Disclaimer: I never have and never will own the characters, Ideas or anything else based on these 2 shows. The TV studios that produced them, do. This story is also free as it is a pet project. Enjoy.
"Speaking in a different language"
Chapter 21: Breaking the wheel, part 3: The old master.
New Kobol, during the attack on Delmak
Laura was having a hard time staying on topic. She was not dealing with the more and more irritating Quorum. Or Gemenon. Or Sagittaron. Issues with the Cylons. None of those things were on the agenda. Currently she was having a debate with Mr. Woolsey from Earth. This was more or less a discussion on future relations between the Colonial remnant, the Cylon rebels and the Federation. Tory was also present for a 3 way talk. No military, no Quorum or other distractions. And yet, Laura was distracted. And it showed.
"Madam president?" Woolsey asked after ending a lengthy presentation on agricultural planning the Federation had purposed for New Kobol. While they had no issues supplying the Colonials with food, this was a planet totally capable of supporting billions, with the right infrastructure and planning, so making this world self sufficient was the long term plan.
Laura blinked a few times, returning her mind back to the subject. "I'm sorry. I... I've been distracted these past few hours. My mind scattered."
Woolsey understood. "The operation the admiral is part of as an observer?"
"Am I that transparent and easy to read?"
Tory smirked. "Yes, you are. I'm sure if anything worth mentioning would have happened by now, our Terran representative here would have been updated, right?"
"Of course." Woolsey nodded.
"And yet, if your military operates in anyway ours did, if it is bad news, you would keep it under wraps." Laura more so stated than asked.
"Perhaps. But this is not helping anyone here if you mope. But..." Woolsey stood up and closed his PDA for the moment. "Perhaps a break is in order." He turned to Tory. "We should get some refreshments and have madam president have some alone time. If you agree?"
"Why not." Tory stood up and accompanied him out of the presidential office. "Have to brief Cavil about the agreements we achieved today. Man can't stay still for a minute."
"Speaking off Mr. Cavil, how is he doing?"
"Don't ask. He is getting the hang of his new full machine body, but coordination and balance still need work. Something about the Cylon coding being in conflict with the original coding for movement."
"Interesting. And the Centurions? Have you spoken to them about..." They turned down the hall, escorted by 2 guards and disappeared.
Laura was alone, trying to clear her head.
"Are you OK, Bill?"
Delmak, high orbit, the Excalibur 3 minutes later
The bridge was filled with smoke. Several panels were smashed, chairs and their occupants laying on the floor. The alert lights were illuminating the room now more than the monitors, which were only now rebooting themselves.
"Report!" the 2nd officer yelled out. No answer. "I said report!"
The other officers, those that were still conscious, or alive, began returning to their stations. Or just stand up.
"Sir." the tactical officer responded, trying to get a report. "Shields held, but are down to 30%, aft shields are off-line. No hull breaches, but several power lines, including main ones, are burnt out do to overloads. 22 dead reported, so far. Also, the boarders are all dead the colonel reports."
"And the fleet?"
"Give me a few seconds sir."
The 2nd officer didn't want to wait. "Eva, fleet status." No response. "Eva, report!"
"Sir, all support AI's are down and rebooting." the cyber security officer at the back of the bridge reputed. "They'll be down for at least 14 minutes. Overloads caused a security shut down."
"Sir!" one of the security marines shouted, drawing the attention to himself. The smoke had dispersed somewhat, allowing the 2nd officer to see what the marine shouted about. Vix and the XO were down, bleeding behind the main planning table at the back of the bridge. The shockwave must have knocked them all across the bridge.
"Where is the medical team, for fuck's sake!" the 2nd officer yelled, checking Vix and XO over. He was no medical expert, but he could tell it was not good. Especially the XO. A head wound like that could leave permanent brain damage, healing tech or not. "Marines, move them carefully out to the hallway and get the medics here ASAP! But be careful moving them."
During all of this, Adama got up as well. He knew of the technical capabilities of these ships, somewhat, but still did not trust all this fancy tech. Including the inertial dampeners. When he saw the shockwave and shrapnel approach, his instinct kicked in as he ran to a wall that would counter the direction he would be thrown at when the impact hit. Then he held on tight and kneeled to reduce the surface area of his body. And it worked. Only a light wound on his head to show for it. Currently he was looking at D'anna lying on the floor between the main tactical console and the helm console, where usually Vix stood. She was OK, but unconscious. Clyon physiology. They could endure a bit more than humans could.
Adama looked around. The personnel were professional, but he was seeing it. They were scared. Their plan just went sideways and the 2nd officer was shoving his inexperience in a real combat situation. He was not keeping the people from panicking. So Bill did the only thing his old military mind told him to do.
"Lt. Commander Stix."
The 2nd officer, still worried with Vix, looked up from behind the planning table. "Admiral Adama?"
"Contact the fleet. Tell them that until Vix is back on his feet, I'm taking command. And by the looks of him, he is not getting up anytime soon."
The authority around him made the lower ranking officers go to work on the spot, not even questioning the fact that he was only an observer.
