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.
Cheyenne Mountain – Earth – June 2004
A look from Weir as they left the gate-room had been enough to tell Commander Sharp his presence during negotiations with the System Lords was neither required nor welcome and since the IOA in their infinite wisdom had placed her in charge of the SGC he took the hint and left them to it, deciding to seek out Janet to ask if she wanted him to pickup takeout food before heading to her place later.
The Goa’uld had already collected themselves again by the time they sat down at the table, any temporary disruption in their sense of innate superiority and the certainty that they were the dominant party in the discussions due to Sharps less than veiled threat having faded fast. As well as Weir being there to represent Earth both General Hammond and Daniel were also present to act as advisors, and in Hammond’s case as an observer too now he was based out of Washington DC.
Having both Sharp and Hammond at the Mountain, if only for a short while, was not helping Weir in her efforts to be seen and accepted as being in charge. The overwhelming majority of personnel still regarded General Hammond as being the man that should still be running the SGC and of the rest most were X-COM and thought that Sharp should be, or at least that known liberal do-gooder Weir certainly shouldn’t
be. It was an awkward situation to be in but at least this particular day’s task was something that was within her demonstrated skills-set, diplomacy, bargaining and negotiation was where Elizabeth Weir truly shined and she was determined to damn well prove it.
Despite the fact that Lord Yu was the senior System Lord in attendance, being not only the most venerable and established but also still possessing the greatest quantity of military assets, Camulus seemed to be leading the discussions from the goa’uld side. ‘Your unexpected defeat of Anubis has created an unstable situation among the System Lords. In order to avoid open war, we came to an agreement to divide his territories and his armies evenly’ he told the Tau’ri.
‘How civilised of you’ Daniel replied.
‘Yes’ Camulus replied, ignoring the sarcasm. ‘Unfortunately, one among us has broken that agreement’ he noted.
‘Baal’ Weir replied, ‘we know that he and his allies Bastet, Kali and Amatarasu have been starting to launch attacks on the other goa’uld after licking their wounds inflicted by Anubis’ she said.
Camulus nodded. ‘Although Anubis did press Baal very hard before he launched his attack on Earth his shipyards emerged unscathed and he has proven able to rebuild his fleets in short order on previous occasions’ he said, ‘most notably after the war with Apophis’ he added.
‘Even so according to our intelligence Anubis and Loki crippled much of both Baals offensive striking force and that of his allies’ Weir noted. ‘Anubis knew we would destroy quite a lot of his fleet attacking Earth directly, even if he defeated us, and he didn’t want Baal on his back straight away taking advantage.’
Morrigan looked from Camulus to Weir. ‘True’ she agreed, ‘but although his fleet is still a long way from recovering its losses he has obtained a considerable edge over the rest of us in ground combat to compensate’ she told Weir.
‘Which is?’ Weir queried.
‘Thoth, the scientist who created the Kull Warriors for Anubis, offered his services to Baal once it became known that his previous master was dead’ Camulus explained. ‘He also likely brought with him the Ancient and Asgard technology Anubis had used to create his most advanced ships so we can expect to see the newest model Al’kesh and Ha’tak vessels appearing in Baals service in time too’ he told her. ‘We have already faced the new Deathgliders with their shields and rapid-fire weapons.’
‘Baal has Kull Warriors now?’ Daniel asked in surprise.
‘Small numbers so far but more every day’ Morrigan replied. ‘He also has another type of abomination flying his Deathgliders’ she continued, ‘one originally created by the rogue Asgard Loki’ she said. ‘With those Orac at his command, Baal has tipped the balance of power in his favour.’
‘We call the pilots Aereons’ General Hammond said with distaste. The genetically-engineered super-pilots with their cybernetic upgrades were generally thought of as being the Kull Warriors of the skies. Placed in the cockpit of an upgraded Deathglider they went through squadrons of Jaffa pilots much like the Kull went through Jaffa infantry, they simply outclassed the opposition.
‘Kull and Aereons’ Weir commented. ‘Thoth is really earning his keep’ she said. ‘I imagine he thought that Baal would be the highest bidder?’ she suggested.
‘It is likely he was offered a small domain of his own’ Camulus replied, ‘the promise of a System or two carved from the territory of one of the defeated System Lords after Baals victory’ he said. ‘Nerus has a similar arrangement’ he noted.
Lord Yu beckoned his First Prime closer and whispered something in his ear. ‘My Master points out that with both Nerus and Thoth now in his service Baal is likely to increase his technological superiority over the other System Lords’ Oshu spoke up. ‘Although they are known to dislike each other personally their rivalry may spur them to greater heights of inventiveness.’
‘Some among us have already spoken of capitulation’ Camulus told the Tau’ri.
‘Well, this is all very interesting I'm sure’ Weir replied, ‘but I fail to see what it has to do with us’ she added.
Yu whispered to Oshu again. ‘My master wishes to say, it is well known the Tau'ri possess powerful new weapons of many types’ the Jaffa said, ‘including a weapon of the Ancients’ he noted.
‘Yes’ Daniel confirmed. ‘We used the Ancient weapon to destroy the remainder of Anubis’s Fleet’ he said.
‘By means of these weapons, Baal can be prevented from conquering the galaxy’ Oshu said.
Camulus looked Weir in the eyes. ‘If Baal defeats us, how long do you think it will be before he turns his attention to you?’ he asked rhetorically.
