Altered Destiny: Divergence Point
Authors Notes: This idea occurred to me after watching the Stargate SG-1 seventh season finale Lost City again on DVD. It got me to wondering what could have happened had Anubis made a slightly different choice when he attacked Earth in that amazing double episode.
Story events take place from towards the end of the second part of Lost City and will go AU from there. Also since I don't like the Ori storyline established in season nine and ten of SG-1 I will not be using it I hope people don't mind too much. Instead this story and those that follow it will focus on the butterfly effect of the what if scenario.
Conversation in bold type is a normal Goa'uld or a Tok'ra speaking and conversation in bold italics is Anubis speaking.
Anubis stood proudly, arrogantly on the pel'tac of his newly completed command ship – replacing the one destroyed by Ba'al and the System Lords over the country of Kelowna on the planet Langara. A planet he was really going to have to get around to conquering given the extremely powerful and never before known isotope of naquada called naquadria found there.
But first there was another matter to deal with. And that was the Tau'ri, the one race of Humans who had been a persistent thorn in his and other System Lords sides. A race that was after the weapons of the Ancients, something that they could not be allowed to get their hands on, for it would tip the balance of power irrevocably in their favour and end any chance he had of becoming the supreme ruler of the galaxy.
The sound of footsteps behind him caught his attention but he ignored them and continued gazing out at the stars. His ship and a sizeable detachment of advanced Ha'tak's from his elite forces were waiting here in space mere seconds in hyperspace out from the Tau'ri homeworld, waiting for confirmation from the Ha'tak dispatched as a scout that the Tau'ri already had weapons designed by the most powerful race ever to walk the stars.
"My Lord," Herak – his loyal and gifted First Prime – said from behind him. Anubis turned to face the proud Jaffa; Herak was a credit to his race and still firmly believed that the Goa'uld were Gods and that those who said otherwise were blasphemers and traitors.
"Speak," Anubis ordered as Herak went down on one knee before him.
"We have received word from the advanced Ha'tak, my lord," Herak replied. "They report no challenge from the Tau'ri and no response to their attack."
Had he still had a Human host body not a partially ascended one Anubis would have smiled in relief, the lack of a response from the Tau'ri confirmed that they didn't yet have access to Ancient weapons. There was still time to nip that threat in the bud, and get rid of a major annoyance in the process.
"Order the fleet to proceed to the Tau'ri homeworld," he ordered. "And prepare to send a holographic transmission on my command."
"Yes, my lord," Herak replied.
Anubis turned away and resumed looking out the viewport at the star studded blackness of space. Accepting the dismissal for what it was Herak stood up and returned to the main control console to relay his God's orders to the assembled fleet.
While his First Prime carried out his commands Anubis studied the stars, dreaming of what was to come. Soon all of these stars would belong to him and he would rule over them all and any sentient species they supported as their God. It was his right, a right that had long been denied him first by Ra and then the ascended Ancients.
After a second the view outside changed into the shimmering blue tunnel-effect of hyperspace, but only for a moment. With breathtaking suddenness hyperspace once more gave way to normal space. And there in front of the ship was the Tau'ri homeworld, even by the standards of the galaxy it was a lovely world to look at with the greens, yellows and browns of the landmasses, the azure blue of the oceans and the white fluffy clouds over them all.
The other Ha'tak's came into his view, swinging around to encircle the planet. After settling into their orbits the Ha'tak's did nothing, waiting for their Gods next command. Anubis for his part waited anxiously for a few moments, half expecting powerful energy bolts – or some other such advanced weapon – to come shooting up from the planets surface to blow his ships from the sky as he wouldn't have put it past the Tau'ri to hold fire until the entire fleet was in orbit of their world so they could destroy it in one fell swoop. Needless to say it was a relief to him when no challenge at all came from the planet. Anubis turned away from the viewport and returned to his throne dais and settled down on his throne, imperiously putting his arms on the sides of the throne he gave his next command.
"Activate the holographic transmitter," he ordered. "I wish to speak with the leader of the Tau'ri."
"Yes my lord," Herak answered.
For a moment nothing happened, and then a line of light passed down Anubis form as he was scanned. Then holograms of multiple figures appeared before him, some of them moving back while others raised the primitive Tau'ri weapons at him and opened fire. Not that their bullets being holographic could do him any harm.
"Hold fire it's a hologram," one of the Tau'ri – a dark skinned male in a green military uniform decked out with medals and markings whose meaning only the Tau'ri knew – said.
"I am Anubis," Anubis said.
An older male Tau'ri moved up to him. "You've got to be kidding," he said.
"You are the leader of this world?" Anubis asked.
"Henry Hayes," the Tau'ri answered. "President of the United States of America, one nation among many."
"No longer, bow down before your God."
Amazingly the Tau'ri male gave a typically insolent sounding laugh. "I don't think so, but I am willing to discuss terms for your surrender."
Has he still been capable of the expression Anubis would have frowned in confusion and concern at that statement. Was this insolent man saying that the Tau'ri did indeed have the weapons of the Ancients and were only holding fire to extract a humiliating surrender out of him? He doubted that was the case, anyone with an ounce of sanity would have started firing on his ships the moment they'd emerged from hyperspace.
"If you had weapons such as mine, you would have used them."
"Don't let the suit fool you, fella, we're going to fight."
"You bring destruction upon yourselves and your world. Reconsider and I shall be merciful."
"Not going to happen."
"Very well you have brought what is to follow down upon yourselves," Anubis answered before manipulating a control on the arm of his throne making the hologram vanish. "Herak instruct the fleet to begin firing on all orbital satellites and space stations," he ordered. "Then have the fleet move into planetary bombardment position and prepare all Udajeet and Alkesh squadrons for launch."
"Yes my lord."
For a few moments the Goa'uld ships remained stationary in high orbit of Earth, not doing anything. Then they burst into violent life, golden bolts of superheated plasma wrapped in gravitic fields beginning to blast forth from their weapons arrays
Streaking silently through the vacuum of space the powerful bolts of energy began impacting the many satellites in orbit of Earth, eliciting small explosions as satellites dissolved into hazy balls of disassociated ions at the caress of the plasma. Shot after shot emerged from the Goa'uld ships, methodically destroying the multitude of satellites in orbit slowly but surely destroying the communications and navigational systems on which so much on Earth now depended.
Simultaneously the massive command mothership fired one of its primary weapons, a weapon build by Anubis but like his shield technology it was based largely on Ancient technological principles. The brilliant searing orange energy beam lanced out and struck the International Space Station – in less than a moment the particle beam cut right through the modules of the station, neatly cutting it in two. Explosive decompression ripped through what was left of the station and mercifully silenced the screams of the astronauts stationed onboard.
Even as the International Space Station disintegrated into a plume of debris a heavy volley of plasma fire erupted from the command ship, and slammed into the Hubble Space Telescope shredding the multi-million dollar scientific instrument like it was tin foil. And still the destruction in orbit went on as the Goa'uld fleet systematically went about eliminating everything Human-made from planetary orbit.
The White House
That Same Time
General Jumper – head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – put down the red phone with a sigh, before turning to look at President Hayes.
"Mr President its been confirmed," he said. "The Goa'uld fleet is firing on all orbiting satellites, NASA also confirms that the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station have been destroyed."
"Was there anybody aboard the station," Hayes asked.
"Yes a joint French-Russian-American team, six astronauts," Jumper answered sombrely knowing those people would be as dead as the crews of the ships in the Nimitz carrier group, destroyed earlier by fire from one Goa'uld ship.
Hayes closed his eyes for a moment and said a silent prayer for the souls of the dead astronauts, though there were likely to be a lot more deaths before this was over. He opened his eyes again as Jumper continued.
"The Goa'uld are methodically destroying every satellite from every country that is in orbit," Jumper said. "My guess is they are determined to blind and deafen us before they proceed to the next phase of their attack."
"If the Goa'uld stick to their previously established attack patterns then once all orbital installations are neutralised they'll begin planetary bombardment," General George Hammond answered. "They'll most likely target key military installations and communications centres first, before shifting focus to the cities."
"You cannot know that," Vice President Robert Kinsey pointed out, glaring at the general. This was exactly the situation he had feared would happen from the moment the Air Force had opened the Stargate, gone out into the galaxy and started knocking off System Lords, despite his attempts to put a stop to a program that he saw to be too great a risk. "Suppose the Goa'uld start firing at our cities immediately what then general. From all your forays through the gate does the Air Force have the means to protect our cities from two hundred megaton plasma blasts?"
