn't be sending her, I'm asking her to go there's a big difference' Sharp replied, picking up his wineglass.
'It would be bad enough if you wanted her to go on some kind of mission to another planet in this galaxy but Atlantis is a one-way trip' Janet exclaimed.
'Not for much longer' Sharp responded. 'The Tollan are sending a ship to Pegasus soon to deliver a few things we can't strip down to send through the gate' he told her, 'including one of their stargate capacitors' he said. 'Once they've got that thing running we'll be able to bring people back from Atlantis too.'
'I didn't know the Tollan ships were fast enough' Cassandra remarked.
'The Asgard provided them with a few hyperdrives to upgrade their Ghostriders with' Sharp explained. 'They estimate it'll take them a week or so to get there which is faster than we could do it even if the prototype X-304 was completed, which it isn't yet.'
'I thought the Asgard had given us their hyperdrives too' Cassandra queried. From what she had heard the X-304 Class ships now being built to replace the older X-303's like Prometheus would be the first ones equipped with the new drives.
'They did but we can't put as much power into them with our naquadah-reactors so our ships are going to be slower than Tollan ones even if we use the same engines' Sharp explained. 'The Asgard ships are even faster than the Tollan ones because they've got those fancy Neutrino-Ion-Generators which they won't give anyone else the plans for.'
'Enough about goddamn starships!' Janet exclaimed. 'Why do you want to send Cassie halfway across the universe?' she demanded to know.
Sharp shrugged. 'Because we haven't got anyone else who can do the job we want her to' he replied. 'The Atlantis team caught a Wraith Queen and they can't get all the information out of her they think she has because her psionic abilities make an Ethereal look like a retarded gopher' he explained. 'They could use more invasive techniques but it's like when we captured a Sectoid Commander, we don't want to risk damaging it and losing what it might know forever because we might never catch another one.'
'I thought you people could make anything
talk' Janet responded.
'We can, we just don't always know the right questions to ask' Sharp told her. 'Supposedly this Wraith was the leader of the damn things ten-thousand years ago when they beat the Ancients so what's inside its head could be invaluable in learning from the perspective of the other side exactly how the Ancients screwed up.'
'So bring it here
for Cassie to try and work on it' Janet suggested.
'The Tollan aren't going yet, it could be weeks before they're on Atlantis and the stargate capacitor is operational at the other end' Sharp explained. 'If Cassandra agrees to go, and it's entirely her choice, she could be there in days.'
'I'll go tomorrow' Cassandra announced. 'I just need to pack a few things' she said.
'You can't go tomorrow, the capacitor on our side hasn't recharged yet' Sharp reminded her.
'Oh yeah' Cassandra realised. On the plus side that meant she could go buy her boyfriend Jake a present and deliver it personally, she thought to herself. The long-distance relationship by emails transmitted through the weekly wormhole to Pegasus wasn't a good substitute for spending time with him in person.
'Isn't it dangerous, I mean with the wraith?' Janet asked.
Sharp shook his head. 'Atlantis is perfectly secure' he told her.
'No I meant if this Wraith Queen is so powerful' Janet said, concerned at the notion of her little girl getting her mind scrambled by some vicious alien monster.
'It's not in Cassie's league in terms of psionics' Sharp replied. 'I wouldn't want to put a Langaran up against it, otherwise I would have talked to their government about borrowing Jonas again for a while, but we've already determined that Cassandra will rip its ass' he said. 'Mentally I mean.'
'Oh yeah, I'm bad' Cassie declared, trying to sound tough.
'I don't like this one bit' Janet stated.
'And I'm sure I'm going to be made to suffer for that but it's the right thing to do' Sharp replied.
'I want to help' Cassandra said. 'These fucking things eat
people' she pointed out.
'Watch your language at the dinner table young lady' Sharp rebuked her.
'Sorry' Cassandra apologised. 'But if I can help stop these things I want to' she said. 'This is important to me Mom' she told Janet seriously. 'I'm the only Hankan left alive because to things like the Goa'uld and the Wraith we're not people, we're just slaves to be discarded when we're not useful any more, or even just food' she continued. 'There are babies just like JJ growing up in Pegasus who will end up as some alien's lunch if we don't do something about it, think about that.'
Sharp smiled. 'I should get you to write my next briefing report to the IOA' he told Cassandra. 'There is one thing you might not have considered though' he told her. 'You won't be here for Christmas if you go' he noted.
'That's okay, I can wait for my new car' Cassandra replied.
'I'm not getting you a car' Sharp responded flatly.
