I originally included this story in April Ninth as an interlude prequel, explaining what happened to the Wraith ships Colonel Sheppard lost. But, it slowed down the main story of April Ninth too much to be acceptable. So, here is the prequel to April Ninth.
Please note: It took the Wraith 15 days to get to the Milky Way.. As a result, the Daedalus and Orion had to nearly burn out their engines as well to keep up. Which essentially means that the Wraith reached Planet on April 10th, the day after John began his journal. This also means that the Ori began their invasion through the Supergate on April 8th
Which explains why it took so long for the Daedalus to return to Pegasus and begin the search for Sheppard on Spira.
Needless to say, this is very, very much an AU. Enjoy!
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A Fanfiction by Andrew J. Talon
Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, or Final Fantasy. Those belong to their respective companies and creators. I am not writing this for profit.
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Colonel Caldwell grimaced as the damage reports continued coming in. Even with their hyperdrive repaired, it would still take several hours to catch up to the Wraith Hiveships already enroute to the Milky Way Galaxy. Doctor Weir had been recalled to Earth, and was expected to soon make contact, hopefully with the order to engage the Wraith.
"Colonel, we're receiving a transmission from Atlantis," Captain Rogers reported. Caldwell nodded.
"Patch it through." A moment passed.
"Colonel, you have a go for your mission," Teyla reported over the radio. Caldwell nodded. "Doctor Weir would also like to wish you Godspeed."
"Send Dr. Weir my thanks. Allright Captain, signal the Orion. We're heading out."
"Aye sir," the young captain responded, nodding with a determined glint in his eyes.
The Daedalus leapt forward, the silver and gunmetal gray starship breaking into hyperspace as though the damage from her previous engagements didn't affect her at all. She wasn't very old by starship standards, with most of the vessels in use between the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies an average of century or more in age, but she handled like an experienced veteran, ready and willing to fight.
The Orion behind her moved more slowly, but with a kind of tense anticipation. The ship had not been in space for thousands of years, not been in battle for at least as long, but she clearly hadn't forgotten it. Like an old violinist master handed a new instrument, Orion remembered the steps and placements, the tempo and the song. The Ancient warship jumped into hyperspace, her engines humming beautifully as though they'd never been damaged in the first place. As though she'd never stopped using them, never stopped playing the song.
Caldwell had never quite understood how pilots and captains got attached to their planes and ships. He'd been a strategic planning officer from the start, directing and commanding troops through maps and radios, and then later computers, projectors, and holograms. Warfare to him was about numbers, countdowns, and statistics. There was no romance to it, just a job that needed to be done.
Yet, as he sunk into the comfortable command chair that held him up, like the saddle of his loyal steed, he had to admit that the Daedalus seemed less like a tool and more like a friend the more time he spent on her. She was a warhorse, Traveler to his Lee. No matter how hard she got hit, she kept going. Already there were custom repairs and patches decorating her systems, little different from other Daedalus-class starships already in service, but just different enough to set her apart.
"Sir?" Caldwell smoothly moved back from his musing, looking to the captain.
"Sir, the Orion reports that their weapons systems might not be ready by the time we get to the coordinates,"Rogers stated, hiding his concern admirably. Caldwell nodded.
"Tell the Major to do the best he can. It's all any of us can ask anyway…" He patted the armrest of his chair, a half smile on his lips.
"Any of us…"
In the end, they were unable to catch the Wraith ships as they paused just outside the Pegasus Galaxy. Thus began the great pursuit, the Daedalus and Orion becoming stronger with each jump and repair stop, but the Wraith getting closer and closer to their goal.
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How much time had passed? McKay didn't know. He'd tried to keep track of time by how many escape attempts they'd made, how often their captors had given them water and meager food, keeping them alive for sadistic delight.
They'd tried escaping at least ten times now. They'd been fed nine times, their captors withholding nourishment every time they tried to escape. Ten times they'd been brought before the queen, each time Mckay expecting this to be the last time. Surely they were more trouble than they were worth? Surely the Wraith were getting tired of them, the novelty lost.
The queen just smiled each time, and had them bound once more. She would walk by them frequently (Approximately fifteen times), breathing deeply and smiling that disturbing smile (Twenty-seven smiles, thirty-two deep breaths).
McKay had given up talking after escape attempt five. Ronan had as well, informing Rodney that their best bet was to conserve their energy. It was easy for him to say. Ronan couldn't be fed upon. Rodney could.
Absently, as he relaxed against his disgusting organic bindings, he recalled that he would have given a lot for a chair that was this comfortable. Back in his apartment on Earth, on Atlantis, everywhere really, he never could find a comfortable piece of furniture. None that supported his spine correctly, none that let him relax. Even those stupid expensive sleep number beds hadn't done him any good. As prisons went, aside from the fear and anguish of knowing that you were responsible for the destruction of your race, this wasn't too bad.
Rodney wondered if he'd gone insane. They were waiting, waiting… But for what?
Visit number sixteen, the queen came strolling by. She smiled, bearing her teeth in shark-like anticipation.
"Your world is but one jump away," she hissed. "When we arrive, I will bring you to the bridge. You will watch with me." She ran a finger over his forehead, Rodney trying not to shiver in fear and loathing. Even after ten times she'd touched him he couldn't resist instinct. The queen seemed to coo at his distress.
"As humans go, Dr. McKay, you are quite fascinating. It will be a shame to devour you… But we must conform to our natures, after all." With that she, glided off, her guards following closely behind. Michael paused near them, staring at the two captives (twenty-eight times). Ronan glared with as much loathing and disgust as he could at the former Wraith-turned-human.
"I was not informed," he said with a hint of defensiveness. It almost seemed like he was… Sorry? Why? McKay couldn't understand.
