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Temporary United Worlds Building – Heliopolis (P3X-972) – August 2004
You couldn’t actually say that Lya was angry, the Nox never
got angry, but she was definitely annoyed which by the standards of her species was noteworthy in itself as she gave the representatives of Earth, Optrica and Langara in turn a look of displeasure, and indeed disappointment. ‘The continued and escalating use by certain members of this alliance of violent means to solve problems that might have been solved through peaceful negotiation is abhorrent’ she declared, earning a nod of support from the Gadmeer representative sat beside her, the reptilian alien wearing an environment suit to cope with what was to him a poisonous atmosphere.
The atmospheric conditions outside the huge geodesic dome they were in weren’t too pleasant either by any standards. The world was wracked by storms and although the Asgard were planning to do something about that eventually, using the terraforming techniques they had learned after centuries of studying their copy of the Ancient database, they were too busy restoring their own civilisation to divert much effort towards a planetary beautification project.
‘The Optrican people have never found there to be any point in trying to parlay with deluded goa’uld-worshipping religious fanatics’ Jyran the new representative of that world responded curtly, returning Lya’s look with a glare of her own. ‘Soren and his growing band of rabble-rousing fundamentalists were well on the way to destabilising the Rand Protectorate and that might have conceivably even triggered a nuclear exchange with their neighbours in the Caledonian Federation’ she said.
‘The governments of both nations on Tegalus requested our assistance in crushing the attempted rebellion and the process is well in hand’ Lucia Tarthus representing Langara spoke up. ‘Soren will soon be captured and behind bars and then we can look forward to aiding the two nations to an accord such as was reached on my own world and welcoming theirs into this august body’ she said.
‘Earth has already offered technical assistance to both nations as a means of encouraging their cooperation’ Joseph Faxon for the Tau’ri noted. ‘More modern electronics, medicines and means of power-generation will drastically improve the lives of the population and should help get them over the shock of finding their way in the galaxy after so many years of isolation’ he said optimistically.
‘The Tollan wish to remind our allies of the danger of providing advanced technology to societies that may not be ready for them’ Omoc interjected, ever the old-school Tollan which could be why the Curia had asked him to take the role as their permanent Ambassador to the United Worlds. He was a symbol of continuity and besides which if he was on Heliopolis he was out of their hair more, unable to block or delay the ongoing political reforms that were following the shift away from isolationism in Tollan society.
‘We are being careful to ensure that we don’t advance them too fast just as the Tollan have been in their contacts with Langara’ Faxon responded.
‘Optrica has as yet only provided military assistance and agrees with the provisional timetable laid down by Earth for giving the people of Tegalus access to new technologies’ Jyran said.
Lucia Tarthus smiled. ‘Given that my own world is generally less advanced than Tegalus there isn’t much danger of Langara having much impact on them’ she said.
‘I would think that your deployment of psionic soldiers had quite enough impact in itself’ Freyr, there for the Asgard, replied wryly.
‘The civil liberties violations are an issue that the Tollan Curia have already raised directly with Langara, Earth and Optrica’ Omoc said, his tone indicating he did not approve in the slightest.
‘The use of Psionic Amplifiers to weed out terrorists and their sympathisers broke the back of the Bedrosian resistance in less than three weeks’ Jyran responded. ‘Thousands of lives have already been saved and as many, if not far more, could have been lost on Tegalus had Optrica and Langara not dispatched a few of our experienced anti-insurgency teams to deal with the developing situation there’ she said.
‘Absolutely’ Ambassador Tarthus agreed. The success of Langaran soldiers trained in psionic warfare and equipped with Earth-supplied Psi-Amps in aiding their Optrican friends crush the Nefertum worshipping holdouts in Bedrosia who had been fighting a vicious terrorist campaign against the soldiers trying to prevent the country falling into anarchy was unquestioned. The Optricans were hoping to formalise their annexation of the continent very soon and then begin to rebuild the shattered infrastructure, it would likely take years and cost a fortune but at least now they weren’t losing dozens of young men and women every day to bombs planted by religious fanatics. Being able to read the minds of suspected resistance sympathisers had been decisive in Bedrosia and now the Rand Protectorate and as a bonus being able to help their allies in this way had done wonders for Langaran self-esteem.
