Making Time Between The Spaces
Cody MacArthur Fett
Disclaimer: Stargate and all related characters belong to Sony (yes, Sony), Crow's Nest belongs to Bungie, the Fox Pouncer and Crab are my own, however.
Explanation: This story is an AU. And if anyone's wondering what kind of AU it is, just think of it as an Earth that was taken over by your standard issue evil dictator someone time in the relatively distant past.
Somewhere in the sky above East Africa
GIA Fox Pouncer Charlie-November-05
0900 Hours Local Time / 1,095 days until Slipspace Rupture
Lt. Wonbosi flinched as his Fox Pouncer clipped yet another tree while topping 215 mph. "Please, Colonel Shepherd, I know you outrank me, but could you please fly just a little higher? I think that last branch got caught in one of the weapons ports."
"Come now, Leo, I never pictured you for a lightweight," Col. Shepherd retorted lightheartedly as the Pouncer flew into a dry river bed.
"I am not a lightweight. It's just that this is very dangerous to fly like this, especially since we technically . . ." the large Multi-Purpose VTOL did a barrel roll out onto more open ground. "Especially since we do not technically have to fly like this."
"Yes, well, I'm in command here, and I like to fly like this," the Pouncer went into a corkscrew.
"I think I'm going to be sick," Cpl. Ajax opined from one of the seats in the cargo area as Wombosi and Shepherd continued to argue in the cockpit, shortly before loosing his breakfast in one of the handy air sickness bags available.
Crow's Nest Base, 24 Kilometers West of Voi, Kenya
0930 Hours Local Time
John Shepherd smiled as he walked into Ops Center at the heart of Crow's Nest, a spring in his step as he did so. After all, why shouldn't he be happy? His anniversary was coming up in a few days. Well, actually one day, but then again it was so hard to keep track of time; especially since the members of the Global Insurgency Alliance tended to do luxury activities like "special" dinners or parties ASAC instead of ASAP – fighting an evil all-encompassing empire non-stop tends to do that to people.
Well, whatever the actual date of his anniversary, the fact of the matter was that it was still coming up, and he needed some help putting things together while his wife was out. And he had just the man for the job, if he only could . . . Ah! There he was – right by the electroencephalograph.
"Lorne!" Shepherd called out as he walked towards him. "Lorne, got a sec?"
"You caught me at a good time, John," Major Lorne answered after he signed off on a requisition form to "liberate" a crate of Kalashnikovs from a local warlord who had sided with their vaunted enemy. Honestly, some days he was sure they spent more time and resources fighting the local warlords then they ever did fighting the Imperials. "What can I do for you?"
"Uh, yeah, bout that. Do you think we can talk about this in private?" John asked as he glanced around at various Russian-Woodland clothed techs tending to random do-dads around the room.
"Say no more," Lorne answered, waving his hand in a cut-it-out gesture. "We'll talk in my office."
"You have an office?" John inquired curiously as he followed the camo-jumpsuit-ed Major. "Since when?"
"Well, technically it's the Colonel's office," Lorne admitted as he and John ascended the staircase near the massive bank of monitors that dominated the operations center's North wall. "But while she's out I get to use it."
"Kinda short-sighted, don't ya think?" John asked dryly.
"Well, look at it this way, would you have liked to sit in General Haya's chair while you were stationed at McMurdo?"
"Hell, yes!" John retorted quickly as the Major opened the door to the cubicle-like office.
"Then you must understand how I feel," Lorne reasoned. He then took a moment after saying that to hover over the worn leather chair behind the equally as worn wooden desk before slowly lowering himself into it. When he finally had gotten completely into the chair he let out a deep, contented, sigh.
"So, can you feel the power?" John asked rhetorically, rolling his eyes as he did so.
"Oh yeah, I feel it," Lorne said contently.
"OK, cut it out lover boy. Listen, I need to have unrestricted and solo access to AAA Emplacement A-03 the night after the Colonel gets back."
"WHAT?!" Lorne exclaimed, practically leaping out of his seat.
"I won't mess up anything, and need it for my and Elizabeth's anniversary dinner," John tried to reason.
"That may be, but my answer is still no. I won't potentially compromise this base's defenses so that you can put on a show for your wife," the Major bombarded.
"How will it compromise the bases' defenses? It's in a canyon."
"I'm sorry John, but my decision is final. You'll have to find something else to do for your anniversary," Lorne stated with an innate sense of finality.
"OK then," John replied casually. "I can deal."
