Authors notes and background information.
Well this is a new story between Andrew James Williams, LightingCount and myself Its set about season 9 to season 10 of SG-1 but as has become rule of fics I've done as of late the Ori will not be present. This is an Alternate Universe so things are bit different here. For one the Tollan are still very much around but have a strained almost non existent relationship with Earth. Another thing is the Goa'uld are still around as a significant enough threat that the Jaffa are. The Victory at Dakara by the Free Jaffa and the SGC did not convince as many of their brethren to reject their false gods as the Free Jaffa would have hoped. Instead the Armies of the System lords and the Armies of the free Jaffa while not exactly equal are enough that the Goa'uld will not just go quietly without a fight. The Free Jaffa's relationship with Earth is more cordial as a matter of consequence to this political and military situation. They see Earth's growing power and believe it may be the key to tip the balance in their scale. Still; much distrust of the Tau'ri linger within the circles of the free Jaffa particularly by the more traditionalists lead by Gareks coalition.
Historical Note: Recent developments in Tau'ri/Tollan Relations
Relations between the SGC and the Tollan Curia took a turn for the worst following the resolution of the attack by Tanith's forces. Col.O'neill and Teal'c of SG-1 were successful in deploying a Tollan phase shifting bomb aboard Tanith's Flagship. Two other motherships were destroyed by concentrated fire from Tollana's remaining Ion cannons and caused the other 3 to flee with heavy damage thanks in no small part to Major Samantha Carter and Daniel Jackson who convinced the Tollan defense force to concentrate their fire on one ship at a time. After the conclusion of hostilities with Tanith's forces the Tollan concentrated on building a more powerful version of their Ion cannons, their current cannons in service being an almost 100yr old design. Recent technological breakthroughs would allow the Tollan to build an Ion Cannon with the same energy requirements as the first model but would have 3 to 4 times the power of the original models which would make short work of a mothership Anubis upgrades or not. These Mark 2 cannons would be deployed soon after in conjunction with the Tollen phase shifting missiles to protect Tollana. When the Tollan Curia informed Stargate Command of its deployment of these new weapons the SGC immediately sent SG-1 and a high level diplomat from the State department, Joseph Faxon to negotiate. A dialogue would continue back and forth for the next 2 months but unfortunately for the SGC the recent actions of saving the Tollan people from certain annihilation (again) did nothing to sway the Curia from its policy of not supplying advanced weapons and Technology to developing worlds, particularly as Tollana was once again safe from the Goa'uld.
Frustration and resentment had been growing for months with the lack of progress in the negotiations, the Tollan continued to show an ungrateful, morally superior attitude towards the Earth delegation as the memory of the attack faded and the threat became less urgent. This fact coupled with the Curia downplaying SG-1s involvement in defense of Tollana and the near attack on Earth by the Tollan (under Orders from Tanith) became the final straw. Ambassador Faxon would be recalled and Earth would practically sever all ties with the Tollan in favor of establishing diplomatic relations with a seemingly equally advanced society, one that appeared open to sharing their technology with Earth, the Achen. However the Achen quickly proved to be far from the benign allies the SGC had hoped for.
When SG-1 and Ambassador Faxon discovered the Achen's plot to sterilize the population. In the ensuing escape Ambassador Faxon sacrificed himself buying Major Carter the time she needed to escape to Earth and warn the SGC of the Achen plot. An attack on Earth with a weapon of Mass destruction was thwarted when the Achen realized Major Carter and Ambassador Faxon were on to them, Ambassador Faxon's status is M.I.A (Missing in Action) presumed killed.
With 2 Catastrophic failures to procure superior technology from off world Allies the SGC and the Pentagon shifted focus to reverse engineering the technology they had acquired from their numerous skirmishes with the Goa'uld. Recent breakthroughs in understanding Goa'uld technology allowed Earth to begin development of the X-302 interceptor and X-303 Prometheus programs. Modular in construction these prototypes were built piecemeal over the course of several years and would become the backbone in the new defense strategy of Earth.
With the Aid of the Asgard Earth has been able to develop even more advanced ships such as the 304 Daedalus class which uses more Asgard technology in favor of the Goa'uld tech more common on Prometheus.
Chapter 1 Theft.