Meanwhile outside and across P3X-972 teams of archaeologists and scientists under the leadership of Ernest Littlefield and Catherine Langford were still searching through long-abandoned ruins, looking for any remaining Ancient technology or artefacts. They had enjoyed little luck so far however and the mission was likely to be scrubbed soon with the resources directed towards the Atlantis Expedition instead. The symbolism of the United Worlds having a permanent meeting place where the old Alliance of Four Great Races had met ensured that the world would not be abandoned, but other than a few diplomats and support staff it would soon be an emptier place. The steel, glass and plastic dome that military engineers from Earth had constructed as a temporary UW Building would be replaced by a far grander structure in time but for now it would do, and it did keep the rain out.
Lya was less than mollified by the fact it seemed to work very well, it was still monstrous to consider that Langaran and Optrican soldiers were being used to crush dissent on a planet that was only discovered by accident three months before, a Tau’ri reconnaissance robot having rolled out of what the people of the Rand Protectorate had considered an interesting museum piece. ‘The Nox agree with the Tollan that the ends do not justify the means’ she said. ‘Kicking down the doors of people that will not voluntarily agree to psionic screening and forcing them to comply is not the behaviour of a civilised society’ she declared. ‘We were willing to countenance it as a temporary measure in Bedrosia when the civilian death toll became too high but the situation in the Rand Protectorate had not yet degenerated to the state of near-anarchy and widespread bloodshed which is the only circumstance in which such tyrannical measures can be morally justified.’
‘Would you prefer detention without trial or torture of suspects because that is what the Rand Protectorate was considering before we intervened’ Jyran replied. ‘Our actions might have been pre-emptive but they were hardly premature, the situation was spiralling towards a possible collapse of the entire state and now thanks to a limited
application of force and a temporary
curtailment of the right to privacy Tegalus can look forward to joining the galactic community and not nuclear armageddon’ she said firmly.
Kalan the Orbanian Ambassador reached for a glass of water. ‘My government has instructed me to abstain if the Nox or Gadmeer go ahead with requesting a vote of censure against the involved worlds in this matter’ he said, taking a sip. ‘But as a neutral party as yet uninvolved Orban is happy to offer to mediate the negotiations between Rand and Caledonia that we all hope will lead to a disarmament of the weapons they currently have pointed at each other’ he continued. ‘I have already discussed this with the representatives of Pangar and Tagrea and they agree with ourselves that although the rights and wrongs of the intervention into the internal affairs of Rand can be argued indefinitely our priority must be for the United Worlds to try not to present such a belligerent face to a future member.’
‘Belligerent?’ Ambassador Tarthus responded. ‘You should all be grateful that your histories are peaceful enough that you are still so naive’ she said.
Joseph Faxon frowned. ‘Although Earth is willing to use military force my people would not regard themselves as belligerent’ he observed.
‘I meant no offence, I merely meant in terms of perception’ Kalan said quickly. Jyran the Optrican representative was giving him a very displeased look as well.
Miles Hagan watched the players around the chamber with interest. The power, authority and standing of the big conglomerates within Hebridan society had been spelled out very concisely by the fact that the government had requested the former President of the Tech Con Group himself to represent them at the United Worlds after the rumours that he was retiring proved correct. He was a businessman by background, unlike the mixture of professional diplomats, politicians, bureaucrats and military men who otherwise made up this body, but other than the lack of actual decision-making and the long boring speeches sometimes he felt like he back in the cut and thrust of corporate politics. There were power-blocks, alliances within the alliance formed of the like-minded and those with overlapping spheres of interest and right now those who preferred interventionism, both military and in terms of development were in the ascendant.
Being of mixed human and serrakin parentage, it took an awful lot of genetic engineering to manage that feat, Hagan had already noticed that the Aschen delegate Mollem seemed to harbour some negative feelings towards him. This was not to say that the Aschen were particularly expressive or emotional people but Hagan was a skilled observer that had helped make Tech Con rich because of his ability to read others intentions and beyond the impassive face Hagan detected a similar reaction in Mollem to the humans back on Hebridan who resented the serrakin and hated “half-breeds” such as himself. This was a pity because if Mollem’s people generally shared his opinion it might make gaining a foothold in the still largely untapped consumer market that was the Aschen Confederation very tricky Hagan thought regretfully. Highly advanced, with a population in the billions and a high standard of living the Aschen represented the best opportunity for trade in the United Worlds and capitalist Hebridan was primarily looking for customers and business opportunities not political or military allies.
