Heya! Well I know some people will be asking why am I posting the whole Beginnings story separate from the teaser and opener elsewhere on - simply because I still need a sample for people to read!
Arpegia is a new virtual series, based on Stargate SG1, with some elements from Atlantis thrown in for good measure. But I won't bore you...simply visit our site - www stargate-intel net (replace spaces with dots)
Well, enjoy, and please please PLEASE give me feedback! Thank you :D
Stargate:Arpegia - 101 'Beginnings'
Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman
Commander Pete Shanahan
Agent Kerry Johnson
Doctor Siobhan O'Neill
Flight Officer Alana Steven-O'Neill
Doctor Mark Carter
Agent Andy Burke, Jack O'Neill (Alternate) and Sergeant Sean 'Sparky' Siler
Brigadier General Jack ONeill, Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, Captain Samantha Carter (Alternate), Doctor Daniel Jackson (Alternate), Major General George Hammond (Alternate), Dr. Janet Frasier (Alternate), Major General Hank Landry, Angus O'Neill, President Henry Hayes and Colonel Reynolds
"P49 487" Carter said enthusiastically.
"Huh?" asked Jack, peering up at the point in the sky that had Carter transfixed.
"P49 487…It's in that cluster."
"The Seven Sisters?"
"Let me guess…You wanna go there?"
"Yes sir!" Sam replied, enthusiastically.
"Okay okay…I'll ask Hammond."
Jack O'Neill smirked at Captain Carter's enthusiasm, and then returned to their vigil - waiting for the totality of the lunar eclipse. It was the very early hours of the morning, and the pair had enjoyed the night at Jack's house. Talking about the stars and everything in between. The night air was crisp and cool, a slight breeze drifting over them reminding them stay attentive, the heavens enticing them to stay awake.
"The things I do for you and Daniel."
"Well we appreciate it!"
Jack let out a soft, barely audible chuckle, before a glint in the sky caught his attention, and he looked upwards.
Sam looked up, but the tiny white speck was gone.
"Damn! Missed it!"
Jack was lost in the moment, but a sharp giggle from Carter's direction shook him from his reverie.
"How long 'till the moon reaches it's totality?"
"About half an hour, but I think it'll cloud over before then."
"I know…always happens."
Jack was silent for a moment, losing himself in the panorama of stars above. He could feel Sam shifting closer to him, shivering slightly.
"Just a bit sir."
"Not as chilly as Antarctica though, eh?"
Antarctica brought back a mixture of memories he wasn't keen to discuss, so he quickly changed the subject.
"What constellations do you recognise?" He asked.
"Mmm…Physics is my forte sir…My astronomy sucks to be perfectly honest…Orion and Cassiopeia are over there…the Big Dipper."
"It's part of-"
"Ursa Major…I know."
"Then there's the Dog Star and Ursa Major..."
"Serpens-Caput's over there," said Jack, pointing to a constellation near the horizon.
Sam was silent.
"It is my hobby Sam!" he chided playfully.
Sam gazed up at the stars above. The sky was strange tonight. It was clear enough to the see the giant silken swathe of the milky way, yet wisps of cloud still tiptoed by, seeming almost embarrassed when Sam's watchful eye caught them in the act.
More cloud was marching in though, in a thick blanket, chasing away the silent twilight of the morning sky - and the eclipsing amber moon.
"Dammit!" Jack gruffed.
"I've yet to see a lunar eclipse…Guess I'll have to wait another six months."
"You know the last time I saw a lunar eclipse was in Iraq in '89."
"Before or after, as you so eloquently put it, 'hit the ground' Sir?"
"After…It was when I was getting treatment prior to flying to Germany for surgery."
"Yeah…my Kosar was so badly busted, I got sent home…missed the rest of the Gulf."
"No…I was happy to be going home…I was missing Charlie."
"No sir…not that…you just said Kosar instead of leg."
"No I didn't!"
Janet Frasier gazed through the glass of the observation room to where the Colonel paced anxiously in Isolation room one. General Hammond buzzed nearby, obviously worried. Yet she took comfort in his presence, knowing she wasn't the only one thinking about a solution for this dilemma.
"Any idea what the trigger was for this Captain?" Hammond asked Carter who was sitting heavily on one of the stools adorning the sides of the small space.
"I really don't know sir…One minute he was perfectly lucid. We were watching the eclipse…he mentioned that his…Kosar had broken during the Gulf…Within minutes, he'd turned ancient." Sam shrugged her shoulders, her voice full of resignation.
"Could it have been something you were talking about?" Janet proffered.
"We were discussing Astronomy and Iraq…I mentioned several constellations and the cluster called the Seven Sisters."
"Helix!" Jack bellowed suddenly from the Iso' room. "Helix! Got ut vado illic! Got praecessi domus!"
