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XSGCOM: Terra from the Deep

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This story is No. 2 in the series "XSGCOM Series: SG-1 meets X-COM". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: SG-1/X-COM Crossover - As old enemies fall by the wayside new ones appear to challenge the Tau'ri and their allies.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Non-BtVS/AtS Stories(Current Donor)HotpointFR1819149,39741295131,2383 Jan 103 May 11No

Chapter Twelve

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.

Proculus Orbit – Pegasus Galaxy – January 2005

'See Rodney, I told you it would be good to get away from Atlantis for a while and de-stress' Sheppard told the physicist sitting in the back of the Jumper as they performed a tight bank to starboard and got on the tail of the Wraith Dart which had bounced them as they orbited the planet below looking for signs of civilisation.

'We're fighting for our lives!' McKay exclaimed as the pilot lined up his shot.

'Yeah but that's better than being on Lantea waiting for the Aquatoids to do something isn't it?' Sheppard asked, face a mask of concentration as the alien fighter started jinking to try and throw him off.

Each of the weapon pods on the jumper was now fitted with one of the new three-barrelled plasma-repeaters sent from Earth, the same weapon that was fitted to the Mark II Powered Armour which the powers-that-be had not yet itself seen fit to add to the Atlantis armoury. As he got a bead on the dart Sheppard being firing short bursts of bright orange plasma bolts, trying to score a lucky hit, but the damn Wraith inside steadfastly refused to fly a steady course for more than a second. 'Stay still you son-of-a-bitch' Sheppard hissed.

'Don't overheat the Rotary-Repeaters Sir' Lieutenant Ford warned from the co-pilots seat. Outside an atmosphere without the benefit of conduction or convection to help out the weapon's ability to dump heat build-up they had to be treated gingerly.

'I know Ford' Sheppard replied evenly.

'It's an inherent problem with the technology' Rodney told Teyla, trying to take his mind off the situation. 'The original goa'uld version had to be fired in bursts too' he noted. Putting three together but only wanting double the rate-of-fire of one alone helped but without adding a cooling system that was impractical to stuff into the weapon pod you couldn't fire them too long before the safeties kicked in and shut them down to prevent explosion.

The Jumper shook as something struck their shield. 'We've got another dart on our tail' Ford announced.

'I wish I was in a 302' Sheppard muttered. The Puddle Jumper made for a nice little short-range transport but even with the addition of some guns and an electroplasmic shield generator it simply wasn't a good combat aircraft.

'Fire drones at them' McKay suggested.

'Drones are only to be fired as a weapon of last resort Rodney' Teyla reminded him. 'We have very few' she pointed out.

'Yeah can't you make more?' Ford asked.

'No' McKay replied. 'They weren't made on Atlantis and as far as we can tell the Ancients blew up all their factories to stop them falling into Wraith hands before they retreated to Lantea' he said. They had the same problem with Zero-Point-Modules, creating them required a manufacturing infrastructure which no longer existed in Pegasus.

'Well can't we make the machines that make drones?' Ford persisted.

'The Ancients used molecular assembly like the Asgard, we're a long way from being able to make a machine that you can feed raw materials in one end and get anything you want out of the other' McKay replied. 'The Tollan still only have limited capabilities in the field and their tech-base is centuries ahead of ours.'

'Gottcha' Sheppard said with satisfaction as he finally managed to hit the dart he was chasing with a short burst which ripped open the back of the Wraith fighter. The dart started spiralling making Sheppard think he must of hit the flight controls but at least it wasn't manoeuvring unpredictably any more. Sheppard quickly line up another shot and he quickly shredded the enemy craft which exploded.

'We've got three, make that four more darts heading our way' Ford announced. 'And we've still got the one on our ass' he added as another plasma bolt struck their shield from behind.

'That many darts will be able to knock our shield down faster than the naquadah generator will recharge it' McKay warned. The Electro-Plasmic shield, back-engineered from the ones mounted on an older generation of Loki's own aerospace fighters, was very effective but it was still a long way from being invulnerable.

'Time to head home kids' Sheppard responded, bringing the puddle-jumper around.

'We'll never get back to the spacegate before they catch up' McKay responded.

