Just an AN: Everything I know about the USSR is from the internet, I'm not Russian, nor have I studied the history of the country in depth, so I apologise for any political, historical or geographical mistakes.
Colonel Vladimir Durov reclined in the back seat of the state car taking him slowly along the Kremlin Enbankment across the Moskva River. His parade dress greatcoat was uncomfortably hot in the unseasonable weather that Moscow was experiencing, and several times he had had to remove his Ushanka to smooth back his hair to a more presentable state.
Two policemen on motorcycles shooed the civilian traffic off the road for Durov's car to get by, ahead the colours of St. Basil's Cathedral shone out against a clear blue sky. To the left the Necropolis, black plaques commemorating such heroes of the Soviet Union as Kalinych and Voykov against red stone walls.
They passed the Spasskaya Tower with its red star and turned into the small gate to Red Square. The car halted, and the driver proceeded to open Durov's door. The Colonel was unused to such treatment, only recently being elevated to field grade. In fact, he didn't remember the last time he had sat in the back of a car, either himself driving, or mostly likely flying or traveling by train to his next deployment.
Regardless, Durov stepped smartly out of the vehicle, returned the driver's salute and walked into the Kremlin. Introducing himself at the front desk he was escorted down several flights of stairs and a lift to one of the underground conference rooms built during the War.
"If you wait here sir, the Minister will be here shortly." Said his companion, and then disappeared down a corridor into the bowels of the building.
"Major Durov!" called a familiar voice from inside the room.
Durov walked in smiling.
"Colonel Durov, my apologies, I was unaware you had been promoted, long overdue though." Said Major General Vasily Abramovich.
Durov greeted his old friend warmly, the man had saved his life several times in Stalingrad, until a German mortar round had taken his leg and he was shuttled back to headquarters on medical grounds.
"I heard you were in Manchuria." Questioned Durov, removing his Ushanka and placing it on the table.
"And you were busy in the Baltic." Replied the General.
"Yes." Agreed Durov, "With the 'Forest Brothers'… But we've made some progress there."
"So I've heard, how-"
However Abramovich was interrupted by the door opening again. Durov saw only the chest full of medals and sprang to attention, he may have been in the forests of Latvia for the last few months, but he still remembered protocol.
Aleksandr Vasilevsky was another man Durov knew from the Battle of Stalingrad, a magnificent tactician, one who had masterminded the counter-offensive into Germany, twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, four times recipient of the Order of Lenin, the Order of Victory twice and a first class Order of Suvorov.
"At ease gentlemen, be seated." Vasilevsky told them, and Durov pulled out a chair and did as the defence Minister bade him. Abramovich was already seated and had not gotten up in the first place, his prosthetic leg not being as versatile as that.
"General, Colonel, you both know each other I believe?" asked the Minister, glancing between them.
"Yes sir." They both replied.
"Very good, very good." Said Vasilevsky, "This is Professor Diakonoff, formerly of the University of Leningrad, now assigned to my ministry, he will brief you, please give his presentation your fullest attention."
Durov flicked his eyes at the scholarly man now setting up a series of slides on a projector at the end of the table. The Colonel had been quite surprised at Minister Vasilevsky's mannerisms, his own mental picture of the man being completely different from the reality, he had expected aquiline features and tall structure associated with those of higher mental agility, however the Minister was shorter than Durov himself, he estimated, and quite thickset.
Durov supposed it didn't particularly matter what the man looked like, the true worth of him being in his strategic thinking. Instead, he turned to Diakonoff, a young man, with round rimmed spectacles and a thin face.
"As Minister Vasilevsky said, my name is Igor Diakonoff, I am an expert in Ancient Near Eastern cultures, with particular emphasis on Assyria and Babylon, however recent circumstances have forced me to concentrate more on the egyptological aspect of my learning."
Diakonoff pushed a button on the projector and it whirred into life, a grainy yellowed image filling the paper screen he had erected. It appeared to be a map.
"This is the Giza Plateau, a site of significant archaeological interest over the years. In 1928 a British team uncovered this-"
A new slide appeared on the screen, it showed a large ring of unknown material, Durov estimated it at five metres in comparison, judging by the groups of people standing around it.
"At the time the purpose of the ring was unknown, and it remained in a museum in Giza, presumed to be some sort of ritual piece from the forth dynasty. Uncovered along with it were several other pieces, two of which we should concern ourselves with. The first, a cartouche with several inscriptions on it, showing here."
Another slide of a large stone tablet came up.
"And this other device."
A round platform, two feet off the ground supported by a pillar, appeared, several of what Durov could only describe as keys decorated the top, each having their own unique symbol.
