Title: Closer to Home (10/?)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.

Rating: Violence, harsh language. In other words, nothing worse than what's on TV today.

Spoilers: Lots.

Disclaimer: The settings depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: In 2024, the Armies of the Southern Cross discover an extra-terrestrial threat that's a little closer to home.

Author's Note: Yet another plot bunny that refused to leave me alone.

"How many casualties?" Paul asked.

"Almost the entire team confirmed dead," Blevins answered, her voice tight. "Only two members unaccounted for, Lieutenant Carver and Corporal Dixon, and at least one of them detonated a cobalt grenade at point blank range. The remains are... unidentifiable until we hear back on the DNA analysis."

"How the hell did something like this happen?"

"The planet's gate area had been deemed secure, apparently in error," she said ruefully, shaking her head. "They were caught off-guard, they had to protect the researchers, and they were out-numbered at least two to one, based on the number of bodies we found."

"What do we have on the new hostiles?"

"Kangaroo pouch types," she said. "Head gear's different -- cobra hoods instead of falcon heads -- and different tatts on their foreheads. We've sent a copy of the tatt to Liberty in case their guest can tell us more."


The officers present turned to look at the only civilian present. Dr. Jackson blinked at the scrutiny. "Apophis," he repeated. "Egyptian mythology. Ra was the sun god who ruled the day. Apophis was the serpent god, Ra's rival who ruled the night. Th-the cobra hoods make that kind of obvious."

"All in favor of adding Doctor Jackson to the SGC's intelligence division?" Paul said, raising his hand, as did the other officers. "The ayes have it. Doctor Jackson, we'll be passing data through you for your interpretation. We would appreciate any help you can give us."

"Um, okay."

The woman stirred, then tried to sit up, only to hiss as pain shot through her body.

"Rest," a kindly voice said as a gentle hand against her sternum pushed her back down. "You're still very weak right now. I need to change the dressing."

Her right hand reflexively drifted to her hip, resting on the butt of her sidearm, and she breathed a sigh of relief. She may be half-naked and unarmored, but at least she was armed. She squinted at the woman tending to her. She pegged her as being in her mid to late fifties, some sort of local healer; this certainly wasn't a modern clinic or hospital. She'd run into similar types in some of the more primitive or harder hit parts of Earth. She offered no resistance as the other woman moved to change the dressing on her left arm.

It was then that she heard what had woken her. There was the sound of a scuffle outside the room, and her eyes narrowed, "What's going on?"

"Nothing you should worry about," the woman said firmly. "We saw how you fought against the servants of Apophis. Contrary to what some in the village would prefer, we will not betray you."

The door suddenly burst open, a body crashing through it and landing in the room. The woman gasped as she knelt by the fallen young man, "Arleon!"

Two men crowded into the room, but there were clearly more behind them. The apparent ringleader was a burly man, well-muscled, with a five-o'-clock shadow. He wore a heavy leather apron stained with soot.

"Out of the way, Nidra," he said. "This is what's best for all of us. If we don't turn her over, Apophis will destroy the village."


The man blinked at the strange weapon the outsider woman now pointed at his face. The way she held the metal object left no doubt that it was indeed a weapon and that the click signified that it was now ready to kill.

"Back off, pal," she said. "You don't have the balls or the guns you'd need to make me go anywhere." The standard M-37 Weasel wasn't the most powerful pistol in Earth's armory, but the man wore nothing that could even begin to stop its 9x21mm round.

The blacksmith considered the half-naked woman for a long moment, noting the ugly burn marks on her other arm -- burns which he was sure had to be causing her excruciating pain... not that he could see any trace of that pain in her face -- and the cold professionalism in her eyes. He backed away, closing the door behind him.

"So, Nidra, was it?" she asked the woman, lowering the pistol. "My name's Vera. Mind telling me where the hell my armor is?"

"All right, people!" Alan called out to the rest of SG-1. "SG-7 ran into a little trouble on P4X-929, and there's a corporal out there we need to bring home."

SG-1 had been chosen for the mission for a number of reasons. First, they had specific experience in fighting the type of aliens found with SG-7's remains. Second, they were the team that had initially explored this planet and were therefore familiar with the terrain. And third, SG-6, the SGC's dedicated SAR team, was still being assembled and wouldn't be taking missions for another month. Search and rescue personnel remained in high demand on the battered planet Earth. SG-3, a Tactical Corps combat team, would be providing support. The DNA analysis had come in just the night before, positively identifying the charred remains as 2Lt. Jeanne Carver, which made Cpl. Vera J. Dixon their missing soldier.

He stopped short as Saryanna joined the team. He quirked a querying eyebrow at her, and she gave a thin smile, "Someone dragged her off, Lieutenant, and odds are, we're going to have to deal with them somehow. I think we'd all prefer to do so without a firefight."

He nodded. Fair enough.

"All right! Let's saddle up!"

The mighty warship hurtled through hyperspace. Built on a planet that the SGC would label PX9-757, it was Apophis's flagship, much larger and more powerful than a mere Ha'tak. While it failed to fulfill Apophis's hope of matching the Asgard's mighty Bilskirnir-class ships, it was certainly powerful enough to make Ra wary of his rival since it was completed over twenty years ago.

It was good for a god to visit his subjects once every generation or so. It kept the faith alive... and gave his loyal servants the opportunity to ferret out and slay the unbelievers (or at least the outright rebellious). This was especially important on newly-captured territory, whose people might still hold some shred of loyalty to their former god.

All in all, it was a fairly ordinary expedition for Apophis. His First Prime, Teal'c, however, was marginally concerned. Zerus had been sent ahead to prepare the way, but he had not reported in as was custom. It might just be some minor delay -- and if so, Zerus would be properly punished -- but then again, it might not. He would ring down with the honor guard first to make sure everything was properly prepared.

