Flight of the Orion
Authors Notes: This is an AU one shot story about the Ancient Aurora-class battlecruiser Orion seen in the Stargate Atlantis Episodes Inferno, Allies and No Mans Land. This is my idea on what should have happened during the Orion's flight and engagement with the two Wraith hiveships.
I'm also going down the route that Ancient warships like their Asuran counterparts had more weapons than just drones. It makes no sense in my opinion that the Ancients would rely entirely on the drone weapons however formidable they are. So in this story the Orion has additional weapons systems besides its drones.
T Minus 3 Hours
Doctor Radek Zelenka cursed softly at the latest results on his computer tablet, which was plugged into a panel below the engineering console on the Orion's bridge. No matter what the Czech scientist did from here he could not get the ships formidable weapons grid online, even the drone launchers refused point blank to come online.
The defence systems were not that much better either, shields were only at sixty percent capacity – not enough to withstand sustained fire from two Wraith hiveships and their swarms of darts for more than a few minutes. Though that would not be forever, some of his colleagues were working overtime to nurse the shield generators and emitters back to full strength. Generators and emitters that had been stressed almost beyond their limits by the super volcanic blast they'd been asked to repel during the ships nail biting escape from Taranis. He had no doubt that they would be back to full strength or near enough by the time they engaged the Wraith.
But the shields wouldn't matter unless he could get any of the Orion's multiple weapons systems to work. Muttering in his native language he tapped a series of commands into the console, instructing the ships computer to run a comprehensive diagnostic on the weapons grid concentrating on the supply of power. There was no problem with the power plant, despite the ten thousand year age of the ship the main reactors were working perfectly, though the ZPM that had been used to supplement power by the Ancients had long since given up the ghost. Even without it the two mighty artificial micro-singularity reactors provided more than enough power to run the Orion at full capacity.
"Any luck, doc," Major Evan Lorne abruptly asked from behind him making Radek nearly jump out of his skin. Spinning round he gave the American Air Force officer a glare for trying to give him a heart attack.
"Not yet, major," Radek answered turning to give the control panel another glare. "Shields are operational but only at sixty percent at this present time. One of my teams are working as quickly as they can to get them back to full strength, but several of the control crystals in the serge protectors are blown so we are having to adapt some spare crystals from the Daedalus to do the job."
"Well that's no surprise given the stress the shields were put under during the escape from Taranis," Lorne pointed out. "What about the weapons systems doc?"
"All weapons systems remain off line; we can't even get power to the drone launchers and I'm still trying to figure out why."
"We need those weapons doc. We're only three hours from intercepting the Wraith ships."
"I know that major, me and my team are doing the best we can to give them to you," Radek answered. "But first we have to isolate why power isn't getting from the main reactors to the weapons grid."
Lorne scowled and was about to reply when the engineering console gave a crystalline tone indication diagnostic complete. As the results appeared on his tablet computer, Radek smiled victoriously. The problem was with the power regulators. They were not allowing energy to travel into the weapons grid.
"Of course," he said. "Why didn't we think to check that earlier?"
"Check what, doc?" Lorne asked.
"It's the power regulators, major. They're apparently off line."
"Can you fix them?"
"Now that we know their off line I think so, I'll have to go down to engineering and check them. Excuse me."
Lorne nodded and watched as Radek left the bridge for the engineering sections several decks below. At least we know where the problem is now, he thought moving back to the command chair and sitting down. Immediately he felt the ship around him, status of its many systems flowing through his mind thanks to the neural interface built into the chair and his strong ATA gene. Hopefully Zelenka will be able to fix the problem in the next three hours, he thought as he began mentally reviewing the systems, then we'll be able to really give the Wraith what for.
Ten Minutes Later
Radek Zelenka hurried through the massive engineering deck of the Orion, a space that ran from bow to stern of the Aurora-class battlecruiser. Unlike the rest of the ship, engineering was far from silent. There was a constant powerful humming sound as the hyperdrive propelled the seventeen hundred and fifty metre long warship through space towards her destination, and a battle that they were not yet ready to fight.
It didn't take the Czech scientist long to reach the section of engineering that housed the regulators. After waving a hand over the controls to make the door open he entered the large room that housed the two power regulators that he was interested in. Okay now let's see what the problem is, he thought moving over to the first of the large devices and opening the inspection panel on the side.
It was not immediately obvious what the problem was. All the card-like control crystals were in their slots, though they did look like someone had recently taken them out then put them back in again. Probably the Taranians as they were trying to understand this ship, Radek thought as he plugged his computer tablet into the panel and started to run a diagnostic.
