Readying for Battle, Consignment to Fate, and... by DarthTenebrus
Readying for Battle, Consignment to Fate, and Temper of Overgrown ChildrenDisclaimer -- Characters from fandoms and Greek and Roman heroes are not my property, nor are they mine to command. This chapter of the epic of Code Ragnarok is mine, though...Author's Note -- Chapters are slow in coming, I know, but I'm still very excited about this, and I hope that this will animate the other authors out there into bringing in some fresh meat for the beast that is Code Ragnarok...LOL...Author's Note #2 -- This chapter was recently edited per request by pythia, .********Stargate Command, Infirmary, Doctor Frasier's laboratory
“So those are midi-chlorians??? They’re so tiny…
Janet Frasier was looking at a screen that was showing a cross-section of a mitochondrion at five thousand times normal magnification. The organelle in question was almost as small as a strand of the RNA that wound its way around and through the entirety of the mitochondrion, and unbelievably, it was constructing new RNA, along with thousands like itself working as one, as they spoke. Breha Valio had had some medical equipment brought down from the Sunrider
and set it up herself in Frasier’s laboratory, along with a sample of her own cells for comparison. Janet had run a test on herself, as it only seemed fitting to do so, and found much to her relief that her midi-chlorian count was nowhere near as high as would allow her to feel, much less use, the Force. From what she had seen and read of Star Wars lore, falling to the Dark Side would be much worse than being labelled insane; the evil that would dominate her mind and enslave her soul would be powerful beyond imagining. Her relief that this would never happen to her was boundless.
She put those thoughts aside fairly quickly, once the realization hit that she would have to condemn others to the burden of learning and controlling their own access to the Force just from a blood test. Miss Valio had shown her how to find them visually through the device she was authorized to leave behind at Stargate Command just before she left with the Garths for Canada and away from the immediate vicinity of the war. Hers was a mission of mercy, which Frasier could identify with; she longed to carry out such missions herself, but her work was here in the SGC infirmary.
She continued to watch the wonder before her eyes under the hyperadvanced version of an electron microscope; the holoimager showed her a vast colony of midi-chlorians working within one mitochondrion, coordinated and under their own collectively conscious control. She had taken notes by various means in order to fully document the experience. There were papers, journal entries beyond numbering that would show proof positive of the existence of these miraculous organelles and the Force that they generated as a function of life. If only she could verify the authenticity of the equipment for the general scientific community…
Suddenly the phone rang on the red cradle in her office. It was Jack O’Neill.
“Doc, you ready? The first batch of blood samples from the field is almost here to get the Test.”
Again with the verbal capitalization, she noted. Frasier shuddered inwardly at the prospect of how many she was consigning to fate with a simple blood test…
She inhaled deeply and cleared her mind; the moment had now come, and it would do her no good to ruminate about the consequences. She steeled herself for the task to come and let out her breath, along with her trepidation and horror.
“Yes, sir. I’m ready. Bring them to the lab.”********Richmond Heights, two miles south of Highway 90
The LRRS section had been having trouble relaying their data to Command at Rally Base Refuge, as had been ordered by Lord Thanaton himself. Some sort of interdiction field, with no apparent source, as the requisite technology for creating such a thing was not present here except among their own equipment, was preventing any signals from getting out of the Richmond Heights area. The scout teams that comprised the section decided as a unit that they would maintain surveillance of the area and return to the battalion at the first hint that the enemy was about to breach from their tunnels.
A week had passed so far with no hint of any activity from the HXDs. What were they up to? What was going on elsewhere in the theatre of operations, that the ones here could afford to bide their time and do nothing? If what previous operational reports were saying was true, then the demons would have not stopped until they reached their objective, and then they would have swarmed over anything and everything in their path until all was destroyed or dead. They had but one focus, one appetite; the 0demon hordes were consumed with a need to destroy all which was pure or good in the world of humankind. They lived only to kill – they hated life in all its forms, from the green grass to the dominant human species that walked the earth and made advances in the sciences of medicine and war as well as in the social philosophies, primarily religion. Had there been only demons, then there was no doubt they would have turned on each other until nothing remained but death.
