This Isn't Kansas
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters that I am about to mangle around for my own amusement, sadly all Robotech and Stargate characters remain the property of Harmony Gold and MGM respectively, I am merely borrowing them and make absolutely no profit from their use. As a result, please keep the legal attack dogs, also known as lawyers, firmly muzzled and on a leash as I have no money to give to anyone.
Authors Notes: I had a few reviewers in the last chapter complain that there was too much focus on the Goa'uld and the Robotech Masters and no focus on what's going on with Earth. The only thing that I can say in my defence is that it was necessary for the setting the scene of the final section of this particular story and while they will appear for a bit in this chapter as I cover the first major battle between the Robotech Masters and Ra but after that they will start taking more of a backseat.
Finally, a reminder that all conversation in bold is a Goa'uld or Tok'ra speaking through their host, conversation in italic represents either mental conversation or the quasi-synthetic voices of Tirolian triumvirate clones and conversation in bold italic represents a Tok'ra speaking to their host.
Goa'uld Command Ship Ra'tak
A Few Moments Earlier
Ra somehow wasn't surprised when one of the Zentraedi warships opened fire on his ship in response to his surrender demand. He was however pleased when his flagship absorbed the particle beam assault with only the faintest of shivers the Ancient power source, one of several that he'd long had in his various treasure vaults spread across his domain, enhancing the shields to the point that instead of being seriously damaged as motherships had been in the past by the Zentraedi's heavy guns they'd barely even flinched under the assault. Behind the elaborate mask he habitually wore he allowed himself a small smile both at the fact that P'tah's calculations and assurances on how the Ancient power sources would before had proven correct and how shocked the Zentraedi and their masters would be at the sight of his ship sustaining no damage at all in their predictable attack. Still honour had demanded he offer them the chance to surrender as it was always better to make an opponent become your new slaves and worshippers than having to turn them into plumes of disassociated atoms drifting forever in the stellar winds.
"Very well you have chosen your fate," he said into the still open communications link before a hand gesture to one of the Jaffa manning the pel'tac consoles closed the link. "Activate main weapon and fire upon the ship that futilely shot at us. Then instruct all ships to open fire."
"Yes, my lord," his First Prime acknowledged from the main control console.
Ra made himself comfortable on his pel'tac throne – though he did make a quick mental note to have the cushion replaced as it was getting a little uncomfortable – in order to properly observe the battle that was about to take place. Faintly he heard the whirring and humming of incredibly powerful motors and knew that the collection/protection panels for the plasma arc cannon had begun deploying into firing position. It's just a pity that I cannot use it at full power right now. A thousand curses on that bitch Egeria and her blasphemous offspring, he thought once more feeling a surge of annoyance at the blatant theft of the Eye of Tiamat by the Tok'ra and their Sodan lapdogs from one of his technology vaults. The minor Goa'uld in charge of the planet had already paid for the theft with his life, though what was even more vexing about the theft was their inability to reclaim it with even Ashur failing in the task – a rare thing indeed though that hadn't stopped him from torturing the veteran Fleet Lord for his failure – losing four motherships to a previously unknown advanced human race, who'd obviously allied with the Tok'ra, in the process.
Though even without the Eye of Tiamat the plasma arc, based as it was on the technology of the long-vanished Ancients themselves, was still one of the most powerful directed energy weapons in his arsenal.
A fact that was proven a moment later as a crackling charge of plasmatic lightning leaped from one of the collecting points and struck the Zentraedi cruiser that had dared to attack him. Almost like a snake entrapping a victim the arc wrapped itself around the doomed cruiser. A moment later the cruisers death completed itself as the vessel erupted into a massive fireball as the charge of exotic energies carried by the arc detonated its power source.
Moments later fresh explosions erupted as the rest of his fleet opened fire most sending out massive storms of white-gold heavy plasma bolts and the smaller, faster firing but no less lethal golden conventional plasma bolts from their numerous cannons. The streams of bolts sliced across space and slammed with white-hot force into the hulls of the Zentraedi vessels that had begun manoeuvring to place themselves protectively between their masters' and the overwhelming power of his fleet. Fountains of molten metal and venting atmosphere appeared as the plasma sliced deep, molten edged wounds in the hulls of the lumbering green behemoths.
