AN: Evidently I was so eager to post I forgot the AN :P
Anyway, here we are with the sequel to the ever-popular A Change of Fate. I know people were looking forward to this, and I hope I didn't disappoint! :D
1600 Hours, December 20th, 2007 (Military Calendar)-Estimated Time/
USS Odyssey, Tollana
Desolate...that would be the only word that could truly describe the second homeworld of the Tollan race. Long since destroyed by the forces of the Goa'uld Anubis, there was not one sign of life on its charred and cratered surface. Nor were there any ships in the world's orbit...merely silvery debris of the Tollan evacuation craft. For all that race's advancements, their ship design had stagnated...and they had paid the price. It was because of this desolation, that Tollana had basically dropped off the galactic radar. The Ori cared nothing for an empty world, the few surviving Goa'uld were more interested in hiding, and anything that could be stripped from the world had long-ago been taken by the likes of the Lucian Alliance.
All of this combined to make it the perfect place for the Odyssey to finally return home. And because of that simple fact...the desolate world finally saw activity, activity unknown to any in the Stargate Universe. A massive black hole in space opened up, only a light blue rim showing where it ended. Out of this hole, came the UNSC Expeditionary Fleet...with the USS Odyssey at it's head. The substantial fleet, nearly one hundred strong, exited the Slipspace portal and immediately began taking up defensive formations. The moment the last ship, a Sangheili frigate, exited the portal the massive hole closed up. Until the fleet could make a new portal themselves...they were now stranded in the new universe.
"Back home..." Cameron Mitchell muttered, "...I really don't feel any different. We sure that worked?"
Samantha Carter looked over the readings from the Asgard sensors, "Yes, we are. I'm detecting residual traces of Goa'uld weapons fire on the planet. Couple that with Tollan ruins...and that's definitely Tollana below us."
"So desolate..."one of the UNSC crew muttered, "Was it glassed?"
"No," Sam shook her head, "Not in the sense that the Covenant would do it. The result might as well be the same though..."
What was left unsaid, was that barring any successful evacuations, Anubis had pulled off a genocide of the Tollan people.
"This is Commodore Keyes," a voice came over from the Pillar of Autumn, "Are we secure here?"
For the first time in awhile, the Odyssey's powerful subspace scanners were once more put to their intended use. Scanning several lightyears around Tollana, they looked for any sign of Ori warships. Ha'tak, were there any, would be glossed over. The Lucians were no threat to this fleet.
"We should be," the blonde replied after a few minutes, "No sign of any Ori warships within a ten light-year radius of the system."
"Your sensors never cease to amaze me," this time it was Cortana, the AI sounding somewhat jealous.
"Thank Thor," Daniel Jackson spoke up, a slight smile on his face.
"Oh I have. Many times, but he still refuses to let me study them," if an AI could sound put-out, Cortana managed it.
"Enough chatter," Keyes barked, "If we are secure, the fleet will begin salvaging what we can from Tollana. We need all the materials we can get. Fleetmaster, would you be so kind as to scout the system for anything the Odyssey may have missed?"
"It shall be done," a thump announced Nar 'Saranee slamming his fist into his chest in a Sangheili salute, before a handful of Covenant frigates broke formation and began heading further into the Tollana system.
"And General Landry?" the Commodore asked, "Can you contact Earth?"
Landry looked at his resident genius. Sam just shook her head slowly, before tapping at her console.
"Nothing is wrong with the subspace array," the blonde reported, "Kalymia confirms from the Core. Whatever the issue is...it's on their end, not ours."
Those words were like a knife to the hearts of SG-1 and their commanding officer. The only way that Earth wouldn't respond to their message was if it had been attacked, or the 'Gate had been compromised in some manner. That would necessitate the destruction of the SGC, and by extension, the subspace array on Earth. Logically, if they were unable to connect...one of those had happened. They could only hope that it wasn't the case and the array was just being repaired.
That was a lot easier to stomach than the idea that Earth was compromised...because they had been on a jaunt in the Forerunner Universe, as it had begun to be called. If Earth was lost because the Asgard Legacy couldn't be delivered in time...