Colonel Veers had conferred with his subordinate commanders, and it was agreed that at each predicted breach point, they would place proton mines and detonate them remotely, to collapse the exits and perhaps buy time for the walkers to set up to collapse the tunnels along their lengths, advancing as they blasted until they reached the Hellmouth. The plan sounded simple, had it not been for a few snags. For one, there was no real way to tell just how many demons were inside the tunnels waiting to emerge, not which types. Collapsing the tunnels, bringing down the earth on top of them, would not kill them all. It was their hope that well-aimed blaster and turbolaser fire would help to thin out their numbers where the earth itself might fail. For another, the battalion had been cut off from Command by the same interdiction field that hampered communications with the LRRS units. Until they could neutralize that field somehow, there would be no ordnance coming from the Dominator
, and the battalion would have to make do with what they had on hand.
Dorn Company had been hit twice by a probing attack by vampires during that week, and they had lost several men plus their combat equipment. Cresh Company had reported an attempt by vampires to probe their defences as well, but they had managed in their stead to eliminate most of the main assault force. Veers was still confounded by the sight of the enemy exploding into dust when they were shot enough times. One had to hit either the head or the heart to do the job, as a hit on any other part of a vampire’s body didn’t do much more than slow them down. Certainly, the creatures felt pain, as was evidenced when Veers looked over the helmet vids from several troopers on the front line. The others weren’t so easy to put down, and some troopers had to actually change magazines on more than one occasion. The overall picture was that the enemy was sending vampires out as scouts to get intelligence on them. This suggested that, contrary to what rumours said about reports coming in from the Youngstown-Warren area indicating relative stupidity on the part of the demons, that the demons waiting to breach through near I-90 were coordinated and under intelligent command. When the main attack came, it would be in much greater numbers and variety of demonic types, attacking with much greater force. The LRRS scouts had been running reports to the command element at regular intervals, even with demonic elements having discovered them early on during one patrol towards the beginning. As with the Redrock Rangers to the southeast, the typical modus operandi on the part of the demons was to roar and charge toward the enemy and hope to rip the Imperials limb from armoured limb. Judging from the attempt by the enemy to probe the Sith lines, however, that was not to be the case.
Veers had sent a runner back to RBR-1 with a requisition to HSC Command for camouflage paint in order to conceal the stormtroopers’ presence and that of the walkers a day ago. So far, there had been no word back, and no shipments of aerosol paint were forthcoming. This had obviously frustrated the Regimental Commander to no end, as it meant that the demons would see the Sith forces from miles away, should they decide to breach so far from the Sith lines. On the plus side, however, it also meant that they could take the enemy from a distance, as blasters and turbolaser cannon were much more effective at range than the primitive slug-throwers currently in use by the forces of the United States and elsewhere on this backwater world. Camouflage would have meant better options for setting up fields of fire and for protection of the troops, but that was a moot point now, as the main attack could come at any moment. As with the munitions, the Imperials would have to make do with what they had.
The LRRS scouts that came in were given new orders; they would now act as special operations troops to harass the lines of the enemy security element and keep them off balance as much as possible. The regiment had the ammo and the ordnance for the job, and as interrogating demons would be an exercise in futility, the scouts were ordered to sow chaos within the demon ranks and watch what took place. In that way, they would determine which demons held leadership roles, and they would know which their primary targets were. Without strong leadership from the top down, Veers figured that as with human forces, the demons would tear themselves apart in confusion and revert to their standard method of roar and charge. He hoped that by decapitating them, depriving them of leadership, the resulting confusion would thin out their numbers as they fought amongst themselves for supremacy, after which the Imperials would mow down the rest when they finally reconstituted themselves and reorganized to attack. By that time, Veers hoped, the rest of the regiment would have placed their proton mines near the breach points; the LRRS teams had placed ground sensors about half a standard kilometre south and west of the predicted breach points, to give the rest time to assume a battle posture that would permit them to lay down a base of fire, thereby enabling the more mobile elements of each company to flank the demons and pin them down in a crossfire.