Hammond sighed in frustration, and turned to Doctor Frasier. "When will Doctor Jackson get here?"
"He's on his way, but at the rate of the Colonel's mental deterioration, I don't think Dr. Jackson will be able to help."
"Terra Arpegia! Septem Sanctimonialis! Terra Arpegia!" Jack shouted.
"Well my Latin's a little rusty, but septem means seven." Janet remarked.
"Seven Sisters?" Sam queried. "That's the trigger?"
There was suddenly some commotion in the Iso' room.
"Adepto ex via." Jack said to one of the Marines guarding the exit. "Adepto ex via!"
Jack lunged forward, taking the Marine's weapon and knocking him out in one swift motion. The other Marine drew his weapon, ready to strike.
"Hold your fire!" Hammond felt himself say to the Marines. "Let him go, but follow him."
Jack took off, running out of the room and immediately turning to the right. The Marine followed.
"Go after him." Hammond ordered Carter and Frasier, suddenly second-guessing the judgement of his previous order.
A crackle came over the observation room's radio.
"Sir...He's headed for the Stargate!"
Walter gazed blankly at the metallic ring in front of him. It was days like this he longed to be back at his previous assignment. Duty at the Airforce hospital had never been this stressful or tedious. His eyes darted to the clock on the computer monitor - Five minutes until SG-5 checked in.
Do I have time for coffee?
The sudden blurting of the alert siren startled Walter back to his job.
Walter heard what sounded like a riot behind him, and instinctively turned around. Colonel O'Neill ran into the Control room, a thickset look of panic clearly evident. Four Marines followed him.
"Commodo permissum mihi vado." There was a pleading sound in the Colonel's voice Walter could discern.
But what was he saying?
"Sergeant…permissum mihi utor terminatio." Jack seemed to ask him.
General Hammond appeared in the room, flanked by Captain Carter and Doctor Frasier, cutting through the assembled throng of officers.
Hammond looked to the ground, mulling over the situation.
"Sergeant Harriman…Give Colonel O'Neill access to the dialling computer."
Walter relinquished his post to the Colonel, who immediately set about inputting some computer code into the machine.
A moment later, the Stargate whirred into life, the inner track sliding round. Chevron One. Chevron Two. Chevron Three.
" P49 487." Walter heard Carter say from the back of the room. "That's where he was going."
The Seventh Chevron locked, but the Stargate continued to wind.
"…Maybe not." Walter said out loud, before looking at the monitor. "Chevron eight…is locked?"
The Stargate finally came to a stop, as Chevron nine locked, and the gate was once again bathed in a floury of blue light.
"What the? Power consumption for that lock was less than normal?" Carter's incredulity was visible to all.
" Imperatre Hammond… gratias ago vos."
Hammond seemed to instinctively know what Jack was asking and simply inclined his head, figuratively letting Jack go.
Walter watched as Jack turned and left the control room. Was Hammond really going to let this happen?
The Marines parted, giving Jack access to the corridor and then the 'Gate Room.
"Sir? You're just going to let him go?" A member of SG-11 asked, his face full of a concern mirrored in everyone present.
At that moment, Daniel came bursting into the Control room.
"I don't have a choice Lieutenant. If he stays, he's dead. If he goes…He may live."
"General Hammond? What's going on?" Daniel said breathlessly.
"See for yourself Doctor Jackson."
The SGC fell silent as they watched Colonel O'Neill amble gingerly up the Stargate ramp. He stopped in front of the even horizon, swishing his hand through the illusion, before turning back to the SGC personnel.
"Exsisto curiosus." Jack's voice was stern. "The Apocalypse mos venio."
Jack mutely turned back towards the shimmering puddle, then in one fluid movement, crossed the threshold and was gone.
"Doctor Jackson?" Hammond turned to the Linguist.
"He said…'Be careful…the Apocalypse is coming…'"
The silent presence of the Stargate painted a peaceful canvas over the control room. A hushed, yet chatty group of technicians milled around diligently at the twilight hour, doing work on the computers, the Dialer and route-plotting on the glistening glass map at the rear of the room. Walter watched the techs as they milled about, and longed for something to occupy his mind. But his job wasn't as exciting. So he continued to wait for SG-11's check-in, his hand trembling over the palm scanner…just in case.
He could feel the nervous energy of Sgt Mackenzie, sitting in the adjacent chair. The younger man rubbed his hands together in expectation of the team, but his enthusiasm was wasted on Walter, who wanted nothing more than a coffee.
Mackenzie wheeled his chair over to Walter's and was ready to speak. But Walter pre-empted him.
"Can you get me a coffee Kenzo?"
Mackenzie hated the name 'Kenzo' but it's use provided the just response, as he left his seat and headed in the direction of the commissary.
Walter sighed, leaning back in his chair, revelling in a spare moment to rest his eyes and his brain.
