Only Ship in the Quadrant
A/N: Hi All! Thanks to everyone for reading and to the 289 of you who are tracking this story (WOW! My highest tracking number ever). One thing about having to wait for my beta to get things back to me is that I keep coming up with new things to add or re-working sections so they sound better, but as always, this would not be near as good without ReadsaLot's feedback, so many many thanks to them! Thanks also to markuop for a review of the last chapter that sparked an additional page being added to this chapter!Please note the additional disclaimer at the bottom of this chapter. I hope you like singing ;) Only Ship in the Quadrant
George Hammond was standing in the SGC infirmary chatting with Captain Janet Frasier, the SGC’s Chief Medical Officer, when the comm-badge in his breast pocket chirped.“PROMETHEUS to General Hammond.”
Reaching in his pocket he pulled out the badge, glanced over at Janet and tapped it. “Hammond here, Captain Rosenberg.”“We have a possible inbound roughly an hour and forty-five out, plus or minus fifteen.”
Janet’s eyes had climbed up behind her reddish-brown bangs as the voice spoke.
“Understood,” looking over he could see Janet trying hard to not say anything. “Captain, while we did not discuss it, what is the status of your medical staff?”
There was a long pause and George could clearly visualize the young Captain considering the question. “Minimal, Sir. My CMO is the ship's Emergency Medical Hologram. Some trained support personnel and qualified medical professionals would probably not go amiss.”
“Understood Captain. I have to call the President and the Joint Chiefs, however as soon as I complete those calls I will be available to come aboard. I'll bring my
CMO and her 'go team' with me.”“Thank you General.”
The sudden relief in her voice was palpable. “I look forward to your arrival. PROMETHEUS out.”
Looking at the Doctor, George grinned. “Yes, you heard right Major. We have a friend with a starship in orbit. She's a little short-handed, but the lady just might save our bacon. Currently there are approximately eighty crew aboard. Their medical facilities are fully equipped at a tech level you will not believe, so focus more on who to bring along than what. Have your team in the briefing room in thirty minutes.”~~~***~~~
The whine and bright light of the transporter effect faded, leaving the party from the SGC standing on the pad. Present facing them were Lieutenant Colonel Ronson, Major Feretti, Captain Rosenberg and an attractive young brunette woman General Hammond had not yet met, wearing sciences blue and a white lab-coat.
The General stepped to the edge of the transporter platform. “Permission to come aboard, Captain?”
“Granted General,” Willow greeted the arriving party, waving her hand to encompass the woman beside her. “I do not believe that you met my Chief Medical Officer earlier.”
The woman stepped forward and smiled, offering her right hand to him. “DAWN S. Diagnostic Avatar With Nurturing Skills, the ship's Emergency Medical Hologram. The CMO thing is so new the paint's still wet.”
Hammond chuckled, once more impressed and flustered by the level of technology aboard the PROMETHEUS. Shaking the hologram's hand he would never have suspected that she was comprised entirely of forcefields and light projections. “Captain Rosenberg, DAWN, I would like to introduce Captain Janet Frasier, Chief Medical Officer for Stargate Command.”
Janet stepped forward and reached out her own hand to greet the two starship officers. “Aside from myself, I've brought a pair of surgical nurses and a pair of registered nurses to assist. All four are paramedic qualified.”
Willow nodded. “Welcome aboard, if the five of you will go with DAWN, she will show you to our sickbay and get you started on a crash course in twenty-fifth century medical technology.”
DAWN gestured towards the door. “Doctor Frasier, if your team will accompany me.” The gaggle of medical staff shouldered their bags and followed the EMH into the corridor.
George turned to the Captain and the two Air Force officers. “Status?”
Willow led the SGC officers out of the transporter room and down the corridor to the turbolift. “Ship's sensors have a lock on two craft approaching in a deep subspace band. A significantly deeper band than those accessible by standard Starfleet Warp Drive systems. Refined estimates place their arrival at one hour, plus or minus five minutes. As things stand now, we go to Red Alert - Battlestations in thirty minutes.”
Willow paused her report as the door to the turbolift opened and they climbed aboard. “Deck seven, Flag Ops.”
With the car in motion, the Captain continued her briefing. “A second spread of Mark XXIII tactical probes has been launched and are deploying along the line of approach. All twelve probes are now feeding data into the Flag Ops systems. Twenty-four of the Mark XVIII-Ps are loaded into the magazine drums, twelve forward and twelve aft and all four tubes have those drums mounted. An additional fourteen Mark XVIII-Ps have been produced. These have all been sent to the aft launcher magazines and will be auto-loaded in the empty drums after the first wave is deployed.”
Hammond nodded. “Colonel Ronson?”
“Sir,” the Lieutenant Colonel straightened his posture by the lift wall. “The pilots have been on enforced rest for the last six hours. Prior to that they were in the simulators for nearly eight hours. The controller teams spent a similar amount of time learning the stations and were party to the last two hours of pilot simulations. All of this is so new to us that I am uncertain how effective we will be in its usage.”
The lift stopped, the three men and one woman exiting and walking down the hall to the Flag Operations center. The General turned to the last of the three. “Major?”
“SG's 2, 3 and 5 have integrated well with Commander Summers' security teams. We have familiarized ourselves with the standard hand phaser for ship-board usage. Per Captain Rosenberg's standing orders, all issued phasers are locked on their stun setting. SG team weapons are currently secured in the Deck Twelve armory nearest to the transporter room from which any off-ship deployment would occur. In the event of a boarding action, Security Team Alpha and SG-3 will deploy with SG-5 as the reserve unit. All SGC personnel have been issued with Starfleet comm-badges and demonstrated proficiency in their usage.”
They turned through the doors to the upper level of the Flag Bridge. Hammond walked to the rail overlooking the tank which was already displaying an image of the Sol system with a pair of pale yellow, dotted tracks showing the indicated path of the incoming vessels. “Very good. Captain Rosenberg, as you have the most experience, I fully intend to follow your lead. Your plan?”
Willow grimaced. “Bluff, General. If I can convince the opposing force to leave without revealing my ship's capabilities in any way, then I would consider that the perfect victory. Failing that, I will use the minimum capabilities necessary to convince them of the error of their ways. Last resort, if they are stupid enough to give me no choice, the gloves come off and these Goa'uld find out that a failure to learn on their part is quite expensive. I have worked with the controllers and pilots on escort and screening tactics for a number of scenarios. Colonel Ronson has my full confidence in recognizing the tactical situation and adjusting our fighters
Looking down at his watch and then out at the tank, Hammond nodded his head once. “Colonel, let's roust your teams and get them on station.”
The Lieutenant Colonel tapped the comm-badge he had attached to his left breast pocket. “Ronson to all Air Force personnel. Pilots man your planes, controllers to your stations.”~~~***~~~
The tromp of Jaffa boots on the metal floors echoed down the corridor gradually growing louder until the unbearably monotonous sound came to a crashing stop immediately outside the door of the cell. Shaking his head, as if unable to believe the sudden lack of sound, Jack was singularly unsurprised when the door slid open and the gray-haired Jaffa stepped through.
Able to see the ranks of stoic warriors standing in the hall, the Colonel squashed his first inclination to overpower the old man and charge through the door. He would not make it more than three steps before he would be dead.
