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.
Omega Site – PX0-999 (Terra Nova) – February 2005
'I must say I was surprised when you asked to see me Sir' Colonel MacKenzie told the X-COM Commander as they sat facing each other across his desk. 'Especially given your previous disagreement with my colleague Doctor Heightmeyer regarding counselling of your personnel' he added.
Russell Sharp stopped looking at the cover sheet of the report he had been scanning and shrugged. 'She wanted to improve their sanity at what I believed would be the cost of their battlefield effectiveness' he replied. 'The situation here is very different' he said.
'How so?' the military psychiatrist who had been a consultant to the SGC for some years asked.
'Having the majority of them slightly deranged was a good thing given the nature of some of our missions but I can't see any
benefit in all this existential angst' Sharp told him. 'I want their minds back on the game' he said.
'Ah' MacKenzie replied, understanding the situation better. 'I assume that your troops are not then immune to the philosophical implications of the news we received from Atlantis?' he asked rhetorically.
Sharp sighed. 'Most of them are still getting on with their jobs but there's still too damn many moping around contemplating the meaning of existence when they should be preoccupied with winning the war' he confirmed. 'Fix 'em' he ordered as if it were really that easy.
MacKenzie smiled. 'I can't "fix" them Commander' he replied. 'They'll have to work it through themselves' he told him. 'I might be able to help the process but if you're looking for a miracle cure I'm afraid there isn't one.'
'Couldn't you give them a few pills or something?' Sharp asked hopefully. 'They're already used to taking whatever we give them without kicking up a fuss, even if it's experimental and unlicensed' he noted.
'Any pharmaceuticals that might do the job would also most likely impair their ability to function in combat far more than the occasional bout of introspection would Sir' MacKenzie told him apologetically. 'I'm sure they'll adjust quickly to our new understanding of our place in the universe' he continued more confidently, they were at least an adaptable group. 'Frankly I expected the overwhelming majority of X-COM to be jumping for joy at the idea that we were designed as a species to be soldiers' he admitted.
'I can only speak for yours truly but it was easier to see myself as keeping the barbarians from the gate when I didn't know that the civilisation we were supposed
to be defending didn't even exist any more' Sharp responded flatly. 'The Ancients didn't expect they were going to become extinct when they started designing our species' he noted, 'we were meant to be the guard dogs of another race not our own' he said. 'Our
civilisation only even exists at all because their
s collapsed and the last survivors fled to Earth looking for refuge' he continued. Refuge ironically enough from another race created as the attack dogs of their own progenitors, he thought to himself.
'And how do you
feel about that?' MacKenzie asked professionally.
Sharp smiled. 'Well I appreciate the cosmic joke that humanity, the race that other species have looked on for millennia as a source of slave labour, hosts and food is probably the worst possible choice for any of that the opposition could have conceivably made' he said. 'Give us anything even close to technological parity with the enemy and we'll stomp the bastards into the ground' he stated then chuckled. 'We should all have "Born to kill" painted on our helmets I guess.'
MacKenzie smiled again. 'Perhaps it's a pity all of X-COM and the SGC don't share your dark sense of humour.'
'I wouldn't wish my psychological baggage on my worst enemy' Sharp replied before pursing his lips and looking thoughtful. 'Maybe Loki' he corrected himself after a moments consideration.
'Not Anubis too' MacKenzie queried.
'Nah, he's already loonier than I am' Sharp responded. 'Okay Colonel I'll just ask that you do your best to get their heads straight' he said. 'I'll approve any requests for additional staff you need but just remember I only want them sane enough to fight when I want them to' he continued, 'not too sane to not jump out the back of an Avenger when there's less than a fifty-percent chance of coming back.'
'I'll do my best Sir' MacKenzie promised, standing up. He knew that this was only going to be a quick meeting, there was already someone else waiting outside to talk to the Commander.
'Out of interest how are they taking the news back home?' Sharp asked curiously.
'Much the same really Sir' MacKenzie told him. 'What about our offworld allies?'