It was a day that started out like any other aboard research station 01 orbiting Calphina a small Colony recently established by the growing Tollan nation. Calphina; a small world with an Earth like atmosphere and temperate climate was 700 light years from Tollana. It boasted a modest population of 7,000 people mostly research staff, miners and their families. It was also one of Tollana's primary trinium mines supplying Tollana with the invaluable raw materials needed to build their nation. The station itself was a peculiar design with a dark grayish egg like structure at its center and 2 habitation pods branched out from either side. It floated in geosynchronous orbit over the main settlement, in the center of the structure the brightest minds of the Tollan people were currently hard at work on their greatest achievement yet, an achievement that would change the way the Tollan would view the universe.
Director Orthan moved quietly down the main corridor of the station heading towards one of its many science labs, he had just been informed of yet another successful test on the QSDD or Quantum Subspace Displacement Drive one the many projects within this facility that Orthan oversaw. With this new drive technology the Tollan could travel dimensions the same way they traveled the stars. Quantum Universe theory was not a new one to the Tollan, they had theorized for over 200yrs of the possibilities of alternate realities within the multiverse. After centuries of methodical and careful study it seems they may have finally done it. After the initial successful test of the drive system the first of the 2 prototypes had been sent back to Tollana via the Stargate for evaluation by the Curia. It was one thing to create something such as the QSDD, but to utilize it properly and to make sure it wasn't abused was something else entirely. Orthan grunted in amusement as he thought on the situation, deliberations within the Curia could take years even a decade before they decided on the best course of action to take with the new technology. He was scheduled to speak before the Curia in the coming week about the possible benefits of traveling to meet other societies across the dimensional barrier.
He was startled from his revere by an alarm klaxon that sent many of the people in the corridor with him scrambling. Pulling a communicator from his pocket he called the stations main control room. "Control this Orthan what is happening?"
"We have Al'kesh ships decloaking around the station and sensors show multiple Ha'tak class ships exiting hyperspace!" the slightly panicked voice came back over the net.
The Goa'uld! By the Shermock how could they have found this location? It was just off the gate network and the Tollan took great pains to keep its location secret only moving a formerly inactive gate on the planet 3 months ago. "Raise shields and power all Ion cannons. Can we send a message back to Tollana?"
"Negative Sir! All long range transmissions are being jammed."
"How many Motherships are there?" Orthan asked as he jogged to the main control room. He hoped there was at least a chance they could fight their way out of this situation if it came to that.
"Count holds steady at 34 Ha'taks, 26 Al'kesh and a ship like I've never seen before...wait sir the Ha'taks are deploying deathgliders...hundreds of them!"
Orthan's lowered his head and sighed in defeat before continuing his trek to the main control room, the station was still equipped with the mark 1 Ion cannons the Tollan had used years ago which wouldn't be much of a threat against 2 upgraded Motherships let alone 34. Added to the fact the station only had class 3 shields and Orthan knew that resistance was hopeless against such a force.
"Contact Talia and tell her to get to the lab quickly."
"Right away sir."
Orthan arrived in the main control room and looked at the main monitor which showed dozens of ships and hundreds of gliders moving to surround the station and one ship more massive and menacing than anything Orthan had yet seen. The flagship was black with an oval center unlike the typical pyramid central core that dominated Goa'uld ship designs. It had several arms that protruded from the main body surrounding the hull and was more than 8 kilometers in length. A careful scan of the vessel showed its shields were easily capable of taking sustained fire from the station and its weapons were more than capable of taking out the station itself. Orthan noted in some small relief that so far none of the ships had descended towards the planet. Meaning this wasn't a typical invasion, but a raid and their timing couldn't be coincidence Orthan thought darkly. Still; Orthan doubted the Goa'uld would leave anyone alive on the planets surface, once they finished their business here they would surely kill the unsuspecting population below...like they did his wife and children all those years ago.
"Were you able to contact Talia?" Orthan asked the female technician in front of him.
The main control room of orbital station 1 was a design unique to the Tollan. It was a series of control stations arranged in 3 half spheres in a triangular ascending order. The rightmost station (currently occupied by Orthan and the female technician) was of the lowest elevation while the station to the left was slighter higher in elevation. The third station in the center of the room; just shy of the main monitor that dominated the far wall was of the highest elevation and was usually where the command staff would conduct the operations of the station. If one were to look down on the set up it the design would see the design as a series of half spheres arranged in a triangular design. It was a design that worked well for the Tollan but unfortunately today most of the command staff was planet-side enjoying some free time with their families, meaning Orthan was the person with the highest rank aboard and thus the defacto leader.
"Negative sir, we kept trying until you arrived she has not responded."
Orthan frowned at the news that wasn't like Talia.
"Ok we will just have to do this another way. Compile all system logs from the research database and prepare to initiate full system wipe of all information pertaining to our research here. We cannot allow the Goa'uld to gain access to our technology." Orthan said.
