Stargate Command

With the familiar roar and billow of motion the Stargate nestled deep beneath Cheyenne mountain exploded into life behind the iris, a small squad of airmen standing by with weapons armed just in case this scheduled arrival was in fact an imposter.

"IDC confirmed." Masterseargent Walter Harriman announced. "Opening the iris."

Swiftly and precisely the metal slats retracted and opened the way for the visitors, allowing three robed figures to emerge from the portal moments later bathed in glimmering blue light. At the same moment the blast door clanged open allowing Colonel Mitchell to step in.

"At ease Airmen." He ordered the armed troops and went to the foot of the ramp to greet the guests.

Mitchell had been here for less than a week but was already eager to get going, he'd talked to the team, managed to get Jackson and Carter convinced through his enthusiasm that he could fill his role as SG1 commander and had pretty much won over the whole base. But he did have one last hurdle.

"Teal.c, welcome back." Mitchell smiled. "And you must be Bra'tac, I've heard a lot."

"Greetings Colonel Mitchell." Teal'c replied. "It is good to see you recovered."

He stared at the third man, a huge and grim looking warrior. "I don't think I've seen you in reports before?"

"I am Gerrak, member of the Free jaffa council."

"He is a mighty warrior and noble leader." Bra'tac stated. "A true hero of the Jaffa."

"It is good to see you recovered." Teal'c said with a slightly odd smile.

While Mitchell had never been a member of an actual SG team his role as a 302 pilot had brought him into contact with some members of the SGC before mainly for training and briefings. He knew most people in passing which had helped when he came to be one of them full time.

"Well thanks Teal'c, I hope you had some success out there."

"Unfortunately progress has not been as rapid or agreeable as I had hoped."

"The Free Jaffa Nation," Bra'tac explained. "Does not greatly trust the Tauri, a ridiculous position based on our common bond forged in battle. They regard with suspician, even contempt in some circles, and that is also directed at the two of us."

"That's crazy!" Mitchell said. "Without you there would be no Free Jaffa to start with!"

"Reason and logic seems to have little bearing on the new rulers of the Jaffa." Teal'c intoned. "We have much work to do if we are to convince them to forge a true alliance with the Tauri."

Gerrack remained completely unreadable during Teal'c and Bra'tac's conversation, keeping his own thoughts firmly to himself.

"Where is General O'Neill?" Bra'tac asked. "We should speak with him about this matter."

"Yeah, well, there's been one or two changes in your absence." Mitchell shuffled his feet. "General O'Neill is gone, promoted to head of Homeworld Security at the Pentagon."

"Pentagon?" Bra'tac asked.

"The gathering place for this nations chief warriors." Teal'c said. "Did General Hammond not hold this title?"

"He had to step down for health reasons, he's going to be acting as the Presidents advisor on off world matters. Little less stressful."

"Who is in charge of this facility in General O'Neill's absence?" Bra'tac wondered.

"General Hank Landry, he and O'Neill go way back." Mitchell smiled. "He's a solid commander."

"Indeed." Teal'c stated flatly, his expression unreadable. "What is the status of SG1?"

"Well we're going to need to talk about that, there have been one or two changes." Mitchell shrugged.

"Anything else we need to know about?" Bra'tac asked.

"Well you know," Michell smiled innocently. "Little things."

Dark side of the Moon

The Earth Force construction ships had done a very quick job, hauling through the parts for the promised shipyard and assembling it in a fortnight along with a supply of raw materials and even a staff of shipwrights from Mr Garibaldi's corporation to show the selected SGC personnel how everything worked. The facility was itself over two and a half miles long but was mostly made of a grid work of lattices and cross bracing with only a cylindrical rotating section and solid power core housing adding any real mass to the station. It was a fairly lightweight facility as far as the Earth Alliance was concerned, a fraction the size of the Io or Proxima yards but far more portable and a good initial gift to their new friends and allies across the gateway.

