Well everyone this is the end of book 1 but dont worry Book 2 will be along shortly, we've already got the first 2 chapters all played out. Book 1 was all about setting the stage for what chronicles will be, we haven't even begun to tell the story yet. We've planned 5 books for the whole of chronicles so needless to say its a story thats going to emcompass years. So be on the lookout for "Chronicles of the Crusade Book 2: The Long Road" sometime early to mid next month. Again I'd like to thank the Chronicles Team of Tyr, Lord of Misrule, Chris and our newest member Alnair. Shortly we hope to have some pics for you concerning the ships we've created from the F-302B to the Flight 2 Daedalus and some refit EA ships. Enjoy everyone.
Some things remained constant, the sun rose in the East, the tides swept back and forth, fish always seemed to know when he was coming and evacuate the section of river he insisted on angling in for several hours, and paperwork. Good old paperwork. Not for the first time General O'Neill wondered if this had been a good idea, or infact the worst choice he had ever made. Perhaps the second worst.
Ultimately he had come to a simple conclusion, he was lost. Not literally of course, well apart from that one time, but figuratively. He used to have a clear mission he could accomplish and feel satisfied about after. Usually it involved blowing up stuff which was of course an extra bonus but mostly it had revolved around returning from a trip knowing he had achieved something, and usually something quite spectacular.
That was gone now, he didn't have that simple life and instead was focusing on the long term needs of Earth, and as with all long term projects it was taking a long time to get results. SGC commander was in many ways harder than taking a team through the gate and he was realising this. O'Neill had always respected General Hammond, but at this point he was actively considering setting up a temple to the man. He expected Teal'c would be happy to help.
With blessed relief he heard a rap at his door followed by Samantha Carter entered.
"Oh thank Hammond." O'Neill fell back in his admittedly sweet chair. "It's been too long Carter."
"General, we spoke this morning." Carter smiled widely. "About two hours ago."
"My point stands." O'Neill gestured at the chairs on the other side of the desk. "Tell me you have something interesting to say."
"Well yes, I think so." Carter said. "Earth Alliance has set up the first hardware transfer, it'll happen later today."
"Don't waste anytime do they?" the General grinned. "Guess they're eager to see our end of the bargain."
"Daniel is busy picking items out of Area 51." She added. "Literally, it's like a supermarket spree."
"More we give, more we get." O'Neill shrugged. "Any word from Atlantis?"
"Still nothing sir, not even a micro burst."
He frowned. "Things must be pretty tight out there if they can't spare power to send a message."
Both he and Carter understood there was another reason for a lack of communication, but neither of them shared it.
"The Prometheus will be ready to meet them." Carter continued. "And General Hammond has expressed an interest in going up to meet them."
"Well I guess it's his ship, and they're only going to the Asteroid belt and back." O'Neill said, though by the tone of his voice he wasn't entirely happy. "Not like we can tie him down in his office." He tilted his head as he considered the idea. "No, because then there's the prison thing."
Carter rested a little more easily in her chair. "Permission to speak freely?"
With a slightly wild eyed look O'Neill waved his hand and grinned. "Be free Colonel."
"You still having some trouble adjusting?" she asked with genuine concern.
"Well that might not be a problem for long, not if Woosley is to be believed.
She allowed a mischievous smile. "Kind of a long shot with that one."
"Yeah," O'Neill sighed. "But not this time, looks like people want to move me up and out. I don't know why."
"Perhaps they've spotted your potential."
"I'll believe that when Apophis wins the snowboarding championship in Hell."
Carter chuckled. "Things aren't what they used to be, they're better, and that's mostly thanks to you."
"Us Carter, thanks to us." He corrected.
"Yes sir, but the point is you are needed elsewhere. Not just wanted, but needed."
"That's what they keep saying, so why don't I believe it?"
"Because you haven't had a chance to trully prove yourself yet." Carter answered. "The SGC is growing, after today alone we'll have more warship tonnage than ever before. We used to have tactical assets, now we're going strategic and need a higher level commander. That's you and General Hammond sir, real Generals doing real General's job."
"I'd still rather be shooting stuff, just for old times sake. Sometimes."
"It's all about sacrifice sir, good of Earth and all that."
"Yeah." O'Neill shrugged. "You know Teal'c would understand, where is he?"
"On Chulak." Carter answered. "He sends his best."
"Hanging with his Jaffa buddies, think he's forgotten about us?"
"No sir, he'll be back in a couple of weeks."
"Freakin' sweet." O'Neill grinned. "It's been too quiet without him."
"Yes sir, because it's usually so loud and boisterous whenever Teal'c is around." Carter twinkled.
"You should see him playing basketball." O'Neill winced. "He's good."
"I saw you play table tennis with him once." She grinned.
"Don't remind me." He shuddered. "He used to hit that ball like it owed him money."
Carter shifted in her chair a little. "Sorry General, but I do have to go and check out the progress on the new Mark Nine bombs."
"Yeah sure." He nodded. "You know I'd be there with you looking over your shoulder and making helpful and inciteful suggestions."
"Like make it bigger?"
"I think I got it covered, a little surprise we can use if we ever need it."
"Well I got some errands of my own, at least it gets me out of this chair. Well, eventually."
Carter stood and headed for the door. "General, this is the best thing for us all, we need a General we have confidence in to lead us. This needs to happen."
"Maybe it does." O'Neill agreed. "But it doesn't mean I have to like it."
"No sir, but at least the rest of us will." She nodded. "See you soon sir, hopefully with some new toys."
The basketball dropped through the hoop with a satisfying thunk, the sharp noise reverberating through the large and currently empty room. The sole occupant darted forward, picked up the ball and began to practice dribbling, weaving up and down between imaginary opponents before snapping around and lobbing another shot at the hoop, this one with less success. It bounced away and headed for the door, only stopping when it was caught in the hands of a newly arrived man at the door.