The sound of sliding metal interrupted the moment, and Walter's eyes flickered open. SG-11 was coming in, and very prompt too - a whole five minutes early.
The Klaxon started a moment later, and Walter waited diligently for the 'gate to finish it's 'journey' and simply confirmed SG-11's IDC as he received the signal. A moment later, the silver sheen of the iris was replaced by the shimmer of the event horizon.
As if on cue, Landry appeared from the stairwell.
"Is it '11 Walter?"
"Getting my coffee."
Walter never turned round, but could sense the smile forming on his CO's lips.
Landry leaned in closer, before whispering "Is ol' Kenzo getting that bad?"
Walter simply chuckled.
Momentarily, SG-11 stepped through in their dress uniforms, flanking none other than President Henry Hayes.
"Wasn't he due back with SG-1 and the diplomatic Corps?" Landry inquired.
"He can't be that interested in playing poker with Jack!"
The gate shut down, and SG-11 quickly departed the gate room, obviously to give Hayes space to talk to Landry.
As always, the General's assistant was required to accompany Landry.
Seconds later, Landry and Walter reached the Gate Room.
"Mr President sir. How goes the brokering?"
Hayes for his part returned his quirky grin. "Done and dusted my friend. The Ghatrians are more than willing to forge and alliance with us, and to share their weapons technology. But we did hit one 'sticking point' so to speak. They want an alliance with the whole planet…everyone."
Was Walter hearing right?
"Mr President?" Landry said, unsure of his own interpretation of Hayes' words.
"From this day on, we have a timetable to disclosure. We're going public."
The punch knocked Pete off-balance.
"I told you already…I don't know what the Stargate Programme is!" He spat back, the taste of blood in his mouth.
"Shannie…if I knew what it was…would I be doing this to you? Now…I'll try this again. What.is.the.Stargate.Programme?"
"Go to HELL! Ah!"
Another punch. This time to his gut.
"You were romantically involved with Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, Mr Shanahan. You were even engaged to her…Yet you know nothing about her work? Very hard to believe."
"Why do you think we split up?"
The shadowy figure that Pete knew all too well loomed before him. His boss. His friend. And now his enemy. If only he'd known that Rob was in the ATF…
"If I believed that excuse, would I be here? I know for a fact you have a clearance pass to the SGC."
"Right…now see there…I don't actually know what the SGC is!"
Rob's henchman aimed for his temple this time. The contact was bone shattering, and had Pete not been shackled to his chair, he would have fallen to the floor from the sheer force of the blow.
"I'll start again Shannie. What's the Stargate Programme?"
"Careful…Careful……Careful!" Dr Siobhan O'Neill instructed her team.
"Now…set it down…carefully."
"Is that your word for today Shevvy?" She heard a voice as the ice core was laid to rest on the workspace of her lab.
"Not now Burke." She gruffed. "I've got work to do."
Andy Burke stood in the doorway to her small workspace, eyeing up several of Siobhan's assistants. After a moment, he continued.
"Thought you were a Planetary Geologist."
"Yeah well…since the discovery of this place…I'm taking more time to get to know our own world…If you could just try and chip out a slice of that layer Anna."
The young graduate nodded, and began working on the metallic band in the middle of the ice core.
"Anything I can help with?" Andy offered in his sincerest voice.
"Nope…not really…Yup that's a good sample…bag it…put this core in storage room C next to the others."
The Atlantus Geology team once again picked up the core, and expertly manoeuvred it out of the room.
"And be CAREFUL!"
Andy moved in closer, pulling a chocolate bar from his pocket.
"Siobhan?" He said offering her a bit.
"Found anything interesting?"
"Well…I won't know until I do a proper analysis, but looks like we've found a band of raw Naquadah contained in the ice which predates the Stargate."
"That's pretty old."
"Yeah well it's from the deepest-dug ice core ever, so pretty archaic!"
Siobhan rounded the workbench, turning her attentions to the small, glittering sample that lay nearby. She took out a fresh pair of tongs and manoeuvred it into a small cool bag, before carefully sealing it.
"I need to take this to the freezer."
"I'll walk with you!"
The corridors of Terra Atlantus were buzzing with people, yet while Andy had to fight his way through the masses; people seemed to move out of Siobhan's way as she elegantly made her way to the freezer.
"Why's it so busy?" She asked the portly man.
"New planeload from McMurdo…oh they have no idea what they're getting into."
"Yeah…They're gonna have a great time here." Siobhan smiled.
"What? You kidding? It's hell here…frozen over I might add, but still hell. Y'know I asked that dippy little brother of yours for a posting in a temperate zone…Not freakin' well Antarctica!"
Siobhan snorted in amusement. "Deal with it Agent…Thought you'd be made of sterner stuff."
"Me? I'm from San Francisco…Sun…heat…While you're from…"
"Yeah but you grew up in Minnesota."