John left the Commander's Office after that, walking down the stairs and out into the control room before looping around and heading down the stairs at one of the room towards the hanger. On his way through the corridor at the foot of the stairs his prosthetic leg got caught in an errant cable that was crossing the walkway. With a scoff he slipped the spring-like limb out from under the cable, while simultaneously cursing whoever's bright idea it was to put a giant cable in the middle of a corridor.
This wasn't the first time his artificial leg had let him down, but he still hated it every time. If only he had gone on that patrol, maybe . . . No, it was pointless to reminisce like that; after all, he still had duties to attend to in the maintenance room, and his subordinates couldn't cover for him indefinitely. He only respite was that his wife could not possibly be having a worse day then him.
Somewhere in the Northern Former Tanzania
Site of GIA Negotiations [Currently FUBAR]
1205 Hours Local Time
Colonel Elizabeth Shepherd ducked behind a crumbling mud wall as yet another Imperial Enforcer Drone opened fire on her with it's single green DEW. The mud shattered and melted away as the flowing green beam blasted through the part of the wall besides Shepherd's head like a hot knife through butter. On instinct she flipped out of cover and fired her AA-12 before running off, briefly noting that the 12-Gauge fin-stabilized grenade she launched had hit.
Everything had gone to hell in a hand basket with a hand-grenade ever since they arrived. First, the negotiations stalled and went nowhere for an hour. Then they found out why when Pvt. Sumar found
Imperials in the town. Then after that things got even worse when their radios were jammed. Then their Fox Pouncer was destroyed. And that's when the Crab showed up . . .
But that was just the tip of the iceberg for the embattled Alliance troops. Stuck behind enemy lines with no comms, no reinforcements, and little ammunition they forced to scatter and try and find some way to not get killed until they missed their scheduled check-in and the Alliance sent someone to ind out what happened. Easier said then done, especially since there was still a ten meter high plasma-spewing walking metal death machine striding around like it owned the place, all while looking to do only one thing: kill all those who opposed the Supreme One's rule.
It was in this position that Elizabeth found herself in at that moment. It wasn't the first time, it wouldn't be the last, but man-o-man did it ever get tiresome. She was currently running one of the dry mud-cracked back allies in the long abandoned town – it's inhabitants killed off by what the Colonel hoped was a gas attack.
All of a sudden she stopped; a mechanical, rhythmic, almost groaning noise had begun to fill the air. Almost without thinking she dove into a nearby house as the noise grew louder. Outside the massive four-legged form of the Crab continued to stalk it's prey. It smashed through house after fence after street, caring not where it stepped, as it's scanners continued to prowl the dilapidated structures for any signs of life. While inside her hideaway Elizabeth clutched her automatic shotgun and tried to breath as slowly as possible, all the while praying as though her life depended on it.
All of a sudden one of the Crab's huge legs smashed through the ceiling just a few feet from where Elizabeth was standing. She shielded her eyes and dove for cover behind another of the walls in the three-room house. She resisted the urge to cough after she had come to a stop – her lungs were on fire, and she could plainly feel the inching coarseness of sand in places she'd normally not think about – and after a few seconds she finally got up the guts to look around the corner; the sight she saw made her heart freeze. The Crab's leg was still there, it was still there, and it was standing perfectly still.
Elizabeth quickly shot her head back around the corner of the wall, and waited. For a minute and a half nothing happened, then . . .
Wooooo . . . BOOM!!!
The sound of the Annihilator Tri-Beam mounted under the Crab changing and the subsequent explosion filled Elizabeth's ears. It was quickly followed by seventeen more shots and a constant patter-patter-patter of the the monstrosity's machine gun, the plasma weapons on it not making a sound though they were sure to firing all the same. Now, in all the cacophony of the Crab's firing the sound of it moving away from Elizabeth's position was almost lost; luckily, something that big was bound to cause quite a shake when it walked.
The erstwhile diplomacy student let out a sigh of relief when she knew it was gone. Though two errant thoughts passed trough her head: that Crab had been shooting at someone and whoever it was shooting at was most likely and assuredly dead, and that her's and John's wedding anniversary was coming up soon – probably should have considered that beforehand. Though, it was times like this that she was glad that the Shepherd children were living with her grandparents in Vladivostok, far away from the troubles of the world.
It was at that moment that the Colonel remembered something, something very important. It had been forty-five minutes since they were supposed to check in. Assuming any rescue party left ten minutes after they had been supposed to check in, and assuming they were flying "Invader-style", then that would mean that . . . Speak of the Devil, Elizabeth mused sardonically as the roar of jet engines filled the air, followed quickly by the sound of AA fire and bombs.