'Oh I'll buy it myself seeing as how if I'm going to be officially working for X-COM and on a mission I'll be getting paid at least what they give you' Cassandra said smugly. 'So if I'm gone a month that'll be twenty thousand dollars tax-free right?' she checked. 'No wait, shouldn't I be a civilian specialist like Daniel making that thirty-thousand?' she asked sweetly.
'You really shouldn't have told her she was the only one who could do it' Janet told him. 'Market forces.'
'Oh the paperwork here is going to be a bitch' Sharp moaned, imagining what Dwoskin the X-COM Finance Director would say when he found that he was signing an approval form giving that much money to a member of the ranking Commanders new family.
'Language' Cassie told him, 'we're at the dinner table' she said, wagging her finger at him in disapproval.Atlantis – Pegasus Galaxy – December 2004
Approaching the leader of the Terrans as she ate her lunch alone in the canteen Teyla was not entirely sure how she should phrase her reservations to Doctor Weir. She soon decided that trying to do so diplomatically might be more appropriate than questioning her sanity and put on a smile as she placed her own tray of food next to Weirs and sat down beside her at the table. 'Elizabeth' she began, trying to sound as reasonable as she could. 'When you told me your people were sending a specialist to deal with the Wraith Queen I was expecting...' she trailed off. 'Someone different' she said eventually, indicating the newcomer to Atlantis who was queuing up to collect her own lunch.
Weir smiled. 'Yes I thought you looked a little surprised when it was a teenage girl who arrived with the last sections of the Tollan weapon' she responded. Picking up a small plastic spoon and starting on her jello dessert.
'You cannot seriously expect that this child will be able to defeat any Wraith, let alone a Queen such as this in a test of wills?' Teyla asked. 'I know the Terrans have made great study of what you call Psionics, that which my people thought Wraith magics, but the ability of even lesser of their breed to play tricks with your mind, or force you to do their bidding, is truly terrible' the Athosian warned.
'Your Tava Beans are getting cold' Elizabeth replied then nodded. 'I can see why you might need some reassurance in the circumstances' she conceded. 'You're probably thinking we've become overconfident to the point of hubris regarding the Wraith am I right?'
'That had crossed my mind' Teyla admitted. 'You have slain many Wraith it is true but so did the Ancestors and ultimately they were themselves defeated' she said. 'I and others who were born and raised under the shadow of the Hiveships do not take the threat they represent so lightly.'
'Very well for the sake of your peace of mind perhaps I can get Cassandra to dispel and concerns you have regarding her own abilities' Weir said, looking up and seeing the girl heading towards a table mostly occupied by X-COM Troopers including Captain Gaston. 'Cassandra can you come here for a minute, this won't take long' she called out.
Cassie heard Weir's voice and grumbled to herself for a couple of seconds before complying. This had really only better take a little while because she wanted to get back to Jake. After months apart she wanted to enjoy every moment they had together before she went home.
'Cassandra this is Teyla, our chief Athosian Scout' Weir introduced the local. 'Teyla this is Cassandra Fraiser' she said. 'It is still Fraiser?' she queried.
'It's still Fraiser but I might change it' Cassandra replied, Commander Sharp had suggested formally adopting her if she wanted to be but she hadn't decided yet.
'The jewellery you wear on your head is very pretty' Teyla told the girl, trying to be friendly. The Terran was wearing what seemed to be some kind of silvery tiara on her head, her long hair threaded through to hold it in place.
'It's not as ugly as it used to be' Cassandra replied. 'It's not really jewellery though' she told Teyla. 'What did you call me over for Doctor Weir?' she asked, impatiently.
'Teyla is concerned that you might not be able to handle the Wraith Queen' Weir explained. 'I thought you might be able to reassure her' she said.
'Oh' Cassandra replied comprehendingly. 'Yeah you want a demo I guess' she realised. 'Can I get a volunteer?' she asked loudly.
For some reason every Terran in the room suddenly seemed to shrink down, stopped talking and took an uncommon interest in their meal.
'A volunteer for what?' Teyla queried, wondering why they had all reacted that way.
'Might as well be you then I suppose' Cassandra told Teyla. 'Could you stand up' she requested, putting her tray down for a moment and reaching down to what seemed to be a device clipped to her belt. 'Don't worry I'm not going to hurt you or trawl through your memories' she said.
'Hurt me?' Teyla repeated curiously, getting up and standing in front of the girl.