'Great, Colonel Vaselov says we have to account in writing for every drone we fire' Sheppard moaned as he realised he would have to take out at least a few of them with his irreplaceable drones.

'Darts are short-range, there could be a cruiser or even a hive nearby you know' McKay pointed out. One hit from the main gun on a hive would blow them apart, shield or not.

'Just my luck we'll see one when we're not carrying nukes' Sheppard said sadly.

'I could have been back in my lab working on the gauss-rifle prototype but oh no I get dragged out here to get shot at by a species that only exists because their creator is pissed at ours' McKay complained.

'They're closing' Ford told the others, watching the Head-Up-Display being projected in front of him.

'I'll take out three with drones' Sheppard decided, 'I should be able to handle the other two with the guns' he said confidently, turning the jumper around to head straight at the new quartet of darts heading their way.

'Um Sir what the hell is that?' Ford asked nervously as what looked like a giant bolt of ball lightning rose from the planet at high speed heading in their direction.

'Oh shit' Sheppard swore as it rapidly closed the distance between them, however at the last second it became obvious that it was going towards the four darts not the jumper.

The darts took evasive action but the energy ripped them apart before heading towards the jumper. 'Brace yourself' Sheppard said, hoping that their shield would hold.

The energy enveloped them for a moment but then kept going causing no damage to the jumper nor its shield before it struck the dart which was following them and destroyed it as it did the others before disappearing.

'Hey, we're alive' Ford said brightly.

'What the hell was that?' Sheppard exclaimed.

'Some sort of energy weapon fired from the surface' McKay stated.

'It looked like lightning' Ford said.

'Space lightning?' Sheppard queried.

'I already said it's some sort of energy weapon' McKay told them. 'One that apparently destroys Wraith darts' he added.

'Nice' Ford replied. 'But why them and not us?' he asked.

'If it was a plasma-based weapon as is likely it's possible that our electro-plasmic shield offered a perfect defence' McKay suggested.

'Or else whatever fired it only wanted to take out the darts' Sheppard countered.

'Either way, whatever fired that must have a lot of power-generation behind it' McKay noted.

'A ZPM?' Sheppard asked.

'Maybe' McKay replied. 'If it's a leftover Ancient weapon it would explain why it destroyed the darts not us.'

'So we should go down and take a look?' Ford asked.

'I didn't have plans I don't know about the rest of you' Sheppard replied. 'Remember, we're the Terrans and we come in peace' he told the others.

Teyla sighed. 'I am not sure I will be able to keep a straight face if you say that' she admitted. 'I hope you're not planning to take their ZPM by force if they have one?' she asked.

'After what happened to the kids from M7G-677 I doubt it' Sheppard replied.

They landed the puddle-jumper near a settlement they spotted on the way in and it was obvious that the locals themselves were not responsible for the weapon being a pre-industrial civilisation. The world was known as Proculus to its inhabitants; they had no knowledge of the wraith or indeed other worlds and believed that their goddess who they called Athar was responsible for their well-being and protection.

McKay wanted to carry out a thorough search of the planet to look for the weapon but both Teyla and Sheppard quite reasonably said they needed to ask the permission of the locals first. After talking to the priest who appeared to have authority in the village it was suggested they go talk to Chaya Sar, who they were told was the High-Priestess of Athar and who lived only a few miles away.

The senior religious authority on Proculus was not what Sheppard had been expecting but this was not to say that it was an unpleasant revelation to discover that Chaya Sar was much younger and inordinately hotter than he might have hoped for. She seemed to already know their names which McKay attributed to one of the locals running ahead and she was certainly friendly, offering to make tea for them all.

Teyla was not entirely convinced by Sheppard's argument that he had only invited Chaya Sar back to Atlantis to be friendly, and perhaps try and convince her not only to let them look for the weapon but also take in the refugees from the Aquatoid attack on the Lantean mainland, but she played along. Certainly she already liked and trusted the woman from Proculus more than she did Sora of the Genii who had been all to obviously offering her favours to the Major and if John was going to be thinking with his penis at least it was showing better taste this time.

They radioed ahead and were met by Weir in the jumper room after returning through the spacegate along with their passenger. 'Welcome to Atlantis' Weir greeted the woman from Proculus with a smile, holding out her hand to shake.