Incensed and determined to protect their masters the Zentraedi immediately fired back with each capital ship unleashing multiple searing beams while their fighters streaked towards his fleet in their usual massed formations to engage. Ra didn't even have to give an order, nor did his First Prime even felt the need to ask for instructions as unlike some of his fellow Goa'uld Ra did not feel the need to micromanage everything especially during battle. Instead he trusted, well as far as any Goa'uld could trust anyone, his Jaffa to fulfil the purpose for which his kind had created them.
Thus, he just watched as the much smaller Cheops-class motherships along with most of his fighter squadrons – both the older Udajeet and the newer Chappa'jeet types – moved to engage them. The motherships opened fire first sending out rapid fire streams of small plasma bolts into the heart of the Zentraedi fighters formation tearing a significant number of them from the sky in seconds. Ra allowed himself a slight smile as the Zentraedi fighter formation came apart in surprise and confusion. P'tah had done wonders with the old mothership class giving the old design a new lease of life as an anti-fighter/anti-mecha craft. Did you think we wouldn't adapt to your fighter swarm tactics, he thought with a smirk, though naturally nobody could see it through his mask, as he saw the reaction of the Zentraedi.
A reaction that only grew more intense as his own fighter squadrons opened fire but instead of using the familiar plasma cannons, as the Zentraedi had no doubt been expecting and had learned how to dodge as the bolts from fighter grade cannons were admittedly somewhat slow, the fighters revealed P'tah's newest creation. Instead of plasma bolts each fighter began firing light blue particle beams the near light speed weapons instantly claiming dozens of battlepods as they sliced through the metal skins of the pods to tear the craft apart. Pleased by the sight of the Zentraedi being thrown into even greater surprised confusion Ra made a mental note to congratulate P'tah for his success in reverse engineering the Zentraedi cannons. Hopefully it wouldn't take much longer for the great scientist and engineer of the Goa'uld, arguably the greatest they'd ever known considering he'd created much of their modern technology, to finish upsizing the cannons for their capital ships.
Explosions among his fleet caught his attention and he saw that two of his motherships, speared through by javelins of azure energy, had just been destroyed. However so had three of the Zentraedi capital ships, hammered to pieces by plasma salvos. A moment later another Zentraedi warship – this time one of the medium sized ones – disintegrated another victim of a plasma arc from the Ra'tak. Even as the vessel died another plasma arc lashed out even as another of his motherships met its end under the admittedly impressively powerful Zentraedi particle cannons. Ra made a mental note of have a word with some of the other scientists he had working for him – P'tah couldn't do everything after all – to see if there was something they could do to improve their shields resistance to beam weaponry; it was increasingly obvious that while his removal of the normal limits on shield strength was helping his ships to survive longer against the Zentraedi guns it wasn't enough on its own. A point that was proven as he saw two more mothership turn into plumes of energized flotsam.
"My lord sensors indicate that the enemy ships are powering up their hyperdrives," his First Prime reported studying the readings as they appeared on his display.
"Running away like the cowards they are," Ra said simply, he had expected this expected and planned accordingly. The Robotech Masters and there Zentraedi servitors would not so easily escape his vengeance for their, and their servants, continued violations of Goa'uld space. Certainly not if he had any say in the matter. "Contact Heru'ur and Apophis have them jump their fleets in to block their escape. Annihilate them if they don't surrender."
"Yes, my lord."
Tirolian Command Destroyer
A Few Moments Earlier
Standing around their limited and temporary protoculture cap Nakul, Corden and Relnus observed the battle growing between the Zentraedi and the Goa'uld fleet with both growing anger and concern. It was becoming increasingly obvious that they and their Zentraedi had badly underestimated the true power and capabilities of the Goa'uld navy both in the strength of their shields and weapons. Heavy beam hits that had previously been able to penetrate the, admittedly quite impressive, Goa'uld shields after only two or three hits were now taking several hits to penetrate the force field and damage the vessel beneath.