"You are a guest and an observer. You have no authority..."
"And you are so green it shows!" Adama shut him up. "I'm sure you have far more technical skills than me, you have allot of VR practice, holo training, but that never compensates for real live fire and battle! I saw 12 worlds die. I saw 40 billion die! I went thru hell and back with a small fleet of ships that were so outdated to yours it is laughable. But guess what. I'm still around! Now, do as I said, and we might get out of here alive! After all, my speciality are unwinnable situations it seems."
The silence was deafening.
"Yes, sir." was Stix's answer as he nodded to the comm. officer.
"You're on, sir."
Bill took the small ear piece with the microphone, not putting it into his ear, but healed it, like he did with the old 'phone' on the Galactica.
"To the Terran fleet. This is admiral Adama of the Colonials. Admiral Vix is down. I'm taking command of the fleet. Every ship send a status report. Ships with crippled weapons and engines evacuate the crew to the nearest functioning ship and destroy your vessel. Ships with crippled weapons but good engines retreat to retreat point alpha. The rest form up, defensive formation 3. All fighters and bombers to the flanks. Remember your training, and you will make it out alive."
He put the comm device down and turned to Stix. "You are my XO now. Get me a damage report and the status of the enemy fleet, yesterday!"
"Sir, information coming in." the tactical officer reported and transferred the incoming info to the main screen that was currently showing the chaos in space over Delmak. "Admiral, if I may ask, is it not time to retreat?"
Bill looked at the young officer. "I assume most of you read about the Colonial/Cylon conflict?"
"Yes, sir." was the response from most officers.
"And I also assume you read how we mostly retreated. Right?"
Again, same response.
"You think I am a master of retreat? I had a civilian fleet to defend. No such excuse here. We are here for a job! And we cannot let those that have already died to have died in vain! Avenge them today, mourn them tomorrow! Besides, as fracked up as we are, I would bet they are far worse off. Now... XO?"
Stix moved next to him.
"Sir, ship is battle ready and prepared to fight, but our defences are depleted. That goes mostly for the rest of the fleet. We lost 29% of captial ships, either do to them retreating by your orders, or evacuating. As for the enemy, we have to wait for the radiation do disperse."
"Good. Tactical, order our fighters to split into 2 groups. Bombers and half of the fighters to circle the radiation cloud and hit the enemy from that direction. The remaining fighters remain in reserve and watch our rears. They are not much use against capital ships anymore anyway since they used up their heavy weapons already. Right?" He looked at Stix, who nodded in confirmation. "The rest of the fleet, form up, switch to manual targeting and full power to KEW weapons grid. Every missile and torpedo is to be set to dumb fire mode. Once all ships give green light, we charge thru the radiation to finish the job." He was about to finish when he remembered. "The 2 sedge ships, their main energy weapons, how do they handle in a dense radiation environment?"
It was the science officer who responded. "They use a basic copy of an ancient weapons system..."
"I don't need the thing's description, just if they work in that scenario!"
"Um, yes sir. Their effectiveness will be reduced, but not by as much as ordinary plasma or particle weapons. Anti particles do not interact with particles of radiation the same way as other particles or ionized matter. They destroy each other, but the beam of anti particles is concentrated enough to just cut thru it, losing about 10 - 15% of its intensity."
Adama smirked. He just got another good idea. "The fighters that are to remain here are to defend those 2 ships. They stay as well and give us supporting fire."
"Sir, the radiation will hamper our sensors and comm systems, we..."
"We will be in the radiation and rock cloud, we can transmit the targeting coordinates and make a hole for them to fire. No need for friendly fire. As for communications, set up a line of fighters from the 2 ships to our force. Use the ones we leave behind. They create a chain of communication to transmit coordinates. You can do that can't you? Stop relying on your high tech so much. If it doesn't work as intended, improvise! Sometimes a low tech solution is better!"
The science and comm officer nodded, understanding what he planned.
But the rest of the bridge crew hesitated. "Worried? Your ships have armour, they don't. You have KEW that are not affected by radiation, their energy weapons are affected. In the cloud both sides will have significantly limited scanner range and no missile lock, so manual targeting. You have been trained for this, they were not! We use our strengths and exploit their weaknesses. And while you wait for me to explain this to you, you can bet that Anubis ordered that one ship you are all so afraid of to get here ASAP, so the sooner we do the mission, the faster we leave!"
That lit a fire under their ass. A sound plan, good reasoning and motivation. They went to work, issuing command to the fleet and their own ship.
"I guess I am not ready for retirement, yet. Bill smirked at that thought. "Sorry Laura, still have a job to do."
"Sir, what about the Event Horizon? She is not meant for such combat and to leave her so defenceless..." Stix reminded Adama.
"I assume the radiation cloud created by our little stunt and Anubis counter is also hampering FTL?"
Stix nodded. "Yes, anything in low or mid orbit can't engage hyperdrive do to the radiation. A ship has to get cleared before engaging..."
