Summary-Book Four: Years ago, the Colonials of Cyrannus met the so-called 13th tribe. It didn't work out well. The Colonials met the Race. That didn't work out well either, but they were introduced to a much larger galaxy. Now their errors have come back and they know they are small fish in a large ocean trying to survive. Can they? Will the Race let them?

NOTICE: THIS STORY MAY BE DISTRIBUTED FREE OF CHARGE BUT MUST NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR FINANCIAL RETURN IN ANY FORM.

-COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE-

"Stargate", "Stargate SG-1", and "Stargate: Atlantis" and all related Stargate related material, its characters and certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the television shows and movies, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by MGM and whatever Corporation it may or may not be owned by.

'WorldWar' and the 'Worldwar related books', its characters, certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the book series, past present of near future, are a registered trademarks of its creator/author Harry Turtledove and the publisher Del Rey Books. Characters, names, and all related material are trademarks to those stated above.

Only certain characters and technologies are mine and these are the creation of the author who is solely responsible for them as such. Neither Studio nor Harry Turtledove nor Del Rey books are responsible for the content of this story.

"Battlestar Galactica, The Re-imagining" by Ronald Moore, its characters, and certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be or are registered trademarks of its parent studio and corporation.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY 'WORLDWAR: ESABLISHING A BALANCE. IF DISTRIBUTED. THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR FINANCIAL RETURN IN ANY FORM. THIS DEDICATION MUST ACCOMPANY ANY DISTRUBUTION OF THIS STORY.

Dedication: Bless my wife and the girls who are now women!

Again, thank you, Harry Turtledove for writing such an intriguing series. I can't do it justice but I will merely try to make what I write interesting, with as few editing errors as I can.

This is an official AU of Ash Boomstick's (Bob Regent) story called R.A.A.B. located on this website. I was given permission to use it as a background. I recommend that you read his story to get a feel of SG-1 and nBSG2003 and the disagreements they have with one another. Most importantly, this story is blood brother to R.A.A.B. but its roots are Ash's other story 'Consequences of Actions'. Therefore the enemies are different.

RenS and Bob (Ash) will or have contributed portions to this story and I will acknowledge them) especially in specific chapters) so they are considered co-writers…

No Ori…ever.

WORLDWAR: ESTABLISHING A BALANCE

A Stargate SG-1/BSG2003/THE RACE CROSSOVER

Prelude

Earth Date November 2022:

Cyrannus Star Region

Battlestar Koalistia:

Two Light Years Distant From Old Cylon Colonial Border

Colonial Battlestar Commander Elishia Mumba's stared unwaveringly at the DRADIS mono-colored screen, her First Officer standing by her side looked at the same monitor with equal intensity. Her state-of-the-art DRADIS package barely acknowledged the existence of the contact but whatever it was, she'd bet her next paycheck that it wasn't a false signal or some random electronic echo. Something or better yet, someone was playing hide and seek with her battlestar group. The raptor patrols at the edge of the now-defunct Cylon border were scanning the area and feeding the live data back to the battlestar group in real time. Vipers were running sorties constantly and still nothing solid was detected as of yet.

The sensor readings put Elishia Mumba and by extension her crew, on edge. This particular area of space was critical as it represented the first waypoint of a long chain of a year-long route that stretched from the edge of Colonial territories of Kobol all the way to space station Makaria located thirty six light years from the fabled and much feared Thirteenth Colony, home of the Tau'ri. Sector Sixteen, the former Cylon/Colonial border was now the official jumping off point for scores of long-ranged transport ships carrying colonists and supplies to the two most distant colony worlds of Pontu-Nika and New Picon, established three years earlier.

Space station Makaria stood as the vanguard of Colonial interests in that region of space so near to the Thirteenth Colony territories. The station's job now was to protect the new and fast growing colonies, and to keep Colonial interests of all kinds away from the twenty-five light year buffer zone designated by the Tollanians and the Terrans. Any unauthorized Colonial vessel violating that buffer could pull the Colonials into an unwanted war they could ill-afford. Originally those newly discovered worlds were designated for military use and a fortifications base, in essence a forward supply and tactical emplacement for aggressive actions against the Terrans. Both planets however were so rich in resources and so perfect for supporting human life that the twenty year plan was scrapped and the planets reclassified for civilian use, colonization, and expansion. However, first the transports had to get there safely and that was Mumba's responsibility, to get them started on their journey without mishap.