"Ehm…you're used to this?"
Siobhan let out a bemused giggle. "I don't enjoy the cold Andy. And I worked in Hawaii for most of the past two decades…I like my work here."
She moved away from Andy, obviously not pleased at losing the debate.
"Besides…I'm getting transferred to the Alpha site tomorrow."
Siobhan wandered out of view, leaving a perplexed Andy Burke standing in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
"Johnson." Kerry picked up her phone, trying desperately to hide the frustration in her voice.
"Hey Kerry!" Hayes' voice boomed back at her.
"Mr President sir." Kerry switched the phone over to her other ear, as she lifted a salad bowl with one hand, depositing it on her dining table. Her youngest daughter stared back at her with wide eyes, mouthing the words "The President?"
"How are you Kerry?"
"Never better…though a bit stressed out."
"Mmm…the life of us diplomats is never an easy one."
"Yeah…speaking of diplomacy…"
"Oh…the alliance talks…how is that going?"
"Very well…we've hammered out an outline of what we're doing, and we're going to need your expertise Kerry…I'd like you to get ready right now…there'll be a car at your house in five minutes…you're going to the Alpha Site for a couple of weeks."
"I've already phoned your brother-in-law…he's happy to baby-sit the girls."
"…Right…um…I'll get my suitcase."
"Pre-packed as always I hope?"
"Yes sir…you never know what's going to come up!"
"I'll see you at Cheyenne in a couple of hours."
And with that, Hayes hung up.
Kerry let out a sigh, before putting the phone down on the worktop.
"Mom?" her eldest daughter Rebecca questioned.
"Uncle Adam's going to be looking after you two for a couple of weeks."
"Why?" Marissa asked.
Kerry stared at her girls, a deep, leaden weight sinking in her chest. Marissa would take this in her stride. She was six years old and used to dealing without her for long periods of time. But Rebecca was another matter. She could still remember the years before Kerry's recruitment. The years before Alex's death…
"Because Mommy's got a very important job to do, and she's counting on both to be strong again. I know I'm away a lot, but I promise I'll be spending more time with you soon."
"Fine." Rebecca's muted, monosyllabic response told her everything she needed to know, and it cut her to the core.
A chap at the door signalled Adam's arrival, and he poked his head round the door.
"Hi Uncle Adam!" Marissa said cheerily.
"K…you go get your bag…I'll make sure these two eat their dinner."
Kerry merely nodded, collecting her suitcase from it's usual spot at the bottom of the kitchen linen closet.
When Kerry gathered her coat in her arms, Marissa jumped up, embracing her in a hug. Rebecca for her part continued eating.
"Well…I'd better get going…see you soon."
And with that, Kerry left her home, heading for the limo' parked outside, unaware that the promise she'd just made had already been broken…
Pete remained deathly still in his 'cell'. Rob and some ATF heavies hovered around him, waiting for him to regain consciousness, unaware that he already had. He'd passed out after the last round of beatings.
He flinched slightly, however, when he heard his cell phone ring. Rob quickly answered it.
"Hello. No this is Rob Butler. I'm Shanahan's boss. Yes…Yes…I'll pass that information along…he's to report to who? The President?"
The phone call seemed to end abruptly.
"Shit…get him out of here…drop him off somewhere…don't injure him…if we're found out…"
A wave of relief washed over him with such strength, that Pete felt the energy drain from himself. He let his sleep take him, hoping that the ATF men would stick to Rob's request…
Walter sat in his little office in the briefing room, staring intently at the map on Landry's office window, trying to make out which of those worlds were the two he'd been to.
Landry was in his office with Hayes talking animatedly of the plans for disclosure. From what Walter had gleamed, there was to be more involvement of civilians in Earth's off-world interests. That meant that 'civvies' already with knowledge of the Stargate program would be give more work to do, and more say in what the military did. He'd also heard that they were going to bring down the clearance level of SGC- related literature, meaning more military people would know about it. There would also be the advanced disclosure for relatives of SGC staff, and also many previously uninvolved professionals.
Walter looked up when Landry's waving hand caught his attention. Quickly, he got up, heading to the office.
"Walter…can you get Sparky up here?" was Landry's request the instant he opened the door.
"Yes sir…Too late sir…he's hobbling up here as I speak."
Landry turned to look at the staircase as the plaster-clad sergeant appeared.
"Siler…C'mere." Landry beckoned. "You too Walter."
A moment later, Landry shut the door, and Hayes beckoned the pair to take a seat.
"Well gentlemen…at the group briefing earlier, you two were all-ears. So what do you think?"
Siler remained silent, as always, leaving Walter to do the talking.
"Sounds good sir."
"So what do you two think your involvement will be in all this?"
Walter turned to Siler. Then they both shrugged their shoulders.
