Vorak waited stiffly, standing rigid and tall in his resplendid armour. It was polished to a sheen, far superior to the armour worn by other Jaffa as a sign of his standing in the legions of Ba'al, his position of authority. He was not a Prime, at least not yet, but he did have authority over a company of warriors some hundred strong currently tasked with guarding the Chapa'ai on this world while their lord set about doing whatever it was gods did.
This was not exactly the jewel in lord Ba'al's crown. It was to his eyes a wasteland, a white snow covered ice ball of mountains, lakes and bare trees erupting like hard spikes from the frozen earth. He had not seen any other trace of live beside his own warriors in a week, no subjects, no villagers, no birds or animals even. Nothing. Yet Ba'al had declared this world had value, and far be it from a Jaffa to defy his god.
Their Ha'tak had landed a few miles away upon the remnants of a great pyramid that had not seen attention in many centuries and from its belly the Jaffa had poured, scouring the world in search of anomalies or life. There were a few signs, some old villages that were now ice sheened ruins but nothing recent. Ba'al however knew more, his great wisdom telling him the gate had been activated recently and needed to be guarded. While other warriors camped near the ruined village Vorak guarded the gate, considering it a fairly pointless exercise but necessary. It was the will of Ba'al.
The cold was intense but Vorak did not flinch, he did not even move as the breath misted before his eyes, billowing from his lungs and rising into the clear blue sky. There were no clouds, nothing to hold the heat in, just a distant bright sun that served only to make his armour glint. His warriors were likewise quite miserable, many of them wrapped in rags and cloaks over their armour to try and capture some heat. Vorak did not blame them but would not show such weakness himself.
As his mind dwelled on such matters a sudden clunk from the gate snapped his attention back to the matter at hand. The great grey ring began to move without warning, the inner portion rotating and sliding into position, each of the lights around the gate illuminating in sequence. Ba'al had been right.
"Jaffa!" He bellowed in a gust of white breath. "Cree!"
His soldiers stumbled to their feet, abandoning the meagre fires of hard wood and weak soup they had been coaxing and taking up arms, grabbing the cold metal of the staff weapons and slipping onto their feet in the ice and compacted snow.
"Defensive ring!" Vorak stalked among them. "Here to here! Swiftly!"
The warriors hurriedly fell into formation as the final light glowed to life, blasting a geyser of exotic energy in a contained explosion that fell back into the wormhole. The Jaffa formed a semi circle in front of the gate, weapons held tight, waiting.
There was a ripple at the surface, a faint movement that caused some motion in the wormhole.
"Prepare!" Vorak shouted. "On my word only!"
The staff weapons snapped open in a crackle of energy, primed and armed ready for battle. The warriors holding them utterly calm and fearless, unafraid of serving and perhaps dying for their god. They waited.
The ripple moved and expanded, but to Vorak's consternation it was not a man that emerged from the doorway of heaven. A green tube protruded from the centre of the gate, a large metallic object that kept on extending. It wasn't what Vorak had expected and he could see from the sideways glances his warriors were also surprised.
As he watched more emerged from the gate, a grim metal mass of slopes and angles flanked by moving metal plates that were rotating around a series of wheels. The monstrosity was merging from the middle of the gate, seemingly floating in mid air until its centre of gravity shifted and the construct nosed forward crashing down on the stone slope leading up to the gate. The rest of the object fell out of the Chapa'ai, sliding down the ramp with a grunt of power and twin plumes of black smoke from its rear.
Vorak had never seen anything like it, the green device was only just small enough to fit through the gate and appeared immensely heavy and cumbersome. If pushed itself along on its rusted metal tracks, the dominating tube attached to a rotating turret mounted on top crowned with several protrusions. It looked a lot like a weapon. A big one.
The creation stopped at the bottom of the ramp, rocking slightly on its suspension as it did so. Slowly the turret rotated the gun left and right like a predator eyeing up its next meal, taking a measure of the warriors. The Jaffa were looking back and forth, unsure what to make of this intimidating arrival and waiting for Vorak to do something. Before him the green beast continued to rumble, the noise of its propulsion reverberating in his chest. He decided to act.