"Yes sir." the technician focused on her displays then frowned. "Sir I'm locked out of the system."
"What!?" Orthan gasped.
"I am unable to gain access to the research database." The technician repeated.
"A malfunction?" Orthan asked.
"Unlikely we ran a diagnostic this morning and everything came back in the green." She tapped a few more controls and was rewarded with more data that scrolled across her screen "I still have access to station operations, weapons, shields, sensors and the like, but I can not access the research database...It seems the lockout was initiated from the Lab."
"Let me see that." The technician dutifully vacated her seat to Orthan who took it and scrutinized the system monitor. He attempted to input his own security code only to get a flashing red 'ACESS DENIED' on the screen.
"What the?" Orthan asked in bewilderment. As a senior member of the Tollan Science Council as well as the lead scientist on the QSDD project Orthan had the highest level clearance of his government meaning his code should have worked. He attempted to input his code twice more only to achieve the same result.
Rising from the seat allowing the technician to retake her station Orthan's mind worked furiously. "Try to contact the Lab." Orthan began "If Talia is there relay my order to destroy all records of all projects and to destroy the QSDD prototype immediately."
"Yes sir." the technician complied then frowned again. "Sir I'm unable to raise the lab."
"Say that again?" Orthan paled hoping he had not heard her right.
"I can't raise the lab; it is as if the comm. channel has been locked out."
"But I just came from there and everything was working fine." Orthan protested "Ok get on the PA system and issue the order then." Orthan said switching tracks.
"Yes sir." the technician responded curtly then her face turned ashen. "Sir the PA system is also offline, infact all internal communications just went down, we only have short-range outbound communications."
"Please tell me you can get it back?" Orthan asked dreading what her answer might be. The timing of the Goa'uld's arrival was just too good to be coincidence. He had a growing suspicion in his mind as to what was happening but he soon squashed it as impossible, it was too horrible to even consider, yet the timely arrival of the Goa'uld fleet with another successful testing of the QSDD, the sudden lockout from the database and the loss of communications...
"By the Shermock what is going on here?" Orthan whispered as his mind refused to believe his disturbing conclusion. Breathing deeply to regain his composure Orthan couldn't help but feel that time was slipping away, as if the fates had turned against him. He turned to the main monitor watching as the Last Goa'uld Mothership fell into position completely surrounding the station. Gliders and Al'kesh could be seen maneuvering; flying circles around the station like a pack of ravenous hyenas circling their cornered prey.
"We are being hailed be the flagship." Another technician spoke up. At a nod from Orthan the Image of an immaculately dressed System Lord with a well trimmed goatee sat arrogantly on his throne as if victory had already been achieved. The room itself was well lit by the traditional torches the Goa'uld preferred, casting an orange hue to the room. To his front and just left of the monitors edge a Jaffa warrior could be seen manning a station.
"Good evening." the System lord smiled arrogantly. "By now you have no doubt come to the conclusion that any form of resistance would surely lead to your deaths." He rose with a grace not usually associated with a Goa'uld and moved forward until his upper torso dominated the viewer.
"I am Orthan, Director of the Tollan Science Council. Who am I addressing?" Orthan asked trying to hide his disgust of the arrogant system lord before him.
His answer came in the form of a smile that seemed even more arrogant, if that were possible. "I am Ba'al, and you have something that could be of great value to me."
Orthan's blood ran cold at that statement, he was referring to the QSDD there was no doubt of it now. No one on the station bar his research staff and the highest ministers in the Curia knew of its success. And the Goa'uld were usually not interested in technology that had no value for their power. This was a major breach in security but one he doubted he'd live long enough to inform the Curia on.
"Yes." Ba'al replied seeing the look of abject horror on Orthan's face "I know of your Quantum Subspace drive. I am a God after all, Gods are all knowing." Ba'al gloated as he rubbed his hands together. "You will turn over the technology to me and I will grant my mercy as a God and leave this system in peace."
A lie, but one told convincingly enough to sound sincere Orthan thought. Unlike many of his people Orthan was not naive enough to believe the words of a Goa'uld or the excuses some in the Curia made for their attack on Tollana. He'd heard much of their reputation before the attack and he'd personally felt the sting of their cruelty. With the QSDD they'd be able to wreak havoc not only within this galaxy but on worlds across the multiverse, and that was something Orthan could not allow...but the cost.
"No." a small word yet one that held much power behind it and the implications for the people he was responsible for. On the screen Ba'al arced his eyebrows and smirked.