'I think the Asgard and Gadmeer are still too busy trying to adjust to the revelation of their own origins to think too much about ours, but everyone that talks to the Nox is getting sick of them being so damn condescending about it' he complained. 'They were patronizing enough before but now they've added a whole heap of "It's okay, we know it's not your fault that you're like you are" into the mix' he said. 'Goddamn hippies' he growled, at least the Gadmeer had the excuse that someone deliberately turned them into a bunch of wimps he thought. 'Thank you for your time Colonel' he said, offering his hand to shake which MacKenzie took. 'Could you send in Mr Dwoskin once you're outside' he requested then went back to reading the notes on his desk.
Illya Dwoskin had been just outside Sharp's Office sitting on a chair reading the latest copy of the Economist. In particular an article on how the markets were still feeling the effect of the of the new fusion reactors starting to be constructed in several countries had him smiling. X-COM secretly owned ten percent of Energen, the new corporation which was leading the project on behalf of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, and along with other investments that should guarantee the financial security of the organisation for decades to come.
'Take a seat Illya' Sharp told X-COM's Finance Director as the Russian entered and closed the door behind him.
Putting his briefcase down next to him Dwoskin took the chair which MacKenzie had previously been using and casually leaned back in his seat. 'The IOA think we're becoming too powerful Russell' he told the Commander getting straight to the point of his visit. 'We're going to have to change the way we do things before they decide what changes they want made' he said.
Sharp sighed. 'What now?' he asked plaintively.
'The final straw was the contract we agreed with the Pangarans to supply them with ten thousand L2-A3 Laser Rifles' Dwoskin explained. 'With our profit margins it made us a little too financially independent for the comfort of our political masters and they're starting to talk about stripping us of control of much of our manufacturing infrastructure.'
'You're kidding?' Sharp exclaimed. 'A year and a half ago we were getting nothing but complaints about costing too much and now we're starting to be able to cover a good chunk of our own operating costs by selling equipment to our allies
they're bitching about that
'They want us cheap but they also want to keep us on a short leash Commander' Dwoskin told him. 'I have however thrashed out a deal that is better for us than what they were originally proposing.'
Russell Sharp laughed. 'Naturally' he said. 'I wouldn't expect anything else' he added. X-COM didn't just have the finest soldiers, smartest scientists and most skilled engineers and technicians Earth had to offer, it also had the most despicable and creative accountants.
'The diplomatic corps have been pushing us to try and bind our allies to us more closely so my proposal is to establish a number of interplanetary corporations staffed and run by employees from not only Earth but also Hebridan, Langara, Pangar, Optrica and any others that might be interested' Dwoskin said. 'Each contributing partner gets a percentage of the shares in the business proportionate to the initial start-up funding they put in.'
'Which helps us how?' Sharp queried.
'X-COM agrees to license production of equipment we have developed to these new companies in return for royalties on each unit sold' Dwoskin replied. 'We'll also be transferring some of our personnel to the new companies along with plant and machinery for which I think we can get an agreement for a discount on future purchases' he said. 'The Hebridan have already expressed a great interest in the idea with several of their own corporations more than willing to invest in something that grants them a nice slice of what will likely be a very lucrative pie.'
'Always plenty of money to be made in the arms industry' Sharp agreed, 'especially with half the galaxy at war' he added.
Dwoskin nodded. 'Although we wouldn't necessarily want to hand over our very latest equipment to other powers, even allied ones, the Langarans and others would pay a lot for our first generation of F-302X fighters' he noted. 'Once we've got the Tranche 3 coming into service we can then license production of the Tranche 2 which is the current backbone of our aerospace forces.'
'Always keep one generation ahead just in case' Sharp agreed.
'They would never allow us to go ahead with this ourselves but if we're just collecting a small percentage of each sale, with the majority of the profits going to a private company, the politicians should be more amiable to the idea' Dwoskin reasoned. 'Especially if the nations currently funding X-COM are receiving a share of the future dividends themselves so they can help themselves to the pork barrel as the Americans say.'