"Stranger!" He declared loudly. "This is a world of Ba'al! State your business!"
Slowly and deliberately the tube swung around to face him, a creak and squeal of metal accompanying its movement as it peered at him.
"Announce you intentions!" Vorak demanded, summoning courage. "Speak, or suffer the wrath of Ba'al!"
Vorak was entirely sure what happened next. He dimly recalled as if seeing it through a haze that the ground was moving past him quite fast, and he wasn't actually running. He remembered a hammer blow of air battering the side of his body and a sharp crack before his hearing was taken from him. He remembered dirty brown smoke, and then he remembered hitting the ground face first. It was as cold as he had expected.
In the few moments it took for him to recover his senses and roll on his side he concluded the new arrival was hostile. He also concluded that he had probably had all his limbs broken, and likely suffered a lot of internal damage too. The ground was shaking beneath him, a constant rumbling he could feel but not hear as he tried to move, to at least roll onto his side so he could see what was happening. With great pain he pushed with his broken arm and turned his head. He wished at once he hadn't.
The green monster was moving, spitting streaks of red and orange from a smaller tube beside its main weapon. The bright streaks passed easily through Jaffa armour and dropped his warriors in clouds of red one after the other. Occasionally a much deeper thump announced the firing of the main weapon, the long tube blasting chunks of ground and Jaffa into the air to rain down across the plain. Droplets of blood fell like red rain after each shot, all that remained of several of his men.
Flashes of staff fire informed him his warriors were fighting back, the sizzling energy slamming into the side of the metal beast with searing light and heat, yet with no effect. The shots blackened the surface, scarred it and left some areas of pitted and bubbled metal, but did not penetrate deep enough to cause more than a surface wound to the monster.
The vehicle turned left and drove to a new position clearing the way for a second identical unit to bounce down the ramp, and then a third. His hundred warriors were getting slaughtered, their weapons useless against the behemoths crushing their way across the red stained snow. A set of tracks passed near by his head, steaming pieces of some unfortunate Jaffa caught in the treads and sprockets like gristle between a tiger's teeth. His unit was gone.
Vorak became aware of his hearing returning, for what little good it did. Through the fuzzy haze of his own blood pouring through his ears he could discern voices along with the growl of engines and the stink of fumes. He did not know what they were saying , his hearing was not acute enough to pick out words just the garbled noise. He did know however that they were orders. Race or world didn't matter, he knew the bark of a leader when he heard it, this was an invasion.
Scores of figures were running through the gate in thickly padded white clothing carrying alien weapons. He heard the dull crackle of them firing, dropping the few remaining warriors around him that had survived the metal terror. The gate was lost, they had failed their god. Vorak now knew that death was his only option.
A pair of boots halted beside him, and the JAffa raised his eyes to look up to a masked face, hooded and covered in a white scarf and black goggles. The obscured face stared at him briefly, then pointed a weapon at him and fired loudly.
Vorak didn't mind at all.
"Ivanov to command, the gate is secured. We have a foothold."
No more needed to be said, his forces began to fan out, finish off any stragglers and wait for reinforcements.
"Reminds me of home Colonel." Major Chekov grinned, slapping his gloved hands together to work in some heat. "Another damn ice box."
Colonel Ivanov shrugged his insulated shoulders slightly. "I like the cold."
He stepped down the ramp from the gate, the stones chipped with bars of white where the T-62's had slipped down and into action. He stepped over the pulped remnants of an enemy soldier and raised a pair of binoculars from around his neck.
"The ruined village is ahead, just as reported."
"The scouts brought in an accurate report?" Chekov huffed. "Makes a change."
"General Konev would have shot them if they were wrong." Ivanov stated. "Literally. We can believe what they say, which means the primary target is less than five miles away beyond a frozen river."
"An alien spaceship." The Major remarked. "It's almost unbelievable."