On the subject of alliances Hagan noted that the new Tok’ra representative Thoran had arrived with a member of the Free Jaffa who seemed to be there as both bodyguard and aide. The growing interdependence of those two factions seemed to be edging towards some kind of actual unification and if that occurred then they would likely represent an extremely pivotal power-block in the future. For all the jokes about how close their personal relationship was it was hard to deny that Egeria and Bra’tac had together managed to bridge the divide between their two peoples in a way that would be concerning the Goa’uld System Lords greatly if they weren’t already too busy fretting about Baal. In the long-term Hagan knew that the future lay with humanity, the sheer preponderance of human worlds represented here demonstrably proved it, but for the immediate future the Tok’ra/Free Jaffa were a major player still on the rise and they knew it.
‘If I might raise another matter before we adjourn for lunch’ Freyr spoke up, seeking to end the continuing arguments about Tegalus, ‘we have still to discuss granting the planet Galar observer status for this organisation in preparation for their eventual membership’ he said.
‘Do the Asgard stand as sponsors of the Galarans?’ Lya asked.
‘Earth stands as sponsor’ Faxon announced, ‘Galar is a world included within the Protected Planets Treaty between the Asgard and the Goa’uld System Lords so the Asgard High Council asked us to take the role to avoid any political or diplomatic repercussions’ he explained.
‘Who seconds the motion?’ Lya asked, looking around.
‘Tollana seconds’ Omoc said.
Lya nodded. ‘Do we have any objections?’ she checked.
‘What’s one more human world’ Thoran from the Tok’ra asked sardonically, ‘the place is already full of them’ he noted.
‘It’s not our fault that our ancestors were enslaved from Earth and deposited throughout the galaxy by yours’ Jyran responded, not liking his tone. ‘And before you say that the Tok’ra are not the Goa’uld our people were stolen from their homeworld thousands of years before Egeria split from the rest’ she said.
‘I am simply pointing out that the Asgard, Nox, Gadmeer and Tok’ra races for example have one vote each in this organisation and yet the humans have many’ Thoran replied.
‘Perhaps we should have voting power based upon on population instead?’ Ambassador Tarthus suggested, ‘no wait there are how many of us and how many of you?’ she asked sarcastically.
‘The Aschen Confederation would support such a procedural change’ Mollem said hurriedly.
‘I was joking’ Thoran told him, there were billions of Aschen and not a one had a sense of humour.
‘Oh’ Mollem replied. They should make some sort of hand-signal when they did that he thought.
‘I think that we should adjourn for lunch now’ Freyr opined.
‘Just as long as it’s not the Asgard doing the catering’ Kalan couldn’t help but joke. Once again Mollem didn’t get it.Atlantis – Pegasus Galaxy – August 2004
‘You shot me’ Sheppard said accusingly, pointing a finger at McKay as soon as he arrived at Weirs office from the infirmary finding the scientist already there talking to her. ‘No, let’s not trivialise this, you killed
me’ he corrected himself.
‘You were going to kill me
when I couldn’t take off the personal force-field device’ McKay responded, the thought of being asphyxiated had not exactly been a pleasant one either.
‘It deactivated before we had to go through with it’ Sheppard pointed out, the green crystal had automatically powered down as soon as McKay’s shaky subconscious mental control of the device reached the conclusion that it was imperilling him not protecting him.
‘Nevertheless your solution to getting the forcefield off me was exactly the same as the solution for getting that alien creature off you’ McKay persisted. ‘Kill the host and the passenger just falls off’ he said.
‘Whilst I can understand you harbouring some ill-will towards Rodney in the circumstances from what Lieutenant Ford said you were screaming for someone to do something’ Weir reminded Sheppard.
‘He just snapped his fingers a few times, said “I’ve got a great idea”, told Ford and Teyla to stand back and then he zatted me’ Sheppard complained, ‘twice.’
‘In quick succession so it didn’t hurt as much’ McKay noted. ‘Almost as soon as his heart stopped the insect that was feeding from him dropped off, Beckett is still trying to figure out why the thing was so zat-resistant itself it was barely stunned’ he said.
‘Tough little bug bastard’ Sheppard said, rubbing his neck where it had latched onto him. It was purely psychological of course, his spell in the sarcophagus hadn’t just bought him back to life it had naturally repaired the wound too, but he still felt like the damn thing had left something behind there.
‘Couldn’t you have waited until you got back to Atlantis, let Doctor Beckett find a less drastic solution?’ Weir queried, looking to Rodney.