The ground sensors placed by the LRRS teams were to serve as an early warning system. The data picked up would be transmitted wirelessly to the company commanders, who were to order detonation of the proton mines, thus collapsing the ground and sealing off the tunnels that the main body of the demon assault force intended to use to reach I-90. Then the walkers would surge forward along the length of each tunnel, blasting every inch of ground along the way as would be determined by ground-penetrating radar from the LRRS teams, crushing what demons they would and exposing what remained to turbolaser fire. After the FUBAR at Lake Erie, Veers was certain that there was not a single demon that had passed through what the locals called the Hellmouth that could withstand even a minor barrage from the walkers’ cannon and the troopers’ rifles. The ultimate goal was to advance to the Hellmouth itself and plant charges around the ‘mouth’ of the Hellmouth. The detonation would be enough, hopefully, to collapse the entrance and seal off the demons Earthside from what had not yet passed through. The combined Allied force would then hunt down what remained and wipe them out, securing ultimate victory.
As soon as the scouts returned with their next reports, he would issue his final orders for the operation and send them out to relay them to the company commanders. The attack was coming soon; Veers could feel it in his bones, even though he had not been born with Force sensitivity. But long experience as a unit commander had given him a sort of sixth sense for these thing. Once the scouts were off to pass the word, the walkers would turn and present their flanks to provide the largest volume of fire toward the enemy when they appeared.
Now all they had to do was wait….
Thanaton took one of his aides to fly him out in a shuttle to Omas’ last known location before he disappeared and was later found in the custody of the Redrock Rangers. The Force was screaming at him to go there; there he would find the answers he sought. He could feel the energy of the Hellmouth, its taint and corruption of the land and the space around it was like a cancer that fed the Dark Side and gave it strength beyond imagining. It was an elixir like nothing ever was, and it served as a guide for Darth Thanaton, a homing beacon that would guide him to the turncoat pilot and to the vengeance he so richly deserved. For who among the forces of the Empire would dare to defy the Dark Lord face to face? He almost pitied Jan Omas for not confronting him and showing his strength in defiance, but now Thanaton had to hunt him down and bring him back into the fold before administering the punishment that was required for deserters and traitors to the Empire. These thoughts fuelled the Dark Side and gave the Dark Lord the focus he craved, the raw power that was his to command as a Sith.
They flew on a general northeast course toward the Lake Erie sector, where the engagement fought just a week ago caused the deaths of innumerable demons but also cut down a large number of friendly troops who happened to be in the way. The primitive Greeks and Romans and pirates and whatever else that had been seemingly raised from the dead to battle for humanity here, they had made a good account of themselves despite taking many losses to the Imperials’ turbolasers. Thanaton was curious to see if maybe they were still there, taking the fight to the enemy as the Rangers were here on the mortal plane, and as the Elysian ground forces below were doing in what everyone was referring to as Hell itself. And down there they were being led by gods
A small chuckle escaped Thanaton’s lips as he considered the matter. What god was there but the Force? What power was there but the Dark Side of the Force, which lived in everyone, but only a fortunate few could touch and feel, let alone use?Gods, really….
If any of these so-called gods dared to confront him, as General O’Neill had dared to threaten him with, then he, Darth Thanaton, would show them that they were no more than manifestations of the Force, and the Force was his to command and use as he saw fit. And before all was said and done, these gods
, as they liked to call themselves, would be made to serve him as well. Then let the forces of Hell beware…
The shuttle landed softly upon the hard-packed sand of the shoreline, where Omas’ Force echo was strongest. What Thanaton felt when he de-boarded the shuttle infuriated him, yet it did not surprise him in the least bit. Along with Omas’ Force echo was the familiar signature of a Jedi Knight. The simpering monastic nature lovers had spirited him away from the combat zone after the Glorious Dead, as everyone had taken to calling the Greek and Roman forces and their allies, had occupied the lakefront zone along the southeast shoreline of Lake Erie. Omas had already broken his oath of loyalty to the Emperor, no matter that he was in another universe entirely, and the rest simply fell into place after that.
Thanaton searched around the place, and decided that since the Greeks were still here, maintaining a garrison, he would first seek his answers among them. He did not have to look long when a man came up to him bearing a shield on his arm with the emblem of an eagle, and a sword strapped to his waist that signified royal parentage. Compared to those of the others that scurried to and fro about the place, the sandals and cloak on this one favoured royal blood as well. He regarded Darth Thanaton with a mixture of curiosity and loathing.