The same could not be said for the Goa'uld weapons which were punching deep, burning wounds in the armoured hulls of the Zentraedi cruisers inflicting punishing damage very quickly. Already three heavy cruisers had been destroyed by the massive salvos of plasmatic energy blasting out in an unceasing rain of energized death from the Goa'uld weapons arrays. If that wasn't bad enough there were those strange plasmatic energy arcs that the flagship kept emitting, arcs that were instant death for anything they touched as not only did they instantly superheat the hull and interior of the targeted ship but somehow, through a mechanism that they'd honestly never seen before, caused a massive overload in a ships power systems resulting in the vessel being destroyed by rupturing reflex furnaces. The smaller Goa'uld capital ships were also something that they'd never seen from them before and which were proving themselves to be very effective anti-mecha platforms as their plasma turrets were not only capable of firing extremely rapidly but were also very rapidly tracking allowing them to tear whole wings apart in mere moments.
Then there was the fact that the Goa'uld fighter craft, whose acceleration was incredible and pointed to the Goa'uld having a knowledge of gravitic science that far surpassed their own which was most vexing, were now firing particle beams instead of the expected plasma bursts. Particle beams that, if what their sensors told them was true, were very similar to those that they'd provided the Zentraedi with. Clearly the Goa'uld had managed to get their hands on some from somewhere and proceed to reverse engineer them for their own use.
All things considered it was thus becoming obvious just how badly they had underestimated the Goa'uld. Clearly, they were a far more capable opponent than they'd expected them to be, one that was now presenting them with a most unwelcome and unneeded challenge to their plans to ensure the survival and continuation of their robotech civilization. It was one they would meet, they had to as the alternative was to simply fade away, to vanish into the annals of intergalactic history and that was simply unacceptable.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a challenge that they were in any fit state to meet right now, certainly with any chance of attaining victory. The loss of the Miltlari was a devastating blow that would take them some time to recover from. They needed to fall back to rebuild and regroup, then from their plan an appropriate strategy to eliminate the threat of the Goa'uld Empire once and for all, if they stayed here the only outcome would be death at best, enslavement to the Goa'uld at worst – a fate worse than death for they who were used to ruling all before them.
"Captain relay to all ships to prepare for an immediate space fold," Nakul ordered after a moment, feeling the full agreement of his triumvirate siblings with the order.
"My lords?" the leader of the destroyer's command triumvirate asked turning to them asking all sorts of questions in those two words.
"We cannot remain here the Goa'uld fleet is far too strong for us at this time," Nakul replied as if to make his point a brilliant explosion lit the various sensor screens as one of the larger Zentraedi warships turned into a ball of burning plasma yet another victim of the Goa'uld flagships unique weapon. "If we stay here, we will certainly be destroyed there is no option but to withdraw."
"We understand my lords but what of the wreckage of the Miltlari we cannot leave it here for the Goa'uld to scavenge from."
"A fair point. Instruct the Ravenshal to arm their reflex cannon. They're to target the wreckage and destroy it. Once that is done, we will fold out."
"As you command my lords. What are our destination coordinates?"
"Take us to the main Zentraedi staging area in this galaxy."
"Yes, my lords."
The triumvirate of Masters turned their full attention back to the protoculture cap and noted that all their ships were beginning to transfer power to their hyperspace fold systems. Simultaneously they saw one of their two battlecruisers move out of formation slightly and turn towards the moon, aligning its position above the crash site of their mothership. The forward third of the ship parted along the horizontal axis of the ship, the two parts moving up and down as the reflex cannon prepared to arm. Energy readings from the Ravenshal changed and began to rise as the crew shunted all the power they could spare into their main weapon.
Abruptly alarms rang through the datastream and, to their horror, Nakul and his siblings observed many more of those Goa'uld hyperspace vortices open near the fleet and disgorged nearly two hundred more Goa'uld motherships in two distinct fleets. Most were of the standard or smaller models, but each fleet included at least two larger models though they were still a bit smaller than the beast leading the original fleet.