Although so far the SGC staff hadn't had a chance to test it on their own vessels, the two berths were occupied by the Excalibur and Titans undergoing repairs after the battle for Atlantis. It had however given them a chance to see the automated systems in action and learn first hand how Earth Alliance large scale construction technology worked. Already the United States government in partnership with the IOC was arranging for the assembly of Trinium stockpiles from numerous sites across the galaxy so it could begin work on the third batch of 304 type Battlecruisers, this time built from the ground up with the new technologies incorporated from the Earth Alliance, mainly energy weapons and computer systems. The second batch lead by the Odyssey was already nearly complete well ahead of schedule and also incorporated the new systems, a second American ship and even a British built vessel was also close to being finished. Added to the handful of Earth Force frigates and the Hyperion class cruiser which were all due to be divided equally among the IOC countries it gave Earth quite an impressive force for such an incredibly short development time.

Matthew Gideon did rather enjoy seeing his ship from the outside from time to time just to remind himself of the weight of responsibility he had been given. Right now the hull was badly scarred with holes burned across much of its length and a few major systems still offline, including the main Vorlon based cannon. Beyond it Ivanova's ship was also in dock, fortunately in better condition and due to leave within the next few hours, it's crew already embarked and conducting final checks. The Daedalus had been fixed in a day having suffered no particularly major damage and would soon be heading back to Atlantis on a scheduled supply run.

"Captain." Gideon recognized Colonel Caldwell's voice beside him, he turned and nodded in greeting.

"Afternoon Colonel, how's your ship?"

"Daedalus is ready to fly." He confirmed. "We're staying to give the Odyssey a welcome to the team flyby, then we'll be heading for Atlantis." He glanced at the other ship. "How's yours?" he grimaced. "Up close it looks pretty bad."

"Garibaldi's chief engineer says it'll be two or three months to fix perfectly, but we can be mobile in less than one if he cuts corners." Gideon answered. "Luckily we still have the Victory out there if something bad happens."

"Speaking of, Hermiod was asking about your buddy Galen." Caldwell moved into the subject with the subtlety of a human wave assault. "He wanted to know more about them, I think his people will be interested too."

"Not much to tell." Gideon said in reply. "I've known Galen ten years and I can't tell you one percent of how he does what it is he does. He just makes it happen and I've learned not to care why, just to be grateful."

Galen had been something of a curiosity on the trip to Atlantis, but after somehow destroying a Wraith ship single handed and then figuring out a way to get the whole fleet home in one go he had become a genuine enigma. On the way in they had used a ZPM to increase the Daedalus hyperdrive bubble to encompass the whole fleet. However after giving the ZPM to Atlantis the return journey was going to be not only slower but also only to bring one ship back at a time.

Before the trip back Galen had suggested a way to boost power to the Daedalus and allow the damaged ships to make it home all at once using the power generation capability of his own ship. How was a secret Galen was keeping to himself but it seemed his small black ship held the ability to create and transfer a staggering amount of energy which had intrigued even the stoic Hermiod.

"Ever seen inside that ship of his?" Caldwell wondered.

"Yeah, one time." Gideon nodded. "But he kept the lights off so I didn't see anything. Or there just wasn't anything to see. Hard to tell with Galen."

"Well he beats David Copperfield."

"Who?" Gideon frowned.

"Doesn't matter. I just wanted to thank you guys for coming along, it would have been a lot harder without your help, and we wouldn't have given the Wraith such a bloody nose."

"Our pleasure, lets just hope Galen has got a lead from the database."

Caldwell looked out at the other ship. "Captain Ivanova leaving?"

"In a few hours, the surviving Whitestar has already gone to Minbar for more thorough repairs, we don't really have the technology here."

"Ranger Gilmore said the ship was alive." Caldwell grimaced. "I don't think I like that idea."

"Maybe not, but one day I think they're going to do the same to ships like this." Gideon nodded to the Excalibur. "You know the next two are already more than half done now the bugs have been worked out."

"Where is Galen anyway?"

"On Earth." Gideon answered. "Confusing the hell out of a whole new bunch of people."

Caldwell chuckled. "Good luck to them."

"And same to you Colonel, safe journey."

"Thanks." The Air force man nodded and began to leave. "If you ever need a lift you know where we are."

Gideon smiled. "I might take you up on that one day. May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk."