Weir looked unconcerned, the goa’uld had no idea the only person who they knew for sure could operate the Control Chair that launched and guided the Ancient Drones was currently in stasis. ‘If he does he'll suffer the same fate as Anubis’ she replied dismissively.
‘Perhaps’ Morrigan conceded. ‘But there are other worlds in this galaxy without the luxury of such advanced defences’ she pointed out.
‘Meaning?’ General Hammond asked.
‘Although the Asgard sent vessels to defend a small number of other worlds which were under attack we noticed that they did not dispatch a warship to Earth’ Morrigan observed. ‘It is said that the Asgard Fleet is overstretched and cannot even defend all the worlds listed under the Protected Planets Treaty let alone interfere with the goa’uld on a wider scale’ she said.
‘They didn’t send a ship here because they knew we could beat Anubis without them’ Weir responded, deliberately adopting a condescending smile. ‘Ask the goa’uld who attacked Galar and and K’Tau if the Asgard still defend worlds that can’t protect themselves... assuming any of them made it home alive to ask’ she added, her smile becoming a smirk.
‘But could you or they stand up to the goa’uld united by a single leader?’ Camulus asked. ‘Anubis already destroyed the myth of Asgard invincibility and others say that Loki demonstrates that the Asgard are not even as unified as we generally believed’ he said. ‘You defeated thirty Ha’tak, could you stand up to three-hundred?’ he queried.
Elizabeth Weir laughed. ‘Yes but don't expect me to say how many motherships could
overwhelm us, that's still a classified military secret’ she bluffed. In reality far less than three hundred goa’uld Ha’tak could do the job she knew, for one thing the Goa’uld could just drop out of hyperspace all around the planet and open fire on the surface destroying every major city before the Drones could destroy them or drive them off.
‘Three hundred would take us years to clean up though’ Daniel told Weir, playing along. ‘Although it could be a financial opportunity’ he continued thoughtfully, ‘Is there a market for Ha’tak spares?’ he asked Camulus. ‘We’ve already got a few million tons of them if you want to make an offer.’
‘Your overconfidence will be your undoing’ Morrigan warned.
‘You must see that it is better for the Tau’ri that Baal does not dominate the galaxy’ Camulus told Weir, ‘we know you did battle against Apophis and then Anubis to prevent such an outcome’ he continued. ‘Even if you can defend your world, and the Asgard can protect the other twenty-six planets named by the Treaty, thousands of others have no such defence.’
‘You see yourselves as the champions of your race do you not?’ Morrigan asked Weir. ‘Would you stand idly bye and let countless humans die during Baals war of conquest?’
‘What is it exactly that you want?’ Weir asked.
‘We ask for Tau’ri military intervention against Baal’ Camulus replied.
‘So basically our soldiers dying to defend your worlds, or were you hoping to be supplied with our superior weapons?’ Weir replied, making sure to stress “superior” as she said it.
‘We were hoping that you would utilise your weapons to destroy Baal’s Fleet and his shipyards’ Morrigan told her. ‘If we had complete orbital superiority then the Kull become mere insects to be crushed at our leisure.’
‘Insects that still have a nasty sting’ Daniel noted.
‘If Baal cannot protect the nest does that matter?’ Camulus responded.
Weir was tempted to continue with the metaphor herself but the fact was they couldn’t use the Ancient Drones against Baal, at least not yet, so it was perhaps best to end this charade before someone realised what amounted to little more than bluff. ‘Perhaps when this facility was run by our military they would have accepted your proposal but I’m a diplomat and see this as primarily an internal goa’uld political dispute’ she said.
Lord Yu was becoming angry, he slammed his fist down on the table. ‘Enough’ he bellowed, ‘with each passing moment Anubis becomes more powerful’ he exclaimed.
The other goa’uld looked at him, frowning. ‘You mean Baal’ Daniel reminded him, at least the senile old bastard hadn’t said Apophis, that was two
wars ago he thought to himself.
‘My Master is fatigued’ Oshu said hurriedly, ‘we request a short adjournment’ he said.
Yu turned to his First Prime. ‘Silence’ he ordered. ‘I need no adjournment’ he told the others.
Camulus decided to get the negotiations back on track. ‘We know you have a formidable defensive weapon, plus some limited ability to launch offensives against your enemies’ he addressed Weir, ‘we are prepared to offer hyperdrive engines that are likely more advanced than...’
‘We already have faster hyperdrives than you’ Weir interrupted him. ‘What else have you got to offer?’ she asked.
Morrigan frowned and looked at Camulus doubtfully. ‘Perhaps they obtained the design used by Apophis somehow?’ she theorised to him.
‘No we’ve got a hyperdrive that is faster than any
vessel used by the goa’uld’ Weir told them. It was technically true but at the moment she was also accurate in using the singular and she neglected to mention the severely diminished operational life-span.
‘The Asgard gave you their hyperdrive technology?’ Camulus queried, ‘that could be seen as violating the Protected Planets Treaty’ he pointed out.
‘It’s not an Asgard design it’s a goa’uld design upgraded to Ancient specifications’ Weir told them, ‘you didn’t think we only obtained one of their weapon systems did you?’ she asked rhetorically, letting the goa'uld jump to the conclusion that the Tau'ri might be awash with Ancient devices. The IOA had cleared her to reveal the information regarding the upgraded drive, they wanted the System Lords to know Earth had a means to almost instantly retaliate against any future attacks. Deterrence rather than the immediate pre-emptive strike Commander Sharp continued to advocate.