An overwhelming force if ever there was one.
"All ships execute hyperspace fold immediately," Nakul ordered feeling the first stirrings of panic clawing at his insides as the two newly arrived Goa'uld fleets opened fire, unleashing massive blistering hails of plasma bolts. He noted, with a feeling of cold dread, that all the blasts were focused on the out of formation and thus vulnerable Ravenshal. The battlecruisers defence barrier flared brilliantly, corvette sized explosions erupting all across the barrier as the Goa'uld fire smashed into it with searing force. Even through the flaring of the barrier the triumvirate of Masters could see the battlecruiser visibly shake under the immense force of the assault. An assault that was relentless as the Goa'uld continued pounding away at the battlecruiser, striking it with a staggering amount of plasmatic firepower.
It was an assault that was only going to end one way.
With a pyrotechnic display that would have done the best fireworks technician proud the Ravenshal's defence barrier suddenly, catastrophically collapsed leaving the vessel beneath vulnerable. Bolt after bolt of superheated naquada-based plasma began to slice into the hull each hit melting and vaporising layer upon layer of armour and triggering a barrage of overloads and systems failures aboard the doomed battlecruiser. Despite the pounding their ship was taking, knowing that their ship was certainly doomed, the Ravenshal crew focused on completing their last set of orders.
Thus, even as more armour was consumed by Goa'uld plasma, the Ravenshal defiantly pointed her nose – and the fully charged reflex cannon – at the crash site and fired unleashing a single yellow-white beam of pure destructive power at the planet. The beam sliced across space and slashed down through the thick, toxic atmosphere of the lifeless moon and impacted the smouldering, upside down remains of the Miltlari. For a second the materials of the hull resisted the immense force of the protoculture generated antiparticle reactions that made reflex weaponry so lethal before finally the remains of the once mighty vessel dissolved into oblivion a microsecond before the beam vanished leaving nothing remaining of the mothership aside from a lake of boiling water ten kilometres across and cut nearly a kilometre into the planet.
It was the last act of the Ravenshal as another massive volley of Goa'uld plasma incinerated the remaining armour band to rip into the hull beneath opening hundreds of compartments to space at once and filling even more with fire as the atmosphere, superheated by the incoming plasma bolts, reached and passed flashpoint instantly killing everyone onboard. Another volley of bolts slashed through the melting hull and internal structure of the ship to slice open the reflex furnaces instantly turning the remains of the ship into a fireball.
Nakul, Relnus and Corden watched both the destruction of the Miltlari and Ravenshal with a false calm betraying nothing of the combination of rage and fear that they were feeling at the situation before them. The destruction of a second ship in as many hours was not a good sign as far as they were concerned. Thankfully the protoculture cap confirmed that their hyperspace fold drives were just finishing powering up, in another minute or two they would be able to fold to the safety of the main Zentraedi staging area in this galaxy.
Of course, in that time the Goa'uld could still, and certainly would, destroy many of their ships.
"My lords we're receiving a message from the new Goa'uld ships."
"Let us here them." Nakul ordered. The overhead speakers crackled to life with the incoming audio only transmission from the Goa'uld fleet.
"I am the Great God Apophis," came a rumbling, distorted voice that as with Ra's voice gave everyone of them the creeps. "Your ships are at our mercy. Surrender now and you will be spared, continue to resist and we will burn you from the stars."
"Ignore them. How long till we're able to fold?"
"Another sixty seconds my lords."
Nakul nodded even as the new Goa'uld fleet, seemingly deciding that their silence to their surrender demand was their answer, resumed firing alongside the original fleet that was steadily tearing apart the remains of their Zentraedi escort. Streams of plasma bolts burst forth from the Goa'uld weapons arrays and began to slam into the defence barriers around their ships making the normally invisible force fields flare into visibility with the strain of absorbing the energy of the shots. The three Masters felt the deck beneath them shudder as their own destroyer's shields absorbed a handful of shots.