"Good." Adama cut him off. "Tell the Event Horizon to deactivate the jammer and retreat back to the retreat area as well. No need to risk her staying here. And she needs to deactivate the jammer anyway for our crippled forces to be able to leave. Now..."
"Sir, comm request for you. It's Sheppard in the Jumper."
Adama nodded. That man showed guts and intelligence in the battle. At least the way Bill saw it. Vix might be a great officer, but he was too worried for the losses and thus lost the focus for the main goal. While avoiding losses is always important, sometimes they are unavoidable. This pilot, Sheppard, however disobeyed orders and got things done. Kind of reminded him of one of his own pilots in a way.
"Admiral. We heard about the situation. If you want to do this, this Jumper can continue the stealth scout role. I can navigate thru the debris and radiation under cloak and transmit target data for you."
"No. Transmit the target data to the Behemoth and Arrow. You'll be their eyes now. Just transmit the targeting vectors to us as well so that we can avoid getting in the crossfire. We will handle the forces in the debris and radiation field that you can't spot, you handle the ones in low orbit outside the field."
Delmak, other side of the radiation cloud, same time
During all of this, Anubis was having similar issues on his 'new' command ship, a Ko'tak. His fleet was hammered by the explosion and subsequent shrapnel fire.
"My lord, the fleet has been decimated. Should we not retreat and..." the lead Jaffa at the ships controls began asking when one of Anubis Kull escorts just shot him.
"No one questions me. This radiation is working in my favour. They have to get point blank to see and target us. If Her'ak is doing as ordered, he should be here within the hour."
Anubis orders to his first prime were simple. In a situation like this, he has permission to push the engines on the flag ship past their designed limit. Even if, when he arrives, the engines burn out, he can do it. The engines can, after all, be replaced.
"Only a bold person would now dare push this assault. And from what I have seen, the commanding officer of these humans is far too passive. And once Her'ak arrives..."
Tritis system, minutes later
The base on the planet as well as the defending fleet were in full mobilization. Ba'al's fleet would arrive soon and no one dared to lose it and then have to explain to Anubis that they lost his base and research. This worked in favour of the infiltration team... untill now.
In the command centre, Thoth and Athena were looking over the situation developing in orbit.
"Which Goa'uld would be foolish enough..."
Athena interrupted Thot's questioning. "Does it matter? Begin the transfer of the research material into the transport cart. Get all Kull troops mobilized and prepare to defended the base." She moved out of the command canter, signalling 2 Kulls to follow her.
"And where are you going?"
"To my research laboratory. Then to the vault. Anubis will not be pleased if we don't take that data and material with us as well."
As she left, Thos had to agree with her. He looked at the few Jaffa there with him. "What are you waiting for!? You heard her! Get the transport cart ready!" He began pulling crystals out of the computer terminal and putting them into a storage container.
During all of this, Fisher was coordinating the raid of the facility from the secondary command centre. And now they were under time pressure.
"Sir, we have a problem." Nomad alerted him to a security console. "Athena and several Kulls are on their way to the vault."
"I can guess their intentions." He activated his comm device. "Vala, Mitchell, wrap it up! You're getting company soon!"
"Can you be more specific. Like who and when?" was Mitchell's reaction.
"Athena and a Kull escort. I think Ba'als upcoming attack has them spooked."
"Darling, the only way I can get this data fast is if I pull the damn crystal out. And then every alarm in this place will be set off!"
Fisher grinded his teeth. Vala had a point. The base was already on high alert and that played into their hand. But if the base security now realized that they had a breach... it would be a nightmare at best.
"Jolan, Volnek. How far are you in placing the presents?"
"Only one remains. The one meant for the vault." was Jolan's response.
"Good. All but Carter, converge to the vault, double time. Carter, return to the Jumper and help Jonas prep our exit." Fisher then tapped on Nomad shoulder. "Let's go."
Nomad nodded as they both activated their holo camouflage and exited the secondary control room. Outside, they saw the existing havoc escalate. As they began their exit out of the main structure, which they could not speed up, not to draw attention, the base alarm went off. Seconds later, the base shields flared up from the plasma shots from orbit hitting them as well as defensive turrets of the babe beginning to retaliate.
"Damn. Ba'al is here." Nomad cursed.
"Yes, and no matter who wins, we have to be out of here before that is decided."
New Terra, 15 minutes later
The main police HQ was a busy place. As the planet became the immigration Mecca and the population swelled, not that that was a problem, in fact, it was welcomed, the issue was to get the professions that were needed The other was... crime. It is in human nature to be corruptible, so as the population now reached 25 million on this one ancient planet, crime prevention was in full swing.
A detective and his partner were exiting the police HQ. The building was like all the other ancient structures in the city. As the Ancients were much more disciplined than humans, they apparently did not need law enforcements. at least to the degree humans need. The police HQ was originally an administrative building, but the new Terran tenants converted it into its new purpose. The one obvious addition were large, reinforce blocks that were heavily isolated from the rest of the building as well as the other surrounding. Holding blocks for criminals.