Almost immediately the tablet spat back a response and Radek swore loudly and repeatedly in his native language. A sizeable percentage of the control crystals were in the wrong positions, it was no wonder the regulator was inoperative; if someone tried to power it up in its current condition it would have caused a dangerous feedback surge in the primary power conduits, which could have conceivably destroyed the ship. Safety systems in the regulator had engaged to prevent that from occurring. Great, he thought with a sigh as he started to locate and take out the offending crystals, hopefully it wont take me to long to fix this regulator, then I can move on to the other one. But first thing is first.
With a tap of the radio on his ear he opened a communications channel. "Engineering team three to defence power regulator room," he ordered. More pairs of hands will make this job go that much faster, he thought then smiled at the prospect that the Orion could well be near enough fully operational by the time they engaged the Wraith. Then we will be able to explain to the Wraith the price of double crossing us, and avenge the deaths of Rodney, Ronon and Colonel Sheppard.
T Minus 1 Hour
Zelenka smiled when the power regulators hummed to life. Tapping the communicator on his ear he called the bridge.
"Zelenka to Bridge, power regulators are back online. Please try powering up the weapons grid," he said.
"Stand by, doc," Major Lorne answered.
Closing his eyes Lorne concentrated on the Orion's weapons systems and willed them to begin powering up. For a moment nothing happened then he felt power beginning to flow from the ships reactors into the weapons grid. For the first time in ten thousand years the massive batteries of drone launchers, pulsed energy cannons and the main particle beam cannon began powering up as much as they could with the hyperdrive activated.
Opening his eyes he smiled even as an automatic alarm began to sound through the ship, an alarm designed to summon the ships crew to battle stations.
"Its working, doc," he said into the radio. "Weapons systems are beginning to power up." He grinned when he heard the Czech scientist say something happy sounding in his native language. "Now we just need to get our shields back to full strength then we'll be ready to teach the Wraith the price for betraying us."
"I'm getting to it now, major."
"Okay doc," Lorne replied before signing off. The Wraith are going to be in for such a nasty surprise when we come out of hyperspace with a near fully operational Lantean warship, he thought with a grin. It would serve the Wraith right when they faced this ships firepower, then the two hiveships and any other ships that had joined them would pay the price for playing them and for the murder of Colonel Sheppard, Dr McKay and Ronon Dex.
T Minus 4 Minutes
Colonel Stephen Caldwell stepped onto the bridge of his ship with a grim expression on his face, he knew that the odds of surviving the coming battle with the Wraith were not good but Doctor Weir was right. They had to stop the Wraith from reaching Earth no matter what the cost, if the Wraith got past them and the Orion then another galaxy of human inhabited worlds would face the terror of the Wraith. If stopping them meant the lives of everyone on the Daedalus then so be it.
"Status report," he ordered moving to his command chair.
"All weapons systems are operational, sir," Major Marks reported from tactical on his left side. "All missile firing safeties have been disabled, we'll be able to fire every missile we've got the moment we exit hyperspace. Exiting hyperspace in ten seconds."
"Launch the moment the target is acquired don't wait for my order," Caldwell ordered.
"Exiting hyperspace in five… four…three…two… one," Marks said as Caldwell stood up and went to the front viewport, just in time to see the swirling blue tunnel of hyperspace evaporate into the galaxy studded darkness of intergalactic space.
Thousands of kilometres ahead of them two Wraith hiveships floated serenely in space, waiting for their organic systems to recover from the effects of hyperspace radiation. Compared to the vastness of space around them the two eleven kilometre long alien vessels seemed small and insignificant. From this distance it was hard to believe that each one carried enough firepower and enough Darts to completely annihilate an entire civilisation.
For a moment nothing happened then a series of rumbling thuds echoed through the Daedalus and the ship shuddered with the recoil of multiple missiles blasting out of all ten VLS launch tubes.
"Missiles are away," Marks reported.
"Dart activity," Caldwell asked.
"Quite a lot of them sir, they're moving to intercept our missiles," Marks replied. Caldwell nodded, that was only to be expected. Though a hiveship was a mighty dreadnought it had little in the way of point defences itself so to counter this design flaw hives regularly surrounded themselves with a defensive screen of darts when in normal space.
"Now would be a good time Orion," he said softly to himself as explosions began to appear in space as highly accurate fire from Wraith darts began downing their missiles. Despite the rapid response of the darts it appeared they had caught the Wraith with their pants down as a millisecond later an acrid blue-white flash erupted on the closest hiveship as a missile breached the defensive cordon to slam into the side of the ship and explode on contact with the organic armour. Take that, Caldwell thought and waited to see if anymore of their missiles struck home.
That Same Time
Contrary to the belief of those on the Daedalus and the Orion Doctor Rodney McKay and Ronon Dex were very much alive. Quietly they stuck to the shadows of the Wraith hiveship as they slowly made their way aft towards the massive sublight engines that propelled the great ship through space. It was slow going as they had to avoid the platoons of Wraith soldier drones patrolling the corridors and chambers of the hiveship, the last thing either of them wanted was to be captured again and stuck back in cocoons in preparation to be fed upon by the Queen herself after they got to Earth orbit.