“Teal'c!” Klorel's first prime snarled.
The burly Jaffa in the SGC uniform bowed his head briefly. “Master Bra'tac.”
“So these are the Taur'i,” he turned, taking in the appearance of the three humans, his voice continuing to carry a sneer of contempt. “Are they truly worth the betrayal of your god and the loyalty you now give them?”
Stoic, the former First Prime of Apophis hardened his expression, answering with a firm, “They are.”
The elder Jaffa stepped in front of the younger, staring at him as if the look alone would shatter Teal'c into a million pieces. An eternity passed while the resolve of the two men was tested in the depths of the other man's eyes.
Stepping back, Bra'tac suddenly smiled, swinging his right hand out to grip Teal'c's right forearm in a warrior's clasp. The sudden change in his demeanor reached to his voice which carried the warmth of a father for his son. “Indeed, I can see that you believe that to be true. And as you believe, so must I.”
Teal'c nodded, a smile on his own face. “Colonel O'Neill, Captain Carter, Daniel Jackson, allow me to present my mentor, Master Bra'tac.”
The elder Jaffa nodded briefly to the humans as four of the soldiers behind him produced SG-1's equipment. Bra'tac stepped to one side and let them pass their burdens one by one to O'Neill, who quickly relayed them to his team. As they geared back up, Bra'tac explained, “I had intended to lead those Jaffa loyal to me in an attack on Apophis in Klorel's name, in the hope that said attack would start a war between the two false gods. However, your presence here has made that impossible. What plan have you to stop the invasion of your world?”
Reaching into his bag Jack pulled out the detonator for the C-4 they had already placed. “We have placed C-4 in critical areas of this ship. This device starts a ten minute countdown to the explosion.”
Bra'tac nodded. “I see. You have more of this see fore? We can use the ring transporters to board Apophis' ha'tak.”
Jack shook his head. “No. We placed it all here. We'll need to come up with something else to use on Apophis's ship.”
“That is unfortunate.”
“We could try to overload their engines,” Sam suggested.
Bra'tac nodded. “Though it would be detected, it might be possible.”
Throwing the carry strap of a MP5 sub-machine gun over his shoulders, the Colonel racked back the charging handle and braced the butt of the weapon into the crook of his elbow. “If you can get us to the other ship, then let's move.”~~~***~~~'Oh God. What am I thinking!'
Willow sat in the command chair on the Bridge of the PROMETHEUS, her face blank and her mind bordering on a full blown panic. 'All the people on this ship. I'm not qualified for this. And all those people below.''I'mgonnafail,screw-up,blowit,beamajorpoopyhead.''SNAP THE HELL OUT OF IT WILLOW!'
Silence reigned in her mind after that. Blessed silence.'We are not a wet behind the ears teenager, we have over twenty years' experience. Not only
can we do this, we
have done this and we
will do this. Trust the crew.'
Willow exhaled slowly, catching the attention of her first officer in the next chair. Glancing at the chronometer on the screen by her right hand she nodded. “Time, James.”
The holographic officer closed his eyes for a moment, then stood. “Red Alert! All hands to battle stations! This is no drill!”
Red tracer lights lit up around the edges of the Bridge and the alert siren sounded.
Willow watched surreptitiously as Kit activated the stopwatch function on her station and began taking reports as the various duty sections reported in. A minute and a half later she looked up from her station, meeting the eyes of Commander McNally. “All stations report manned and ready Sir.”
“Primary shields at one hundred percent.” Buffy spoke from behind Willow's head. “Targeting sensors are on-line, all phasers indicate ready. Photon torpedo tubes are all loaded with the Mark XVIII-Ps. Mix of Mark XVIII photon and Mark XX quantum torpedoes are loaded in the follow on drums.
“Sensors indicate that the targets will exit warp just above the plane of the ecliptic, approximately sixteen million kilometers to spinward.”“Engineering.”
Joyce's voice reported in. “Main and auxiliary energizers on-line. All fusion generators on-line. All back-up batteries read full charge.”
“Very well,” Commander McNally answered as he turned to face the Captain. “Your orders?”
Willow swallowed hard, her spine stiffening as her resolve face settled into place, covering her continuing uncertainty. “Mr. Harris, lay in a course to intercept their expected point of exit from Warp. One half impulse. Prepare a running warp solution to jump the gap once they emerge. Communications, warm up the array. When I speak to them, I want to rattle their fillings.”
“Aye aye Captain!”
“Rosenberg to Hammond.”“Flag Ops, Hammond here.”
“General, per the plan I am going to attempt to warn them off. If that doesn't work then we'll move to phase two, executing a close pass between the enemy ships. Immediately before and after closest point of approach we will launch your squadrons.“Affirmative. God-speed Captain.”
Willow swallowed hard, neither her older self, nor the teenager she was prior to Halloween were fond of public speaking. Reaching up she tapped her badge again. “All hands, this is the Captain.”~~~***~~~
Janet Fraiser looked up from reading the instrument instructions DAWN had given her as the Captain’s voice broke free from the speakers.“Events of recent days have left us uncertain, weakened, alone in a world with which we are unfamiliar.”~~~***~~~
In the transporter room, Andrew queued up another diagnostic on the systems, still geeking about being on a real starship, but working hard to be worthy of the trust Willow, Buffy and the others were placing in him.“Further circumstances have conspired to put Earth, our home, at risk. We are few. But history shows that sometimes a gallant few… Even one alone, can stand against the forces of evil.”~~~***~~~
Patrolling the corridors of Deck Seven, Hector Tejos and Kath Holburn paused to listen, their eyes never stopping their sweep.“We may be few but we are Starfleet! We know our jobs. We know our ship. We know our mission. We stand now with others who share our love of this world.”~~~***~~~
At the consoles surrounding the Flag Ops holotank the men and women sat up a little straighter as their Colonel and General moved quietly through the room, speaking with each officer and airman.“To those who have joined us from the SGC and U.S. Air Force, our lives are in each others' hands. So long as we each do our best then those whom we fight for cannot fault us. I am proud to stand alongside each and every one of you.”~~~***~~~
“The PROMETHEUS is a lady and we are her loyal retainers,” Willow continued. “Today, she
is the one girl in all the world, standing against the demons. She - will – not – fail - us! Together we are the blaze of light that drives back the darkness.”
“Warp-flash Captain!” Jenny shouted from her station. “Fourteen million, one hundred and twenty-seven thousand kilometers spinward and twelve degrees above the plane.”
“All hands prepare for warp-jump. Mr. Harris, put us three million kilometers off their bows.”
Xander's fingers danced across the console as the PROMETHEUS lunged forward like a dog slipping its leash. Precisely thirty-six point four seconds later the ship surged out of subspace in an unmistakable flash of light.~~~***~~~
Janet glanced at the ceiling nervously as a pair of shudders rattled their way through the ship a half minute apart. DAWN cocked an eyebrow at her and chuckled. “Relax Doctor, that was just the ship jumping into and out of warp.”
Frasier nodded. “I guess I've spent too much time under the mountain. I don't expect to feel motion.”
DAWN nodded. “Kinda like growing up in California. You learn to ignore the earthquakes.”