Caldwell paused. "Where's that from?"

"Captain Ivanova, I heard her recite it before we left." Gideon explained. "It's ancient Egyptian."

Caldwell smiled. "Well I'd be careful saying that around the SGC, they can fill you in on the real Ancient Egyptians. See you later Captain, God speed."

Stargate Command

Later that day

"I love a good mystery." Galen beamed at the assembled group. "Don't you agree?"

The other members of the group, namely SG1 and General Landry seemed somewhat less convinced.

"I love a good solution to a mystery." Landry answered. "There is a difference."

"All the more reason to investigate." The Mage smiled. "Shall we?"

Landry raised his hands. "One step a time, this isn't something to rush into." He looked at his notes again. "Doctor Jackson, you say this information came from a being called Draal?"

"Yes, a Minbari." Daniel answered. "An alien in charge of this Great machine and apparently he knows everything, including somehow our planet registry system."

"Probably the same way he seemed to know so much about the Prometheus." Carter added. "Delenn said the Machine uses some sort of telepathic elements, he could have read it all from our minds, or just looked in the computer systems."

"But basically this world he suggested you look at is the same one mentioned in the Atlantis database?" Landry looked to Galen.

"Correct." Answered the Mage. "Quite a showing of serendipity in my opinion."

"Do we know what's out there?" the General continued.

"Specifically, no." Galen said. "Simply something made by the Ancients and abandoned as they ascended."

"I'm in favour of checking it out." Mitchell said clearly. "Good mission to send SG1 on."

"You sure you want this as your first off world mission?" Landry asked. "There's a standard survey mission to a new world out tomorrow."

"General it's cool, we're all ready to get back to our day jobs." Mitchell beamed. "Right?"

"Indeed." Agreed Teal'c.

"Sure." Carter nodded.

The room looked expectantly at Daniel, quickly overcoming his reservations. "Okay, lets go and take a look, so long as we take Galen with us."

"Why I'd love to." The technomage clapped his hands together. "The Stargate, quite a piece of technology."

"Well it works, that's good enough for me." Mitchell said. "Do we have a go General?"

"You have a go." Landry hid a smile. "Have fun Colonel."

"You too sir." Mitchell half smiled. "Bra'tac and that new guy are waiting to talk to you."

"Yeah, what ever happened to starting small?" Landry chuckled.

"Actually sir, as far as the SGC is concerned this is small." Carter commented. "Well, compared to interstellar invasion."

"Yeah, was that fourteen at last count?" Jackson asked.

"Thirteen Daniel Jackson." Teal'c corrected. "O'Neill said the android replicants did not count as an invasion, just an irritant."

"And I thought my time in Black Operations was confusing." Landry groaned. "Alright people, get gone, I've got work to do."

Within the hour SG1 had gathered it's equipment and was standing in the gate room beneath the large control room window under General Landry's watchful gaze. Sergeant Harriman began the by now familiar Stargate activation sequence and set the black ring spinning.

"Wonderful stuff, this Naquadah." Galen remarked. He had joined the team and stood mostly in silence draped in black clothing and partially obscured with a hood. He also held a dark coloured staff as any respectable wizard would.

"Yes it is." Carter confirmed with a faint smile. "It's fairly unique atomic structure lets it channel energies we've only just started to understand. Plus it makes an excellent power source, and if necessary a weapon."

"The Goa'uld are obsessive in their desire to acquire Naquadah." Teal'c said. "Slave mines were once most common."

"Until we started interfering of course." Jackson remarked. "Then it all started getting crazy, as far as we can tell most slave worlds are now free."

"As are the Jaffa." Teal'c stated with a hint of pride. "The days of Goa'uld supremacy are past."

With a final clank the gate locked and activated, an explosion of light announcing the creation of a wormhole.

"Now that is interesting." Galen continued. "A completely different type of wormhole to anything recorded by my order. And they tend to be quite thorough."

"I'll bet there are a lot of things to learn out here." Carter smiled. "Shall we?"

"Oh, after you." Galen returned the smile with a small bow.