"You need to work on your posture." General O'Neill turned over the ball in his hands. "If you don't stand straight you'll never make the hoop."
Camoron Mitchell came to a stop, breathing heavily as he greeted the General. "Afternoon sir."
"Good to see you active Colonel." O'Neill entered the court, dressed in a way almost described as scruffy. "Your legs working okay?"
"Never better sir." Mitchell replied, jogging up and down on the spot to prove the point. "I'm ready to get back in active duty sir, you remember my request?"
"Ahh yes, the transfer." O'Neill bounced the ball a couple of times. "You sure about this Colonel? The Air group always needs good pilots, especially with the funky new guns we've been able to cram onto the 302. It's a serious piece of hardware for a pilot like you."
"I'm sure sir, haven't thought about anything else since." Mitchell said firmly. "I want to join SG1."
O'Neill smiled a little. "Can't really blame you Colonel, even though the new 302 is just plain awesome I'd always pick an SG team if I could." He sized up the hoop a good dozen yards away. "You know SG1 only takes the best, high standards Colonel, you're going to have to prove yourself every day."
"I know sir, and I'm ready." Mitchell confirmed. "I can do this General, I can do a good job, and I think we both know that. You need a safe pair of hands for your old team and I can do that. I'll keep them safe sir."
O'Neill bounced the ball again, and from almost the centre of the court threw it at the hoop. Mitchell watched with absent interest trying to figure which way it would bounce when it hit the far wall, but it didn't. The ball arced perfectly through the air and dropped through the hoop with barely a sound, bouncing a few times under it and halting.
Mitchell spun to see O'Neill stood their calmly smiling. "Holy! That was incredible! Where did you learn to do that?"
The General shrugged. "It was nothing."
As Mitchell turned back to look at the ball O'Neill's eyes went wide as he punched the air repeatedly in joy, almost dropping to his knees in a silent scream of victory over such an impressive feat before quickly straightening up before the Colonel turned back, holding the same calm look.
"That was awesome!"
"I practice with field reports and the waste paper bin in my office." He grinned. "Anyway, you'll need this."
Mitchell walked over as O'Neill produced an envelope from his pocket. "What is it sir?"
"Your orders." O'Neill announced. "Welcome to SG1 Colonel Mitchell. Don't screw up."
"Yes sir." Mitchell beamed. "I mean no sir, I mean thank you sir."
"You know the whole responsibility thing, so I'll just say good luck. Congratulations Colonel."
Mitchell was grinning like a child with an armful of chocolate and O'Neill was happy to let him. He remembered when he had been given the same job, he hadn't really appreciated it, he couldn't, not at that time of his life with the loss of his son still a bitterly close memory. SG1 had saved the world a few times, but it also saved him, and maybe that's why letting go of it was such a hard thing to do.
Mitchell deserved this, and O'Neill knew he was a good choice, so he was glad to let the officer celebrate in a way O'Neill hadn't. Perhaps there was something to that old adage of not appreciating something until it was gone.
"See you in a week Colonel." O'Neill nodded and headed out. A few minutes later from outside Mitchell could have sworn he heard a voice like O'Neill's yelling 'Woohoo!' loud enough to shake glass.
"We are picking up multiple incomings; they appeared in the asteroid belt." One of the technicians announced suddenly after the long-range sensor alerted her of new development.
Samantha Carter glanced at her direction and then Garibaldi who was standing behind her. She remembered Garibaldi already had arranged to bring in more of the new technologies from his home in advance. She wondered what technologies that they'd be getting today. There couldn't be a better day than this. "I believe that is the convoy from Garibaldi's universe. Is the Prometheus still there?"
"Yes, ma'am. The Prometheus is still in the vicinity as we speak."
"Wait 'till you see these ships, reliable ones." Garibaldi whistled and clasped his hands together, grinning. "The Earth Alliance is sending a surprise of their own as well."
The Prometheus was nearby on sentry duty when a convoy exited from the dimension portal, about twelve civilian-type transports and a handful of smaller Earth Alliance warships traveling in staggered formation as they came out one by one. They went straight toward the Earth as they came out of the portal.
"The Convoy from the other side…" Major Gant announced, holding an electronic tablet displaying the information about the visitors. "…they're here right on schedule."
"I can see that" Colonel Pendergast nodded and glanced at the main monitor to his left displaying the convoy.
"According to the sensor readout, there are twelve transports all of them are next generation Skylarks, they are being escorted by two Olympus-class corvettes one Artemis-class heavy frigate and a Hyperion class cruiser."
Colonel Pendergast was looking forward to see the Earth Alliance starships that were being donated to the Stargate Command. In his opinion, it was much better to have more assets than having a single ship to defend Earth just barely while another ship was away at another galaxy fighting the life-sucking aliens. The donation from the other side was very much welcomed. He was not surprised that the smaller and obsolete warships were as big as his ship, having seen much larger vessels like the Excalibur and Warlock-class vessels.
"Excellent, the more ships we get, the better our homeworld defense will be"
"Colonel…" Major Gant was having a different outlook as she stared out the forward window at the commercial vessel when the convoy passed the Prometheus in full view. She turned around eagerly with a slight smile on her face. "Colonel, you should take a look at those ships."
Colonel Pendergast lent forward to take a good look, his right elbow on knee, and his eyes widen, grasping what Gant had been talking about. He smiled. "Well I'll be damned. That explains why they arrived on the time."
In full view of the Prometheus, the amazed bridge crews could see the most recognized marking on the Skylark transports as they flew by. Their rear section was painted in dark purple 'FedEx' logo and its motto 'The universe on time' was visibly written on the forward fuselage. It was quite surprising this company still survived two hundred years into the future and retained its famous trademark, a good sign that the Earth Alliance was much like their Earth in many aspects especially the capitalism. This sighting gave them a glimpse what the Earth might looki like in the future, that FedEx was one of them.