‘The thing had been on him over an hour and it looked like it was draining his life-force like the Wraith do’ McKay replied. ‘We already know from what happened to Colonel Vaselov the damage that can do to the human system, and how long recovery can take from that even with the sarcophagus’ he continued, ‘moreover the insect was putting something in
as well as taking something out and I decided in your shoes I wouldn’t want my
biochemistry screwed around with by an extra-terrestrial for too long.’
‘Putting something in?’ Sheppard asked with concern.
‘Beckett thinks it might be some kind of enzyme that keeps your body from failing completely and dying straight away when put through the trauma of being fed from’ McKay explained. ‘That could be the stuff that prevented us sedating you’ he theorised. ‘Your body was running in artificially induced overdrive.’
‘You ain’t kidding’ Sheppard replied, ‘Ford gave me three shots from his medikit, normally after one you’d have a happy grin whilst they sawed your arm off and two would put out an elephant’ he said. ‘I just got drowsy for a while.’
‘We tried cutting it off but it just took more out of the Major to heal itself with’ McKay told Weir, he had been briefing Beckett and his medical team first while Sheppard recovered, or perhaps resurrected would be more accurate, so she hadn’t heard the full story yet.
‘That really hurts by the way’ Sheppard noted, ‘If getting fed on by a Wraith hurts like that I can see why they tried using that on the Colonel as a torture technique’ he said.
‘The bonus is that if the feeding mechanism for the insect and the Wraith are similar the enzyme would keep you conscious no matter how much it hurt’ McKay observed. ‘Normally you’d shut down once the pain went above a certain level.’
‘And you said before that Teyla had heard stories about these creatures?’ Weir asked McKay.
McKay nodded. ‘She thought they were tall tales told to children to keep them close to camp at night’ he said. ‘Best guess now is that they’re related to the Wraith, maybe an ancestral species or else they both evolved from an earlier ancestor, the lines diverging at some point in the past.’
‘They don’t look much like Wraith’ Sheppard commented, it was basically a huge bug the size of a housecat.
‘How much do you look like a lemur?’ McKay asked rhetorically, ‘we’re quite closely related to those furry little guys when you look at the big picture’ he said. ‘Once we’ve had a look at the alien’s genetic makeup we’ll know a lot more’ he added.
‘Did they manage to bring back any prisoners in the other jumper?’ Sheppard asked.
‘One live wraith for interrogation, two dead for dissection’ Weir told him, she wasn’t happy about the means that would be employed for the former but knew they needed intelligence.
‘The live one is a soldier, probably doesn’t know much we but we will get to test how much stronger that caste is than the pilot we already had’ McKay noted. ‘One of the corpses was an officer, someone on the Retrieval Squad we bought along in Gateship Two hit him with a laser when he should have used the zat’ he opined.
in a fire-fight Rodney’ Sheppard reminded him, ‘and I thought we had all agreed that they were going to be called Puddle Jumpers not Gateships?’
‘I didn’t vote that way’ McKay grumbled.
‘And you lost’ Sheppard replied.
‘So how much of the Wraith Hive did you find?’ Weir asked.
‘Our demolition charges must have caused a secondary explosion inside the ship measuring a hefty number of megatons’ Rodney said.
‘It wasn’t a total bust at least’ Sheppard said more brightly, ‘we came under attack from a Wraith patrol that might have been investigating what the hell happened to their hive and we had some fun shooting them up before I made the call to head home’ he said. ‘It was while we were gathering weapons and anything else that looked interesting off the dead Wraith that the damn bug pounced on me’ he said with a look of distaste. ‘Ford found me, lousy bug half-paralysed me, and Corporal Eitam was trying to help when a second batch of Wraith turned up and I told her and Ford to deal with them first.’
‘There were hundreds of them’ McKay declared.
‘Twenty-five or thirty tops’ Sheppard disagreed, ‘they seemed to have more respect for our weaponry than the first lot we ran up against there from what Ford told me when he got back’ he said. ‘They stunned Eitam which is why I was subjected to the tender mercies of Doctor Death here instead of a proper medic’ he added, throwing McKay another look.
‘It was a mercy killing and you’re better now’ McKay responded, ‘can’t you let that drop?’ he requested. ‘I let you shoot me
once didn’t I?’ he asked.
‘When you were protected by a freaking forcefield’ Sheppard replied.
‘Don’t make me send one of you two boys to stand in the corner’ Weir chided.