"During the War, the Germans raided the museum and, under the orders of Heinrich Himmler, sent all associated materials back to Berlin. During the Battle of Berlin a suspiciously high proportion of troops was centred around a residential district. One Ravil Rozov, a Captain in the 23rd Rifle Division led the attack and took a bunker uncovered by artillery strikes against the area. Unfortunately Rozov was killed in a later action, however he reported back to headquarters regarding what he found."
"For the last three years," Minister Vasilevsky began, causing the two soldiers to turn to him, "Professor Diakonoff and his team have been attempting to understand what the Germans were doing and why they were so interested in these artefacts."
Durov raised an eyebrow in thought, Himmler and the SS's occultism and superstition was well known among the Red Army, and many a time had a commissar used it as a reason the Reich should be destroyed and an Age of Reason brought to the world, however Durov knew that a great deal of this was propaganda, for the Nazis to put so much effort into guarding these Egyptian relics in such an important battle spoke volumes about the value of said things.
"We have discovered that the keys on the second device, what we have termed a 'Dial Home Device' because of the complicated crystal array inside, correspond to the symbols on both the cartouche and the ring itself. We also discovered that the DHD is emitting energy which, along with the chemical analysis of the ring, leads us to believe that the ring and the DHD form a sort of telephone system, while the Cartouche appears to be an address."
'But to where?' was the unspoken question.
"Since these discoveries we have come to a realisation, these artefacts were not made by humans."
"Aliens?" asked Durov, he'd be sceptical, but that was the only conclusion he could think of.
"Indeed Colonel." Minister Vasilevsky told him, "While at first this device was thought to be a communications machine, due to recent events the Professor believes it to be one of transportation." He held up a hand at the professor, forestalling his speech, "I am pressed for time, I'm sure there will be time for this later, however for the moment General and Colonel, we know that the device uses wormholes to transport matter between similar rings. We have made an expedition to another world and returned, the people there are ancient Egyptians transplanted by the aliens who created the rings."
"And our function Comrade Minister?" asked Abramovich.
Vasilevsky turned to the professor, "Wait outside," he told the man, and then waited till the door closed to continue speaking. "Your mandate is to acquire technology and resources to defend the Soviet Union against potential foes, both terrestrial and otherwise. Thoughts?"
Durov, for his part, was suspicious, not of the explanation, that seemed perfectly simple, and the Minister would not go along with some elaborate joke, but of the reasons for military involvement and the specifics of the operation.
Abramovich apparently had the same concerns, "Is this not the territory of the GRU?" he asked, "As military intelligence?"
"This project, from its iteration, had been under my purview, Comrade Stalin knows, as do a few select people, but less than a hundred people in total. The scientists who worked on the project, both German and Soviet and their families, have been kept on the base the past few years and not allowed out, the Professor here is listed in the census as dead."
Durov was mildly surprised at that, though disappearances were fairly common in the Union, it was rare for a party official to admit this.
"Both of you have been selected because you have no families or significant social connections, you will not be missed if you were to disappear and no-one would question it. Comrade Stalin intends to keep this project secret, even from the Kremlin, we cannot allow the larger Party to jeopardise the effort. Nor will you be issued political officers, not yet anyway."
"How will we receive funding?" asked Abramovich, "For men, for supplies?"
"Comrade Stalin has agreed that it will be siphoned off the current budget, boxes will fall off trucks, you know how things go missing…"
"Especially when so much equipment is being moved back from the front. There might even be men who… desert." Hinted Durov. This was of course skirting treason, but apparently Comrade Stalin had given them, as the French said, 'carte blanche' to pursue this mandate.
"Yes Colonel, a good idea, I will review the supply lines, a great deal of restructuring is going on at the moment."
They spoke over a few more details, the meeting coming to a close, then the Minister left, ascending into the Kremlin proper to his own affairs while the two soldiers collected Professor Diakonoff and took a car to Bykovo Airport. From there a transport plane flew them out over the east.
As Durov looked over the papers he had been given he grimaced, "You'll have to change the name." he told Diakonoff.
"What?" asked the Professor, "What's wrong with it? Stargate, a gate to the stars, it's obvious."
"That's the point." Replied Durov, Abramovich had fallen asleep; as such the Colonel had taken the opportunity to satisfy his curiosity and think up a few strategies for the program. "You can't have a name of a project that explains what the project does, think what would happen if an American spy got their hands on this?" he asked, shaking the cover page of the report at the Professor. "Call it something else, certainly the device itself is a 'stargate' as you said, but…actually wait…" Durov had a brilliant thought. "Call it the Stargate Program, yes do that, but, establish a set of false reports about a ballistic missile system, or similar, get some old V2 parts if you can, then we can pretend that 'Stargate' means something completely different, throwing off any spies."
"An excellent idea Colonel, I will see to the requisitions when we get to the base, now, if you will look over these reports from the small number of planets we've thus far visited, you see we found a series of other addresses, I wonder, in your military opinion, which the Union should create a base on?"