"You two are two of the finest men serving at Cheyenne, but neither of you are officers. With so many new civilians on the way to the SGC and the Alpha Site, they might be uncomfortable around the ranking officers…We want to transfer both of you to the Alpha Site - permanently."
"Angus!" Alana Stevens-O'Neill shouted to her uncle through the bustle of the airport.
Alana walked into Angus's hug smiling widely.
"Oh it's been too long!" Angus chuckled.
"Yeah…I know…I'm so glad my dad and I finally patched up our differences."
"Me too…I've hardly seen you in ten years!"
The pair started walking towards the exit.
"So...what's new then?" Alana asked.
"Nothing much really…thinking of going back to college…actually finishing a degree this time…I'm sick of being a cop…how about you?"
"Well…Dad's supposedly got me a great job working between both the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force…sort of as a go-between...thing…I think."
"You always were quite the diplomat weren't you."
"I remember when we were kids…I used to fall out with Caitlin all the time, but you always got us talking."
"Oh those were the days!"
They reached the exit, and Alana began looking for a taxi.
"Flight Officer Stevens? Mr O'Neill?" a voice said from behind.
Alana spun round to see a USAF officer. A Major.
"Major Paul Davis…If you'd like to come with me please." He said indicating a limo'.
"Sam? What's going on?" Mark Carter asked his twin as she began along the road to Cheyenne Mountain.
"We're visiting the SGC."
"Why? I've only ever been there once…when you told me about the Tok'ra."
"Well…I've got a surprise for you…or rather…one of my superiors does."
Mark screwed up his face. If this was another of Sam's hair-brained plans, he wanted nothing to do with it.
"Will it involve penguins?" Mark remember back to the trip to the zoo that he, Alice, the kids, Sam and Pete had made to the zoo a year earlier.
Sam snorted. "No…no penguins…something much better!"
"And less humiliating?"
"Yah sure you betcha."
Pete slowly opened his eyes, allowing them to readjust to the lighting of the room he occupied. As his vision cleared, he realised he was in his living room. He attempted to right himself, but the bruising on his temple had other ideas as a wave of dizziness swept over him.
Distantly, he could hear the doorbell, so he fought through the pain-induced haze and made his way to the front door, opening it gingerly, as he realised how much his arm hurt.
"Hello Pete I…wow! What happened to you?"
Pete identified the familiar Minnesotan drawl as that of Jack O'Neill.
"Oh I uh…little SGC-related scuffle with the ATF."
"Yeah...turns out my boss is in the ATF…found out about my connections with Sam and well…you know the rest."
"A bundle hollywood-esque clichés take place…kidnapping…punching…grave warnings et al?"
"So…jobless now? Right?"
"S'pose so…So much for my illustrious career as one who upholds and enforces the law." Pete joked.
"Maybe not." Jack replied with a wry grin, "and it seems I picked the perfect day to drop in on you…I have a little proposition for you."
It had been less than twenty minutes since Siobhan had arrived at the SGC, and she was instructing a group of SFs where to put her equipment. As one scrawny officer put down one of the larger cases, she heard a soft "oof" coming from it. Thinking nothing of it, Siobhan left the SFs to it and headed to the Briefing room.
Pete thought he was seeing things as he entered the briefing room after Jack. He looked at the faces sat at the table. A woman in a bright pink top and Trouser suit, Mark Carter, A guy that looked like a very young version of Jack O'Neill and next to him, another young woman wearing the dress uniform of Britain's Royal Air Force. Next to her was Walter Harriman and another sergeant wearing glasses, with a smudge of what looked like motor oil on his chin. He looked up to see another figure breeze into the room - A tall, slender woman who looked to be in her forties. She calmly sat down, all smiles, grinning at Jack, his look-a-likey and the RAF officer. Moments later, Sam appeared in the room, casting Pete a look he couldn't quite read. Finally another General, Landry, took his place next to Jack.
"Well…this is a rather odd crowd." Jack smiled at the ensemble. "You're probably wondering why you're all here…and I'd love to help out, but I believe I'll leave it up to someone else…President Henry Hayes."
There was a hushed chorus of 'whats' from the group as Hayes appeared in the room. Every inch the leader, he made eye contact with all of them.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this…but we're throwing you in at the deep end. Those of you who don't know about the Stargate Project - namely F.O Stevens and Mr O'Neill - this will serve as your disclosure briefing. As for the rest of you…You'll learn about your new roles within the program and the new responsibilities you will have."
Hayes judged the reactions to his statement before continuing. "The Stargate is an alien device that was found in Egypt, on the Giza plateau in 1928. After many years of hard work by various academic and military groups, we got it to work. That was nine years ago. Ever since, we've been using it to send military and civilian teams to other worlds."
"Holy freakin' well Hannah." Angus gasped.
"Mr President…are you serious?" Alana said, awe in her voice.