'Okay, how much of our income and financial reserves do you think you can continue to keep hidden from the IOA and the Security Council in this situation?' Sharp asked.
'At least as much as we are currently' Dwoskin replied. 'They still
don't know what the profit margin really is on the laser weapons we've been selling until now' he said. 'One advantage to conducting so much business via suitcases full of cash for the sake of secrecy is that it offers considerable leeway to make bank accounts disappear.'
Sharp grinned, they didn't know how much weapons-grade naquadah and elerium X-COM really had stockpiled either. The organisation wanted to make sure that even if several governments were infiltrated by the goa'uld, or another alien power, then the fight would go on regardless. Money was the fuel that kept the war going even more than ununpentium did, no bucks meant no Buck Rogers. 'Okay you're the expert, if you need me to sign anything or help you present your plan to the UN let me know.'
'Thank you' Dwoskin replied. 'I have already run up a preliminary proposal to establish an interplanetary defence conglomerate before we move onto other sectors' he said. 'We cannot really set up a corporate headquarters here on Earth but I believe the IOA would prefer it to be close to home nonetheless.'
'Heliopolis?' Sharp asked. The United Worlds met there and the planet was well within the borders of the Tau'ri Protectorate.
'I was thinking we expand our Cydonia Base' Dwoskin replied. 'We have already shifted much of our manufacturing base there and there is a certain poetry in having a defence company based on a world named for the God of War.'
'Mars was a Lantean Naval Officer who fought against the Wraith you know' Sharp told the Russian. 'They actually won quite a few battles thanks to their technological edge but numbers and a lack of killer instinct beat them in the end.'
'I hadn't heard that but then I spend more of my time with my nose in a ledger than I do reading the update reports from Atlantis' Dwoskin replied. 'How do you feel about "Mars Security and Defence Corporation" as a company name?' he suggested.
Sharp considered that for a second. 'Cut it down to MarSec Corporation' he suggested. 'If you want an idea for a corporate logo then Mars in his war chariot being pulled by Phobos and Deimos would be classy' he opined, 'especially with a corporate motto underneath.'
Dwoskin laughed. 'How about "Marsec: Who do you want to kill today" or perhaps "Marsec: Just Kill It" instead' he jokily suggested in turn.
'Just get something profound translated into Ancient' Sharp advised.
'In that case may I suggest a Russian proverb' Dwoskin replied. 'It goes "Eternal Peace lasts only until the next war".'
Sharp looked at him. 'If you people were a little less fatalistic you'd drink a lot less vodka' he told the man. 'On the plus side that motto might help sales during peacetime so go for it' he agreed.Latira – Pegasus Galaxy – February 2005
John Sheppard waited until he was sure that all the aliens that were going to come walking out of the ocean had done so before he moved his cloaked puddle-jumper into a good firing position. In the shallow waters just offshore he could see the submerged craft they had come from waiting on the seabed for their return and all he had to do now was take the sucker out once the grunts sprung their ambush.
The small coastal town which the hostiles were advancing into was a trading port which serviced the larger communities inland. In agreement with the Latiran government and its Genii allies it was now the only one in the region which was still populated by more than a handful of residents. If you want to catch a tiger the easiest way is stake out a goat and let him come to you, with the townsfolk here being the bait to draw the predator in.
At the insistence of Elizabeth Weir the people being used to lure in the Aquatoids were strictly volunteers. Many of them were locals who had lost friends and relatives to previous raids that had taken place against their community and others up and down the coast and they wanted a modicum of revenge. Additionally almost a quarter of the population were now in fact Latiran soldiers disguised as civilians, with a small number of Genii Special Forces mixed in. This wasn't going to be their fight however, they had agreed to put their faith in the Terrans, both trusting that the Children of the Ancestors knew what they were doing and having been convinced by a demonstration of just how powerful their weapons were.