"So Miller. Out 2nd bust of the day. One day you'll have to tell me how you do it. Where you get your tips." detective Dimitri Havelock asked senior detective Josephus Miller, who was whistling and smiling.
"Trait secret, boy."
"Oh, come on! You were saying the same thing on Visian, when we were at Star Helix police force!"
"Yes and I showed you how things worked on that planetoid colony. Guess who asked for you to come here with me?"
"Sure. Who else."
"You mean cause I'm the only one who puts up with your bull shit?"
Miller smirked more. "You think so?"
"I thing you were assigned here cause police chief of Star Helix, Shaddid, got fed up with you."
"Yes. And look where it got me. Off of that Hebridan colony and right here!"
His partner just shook his head. Before the Federation, Hebridan was limited in its space travelling technology. Most of their colonies were in the same solar system, designed for mining. Including the central logistic colony of Visian. Of course now with advanced FTL, sublight and Stargate technology, these 'old' mining colonies were becoming obsolete.
"Anyway kid. See you tomorrow." Miller tapped him on his shoulder and turned left at a transporter booth. 20 minutes later, Miller was enjoying a drink and meal at a fast food restaurant. Looking at his personal PDA, he was investigating a series of thefts in an industrial complex, where hull armour for the military ships was being welded.
"Eva, freeze frame. Enhance grid A6." he ordered the AI assistant in his PDA as he chewed some noodles from his meal. "Can you enhance audio?"
"Negative. Too much background noise."
"Damn. And they know how to mask their faces and other tell tale physical attributes. Can you confirm the usage to biometric scramblers?"
"Confirmed. Biometric scrambler usage detected in the data. Person identification impossible from this recording."
"Damn. How do these people get classified military and spook technology like that?" Miller cursed as he continued eating. "Took you long enough, special agent."
Gibbs approached him from behind and took the seat next to him. "What are you drinking?"
Gibbs signalled the barman to bring him one as well. "You even have the time to chew?"
"No time to chew. You any closer to find how these people get their hands on bio scramblers?"
"No. Another dead end. You?"
"Your clue panned out. But only small fish. Except for him." Miller hands his PDA to Gibbs who looks at the photo. "Johan Schwan. From Earth."
"He not talking?"
"Can't talk. Some sort of neural scrambler. Bastard fried his memories. Almost to his childhood. He can't tell, if he doesn't know. Whatever this is, if people go to these length's..."
"Yeah. It's big. Would one of those snakes not get it out of him?"
"The Tok'ra don't do such stuff. Morality. Figures. And that sleeper agent detector can't work on an empty head."
"Neural scrambler? Galaran tech?"
"Not really. Someone heavily modified their neural interface to do something like this. Look, we've been on this for 5 months now and got little to nothing to show for it. Something is rotten in one or several member worlds. We need to tell someone higher up in the food chain."
"And if 'they' learn of our suspicion?"
"Damn I know! Look. Who besides your team do you trust?"
"Not my boss. Not for being an android, but he can be hacked because of that. SG-1 I would trust... maybe even that Jag lawyer/pilot. Even the Earth generals. You?"
"Hmmm, well I still have friends from my old cop days in the colonies. But... I don't know the military people that well. But ex military I do know."
"A former colonel who quit the military after a fight with pirates went bad. I mean really bad. A lot of families died. He couldn't have known what those pirates did, but still blamed himself. Got the unofficial title of 'butcher of Anderson station'. He's the CEO of Tycho industries now. Fred Johnson."
"A CEO? You serious?"
"Sadly, yes. He has his ears to the ground. He would notice something."
Gibbs was annoyed. They needed answers but adding more people to this investigation would increase the chance it got spotted. He nodded.
Hoth system, 5 minutes later
Tycho industries had been allowed to set up a centre on this planet. They after all possessed the best and most experienced ship builders in the Federation. If the Colonials were still there, all 40 billion of them, they would have competition, but for now, they were the best. Fred was given limited access to this secret location on Hoth even many military people on the planet did not know of. For an easier oversight of the projects here and his control of Tycho labour, he was also allowed to set up a local HQ. Right now he was having a guest in his office at the Ancient military outpost.
"So, Mr. Colson, what do you say?" Fred asked Alec as he sat behind his desk.
"Most impressive, Mr. Johnson. I have to say, many of my partners I now represent had their doubts about doing business with a man called the butcher, but I learned to never judge a book by its cover. Am glad to see I was right." Alec answered as he overlook the delivery from Earth to Tycho on his PDA. "What I am interested what all these engine parts we are building for the military are used for. Clearly they go here to Tycho..."
"As you know, I signed a no disclosure contract. If I tell you anything, I would look at jail time. Hope you understand."
"Of course. But it is for the war effort. In freeing the galaxy, right?"
Fred again could not say anything, but nodded lightly.
Alec smiled. "Well then, Mr. Johnson, then tell me how we can help."
"Just because we are a business doesn't mean we can't selflessly help as well. Nothing that would risk a security breach, but surely you can think of something you need help with."
Before Fred could answer his Eva PDA blinked.
"Sir, one detective Miller send you a message, marked urgent."