Hammond scowled at the vice president. Kinsey already knew the answer to that question, and was just trying to rub his nose in it that for all their successes the standing order of the Stargate Programme to gather advanced technologies to protect Earth from the Goa'uld threat had not been met. True they had the Prometheus and she did have Asgard shields and a single Asgard designed energy weapon but she would not be much good against an entire Goa'uld armada.
"Not at this time," he answered, "though I have no doubt that SG-1 will succeed in their mission and return with the means to defeat Anubis."
Kinsey snorted. "Yes your vaunted flagship team, the ones responsible for endangering everyone on this planet more times than I care to count," he sneered. "They've been more trouble than they were worth, and far too sentimental and now we're about to pay the price for their actions."
"Enough, Bob," Hayes snapped. "I will not allow you to use this attack to further your own agenda."
"I was simply pointing out that SG-1 and the SGC are the cause of this," Kinsey replied. "They should have transferred control over to properly trained personnel years ago, personnel who would have procured what we need by any and all possible means."
"I said enough," Hayes told him firmly. Kinsey glared back.
"You have no real idea what's been going on," he said back. "This program should have been stopped long…"
"Enough. Bob if you're not going to shut up then you can leave; there is no time for recriminations and accusations now."
Kinsey went quiet and just glowered at both the president and General Hammond he was not at all surprised that Hayes was taking Hammond's side. Hayes was ex-Air Force himself and Kinsey's own sources had told him that Henry Hayes and George Hammond had served together in the Vietnam War. Still he would make sure that the public knew who was responsible for what was to come, especially if the Goa'uld did start raining plasma down upon cities all over the world. Assuming there were any survivors, something that would only happen if either SG-1 did come back with something that could be used against the Goa'uld armada in orbit, or if a miracle happened and the Asgard showed up to punish Anubis for violating the Protected Planets Treaty.
Hayes ignored the look that Kinsey was giving him; he wasn't worried about his vice president. Thanks to evidence provided by Mr Woolsey and others he knew the kind of skeletons that Robert Kinsey had in his closet. Skeletons that Kinsey wouldn't want people to know about, as some of the actions he had been party to were illegal and some almost treasonous. If push came to shove he could use what he knew against Kinsey, though the other man didn't know that he knew what he knew. No doubt his friends in The Trust would try and have me assassinated if they even suspected all that I know about Kinsey and his connection to them, he thought.
It was at that moment that his national security advisor spoke up. "Sir given the situation I feel it would be advisable to begin relocation of all key personnel to the Alpha Site," she said softly. "Starting with you."
"No I'm staying here," Hayes answered, while others would run from this situation he wouldn't, he'd stay here and lead his country for as long as he could. "I won't leave until there is no other choice, but Bob you go on ahead."
"Mr President it would make more sense for you to go," Kinsey pointed out. "We can keep in contact with you through the Stargate and send word w…"
"No you can go, Bob. I'm staying here."
Kinsey looked at the president for a moment, his posture clearly indicating that he thought Hayes was being a fool. Then Kinsey turned and left the Oval Office to get on a plane or helicopter for the hop to Cheyenne Mountain and Stargate Command.
Hayes turned to the other people in the room. "Anyone here is welcome to join him," he said.
No one moved then General Maynard summed up what everyone else was feeling. "I think you know we're staying here with you, sir," he said.
Hayes nodded and turned to the quiet General Hammond. "God knows George you've earned the right to go."
"No sir, I think I'll stay as well," Hammond answered.
"Good then if you are willing to do it then I have another job for you." Hammond raised an eyebrow and was about to ask what Hayes meant when the red phone on the desk rang again, and General Jumper picked it up.
"Yes I understand," Jumper said listening to what he was being told. "Thank you," he put the phone down and turned to the president. "Mr President the Goa'uld have just destroyed the last of the orbital satellites. Deep space radar reports that the Goa'uld fleet is moving into low orbit."
"There preparing to begin bombardment," Hammond said knowingly. "No doubt they'll begin scrambling squadrons of Alkesh and Gliders to assist in their attack."
"John tell all air bases to begin an emergency scramble, ready to counter enemy fighters and bombers," Hayes instructed. "And order all surface to air missile batteries to move into position."
"Yes sir," General John Jumper said and picked up the red phone.
"In the meantime sir it would be advisable for us to retreat to the emergency command bunker," General Maynard said. "It should provide us with some protection from the Goa'uld bombardment, while still enabling us to coordinate our defence."
Hayes sighed but knew he couldn't argue. It wouldn't take much for the Goa'uld to destroy the White House, indeed one plasma bolt from space was all it would take, and they would have a much better chance in the emergency bunker. After all it had been designed to withstand a massive nuclear assault.
"Very well," he said.
High in orbit the fleet of Goa'uld Ha'tak's and the gigantic command mothership shifted their positions, moving closer to the Earth's atmosphere so their weapons blasts would be more effective when they reached the surface. While they could fire from high orbit the plasma bolts would be so diffused by the time they reached the surface that damage would be minimal but firing from low orbit would get around the diffusion problem at least as much as possible as plasma bolts like all energy weapons began diffusing the moment they left the firing weapon.
From the fleet's hanger bays poured legions of the deadly Goa'uld fighters that the SGC had come to call Death Gliders. Launching from larger bays came fewer numbers of the equally deadly Alkesh mid-range bombers, their holds loaded with Goa'uld plasma bombs. The small craft all formed up, preparing to dive down into the atmosphere the moment the command from their God was received.
Silently the Goa'uld capital ships completed their manoeuvres and stopped, with major population centres all over the globe of the Earth in range of their weapons.
Anubis Command Ship
"My lord," Herak reported from his console. "The fleet reports that they are in position to commence planetary bombardment. All primary Alkesh and Glider squadrons have been launched and are ready to begin the attack."
Had he been capable of it Anubis would have smiled from where he stood at the pel'tac viewport, looking down at the blue-green world below him; the Tau'ri leader had been foolish to defy him, now they would pay the price for President Hayes' folly.
"Open fire," he ordered.
"Yes my lord."
Anubis permitted himself a slight chuckle and watched as the first bolts of plasmatic destruction birthed from the ships he could see and shot down towards the planets surface. At long last he was delivering Goa'uld justice to the Tau'ri, raining righteous retribution down upon them for all the crimes they'd committed against the Goa'uld race.
Shot after shot birthed from his ships while Anubis watched. Within a few hours the Tau'ri would be no more, blasted into extinction, the threat they had posed for several years now would be over. Then he would resume his search for the Lost City of the Ancients and the secrets it contained, secrets that once in his hands would give him dominion over much of the known universe. Not even the mighty Asgard would be able to stand in his way.
Quietly jubilant of the prospect that he might soon be able to rule multiple galaxies Anubis turned away from the viewport and returned to his pel'tac throne.
Meanwhile below Earth began to burn.
F-16 Fighter Squadron
A Few Moments Earlier
Major John Sheppard resisted the impulse to frown in confusion as he guided his F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighter through the skies above Washington DC. A few minutes ago all the squadrons on the Air Force base that he was stationed on had been ordered to scramble and assume a defensive position over the city.
It had him wondering what was going on, reading between the lines there were notes of fear in the orders. Something was going on; he could feel it in his blood and in his bones, something that had the brass in the Pentagon rattled. Must be something to do with Al-Qaeda, he thought thinking about the on-going so called war on terror started by the previous president. Maybe that bunch of Islamic fundamentalist psycho's is up to something, trying to carry out another attack, I wouldn't put it past them to try something now that we have a new president.
No sooner than that thought had passed through his head than something incredibly fast moving came down from somewhere above, and sliced through his wingman's fighter. Instantly the F-16 turned into a fireball as fuel and ordinance detonated, tearing the fighter apart before the pilot even had a chance to register what was happening, let alone scream. The pilots of the remaining fighters – John included – stared in stunned shock for a few moments, before training kicked in and the squadron started taking evasive action to avoid whoever was firing at them.