Latira was not a very advanced world. Like most in Pegasus technological progress had been stunted here by the Wraith habit of destroying every industrial society that emerged as a potential threat and their best weapons were simple muskets and a handful of more modern rifles given to them by the Genii. They had previously tried themselves to fight the monsters that emerged from the sea but the few survivors of those skirmishes had soon confirmed the futility of it. The weapons wielded by the foe were devastating far beyond anything they had seen even the Wraith use so you were better off just running away and hoping you weren't the slowest.
Running away was in fact what the vast majority of the people in town had begun doing as soon as they heard the warning being shouted by those who had been watching the shore. For their part the invading creatures having been through this before, and heedless of the puny threat offered by these primitive descendents of the hated Alterans, gave chase. They intended to capture as many humans as they could and perhaps kill a few more, both as a demonstration of their power and for the sheer enjoyment of it.
One of the Genii Officers had decided not to flee with the Latirans but he had ordered his men to pull back and let the Terrans handle this. Acastus Kolya wanted to get a proper look at this new enemy and he also wanted to find out if the "Children of the Ancestors" were really as skilled and dangerous as Tyrus had been making out in his assessment reports on their capabilities.
Wearing the rough clothes of a local dockworker Kolya reached into an oversized pocket and drew his service automatic before finding a place of concealment behind some stone steps that led up from the cobbled street he was on to a small warehouse. Ideally he would have been carrying one of the oversized lever-action triple-barrel rifles his people had designed for use against the Wraith but those things were a very long way from being easily concealed so the pistol was about as good an option as was available. Pulling back the slide to chamber a round the Genii soldier gingerly looked out in the direction he assumed the aliens would be coming from and keeping his breathing steady and his nerves calm he waited.
When he saw one Kolya was not impressed. It was short with a disproportionately large head and webbed hands and feet. Green in colour the skin of the thing reminded him of a frog, not surprising given that it was an amphibian, but its features at least were suitably chilling with beady red pupils set in large eye-sockets and sharp teeth that were clearly those of a predator. Three of the things carrying oddly-shaped weapons were simply striding up the road at a fast pace while looking around, presumably for anyone who might have chosen to hide instead of flee.
If there had only been the one of them Kolya might have decided to put a few rounds into the creature himself but three-to-one odds weren't good, especially when he didn't know how fast they were, the power of their weapons or even whether they were good shots. If in doubt, let the Terrans find out, he decided to take as his motto for the day, and he was interested to see how the new residents of Atlantis were going to do this.
The Genii soldier did not have to wait long, and he had to admit afterwards that as an ambush technique making yourself invisible, letting the enemy walk right by you and then shooting them in the back had a certain style. It was also pretty funny to watch, albeit entirely lacking in honour Kolya decided as a pair of armed Terrans suddenly appeared out of thin air a couple of dozen paces behind the unsuspecting aliens and fired the electrical discharge devices fitted to their rifles into two of them before riddling the third with holes from their lasers before it could react.
The most experienced officer as regards ground combat Captain Jake Gaston, commanding the operation for that reason, had deployed his troops in such a way that he was confident they could have still effectively dealt with the opposition even if the things had proven to have technology that could see through the personal cloaks. As it was however this mission was proving to be a complete cake-walk given that the Aquatoids had demonstrated no such ability and they were caught completely off-guard by the ambush more than half of them gunned down before they even knew they were in a fight.
The moment that Gaston had given the order to open fire Sheppard had added his own contribution to the wholesale ass-kicking of the poor unsuspecting aliens when he de-cloaked his jumper, activated his shield just in case and then fired a pair of drones into the enemy submersible waiting in the shallows. Originally designed in the dim distant past for use against this self-same foe the advanced guided missiles performed exactly as intended, making the transition from air to water with an almighty splash, impacting the top of the target vessel and punching straight through the hull.
The energy from a small secondary explosion inside the craft exited the Aquatoid ship via the holes the drones had left, throwing up a jet of water from the surface. Sheppard couldn't imagine that had been the engines or whatever the thing used as a power-plant going up because he would have expected something more spectacular but he still expected to be receiving a few complaints from McKay and Zelenka later for destroying something in there they would have liked to take apart rather more carefully.