No wonder why Garibaldi regarded FedEx as highly reliable shipping contractor, they were able to deliver the goods for his mega-corporation on time whenever he asked them.
"Ma'am, there is a transmission from the Prometheus." The technician reported.
"Open the channel here" Carter ordered.
The technician nodded and routed the communication to her monitor. The live image of Colonel Pendergast came on, seated on his seat contentedly.
"Colonel Pendergast." Carter smiled in recognition.
"Lieutenant Colonel Carter, I have a confirmation that the convoy has arrived all right and on time." Pendergast said with clear pleasure. "You should see these ships. That was an unexpected surprise."
She spun around and stared at Garibaldi who was grinning.
A small group of federal-owned Chevrolet Tahoes arrived at the secret base, Area 51, where a next batch of the starships was being built with the new technologies aquired and developed with the Earth Alliance. The reason of leaving for that forsaken place was that it had the longest runaway in the world, making it a suitable landing site for a dozen of the cargo transports from the other side of the gateway. It took them a couple hours to get there via helicopter and then ground transportation.
"Mr. Garibaldi, I hope you'r comfortable with the ride." Dr. Jackson asked the man standing next to him after they stepped out of the sport utility vehicle into the runaway.
"Not bad, it isn't quiet as comfortable as the vehicles back at home." Garibaldi replied politely as he was glazing out toward the desert. "We don't use this type of vehicle anymore in my reality. They've been replaced with the skimmers, really nifty and quick transportation. You should give one of them a spin."
Colonel Carter looked back at Garibaldi from the front passenger seat with curiosity on her face. "Skimmer?"
"Its a flying car." He looked away from the window toward Carter and made a flying gesture. "Vroom, of course, they don't fly very high for a safety reason. On the other hand, the military ones especially latest ones are amazing, very fast and agile. They could probably outrun and outturn your helicopters."
"Seems very dangerous to have that kind of vehicles in dense urban area like the city." Jackson remarked unbelievingly. "The skyscrapers, you know?"
"There are safety features built into these vehicles to prevent accidents. Now that we have very stringent laws, the accident rate is fairly low."
"Oh." Jackson nodded slightly.
"I think that I should visit the other side sometime once the plague is eliminated, the place of your sounds very amazing from what you told us." Carter sounded very fascinated with the proposal of catch a glimpse of their advanced technologies and new concepts.
"I could arrange a tour around the Earth Alliance for you guys." Garibaldi beamed. "You know. this place is now a training ground for the Earth Alliance Marine Corp. I was trained here and this place brought me some good memories."
Jackson and Carter looked at him blankly as his remark took them by surprise.
"The convoy is in orbit." A young lieutenant announced after the report came to him through his earpiece. "They are descending over the Pacific Ocean now. The warships are breaking off and heading toward the moon. We are currently tracking them on the screen."
"These warships don't have the capability to fly in the atmosphere but the transports do… right?" Carter stated from her memory.
"Yup, you got it right. These ships are older, over thirty years old. Great ships they fought during the Dilgar War. They kicked some serious ass and took names." Garibaldi nodded with a wicked grin.
"In the Dilgar War right?" asked Carter.
"Yup. Its a long story, let's just say…it was the first interstellar war that my people got involved in and won. The war was probably humanity's finest moment."
Jackson grimaced. "Sam the more I read about the Dilgar they seemed just as bad if not worse than the Goa'uld."
"Space Nazi's, you should ask Gen. Franklin sometime since he's a historian buff." Garibaldi said, still looking upwardly at the blue sky. He raised his arm and pointed at a certain direction very relaxed. "There!"
A dozen of cargo transports were descending toward the Area 51 at very steep angle. The pilots knew what they were doing, they had done this dozens of times before, and it became a habit. With full blessing from Sheridan, the transport pilots were handpicked, all of them were ex-military, and they signed the secret disclosure agreement and thoroughly briefed about their assignment before they departed to the other side. They were instructed to reenter over the Pacific Ocean to mask their approach and fly toward the destination at highest ceiling as possible. The plan worked so far and no one expect for the government noticed their approach.
The leading transport was the first to slow down and touch down on the runaway gracefully with the landing gears gently planted on the earth and the rest of group followed suit. The convoy landed flawlessly with precision and synchronization. Jackson and Carter stood there staring at the transports their eyes broadened and they nearly dropped their jaws. What they saw was a clearly familiar trademark, the FedEx and its famous purple-colored rear fuselage. At the least, it was good to see one of the similarities between two realities.
Garibaldi gave a short laugh and walked passed them toward the transports. "Surprise! C'mon, follow me!"
"FedEx! It still exist a couple of hundred years into the future… I meant your reality." Jackson observed as he and Carter followed the ambassador from another reality. "A positive sign that the capitalism is still alive and kicking."
"Good thing is that its still reliable delivery service, I suppose. So, its your corporation's permanent shipping contractor." Carter smiled. "UPS?"
"FedEx bought it out twenty years ago." Garibaldi shrugged. "Now they boasted of having three thousand ships in their inventory, running the overnight deliveries in the Earth Alliance and beyond."
"Three thousands for a corporation! That must be quite very expensive to manage a fleet at that size."
"Ah well, the ugly side of capitalism is still there," Jackson remarked almost pessimistically.
"Really, there is a way. Their typical customers are mega-corporations which nicely covered the upkeep expense." Garibaldi countered. "I pay them very generously for their top quality service, never had a problem with them really."
"That explains it all."
A trio stopped before the leading transport with its underside ramp fully open and one of the transport crews walked down the ramp. He addressed his employer professionally. "Mr. Garibaldi, the cargo is perfectly intact and we will start unloading in few minutes."