They were just starting down yet another dark, cold corridor when there was a deep, rumbling boom as though a thousand bass drums were being struck at once and the whole ship rocked violently as if gripped by a sudden earthquake.
"What the hell," Rodney said stumbling in the loss of gravitational stability. The shaking deck steadied beneath him a second before a screeching alarm signal began to sound throughout the vast alien vessel. A moment later a second smaller explosion shook the ship and the dim lighting momentarily flickered as the flow of the superconducting fluid that carried power around the ship was disrupted.
"The ships engaged in battle," Ronon said as a third small explosion rippled through the hiveship. To his trained ears the first blast sounded like something very powerful slamming into the side of the vessel, with the second and third blasts being secondary internal explosions.
"With who," Rodney asked.
"Does it matter?"
"It matters to us."
"Why," Ronon asked.
"Because if it's our guys then our chances of surviving this just went back above zero, only by a faction mind you."
"If it's our guys its all the more reason to sabotage this ship and help them win the battle," Ronon replied as the shockwave of a forth internal detonation rippled through the ship. Clearly the missile strike – if it was from the Daedalus it would have to be a missile – had inflicted serious damage upon this vessel. "Let's move it."
Rodney nodded in agreement and the two men tore off down the corridor as around them Wraith soldier drones and officer caste male Wraith began running about as they prepared to fight their ship while coping with already inflicted damage.
Elsewhere on the hiveship Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard picked himself up off the deck where he had been slammed when the ship had been shaken to the core by the first massive explosion.
"What happened," he asked looking over at Michael as the renegade officer caste Wraith moved to a control station and activated it.
"One of your ships has appeared and launched an attack," Michael explained as the information flowed into his mind. "There first strike has inflicted serious damage upon this hive; the other hive is undamaged and is moving to engage."
"Are we going to go through the whole thing play by play or are we going to get out of here," Sheppard asked. Michael looked up and for a moment conflicting emotions ran across his almost human features, then the Wraith seemed to make a decision.
"This way," he said before heading off down the corridor, with Sheppard following a few paces behind him.
"One missile got through, sir," Major Marks reported as blue bolts of energy from multiple darts began to slam into the Daedalus' shields as the Wraith came out of their surprise and began firing back at them. "One of the hives has sustained severe damage, their propulsion systems appear to be down. There drifting and in an uncontrolled counter-clockwise spin. The other hive is moving to engage us."
"Any sign of the Orion yet," Caldwell asked still looking out at space. Even from here he could see one of the hives listing to starboard and slowly spinning helplessly from the force imparted by the naquada-enhanced nuclear strike, without power to its propulsion systems the hive was unable to right itself let alone join the battle. The other hive though was turning ponderously to face them and bring its massive main weapons arrays to bear.
"Negative sir," Marks replied as his console bleeped. "Sir the damaged hive is launching more darts and two cruisers have just disengaged from their bays."
"Damn," Caldwell said. He hadn't thought the hives had cruisers with them, but when he thought about it, it made sense. This Wraith faction would need all the firepower they could get if they hoped to cull Earth and all the other Human inhabited worlds in the Milky Way.
The sensors bleeped again. "Sir the Orion has just dropped out of hyperspace," Marks reported as a massive shadow fell over the bridge as the much more massive Aurora-class warship passed over their heads, still dumping the speed imparted by its exit from hyperspace.
"Status of the Orion," Caldwell asked.
"There weapons systems appear to be at full power and their shields are at full strength," Marks reported. "The darts are moving to strafe the Orion and the operational hive and both cruisers are targeting them."
"We can't help them with the hive and the cruisers but we can still take some of the heat off them," Caldwell said. "All forward railgun positions open fire on those darts."
Multiple railgun positions along the forward section of the Daedalus came alive launching solid trinium shot into space at fifty percent light speed, every round was aimed squarely at the Wraith darts moving to fire on the Orion. The barrage smashed into the darts before the Wraith pilots had any chance to react, dozens of the one man fighters disintegrated into brief lived fireballs as the high speed of the projectiles turned straight into explosive kinetic force on impact.
Immediately dozens of darts broke away from the Orion and advanced on the smaller Earth ship, while the hive and the two cruisers drew into range of the Lantean warship and opened fire. Powerful blue-white bolts of ions flew from the Wraith weapons arrays to streak through space and evaporate in brilliant silver-white flashes of light as they impacted the Orion's powerful shields.
A powerful shudder ran through the deck beneath Major Evan Lorne's command chair as the shockwaves of the Wraith ion blasts smashing into their shields made their presence felt. A faint smile tweaked at the edges of his mouth as with a part of his mind he noticed that the shields were undamaged. Surprise, he thought imagining how shocked the Wraith must be as they were confronted by a warship the like of which they had not fought for ten thousands years.