The journey required stopping at several waypoints for refueling and resupply so the almost two year-long journey to the new colony worlds was arduous, plus it attracted pirates throughout the twelve worlds and small hidden settlements in the Cyrannus sector. Pirate attacks were somewhat rare but when they did occur they were devastating. Well armed pirates looking for high value targets and quick and easy scores began attacking the transports just as soon as the route was established. The Children of Hecate were some of the worst. They were well equipped, violent and fearless. Wherever the transports went, the pirates followed. When they went after targets in full force, nothing short of a battlestar recon squad could back them off. The battlestars, cruisers, and destroyer packs turned into heavy escorts at established waypoints. Cruisers and destroyers along with support ships accompanied transports and freighters from jump to jump.

Massive space stations were being added along the routes to supports the tens of thousands of travelers leaving for new lives on worlds they never knew existed as little as three years earlier. Another station, a jumping off point was halfway completed where the Koalistia's patrol intersected with. Like Makaria, space station Hera's Glory would be a fortress. The Colonials were moving out towards richer pastures near Earth and they were coming with every intention of staying when they got there.

The historic State of the Colonies address by President Antonius Goesel given a year and a half earlier inspired a literal flood of colonists looking to begin new lives away from the Twelve Colonies. The mere fact that so many people from so many colony worlds were willing to leave and head towards the Apellai (or Sol) system should have triggered all types of warning signals at the Colonial leadership, but they had other things on their minds and so the obvious was missed, the Commander thought. During some of her conversations with the colonists, the one thing that stuck out to her most that there seemed to be an almost subconscious belief that the Thirteeners lived in a safer sector of space and provided better opportunities than the relative sparsely resource Cyrannus cluster. Other than the few Cylons under the protection of the Terrans–and may they be forever cursed for their stupidity!–the machines were effectively exterminated and no longer a threat; therefore, the masses for the most part felt safer near their 'sister' colony.

But they weren't. The Colonial government knew this, the military knew it and soon the people of the Colonies would know it as well. Isolation had kept them safe. Now, it kept them alone.

"Whatever that contact is, it's been playing cat and mouse with us for the last two days," the brunette commander growled. She was known for her relaxed, controlled demeanor. At the same time, she also had a reputation as a vicious warrior whose temper matched the famous Admiral Helena Cain's. "The pursuit vipers and Raptors still report negative."

"It could be Apellai," Executive Officer Robert Santi casually suggested. "But it doesn't match their operational style."

"Could be Terran," corrected Mumba, gently rebuking her executive officer. The President specifically ordered the CDF to refer to the Earthers as Terran and although many in the military didn't like it, they used it to describe them. There were significant numbers of Colonials, including members of her crew still simmering with hostility at the Earthers for the loss of comrades during the Sol invasion and later the Tollanian attack on the fleet at the world called Home. Reciprocations by either the Terrans or Tollanians were non-existent and those feelings of animosity weren't going away anytime soon especially among the CDF. She however would give the President credit as he continually worked to improve the threadbare relationship between the Colonies and that upstart tribe. Reciprocation was out of the question–she had to laugh about that since the Colonials started both conflicts–the Quorum's pride was stung and required a political show of strength. But there was no way they would get any concessions from Earth. Wasn't going to happen. Unification wasn't about to happen either. Personally she was convinced that if the Thirteeners wanted to go their separate ways, let them. As long as they didn't threaten Colonial interests, she didn't have a problem with them.

The intermittent contact playing with her was her problem right now. Her gut was screaming warnings at her. "I can't see the Terrans playing games like this. It's not their style. They have too many advantages to start playing games. I think this is something else."

"Could it be a DRADIS sensor ghost, some new stellar phenomenon we're never encountered?"

"Please," Mumba answered, giving her XO a dirty look.

He smiled sheepishly as his half-joke to lighten the mood fell flat. "It's likely someone's possibly pirates playing tag with us with a stealth probe of some type," Santi said. "Testing our defenses?"

"Perform another DRADIS sweep, highest resolution. Have the Raptors focus on the last…"

"Contact!" Lieutenant Kollan announcing suddenly, drawing everyone's attention. Both the Commander and the XO eyes were already fixed onto it. "Hyperspace rupture matching Terran signature. DRADIS has locked onto a vessel, commander. Correction, three vessels, repeat three vessels decelerating just outside of firing range."

It was the Terrans! But, why the games? Mumba was confused. Other than the diplomatic transports, none of their vessels were scheduled to visit. Besides, this wasn't an established route used by them and the treaty was very specific when it came to entering Colonial space. To date, no Terran vessel had violated those terms since they were established by mutual consent years ago.

"Set Condition One!" Immediately, the ship's crew went from alert to tense. Weapons systems begin going active. "Send challenge."

"Challenge sent."

"Commander, DRADIS searching for a match."