Mitchell did a final equipment check and then started walking up to the gate, the four others following him. This was, he noted absently, his first time through the gate and he was deliberately trying not to make a big deal out of it. He walked in a straight line up to the gate and without hesitation walked straight through it, constantly reassuring himself that this was going to be awesome, and not immediately fatal.

Fortunately he was right.

He couldn't resist a little gasp of glee when he stepped out into the darkened cavern at the far end, illuminated by the lights on the MALP that had travelled through half an hour earlier. "That is just so cool!"

Carter, Jackson and the others stepped through, even Galen treating it like an everyday occurrence. The Mage was looking briefly at everything, eyes darting back and forth while his expression remained neutral.

"I knew going through the Stargate would be fun." Mitchell grinned. "You guys never mentioned that."

"The enjoyment requirement is not essential to gate travel." Teal'c said.

"But it is pretty cool." Jackson admitted. "Well most of the time, unless you get trapped like that one time Teal'c did."

"Or hit a wall on the other side." Carter added. "Or a black hole."

"But there was that time we triggered a Nova with…" Jackson started but curbed his enthusiasm. "I guess we should get on with something."

"Well without any signposts I guess we follow the cavern." Mitchell pointed ahead. "See what's up there."

They began to walk in file away from the gate and into the darkness, each bearing a light source to prevent them falling flat on their face.

"These caverns look natural." Carter said, shining a light on the walls. "But the floor has been artificially levelled."

"Correct Colonel Carter." Galen agreed "I'd judge we were at least five miles below the surface, and the atmosphere and climate above is particularly hostile, we'd call it a class four world back home."

"How do you…" Mitchell began but cut himself off. "magic right?"

Galen winked in return.

"So they got a gate down here," Jackson thought out loud. "Levelled this caverns for ease of movement, and then what? Why go to this trouble? What is down here that's worth visiting?"

"Perhaps it is something they built." Teal'c said. "The inhospitable nature of this world would provide cover from casual inspection, and the depth of the caverns is a useful defence mechanism."

"Especially if the gate is the only way in." Mitchell considered. "So something worth hiding."

"Which usually means something worth finding." Galen smiled.

"Still doesn't explain how Draal knew about it." Carter said. "Did anything come up in the Atlantis database?"

"Not much." Galen replied. "But this location was mentioned in relation to a medical facility, some sort of research base."

"It's the sort of place we need to check out." Mitchell agreed. "Might give us some clues on beating the Drakh Plague."

"That would be the goal." Galen said. "hmm, door up ahead."

They turned a final corner and found a very solid looking metal door in the rock, a terracotta coloured series of stone blocks beside the entry way displayed Ancient symbols inscribed into them.

"Well, looks like this is it." Jackson said. "The door controls follow a pattern I've seen on other Ancient built structures."

"Can we get in?" Mitchell aksed?

"Sure." Nodded Jackson. "If we had the code for the lock."

"How hard can it be?" Mitchell smiled.

"The Ancients were the most intelligent and advanced race ever to live." Jackson said in mild excasperation. "I doubt the code is the name of their pet."

"You know I was thinking," Mitchell paused. "Did they even have dogs back then? I mean we're talking Mastodons and Sabre Tooth tigers alive back then right?"

"Not exactly." Carter jumped in. "But there would have been a lot of prehistoric predators."

"I do not believe they would have been greatly concerned." Teal'c said bluntly. "With their weapons and shield technology no Predators could have harmed them."

"So I guess some C4 is out of the question to help get the door open?" Mitchell asked helpfully.

"No, I don't think it'll work." Jackson looked at the controls. "Give me a couple of minutes and I'll see what happens."

After a few minutes precisely nothing had happened.

"Are you done yet?" Mitchell asked loudly.

"I haven't touched anything yet." Jackson replied irately. "I'm still translating."

"Can't you just push them and see what happens?"

"I do not believe that would be wise." Teal'c cautioned. "It was a poor choice for Indiana Jones during his adventures."

Mitchell gave him an odd look, but didn't rise to the comment. "How about you, can you help?" he asked Galen.

"I wouldn't know where to begin." The Mage smiled. "I am sure Doctor Jackson is doing fine."

