Okay guys and gals, I'm sorry for the long delay. I was busy IRL, and then I had a HUGE writer's block which prompted that short chapter. Because really, 6 months, that's pushing it. I know. Still, this chapter treats about the immediate consequences of the battle, as well as a crazy idea that I had. I had everything planned for the next dozen of chapter, but when I thought about it, there were huge plot holes. And if there is one thing I dislike, it's plot holes. Soooooooo... you'll see. And it delayed me like hell.
Still alive though, just in case you doubted it. I'm pretty happy there's so many people following this fanfic of mine. I thank you all readers. Without you I may not have the will to continue even during those blocks. It will be a bumpy road, I will probably never write as fast as in the beginning of this fanfic, but I will see it to the end !
Soooo, the thanks now, and answers to the reviews.
OSR Fanatic : Nah, the first ones on the Pegasus Galaxy will be the Tau'ri. You'll see next chapter why.
EvilTheLast : The answer is in this chapter. ^^
Konekoeureka : Nah, ground fighting would be the worst option ever if you do it on your planet. It would be awesome for you guys, yeah, but strategically dumb to let that happen.
BlueScreen26 : The answer is in this chapter. I know it seems dumb, and I agree, but there is a reason.
Guest : Yup, that's it. They are friends, but the stakes are high so...
Faraway-R : Well duh :P
Anonymous, SBence : Earth won't be in there for a little while... I plan to do some huge time skips though, but not immediately.
ZZuzana : Thanks... and thanks google translate °°
Sooooo, here it comes, enjoy this new little chapter of the story.
The battle may have been finished shortly and without a lot of casualties, but I knew that it was only the beginnings of my problems. Bastet has found me, and I didn't know if she told of my position to the council of System Lords. If she did it would greatly undermine my efforts to stay underground and below notice, and I would either have to vacate this planet and find another hidden one, which would be a pain, bunker down and prepare myself to be attacked, or I would have to discuss a non-aggression agreement, which would probably mean giving some of my technology to Ra. And that was unacceptable. Damn it, we had absolutely no luck at all… Bunkering down it was then…
But first and foremost, I would have to see to the problem with my ships, and correct it. It was a priority. If one of my light cruisers could stand up to a flagship, as was nearly the case, I would have a humongous advantage over my enemies, and whatever was the political situation, I would be able to stand my ground. I would probably have to increase my fleet, sure, but that was not that difficult with the help of the Saravin. I would also have to set up some planetary defence, and to continue to improve my technology to avoid it becoming obsolete. But all in all, the situation wasn't desperate, just annoying.
I separated the shuttle from the flagship once it was in orbit and went back on the planet. It was pointless for the moment to think too much about the future; I had to do the maximum I could and hope it was enough. But first stop: the command centre where all data about the battle was saved and analysed. I needed to understand what went wrong, and I knew my scientists would have thought about it and begun to find a solution. They were efficient that way.
As my shuttle landed on the aerodrome, I was quickly surrounded by my scientists and engineers who wanted to accompany me to the command centre.
The lead engineer replied immediately, tone cold and professional.
"The problem in the power conduits was analysed and understood. They are made in an alloy that gets more conductive the hotter it is. They were thus calibrated to handle longer fights with weaker firepower striking the shields. But what happened is that the power requirement during the attack of the flagship was extremely important in a short time range. And that time was too short for the conduits to warm up enough to handle the strain. We should be able to find a solution by the end of the day, and the replacements should be done by the end of the week if everything goes well."
That was… good. The problem was an easy one to correct, far easier that I had feared. And such a short delay before all my ships are in peak condition? I liked that a lot. I would need all my ships up before long, so I was pretty happy in the outcome. Now though, came the hard question.
"How many casualties?"
The scientist nearly stopped for a moment and looked sombre.
"Far lower that they could have been. We number six death, one Jaffa, four humans and a Saravin. There are a dozen more injured, but it's not for heavy injuries, so they should get out of there soon…"
Six dead in a fight like that… It was impressive, it was good, it was… six too many. I closed my eyes and sighed myself.
"I see. I shall write to their families personally. Have the engineer start to look into resources for ship construction. I fear that this is just the beginning, and we need more ships. Also, have the scientists work on different possibilities for a planetary defence grid. We need to be secure and as soon as possible."
He stopped this time, to look at me before smiling slightly. Apparently, he liked that idea as much as I did find it indispensable.
"It shall be done your highness."
I soon entered the Command Centre and went to the main room, knowing that I would soon meet my staff and… others.
"Are you daft?! What was that up there, you had her dead in sights, you could have slaughtered them and you let them go! It isn't a game. Lives were lost!"
Ah, Romen, I should have expected something like that from him. Not that he wasn't right in a sense, I could have slaughtered them all, but that wasn't the goal. Hell, Bastet was pretty much in the same mind that I was from her behaviour. She expected this kind of resistance; she expected that I would beat her fleet. Not her flagship though, that was a surprise for her, but the result was the same. I won, it was clear.
I was strong enough to defend myself from her, and from the result of the battle, I could probably destroy her fleet and take her domain. She knew that, she saw that, and she knew that I wasn't interested. She was a friend of mine, and I guess she considered ma as a friend too.
"It's a bit more complicated than that Romen. First of all, I didn't know if she warned anybody of her coming here. The disappearance of her fleet would have meant that I was firmly an enemy of the Goa'uld, a traitor. They may have come in mass to destroy us, and I wasn't ready to risk that. We need some time to ready ourselves and defend our position. Second was the problem with the ship's power conduits. I didn't know at the time how severe the problem was and had no idea of the real strength of our shields, so I did want to take the diplomatic route. Well, there are other reasons, but you won't care for them."