Another blast came down from somewhere above, and another, and another. And this time John was able to see that there weren't missiles or machine gun rounds as he would have expected but some sort of energy bolt. The bolts fell to Earth and slammed into the cityscape below, where they struck huge explosions erupted, whole city blocks being instantly razed to the ground. Even from here John imagined that he could hear the screams of fear, pain and terror coming from below.
More and more of the whitish gold energy bolts came down, coming from somewhere beyond the sky, to strike the city below. Each one causing a fireball to erupt as they exploded on contact with the ground. John Sheppard and the other pilots could only watch in horrified helplessness as their nation's capital began to burn, and still more energy blasts came down to pummel the city and feed the conflagration.
"We've got to do something," one of the airmen said over the squadron's mutual frequency, his voice hard edged with horror and rage at the slaughter that they all knew would be unfolding below.
"But what can we do," another asked. "Where the hell are these, these energy blasts coming from?"
"From orbit it looks like," John answered.
"Be serious, Sheppard," Colonel Tim Dalby snapped from the leading plane. "No one on Earth has weapons capable of striking from space. Next thing we know you'll be saying were under alien attack."
"How else would you describe it, sir?" Sheppard asked his new CO. The two of them didn't exactly see eye-to-eye due to the fact that he'd once disobeyed orders while stationed in Afghanistan. The fact that it had been the right thing to do, after all a cardinal rule of the Air Force was that they didn't leave people behind, was immaterial to his CO who seemed to be one of those officers who believed that soldiers should be machines and that orders – any orders – should be followed without question.
"Well I'd s…arrghh," his CO's voice dissolved into a scream as one of the energy bolts sliced through his fighters right wing, snapping it clean off and making the fighter spin out of control before detonating fuel turned it into a fireball.
A moment later Sheppard's radar screen came alive with contacts coming down from an impossible height. Most of them were fighter sized, but a handful were larger, they were coming down in formation and there was no doubt in John's mind that the enemy contacts were aiming for Washington, intent on doing more damage to the already burning city.
"Heads up people we've got incoming," he said into the squadron command frequency, with Colonel Dalby vaporised he was now the ranking officer, making squadron command his. "There coming down from orbit, from the size I'd say their fighters and bombers or troop transports."
"Oh man what the hell is going on here," one of the other pilots said. "First energy bolts come from somewhere above the sky, now these fighters are coming down. It's like something out of War of the Worlds or Independence Day."
"It certainly seems that way," Sheppard agreed looking at his screen again. "Okay here they come guys, weapons free. Blast them to hell when ready."
"If we can hurt them," another pilot commented a moment before numerous twin bolts of golden light came shooting at them from above. Immediately all the pilots took evasive action to avoid the deadly rain of energy blasts, amazingly none of them were hit by the bolts of superheated plasma.
Then the alien fighters appeared. To the airmen's eyes the machines were a strange design, a vaguely oval central hull from which spouted two wings that were swept forward giving a bat-wing style, also mounted on each wing was a single weapon. They were constructed of a silver-grey metal and didn't have any visible engines of any kind, so how they moved was a mystery. A mystery that no one had time to dwell upon as the alien fighters opened fire on them again, golden bolts of energy shooting from their cannons, towards the remaining F-16's.
Jinking his fighter wildly John Sheppard avoided the twin blasts of death aimed at him with ease. The alien energy bolts seemed to be quite easy to dodge, in the same moment he armed his missiles and attempted to target the closest enemy fighter. Somewhat to his surprise he immediately got the solid tone of missile lock on, not questioning his good fortune he fired sending a Sidewinder air-to-air missile streaking at the alien machine. The alien fighter tried to dodge but the missile stuck to its tail like glue and a millisecond later hit its target turning it into a fireball.
Sheppard didn't have time to cheer the victory, even as the fireball cooled and faded, he was already dodging fire from two more of the alien fighters. Whoever or whatever these guys are they're lousy shots, he thought as he easily evaded their energy blasts. An enemy fighter started to stray across his path and wolfishly he grinned and opened up with his Vulcan cannon. High velocity rounds tore through the alien as it shot across his flight path, snapping off the right wing and sending the craft into an uncontrolled spin while spiralling helplessly down towards the ground. Moments later it exploded in the air.
"That's two," he said softly as he locked onto a pair of alien fighters that were banking towards him. "Fox two, fox two," he whispered softly before firing another pair of Sidewinders at the rapidly closing craft. Both fighters took the hits full on and vanished in fireballs. Four bogies down, you're doing well here, John especially considering fighters aren't your first love, he thought remembering that he preferred flying choppers to jet fighters though he was fully qualified on both.
"Little help here please," Lieutenant Malcolm Price one of his squadron mates called and John looked around quick to see an F-16 with two of the alien fighters on its tail trying to nail it with bolts of super-condensed energy. The fighter weaved and dodged but the alien pilots were persistent and kept firing with everything they had attempting to box him in so they could blow Mack to hell.
"I'm coming, Mack," he called swinging his fighter around and locking onto one of the aliens pursuing Mack's fighter. "Fox two," he said unleashing another Sidewinder. The missile shot away and tracked the alien fighter with single minded determination and a second later impacted the machine turning into a fireball, the shockwave knocked the other machine off balance – long enough for John to finish it off with a burst of twenty millimetre shells from his Vulcan Gatling gun.
"Thanks, Sheppard," Mack said.
"Your welcome," John replied before glancing at his HUD and noticing one of the larger alien contacts was approaching. "Hey Mack there's one of those bigger ones at my three o clock. Let's get it."
"Right with you boss."
John grinned and brought his fighter around and shot towards the larger alien craft. It was a different design to the fighters, vaguely pyramidal and unlike the fighters it appeared to have engines as he could see four glowing blue thrusters at the back of the craft. A large turret on the underside seemed to be the crafts only armament.
Grinning slightly at the juicy target the alien craft presented John flicked through his index of available weapons and selected his two Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles or AMRAAM's and targeted the alien ship. Immediately he got the familiar lock on tone in his ear.
"Fox three, fox three," he said before pulling the trigger. The F-16 jolted slightly as the weapons fell away from their under wing nacelle mounts before shooting towards the alien craft.
"Fox three, fox three," Mack echoed firing his own AMRAAM's.
The four missiles shot towards the alien craft and amazingly the turret on its underside rotated and started firing slightly brighter and denser versions of the golden energy bolts the fighters were firing. Through sheer luck one of the golden pulses of energy struck one of the AMRAAM's turning the million dollar weapon into a plume of vaporised metal. The other three missiles struck home and exploded.
It was immediately obvious though that something was wrong as the blast waves flattened out, spreading around the alien ship without harming it. As the light of the explosions faded a shimmering, translucent orange quasi-crystalline looking energy barrier appeared to be enveloping the ship, deflecting the heat and energy of the HE warheads away from the hull of the craft, though it didn't seem to stop the kinetic impact as the craft slewed to the side, knocked off its flight path by the force of impact.
"Fuck me," Mack said. "Those things have shields, now this is like Independence Day."
"Shut up and hit them again," John replied before cursing softly as his HUD informed him that he was out of missile ordinance. Guess there is only one thing to do, he thought. "Mack I'm out of missiles. Have you got any left?"
"Sure have boss, two Sidewinders," Mack answered.
"Good I'm going to hit this bastard with my cannon. Fire your missiles at the same time."
"Right with you boss," Mack acknowledged as John pulled the trigger on his stick and sent a sustained barrage of twenty millimetre rounds at the alien ship. The alien's shield still glowing from the force of the AMRAAM's flared, sparked and rippled with distortion waves.
"Fox two, fox two," Mack announced as the alien tried to manoeuvre away. But with the stubborn determination that had so often gotten him into trouble John Sheppard stayed with them, keeping his cannon fire focused on the alien shield which seemed to be getting weaker if the increasing glow and sprays of sparks was anything to go by. Then the Sidewinders came streaking in and detonated against the shield. The shield flared brighter still then winked out of existence allowing the remaining force of the Sidewinders small warheads to hit the hull. The hull buckled inward like tin foil, then tore upon under the continuous volley of cannon fire from Sheppard. A second stream of tracers cut into the alien side as Mack opened up with his own cannon.
For a second the alien ship remained where it was then before their eyes it started spewing sparks and smoke as it began to tumble away. Sheppard stopped firing followed a second later by Mack and watched as the mortally wounded alien bomber tumbled, trailing smoke and flames before suddenly exploding in a violent fireball.
"Yes take that you alien bastard," Mack shouted.