"Almost." He agreed. "Prepare the men to move out."
Over his shoulder more men filed through the gate, jogging down and spreading out into positions. Among them walked an officer and his staff.
"Colonel Ivanov, excellent work."
He returned the greeting. "Colonel Draguv, your Spetsnaz layabouts ready for a real fight?"
"If your airborne goons can do it my boys will handle things with their eyes closed."
Both men gripped each other in a rough bear hug. "Been too long friend, good to have a decent officer at my back!"
"And glad to have you leading the way Ivanov." The Spetsnaz Colonel nodded. "We have more armour on the way, we'll clear the village and storm the ship before it leaves."
"Best get going then." Ivanov decided.
"After you Comrade."
It hadn't taken long for more Jaffa to mobilise, small patrols at first drawn to the sounds of fighting but gradually increasing in strength and numbers. The clatter of small arms fire grew more and more frequent, punctuated by the occasional blast from one of the tanks.
"Major Chekov, bound by company!" Ivanov ordered gruffly. "Take the village!"
"Yes Colonel." His second confirmed. "Captain, forward!"
The airborne soldiers emerged from the snow and advanced, the three tanks gunning their engines and following. To reach the village they had first to proceed between the leafless trees of a small wood invested with Jaffa warriors. It was not likely to be pleasant.
Chekov was a man who led from the front, assault rifle in hand inspiring his men with his courage. The Airborne units were an elite, highly motivated and well equipped but a little encouragement never hurt. Their army cousins, the Spetsnaz troopers began to join them and strengthen their ranks holding either flank while Ivanov's regiment pushed forward.
Grey shapes moved between the trees, Jaffa warriors crunching through the snow and firing wildly from the hip. Their weapons were woefully inaccurate, the energy bolts rarely hitting anything at these sort of ranges.
"Look boys! We've found something less accurate than our Kalashnikovs!" One of the soldiers cheered, his comment met with a brief riot of laughter.
"So demonstrate it!" The Major ordered. "Open fire!"
The Russian soldiers engaged, the pepper of bullets and bursts of LMG fire pelting the incoming Jaffa. Advancing in small groups or as individuals the enemy had no chance, they were picked off by Ivanov's men without much effort. They advanced over the bodies of the fallen, often putting a few more rounds into them to make sure.
"Look a lot like us don't they Comrade Major?" a passing soldier remarked. "Not like aliens."
"They do, and they die just as easily." Chekov grinned. "Introduce them to Soviet steel!"
The troops pushed forward until finally they met some organised resistance, a block of a few hundred Jaffa charging in open order. It was an amazing sight, a thick mass of bodies rushing through the trees under the pale blu sky and above the harsh white ground, roaring their battle cries and firing repeated blasts as they charged.
"Hold!" Chekov barked. "Take cover! Fire at will!"
The Russians hit the deck, two of them catching staff blasts in the process due to sheer weight of fire. Thousands of bullets scythed into the Jaffa, throwing them down and twisting their bodies into heaps. A thunderous snap heralded the presence of a tank, shredding a dozen Jaffa in one high explosive impact that tore the heart out of the attack. It was a massacre, the sort of war the Jaffa were trained for simply could not stand up to machine guns and tanks.
"Back on your feet!" Chekov changed a magazine in his own smoking rifle. "Keep going, nearly there!"
The forest thinned out ahead revealing the village, an assortment of low stone buildings and walls that had long since fallen into disrepair. A few still had roofs and windows, but most were just husks. However they still provided good cover for the JAffa, most of whom were smart enough to understand the value of hiding behind a stone wall or firing from a loophole.
Chekov gunned down a stray warrior with his AK before spotting a fresh challenge, a tripod mounted staff cannon set up at the edge of the village.
The cannon fired, the searing blast whizzing past and splintering a tree in a shower of pale wood. Its stability made it a bit more accurate and therefore more deadly. With a familiar rumble one of the T-62s moved up, chattering tracer fire as it advanced. Its high calibre bullets tore one Jaffa to mangled pieces before is comrade took over the cannon and fired back, the impact blasting a spotlight from the turret.