Fred sighed. Miller. Good man that always has a way for trouble finding him.
"Excuse me, Mr. Colson. I have to se this. Can we continue this in 10 minutes?"
New Terra, 5 minutes later
"I noticed small irregularities as well. Good to see that I am not the only one. But with the now massive bureaucratic machine, I did not know who to tell. I am transmitting all the irregularities I noticed. Will continue to monitor the logistical situation. You may be a pain in the ass Miller, but don't do anything that will get you killed. Johnson out."
Miller and Gibbs saw the message and then Miller opened the data files attached.
"Clever. Many irregularities in the shipping and transport lists. Small stuff goes missing. So small no one really notices. But Fred noticed. He is just too hands on person."
Gibbs smiled. "Like him already. But..." He pointed to several small shipments that 'lost' some equipment. "This corresponds to the data we have. And all of this points to..."
"Earth and Hebridan. These 2 worlds. Something is rotten. You thinking what I am thinking?"
Gibbs did not respond. He just stood up and began leaving. "Kinsey and Simmons. Whatever love child they created is still there. And now it has a partner on Hebridan as well."
Miller followed him after paying. "Was afraid of that. So now what? We should contact that spy who helped SG-1 that time..."
"You mean Maybourne? Only over my corpse. I don't trust a man who once sold government secrets."
"But we need to tell someone."
"I will. To SG-1, once they return."
Miller nodded and began to go his separate way, back to his apartment. "Till tomorrow then, gunny. Stay safe."
"You too. And loose that stupid hat of yours. On Earth they went out of style 50 years ago!"
Tritis system, same time
Athena had was in a hurry. As she left her laboratory, where she and Thoth were performing vital research for Anubis, she heard her Kulls open fire on the data storage devices in said lab. She smirked. She took the backups that were mobile while ordering the Kulls to destroy the originals. Saving time that way, she could hurry to the vault. 2 minutes later, she was past the main entrance and on the ring transporter platform, her destination the main floor.
Once on the main vault access area, she moved to the vault door leading to the crystal and Replicator research. Unfortunately the material for the crystal construction could not be transported, not in time anyway. Their only hope was that Ba'al would lose the battle in orbit and her evacuation order was premature.
As she entered the access codes and entered the storage area, she passed the Kulls standing guard there while her escort of 4 Kulls followed her in.
"You, grab that box! You two do the same with the large container. You, stand guard."
The Kulls did as ordered while Athena went to work. She accessed the same console Vala was working on minutes earlier. Athena deactivated the security lockouts and began pulling the data crystals. No alarm was triggered because of her deactivation of the security system.
"You two on the outside! Come in here! You will carry this bag with the crystals while the other carries the resource sample and Replicator blocks!"
As the 2 Kulls outside the storage area entered, Athena stopped working on the next console and looked up.
"Stop." She ordered the 2 Kulls she ordered from the outside. "Since when were you 2 there? Kulls are not supposed to guard the interior of the vault..."
Just as Athena was about to put 2 and 2 together, the 2 Kulls in question jumped left and right of the entrance, allowing energy blasts from the outside to hit 2 of Athena's escorts, weakening them. They fell to their knees. The other 2 Kulls remained there, confused.
Athena herself took cover and shouted. "What are you fools waiting for! Kill them."
They did not hesitate anymore and opened fire, both thru the entrance and the 2 'Kulls' that took cover behind boxes and other stored materials.
The 2 Kulls deactivated their holo cammo. It was Vala and Mitchell.
"Nice to see you are not a complete imbecile, darling!" Vala shouted, knowing exactly how to push Athena's buttons.
Athena raged. "Quetesh! Your still alive?!"
"Wrong person, darling. Your playmate is dead. I'm Vala, if you care to know. The unfortunate host of Quetesh. Well, former host now. And let me tell you, you two were always so boring and predictable. Even I knew you would sell her out, but did Qetesh listen? And now it's payback time!"
Athena knew she needed to sound the alarm. She went for her communicator, but all she got was static. They were jamming her. This was a trap all along. But she smiled. She was the one who deactivated the security protocols. She can reactivate them, then trigger an intentional alarm. As Athena was working on her plan, ducked behind the consol, the 2 kneeling Kulls were finished off. Volnek and Jolan, still under Sodan cloaks, took positions on each side of the storage entrance, while the remaining team members were firing into the storage area from the other side of the ring room.
As Athena was ready to reactivate the security system and then trigger it, she pulled one command crystal out of the computer access terminal. As she was about to insert it into another hole, she got shocked by an electrical discharge. The scream shook the 2 remaining Kulls to turn around and help her, which was all Volnek and Jolan needed to get the crippling shots in. The 2 Kulls fell to the ground, dead.
The small fire fight over, SG-1 moved into the room and began taking inventory.
"You were right Vala. She did all the work for us. The data crystals and Replicator blocks plus a resource sample for the power crystals. More than we could hope for." Carter praised a now graining Vala who was kneeling over Athena, restraining her.