John chuckled slightly and started to open his mouth to suggest they go after one of the other bombers when something struck his fighter from behind and to starboard. Immediately red warning lights appeared on his instrument panel and the plane began vibrating fiercely making him fight for control while also accessing damage. Thrust from his starboard engine was spluttering, the jet engine threatening to flame out, lift was failing both ailerons and flaps on the starboard wing had been seriously damaged putting too much drag and not enough lift on the wing.
Desperately he tried altering the balance of power between the port and starboard engines to no avail, the fighter was beginning to spin on its vertical axis while plummeting from the sky. The tumble only got worse as the starboard engine gave up the ghost and flamed out.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday," he said into the squadron frequency. "This is sierra-nine-nine-one I am going down, repeat I am going down."
With the ground rocketing towards him at high speed he pulled the lever that released the aircraft canopy which was instantly carried away by the slipstream generated by the fighter's passage through the air. Then taking a deep breath and inwardly saying a quiet prayer he pulled the ring that controlled the ejector seat. Small rockets in the seat fired catapulting seat and pilot clear of the doomed aircraft.
For a moment John Sheppard experienced dreadful disorientation as he tumbled through the air, air that was alive with the strange, dreadful roaring and whooshing sounds of the alien energy bolts as they plummeted down to Earth. Then he was jerked into a more normal posture by the deployment of the ejector seats parachute. Looking up he saw the alien fighter that must have just shot his plane down disintegrate under a stream of cannon fire from Mack's fighter, a moment before Mack swung away and gutted another alien with cannon fire. Go get them boys, he thought watching the remains of his squadron tearing the alien fighter force apart – despite the fact that the aliens seemed to be more manoeuvrable and had more advanced weapons. Whoever the aliens were they obviously didn't know how to use their fighters to their fullest potential, that or they weren't used to attacking someone who both understood the mechanics of air warfare and was capable of fighting back.
Then he couldn't see the chaos of the air battle anymore, loosing it in the smoke cloud rising from the smouldering remains of Washington DC, though they were hard to see through thick veils of dark smoke from the hundreds of fires the bombardment had set off. Strangely no more energy bolts fell on the capital, though from his vantage point John Sheppard could see more of the bolts of golden light striking on the horizon – no doubt the aliens attacking them had shifted their focus to the towns and cities around Washington, seemingly intent on nothing but destruction. Is this happening everywhere, he wondered as his world disappeared replaced by the thick veil of dark smoke, is the whole planet under attack?
For what seemed like an eternity – but in reality was only a few seconds – he fell slowly through the rolling blackness of the smoke cloud. Then he emerged into what had to be a scene from hell, where there had once been an elegant city stretching out in every direction there was now nothing but rubble and fire. Almost every building that he could see had been razed to the ground, either by direct hits by the alien weapons or by the shockwaves of the blasts that had flattened or shattered any building that stood in their way. Only a handful of the cities skyscrapers still stood though they were all doing good impressions of chimneys sending thick columns of smoke and orange sparks into the sky. An eerie twilight enveloped the smouldering city, a twilight created by the flickering yellow and orange glow of the fires reflecting off the massive plume of smoke.
It seemed utterly inconceivable to John's mind that in mere minutes Washington could be transformed from a thriving metropolis, the capital of the most powerful nation on Earth, into such a scene of utter devastation and death. But it had happened and he hated to think how many of his fellow Americans lay dead or dying in the rubble. As he stared at the scene of chaos and destruction a cocktail of different emotions stirred within him, horror at the apocalyptic scene, grief for those who had perished, anger and hatred at those responsible for this but above all else a profound, bitter feeling of failure. He was a member of the Armed Services, America's sword and shield; they were supposed to prevent things like this from happening to their country and their people that was their sacred duty.
And they had failed.
He didn't have much time to contemplate the magnitude of their failure, for within seconds he was over Arlington National Cemetery and barely ten metres above that places hallowed ground. Training took over again as he began going through the sequence for a safe parachute landing, something he had practiced and practiced over the years, but which he had never thought he would have to practically use.
John Sheppard hit the ground with a bone jarring thud that ripped the air from his lungs and seemed to jar every bone and muscle in his body. Stars exploded before his eyes from the transmitted impact force. Then he saw nothing beyond red and white fabric as his parachute landed on top of him. For a moment he just sat there gasping rapidly as he fought to get his breath back, before in a quick series of motions releasing his restraints, taking off his helmet and working his way free of the tent that the parachute had become.
After a few seconds of groping around he was clear and emerged into the twilight and immediately felt like he was standing in a blast furnace. A wave of heat from the burning city washed over him, making his nostrils, throat and lungs ache from the temperature of the air, air that was impregnated with the terrible stench of fire and of things burning that were not meant to burn.
Coughing he stood up and surveyed the scene. Eerily the graveyard was undamaged, rows upon rows of white marble tombstones still stood amongst sweet green grass and trees the way they had always done. Arlington seemed to be an island of calm, dignified serenity amid the smouldering chaos Washington had become.
For a moment he contemplated staying where he was and not venturing from this hallowed place into the wreckage of the city. Then his head came up and his shoulders took on a determined set and he began walking towards the closest exit. Even in the midst of this holocaust there were bound to be survivors, survivors who would be trying to either find there way out of the city or helping those who were trapped. He would find them and join forces with them; it was that or just sit here and do nothing in the face of so much death and suffering.
And that was something that John Sheppard refused point blank to do. So eyes tearing from anger, grief and chemical irritation he walked out of Arlington and into hell.
Presidential Emergency Bunker
That Same Time
Coughing and spluttering from the dust that filled the air President Henry Hayes picked himself up off the floor. He and his entourage had just entered the high-tech facility when the whole place had rocked as through gripped by multiple earthquakes as the Goa'uld ships rained plasma down upon the city over their heads.
Blinking rapidly and continuing to cough he peered through the gloom. The room was a wreck, a short distance ahead of him there was nothing but rubble. Clearly parts of the bunker had collapsed in the bombardment. A few pale emergency lights illuminated the dusty atmosphere, providing just enough light to see that where the main room had been there was now nothing but debris. The bunker would be no use to them now.
"Mr President," a familiar voice said from behind him. Hayes spun around to find himself face to face with General's Hammond and Maynard. Neither looked to be in a very good way, they were both covered with dust and grime and Hammond had a nasty cut just above his left eyebrow.
"Are you alright, Mr President," General Maynard asked looking worriedly at his commander and chief, Hayes looked very rumpled and dishevelled from being slammed to the floor by the devastating shockwaves from far above their heads.
"I'm fine general, a little shaken but that's all," Hayes answered before looking at his old friend in concern. "Are you alright, George?"
"I'm fine, Mr President," Hammond replied. "It only a small cut, just looks worse than that as all head wounds do."
"Still we should get that seen to as soon as possible."
"There are going to be more needy people than myself," Hammond replied. "That bombardment is bound to have razed most if not all of the city to the ground. There's going to be a lot of dead or injured people up there."
"Believe me I am all to aware of that," Hayes answered feeling a tightness in his chest at the knowledge that thousands of his fellow Americans were already dead or injured and many more would be dying right now. All the SGC mission reports he'd read indicated that the Goa'uld would not stop their bombardment until either a) Earth was glassed, b) they offered total unconditional surrender, or c) the Goa'uld fleet was blasted out of orbit by someone or something. Shaking off the despair that threatened to fall on him like a smothering blanket he focused his attention on their current situation. There would be time to mourn the dead later.
"Well then gentlemen," he said. "It doesn't look like this bunker is going to be any good to us now," as he spoke another shockwave rippled through the bunker as something exploded high above triggering an avalanche of dust, "we need to find some other place to go."
"There is a secondary emergency bunker," General Maynard said. "Its not completely finished yet but we designed it with alien attack from space in mind."
Hayes raised an eyebrow, this was news to him. It hadn't been in any of the reports on the Stargate Programme that he had read. Or at least not one of the reports he'd read yet as there were a lot of them. "Where is this secondary bunker," he asked.
"Its about four miles west of here far outside the city limits, Mr President," Maynard answered.
"Four miles outside the western edge of the city," Hayes repeated. "How are we supposed to get there quickly general? We certainly cannot drive there."
"There is away, Mr President," Hammond answered. "A way we can get there from here, please come this way."