‘Would you would be interested in naquadah supplies as payment then’ Morrigan queried.
‘We’ve so much of that stockpiled we’ve cut back production, so not really’ Weir replied, her voice sounding almost bored.
Camulus pursed his lips. ‘You are familiar with the sarcophagus’ he said, ‘with those you could...’
‘We make our own, actually we’re working on a better one than yours because the original Ancient Device it was based upon is now in our possession’ Daniel told them.
Camulus was starting to get annoyed now. ‘Staff Cannon...’ he began.
‘How many do you want?’ Hammond asked. ‘We’ve got warehouses full of captured goa’uld weaponry’ he told him. This was fun, he thought.
Morrigan had a thought. ‘This Ancient weapon’ she said, ‘such an advanced piece of technology’ she continued. ‘The power requirements must be enormous. Even simple maintenance must be extremely difficult, given your limited capabilities’ she surmised.
‘We manage’ Weir responded.
‘Of course, we believe you’ Morrigan replied. ‘But I wonder what Baal would think if he were to receive intelligence that the weapon was temporarily out of commission’ she asked. ‘Would he consider it wise to attack the Tau’ri before they had grown too strong with their other weapons?’
‘He would have to take advantage of the window of opportunity’ Camulus responded. ‘The Tau’ri would be forced to destroy him.’
‘And we would have to give them nothing’ Morrigan concurred.
‘We didn’t actually want anything you were offering’ Daniel noted. ‘Baal would never fall for that anyway. He knows how desperate you are. I think he might find this information a little bit convenient’ he added.
‘Perhaps, but you leave us few option’ Camulus replied.
Weir didn’t like where this was heading, time for another tactic, she thought. ‘Okay we’ll do it’ she told the goa’uld.
Daniel raised his eyebrows. ‘We will?’ he asked in confusion.
‘In exchange we want Baal’s territory’ Weir declared.
The three System Lords looked at each other. ‘All of it?’ Camulus responded with a mixture of surprise and dismay evident in his voice.
‘Well, that's the way it works right?’ Weir checked. ‘When one System Lord kills another, he takes over his armies, his fleet, his planets. That's what we want’ she said. ‘Everything in Baal's possession’ she told them.
‘The High Council would never agree’ Camulus replied, then took a deep breath letting it back out slowly. ‘Much of his territory consists of Systems that formerly belonged to Ra and Apophis’ he said, ‘they are the closest to Earth’ he continued. ‘We might be prepared to cede you that part of his domain upon his defeat’ he bargained.
This was certainly not the reaction Weir had been expecting and she almost choked but instead she managed to maintain a calm demeanour. ‘So we do the work and get left the scraps from your table’ she replied, ‘not good enough’ she said.
‘You don’t have the ships to hold more than a fraction of Baal’s current holdings’ Morrigan stated. ‘As Camulus said none of the nearby systems ever belonged to any of the High Council so we would not be losing face if they came into your control’ she said.
‘We will accept the Tau’ri ownership of every system within... fifty light-years of this one’ Camulus told Weir. The other System Lords would probably agree to that.
‘Five hundred’ Weir replied, she had simply multiplied his offer by ten.
‘Ridiculous’ Yu responded.
‘That would include some worlds belonging to other members of the High Council’ Camulus told her.
‘We're reasonable people so two hundred and fifty light years, take it or leave it’ Weir told them
Camulus grimaced. ‘We will have to consult with the others’ he said. ‘Take us to the chappa’ai’ he told Weir.
After the System Lords left the room, Hammond following to keep an eye on them, Daniel remained behind with Weir. ‘I assume you were trying to make a demand they wouldn’t accept without sounding like you were doing that’ Daniel asked.
‘Yes’ Weir replied, ‘I was caught off-guard when they offered us any territory at all’ she said. ‘How much of the galaxy did I ask for anyway?’ she wondered.
‘Well thanks to spending an awful lot of time with Sam I know the Milky Way is a hundred-thousand light-years across so not much I guess?’
Bill Lee walked in wearing a white Lab Coat and an amused smile, he was carrying a clipboard. ‘I hope you don’t mind me intruding’ he said. ‘Camulus is communicating with the other System Lords via an encrypted signal sent through the gate, he’s typing the message into some gadget he had with him, and we’ve been decoding it almost right away thanks to information we got on goa’uld ciphers from the Tok’ra’ he told them. ‘So far they don’t seem happy’ he said. ‘I was also asked to work out how many stars lie within two-hundred and fifty light-years of Earth and I thought you’d be interested’ he added.
‘Hundreds?’ Weir wondered.
‘No, it’s a few more than that’ Lee told her with a chuckle. ‘Some of them are binary stars of course so it’s not quite this many systems but we’re talking over a quarter of a million’ he announced.
‘A quarter of a million’ Weir repeated slowly before sighing with relief. ‘Okay, they’ll never agree to that’ she said.
‘Only a very small proportion have a stargate though’ Lee noted. ‘In the galaxy as a whole there are hundreds of billions of stars so a quarter-million isn’t actually a lot.’
‘So what do we do if they do
agree to your terms then?’ Daniel asked Weir nervously.
‘You mean other
than me trying to explain to the UN and the IOA that not only have I gotten us involved in another major war as an official ally of the High Council of the System Lords but that somehow I’ve accidentally turned Earth into an imperial power that rules over a quarter-million stars?’ Weir responded in dismay at the situation.