"Excellent!" Garibaldi gestured a pair toward the ship interior. "The cargo is one of many technology transfers from my reality. Among the cargo is the tachyon communication system, I think you will find it very useful to communicate with your ships in the deep space, no time lag and all of that crap. These ships also carry the medicine that doesn't exist in your world yet. There's also more of the stuff that your government would love to try out…"
Two days later
Daniel Jackson was sat in his little corner of Cheyenne mountain studying historical texts, which in itself was nothing new though the words held some strange power he hadn't experienced before. They were not a description of past events, but of possible future ones.
He took off his spectacles and rubbed his eyes, he'd been reading for over twelve hours and had only managed a cursory glance of the years between 2005 and 2267 over in their neighbouring dimension. Their cousins in the Earth Alliance had a colourful past and it was Jackson's hope that from learning what happened there they could try and prevent problems back home. Things like the revelation about alien life seemed to have gone down well across the gate, but the formation of a unified government for the whole planet had proven virtually impossible until a race known as Centauri had shown up bearing gifts and taxes. He was beginning to form the opinion that alien contact and World unity went hand in hand together.
"Hi Daniel." Colonel Carter breezed in. "Is that the same cup of coffee from last night?"
He looked at the brew, a light film developing on the surface. "Oh yeah, been a long night."
"Reading these notes?"
"History of the other Earth, thought we could learn something."
"And?" Carter queried.
"I've learnt I need more than three hours sleep per night." He sighed. "They've done a lot, and in short time. You remember their leader, John Sheridan? Well you really want to look at the guy's service record." He offered her quite a large document.
She began reading through it. "General Franklin is calling a meeting, Jack wants the two of us to sit in on it and see if we learn something."
"Which means explain the long words to him?" Jackson joked. "You now he's smarter than he lets slip."
"I know." Carter raised her eyebrow as she kept reading. "He died and was reborn?"
"Sheridan." Carter corrected. "He has had a fun life."
Jackson gathered some loose papers. "Well we better get going. Don't want to miss the General's opening line."
"Jackson, Carter, what kept you?" General O'Neill raised his arms as the two team mates walked in. "You missed my anecdote."
"Yeah, I'll never forgive myself." Jackson said quietly. "Just getting some notes." He said more loudly.
"Well anyway, we're just starting."
Alongside O'Neill was General Franklin in Earth Force Khaki and Garibaldi in his same smart suit and open necked shirt. "The General was telling us about killing Apophis."
"Which time, in orbit?" Carter asked.
"No, the other time."
"Not that other time, the other-other time." O'Neill replied.
"You know I kinda lost count." Jackson frowned. "But he hit a planet right?"
"Bingo." O'Neill smiled. "Anyway, Mr Garibaldi."
The General sat and allowed the head of the Interstellar Alliance liaison team speak.
"Well there are two bits of news from the technology side of things." He announced. "First we've managed to set up a hyperspace beacon here in the mountain."
"Is that like, dangerous?" Jackson asked.
"Not at all." Garibaldi grinned. "All it does is transmit tachyons which we can read in hyperspace, gives our ships something to guide them on journeys. We've set up another one at the gate and one more by Mars which is where we are planning on moving in some heavy gear in the future."
"Such as?" Carter asked.
"A fully automated capital class ship yard for one." Garibaldi said. "We figure setting one up here would help unity between our two peoples, especially with the help from your side."
"We're letting them have some captured Goa'uld weapons in accordance with the treaty." O'Neill said. "Along with a selection of anything else we found which was cool."
"I've got my team working with the scientists here to stabilise the hybrid weapons combining EA and alien technology on the Prometheus. We know the technology works, it's just getting it to work properly all the time." Garibaldi continued. "Seems you guys have some pretty nifty stuff we can use back home."
"Ditto." O'Neill said. "For us I mean."
"We figure the improved power management systems will benefit us all, give our older destroyers more powerful weapons on the same frame and give the SGC ships more variety, the Daedalus already has some secondary guns from an Omega, better missiles and best of all a pair of sixteen inch rail guns."
"Yeah, I saw them." Carter nodded. "From a Warlock?"
"The same." The bald executive nodded. "Plus a range of shells from Morbidium Sabot rounds to tactical nukes."
"Most of the first batch is on the Daedalus. We're working on a Naquadria tipped round." Carter added.
"Which is just my favourite project this month." O'Neill smiled.
"So anyway, beacons check." Garibaldi continued. "Next up was some construction bots."
"Some what now?" Jackson stared.
"Construction robots, we use them back home to build, well, everything." Garibaldi answered. "From warships to door handles. They have limited AI, enough to work out problems in their work but not to think for themselves, Earth has laws prohibiting research into full AI and cyborgs."
"See?" O'Neill pointed. "Why didn't we think of that before Terminators showed up?"
"Well, they aren't here yet…" Jackson said.
"But its too late to prevent Terminator 3 isn't it?" O'Neill sighed. "they should have left it at two."
"So." Garibaldi cut in. "The US government has reactivated a ship yard derelict from WWII. We're installing the system there and the place should be ready to begin work on building your ships in a month or so. Just programme in the designs and let them do their thing."
"I'd like permission to observe the set up General." Carter requested.
"No problem." Agreed O'Neill.
"Well that issue is taken care of." Garibaldi leaned back. "Still no word from the little grey guy?"
"Not yet." Answered O'Neill. "I think they're debating what to make of you before they hand over a hyperdrive."
"That going to take a long time?" he asked.
"My guess?" O'Neill said. "Ohhhh yeah."
"Finally, ships and defence platforms." Garibaldi turned a page in his notes. "You are now the proud owners of the EAS Longbow and the EAS Diomedes, an Artemis class Frigate and a Hyperion class cruiser."
"Older model ships." Carter recited from memory. "Zero gravity and outdated weapons."
"Well yes and no." Garibaldi said a little embarrassed. "EarthGov is a little reluctant to give up a lot of warships at this stage with the Alliance still in crisis, but they are both solid and tough ships. I've seen these types make it home with half their mass shot away, usually by the Minbari."
