Authors Notes- After finally leaving a state of seemingly never ending procrastination, I've finally decided to update this fic, have to thank Ash's Boomstick in particular for helping me out with many ideas for this chapter, and those to come. Anyway, on with the story.
Chapter Five-Why not to screw around with super weapons.
Area 51, Weapons Control
"The weapon is firing" The cold emotionless words of Hermiod echoed through the both static and silent chamber, the only thing filling the cavernous warehouse was the collective tension emitting from each audience member, moments before the titanic weapon nearly 2 kilometres away discharged a silent, yet powerful beam of ion charged energy streamed high into the atmosphere, the very air burned blue from its raw, energized power. Carter watched the mixed reactions with proud amusement. The audience of ambassadors and other officials painted their expressions vividly, some were shocked, a few amazed, others simply curious, but all were impressed, if only by the sheer power. By now the beam had reached low orbit and rapidly climbed further still, if this was an example of what earth was capable of design, then a planetary defence grid was well within possibility.
It took a lot to truly shock General Jack O'Neill, the first activation of the Stargate, the revelation of the Goa'uld and their influence in human history, that Maggie was the one that shot Mister Burns, things that radically changed the way he thought about life , this was one of the few among them. His face was locked frozen with an expression that was between disbelief and awe, his eyes tracking from the gargantuan fixture itself to streak of light it was emitting into the distance. He honestly had no faith that this thing would work, hell he constantly thought it was going to fizzle out, collapse and then explode for good measure like the near half dozen other attempts. Yet seeing first hand this monstrous device let out a silent roar of fury, well….lets just say it quickly changed that theory.
It fired its deadly discharge in an almost graceful way, instead of the deep echoing bellow of an Asgard pulse cannon that slammed into its unfortunate foe with colossal force, it seemed to lance out like a blade, slicing through the air with precision. If anything it was earth's rapier to the asgards claymore, both designed for the same ultimate goal, but each accomplishing it through a different means. The thought amused the General to no end, here was a direct role switch to the normal Asgard-Human engineering concepts. He wonder if Thor or little Hermy over there felt the same way, or did they see it something differently using those big old grey heads of theirs.
Hermiod however scoffed at the very sight of the human's entrancement, no doubt their primitive minds perceiving only a pretty light then the technological achievement that they were part of. True, he had to give some credit, they were innovative, with the limited technology his race had generously provided them, and no small amount of creativity, they had managed to bring about a design that he, in his near two thousand years of life, most likely never would have brought to creation. While it was primitive in the sense that it lacked the usually necessary advanced control systems that made up particle weapons, it was extremely efficient, all things taken into consideration, a marvel of this young race's ingenuity.
Gliding a control node across the azure computers surface, an array of holograms jumped out into his view, in it he could gaze at the beams path without going to the effort of joining the humans as they gaped like fish. His view of the terran homeworld and the thin blue line that represented the beams path, was dotted with half a dozen green blips of light at various orbital altitude, slowly moving in a lazy circle around the sphere, even without the small and detailed description beneath each dot, it was easy to tell that they were the human's handful of ships patrolling around their homeworld. Curiously a small purple flash blinked in empty space near the particle beam, followed by a flash of words underneath, an IFF code as the humans called it. It was one of their newer vessels, the Icarus, a heavier variant of their Daedalus class, specifically equipped with more superior Asgard technology instead of their own. No doubt it had arrived eagerly to see the demonstration, though wisely they had exited to the edges of the test area.. Still, Hermiod thought it necessary to warm them of the dangers, if the situation became dire, he would not find himself blamed for human stupidity.
Sliding one of the half dozen orb like devices down the marked path, he announced to the invisible, but now active communication system built into his asgardian console. "Human Starship Icarus, this is Hermiod of the Asgard. Be advised, you are near a temporarily restricted area of space, you are not to enter under any circumstances."
Earth High Orbit.
"Acknowledged Hermiod, we have been informed of the test firing and are holding position here, Icarus out."
The Icarus had plunged into orbit, leaving the purple blossom of hyperspace to float above the world of its creation. The starship barely twitched forward from the jump as it hovered silently above earth, its crew mostly ignorant on what was about to happen in the coming seconds, despite the senior staff's giddy anticipation. The test firing of the supposedly working planetary defence weapon was taking place, and they were not greeted with disappointment.
Staring out from the open window at the right of the bridge, a sword of cobalt energy stood out in contrast to the darkness of space. Given this blindly obvious example, it was pretty much assured the test was a success, though that didn't stop the confused and sceptical from repeatedly scanning the gigantic energy surge.
