14. At the SGC
Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction, I make no claims to the Ownership of either BtVS, Stargate, or NBSG. All belong to their respective creators.A/N
I've touched on religion in this chapter, a topic I've been avoiding. I felt that i couldn't avoid it any long due to its central nature in NBSG. As it is controversial I'm adding this authors note to say that this is my interpretation of the show, and has no bearing on real life.
As always; 'speech' Caprican, "Speech" English.
Sharon watched as the Raptor flew away, long after she should have turned around and went back to work. Silently she prayed for her husband’s safety, and that he would find that they could continue to live on this world. She didn’t pray often, but when she did she approached it with the same intensity she brought to battle. Even with a colonial husband she had never lost the faith she had been grown in. She simply didn’t advertise it, or bother preaching about it. It was simply a part of her; one that was her business and no one else’s, and she found comfort in the familiar words at times like these.
“You know standing there watching isn’t going to bring him back any faster,” Cordelia said snidely from beside her.
“I wasn’t standing I was praying,” Sharon replied quietly. “It seemed the thing to do.”
“You still believe? After New Caprica, the holocaust, the long chase, losing your daughter, after everything you still believe?” Cordelia asked in disbelief.
“I never believed like you did Six,” Sharon responded. “I never thought that God had a plan for me. I simply accepted that he was and let my life play out. Pushing Gods plan was never something that the eights did, we always thought you other models were foolish to try and make Gods plan what you wanted it to be.”
“You eights were right about that,” Cordelia responded after a moment when she was frozen in shock. “We paid for our hubris…”
“I know,” Sharon, answered turning back to the other woman. “So what did you want?”
“I wanted to ask you about the stray you picked up. Fred, she’s useful, I get why she’s still here. Faith, not seeing why we still have her.” Cordelia brought up the topic with as much subtly as a sledgehammer.
“Because she came to us,” Sharon answered firmly. “I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but she was brought to us. She was put into our care and it would be a sin to forsake that responsibility.”
“And her lack of use?” Cordelia said frowning. “Everything and everyone who was on that ship was and is important in some way. Does that not worry you? If we accept the Cylon philosophical precept that God exists, something that I have had my faith in destroyed over the years, and he has a plan, which I am certain is immaculate to us, how does she fit into it?”
“I don’t know,” Sharon answered honestly. “If she has a part to play then it hasn’t come yet. We’ll deal with it as a family when it comes.”
“Just know this,” Cordelia closed her eyes and forced back her Six memories by sheer force of will. “Anyone with a destiny, or a major part in gods plan, always pays a price disproportionate to their gains. Both my memories tell me that.”
‘Do you want to talk about it?’ Sharon switched to Caprican, feeling that this was a private conversation.
“No,” Cordelia turned and walked away. Sharon watched the other woman leave, knowing that had been the closest to a deep conversation that she had ever had with the other woman. She had a feeling that they wouldn’t be talking like that again, each preferring to leave the other their privacy. She shook her head sadly, as much as she despised the other women she did hope that she talked to someone. It sounded like she was broken. Maybe Jenny would be able to help her, Sharon certainly couldn’t.
“Helo going to be alright?” Faith asked popping up besides Sharon.
“He always has been,” Sharon answered honestly.
“What was the deal with the uniform and the sash and shit? I mean it didn’t look like any uniform I’ve seen before,” Faith diverted the conversation away from the question that she really wanted to ask. She didn’t want to just jump right in; it was better to circle around the question bringing it up subtly in a long conversation.
“Another one of those protocol and rule things we’ve been teaching you. He’s acting as a visiting officer, which means full dress uniform. If he showed up in his every day clothes or his flight suit they wouldn’t take him seriously.” Sharon answered easily. “Yeah, he wont wear it while he’s flying but around their base? Then he has to.”
“Weird, way the world works though,” Faith shrugged. “And the pins on his sash, you seemed pretty intense when you were pinning that one on.”