The Major snapped her head around, giving the holographic doctor a strange look.
The EMH ignored her, motioning to the next tool laid out on the diagnostic bed. “Protoplaser. Think of it as an instant suture. Run it slowly over any open wound, focus on the deepest levels first. Once they are sealed then refocus to the next level and make another pass.”
DAWN closed her eyes, and when she opened them again her right arm was sliced open all the way down to the virtual bone. “Okay Doctor Frasier, pick up your instrument and let’s practice again.”
The nurses all gathered around, waiting their turn to practice with the tissue repair instrument on the EMH, hoping that the knowledge they were gaining would not be necessary, yet desperately fearing that before the day was out it would not be enough.~~~***~~~
In the holographic tank, the pair of Goa'uld ships appeared to hover next to each other. Gold pyramid superstructures rose from gun-metal gray hulls that created a graceful arc to either side. Ronson had his two best operators each pull a ship up on their consoles. Sensory overlays on the monitors displayed the identified and suspected weapons, thruster ports, main drives, hangar bays and many other areas of strategic and tactical interest.
“Colonel, Cadillac and Pontiac squadrons will be deploying at roughly zero relative velocity to those two.” Hammond looked over the rail at the floating representations.
Ronson looked thoughtful. “Wild Weasel, Sir?”
“We can pre-target for them and upload the data,” the lead console operator offered. “All they have to do is get close and pull the trigger.”
George nodded to the Lieutenant Colonel. “Do it.”~~~***~~~
With all three vessels now moving at sub-light speeds, the distances involved made the ships seem to be creeping along slowly. Xander had further reduced their speed to a relative standstill after dropping out of warp, while the target vessels were now decelerating hard from half the speed of light.
“Channel open Captain.” Jenny answered, having slaved the communications station to her own.
Willow stood and was amazed when the deck did not rise up to meet her nose. Turning slowly, she met the eyes of each and every person on the Bridge.
No more doubts.
No more babble.
Willow's eyes flared as a final resolve locked in. The butterflies in her stomach declared defeat, ceasing their attack on her nerve. Opening her mouth her voice was nearly a growl as she spoke.~~~***~~~
On the pel'tac of his ship, the System Lord Apophis sat on the forward edge of his throne, staring at the image display of the insignificant blue sphere that had so recently made a nuisance of itself to his kind. The Goa'uld had portrayed themselves to their slaves and minions as gods for so long that even they believed in their own divinity. So when these untamed humans had dared to kill the great Ra, it had naturally enraged the other System Lords.
For more than a year, Apophis had maneuvered and warred with others who might lay claim to Ra's throne until he had risen to the fore of the strongest faction. That war still raged. Especially against Sokar's minions. But today, today he would win over all but those most loyal to Sokar himself. Today he would enslave or exterminate the Taur'i for daring to kill a god.
“My Lord.” Apophis' replacement for the shol'va Teal'c knelt before him. “An unknown vessel has placed itself in our path.”
“So, they think to challenge their rightful god,” he murmured.“This is Captain Willow Rosenberg of the United Earth Starship PROMETHEUS. State your business in this system.”
Her voice echoed off the gold walls, seeming to come from every point in the chamber at once.
“INSOLENCE!” Apophis roared.~~~***~~~
“Willow,” Jenny turned from her station. “We're getting a response.”
The Captain nodded. “Per the plan Commander, re-broadcast all incoming transmissions back to both vessels. Let’s not allow the little power-monger to hide behind information control.”
The Trill turned back to her station. “Retransmitting.”
An image resolved on the main viewscreen of a thin man with eastern Mediterranean features wearing Egyptian robes and a gold skull cap. His eyes flashed yellowish gold as he spoke, his voice carrying a disturbing harmonic resonance. “I am your god, Apophis. Kneel before me and I may let you live.”
Willow had to choke back the sudden urge to laugh out loud at Apophis' hubris and audacity. “Let me get this absolutely clear. You have traveled across hundreds of light years with two
ships to come to this insignificant and out of the way star system merely to give me
the choice to live or die if I
worship you? I know that us starship Captains are a breed apart, but seriously. Does your boss know how badly you're wasting their resources?”
From behind, she could see Xander's shoulders begin to shake as he tried vainly to suppress his mirth. On the screen, the Goa'uld's eyes widened at her reply.“You dare question me? You dare INSULT me!? I am a GOD!”
His glowing eyes bulged outwards as his skin became blotchy in his apoplexy.
An evil grin gracing her face, Willow slowly rose from her command chair and stalked forward towards the viewscreen. “A god?”
she hissed. “To paraphrase the words of one James T. Kirk, what does a god
need with a starship? Leave this system before I decide to take yours away from you. End communication!”
The image of the enemy commander blinked out, returning to a view of the two ha'taks.~~~***~~~
Deep in the bowels of Klorel's ship, pinned down between the engine room and the naquadah storage tanks SG-1 looked at each other in shock as the communication between Willow and Apophis vibrated from the very walls of the vessel.
“PROMETHEUS?” Samantha Carter shook her head. “There is a proposal to build spacegoing warships that is called Project Prometheus, but so far that's just a White Paper.”“To paraphrase the words of one James T. Kirk, what does a
god need with a starship? Leave this system before I decide to take yours away from you. End communication!”
“Well, whoever this Captain Rosenberg is, I like her attitude toward the snakes,” Jack answered. “Carter, try to get a signal through to them.”
Behind them the noises from the engine room picked up in intensity. Teal'c leveled his staff weapon around a corner and fired. “Master Bra'tac, we are cut off from the ring transporter room.”
Incoming fire killed another of Bra'tac's Jaffa. “Perhaps we can reach the glider bay,” the old Jaffa Master turned down another corridor that was not yet filled with Klorel's loyal guards.~~~***~~~
At her station Jenny frowned. Reaching into a cubby under the console she pulled out an earpiece that she hooked over her left ear. Linking it to the computer she isolated the signal.
“Captain! We're getting a transmission from the second ship. A Captain Carter of SG-1!”
Willow glanced to the screen where Apophis' ships were now accelerating rapidly and opening fire on her own.
“Jenny, pipe that signal to the tank. Xander, three-quarter impulse, evasive pattern beta two. Buffy, stand by fore and aft torpedoes. Hand phaser control over to Mr. Tejos and tell him to target weapons and drives.” She tapped her comm-badge. “All hands, this is the Captain. Initiating phase two.”
If the other side was going to say 'screw diplomacy' then so be it. All around the Bridge the various monitors and tells filled her in on the complete story as her ship charged forward with the predatory grace of an orca hunting a seal. Her command weaving around the incoming fire, a feral grin slid over her features as a probing red lance of energy reached out and splashed against the lead opponent’s shields.
“Phaser control, concentrate on overloading their shields,” Buffy ordered her subordinate.“Acknowledged.”
the young voice from the other end replied.
Her people, her ship, the combined entity known as PROMETHEUS responded to the trumpet clarion of war.~~~***~~~
George stood by the rail, watching the action in the holotank as the three ships began to maneuver towards each other and opened fire. To have such a view of a battle was the dream of many Generals from the time when armies sought out terrain where their leaders could stand on cliffs, hills or mountains, to the advent of balloons, to the modern battlefield of computers, satellites and orbiting drones. Hammond had to remind himself that he was not just a spectator. Distances were beginning to close.