"Absolutely! Your dad has been one of the figureheads of the programme for most of it's life as a matter-of-fact."
Alana raised an eyebrow at Jack. "Really?"
Hayes continued "We've encountered many races of humans directly descended from us here on earth, but we've also encountered several alien races, some of whom we've sought as allies. Namely the Asgard. But we have a chance of another alliance, with a race known as the Ghatrians. But they have some conditions, and one of them is to grant full disclosure to the population of earth. Obviously, that can't happen over the night, so it's going to happen in stages. Firstly, we're going to up the involvement of civilians within the programme; and secondly, we're going to grant more rights to the families of our officers and personnel. Angus and Mark - you're here for that reason. You're going to get a tour of our first off-world base - the Alpha Site, as well as getting to know more about the programme through access to the some the SGC's mission archives. You've been included in this briefing as you have more links to the SGC than most of the other relatives."
Now Landry stood before the room and Hayes handed over to him.
"The rest of you will be getting either temporary or permanent positions at the Alpha Site. I'll start with the temporary assignments.
"Kerry Johnson - You'll be needed as an overseer of sorts at the Alpha Site. You won't report to any officers there. Instead, you've to keep a record of the day to day goings on at the Alpha Site. You will also be a go-between for the Military and the current Administration. You'll be reporting directly to President Hayes on a weekly basis after this fortnight is up. Alana Stevens - You'll also serve a similar capacity, but you'll be a diplomatic relay or sorts between the various military forces, primarily the American and British forces.
Permanent positions: Dr Siobhan O'Neill - there's been some remarkable geological finds in an area about ten kilometres west of the Alpha Site, and that's where you'll be stationed. The Alpha Geologists will fill you in on that... Pete Shanahan - You're going to be part of the core Civilian team based at Alpha. Your past with the Navy and the Police will prove invaluable during our expansion of the Alpha Site, and we're looking for you to become a 'keeper of the peace' there between the military groups and the various civilian and non-Tauri groups such as the Jaffa... Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman. You'll be one of the command staff at the new Alpha Site Control Base. You'll be completely responsible for the civilian involvement at the alpha site. Sergeant Siler - your role at the Alpha site will be the same as your role here…keep everything ticking over as it should."
Hayes looked round the table, looking for any sign that they knew what they were getting themselves into. A number or head-nods and 'yes sirs' answered his concerns.
"Okay folks…take time to get to know the SGC, do some reading…you leave tomorrow."
"Other planets...other planets?" Alana said in both awe and disbelief as she gazed sightlessly at the Stargate. Jack stood behind her, enjoying seeing the open look of wonder on his daughter's face.
It had been so long since he'd seen her so happy. Not since she was a child when everything was still a wonder to her. He missed those times, and he got the distinct impression she did to.
"I can't believe it..."
"Lot to take in...isn't it." He said quietly, joining her in her vigil.
Father and daughter were silent for a few moments, watching some of the techs busying themselves in the Gate room.
"I'm sorry you never found out about this sooner."
"It's hardly your fault Dad...it's classified...And...the whole falling-out thing...my fault."
"No-one's to blame for that...these things happen."
"Mom didn't exactly help things did she."
"Let's not talk about her right now...let's talk about the future...out there."
"Command staff? Where did that come from! I'm Chevron guy…not command guy!" Walter wailed over his beer.
"Could be worse…you could have got stuck in with the egg heads." Siler tried to reason with him.
"…There's that at least."
"And Alpha's only a wormhole away…think about those poor beggars on Atlantis and the Daedalus!"
"I'm gonna miss O'Malley's."
"The beer or the barmaids?"
The next morning, a large crowd stood in the Gate room, ready to disembark. The crowd consisted of Walter, Siler, Siobhan, Kerry, Pete, Mark, Angus and Alana along with a lot of Alpha officers heading back to the base, and several heavily-laden FRED transport vehicles.
Above them, in the control room, Colonel Carter and Generals O'Neill and Landry paced about. Sam looked down at Mark, busy talking with Pete. They both looked jumpy and anxious, but every first-time 'Gater was like that. She wanted to go down and hug Mark and tell him it would be okay, but alas she had her own rendezvous - the Prometheus. Mark caught her gaze, and they smiled at one another, before Sam leaned forward into the microphone.
"Don't worry Mark…it's a piece of cake."
"It better be!" He shouted back, "I'll see you soon."
"I'd better! Good luck…have fun!"
Sam clicked off the microphone, before turning to Landry.
"Permission to join Prometheus Sir."
"It's granted Colonel…I only wish you were staying here."
"Where's Sam off to?" Pete asked Mark
"Tour of duty on the Prometheus…one of our Starships."
"You ready kids?" Jack's voice boomed into the gate room.
"As we'll ever be sir!" Walter chuckled, pointing to Siler's cast.
"Okay then…Alpha teams one and two…you have a go."