Daniel looked thoughtful. ‘You need to work on your phrasing’ he advised. ‘Though on the plus side you may have earned the undying gratitude of X-COM’ he told her.
Weir blinked. ‘Suddenly I feel so dirty’ she said bleakly.Hala System – Galaxy of Ida – June 2004
‘It’s very beautiful’ Lyudmila Andianov observed as she watched the planets of the Hala System continue to break up and spiral to their fates in the newly created black hole which had once been their sun.
‘Beautiful?’ Teal’c queried.
‘In the way that a desert or a polar wasteland can be’ Andianov explained. ‘The dark beauty of desolation’ she added.
‘I thought Russians only got poetic about tractors’ Samantha Carter joked.
Andianov looked away from the scene of destruction. ‘You are thinking of Ukrainians’ she replied.
They were on the bridge of the Asgard Science Vessel Daniel Jackson
with Thor sat in his chair monitoring the situation as the Hala System was wrought apart. The Beliskner Class ship Sigrdrífa
had dropped them and their supplies off with Thor and then headed back to Orilla while the Daniel Jackson
moved closer to the Black Hole. Now they were enjoying the sight of the Replicators being finished off once and for all, even the normally placid and civilised Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet had a definite aura of primitive vengefulness about him as Hala died, taking the killer von-neuman machines with it. His people had been fighting them for century after century and they had killed many of his friends and colleagues over the years so perhaps a little atavistic barbarism was understandable.
Hala itself was breaking apart thanks to the gravitational sheer. The planets which had been closer to the sun were already nothing but debris, falling inexorably towards the event horizon of the artificially created singularity, and the former Asgard colony was about to share their fate. You had to give the Asgard credit for not dealing in half measures, they expected the Replicators would eventually escape from the time-dilation field which trapped them and so they were making sure to pre-empt that situation by putting the Replicators somewhere they couldn’t escape from. Once you were sucked into a Black Hole there was no getting back out, for that matter the time-dilation effects of even getting too close made the field they were already bound by look pretty unimpressive.
‘This is strange’ Thor said, his expression as close to a frown as his race developed.
‘I guess you’re not referring to the fact we’re watching the accretion disk of a star where the gravity was artificially increased to collapse it’ Carter replied.
‘No, we’ve done this before to deal with a star we feared was close to supernova and which was too close to an inhabited system’ Thor replied. ‘Although the planet is breaking apart it seems that a large number of Replicators have managed to come together in a coherent mass that is not spiralling towards the event horizon’ he said, pressing a control to turn the display console he was looking at towards Carter.
Carter shrugged. ‘Well, even if they can withstand the gravitational force without being torn apart there's no way they could ever….’ she began.
‘Interesting’ Thor cut her off.
‘What is it?’ Carter asked him.
‘The mass of replicator blocks have begun moving further away from the event horizon’ Thor told her.
‘How is that possible?’ Carter queried.
‘They have the time dilation device’ Thor replied. ‘I do not know exactly how, but they seem to have used it to counteract the gravitational effects that should be pulling them in’ he explained as best he could.
‘Frightening’ Carter responded. ‘Not only that they can do that, but that you don't know how’ she said.
‘I agree’ Thor replied. ‘They are picking up speed. Scans indicate the blocks have formed together’ he told the humans.
‘Into what?’ Teal’c asked.
‘A ship’ Thor replied. ‘They are escaping. Their course indicates they are headed this way’ he said.
‘Have you ever seen anything like it?’ Carter asked the Asgard.
‘No, and it is doubtful my ship's weapons will be effective against it’ Thor replied. ‘This science vessel is not even as heavily armed as the Beliskner I once commanded’ he continued. ‘And we retired those as front-line warships because they could not effectively fight the Replicators.’
‘We should probably get out of here then, huh?’ Carter suggested seriously. ‘Can you jump into hyperspace?’
‘We must clear the gravitational distortion field of the black hole first’ Thor replied, starting to activate other controls, the ship turning as he did so. ‘They are also interfering with subspace communications.’
The Daniel Jackson
began to pick up speed, accelerating against the gravity holding it back. The Replicator vessel was gaining fast however, as it closed it fired something at them.
‘They have fired upon us’ Thor announced.
‘Can it penetrate your shields?’ Carter asked him.
‘It is more than likely’ Thor replied evenly. That’s it, he thought to himself, from now on I’m never going anywhere unless I’m aboard an O’Neill Class ship he decided bitterly. ‘Brace for impact’ he warned.
The Daniel Jackson
shook and the sound of an almighty distant thump towards the stern of the ship indicated the Replicator weapon had gone right through the shield and hit them.
Thor looked at the damage control computer display that was urgently trying to attract his attention. ‘The hull is breached’ he told the humans.
‘Where’ Carter asked him.
Thor activated a control that projected an internal schematic of the ship. ‘The damage is minimal’ he said. ‘The projectile was likely composed of Replicators’ he continued. ‘They are not visible to my ship's scanners. This is how they have boarded Asgard ships in the past’ he added.
‘Can you use the shields to prevent decompression in those sections?’ Carter asked him.
‘Yes’ Thor replied.
‘I think we need to repel boarders’ Carter told Teal’c and Andianov.
‘We are not suitably armed’ Teal’c pointed out.
Carter turned to Thor. ‘Have you got the schematics for our projectile weapons?’ she asked. ‘Can you make copies?’
‘Yes’ Thor replied. ‘I have an extensive database of Earth weaponry, its effectiveness against Replicators ensured my people made sure to have them available even though we are not well-suited to carry them or handle the recoil’ he said.