'Thank you' Chaya replied, shaking hands and smiling back.

'I hope you don't mind but our doctors do require a medical exam of all offworld team members and our visitors but after that perhaps you would like a full tour' Weir told her.

'I would love that' Chaya replied then froze. 'Damn' she said suddenly.

A young woman ran into the jumper bay slightly out of breath with a confused looking man in a X-COM jumpsuit trailing her. 'I don't know what the hell that is Doctor Weir' Cassandra stated 'but get away from it' she insisted.

'What are you talking about Cassandra?' Weir responded.

'Whatever that is it's got its psionics cranked up to eleven' Cassandra said, pointing at Chaya. 'I felt it arrive even without my psi-amp turned on' she said. 'It's on now' she said, holding out one hand, fingers outstretched ready to fight but not rating her chances.

Chaya chuckled. 'Psionic amplification' she said. 'We dabbled with that ourselves' she said.

'If you're here to cause trouble then...' Cassandra began then her eyes widened. 'I'm way out of my league' she said.

'Cassie?' her boyfriend Gaston who had chased her all the way from her quarters asked nervously.

'She's stronger than anything I've ever encountered before' Cassandra said in shock. 'Psionic Strength and Skill must be over a thousand' she added.

Everyone was now staring at Chaya. 'What are you?' Weir asked.

'I knew it would be a mistake coming here' Chaya said regretfully.

'I think she's an Ancient' Cassandra said. 'An ascended Ancient' she added.

'What?' Sheppard exclaimed.

'We've seen them take human form before' McKay noted, looking Chaya up and down. 'One was called Orlin' he recalled. 'Followed SG-1 back from Earth' he continued. 'Had good taste in women' he noted. 'It was you that destroyed those darts wasn't it?' he checked.

'Athar looks after her people' Chaya confirmed. 'And passing strangers wandering by in familiar ships' she added with a smile.

Weir trawled her memories for old mission reports. 'Orlin helped the people on Velona build weapons to protect themselves from the Goa'uld and the other ascended Ancients kicked him out for it' she remembered.

'That turned out worse for Velona than my interfering did for Proculus' Chaya said.

'You know him' Weir asked.

'Of course, hardly any of the others will talk to us' Chaya replied. 'I only wanted to come here to look around again' she said wistfully. 'And because I think you're hot too John' she told Sheppard, smiling at him.

Weir collected her thoughts. 'I don't suppose you could...'

'Answer all the questions you'd love to ask me?' Chaya interrupted. 'No, but mainly because the others wouldn't let me' she told them apologetically.

'You are one of the Ancestors' Teyla said in awe. 'This was once your home.'

Chaya shook her head. 'I attended school here but I lived on Proculus which is why I couldn't let the Wraith kill the humans we left behind there when we ascended' she replied. 'My punishment is that I was made responsible for that world until the end of time' she told them, 'but only that planet and its people, no others' she continued apologetically. 'I cannot allow refugees from other worlds threatened by the Wraith to go there or the others will stop me saving anyone.'

'Is she telling the truth?' Weir asked Cassandra.

'No idea, but she's strong enough to tear this whole city apart telekinetically so I don't know why she would bother lying to the likes of us' Cassandra replied.

'I'd still like that tour if it's on offer' Chaya requested.

Weir frowned. 'Isn't there anything useful you can tell us?' she asked. 'Any advice?'

Chaya thought about that for a moment. 'Don't wake up the Aquatoids' she said, laughing for a few moments before she stopped having seen the expressions on their faces. 'Oh you didn't ?' she asked in dismay.

Modified Goa'uld Ha'tak – Cartago Orbit (P3X-1279) – January 2005

From the corridor Anubis looked through the bars of the holding cell at the captives who had been abducted from the planet below. 'One may be suitable for my next host' he told the Asgard stood beside him.

Loki looked up at the half-ascended goa'uld. From this angle he could see the corrupted, pallid flesh of its face beneath the hooded cloak. 'I could very easily clone you a replacement for the one you are using now as I have offered before' he said.

'There is little enjoyment to be had in transferring my lifeforce to an empty vessel' Anubis replied, turning away from the cell and continuing on his way with Loki walking beside him.