Almost without thinking she activated the beacon that was attached to her chest and left the cover of the half-destroyed house and sprinted into a nearby crater as fast as she could. Almost immediately after one of the Fox Pouncers whipped around, opened it's back hatch, and swooped in low to the ground for three seconds, barely giving enough time for Elizabeth to jump in.
"What the hell happened here, Colonel?" one of the troopers in the Pouncer asked almost immediately.
"What do you think happened? We were set up!" Elizabeth shot back before regaining her composure. "Did you pick up the rest of my team?"
"Yep, all four of them. Crab got the rest. Don't worry though, we nailed that sucker," the pilot answered back sarcastically.
Four? Well, after all that there was only one thing Elizabeth could say. "Damn."
The Next Day
"You all right?" John asked of his wife as they ate in the barracks.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm all right," Elizabeth answered half-heartedly.
"If it's any consolation, it never gets any better," the maintenance chief said as sensitively as he could manage.
". . . Thanks, John. That . . . didn't help at all," Elizabeth replied quizzically.
"I'm sure," Elizabeth said with a roll of her eyes. "So, is there anything you have planned for our anniversary?"
"Well, I did, but . . ." John began before spotting Lorne twenty feet behind Elizabeth holding up a sign that said "GO AHEAD LOVER-BOY, THE COLONEL NEEDS TO UNWIND, AND WE CAN'T HAVE A WONKED OUT COMMANDER". "As a matter of fact, I did have something planned. Swing by AAA Emplacement A-03 tonight at 2100 hours, I'll have dinner."
"Triple-A Emplacement A-03? Isn't that the one in the side of the canyon?" Elizabeth inquired in a befuddled manner.
"Yep," John answered back quickly.
". . . Cool."
Later That Night
"John, I never thought I'd say this, but this is the most beautiful AAA emplacement I've ever seen. How did you ever find out about it?" Elizabeth asked with a smile as she sat across from her husband in the candle-lit concrete pit.
"I know. And as for how I found it: I found out about it from Rodney," John replied with a hint of humor in his voice before taking another bite of what assumed was steak.
"Rodney? You found out about this place from Rodney?!" Elizabeth gawked disbelievingly.
"Yeah, I couldn't believe it either, but apparently he likes to come down here to think . . . Well, before he got transferred to Russia that is," John answered, noticing the awkwardness of that statement.
"Oh yeah, that's right. By the way, how's his work with Dr. Zelinsky coming along?" She was definitely getting off topic, but somehow couldn't help herself.
"Uh . . . He said it was going well last time I talked to him. Though he did also say something about Zelinsky being certifiable . . . Again."
"Still working on those ruins, huh?" Screw the topic, she had command privileges!
"Yep. He says that they might actually be able to prove the existence of alternate universes this time."
"Alternate universes, that sounds romantic," Elizabeth replied with a cheeky smile.
"I know. I mean, just think about it: somewhere out there there could be versions of us running out in space on some fantastic journey, fighting aliens, blowing stuff up on a regular basis. That kind of stuff. And, of course, we'd all live in some big floating city, you would be a robot, and I would be the loveless emo guy . . ."
"Wait a second!" Elizabeth interjected. "Why can't you be the robot and I be the loveless emo guy?"
"Because then it wouldn't make any sense," John replied as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. Elizabeth merely rolled her eyes at him. "Still," he continued, turning his head towards the star-saturated sky that was visible through the camo-netting. "You have to admit that it'd be pretty cool to visit other universes."
"Hmm, perhaps," Elizabeth mused. "But I think I like our world best."
"Why's that? Our world sucks?" John asked.
Elizabeth merely reached her hand across the makeshift table and squeezed his hand. "Because, I get to share it with you, my love."
"Well . . . How can I argue with logic like that?" John asked rhetorically before moving to kiss his wife
A/N: Well, this isn't exactly what I'd planned, but hey, at least I got it up before 0000 hours Pacific Standard Time. :D As for the universe this takes place in, it's actually the same universe that my ultra-fluff Valentine's story takes place in (told ya it went to hell in a hand basket), and as you might have guessed it's modeled heavily off of the Half-Life series. As to why I did a YOTS story based in this universe . . . Why not? There' literally hundreds of different stories that have to be fit in, which makes plenty of room for a few AUs and crossovers. (P.S. Try and find the two Command & Conquer references in the story. ;))