"Surely you must realize you have no hope of defeating me. Not to mention you place the lives of the inhabitants of this world in jeopardy by refusing me." Orthan reflexively gazed at the men and women in the room all of them had family in one form or another on the planets surface.
"Do the right thing." Ba'al pressed sensing his opponent wavering. "There is no need to see them sensesly slaughtered."
Orthan's emotions were in conflict; his duty was to protect his people both on the station and on the planet as well as the secrets of his people. He also knew at same time he couldn't trust the word of a Goa'uld. Even if Orthan surrendered to his demands there was no guarantee the Goa'uld wouldn't kill them all for his amusement. Not to mention the horror the Goa'uld would wreak on unsuspecting worlds in the Multiverse, and the responsibility for all of it would be laid at the Tollans feet. In a moment of Moral courage many wouldn't attribute to what they perceived to be a callously indifferent people Orthan made his decision.
"You may not have our technology; we will never surrender to the will of tyrants and monsters." Orthan stated firmly.
Ba'al smirked knowingly before turning his back to the screen and returning to his throne. "If you wish to throw away the lives of your people then I will take them." The connection broke suddenly once again showing the monstrous flagship and its many escorts.
"I am sorry my friends." Orthan said with a painful heart, doing the right thing was rarely easy and he knew he had just signed their death warrants and that of their families by committing them to this action. "Can we break through the jamming to send a message back to Calphina to evacuate through the Stargate?"
"Possibly." the female technician spoke up "But it would require a lot more power than usual to break through the jamming and then there would be no guarantee they would receive it."
"I understand do it anyway." Orthan ordered acutely aware these would be their final moments.
"Goa'uld ships are powering weapons and locking on!" Another tech shouted almost on the verge of panic.
"I will not wait for them to fire first." Orthan began "All Ion Cannons fire at will."
All 8 of the stations Ion cannons found a target and fired bright blue/white spears of ion particles leapt out in rapid succession and slammed into the shields of the nearest Ha'taks. The shields rippled in golden energy as the Ha'taks bore the brunt of the Tollan assault like a battleship absorbing the fire from an anti-tank round causing only superficial damage. In response the Ha'taks returned fire, bright golden bolts of densely packed plasma slammed into the stations shields from all sides as the Ha'tak's probed its defenses testing for weaknesses. They needent have bothered the sheer weight of fire would collapse the shields within moments.
Gliders and Al'kesh now joined the assault taking advantage of the weakened shields to make strafing runs on the Habitation pods connected to the station. A few of the Al'kesh fell to Ion cannon strikes; the larger weapons having no trouble punching through the shields of the corvette sized ships.
In the control room people held on for dear life as the station heaved heavily from the immense pounding it was receiving from the Goa'uld fleet. Several consoles exploded sending their attending technicians lifelessly to the decks.
"Shields at 30!" The female technician screamed over the howl of ruptured life support conduits and exploding consoles. "Ion cannons 2, 3 and 6 are offline-." Another explosion rocked the station this time coming from within causing the station to tilt noticeably and the lights to flicker before stabilizing.
"What was that!?" Orthan practically shouted barely hearing himself over his heart pounding in his ears.
"Right habitation pod has been severed from the station and is falling towards the planet! There are at least 300 people in there!" Another unnamed technician reported in horror, holding his right hand over a wound on his face that was bleeding heavily.
"The station rocked again from more weapons strikes by the Goa'uld causing support beams to fall; several landing on the remaining technicians who were killed instantly. Orthan barely escaped this fate himself as he managed to duck out of the way of one such beam in the nick of time. The main lights of the station now failed shrouding Orthan in darkness until the backup generators kicked in providing only minimal lighting. For a brief eerie almost surreal moment everything went quite. Orthan took a moment to calm his beating heart as he rose slowly from the deck looking with wide eyes around the control room. He couldn't see a thing thick acrid smoke obscured his view of the whole control room, like a hazy fog which burnt his eyes and lungs making him coughed violently. He tried to clear the smoke from his face but that only brought him a moment's reprieve. Stumbling to the station in front of him Orthan gingerly removed the body of the young female technician; the girl couldn't be more than 20 years of age and had the beautiful angelic looks of a Shermock. Now those eyes stared lifelessly back at him almost accusingly. Grief threatened to overwhelm him as he gently closed her eyes and laid her body to rest on the deck. Then slowly he rose and looked at the sensor readouts on her station.