Newkirk merely smiled, he just sat back and enjoyed the view, it was a nice change from hyperspace at least.
Area 51, Reactor Room
Deep within the inconspicuous 'secondary' reactor room underneath the main facility, away from the aging fission reactors powering the day to day operations and research facilities above, was a small, seemingly isolated wall decorated with a collection of strange devices that couldn't possibly be part of a power system. That is of course that you had no idea how far humanity had advanced over the decade. They were Naquadah reactors, devices that gave out a power output that put even the most advanced fission reactors to shame. Each one had a specific purpose, specifically a fair few of them for separate tasks of the weapon firing into orbit. Several were used to power the device itself, another two were pushing their limit to support the massive cloaking field, and a final device to power the magnetic field of the beam for redundancy. Suffice to say it well monitored set up considering its purpose, any faults in any power system would automatically shut down the entire grid, at least that was the theory. A theory that went right down the toilet when reactor 12 incorrectly detected an overload and initiated a shutdown procedure.
So engaged were the observers, they took little to no notice of the myriad of warning sounds emitting from Hermiods console, nor did they catch the glimpsing change of tone from the beam itself. When the reactor powering the secondary magnetic field emitters halted its flow of power, no one took into account that the primaries could hold out alone, nor did they expect the weapon to still be firing in the odd chance it did. One by one, systems shut down erratically , targeting was the first to go, then interstellar sensors, the observers took serious notice once the distorting glow around the sky faltered and then collapsed, the result of the cloak failing.
Area 51, Border.
The only words that escaped Wright's mouth as he witnessed where the amazing blue light was coming from. Like the ships beforehand, the device miles away was hidden by some sort of stealth technology beyond what he ever thought was possible. He was mesmerized, completely ignorant of his partners continuous barking to move on.
Gardner, tired of waiting decided to be a bit more forceful, he walked up to Wright grabbing his shoulder he persisted, "kid what are you doing, we've still got the southern bord…..oh." Finally taking notice of the scene and joined in gaping at something other then a new ship "Well that's a new one." He muttered quietly, not moving his hardened eyes from the spectacular light show.
For the first time in a while, Hermiod was concerned, this should not had happened. Warning symbols phased over his original holographic scans though he paid them no heed, he knew full well the dangers of what was happening, even the humans were responding with caution the sudden shift of the beam. He did everything in his power to prevent disaster.
His fragile hands danced across the console, the crystal orbs shifting places in a hopeless attempt to rectify the rapidly weakening containment fields. In the case of power failure, all systems should shut down simultaneously not one by one, and even if it did safety systems built into the design prevented something like this from happening. Vital seconds ticked by, as the magnetic fields faded slowly as their source of power dwindled away, Thor turned to him questioningly, about to ask what was wrong, but Hermiod did not listen, instead focused on attempting a manual shut down, no such luck, the automatic shut down sequence was in place, and as the program was designed to be instantaneous, and therefore would not acknowledge a second attempt. By now it would be too late, all Hermiod and anyone else could do was stare out in horror as the field dropped in orbit.
The blade of light shattered across its length, the weakened magnetic field could only travel so far, while the ion beam continued to lance out because of its continued supply of power. However since the magnetic tube no longer contained the near light speed moving particles, the stream burst out like a fountain, spraying out through space, ionized atoms flying randomly like a hose, including its into its lone observer.
The crew of the Icarus had no time to react, no time to even flinch let alone power shields, or better yet manoeuvre away. Yet the engineering crew would hold to the end, that seconds before the event the abdominally quiet Asgard technician uttered two words that was practically as shocking then the accident itself. Vindar had, in that split second or two before the strike, noticed the abnormal readings moments before it had occurred, with no means to defend against what was happening, and nothing else to lose if it was truly the end, he sighed one last time as under his brief, he muttered the only thing that was really appropriate for something like this.
Sirius Sector, 238 light years from Sol System.