That last statement caused Lieutenant Kollan to blanch even as he mouthed the words. His DRADIS console hadn't immediately identified the ship as a Terran vessel. The power signatures and configuration was way off. Scrambling, her WVIC (War-book Vessel Identification Computer) spit out the last answer he imagined. "Ma'am, we have a ninety-six percent match. The configurations are of goa'uld design."

Mumba's heart skipped a beat. No one in the Colonies had ever personally encountered an actual goa'uld vessel and the Lucian Alliance was foremost on her mind. "I want all ready vipers out now! All pilots to your stations!"

"Action stations! This is not a drill, repeat this is not a drill," the XO yelled into the internal comms.

Chapter One

First Contact

Commander Mumba's eyes were glued to the three vessels on her video screen. Her first thought was that this was a Lucian Alliance squadron and everything that she knew about that government indicated that this could easily turn out to be a First Contact scenario of the worst kind. The question she needed to find out was whether the newcomers were unknown friendlies, Lucians, or worse. So many races in the galaxy used goa'uld built vessels that it was impossible to identify anyone by ship configuration alone. Either way, her patrol fleet was outclassed. If those ships had shields of any kind her improved weapons suite would probably be only minimally effective against these two Ha'taks and a Ha'tak grand battleship, their version of a heavy warstar. Once again she understood the absolute necessity of her people developing some type of effective shield system and soon.

"A freakish design," her XO muttered, and Mumba silently agreed. "Who wants to fly in something like that?"

The ease of the three pyramid shaped vessels' ability to move so quickly was unnerving. They were at least as fast as the Terran warships. But it was apparent that they could accelerate and decelerate at speeds that should have crushed every member of the crew into paste. All three ships came to a relative stop seconds after exiting the hyperspace opening.

"Contact FLECOM now," the commander ordered. Communications quickly relayed heir situation via a subspace packet from technology gleaned from the wreckage from the second Cylon war. "Order Raptor Twenty One to get to the main fleet now with a copy of the DRADIS packet and I want the main fleet to haul their butts back here ASAP. Cancel all civilian traffic vectoring here, no exceptions. If they ask why, tell them there are pirates are operating in the area. That should keep them off our backs for a little while until the Ready-Alert gets here."

"Commander, we're receiving a transmission," lieutenant Greyson said quickly. "Translation coming through, he said somewhat shocked at how quickly the computer was spitting out the response. "The language is in Tau'ri. Englisa version, Americana variant," continued the lieutenant.

"Terran," she whispered. The commander's mind started racing. Was this some sort of Terran offshoot, an independent county or colony, or something? "On speakers."

"…lonial people of Kobol, we come in peace. We come on a mission of vital importance and will speak to the leaders of the Colonies of Kobol. We represent the System Lords of the Ashtorath. To the Colonial people of Kobol, we come in peace…"

There was dead silence inside of the C&C as the message repeated itself several times over the speakers. The stories told concerning the goa'uld replayed over and over in her mind. Granted the source of the information on the goa'uld came from the Terrans and a few of their allies, and could therefore be labeled as suspect. However, there was enough indirect evidence about them to make the hairs on the back of her neck stand on its ends. Not one bit of information about them was positive and she was righteously cautious.

"Open a channel," Commander Mumba quickly ordered. "To the representatives of the System Lords, greetings," she began. "This is the Colonial Defense Force warship Koalistia. We have received your transmissions and ask that you remain where you are and do not enter our space. If you do then it will be considered a hostile action and we will respond accordingly. I ask, what is your purpose for being here?" There, that was as polite as she was going to get.

The recorded message loop terminated abruptly. Now a voice, much softer, and female was heard over the wireless.

"My Lord Astartea, ruler of the Combined Systems of the Goa'uld Empire has come with a message of peace and warning to your people. Your enemies and ours are now aware of you and your worlds. My Lord wishes to speak to you of an alliance that will be of benefit to all concerned."

Mumba suppressed an urge to curse. This was way above her pay grade. Were the Colonies about to be attacked and weren't even aware of it? Everything spoken of about the Goa'uld indicated that they were an arrogant group of double-dealing, back-stabbing snakes. If they'd come here openly to discuss some sort of alliance then id didn't bode well for the colonies. "I must contact my superiors for their instructions concerning your request," the Commander responded evenly. The subspace communications and technology taken from the Cylons once again proved its worth as an invaluable asset. "We should receive a response shortly. Please do not violate Colonial space until I receive my instructions or it will be interpreted as an act of war. Do you agree to these terms?"

After a few moments: "My Lord agrees. Her ships will remain here. My Lord will use the Chap'pai on your world of Caprica to meet with your leaders when the arrangements have been made."

The commander frowned at the strange word. "Excuse me. What is a chap'pai? Our translation matrix doesn't understand the term."