Wanting to take as many live prisoners as possible made finishing off the Aquatoids a more lengthy process than it would have been otherwise but as more and more X-COM troopers brought their weight in non-lethal firepower to bear on an ever dwindling number of the enemy the battle such as it was became a near walkover.
Underwater it would have been a very different situation, for one thing X-COM lasers, zat'nik'tels and plasma weapons wouldn't have even worked, but on land it was becoming quickly apparent that the Aquatoid's own personal armaments had a serious drawback. They were powerful certainly, in fact in terms of lethality they proved in testing later to be more deadly than even elerium based plasma weapons, but they lacked one ability that would have really helped a lot in this kind of short-range, vicious engagement, the Aquatoid's sonic pistols and rifles were unable to fire fully automatic.
'Pin them down!' Sergeant Nash bellowed at the rest of his squad as they moved to flank and surround a pair of Aquatoids who had been trying to fight their way back to the sea, unaware that their transport away from here was already disabled, and were now crouching behind a stone well in front of a public building of some kind.
With half a dozen troopers rapid-firing the zat'nik'tels fitted to their L2-A3 and P3-A1 rifles at them the aliens were simply unable to move and couldn't even stick their heads up, although they occasionally tried to blind-fire with their rifles in the vain hope of hitting something.
Originally the Aquatoids had been formed into six small squads, each with three members, but after only a couple of minutes fighting this was the only one left which had more than a single member that wasn't already dead or unconscious. The third of the aliens who had originally been in this group was lying on his back further up the street with a smoking crater in his chest from a plasma hit, maybe they could bring it back for questioning in a sarcophagus maybe not, but it would give the geeks something to dissect at least if not.
Moving up under the cover-fire of the other troopers Nash reached a position where he was close enough to pitch a goa'uld shock-grenade at the enemy and he was interested to see if it was going to work. Seeing as how they didn't know if they would ever get such an ideal opportunity to test different weapons against these things in the field the troopers had been requested to try out various armaments. This had resulted in two Aquatoids being shot with Wraith stunners (partially successful, it took more than one hit to work), one shot with a Tollan stun-pistol provided by Travoc (the alien dropped instantly but for some reason convulsed on the ground for around thirty seconds afterwards), three were rendered unconscious at once by a Sectoid stun-bomb which was fired at the one in the middle and one had his head blown off his neck by Rodney McKay's prototype gauss-rifle (the recoil also caused a shoulder-injury to the user which Medic Eitam had to fix with her Goa'uld Healing Device).
'Catch' Nash yelled out before he pitched the grenade at the two aliens, setting the electronic fuse on the device so it should go off just as it arrived. He thought he was far enough away not to be affected himself but in case he was wrong he squeezed his eyes shut and put his hands over his ears before the grenade went off.
The Aquatoids seemed disorientated for a moment, one of them getting up and staggering away from the well in distress but they certainly weren't knocked out. Taking advantage of the situation however the alien now in the open was stunned with a zat'nik'tel by one trooper and then Nash sprinted over, stun-baton in hand, and gave the other one fifty-thousand volts before it could recover.
In Acastus Kolya's report to the Genii Leadership later he wrote that he had to concur with the assessment of Terran military technology that they were extremely well equipped, and seemingly competent in the use of their weapons, but he would need to see them in action against a better prepared foe in less advantageous circumstances to properly evaluate their soldiering abilities. Of the Aquatoids he wrote that their weaponry was not suited to the engagement which was fought but that the small number of injuries which they did manage to inflict on the X-COM troopers indicated they were capable of inordinate physical damage with the sonic energy shattering bones and rupturing internal organs.
Overall despite a few casualties who had to be dosed with painkillers and stuffed in a sarcophagus for a day or two to heal it was an easy victory for X-COM, unfortunately however the Aquatoids were great believers in revenge. After millions of years of plotting and planning to finally rid the universe of the Alterans and their bastard offspring they weren't about to accept any defeat with good grace.