The world was cold and windy, the frosty air hitting the group a chill to the bone, people were freezing their collective arses off as they huddled together in their thankfully insulated jackets, at least the MALP had detected the ongoing blizzard on its early patrol of the gate area and they wisely prepared, to bad of course they couldn't just scrub the mission for that, no that would have actually made sense. Despite the numerous complaints from his three team member, Colonel Tobias would hear none of it, he actually liked this kind of weather, well at least tolerated better then most. He a Royal Air Force Wing Commander, designated by the numerous American members of the SGC as Colonel for sheer convenience sake, lead SG-36, better known as the 'British Team.' As part of the new regulations that came with the recent influx of funding via the International Committee, each member-nation was provided with at least one active gate team, in the United Kingdoms case, it was the bare minimum. Their government's economic assets were shifted in a different area, the build up of their currently small navy of space vessels. Through recent independent negotiations with the United States, the Royal Space Navy, as it was officially, yet none the less secretly designated, had managed to acquire the designs to the newer, more powerful Daedalus Class Heavy Missile Cruisers, the result being the construction of the Hood to reinforce the small armada of 303's under British control. In conjunction with the negotiations, the plans for the prototype Victory Destroyers were put forward and rapid production was underway by both nations, not to mention massive amounts of funds going to dozens of separate R&D projects separate from IOA sponsored programs, the most noticeable of which being an orbital space station when the time was convenient.
Shivering slightly in her thick jacket, Doctor Katherine Gerald still eyed greedily at the small geological instrument, its reader flying off the charts, indicating the huge veins of Naquadah deep below her. The young Scottish woman was fresh out from university with a doctorate in Geochemistry, her relatively young career as a willing scientist out to make her name ultimately lead her on a wild goose chase for the highly speculated 126th element, the holy grail of modern science leading the scientific community to largely dismiss it despite the media hype. She was not among them
The 'discovery' was made public by the, then economic super-corporation Farrow-Marshall, notable in the media lately for the recent disappearance of its former CEO and owner Cliff Simons after mere weeks of taking the position as head of the group. The reaction was, unsurprisingly, enormous, particularly politically, as it soon lead to the company's demise. Mere hours later from the press announcement the extensive contacts between the aero-dynamics divisions United States Air Force were suddenly cut, leaving to wild rumours in the sceptical world that ranged from being plausible to borderline insanity. Mostly they were about illuminati type collection of businessmen trying to control the government through technological development, which lead to paranoid thoughts of alien interaction, hell even interstellar travel managed to get mixed into it all.
'Amazing how close they were to the truth.' She thought wirily, thinking about the early attempts at finding the supposedly quartz like material after the instant denial from the quickly bankrupting Farrow-Marshall. Despite the urging of her colleagues and mentors to stop what was widely through as a fools errand, she extensively searched for any possible leads ranging from private talks to a former executive of Colson Industries, ancient archaeological findings dating back to the Early Dynastic period of Egypt, to vague references from Inside Access's dropped story of something called 'Prometheus'. Years of research, thousands of pounds down the drain, evidence piling but nothing truly concrete, it was all looking to be hopeless, given that Farrow-Marshall's small supply mysteriously 'disappeared' before any third party study could take place to confirm the reports, and she couldn't do that without physical evidence of the material. Luckily, she found her goldmine in late 2006.
In a cold miserable place, just like the world she was on now, laid the shattered remains from a small meteor shower that slammed into the freezing tundras of upper Canada in 3 years previous, fragments from a large asteroid that apparently was unknown until several weeks after the impact, despite its relative proximity to Earth, this lead young doctor to think of one thing. Cover up.
Taking a healthy sample from the numerous collection of craters, Katherine began studying the element back at her make-shift laboratory, even with only limited equipment she was easily able to confirm the original speculation, and then some. Not only was it the only known super-conductor to operate at room temperature, it was an extremely effective one, capable of absorbing far more then mere electricity, but it was also able to absorb neutrinos, energizing it beyond anything conceived. The potential applications practically limitless just from these factors alone and she hadn't even begun to study its capabilities. It was too bad she never really got the chance.
Within four days of her initial 'discovery', she was greeted at the door by two members of M-I6, offering her an opportunity of a lifetime, and a revelation that ruined her plans to fame. Suffice to say, one thing lead to another, her now government sponsored study of Naquadah, as she came to learn its actual name, brought her here, joining SG-36 in the hopes of finding an undiscovered source of Naquadah from the eight United States mining colonies had assumed direct control over.
Pacing away from the huddle, the scanners counter was rising ever so slowly, her smug grin matching as it grew as well " I tell you we hit jackpot on this freezing little piece of hell, we can set up an independent resource base and send runs through hyperspace" she announced to her other team mates, the two younger officers listening with interest . "Hell, because of this, we won't have to rely on the yanks for scraps." Lieutenant Ferguson grinned at the prospect, yet the middle aged Colonel merely snorted.
"Bah, people today, all materialists, all you think about is profits, expansion, money!" he cried out boastfully, "No I only want one thing from this fair world." Tobias declared as he moved his hand proudly across the distance horizon, as if he was impressed by this ice-ball.