"Thank you darling. I do however expect to get paid for this. Then again, it was your idea to create a feedback loop for a forced alarm activation. So I can't take all the credit."
"You can pat yourself on the back later." Fisher reminded them. They were still in hostile territory. "We grab as much as we can for round one. Jolan, Volnek, once you get to the Jumper and unload your first cargo trip, grab the last nuke and bring it down. The rest of us, double time. That parked cloaked Jumper will not remain unnoticed forever."
As everyone began taking material out of the Vault, Mitchell grabbed a now restrained and unconscious Athena. Vala in the meantime found some gold and naquadah and began stuffing her own backpack with it.
As Jolan and Volnek reached the vault entrance, they saw the interior of the Jumper. It was parked with its rear hatch facing the vault. As they put their stolen goods down, they picked up the last nuke and began going back as the rings just transported Fisher and Nomad with another haul.
"How does it look?" Jonas asked from the pilot seat.
"Good, for now. Here?" Fisher responded back.
"The fighting is intensifying. The shields will not hold for long. I can only guess that Ba'al is getting the upper hand up there."
Fisher agreed with that assessment. "And our pickup?"
"The Vigilant has signal us. She is under cloak in orbit of the 4th planet. Once we get into orbit, we signal them for coordinates."
Mitchell arrived, dumping Athena into a seat, restraining her even more. "If she wakes up and gets rid of her gag, shoot her."
Delmak, high orbit, minutes later
The fleet had been slowly moving thru the radiation cloud, getting hit by the occasional meteor.
"Sir, as we expected, energy weapons are at reduced efficiency." Stix reported to Adama, as a good XO should.
"Plasma and ion weapons are reduced to 55%. The same will apply to the enemy. It can go down even further in higher radiation areas. The particle weapon we use is hammered even more. Down to 30%."
"And missiles and KEW?"
"KEW are unaffected, missiles as well, with the exception of the guidance system, as you predicted."
"So now both sides have one hand tied behind their backs. Good thing we have 3 more arms. They don't." Adama smirked. "Sheppard, your status?"
"Getting thru the cloud now sir. We are ahead of you by about 3 minutes."
"Any targets in the cloud?"
"Plenty. At least half of their forces. I guess they expected us to run by now. They are blissfully unaware of what's coming."
Adama looked at Stix, as if telling him how wrong the Lt. commander was and how right the admiral was.
"To all ships, transfer all power from energy weapons to KEW grid. Focus fire and finishe them off quickly. Don't spread out your fire!"
"Sir, were in position and transmitting first set of coordinates to the Arrow!"
"Coordinates received, we are in no danger of getting hit sir." the tactical officer reported. "No need for evasion."
"But once they figure out what we are doing, they will send the rest of the fleet to play hide and seek with us." Bill argued back.
On Anubis command ship, the Goa'uld was sitting on the command chair, overlooking the tactical data he was receiving. until this radiation cloud disperses or Her'ak arrives, he cannot leave this position. Or so he thought.
A now familiar beam of green energy cut thru the cloud and his a Ha'tak square in the middle, cutting it in half. Seconds later, it's neighbour suffered the same fate.
Anubis screamed in pure race. "Whoever this human is, he will suffer endlessly! I would be impressed if the situation was different."
As more and more ships were getting picked off, he knew what had to be done. The rest of his fleet entered the could, for whatever was spotting them would have a much harder time doing it there. As the last of his ships entered the could while still under fire from the green beams, the Jaffa commander of his forward forces reposted that they were engaged by the enemy. "If I stay there, I loose, If I go inside, I risk losing. This human is cunning. Or desperate."
The Excalibur bridge shook again. They had found their first Ha'tak in the cloud. As expected, the fire they were receiving was negligible.
"Sir, Enemy Ha'tak is changing course, heading..."
"Hard to port, 30 degrees down. All MAC cannons, open fire!" was Adama's order.
The 6 large MAC cannons on the dorsal side of the Excalibur raised themselves from the hull and turned to their target. Seconds later, they opened up, leaving small particle trails as each high density slug was propelled at a small fraction of the speed of light at their target. After a few hits, the shields got pierced, a few later the Ha'tak received catastrophic damage. It exploded as the Terran ships avoided the fireball.
The bridge crew cheered. While Adama smiled, as he knew this moral boost was needed and welcome, they were far from done.
"Sir, message from Sheppard."
"Put it on."
"Excalibur, Anubis remaining fleet joined you in the cloud. 13 of their Ha'tak's were destroyed."
"Good job. Now get back to the Arrow and stay there until I needed." Adama ordered and turned to Stix. "Phase 2. The guard dogs are gone."
Stix nodded. "Comm., order the bombers and destroyers to begin the planetary bombardment on the shipyards."
This tactic was Adamas plan from the beginning. The forces he sent to flank Anibis were never meant to attack him, but the planet. Now that he forced them into the cloud, he would keep him busy until the targets are destroyed. Then they pull back, their mission complete.
