AN: 5/8/19- General fixes XD
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. 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.
Why come to a dead world?
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 under his breath. He frowned, raising a hand up and clenching it. "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 Tollana below us."
"So desolate."one of the UNSC crew muttered darkly. Her eyes were haunted with a look familiar to everyone from that universe. "Was it glassed?"
"No," Sam shook her head in the negative. Even so, looking out at the planet hurt. It was charred and cratered. "Not in the sense that the Covenant would do it. Though the result might as well be the same."
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. An entirely serious, no-nonsense, voice. "Are we secure here?"
For the first time in what felt like years, 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. Not even to the Odyssey on her lonesome.
"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.
"You should thank Thor, then." Daniel Jackson spoke up, a slight smile on his face. He hadn't moved from looking out at Tollana.
"Oh I have. Many times, but he still refuses to let me study them," if an AI could managed to sound put-out, Cortana pulled it off with aplomb.
"Enough chatter," Keyes barked out. The man had little time for stuff like this, and showed it. He continued, his voice completely serious in tone. "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 continued, giving the impression of looking directly at the General. "Can you contact Earth?"
Landry looked at his resident genius. Sam just shook her head slowly, before tapping at her console. Her face was even paler than usual, when she did this.
"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, well. 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, it didn't bear thinking about.
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. She bit her lip, and pulled back from the console. Her eyes were downcast and didn't look at anyone else. "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. Either way, Keyes was here now, and waved Sam to move. She didn't hesitate. She knew Keyes, and Halsey. They were more alike than either one would readily admit.
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. Hm.
"I thought you said we were alone?" Keyes looked at Sam, raising an eyebrow in question.
Sam shook her head. She hadn't said they were alone, necessarily. "No, I said there are no Ori warships within ten light-years. Those are naquadah signatures."
"Ah. Ha'tak, correct?"
"Ha'tak, Al'kesh, Tel'tak," Teal'c spoke up. He was generally silent, as ever. This, on the other hand, was his point of expertise. "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 immediately. He frowned a bit, glancing over at Teal'c when he continued. "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. I mean, we never did find the Furlings," Cam continued.
"Furlings?" Keyes asked dubiously. Not that one could really blame him. Furlings?
"Funny name aside," Daniel explained, taking over now. It was his place to talk about this. "You've seen what our Asgard technology can do, right?"
"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. He still wondered about the answer himself. "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 among 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. 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 all the rest hadn't been lost over Earth.
"I'll dispatch scouts at once," the Commodore finally spoke up. His eyes narrowed in thought. "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 frowned in thought. A little bit of hope, entered her voice. "Since there aren't any Asgard left that has to be a 304. I wonder how they found 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 of the ubiquitous Ha'tak armor. The ship looked nothing more than a patchwork vessel, barely holding together. A ship that had been through hell and back again. More than once.
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. One filled with more than a little shock and awe. "Am I correct to assume you are the USS Odyssey?"
"You'd be correct." Landry was quick to reply, even as he glanced at SG-1. An obvious question on his lips.
"Sun Tzu?" Daniel asked the open question.
"It was scheduled to be launched a few months after we left for Ida," Sam explained. Her eyes roaming over the damaged hull, wincing every time she saw something new. "I'm worried about that damage."
"That is good to hear," Cheng, her voice tinged with relief, continued. She didn't seem to hear the discussion. "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. Oh, she didn't have the slightest idea how long that story really was. "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.
Commander Cheng was a short woman, who looked as if she had been through the ringer more than once. Her uniform was a frayed patchwork that resembled her warship. Colors didn't match, and the fabrics were clearly salvaged from other outfits. The Commander herself was little better. She had a long scar across her forehead, her eyes sunken in and tired. She couldn't meet the gaze of anyone who looked at her, her gaunt and thin body shaking, if only a little. Her dark hair was long, well past regulation length. She didn't seem to notice.
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. Her voice shook, with worry and hope intermixed. "Thank you. Thank you."
"At ease Commander," Landry replied, after he returned the salute. He walked forward, and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. He smiled at the younger woman, gently squeezing. "It's good to see a friendly face."
The woman sagged slightly in relief. Her voice gained a little, just a little, strength. "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. Even they were at least vaguely humanoid. Seeing a Sangheili for the first time would be a shock to anyone. Even if they weren't barely on their feet.
"And that is one of our new allies," Landry spoke up, once the silence began to get a tad bit awkward. "Fleetmaster Nar 'Saranee of the Sangheili."