None the less, Katherine decided to humour him "Oh? And what's that Colonel?" she asked somewhat sarcastically.
His usually grinning face turned to an uncharacteristic look of thought, though it was probably just for show. "Oh not much, a nice little home to retire to, secluded from it all," he mused the idea over while stroking at the short stubble on his chin "If your theory is correct doctor, who knows? I may even get myself my own planet to call home."
'Now who's materialistic' Doctor Gerald thought to herself. Not getting the chance to respond when Captain Winters beat her to the punch "What would you do with your own world Sir?"
"Maybe a small repair shop, in a few decades if we build ourselves a little empire in the stars, I may very well get the occasional visitor, young Eddie probably wouldn't enjoy the peace and quite as much as I do, but this is all into the future my friends." Smirking as a thought came to mind "I'll probably name it Leeds."
If it was anyone else, Katherine would have immediately rolled her eyes at such comments, yet after the months of dealing with his somewhat childish comments, she had come to tolerate his antics.
Just then, Tobias's radio crackled to life, startling the crew slightly, support from the gate was still not due for an hour, meaning there was a ship nearby. While still in the original chassis of a standard walkie-talkie used by the SGC since it's founding, this was a device that fit the good old saying, judge a book by its cover. Underneath the plastic covering, the design was totally different from the base product, instead of a generic radio transceiver, a small scale sub-space transceiver took its place, allowing communication not only into high orbit, but deep into a star system, having a range that stretched into the light-hour distance. Obviously, they were expensive as hell, the advanced crystal technology that was the basis of all reversed-engineered systems used by earth were only recently becoming producible in any decent quantity, so only team commanders were issued, and even then only when the situation demanded it.
The British colonel fumbled for the small device, unclasping it from his belt and switching the transmitter on with a flick of the thumb "Tobias."
Deep within opaque shadows of stellar space, the brick-like form of a Daedalus surged with a speed that its shape betrayed. While entering this area of space, immediate problems with the Hyperdrive occurred, to keep a stabile pathway through hyperspace the ships speed was reduced massively, 1400 times light speed, barely a crawl with the Asgard designed drives, a less powerful drive would have been forced into sub-light. At least it was only a small concentrated area on the outskirts of the sector, scans picked up a network of massive nebula clouds ringing around the local stellar group one of which they were passing through when the speed drop occurred , something that wasn't exactly unique as the crew of the Prometheus found out on her trip home from Tegrea years ago.
On the ships bridge, an aging portly man sat comfortably in the command chair, using his small preconised microphones to communicate several dozen light minutes away in real-time. "Colonel, this is Commandore Langley, the Hood is arrived in system and is approaching the world you and your team are on. Orders are from the top levels of government to lay claim to the planet and surrounding space, we'll be beaming down a small garrison and establishing a defensive position in orbit." He announced in a professional demeanour, yet couldn't help but continue . "Congratulations, you've just founded the United Kingdoms newest colony."
Back on the planet, SG-36 heard every word of the navy officer's announcement, and responded with more then a few incredulous looks. Tobias himself quickly acknowledged and turned off the radio while sighing deeply.
"Well, I didn't exactly expect it to happen that fast…" was all that he said.
Ieran'vec Star System
The diminutive privateer covette exited hyperspace, breeching the blossom of purple light into high planetary orbit of the small brown and blue orb thousands of kilometres below. The planet itself, Ieran'vec, was a random place to say the least, constantly shifting hands between system lords over the past millennia, its usefulness depending solely on who owned it. Under Ra it was a forgotten world, only visited once every ten years by a self-important, but likewise insignificant lieutenant Goa'uld under the former supreme system lords domain. In time it turned into to a thriving military garrison and supply station under Sokar's, then Apophis's rule in his cold war against the combined System Lords due to its proximity to Tuat, Baal's throne world, and one of the few pathways to it from Delmak due to the constant blockades on the world at the time.
Now, it was somewhat different, abandoned by all sides in the new and drastically changed galaxy, the Human and Jaffa inhabitants of the world below managed to salvage something out of their life. The few ships left on the planetary surface were used to reach high orbit, where the near derelict space station, a former command and control centre for Apophis's fleets in his war against Baal 8 years ago. It was rebuilt bit by bit over the years, no longer as a battle fortress, but as a growing trading hub in the unaffiliated regions of space. Traders, pirates, even major fleets from the main powers in the galaxy came through this region of space, Lucien Alliance ships in particular had business at the station, given that the management originally had a policy of not looking into its customers business, as long as they followed the rules, and paid their fees. That of course quickly changed when the Alliance took more and more of a controlling influence of the non-aligned worlds throughout the galaxy, soon Ieran'vec became an Alliance operated station in all but name.