"Target the hiveship," he ordered as another barrage struck the shields. "Ready the main cannon. Target drones on one of the flanking cruisers."
"Yes sir," the airman operating the weapons console reported, though Lorne was quite capable of giving the command through the neural interface in the commander's chair it was easier to have one of the crew do it. He suspected that even the Ancients themselves had found it easier to operate ships the old fashioned way rather than control all the ships systems through the neural interface.
"Weapons systems locked on targets," the airman in question reported a moment later. "Main cannon fully charged."
"Then let's do this, fire."
For a moment the Orion hung in space, her shields glowing brightly as they dispersed the energy of the Wraith ion bolts back out into space. Then the Orion's own weapons systems came alive for the first time since she had been damaged in battle by the Wraith thousands of years earlier.
From her forward drone launchers the Orion spat out a stream of glowing yellow squid-like projectiles towards the cruiser off the hiveships starboard flank. Simultaneously a circular depression built into the blunt prow of the Lantean vessel glowed green with gathering energy a millisecond before a slender, green particle beam erupted towards the hiveship.
Moving far faster than the drones the particle beam struck first, smashing into the hive with white-hot force. Amazingly the thick organic armour of the Wraith ship resisted the beam for several nanoseconds before breaking down allowing the beam to cut deep into the interior of the vessel, vaporising section after section on deck after deck. The beam shut down before it could completely carve through the entire length of the hive. Still the damage was done, the hive rocked under the impact – blazing gas and debris bursting out of the deep gash ripped in its hull. Though wounded the hive struck back with every weapons array that they could bring to bear, hammering the Orion's bow shield. For a moment nothing more happened, then yellow-orange bolts of energy erupted from the Orion's forward pulse cannons to streak towards the hive, and the two great warships began blasting away at each other like tanks at twenty paces.
It was at that moment that the drone salvo reached the flanking cruiser, in their phased state the stream of squid-like projectiles passed harmlessly through the cruisers starboard wing. Before splitting into two separate streams that curved above and below the cruiser before striking it again, still in their phased state the drones penetrated deep into the Wraith warship before all detonating at once. The cruiser split wide open and exploded into a massive but short lived fireball that sent debris crashing into the starboard flank of the hiveship eliciting small explosions where the debris breached the armour.
The remaining Wraith cruiser manoeuvred around the hive to protect the wounded flank, even as multiple large explosions rippled along the hives bow as the powerful and accurate pulse fire from the Orion slammed home again and again, punching through the armour to tear delicate internal systems apart triggering a cascade of secondary explosions even as the ships forward compartments were opened to space.
The Orion's main particle beam cannon fired again, sending a shaft of emerald fire across space to slam into the operational hiveship. Already badly compromised by the ceaseless barrage of energy bolts the hives organic armour had no chance against the particle beam assault. The javelin of supercharged protons sliced right the way through the hiveship and shot out the other side. Almost completely cleaved in two the hiveship began to slowly blow apart.
By the standards of such things the hiveship took along time to explode, as one by one sections of the once mighty ship erupted, each explosion building on the previous one, growing in intensity. In moments the entirety of the eleven kilometre long alien ship was wreathed in fire that was shooting out of every window, bay and gun port. A final tremendous explosion erupted from deep within the dying ship as its mighty reactors detonated unleashing a maelstrom of energy that tore the vessel apart and sent glowing embers tumbling through space.
The Wraith cruiser skirted the plume of debris and cooling plasma that was all that remained of the destroyed hive, firing every weapon array it could bring to bear at the Orion as it did so. The cruiser placed itself carefully between the remaining hiveship and the weakening but still functional Lantean warship and prepared to defend the surviving Wraith Queen. The hive would only need a few more minutes to get its hyperdrive back online, the crew of the cruiser would do their best to give their Queen that time. If it meant their deaths beneath the Orion's guns and drones then so be it.
Remaining Wraith Hiveship
Doctor Rodney McKay scowled as he struggled to operate the Wraith computer console that he and Ronon had just found. It was hard going as he didn't have the ability to mentally link with the ship in the way that the Wraith or Teyla could. And to make matters worse the Wraith operating system was bizarre to say the least, it was only through remembering basic MS-DOS that he was getting anywhere with the damned thing.
"This operating system is a mess," he said softly as he worked to find an operable system to overload, which was easier said than done. The Wraith were far from stupid when it came to computer security, all critical systems were protected by sophisticated encryption codes that he had no chance of breaking without his computer tablet. "Thank goodness I remembered DOS," he continued before glancing up at Ronon to see the Sateadan was getting increasingly impatient. "Trust me that was hilarious," he said.
"Have you done it yet," Ronon asked.