‘He started it’ McKay defended himself.
‘You shot me’ Sheppard replied in disbelief.
McKay adopted an aloof air. ‘Not as an act of malice’ he said, looking away.
‘I looked in on Corporal Eitam’ Weir said, now ignoring them, ‘the wraith stunner seems to have very different effects than our own zat’nik’tel based weapons’ she observed.
‘It’s more like a form of temporary paralysis than sticking your fingers in an electrical outlet’ McKay explained, ‘a zat overloads your nervous system whereas the wraith equivalent partially shuts it down’ he said.
‘So what would happen if you hit someone with a zat and then
with a wraith stunner?’ Sheppard wondered.
‘Feel free to volunteer to try it out’ McKay replied.
‘No way, it might kill me and I don’t want to spend any more time in the metal box for a while’ Sheppard replied. ‘Too many trips to the sarcophagus and you end up one sandwich short of a picnic’ he stated, ‘I saw a couple of Troopers that ended up that way after one too many times being KIA’ he continued, recalling his old job. ‘When the guys in charge of X-COM think you’re too nuts to be on a UFO Retrieval Team then you’ve got some serious
issues’ he opined.
Weir laughed, he made a valid argument there. ‘So how did it work out with Teyla?’ she asked.
‘Fine’ Sheppard replied, ‘kept her head when we mixed it up with the Wraith and when I had the space-leech on me’ he said. ‘I think having Athosians attached to our teams as local guides and advisors is a good idea’ he said.
‘The Colonel has his reservations but is willing to agree as long as they are all screened with a Mind-Probe’ Weir replied. ‘With Teyla wearing our uniform we might see a few more volunteers now’ she suggested.
‘Where is the Colonel anyhow?’ Sheppard queried, looking around. ‘I was told he wasn’t around.’
‘After Doctor Becketts gene-therapy worked he decided to try out a jumper’ Weir replied, ‘now we can open the roof of the hanger he decided to take a trip around the planet, get his bearings he said.’
‘Might cheer him up at least’ Sheppard replied. Vaselov was a flyer, it would do him good to get back in the saddle plus they might need another experienced combat pilot who knew how to get the best performance out of flying the craft any time. ‘Do we know when we might get the F-302’s put together yet?’ he asked.
‘I’ve got Kavanagh and his team working on it’ McKay replied, ‘it’s not like putting together a radio-controlled model you know, it’ll take a while to get them assembled, tested and flight ready’ he said.
‘From what we’ve seen of Wraith Darts our F-302’s will go through them like a fat guy through a bucket of popcorn, be nice to have them ready to go as soon as we can’ Sheppard advised.
‘Was that a dig at me?’ McKay responded irately, ‘I told you I only ate that much popcorn watching last nights movie because I felt my hypoglycaemia coming on’ he defended himself.
‘I hear that the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is a big hit with the Athosians so far’ Weir remarked, trying to head off another argument.
‘It’s The Return of the King playing tonight, if you want a seat get there early like I plan to’ Sheppard advised.
‘I’ve not seen that one so I actually might join you this time’ Weir replied. She hadn’t been to the last two movie nights although the number of children to be seen running around mock sword-fighting over the last couple of days indicated that the Terran side of the cultural exchange was going better than the Athosian attempts to popularise their pre-dawn tea ceremony.
Sending a mission back to the planet where they had destroyed the Wraith Hive, not that they had known that was what it was until after they got the information out of their prisoner, had been a no-brainer. With Elizabeth Weirs consent Colonel Vaselov had dispatched Sheppard and his new reconnaissance team in one jumper with a second jumper carrying an X-COM combat team as protection and with everyone back alive, plenty of Wraith dead, one more live prisoner to stick in Alien Containment and plenty of captured enemy weapons to toy with it wasn’t a bad day all things considered. True Major Sheppard had a nasty encounter with some of the local fauna and ended up dead for a short time but that was an occupational hazard.
Teyla and her people were still trying to adjust to being on Atlantis, the former city of their ancestors, and getting used to the strange ways of the Terrans was proving even more difficult but they seemed to be safe from the Wraith now and the Athosians could not deny that the humans from another galaxy were so far proving well able to handle the Wraith.
The Ancestors had not returned themselves but more of their children had come and the Athosians had started to think of them as cousins. Distant, odd and occasionally baffling cousins perhaps but family nonetheless and they possessed an optimism and self-belief that was almost infectious as they talked of ridding the entire Pegasus Galaxy of the Wraith and making humanity, the rightful inheritors of the Ancients, the dominant race of these stars.