Hayes raised an eyebrow but followed as George Hammond led him away from the wreckage of the main control room to somewhere else in the maze of concrete corridors and chambers that was the emergency presidential bunker. It was not an easy trek debris was everywhere ranging from small chips and blocks of shattered concrete to metal girders and broken conduits that covered the floor with a serpent's nest of cables.
It took nearly five minutes of walking, stumbling and scrambling through the half caved in corridors to reach there destination. All three men were tired and dirty by the time they entered a small nearly featureless room. The only thing present in the room was an obelisk seemingly made out of stone and engraved with Nordic style swirling patterns. Near the top of the obelisk an orange crystal sat proudly, standing out against the dull brown of the stone.
Hayes raised an eyebrow. "This is the way to the new bunker," he asked not recognising the obelisk for what it was to him it seemed to be nothing but an ornately carved stone obelisk.
"That's right, Mr President," Hammond replied. "This was part of a little gift from Thor; it will get us where we want to go. Both the Asgard and the Tok'ra have been most kind in helping us build the bunker."
"It's a transporter of some sort," Hayes asked.
"Yes, it's similar to the ones the Asgard use on some of the Protected Planets to guard the Stargate," Hammond answered before reaching up and pressing the crystal making the disc like crystal light up. For a moment they could hear nothing but an increasing electronic sounding humming coming from the obelisk, humming that was the only clue that it was a technological device and not a decorative object.
The humming sound reached an almost teeth chattering pitch then a fan-like beam of brilliant silver-white light erupted from the crystal and enveloped all three men. When the light faded they still appeared to be facing the stone obelisk but the room around them had changed. Instead of cracked concrete walls they were in a room whose walls looked like they were made of spun glass and the floor beneath them was just the same though it was smoother than the rough look of the walls.
Hayes looked around in surprise. "How did you build this," he asked looking at the alien design of the walls and floor, all of which had a crystalline look to them.
"We didn't," Maynard answered. "We used Tok'ra tunnel crystals to form all the corridors, chambers and levels of the bunker. It was much more efficient than doing it the old fashioned way with explosives and tunnel boring machines. Plus it let us work without arousing suspicion from anyone."
"What about ventilation shafts surely they get attention," Hayes pointed out knowing that even Cheyenne Mountain home to both NORAD and Stargate Command had ventilation shafts – though they could be sealed if the need arouse.
"There aren't any, Mr President," Maynard replied sounding proud. "The whole base is completely self contained with artificial life support like on a starship. The only thing we need from the surface is food, everything else including power is generated right here in the base."
"Impressive and the Tok'ra let you have some of their crystals? It must have taken a lot of them to grow this base."
"Just one case of tunnel crystals," Hammond answered. "And the Tok'ra let us have them a few months before the alliance broke up, sort of as a thank you for saving them from being wiped out."
"I see," Hayes replied knowing about the alliance that once existed between Earth and Tok'ra, but which broke up after the destruction of the Alpha Site by Anubis.
"The control room is this way, Mr President," Maynard said and started walking. Hayes and Hammond followed him, Hayes curiously looking around at the base and its crystalline structures. If he hadn't known they were still on Earth he would have thought they'd been transported to some real life version of the planet Krypton. Seeing Human beings walking around a place that was obviously built with alien technology was somewhat disconcerting though he had to admit it was a lot nicer to look at than bare concrete walls.
In a few moments they reached the control room which was a larger version of the rooms that the Tok'ra used as council meeting chambers on their own bases. In addition to being larger it was also laid out on a series of tiers. Earth technology was very much in evidence in the room with consoles like those on the Prometheus present everywhere and the three massive plasma screens that dominated the far wall and looking very out of place against the greyish-blue of the crystal.
The centre screen immediately grabbed Hayes attention, it showed a graphic of Earth surrounded by thirty pyramid shaped icons and one large hexagonal icon. He guessed that they represented the Goa'uld fleet in orbit.
"I thought all our satellites were destroyed," he said.
"They were," Maynard answered. "We're getting this data from cloaked sensor satellites Thor deployed in orbit the last time his ship passed through here."
"Pity he couldn't have given us some weapons as well."
"Knowing Thor he probably wanted to," Hammond said. "He did give us the pulse cannon mounted on the Prometheus after all, but the Asgard High Council has a thing about giving away technology that could be used against them, plus doing anything overtly would endanger the Protected Planets Treaty."
"I see," Hayes replied just as Major Davis approached from one of the consoles, looking angry and sad. "What's our status major," he asked.
"Mr President the Goa'uld are bombarding multiple cities all over the planet," Davis reported. "In Asia the cities of Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo and Singapore have been completely razed to the ground by orbital bombardment. In Russia St Petersburg and Vladivostok are gone and Moscow is under heavy attack as we speak. Europe its even worse Warsaw, Strasbourg, Berlin, Dresden and Rome are all gone, with London, Paris, Marseilles and Madrid being bombarded as we speak."
"My God," Hayes said softly thinking of all the millions who would be dead or dying across the globe, none of them even seeing the faces of those who were killing them. "And here," he asked.
"Ourselves and Canada are bearing the worst of the bombardment, Mr President," Davis answered. "Washington, New York, Boston, Ontario, Ottawa, Edmonton and Halifax have been more of less obliterated, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Miami and St Louis are currently under bombardment from space. On the west coast we've got Alkesh and Gliders bombing both Los Angeles and San Francisco. And to make matters worse we're picking up rumblings from the San Andreas Fault, the explosions in Los Angeles and San Francisco must be destabilising it."
Davis paused to take a breath. "If SG-1 doesn't show up soon, Mr President there isn't going to be much of a world left to save," he continued. "Some of the Goa'uld ships are moving to the Southern hemisphere its only a matter of time before they start hitting countries there as well. At the current intensity we estimate the total destruction of civilisation on Earth within the next twelve hours."
"Is there anything else we can do," Hayes asked dismayed at the news and feeling a profound sense of guilt for what was happening. It had been the US who'd opened the Stargate after it was unburied; they ultimately bore the responsibility for this attack as if they had left the damned thing well enough alone the Goa'uld would still believe Earth lost. And there grip on power across the galaxy would still be iron tight, he thought.
"The SGC did broadcast a subspace distress signal before the Goa'uld destroyed the transmitter on the top of Cheyenne Mountain," Davis said. "Its possible that the Asgard might hear it and come to our aid, other than that Mr President all we can do is hope and prey."
"Major," a voice called out from down at the consoles, Davis turned to look at the technician as the young woman spoke again. "The Asgard sensors are picking up a ship in hyperspace approaching this system, it's a Goa'uld cargo ship but its going far faster than it should be."
"SG-1?" Hayes asked.
"We can but hope, Mr President," Hammond said. "I don't know how they could have made a cargo ship go so fast, unless Jack somehow modified it from the Ancient knowledge in his brain. He did similar things that last time that happened."
"We have to hope that its them then, and that they have been successful," Hayes replied. "Major Davis has there been any news on the Vice President?"
"Negative, sir," Davis answered. "We haven't heard anything, we don't even know if he was able to get out of Washington before the bombardment started. Doctor Weir hasn't reported his arrival at the SGC, though our communications with them are somewhat sporadic at the moment due to the interference in the atmosphere from Goa'uld weapons fire. The last report we got indicated that the Goa'uld have established a wormhole from off world but are not attempting to breach the iris."
"That's a standard Goa'uld tactic, Mr President," Hammond added. "Dial in to prevent escape through the Stargate."
"Makes sense," Hayes said seeing the tactical sense of that, especially from the Goa'uld point of view, especially with regards to Earth. The last thing Anubis or the System Lords wanted was for survivors to escape Earth through the gate and possibly get in contact with the Asgard.
"Mr President the Goa'uld cargo ship has come out of hyperspace in low orbit over Antarctica," the console operator who'd spoken to Davis earlier reported. "Cargo ship has begun descending into the atmosphere."
"Any reaction from the Goa'uld," General Maynard asked.
"Yes, a large number of gliders and Alkesh have broken away from the armada and are heading for the southern pole. Anubis' command ship is also moving into a higher orbit, it's likely that it's going to head for Antarctica as well."
"They've found something," Hammond said softly. "And Anubis knows it."
"Where is the Prometheus at the moment," Hayes asked.
"Still at Area 51, sir," Davis replied. "She'd have done no good against a Goa'uld armada this size."