"No," Rodney answered. "The Wraith are not idiots you know, any system with the potential to destroy the ship is heavily protected by encryption codes and firewalls that I am trying to bypass. And we've got another problem; a great many systems are damaged but are regenerating rapidly. They'll be capable of returning to hyperspace in moments."
"Then we don't have a lot of time, Rodney. Let Mikey have a go at it," a familiar American voice said, a voice that made Rodney smile in relief as it was one he had never thought he would hear again. Looking up he saw Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard walking up in the company of the Wraith they had tested Carson's retrovirus on, the Wraith they have come to call Michael.
Ronon's response to seeing the Wraith who'd come so close to killing Teyla was immediate. Pulling a knife from one of the many places in his clothing where he concealed them he assumed a fighting stance. With his brooding eyes he dared the officer caste Wraith to challenge him to a duel.
"Ronon relax he's helping us," Sheppard said firmly, startling Ronon. A Wraith helping them of his own free will without ulterior motive seemed very unlikely to him. Plus recent events had shown that the Wraith never treated Humans as anything other than a food source without something to gain from doing so.
"Why should we trust him," he said eying Michael suspiciously.
Surprisingly it was Michael who answered him. "Because I am trusting you," the Wraith replied and held out Ronon's holster and the large energy blaster it contained. Ronon accepted the weapon he'd acquired during his time as a Runner off him drew it out of its holster and pointed at Michael's forehead – aiming right between the eyes. One shot was all it would take to end this Wraith's life.
He was about to pull the trigger when Colonel Sheppard's hand came down on his arm. Ronon looked at the Tau'ri officer and saw a familiar hard look in his eyes and knew, knew that Sheppard would not let him kill Michael. At least not right now.
"Because I said so," Sheppard said firmly a note of steel in his voice. For a moment Ronon contemplated disobeying him and killing Michael right here and now. But only for a moment, he respected Sheppard to much to disobey him – even though he didn't strictly agree with his decision to trust the Wraith. Reluctantly he lowered his weapon.
It was at that moment that the dull boom of a fresh explosion echoed through the ship and the deck shuddered momentarily under them.
"Sounds like a major free for all raging out there," Sheppard said as Michael eased past Ronon and put a hand down on the console, and promptly emitted a sound of surprise and disbelief. "What is it?" Sheppard asked.
"A Lantean warship has joined the battle against these hives," Michael replied. "They've just destroyed the other hive and are currently engaged with a cruiser. I thought all the Lantean battlecruisers were destroyed in the war."
"Not all," Sheppard answered with a faintly smug grin on his face. "That's most likely the Orion we salvaged her from a planet called Taranis a few weeks ago."
"I see," Michael replied a little stunned that they hadn't detected the Orion's presence near Atlantis. The only explanation he could think of for that was that the Atlanteans had deliberately kept the Aurora-class ship outside their sensor range. That implied that even during the short lived alliance the Atlanteans hadn't entirely trusted them, a fact that was understandable given how the Queen had ultimately betrayed them.
"Now about overloading the ships systems," Sheppard said.
"I'm afraid there is no time for that now," Michael answered. "The Queen has changed the access codes; it would take too long for me to bypass them. The ventral hyperdrive generators have been regenerated, the hyperdrive cores are starting to power back up."
"Damn how long till this ship enters hyperspace?"
"Three minutes at the most."
"That's not a lot of time for anything," Sheppard pointed out.
"We have to get off this ship," Rodney said. "I don't fancy getting caught again by the Wraith and shoved back in that cocoon."
"Can we do that?" Sheppard asked Michael.
"Yes," the Wraith answered. "The aft hanger bay is very close by, follow me." With that he started walking down the corridor; the three Humans behind him exchanged a look before hurrying after him as none of them fancied being stuck on this ship when it returned to hyperspace.
The Orion, A Few Moments Later
A thin haze of smoke filled the bridge, a haze impregnated with the odours of overheating control crystals. Though the shields were blocking the bulk of the Wraith's firepower there strength was rapidly dropping, allowing some of the energy of the ion blasts through. Diffused though it was it was starting to inflict damage upon the Orion's systems, particularly those that supported the shields.
"Keep firing," Major Evan Lorne ordered from the command chair even as shield corrosion warnings sounded in his head, the neural interface in the chair alerting him to the fact that the forward shields were down to twenty-five percent.
Through the armoured viewport that dominated the front of the bridge he could see the remaining Wraith cruiser and beyond it the hive – which was starting to right itself as its propulsion systems came back online. The cruiser was in bad shape, listing badly to port with gas fed flames bursting from multiple breaches torn in its hull by pulse cannon fire. But still it and the few surviving darts continued to pound away at the Orion.
"Launch drones get that cruiser out of the sky," he ordered as a fresh hit shook the ship. Before his orders could be carried out four stream of high velocity railgun fire from the Daedalus slammed into the burning cruiser, the streams targeted precisely at the breaches in the hull setting off further explosions inside the cruiser. It was one attack to many.
