Pendragon's Day - Part 2
Author notes: Second try for this chapter as was dissatisfied with the version posted on December 8. It has been expanded and split between chapters 29 and 30. I hope you will enjoy it (and for those who read the original version, find it better). The character list and links can be found here
Jack O’Neill knew he should have been used to it. After all, they rarely had a time zone correspondence between Colorado and whatever planet they visited. It was maybe because he knew that the sun that burned like in a warm Californian afternoon was fake but he felt really out of synch here. He took a sip of… whatever that blue sparkling drink was.
“It’s a little curious, like those flavored ales they do in Belgium,” he asked. “How is it called?”
“It’s called spice beer, sir,” said Sam, taking a sip of her own glass.
McKay suddenly looked at his glass with round eyes, then at the various people around them. Jack was pretty sure he was checking their eyes.
“Sam… it’s really Spice Mélange?”
“Holy… sandworm or axlotl tank?”
“Neither. Complex alchemical process derived from the Magnum Opus and Taoist Alchemy methods.”
Rodney hesitated for a half-second to make a remark about alchemy being utter bullshit but wisely, and quite unusually for him, decided to shut up when he noticed Sam’s shadow. During an instant, it had wavered from human to something winged and reptilian. From the mirth in Sam’s eyes, this had been fully intentional, done to remember him he was talking to a mythological creature.
“Sorry, but can you both decipher it for us un-nerd masses?” asked Jack.
“Sorry, sir. Rodney was referring to the substance that is the basis for this drink: the Spice Mélange. As far as I know, the lifeforms normally producing it do not exist in this dimension. A family of alchemists managed to produce it and it is becoming a kind of national drink around here, either in beer or coffee form. Rodney’s references were due to the fact it’s another ‘fictional’ universe.”
“Sam,” asked Daniel, “does that mean there is someone here using Spice for its effects on awareness?”
“Yes, Daniel, there is someone here with very blue eyes and a peculiar perception of time… Sir, what Daniel means,” she said as she noticed Jack’s annoyed gaze, “is that Spice can induce prescience in some people… you don’t risk anything with beer, though. Teal’c don’t risk anything either.”
“Jaffas are more resistant to poisons than humans, Samantha Carter,” said the former Prime.
“Not to this one. Simulations revealed that Goa’uld are lethally allergic to Spice. For Jaffas, it can cause discomfort if the dose is sufficient, but we think that it can kill the symbiont while leaving the host alive in mature Goa’uld.”
“How did they learn this?” asked Jack, more and more irked by the fact Carter said ‘we’ when speaking of Muvians.
“Research was done based on the symbionts gathered from the Jaffa who joined the Muvian Republic.”
“Ah, here you are,” said Wilkins, approaching the group. “The buffet has been opened, so feel free to mingle… though I am afraid you will mostly meet bureaucrats like me around here… which leads me to another proposal. These bracers contain a pocket communicator and a basic assistant, including among other things a plan of town,” he said while a floating tray presented them what looked like small bronze bracers adorned with Nazca symbols. “Just push the red gem to activate and then use the interactive holograms.”
“You don’t mind us wandering around?” asked Jack.
“You won’t be able to access the military zones of course but I think that some of you will be interested with the public parts of our city. The Admiral will probably show you more… restricted things later.”
Paradigm shift… technological singularity… reading about those concepts, even taking part in conferences where such things are discussed… mere child’s play. The truth is here, just before my eyes.