“Yeah,” Sharon grimaced as she fought down the memories. She didn’t want to expose Faith to the world they came from but she didn’t think that she had a choice if she wanted to be honest. “The rifles because he started in the marines, the Battlestars because his first posting out of the academy was as a ships officer, and the Raptor is because he’s a qualified Raptor pilot.”
“Those you didn’t get all intense over,” Faith observed. “The starbursts. What do they mean?”
“That he survived a nuclear attack in space is the first one,” Sharon almost whispered. “The second is because he was on the ground when a nuke went off and fought on a nuclear battlefield.”
“Holy shit,” Faith whispered. “It was that bad, back where you were?”
“You can say that again,” Sharon replied.
“That stuff you were talking about earlier, with Cordelia, you believe that?” Faith asked carefully.
“I…” Sharon paused and considered her answer carefully. “It worries me, I don’t know if it is true or not, the Six’s were always more religious then I was. In some respects she is right, everyone was brought here for a reason. In another… honestly? Some like Dawn are here for our sanity not for any other reason.”
Helo swung the Raptor over the USAF academy campus and brought it in to final approach. Frankly he wasn’t sure why he was landing here, it was a bit too public for what was supposed to be a covert program, but he had accepted that this was where he was supposed to land. Of course it had taken a bit of talking to convince the air traffic controller that yes he really did need to put his bird down on a helicopters spot. The Raptor was a good bird but it wasn’t designed to taxi. Much like a helicopter it had skids not wheels.
Of course that was part of the reason that any space going bird was so difficult to land. You had to keep just the right amount of pressure on the skids to use friction to slow yourself down when landing on a Battlestar, at least when coming in for a hot landing. You could just spin and slow yourself down with thrust, but that took more time. Given the Raptors flight characteristics it was actually the easier of the two birds to do that in. The Viper was much more finicky and demanding. Helo’s thoughts trailed off as he keyed his radio and called in as he began his final descent.
“Tower this is Raptor five one nine, commencing final approach I show green, do you copy?” Helo had to smirk as he ran through the proper Earth protocol. It was much more complicated then the colonial one had been.
“Raptor, tower copy that, you are cleared for landing on pad one.”
Helo flared the Raptor, bleeding off the last of his speed and put it into hover mode. He had been a bit off, so he drifted the bird over to the centre of the pad he had been assigned. It was amusing to notice the security and other personnel all run for cover because of the thruster’s backwash. They should have known about that, after all they dealt with helicopters didn’t they? Finally happy with where his bird was positioned he let it drop, gently setting it down on the tarmac.
Major Paul Davis shifted uncomfortably as he watched the shutdown spacecraft. It had been five minutes since it had shut down and it still hadn’t opened up. Most of the MPs, tasked with guarding it weren’t bothered; after all they just had to form a perimeter. The techs that were supposed to put up the cammo netting were getting nervous though. Still it gave him time to actually look at the craft.
In some ways this Raptor was everything that a human from Earth thought that a spacecraft should be. In other, smaller, subtler ways it was just wrong. The angles were slightly off what an Earth human would use, and radically off any of the Goa’uld style vessels that had been seen. It led to a small but persistent feeling of wrongness whenever you looked at the Raptor for two long. Paul didn’t doubt that if you spent enough time around it then you would get used to it, but for now he felt it.
Finally the door opened. Paul noted that it was a gull wing style door, a minor detail that he would have to put in his report, and that it was heavy. The inner edge of the door showed very clearly that it was meant to seal against vacuum. He hoped that the high-resolution security cameras the SGC had installed on this pad would get a good look at it. The design was not something that they had come up with and yet it was deceptively simple. The interior of the door was designed to slot into the body of the Raptor, creating a seal that way.