As Lorne watched the cruiser came apart, disintegrating in a series of explosions that in mere seconds reduced it to a plume of plasma and debris. A faint smile appeared at the edges of his mouth at the cruisers destruction. There was only one Wraith ship left now, and sensors reported that the hives main weapons systems were still off line, though its secondary weapons were another matter entirely.
"Target the remaining hive," he said. "Let's finish this."
"Yes sir," the airman at weapons replied. The remaining hiveship was out of range for the main particle beam cannon and for the pulse cannons, but it was still in drone range. Albeit only just. "We'll have to use drones sir, their out of our main weapons range."
"Doesn't matter, drones will do," Lorne answered as an alert from the sensors caught his attention. The hives hyperdrive was powering up, in moments it would be able to generate a window and resume its journey to Earth. "Target the drones on the Wraith's hyperspace generators; we cannot let them get away."
Once again the Orion's forward drone launchers spat forth a stream of yellow squid-like projectiles which shot across space towards the last of the Wraith ships. Fired from the very limit of their range the drones didn't have the capability to destroy something as immense as a Wraith hiveship in one volley – their internal energy stores just were not high enough. But it wasn't necessary for them to destroy the hive.
The drone salvo raced across the distance, their brilliant yellow glow dimming as the energy imparted by the launching mechanism began to become exhausted. The salvo curved under the vast bulk of the hiveship and slammed into the engineering section that contained the hyperspace generators.
No longer having enough energy to phase the drones reverted to being simple missiles but were just as effective as they struck the ventral hyperspace generators and detonated. The explosions merging together and growing brighter as not just the generators but the whole hyperdrive assembly of the Wraith ship blew apart. Having been in the middle of a power up phase all the energy being fed into the hyperspace generators was released at once, crackling across the underside of the hiveship as rivers of lightning as broad as a puddle jumper was long, triggering multiple secondary explosions as power terminals detonated.
At eleven kilometres long the Wraith vessel was far to immense to be destroyed by even such a spectacular series of blasts. But it didn't need to be. As the glow of the explosion faded away the hiveship could be seen to be missing a huge chunk of its aft ventral section, including one of the two hibernation domes on the underside. Plasma flames and a glowing slick of radiation from ruptured sublight engine cores trailed along behind the hive as it hung in space, heavily damaged and on fire.
Silently like a hunter coming back to finish off wounded prey the Orion moved to within energy weapons range of the hiveship. Yellow-orange energy bolts erupted from her forward pulse cannons to slam into the wounded hive with searing white-hot force. Explosions erupted as the salvo's of energy blasts began cutting deep into the ship, breaking through the thick layer of organic armour to rupture the weaker organic hull material underneath Defiantly the hive's few operational secondary ion pulse arrays fired back at the Orion sending two to three ion bolts at a time into her weakened forward shields.
Colonel John Sheppard groaned as he picked himself up off the floor for the second time in just under fifteen minutes after a truly massive series of blasts had rocked the ship. His back was throbbing from where he had hit the bulkhead and then the deck when the ships artificial gravity field had briefly gone berserk. He winced to himself knowing he was going to be in quite a bit of pain for a few days until his bruised back muscles healed. Guess I'm going to be pestering, Carson for pain killers for a few days when I get back to Atlantis, he thought.
"Everyone alright," he asked looking around and coughing in the thick, acrid tasting smoke that was beginning to fill the corridors of the hive. Clearly there was fire on board somewhere, presumably caused by whatever had hit the ship and caused the explosions.
"I'm here," Ronon said picking himself up, before bending down to pick up Rodney who seemed to be unconscious after slamming head first into the bulkhead.
"As am I," Michael added picking himself up as well and shaking his head to clear residual disorientation. Not even Wraith bodies could take being slammed hard into the chitinous material of the bulkheads and deck without after effects, even though their natural regenerative abilities meant any injuries sustained healed rapidly.
"Where's Rodney," Sheppard asked unable to see the Canadian genius in the increasing gloom.
"I've got him," Ronon answered. "He hit his head pretty hard, seems to be completely out of it."
Sheppard frowned in concern and was about to open his mouth when another explosion shook the ship, an explosion that sounded and felt like it was caused by an energy weapon hitting the hull. Clearly this hive was now under direct attack from the Orion, which meant it would be destroyed soon.
"We have to get out of here," he said as more blasts shook the ship. "The Orion's firing on this ship now, we should get off or we'll be destroyed with the ship."
"The transport hanger is just down here," Michael answered before leading the way again, with Sheppard and Ronon – who had McKay's unconscious form across his shoulder in a fireman's carry – following closely behind him.
The hive was shaking constantly by the time they reached the hanger bay. Thick smoke was everywhere as the fires burning all over the ship grew ever stronger, and more and more systems through the vessel blew out.