“Colonel Ronson,” he spoke. “Ready the men.”
“Yes Sir.” The Lieutenant Colonel tapped his badge. “Pilots activate your interfaces. Controllers stand ready for deployment!”“General Hammond,”
the voice of Commander Kalderash sprang from his own badge. “We are receiving a communication from a Captain Carter of SG-1. I am transferring it to the Flag Ops command station.”
The General could not help but grin broadly at the news. Stepping over to the command station he lay a hand on the airman's shoulder. “Walter? The Bridge is transferring down an incoming message, please put it on speakers.”
Static burst from the console, nearly drowning out a weak, “...ETHEUS. Please respond.”
The airman made some minor adjustments and suddenly the voice came through clearly. “This is Captain Samantha Carter of SG-1 calling the United Earth Starship PROMETHEUS. Please respond.”
George nodded an affirmative to the airman who reached out and pressed the control to open the channel. “Captain Carter. It is good to hear your voice.”
There was a pause on the other end. “General Hammond? It is good to hear yours as well Sir!”
“What's your status Captain?” The General winced as one of the incoming shots passed very close to the image of the PROMETHEUS in the tank.“Not good Sir. We have managed to place C-4 charges throughout Klorel's ship and we have made contact with Teal'c's mentor. Unfortunately we are pinned down near their engine room and we just lost the last of Master Bra'tac's Jaffa. We could really use some help Sir.”
There was a loud scream in the background. “Crap! Daniel's been hit Sir!”
“Hold on Captain, help's coming.” Reaching over Walter's shoulder he broke the connection. “Walter, stay in contact with them and keep me informed.”
The airman nodded, “Sir.”
The ship suddenly lurched under Hammond's feet and his eyes shot to the image of the ship in the tank where a plasma blast from one of the hat'aks had burst through the shields and was splashing itself against the upper hull.~~~***~~~
“Xander?!” Willow spun to face her helmsman.
“Zigged when I should have zagged,” he answered, continuing to dance the ship around the incoming fire.
“Damage report,” James barked.
“Shields at ninety-five percent,” Buffy answered. “They took the brunt of it but the nature of the plasma shot allowed some of the energy to slingshot around the point of contact, developing enough kinetic energy to overwhelm the shields and leak through to the hull. The shield control computer is compensating.”
The exec turned his attention to the OPS officer. “Lieutenant Holburn?”
Kit glanced through her read-outs. “Minor scoring to the outer hull. That section is currently unoccupied and contains no critical systems. I have sealed off the adjoining compartments just in case, but I think all we need is a paint-job.”
Willow nodded. “Okay people, that won't be the last hit we take. The closer we get, the more likely they are, and the harder they'll be.“Hammond to the Bridge.”
Willow smiled as she tapped her badge. “General. We took no damage from the hit and in fact learned some things that will help us against the ones we will take later.”“Good to hear Captain, but that's not why I called. Turns out my missing SG team is pinned down on one of those ship and needs an immediate evac.”
“Yes Sir,” Willow glanced at the positions on the main screen. “I'll get my people on it. Bridge out.”
Reaching up she tapped her badge again. “Bridge to Chief Wells.”“Wells here.”
“Andrew, there is an SG team trapped on the second enemy vessel. I need you to get a lock on to them and beam them out when we make the close pass,” Willow walked to the science station and lay a hand on Jenny's shoulder. “Commander Kalderash is sending you their contact frequency.”“On it Willow.”
In the back of her mind, part of her railed at the informality, but in the front, she smiled that the boy was feeling confident enough in himself to use her name. “Bridge out.”
“Captain,” Jenny highlighted several indicators on her console. “Both ships are launching multiple small craft. One lifesign each.”
“Fighters,” Xander said and Willow could hear the grin he was wearing in his voice.
Turning, she walked to stand beside Buffy's left shoulder, once more she tapped the badge on her breast. “All pilots make ready. Stand by all torpedo rooms. Xander, take us in. Full impulse.”
“Aye aye Captain!”
Executing a graceful pirouette around a pair of plasma bolts, the sparking of minor debris and pebbles annihilating themselves against her forward shields brightened considerably as the PROMETHEUS grabbed the bone in her teeth and charged.
“Fire forward torpedoes!” Willow ordered. “Full spread!”~~~***~~~
One half second apart, the symbols indicating the twelve mark XVIII-P torpedoes of Chevy and Buick flights separated from the ship model in the tank. Immediately, half the flight controllers went to work as the two groups of drone-fighters formed up and turned to engage the fighters.
Phaser shots continued to lance outward from the PROMETHEUS, draining further energy from the two Hat'ak's shields. Readouts indicated that the weapons of Cadillac and Pontiac flights should already be able to punch through at close range.
Chevy flight broke into three two-ship elements, spreading out across a two hundred mile front. Five hundred miles to their right, Buick flight did the same.“Tally ho! Death gliders at one o'clock low!”
Chevy One reported as his controller steered him on the intercept. “Engaging guns!”
In the tank the innermost left-hand drone marker suddenly sparked a stream of red light that connected with an enemy fighter, obliterating it.“Scratch one space invader!”
Across the wide front of the battle, similar fights broke out as the small, black, nearly invisible pods began picking off the much larger ships of their opponents. Behind the cover of the fighter wave, PROMETHEUS flashed between the two Goa'uld ships. Finally in a position to open fire with eight of her ten phaser banks simultaneously, the starship pounded hard on the two Hat'ak's shields as she roared between them.
Hammond flinched as both ships unleashed withering plasma bolt broadsides against the PROMETHEUS. Multiple shots splashed against their shields, several breaking through to stagger the ship with kinetic impacts. Even so, most of the shots missed and several from each Hat'ak slammed into the near side of the other.
“DAMN!” The Radar Control Officer who was monitoring the PROMETHEUS exclaimed.
“Lieutenant?” Hammond asked.
“One of those hits took out the ventral engineering phaser array.” Status lights on his board suddenly began blinking and the array came partially back online. “Woah, that kid Kit on the Bridge is good. She isolated the damaged segments and has it firing again. Her damage control party is on the way to clean up the rest of the mess and put right what they can.”
“Keep an eye on it,” the General ordered. “And let me know if we need to detail any craft to cover the weak spot.”
“Crap. Crap! CRAP!” Andrew screamed then slammed his hand against his comm-badge. ~~~***~~~
Smoke swirled around the upper levels of the Bridge, some was still rising as sparks jumped from the remains of the main weapon's control console. Buffy picked herself up off the floor and then helped Willow to stand from where she had been tackled at the moment the console blew.
Nodding her thanks, Willow brushed her hands against her pants as Buffy turned to the secondary station and brought it on-line while a holocrewman sprayed the sparking console with a fire extinguisher. Reaching through a blown open panel, the holocrewmen grabbed a cable and yanked it out of its socket, cutting the power.
“Report,” Willow called.
“We took a direct hit on the ventral engineering phaser array.” Kit answered without looking up from the hands dancing across her controls. “I am isolating the damaged segments. Portside is available at fifty percent power, starboard at twenty-five percent. Functional segments are back online. Dispatching damage control party.”