Paul could see any space ships that the USAF built adapting a similar design. For him it was an indication that O’Neill had been right about just how useful tech transfers from these people would be. They had different ideas, but they were refined not raw as many of the SGC ideas were. It was as if they had been in space for a long time and perfected the basics, forgoing the more advanced ways of doing things. Even if the SGC made crude copies of their tech Earth would still have better basic designs for their ships then the Goa’uld used. Combining any ideas they got off these Cylons and mixing it with Goa’uld tech would result in a much better ship then just adapting Goa’uld tech to earth ideas.
The first thing out of the door was a recognizable go bag. It was eerily similar to a US Army go bag, but subtly different. The positioning of the handles, and the carry strap, not to mention the material and the seal at the opening betrayed its alien origin. Paul would bet his next paycheck that this go bag was designed to survive in vacuum. It was another indication that these people knew what they were doing in space. It was clear they had thought of the little things, the things a Goa’uld would never think of. Finally the pilot exited the craft and closed it up.
Paul sized him up. At first glance he looked like an ordinary earth human. Put him in jeans and a tee shirt and he wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. Well not that much. The man was almost as big as Teal’c both in height and mass. Given Earths population that wasn’t something that was too out of the ordinary though. The space suit over his shoulder and the strangely designed uniform were dead giveaways that he wasn’t a native though.
Paul watched as he had a few words with the ground crew, pointing out where the tie downs on his ship were. He ditched the space suit over his go bag and pointed out a second series of tie downs higher up on the ship. Paul was a bit confused about that until he pointed to the cammo tarps and then back at the tie downs. It seemed that they had designed the Raptor to be cammo friendly. Another indication that these people thought like earth humans. Most aliens thought in terms of cloaks for cammo, these people seemed to be of the opinion the low tech was the way to go. Another observation for his report.
Looking the man over Paul realized just what had taken him so long to open up and come out of his ship. He had been putting on a dress uniform. It consisted of a blue jacket with shoulder patches over tan pants, with a matching tan sash over the jacket. Devices on the jackets collar probably denoted rank, but they didn’t seem to have the same method of displaying medals. When the man finished his discussion and turned to walk over to Paul he noted that there didn’t seem to be any medals, or indication of medals, on his jacket. The closest things to them were the pins on his sash.
“Major Davis?” the man asked holding out his hand. “Colonel Karl Agathon, Free Colonial Cylon Fleet.”
“Nice to meet you,” Paul shook the other mans hand and noted that while lightly accented his English was good. “Is that just a translation of your rank or have you adapted it to earth norms?”
“Translation,” Karl responded with a grin. “Our rank structure is radically different from yours. So I presume you’re my escorts to the SGC?”
“Correct,” Paul nodded. “If you will follow me? I’ll have an airman carry your bag and suit to the car.”
“Works,” Karl answered with a shrug. “Any clue why they wanted me to land at the Air Force Academy? Seemed counter intuitive to me, having an alien land at a semi public airport.”
“We’re hoping that once you see what the SGC is up to we’ll be cooperating with you in the future on R and D projects.” Paul answered as he led the way to the car. “So to set up a cover story we told everyone that your Raptor is a CRD prototype that’s being brought here for an initial evaluation. Basically your company is proving that it can make planes that stay in the air.”
“So when you get the Vipers there are less questions asked,” Karl nodded. “Good strategy, but isn’t it a bit presumptuous?”
“Maybe, but we know we aren’t doing what you’re worried about so we saw no reason not to be,” Paul answered honestly. “Besides you’re the first ETs we’ve run across who are willing to share technology and help us out. Most of the others call us primitive and refuse to even consider the idea or are trying to kill us.”
Samantha Carter leaned back in her chair and smiled as she remembered the flight earlier today. After both sides had briefed the other on where they came from, and what they were doing, SG1 had been taken up for a joy ride. It was exhilarating. Unlike the Goa’uld ships that she had flown and flown in the Raptor was a joy to fly. Even Teal’c had commented on that. Part of the reason had to be that it was a human craft; another part surely was that the Raptor was just like a Jet.
