AN: Sorry for another delay everyone... :(
Busy busy busy...as usual. I don't like it, but *shrug* not much I can do. I'll make sure to update as fast as I can though!
0900 Hours, February 26th, 2008 (Military Calendar)/
Deep Space, USS Enterprise
"How long is it going to take anyway? We've got this fancy ship and we can't even do anything with it yet."
"It is frustrating General, but until we can be certain the Ori can't track us..."
"We can't go see anyone else, yeah I know. That 'Cole' thing is useful, but damn if it isn't frustrating having to sit in the middle of nowhere like this."
There was no argument from Dare, as Jack O'Neill sighed. He was currently seated in the Captain's chair of the Ori ship now known as Enterprise. It had been nearly two days since they had fled Earth, and as of yet, they were still alone. The ODSTs had been quite clear on that point...until they could make sure that it was impossible for the Ori to track their errant ship, they couldn't risk going anywhere near Resistance bases. The greatest strength of the Resistance was the fact that the Priors didn't know where their bases were...which allowed for strikes without putting the infrastructure and civilians needed to support the fleet at risk. As such, the Cole Protocol had been put into effect even in forces not UNSC in origin.
It certainly had its advantages. That didn't mean it didn't annoy Jack to just sit waiting for Odin to scan each and every bit of the Enterprise and her computers for tracking devices.
What are the odds that the crazies even put a tracking chip in here somewhere? Not like their ships ever get hijacked anyway.
Frustrated or not, he did understand the utility of the matter though.
"Have we found anything odd here?" didn't stop him from asking though.
"As of yet, no," Dare replied, studying a datapad, "some of the supplies are more fitting a flagship than a regular warship, but nothing else is out of the ordinary from what we know of Ori warships."
"So we stole a flagship?"
The Commander nodded, "Quite likely, yes."
"Huh, haven't done that in awhile."
Raising an eyebrow, the blonde chose not to comment on that, instead continuing her list, "Weapons are still locked down tight. Odin believes it will require a total stripping of the computer systems to gain access to them. Shields, hyperdrive and the realspace thrusters are all running properly. There are enough supplies aboard to last several months with proper rationing, and we've also found a supply of Staves and armor."
"Guess we hit the jackpot then," Jack grinned, "Other than the space guns being locked down. No way around that?"
"None that we've found. The Ori seemed to be quite determined that the weapons couldn't be turned against their own ships, only a Prior Staff can access them. We would have torn out the old systems anyway, but until we can reach a friendly world we can't shoot back."
The General sighed at that, returning his gaze to the stars outside the small windows. It wasn't exactly a good feeling to be stuck in a ship that couldn't shoot back. Not that the crews of Earth's warships had been much better off...shooting what amounted to popguns at the Ori and all. Even so, he really didn't enjoy the feeling. For all that Jack had wanted a ship to name Enterprise, he didn't really want to be flying his flag, so to speak. He was a ground pounder first, pilot second, and ship commander in a far distant third. He'd rather be fighting the Ori on the ground...there at least he was in more control over his own fate, able to shoot back and do a damn good job of it.
Here? He was about as useful as a third wheel. Nothing that he could do, being as Jack wasn't any good with technology like this.
"In any event, I have isolated the weapons already," Odin chimed in, the Viking avatar appearing on a newly installed holopad.
"Why?" O'Neill asked.
"If a system is keyed directly to the staff, it is far more likely to be a place where a tracking program may be encrypted. By isolating it from the computer at large, I can prevent any latent programing from sending a message. It is a crude method, but without dedicated technicians I cannot do more. Major Hailey is a valuable aid, but she is not a team."
"Well you found anything else that would keep us sitting here?"
"No. I believe the Ori never truly expected a ship to be taken from the inside, not when the Prior's DNA is needed. When they have a failsafe that destroys the body, that is an understandable belief," there was a small hint of smugness in the AI's voice now, "however, it means they lack even the rudimentary defenses the Covenant have, beyond the Genetic Lock."
Jack nodded, "Why're we still sitting around then?"
"Procedure. The Cole Protocol is far stricter on captured warships than UNSC vessels."
"The potential of a warship being tracked to a colony was too high," Dare elaborated, "It was viewed as safer to always have a dedicated team sweep a captured warship for any bugs or other programs before moving it to a colony. We don't have the luxury here, but that just means Odin requires even more time to scan the ship and make sure we aren't being tracked."
"On that note..."
A new male voice drew attention from the AI to the entrance to the bridge. Buck was standing, helmetless, with a piece of equipment slung over his shoulder. The ODST smiled slightly, as he dropped said equipment with a clang. The dull grey color scheme clearly indicated Ori origin, as he kicked the burnt piece away with his boot.