The Stargate Claxon sounded, and the assembled personnel instinctively moved away from the whirl of the Stargate. Alana could feel her heart pounding in her chest, and clutched her M16 tightly to her chest. She tried to calm her breathing but to no avail. Alana looked quickly round the rest of the group. Siler was picking at his finger and Walter was cleaning his glasses. Siobhan, Kerry, Pete, Mark and Angus however, were like her - sheet white but full of nervous energy and anticipation. Her dad had explained the Gate's operations to her, and she noticed that six of the Chevrons had locked. The inner track of the Stargate spun around almost endlessly, as time slowed down to a crawl. She took another glance at her new colleagues, but felt another pair of eyes resting on her own - Pete's. He looked away a moment later, giving her a forced smile before flinching as the chevron seven locked and the ripping plume of 'water' emerged from the event horizon.
"Wow." Alana's statement went unheard by all.
Walter looked round at the group, relishing his first taste of command. "Okay Alpha one and two…move out!"
Walter helped Siler up the ramp, indicating to the SFs to move our first. He beckoned on the new recruits, as they began to edge up the ramp. Mark watched them go. One by one. Siobhan and Angus O'Neill stepped through with ease, disappearing into the 'water'. Pete edged on, hesitating slightly at the rippling of the even horizon, before he steeled himself and went forward into the blue. Mark suddenly found himself alone, looking into the swirling blue mass.
Okay Mark…this is a 'piece of cake'…Sam does it all the time…it's no problem
His breakfast said otherwise. But nevertheless, he propelled himself onwards, and felt the soft watery illusion engulf him, before an incredible light appeared, and thrust him onwards into the abyss.
Less than a second later, mark appeared in the Gate Room of the Alpha Site. He wiped his face and realized it was covered in ice.
"Wow that was cold!" Angus shivered.
"I found it quite refreshing actually." Siobhan grinned back at him.
"Yeah…good for the skin!" Kerry smiled.
"Okay people…welcome to Alpha Site. I'm Colonel Reynolds and I'm in the leader of SG16. I'm here to give you a little tour of our establishment…so if you'd like to follow me please."
Reynolds walked off to the right, a spring in his step, and the group followed him.
"Can you believe we're on another world." Angus said to Alana and Siobhan.
"I know…it's amazing." Alana smiled back at him.
"I can't believe it…these walls are made of concrete."
"Why concrete? This planet must have an equivalent…or maybe they made the concrete our of stuff found on this planet! Siobhan said with great enthusiasm as she began picking at the wall.
Angus mouthed a silent 'okay' at his sibling, before saying, "I'd better get back to the gate room…I'm heading back just now."
The Stargate Claxon sounded, identical to its Tauri counterpart. A voice called over the tannoy.
"Civilian group one and AS team 1 prepare to disembark."
Angus turned to Alana and Siobhan. "Well that's me."
"Yeah…coming back?" Siobhan asked.
"Of course…you'll see me in no time! Well…better go."
The group watched as Angus made his way along to the gate room, accompanied by Reynolds.
"You not going just now Mark?" Pete turned to his friend.
"Nope…They're giving me a tour of the labs in a half an hour, so I'll be around for another few hours at least."
Along the corridor, the glow of the Stargate could be seen rippling against the concrete. Momentarily, the wall ceased to glow, and normal lighting took it's place. The Stargate Claxon shut off, and the base returned to normal.
"Well…we'd better get back to our 'designated areas'." Walter sighed turning to the rest of the group. "Siler…you and I need to get our stuff seen to…the rest of you…off you go…I expect you all back here for sixteen hundred."
Walter barely finished his sentence when another claxon sounded - the alert siren.
Walter spun round to look at the control room as is swung into action. Reynolds emerged jogging from the Gate room.
"Andrews…what is it?"
"Some kinda ship sir. One we've never seen before…But I can tell you it's armed to the teeth!"
"Try and get a visual."
Reynolds pointed to one of the SFs on guard. "Get a call out to the Archaeology team. We need Colonel Fletcher here."
"Sir!" Andrews called from his station. "That ship…it's just sent down a landing party to the dig…we're getting reports of fire! Hang on…Sir…the line's dead."
"Colonel Reynolds…We've got a visual of the alien hostiles."
The group turned round to the small display screen on the wall next to the star chart. It was an aerial view, but a pasty, shady figure could be seen, standing deathly still, surrounded by fire.
"The Ori…Get word to the SGC ASAP…Everyone arm yourselves!"
Kerry turned to the unmanned station behind her. "Colonel…I've got a visual of the Ship in orbit."
Another image flickered on screen. That of a massive ship. It looked archaic, ancient - and terrifying.
The base suddenly became a hub of activity as SFs began running to their stations. Reynolds signalled to an SF to get guns for Pete, Kerry, Siobhan and Mark.