He looked once again at his daughter, on the other side of the observation bay. To the uninformed and inattentive observer, Kaname could be just sleeping on a recliner chair. With a little attention, one realized that the recliner chair was no simple furniture. It included several sensors that one would have more expected to see near a bed in an intensive care unit, monitoring every life sign of his little girl. A little more attention and one saw the six cables coming out of the head cushion and how they fit in the interface ports implanted in her neck. Cyborg… humanity entering auto-evolution phase by merging with its tools. Nature’s laws tamed once and for all as physical and mental capacities become a mere question of hardware and software. Even death is conquered as the mind can be uploaded from a body to another…
He had checked some of the intelligence tests she had done. Humanity never had any genius like her… for the simple reason she wasn’t human, at least not if human meant Homo sapiens sapiens. He had also checked her DNA. The number of chromosomes was still the same but many gene groups were arranged very differently… even after reversing the gen-engineering she had undergone as part of the trans-humanization process all Muvians went through. Psionic talents provoking chain mutations to adapt the body to the power it unleashed… Kaname has a variant, Freyja and Hildr another… studies about how sets of psi-genes mix over generations currently being conducted… a whole new species…
He knew the conclusion. Contrarily to games that tried to balance the advantages of a character species compared to the others or to whatever some people would claim, for religious or philosophical reasons, the real world wouldn’t care. The cold, hard facts were that posthumans like Kaname made unaugmented humans like him obsolete. In the end, her species would replace his own. Good and evil had nothing to do with it. Evolution, nature itself, didn’t care about morals. But as this is auto-evolution, the conflict for survival and dominance is not the only solution… In fact, the only really rational choice is to join my family on her wagon, to use that same technology on myself…
He knew that a lot of people on Terra were psychologically unable to make that reasoning leap, unable to think rationally outside of their comfortable little box. He had himself needed those weeks since they arrived here to fully grasp the idea, to get rid of so many preconceptions ingrained in him by his former civilization. Preconceptions fueled by the fear of losing control. Where has gone the human curiosity, that spirit to boldly go and explore new frontiers? Is Nietzsche right and has most of humanity reached the ‘Last Man’ stage, a course that will lead it to self-destruction through growing apathy and shallowness?
“If yes, then Mu may be the answer, leading us to the Übermensch and a renewed future.”
“Being philosophical, Shunya?”
The planetologist got up and smiled to his wife, who had just entered the observation room.
“I thought a lot since I arrived here… and I reached a conclusion while watching Kaname work. I will… do what Hildr asked of me.”
“Then tomorrow, you will come at the University so that we can test your magical affinity… but you know that it will take time for you to become a mage.”
“I’m not against studying again, Freyja, and it’s not like time is an issue, no?”
“No… barring violent death, we Muvians can live as long as we want to.”
She leaned against him, letting him hold her. After an instant, she sniggered.
“Sorry…” she said, “I just thought that romantic clichés like ‘grow old with you’ had lost any meaning in our new society.”
“Then we’ll create new ones, Freyja-chan.”
He had put his left hand under her chin while his right still held his wife’s hand. Delicately, they turned, electric blue eyes meeting black ones as they smiled to each other.
“I should tell you to get a room, you know,” said Kaname’s voice through the loudspeakers. “But I’m so happy that Otosan reached that decision that… well let’s just enjoy today while we can.”
The young Whispered’s chair rose slowly while the cables detached from her neck.
“What do you mean?”
“The La Fayette has started to power up its systems, including the engines, ninety-six seconds ago. We should head for New Camelot now as I guess the order to evacuate all external structures will come soon.”
Jack O’Neill was looking at Sam. After all the missions she had done with SG-1 he knew her very well. He knew how she moved and there was something nagging him. She moved through the crowd gathered on the esplanade in a way… people seemed to unconsciously make place for her. Back in the ‘old days’ she had been a competent officer, perhaps the most by-the-book one of SG-1. He had often thanked the fact she seemed to lack this dark side he too often felt deep inside his soul. No such luck now… I can feel her killing intent lurking below the surface and it’s huge. If she were to set it free… a gaze would suffice to make anyone normal wet his pants and even people like me be uneasy… just like her ‘mother’. How could she lose herself so quickly? Did the Muvians brainwash her into accepting this? We know they have the capacity.
She was currently discussing something that sounded like physics with McKay and a blue-haired man in clothes that looked like a Star Wars interpretation of a kimono. Jack had himself used one of his favorite tactics during official functions: playing wallflower and observing the local fauna. So, how do you find our city, Colonel?
He turned brusquely, surprised by the voice that had resonated only in his skull.
“Sorry,” he said, trying very hard to be diplomatic. I suppose you are not used to telepaths. I can reassure you on one point I think is very important for you. I can hear your voice normally. Your thoughts are private unless you think very strongly in my direction… or, I am afraid, if I were to forget my manners. I am Clare.
O’Neill remembered the scuba diving he had done during a vacation in Eilat and how graceful octopi looked underwater, with their changing colors. The Asg-Ushirs, if he remembered correctly the name of these aliens, gave him the same impression, though their colors were lights and they floated gracefully through the air.