"My lords we are ready to initiate space folding," the destroyers captain reported as the deck shook again under the impact of another volley. Which set off audio warnings from the tactical stations warning that the barriers energy sinks were reaching saturation point and thus the shield wouldn't be able to protect them for much longer.
Thankfully they wouldn't have to.
"Then by all means begin."
"Yes, my lords."
Goa'uld Command Ship Ra'tak
Ra's yell of anger and dismay echoed through the pel'tac of his great flagship as bubbles of subspace energy appeared around the remaining Robotech Master and Zentraedi capital ships – the latter of which bore burning scars from his fleets guns – and contracted down to tiny pinpricks of light before vanishing entirely into subspace taking the ships with them. Sitting on his throne the Supreme System Lord seethed with rage at the escape of his quarry when he had been so close to eliminating them and stopping a galactic war, with a quick decisive Goa'uld victory, before it could truly begin.
But it appeared that fate had had other plans and though he'd given them a very bloody nose the enemy had been able to get away from him. Which was beyond vexing as he would now have to search the whole galaxy for them and that would take quite some time given how much space they would have to search. Especially as they would no doubt tangle with the various other minor powers of the galaxy though with them, he could always put out a bounty for information on the whereabouts of the Zentraedi fleet. It would be a simple mater to trade some refined naquada or trinium for credible information on their opponents, especially as he was well aware that there had been quite a few clashes between the giant humanoids and the minor races in the last year.
He made a mental note to put one of the minor Goa'uld in his service in charge of arranging it.
"My lord," his First Prime called out.
"Yes?" Ra asked his voice once again calm.
"Lord Apophis and Lord Heru'ur are hailing you, they're requesting instructions," the Jaffa replied, "we are also detecting several intact escape pods floating where the enemy fleet was. Shall I order their destruction?"
"No have the pods captured. As for Apophis and Heru'ur have them come over here immediately and await my arrival in one of the audience chambers and remind them that they are not to bring any Jaffa or attendants with them."
"Yes, my lord."
As the Jaffa turned to carry out his orders Ra leaned back in his throne his thoughts turning away from his annoyance at the Robotech Masters and the Zentraedi managing to give him the slip to something far more pleasant, at least to a Goa'uld, to think about. In this case it was just how he was going to punish Apophis and Heru'ur for failing to fully carry out his orders and prevent the enemy escaping.
Ancient Ark Facility
A Few Hours Later
Colonel Samantha Carter felt like she was in heaven as she studied the computer tablet sitting in front of her. The team of scientists, technicians and soldiers she'd led here from Earth had completed their initial search, survey of this facility and what they'd discovered was a bounty beyond belief. There were vaults here filled with bank and bank of crystal filled data archives and terminals at which someone could read them. In addition, several large warehouse-like structures were filled with example after example of Ancient technology, some of which she recognised and some she didn't.
There was no doubt in her mind now that this facility housed exactly what the Custodian said it housed. That it was an archive facility created by the last of the Ancients before the ascended for their descants to learn from. She couldn't help but wonder though if a facility like this existed back in her home reality, assuming they ever got back it would be worth having a look. A facility like this would be a godsend to them especially if, as here, the information contained within the databases was laid out in a far more logical and easier to read format than the Atlantis database which added whole new meanings to the words complex and convoluted.
At the sound of the Custodian's voice Sam looked up to find the avatar of the artificial intelligence standing in front of her with a puzzled frown on its face. "Yes Custodian," she asked.
"May I speak with you in private."
"Of course," Sam replied with a puzzled frown, wondering just why the A.I wanted to speak with her privately but deciding that she would agree to the request. Hence why she walked away from where she'd been standing near the back of the control room, across a small bridge into what in Atlantis was Elizabeth Weir's office. The door closed behind her and the Custodian materialized a fresh holographic avatar in the room, leaving the other out in the control room to supervise the technicians their inheritors had brought through the Stargate.
"What do you wish to speak to me about," she asked curious.
"My sensors have registered an oddity about yourself, your ship and some of the people aboard it," the Custodian replied.