‘Three AA-12 Automatic shotguns, six 32 round drums of buckshot per weapon’ Carter told him.
‘They are being created’ Thor replied, pointing to a device where the first AA-12 was already appearing, seemingly from mid air. Asgard science was fiendishly advanced which was unfortunate given that the Replicators had assimilated so much of it.
‘This trip is turning out to be far more enjoyable than I feared it would’ Andianov said brightly, moving to collect the weapon.
As they headed back through the ship the sounds of Replicators scurrying about grew louder and more distinct. ‘I think they may be inside the walls’ Teal’c told the others, placing his ear against a bulkhead.
‘We need Replicator traps’ Andianov opined, ‘do you think a large mousetrap with a piece of high technology as bait instead of cheese would work?’ she asked, eyes scanning the environment, weapon shouldered.
‘I’ve baited them before’ Carter replied, ‘of course that was with a whole ship’ she noted.
The sound of a torrent of metal feet clinking against the deck up ahead had all three taking up firing positions as a large number of Replicators appeared from around a junction in the corridor. ‘Not all in the walls then’ Carter observed. ‘Open fire’ she ordered.
Firing at a rate of three hundred shells per minute the AA-12 firing buckshot had proven to be an extremely effective way of dealing with Replicators. The spread of the shot meant that each shotgun shell could be relied upon to shatter several of the things at once and being hosed over the tide of metallic bugs surging towards them the trio of fully-automatic shotguns was more than enough to effectively deal with the things, blocks sent in all directions.
The recoil was fierce and Carter knew her shoulder was going to ache like hell later but she had to admit that the Sergeant was right about this being fun, she thought. Ejecting the first drum which was now empty and starting to load another, which had been hooked to her belt, Carter saw that Teal’c was already firing his second drum whilst Andianov had been firing only aimed single shots, albeit still quite rapidly, and was still on her first magazine. The Russian was carefully picking her shots, taking out the Replicators that were ahead of the main mass that Teal’c was firing into, none shall pass, Carter thought with a grin as she started firing again.
Tactically the Replicators were not very skilled. They rarely had to be since they always had weight of numbers and for the most part their foes had employed ineffectually energy weapons, but as they skittered towards the human soldiers and were blasted into their component pieces Teal’c couldn’t help but wonder if the Tau’ri considered fighting Jaffa being much like this? Certainly the goa’uld cared as little for their slave warriors as the Replicator collective cared for each individual within their ranks and even today some of the System Lords had yet to recognise that attempting to charge down Tau’ri automatic weapons was simply insane. ‘The enemy numbers are decreasing Major Carter’ he told her.
‘We should try and flush these blocks into space somehow’ Carter replied as the attack petered out. The last few were shot down and then Teal’c walked forward and scattered the piles of blocks to make it harder for them to reform.
Carter looked around. ‘Thor should be able to vent this section into space once we are clear’ she said.
‘I can still hear more of them’ Andianov said as the sound of gunfire echoing down the corridors ceased.
‘We’ll get rid of these first and then come back and finish off the rest’ Carter responded.
A single replicator appeared from behind some ducting looking like it was about to attack Carter who was nearest, before anyone could fire however she disappeared in a flash that was identical to an Asgard transporter beam. Andianov took out the replicator before Teal’c could and he took out his radio. ‘Thor, it is Teal'c. Major Carter was beamed away. Is she in your presence?’ he asked.
‘I did not do it. The Replicators must have her
’ Thor replied.
More of them appeared, though far fewer than earlier and pushing the fate of Major Carter from their minds for the moment Teal’c and Andianov began engaging them. They had to deal with the boarders before they could consider other things.
Clear of the sub-space distortions caused by the Black Hole the replicator vessel jumped into hyperspace. Thor vented the areas of the ship Teal’c told him to and as the blocks were sucked into space along with the atmosphere in the stern compartments the two remaining members of SG-1 aboard returned to the bridge.
‘We have eliminated all the replicators we could locate’ Teal’c told the Asgard.
‘There is no way of knowing if there are more. The replicator ship has entered hyperspace’ Thor replied.
‘Can you follow?’ Teal’c asked.
‘Yes’ Thor confirmed, powering up the Neutrino-Ion Generators and bringing his FTL engines on-line to give chase. As the Daniel Jackson pursued the replicators into hyperspace Thor told the humans that the sections of the ship he had vented were now sealed again and being pressurised. Andianov told him she would go back and search for any remaining bugs whilst Teal’c remained on the bridge.
‘Do you know its destination?’ Teal’c asked Thor as they followed the enemy ship.
‘Before you destroyed them, the replicators managed to access the ship's computer’ Thor replied. ‘They learned the location of Orilla, the planet where we are attempting to rebuild the Asgard civilisation. I assumed it would be their first target’ he said.
‘What is your reasoning?’ Teal’c queried.
‘Orilla is rich in neutronium, which is a key element in Asgard technology’ Thor explained. ‘It is also essential for the creation of human-form replicators’ he noted.
Carter had found herself onboard the replicator ship. As she made her way along a corridor entirely faced with replicator blocks she reached out and gingerly touched them, being reminded of the surface of Hala after it had been consumed by the machines.
A familiar figure seemed to simply step out of the wall next to her. ‘Major Carter’ the human-form replicator known as Fifth greeted her.
‘Fifth’ Carter replied, this could be good or bad news she thought.