“Mi… Ma… Councilor. Colonel Jack O’Neill of the USAF.” Please call me Clare… but I am a female of my species. To simplify, those of us looking more like Terran jellyfishes are boys, we ‘squids’ are girls.
“No offence, Clare, but you are by far the strangest aliens we met.” To be fair, we had a similar reaction when we met the humans. According to some of our oldest history records, human-like beings came to visit our planet ten thousand Terran years ago. We finally called them the Ancient Star-swimmers – our word for astronaut – or Ancients for short and many in our scientific community doubted the veracity of those records. I heard that you have similar stories on Terra.
“Yes but you should ask Daniel… Doctor Jackson. Old stories are more his area.” Probably but our issue was the following… land-dwellers with only four ‘tentacles’? This was so different from what we knew about intelligent life. Imagine our amazement when the Macross came to us, revealing us that the legends were true…
“Then why… did you go with the Muvians?” Had the situation been different… who knows? The truth is that we did not have any choice. Our ecosystem had been crippled by a meteor shower rich in poisonous elements. Only a few hundreds of us in deep sea scientific stations had survived. As we knew our planet will need millions of years to recover, we decided to ask for asylum.
“I’m sorry.” Thank you but our species does not like to… cry on spilt milk I think you humans are fond to say. We survive and thanks to the genetic banks we managed to save, our group is sufficient for our species to start over. Who knows? Maybe a colony of our people will one day come to help you heal Terra’s oceans.
“Hem… you know that humans eat squid…”
O’Neill heard a mental noise that was… a laugh? Yes, it felt to him like a slightly girly laugh. Sorry… your squids may look a little like us, but they are… similar to us like a pig might be to a human. We would probably eat them too, once we have checked them for biological compatibility…
O’Neill thanked his phlegm, reminding himself what Councilor Clare had just said about humans being strange to them too. Clare had just lifted her glass to a kind of beak and taken a sip of her beer.
“So what do you do in the Council?” I am mostly… I think the equivalent title in the American government is Surgeon General, though tasks are not as clearly defined in the Aegis Council as we frequently help each other. Councilor Wilkins would be, in the same manner of comparison, our State Secretary. We do not have a president in the way you Americans do, however.
“I read about this… the whole direct democracy thing. Does it work?” Rather well at our level… though we are concerned about finding ways to maintain efficiency when our Republic will grow. We will probably go for a federal structure like in your country.
Buffy was a happy woman. Even if the weather was artificial, the sun felt good and her hunk of a boyfriend was a very comfortable pillow. From what she could feel, he was actually very happy to feel her leaning against him. She felt his hand on her hip and the feeling of comfort was spiked with something else, something that was whispering to her to teleport them both in a private place.
She looked around, trying to distract her mind from the gutter before her horniness became visible. It wasn’t that easy with the three other couples around. Spike and Drusilla were a little difficult to read, with their eyes safely hidden behind shades. Thankfully they didn’t have to dress from head to toe with their special belts. Buffy could actually feel the slight humming of their force fields through one of her special senses.
Her mother and Merlin were… cute together. The pre-Halloween Buffy would probably have been irked by it, wanting her to get back to her father. But now, she knew that Merlin was actually a good match for her Mom as she needed someone with more than half a brain working. And let’s face it. Dad would never be able to cope with her, or with me or Dawn for that matter. To him we would probably just be the pod people who replaced his daughters. I’ll probably get mad at him and… mayhem will ensue.
Finally, her gaze fell on Motoko and Giles. She actually had to make an effort to remember the woman Motoko had been before Halloween, to remember Jenny Calendar, Computer Science teacher. Giles was easier, though she was used to think of him as a doctor now rather than as her former Watcher.
“Jon, are you sometimes wondering how things would have been…”
“Not really,” replied her boyfriend. “My persona once erased his own memory and changed his face because he was weary of fighting for his life. Five years later, when he recovered his memory, he realized the boring office life wasn’t for him and resumed his adventures. That taught me not to dwell too much on what could have been and to focus on living my present life. And, right now, I must say things look good.”
She felt the subspace signal coming half a second before her communicator buzzed and covered her left forearm with red holograms. She sighed as she saw that all of them, Ryo-Ohki excepted, had the same kind of alert on their own device.