SG-3 had set up in ambush positions around the stargate. Considering what the initial evidence suggested had happened to SG-7, this was a sensible precaution, and it left SG-1 free to investigate. As before, there was no armor support available, but they had plenty of personal firepower to compensate.

"Sierra Gulf Seven Firefly, Sierra Gulf One Niner, please respond. Over," Alan repeated into his helmet-mounted radio for the umpteenth time.

This time, however, his radio crackled with a response, "Sierra Gulf One Niner, Firefly, took you long enough. What song won the war? Over."

Alan suppressed a snort and answered, "We Will Win. What's your status? Over."

"Injured but functional. No hostiles. Finally met the locals. Over," came the reply.

"Set your radio to transmit a beacon. We'll follow it in. Over."

"Copy that. Over and out."

Alan flipped his radio's frequency, "Sierra Gulf Three Niner, Sierra Gulf One Niner. We've made radio contact with Firefly. Hold position at the stargate while we extract. Do you copy?"

"Sierra Gulf Three Niner copies."

Camulus was a System Lord. True, he didn't have a seat on the High Council of System Lords, and he only had a few systems to his name after his last failed bid to gain power; the Supreme System Lord had come down hard on him, stripping him of half his territory. But he was still a System Lord. Ra had given him a mission, and while it humiliated the god of war, self-preservation compelled him.

That same self-preservation -- combined with the natural suspicion of a Goa'uld -- was also why he was approaching this task so cautiously. His Ha'tak hovered on the edge of the system as a cloaked Tel'tak scout approached the distant planet of Abydos.

Captain O'Neil was the senior officer over Abydos. While Rear Admiral Leeds was technically in charge, the fact that she was dirtside left O'Neil in command of the orbital assets. He stood on the bridge of his ship, UES Tisiphone, and smiled in satisfaction as the exercise concluded. Now it was time for live-fire.

"Bring the defense network up to full power," he ordered.

"Defense network to full power, aye."

The nineteen converted Zentraedi warships hummed to life as power was routed to their weapons for the first time.

Camulus blanched as his sensors squealed, suddenly registering warship-grade energy readings from what he had thought was debris around the planet Abydos.

They must have spotted us! he thought frantically as he spun the cloaked ship on an escape vector. There was no way a Tel'tak could survive the sort of firepower those energy readings indicated.

Halfway out of the engagement zone, he paused.

Why haven't they fired? he frowned. Taking a chance, he spun the ship again and brought his passive sensors to maximum. The gigantic floating craft were pulsing with energy, but it was steady and stable.

They were on standby, weapons hot and ready to fire.

Realization dawned on the god of war as another craft entered the engagement zone, only to be blasted to bits by energy weapons from the floating weapons platforms. It was an exercise. A war game.

Camulus smiled and settled in to watch.

This could be most... informative.

SG-1 quickly found the missing corporal. The villagers were cautious and wary of the Earthers in their strange armor, but SG-1 did their best to ignore it. Saryanna was speaking with the woman who had tended to Dixon's wounds when a shadow darkened the sky.

Alan looked up and saw the massive ship descending. He wasn't 100% certain, as the angle wasn't exactly the best, but it looked a lot bigger than the one they'd taken at Abydos, especially with the black superstructure that ringed it.

"Oh, hell," Alan muttered. "Everyone! Scatter!"

This was not a fight they were equipped to fight. Even if they called in SG-3, they still only had small arms and heavy weapons. Against a ship that size and what it probably carried, they'd need at least combat vehicle support... and probably veritechs or strike fighters too.

SG-1 scattered, most of them melting into the surrounding forest the way they were trained. Stealth was a crucial part of Recon training.

Saryanna rounded one of the village's houses, only to stop as ring transporters, hidden by the layer fallen leaves, flashed to work in front of her. She considered her options. She could run, hide, or fight.

She was Zentraedi. The choice was obvious.

She twisted, her left fist lashing out and crushing the throat of the Jaffa on her right, her right snatching the staff weapon from his suddenly limp fingers. She twirled the staff weapon and brought its business end against the Jaffa on her left even as she armed it, trigger a blast to his sternum, sending him flying backwards, dead.

There were two more Jaffa behind them, and she stepped into the area of the ring transporters, bringing the staff weapon up. She caught the one on the left across the chest, but the one on the right twisted out of the way. She spun in place, striking the right-hand Jaffa with a reverse roundhouse kick to the head before dropping to a crouch, dodging the plasma blast from the left-hand Jaffa's staff weapon. She rose and attacked. The last Jaffa blocked her first attack and her second and her third, but the power of the blows forced him to back up with each blow, until finally, she dropped to the ground, her hand flashing toward her holster. The magnum thundered, and the last of the four Jaffa fell.

Rising to her feet, she holstered the pistol and sneered, "As warrior races go, you are a severe disappointment."

"Then perhaps I shall offer a greater challenge," a voice said mildly from behind her.

She turned and saw a large, dark-skinned Jaffa standing before her, flanked by two others, who backed off at a signal from the obvious leader. She noted the golden tattoo on his forehead... as well as the controlled poise with which he held his staff weapon.

"And you are...?" she prompted.

"I am Teal'c," the dark-skinned Jaffa answered, "First Prime of Apophis."

She shifted into a ready stance and beckoned.

"Very well, Teal'c, First Prime of Apophis. I am Saryanna Demin, Quadrono, Zentraedi Air Force. Let us dance."

Author's Postscript:

I really don't know if I can do the upcoming epic fight justice.