"Until now that is," Maynard said. "Try and contact Area 51, have them launch her and tell Colonel Pendergast to protect SG-1's cargo ship at all costs."
Goa'uld Cargo Ship
A Few Moments Earlier
Tension hung like a thick, oppressive fog in the atmosphere of the modified cargo ship as they shot through hyperspace at almost Asgard speeds towards Earth. Everyone on board was well aware of the fact that they could be running out of time to protect Earth from Anubis, well everyone except possibly Jack O'Neill – who for his part was busy in the back doing something to the transport rings and was seemingly completely oblivious to the rest of the world.
Finally after what seemed like an eternity it was Bra'tac who broke the silence. "We're approaching Earth's solar system," he said from the pilot's seat. "But we maybe to late, sensors are picking up an armada of Goa'uld ships in orbit above Earth."
"Confirmed," Teal'c added from the co-pilots seat. "They appear to be in arrayed into a planetary bombardment formation."
"Can you tell if they're firing, Teal'c," Major Samantha Carter – now acting commander of SG-1 now that Colonel O'Neill's mind was being overrun by the knowledge of the Ancients, the most powerful race ever to inhabit the galaxy – asked anxiously.
"I am afraid I cannot tell, Major Carter," Teal'c answered. Behind the big dark-skinned Jaffa Sam exchanged a concerned look with Doctor Daniel Jackson, though neither voiced the fear that they both felt; the fear that the Goa'uld could already be in the process of systematically eradicating all Human life on Earth.
"We are now crossing into Earth's solar system," Teal'c continued.
"We'll have to come out of hyperspace very close to the planet if we're to avoid Anubis blowing us out of the sky," Sam said. "Low orbit would be best."
"That's not going to give us a lot of time to stop," Daniel pointed out knowing full well that a ship exiting hyperspace had an awful lot of inertial force behind it. Emerging in low orbit they would be hard pressed to stop before they slammed into the planets surface. Though he knew they had no choice but to take the risk, if they emerged at the normal distance from the planet then they would have to run a gauntlet of Goa'uld warships, fighters and bombers before entering orbit. A gauntlet that they would never survive, especially as the cargo ships shields were nowhere near powerful enough to withstand a full salvo of plasma blasts, let along a salvo from Anubis command ship.
"Indeed, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c agreed as he adjusted course slightly to bring them out of hyperspace over Earth's southern polar region.
For a moment silence once again descended on the cargo ships cockpit area, moments seemingly stretching into eternity as the cargo ship ate through the last few light minutes between them and Earth. Finally the control station in front of Teal'c gave a crystalline sounding bleep as they reached there emergence point, with startling suddenness the modified hyperdrive shut down and they emerged in normal space.
Earth dominated space ahead of them, specifically the 5.4 million square mile mass of Earth's fifth largest continent, Antarctica. The pristine white surface was approaching worryingly fast, as the cargo ship plunged towards the ice bound continent like a meteor.
"Hadn't we better pull up," Daniel asked worriedly as around them the cargo ship vibrated fiercely from atmospheric turbulence and the inertial stress of fighting both hyperspace inertia and the pull of Earth's gravity.
"I am attempting to do so," Teal'c replied as the massive ice sheet loomed ever closer. They were only seconds away from plunging into the surface an occurrence that would mean there deaths and shortly the virtual extinction of the Tau'ri as a people at the hands of one of the most vicious tyrants ever spawned by the Goa'uld.
Moments before impact Teal'c won his battle with the controls and was able to bring the cargo ship into level flight, kicking up a small storm of loose snow from the surface of the ice sheet in the process as the wash from the antigrav thrusters slammed into the ice. Behind him Sam and Daniel both emitted soft sighs of relief, a moment before Jack O'Neill came purposefully forward and put a hand on the big Jaffa's shoulder.
Teal'c looked up at the touch and read the silent wish in Jack's eyes, without speaking he stood up and left the pilots seat, yielding control to Jack. Without speaking, knowing he would not be understood by those around him, Jack began guiding the transport across the ice sheet towards a specific point. In mere seconds they reached their destination, a mile below them buried beneath millions of year's worth of ice was the outpost that would save Earth. Quietly Jack pressed one of the cargo ships controls remotely accessing the ring transport system, setting the modifications he had made into motion.
On the underside of the cargo ship, the doors that normally covered its set of transport rings opened. Instead of deploying the rings however a brilliant energy beam erupted and struck the ice, instantly ice began dissolving subliming straight into water vapour under the force of the beam.
The beam kept up its assault, steadily melting and vaporising its way through an ice sheet that over the millions of years of its existence grown to a depth of just over a mile. In seconds though the beam breached the pocket in the ice that it had been searching for and shut down, leaving a perfectly straight shaft bored right through the primordial Antarctic ice.
Had he still been his normal, human self Jack O'Neill would have smiled and given a smart quip as the modified transmission beam completed its work. But he wasn't, instead he just stood up and moved aft to the ring platform and quickly began removing the naquada generators and other components he'd added that had turned the transmission beam into a powerful if somewhat crude laser.
"Anubis can't have missed that display," Daniel said softly.
"You are correct," Bra'tac confirmed. "Sensors are picking up a large number of Gliders and Alkesh on approach, they will be here shortly."
Sam frowned worriedly, that was not good news though she supposed it was only to be expected what with Earth under attack from the Goa'uld. She glanced back at Jack to see him finish off removing the adjustments he had made to the rings.
"Of course," she said softly. "We can get down to the lost city via the transport rings."
"Makes sense it was built by the Ancients so there is bound to be a set of rings down there somewhere," Daniel agreed moving to stand in the centre of the ring platform.
"The transmission beam just couldn't penetrate a mile of ice," Sam agreed as she and Teal'c joined him. After a second Jack did as well, holding the satchel that contained the Ancient power source that they had recovered from the outpost on Proclarush Taonas closely. "Hit it," Sam said to Bra'tac.
"Good luck," Bra'tac replied before remotely activating the ring transporter.
Sam smiled back at Bra'tac as the rings rose from their recess in the deck and surrounded her and the rest of SG-1. Then the interior of the cargo ship vanished in a blaze of white light, when it faded and the rings retracted they were no longer aboard the cargo ship. Instead they were standing in a dark cavern that was surprisingly warm for all that it was made of ice.
Calmly Sam, Teal'c and Daniel turned on the flash lights attached to their P90 submachine guns and scanned the room. Ahead of them were metal walls and screens patterned in an almost eastern style. Boldly Jack walked up to the walls and put his hand on the nearest pillar.
"Dormada," he said.
"Asleep," Daniel translated for Sam and Teal'c since he was the only one of them who actually understood Ancient. As he spoke a strange humming sound filled the air coming from somewhere ahead of them.
Calmly Jack led the way and they found themselves in a large vaulted chamber. In the centre of which was a raised dais on which sat another of the control chairs that Jack had used on Taonas. Unfortunately standing between them and the chair was the robed form of Anubis.
"You are too late," Anubis said gloatingly in his eerie voice. "The power of the Ancients is mine, as is your world. Surrender now and I shall be merciful." Sam was about to tell Anubis to go to hell when Jack stepped forward, gave a small mocking smile, and walked right through the holographic projection of Anubis.
"Fools," Anubis said before vanishing with all the fuss of a burst soap bubble. No one spoke as Jack walked forward and squatted down at the edge of the dais and held a hand over a seemingly ordinary section of floor.
As on Taonas a small secular section rose up and Jack removed the top and then extracted the crystalline power source, though unlike the one in the satchel that glowed with a yellow-orange light this one was a dark brown almost black. Putting the obviously depleted power source aside, Jack took the one from Taonas out of the satchel and inserted it into the slot. With a faint humming sound the crystal lowered and disappeared beneath the surface of the dais.
Apparently satisfied Jack stood back up, stepped up onto the dais and sat down on the throne like control chair. Immediately the dais and the headrest of the chair lit up with a blue light and the chair design shifted into an arrangement that looked almost like a dentist's chair. The rest of SG-1 could see Jack's hands moving on the interface pads at the ends of the chair and from all around came the sound of systems powering up.
It was at that moment that Sam's radio crackled to life. "Major Carter this is Bra'tac," Bra'tac's voice said from the small grill on the radio, his voice was back-dropped by the sound of explosions. "I am under attack from multiple Gliders; I have to abandon my position."