“Guess the party’s over,” said Dawn, looking sad.
“Yeah…” replied Buffy as she floated up. Or maybe… another party is about to begin, making the part of me built for battle boil expectantly…
Teal’c was looking at the Muvian city. Its general plan felt logical to the Jaffa. The highest part of the town, called the Acropolis, hosted the numerous buildings of the government, particularly the part called the Aegis Council. He still had to wrap his mind around something Samantha Carter said. The Aegis Council was neither appointed by a higher power, like Jaffa governors could be to oversee the domains of the Goa’uld, nor chosen through an election like the leaders of the Tau’ri people. In truth, the Muvians seem to have a real faith in their machines, even trusting them to choose wisely their own leaders… this not something easy to understand.
From the Acropolis, the different neighborhoods rolled down the hill, their winding streets finally reaching either the shore of the lake or the thick forests on the other side of the city. Further, he could guess villages around the shore of the lake, some even set on small islands. Rather a miniature sea… I can feel the salt in the breeze and guess the waves crashing on that beach. Why saltwater? Maybe because of these strange beings called Asg-Ushirs.
New Camelot felt more beautiful to him than the great, cold cities of the Tau’ri, places like this New York with its huge towers that didn’t feel like homes and streets built for cars rather than for men. The few towers he could see were widely spaced and laced with green areas. They also weren’t that high, twenty stories for the tallest. Here, each neighborhood had its own personality, maybe a reflection of the numerous species that shared the city. I understand the need of the Tau’ri for cars… but the idea of Muvians to force them underground is better. The city feel… more human-scaled like this and the houses made for people. This is very ironic, as this city is found in the most colossal ship ever built in this galaxy.
He leaned a little to look over the balcony and the supporting wall of the Acropolis esplanade, seeing easily the stairs running along it, allowing reach of the park below. In this wide area he could see families resting on the grass, maybe a little girl playing with her dog if his eyes didn’t lie to him. Since he came to know the Tau’ri, he had often mused with introducing the Jaffa to dogs. No doubt that his people would love the animal.
He turned his eyes to another part of the park, to the semi-circular arenas of white stones dug in its ground. People watching this kind of entertainment called theater probably, but he couldn’t hear what they said.
“This is Tannhaüser Park,” said a feminine voice near him, “a place of both rest and culture.”
He looked at the woman that had spoken in perfectly accented Goa’uld, finding her blonde and athletic. The symbol of Moloch stood on her brow, hinting at her being from his people. Her guise however, was not the one of a Jaffa woman. The skintight jumpsuit he had already seen on many Muvian women, this time declined in chrome and light blue was completed with ankle high, high-heeled white boots, a white short-sleeved vest and ceramic white computer bracers covering her forearms.
“I am Ishta, once High Priestess of Moloch and leader of the Hak’tyl… and now a Councilor for the Republic of Mu. Words of your deeds have traveled far, Teal’c.”
He raised an eyebrow, wondering if the Muvian beer had dulled his senses.
“If you are wondering why you cannot feel my symbiont… it is because I have none anymore.”
“How is it possible?”
“We asked this very question when we arrived here, two months ago, after the Muvians saved us from Moloch. But it is true: the Muvian medicine can free the Jaffa from the Goa’uld.”
“Then this must be said to our brothers and sisters.”
Ishta had a sad smile.
“It will be… but the treatment is not without its price. Nanomachines swim in my veins and, just as Muvian technology is now a part of me, I have to learn the ways of this land and forget much of what made me a Jaffa.”
“Much of our ways is built upon the lies of the false gods, so it may not be such a bad thing. I have myself learnt much while fighting alongside the Tau’ri.”
She leaned on the balcony parapet and he noticed her hair was attached by a complex brooch of white ceramic.
“When I arrived here, I remember feeling like a barbarian. I wasn’t blinded by the science of the Muvians but shamed by my ignorance. All around me, Muvians had been not only using wonderful machines, but also completely understanding how those machines worked. So, after we discussed, all the Hak’tyl made a vow this day. We would not stay ignorant. We would learn. We have been warriors, farmers and priests. We are learning to become soldiers, engineers and scientists.”
“This is indeed commendable as we need to free ourselves from the Goa’uld.”