"Our quantum phase signature," Sam questioned without really asking a question even as she mentally kicked herself for not only forgetting that the Ancients would certainly have sensors capable of detecting someone's quantum phase signature but that as this was an Ancient facility – albeit one built in the post-Wraith twilight years of their civilization – the Custodian would have access to them.
"Indeed, I have noticed that it is considerably different to what it should be," the Custodian confirmed. "My creators knew of no way that a quantum phase signature could be changed, nor did any of the other great races of the time know. Might I ask how this has possibly come about?"
Sam sighed. "It's a long story and it is something I have been meaning to discuss with you," she admitted. "The quickest answer is that some of us come from another quantum reality to this one. One that while some things are the same – like the existence of the Stargates, the Goa'uld and the Wraith – others a very different."
"A divergent-convergent reality," the Custodian informed her. "My creators were well aware of them. How is it that you came to be here in this reality? Safe trans-universal travel is extremely difficult and complex and requires a level of technology far above what my sensors reveal to be on your ship. Though the Asgardian technology I detect is closer to the level required than your own it is still at least two thousand years too primitive to allow such travel."
"It wasn't by choice," Sam admitted. "I have been searching for a way to get back to our own reality since we arrived in between helping our cousins in this reality avoid some of the pitfalls we experienced in our own ascension into being a spacefaring race. So far my efforts to find a way home have proven unsuccessful."
"That is not surprising though you are to be commended for trying and for your actions towards your dimensional cousins," the Custodian replied. "Perhaps if you could tell me exactly how you came to be in this reality, I will be able to assist you in returning to your own time and place. My creators did have some experience with both trans-universal and trans-dimensional travel."
"As I said it's a long story."
"We have plenty of time."
"Good point," Sam acknowledged before looking around at the rather spartan room. "Is there anywhere I can sit down I would rather do this while sitting."
"Of course. My apologies it has been a few millennia since I last dealt with organics so forgive me for not thinking of this sooner," the A.I said apologetically before waving a hand causing a comfortable looking chair, that to Sam's eyes looked like a more high-tech version of the fireside armchair that had been such a prominent feature of her grandmothers living room before her death and which now graced her brother Mark's living room, appeared in the room. A small table appeared alongside before an identical holographic chair blinked into existence that the Custodian settled down into before gesturing for her to do the same in the other chair.
Hurriedly Sam did so and found the chair immensely comfortable as the cushions automatically adjusted themselves to the contours of her body for perfect comfort and support. "Now where to begin," she said as soon as she was comfortable.
"The beginning is always a good place."
Sam nodded back and began her long explanation. She began by explaining how Stargate Command had received a subspace message from Thor requesting that they come to the Asgard homeworld for an important meeting. How they'd boarded the Odyssey and made the journey to Orilla and been greeted by Thor almost immediately upon their arrival in the system.
"According to my records the Asgard homeworld was called Hala not Orilla," the Custodian pointed out.
"It was originally in our reality as well. It was overrun and destroyed in a war by a race of A.I's we knew as the Replicators who existed only to find and harvest advanced technology which they then used to make more of themselves," Sam explained prompting a look of disgust to momentarily appear on the avatar's face at the mere thought of the damage such a mechanical race could do, "the Asgard luring the Replicators there after failing to stop them any other way and entrapped them in a time dilation field before collapsing the sun into a black hole. It worked for the most part though some Replicators were able to escape but, in the end, we helped the Asgard develop a disruptor to severe the bonds between the cells in both the nanite and block versions of the Replicators."
"Yes, I've detected them aboard your ship. Continue."
Sam nodded and mentally steeled herself knowing how emotionally upsetting the next part still was to all of them. As calmly as possible she explained how Thor had told them that the end of days had come for his people and that before they ended their lives on their own terms rather than succumbing to their genetic degradation they wished to pass on all their knowledge and technology to them after naming them the Fifth Race.