"Found this down in the hangar. Hailey seemed to think it was important to security," Buck shrugged, "Most of what she said flew over my head."
Dare sighed, "I know you're smarter than that Buck."
"But I'm not a scientist or engineer."
"Point," the commander rubbed her face, "So, this was part of their security apparatus?"
Looking between the two, Jack poked the burnt metal, "This mean we can leave now?"
He was aware he sounded impatient. Fact was, the General was getting impatient. Only so long he could sit around doing nothing before he wanted to get out and fight again. Especially where the Ori were involved.
"Odin?" Dare just sounded tired of everything.
"I believe that the ship is clear," the AI replied, "Though I would recommend a rendezvous at Tollana instead of leaving for Reach. A dedicated team may uncover something I missed."
The one woman on the bridge nodded slightly, "Yes. I should warn you though General...it is not a pretty sight."
Jack sighed, "Kinda figured as much. Well, get us there Odin."
"Roger that. Activating hyperdrive."
With that said, the Enterprise lurched back into hyperspace. It's destination was the same place that the spaceborn Resistance had truly begun. A dead world, but one with moral significance nonetheless. It was safer than taking the ship to Reach without a dedicated team looking it over, but it would allow for what Jack O'Neill really wanted.
A reunion with the other members of his old team.
1300 Hours, February 26th, 2008 (Military Calendar)/
Tollana Orbit, USS Odyssey
"Remind me again why we're sitting here?" Cam Mitchell asked his crew.
"A rendezvous with Commander Dare's team," his new XO replied.
"I know that," the Colonel rolled his eyes, "I meant, why us in particular? Shouldn't we be raiding the Ori or something?"
"What he said," Vala added from the windows.
There was a round of chuckles from the crew. By now it was an even more eclectic mix of UNSC regulars who had served with the ship since Reach- the first Reach -a handful of Jaffa, and refugees from various worlds. All of them were well-familiar with their Commander by now however, and equally aware that it was actually okay to show amusement with him. Hell, Cam encouraged them to laugh at him. He wanted to keep morale up, and the best way to do that was to laugh on occasion. Sure, he'd prefer it not being him that got the laughs, but hey, if it worked it worked. And right now, they needed every boost they could get.
Sam's group had dropped off the proverbial radar recently. According to both Thor and Grieving Light there was a communications deadzone where the ships had gone, and it wouldn't be possible to communicate beyond couriers...who wouldn't be able to find them anyway. With the Resistance's resources already spread thin as is, they couldn't afford to send any search parties either. All that could be done was hope things were okay.
So, to say that Cam was a bit frustrated with his current predicament would be an understatement. He would far rather be out looking for Sam, than waiting to meet up with Dare.
"Hyperspace portal opening," his Tollan sensor officer reported.
Far away from the Odyssey, the purple-ish tint of a hyperspace portal appeared. Promptly spitting out...
Vala blinked when the portal faded away, "That's an Ori ship Mitchell..."
"Damn it," Cam cursed, "I noticed. Shields up! What're we looking at here?"
"A new model sir!"
Now that he looked, Mitchell could see that easily enough. This ship was about half the size of a toilet bowl- still significantly larger than his own 304 -and a lot sleeker. Lean lines swept forward from a wide stern, creating an almost dagger shape, were it not for the ship being taller than it was wide. The typical Ori 'light' floated in a ring at the center of the vessel, while the bow tapered to its point. He didn't need pilot's eyes to see the massive weapon mount on that bow either. Even on new ships, certain things didn't change.
Clearly, that was one of them.
"We're not reading any weapons," the Tollan woman continued.
"What do you mean no weapons?"
"Correction, no charged weapons...sir."
Why in the hell wouldn't they have weapons charged? The Ori never go to a party without charging those weapons up. Especially not when we can hurt them now.
Before Cam could put more thought into that question, his comm officer decided to jump in. The man looked confused, as he turned to his Captain.
"Sir, we're receiving a message in UNSC code from the ship...err...the Enterprise, according to the message."
Now, the Colonel hadn't been in the SGC long before his little jaunt to another universe. But even he knew of one little quirk of its most famous- or infamous, depending on who you asked -member.
"Don't tell me...Dare managed to find O'Neill and they hijacked that ship?" Cam asked dryly, slumping in his seat.
"Uh...yes, exactly that sir. How did...?"
Cam couldn't help but snort, "It's a running joke back at the SGC. Jack O'Neill always tried to get a ship named Enterprise. He tried it with Prometheus and each and every 304 we built after her. If Dare managed to find him, I can believe they figured out how to hijack one of those monsters. Somehow."