The Asgard muttered something to himself in his own language. 'Typically most goa'uld do not prefer to see the terror in the eyes of their next host when moving from one to the other' Loki remarked.

'I am no more a typical goa'uld than you are a typical Asgard' Anubis responded flatly.

'We are both too busy to once again begin a futile argument in which you try and equate your malevolent and psychopathic tendencies with my own desire to save my race' Loki stated. 'And slow down' he complained as he tried to keep up with his much taller companion.

Anubis smirked beneath his cowl. 'I doubt the humans in that cell, nor the families of those you slaughtered on Earth or Langara regard you as any less evil than they do I' he said in amusement, though he did slow his pace for the benefit of the rogue Asgard.

'I do not cause harm simply to entertain myself' Loki insisted, he might have found himself in alliance with this abomination but that didn't mean he either liked it or believed for a second he was on the same plane of morality.

Anubis laughed. He firmly believed that the extreme genetic engineering and generations of cloning Loki's people inflicted upon themselves stripped them of their ability to have fun as well as their genitalia. 'If your self delusion helps gets you through the day then who am to criticise?' he asked rhetorically.

Loki muttered to himself again but opted not to respond in a way Anubis could understand since it was obvious the goa'uld was now using him as a source of entertainment. On their way to the main hanger positioned nearby they passed a work crew of Sectoids who were stripping one of the last sections of original hieroglyphic covered goa'uld wall panels off and replacing them with plain silvery-metal plates. At this juncture Loki now also ignored his ally's disparaging remarks about boring Asgardian design aesthetics and instead began talking up the considerably stronger internal structure of the vessel now that utility had replaced gaudiness.

Originally designed for deathgliders the fighter bays of the ship were now filled to capacity with Loki's Type 4 aerospace fighters which unlike his earlier craft were shaped more like a conventional aircraft than they were flying saucers. Anubis couldn't help but have a grudging respect for Loki in that he had designed and constructed a craft which not only seemed to exude menace it effortlessly outclassed anything else in the skies. 'You've made another upgrade' Anubis noted appreciatively as he looked over one of the craft which was being worked on.

'By adding an outer layer to the craft made of the material your Kull Warriors wear its resistance to damage from directed-energy-weapons once the shield fails is greatly increased' Loki explained. He had already incorporated the weave into the armour worn by his genetically engineered soldiers so adding it to his fighters too was a logical progression.

'And I thought you were convinced of the total superiority of its much vaunted near-miraculous shields in any engagement?' Anubis responded wryly. 'You've boasted of them enough.'

'I did not boast, I only ever stated the facts' Loki defended himself. 'In any case superiority is not invulnerability.'

'Obviously not given that the Tau'ri shot a number of these things down over their southern pole' Anubis noted, seeking to annoy the Asgard again.

'They had superior numbers and in any case most of the Type 4 losses were due to the Ancient Weapons not the human fighter force' Loki spat back. 'According to my intelligence sources on Earth the humans there have still not even managed to back-engineer the first-generation of Trans-Dimensional Shields which equipped my earlier Type 3 fighter' he said. The second-generation version of the shield mounted on the Type 4 was actually able to redirect some of the incoming energy from the weapons-fire it absorbed into its own shield buffer and therefore use that energy to recharge itself more quickly.

'Then why invest resources into upgrading a craft which is already two generations ahead of the Tau'ri who already themselves have a technological lead over the System Lords?' Anubis queried.

Loki crossed his arms. 'Because if I don't maintain such a large technological edge I am concerned that one day I am going to wake up and find myself strapped to an operating table with several smug looking humans standing over me holding laser-scalpels and mind-probes' the Asgard admitted. 'And in any case I also know from my sources on Earth that the Replicators are believed to be preparing for an attack on this galaxy.'

'You don't still believe that you can defeat the Replicators and then return home as the saviour of your people do you?' Anubis asked curiously. 'They won't welcome you with open arms renegade, they'll put you on trial and execute you at best' he said. 'At worst they'll hand you over to the humans of Earth or Langara.'

'Since I will have also discovered the means to save my species from the certain extinction resulting from our misguided cloning experiments centuries ago I doubt the Asgard High Council will commit suicide by foreswearing the knowledge I bring home with me' Loki replied confidently.