We can't think that way, Landry mused, forcing his thoughts away from the ever-present worry, Even if Earth has fallen, we have more than enough forces to retake it. The Ori are strong, but they lack in numbers. We can beat them.
"Is it possible this is a glitch in the system?" Keyes asked.
"Perhaps," Sam answered, "but I don't know. I don't have enough data to say."
A flash of light deposited Keyes aboard the Odyssey's bridge after the Colonel finished that statement. The man was always a more 'hands-on' type, and had evidently decided to take matters into his own hands. Or at least beam over to reduce the risk of any messages being intercepted by anyone. That too.
Giving a look at the blonde Colonel, Keyes got her to move. While not as smart as his daughter or former lover, Commodore Jacob Keyes was not an idiot by anyone's definition either. He looked over the sensor readings, muttering slightly as his sharp eyes examined everything they said. In particular, a group of signatures not that far from Tollana.
"I thought you said we were alone?" Keyes asked.
Sam shook her head, "No, I said there are no Ori warships within ten light-years. Those are naquadah signatures."
"Ha'tak, Al'kesh, Tel'tak," Teal'c spoke up, "Any option is possible. However, we have no way to confirm whom the ships belong to. They may be Free Jaffa, my people. They may be remnants of the Goa'uld. They may be Lucian Alliance."
"And as we don't want to be discovered, we should probably keep an eye on them," the Commodore finished.
Turning away from the Jaffa, Keyes looked up at his SGC counterpart. Landry returned the look with a raised eyebrow, curious what he was going to be asked. Keyes just frowned slightly.
"If we are unable to contact Earth," and didn't those words hurt...it wasn't his Earth, but it was Earth nonetheless, "are there any other allies we may be able to make contact with?"
"The Tok'ra, the Jaffa," Cameron Mitchell answered, "I'd expect them to ignore us though. No offensive to T, but the Jaffa have never rubbed me the right way. Tok'ra are probably hiding as usual."
The dark-skinned Jaffa merely raised an eyebrow, "Indeed."
"But, the Orbanians are an option. Might be a couple other out there too...we never did find the Furlings," Cam continued.
"Furlings?" Keyes asked dubiously.
"Funny name aside," Daniel explained, "you've seen what our Asgard technology can do, correct?"
"Yes. Nearly the equal of the Forerunner, if not better in some areas."
"Well, the Furlings are one of four races...the Ancients, Asgard, and Nox being the others. That implies their technology is at least on par with, or perhaps more advanced than, the Asgard," the archeologist explained, "They are also the only one of the Four Great Races we've never once encountered. The Ancients ascended to another plane of existence, the Asgard as you know are gone aside from the minds in our Core, and the Nox are pacifists...though I imagine we could make contact with them too."
Keyes nodded thoughtfully. While he didn't expect these 'Nox' to help, pacifists being what they were, it certainly couldn't hurt to get more support. There was an ongoing argument amongst the Asgard as to if they should use Replicator- or at least android -bodies themselves, and so long as that was happening the little fellows wouldn't be any help. However, a race that has technology at least as good as the miracle working tech on the Odyssey...well, that could be useful. Especially considering the fact that if the Ori brought in more forces, the UNSC/Covenant force could quickly find itself overmatched.
Not least, because until they could make a relay back to their home universe the fleets were on their own. They couldn't just 'phone home' for reinforcements. Every ship was irreplaceable...and they needed whatever support they could find. The Jaffa were numerous, but technologically weak...nothing they had could hurt the Ori. SGC warships were easily upgraded to the standard of the Odyssey, aside from its ZPM. But there were only a handful of them...presuming they hadn't been lost in an attack on Earth.
"I'll dispatch scouts at once," the Commodore spoke up, "have the Asgard ever given any indication on where the Furlings may be?"
"No," Daniel looked visibly unhappy about that, "We've asked before, but they don't know anymore than we do. All we know is what was Nox and Ancient territory. We just haven't had enough scouts to search the 'missing' areas."