The Shields had collapsed, weapons were offline and life-support was gone, the Goa'uld fleet had ceased its bombardment but new sensor contacts on his board showed more ships inbound, that would be the Jaffa boarding party. Looking up from his board into the now lifeless control room Orthan knew he had to make sure the QSDD would not fall into the Goa'ulds hands or all the death this day would be for nothing. He tried to activate the PA system to warn what was left of the crew to prepare to be boarded but Orthan remembered it had been taken offline before the attack. Slowly as if in a daze he stumbled out of the control room.
"My Lord the Stations shields have collapsed." Ter'ak First prime of Ba'al reported to his God. Ter'ak a dark and intimidating sight was a large Jaffa warrior feared and respected by all for his prowess in Battle, He had been Ha'raks right hand man when Ha'rak had been first prime of Anubis and had carried out his missions with a skill and competence not usually noted in Jaffa. With the collapse of Anubis's empire Ba'al had been quick to absorb as much of Anubis' forces as he could; quickly recognizing in Ter'ak a formidable and competent warrior. He had made him his first prime on the spot and had not been disappointed in his choice.
"Board the Station, find what I require and all the information that pertains to it and make sure to take Nerus with you." Ba'al ordered.
Ter'ak turned to face his God and dropped to one knee, he lowered his gaze reverently while holding his staff. "It will be done my Lord, I will see to it personally." Ter'ak rose and strolled towards the exit calling to several Jaffa, "Jaffa Sie'ra Taklan, Kree!" The Jaffa posting guard at the exit with the Kull Warriors immediately fell in step with him as Ter'ek disappeared from sight.
Ba'al reclined in his throne as he studied the image of the heavily damaged station before him, noting fires from several breaches in the Hull. Yes he thought, soon I will have the resources I need to destroy my enemies, I shall start anew and build an empire that will be the envy of the Goa'uld and safe from the prying eyes of the Tau'ri. Soon now...very soon.
Orthan's face slammed into the deck, he winced in pain from the impact and rose to a knee rubbing his sore cheek, looking behind him he noted he'd tripped over the body of a young scientist. Taking only a moment to view the unfortunate soul Orthan picked himself up only to stumble again as the station rocked. This time it didn't feel like a secondary explosion but of something hitting the hull of the station. No doubt boarding craft, it would only be moments before they cut through, as one part of mind analyzed the situation another part kept screaming one thing.
Feeling the cold grip of fear on his heart Orthan quickened his pace to his destination. He hurried in this fashion for several minutes not encountering another living soul in that whole time. Idly Orthan wondered if he was the only living Tollan left on the station.
The sound of weapons fire soon answered that question.
Reaching a branched corridor close to the main lab Orthan braved a glance down the adjacent hall and was rewarded by the sight of Jaffa Warriors in a fire fight with a group the Tollan security forces that guarded his lab. It was a one sided match and was over as quickly as it began, the Jaffa's Staff weapons far outgunned the hand stunners the security forces utilized and the Jaffa dispatched them with ease. Realizing he now had no hope of getting to his lab alive Orthan decided to take advantage of the brief fire fight as a distraction to moved unnoticed to a better vantage point behind some debris intent to eaves drop on the two Jaffa present.
Ter'ak Stood before the mangled body of a fallen Tollan security officer noticing the burnt flesh of where a strike from his staff weapon had flown true, looking away with a final grunt he had other matters to attend to, his God's Will. He was approached by his second Ma'ret.
"First Prime." He greeted his superior "We have secured the laboratory."
"Did you find what our Lord demands?" Ter'ak asked.
"Yes First Prime." Mar'et answered. "We have secured the device and Lord Nerus is downloading the information within the stations computers. It will only be a matter of moments now."
"Well done Mar'et. Let us go view our Lords prize." He said with a smile. He followed close behind Mar'et then stopped. Something didn't feel right, as if another presence was in the corridor with them. Raising his staff weapon which prompted Mar'et to do the same Ter'ak scanned everything with a well trainned eye. The corridor was ridden in smoke as thick as fog. The lighting in the corridor did nothing to cut through it only silhouetting debris and bodies on the floor. Knowing he couldn't trust his eyes he strained his ears to hear anything of note. Buy all accounts the corridor was devoid of all like exempting himself Mar'et and another young Jaffa yet he could feel it, something... there. Looking around the branched corridor once more Ter'ak relaxed slightly, whoever it was wouldn't pose a threat for long. Glancing at the Jaffa warrior standing guard Ter'ak nodded in a direction sending the young warrior moving.
And the two Jaffa entered the Lave leaving behind one very distraught Tollan scientist.