When she and a few others first witnessed an X-COM Trooper water-skiing past the city, being pulled along behind a Puddle-Jumper flying just above the ocean, Teyla did however find it hard to persuade her people that the Terrans were not collectively one tuttleroot short of a bowl of soup.Omega Site – PX0-999 (Terra Nova) – August 2004
‘Look Colson’ Sharp began again, looming over the billionaire industrialist tied to the chair in the centre of the interrogation room, ‘there is no way that we are going to allow you to go public with what you know’ he said firmly, ‘so either you agree not to go to the press or you’ll be spending the foreseeable future in a cell next to an alien with a body-odour problem’ he vowed.
‘Alright I agree just let me the hell go’ Colson replied, trying to sound convincing.
‘He’s still lying’ the other man stood behind Sharp holding the silvery metal sphere in his hand told the Commander.
Sharp groaned. ‘And for the last time it’s not trickery, we really can
read your surface thoughts with that gadget so there’s no point trying to lie’ he told the prisoner.
‘More alien technology you’ve been keeping secret from the public?’ Colson responded, glaring at the military officer who was trying to intimidate him into joining this dastardly cabal. Samantha Carter had already tried and failed to persuade him in a more civilised fashion, she had even taken him for a ride right around this alien planet in one of their admittedly incredible fighter aircraft in an attempt to play on his love of aviation to no result and shortly after they landed a couple of goons had grabbed him and hauled him in here.
‘Yes, we’ve kept in secret and for good reason’ Sharp replied.
‘Because the government always knows best’ Colson responded sarcastically. He had already given up trying to fight his bonds, all that had achieved was sore wrists, so an few acid remarks were his only means of signalling protest and defiance.
‘No, because people are panicky idiots and I’m actually including most politicians in that generalisation’ Sharp told him. ‘If the people knew how many times Earth was nearly destroyed in the last few years we’d see rioting on the streets, governments would fall and it would get much harder for people like me to stop
Earth from getting destroyed’ he stated. ‘A stable political structure back home means taxes getting paid, people going to work in factories like the ones you own and the weaponry getting produced that we need to keep the evil monsters from outer space from turning you, and every other human being into a slave, a medical experiment or tomorrows lunch’ he declared.
‘What makes you so sure?’ Colson asked.
‘Lieutenant-Colonel Carter already told you what happened on Galar when their government went public’ Sharp replied, ‘it caused chaos, near anarchy’ he said.
‘That doesn’t mean it would happen that way on Earth even if I believed you both’ Colson replied.
Sharp swore under his breath. ‘Look you stubborn, idealistic idiot’ he snarled at the aviation engineer turned businessman. ‘You probably think that I had you dragged in here after Carter failed to talk you around entirely for our benefit but if you had
gone straight back to Earth someone there would have killed you rather than risk you letting the cat out of the bag’ he informed him.
‘Are you threatening me?’ Colson replied.
‘No, I’m warning
you’ Sharp told him, ‘when I get around to threatening you there won’t be any doubt in your mind that’s what’s going on’ he said flatly.
Colson looked away. ‘I don’t respond to intimidation’ he said. ‘Anyhow I know you’re bluffing’ he continued confidently. ‘I’m too high profile with too many politicians in my back pocket chasing campaign contributions for you to do anything to me but make idle threats.’
‘You think?’ Sharp asked rhetorically, turning to the Trooper holding the mind probe. ‘Service pistol’ he requested, holding out his hand.
Colson watched the lower-ranking soldier draw the pistol from his holster and pass it to the one named Sharp. ‘So now you’re going to pretend to shoot me?’ he asked.
‘No’ Sharp replied and shot him in the leg. It was only an old-fashioned slug-thrower not a plasma pistol so it blew a hole in him not a bloody crater.
As Colson screamed and bled onto the floor Sharp turned back to the Trooper and handed back the pistol. ‘Give him a shot of painkiller then have a medic run a Healing Device over him’ he ordered before addressing Colson again. ‘That was just to prove just how fucking ruthless we really are’ he said as the billionaire fought back the pain. ‘Now it’s true that I’m
not prepared to kill you but others will be and unless you think there’s nobility to dying a martyr you’ll keep your mouth shut’ he continued. ‘We’ve got CIA, MI6 and other assholes working for us that would kill you without hesitation and make it look like an accident’ he said as the Trooper injected Colson with a needle from his medikit.