While the Terrans began to ship their comatose prisoners back home, and started to examine the crippled submersible now in their possession, hundreds then thousands of stasis chambers in Aquatoid bases hidden throughout the galaxy were starting to open as the original owners of both Pegasus and the Milky Way defrosted their best soldiers ready for the fight to come.
Meanwhile in the old Aquatoid city-ship of T'leth a great mind stirred and began to reach out to the creatures which had once been created to rid these stars of the old enemy and would now unwittingly serve against this new one. The Wraith Queens didn't even know they were being manipulated as they collectively decided to end the old feuds and competition for resources between the clans and united against the enemy who had already destroyed many hives and who they now all fervently believed was their ultimate enemy.
If popcorn had existed amongst the Ascended Ancients they would have all been sat around munching buckets of the stuff as riveted spectators. Normally disinterested in the affairs of mortals for the most part they were all now gleefully waiting to see if the Terran subspecies of humanity was going to live up to their high expectations, perform the job they were created for, and beat the living snot out of two species that quite desperately deserved it.Arkhan's World – Milky Way Galaxy – February 2005
Brigadier-General Jack O'Neill was still trying to get used to the idea that Harry Mayborne had apparently set himself up as ruler of this planet after "retiring" here, but now standing with Carter next to the craft Teal'c had found hidden in the forest his credulity was being even more sorely tested. 'You think it's a time machine?' he asked doubtfully.
Carter shrugged. 'Maybe, I mean if anyone could build one I guess it would be the Ancients' she replied. 'We know they'd dabbled in technology related to temporal physics, the time-loop machine we found on P4X-639 for example, and we also know that time-travel is physically possible because we've done it ourselves when the stargate spat us out in the nineteen-sixties' she said. 'The text carved on the stone columns Maybourne showed Daniel does seem to add a little credence to the story too' Carter continued. 'Teal'c and Andianov at the village, Maybourne insisted on at least a couple of them enjoying his hospitality and I didn't have anyone that needed shooting at right now' she explained.
'Carter, this thing is a Puddle Jumper' O'Neill pointed out, reaching out to tap the side of the thing. 'We've seen pictures sent back from Atlantis' he continued, 'they've got quite a few of these and I can't remember ever reading a report that mentions they can travel in time' he noted sardonically. 'Space travel yes, atmospheric flight yes, underwater even, but nothing about time travel.'
'None of the Atlantis gate-ships had one of the devices we found in the back of this one' Carter told her commanding officer. 'I'm hoping we can get this ship back to the SGC so a team can examine the device properly before we think about using it which is why I requested you to come here.'
'Because you think I can fly this thing?' O'Neill asked.
'You're a qualified pilot and you carry the ATA gene required to use Ancient technology Sir' Carter replied. 'Plus you have been complaining you don't get enough time in the field these days' she added.
O'Neill couldn't help but agree with that last part, running the SGC was not enough Stargate and too much Command. 'Have you checked it still works?' he queried.
'Yes Sir' Carter confirmed. 'I had a hard copy of the manual the Atlantis team wrote up for one of these printed out and sent to me earlier and all the systems seem intact and the battery still has plenty of charge left' she said. 'Before we use it on a mission we might want to add a naquadah reactor and an electro-plasmic shield like they did to the Atlantis jumpers but it but it should fly.'
'What about the supposed time-doohicky?' O'Neill asked. 'And what makes you so sure we're going to be using it anyway?'
Samantha Carter grimaced. 'If it's all the same to you I'll let Daniel explain that one' she replied. 'He's still over at the ruins Maybourne showed us translating more of the text.'
'Oh this sounds like it's going to be a good one' O'Neill said with a sigh, following Carter away from the ship and wondering if he should have just caught up on some paperwork instead.