Void between the Pegasus and Milky way galaxy, same time
"This is getting to look like a base!" colonel Marshall said as he looked at the main hall of the Midway base that was still under construction. The Federation decided to save power in the ZPM's by making the dialling only halfway. The shorter distance with a pause in the middle spared allot of energy drain. As well as being a good out of the way logistical and training base. But unlike the original Midway, this base was already over a kilometre in size. Hangars, fuel depot, living quarters, entertainment, training, command and control and docking ports for their larger ships.
"Colonel Marshall." the Midway CO greeted him and saluted. Marshall returned the salute.
"Colonel Everett." They both smiled and shook hands. "Long time, old friend."
"Too long. So you here for an inspection?"
They began moving out of the gate room to the C&C. "You know the brass. A second opinion. Personally I would rather be with the fleet right now."
"You and me both. This babysitting scientist is getting tedious."
They passed the sensor room, where currently Radek had his hands full.
"No, no. This crystal in there!" he pointed to an opening in the open panel as he inserted a control crystal. "Now..." He tapped a button on his PDA. The control crystals lit up and began humming. "Nice." He pushed the panel into the wall, sealing it and walked into the middle of the room and sat down behind a hexagonal panel that had 2 entrance points while the other scientists did the same on the other chairs.
His assistant activated a holographic display on the opposite side of the entrance of the room. They saw the space around them, mostly empty, except for a few small chunks of rock or radiation pockets.
"Long range sensors and communication is operational." Radek smiled.
"Sir... look." His assistant pointed to something the sensors just detected. Radek and the other scientist saw it too. An object, moving at relativistic, but subluminal speeds.
"My god. Quickly, begin analysis." Radek ordered. As they did just that, an image appeared of the scanned object. "Call the colonel quickly! We just detected an Aurora, moving at 99,9% of the speed of light! And it's coming here!"
"It will still need years to get here." his assistant pointed out.
"Yes, but eventually..."
Tritis system, 20 minutes later
Athena had woken up. And she was pissed. Her eyes glowed with rage, but she was not getting out of her restraints.
The team managed to get most of their objectives from the Vault, short of the crystal construction resources. They only got the sample from Athena, 7 kilos. A really small amount, when compared to the rest in the vault. Right now, they were only waiting for Vala, Fisher and Mitchell. The ring activated and the 3 remaining members appeared.
"Vala! God damn it! You have to carry all of this!?" Mitchell yelled at her. Vala had literally helped herself to Anubis jewels.
"You could have helped me, Shaft!"
"Yeah, like you would have shared."
"Shut up, both of you!" Fisher ordered as they entered the Jumper. Their last stolen good put on the Jumper floor, they took their seats. The Jumper was so filled up with their heist goods that walking was a problem. carter had, in the meanwhile swapped places with Jonas.
"We ready?" she asked.
"Punch it, colonel!" Fisher acknowledged her question.
The Jumper lifted off and began approaching the shield perimeter. "Now comes the tricky part." Sam warned the other passengers as she switched the cloak to shields. Then she fired off several drones at the emitter they passed. At that moment the base turrets changed their targeting on the Jumper.
The Jumper smashed onto the shield perimeter and punched thru, getting hit several times during that. As they accelerated from the base, carter kept low to avoid additional fire.
"Bad news, colonel Fisher. Our stealth mode is off line." Jonas reported reading the damage report.
"Crap. Call the Vigilant, we will need planet close pick up. I doubt Ba'al will let us leave with his prize." Fisher responded as Carter activated the comm system.
"Colonel Carter to Vigilant, we need pick up, planet close. Stealth mode disabled."
Some seconds later, they got a response. "Understood. Planet and danger close pick up. Go to the north pole orbit. Transmitting coordinate."
In space, they could see the battle still raging on. Or what was left of it. Ba'al truly sent a massive fleet here. Probably his remaining reserves. He managed to take the orbit, but once the nukes go off, his would have paid a price and got nothing in return.
As they reached orbit, the Vigilant appeared out of hyperspace. A 304. The Federation could not spare any other ship. Even the Spectre which was originally meant for this mission was redirected to another theatre. The Vigilant opened her port hangar, expecting the Jumper. But the jumper got attacked by its pursuers, a wing of death gliders.
The Vigilant began intercepting the attackers as she accelerated at the jumper to close the gap faster. Several Ha'tak's were spotted on an intercept course as well. As the jumper made it into the hangar and the hangar doors began closing, several deathglider shots made it into the hangar, doing minor damage. The Vigilant was after all forced to lower its shields to allow the jumper to land. Seconds later flashes of light were seen on the planet. The nukes just went off. At the same time the Vigilant left the Tritis system, entering hyperspace.
As the jumper landed and the team smiled at a mission well done, Jonas looked at some of the preliminary data on the research Athena and Thoth were doing.
"Em... colonel." he caught Sam's attention. She looked at the data and realized the problem.
"Shit. Colonel Fisher. We have problems."
He moved to the front as the doors were being lowered. "What?"
"Anubis was working on a form of dampening tech, not unlike the Asgard use. To dampen explosive devices. According to this he is designing it to counter our torpedo warhead technology. But he intended to install them on his bases as well."