"I've looked over the plans and come up with an improvement plan." Carter informed them. "The sheer scale of these ships lets us cram in a lot of technology, hyperdrives and artificial gravity are easy, we can run them off the ships own power grid. Problem is if we want to go anywhere fast."
"These old girls weren't built for speed." Garibaldi explained.
"We'd have to replace the engines which is a major job." Carter said. "Luckily with an orbital shipyard that gets a lot easier. We can rig secondary naquada reactors to provide greater power to the propulsion systems, both Ion engines and hyperdrive to bring them more into line with our 304 class ships, plenty of space for an inertial dampening system, we can keep the jump drives, and the weapons systems are so huge we can fill the turrets with superchargers and enhanced power relays."
"Meaning?" O'Neill asked expectantly.
"It'll totally kick ass."
Garibaldi hid a smile. "There is another convoy due later today bringing through the first of the defence satellites. As big and honking as space guns come."
"Which I have some theories about making better." Carter added. "It's to do with compressing the beams to give it more punch per second using Asgard derived gravitic technology, along with some Earth Alliance plasteel barrel linings to allow greater power input from naquadah and even theoretically naquadria generators which should…"
"Nah nah nah!" O'Neill waved his hands. "I don't need to know how, just make it blow stuff up."
"Well sir if we can fully modify the system it could destroy a Ha'tak class vessel in one shot."
"Now you could have just said that and saved a lot of air." The General said. "Or even just said it'll be cool."
"I'll remember that for the future sir."
"If that is all." General Franklin spoke gruffly. "I have a few items."
"Please General, go ahead." O'Neill replied.
"Well first Earth Force has engaged and destroyed a Drakh base on the Centauri border." Franklin said. "We managed to capture a number of items and hopefully can gain a greater insight into their technology and the transmission of the Plague afflicting Earth."
"Any prisoners General?" Carter asked.
"Unfortunately no, though we were able to recover a number of bodies we haven't learned anything from them yet."
"I'd quite like to take a look at one." Carter glanced at O'Neill.
"We have counsellors for that sort of thing you know." He quipped. "Any chance General?"
Franklin shrugged. "Can't hurt to ask."
"I'm afraid we've heard nothing from Atlantis yet." O'Neill said. "They should have arrived days ago."
"Then lets wish them well." Franklin said. "And send them our prayers."
"One last thing." O'Neill said. "Cameron Mitchell is now in charge of SG1. Okay, dismiss."
The General made to dart out of his chair but was no where near fast enough.
"What?" Jackson's eyes snapped to O'Neill. "When did that happen?"
"It was time to move on." O'Neill looked at Carter. "To do what was needed."
She smiled and nodded back. "Colonel Mitchell is a good man and a good choice."
"He'll start next week, hopefully we can get Teal'c back and start making waves again." He looked at his team, now his former team. "Dismiss."
Really they still were his team, but rather than being his whole world they were part of something bigger, the whole team of Planetary Security, a group expanding into the ten thousand plus mark. Things hadn't just changed, they had progressed, advanced from where they had started nearly a decade ago. If he tried to stay where he was he would simply be left behind, so the only thing he could do was push forward and do what he had to do to keep Earth safe.
Just like the old days, but with better guns.
"General Franklin, you got a minute?" Daniel Jackson followed down a corridor.
The gruff General looked over his shoulder and relaxed a little as he saw Jackson. After reading the history of the SGC he had come to respect the resident expert despite his lack of military standing. "Sure, what can I do for you son?"
"Actually quite a bit, I have some questions about the Earth Alliance and I figure as a senior member of your government you could help out?"
Franklin frowned a little. "Well I suppose there's no harm. Step into my office."
General Franklin led the way into the small room he had been provided with by the Air force, it had the usual compliment of computers, cabinets and a sturdy looking desk which the General kept remarkably tidy, in stark contrast to Jackson's own office. He sat behind the desk and gestured at Jackson to follow his example.
"Well General it comes down to planetary government." Jackson began. "I've read the history files you provided and it tells me what happened but it all looks a bit vague."
"Yes, like there's some pieces missing, I mean countries tend to be extremely independent so how did you get them all under one banner?"
"Well it wasn't easy." Franklin said. "It was a combination of economics and fear of being destroyed by their bigger neighbours which formed the Alliance. Either neighbouring countries or ultimately alien races."
"So first contact cemented the Alliance?" Jackson asked.
"It did, but the Earth Alliance was formed before we made contact with the Centauri, but it was a bit rocky."
"After World War III?"
"That's right, the war had devastated most of Asia and parts of Russia." Franklin said. "Areas of the subcontinent had been turned to radioactive wastelands, tens if not hundreds of millions dead, the Russian and Chinese armies and industries wrecked and half the world hating the American Federation for its deployment of an anti ICBM satellite system."
"Because by removing the threat of Mutually assured destruction the USA had put itself above nuclear reprisals from potential enemies?"
"That's what they said." Franklin agreed, his family were from Chicago and while citizens of the Alliance still counted themselves as American. "The middle east, parts of Europe, Asia, Russia, all screamed about American Imperialism. They failed to recognize that without the satellite grid most of Asia would be glowing in the dark and the death toll would have been in the billions."
"Never let facts stand in the way of a good vendetta." Jackson guessed.
"Something like that, people see what they want to see. The satellites were designed to take out missiles in the boost phase, but scaremongers said they could be used against whole cities with no defence, which was ridiculous!" Franklin scoffed. "Those early systems could barely hurt warplanes! But either way things were grim, not only was the world militarily unstable but the economies of the individual nations were in a terrible state after the war, even the American Federation and European union which had only gotten involved in the final months of the war were suffering, something had to be done to restore that stability."
"The idea of a planetary government." Jackson stated.
"The American Federation announced it not long after the war, a United Earth Alliance with its own government and armed forces. First thing the President did was put the American military including the Earth shield defence grid under the flag of the United Earth first, and America second. The idea was rapidly accepted by our allies in Britain, Oceania and most of Europe bar the French."