"You're still one of them," Ronan snarled, his voice dry and raspy but still able to convey a hatred so deep and fiery it made McKay wince. Michael gave a half-smile.
"Not according to them," he admitted quietly in that odd, distorted tone unique to the Wraith. He sighed. "They intend to kill me when we arrive."
"Too bad for you," Ronan sneered. Michael shook his head.
"Too bad for all of us… Because if I die, you and your world die." McKay blinked and gawked at the almost pleading look the Wraith wore.
"What? Are you… What the hell are you saying?"
Michael moved close to Rodney, and whispered into his ear.
"Are you familiar with the world P1F-124?"
McKay frantically searched his memory.
"… It's called Planet. Has a powerful planet-wide Ancient defense system…" Rodney's eyes widened.
"I can sabotage the ship's hyperdrive navigation to send us there," Michael related quietly. "If you can give me the coordinates." McKay grimaced.
"It's not that simple!" He hissed back. "Planet's defenses only activate when a person with the Ancient gene turns it on!"
Michael looked at Rodney speculatively.
"Such as you?"
McKay nodded slowly. The Wraith turned to a control panel and pressed a few hieroglyphs. McKay felt the bindings come apart, and his legs collapse under him. Instead of feeling himself hitting the deck though, strong arms caught him and lifted the Canadian scientist to his still-unsteady feet. McKay turned his head slightly and nodded at Ronan.
"Thanks." The Satedan nodded… Before pulling a knife and lunging for Michael.
"God damnit no!" McKay rasped, grabbing onto the larger man's arm. "We need him!"
"He's going to betray us," Ronan snarled, his knifeless hand clutched around Michael's throat. The Wraith struggled for breath.
"No, I am not," he hissed. He dropped something to the floor, and Ronan checked it with his eyes. His sidearm.
"… I must trust you, as you must trust me," Michael hissed. Slowly, reluctantly, Ronan pulled away, his knife still poised to throw.
"How did you hide that?" Rodney asked in disbelief. Ronan smirked.
"Doesn't matter. Pick up the gun." Rodney quickly grabbed the weapon and put it into the Satedan's hands, a bit shakily. Ronan pointed his weapon at Michael's head.
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Daniel Jackson watched in horror as the bright blue and white warps of hyperspace vanished, replaced by the blackness of real space. The viewscreen of the Ori battleship's bridge altered its target, focusing on a small, blue and green world.
"The world of the last living Ancients," Adria stated regally, standing at the head of the bridge as Crusaders worked diligently around her. "This will be the first world to be cleansed."
"Adria, if you kill the population, then who will be left to convert?" Vala argued, standing next to Daniel as two Crusaders guarded them. The black-haired woman shuffled a little closer to the anthropologist, a move that her husband Tomin noticeably stiffened at across the chamber.
"This world has been corrupted by evil," Adria stated flatly. "None can be saved."
"Is that how you see things, or how the Ori do?" Vala asked. She grunted as one of the guards struck her with his staff, sending her tumbling to the deck.
"Vala!" Daniel and Tomin exclaimed at the same time, with Adria moving to her side. The girl pressed her hands against the back of her mother's skull, while looking up at the now cowering Crusader.
"You will not strike my mother," Adria stated with deadly finality in her voice. "The Ori wish her to live unharmed, so that she may see the light."
"Hallowed are the Ori," replied the guards, averting their gaze from the girl. Adria helped her mother up to her feet slowly, the black haired woman shaking out her neck.
"At this rate I'm going to tire you out, dear," Vala noted with a dry smile. Adria shook her head.
"Never, mother." The Oracle turned out to the view port once more, considering the world drawing ever nearer.
"Daniel Jackson… You have been here before," Adria stated. Daniel nodded stiffly, his feelings dragging up images of a lovely, brown-haired woman with bright green eyes smiling at him. Adria stood still and silent for a moment.
"You do not wish to see the end of this world, do you?" Adria quietly stated. Daniel shook his head, somehow unable to speak.
"Dear, who really wants to see the end of a world? I've seen it once before. It's not the kind of thing you like to repeat," Vala said quietly, a seldom-heard seriousness in her tone. Her daughter's fingers rubbed over her lips thoughtfully.
"This world is tainted." All turned to see the one-eyed Prior emerge from the rings, his staff lightly glowing. "It is the will of the Ori that it burn, and thus be cleansed. Only then can pure rebirth occur."
"Kind of hard for people to ascend if they're all dead," Daniel stated flatly, holding the grey-skinned being's dead gaze. The Prior shook his head.
"None can stand before the will of the Ori," the Prior replied. "Have you not learned this?"
Guess I'm a slow learner, Daniel thought, and then winced. He'd been spending too much time with either Jack or Cameron.
Vala's eyes darted to the side. The ring control panel was blinking, a sure sign that they were in range of another set of rings. Her gaze shifted back to Daniel. Their eyes met. The archaeologist's gaze alighted on the ring control panel as well, and he raised his eyebrows. Vala gave a minute nod in response.
"First, we must travel to the surface," Adria stated. The Prior looked over at the Oracle of the Ori, a question in his eye. The young woman nodded.
"I desire to see this world, before it is cleansed. I will gain new insight into evil."
"The Ori grant all the insight you require," the Prior stated automatically. Adria shook her head.
"'One does not begin a journey without taking the first step,'" she quoted. The Prior nodded, though seemed a bit more tense than he had been before.
"As you wish, Oracle." Adria turned and walked to the rings. Standing in the center, she turned back and let her gaze rest upon Vala, Daniel, and Tomin.
"Mother, Father, Dr. Jackson. Come. I will show you the way."
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The next part of the interlude: Can McKay get the Wraith ships to Planet? Can the inhabitants of Planet stop the Ori? Read to find out!