'I cannot help but be in awe of your blind optimism' Anubis told Loki sardonically.

'This from the being that thinks he will be able to usurp Baal's position as Supreme System Lord with ease' the Asgard responded in an equally sarcastic manner. 'His willingness to secretly accept the information and technological advice we have been feeding him in no way demonstrates an equal willingness to become your lackey' Loki stated. 'You are not the secret power behind the throne you purport or desire to be' he told Anubis, 'and if you genuinely thought so yourself deep down then the Al'kesh vessel you stole from the humans when fleeing their home system would not have ended up sitting next to one of my transport ships in the next bay.'

'Baal is nothing but a puppet' Anubis maintained. 'I pull the strings.'

'From what I have been able to determine from analysing his political and military manoeuvrings over the last few years Baal is far more devious and likely more intelligent being than you are' Loki stated flatly. 'He also lacks your predilection for mindless, unproductive malevolence and frankly if it wasn't for the fact he would betray me at the earliest opportunity I would have abandoned you in favour of a formal alliance with him long ago' the Asgard continued. 'Just because he has played along with the charade that you are still in some way the one steering the course of events does not make it so' he said. 'You would grasp that yourself if you were not blinded by megalomania and an ego which is so vast it would require hyperdrive to quickly traverse.'

Anubis was becoming very angry, not a difficult emotional response to provoke in his case. 'All of Baal's Kull Warriors are loyal to me above him' he declared. 'It is still hard-wired into their genetic code and psychological conditioning' he said. 'I only have to order them to overthrow him and...'

'They are outnumbered by his Jaffa by several orders of magnitude' Loki interrupted, 'Jaffa that are far better trained and equipped than the ones your Kull once slaughtered with impunity' he said. 'Like my shields Kull armour is not invulnerable, it can only absorb so many hits from high-powered directed-energy weapons within a certain space of time and we now live in an era where Plasma-Repeater-Cannon are at the forefront of Goa'uld battlefield weaponry not weak, clumsy Staff-Weapons' the Asgard reminded the Goa'uld. 'You need me more than I need you, remember that.'

'I could kill you in an instant' Anubis snarled. 'Do not provoke me.'

'My consciousness is backed-up in the ships computer and I have plenty of spare clones in storage' Loki replied placidly. 'While I'm being downloaded into a new body my soldiers will be flushing yours into space.'

Anubis noted that several of the warrior creatures the Tau'ri had named Mutons were situated nearby, armed with their powerful elerium-based Plasma-Weapons. If he attacked their creator they would instantly gun him down and unfortunately Loki also had powerful psionics amongst his other minions, meaning that he would find it difficult to get away with surreptitiously transferring himself to another being on the Ha'tak. 'You can't kill me Loki' Anubis pointed out, this was true in that his lifeforce was indestructible, 'and you still need my assistance in perfecting the Ancient Genetic Re-sequencer because without it it's doubtful you will ever manage to permanently solve your cloning problem and allow your race the possibility to ascend any time soon.'

'I have already made great strides...' Loki began to reply.

'And have no idea even how many more are needed' Anubis interrupted him instead this time. 'Our agreement stands in that each of us will assist the other in achieving our goals' he said. 'Keep in mind that if the Replicators do invade and you and all the others they would seek to consume are unable to stop them then you will need me.'

'Assuming your claim to know the location of an Ancient Super-Weapon that can be used to annihilate them throughout the galaxy all at once isn't just bluster' Loki replied.

'It's not and if it comes to that I'll even let you take the credit for the victory' Anubis told him.

'The only reason I might believe that is because you would consider doing a good deed bad for your reputation' Loki responded, once again proving that the Asgard race did in fact possess a sense of humour.

Atlantis – Pegasus Galaxy – January 2005

Colonel Vaselov waited until everyone had taken their seats around the conference table and Elizabeth Weir closed the all panels before looking to her for permission to begin the daily briefing. Thanks to the rumour-mill most of those present would likely already be aware of what he was going to tell them but they needed to be told formally too and in any case the science personnel represented by Doctors McKay and Zelenka likely had additional information to add that the others would not have heard yet.