It wasn't all that far to the old ruins which were near the abandoned naquadah mine. This planet had once been ruled by Ares, and was still technically within the borders of his domain, but he had abandoned it centuries ago once the mine was played out. The local population had long avoided the place of their former enslavement which was why Harry Maybourne, AKA "King Arkhan" was able to spend so much time among the ruins translating the Alteran writing carved on the various stone columns dotted around the area. Today it was Daniel Jackson doing the translating, jotting passages down in his notebook as he went, and he was still trying to adjust to the fact that he had already found his own name mentioned three times.
'Having fun among all these ancient ruins Danny?' O'Neill called out to him as soon as he and Carter arrived.
'Hey Jack' Jackson replied, finishing what he was writing before looking up from his notebook. 'They're not ancient' he said.
'Daniel I know Ancient writing when I see it' O'Neill responded, pointing to the nearest column which was covered in the stuff.
'Oh it's written
in Ancient' Daniel agreed. 'It's just that the ruins aren't actually ancient in the sense of being particularly old
' he continued. 'This text was only carved about two centuries ago' he said. 'And yes we really wouldn't normally expect anything that recent to be written in a language quite this old.'
'The locals don't use it?' O'Neill asked.
'No' Daniel replied. 'From what I can tell this text is actually a recording of the history of this planet which was written by someone that travelled into the future, made a note of what had happened came back and wrote it all down' he said.
'Maybourne found it and then used the information to pretend to be some kind of prophet or seer' Carter told O'Neill. 'He kept getting it right so eventually they made him King.'
'To be fair he seems to have done quite a good job and the people regard him as a fair and just ruler it seems' Daniel commented. 'He's modernised their agriculture, opened up trade links with other worlds, organised the building of roads and aqueducts...'
'As well as spent a lot of time sitting on his ass being fed grapes by serving girls' Carter interrupted less approvingly. 'I think if it wasn't for Queen Aikaterina keeping him in line they'd be concubines not servants for that matter.'
Aikaterina?' O'Neill repeated, smiling. 'She's come a long way from being a slave hasn't she' he observed.
'Mother to the "Crown Princess" and expecting another child' Daniel told him. 'There's a reference to "Good King Arkhan the Third" over there so I guess the dynasty lasts for a while' he added, pointing to one of the columns which recorded future events.
'Do I get a mention?' O'Neill asked jokingly.
This time both Samantha Carter and Daniel Jackson grimaced. 'Yes' the latter confirmed. 'You're mentioned in a passage that deals with a war that begins a few years from now...' he paused. 'And you're mentioned along with the rest of us as being here in the past.'
O'Neill groaned. 'I don't want to go to the past again' he complained. 'It was bad enough last time.'
'It's not like we were stuck in 1969 very long Sir' Carter pointed out.
'Teal'c in tie-dye is something that'll stick with you forever' O'Neill responded, shaking his head sadly.
'Normally I'd argue that we shouldn't go interfering with the timeline but since it looks like we already did then it would actually be interfering if we didn't' Carter told him, hoping that made a little more sense out loud than it did in her head.
'We've actually heard something about the owner of that time-ship before' Daniel told O'Neill. 'It says on the column there that his name was Janus and that he was the leading scientist on Atlantis before the Ancients evacuated the city' he said. 'That was ten thousand years ago of course but with a time-machine available him being around millennia later isn't too hard to explain.'
'Janus was the scientist who thought that his peoples ill-advised poking of the Aquatoid base on Lantea was the cause of the strange subspace signals Atlantis was detecting' Carter noted. 'We're fairly sure now he was completely right but nobody at the time believed him' she said. 'From the records they pulled out of the Atlantis database and transmitted back to us we think he was their top scientist if one considered a little radical.'
'The more we learn about them the more we've determined that the Ancients weren't typically big fans of radical thinkers, or those who wanted to change things quickly' Daniel interjected. 'They preferred the slow and steady approach which is why their technological progress was generally so slow' he said. 'During the war with the Wraith they were forced to develop new weaponry quickly but it wasn't something they were comfortable with and the outcomes were often poor because they weren't in their element when under pressure to produce results fast and couldn't spend a century or two running test evaluations.'