“Good work Kit,” Willow replied, crossing her arms and pressing her rug-burned hands against the cool fabric of her coat. “Buffy, are you back up?”
Willow watched as her ship pulled away from the two enemy ships. “Fire aft torpedoes!”“Bridge, Chief Wells! No dice on the transport, unable to lock on due to high energy interference!”~~~***~~~
“YEEEEHAAAAAAA!” Cam Mitchell crowed, the holographic image of the aft torpedo launcher's rail-gun system blurring to black as his torpedo was accelerated out of the ship. Due to the speed and directional differences his torpedo came out hanging nearly dead in space between the two hat'aks which were busy maneuvering to pursue the retreating starship.
“Pontiac Six checking in.”“Six this is flight, form up on five, heading three four six, declination three. Engage exposed Goa'uld weapons and other marked critical systems.”
“Pontiac Six, Affirmative.”
Easing the controls around he identified his element lead. “Pontiac Five, this is Six. I am in position port twenty, trailing twenty.”“I read you Six.”
Ellison's voice sparked back over his headset.“Pontiac Five and Six, your initial target is designated as an engineering exhaust port,”
the flight controller transmitted. “Fighters are responding to your position. Recommend full speed pass.”
“Hey Abe, at that speed do you think we'll be able to pull out in time?”
A snort and a chuckle came over Cam's headset. “It'll be just like Beggars Canyon back home.”
The flight controller groaned loudly. “Can the chatter comedians.”~~~***~~~
As one, the team's tactical radios sparked to life. “SG-1 this is PROMETHEUS. We are unable to attain a transporter lock due to your proximity to the ship's engines. Can you move port one hundred meters?”
Transporter lock sounded suspiciously like something out of Star Trek. Sam looked over at the Colonel, who was crouched behind a stanchion, firing at the endless stream of Jaffa who were approaching. “Sir?”
The Colonel shook his head then looked back at Teal'c and Bra'tac who were guarding the other corridor with the injured Daniel.
“We are pinned down Samantha Carter,” Teal'c replied.
Keying her radio she raised it to her mouth. “Negative PROMETHEUS we are pinned down by heavy fire from superior forces.”“Acknowledged. Initiating plan B. Rosenberg out.”~~~***~~~
Eyes narrowed, Willow looked around the Bridge at her officers. Plan-B had been there in case it became necessary to try to take over an enemy vessel to destroy it from within. Now she needed to change it on the fly into an infiltration mission to extract friendly forces. “Buffy, get Carlos up here to take your station. And ready your boarding teams.”
The slayer nodded and called her second.
“Xander, plot me a warp course that will put us outboard of the sunward Goa'uld ship with him occluding the other ship from firing at us.”
Willow reached up and tapped her badge. “Rosenberg to Hammond.”“Hammond.”
“General, your people are pinned down near the ship's engine room and we cannot get a lock on them. I am sending in Alpha Team and SG-3 to retrieve them, but to transport them in and out we need to be well within the enemy's weapon range.” Turning, Willow focused on the tactical plot that was now on the main viewscreen. “Is the tank displaying our course plot?”“It is.”
“I need as many as possible of the portside weapons on that ship removed in the next two minutes.”“Understood Captain. We’ll do our best. Hammond out.”
With Carlos no longer in the forward phaser room, Buffy had taken over phaser control from her station, peppering the two ships with shots from the aft phaser banks. At their current speed combined with the speed of the two ships going the other way, they would be out of range in half a minute.
“Mr. Harris, execute your plotted warp in thirty seconds.”
“Aye aye Captain,” he interrupted his quiet humming to answer.
“Please stop humming the theme to Starblazers,” she ordered.
Her best bud's grin and blush illuminated the room. “Okay.”
The humming ended, only to be replaced moments later by Xander's tenor voice singing, and more surprisingly it was actually on key. “We're off in outer space... Protecting mother Earth...”
Kit's quiet alto suddenly wove in. “To save the human race... With our Star Blazers...”
Her Executive Officer slipped up beside her. “Let them sing Captain. We've just survived first contact with an enemy of unknown capabilities. If this helps them come to grips with that, then it's good for their morale.”
From the back of the Bridge Jenny's voice joined in as well. “Danger lurking everywhere... But we know we've got to dare... Evil men with evil schemes... They can't destroy all our dreams...
Willow found her toe tapping and felt her spirit rising. A strange voice, not quite on key soon joined the mix. A voice that she realized the moment she took her next breath, was her own. “We must be strong and brave... Our home we've got to save...”
The turbolift door opened, spilling Lieutenant Tejos out into a wall of sound. Recognizing the tune he grinned broadly as he jogged over to his section chief. With seamless efficiency he took over control of the station, assigning targets and firing off the phasers as fast as they could cycle. Commander Summer's nodded to him and bolted for the lift so she could brief her boarding party.
Clearing his throat quietly, he added his baritone to the mix. “We must make the fighting cease... so mother Earth will be at peace... Through all the fire and the smoke... We will never give up hope... And if we can win the Earth will survive... We'll keep peace alive with our Star Blazers...”
“Mr. Harris. Engage.”~~~***~~~
Cam listened to the orders that came over the tactical net. Thirty seconds after launch he had completely forgotten that he was remote-piloting a drone. Feedback from the holo-systems gave him the feeling that he really was in the fight.
Jinking and dodging like his life depended on it, the Captain wove his fighter through the close-in fire from the ha'tak, maneuvering to attack the long range plasma cannon that dotted the portside hull. Lining up on his third target, he was startled out of his run by a loud buzzing noise that was immediately followed by several bright red bursts impacting his ship's hull.
Tumbling out of control, Mitchell's drone splattered itself across half the port-side hull of the Goa'uld ship. On impact, the power containment system failed, spreading an expanding cloud of antimatter along the torpedo's path which engulfed his wingman. The combined explosion of the two torpedo-fighters destroyed or disabled two-thirds of the plasma cannons that could have been brought to bear on the PROMETHEUS.
“Damn damn damn damn DAMN!” Mitchell beat on the edges of his cockpit.“Captain Mitchell, this is Lieutenant Mears in Torpedo Launch control. Initiate reset of your interface.”
“Huh?” Cam automatically reached out and toggled the controls on the instrument panel that would reset the cockpit interface.“Just because we only had twenty four pilots did not mean that we couldn't or wouldn't manufacture additional XVIII-Ps. Captain Ellis is standing by in the launch tube and we've been ordered to launch you guys in pairs.”
“Understood. Interface reset complete. Control this is Shaft, designation Pontiac Six. Standing by for relaunch.“Shaft, this is Hammond. Nice job on the portside weapons. Try not to splatter this bird all over kingdom come.”
Major Castleman looked over the twelve marines of SG-3 as they stood for the briefing outside the armory. “Gentlemen! SG-1 is pinned down and unable to retreat to a location where we can transport them aboard. Our job is to secure the beam out point and hold it against all comers while Commander Summers' Alpha Team fights their way through to SG-1 and evacuates them to our position. Double loads of ammo and check your buddy's gear!