"The Asgard suffered genetic degradation in your reality? How did this happen," the Custodian asked curious as the Asgard in this reality hadn't suffered such a debilitating fate and instead joined its creators on the ascended planes about a thousand years ago. At least that's what one of his creators had told him when the ascended being made one of their infrequent visits to the lower planes.
"The Asgard embarked on a program of genetic engineering and accidentally sterilized themselves. They turned to cloning to survive and over thousands of years started to suffer increasing degradation as more and more clone lines became non-viable due to replication errors in the DNA sequence."
"They ignored my creator's warnings then in your reality. In this one they asked my creators for assistance and were carefully warned about the dangers of going down such a path. They accepted the warnings and went down a different path. To the best of my knowledge the last of them ascended to the higher planes of existence about a thousand of your years ago."
"How do you…" Sam started to ask.
"My creators sometimes visit me," the Custodian admitted, "the last time an ascended being entered this facility was nine hundred and fifty-six years and eighty-seven days ago. They entered the data on the Asgard ascension into my historical files at that time."
The Asgard ascending a thousand years or so ago in this reality certainly explains a few things like why Cimmeria is uninhabited and is in fact in the midst of the ice age our Asgard artificially ended before Thor settled the Cimmerians there. It also explains why there's no protected planets treaty in this reality, Sam thought. "I see," she said aloud more than a little surprised that the ascended still interacted with the lower planes – even if it was in such a background fashion – in this reality. It was completely different to the way the ascended behaved in her own reality well the ascended who weren't banished and who weren't the Ori. She made a mental note to mention it to Daniel later as a former ascended he would likely find it a very interesting titbit.
"For the next several days that Asgard practically tore apart and rebuilt the Odyssey," she continued getting back to her narrative. "They had just finished when the Ori crusaders showed up with three of their motherships."
"The Ori still exist in your reality?"
"They don't here?"
"No. Millions of years ago my creators and the Ori fought one another across the length and breadth of their home galaxy," the Custodian explained. "The war raged for over a thousand years but ultimately the last of the Ori were defeated and their holy city of Celestis obliterated. But the cost of victory was apocalyptic, a galaxy once teeming with life and habitable worlds was reduced to a lifeless wasteland. Knowing that they would not survive if they remained my creator's distant ancestors began a centuries long journey to this galaxy leaving behind blackened cinders that had once been thriving planets. It was why they vowed never to engage in war again a vow they kept until they encountered the Wraith."
Wish they'd done that in our reality it would have saved us a lot of grief, Sam thought. "In our galaxy the Alterans lost the war with the Ori and were forced to run eventually making their way here to this galaxy landing on a planet now known as Dakara. Like the Alterans the Ori eventually ascended and learned that the worship of mortal beings can be for higher dimensional lifeforms an incredibly potent and addictive source of energy," she explained. "They created humans on multiple planets in their galaxy and created a religion called Origin that almost everyone there has a fanatical belief in."
"I see that is greatly concerning to hear about," the Custodian admitted. "But how did you come into contact with them? The home galaxy of my creators is on the other side of the local group of galaxies to here. Far out of range of even the fastest known hyperspace drive."
"We found some telepathic subspace comm devices and inadvertently let the Ori know of our existence," Sam admitted. "They first began sending enhanced human missionaries called Priors here via the Stargates and attempted to build a supergate to bring ships here. We destroyed one but they built a second elsewhere and began sending ships through. Since then we've been at war with them and while the Ori themselves are now destroyed thanks to a weapon an ascended called Moros helped us to make the Priors and the armies still exist."
"Oh, dear that is very concerning. Continue with what happened Colonel Carter."
Sam nodded. "As I was saying three Ori motherships showed up. Thor told us to leave and returned to the planet and we did as he asked. One mothership pursued us while the other two entered orbit of Orilla. They were both destroyed when the Asgard self-destructed the planets. We destroyed the third and then began making our way home."
"And that transported you here," the Custodian asked knowing that the energetic destruction of a planet was one of the few things that could create a temporary rift between realities as it could potentially cause a subspace rift to open. Such rifts never lasted long before the pressure of normal space-time closed them but, in the time, that they did exist they could cause absolute mayhem.
