Admiral Jacob Robyns reread the orders that had been issued to his task force in the peace and quiet of his ready room aboard the Tau'ri Federation starship Achilles. The orders were for a type of escort mission that didn't come about very often. Rereading the orders Jacob couldn't help but feel a twinge of the old wanderlust and desire for adventure that had first attracted him to Earth's space forces in the first place.
His task force of one dreadnought, two battleships, four battlecruisers, eight cruisers and twelve destroyers were to escort the cityship Rivendell to her destination. At anytime escorting a cityship was a prodigious assignment. Modelled directly after Atlantis itself cityships were not built very often. The time and resources required to construct a giant city that doubled as an intergalactic spacecraft was enormous not to mention it was really expensive. To be ordered to escort one somewhere was regarded as a great honour. But what really made this mission for Jacob was where Rivendell was going.
Rivendell was going to a new galaxy and not just any galaxy but a neighbouring dark matter galaxy. Until relatively recently the very existence of dark matter galaxies had been unknown. It was only through the ongoing examinations of the vast Ancient database in Atlantis that they had learned of them, learned of them and found the design for sensors capable of detecting them. They had already pinpointed a number of them, the closest being about halfway between the Milky Way and Pegasus Galaxies but at such an angle that it was almost impossible to just stumble into. Rivendell was going to that galaxy to be the base of operations in exploring the new galaxy.
Jacob jumped slightly when his desk communications panel chimed.
"Bridge to Admiral Robyns," Captain Josephine Owens said as a holographic screen showing her face appeared in front of him.
"Yes captain?" Jacob asked.
"Sir sensors report that Rivendell and her supporting supply ships are rising from the planet. They will reach the departure position in twelve minutes."
"Understood. Signal to the fleet. All ships to deploy into standard escort formation around Rivendell and her support ships as they reach departure position."
"Aye sir," Owens answered then the holographic screen vanished. Jacob smiled softly then leaned back in his chair to wait to be told that the fleet was almost ready for departure.
That Same Time
Flight Lieutenant John Ashford looked up from the magazine pad he was reading at the sound of voices. A smile appeared on his face when he saw that it was Nick Patterson and Catherine Sinclair two other pilots from the squadron he was part of.
"Hi," he called out to get their attention. Nick and Catherine looked over at the sound of his voice, grinned and headed over to him.
"Hi John. You heard the news," Nick said. "The news about where we are going."
"By we you mean the task force," John asked.
"Yes," Catherine replied.
"Somekind of intergalactic escort mission I believe."
"You bet it is John. We're escorting a cityship to a new galaxy," Nick said with a wide smile. "Man I would love to see the inside of one of those ships. A city that can fly through space it must be amazing to see."
"It is very nice," John answered with a knowing smile.
"How do you know," Nick asked. He was relatively new to the fighter squadrons on the Achilles having only been aboard for three months. Though he was friends with John he still didn't know as much about him as he would like. Anything that told him more about John Ashford's background would be welcome.
"Because I was born and bred on Atlantis," John replied with a smile. "My father is one of the scientists working there and my mother is actually a native of the Pegasus Galaxy. She's an Athosian from the mainland of the planet where Atlantis is located."
"Really! You're from Atlantis," Nick exclaimed.
"Yep. Though I've not seen Atlantis in the physical sense for two years, ever since the Achilles was assigned to patrolling the boarder with the Aschen Confederation. Pegasus is a long way to go for leave time unless you go by Stargate."
"Who knows you might get to go back when this mission ends," Catherine said.
"I would like that and to see my siblings and parents again. Subspace communications isn't the same at all."
"No it's not," Catherine agreed. "But enough about this. Anyone up for a poker game?" Nick and John exchanged a look then answered in unison.
Thirty Minutes Later
"Admiral all ships have confirmed that they are ready to depart," a young communications technician reported from the flag bridge communications station.
"Very well," Jacob replied. "All ships jump into hyperspace."
Jacob leaned back in his command chair and turned his attention to the massive high resolution screen that made up the far wall of the flag bridge, there was another just like it on the main bridge. Like all vital facilities both the main and flag bridges were built deep within the Achilles, protected by as much armour as possible.
For a moments nothing happened, the screen continued to show normal space outside the ship. The aft sections of the two leading destroyers were just visible against the backdrop of stars. Abruptly a hyperspace window opened ahead of the fleet, the leading ships abruptly seemed to stretch forward, then vanished into hyperspace. After a second a soft shudder ran through the deck as the Achilles own hyperspace drive activated and the ship accelerated and shot into hyperspace.
As space outside his flagship became the shimmering, nebulous blue tunnel effect of hyperspace Jacob smiled. They were on their way. No one knew what they would see, of what was waiting for them. But he looked forward to finding out what was in this new galaxy.