Jack, Teal’c, and her had been allowed to fly the Raptor. It responded like nothing on earth. Then they had been told that compared to the Cylons main fighter craft it handled like a pig. It wasn’t as maneuverable as a death glider but it was much more maneuverable then a Tel’Tak. When Helo had explained its function Sam had become convinced that given enough time they would win this war. Humans were just better at war then the Goa’uld. At least those humans who thought about war.
According to Helo’s briefing the Cylons hadn’t fought a major war for thousands of years. Yet they still trained and prepared to fight. The idea of a space control bird was something right out of the USAFs playbook. There multi use Raptor served as an EW bird, an AWACS, a helicopter, a bomber, a refueler, and a hundred other rolls. Yes compared to the tech on a Goa’uld ship it was relatively primitive, but it worked. Even if their fighters used KEWs and not energy weapons Sam would bet that a Colonial squadron would eat two or three squadrons of death gliders for lunch, especially if an AWACS Raptor backed them up.
“So before we take him through the gate, what are your thoughts on our guest?” Jack interrupted her train of thought as he barged into her lab and set down lunch.
“Interesting mix, their Dradis system is beyond any other scanning system we’ve seen so far but they seem to have kept most of what they brought with them low tech. I would love to see some of their front line systems.” Sam enthused. “I can’t wait to start applying their ideas to Goa’uld tech.”
“So no worries about their intentions?” Jack asked with a carefully raised eyebrow.
“Some,” Sam answered as she dug into the salad that Jack had brought her. “But I do think they’re safe enough to interact with. You?”
“He’s lying,” Jack said flatly. “At least about how peaceful they’ve been.”
“How did you reach that conclusion,” Sam asked after swallowing.
“That history book he gave us, it had pictures of traditional Colonial Cylon awards,” Jack smirked as he said that.
“And you flipped through it to look at the pictures,” Sam groaned.
“Yup,” Jack grinned like an urchin. “Good thing I did too. You know those two starbursts he wears on his uniform at all times?”
“Yeah…” Sam narrowed her eyes as she answered Jack.
“They’re only awarded to someone who’s been on a ship that’s been hit by a nuke, and you can only get one. The only way you can get a second is if you’re in a ground fight and a nuke is set off.” Jack answered grimly. “He has two.”
“Do you think they’re lying about their intentions?” Sam asked bluntly. “Or are they just putting their best foot forward, like we do when we go on a mission.”
“Probably putting their best foot forward,” Jack answered with a shrug. “I don’t think they’re a threat. If they wanted to destroy Earth they would have, after all they have that great big battleship hanging out there somewhere.”
“I still can’t believe their using a carrier battleship hybrid as a base,” Sam shook her head. “Though I guess it sort of makes sense. I could see the military doing something like that to keep the ships on the reserve rolls while keeping their active ships much more up to date.”
“That’s actually one of the things that worries me about the Cylons,” Jack answered. “They aren’t alien enough. All of the other high tech cultures we have come across have thought radically differently then we do. These Cylons seem to think and act the same way we do.”
“And that worries you.” Sam said flatly.
“It worries space monkey too,” Jack just shrugged. “He went back to his office with a copy of their history book muttering about cultural similarities or something.”
“Part of it might be that they still aren’t sure of us,” Sam said with a shrug. “Karl hasn’t giving up his side arm no matter what uniform he’s wearing. They also have been part of the covert war on earth, could a more open form of that war be being fought in their home system?”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” Jack frowned as he considered that idea. “I still don’t like that he’s lying to us.”
“You need a boxing ring.” The non-sequiter made Teal’c look up from his workout. He had been running a staff kata because he couldn’t find anyone to spar with him. He had thought that the gym was deserted so the softly voiced comment had come as a complete surprise.
“I did not hear you come in KarlAgathon,” Teal’s stated as he put his staff down and sank onto the mat. To his surprise Karl joined him, sitting across from him but out of staff range.