‘I imagine you never expected to see me again’ Fifth remarked, his expression was not friendly.
‘Look, I'm sorry we left you behind, but we had to do it’ Carter told him. ‘We couldn't risk the others getting out. You know what they're capable of. I know you must be upset’ she tried to sooth him.
‘Upset?’ Fifth responded as if that was the understatement of the epoch.
‘We betrayed you, it must have hurt’ Carter continued, trying to placate him, trying to reach out to his humanity, assuming he had some. ‘See, that's the part of you that's most like us. The human part of you. I understand how you feel’ she said.
Fifth moved towards her, Carter nervously backing up as far as she could as he approached. ‘No you don't! You couldn't’ he replied. ‘But I promise, you will’ he added, smirking as he pushed his hand into her forehead.
As the Daniel Jackson
gradually closed on the replicator ship, her hyperdrive marginally faster than the one propelling the other vessel Thor was already making plans.
‘How can we stop them?’ Teal’c asked.
‘My ship's weapons will not function in hyperspace’ Thor replied. ‘Much like the shields’ he continued, ‘however, in close proximity, the self destruct may be sufficient to eliminate both ships. I am sorry, but we have no choice’ he said. ‘If the human-form replicators reach Orilla, they will have the resources to replicate many thousands of times. We cannot allow that to happen.
‘So be it’ Teal’c replied, he had no doubt that Sergeant Andianov would concur.
Just as they neared the other ship however the Daniel Jackson
began to lose ground again. ‘We are slowing down. Something is interfering with the controls’ Thor announced. ‘The auxiliary control console, outside the engine room’ he said.
Teal’c took up his radio again. ‘Sergeant I believe we may have yet more Replicators aboard’ he said.
By the time they dealt with the last of them the replicator ship was too far ahead for the Daniel Jackson to catch up. It would be now for the Asgard Fleet to try and stop them in orbit above Orilla.
As the replicator ship emerged from hyperspace it was engaged by six O’Neill Class warships and was quickly destroyed but large sections continued on into the atmosphere. By the time Thor arrived with the Daniel Jackson
the replicators had reached the surface and were already increasing in number, starting to take over the capital city itself.
Thor could only think of one place where he might find some means of winning the battle. It was a good thing that although the science vessel was far from a match for an Asgard Warship in firepower it certainly did not lack for speed compared to its larger brethren, he set course for Earth at full speed and hoped Orilla would still be worth saving by the time he got back.Orilla – Galaxy of Ida – June 2004
Penigal leader of the Asgard High Council had no idea what Thor was doing but Orilla was going to fall and the Asgard were not well suited or properly equipped to fight this kind of war. There were replicators in the city, more of them in the surrounding forests and since having the fleet blast the region into oblivion from orbit wasn’t much of an option he called for urgent suggestions.
Heimdall only recently returned from Earth immediately made one, the Asgard might not be able to fight this kind of war but they knew a race that could. After a moments deliberation Pengal ordered Aegir the senior officer commanding the Asgard Fleet above Orilla to immediately depart with his ship the Valhalla
for the galaxy the humans called the Milky Way at full speed, his destination the world the humans called Terra Nova or the Omega Site once there he would make a plea for urgent assistance.
Thor arrived at Earth minutes before Aegir reached the Omega Site and after narrowly avoiding being fired upon as his unannounced arrival greatly agitated Colonel Chekov aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov
he promptly beamed up what he wanted and headed back to Ida planning to apologise to the human leadership later.
By the time Colonel O’Neill regained consciousness onboard the Daniel Jackson, suffering from a splitting headache and utterly confused not only about how he ended up there but also why Daniel, Teal’c, Andianov and Thor were waiting expectantly for him to explain what the weird gadget they insisted he had made was, the Valhalla
was itself half way back to Ida with Aegir pushing the engines of his own ship well beyond safe limits.
O’Neill was trying to make sense of the situation. According to Daniel Thor had apparently beamed him out of an Ancient Stasis Tube in Antarctica and whilst he remained comatose he had interfaced with the ships computer and had designed something virtually which the ship had then constructed according to his specifications. Since he had been filled up with Ancient knowledge Thor had hoped he might be able to come up with a means to fight the Replicators who had invaded the Asgard world Orilla and with any luck the gizmo was just the ticket the only problem was nobody knew what it was, how it worked or even how to turn it on.
Still none the wiser when they arrived back in orbit around Orilla Thor had decided to look for another exploitable weakness in the foe and had beamed aboard the inert body of a humanform replicator that another Asgard vessel had located floating in the wreckage of the enemy ship that hadn’t made it into the atmosphere. As he scanned it trying to sift through its memory banks Andianov made the not unreasonable comment that if they were going to be doing something like this then they should have picked up some elerium weapons on Earth given that elerium was not a substance that you could easily produce using Asgard beaming technology and only elerium plasma bolts had proven themselves effective against these things in the past. O’Neill pointed out it was easy to be smart in hindsight to which the Sergeant replied she was never travelling without full battle-gear again and would ignore any comments about the destination being “perfectly safe”.
The Daniel Jackson
detected the arrival from hyperspace of the Valhalla
but at the time Thor was too busy panicking about the apparently far from dead humanform replicator escaping and trying to kill them all to pay much attention. As the humans tried to bring it down ineffectually with buckshot Aegir was bringing his O’Neill Class warship into orbit above the city and he began to beam down his cargo.