'So I guess the Aquatoids are on the move then?' Major Sheppard commented before the Colonel could begin. As second in command of the military contingent he got to attend these as did Doctor Beckett as head of Medicine and Teyla as the designated local advisor.

Vaselov nodded. 'So we believe' he replied, opting to ignore the breach of protocol. 'As you know the Genii have contacts and agents placed throughout much of this galaxy and at our behest they have been keeping alert for news of the Wraith or other possible threats' the Russian continued. 'One of these worlds, Latira, has reported a series of attacks by an unknown force against their coastal towns and villages over the last two weeks' he told the others. 'The survivors talk of creatures emerging from the sea and abducting the locals.'

'I'm not surprised' Rodney spoke up. 'We've been monitoring the subspace frequencies the Ancient Janus believed were associated with the Aquatoids and we've picked up a large volume of what we assume is signal traffic between the Aquatoid installation here on Lantea and the region of Pegasus Latira is located within recently.'

'I don't suppose you can tell what they're saying?' Weir asked.

Zelenka shook his head. 'We are not even at the stage of breaking the transmissions down into something we can begin to analyse and we must assume the messages are encrypted in any case' he told her. 'Travoc has been attempting to run what we have been picking up in subspace through the Atlantis computer via his Tollan interface hoping that it will be able to establish a pattern but as yet no luck.'

'Where is he anyway?' Sheppard asked. Normally the Tollan representative to the expedition attended these briefings so he could report back to the Curia.

'He told me earlier he had found something very interesting in the city database and he didn't want to break away from his work' Weir explained.

'Hey if that's a valid excuse to get out of these things I've always got work to do in the lab' McKay announced, starting to get up out of his chair.

'Sit down Rodney' Weir told him sternly.

'So it's one rule for the Tollan and another for the rest of us' McKay muttered to himself. 'The guy puts together a few big guns and helps out a little and everyone treats him like he walks on water instead of just floating on it like the rest of us.'

'So what are we going to do about Latira and their problems with the local sea-life?' Sheppard asked.

'We should seek to protect them' Teyla said. 'It is our fault that the Aquatoids have emerged at this time' she pointed out. 'If we had not destroyed some many Wraith Hives they would still be sleeping.'

'If we are assigning blame then it was the Ancients who first woke them up ten-thousand years ago and ended up inflicting the Wraith on this galaxy as a consequence' Vaselov countered. 'I do however concur that we should intervene on Latira for if nothing else the attacks their offer us the opportunity to capture prisoners and obtain samples of Aquatoid technology.'

'What are you thinking Colonel?' Weir asked him.

'I am thinking we deploy combat teams to Latira , ideally in cloaked Puddle-Jumpers so as to maintain the element of surprise, and seek to ambush the next attack' Vaselov replied. 'Our ability to fight them underwater is severely limited but if they are coming on land then we are fighting in our element not theirs.'

'Soggy little suckers are gonna get a great big surprise' Sheppard declared, grinning.

'But even if we're already on Latira how can we be sure we'll be able to get to the scene of the attack on time?' Weir queried.

'Easy' Vaselov replied. 'We know from the Genii that the Latirans are already starting to evacuate from the coast' he said. 'We ask them to leave a nice tempting town populated so the opposition go there.'

'You want to use people as bait?' Teyla asked, aghast.

'We already planned to use the Hoffans as bait for the Wraith' Sheppard reminded her.

'That is different John' Teyla responded, 'The Hoffan people chose to ignore our advice that their drug would make them a target rather than protecting them' she said. 'They put themselves in danger, we merely planned to use that to our advantage.'

'Then we'll ask for volunteers to stay behind' Sheppard replied, 'does that sound more reasonable to you?'

'It's better but still does not sit well with me' Teyla told him.

Zelenka laughed. 'Sorry' he apologised when everyone looked at him. 'I was thinking of what the Colonel said about us fighting them in our element' he said. 'The four elements of classical science were earth, air, fire and water.'

'Aqua being water and Terra being earth in both Latin and Ancient' Weir noted, grasping where he was coming from.

'It just struck me as funny' Zelenka said, smiling. 'The Terrans versus the Aquatoids, earth versus water.'

'So who's fire and air then?' Beckett asked.