“So you must be the one who commands the interlopers that fired on our people little more than seven days ago,” he said. He snorted and continued, “The stink of evil that emanates from you is an affront to Zeus, but he has told us all before we came that you were not to be killed, as you are an ally in this glorious campaign. He did not say, however,” and here he leaned in close to leave no doubt in Thanaton’s mind as to his words, “that you could not get a good thrashing for your role in ordering your people to send your walking chariots across our path and rain fire upon us and our mutual enemies.”How dare this upstart of a dead Greek threaten to beat me! I will show him now what he faces!
Thanaton raged, and he curled his fingers around the air as he channelled the fury of the Dark Side through him and into the Greek to collapse his trachea and cut off his air. When the Greek stood there smiling, though all the terrible power of the Force was moving through him, Thanaton became maddened with rage and drew his lightsaber.
The Greek stood and laughed uproariously. “What do you intend to do with that?
Kill my shadow?” He drew his own sword. Compared to the lightsaber in Thanaton’s hands, the length of steel in his own hand seemed so much lesser to Thanaton, yet so much more to the Greek, who posed in a mock defensive stance, daring Thanaton to attack him.
He was not disappointed, and more than surprised when the plasma blade cleaved through the steel in the Greek’s blade as though it were warm butter. The Greek lifted the melted remains of his royal weapon, astonishment and a bit of fear evinced in his suddenly wide-eyed expression, as he began to wonder at the advancements made by the people of this world. He turned his gaze then to the Sith Lord before him, and inquired, “Who and what are you…?”
“At least you have the courage to ask, Greek. I am Darth Thanaton, Dark Lord of the Sith. And might I have the pleasure of your name, before I decide whether or not to run you through for your arrogance and stupidity?”
He looked at Thanaton with worry and grave concern on his face. “I am Alexander the Third, son of Philip the Barbarian, and atone time I was conqueror and ruler of the known world. And I am not Greek, but Macedonian. I know not what science or magic can make such weapons as the one you wield, Darth Thanaton of the Sith, but the blade you destroyed so easily was a royal heirloom of my family and kingdom. It cannot be so easily replaced, you understand?”
“It matters not, Emperor Alexander of Macedonia,” replied Thanaton as he extinguished his blade. “I have not come looking to destroy such primitive weapons as that sword of yours. Instead I come with questions, and I hope you have the intelligence and knowledge that may supply me with answers. As we are meant to be allies, I would ask that you help me with a small problem.”
“And what small problem might that be?” asked Alexander as he regarded the Dark Lord with some semblance of curiosity.
“One of my soldiers, a pilot of the armoured transports that you called ‘walking chariots’, whatever those might be, has broken his oath of allegiance to me and the Emperor we both serve in our universe, and he has disappeared. This was the last known location of our forces when he turned traitor and left with one of my people’s traditional enemies. We call them Jedi, and one of them helped him in his flight from his unit and absconded with him. Might you know of such events, Alexander?” Thanaton queried.
“By the gods, Lord Thanaton, I do not,” Alexander replied, a confident smirk on his face, as he knew he was telling the truth from his point of view. What he had not known was that the Jedi had wiped the minds of a great majority of the Glorious Dead that had seen the deed done with Force Persuasion. As with all mind tricks, though, Force Persuasion was only effective on the weak-minded, no matter that they had once been dead. A will as indomitable as that of Alexander the Great would not be so affected.
Suddenly Alexander had a thought. He had not risen to the lofty status of world ruler through tyranny and butchery; he took care of those who served him, and especially those who fought for him. In his time on Earth, his forces had done well with the weapons and tactics they had at the time, but here and now, with a second chance at eternal glory, it would not do to take advantage of every opportunity that came his way, be it better armour, better weapons, or even rest and nourishment for his men when they weren’t fighting. The Sith Lord’s weapon was unbelievably powerful to cut through his own sword without fracturing it in the process, and it did the job in less than a second, literally melting the steel as it struck. And there were others..
“However, I did see one of the soldiers that I would suppose is yours leave the area with one of those whom you call Jedi. I saw which direction they went, but I know not where they have gone. I could point you that way, for a small favour…”
Thanaton rolled his eyes at this suggestion that he humour this once-dead Macedonian. Still, one as influential among his people in his time, and as successful in battle and empire building as Alexander the Third claimed to be, could not but be worth noticing. “Alright,” he said at length, “what?”