Romen wasn't one to care for personal reasons, so my fondness for Bastet was best left alone. He would probably use that against me. I looked at the Deputy and the military councillor, and smiled tightly, waiting for other recriminations. It was the military councillor who spoke first.
"Could the casualties have been averted?"
I frowned at that. Maybe, maybe not, depends on how strenuous the testing would have been. Unfortunately, live fire was often the best test, and only test that mattered, and we have been found wanting.
"Had we thought about it, maybe, but unfortunately we are mere mortals, and we don't know everything, we don't think of everything."
That was a strange admission from a Goa'uld, admitting weakness, but I wasn't one to lie unnecessarily. I heard Maya snorting inside me.
'How wonderfully modest of you my dear, I can feel your ego aching…'
Suppressing my own scoff, I answered her quickly.
'Hush you, I don't really think you can mock me about my modesty or lack thereof.'
And that was true, Maya had grown pretty confident in our abilities, and wasn't afraid to speak of it. Of course, I was one of the few that could hear her, but she wasn't that much better than me.
Concentrating once again on the people in front of me, I listened to their answer to my admission.
"I see… how soon can the problem be solved? I assume that it is a priority."
I nodded at the Deputy, approving of her words.
"Indeed, I already spoke to the lead engineer and the first estimation says that all our ships will be operational in a week or so. It will require a considerable number of workers to upgrade them all, but it is a priority."
Romen was the next one to talk.
"Well, it's nice… but what now?"
Once again, I had their undisputed attention. Sighing slightly, I closed my eyes.
"Now, I stall. Bastet has found me, so the other System Lords will soon be aware of my position in the galaxy. It will still take several months to come here, but we're not safe anymore. I already spoke to the engineer leading our production facilities to pump out as many ships as possible, and to start working on a planetary defence grid in case of attacks. But all there measures will probably take close to a year to create if we concentrate our whole industry on it, and we still don't have that kind of time for us. And it may not be sufficient... So I will play politics with my kind and try to stall my decision as much as I can. They will try to integrate us into their Empire and may be aggressive in doing so."
I was tired of thinking of those things, and it must have shown. Romen stood up, visibly incensed.
I cut him immediately.
"I will not submit to them."
My calm answer took all the wind out of his sails. I continued immediately.
"They would want our technology; they would want our society to regress, to annul our tentative agreement with the Great Alliance. It is unacceptable, and I will not bow! I will play their little games but I will not submit. We will probably enter war with them, open or not. But we need to be ready first. Our fleet is superior, our technology is superior and so is our drive. But they are much more numerous, so we need to build up our forces to stand tall in front of them."
They were silent, simply looking at me as I spoke, as I told them my position on the matter. And then, slowly, smiles started to appear on their faces, and I saw that they approved.
"And well, I need to have some intelligence on them. I left Goa'uld society too long ago and I have no idea anymore on the state of their forces."
Everyone nodded, a sombre look suddenly appearing on their faces. The idea of facing an enemy whose strength wasn't known was not something that they enjoyed, and they were right, it would be a problem if the situation wasn't solved quickly. Fortunately, I had an 'in' in that society, in the form of my former being one of them and them willing to get their hands on my technology. Now I had to be cunning enough to take advantage of these things and get the better of them. Stall long enough so that I can protect my people. I knew that I was able to do it.
"Wouldn't it be safer to find another planet, another safe world for us? Away from the Goa'uld?"
It was the Deputy that asked this question, and even though I agreed that it had to be discussed, I was vehemently opposed to the very idea. Why not-
"Absolutely not! We will not scamper in the dark like cowards at every threat that knocks on our door! We survived the plague, we will survive some… jumped-up gods with delusions of grandeur. We are Sheolans, and we do not cower!"
Romen, of course, but it seemed that everybody in the room agreed with him, even the very one that asked the question. That very much described our state of mind right then. We were high on the victory, and knew that we had the technological superiority. That was enough to make us confident. Once we had the numbers, nothing but cheap shots would be able to harm us and… my kind were not above those… Damn it. That kind of doused my enthusiasm right out.
"I agree with your answer even though I wouldn't have said it like that Romen, but the Deputy here needed to ask that question, and has a point."
I held my hand in the air to interrupt his rebuttal.
"Let me finish please. As I was saying, the biggest problem is that the Goa'uld know where our home world is. They would try to enslave a primitive planet, but we are everything but primitive. Our technology is actually superior to theirs, and that poses a problem. Even by bolstering our industry, we will not be able to produce enough ships or planetary defence to actually prevent an annihilation fleet. Because I will be perfectly honest with you: that is what awaits us if I secede from the Goa'uld officially. They will come not to defeat our fleet, but to raze our world to the ground. It has been done in the past. It would be catastrophic for our population. I will try to press for neutrality, but I do not hope for much on that point. You are pretty much with or against Ra, no half measures. We will need to find a solution, and…"
I blinked, an idea coming to my mind, shocking Maya. That was pretty much radical, but it would also be the ensure our population would be absolutely safe. I would need to ask the Alterans but…
"I just thought of one that's… pretty drastic. I will have to ask the Great Alliance for some more intel, but it is probably feasible with our low population right now and our technological level. And it would completely throw the Goa'uld of our trail in a way that actually show our superiority to them."
They seemed actually interested in what I had to say, so I laid it out to them, my mad idea, one that I had in the spurt of the moment.
"Let's find a world in another galaxy."
One second, two seconds, and then the answer, wide eyes all around.
So, what do you think of THAT curveball? I had it planned later in the chapters, but I think they have the technology in order to power the Goa'uld hyperdrive into becoming able of intergalactic-grade speed. And this chapter is SHORT, I know, but you know what? It was the perfect place to stop, and with my writer's block, I wasn't sure to have it finished for Christmas with my current writing speed, so... There.
Please review if you enjoyed this chapter, and see you next chapter. o/