"I've never understood that," Vala added, "I wouldn't name a ship Enterprise of all things."
"It's a pop culture thing," the Colonel waved a hand lazily, "I am a bit jealous though. How'd they pull off stealing a new Ori ship when we couldn't get a toilet moving?"
That was a question that would require actually talking with O'Neill. As such, Cam pressed a couple keys on his own chair, getting a visual comm link set up with the other warship. And, surprise, surprise...showing Jack sitting in the captain's seat of the Ori ship. Dare was next to him in full-armor, minus her helmet. Come to think of it, even the old General was kitted out in ODST armor. Lucky son of a bitch.
"Mitchell!" Jack smirked at his 'counterpart', "They finally gave you Odyssey? Nice."
"I'd say you've got the nicer ship General," Cam replied, a similar expression on his own face, "How in the hell did you manage that?"
"Odin here" the General in question pointed at an AI 'sitting' next to him, "Figured out the Ori are a lot like the Ancients. Need Prior DNA to get one of these babies moving. Still can't use the weapons though."
Vala snorted, "Well that explains the lack of weaponry being pointed at us."
"You let her on the bridge Mitchell?"
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
As amusing as the glaring contest- well, Vala was glaring at O'Neill -was, Mitchell held up a hand, "Later Vala. General, is that ship fully operational?"
"More or less. Can't use the weapons as I just said, but otherwise she's a beauty. Think you can get a team of techies over here so we can get moving again? The Ori might pop up again and we can't fight back."
"Not a problem," Cam replied, "In fact, I'll head over myself."
While it wasn't to the same extent, Cam Mitchell was like Jack O'Neill in the way he hated being cooped up on a ship. He was more or less forbidden from going on ground missions without support. And outright forbidden from going with Spartans. But a little jaunt over to a captured ship with the most legendary officer in SGC history? That wasn't a problem.
Besides, if he was stuck on the same ship as Vala for much longer he might start going crazy.
"Nice ship you've got here sir."
"She's a beauty, I can give the Ori that. Though the torches kind of ruin the image."
"Point. How many people you got on here?"
Cam looked at the older officer, an eyebrow going up, "You're running a ship this big with fifty people?"
"Actually, it's mostly Odin running the ship," Jack shrugged...though he still looked a bit uncomfortable at the idea, "No one else here other than Hailey has any training in running a spaceship more complex than a Ha'tak, so he handles most everything for us."
"Indeed. Though I am looking forward to the technical team arriving. I would enjoy examining the data in the core more than running every system myself."
Jack sighed, sending a sidelong glance at his younger counterpart, "You know, for an AI based on a Norse God he's really...not like one at all."
"All AI are like that," Mitchell snorted again, "You should see Cortana. Though Odin bugs the Asgard more than most of them, since he's supposed to be mimicking them. Or mimicking the Gods they mimic...I can never keep that straight. Gives me a headache."
"I can believe that. Speaking of the Asgard though...where's Thor? Figured they'd be around when we arrived, if they're helping you guys out for once."
Silence fell at that question, as Cam looked toward the ground. The subject of the Asgard was still more than a little of a sore point for him. He hadn't been really familiar with the little guys, not like the veterans of the SGC. But he had liked them the few times he saw one. And they were really nice guys in general, so being the one there when they collectively committed suicide had been far from a fun experience for him. Sam had cried quite a bit at the time. Even knowing that the little guys were technically still 'alive' in the Asgard Core(s) was small comfort until they really started ramping up the Replicator/Android bodies for them.
Something that would take a bit of time, to say the least.
"The Asgard..." Cam winced slightly, "Well, we were asked there because they were dying sir."
"Dying? The Asgard?" Jack frowned, "Thought they just got new bodies when that happened?"
"Normally, but...it flew over my head, but apparently they were all dying from genetic issues that couldn't be fixed. So they decided to..."
The General shook his head slightly, before his shoulders slumped, "Mass suicide?"
"More or less. They blew up their homeworld after giving us all their tech. And their minds apparently. The Asgard are still...sorta alive."
Understandably, O'Neill's shoulders went back up at that, "Hah! Knew those little guys wouldn't die that easily. So they're all crystals right now?"
"More or less anyway. We're working on new robot bodies now."
It was Jack's turn to snort. The idea of the Asgard using robot's for bodies was just so...wrong as to be funny in a way. They hated robotics from what he remembered, though to be fair, fighting a massive army of self-constructing robot bugs from hell would do that to anyone. At least the little guys were still alive in a sense though. Losing the Asgard would be just as bad as losing Earth had been in a way. They were always there when you needed help...and it just wouldn't feel right to imagine a universe without Thor and friends around.