“And what do you think of what you saw of us?” She is the first Ja…. No, she considers herself as part of the Muvian people. While I know that General Hammond and the SGC respect me, I cannot call the Tau’ri home, like she did in that simple sentence…
“The Muvian science is impressive; its eight-rayed sun makes the Goa’uld science look like a fickle candle… Your world-ship has no equal in this galaxy.”
“Kaname will be glad to hear it.”
“Is she the daughter of Shunya Chidori?”
“Yes… She is young, only seventeen Terran years and yet… there are so many remarkable people here, people whose powers and exploits make the ones of the Goa’uld seem insignificant.”
“I had the occasion to spar with Mihoshi Kuramitsu. Is she considered powerful among the Muvians?”
“You said spar,” said Ishta, thoughtful. “Did she use anything else than unarmed combat?”
“No, this was a friendly sparring match, a pleasing one I must say. I had to use much of my art against her.”
“Then you didn’t really face her and yes, Mihoshi Kuramitsu is powerful… She is a… Samantha told me you are familiar with Star Wars, is that right?”
“Indeed. I find it inspirational. Do you like it too?”
“I do but there is something of a dispute on the subject here… this is not a topic for today though. Mihoshi Kuramitsu is a battlemage. They are our Jedi Knights. Speaking of inspirational art… Would you like to come with me to Tannhaüser Park? Some of the Hak’tyls are participating in a Tau’ri play that was translated in the Goa’uld language.”
Teal’c raised an eyebrow as they walked towards the stairs. While had had appreciated some Tau’ri stories, he was still limited in his mastery of English. He was… curious to see that.
“The girls worked hard to be ready for today. They are giving a play called Henry V by the great Tau’ri poet Shakespeare. It shows many values that Jaffa respect.”
Willow exited the transport ring station in the dock area. In front of her reigned something that may have looked like chaos to the unobservant, with people running or piling up on jeeps that then sprinted through the halls. If you paused for a second, you actually realized that the various uniformed people running had a precise idea of their destination and actually managed to avoid accidents. They were all coming either from the transport ring or the metro station and heading towards the various ships docked here.
She was about to start running herself when she saw Summerfield on a jeep waving his arms to get her attention. She darted to join him in the vehicle, leaping quite unceremoniously with the Flying Tigers on the rear platform.
“Thanks guys, and now scramble!”
“Aye, aye, Captain!” replied the pilot at the wheel of the jeep, driving away from the station.
“Susan?” asked Willow after tapping her communicator bracer.
“Given current speed of the three groups not onboard, all the crew will be in in six minutes, Captain,” replied the Whitestar’s infomorph administrator. “Pre-launch checklist is underway and the Whitestar will be ready to clear moorings in twelve minutes. Commander von Schlesien is currently on deck.”
“Good. Summerfied, I want the Flying Tigers ready to pounce in fifteen minutes. It’s snake season!”
“You can count on it, Ma’am,” replied the old timer with a grin.
She recapitulated mentally the characteristics of her ship, regretting not having been able to really fly her before going through the fire. Each Danann had its specialty. The original one had been built with stealth as a main component which made it suited to extended recon mission like the one Tessa Kalinin was doing. The Marie Curie was mostly an exploration and science vessel and the Excelsior an escort ship with a ‘you shall not pass’ philosophy.
The Whitestar was built for offense and she knew that her ship would soon be in a place that Harlock taught her to enjoy: in the thick of the battle.
Daniel Jackson had decided to take Councilor Wilkins’ advice and to go for a walk through the city, to get a feeling for the real people of New Camelot. One thing he could easily see was that the people were still taking their marks, often using plans to orient themselves. After all… the city is only a few hours old.
His stroll had slowly taken him towards the University grounds. This was the first time he had seen such a place outside of Earth. Today, the large plaza surrounded by numerous lecture halls was empty but he was wondering how many were studying here. He stopped at an information screen and, after a few clicks, managed to call a plan of the place. The usual departments are here, plus a few others that are more… specific. Astronautics, Nanotechnology… Thaumaturgy and Psionics.
According to the plan, those two institutes occupied the same building, a circular enclave with a big inner court and several domes that were indicated as training grounds. Is Sam studying there? Probably…
The archeologist turned to see two people. He knew one of them, a small Latino-American man that he had seen once in a conference on the Incan Empire he had attended. The woman accompanying him was more… exotic.