"The Tau'ri word is 'stargate'."

The voice held barely disguised contempt. It was covered well but Mumba heard it clearly. These people were no friends of the Tau'ri. "I will convey this information to my superiors," Mumba responded. 'What's a stargate?' she wondered.

"Ma'am, elements of the Third Fleet just jumped in. We're receiving a hail from Admiral Danson."

The announcement or re-enforcements caused Mumba to smile. Twelve additional ships were a welcomed addition.

Picking up her personal phone: "Admiral Danson."

"We received your request for assistance just as we were about to jump here anyway. What's the nature of those ships? Are they Lucian?"

"Admiral, they're goa'uld."

"Frack," Mumba heard the admiral whisper under his breath. "Understood."

"I've spoken to their commander and they wish to talk to our leaders. They claim to be non-hostile and want to warn us about some upcoming war."

"Great, just what we need. Pass this on," the admiral ordered. It had just been a matter of time before someone other than the Terrans came visiting. The problem was that the military wasn't ready to fight the kinds of technology the Terrans, Tollanians, goa'uld or even the Lucian Alliance could bring to bear upon them. High Admiral Cain had said it best. 'We are a small fish in a huge sea. We need to get bigger, fast'. How right he was. "No hostile action is to be taken unless they fire on us first. We don't want to start a shooting war."

"Yes, Admiral." Only then did Mumba realize just how hot it was in her C&C."

Cyrannus Star system

Caprica: Jarkis region

Fort Hermes. Home to the Door of Heaven Colonial Stargate Command Center:

Twenty-seven stories underground. Gods, he hated this place.

"Calm yourself, nephew," Livia Styomia whispered gently. When the First Priestess of the Gods of Kobol, Head of the College of Pontiffs, Beloved of Athena spoke, it was wise for that man or woman to listen to those words. Her hand touched the shoulder of the most powerful man of the United Colonies. "Be at peace, nephew," she whispered in her ears. Silently she refused to acknowledge the look he gave her earlier. Most of the memo was lost to her after she read the words 'goa'uld System Lord'. She had assumed it was the Lucian Alliance coming to visit for some nefarious reason. But it turned out to be worse than she feared. Her President would need to be strong now to resist the first waves of the incoming storm.

Following her words of prudence, President Antonius Goesel stood straight as if there was nothing amiss in spite of his mild case of claustrophobia trying to pull him into panic mode. Ruthlessly, he suppressed it. This top secret meeting was too important, too critical for the survival of the Colonial people. The goa'uld had come and personally requested that the President of the United Colonies speak to them and there was no way he could refuse. Gods, sometimes he hated his job. President Adar had it easy thought Goesel. All he had to deal with were the Cylons, he thought ruefully. And they didn't even want to talk. Spy, yes, talk, no. Then the Terrans showed up and the CDF messed up the Second Contact just as badly as the first one and failed to bring Earth back into the fold. Yes, Adar failed but it was a straight forward failure. Life was so simple.

The military was in an uproar, sending two entire battle fleets to the former Cylon border to meet with people who only wanted to talk. The System Lords could have taken offense, could have felt threatened and the Colonies could have been in the middle of a nightmare at this very moment. Goa'uld were persnickety and could take offense with anyone at the best of times. Any rejection would be perceived as an insult and the Colonial people couldn't afford that. The fact that one of their leaders had come personally was extraordinary unprecedented even, according to all of the information they had. These aliens by all definitions were dangerous and now they had turned their attention to the Colonies. No one other than the top branches of his government would know about this meeting, including the Tau'ri.

The Fort Hermes facility housed the Heaven's Door' stargate, the one acquired by the Colonials, taken from one of the earliest planets discovered during their first steps beyond the Red Zone. The device was brought to Caprica and had since become a major source of scientific, technological and military interests. Being a high level asset, few Colonials knew about it and fewer still knew of its true purpose. Supplying power to the gate wasn't a problem for the Colonials. Their biggest hindrance was a lack of accessible addresses.

Colonial gate exploration was limited to only a half dozen known worlds. The Terrans actually offered gate addresses however those included dire warnings not to open and explore those worlds s upon pain of death and destruction. There were quite a few of those addresses.

In the past year, civilian relations and small trade between Earth and the Twelve Colonies small businesses slowly improved, however ill-will between the two governments still simmered just below the surface. The Terrans had not given their cousins addresses that were safe. They were purposely withheld from the Twelve Colonies. Naturally this aggravated the overall relationship between the two nations. Also by Colonial reasoning, any world the Terrans stated was unsafe was met with open suspicion. In short, the warnings were downplayed or completely ignored, at first.