Considering the SGC got tossed into a massive war when they finally had more than one spaceship...that wasn't surprising. The Fleet had come through with a handful of Prowlers though, and scouting missions were their forte. Might as well make use of a couple.
"Send the data to Cortana, and we can move from there," Keyes said, before the console started beeping, "Colonel Carter?"
Sam moved past the older man, and started reading the readouts. Her eyes narrowed slightly, before taking on a confused look.
"We have an Asgard hyperdrive signature approaching," the blonde said, "Since there aren't any Asgard left that has to be a 304...but how did they find us so soon..."
Before she could say anything else, a hyperspace window opened up near to the Odyssey, and spat out a near-clone of the dimension jumping warship. 'Near' because it was clearly modified. New turrets were scattered across its hull, and patches of Ha'tak armor were grafted to the vessel. In addition, one of its hangars had been heavily damaged...it was clearly sealed off, with more Ha'tak armor. The ship looked nothing more than a patchwork vessel, barely holding together.
And then there was the question of which 304 this one was.
"This is Commander Cheng of the Sun Tzu," an accented voice came over the communications net, "am I correct to assume you are the USS Odyssey?"
"Yes, you are correct," Landry spoke up.
"Sun Tzu?" Daniel asked, unfamiliar with the ship.
"It was scheduled to be launched a few months after we left for Ida," Sam explained, "I'm worried about that damage..."
"That is good to hear," Cheng, her voice tinged with relief, continued, "however, I am curious just where you have been. It has been seven months since you left for Ida. And I am equally curious where you gained so many followers."
"That's a very long story," Landry answered, "Perhaps it is best if you beam over?"
A meeting room had quickly been prepared while Commander Cheng integrated her ship with the fleet at large. Fleetmaster 'Saranee had been recalled as well, and now stood resplendent in the red armor he stubbornly stuck to wearing. Teal'c stood next to the massive reptilian, deep in a discussion about military tactics and Sangheili society. It was the first time the Jaffa had a chance to interact with a member from a society so, outwardly, similar to his own. The discussion would have to be cut short though, as the flash and chime of Asgard beaming announced the arrival of the Chinese officer.
The first thing Cheng did was salute Landry, as the ranking SGC officer.
"Commander Daiyu Cheng reporting General," the woman said, military precision intact despite the frayed appearance of her uniform.
"At ease Commander," Landry replied, after he returned the salute, "It's good to see a friendly face."
The woman sagged slightly in relief, "It's better for me, trust me General. We've been running for so long that I forgot what it was like."
After saying that, Cheng's eyes started to roam the room, clearly trying to pick out how many of the Odyssey crew were present. She nodded politely at SG-1, had a curious look at Keyes' uniform, and then...reached Nar. The petite woman's eyes widened to almost comical proportions as she took in the massive pillar of muscle and red armor standing next to the familiar Jaffa.
Not that one could blame her. The Stargate Universe had nothing quite like the Sangheili, aside from maybe the Unas and even they were somewhat humanoid. Seeing a Sangheili for the first time would be a shock to anyone really.
"And that is one of our new allies," Landry spoke up, as the silence began to get a bit awkward, "Fleetmaster Nar 'Saranee of the Sangheili."
"And I am Commodore Jacob Keyes of the United Nations Space Command," Keyes added.
Tearing her eyes away from the imposing Elite, Cheng looked at the human in a strange uniform, "United Nations...I am unfamiliar with any organization tied to the UN."
"That would be because I am not from your universe," Keyes explained.
"Not from our Univer..." the Chinese officer repeated, "You have been in an alternate dimension?"
Landry nodded, and began explaining just where the Odyssey had been for the past months. The tale of the dying days of the Human-Covenant War had Cheng grimacing for the majority of it. It wasn't every day that you heard an alternate Humanity had been pushed so close to the edge of extinction...despite having so many worlds to call home. Despite having a space fleet that, while strangely obsolete in ways, made the SGC's pitiful efforts look like child's play. And then there was the Covenant itself...the Ori, as bad as they may be, were not outright genocidal with the one exception being the Goa'uld. Who, honestly, everyone wanted dead.