“My men are well armed, but to give us the edge in battle over these Hell-spawned abominations would require the use of more…advanced arms and equipment, such as your walking chariots and that sword of light which you wield—“
Thanaton couldn’t help himself any longer; he laughed loud and long, the laughter of one who has heard the most ridiculous idea in his lifetime. This primitive and his followers wanted Sith technology
? And lightsabers?
If they could keep from cutting off their own heads, then that would be something to see.
Only Alexander did not see the hilarity, nor any shade of humour whatsoever. “You would deny an ally the chance to advance the cause of the gods in this campaign?! You amaze me, Lord Thanaton, but also you insult me and my men. The difference between you and me is I try to keep my men alive in the fight, whereas you just slaughter whoever stands in your way of victory, be they friend or foe! Are you so stupid that you would slaughter a world you mean to rule?!”
Anger rose up in the heart of the Sith Lord at those words. The Dark Side swelled up in him and sought to blind him with hate, but he fought it down and resisted the urge to slay this man who dared to insult him. He was an ally, after all, and to kill him without cause would incur the wrath of O’Neill. He shook his head in disgust and his own measure of amazement.
“Lord Alexander, for all your insight and knowledge, you have but little wisdom. The science to produce these and make them work is beyond your small ability to comprehend. You’d crash one of those walkers into the next structure or fire on your own troops. And this
, in the hands of an untrained wielder,” and here he ignited the lightsaber once again, but in a demonstrative manner rather than a threatening one, “would be more dangerous to the wielder than the target. You should ask one of the modern forces on this world for a rifle or a ballistic vest…”
“Then give us some of the rifles that your soldiers use, the ones that shoot those arrows of light. I’ve seen how effective they are, and I would have my men equipped with the best weapons they can get their hands on, Lord Thanaton, so if you would do my men this favour, then I will point you in the direction of your wayward chariot driver. If you elect to deny us this edge in the battles ahead, then I cannot help you, and would urge you to leave this place as quickly as possible, for my men and I do not take kindly to those allies with better arms who would hinder us in the same war.”
Thanaton was once again angered by the Macedonian's words, but he chose to set it aside and let it simmer. It was not Alexander that had deserted his command, after all, and it would do no good to kill him here and now. He would let his anger feed and grow, saving it for the moment when he would unleash it against Omas in a detention cell. He took a long breath and inhaled it slowly, savouring the anger of the assembled Greeks, Romans, Persians and Asians that had seen the attempt to throttle their king, and fuelling the Dark Side with his own indomitable will. He shook his head in disgust.
“For all your insight and knowledge, Alexander, son of Philip, you have but little wisdom. I will seek my answers elsewhere. As we are allies, I will not strike you down. But hear my words now, for on the day when our alliance ends, should you remain here on this world, our paths will cross again, and when they do you will remember this day as the day you made the biggest mistake of your restored life. You are going to regret not giving me the answers I sought from you, I promise you,” Thanaton retorted. “Pilot, get me the Hell out of here and away from these primitives! Warm up the shuttle!”
Just after he turned to leave, he heard the voice of Alexander behind him.
“Lord Thanaton!” He turned to regard the Macedonian with loathing in his molten-amber eyes. “If you ever so much as attempt to use your power against me again, impressive though it is, you will hear from General O’Neill for it. That, I can promise you!
Now leave this place to us, and never return, you or your Sith soldiers!”
As the shuttle lifted off and headed southeast toward Youngstown, Alexander saw three other Greeks approach, as well as several Romans and a Thracian he did not know save by name.
“What’s his problem?” asked the one with the golden hair.
“Ah, Jason, methinks he needs a lesson in controlling his outbursts. He is as much a slave to his anger as his people are to him, I expect.”
“Hmph,” snorted the Thracian, “had he lived in our world in my time, I would show him what anger is as sword cleaved through flesh and fucking bone, Alexander.”
“Your passion for blood is as strange as is your speech, friend Spartacus,” replied Cassander. “Now let us go and have drink and words as we laugh about temper of overgrown children.”
The assembled heroes chortled loudly as they strode away from the shoreline and to a tent where more merriment transpired for the Glorious Dead that had returned from another patrol.********