“I am glad to see that you remember me, Doctor Jackson,” replied the man with a smile while they shook hands. “Please meet Professor Paymon Delacroix.”
“Pleased to meet you… are you teaching at the Thaumaturgy Institute?”
“Yes, as you can guess, I am teaching black magic.”
Daniel had to admit that she looked very much like a stereotypical she-devil, the impeccable skirt suit and inverted pentagram amulet completing the impression given by her horns and tail. Since he had seen Echidna, he also had very few reasons to doubt about the existence of magic.
“We were going to rejoin a few colleagues for a little celebration at the Guild,” said Paymon. “I think you will be welcome… after all, your thesis on the pyramids is now compulsory material for our history department.”
“Are you… Professor Guerrero, is that true?”
“Please call me Henrique. Paymon is correct. When we met the Goa’uld, Sanderson in Egyptology still had a copy of your works and… let’s say we took a whole different look at it.”
Daniel had a smile. He knew he had done good with the SGC but being recognized officially, having university professors telling their students he was right and his work cited and recognized… It was just a pity it wasn’t on Earth.
“Thank you… that really means a lot.”
They walked while he discussed with Guerrero, the Muvian telling the Terran about the accomplishments of their university, the works they were doing in collaboration with the Recon Forces, like their expedition to Cimmeria.
“You really think these Dökkalfars exist?” asked Daniel after his colleague had evoked the subject.
“They do,” replied Paymon. “Our divinations confirmed this and we have a good theory about their origins. Have you already heard about the Alterans or Ancients?”
“Under the latter name yes. We found a site indicating they had an alliance with people called the Nox, the Furlings and the Asgard.”
“A thing we discovered is that there are parallels between the timelines involved in Halloween,” said Guerrero. “In other words, the Wau are the Furlings, the Alterans are the Protoculture or the Juraians, etc. There are also Zentraedi in our timeline, created by the Alterans and named Asurans. We think the Dökkalfars are their descendants.”
They reached the ring-like building. Daniel stopped for an instant, deciphering the characters on the entrance’s arch.
“Interesting script… Enochian?”
“Very good,” said Paymon. “How did you guess?”
“A Satanist acquaintance in college. Do you use this language for magic?”
“Yes, it’s a question of magical tradition. Hermetic tradition and its heirs like the form of Satanism I practice use Enochian and Latin, sometimes Greek and Hebrew. I personally use Enochian but in the end, the language is only a tool, a way to shape the intent into a precise form and guide the power. As a corollary, it is safer to use a different language for magic than the one you use for everyday speech. You don’t risk casting something by accident.”
As Paymon guided them through the halls, he continued to ask about magic. Since Echidna’s showdown, he had been forced to accept its existence like the other members of SG-1. Others at the SGC were trying very hard to forget, to believe the official ‘bizarre alien technology’ explanation. He couldn’t. If he accepted magic’s existence, some of the things he had seen during his travels with SG-1 made a lot more sense.
“She is one of my students,” said Paymon. “An eager one I must say. If you want to know more, you will have to ask her though.”
They reached a great room where a party was going on. As he was presented to people like Guerrero’s daughter Jessica, he noticed a thing. People here often referred to themselves with familiar titles like Apprentice, Journeyman or Master, Paymon being of the latter category. Paymon told about a guild…
“Paymon… why the medieval guild structure?”
“The Mages’ Guild is, administratively speaking, a separate structure from the Thaumaturgy and Psionics departments themselves, a kind of student and teacher society. Members have access to resources like research material, legal assistance, etc. but must also prove their worth and their adherence to the principles of the Guild, which can be summarized as ‘use your magic responsibly’. Currently, all thaumaturgy students are members of the Guild, including Samantha. On the psion side it is less systematic as many psionic talents just want to train enough not to be bothered in everyday life by their gift.”
“Are you the only… magical brotherhood?”
“Currently, I would say almost. The Sunnydale Wiccan coven was kind of a joke before Halloween and its members have almost all defected. The matter was about the religious aspect of magic for the Wiccans and its incompatibility with the scientific approach we have here in the university. There is also the fact we are forming battlemages and Wiccans consider it an abomination.”