While musing on that subject, the Colonel and General walked onto the bridge of Enterprise, the Odyssey clearly floating nearby. Beyond the two ships was the desolate wasteland that was the fate of Tollana. Mitchell was used to it by now...as used as anyone could get to seeing a world ruined by orbital bombing anyway. For Jack, it was another reminder of what they had lost. Sure, the Tollan had been wiped out by Anubis not the Ori. But the reminder of their deaths didn't sit well with him.
"I'll never get used to that," the General sighed, "Damn shame to see the Tollan get wiped out."
"Technically we've got about ten thousand of them on Reach," Cam supplied, "None that you knew though, sir."
"So Narim didn't make it?"
"Not that we know of."
Jack sighed again, "Really, I expected that. Still not a good thought though. At least some of them got out."
"Yeah," Mitchell nodded, "And the Ori won't get at them."
"Make sure they don't. Never liked the Tollan much back then, but they deserve better than being hunted down again."
"Da, no one deserves that."
Mitchell spun around at the Russian accented voice, getting a chuckle out of a dark-haired man, dressed in ODST armor. He stood taller than Cam himself, an MA5 rifle slung over his shoulder. Sharp gray eyes looked at the Colonel, clearly sizing him up. Cam didn't like that very much, staring right back, daring the man to say something. All he got was another chuckle...from Jack.
"Kamarov, lay off the kid. Mitchell, this is Grigori Kamarov, formerly of the Spetsnaz. He was my 2IC back on Earth for the Resistance at large."
"Nice to meet you," Cam said warily.
"Nice to meet you as well Colonel Mitchell," Kamarov finally stuck a hand out, Mitchell shaking it slowly, "I would say it is an honor to meet the man who replaced the General as head of SG-1. But I believe we are missing most of that team."
Jack nodded behind the other men, "Noticed that myself. I know Carter's off looking for the Furlings, and she probably took ole' Danny along with her. But what about Teal'c?"
That...that was a sore topic. O'Neill wasn't going to like the answer much.
"Big T's off with the Elite's," Cam answered, "They're training for a raid on Delmak...they might have already left."
O'Neill blinked, "Delmak? What could they want with that old rock? We slammed a Ha'tak into it you know. Anubis and Ba'al may have used it, but I doubt there's much of value left by now."
"There isn't. But the Ori are using it as a massive prison camp to reeducate stubborn Jaffa. Bra'tac and Teal'c got it in their heads that they needed to take those prisoners back, and conned the Elites into helping."
"Why didn't they come..."
"To us?" Cam wasn't psychic by any definition, but it wasn't exactly hard to guess what the question would be, "We're all stretched thin right now. The Elites just happen to have the most free ships...and they're a lot like the Jaffa when it comes down to it. All about honor and fighting."
"Yeah, that sound's like Teal'c all right. You sure they've already left?"
"No, not yet. They were preparing when we left sir."
Which wasn't a lie. Planning a raid of this scale didn't happen overnight. It required a lot of time and effort to ensure that everything went according to plan. Or could be adjusted on the fly, like most SG-1 missions went. The Elites and Jaffa had been training together ever since the first request had been made, trying to adjust tactics to work together better. It was surprisingly easy to do so actually. The two warrior races meshed well together, aside from some lingering dislike on the part of the Covenant members, who saw Jaffa as the- mostly -humans they were. But there was no hostility from the Jaffa side of things, and that made it easier than it otherwise would have been.
Both were learning from the others, and it was rapidly forming a force that could slaughter anything the Ori threw at it. Which was saying something, considering the UNSC could already do that. But Jaffa equipped with Covenant weaponry and shields, and Elites integrated into their units...the image was terrifying. Good thing they were on the Resistance's side!
"Well, guess we just need to pick up speed here then," Jack nodded, "Odin! Get your asses into gear!"
"I want this ship finished yesterday. Rip out the computer if you need to. I don't want Teal'c to go into this without us and the Odyssey."
Because Jack O'Neill wasn't about to leave one of his oldest friends to fight alone with just a bunch of formerly psycho aliens to help. No, it was his job to work with the Jaffa.
AN: We're done! :D
Sorry again for the delay everyone. I don't like being busy anymore than I like delaying these chapters...I really don't like it. :(
But hopefully I can get the next one out sooner. I'm crossing my fingers on that front. I hope everyone liked the chapter, even though it isn't my longest too. It is kinda-sorta filler after all, the real big thing comes with the raid on Delmak next chapter!
And after that, we get back to Sam and friends for more Furling fun. :D