"Understood, Bra'tac," Sam replied. "Get out of there."
As she spoke there was a loud bang over the radio. "Shields are failing, hull integrity badly compromised," Bra'tac said his voice washing with static before abruptly cutting off.
A moment later they heard the sound of the ring transporter activating, prompting Sam and Teal'c to run back outside expecting company in the form of Jaffa or Kull Warriors to be beaming down. To their surprise and relief Bra'tac was standing on the platform looking a little worse for ware, his aged features covered with soot, but alive.
Bra'tac stepped off the platform and started towards them just as a massive explosion came from above, the shockwave rocking the facility like a massive earthquake and causing small flakes of ice to fall from the ceiling.
"We thought we'd lost you," Sam said in relief.
"I was able to get to the ring transporter before the cargo ship was destroyed," Bra'tac answered as he reached them. "Now that the path to the ring platform is clear we should expect Anubis to begin transporting down Kull Warrior assault troops immediately."
Sam nodded in agreement, they were prepared for that. With a nod to Teal'c she armed the life force disruptor attached to the side of her P-90 and Teal'c did the same. Falling back to the entrance to the chamber they took up positions pointing their weapons at that ring platform, and waited for the dreaded, deadly drone warriors of Anubis to begin appearing to try and take this facility from them.
Anubis Command Ship
That Same Time
"We are in position my lord," Herak reported to his God.
"Excellent, begin transporting Kull Warriors down to the Ancient facility we need to take it from the Tau'ri before they get the weapons operational," Anubis replied from where he stood near the viewport.
"Yes my lord," Herak replied before turning back to his console and relaying the command to elsewhere on the massive ship. A small smile played at the corner of his lips as he imagined the terror the Tau'ri would feel as the last hope for their world was snatched away from them at the points of the Kull Warriors deadly plasma repeaters.
As another Jaffa elsewhere on the ship acknowledged the order, Herak saw a change in the ships sensor readings. A hyperspace window was opening thirty thousand kilometres off the ships port side. "My lord sensors are picking up a hyperspace window opening thirty thousand kilometres to port," he reported. "Multiple ships emerging, they are Asgard."
"What," Anubis growled as the viewport shimmered as it switched to view screen mode, and showed five Asgard O'Neill-class battleships and twelve older but still formidable Beliskner-class class battlecruisers emerging from hyperspace. Silence rang through the ships of the fleet, even with the power of their God behind them many were reluctant to take on those whom they had been in fear of for ten thousand years.
"My lord we are being hailed by the lead ship," Herak reported as Anubis returned to his pel'tac throne.
"Put the message through," Anubis instructed a moment before the view changed to show one of the grey skinned black eyed aliens sitting in a throne-like chair back dropped by the glowing column of energy that was so common on an Asgard bridge.
"I am Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgard fleet," the Asgard said. "Your attack on this planet is a violation of the Protected Planets Treaty. You are hereby ordered to stand down and surrender your vessels or we will open fire."
"I think not," Anubis replied. "The last time we fought each other, Thor my ships defeated you. It is you who will surrender or face my wrath."
"The vessels you are facing are far superior to the one I commanded at Adara," Thor answered. "And you should be aware that another fleet under Freyr's command is right now poised to destroy key facilities on your throne world and the facility on Tartarus where you breed your abominations. If you do not comply with the will of the Asgard High Council then all will be destroyed, you have thirty seconds to consider your options."
With that Thor disappeared from the screen as contact with his ship was broken, the tactical display appeared in his place showing the Asgard fleet deploying into a battle formation facing his command ship. And Anubis felt a twinge of fear, for he knew that as strong as the shields of his fleet were they were not powerful enough to withstand a protracted engagement with so many Asgard ships.
"My lord the Asgard ships are powering up their weapons systems," Herak reported, "they are locking onto this ship and our escorts."
"Very well they wish a fight, how foolish of them, target main weapons on the leading Asgard ship and fire. Have the rest of the fleet break off planetary bombardment and join us in this engagement. We can resume the bombardment once the Asgard are defeated."
"Yes my lord."
For a few moments the fleet of Asgard warships and Anubis' command mothership faced off against each other. Then the motherships main cannons burst into life, sending a blast from the particle beam weapon that had earlier destroyed the International Space Station into the forward shields of the leading O'Neill-class battleship. The forward shield of Thor's ship flashed a brilliant silver-blue as it absorbed the energy of the beam and had anyone been watching they would have seen the mighty Asgard ship visibly shudder slightly with the kinetic force of the attack.
Ha'tak's began firing from all sides capital scale plasma cannons slamming powerful whitish gold energy into the powerful Asgard shields of the O'Neill's, Beliskner's broke formation to the flanks of the Goa'uld fleet before opening fire; their upgraded main cannons firing bolt after bolt into the shields of the closest tetrahedral-shaped ships. Charged particle bolts met Goa'uld energy shields, punched through and cut deep into the heavy armour covering the hulls of the enemy vessels.
A second salvo followed the first shredding what was left of the Ha'tak's shields ploughing into six of the golden ships blowing them apart, breaking into pairs the Asgard cruisers began bracketing the Goa'uld ships as the heavier O'Neill battleships began moving into position around the command mothership.
As the second stream of fire began emitting from the huge command ship the flagship of the Asgard fleet fired back. A brilliant blue-white energy pulse erupted from the main cannon at the centre of the hammerhead-shaped forward section and slammed into the shields of Anubis' own vessel. Simultaneously the two O'Neill's flanking Thor's ship began firing smaller and faster firing blasts from their own main cannons making the shields on Anubis' ship flare and ripple as they dispersed the energy of the blasts and sent much of the fire sleeting back out into space.
Anubis fired again, slamming another heavy particle beam into the shields of the forward O'Neill while firing heavy salvos of plasma blasts at both flanking ships setting the shields on all three ships aglow. Despite the intense battering their shields were taking from Anubis' Ancient-design based weapons the three Asgard ships simply took the fire and continued sending waves of energy back the multiple particle cannon arrays all along their hammerheads lighting up again and again.
The rest of the Asgard forces moved to engage the Ha'tak's that were approaching to assist their God, three more Ha'tak's withered and died under the concentrated fire of top of the line cruisers. However out numbered as they were the Asgard could not count on their advanced technology to keep them safe from the overwhelming firepower of the assembled hybrid ships.
Supreme Commander Thor held on to the armrests of his command throne as the Jack O'Neill shuddered under fire from Anubis main weapon. Sensors confirmed that the weapon was a proton-based particle beam and was surprisingly powerful and was proving damaging to the shields. Answering fire from the forward cannons simply ablated across Anubis' shields slowly but surely weakening them, he had been perturbed to find that even with three O'Neill's he was unable to destroy the command ship as quickly and efficiently as they once had.
"Damage report," he ordered.
"Forward shields are at ninety percent, supreme commander," one of the bridge crew reported as the ship shuddered again.
"Continuing firing all forward weapons," Thor instructed "status of enemy vessel?"
"Goa'uld shields are holding at seventy percent effectiveness, supreme commander," came the response from sensors. "The Samantha Carter and Teal'c are concentrating fire to the left and right sides of our own fire damage are mounting in those sectors."
"Have the Jonas Quinn and the Davis begin taking out the escorts, all other ships continue with predetermined battle plans."
Two O'Neill's broke off from the formation and began systematically destroying the Ha'tak's surrounding the Command ship a single barrage of fire from the forward batteries of each Asgard vessel was enough to remove the first two from the upper left sector of the battlefield. A massive flash of light appeared close by as another ship dropped into the battlefield from a close range hyperspace jump.
The newcomer loosed a trio of rapid blue/white cannon shots from the front of their ship the bolts slamming into the weakened shields of a Ha'tak and blowing through an entire section of the superstructure turning it into shrapnel. Half a dozen missiles followed through the gaps in the shielding and into the depths of the Pyramid detonating once they had buried into the hull.
Multiple gigatons of nuclear energy vaporised the Goa'uld ship in a flash of light, little remained of the once proud vessel serving their god, the Prometheus accelerated through the debris field loosing railgun fire and nuclear missiles into the ships already disabled or crippled by the Asgard vessels.
"This is Prometheus to Asgard Ship Jack O'Neill, we're here. It's not much but we're here."