"Actually, yeah." Jackson stepped back. "I think I got it."

"If a large boulder chases us I'm blaming Teal'c." Mitchell moved to cover the door, Carter following suit. "When you're ready."

Jackson nodded, took a breath, and then pushed the central stone. Again nothing happened.

"Well after all that build up…" Mitchell sighed.

With a loud groan the door suddenly moved, crunching over the ground before retracting into a recessed area of the wall. Beyond lights flicked on and began to illuminate a large round room fifty feet in diameter with a series of corridors leading away from it. In the centre was a white illuminated podium with a long transparent case on it.

"I take it back, way to go Daniel." Mitchell smiled. "Okay, let's check it out, slow and steady."

Carter and Mitchell went in first, sweeping back and forth with their rifles as they scoured the room for signs of life. Teal'c and Jackson followed after with their own weapons poised and finally came Galen, walking straight and tall into the middle of the room apparently unconcerned with ambush.

"Room's clear." Mitchell announced safetying his rifle. Recently the SGC had experimented with a few other weapon types and right now the team was armed with German made G36 rifles as a measure to familiarise them with the upcoming M8 design. The SGC was going to be using the very first ones to roll off the production line, though since meeting the Earth Alliance there was talk of an entirely new weapon using the latest technology from both sides of the dimensional gate.

He took a closer look at the room itself now, noting the walls were lined with computer displays, which he realised with surprise were still turned on and active. "They still got power."

"There is a ZPM near by." Galen said conversationally as he examined the room himself. "Down that corridor."

"Cool, even if we don't find anything else that's worth the trip." Mitchell grinned. "Give the Atlantis boys and girls a little comfort zone if someone tries to whack them again."

"Colonel, over here." Carter signalled. "This looks like a stasis chamber."

The group moved over to one corner of the gleaming white room and found a glass cabinet, or at least whatever transparent material the Ancients used as glass. Within were a series of phials and containers filled with coloured liquids held in isolation.

"Any ideas on what's inside?" Mitchell asked.

"Well I recognize this symbol on the chamber." Jackson pointed. "It's Ancient for 'Danger' or something similar. I suggest we take it real easy around this thing."

"I think our theory was right." Carter spoke. "This is some sort of medical research facility, and these are what they were researching."

"Some sort of poison or virus?" Mitchell guessed.

"I'd say so." Jackson confirmed. "Which is why the Ancients seem to be taking care with them."

"Colonel Mitchell." Teal'c's serious voice reverberated around the room. "I do not believe we are alone here."

"We're not?" Jackson frowned and looked to Teal'c.

"Indeed, there are tracks in the patterns of dust on the left of the entrance." The Jaffa replied. "I believe they were made recently."

"Made by a human female." Galen said "About five feet nine inches, slender but athletic build, has long black hair and is armed with an assortment of alien weapons."

"Damn that's good." Mitchell gasped. "You know all that from looking at tracks?"

"Actually no, she's standing over there pointing a gun at us."

In a swift movement Mitchell was spinning around, arming his rifle and dropping to one knee with the weapon at his shoulder, Carter a fraction of a second behind mirroring his reaction. Teal'c and Jackson moved swiftly for cover, the once quite naïve at gun. Galen remained motionless observing the scene.

"I advise to drop your weapons." The dark haired woman announced. "I will have no hesitation… Daniel?"

Jackson popped his head up from behind the table. "Ah hell."

Michell didn't take his eyes off the woman. "You know this chick?"

"She's called Vala." Jackson sighed. "We had some fun with the Prometheus last year."

"Fun for you." She scoffed. "I found the whole experience distinctly unfulfilling."

"You know I thought she looked familiar." Mitchell frowned. "We haven't met before have we?"

She cocked her head. "No, but I wouldn't mind getting a little better acquainted." She smiled seductively, taking a long look at the Colonel. "I like the good looking dumb ones."

"Well thanks but… hey!" Mitchell retorted.

"If you two are done," Jackson stood. "What are you doing here, in fact how did you get in?"

"Well there's a Stargate." She shrugged. "Please try and come to your own conclusions."