"Well that's a surprise." Jackson commented.
"We offered not just military protection but also free trade and economic assistance." Franklin continued. "And after the devastation of war it was this economic offer which really made a difference, most of Africa and South America joined, Japan and Indonesia were close behind but Russia and China refused, as did the Islamic nations of the middle east."
"So at first the world government didn't include the whole world?"
"Not for a long time, it took decades to expand the Earth Alliance. As more nations joined and more resources came into the government we were able to expand into space and set up colonies. We fought raiders, began mining asteroids, developed the Moon, Mars and Io colonies. It was a golden age but with a constant cloud on the horizon, the hold out countries."
"What else? War." Franklin said. "Russia was getting weaker and the Chinese knew it, they were lining themselves up for an invasion so the Russians finally bit the bullet and asked to join the EA. The Chinese were furious and pushed up the invasion, launching a massive attack against Russia and drawing down the full military might of the EA for the first time in open war. It lasted five days, and on the sixth day China surrendered and the war ended. Earth Force had proven itself technologically and organisationally superior to Earths other great army, and it wasn't long after that China also ended up joining after economic and trade sanctions."
"Not exactly a coalition of the willing then?"
"At first, maybe not." Franklin agreed. "The problem was while most nations were working for a greater purpose and a good life for its people, others weren't. both China and Russia were secretly using advanced Earth Force weapons to equip their own national armies, building their own space going warships outside the EA control. Plus there was the Islamic nations."
"What did they end up doing?"
"Well they decide the best way to boost their economies was to invade Isreal and finally conquer it before they lost the chance forever. They launched a few nukes they had acquired and some got through, then invaded. The Israeli army handled them quickly enough, additional EA troops only ended up with the clean up job. We isolated the warlike countries and slapped every sanction we could think of on them. Eventually their people rebelled, the tyrants fell and democracy took over, then they too joined the Alliance. Finally every country on Earth was under the same flag."
"But it didn't last right?"
"Remember the countries with their own agenda's?" Franklin said. "Well it all came to a head in the 2150's. A group of Islamic terrorists managed to bypass the Earth shield by sneaking a nuke into San Diego over land, destroting the city. The Alliance went on a war footing, hunting down terrorists across the globe. Tensions rose and the Chinese and Russians prepared their armies which alone outgunned the entire Earth Force official military. They had kill satellites ready to take down Earth shield and space warships armed for battle, we were weeks away from World War IV, and then the Centauri showed up."
"And gave everyone a new perspective."
"Exactly, we weren't alone out there and we didn't know if the next aliens we encountered would want trade or conquest. Everything changed, we now saw some of the bigger picture and almost overnight the tensions changed, our weapons went from facing inwards to facing outwards."
"Lets hope the same thing happens here." Jackson said. "One day we'll have to go public with this program and find a way to tell the people what's happening in space, and the fact we're part of it."
"You're pretty famous with the alien races then?" Franklin asked.
"Kind of. Some love us, some want to rip us apart and feed on our souls."
"Yeah, we've been there." Franklin smiled. "The Koulani, the Ch'lonas, few others. Pretty small races who really don't like us in the Alliance. Of course they keep their distance."
"Why is that?"
"Because we totally kick ass." Franklin chuckled. "After the Dilgar war no one tried to threaten our borders anymore. The Dilgar were a major warlike race, they tore apart the League of Non aligned worlds, the main alien alliance in the galaxy, killed billions, wiped out whole worlds. Total massacre." Franklin related his memories. "Then we got involved. It was damn hard work but we turned them back and drove them to utter defeat. After that the League were our best friends and the other major powers treated us with healthy respect. Until the Minbari."
"The guys in blue ships?"
"Yeah, you know I've never seen a Minbari ship in person?" Franklin said. "I count myself lucky. Most humans who saw one never saw anything else afterwards. The war started after a misunderstanding, a simple mistake and it ended with a fleet ready to level Earth. We fought like hell, but we couldn't stop them. Finally they just stopped and went home, they never said why." Franklin sighed. "Couple of us think they realised after Proxima that subduing Earth would cost them too many warriors, others say they just taught us a lesson and never wanted to kill us all. Sheridan apparently knows the truth, but he isn't saying anything about it."
"I read losses were heavy." Jackson commented.
"Losses were virtually total." Franklin corrected. "We barely had enough ships to form a single task force. Those bastard Ch'lonas tried to invade while the Minbari were hitting us and even with heavily damaged ships we sent them running. Sheridan led that strike which kept him from the Line, probably saved his butt." Franklin grunted. "Then we rebuilt, new ships, new factories, new everything. Took us twenty years but we're stronger than ever, I mean you've seen the sort of ships we're fielding."
"Yeah, big." Jackson agreed. "And you were there?"
"I took a company against the Dilgar, a battalion against the Minbari and a division after the war. Now I'm here."
Jackson absorbed the information, if one day his world tried to form a united government they could learn a lot from their colleagues across the gateway. "How is the Alliance set up then, with your colonies and outposts, how is it managed?"
"We're a democracy, each of the countries on Earth and the colony worlds picks a number of senators based on population, economics and about a million other factors designed to keep things fair. They all gather in Geneva and are responsible or setting worldwide policies and Earth's foreign policies. The actual countries and colonies still have their own functioning governments who are responsible for running their nations and setting internal policy, but they are secondary to the Alliance government at large."
"So there is a lot of autonomy?"
"Sure is, and a lot of strong nationalist feelings too. It doesn't conflict with the Alliance as a whole, well except for those Marzies, but a lot of people refer to themselves as American or Russian or whatever."
"So it's still pretty diverse?"
"Just as diverse as it is here, but with a common goal." Franklin confirmed. "We realise we're one planet facing a whole universe, a lot of folks out there want to hurt us and we must unite to stop them."
