"What do we do now?" Picard noted, his eyes pained as he gazed across space towards the batter shape of his Enterprise where it lay crippled inside of spacedock and not for the first time either.
"The Goa'uld threat…" Travers sighed, "For the moment it's contained but the after effects, those we will be dealing with for some time. The technologies the Ha'tak represents…"
"Analysis will take some time," Picard noted, "but it will be an issue. The Romulans, the Klingons, even the Cardassians have claims on the technology that vessel contains and not without some validity. We've all taken losses we can't really afford in this incident as well, yet that one ship may trigger another war."
"True, if one group were to have access to those technologies it would give them a major lead against the others," came the reply, "that is not calculating in the Indefatigable survivors and your own records from your little trip down the rabbit hole either. We have already had a number of 'requests' from the Romulans for the Jaffa and Tau'ri to be transferred to their custody."
"I hope you have no intention of allowing that," Picard noted.
Travers shrugged, "they are not in our custody despite what the Romulans might think. If they chose to cross the border, we'll certainly have a word with them first but we can do little more then that."
This was considered for a moment, "I do not see that happening,"
"No," came the quiet reply, "and in that maybe I was a bit unfair to Captain Ewing. I certainly made it clear to him how much I distrusted him, his people and his motivations."
"His motivations were simple," Picard noted, "motivations which I would like to think we shared to an extent. It was his duty to see the reduce the threat of the Goa'ulds to Earth and an Osiris bolstered by the technologies and recorces of another universe was not something to be lightly risked."
"That was his primary motivation certainly, but what of his secondary?"
"Acquiring technologies for their military," he shot the Admiral a glance, "a mission I can understand and even condone to a point."
Travers considered this for a moment, "Perhaps. But we still have to consider what to do about the gateway and the survivors."
"There is little we can do with the gateway," Picard frowned, his eyes tracking a small tug as it pulled the wreck of the port nacelle away from the rear of his ship, "except study it and make preparations to respond should the Goa'uld come through it again or should a foreign power attempt to seize it for their own ends. We certainly cant risk destroying it."
"The theory that destroying the gate incorrectly may destroy this and potentially other universes as well is a little far fetched,"
"But still a possibility and one we can not afford to ignore," he chided his superior, "we do not know enough to risk it."
Travers considered this for a moment then had to chuckle, "the irony of it all!"
"Worried about a gateway, the technology, the hope and power it represents but also the threat and the fear. Scared to say no but equally scared to say yes and all the time worried about what the neighbours will think… remind you of anyone?"
The Captain shot an amused but agreeing look back over his shoulder towards the Admiral, "indeed. Perhaps we are not so different from the Tau'ri after all. But there is a particular one of those neighbours I am concerned with."
"The Borg with Goa'uld derived shields and weapons…"
Travers shuddered at that, "and yet, those same shields and weapons represent our greatest hope against the Borg."
"Once they are understood and can be improved upon," he turned back towards the window, "for whilst they have great power they don't have much versatility. In time, I have little doubt we can figure out a defence against them should the Goa'uld arrive again."
"The Goa'uld are contained behind the Intergate for the moment, but they're merely self contained by a lack of interest. If they decide more trips are worthy…"
"The Tau'ri will try and stop them,"
"And against a determined assault they will fail. What we need is at least some form of open communications with the Tau'ri so that, at the very least, that installation of theirs can act as a tripwire for us."
Picard frowned but had to admit one truth to himself, the station they had moved into Edonia may well fail as a tripwire. The weapons of the enemy could simply overwhelm the station before it could sound its warning.
Not a pleasant thought in itself. More warning was certainly necessary.
"The Romulans are talking of constructing a cloaked array around Edonia."
"That's Federation space," He noted sharply.
"And still, we may well allow it so long as we are certain that we will be receiving the complete and unedited take from the array. They are a lot of people scared Captain."
"Quite," Picard noted, "and to be frank, I'm one of them, but we don't just have the Goa'uld, the Borg or even our allies to worry about. There is also the Breen."
"The Klingons are talking about raiding Breen space," Travers replied quietly, "destroying their shipbuilding infrastructure as 'punishment'."
The Captain frowned, "I'm not sure I approve, but something certainly has to be done. We know for definite know that they are going to continue to be an active threat and yet, even if we had the will, I don't think between all the Allies we could muster the strength to occupy their space and maintain our other commitments, not now.
And there is one big question still to be answered, how did Osiris buy their assistance?"
"Intelligence believes it wasn't through money,"
"No," Picard replied, "one thing she didn't have was resources to trade, technologies on the other hand…"
"That is the conclusion Intel is coming to as well," Travers noted, "and if it was technology she gave them, it will take them time to analyse and start to incorporate into their ships just like us, but they are far more likely to become aggressive with those technologies."
"The Intergate, the Breen, the Goa'uld, the Borg…" Picard noted somewhat wryly, "there may be a very Chinese curse on us."
"Maybe, but do not forget the Jaffa or the Tau'ri either, that is an issue we still need to discuss."
"You have had the most experience with the Tau'ri," Travers noted, "Do you think they could be persuaded to join Starfleet?"
Picard turned fully away from the window at that, his expression surprised, questioning and wary, "Part of their mission in coming to this universe was to obtain technologies to better defend their Earth. Whilst I have no doubt a small few would simply wish to retire now, there are a few, Warrant Officer Dukes for instance, who would join with the intent of returning to the Tau'ri as soon as the opportunity became available, taking what she learnt with her."
"And if part of what she learns is of the dream of Starfleet?"
Picard shook his head, mildly incredulous, "you intend to convert the Tau'ri?"
"Yes and no," Travers noted quietly, "It may well be years before the Intergate opens again, before the Indefatigable survivors can return and before we can get our own Valiant back. When we do send them back, if they take some of the knowledge of how to deal with others species, how to bridge gaps between races…"
Picard smiled as the Admiral shook his head, not entirely sure how to say what he meant, "you may have a point, but they will take more then ideas with them, they will take technology."
"That will simply ensure they have an audience,"
"And I thought you didn't trust the Tau'ri."
"I don't, not as a people. But there are individuals and from individuals a nation can be changed."
This Picard considered a moment then he shrugged, turning back towards the window, his eyes tracking across his maimed ship once more.
"These are the voyages…" he murmured softly as Travers walked quietly out of the room.
The end of Discontinuity... for now.