Having a member of said Covenant, former or not, standing across from her did freak out the Chinese woman somewhat. But SG-1 had a reputation, and if they trusted the Sangheili...she could too. After all, the Sun Tzu needed any help it could reasonably get.
"I've told you our story," Landry finished, "What about you Commander? I can't help but notice the condition your ship is in."
Cheng grimaced, "It is hard to not notice General. We have been fighting and running from the Ori for three months now. After...after Earth fell."
Not one member of the meeting didn't show a reaction to that statement. Nar bowed his head silently, still sending a silent prayer to the Forerunner for the souls of the Reclaimers who surely perished. In the shadows where she was recording the meeting, Grieving Light's eye dulled...her name suddenly becoming true. The humans had the most noticeable reactions, of course. Landry shook his head slowly, before placing a hand over his eyes as he leaned back in his chair. Keyes snapped the pencil he was holding.
Sam felt tears in her eyes, as Daniel took his glasses off to wipe his own eyes.
Cam cursed, "Damn it! How did the Ori get through Antartica?"
"We ran out of drones," Cheng replied simply, "They killed Ori ships, which is more than can be said for anything else we have...even the salvaged Ion Cannons the remnants of the Tollan gave me."
"The Tollan?" Sam asked, getting her mind off her worry, Jack...
The Chinese woman nodded, "Yes. A few ships got past Anubis. They are settled nearby, rebuilding what they can...only the remnants of our military knows the Tollan exist. Neither the Tok'ra nor the Jaffa have been informed...to keep them safe from the Ori or Lucian Alliance."
"As good of news as that is," Keyes spoke up...perhaps the least effected of the human group because of his distance from this Earth, "you ran out of 'drones'? And they were capable of killing Ori motherships? I was under the impression that only the Asgard weaponry aboard the Odyssey could do that?"
"Drones are an Ancient weapon," Cheng explained, "Golden squid-like missiles. The Antarctic Outpost, left behind by the Ancients, had enough to destroy several Ori motherships. But not enough...not enough to save Earth. The Sun Tzu carried the last evacuees from Earth, even though we were not fully ready for battle. Those refuges are on Neo Tollan right now...safe from the Ori. We have been attempting to interdict supply shipments and rescue more survivors from Earth ever since. That is why my warship is so damaged."
While Keyes would have liked to know more about these 'drones' it wasn't the time or the place. Right now, he moved back to his seat. The humans who had a greater stake in this Earth, SG-1, moved forward. They had varying expressions on their faces...though all clearly reflected worry. Not that the Commodore could blame them. He would be acting the exact same way, were it his Earth that had been taken.
They had even more right to be worried, considering it was the Odyssey's vanishing into his universe that had lead to this. If Earth had received the Asgard Legacy, they might have been able to fight back better. As much as it seemed callous, Keyes was still happy they had shown up over Sigma Octanus though.
That was neither here nor there however.
"How many got out?" Daniel asked softly.
Cheng grimaced again, "I don't know. The SGC evacuated as many to the Alpha and Beta Sites as they could, but it can't have been more than a few hundred before the 'Gate was compromised. I myself have rescued one thousand mixed civilians and military personnel. The Apollo rescued just as many, before they were sent to Pegasus...to protect Atlantis as the 'ultimate fall-back point'."
Only three thousand or so...out of the billions of lives on Earth. SG-1 collapsed into their seats, aside from Sam Carter.
"What about General Hammond? General O'Neill?" she asked.
"General Hammond died defending the Pentagon," Cheng replied softly, "The last I have heard, General O'Neill is leading the resistance movements in North America. I can't say for sure if he still lives...I have not been to Earth in over a month."
Now it was Sam's turn to collapse into a chair. Hammond...dead? Jack possibly dead? It was one thing to know that Earth had fallen. Another to hear what had happened to the leaders of her Stargate program. It was not a good thing to hear...not at all.