It was exactly what Jackson was hoping would happen here after disclosure, that humanity would see the threat to them and join together for protection at first, and then to work together to create a better planet to live on. But it seemed even with the knowledge of the greater universe out there and aliens all around humanity still seemed to have a desire to kill each other.
"Do you think you'll ever overcome those old differences?" Jackson asked.
"Not in my lifetime, or my children's." Franklin replied. "I've fought aliens, but I've also spent a lot of time fighting humans too. Violence is still part of our nature and I don't know if that is something that will ever disappear. You just gotta live with it and try to make something better."
"I hope this world agrees and can see the big picture." Jackson said. "Because if not it could get nasty after disclosure."
"I wish you luck, but at least you have friends out there." Franklin said. "And you've got friends in the ISA."
This wasn't the first time General Hammond had been in space, his command of the Prometheus in the battle to topple Anubis earning him great admiration in the rather limited circles of those who knew and understood what had happened. Still, the Texan didn't get nearly enough time off Terra firma and literally jumped at the chance to take a trip on Prometheus and meet a party of Earth Force ships due to transit the Ancient Gate in the next hour or so.
"Shouldn't be long now General." Colonel Pendergast said, all but towering over Hammond.
"It's alright Colonel." Hammond smiled, "I quite like just waiting up here." He looked out of the window onto the black and speckled lights of space, incredibly clear and focused from up here. "I always wondered what it was like up here." He mused. "It's why I joined the Air force, right at the height of the Apollo missions. One day I hoped I'd be one of those guys standing on the moon." He chuckled. "Instead I get alien planets! Even better!"
Pendergast laughed in agreement. "And now space ships from another dimension." He smiled. "I'd never even guessed this is how I'd end up earning my wings."
"That's the military for you." Hammond nodded.
"Colonel, we're getting something." The helm officer reported. "Energy surge from the gate."
"Right on time." Pendergast noted. "This should be quite a sight General."
"General O'Neill said the Earth force ships were big, but he didn't elaborate."
"Then you're in for a treat sir, keep an eye on the gate."
The portal flashed blue and a water like film covered the mouth of the circle, much like the smaller cousin to this gate on Earth and a million other worlds. For a while it rippled calmly giving the impression of a faint breeze here in space until a vessel poked its way through the water. It was actually smaller than Hammond expected, a white and blue vessel similar in scale to the Daeadalus but with noticeable gun turrets on its flanks. More ships followed, modular looking ships with no hint of aerodynamics to them, pure space going freighters in Hammond's opinion.
"Well, not bad, but O'Neill had me expecting more."
Then a final ship passed through the gate, its long antennae pushed through followed by an oblong forward hull and a hull which just kept coming and coming, revealing a slowly spinning block in its centre and ending in engines that could have swallowed the SGC ship whole.
"That was more what we were thinking." Pendergast grinned. "And that isn't even one of their best, you should have been here when the Atlantis force left."
"I can imagine." Hammond gazed respectfully at the wall of grey metal dominating the forward windows. "Guess we should say hello."
Pedergast quickly set up on the EA frequencies, part of the tech exchange from an earlier meeting were a few Earth Force tachyon communicators which had been happily adopted by the various militaries interested in defending Earth. "This is the Prometheus, welcome back."
"This is Captain James of the Agamemnon," and answer came. "This is quite something."
Pendergast laughed slightly. "I could say the same thing. We're here to escort you to the far side of the Moon, there we'll take your cargo and keep you out of sight from the surface."
"President Sheridan stated the public at large are unaware of alien life." Captain James said. "Must make things difficult."
"You have no idea." Pendergast joked. "We better get moving, if you'll follow me?"
The trip was shorter than expected, the Agamemnon and its Tethys class escort were surprisingly speedy for such big ships, though not nearly as fast as the Prometheus was able to travel at. Along the way Hammond had a chance to examine the vast warship beside them, the sensors showing where at some point in the recent past the great destroyer had suffered extensive damage.
"Last time I let John Sheridan borrow my ship!" Captain James had joked. "We took damage fighting the orbital defence grid, the same type of satellites we're giving you in exchange for captured Goa'uld tech."
"They're pretty powerful then?" Hammond looked over a the large freighters.
"Yes sir, one of these things fell into the wrong hands it could level countries." James said seriously. "The particle cannons go through any ship we know of in the blink of an eye, they made a pretty mess of the Drakh when they tried to destroy Earth. Just not fast enough." He added sadly.
"We plan to enhance the missile warheads with naquadah, if it's successful my government is willing to share the process with the Interstellar Alliance."
"I think the President will really like the idea." Captain James considered. "Enhanced nukes? Yeah he'll really like that."
The decelerated and began to come to a halt close by the moon. It was an empty and barren place though since the Stargate programme started recovering more data there was a real movement to set up a type of base on its surface. Perhaps with their new friends the SGC could finally realise that dream. The small convoy came to a relative stop and the freighters began to open their bay doors.
"These represent the first batch, mainly for testing." Captain James said. "Our factories on Proxima can build these beauties pretty quickly so it won't take long to set up a full two hundred satellite defence grid, these first sixteen and their control facilities should give you an idea of what we're offering."
From Prometheus Hammond had a good view of the freighters deploying their cargo. The large round satellites were mostly assembled though they needed their solar panels and heat radiators setting up, a day or so of work for the Alliance weapons technicians.
"Big honking space guns, as General O'Neill is fond of saying." Pendergast nodded.
"At last we can have some additional defences for Earth." Hammond said with satisfaction. "The Ancient outpost is fine, but I don't like pinning our hopes on a single defence strategy."
"Yes sir, and until we get the next batch of 304's online our fleet is going to need back up, a wall of big gun satellites should do the job."
"Captain James," Hammond announced. "If you're ready we'll transfer over our contribution."
"Hangar teams standing by."