The replicators were advancing unimpeded through the city like soldier ants, only slowed in their path because they were devouring technology and metal in order to make more of themselves. Having already begun to disable computer networks the Replicators prevented Asgard civilians from simply beaming away to safety and they were forced to flee as best they could on foot, most wishing they had cloned a body type better suited for running.
A group of Asgard found themselves cut off from possible escape as they headed towards a ship that had set down and was now loading evacuees. There were not remotely enough ships to take everyone and it was dangerous for the ship to even stay as long as it already had but the Asgard were not cowards and their Fleet would not abandon the population, they would rescue all they could before leaving and then they would raze the planet.
Being chased between rows of gleaming skyscrapers the group of Asgard knew the Replicators were chasing them down. They would be killed and some of the elements within their bodies would be used to make more of the things, it was not a welcome prospect. They had lived for centuries and now they would be ended by a soulless metal plague, a hundred thousand years of Asgard civilisation lost to creatures that were originally toys made by a copy of a human that possessed the mind of a child. There was little justice in the universe apparently, they thought as they found themselves being surrounded on all sides.
One of the Asgard noticed other sounds intermixed with the relentless skittering of the replicators across concrete, stone and metal, the sounds grew louder and intermixed with explosions as another aggressive species arrived on Orilla and began demonstrating once again the proven effectiveness of lead propelled by chemical explosions.
‘Just remember, we only kill the bugs that look like lego’ Colonel Rodrigues yelled into his radio as he led the first elements of what he liked to think of as the X-COM Expeditionary Force to the Ida Galaxy into the fray. He was justifiably concerned that when the adrenaline kicked in his soldiers might accidentally gun down a few Asgard given their resemblance to the old Sectoid enemy but for now at least they were taking out a lot more replicators and were surely saving orders of magnitude more Asgard than they might accidentally shoot.
Ever since they had learned of the Replicators X-COM had been developing weapons to fight them with. Since they were supposedly trapped all the hardware had been placed in storage but it was not disposed of because there could be more of the things out there somewhere and besides which what killed replicators effectively would work on plenty of other things.
The basic starting point was the X-COM autocannon, a large-calibre multi-barrelled gatling-gun like weapon driven by an electric motor. Originally equipped by an ammunition clip firing high-explosive, armour-piercing or incendiary rounds it was now belt-fed from a large back-pack and was loaded with tungsten buckshot. The whole package was of course inordinately heavy, and the recoil of the scaled-up shotgun shells was extreme, but that was rather less of an issue when you were wearing Powered Armour.
In addition to the three platoons in Powered Armour Rodrigues had bought with him on the Valhalla there were also another five equipped with the less effective AA-12’s and a smattering of Heavy Plasma Rifles just in case the humanform types turned up and needed the X-COM treatment too. They formed a skirmish line and began advancing through the city shooting up the Replicators as they went, occasionally taking out groups of them with grenades and generally enjoying themselves. Aegir had beamed aboard all the ammunition for the weapons stored at the Omega Site and as they moved he sent down additional stocks to replenish what they had already fired. It would take the Asgard ages to dig all the tungsten and lead shot out of the buildings afterwards but the inconvenience was a price well worth paying.
The Fifth Race had arrived to fight Fifth and unlike the Asgard the new leader of the replicators was not happy about it. He was starting to dislike the species more and more especially given that Samantha Carter was still stubbornly refusing to accede to his wishes, or even fall for the false realities he was placing in her mind. There was a narrow boundary between love and hate and he was rapidly starting to cross it.
O’Neill didn’t know how he knew the gadget his mind created was a gun, maybe it was a remnant of memory left when Thor had wiped the Ancient knowledge from his mind, or perhaps it was simply a recognition that regardless of circumstances the inner Jack O’Neill would be thinking about making “Big Honking Spaceguns” but no matter how he knew once the humanform replicator started to attack he had picked up the thing found what he guessed was the trigger and fired a blast of energy which turned the thing into dust.
Thor had realised right away it was a means of nullifying the bonds between individual replicator parts, either blocks or the smaller particles that made up the humanform types. The Asgard had attempted to create such a weapon previously but had failed but now that he had seen it was possible and seen it done the Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet was confident he could build a far larger version and destroy the entire replicator legion at once.
Whilst interfacing with the humanform replicator Thor had found that Major Carter was still alive and on the surface and so whilst he built the scaled-up weapon SG-1 were beamed down to the planet near her known location. O’Neill still armed with the Anti-Replicator-Weapon soon found it was just as effective at destroying the original type, maybe more so, each discharge destroying large numbers at once, the path of SG-1 through the forest they arrived in carpeted with replicator blocks as they advanced towards where carter was, Teal’c, Andianov and Daniel using AA-12’s to deal with strays.
Tens of thousands of replicators which had been eating their way through the city now changed direction and began flowing in another direction. At first Rodrigues thought it was a trap or ruse but a transmission from Aegir informing him that Thor had advised the other Asgard Ships that SG-1 were fighting the replicators with a powerful new weapon over where the bugs were heading had the X-COM Colonel ordering his men to give chase.
As the human soldiers coming from the city ran down his more primitive brethren Fifth appeared to SG-1 telling them he would kill Carter if they did not stop killing his kind. O’Neill paused for a moment but eventually SG-1 began fighting again, Fifth fleeing the scene heading back to the escape craft which he had ordered constructed.
‘We must leave’ Fifth told Carter. ‘They've found a means to fight us’ he said. ‘One far more effective than your projectile weapons though even they have killed many’ he added regretfully.