This attitude changed abruptly after one incident resulted in the deaths of several scientists and soldiers two years earlier. The giant, meat-eating swarm of insects that entered through the gate's wormhole came within a hair's breadth of breaking the quarantined facility and escaping into Caprica's biosphere before the Colonial military forces were able to put them down. The near death experience was enough to convince the rest of the validity of the Tau'ri's warnings. From that time forward, the Colonials made sure those particular addresses were not dialed under any circumstances, so self-preservation and fear temporarily slowed gate exploration to a crawl. And that was another reason Goesel and his cabinet hated their cousins. Their earlier travels and success effectively stymied the Colonials ability to explore. The general consensus held by those in highest office was that the Terrans had grabbed all of the good stuff first and continued to do so, while the Colonials were left searching with scraps the had no idea existed in the first place.

Like Earth, the Colonials planned to reveal the gate and its purpose to the twelve worlds, but it was felt that now wasn't the time. In the last few years, so many events: the Cylon war, the discovery of Earth, the conflicts, the lack of expected unification, religious differences between the Colonies and the Earth, the discovery of human life spread throughout the galaxy, and the fact that the Cylons were being protected by Earth was too much for the people to digest so quickly. General revelations concerning real aliens–and specifically the Race–were generally withheld for both political and religious reason. Some people believed that only humans were created to live in the galaxy, other expected to trip over alien life at any given moment. The Race revelation would create a political firestorm that the Colonial government wasn't ready to deal with although anyone on New Picon knew about them as captive members of the Race made wonderful laborers of all types once properly trained. But the general public at Cyrannus didn't need to know. The overall dangers of the galaxy were purposely left vague until the military and government officials could get a handle of the real truth and had the ability to deal with the situations that came up. Such a danger decided to pop up on their very doorstep wanting to talk.

This meeting caught them completely off-guard. By the names of every god of Kobol, Goesel thought, the Press had to be kept in blissful ignorance until long after this meeting was over and done with because the last thing the Presidential cabinet needed was for some ignorant news person to open their mouth and say something that would start a war with some very touchy aliens known for their utter ruthlessness. The gag order included keeping this from the Quorum's ears until it was over. If that Gemenon witch were to open her big mouth, it was a guarantee war would erupt minutes later.

The Presidential entourage was swiftly ushered into the command center which contained a large one-way window overlooking the ancient device. Instantly every sing man and woman in the room stood up and saluted. The President nodded his acknowledgement.

Ironically, the room was a close, very close approximation to the gate room located in the old NORAD complex on Earth during the early days of gate exploration. The Colonials had even built a collapsible titanium shield to prevent unwelcomed visitors that might try to forcibly gain entry. Two heavy weapon's platforms were added to increase security. The Fifth Colonial Rapid Response Brigade could be called on for support in a matter of minutes if things went to hades. After the alien bug invasion, the Colonials weren't taking any chances.

President Antonius Goesel nodded as the timer counted down to zero. The heavily re-enforced room's window provided an unobstructed view of the stargate. He turned to General Dujnmel, commander of the facility. "Are they ready?"

The talk gray-haired man with the stone-hard face didn't as much as twitch when he answered, "Yes, Mr. President. It's the appointed time."

"Signal received. Opening the shield door," a technician announced somewhere behind the small group.

"Incoming wormhole. Caprion one is locked and holding. Titanium shield is retracting."

The President, the Secretary of Defense Robert Feya and Secretary of State Konas Duhnmel watched with anticipation as the inner track began to circle once more, making impossible connections to another gate some unimaginable distance away. They and the others in the room could feel the power of the machine vibrate the room.

"I've never seen this in operation personally," Konas Duhnmel said. "I've seen the videos, but this is wondrous!"

"I know," Goesel answered while he also watched the activating gateway to the stars. "Even with the shield in operation…I've seen it in operation twice and I'm still in awe."

"The gods are indeed wondrous to create such magnificence." Livia whispered. Those closest to her silently nodded in agreement. While Livia gaped at the stargate as it cycled, the device spoke to her of power, power that would one day propel her people to heights unimagined, surpassing the Apellai–she refused to call them Terrans, or Tau'ri–who flaunted their power every chance they got. And, hose letters from Father Patrenus hadn't helped her mood about them. The fates of her missionaries sent to Earth and the disaster that followed felt like an opened wound.

It was only a few hours since she'd read the last letters but her anger continued to slowly fester and that anger was at the point of rage. The emotional buildup was natural for her and she accepted it knowing that in a few days she would be calm enough to think about it rationally and from a more objective viewpoint.