"What about the door?" Carter asked.

"I picked up a little of the Ancient language in my evil overlord days." Vala replied.

"You just had to push the right button." Mitchell nodded.

"It's my calling." She flicked her eyelashes. "Speaking of pushing buttons…"

"You still didn't answer why you are here." Jackson interrupted.

"Just a little business." She said. "Pays for the pleasures."

"So what are you stealing this time?" Jackson pressed.

"Yes, what could I possibly wish to steal from an Ancient bio weapons facility?" She rolled her eyes and tutted. "To think you actually foiled my plans last year. I am deeply shamed."

"This place wasn't designing bio weapons, it was designing cures." Carter stated.

"Meh." Vala shrugged. "A technicality, it still has the best selection of alien virus' know to exist, so if you don't mind…" she gestured with a Kull blaster. "Move or I'll shoot you in a very awkward place."

None of them actually moved. "How exactly did you find this place?" Galen asked, remaining perfectly still

"I'm sorry, I didn't realise I was talking to myself." Vala spoke curtly. "Now move."

"Daniel, can I shoot her?" Mitchell asked.

Before anyone could respond Teal'c opened fire with his zat gun aiming to disable Vala, unfortunately the blasts were absorbed by a personal forcefield that Vala had apparently acquired since their last meeting.

"Worth a try." Carter remarked.

"I always come prepared." Vala said. "Which makes one of us." She activated her own zat gun. "I know people who find what happens next quite enjoyable. But they are very weird."

The team split and found cover as Vala opened fire, the blue energy bolts striking the floor and walls around them. Galen once again did not move, merely watching with great interest. One round hit him and was absorbed by his own personal shield, giving Vala a moment of pause.

"Who are you?" she asked. "By the way, you have nice eyes."

"Just an observer." He said. "And thank you."

She moved to the left, looking for a shot at the team. "Would you mind just standing up far a second? I do have a schedule to keep."

"Errr…no!" Mitchell called out. "Galen, is there something you'd like to do right now?"

The Mage looked over at the officer crouched behind the nearest desk. "Well yes, quite a few things actually."

"Does stopping the nymphomaniac sound like a good idea?"

"Well, most people would be encouraging that sort of person." Galen smiled slightly.

"Not when they are shooting at us!" Mitchell snarled. "Just magic her into stopping!"

Before Galen could act Daniel did. He fired his sidearm at Vala's legs hoping that her personal shield wasn't as good as most of the usual Goa'uld shields they'd come across. It was worth a try, but the bullet simply ricocheted off the energy field straight through the stasis chamber, shattering the front screen and one of the phials within.

For long moment the entire room just looked in open mouthed horror at the broken chamber and the steady drip of the liquid in the fractured phial seeping free.

"I believe this is a problem developing." Teal'c said in surreally calm tones.

Mitchell bit back the obvious reply. "Maybe it isn't that bad?"

Vala smiled. "Fortunately my personal shield will protect me from this." She looked down and noted some black liquid on her hand. "Oh F…"

"Let's stay calm shall we." Jaclson said. "I mean we don't know what was in there."

With a sudden rumble the massive door to the facility moved and then slammed shut, a hiss of pressurized air indicating the facility was sealing itself off.

Vala looked at the door, then at Jackson, then once more at the door. "Oh F…"

"Anyway to override the system Daniel?" Mitchell was up and moving. "Carter, how about rearranging some crystals or something."

"I'll take a look, but if we have been infected by something perhaps leaving isn't the best idea, at least until we know what we've contracted."

"Did I mention how much I hate you all?" Vala snorted. "I don't want to die until I'm old and withered! I blame you Daniel! I assure you we won't be spending any stolen last moments together."

"Well not all bad news then." Daniel sighed and started looking for information on a console.

"So Colonel Mitchell." Vala raised an eyebrow. "As we might be dead in a few moments how about we skip the usual customs, rituals and regrettably all the gifts and you just take those pants off."

Mitchell just blinked at her. "Are you for real?"