‘What gives you the right?’ Colson hissed as the painkiller rapidly kicked in.
Sharp turned to leave. ‘The United Nations gave us a mandate to protect the human race’ he said, ‘at the moment we’re doing it very well and right now you risk fucking that up’ he said, heading for the door.
‘I believe in humanity, I believe people have a right to know’ Colson yelled after him. ‘Nothing you can say to me or do to me will change that’ he said.
Sharp stopped walking and turned back. ‘There is nothing more praiseworthy and yet simultaneously fucking annoying than a courageous idealist’ he told Colson. ‘I’m going to give you half an hour to reconsider and if you still refuse to do as you’re told I’m going to have you put on ice until everything eventually goes public.’
‘This is false imprisonment, assault, kidnapping’ Colson yelled at him as Sharp headed for the door again.
‘It would be murder
if I let you go back through the gate to Earth’ Sharp replied, opening the door and leaving.
Outside in the corridor Sam Carter was waiting. ‘I can’t believe you shot him’ she said in a mixture of amazement and horror.
‘He needed to know I wasn’t bullshitting him’ Sharp replied, ‘hopefully after he’s been patched up and given some time to think about it he’ll realise that someone in X-COM or one of the national intelligence agencies really will kill him if he tries to go public’ he said. ‘I’m going to grab a sandwich and then come back and try again’ he said, setting off towards the canteen which was some distance away within the sprawling underground facility. If it hadn’t been for them losing quite so many F-302’s in action they would have continued to keep all facets of production in-house but the number lost over Mars during the Cydonia mission, and later in space fighting Anubis and his fleet had meant outsourcing the production of certain basic components to the private sector, Colson Aviation in particular. The billionaire had been suspicious of the technology and had the resources to properly investigate which was how they ended up in this situation, he had actually obtained enough proof to be considered a menace and was threatening to go public with what he knew. That was where Carter had come in, she had approached him, arranged for him to be taken via stargate to the Omega Site and had even taken him up in one of the base F-302X fighters trying to talk him out of it but no dice.
‘You make it sound like you did him a favour’ Carter replied, following Sharp along the corridor. She had been listening to the whole thing outside the room, the sound of the gunshot being quite a shock.
‘I did, he’s been living in an ivory tower for too many years where his money insulates him from everything’ Sharp said. ‘Now he knows for certain that the guys with the siege engines are outside ready to knock it down at any moment he’s going to reappraise his situation.’
‘You weren’t serious about throwing him in alien containment were you Sir?’ Carter asked.
‘No but I was being very literal when I said I’d have him put on ice’ Sharp replied, ‘we’ve got stasis chambers we got from the Sectoids, I’ll have him stuck in one of them until X-COM and the stargate program are declassified.’
‘I’m not sure on your legal standing here Sir’ Carter advised him.
‘Really?’ Sharp replied, ‘I’m pretty sure I could do hard time for all sorts of things I’ve done in the last five years including this’ he said. ‘Assuming any legal authority either knew about it or could sort out the tangled web of jurisdiction’ he added before checking his watch. ‘Janet is going to kill me if I’m not back home when I said I’d be’ he said with a sigh.
Despite her continuing misgivings over what was happening to Alec Colson Sam had to smile. ‘When I saw her yesterday she was pissed at you Sir’ she said.
‘It’s not like I’m arranging for Baal to launch an attack every time I’ve promised to be back on Earth’ Sharp defended himself.
‘I think Janet’s main complaint is that you always look better rested and less stressed than she does’ Carter told him.
‘I’ve always tried to nap between missions when things get hectic’ Sharp replied. ‘I suggested she do that between feedings but she has to check up on Jacob every five minutes even when I’m there to do it instead’ he continued. ‘Cassie keeps offering to watch him to give Janet a rest but I guess she’s got a bad case of First Baby Syndrome’ he said. ‘First and only I was told at the delivery’ he added with a chuckle.
‘I think lack of sleep eventually cures that’ Carter noted.
‘I hope so’ Sharp replied, ‘it’s the looking out for symptoms of childhood ailments that I try to humour’ he said. ‘She knows so much medically about what can happen to babies it’s making her even more paranoid.’
‘Jacob is gorgeous you know’ Carter told him.
‘Yeah, if she hadn’t hit me last time I’d have joked about me not possibly being the father’ Sharp replied, grinning.