Without speaking the two Humans and one Wraith climbed into a transport. Ronon carefully set Rodney McKay down against a bulkhead as Michael powered up the transports systems.
"How is he," Sheppard asked looking worriedly at the Canadian scientist. Rodney was dangerously pale and he could see blood seeping down the side of his face from a nasty looking gash on his forehead.
"Not good," Ronon answered as he heard the transports engines start. "Breathing is shallow and his pulse is erratic, we need to get him medical attention and quickly."
"Yeah well the Daedalus and the Orion both have medical facilities that could save him," Sheppard answered. "That is if the they don't destroy us the moment we leave the hive."
"We will soon find out," Michael broke in. "We're leaving the bay now, Colonel Sheppard it might be prudent if you come over here. I'll hail your ships the moment we're clear of the hive."
"Right," Sheppard said and moved over to join Michael at the control console ready to hail the Daedalus and the Orion. Hopefully they would accept that he was who he said he was and didn't just blast the transport out of the sky with a railgun shell or a drone.
The needle-nosed transport dropped clear of the hive and accelerated away from it, just as the Orion's main particle cannon finished its recharge cycle and lashed out again, the emerald beam slamming into the Wraith ships starboard side. The beam tore through the hiveship, eviscerating section after section on deck after deck, before shooting out the port side of the ship, cleaving the burning hiveship cleanly in two.
The two broken halves of the once mighty Wraith ship drifted apart for several seconds, before exploding together in titanic fireballs that send debris flying in all directions.
The battle between the Daedalus, Orion and the Wraith hiveships was over.
Colonel Stephen Caldwell smiled and cheers erupted around the bridge of the Daedalus as the last of the Wraith ships exploded under the Orion's firepower. They'd done it, the two Wraith hiveships that had acquired both the secrets of intergalactic hyperspace technology and the location of Earth had been neutralised. The threat the Wraith had posed to the untold numbers of Humans or Human-derived species – like the Jaffa – in the Milky Way was ended.
For now at least as the Wraith were bound to try getting to the new 'feeding ground' that was the Milky Way again sooner or later.
"Colonel Caldwell," Hermiod's voice abruptly said from the comm. "I hate to interrupt the celebrations at the destruction of the Wraith fleet but I believe you should know that a single Wraith transport left the Wraith hiveship moments before it was destroyed."
"Where is it now," Caldwell asked.
"The transport is moving towards us," Hermiod replied. "It appears to be trying to hail us."
"What are the life signs," Caldwell asked.
"Sensors read four life signs on the transport, one is Wraith the other three are Human. One of the Human life signs is quite faint indicating unconsciousness."
Caldwell blinked then frowned. Could it be possible that the transport contained their missing people, including Colonel Sheppard? Though how Sheppard had gotten on the Hive Caldwell had no idea though he wouldn't put it past him, Sheppard had a knack for doing the impossible. The question was who was the Wraith that was with them? There was only one way to find out.
"Apply the comm. filters," he instructed the communications officer. "Then put the hail from the Wraith transport on speakers."
"Yes sir," Major Kellerman answered from comm.
For a moment nothing happened, and then the speakers crackled and washed with static before a familiar voice came through. "Repeating this is Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, authentication code bravo, delta, Charlie, alpha nine to the Daedalus and Orion respond please," Sheppard's voice said.
"Sheppard," Caldwell answered. "Good to here your voice."
"Likewise, sir," Sheppard replied. "I've got Ronon, Doctor McKay and Michael with me."
"Michael?" Caldwell questioned with a frown wondering what the Wraith who'd started all this by telling his Queen about them was doing on that transport.
"Yes sir he helped us escape the hive. Sir can you beam us over immediately, Rodney is quite badly hurt and needs immediate medical attention."
"Understood. We'll beam you over immediately. Michael can park that transport in our starboard hanger bay."
"Understood Colonel, I've deactivated the jamming code so you can beam over your people," Michael's voice answered before breaking the comm. link from his end.
"Marks beam Sheppard, McKay and Ronon directly to the infirmary," Caldwell instructed. "And keep an eye on Michael's transport. If he looks like doing anything suspicious blast him out of the sky."
"Navigation once the transport has docked turn the ship around and head back to Atlantis, I imagine they're getting a bit anxious back there now. Advise Major Lorne on the Orion to do the same."
Michael watched from the control station as his three Human passengers vanished in a flash of silver-white light accompanied by a musical sounding chime. He had to admit that the transporter technology that the Atlanteans had available to them was impressive and nothing like the system the Lanteans had used.
Now alone on the transport he considered his what to do next, the transport did have hyperspace capability and he was still close enough to the Pegasus Galaxy to get back there on his own. It would take weeks and he would have to hibernate almost the entire time but it was doable. If he docked with the Daedalus then he would become a prisoner of the Atlanteans again and who knew what they would do to him. It was possible that they would try to turn him into a Human again erasing his existing consciousness and memory in the process. They certainly weren't about to let him go given that he knew that Atlantis was very much intact and that they now had access to a seemingly fully armed and operational Lantean warship. A warship they obviously knew how to use to its full devastating effectiveness.