'Stand on one leg' Cassandra asked politely and completely against her will Teyla immediately complied, lifting her left leg as she felt a crushing force grab hold of her mind totally overwhelming her ability to resist. 'She's pretty strong' Cassandra observed to Weir, 'with some training she might be as good as a skilled Langaran or even better' she said.
'Teyla doesn't have the Ancient Gene' Weir replied, surprised.
'Well she's got something
' Cassandra told her. 'You said she was Athosian right?' she asked.
'Yes' Weir confirmed.
'Cool' Cassandra responded before addressing Teyla again. 'This is usually a crowd pleaser' she remarked. 'Sing your favourite Athosian Folk Song, assuming you have one' she ordered.
Teyla had always been told she had a very good singing voice and she usually liked to use it but this was not one of those times. She started to sing a mournful tune unable not to and was nearly on the second verse when she felt the weight lift from her mind was able to stop singing and put her leg down. 'That was... horrible' she exclaimed, directing an appalled look at Cassandra. 'How did you do that?' she asked.
'A little genetic tampering, a little selective breeding and some high-tech' Cassandra explained. 'Oh yeah, always end with the big finish' she said, raising her arm and pointing it at Teyla, hand open like her fingers were about to grab hold of something. 'Don't worry I won't drop you' she said.
Teyla felt herself lift off the floor as the young woman raised her hand. 'What is this?' she gasped.
'Telekinesis' Cassanda replied, 'I'm much better at this than I used to be' she said. 'They say the more I practise the more neural connections form in my brain to enhance the ability' she explained. 'I stopped a bullet in flight once as an experiment but that was more more luck and good timing than anything else' she admitted, raising Teyla her own height off the floor before gently lowering her again. 'Thank you, you've been a wonderful audience, I'm here all week' Cassandra told the room as she released the Athosian, taking a bow to laughter and applause.
'Are there other Terran's like her?' Teyla exclaimed.
'I'm not from originally from Earth' Cassandra told her. 'I'm from another planet in our galaxy called Hanka, I was adopted by a woman from Earth after my parents died' she explained. 'If that's all I'd like to eat my lunch now' she asked Weir.
'That's all, thank you Cassandra' Weir replied, the girl retrieving her tray.
Teyla took her seat again, her Tava beans no longer holding any interest as she stared blankly into space. 'I did not think that the humans of your galaxy could surprise me any more but now I wonder what else you can bring to the fight against the Wraith and if I should pity more than fear them' she said.
In the block of cells constructed in one of the other towers to be the cities alien containment facility the Wraith Queen assumed it was merely the innate stupidity of the race holding her captive that had them reduce the dose of whatever chemical it was they were feeding her through the tube inserted in her arm. As the effects of the drug lessened her mind started to clear and her strength slowly returned to the point where she thought she could break the straps binding her. She began to link to the other Wraith imprisoned nearby and was pleased to learn that she was by far the most powerful and they would serve her once she freed herself and then released them too.
Thanks to her healing ability her wounds were already being repaired but to grow a replacement for what that human had shot off with that powerful bolt of green energy would require two or three feedings. Fortunately there was plenty of prey in the Lantean City they had transported her to and she could now start to sense them, soon being powerful enough again to control them.
After so long at the bottom of the ocean remaining patiently for a few more hours while she recovered completely was no task and the Wraith Queen whiled away the times imagining what she would do to the female human who had shot her. Opening her mind to deeper contact with the other Wraith prisoners she quickly learned of what had happened during her long isolation and abandonment and found out that these humans had only recently come to these stars from another place. They were not like the humans she remembered, nor were they like the latter-day humans of this galaxy for that matter, they were clearly more formidable and crushing them would surely help her re-establish her right to rule.
When she felt she was as strong physically and mentally as she could be the Queen broke the straps securing her to the bed they had placed her on inside the cell and then tore out the IV tube connected to her arm. 'I am free
' she told the other Wraith with her mind. 'I will escape this cell and free you also
' she continued. 'And I... will always love you' she sang out loud. 'I... will always love you, ooh' she continued, trying to stop and failing.
The door to her cell opened and the Wraith found standing there was the male human soldier she recognised from the Drilling Platform plus a young female with long hair. 'She's no Whitney Houston' the male observed.
'Yeah' the female agreed. 'Okay if you don't like the singing how about this?' she asked.
The Wraith Queen felt a mind more powerful than she had ever felt before force her right arm up and then she slapped herself hard across the face.
'Now that I like' the male said appreciatively, nodding his approval.
'Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself' the female said grinning. Each time the three word phrase proceeded by the Queen slapping herself again hard enough to rock her head to the side.