'So you're saying this Janus guy was kinda an unancienty Ancient?' O'Neill asked.
'That would be one way to say it yes' Daniel replied in the affirmative. If you were prone to inventing new words that is he thought to himself.
O'Neill frowned. 'So what exactly does it say on there we do?' he asked. 'In the past I mean.'
'Do you want the Readers Digest version?' Daniel asked.
'That would be nice' O'Neill told him.
Daniel Jackson took a deep breath. 'We take the ship we found, travel back two hundred years and meet Janus' he began. 'Then together we pick up a ZPM he knows about, travel back to the present, go to Atlantis and give them the ZPM' he continued. 'Then
we travel back ten thousand years and rescue Doctor Weir who for some reason I can't quite determine is trapped on Atlantis in 8000BC.'
'Oh is that all?' O'Neill asked wryly.
'No, there's also a message to bring a set of really good masonry tools and a crate of whiskey with us to give to the person that had to pound all that into the column' Daniel replied. 'Seriously, it says that' he added in response to O'Neill's doubtful expression.
O'Neill rubbed his chin and then turned to Carter. 'Assuming this isn't all some elaborate practical joke you've all cooked up with Maybourne I'll give you my office, my parking space at the SGC and
let you have an extra two weeks of paid vacation this year if you
try and explain and get approval for this insane idea from General Hammond and the IOA instead of me having to do it' he told her seriously.
'Not even if you offered to throw in a promotion to full Colonel as well' Carter told him flatly.
Note from the Author:James MacKenzie was a military psychiatist who consulted for the SGC. I couldn't see all the revelations coming back from Atlantis not having an effect on morale so even Sharp has been forced to pay a little more attention to the mental well-being of his troops. Illya Dwoskin the X-COM Finance Director is the man that keeps the organisation financially solvent. It says a lot for the way they do things that in-game the monthly budget appears to be delivered by a suspicious looking guy carrying a briefcase full of cash! Marsec is a defence company which features heavily in both X-COM: Interceptor and X-COM: Apocalypse. They produce quite a lot of the armaments you use in both games and here they're being founded as a interplanetary conglomerate. Another company that features in X-COM is Energen who run fusion power plants. Here they're being set up by the IAEA to construct and build the new fusion reactors being built on Earth (these are actually based upon Eurondan technology but this is of course secret)The Aquatoid submersible vessel featured here is a Battleship, a type often used for large-scale raids against coastal settlements. This one is carrying a crew of 21 and I've had 3 of them stay with the ship while the others attack the town. Aquatoids themselves aren't great soldiers, you take take them out with Harpoon Guns easily enough in the game but the other races you fight against in X-COM: Terror from the Deep are much, much tougher. Acastus Kolya is a Genii soldier (a very ruthless and fairly competant one). In Stargate Atlantis he was a long-time enemy of the expedition but with the Genii allied to the Terrans he's just an observer. The sonic weapons used by the aliens in Terror from the Deep are more lethal per shot than the plasma weaponry seen in the first X-COM game but as a major drawback the magazine sizes are smaller and they cannot fire fully automatic. To give one example the basic Sonic Pistol causes half again as much damage as the Plasma Pistol but you lose the ability to "spray and pray" at long range or put a three-round burst into an enemy at point-blankArkhan's World was where Harry Maybourne ended up when he retired. It later transpired in SG-1 episode 8:13 It's Good to be the King that he had managed to become the ruler of the planet in large part because he was able to translate the writing on some ruins he found. The Time Jumper (a puddle jumper with a time-travel device fitted) was an invention of Janus who actually made at least two of them (without permission from the Lantean leadership it must be said, not that he didn't have a track record of carrying out unauthorised research). Another Ancient device the SGC had encountered previously was the Time Loop Machine on P4X-639 and SG-1 had actually traveled back in time before in episode 2:21 1969 so finding a time-machine wouldn't be regarded as nonsensical, simply surprising as hellIt'll all make sense in the end honestly!