The Divinity cruised swiftly in the stations direction, her sensors dotting numerous classes of ships, be it simple transports running from the station to the planet below, sturdy looking cargo ships controlled by both the planets populous and random traders, to the workhorse motherships of the Ha'taks class, under the command of the Lucian Alliance. While originally hired to act as a military force for the entire star system, their ruthless control of basic control of the 'savage regions' of space was uncontested to their sheer numbers of ships, this world was no exception.
Speaking of which, the mix-matched comm. system that the crew managed to salvage screeched to life, the message coming from one of the three motherships guarding over the station. On Dre'vacs nod, Tr'ay accepted the signal, as the primary holographic readout flashed and crackled to a smug looking human drabbed in sophisticated business attire, a strange uniform for anyone but a Lucien Alliance ship captain.
The image warped slightly yet the only thing that changed on the man himself was to look even more arrogant then before, sitting high and mighty in the commonly placed throne chair still put on the majority of Ha'taks, probably seeing an easy target in the patch work brick that they've come to call a ship. "Unidentified Al'kesh this is the Lucian Alliance Starship Taralga, under contract of the Ieran'vec Merchants Council."
'Contracted my mikta.' Tr'ay snarled at the thought, ',you and your fellow human scum, most likely saw an opportunity and then forced them to pay you for so called protection,' she summed up given her admittedly limited, but noticeable experience she shared with the human syndicate. He continued in a bored, almost automatic tone, not even focusing at the two Jaffa as he droned on, "you are entering Ieran'vec Space, you are ordered to stand down all weapon systems and identify yourselves, failure to comply will result in disabling and seizure of your vessel." Despite his seemingly distracted tone, it wasn't hard to notice the small amount of glee at those last words. Typical humans, always thinking about profit.
Before Tr'ay could tell the insignificant worm off, Dre'vac acknowledged the ship captain calmly as one could expect of a Jaffa Master. "Understood Taralga, this is the private vessel Conveyer of Divinity, under the command of former Ship Master Dre'vac, we are hear to refuel and barter, then we will be on our way." He informed the human while sending a single file through the sub-space data-link established between the two ships.
The human just gazed at them curiously, probably part of his job as an inspector to all ships moving any where near the space station, but despite it all it still was extremely irritating to Tr'ay, all she wanted to do was get off this rust-bucket and move to that much bigger rust-bucket floating lazily in orbit, it at least was somewhat liveable. To her surprise his expression broke, after a quick but lazy gaze at his own readouts, his face shattered into the first serious look he had taken in their brief meeting. "Stand by." He ordered briefly before shutting down the hologram.
Tr'ay looked curiously up at Dre'vac, the former Ship Master just smiling broadly "I expected something like this to occur, so I just took the liberty of sending our good friend over there the exact details of our cargo mission."
At that Tr'ay smirked "Didn't realise we're under their employment?"
"Precisely, though admittedly its not often you get Lucien Alliance craft this close to the Empire, that's why they work through us." The female Jaffa nodded in acknowledgement, yes she couldn't exactly see a fleet of Lucien Alliance Ha'taks dropping into orbit of Delmak only to deliver grain of all things. Suddenly the view of space outside the bridge windows warped once more, the ghostly hologram of the Taralga's captain appearing in its stead. His now professional persona a direct contrast to his earlier appearance.
"You've been authorized to dock with the station, all transactions will involve a 10 percent trading tax to the station administrators, as well as an additional 5 percent to the Lucien Alliance Paramilitary Forces, any smuggling of Kassa crop shall be punished severely by station security." He announced formally.
Dre'vac nodded curtly , hiding his amusement "Understood Taralga, we're moving to the Hub," using the informal name of the widely known space station as both the hologram and connection disengaged, leaving nothing but the cloud covered orb and its guardians in space as the Divinity pushed closer and closer to the orbiting goliath that many traders had come to known as a home away from home.
Additional Note-For those with any knowledge of physics, yes I realise that how the ion cannon buggered up would not actually happen that way, suffice to say it was either that or go ahead with my original idea of having the Icarus exiting hyperspace right into the path of the beam, which in my opinion is even far less plausible, none the less, it's a plot device, personally, I don't really care, no one said sci-fi was scientifically spot on.