Down the hall, Buffy nodded as her slayer hearing picked up the Major's briefing. Her view swept over the three crew-members who made up her part of the boarding party. Hector Tejos and Kath Holburn each hefted a standard issue phaser rifle and wore a hand phaser on their hip. Jonathan carried a hand phaser and his light saber. Buffy carried all three weapons and several combat knives as well.
Feeling the shudder of the PROMETHEUS dropping out of warp she led her team at the double to the door of transporter room seven, one of the ship's high capacity, twenty-two pad transporter rooms. Both groups arranged themselves on the pad, SG-3 in an outward facing circle with Alpha Team in the middle.
Buffy tapped her comm-badge. “Buffy to Willow. Away team is ready.”“Good luck Buffy. Bring them home safe.”
“Will do!” she answered. “Buffy out.”
“Weapons at the ready,” Buffy ordered. “Energize!”~~~***~~~
Firing suddenly ceased as the deck bucked wildly under their feet.
“Everyone okay?” Jack yelled, wincing from the bruising his body took as it bounced off the bulkhead.
“Master Bra'tac and I are well Colonel O'Neill,” Teal'c's voice carrying again with that undefinable quality that allowed it to cover distances clearly without him appearing to have raised it in any way. “Daniel Jackson now appears to be unconscious.”
“Carter?” Jack turned to see his second shaking her right arm vigorously while clutching her elbow.
“Banged my funny-bone on a crate Sir,” Sam answered.
The Colonel grinned as he scrambled back into cover as Jaffa plasma bolts resumed flying down the hall. One of them slamming into Jack's rucksack which had slid out to the middle of the floor. “For cryin' out loud! They blasted the detonator! What the hell just happened.”
“I would surmise that your PROMETHEUS laid the hit low on this vessel Colonel O'Neill.”
“That's 'smack down' T. 'Smack down,' and where did you hear that term anyway?” Jack leaned out and opened fire as several Jaffa tried to advance. A few bursts later the bolt locked open; another clip gone. Jack quickly thumbed the release and let the empty one fall even as his other hand came up, slamming home is second to last clip. “Sam, I'm low.”
“Same here Sir,” She answered as she leaned out and fired a couple of bursts.“SG-1 this is Commander Summers of the PROMETHEUS,”
a new voice chirped out of the static on their tactical radios. “My Alpha Team is coming to get you out. Hang tight.”~~~***~~~
A blinding flash of light washed over the Goa'uld ship, its brilliant blue-white spectrum briefly outshining the nearest star as the PROMETHEUS screamed to a relative stop from warp speeds to normal space. Red lances of collimated energy launched out to eliminate the remaining nearside weapons of the ha'tak as the ship skidded to a broadside position, unmasking its secondary phaser batteries.
“Mr. Tejos, target the far Goa'uld ship with a full
spread of photon torpedoes.”
Carlos answered as he called up the firing controls. “Tube four is loaded for drones.”
“Very well, launch everything else.”
Eighteen standard matter/antimatter missiles ripped their way down the launch tubes within six and a half seconds. Twelve forward and six aft, the two groups of torpedoes moved in graceful arcs around the nearer ship.
“That should keep that snake busy for a bit,” Willow stated.~~~***~~~
“Is that what I think it is?” Buffy asked as she holstered the radio SG-3's commander had given her.
Castleman turned to look where Commander Summers indicated. “Yes Ma'am. That is a Stargate and a DHD.”
“Alpha team, deploy the pattern enhancers. Hector, mark those two devices for transport!” Buffy ordered.
The security officer slung his phaser rifle and ran over to tag the large ring and smaller pedestal with transporter beacons.
“We really can't let the snakeheads keep those,” she grinned at the Major as she tapped her comm-badge. “Transporter room, lock onto the two beacons we have just deployed and beam the targets to cargo bay four.”“Acknowledged. Energizing.”
As the transporter effect faded, the sound of gunfire and staff blasts echoed down several corridors. “Major, how many men do you need to secure this room?”
Castleman took a quick look around. “Six.”
Buffy nodded. “In that case we can use the others to secure our line of retreat.”
Nodding, the Major turned to detail off his second squad to accompany Buffy's unit.
Slipping her tricorder out, the security chief was able to quickly localize where SG-1 was pinned down. “Alpha Team! Phasers on heavy stun. Johno?”
The Jedi nodded back to her. He had already reached out with the force and located their targets and those that were pressing on them. A crack and hum sounded as the green blade of his lightsaber extended. With a gesture, the door to the corridor slid open.
“Is that...” one of Castleman's marines asked.
“Not allowed to say,” Buffy answered. “Marines, you have our six. Alpha Team and squad two, let's move.”
Hefting her phaser rifle she stepped through the door after Jonathan, stretching out her slayer senses while still using the tricorder to map their route.~~~***~~~“Pontiac flight. Fighters inbound PROMETHEUS.”
Colonel Ronson's voice came over the command net. “Disengage from the mothership and form defense line three hundred klicks off our bow.”“Pontiac Lead acknowledges. Pontiac flight sound off.”
Major Caldwell's voice replied.
The major's wingman led off, “Two, understood.”“Three ready.”
Unlike Ellison, the ships of element two had managed to avoid the anti-matter explosion that resulted from Mitchell's first drone's destruction.“Four breaking off now.”“Five turning for intercept.”
Cam's wingleader put action to words with Mitchel dogging his seven o'clock position.
“Six looking for trade.” Cam answered.“Five and Six,”
Their controller came back. “Death gliders coming in hot from your two, low and high.”“Acknowledged.”
Abe answered. “Shaft, dipsy-do, take the low flight first and power up behind the high.”
“I'm with ya boss!” Cam answered.
Both men advanced the throttles in their cockpits and wove into a swooping dive beneath the enemy's line of approach.“Tally ho!”
Ellison's call rang out. “Engaging target.”~~~***~~~
Willow fought the urge to pace her Bridge. Aside from her initial report-in and the transporting of the Stargate and its controller, they had not heard from Buffy. Captain Willow had been in this situation before, and often since taking command. On the other hand, teen Willow wanted to do nothing more than worry about her best female friend.
Glancing over, she envied her other best friend. He was keeping very busy making sure that the PROMETHEUS remained occluded from the second Goa'uld ship. She, however, could tell that he was concerned because the 'I can't believe I'm doing this' grin that had lived on his face for the last two days was gone. In its place was a mask of concentration and efficiency.
Fighters continued to stream around the flanks of the nearer mothership and Chevy flight had arrived to assist the hard-pressed Pontiac element. Cadillac and Buick were continuing their attacks on the far ship to keep it out of the main action. Carlos was now systematically eliminating the smaller weapons mounts while using the secondary phaser batteries to support the fighter-drones and swat the death gliders.
Until her people were back aboard, she was in a slugfest, something that Starfleet battle doctrine preferred to avoid, leaning more toward maneuver and superior strategy over the use of throw weight to win fights.
“Come on Buffy.”
A hand came down on her right shoulder. Turning Willow came face to face with Cordelia who was holding out a capped mug, the steam escaping from the sipping hole lifted the heady coffee aroma to fill the room.
Around the Bridge several people tried to wave her off then cringed as she placed the mug in the Captain's hands.
Cordelia threw her hands up in the air. “People it's decaf!