‘The Asgard?’ Carter replied. ‘How?’ she queried.
‘Not them, the one you call O’Neill’ Fifth told her. ‘So many will have to be left behind, we cannot wait for them, they will be killed’ he said sadly.
‘Don't expect me to be sorry’ Carter responded.
Fifth seemed distracted. ‘Your friends are killing many, trying to stop us escaping’ he said.
‘Trying to save me’ Carter told him.
‘No! They do not care about you. I told them I would kill you if they did not stop’ Fifth responded sharply.
‘Then why don't you kill me?’ Carter asked. ‘You know why my friends won't stop, just to save me?’
‘No’ Fifth replied, he was genuinely confused.
‘Because they know when it comes right down to it I would rather be dead than be trapped like this forever’ Carter told him. ‘No matter what you feel for me, I will never love you back. Kill me if you want, but if you have even one shred of humanity in you and you really, truly love me, you'll let me go’ she said.
As they neared the replicator ship SG-1 heard more firing, and shortly afterwards they were amazed when dozens of Powered Armour suits appeared bounding through the forest from the direction of the city firing at the replicators they were chasing. ‘How the hell did they
get here?’ O’Neill asked rhetorically as SG-1 found itself tactically the anvil to the hammer, the fleeing replicators being driven straight towards the new weapon, nicely bunched up so it could have maximum effect.
The Daniel Jackson
was just moving into position when the replicator ship took off, hurtling skywards and entering hyperspace before it even cleared the atmosphere. Thor fired the new weapon sending a wave of disruptive energy right around the planet shattering every replicator on Orilla.
Thor had given O’Neill an Asgard communicator and it squawked to life just after the wave hit. ‘O'Neill, the weapon worked. Reports from the colony say, all the remaining replicators have been neutralised. While the ship did escape, at least we have an effective means of fighting them now
’ Thor signalled.
‘Yeah, well, at least there's that’ O’Neill replied sounding less than enthused.
‘O'Neill. I am detecting multiple additional human lifesigns in your immediate vicinity
’ Thor now advised.
‘Yeah they’re hard to miss’ O’Neill replied as the X-COM soldiers in Powered Armour started to mill about, some kicking replicator blocks around and one heading for SG-1, pulling off his helmet. ‘Captain Gaston’ O’Neill greeted the officer as the helmet came off revealing who it was.
‘Colonel O’Neill’ Gaston replied, ‘I don’t suppose you can explain what just happened can you?’ he asked. ‘One second we were smashing up lego and the next there was nothing to shoot at’ he said as another soldier in Powered-Armour joined them, also lifting his helmet to reveal it was an equally puzzled looking Colonel Rodrigues.
‘Okay, I’ll tell you what happened if you say how you got here’ O’Neill offered fairly.
Rodrigues was about to reply when Thor’s voice interrupted again. ‘O’Neill, one of the human lifesigns did not come from the direction of the city and is located where the replicator ship previously was
’ he said.
‘Carter’ O’Neill exclaimed, starting to run.
Aegir had given chase in the Valhalla
but the replicator ship had gotten away. It had been built for speed at the expense of all else and even an O’Neill class vessel was unable to keep up though Aegir attempted to follow until it had left sensor range.
The IOA was extremely annoyed that the Asgard had basically taken O’Neill without permission and then shortly afterwards co-opted a full company of soldiers equipped with millions of dollars worth of military hardware, but politically they knew it might work out beneficially in the end because the Asgard owed Earth big this time and since they no longer needed the Asgard Fleet to defend Earth they could pull out of the Protected Planets Treaty entirely removing the legal obstacles to being given more advanced technology.
A certain X-COM Colonel was very pleased to be told that the next Asgard warship to be completed would be named the Gomez Rodrigues
by a grateful Asgard High Council but it was the news that the little grey guys would be providing Earth with designs for their hyperdrives and latest shield generators that was greeted with more general enthusiasm. The faster capital-ship engines were particularly important now they had an area of space some five hundred light-years across to try and patrol and defend now after all.
Note from the Author:The Tau'ri are in a much better position to actually get the territory they demand from the System Lords than they were originally in episode 8:01 New Order because the Goa'uld are well aware they have power-projection capabilities. Also the High Council of the System Lords is in a relatively worse position thanks to Baal not only having Kull Warriors but also the new Deathgliders and now the services of Thoth as well as Nerus. Abydos belonged to Ra and was said to be the closest planet in the stargate system to Earth whereas Apophis launched an attack on Earth from another world itself only about ten light years away (episode 1:22 Within the Serpent's Grasp) which is why I'm placing Earth in the part of the galaxy that originally belonged to them.The Atchisson AA12 Assault Shotgun is a much more effective means of fighting large numbers of Replicators than the FN P90. The ability of Asgard technology to create devices and complex organic compounds from energy (likely an offshoot of their beaming technology) is demonstrated several times so Thor being able to quickly make up some weapons for his human passengers isn't unlikely. Orilla is the new post-replicator war Asgard capital world.The X-COM Auto-Cannon loaded with shotgun shells and fed off a back-pack seems like a nice way to deal with replicators if not as well as a Replicator Disruptor. Aegir captain of the Valhalla was commanding the Asgard ships defending Orilla. Once the replicators were on the ground the fleet wasn't much use but fetching a few human soldiers and their weapons is a good use of the ship. Penegal was a member of the Asgard High Council.