It had all been for nothing! Orthan raged. The futile resistance that killed the people he was responsible for, none of it mattered now as the enormity of his failure crested over him like a wave. Despite his best efforts the Jaffa had managed to secure the QSDD before he could destroy it. Yet before he could continue to berate himself for his failure another chill ran through him making him almost sick as his mind slowly pieced together this latest info. How did the Goa'uld know of Calphina's location? How did they know Tollana was developing the QSDD? How did they know it was being researched here? That it was operational? More importantly how did they seem to know the schematics of the station itself? The communications failures might...might have been a malfunction but he had no answer for the database lockout accept one. Again he came back to his suspicion of a traitor, one he couldn't dismiss any longer. That also meant the Goa'uld wouldn't leave any survivors despite their claims, once they secured their prize aboard the flagship Ba'al would kill every last soul to leave no witnesses. The Curia would be none the wiser convinced the Goa'uld stumbled onto the Colony world via their own devices and destroyed it, completely unaware of a traitor within their midst.
Orthan knew beyond doubt that he had to get this information back to Tollana, but how? The Goa'uld were almost certainly still jamming the station and the planet below... he realized he had to send a message through the Stargate but as quickly as he formulated his plan of action a new sound snapped into his concentration one that froze him in fright.
The sound of a staff weapon charging.
Orthan understood instantly what the Jaffa behind him wanted. Slowly Orthan raised his hands in surrender from his kneeling position as his eyes rested on a fallen stunner. Orthan wasn't foolish enough to believe he could reach the stunner turn and fire before the Jaffa struck him down, nor was he brave enough to try. He was scientist not a warrior and he knew there was no way out of this situation that didn't involve his death. Just then the station rocked violently from an internal explosion throwing the Jaffa and Orthan to the deck. As luck or fate would have it Orthan landed on the fallen stunner as the Jaffa's bulky armor worked against him causing him to lose his balance as well as a hold on his staff weapon, he fell to the deck just as his prisoner had.
As if Orthan were watching his body in a dream he grabbed the fallen stunner and rose to one knee. The Jaffa warrior was quick to recover as well and reached for his staff weapon. Orthan saw all of this in perfect detail each moment seemed to stretch into the next. He was perfectly aware of the Jaffa leveling his Staff weapon on his face, perfectly aware of the beads of sweat on his own forehead and perfectly aware of the fact he leveled the stunner and squeezed the trigger grip. The triangular device fired sending a brief purple beam strait into the forehead of the Jaffa Warrior who dropped to the deck. At this close range the stunner's effects were quite lethal.
Orthan barely had time to register the fact he had just taken a life before he was up and moving with incredible speed; the adrenalin pumping through his system boosting him like never before. He moved cautiously to the ships main transporter hub hoping it still worked.
Ter'ak entered the main lab that housed QSDD with his staff weapon at the ready, even though his Jaffa had cleared the room of potential threats one could never be too careful. The lab itself was a large circular room with banks of monitors and analytical equipment that lined the circular walls and 2 branched corridors on either side of the room which no doubt had more equipment in them. As Ter'ak looked closer he could see several Jaffa loading anything that appeared to have value in cases for transport back to Nerus's lab on the Flagship. At the center of the room was a large circular table which held a transparent case no doubt containing the reason they were here and which was currently being lorded over by a rather large disgusting form of a man.
Suppressing a sneer Ter'ak could barely contain his disgust for the fat and annoying God whose eyes bore into the device as if it were his next meal.
A God who didn't just revel in gluttony and avarice He lived it. His growing appetite was matched only by his growing waist line. He was all things the Jaffa detested, yet despite this his Lord Ba'al found him useful and that was enough for Ter'ak.
"Ahh Ter'ak!" Nerus said joyfully finally noticing him. "Isn't this positively wonderful!?" Nerus gloated over the QSDD.
"Perhaps." Ter'ak deadpanned. "But it is a great victory for our lord Ba'al."
"Jaffa." Nerus sighed rolling his eyes. "Only concerned with victory. No sense of wonder."
"I have no time for...distractions." Ter'ak began tersely. "Not when it means accomplishing what our Lord demands." Ter'aks powerful frame slowly moved from one end of the circular table to the other coming within a few feet of where Nerus stood. Nerus for his part attempted to put on a brave front and failed miserably.
"Not I or you for that matter Lord Nerus." Ter'ak said his voice dripping with contempt for the God before him.