Do you really
think I'm stupid!”~~~***~~~
Although not aware of it, for once General Hammond was in possession of more information than Captain Rosenberg. Per standard procedure, Major Castleman had been reporting in regularly. The Jaffa had made a couple probing attacks on his position but most of the ha'tak crew were busy either with repairs to the damage done by the PROMETHEUS or were tied up already with SG-1.
Commander Summers had strung the other six members of SG-3 out securing cross-corridors on her line of retreat. Unfortunately for him, his last direct intelligence relating to Alpha Team's movements was now gone as she had deployed the last pair of Marines to hold a major junction and moved on.
Walter had figured out how to pull up a wire-frame schematic of the ha'tak on his station and Hammond was busy studying the deployment indicated in the corridors. He was able to watch the advance of Alpha Team by the movement of their badges, and they had a decent fix on SG-1 thanks to their radios, but the sensors could not clearly resolve the individual Jaffa due to the same interference that was preventing SG-1's transport.~~~***~~~
The sound of the fighting was really close now. So far the team had avoided contact in order to protect their line of retreat. The tromp of marching Jaffa feet sounded from the cross corridor ahead of them and the group ducked behind the stanchions to watch them pass. The bark of a MP5 brought the tromping to a swift end, it being erased by the loud clatter of armor slamming against metal walls as the Jaffa took cover.
“Close enough,” Buffy whispered to her team. “Hector, Kat, covering fire then hold the junction. Johno, you're with me.”
The team worked their way up to the corridor. “Hit them fast and hard. We need to evacuate SG-1 before more reinforcements arrive.”
Peeking around the corner she could see the Jaffa firing their staff weapons from the cover of the hallway stanchions towards an open room about ten meters down. She yanked her head back as a spray of bullets ricocheted down the corridor.
“Crap!” she hissed. “I need to tell them we're here without alerting the Jaffa before we move.”
Hector mimed talking into the radio and whispered, “Polish firing squad.”
“We're Starfleet, Tejos,” Buffy channeled her inner valley girl. “We're supposed to be all politically correct and stuff.”
Hector's face fell, until she hit his arm and smiled. “But I like
it!”~~~***~~~“SG-1, Commander Summers,”
their radios crackled. “Polish firing squad.”
Jack blinked, then smirked and snatched his radio up. “Affirmative Summers. Blue on blue.”
Sam looked over at him as she drew her side-arm. “I'm out,” she mouthed, letting the sub-machinegun drop on its carry-strap.
“MOVE!” a young female voice shouted behind the Jaffa.
Jack peeked around the corner to see red lances of energy weapon’s fire streaming into the back of the Jaffa rank. Then his jaw dropped open as a young man in a Starfleet uniform leapt around the corner carrying a green lightsaber. Thrusting out a hand, a visible wave of distortion crashed through the Jaffa, sending them stumbling to the ground.
Several Jaffa managed to reverse their weapons and open fire on the man and the young woman following him with a phaser rifle. With a grin, the Jedi began twirling his lightsaber, deflecting the plasma bolts into the bulkheads while the girl calmly picked off each Jaffa with her phaser rifle.
Seeing this, several Jaffa stopped firing and instead charged, using their staff weapons as clubs. Still grinning, the young man moved to attack, providing a running commentary. “So you see Buffy, if you are in tune with the Force, then the lightsaber becomes an extension of your will. For example, take these staff weapons. No big! It slices! It dices! It even makes julienne fries!”
The Jaffa found themselves completely disarmed, except for the small pieces of their staff weapons that remained in their hands. The young man raised his hands and then swept them down and outward and the remaining Jaffa all collided with the corridor walls, after which they were very unconscious.
The petite and very young blonde stepped forward. “Colonel O'Neill?”
“Commander Summers?” Jack's tone of voice alone carried a half-million questions, starting with the lightsaber and crossing through the uniforms and their ages along the way.
The blonde nodded. “Get your people, the meter's running.”
“Teal'c grab Daniel,” Jack shouted. “We're leaving.”
Turning he ejected his final spent magazine. “We're not going to be much use if there's a firefight on the way back.”
The Commander tossed him the rifle she was carrying while drawing her hand phaser and offering it to Captain Carter. Her rescuees rearmed, the Security Chief then snatched her own lightsaber off her hip. “So, I just extend my senses, right Johno?”
Teal'c and Master Bra'tac retreated around the corner, firing at the Jaffa who continued to attack from that direction. “Colonel O'Neill, we should leave while we are able.”
Buffy reached up and tapped the gold badge on her breast. “PROMETHEUS, this is Summers. We have made contact with SG-1 and are retreating to the beam out point.”“Glad to finally hear from you Commander, the second mothership is trying to break containment and their death gliders are getting frisky. Get back here pronto missy! Rosenberg out!”
“Okay people, let’s move!” Buffy yelled. “Johno, you and I have the six. Colonel, I have two people at the next crossing. They have point on the way back.”~~~***~~~
Willow breathed a sigh of relief as the connection broke. Buffy was on her way back with Hammond's wayward team, Xander was suddenly smiling again, the PROMETHEUS was giving better than she was taking, the second Goa'uld mothership was looming into view over-top of the nearer vessel...
“Xander! Z-axis evasive!” Willow's eyes shot open wide. “Carlos target second vessel and fire phasers and photon torpedoes!”
A massive wave of plasma bolts came crashing over the top of the crippled ha'tak, slamming into the PROMETHEUS' shields and burning their way through. A string of them impacting along the starboard warp nacelle, partially breaching the containment structure. Trailing drive plasma and coolant the starship rolled ponderously.
“Captain, if we continue on this course the nearer ship's remaining weapons will be unmasked,” her first officer pointed out.
“And if we don't then the virtually undamaged ship will have a free shot,” Willow had to stop and think. She had allowed the Goa'uld to steal the initiative from her and she needed it back.
She tapped her badge. “PROMETHEUS to Alpha Team.”“Almost there Wills,”
Buffy's voice came back over the channel.
“Apophis' ship is all over us Commander, we have to GO!”“Beam out SG-3 now! Grab us as soon as you have a lock.”
“Chief Wells,” Willow bellowed into the com system. “Beam back all members of the away team as soon as you have a lock!”“Energizing Captain.”~~~***~~~
The men of SG-3 were surprised to find themselves standing on the PROMETHEUS without half their team or the others they had left with.
“CLEAR THE PAD!” the young man behind the console bellowed.
The men stumbled to follow the order, the last man falling clear as the Chief roared out again. “Pattern lock! Energizing!”
Suddenly the room was full of people, running full tilt and skidding to a stop as they realized they were now on a different ship. The pair with lightsabers quickly dousing them as the mass of people slammed into each other. A quick headcount of the of the resulting tangle on the floor told Major Castleman that everyone was present, including the old Jaffa master. Tapping the badge he had been provided he shouted to the ceiling. “Bridge, Castleman. The away team is aboard!”
Buffy looked up from the back of the pile and gave the Major a quick thumbs up. “Chief, we have wounded.”
Andrew nodded pressing a control on his console. “Medical team to transporter room seven!”
O'Neill's voice drifted out from somewhere near the bottom of the pile. “Carter, Teal'c stay with Danny. Assuming we can get untangled, could Commander Summers show me to the person in charge here?”
The door swished open followed by a hiss of shock from Janet and her nurses.