'Okay that's enough Cassandra' the male ordered. 'Right Vampira' he addressed the Queen. 'Time for talkies' he told her seriously.
'This is not possible
' the Wraith Queen declared in disbelief as she felt the mind of the young human female "Cassandra" start to probe into her psyche. With great effort she eventually managed to close her memories off and prevented the human getting any deeper, this being a skill she had mastered long ago thanks to duelling mentally for dominance with other Queens.
'She's blocking me' Cassandra said in surprise. 'I need to break her focus somehow' she told Sheppard with a frown before smirking. 'Oh this should work' she decided. 'Stop feeding on yourself' she told the Wraith.
'NO!' the Wraith Queen cried out in horror as she slammed her right hand against her own chest and began to feed on her own life-force.
Sheppard grimaced as the Wraith screamed, it's face contorted in agony. 'Oh I bet that smarts a bit' he commented as the Wraith involuntarily tortured itself.
'This could take a while, you couldn't go get me a Dr Pepper could you?' Cassandra asked Sheppard, fluttering her eyelashes at him.
'I'd better stay here' Sheppard replied.
'Okay but I get cranky without my sugar fix' Cassandra warned him. 'That's enough' she told the Wraith, allowing it to stop feeding. 'Just for the record I'm only standing here alive because someone tortured another evil alien bitch into submission a few years back so in case you were thinking I might show mercy, dream on' she told it seriously. 'I've got no
serious moral qualms about hurting you this way if I think it'll save human lives which I do' she informed the Queen honestly. 'So how about we start with how you people beat the Ancients' she began professionally, crossing her arms in a businesslike fashion.
In the Atlantis Control Room Colonel Vaselov was standingon the steps in front of the stargate, looking at it as he leaned against his stick. He didn't need it any more, months of short stays in a sarcophagus had finally returned him to his correct physical age, but he had become attached to the thing and he thought it gave him a little character. 'I thought our survey team to M3R-428 was due back ten minutes ago?' he asked Doctor Grodin who was sat at the command console above.
'We received a request to extend the mission in order to evaluate possible mineral deposits' Grodin replied.
'Trinium ore?' Vaselov queried, obtaining new supplies of the metal was a high priority now they were considering setting up heavy manufacturing on the mainland.
'Beryllium' Grodin told him. 'It's very useful in producing specialist alloys' he said. 'If the deposits are rich enough it might be worth establishing a small automated mining operation.'
Vaselov threw up his stick and caught it, getting his dexterity and reaction times back was wonderful since above all else it meant he could fly an F-302 properly again. 'Any news from the interrogation of the Wraith Queen yet?' he inquired.
'Not yet Colonel' Grodin told him.
The duty technician, a Canadian Sergeant touched his earpiece. 'We're receiving an urgent call for assistance from the Athosian settlement on the mainland' he said. 'They claim to be under attack.'
'Get a combat team to the transmission room' Vaselov ordered immediately, using their Aschen supplied transporters they could have troops there in minutes. 'Scramble interceptors, initiate city defence protocols and call all military personnel to duty' he said. 'Insert the ZPM and activate the city shield if we come under heavy attack' he added. The nearly depleted Zero Point Module they had obtained could only power the shield for a brief time but while it last Atlantis was invulnerable.
'How the hell did the Wraith get here?' Grodin asked. 'They don't have cloaking technology.'
'They say it's not the Wraith' the Sergeant said, 'they say it's... they say it's monsters, monsters coming from the ocean' he said confused. 'The Athosians live near the shore, they go fishing.'
'Monsters?' Grodin repeated.
The Sergeant blinked. 'Whatever they are they're taking people' he said. 'Oh shit, they're taking the kids we put there' he said.
'Our first F-302 is lifting off from Pier 3' another technician reported. 'At full speed it's only minutes to the mainland' he said. 'The ZPM has been inserted, ready to activate shield when requested.'
Elizabeth Weir came running in. 'What's happening?' she asked.
'The people on the mainland are under attack' Grodin told her.
'Wraith?' Weir responded. 'How?' she asked.
'They say it's not Wraith' the Sergeant told her. 'Whoever, whatever
it is, the person yelling at me on the radio is saying they're leaving, carrying prisoners with them.'
'What's happening with the computers?' Weir asked. She had just noticed the laptops connected to the Lantean database were now showing page after page of text in Ancient script, scrolling fast.
'I don't know, I think it started just now when we plugged in the ZPM' Grodin replied. 'A number of automated systems came on line' he said. 'The holographic projection room just activated' he announced as a blinking display caught his attention 'There's an image playing.'