The SGC had decided to complete the exchange by providing Earth Force and the ISA with examples of Goa'uld technology recovered from destroyed enemy vessels. The Prometheus used its Asgard teleporters to beam over a selection of weapons and technology including staff weapons and Zat guns, an example of a ring transporter, a sample of Naquadah and most impressive of all a full sized Ha'tak pulse cannon. All of which were stored in the destroyer's expansive cargo bay close to the hangar.
"Transfer complete." Colonel Prendergast reported.
"Confirmed, we have it." Captain James replied. "That's some trick!"
"A gift from the gods you could say." Hammond smiled. "An Asgard called Thor to be exact, they have some rather impressive toys."
"IPX would sell their souls for half this stuff." James grinned. "Well, if they hadn't already sold them a few years ago. Long story."
"Sounds like." Hammond squinted. "Colonel, getting a bit warm in here, is the air circulation working?"
"Perfectly fine sir." Prendergast noted. "Are you feeling alright?"
"Just a little, closed in." Hammond loosened his collar. "I'll be fine, I just need to...sit down."
Hammond swayed suddenly and toppled, only Pendergast's quick actions stopped him hitting the deck hard. "Medical team to the bridge!" he yelled.
The General gasped, clutching his chest and forcing breath into his lungs. It felt like a tank was parked on his chest pressing down on his heart.
"Medics!" Pendergast yelled again before Hammond fell into unconsciousness.
A week later.
O'Neill was dressed casually, a brown jacket and tan coloured pants giving him an unremarkable appearances as he stood on the doorstep. He rang the bell again and rocked up and down on the balls of his feet casting bored glances left and right. The house was extremely well kept, the grass was short and drive way spotless much as O'Neill expected.
The door was opened by a reasonably attractive young nurse in Airforce medical uniform. "Yes?" she asked.
"General O'Neill." He introduced himself. "General Hammond sent for me."
"You better come in." she said with a frown "Though I strongly disapprove, he needs more rest."
O'Neill followed her in and closed the door. "I won't keep him up past his bed time."
"Your General had quite a shock to his system, he needs to totally relax for a while until he recovers."
"Sounds like fun." O'Neill smiled. "Maybe we can go fishing together, nothing like…"
"No." the nurse snapped. "Now you have fifteen minutes, and no excitement."
She gestured to a door then walked away under O'Neill's scowl. He opened the door and stepped into a bright room full of windows looking out onto a wide garden. Sat by those windows was General Hammond, looking a lot paler and smaller than O'Neill liked to remember.
"Jack, come in!" Hammond grinned. "Damn it's good to see someone who doesn't want to shove a thermometer up my… how've you been?"
"Pretty good." O'Neill blanked out where Hammond's sentence had been going. "Keeping busy with all the stuff we do, you know, that stuff at work."
"It's okay Jack, this place is secure." Hammond nodded. "We can talk freely."
"Good." O'Neill relaxed. "You'll be glad to know the Atlantis mission made it back about an hour after you… well about an hour later. They made it."
Hammond nodded, visibly relieved. "Losses?"
"Lighter than expected for us, much heavier than expected for them." O'Neill said with some satisfaction. "Wraith activity has supposedly dropped off to almost nothing, we hit 'em hard enough to really slow them down and by the time they are moving again in force we should have enough ships and firepower to take them head on."
"I hear you gave Camron Mitchell SG-1." Hammond said. "Good thing Jack, you know you had to do it."
"Well so Carter kept telling me."
"Did you get the supplies?" Hammond dropped his voice.
"Yeah, I thought I'd never get them past that Doberman outside." O'Neill opened his jacket to reveal a bag of assorted chocolates. "Here, I can't believe they banned candy."
"Too much fuss, it was nothing." He took the gifts and hid them away. "Just a little heart attack."
"George, there's no such thing as a little Heart attack." O'Neill said seriously. "What did the doctors say?"
"Sit here and be bored." He grunted. "And the President agreed, I'm on indefinite leave."
"But with pay?" O'Neill asked quickly.
"Oh yeah, still getting paid."
"Full wage and sitting in bed." O'Neill sighed. "You get all the best jobs."
Hammond chuckled. "Try it for a week and see how you like it!"
"I wish!" O'Neill laughed. "Been busy with the Alliance guys, and Atlantis."
"I see." Hammond nodded. "Some pretty major events going on, and I'm stuck here."
"Not for long." O'Neill encouraged. "You'll be back in a few weeks."
"That may be, but until then there isn't a head of homeworld defence, LtCol Paul Davis is running the show."
"He's a solid officer." O'Neill stated.
"But he isn't ready for the job, especially in the middle of such a shake up. The President has asked me to pick a replacement for the post."
"The Job that gave you this Heart attack?"
"You didn't." O'Neill shook his head.
"I did, and the President agreed."
"You were supposed to be my buddy George," O'Neill shook his head. "I smuggled in chocolate and everything!"
Hammond chuckled. "You'll do great, you are easily the best choice. You know the score and you have a reputation with the alien governments."
"Which is why I should be as far from responsibility as possible." He frowned. "I just got settled into your old office too."
"Well now you can settle into my Washington office." Hammond said. "It's a hell of an opportunity Jack, you should take it."
O'Neill waited for a moment. "Who'll take over the SGC?"
"I've picked Hank Landry, you remember him?"
"Yeah, yeah, he's a good guy." O'Neill agreed. "Not as good as me of course…"
Hammond laughed again, wincing slightly. "Oh, go easy on the wise cracks."
"Hey, sorry George." He said sincerely. "I'll do the job, but because you asked me to, okay?"
"That's fine by me, I'll sleep better knowing someone I trust is running things."
"Alright then." O'Neill nodded. "So how are the Grand kids?"
"Terrors!" Hammond laughed, and for the next ten minutes the two old friends spoke and shared stories as old soldiers often do, and when their time elapsed O'Neill had a new job to do, and a reason to do it.