"Well, Daniel is to blame so he has no fun, Your big friend is a little intimidating, I did consider the blonde but I'm not feeling adventurous, which leaves you. Although old blue eyes there does appeal…"

"Well its sort of romantic, in a borderline psychotic way, but I don't plan to die." Mitchell carefully backed away. "Do we know if it was anything really bad?"

"It's a bio weapons factory." Vala grunted, a little put out at rejection. "I doubt we'll just get high and spacy. Which is a pity really." She produced a scanning device. "I was going to use this to find the best one to steal, it should tell us what Daniel managed to kill us all with."

She held out the scanner and quickly ran it over each of them until she reached Galen.

"According to this you don't exist." She remarked. "Well done."

"What is a wizard without a little mystery?" he grinned.

"Apparently not about to die." Vala said. "I suppose your shield worked."

"It's a little bit older than yours." He admitted. "And quite hard to steal, in case you were wondering."

She shrugged. "I'm sure I can find some way to… convince you to share?"

Mitchell coughed pointedly. "So, scans?"

Vala checked the information. "Well on the not good side we've been infected with a Nano virus."

"That is indeed unfortunate." Teal'c intoned.

"But on the other hand it isn't attacking our immune system, it's moving very slowly." Vala continued. "Could be years until we die."

"Five years, give or take a week or two." Galen said.

"Except of course we all starve to death because we're locked in here." Vala pointed out. "Thanks to Daniel."

"We were doing fine until you tried stealing weapons grade virus' and stuff!" Daniel shot back.

"Well if you hadn't tried to stop me…"

"Can we focus here Children?" Mitchell cut them off. "First thing, lets check the database and see what we were infected with."

"No need." Galen stated. "It's the Shadow virus, virtually identical to the one currently infecting Earth."

Vala blinked. "Earth is infected with a virus?"

"Not our Earth, the other one." Jackson said off hand, more interested in what Galen was saying.

"The other one…?" Vala was deeply confused, but also apparently ignored.

"How can that happen," Carter shook her head. "The Ancients vanished thousands of years ago, and while their ascended forms might be able to cross dimensions why would they take a sample of the virus and leave it here?"

"Unless they didn't take it from the Drakh plague." Daniel concluded. "They took it from the manufacturing site first time around."

"X'Ha'Dam." Galen said. "The almost legendary Shadow base producing their most fearsome weapons, including plagues. That is where the Drakh acquired these tools of death."

"You think the Ancients went there?" Carter asked.

"Possibly," Galen nodded. "Or they took this sample from another place where it was deployed. Usually they are set for a specific biology, Human, Minbari, whatever, but if the biology of a target isn't known they can be deployed neutral and over a few years optimise themselves for the deadliest affect. That's where the five years grace comes from."

"So this is the virus in basic form, with none of the evolved characteristics." Carter figured. "Well that's sure to help with finding a cure, studying it in this form is easier than working on a sample with thousands or millions of permutations."

"If we get out alive." Vala reminded them. "So it infected your world?"

"Yes, and now ten billion people face a slow death." Galen said calmly. "unless we find a way to prevent it."

The thief seemed to be uncharacteristically lost for words. "I didn't know it was so dangerous, the Lucien Alliance told me it would cause sickness which they would then cure, for a price. They never said it was so deadly. There isn't a cure is there?"

"No, there isn't." Galen confirmed. "No known drug will stop them, it will need a counter virus. Problem is developing one powerful enough to stop the Plague but that won't kill the host."

"That's why we're here." Daniel said. "Not for the virus, for the cure."

"We better get on with that." Mitchell brought them to the point. "Galen?"

"I can check the database, perhaps Colonel Carter can help?"

"Agreed." Mitchell nodded. "Daniel, check out the other samples, maybe they already have a cure."

He nodded and set to work.

"Teal'c, we'll check this place out and see if there's another way out, maybe some communication gear to call for help."

"It would be wise to take Vala with us, if she does indeed understand the Ancient language."

"hmm," she smiled "How can a girl refuse an invitation from two guys like you."

"Just get walking before this gets any creepier." Mitchell grunted. "Give us an hour, and cross your fingers." He glanced at Vala. "And your legs."