"This is Thor, your appearance was unanticipated but welcome."
"Earth is our world, we need to defend it one way or another. We'll have your back as much as we can, that first energy weapon burst all but fried our power distribution and drained our power systems."
"Understood, continue dispatching the more damaged ships as you can."
"Will do, good luck Commander."
The tiny human ship accelerated away from cover of the O'Neill's decapitating another Ha'tak along the way as the ship's entire upper third was destroyed by a point blank nuclear detonation, the blast wave brushing across the Prometheus' shields ineffectually as the powerful Asgard technology shrugged off the radiation and blast wave.
Aboard the Jack O'Neill the Asgard crew were shaken again as a blast from Anubis' powerful ship bled through their weakening shields slightly scorching the hull armour, return fire from all three O'Neill's pummelled the Goa'uld's shields even as another particle beam breached a weakened shield segment to cut deep into the Jack O'Neill's port flank.
"Commander bow shield three has failed we have sustained damage to the port wing assembly weapons there have dropped to seventy percent capacity and outer hull integrity is compromised," engineering reported to Thor. "Automatic systems are redirecting power to restore shield integrity."
"Status of enemy flagship?" Thor ordered as plasma blasts from Anubis pounded the Jack O'Neill's faltering forward shields.
"The shields on the command ship are down to forty percent but are regenerating faster than before, we believe that the Goa'uld have shut down their hyperdrive and transferred the power to their shields," sensors reported. "However our sensors are also picking up a powerful energy surge gathering near the southern pole of the planet."
"What kind of energy surge?" Thor asked though he had a strong suspicion of what it was, he knew what the Ancients had left there when they went to the Pegasus Irregular Galaxy.
"Computer analysis confirms the energy spectrum is consistent with zero point energy, specifically that of an Alteran Zero Point Module."
Had he been capable of it Thor would have smiled, as he knew what that meant; Stargate Command had found the Ancient outpost buried beneath the ice, and had acquired an active Zero Point Module from somewhere. This must be why Anubis decided to break the Protected Planets Treaty, he thought as another particle beam hit shook his ship making sparks shoot out of some panels around the bridge as energy from overtaxed shields back lashed through the ships systems, he somehow found out about the outpost and wants to stop the Tau'ri from getting their hands on the weapons and power of the Ancients.
The sensors chimed for attention. "Supreme Commander energy readings from the planet have changed," sensors reported. "We are picking up a weapons system powering up and targeting the Goa'uld fleet. Energy signature matches the database records of Alteran drone weapons."
Thor turned his attention to the holographic tactical display floating in front of him, which showed the fleet of Goa'uld vessels engaged against his forces. Three more of the Ha'tak class motherships had already been destroyed, reduced to scrap metal floating in orbit of Earth, two more were showing heavy shield damage. However he was dismayed to see two of his own ships had been crippled and then destroyed by the Ha'tak's, four more of the Beliskner-class cruisers would loose shields at any moment.
A single O'Neill had been targeted by no less than nine Goa'uld ships including the rear side weapons of the massive command ship, its shields flaring into nothingness it began to take hit after hit from the heavier weapons of the Jaffa manned ships. Weapons turrets were blown off as one wing was chewed into an unrecognisable shape, the engines failing the O'Neill could only sit there as a final massive bolt hit it head on from the Command ship's main particle weapon, cleaving the once proud warship in two to be slowly torn apart by secondary explosions as weapons systems blew.
Thor looked on at the destruction of another of their very few battleships the loss of the Jonas Quinn would be remembered by both Asgard and human alike once the battle was over. It was at that moment of introspection that he saw them, a dense stream of sensor contacts rising from near Earth's southern pole towards the Goa'uld fleet. The stream split into dozens of smaller streams destroying the smaller fighters and Alkesh nearing Earth's surface before reaching into the sky and heading for the Ha'tak's.
In the very middle the vertical column reached even higher, a large stream of yellow squid shaped weapons remained on course for Anubis, Thor watched as the barrage of Ancient designed and built weapons began to tear into the Goa'uld armada with Anubis' command ship the bull's eye for the Tau'ri's newly acquired weapon. Goodbye, Anubis, was his only thought.
Anubis Command Ship
A Few Moments Earlier
Anubis stumbled slightly as return fire from Supreme Commander Thor's battle group continued slamming into the shields of his great and powerful flagship, the impact of dozens of blue-white bolts sending a violent vibration through the deck beneath him. This confrontation with the Asgard was not going as well he would have liked, already numerous of his elite Ha'tak's had been destroyed or seriously damaged, even with the very satisfying death of some of the little grey abominations he could only watch as his ships were annihilated only inflicting shield damage to the remainder of the Asgard fleet ships.
"Herak recall all Glider and Alkesh squadrons from the planet. Have them begin strafing runs on the Asgard fleet. And launch all reserve squadrons."
"Yes my lord," Herak answered and worked at the console to relay the command to the other ships and the forces still attacking Earth and encountering fierce resistance from Tau'ri forces. The arrival of the Tau'ri ship had led to the losses of at least two more of his lord's ships in as many minutes, their damnable missiles simply blowing apart the Ha'tak's once they had slipped through the damaged shields.
As he finished giving the orders a change in sensor readings caught his attention, something was rising from the southern pole of the planet. He sent an interrogative command to the sensors just as a fresh salvo of energy bolts from the Asgard shook the ship his own weapons answered back finally scoring hits on the thick armoured hull of another of the massive Asgard battleships causing power outages to appear across one side of the vessel.
The sensor results came back revealing the incoming object was in fact a stream of thousands of small projectiles that were giving off an unusual energy signature. Whatever they were they were coming right for the ship, as he watched the stream split up into dozens of smaller streams, most of which veered away though the largest stream continued on course for the ship.
Understanding came these projectiles were the weapons that his God had been concerned about. They seemed insignificant but Herak knew better than to be fooled by appearances. He was just opening his mouth to report the development to Lord Anubis when the stream reached the ship.
And the entire vessel resounded to a powerful explosion.
Herak stumbled and had to grab onto the edge of the console for support as the ship began shaking fiercely as more and more projectiles came in, tearing section after section of the command ship apart. To his disbelief the weapons were passing right through their shields as if they did not exist. On the screen Glider and Alkesh squadrons were annihilated as the column split into smaller and smaller groups, the larger branches streaming AROUND the Asgard and Earth ships and punching into the completely unharmed ships of Anubis.
"Our shields are of no use," he reported having to shout over the increasing roar of internal detonations, the largest concentration of the objects we're ripping through the armour and bulkheads as easily as the shields.
Anubis for his part stood before the viewport in horrified understanding, the Tau'ri had the weapons of the Ancients. Weapons that were ripping right through even his best shields as if they did not exist and which were steadily tearing the ship apart. Through the viewport he saw several of the glowing yellow squid-like projectiles go right through a Ha'tak which instantly dissolved into energised flotsam as its reactors breached. Another Ha'tak followed it a second later, just as a stream altered course and came right for the pel'tac of his ship.
"NOOO," he screamed in horror and rage, a second before the projectiles tore through the pel'tac. Anubis felt great pain as the force field cowl that kept his partially ascended form together and allowed him to interact with the corporeal world dissolved, even as he was sucked out into space through the breach in the hull.
Desperately he focused all his power, all his concentration on holding his energy form together. If he dispersed now then he knew he would be subjected to an eternal living death, unable to ever pull himself together again. Had there been air in space he would have sighed in relief as he successfully managed to hold his form together and establish a stable configuration in no danger of dispersal.
Relief turned to horror when a brilliant flash of light and radiation enveloped him, and a ferocious concussion wave struck. The flagships power core has ruptured, he thought in horror as he felt his form being carried along with the subspace concussion wave.
He shot passed the Asgard cruisers even as he desperately tried to stop, but it was no use the inertial force propelling him was to strong. Silently he screamed in horror and rage as he shot away from Earth at low sublight speed. He knew it would take hundreds of thousands of years to reach a planet, let along a planet with a Stargate or a host form he could possess. And while time was not an issue for a being such as himself he knew that in that time the whole galaxy would change as now that they had access to the weapons of the Ancients the Tau'ri would wipe the Goa'uld from existence, there would be no chance of him ever gaining the power that was his right
So telepathically screaming as loudly as he could he shot past the barren rock that was Earth's moon into open space and eternal torment.