Suddenly another cannon fired from a hidden location, their shots converging on the tank and gradually eroding its armour. Unable to see the second gun the tank popped smoke and began to pull back.
"Up to us then." Chekov grunted. "Disily! RPG front!"
The cannon was too busy firing into the smoke trying to finish the tank to notice the new threat. Disily took one of the conical projectiles and wedged it in the launcher, the iconic weapon now about to earn notoriety on a new world. He aimed carefully, or as least as much as was practical with a device like an RPG, and fired.
The rocket whooshed away in a pall of smoke, its appearance so bizarre the Jaffa did not immediately run away. It cost them their lives, blasting them and the cannon into ruin. The second cannon further away suffered a similar fate at Spetsnaz hands, clearing the way to the village.
"Now Comrades, into the village! Charge!"
They erupted from the tree line in a white wave, their only option being to run as quickly as possible from the shield of the trees to the cover of the walls. The Jaffa met them with fire, cutting down several Soviet soldiers with blasts of energy that burned through their white uniforms with ease. One of the buildings containing several Jaffa vanished in a cloud of smoke as a T-62 erased it, the explosion collapsing the structure onto its defenders. It was the longest run of Chekov's life, but he made it.
"House clearance details! Go!"
Small groups of soldiers advanced, each one taking a house in turn and attacking it. They threw grenades through windows or sometimes over the walls through non-existent roofs and then stormed in, machine gunning anything that survived the grenade. It was bloody work, and several paratroopers were felled by Jaffa staff blasts at point blank range but door by door the village began to change hands.
"Aircraft!" A voice suddenly warned. "To the North!"
Chekov squinted in that direction, spotting two dark blurs against the pale sky.
"Take cover! Missile teams bring them down!"
The two gliders swooped in, spraying fire into the village. Most of the men hit the dirt and clustered in corners avoiding the worst, however the closest support tank had no where to hide. The vehicle was hit by scores of blasts on its upper hull, each hit sparking and showering molten metal to fall with a hiss on the snow below. Black smoke poured from the vehicle as its hatches squeaked open and its crew fell out choking.
As the gliders turned away they were trailed by a quartet of white trails rising up from shoulder launchers, the anti aircraft missiles chasing down the gliders before they could use their impressive acceleration to outrun them.
"Alright, fun's over!" Chekov informed his men. "Back to work! Get killing!"
The plain in front of the gate had transformed from a still quiet field of snow to a forward base. Trucks and APC's packed with soldiers drove through over metal ramps designed to raise the entry point to the gate enough for regular vehicle travel. A pair of SAM tanks waited with a trio of giant missiles on the racks while a platoon of battle tanks dug in around the perimeter aided by four hundred elite Soviet infantry. A pair of command vehicles were already set up with a radar truck hastily getting ready beside them.
It was into this frantic preparation General Vladimir Konev stepped, the grizzled bear casting a harsh eye over proceedings and finding them largely satisfactory. He did not wear white camouflage like his subordinates, instead stepping through the gate in a khaki greatcoat and peaked cap crusted with gold braid. He had no need to hide, never had and never would.
"Lieutenant Zofia." He spoke in a voice hardly above a whisper as he reached the bottom of the ramp and moved aside, lines of men streaming through the gate behind him still. "Report."
His aide saluted, a slender brunette also in Khaki though considerably more insulated than the General's formal wear. Whether he was cold or not was irrelevant, Konev did not shiver or give any indication of discomfort. Like the body of the Jaffa commander he stepped over appearance was everything.
"General, we have cleared the woods and the village." Zofia reported. "We are moving on the main target."
"Good, I want that radar set up now." He said calmly. "We are vulnerable to air attack."
"At once sir."
"The gate is about to shut. When it reopens we will have Gunships brought through. Make sure they have space."