With the SGC group working through their shock, Keyes once again took command, "Commander? If Earth has fallen and the Tollan are small in number, who are you working with?"
"The Jaffa, primarily," Cheng answered, "I've...gained some measure of respect, even from the hardliners, for taking command after my Captain's death and fighting the Ori for so long. The Tau'ri in general have gained respect...for fighting to the end, and beyond. There aren't many Free Jaffa world's left though. Mostly small outposts that have stayed under the Ori's radar. Dakara, Chulak, Delmak, all the major worlds are occupied or destroyed."
"I don't know. We have maintained contact with their new homeworld, safely hidden from even me. But the Tok'ra have been of little use in this war," the woman replied, a hint of bitterness to her tone, "They don't have ships unlike the Jaffa. And the Ori can easily detect a symbiote...I doubt there are more than a handful of Goa'uld left. That's left the Tok'ra unable to do anything but hide and wait the war out."
The cowards...Cheng mentally added, even if it wasn't really fair.
"So we're basically on our own then," the Commodore mused.
"Yes," the Commander agreed, "but I have hope now. Your fleet...surely you can win against the Ori?"
Keyes coughed, "I would like to say so, however aside from the Odyssey we primarily use upgraded Goa'uld and Tollan technology."
He didn't mention the UNSC's homegrown MAC weaponry, because it was anyone's guess how they would work against the Ori. Literally, considering the best indication they had of a physical impact's effect on the monstrously powerful ships was Bra'tac's kamikaze with a Ha'tak. Not exactly the same, as a barraged of multi-hundred ton shells. The Covenant weapons were a different story though.
Those weapons, probably had plenty of potential to ruin the Ori's day. Especially the Energy Projector, which by all indications was at least as powerful as an Ori weapon. So yeah, they probably had a better chance than anyone else who had fought the Ori, especially with the fact that once the Sun Tzu could be refit to the Odyssey's standard- something that wouldn't take long with a UNSC mobile drydock in the fleet -they would have two updated 304s and the Ecumene to fight with.
All that being said, Keyes wasn't one to get someone's hopes up pointlessly. Better to play it safe, and see just how well they fought against the Ori.
"Still, any help is welcome," Cheng continued, "we have been fighting alone for far too long..."
As the woman finished that sentence, alarms began blaring through the meeting room. Landry was on his feet quickly, moving to a communication panel on the wall.
"Report," the General barked out.
"Six Ha'tak-class motherships have dropped out of hyperspace," Commander Henry White, the man in charge of the UNSC segment of the Odyssey's crew reported.
"Six Ha'tak are hardly something to worry about..." Cam said, "Especially with how many ships we have."
"That's the thing Colonel," White obviously overheard that statement, "Their power readings are off the charts for what we, or rather you know of Ha'tak. Even the Anubis variant is weaker. Their armor is silver in addition, not gold. I can't get an exact read on shields or weaponry."
As those words left the Commander's mouth, Cheng paled in the background, "Oh no..."
"Did you not tell us something?" Landry asked, rounding on the paling woman.
"I...didn't have the chance," the Chinese woman replied, "The...Lucian Alliance fell to the Ori some time ago. Those who weren't killed, switched sides. Their Ha'tak have been upgraded with Ori technology. Nothing on the big motherships, but they are far more powerful than a Jaffa Ha'tak. Even an Anubis one isn't as strong."
Well, that, could be a problem... Cam mused.
"Damn," Landry succinctly said, "okay then...get back to the Sun Tzu, Commander. Stay at the rear...you're in no condition to fight. Commodore, Fleetmaster, I believe we should ready the fleets. This will be our first test against Ori technology...even dumbed down Ori technology."
Keyes nodded, while Nar thumped his chest. The two vanished, along with Cheng, in Asgard beams. They had a battle to fight...and damn it, they would fight it.
AN: Yeah, Earth fell. Thing is, without the upgrades what could do they realistically do? Antartica was never going to last forever. Makes for a more dramatic story anyway! ;)