His only real option therefore was to head back to Pegasus on his own.
With a quick command he reactivated the transports jamming code to prevent the Atlanteans beaming a nuclear weapon on board and turned his attention to his spatial position. He would only get one chance at escape, if he messed this up then he wouldn't get another as the Daedalus or the Orion would end his existence by shooting him down.
Ahead of him the Daedalus loomed, growing larger and larger until the small Human cruiser almost completely filled space ahead of him. He could see the doors on their starboard hanger nacelle opening to allow his ship in to land.
At the last possible instant he sent the transport down, passing below the Daedalus and away behind her. A command through the neural interface activated the hyperdrive and he guided the transport into the swirling energy vortex, leaving the startled Humans behind him.
With a few quick commands he set the automatic system before moving to one of the bench like chairs and lying down on his back. Closing his eyes he began the complex process of descending into the Wraith hibernation state.
Colonel Stephen Caldwell wasn't particularly surprised when Michael's transport broke away at the last minute and disappeared into hyperspace bound for Pegasus. He had half expected the Wraith to do something like this, as Michael would know they would never let him go knowing what he knew about them.
"Sensors are tracking Michael's ship heading back towards the Pegasus Galaxy. Shall we pursue, sir," Marks asked.
"No let him go," Caldwell answered. "He's not worth the effort of chasing down right now; we can deal with Michael at another time"
"We should get underway ourselves, is the course for Atlantis set?"
"Yes sir," navigation responded. "The Orion has acknowledge the course plot and are ready to execute on your command."
"Then by all means, engage hyperdrive."
Silently both the Orion and the far smaller form of the Daedalus came around. Hyperspace windows opened before both ships and the two warships accelerated into hyperspace heading back to Lantea and Atlantis.
Cheyenne Mountain, United States, Earth
A Few Hours Later
Doctor Elizabeth Weir sighed as she put down the book she had been trying to read in the temporary quarters assigned to her by General Landry. The IOA had stopped trying to see her for now, like everyone else they were waiting for the outcome of the mission she had sent the Daedalus and the Orion on. Only then would the IOA members finally make their decision about what would happen next.
A knock at the door caught her attention and she looked up, to see General Hank Landry standing in the doorway.
"Elizabeth," he said.
"What can you do for you, Hank," she asked as Landry came in.
"We've just received a message from Atlantis," Landry replied, making Elizabeth blink in surprise. She hadn't heard the alarm indicating an off world activation of the Stargate, but then again she had been awake now for nearly thirty hours. It was understandable that she would miss the alarm.
"What did they say," Elizabeth asked.
"The mission has been successful," Landry told her with a smile. "The Wraith hiveships bound for Earth have been destroyed."
Elizabeth sighed in relief. "Thank goodness," she said softly. "The Daedalus and the Orion?"
"Intact and with no appreciable damage beyond a few overstress shield generators," Landry answered. "And that's not all; Colonel Sheppard, Doctor McKay and Ronon Dex have all turned up alive. Doctor McKay has a nasty concussion but he'll recover."
He smiled as he saw Elizabeth relax fully, all the stress she had been carrying around since the IOA had summoned her back to Earth leave her. Leaving behind an exhausted looking woman.
"Thank God," Elizabeth said softly, relaxing back on the couch.
"Mr Woolsey was in the control room with me when the message from Atlantis came in. He said he'll convene the IOA in the morning to discuss the results of the mission," Landry said. "No doubt they'll give you a few pats on the back given that the mission you ordered passed off without a hitch."
Elizabeth nodded; she expected that would be the case. Now that everything had gone well the IOA would be eager to sweep the whole affair under the carpet and forget about it. At least till the next time something went wrong. Then they would try raking her over their red hot coals once again, but that was just the way of bureaucrats. It was a game she had learned how to play well at the United Nations.
"In the meantime, Elizabeth you look exhausted," Landry said. "Get some rest, your going to need it for the morning."
"Now that I know everything is fine I'll be able to sleep," Elizabeth replied getting up ready to retire to the bed. It probably wouldn't be as comfortable as her bed back in Atlantis, not to mention she would miss the constant muted roar of Lantea's global ocean lapping against the cities piers, but right now she was too tired to care.
"Good. Then I'll see you in the morning, Elizabeth."
"See you in the morning, Hank."
Landry smiled and left the room and closed the door behind him. Elizabeth watched him leave before heading to the bed. Stripping off her suit she lay on the bed and closed her eyes, and in seconds was deep into a relaxing sleep no longer tormented by the thought of what could happen to Earth at the hands of the Wraith.