The memories of the two letters from the high priest Tyberi Patrenus was still fresh I her mind seeping like an opened wound. The embarrassments heaped onto her missionaries were nightmarish; there would be no forgiveness, not from her as her plans were cut out from underneath her. The Earthers and their culture turned her entire plan onto its collective head and the more she thought about it, the less she understood why it happened. It should have worked. The Apellai should have flocked towards her missionaries in search of the truth denied them for so long. She didn't understand it, didn't understand them. Discovering any weaknesses of the Apellai was part of her Phase One trial and that failed. However what she did learn was that the Apellai thought very differently than her people and in order to persuade them to the true religion and therefore bring them on the road to true unification with the Colonial people, she needed to understand them in the proper context in their heathen-dominated culture. But so many things happened to her own select missionaries that she was left reeling.

Oh, the terrorist action that killed one of her missionaries, that she could grudgingly accept although the violence grieved her. But Lucy going native and marrying a monotheist Baptist (and she had to research that sect all of which disgusted her even more) still made her rage at night! Weeks after she found out about the marriage she still couldn't imagine how Lucy, of all people could have done such thing against her gods and to the Synod who loved and nurtured her as a mother would a child.

Why did she go native? The more Livia thought about it the angrier she became. Lucy should have been the last person to do so. At first, Livia thought it was some sick joke being played at her expense. Ursula however wasn't one to play jokes and she explained in excruciating detail exactly how her poor baby was seduced by that vile Apellai… monotheist! According to Ursula, after the terrorist action during the art museum gala, Lucy met the creature in the hospital.

In hindsight, leaving Lucy alone inside a Terran hospital was their first mistake, an honest and necessary mistake but a mistake nonetheless. Apparently, she started an argument with a Baptist priest, preacher, or teacher, whatever he was… the first night of her stay in the hospital. They communicated through the use of those phone translators, arguing with each other into the night. According to Ursula, that was the first of several intense, legendary verbal duels between Peyton and Lucy that ironically Ursula approved of; but, no one recognized the changes in Lucy's attitude until it was too late as the arguments between the two turned into talks, then to sharing, and then blossoming into love. Incredibly, no one recognized the full extent of the threat; no one saw it coming.

And this is why my mother believed so strongly in arranged marriages, reflected a bitter Livia. Her mother always admonished Love was foolish and so unpredictable. It is a great strength and a greater destroyer. Livia took those words to heart. Lucy's betrayal hurt her grievously and Livia swore upon her soul that, that traitor and or her husband, and children if any would never set foot on Canceron again or any other Colonial world.

In the letters it was very obvious Ursula was so angry that she offered her final solution, the very same thing that she did to her own daughter! Nothing else her dear Antonia Ursula could have written would have brought the situation into better focus to Livia. The High Priestess had to send a coded message by subspace to specifically forbid Ursula from acting on her first, second and third impulses to perform acrsacer faceium, a time honored tradition and an ancient practice no doubt misunderstood and frowned upon on Earth. And what did their spineless leader, Tyberi Patrenus, do? Nothing! He just confirmed the truth and that final letter indicated how far he'd fallen while being on that wretched planet, all of which left Livia in a state of shock.

In less than two years, one missionary died, one turned native (and Livia cursed her daily for it), and her most trusted to keep her head, Elosha Gale elected to remain on Earth to continue study of the different religions on that forever to be cursed-until they turned to the truth-world. It was good however that Elosha did survive her heart attack; the Apellai doctors were excellent there and for that Livia was very grateful. Their organ cloning technology was more advanced than here in the Colonies and from the updates on her condition, the Terran blood substitutes and replacement was not fully compatible with Colonial blood types. Four thousand years separation di make a difference and Elosha was lucky to have survived. She should have come home. Thank the gods that she was more stable than Lucy! Livia could have ordered her to come but Elosha would have followed her own mind and ignored her. Tyberi was another matter altogether. His summation reports both disturbed and discouraged her, and she decided to make sure that the originals would never see the light of day.

But all of the letters and communications helped her to finally acknowledge Earth not as some wayward, lost colony filled with desperate, spiritually deprived, lost primitives, chaffing under the iron boots of the Tau'ri overlords with its people praying and waiting to be miraculously saved by their spiritual Colonial brethren. The events forced her to quietly acknowledge that her assumptions–no, that wasn't it, it was her fevered fantasy–concerning Earth were just that, dreams, which had nothing to do with the reality facing her. Earth contained a truly viable culture powerful enough to change the course of entire worlds if left unchecked. The Apellai required a strong hand. The results Phase One if nothing else confirmed that. The road would be difficult but results of the missionary trip did give her direction as to how to prepare Phase Two's implementation. When the time came, her new missionaries would be better prepared to deal with Apellai religious propaganda.