He looked over his shoulder as the thirty eight minutes elapsed. To his disgust one of the soldiers was just a fraction too slow making the crossing and the gate shut while he was still in transit, neatly severing one of his legs.
"Medics!" Zofia shouted. "Here! Quickly!"
"Bloody fool." Konev turned his back on the screeching man. "I have no place for fools in my command, get him out of my sight."
He walked towards the command post as the radar truck finally activated, the large dish on its roof slowly beginning its rotation.
"Air contact!" One of the operators called. "Incoming aircraft!"
"I knew it." Konev hissed. "Is it the primary target?"
"No General, they appear to be bomber sized vehicles, ten plus."
"The craft known as Al'Kesh." Zofia surmised. "They are dangerous."
"So are we." Konev grunted. "Shoot them down."
"They are very close comrade General…"
"Shoot them down." He repeated. "Then consider yourself relieved for insubordination."
One of the SAM tanks swung its rack of missiles up and fired, the missiles blazing skyward on jets of fire. They launched in sequence, one three seconds after the other climbing high and leaving a thin white trace in the blue heavens.
"Goggles." Konev said, and those not wearing them at once pulled on their black shaded eyewear.
The world flashed white, and intense blaze of bright illumination that reflected back up from the snow. A second and third glow detonated a few seconds later, kiloton yield explosions generated by the nuclear tipped anti aircraft missiles.
The operator checked his screen, the system slowly recovering as the radiation dimmed.
"Good, now Lieutenant, are we at the ship yet?"
Ter'ak headbutted the closest soldier, grabbing a second by the arm and swinging him into the shining wall of the Ha'tak corridor. These white clad men were good, but they were no match for the First Prime of Ba'al. The mighty Jaffa drove his heel into the wind pipe of a Russian at his feet and moved on, snapping a couple of shots from the Zat he clutched in his hand. He preferred the staff of course, but in the confines of a warship the Zat'nika'tel was far more efficient.
Bullets sparked from the wall as a pair of Russians bounded forward, crouching and steadying themselves to improve their aim. The warriors Ter'ak led responded, some of them falling with grunts and exhalations as the enemy found their mark. Unlike most of his brethren Ter'ak had learned to aim and while his brothers soaked up the bullets he picked off enemy soldiers one after another.
Unfortunately Ter'ak's skill was not shared by his men. The Jaffa were losing ground, driven back by bullets and grenades as the white clad men drove on, ignoring their own casualties with the coldness of a true Jaffa. They were worthy opponents, but that didn't mean Ter'ak wanted to lose.
A pair of grenades exploded ahead of him, gutting two of his comrades in sprays of crimson. Additional Russian soldiers raced forward with a cheer, their loud weapons claiming more Jaffa. The two groups assaulted each other, firing from the hip in the corridor, unable to hide or take cover. Men died quickly, fell wounded and were stepped over by their brothers, but it was the Russians that were the better. The Jaffa took no step back, but still gave ground as they died faster than reinforcements could arrive.
Ter'ak punched a Russian who got too close before shooting a second. Others were brought down by his brother Jaffa who were apparently superior in single combat, but gradually becoming overwhelmed. Three Russians kicked down a Jaffa, bayoneting him on the floor. Others beat down more warriors with the butts of their rifles or pumped lead into them at point blank range. Against such numbers there was no chance.
There was a jab of pain as a bullet smashed the Prime's shoulder, an injury which just made him more angry. He shot down another opponent before he had to step back, he had to give ground. The ship was falling and they still didn't have the power to take off. He staggered back and met a group of Jaffa running to join the battle.
"Here!" He called them over. "Form here! Defensive line!"
He turned to view the battle as his new troops gathered, turning just in time to see a man point a green cone at him from a shoulder launcher. He saw the cone launch in a puff of smoke and almost in slow motion saw it get bigger and bigger as it travelled the dozen yards to his location.
Major Chekov ducked aside from the explosion and its grisly detritus that slapped the walls and floor of the corridor, actually grinning maniacally to himself at scoring such a victory. Beside him Ivanov remained impassive.