“I’m sneaky like that,” Karl grinned as he said that. “You wouldn’t think it talking to my friends but I am. Twinkie?” Teal’c blinked before accepting the wrapped snack cake. He had a feeling that this was going to be an illuminating conversation.
“You said that we need a boxing ring?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Yeah,” Karl snorted, lost in memories for a moment. “Old colonial tradition we kept. Things get too tense and we call a boxing day. No rank, or anything like that. You can challenge anyone you want to and beat the hell out of them.”
“Even your commanding officer?” Teal’c cocked his head as he said that. “Would that not lead to resentment and loss of respect in the ranks?”
“Nope, commanders and admirals tend to be good,” Helo rubbed his jaw as if remembering a long ago hit. “We always thought it helped keep our commanders in good shape and kept their instincts sharp. I’ve only seen one time when someone took down a commander and that was one hell of a fight.”
“How long did you end up in the infirmary after that fight for KarlAgathon?” Teal’c asked, guessing.
“About a week,” Karl laughed. “Bastard deserved it.”
“So why did you seek me out?” Teal’c asked calmly. “I cannot believe that I was that easy to find, and you came here on your own. I believe that you were to be escorted at all times around the facilities.”
“They’re standing guard outside the gym,” Karl shrugged. “I wanted to talk to you about your impressions of these people, alien to alien as it were.”
“I will not betray the SGC if that is what you are asking,” Teal’c said stiffly.
“Not what I wanted. No I’m seeking insight. I have to decide if we should work with these people or just go back to what we have been doing which is protecting the world in secret.” Karl grinned ruefully. “It would be hard, but I think we could manage it. I just figured as someone who doesn’t come from earth you would have a different perspective on what’s going on here then the bog standard answers I’m getting out of everyone else.”
“I believe…” Teal’c took a moment to organize his thoughts. “The SGC of the Tauri represent the best hope for the end of the false gods. As a Jaffa I realize that this may bring the death of my people but it would be worth it if only so that we are not slaves. I will die free.”
“So you have your own agenda,” Karl nodded. “Good.”
“Good?” Teal’c raised an eyebrow at that pronouncement.
“Having your own agenda is the mark of a free man,” Karl answered with a shrug.
“Indeed,” Teal’c nodded his respect at the other mans insight. “As for the Tauri as a whole… I find them confusing. Some are warriors, honourable and true, while others are less so. While JackO’Neill has undertaken to teach me about the Tauri culture I find the diversity confusing at times. The rich tapestry present on your planet is unique in my experience.”
“So most planets out there are mono cultures?” Karl asked.
“Yes, most planets worship a single false god, and their culture is determined by that false god. Humans are ever present in the galaxy but they are… scattered. Most planets have only enough humans on them to fulfill their function in the false gods empire.” Teal’c had thought deeply on this subject over the years he had served the SGC. “I believe that the Goa’uld fear what would happen should humans gather beyond a certain point. When I was first prime of Apophis one of my duties was to assign units of Jaffa to break up any human settlement of over ten thousand souls. It is as if the false gods believe that humans will inevitably rebel should they be gathered together in too great a number.”
“Interesting but not really relevant to our discussion,” Karl said, wincing unconsciously as his thoughts turned to New Caprica and the Cylon take over. He could see the Goa’ulds point.
“Indeed, I sought to explain my hesitance to unconditionally endorse the Tauri. Organizations such as the NID lack honour and are part of the Tauri hierarchy.” Teal’c paused again, trying to put the SGC in the best light he could. “The SGC has acted with honour and its warriors are honourable companions. I do have reservations about the rest of earth.”
“So the SGC are the good guys,” Karl nodded decisively. “Having an alliance with us would strengthen them.”
“It would be in your best interests to become allied with the SGC,” Teal’c observed softly. “I have regrets about my own decision, but those are personal.”