'Well the ascended Ancients are kinda wispy when they're not pretending to be humans so I'm going to go with them as air but as for fire nothing springs to mind' Sheppard responded, maybe we just haven't met them yet he wondered?

'Talking of wispy things pretending to be human are the rumours about you and the ancient chick getting caught doing something over on the south pier before she went home true because I'm guessing not?' McKay asked.

'Rodney this is neither the time nor the place for questions like that' Weir told him in annoyance.

Sheppard smirked. 'Actually it was us catching Cassandra and Gaston...' he began to reply before a look from Weir cut him off. 'It's the invigorating sea air I'm sure' he said sheepishly.

'An ambush on Latira would give us the best opportunity we have so far enjoyed to test out the capabilities of our new foe' Vaselov told Weir. 'Eventually an incursion into one of their facilities will be required but until then we need to seize every opportunity that is offered' he said. 'If nothing else it is possible that a defeat, even a minor one, will cause them to pause any campaign while they take stock of the situation.'

'Give me a few more weeks and I'll have a diving suit our soldiers can use to fight them on their turf' McKay said confidently.

'Not that their turf is actually turf' Zeleka added, 'our turf being actual turf while theirs is probably more like seaweed.'

'You also said that you'd have a gauss-rifle we could use underwater by now' Sheppard noted.

'My prototype works perfectly well and only requires a couple of tweaks before we can start manufacturing units' McKay defended himself.

'When we test-fired the thing in the submerged jumper-bay it fused out' Sheppard reminded him.

'That's an easy fix' McKay hand-waved away the problem. 'You were impressed when you fired it off the tower weren't you?'

'It broke his collar bone and dislocated his shoulder' Beckett complained. 'I had to pull it back into position before I could put him in a sarcophagus to fix all the damage.'

'I told him the recoil was going to be extreme' McKay responded. 'What did you think would happen when a piece of steel came out the front at hypersonic velocity?' he asked Sheppard rhetorically. 'Never take Newton's Third Law lightly' he advised.

'It didn't look so bad when you fired it from the bench you set up to hold it' Sheppard replied.

'And if you'd looked at the bench carefully you'd have seen it was bolted to the deck' McKay told him. 'I only went back inside for a second and when I got back I found Major Disaster there on the ground screaming in agony with my prototype lying next to him' he told Weir.

Sheppard sighed, Rodney had a point he conceded to himself. It had just looked so damn cool firing the thing off into the distance especially because they were approaching nightfall when they started the testing and the friction of the air against the coilgun projectile when fired at maximum velocity made them glow as they hurtled towards the horizon. 'Next time I'll know' he said. 'And until the pain I was impressed' he told McKay.

It said a lot for how used you can get to just about anything that when Travoc walked through the wall nobody reacted with much more than a nod of greeting. Touching the phase-shifting device on his arm to switch it off the nervous expression on the Tollan's face when he turned to Weir did not fill her with happy thoughts. 'Sorry I'm late but I wanted to check and double check my findings before broaching this with you all' he said apologetically. 'I'm pretty sure that at least some of you are not going to take this at all well' he told them, greatly underestimating his thoughts on the matter as he took a seat.

'Okay after that kind of entrance it had better be good' Sheppard told him.

'Go ahead Tesserarius' Weir told the Tollan using his military rank.

Travoc took a breath. 'As you all know I have been attempting to consolidate all files from the Atlantis database pertaining to Ancient weaponry and military secrets for some time now and although it's taken me a while I'm finally starting to get concrete results' he began. 'I was already putting together a list of possible planets where we might find surviving equipment and test sites here in Pegasus when I broadened the search parameters to our own galaxy using the additional access we've had to encrypted data since the Aquatoids emerged' he said. 'Apparently the Ancients had instigated a contingency plan in case they did but unfortunately for them it didn't come to fruition in time for the Wraith War because it would have likely helped quite a lot based on our experiences here.'

'I don't suppose you could speed this up and get to the point could you?' Beckett requested. 'I've got to get back to the Medical Bay soon.'

The Tollan closed his eyes. 'Do you remember when I mentioned before about finding references to the Ancients undertaking a program involving genetic engineering back in the Milky Way' he asked rhetorically. 'Well as I theorised it was designed to produce a biological weapon of a sort and they enjoyed not inconsiderable success in that endeavour.'