"No that happened later. When we re-entered this galaxy, we were ambushed by two more Ori motherships, while we could damage them, we weren't a match for two at once, so we were forced to run. As we entered hyperspace, they fired on us but instead of hitting us…"
"…they hit the hyperspace window," the Custodian finished for her. "That would have overloaded the quantum structure of the hyperspace window and created the rift that brought you here."
"That's what I figured after analysing our sensor data," Sam admitted. "I've been trying to figure out a way to recreate the rift so we can return home, but I've not gotten anywhere."
"Recreating such a rift would be impossible," the Custodian told her. "There are far too many variables that cannot be completely or even partially accounted for. Not even my creators could have done so, fortunately they did not need to, and you will not need to."
"You'll help me?"
"Yes, I will prepare a crystal with the specifications of a trans-universal drive on for you. The drive, well in reality it will be a one-use device that you can attach to the subspace field coils of your hyperspace drive, is an extremely complex piece of technology that will take you some time to fabricate. The crystal will contain step-by-step instructions on how to build the device, it will also contain a program for you to upload into your engineering and navigational computers that will take you back to your own reality. All you will need to do is enter the target realities quantum phase signature."
Sam gaped for a moment as this was more than she ever dared to hope for. "T…thank you," she said at last. The A.I waved her off.
"No thanks are required Colonel Carter. Nobody should ever be cut off from their home in the way that you and your people have been," the Custodian replied kindly as with the golden heat-haze like shimmer of an Ancient transporter beam a crystal – that looked no different to the control crystals in Atlantis and in other Lantean facilities – appeared on the side table. "There you go."
Slowly, almost reverently, Sam carefully picked up the data crystal and stared hard at it. It seemed like such an innocuous little thing, no different to a million other control and data crystals she'd seen over the last decade, which completely belied its importance. For it contained the way home for herself and the rest of the original crew of the Odyssey. She was surprised to find tears in her eyes.
"I know you said that it wasn't necessary but on behalf of all us I have to say thank you," she said at last looking up. "Is there anything I can do for you, or give you, in return for this?"
The Custodian looked thoughtful for a moment. "Well I would like to know a little more about your reality as it sounds to be both an intriguing and frightening place."
Sam laughed. "It is that and that's easily done."
"Do you need me to dial Earth so you can take the crystal home," the Custodian asked.
"It's tempting but I have a job to do here first," Sam replied.
"Very well. Then let us get back to work shall we?"
Sam stood up and carefully slipped the crystal into the most secure pocket of her uniform and closed the zip so there was no danger of losing it. Then she turned and walked back to the control room ready to get back to work while behind her the chair she'd been sat in shimmered and dissolved into nothing as it was recycled. Standing up the Custodian avatar watched her leave and watched the door closed.
"I did what you wanted," the A.I said seeming to the air.
"Excellent Custodian," a male voice said from nowhere. "The crew of the Odyssey have done enough in this reality. While there will be still be darkness for a time the future is now much brighter than it would have otherwise been. It is time for them to make their way home and for our descendants here to begin growing into their own destiny without further input from them."
"I understand creator."
Authors Notes: Well another chapter bites the proverbial dust and marks the end of the second arc of this particular story. There will be another smaller arc that will cover some of the war between the Goa'uld and the Zentraedi once it really gets going – which might not be for a little bit as while they are seriously pissed off the Robotech Masters are the kind to stew in their rage until they are ready, to let it build until the perfect time to unleash it comes – especially as it starts to affect Earth's growing interests in the galaxy though it will not cover the events of the First Robotech War as that will still happen though it will be a bit different and possibly more limited in scale or what happens to the Odyssey when she returns home. Those will be covered in other stories in this series.
I hope you all liked the different background and outcome of the Ancients in this reality. It made sense to me that there would be a reality out there where the Ancients didn't just run away from the Ori back in their home galaxy and instead stood their ground and fought back, triggering a galaxy wide war whose devastation was almost beyond imagination.
Until next time.