“The transporter did that?!” she said, waving at the multi-limbed pile.
“No,” Castleman answered as his men began helping untangle their compatriots. “Momentum did.”
The middle of the pile moved as Teal'c shrugged off those atop him, still carrying the unconscious Jackson in his arms. “Doctor Frasier, Daniel Jackson is in need of your assistance.”
Daniel was quickly handed out of the pile, placed on a stretcher and rushed from the room by Janet and the surgical nurses. The two registered nurses quickly set up a triage as the mass slowly sorted itself out and separated.
Squashed together face to face at the very bottom, Hector tried to turn and pull his nose out of Kath's cheek.
“Ow, I think my arm's broken,” a nearby voice groaned.
“If it's not, it will be if you don't stop moving it,” Kath hissed, inadvertently brushing her lips against those of her fellow security officer and single parent.
Kath Holburn was suddenly shocked to discover that it was possible to feel
another person blush, as the heat of Hector's cheeks spread to her own.
“So Hector, did you have dinner plans?” Halfway serious she decided to tease him a bit.
“Tejos, Holburn!” Buffy's voice drifted down through the bodies. “I can hear
you making out under there.”“MA'AM!”~~~***~~~
With a calmness borne from years of training and experience, the Commander marched through the billowing steam and gasses. So far nothing more threatening than a little carbon dioxide and noble gasses were in the mix but she was keeping an eye on the various system tells for anything dangerous.
“Okay people, by the numbers,” Joyce's voice carried above the klaxon, steadying the less experienced crewmen. “Let's work the problems, not make more.”
“Aye Ma'am,” the engineering crew answered.
Shaking off an intense feeling of deja-vu, she studied the readouts on her console. “Lock down the plasma and coolant feeds to the starboard nacelle,” the chief engineer ordered.
“Aye, aye,” her team answered as they sprang to their stations.“Engineering, Bridge.”
Willow's worried voice came over the speakers. “Report.”
“Plasma and coolant containment on the starboard nacelle are breached.” Joyce responded. “Residual plasma will give you a warp one burst for roughly a minute but that ability is degrading. I'll let you know more as soon as I do.”“Understood.”~~~***~~~
Her ship was wounded and bleeding, but she wasn't dead. Not by a long sight.
“On my signal. Carlos, I want you to fire all aft photon torpedoes on the nearer ship and load quantum torpedoes in the bow tubes.” Turning she tapped her helmsman's shoulder, “Xander, you heard Joyce. As soon as the last torpedo is away, warp us 20 light seconds out and bring the ship about.”
Tapping her badge she glanced over at the monitor. “All pilots, this is the Captain. Break for distance and be ready to resume attack after the fireworks.”
Cam broke off his pursuit of a death glider and turned his ship directly away from the two motherships. From the corner of his eye he spotted a string of sparkling red pearls separate from the back of the PROMETHEUS, immediately followed by the flash of her warp drive engaging.
With nothing to stop them, twelve photon torpedoes began impacting on Klorel's mothership. One after the other, the matter/antimatter missiles annihilated their way through the ship, the last three actually blasting clear and hitting the shields of Apophis's ship.~~~***~~~
On the pel'tac, Apophis and Klorel stood side by side watching the destruction of one of their two most powerful warships.“PROMETHEUS to Apophis. I tried to be nice. I used the minimum of my abilities to give you every opportunity to see the error of your ways. As you have seen fit to fail to grow a brain, I will spell it out for you in the simplest terms. These people are under my protection. Leave them alone, or die.”
Enraged, the Goa'uld stared at the image of the starship on his screen, drive plasma still leaking from its starboard engine. Sweeping his first prime from the controls he sent the ha'tak in a charge at the infuriating machine.~~~***~~~
Buffy led O'Neill and Alpha Team onto the Bridge as Willow was once more taking a seat in her command chair.
Crossing her legs, the Captain leaned back and pressed a button on her console. “Very well. You have made your choice.” Her hand tapped the screen and the transmission ended.
“Mr. Tejos. Fire quantum torpedoes.”
Twelve brilliant blue orbs launched from the bow of the PROMETHEUS. The first struck the shields of the ha'tak, obliterating them. The second struck the bow, blowing a massive hole in the ship. The third was caught by a lucky plasma bolt. The fourth plowed through the hole made by the second. Lacking a valid target, the remaining eight all self-destructed.
Everyone on the Bridge turned to stare at Jack, who suddenly realized he had spoken out loud. The Captain smiled and blushed. And then the snickers started.
“Uh, perhaps I should go find the General?” Jack backpedaled ~~~***~~~“Rosenberg to Hammond.”
“Hammond here,” the General answered.“Is the tank clear?”
The General checked the tells on the stations that had been monitoring the Goa'uld ships. “Both motherships show as destroyed. There are a few fighters left.”“Understood,”
the relief in the young woman's voice was palpable.
“Damn fine job, Captain.” George beamed. “Damn fine job!”“Thank you, Sir. Bridge out.”
Unnoticed amidst the cheering of the Air Force personnel, a small craft detached from the wreckage of Klorel's ha'tak and shimmered for a moment before disappearing off their sensors. ~~~***~~~
“Secure from Red Alert. Set condition Yellow until those fighters are accounted for. Gamma shift hit the racks. Alpha shift to damage control duty. Beta shift has the watch,” Willow spouted off the orders to her crew as the adrenaline rush finally wound down.
Smiling sweetly at the officer in the green fatigues, the Captain uncoiled from her chair. “Colonel, perhaps our first date might be a visit with General Hammond in Flag Ops?”
Xander nearly sent the ship into a spin as he choked on his laughter.~~~***~~~
An hour after the battle a small hyperspace window opened on the far side of Jupiter. A window that was not immediately detected due to everyone's focus being on rescuing the surviving Jaffa from the two wrecks.
Master Bra'tac spoke with each survivor. Those willing to join the nascent Free-Jaffa rebellion remained aboard. Those not were sent through the gate to Chulak on the Captain's orders. Whether they realized it then or not, there they would spread word of their god's defeat at the hands of a Tau'ri female with hair of flame and a temper to match.~~~***~~~
In the PROMETHEUS sickbay Daniel Jackson opened his eyes to find a cute brunette staring at him. “Have we met?”
“Depends on how you define met,” she answered. “I mean, there's not much more to know about a man once you've held his spleen and regrown his large intestine.”
Daniel shivered at the imagery.
“DAWN S. PROMETHEUS' Chief Medical Officer.”
“Daniel Jackson. Pincushion.”
that, Daniel!” Janet's voice drifted from DAWN's office where she was reviewing the injury reports on the SGC personnel.
“Cute,” DAWN giggled.A/Endnote:Additional Disclaimer: Starblazers is the property of Voyager Entertainment and its Japanese creative team.For those interested, the Starblazers Season One and Two End Theme can be found here. (apparently TTH is not currently allowing links out to youtube - Bummer!) In case the show is unfamiliar, in Japan, the series off of which Starblazers was translated is known as 'Space Cruiser Yamato'. It is sometimes referred to as the 'Japanese Star Trek' due to its impact on the culture.And seriously, I'm sure there were people out there who thought I was going to pair up Kit and Carlos! =)