The missionaries of Kobol went to the Apellai to save their souls (that was the official purpose of the mission) from the ignorance of their superstitions of monotheism. Instead it was they who were corrupted, or had died or been injured, brainwashed or converted, or at the very least made to doubt their own convictions. How could that have happened? It should have been so easy. The people of Earth were so ripe for converting to the truth of the gods. What happened?

Those were the challenges she intended to explore in detail when she had the chance. Ursula's and Elosha's experiences and advice could help answer some of the more difficult questions that would eventually come. Truth be told, Livia's concern was greater than she would admit. If what just a small portion of what Apellai were really like was true then they were a greater threat than anyone imagined to the true beliefs of the people. Further, the next headache was heading to the Colonies and much sooner than Livia would like. The missionaries from Earth were scheduled to arrive in several months. The High Priestess was not looking forward to that event. Letters from Lucy, Ursula and Elosha all spoke of their counterpart's professionalism, knowledge and great experience in such matters. They were a threat; one she wasn't sure how to deal with yet. When they arrived, they couldn't be isolated since her missionaries had for the most par free reign. They couldn't be prohibited from speaking either. To do that would mean that the Synod was afraid of the Thirteener's god. Plus it would humiliate the twelve worlds from a political point of view. Something would have to be done to effectively counter this situation without her people seeming weak or too aggressive in the eyes of the Apellai missionaries.

"High Priestess, are you still with us?" whispered the President into her ear.

Livia was so wrapped up in thought that she'd forgotten where she was until her nephew's voice began to pull her back to reality

"I'm just thinking of the god's wondrous plans and mysteries," she intoned.

The Priestess refocused as one of the technicians loudly said, "Caprion seven locked in place and holding."

Instantly, the gates activation was confirmed by a powerful swooshing sound and bluish energy appearing to look so much like gushing water exploded from the gate's aperture only to settle back into the center of the gate, now giving the appearance of a calm pool of water.

The blue event horizon inside the gate swirling like water was hypnotic. Livia whispered, "By the gods, it's beautiful."

If she expected any disagreement she was disappointed.

Four Colonial marines in full combat gear stood guard inside the secured gate room carefully watching for any sign of threat. Behind them stood another dozen Colonial marines prepared to back up the first line defenders. The event horizon gently rippled as two figure emerged. Both of them were tall, powerfully built males wearing little more than gold-colored armor. They wore metal helmets that were shaped like jackals and their helmeted eyes glowed green. Each one carried a long staff. The two of them walked down the ramp indifferent to the nervous Colonials pointing their automatic weapons at them. Each one both stopped to each side and bowed as another figure stepped through the active gate. That person was female. Her very revealing dress was colored deep blue extended to her feet. She wore silver jewelry and a small gold crown indicating royalty. The deeply olive-colored woman's hair was jet black and extended to her waist in a braid embroidered in silver which contrasted her hazel–colored eyes. The Colonial soldiers, professionals still were caught off-guard by the sheer beauty she radiated. She also walked down the ramp and took her place by one of the guards. Glancing at her surroundings, she then pressed the jewel on her wrist as she faced the event horizon. The woman then took her place next to the nearest warrior at the foot of the ramp. All three visitors bowed deeply and continued to do so as the horizon rippled once more and another female exited.

Unlike the first woman, she wore a full helmet of a cat-like design. Her dress was of similar design and cut as the first woman but was shimmering gold colored. The swirling dress was embroidered in black and purple overlays. Her jewelry was made of gold including her sandals. Slowly, majestically, she walked down the ramp and continued walking towards the Colonial marines. Only when she passed them did her retinue stand straight. Dutifully, they fell in step behind her. The blast door opened and a Colonial officer stepped into the room and walked up to the leader, stopping some four feet from her. Swiftly he came to attention, saluting her. The figure said something in a language no Colonial understood. The voice was unmistakably female, but dual-tone and alien to the Colonial's ears.

Beside her, the first woman spoke. "My Lord Astartea, Queen of the Ashtorath System lords, the child of Ba'al offers her greetings," the woman said in standard Terran. "Are your leaders ready to meet with my Lord?"

The Colonial officer was very familiar with English although not perfectly fluent. Instead, he relied on his translator to make sure that he made no mistakes. The device was the size of an old style telephone which hung from a stylized belt on his hip.

"Yes, The President is waiting to meet with you," he answered in perfect Terran English. "Our policy is that no weapons are allowed in the conference room. This is for both your protection and ours. We'll be responsible for security here." The woman translated. After a moment her leader nodded and the Jaffa gave up their staff weapons. Satisfied the officer said, "if your will follow me to the conference room?"