Nerus took the hint. "I ahh..I shall endeavor to hurry for our great lord Ba'al." Nerus stammered. "As it is I am almost finished. Just a few more moments"
Ter'ak bowed his head slightly and turned to the waiting form of his second who had just entered the lab.
"First Prime. We have quelled all resistance." Ma'ret reported.
"Have you found our agent yet?"
Mar'et stiffened slightly. "Not as yet First Prime."
"It does not matter." Ter'ak waved dismissively "the fate of the agent is of no concern."
Another Jaffa entered from one of the adjacent rooms "First Prime we have finished securing all objects of value." The Jaffa reported.
"I am finished too." Nerus waved a data crystal. "Please make sure that is secure." Nerus motioned towards the QSDD still in its protective case, "We wouldn't want to have come all this way for nothing now would we?" Nerus beamed his voice grating on the nerves of the Jaffa in the room.
Mar'et looked to Ter'ak who nodded slightly. Mar'et motioned several Jaffa from the hall into the room. They soon secured the QSDD in a cargo container and nodded to Ter'ak when they were finished.
Ter'ak produced a Goa'uld communications device, the small orb fitting into the palm of his hand. A moment later the image of his lord Ba'al appeared.
"Ter'ak." Ba'al acknowledged 'What have you to report?"
"Ter'ak bowed his head reverently before speaking "My lord the Quantum drive you desire has been secured as well as all the information pertaining to the device."
"Excellent, you have done well Ter'ak." Ba'al praised with a slight nod. "Now return to the flagship it is time we finished our business here."
"Yes my lord." The image of Ba'als smug features vanished from the orb. Ter'ak returned it to its place and motioned for his second.
"Mer'at, summon the Jaffa we are to depart immediately."
"Yes First Prime. I have a squad waiting outside to escort us back to the breaching pods. In addition I have Jaffa posted along our route to cover our withdraw."
"Very good." Ter'ak said appreciating his second's initiative, something that was lacking in many Jaffa. "Order the rest to return to the pods."
"At once First Prime." Mar'et acknowledged. He moved towards the exit speaking curtly into his wrist mounted communicator.
"Shall we leave Lord Nerus?"
"Why yes of course!" Nerus laughed "After you." he motioned towards the Jaffa Warrior. "After all we wouldn't want a God harmed on this littler excursion now would we? It would seem to add a blemish to an otherwise flawless campaign. Wouldn't you agree?"
Ter'ak kept his thoughts to himself as he took the lead followed by 2 Jaffa carrying the QSSD who were in turn followed by Nerus. The group was flanked by a squad of 4 Jaffa warriors while an addition 2 warriors covered the rear. The group made its way towards the escape pods and victory.
Orthan arrived at the main transporter hub to find it virtually unguarded and what appeared to be an open panel beside the station. He thanked whatever fates he could but soon realized how fickle fate could be when he saw the transporter was offline. Fighting off a sense of hopelessness Orthan began the painstaking work of getting the transporter back online when he suddenly heard movement behind him. Realizing he'd been caught yet again Orthan raised his hands in surrender...again.
Orthan slowly turned to come face to face with his assistant Talia pointing a stunner at him. She was a striking women in her early 30s with blond hair and piercing green eyes who's beauty was only matched by her intelligence. Now as Orthan studied her more closely he could see she had soot covering her face and blood matted her hair. He could see relief etched in her face when she recognized him but at the same time her eyes held a terrified almost wild look to them. It gave Orthan pause because he had never seen his normally calm and collected assistant this way idly he wondered how he looked to her.
"Director Orthan." she recognized lowering the stunner. "I thought you were dead." her small form seemed to shrink as relief flooded her.
"As I did you." Orthan said overjoyed that she had survived. 'But we must work quickly."
"What is happening here?" she asked in a shaky voice.
"We have been attacked by the Goa'uld." Orthan informed her "They managed to secure the QSDD."
"By the Shermock!" she whispered in a hollow voice.
"Where have you been?" Orthan asked.
"In my quarters." She answered immediately, "You gave me the rest of the day off after the successful test this morning."
"I did?" He asked.
"Yes Sir. I was in the Lab when you told me to take the rest of the day off, I was only in my room an hour before the attack happened. I barely made it to the central core before the habitation pod was severed." She answered with a far away look in her eyes as if she were reliving that moment.
"We have no time for that now." Orthan said sternly to focus her attention back to the present. "Have you encountered any other survivors?"
"She shook her head."Not a soul." she answered weakly "Director they killed everyone and they will kill us too!"