"Sir, some parts of the base we just nuked had those dampeners. That said it means that perhaps not all of the base was destroyed."
Fisher sat down behind Carter. Damn, their mission was not a complete success. "And if Ba'al get his hands on what is left over down there..."
"That is not even the really bad news sir." Carter drew his attention to the screen.
"Oh, you have got to be kidding me."
Delmak, 20 minutes later
The battle in the radiation cloud was getting heated up. Anubis now cared for little more than a scorched earth policy. He just learned that his shipyards, mining operations and Kull factories on Delmak were gone. He was forced into the cloud and left the planet undefended. Blinded by the could he did not see it coming until it was too late.
Sheppard and crew were still in the jumper, babysitting the 2 BB-502's.
"Mission complete. All primary targets destroyed." was the comm transition they received from the bombing force. "Clearing the radiation cloud now. Will see all of you at randevu coordinates."
"Nice. Mission almost over." Sheppard smiled and looked at the passengers.
"Finally. Can't wait to go back to some fun stuff." McKay replied.
"You mean eating and programming stuff?"
"Not all of us get kicks by blowing stuff up."
"To the fleet, begin pulling back. We are leaving." was a calm and collected order received over wireless.
As the Jumper and the 2 502's with the fighter escort began turning away from the planet, their sensors alerted them to an incoming.
"Something is approaching in hyperspace. Fast!" Rodney responded.
"Can't be the Velocity or Orion. Too early. Not to mention that we're done here. What..." Sheppard did not finish that sentence, as he got an answer. "He should not be here as well!"
It was Anubis command ship with her escorts. Ahead of schedule.
"And I know why. They burned their hyperdrive out. They are stuck here." Rodney analyzed the scans of the newcomers.
"Doesn't matter! Arrow, Behemoth, get out of here!"
In space they could see the Goa'uld ship opening up its main weapon, getting ready to fire. The 2 terran ships turned to face her.
"Arrow, Behemoth! Move for god's sake!" Sheppard yelled, pleading they would listen. "Get me Adama, maybe he can get some sense into them."
"Oh shit. Sheppard, move! We need to get some distance to the 2 502's!" Rodney shouted, panicking a bit.
"According to this scan, that ship does not have 4, but 6 power amplification crystals. That bastard made more than just the one he used to intercept the meteor! and you know how it arcs..."
Sheppard floored it."Arrow, Behemoth, get out of there!"
"Negative. This may be our only chance to destroy it!" was the response.
The 2 ships opened fire. But the command ship was well defended, as Ha'tak's sacrificed themselves to intercept the incoming shots. Shot after shot was getting intercepted, until both ships were on a cool down time. But Anubis ship was the opposite. It unleashed its primary weapon, hitting the Behemoth directly then arcing off of it hitting the Arrow and hundreds of fighters that remained there for defence. The Behemoth's port engines exploded clean off, crippling the ship.
"Behemoth!" Sheppard yelled again.
"This is Adama, we are clearing the cloud now, what is the status?"
"Sir, get the fuck out of here, Anubis monster is here! The Behemoth is crippled!" Sheppard replied.
"Arrow, if you can still fly, disengage and get out of here! That is an order!" Adama commanded the still functional 502.
"Sir, the Behemoth still has survivors..."
"They will not allow you to evacuate! You should have left when you had the chance. The people there are dead already!"
During this the fleet exiting the cloud got hit by a plasma super weapon, hitting a 401 and arcing off of 11 other ships, destroying 3 in one shot.
"Arrow, do as he said! No point of you dying here as well!" Sheppard supported Adama's command. "If you had listened..."
Another shot his the retreating fleet, destroying another 2 ships. The death toll was growing.
"Sir..." was the response from the Behemoth. "We will divert all remaining power to our weapon and draw their fire. Get everyone else out of here! Sheppard... should have listened to you..."
The Arrow turned and left as the Behemoth fired another shot. In the hangars the landing craft were leaving the ship, evacuating anyone that could be evacuated. The landing craft also entered hyperspace. This stunt got the Behemoth the attention it wanted as the command ship charged again to finish her off. She got one more shot off, killing a Ko'tak before she exploded in a fireball after getting hit again.
Space was not quiet. Only Delmak defence fleet remained, now being approached by the command ship and escorts. Every Jaffa, including Her'ak knew their master would not be pleased.
Excalibur, hyperspace, same time
The mood was bad. Yes they won a victory. But paid a heavy price for it. Even Adama understood that. He managed to salvage their mission, but underestimated the trump card Anubis had.
"Get me Terran HQ. And tell those 2 Ancient ships to divert to the randevu coordinates." Adama sighed and sat down on the command chair. Wonder if they would praise him for taking command in this situation or crucify him for daring to do such a thing. Could go either way. The military probably not. But politicians love scapegoats, if things go wrong. Sometimes showing initiative can be counterproductive.
"How are the wounded? D'Anna and Vix?"
"Should make it, sir. But the XO is gone. Died during our battle in the cloud." was Stix report.
"Damn. So this is a war in the next league?"