The female translator relayed the message and the leader nodded slowly. The officer turned crisply and lead towards the designated area. The Jaffa followed behind their leader and the Colonial marines followed them. A couple of the researchers were caught ogling the exotic female translator as the group passed by. The officer escorting them would remember them and intended to berate them personally for their unprofessionalism. The officer's dark stares didn't dissuade several more people in the hallways from gawking at the strange visitors and especially at the very ornate headdresses. Latrine duty was in their future.

The group reached the conference room a couple of minutes later. The marines guarding the door offered a crisp salute and allowed the group entry. The room consisted of several computer systems, a large table, and a dozen very comfortable looking chairs. On the huge table lay trays of deserts, fruits and several bottles of ambrosia to serve the guests. The translation system was prominent at the center of the table.

President Goesel, High Priestess Styomia, and Secretary of State Duhnmel stood at the far end of the room as per standard protocol. Then both Goesel and the high priestess walked towards the approaching System Lord and they met half way. The translator followed a half step behind.

"Greetings from the Colonies of Kobol. I am President Antonius Goesel. "I speak for my people," he announced.

The large computer system on the table dutifully translated modern Kobollian into what was being called Terran standard and the irony of using Englisa as the preferred language of communications wasn't missed by anyone in the room much to the quiet irritation of everyone on both sides.

The alien translator nodded in return. Her leader began to speak in goa'uld. When she finished the translator spoke. "My Lord Astartea, a High Lord of the Ashtorath System Lords wishes that this meeting will result in peace and will be of mutual benefit to both our people. As she is a High Lord representing the Ashtorath Goa'uld System Lords, her security and safety is now your responsibility. We have come in peace and expect to be treated with respect accordingly. If any act of violence or if any incident injures my Lord or the humble members of her entourage, be it known that your worlds will burn. Is this understood?"

If there were any hints of doubt concerning the reasoning behind increasing the defense budget by so much in the last two years, they all but evaporated from the minds of every Colonial in the room.

It was interesting to say the least watching his own emotions mirrored by Livia's flinch at the not so subtle threat coming from the alien. Unlike his aunt, President Goesel's face remained blank but inside the man was fuming and as angry as his aunt had to be, but he was wary as well. This System Lord casually threatened the safety of his worlds as if they were nothing. It was an insult to imply that his people would do anything to hurt visiting dignitaries. Furthermore, it was a breach of protocol and disrespect to imply that his people would purposely do something towards invited guests. But it brought home to the Colonials that unlike the Terrans or even some of their allies, this woman was for all purposes a true alien threat. Although from an alien perspective culturally it was entirely possible that this was a standard greeting of her people with no insult intended, just a statement of fact. But the comment reinforced his situational awareness and helped him remember just who and what he was dealing with. With that in mind, he calmed down; however the situation didn't fail to reinforce his cautious approach. It was well known and explained to him by the Earth people that these aliens could and would do exactly what they claimed and the CDF could do little to stop them. It was this sense of dread would lay the foundations of the talks to come. At the same time showing weakness during these talks would not be in his or his worlds' best interests.

"Please, let us not start our discussions with threats. You've come in peace. The protection of you and your entourage is our greatest concern, a responsibility that we take very seriously," Goesel said evenly. "You are our guests and we will protect you and your people as long as you are in our territory."

For several moments no one spoke.

Apparently satisfied, the woman in charge turned to the side. She said one word, kree through the amplified voice modulator. Both Jaffa touched a small button on their helmets and they began to retract into a small band around their necks to the amazement of the Colonials. What surprised them more was the leaders' helmet appearing to be completely absorbed into her body, leaving no visible trace. Smirking at the Colonial's response to the display of power and technology she spoke slowly. Her eyes flashed as she looked at the President and the others. The High Priestess gasped then looked defiant while the others tried to hide their surprise and growing concern at the woman's glowing eyes.

Now fully revealed to the Colonials, her appearance strongly resembled the first woman in both looks and in style of dress. But the leader's gold dress stood out and now with her head visible, a gold necklace encrusted with gems of various types was observed gracefully caressing her delicate neck. Instead of silver highlighting in her hair like the translator's, it was gold. She also wore a very intricate jeweled armband that extended around several fingers.

For his part, Goesel was gobsmacked by Astartea's almost overwhelming physical beauty but he was more surprised by the similarity between the two women. The translator looked older by as little as a couple of years and they definitely appeared to be related–perhaps an older sister. Both women looked under thirty-five years of age, but that meant very little when it came to people who lived for hundreds of years or more.

The men looked to be of similar age with physiques that would be the envy of any man in the Colonies.

"Heatlhy SOBs, aren't they," whispered Secretary of State Dujnmel more to himself than anyone else. Livia heard him but showed no sign of doing so.

Next: DEVIL IN A GOLD DRESS