The Battle of Tollana, Part 1
Nopporn Wongrassamee aka The Evil Author
Summary: It's the year 2015 and Joan Rove nee Girardi is given command of her first starship.
Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to whoever owns them. I'm just too lazy to look up who they are.
22 May 2015
Ship's Log: The Arcadia departed PC3-735 as of 0900 today. The system itself proved to be of little interest. Our science detachment was somewhat gaga over the fact that there the local asteroid belt is in fact the remains of a planet that was destroyed here less than thirty years ago. Odds are that any local Stargate was destroyed in the cataclysm.
Note to Homeworld Security: Some of the debris here has a unique chemical and radiological composition that matches the composition of some meteors that showered Smallville Kansas thirty years ago. This is unlikely to be a coincidence. The science detachment is convinced that a starship transited from here to Earth and probably dragged some debris in its hyperdrive wake. The trail is probably long since cold now, but it might be worth looking into.
25 December 2014
"I've got a ship!"
At Joan's announcement, the other members of her extended family erupted into congratulations. Since joining the Air Force, it was rare that Joan got to see them all at once any more. It was good to see them.
And then Kevin stood up to propose a toast. He stood up! Revolutionary new medical treatments had been introduced since the world learned that world governments had starships and met aliens. One had repaired the old injury and allowed Joan's older brother to walk again. And no one appreciated it more than Kevin himself.
"Well, let's all toast to Joan!" Kevin said. "Captain of the starship… um…" He turned to Joan. "What's the name of your ship?"
"Believe it or not, it's called the Arcadia," Joan laughed. "Seriously, it is. Sometimes, I think everyone involved in space ops is cracked. There's no way that name could be a coincidence."
"Takes one to know one," Luke commented. Joan just stuck her tongue out at him in reply.
"To the Arcadia!" Kevin toasted.
"The Arcadia!" everyone chorused.
"So, Joan," Grace began after the toast. "Now that you have your own ship, are you gonna blow up any innocent aliens in the name terrestrial imperialism?" Her smile removed any sting from the accusation. Her anti-authoritarian nature had become something of an in-joke with them.
"Grace!" Joan's mother exclaimed, her tone chiding her daughter in law.
"Heck no," Joan replied, ignoring her mother. She grinned. "I'm going to blow up aliens that are guilty as sin, probably during the next alien invasion of the week."
"Okay," Grace laughed. :"Just so you know the difference."
"So what kind of ship is it?" Luke asked, his inner geek obviously hungry for details
."It's one of the new Asgard class light cruisers," Joan told him.
"Wow, really?" Luke said impressed.
"I take it we should be impressed?" Joan's father asked. "What's so special about it?"
"It's an Asgard!" Luke exclaimed. "Everything on it is entirely Earth manufactured. No components salvaged from alien wrecks or traded from more advanced races. No systems we only half understand. It even has the new modular system so that it can be customized for any mission."
"It doesn't sound safe," Joan's husband said dubiously.
"No, it's great Adam," Luke disagreed. "It means our cutting edge technology is competitive with what's out there. Or at least those dinosaurs in charge of the military think it is."
"Well as one of those dinosaurs, Luke, let me say thanks," Joan said dryly. She turned to her husband. "I'll be fine, Adam. Really."
"I worry about you," Adam replied.
"Aw, that's sweet," Joan said fondly. "But if I were you, I'd be more worried about your wandering eye."
"That was back in High School," Adam protested. He sighed. "You're never going to let me live that one down, are you?"
"Never," Joan laughed.
His name was Khyron. He was Jaffa, loyal to the god Anubis and his divine servant Zor. Currently, Khyron and several of his brethren were guarding a line of slaves as they dug through the debris of a once proud city. He also wondered what offense he had given to be assigned to this hellhole.
In his arms he carried an Eradication Rod. On most worlds, the more familiar and beloved staff weapon would have been enough. On this world, his gods had commanded that the Jaffa be armed with Rods. Any who defied the gods' command would suffer a grisly fate… and that was before the gods punished them.
No, equipping Eradication Rods were just pure wisdom. Staff weapons were simply ineffective against the local rebels. Some Jaffa thought they were ghosts, but Khyron knew they were just men, albeit men armed with strange magics that rendered them as immaterial as any ghost.
And there was one now.
Uttering oath and alarm, Khyron brought up his Rod and let loose a blast of magic blue light. The gods were with him, and the "ghost" went down in a spray of red mist. Or maybe the gods were still angry with Khyron, because several other rebels he hadn't spotted opened fire on him in reply. There were too many to dodge, and Khyron went down under a barrage of the rebel's magic.
As the world grew darker around him, he took note that his fellow guards were returning fire and holding their own despite the surprise. Perhaps Khyron's warning had made the difference, spoiling the rebels' attack before they were fully in position. He also noticed that the slaves, unable to run because they were chained together, had done the sensible thing and fallen to the ground.
But none of this concerned Khyron all that much as he went to meet his gods.
23 February 2015
Edwards Air Force Base, California
Modern gravity manipulation technologies had rendered runways obsolete. With the ability to defy Earth's gravitational pull, there was no need to run air over wings to generate lift. Even upgraded civilian jet liners which had stored their fuel in the wings were replacing the wings with space saving designs.
Still, even if air- and spacecraft didn't require miles of pavement to take off and land anymore, all that premade flatness was still useful. You could park a lot of ships on one old style runway, a not trivial need when gravity technology seemed to promote inflated ship sizes.
As such, the U.S.S. Arcadia was currently parked on the open tarmac at Edwards Air Force Base. Its 253 meter long bulk practically gleamed under the California sun. This week was packing week as the ship was taking on supplies and personnel for its first mission. As such, everything from food crates to mechanics tools was laid out on the ground around the ship in neat, meticulous order for Joan to look at.
Joan looked up from the inventory list in her hand. Part of being a commanding officer in any branch of the United States military was that the CO was quite literally responsible from everything. Joan had to go through and sign for every piece of equipment, ammunition, and expendable item that would be going aboard her ship. Every. Single. Thing. God help you if you sign for something without verifying first that the item actually existed and it later turned up "missing".
Speaking of which…
The man who had called for her attention was a young airman, one of the many enlisted personnel who worked at Edwards. There was nothing particularly descript about him, was Joan as her eyes automatically dropped to scan his nametag. There, printed plain as day, was printed GOD.
"Commander Ford says there's something that needs your attention," God added.
Joan glanced over at Lieutenant Gorman and Gunnery Sergeant Apone. The two marines did not appear to find the supposed "Airman" as unusual in anyway. If anything, Gorman looked annoyed at the interruption of the Marine equipment inspection. Apone looked as if he had seen this all before and was resigned to delay.
"Take five, gentlemen," Joan told them, tucking her inventory list under an arm. "I'll be right back as soon as I've straightened out whatever's gone wrong. Um, Airman, lead the way."
"This way, ma'am," the airman replied.
"How do you do that?" Joan hissed when they were out of earshot.
"Why, Joan, you know the answer to that," Airman God replied serenely.
"So what do you want this time?" Joan asked, annoyed. "I'm kind of busy, You know." Doing inventories already take way too long without throwing in whatever errands You want me to run."
"I'm just here to take you to your executive officer," God told her. "Nothing more and nothing less."
"Sure you are," Joan said knowingly.