"Looks like the command room over there, no movement." The Colonel said.
"Yes sir!" Chekov beamed. "We've broken their backs!"
"Stay with it, hunt them down." Ivanov said. "I'll inform command we have the ship."
The airborne soldiers pushed on with their Spetsnaz brothers, Colonel Ivanov stepping aside to examine the command centre.
"Not bad, is this all real gold?"
Ivanov turned to see Draguv admiring the throne in the centre of the room, the Spetsnaz Colonel tapping it with a fingernail.
"Could be, these Goa'uld are supposed to be ostentatious with their wealth. Worse than Americans."
"So this one is Ba'al yes?"
From nowhere a booming voice gave answer.
Draguv was too slow, he was thrown through the air and smashed against a wall as the Goa'uld emerged from hiding, his hand device raging with power. At once Ivanov reacted, blasting a full magazine of bullets from his AKM with no effect, the personal shield deflecting the hits.
"Fool." Ba'al laughed, extending his hand. "You would fight a god?"
He activated the ribbon device, distorting energy assaulting the Colonel and driving him to his knees, gasping in pain.
"You will not take my ship." He informed. "I shall take off, eject your men and bomb the rest from orbit."
Ivanov tried to reach his sidearm, but it was useless.
"You amuse me, surely you did not seek to hurt me with such primitive weapons?"
With no warning Ba'al's arm was suddenly snatched away, twisting as something hit it and dropping to the floor, the fingers slowly contracting as the Goa'uld gasped in shock, to surprised to even feel pain. Ivanov seized his chance, and punched the alien.
"I hate it when I get thrown around." Draguv grunted. "My back is killing me."
Ivanov reached down beside the severed hand and picked up a hatchet. "You threw this?"
"I'm Spetsnaz, tomahawks are part of our arsenal." Draguv shrugged. "I was waiting until he finished the words 'Primitive weapon' for added irony."
"You people are mad. And also thanks." Ivanov said. "We better take all his gadgets before he wakes up."
"He's going to be sorry when he comes around."
The GAZ scoutcar pulled up in front of the landed Ha'tak, Lieutenant Zofia staring at it in wonder while General Konev treated it like any other building. He was met by Ivanov who offered a crisp salute.
"Good work Colonel." Konev responded to the blue bereted man. "Enemy presence?"
"Survivors have retired to the caves beneath the Pyramid sir." He answered. "Reports say something valuable is down there, Colonel Draguv awaits your orders to assault."
"He can wait, I'm sending in a Penal battalion." Konev informed. "No need to waste Spetsnaz on a tunnel fight, send in convicts, no one gives a damn if they die."
"So where is this prisoner?"
"Inside sir, if you will follow me."
He led the two officers into the ship, past the blood stained and bullet scarred corridors to a large central chamber where a thin figure stood under guard, one forearm ending in a bandaged stump.
"The Goa'uld Ba'al General." Ivanov announced, then stepped back for the General.
"Ba'al." Konev repeated. "I am Lieutenant General Vladimir Konev, hero of the Soviet Union. This world is now a protectorate of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and all on it now belongs to the Proletariat."
Ba'al spat blood onto the floor, his body and face bruised.
"You are a prisoner of the Red Army." Konev continued. "You will surrender your fleet to us. You will show us how to operate these vehicles and provide help developing our own versions. You will do this, or I will torture you to death repeatedly until you obey the will of the Soviet People."
Ba'al stuck up his chin. "I will not. You will obey me, or die."
Konev grinned slightly. "I admire that spirit. But I must break you."
With a sneer Ba'al flashed his eyes. "Bow before your god."
Konev nodded slowly, then drew back his arm and punched a meaty fist into Ba'al's stomach, doubling the alien over.
"Communism has no god."
He gestured at the Goa'uld and one of his men hit the alien with his rifle, dropping him to his knees before the General. Konev savoured each and every second.
"See Comrades! In Soviet Russia gods bow to you!"