‘Janet said you were hoping for a boy’ Carter observed.
Sharp nodded. ‘A little girl would have been great too but I basically figured that since I sort of get Cassie along with Janet I was already getting a daughter so a son might be nice’ he said.
‘That’s very sweet’ Carter responded, smiling at him.
‘Just don’t let anyone know, it would ruin my hard-earned reputation as an unrelenting, horrible son-of-a-bitch’ Sharp replied, checking his watch again as they reached the canteen. ‘We’ll give it another twenty-five minutes before heading back to the interrogation room he said. ‘Colson should be fixed up and maybe more pliant when we get back’ he said. ‘Want to play good cop, bad cop?’ he asked.
‘Brigadier-General O’Neill would consider that an unforgivable cliché Sir’ Carter replied as they entered the Canteen. ‘Oh I was meaning to ask’ she said, remembering something. ‘How did you get on with the VR Training tool?’ she queried.
‘The simulation was fantastic’ Sharp replied, ‘Doctor Lee and the others who worked on it should be proud of that’ he continued, ‘the problem was it was too easy’ he opined.
‘Too easy?’ Carter asked in surprise, ‘it’s supposed to be an adaptive program that increases in difficulty according to player ability’ she said.
‘I just kept beating it again and again’ Sharp replied, then frowned. ‘Lee did say he thought that I might have been the problem’ he admitted.
‘How?’ Carter queried.
‘Apparently the chair looks deeper into the subconscious mind than Lee thought it did’ Sharp explained. ‘Supposedly the problem is that deep down I just don’t think I can ever lose’ he told her with a shrug.
Note from the Author:In SG1 episode 8:05 Icon Earth encountered the planet Tegalus where the nations of the Rand Protectorate and Caledonian Federation were in a state of Cold War and nuclear standoff. The arrival of the Tau'ri through the stargate caused a fundamentalist religious revival in Rand with demagogue Soren trying to take control of the government through an uprising. In canon he suceeded in taking control of Rand and launched a nuclear attack on the Caledonians, the subsequent exchange killing millions. However in the XSGCOM continuity Earth flagged the situation up to the Optricans knowing what opinion they would have on the matter of religious nuts worshipping the goa'uld (unwittingly or not). After crushing a similar group in Bedrosia with Langaran help the Optricans were only too happy to aid the government of Rand in their own little problem. Optrican high-tech firepower plus Langaran soldiers with Psionic Amplifiers were more than a match for Soren and his people although their methods were not to the liking of some. Lucia Tarthus is a Langaran diplomat from the Andari Federation who is now the Langaran representative to the United Worlds. Amongst others Earth is represented by Joseph Faxon, Tollana by Omoc, Orban by Kalan, the Nox by Lya, the Asgard by Freyr, the Tok'ra by Thoran, Hebridan by Miles Hagan and the Aschen Confederation by Mollem.Sheppard picked up an Iratus Bug when they re-visited the world the grounded Hive had been on in SGA episode 1:04 Thirty-Eight Minutes. The Wraith are related to the Pegasus native insect, both inject an Enzyme to keep you alive while they feed off your lifeforce. In canon they used defibrillator paddles to stop Sheppards heart and make the Iratus bug let go (anything else they tried failed) here Rodney just killed him with a zat discharge from his L2-A2. Also in canon they were fleeing the Wraith soldiers, here the better armed XSGCOM personnel were more than a match for them.Thanks to the use of X-COM Mind Probes the Atlantis Expedition team are much more confident about the Athosians (who are also themselves more confident about the Terrans because they seem to be very effective at fighting the Wraith) so I'm having relations generally being much better without much of the problems starting to arise that we saw in SGA episode 1:05 Suspicion). Tuttleroot Soup is an Athosian dish, only mentioned for the sake of the humour at the end thereAlec Colson was the billionaire owner of Colson Industries featured in SG1 episode 8:08 Covenant. When he was going to go public with what he had learned of the stargate program and aliens The Trust tried to kill him here it is X-COM trying to keep him quiet instead. In SG1 episode 8:06 Avatar Teal'c gets stuck in a VR Training simulation that utilises the chair technology discovered in SG1 episode 2:04 The Game Keeper. The problem he had is that the chair had a sophisticated AI that governed the difficulty of the simulation and buried deep in his subconcious was a nagging belief that the Goa'uld would win eventually... Sharp has the opposite problem in using the thing!