'You are saying that there is a weapon's cache or something back home which you think we can find and recover the weapon for use against the Wraith or the Aquatoids?' Vaselov asked.

Travoc opened his eyes again. 'No it's already loose' he said. 'As a matter of fact it was contained back in the Milky Way but has already spread to Pegasus now and is proving to be quite effective at its intended function' he said. 'It's us' he stated after a pause.

'What?' Weir exclaimed.

'It's us' Travoc told her. 'The Ancients created humanity on Earth, directed our evolution and occasionally played with our DNA over the course of millennia in order to produce a species that was far superior to them in combat ability' he said. 'You know how it's been said several times that the Ancients were very bad at war' he continued, 'well they weren't' he told the others. 'The problem is really that our perspective is so skewed, the fact is that we were just designed to be very, very good at it.'

Weir blinked. 'I'm sorry' she said eventually after a long pause, 'could you say that again' she requested.

'Our species is the result of a long-term project to produce a more innovative and aggressive race than the Ancients themselves' Travoc explained again patiently. 'The Aquatoids made the Wraith to fight the Ancients and the Ancients basically made us to fight the Aquatoids' he said. 'That is not to say that all humans were made for that' he noted, 'most of the people here in Pegasus weren't made as part of the project, they were more like a well-meaning hobby I suppose.'

'We're weapons?' Beckett asked in shock.

'So it seems' Travoc told him. 'The Ancients tried to finish the project in a hurry here in Pegasus during their war with the Wraith but they didn't have time to do more than introduce a few extra genes into a small number of planetary populations' he said. 'We might want to check out a world called Sateda by the way' he advised.

Teyla raised her eyebrows. 'That could explain a great deal' she said while casting nervous glances at the Ancestor Weapons sat around the room.

Beckett was philosophical now he was starting to accept the news. 'Somehow I always thought that the meaning of life stuff we were going to discover while we explored the stargate network was going to be a lot deeper than just beating the hell out of all the hostile aliens we encountered on the way' he said. 'Ironic' he added, nodding to himself.

'It can't be true' Weir said to herself quietly, 'we can't just be the leftover war-toys of some precursor civilisation' she tried to convince herself before a thought occurred and she suddenly stood up and thumped her clenched fists down on the conference table. 'I refuse to accept that Russell Sharp is a first class representative of what we were intended to be!' she shouted out into the universe before collapsing back into her chair, her eyes glassing over as she considered the bleakness of creation.

'I think you just broke the boss' Sheppard told Travoc who at least had the decency to look apologetic about it.

Note from the Author:

Chaya Sar, AKA Athar was the ascended ancient who lived on Proculus and did very nasty things to any Wraith that came near her planet. Pretending to be human she visited Atlantis in SGA episode 1.14 Sanctuary. Like Orlin I imagined Chaya as being kept largely out-of-the-loop by the other ascended ancients so her not already knowing that the Aquatoids were back or that Cassandra was on Atlantis didn't seem drastically unlikely. Normally she wouldn't have to worry about any non-ascended being being able to tell she wasn't "normal" so a hok'tar with a couple of years of psionic training behind her caught Chaya unawares.

Cartago (P3X-1279) was a world SG-1 visited in episode 1:16 Cor-ai. The people there called the stargate the "Ring of Woe" and were frequently abducted by the goa'uld for use as hosts. The Tau'ri armed them so they could protect themselves but that's not much help when a Ha'tak upgraded with Asgard technology appears in orbit and starts beaming them up for use as experimental subjects and replacement hosts for a half-ascended System Lord. The Type 4 (AKA "Spectre") fighter was the most dangerous craft used by the aliens in X-COM: Interceptor. It used a revolutionary shield design called an "Accumulator Shield" the sophistication of which is demonstrated by the fact X-COM couldn't back-engineer it! In SG-1 Season 8 Anubis was secretly controlling Baal but here his control on events is not even remotely as powerful. Loki is keeping Anubis around to help him with his science projects, in particular his work on the DNA Re-Sequencer.

Latira was a planet with ties to the Genii mentioned in SGA episode 5:13 Inquisition. Hope you enjoyed the meaning of life stuff more than Weir. ;-)
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