"Sir…we've sent a message to the SGC…They don't have anything that can help us, but they're dispatching the Daedalus to our area."
"Negative…tell Landry that there's no way we'll make a dent in that ship."
"Everyone get to! Civvies…you stay here and help defend the gate room."
Mark looked down at the weapon in his hands. "I-I can't shoot a gun…I hate the things."
"Mark…just hold the butt against your shoulder area point, aim and fire." Pete instructed.
"Colonel…more incoming hostiles in our vicinity!"
There was a sudden large explosion, and Alana felt the temperature soar. She could hear agonised screams and calm voices. Calm voices that were chanting amidst the chaos and horror. Steeling herself, she made her way to the entrance of the room, gripping her P90 close to her body. She felt a rush of air as several SFs and Reynolds dashed passed her an into the rest of the base. Walter came rested behind her, his gun also poised to defend their position.
"Siler, Carter, Shanahan…get to the gate room. Johnson take point."
Another boom and more chanting was heard. This time much closer. Another alert sounded - the evac' tone.
"Alright…Stevens, Johnson stay here."
"Where are you going Sergeant?" Alana asked as him.
"To get people ready to evacuate!"
Walter ran into the inferno of the corridors. The air was thick, heavy, full of the stench of terror and death. Some SFs were poised in the corridors, as the sounds of P90 and M16 discharge grew ominously closer.
"Airmen!" Walter called to a young officer hugging one of the corridor walls.
"Any sign of Reynolds?"
"Right…head to the gate room…we're evacuating!"
"We should dial home." Mark said to Pete.
"Well…nine triangle shaped…things…nine symbols!"
"Which ones?" Pete winced as a grenade detonated a hundred or so yards away. Sending a metallic clatter echoing round the corridors.
"Any!" You really think there can be many of these things?"
"'And if it's not right…it'll be a planet that we know of…"
Pete began punching in symbols.
Walter had been ordering back as many personnel as possible as he continued along the corridors, but his luck may have ran out. A grenade had exploded in the corridor ahead, spraying him with shrapnel and pieces of concrete. But he was also nearing the officers' mess. It's door was barricaded with a blast shield, but he could hear shouts from within the room. He peered down the corridor - Nothing. So far, so good. Quickly, Walter ran to the barricade and chapped the thick steel. A brisk knock back told him he would be heard.
"We're evacuating…bring the door up."
Momentarily, the door came up, and dozens of bloodied and anxious personnel looked back at him.
"Okay…head to the gate room…this place is shot up and the evac siren's going. Now move!"
The officers complied, turning into the corridor, when suddenly a few of them paused.
"Your attempt of escape will not work. The Ori see and hear all."
Walter turned, and found himself staring into the eyes of an Ori prior.
"You will be punished. Hallowed are the Ori."
"Why the hesitation?" Mark asked Pete.
The gate room had been filling up with officers, but none had noticed the difficulty Pete and Mark were having with the gate. Pete noticed with some alarm that there was not a single senior officer present.
"I'm waiting for Sergeant Harriman…so we definitely go to Earth."
"Couldn't Siler tell us?"
Siler looked up at them, cradling his broken foot. "I've never been through the gate…don't have a clue!"
"Everybody retreat! Gate room now! Dial her up!" Walter yelled as he got into the control room, spurring the officers to keep moving. He was followed by more officers, running for their lives.
Walter shoved through the melee into the gate room.
"Uh oh…" Pete said. "Can someone else dial in when we're dialling out?"
"What's going on?" Walter hollered.
"Someone's dialling in."
"Well dial the last symbol thennn…Eight Chevrons and not locked?"
"The Ori will get a lock soon!" Kerry shouted in fear.
Walter had to make the call. Did he abort the dialling sequence and possible let the Ori get a lock. No. That would be certain death. Or did he try the one-in-thirty chance of getting a ninth chevron lock and spirit them away to God knows where?
At least they'd having a fighting chance with a nine chevron lock.
"Pick a symbol any symbol…and make it quick!"
Walter felt his heart beating heavily, his legs turning to jelly as Pete keyed in the ninth symbol. His heart soared as the gate made a lock.
"Everybody go!" He commanded, and immediately, there was a mad rush up the steps to the Stargate as officer after officer made a jump into the unknown.
There was a sudden low rumble through the ground, and Walter heard screaming coming from the corridor. The temperature shot up, and Walter felt as though his skin was frying.
"Agonizing screams followed, and Walter risked a look right along the main corridor. A few hundred yards away, he could see white. White fire. A fireball, heading right for them.
"Go go go now!"
Walter stepped aside, letting as many officers as possible get through the gate. He waited until the last possible second, wincing in grief as he saw the fiery might of the Ori engulf the stragglers, before he too jumped through the gate, into the abyss, and into the truly unknown…
TO BE CONTINUED...