Weir turned and ran towards the chamber where you could directly talk to the cities database, arriving there with Vaselov who had sprinted to join her.
As they entered a Lantean they had never seen before stood on the pedestal where the holograms were projected. 'Warning' it said. 'Sensors are detecting Aquatoid forces' it stated. 'Danger Drone stocks almost depleted, restock magazines immediately' it said.
'Who are you?' Weir asked.
'This is a projection of the form of General Tristac Hippaforalkus' the projection responded. 'Aquatoid forces are present within sensor range, take immediate steps to defend this facility.'
Weir looked to Vaselov who looked as mystified as she did. 'What are Aquatoids?' she asked.
The hologram froze for a moment. 'That information is classified' it replied then froze again. 'Emergency override' it said. 'The Aquatoids are the enemy' it announced. 'Recommend immediate mobilisation of all Alteran military units.'
'Alteran?' Weir repeated in confusion. 'We thought the Ancients had stopped calling themselves that millions of years before Atlantis even left Earth?'
Vaselov frowned. 'When was the last military confrontation between the Alterans and the Aquatoids?' he asked the hologram, assuming reasonably that these things were some alien race the Ancients had fought before, perhaps a very
long time ago.
'During the invasion of Terra' the hologram answered him.
'These things attacked Earth?' Weir asked in surprise, 'I mean Terra' she corrected herself, wondering how long ago that had been.
'No, there is no record in my files of an Aquatoid attempt to re-take their homeworld after the Alteran invasion and conquest of Terra ended the Great War' the hologram replied. 'Warning, Aquatoid forces detected, prepare to defend this facility' it declared.
Vaselov blinked. 'As they say in your country Elizabeth' he began slowly, turning to Weir. 'What the fuck
?' he exclaimed.
Note from the Author:When they went to the Mobile Drilling Platform in SGA episode 3.18 Submersion they encountered a Wraith Queen who was aboard a Cruiser downed during the war with the Ancients. In the show the Queen used her powers to take over Teyla but she wasn't on the mission this time and the regular humans are less easily controlled. Former rogue NID agent Kershaw is back in the story. I figured the Atlantis team could do with a science-type that was a little more inclined to get stuck into the action and in some ways she is the anti-Carter (more amenable to the X-COM way). In the show the Wraith Queen swam to the platform and in one scene ambushed a scientist working on one of the systems. Unlike the unfortunate scientist there however Kershaw isn't going to panic and get eaten she's going to just shoot the alien! Thanks to rather more field experience (the Queen isn't used to humans doing that kind of thing and was caught off-guard by the unpleasant turn of events). Coleman is a scientist on the Atlantis mission who was on the original team that located the platform and later ran it.One of the things they found on the platform were Ancient Diving Suits which enabled Sheppard and McKay to make the trip to the Wraith Cruiser without getting killed by the water pressure of the ocean at that depth.It's said in the show that they don't actually know why the Ancients shut down the Drilling Platform, it definitely worked. Here it's because they found something down there which they didn't like one bit...It's time they got some use out of all the time and equipment they invested in turning Cassie into the most powerful being that ever put on a custom Psionic-Amplifier. It's mentioned in XSGCOM: Goa'uld Defence that they don't immediately go for a full-on Mind-Raping of the Sectoid Commander they captured because they might break it, preferring to try less extreme methods first. If you're not sure you'll ever get another 10,000 year old Wraith Queen you might be reluctant to break out the electrodes before exhausting other means of extracting information.Regarding the speed of ships, without a ZPM an X-304 Class ship takes 18 days to get to Pegasus but only needs four days for the journey with one. It's logical to assume that the normal powerplant just can't run the engines up to full speed. The Tollan have better power-generation than Earth but their "Ghostrider" ships still haven't got the wattage to match several Asgard NIG's (or a ZPM) so I've pegged them (arbitrarily really) at seven to eight days to Pegasus now they have Asgard HyperdrivesThe Aquatoids are the bad-guys in X-COM: Terror from the Deep. They're a semi-aquatic race who specialise in organic-based technology, are tens of millions of years old as a species and have been sleeping (in time-dilation stasis) for much of that time. I'm playing with X-COM canon in that in the game they were not originally from Earth but I thought that having them the original owners of Terra before the Alterans defeated them in a war which took place a very, very long time ago was a nice touch. The Alterans are not originally from the Milky Way of course and although it became their capital world later Earth was not their first colony either. More explanations to come in later chapters. Suffice it to say that the Aquatoids hate the Ancients, they hate their children, they want us all to die and they want their damn planet back!