"And I am Commodore Jacob Keyes of the United Nations Space Command," Keyes added. He didn't even bat an eyebrow at Cheng's uniform. He understood, better than anyone, what she had probably gone through.
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. Any space organization, I mean."
"That would be because I am not from your universe," Keyes was patient. He had the feeling he'd be explaining that more than once, before this War was done.
"Not from our Univer..." the Chinese officer repeated dully. Her eyes widened almost comically, the fear replaced by honest confusion. She spun around, staring at SG-1. "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. This 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.
Excepting the Goa'uld. Who, honestly, everyone wanted dead.
Having a member of said Covenant, former or not, standing across from her did worry the Chinese woman somewhat. However, SG-1 had a reputation, and if they trusted the Sangheili, then she could too. After all, the Sun Tzu needed any help it could reasonably get.
"I've told you our story," Landry finished. He smiled gently at Cheng, having moved back to the table. "What about you Commander? I can't help but notice the condition your ship is in."
Cheng grimaced. Her voice was definitely shaking now, when she spoke. "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 held more meaning than ever, in that moment. 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. He didn't bother putting them back on.
Cam had, perhaps, the most visceral reaction. He cursed and slammed his hand down on the table. "Damn it! How did the Ori get through Antartica?"
"We ran out of drones," Cheng's reply was quiet. Simple. "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 are useless against anything beyond the Ha'tak."
"The Tollan?" Sam asked, getting her mind off her worry. Anything to keep her from thinking about Jack.
The Chinese woman nodded. She felt much the same, if for different reasons. "Yes. A few ships got past Anubis. They are settled nearby, rebuilding what they can. Only the remnants of our military and the Jaffa know of them. Not even the Tok'ra have been told."
"As good of news as that is," Keyes spoke up, perhaps the least impacted of the human group because of his distance from this Earth. Least, not unimpacted. He still felt a surge of rage. "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 replied. She winced a little, when thinking about the Fall. "Golden squid-like missiles. The Antarctic Outpost, left behind by the Ancients, had enough to destroy several Ori motherships. 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."
Clenching her fist, Cheng looked down at the ground. Her next words were harsh and entirely unlike her normal tone of voice. "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. He didn't want to think about how he would have acted, in their place.
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. Their arrival had saved his Earth.
That was neither here nor there, however.
"How many got out?" Daniel was the first to ask a question. His voice soft and filled with sorrow.
Cheng grimaced again. She couldn't look him in the eyes, settling for looking to the side instead. "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 Stargate was compromised. I myself have rescued one thousand 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' if we failed here."
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. Sam wasn't sure she wanted to hear the answer, right now.
"General Hammond died defending the Pentagon," Cheng still answered the question. Driving a knife into the hearts of SG-1. "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. If it were anyone else, it would break them.
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 was able to look Keyes in the eye. She didn't have guilt weighing her down, with him. "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 until the end, and beyond."
Pausing for a moment, Cheng turned to look at Teal'c. The barest of smiles crossed her pale face when she spoke, three simple words. "We die free."
"Indeed." Teal'c inclined his head, respect pouring out from that one word. Respect that he gave very, very few.
"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." Turning to Keyes once more, Cheng shrugged helplessly. "It isn't easy."
"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. Justifiable bitterness. "They don't have ships. And the Ori can easily detect a symbiote, if they try. 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. They can hide in their holes, while we bleed and die.
"So we're basically on our own then," the Commodore mused. He tapped his leg, idly wishing he held his pipe to think. "Not a good situation, all told."
"Yes," the Chinese commander agreed. Her eyes shined, when she continued. "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 barrage of multi-hundred ton shells. The Covenant weapons were a different story.
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. 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. More than enough, surely.
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. We have been fighting alone for far too long." Cheng didn't much care about the specifics. She would have welcomed any help, at this point. Any sign of hope.
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. The softness had left his voice, replaced by a tone that greatly resembled Keyes.
"Six Ha'tak-class motherships have dropped out of hyperspace," Commander Henry White was quick to respond. Commander of the UNSC contingent aboard Odyssey, he was more familiar with the technology than anyone else in the UNSC. "They're holding on the far side of our formation."
"Six Ha'tak are hardly something to worry about." Cam frowned in the background. "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 too. 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. Her hands were shaking against her legs. "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."
"Damn," Landry was quite prompt in his reaction. "Alright, 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.
They wouldn't lose, not this time.
AN: 5/8/19- General fixes.