Daniel continued to discuss with the various members of the Mages’ Guild, meeting some of the apprentices like Henrique Guerrero’s daughter Jessica. Just as he had thought, being in a friendly academic circle was… really nice.
Dawn was looking at her ship from the dock. It had been built with a ring-like structure similar to Mikagami, the ship of Seto Kamiki Jurai. Akisawa hadn’t minded. Mikagami was, after all, her mother.
Compared to other ships in the fleet, Akisawa wasn’t that big, being only 120 meters long. From the outside, the habitable part of the ship was only a small 10-meters diameter saucer found on all Royal Ships. The inside of the saucer, like a certain cupboard of the Hakubi House, was another matter. The visible thing that made the ship really alien was its external structure. Its various parts were not physically linked, but floating together in an orderly way. Behind the saucer, two hundred-meters rings stood, the inner one rotating in a complex pattern inside the external, horizontal one. In front of the saucer, several pieces formed a complex ‘nose’.
What differentiated Akisawa from her mother, though, was the wood used for the external structure. Jurai ships were usually between pale yellow and light brown. Akisawa’s wood was black ebony veined with glowing green crystal. Dawn knew that the choice had not been made lightly or for purely aesthetic reasons. Akisawa was different because Dawn was not Sasami.
She sent a mental command to the ship’s systems and let green light transport her on her ship’s bridge. Like most tree ships, Akisawa could fly herself without any need for a crew. The admiral had finally preferred not to have Mazones on board and to promise the clan Matriarchs that the Royal Ship holding their Goddess’ Child would be respected.
Joyce had therefore created two guardians that would help Dawn and Akisawa onboard, which had also served her as ‘training wheels’ to understand some fine points of Jurai’s biotechnology. The two eight feet tall wooden logs ‘robots’ called Azaka and Kamidake soon materialized and took their respective posting on the bridge, while Dawn sat in her command chair.
“It will be all right, little sis,” said Buffy, appearing behind her.
“Yes,” said Dawn with a sad voice, “I’ll make do. I’m a big eight hundred years old girl after all.”
Buffy hugged her sister.
“All systems primed, your Highness,” said the log called Azaka.
“Thanks. Now we wait for the orders…”
Samantha was looking at her former teammates, wondering about the changes they went through since she left, changes she may well have triggered. She had tried not to feel too bad about it, to hang on the fact Earth was lost to her. Still…
O’Neill seemed not to have changed too much. She knew he was scrutinizing her, trying to understand how his teammate could have changed so much in barely a month, why she had embraced Mu like she did. She knew that the burgeoning feelings they had for each other, feelings they denied because of Air Force rules, were complicating the matter. She would have to talk with him later, in a more private setting.
Daniel and Teal’c were probably more understanding, each in their own way. They knew that sometimes you just had to leave everything behind and rebuild yourself a life on a new world. They were also more fascinated by the wonders of this place, be it the promise of a freedom for the Jaffa or a place that recognized Daniel’s scholarly merits officiously. And then, there is McKay… I remember when we met. I respected his skill but his personality just took me the wrong way. Then, the Event changed things for him as it did for me. We collaborated more and he moved from Zone 51 to the SGC.
She remembered having spent some good time working with him, finding in the Canadian man someone that could understand her most daring designs. He was still annoying for some things but… But he’s probably crushing on me… and contrarily to the colonel he won’t mind I’m not human anymore… Could it work? Two months ago I would have said: no chance in hell! Right now… let’s be charitable and say that would need a lot of work.
“So, Rodney… how do you find things around here?”
“Even the litt… Sam, your arm?”
Carter raised her arm, looking at the red holograms covering it.
“Follow me, Rodney.”
She walked straight to Councilor Wilkins who had similar red holograms on his left forearm.
“Richard, can we use one of your meeting rooms to access the feeds?”
“Of course. Clare and I have to follow what happens anyway. Ishta said she will bring your friend Teal’c back in a few minutes. As for Doctor Jackson…”
He typed a request on the holograms hovering over his bracer.
“He is at the Mages’ Guild. The mages will setup their own access. Please follow me.”
Wilkins entered the building of the Aegis Council, soon followed by McKay and Sam. Behind them, Clare was floating towards the entrance, accompanying O’Neill.
“Sam…” asked McKay
“It was an alert message, Rodney. The Goa’uld are coming.”