"Stay focused Talia." Orthan snapped "We are not dead yet. Look at...LOOK at me Talia." She did though it felt as if she was staring past him. "I need your help. We have to get back to Tollana and warn the Curia of what happened here. I can not do that without your help. Will you help me?" he asked hoping his words would snap her out of it.
Yes." Talia said nodding enthusiastically. She seemed to collect herself somewhat before answering again "Yes Director...of course."
"Good Talia." He motioned to the open panel "I need you to help me get the transporter online, then we can transport to safety." Talia nodded in the affirmative and the two scientists went to work.
It seemed to take forever. In that time Orthan was sure they would be discovered but to his pleasant surprise they weren't. Just as they finished the repairs to the transporter system Orthan felt a series of jolts to the station followed by Talia's startled yelps. He quickly realized it was the breaching pods detaching which meant the Jaffa had finished their business and now had no use for the station, their time was running out.
"Where are we going?" Talia asked.
"Ground station 2." Orthan said absently forcing himself despite his rising panic to slowly input the coordinates so he wouldn't make a mistake.
"The Stargate?" Talia asked.
"Yes." Orthan nodded as he finished inputting the coordinates for ground station 2. Orthan set for a small delay then grabbed Talia's arm bringing her on to the transporter pad. In a flash of orange light not unlike the rings the system was based off of the two were gone.
The Jaffa had abandoned the station and returned to their ships, with their mission accomplished several Ha'taks closed the distance to the battered station and let loose a volley of high energy plasma destroying the station in a mass of light and fire. The Ha'taks of Ba'als fleet now reoriented their positions in orbit placing them over the settlement. On a word for their God the Jaffa aboard those ships opened fire on the colony thinking nothing of the people below.
Orthan and Talia materialized in ground station 2 to find it in utter chaos. The background of a beautiful spring day filtering through the large transparent dome of the room did nothing to lighten the sense of doom in the air. Moving off of the transmat pad Orthan practically dragged Talia with him, who in turn offered no resistance. He moved towards a young security officer. "What is happening?"
"Director!?" The security officer recognized in shock. "We thought you were dead!"
"We will all be dead soon if we do not get out of here, now tell me what is happening?"
"We received your message when the Goa'uld fleet arrived and began evacuation of the settlement, this is the first wave but its only a hundred people!" the technician answered.
"Only a hundred..." Talia echoed quietly next to him.
Just then the first bolts of densely packed orange plasma rained down from the sky striking the main settlement. The small group fell to the ground as did many of the evacuees from the sheer concussive force. Many of the evacuee's let loose panicked screams as they witnessed and felt the brutality of the attack. Orthan was barely able to move to his feet dragging Talia to her feet as more high energy bolts impacted on the settlement. Moving quickly to the adjacent room that housed the Stargate Orthan ran to the Dialing device and began punching in the coordinates for Tollana. He was rewarded by the whoosh of the Stargate as the unstable vortex cascaded on itself and stabilized into a blue ripple of quantum partials of an event horizon. Wasting no time Orthan marched towards the event horizon and practically pushed Talia through. Orthan then stumbled back to the main lobby shouting for the evacuees to follow him, upon reaching the gate room the evacuees darted towards the gate and the promise of safety.
Orthan ran back to the main domed structure of the lobby to supervise the evacuation of the survivors. He looked out the lobby window down towards the settlement now nothing more than burning rubble. Orthan noted wearily that no more evacuees could be seem making their way to ground station 2.
Feeling older than he felt in years Orthan turned away only to come face to face with the same security officer he'd met earlier. "Sir the first group of Evacuee's have safely transited through the Stargate back to Tollana." He paused as he took in the devastation of the settlement "Where...wha..." He paused to take in a deep breath. "Where are the rest?"
Orthan looked back at the settlement now burning fiercely, for the time being the Goa'uld had ceased their bombardment but he knew they had probably detected the Stargate activity and were even now targeting the station.
"There are no others...not any more."
"But...there were over 7,000 people here!" The security officer protested.
"Not any more." Orthan said grimly accepting reality and once again feeling the weight of loss upon him. "Come on, we have to get out of here. There's nothing left for us here." Orthan grabbed the security officer and led him back to the gateroom; he numbly complied before they reached the gateroom and a technician who was holding the gate open for them. Orthan nodded to the young man who took a hold of his friend and both departed through the gate. Orthan turned for one final look at the Colony of Calphina tears of both loss and rage soaked his face. They would pay for this! He promised, one way or another he would make the Goa'uld pay for this senseless slaughter. Turning back to the gate Orthan walked through the gate only moments before it was struck.