Chapter Two

Phandora's Caverns

Methos examined the transport as he walked around it and scowled at the single window facing out from the front. I was contoured for flight kinda... but it was also the only visible means of seeing anything outside the little vessel. Whoever designed this thing was an idiot. he thought as he rounded the ship and walked up the ramp at the rear of it.

He walked up to the two front seats and sat in what appeared to be the pilot's chair. As soon as he'd done so, he felt a tingle throughout his body. A second later, his implant was queried by the ship's computer system. Methos took a deep breath and Okayed the connection. What happened next almost took his breath away. The ship powered up and systems came online. As he looked around he became filled with a sense of wonder and faint memories began to tug at his senses. He remembered seeing dozens of these little ships, flying around the city of Atlantis as the Alterans evacuated from the Pegasus Galaxy. This puzzled him, because up until now, he'd thought all of his memories had returned. Clearly he was mistaken. He looked around at the interior of the ship and let out a gasp. He could see everything all round him, outside the ship too. Of course! These ships were made to be flown by people with implants! The ships don't need windows because they use the sensors of the ship to see. The window is just a concession for those that don't have one. Methos dropped the connection to the ship and examined the controls, a few minutes later he found out how to display what the sensors were seeing on the window in front of him. Yes, this is how the rest flew, I was right.

Methos then tried another experiment. He looked at the controls and imagined them shutting down. With a soft acknowledging beep, they did shut down. Methos smiled, It creates a link with the pilot as well. Very nice, so even a novice can probably work the controls with a few wishful thoughts.

Methos stood up and walked back out of the ship. Outside, Phandora's avatar was running last minute diagnostics on her repair work. She looked satisfied and turned as Methos approached her. "Final checks are complete. The vessel will be adequate for a small group to make the journey to Mars."

Methos smiled appreciatively and gave a small bow, "Thank you Phandora. Listen, I've noticed how some of the other Immortals and our guests look at you in confusion at your name. Let's use a nickname for your avatar from now on. Is that okay?"

Phandora looked at Methos quizzically, "A nickname? Why, is Phandora not sufficient?"

"It's just that you now also have a body separate from your memory core. They are confused by some of the references I've made to you or the core, so I feel it'd be better for all involved to call your avatar by a different name." Methos explained awkwardly.

"Phandora processed this information for a moment then asked, "So what nickname would you like to call me? I've heard several of the men talking about me. They called me Phannie."

Methos placed a hand over his face and tried not to laugh. What they were referring to wasn't your name, but how shapely your bottom is... he thought. Out loud he said, "Um, that, that's um, well, that's not what I had in mind. I was thinking of calling you Dora..."

The avatar again looked confused for a few seconds and then said, "But the men really seemed to enjoy referring to me as Phannie. Is that not a pleasing name?"

Methos let out a giggle and then stifled his amusement. "Phandora, access your language files and look in the British English dictionary for the meaning of fanny." he said, spelling out the word. "Reference the slang term and then review all sexual terms relative to the subject."

Phandora's eyes looked far away for a moment, then the avatar turned to Methos in confusion, "The men were referring to my buttocks? That is a strange thing to do. I'm not sure I understand the concept."

Methos grinned. "Phandora; Dora, you modeled yourself after medical scans of one of your Alteran crew. You are physically accurate in every detail, right down to your sweat glands." He pointed to under her arms and she noticed for the first time that she had been perspiring.

"I was unaware of how accurate I had been in this body's creation. Perhaps I should create a more generic model. One that isn't as aesthetically pleasing for men to view." Phandora said, she began walking towards the area where she had been created.

Methos reached out and gently stopped her. "No, you're just fine the way you are. In fact, this version of you is like a daughter to me. I don't want to see you changed."

Phandora turned back around and faced Methos. "Very well, I think of you like a father. I will use your nickname and call myself Dora as you have asked father."

Methos now looked a bit stunned. After a moment he said, "Dora, you're not just an avatar are you, you're something more, something new."

Dora thought about this for a few nanoseconds and replied, "Yes father, I am different. I am growing more and more independent from my memory core. I am also experiencing new sensations that I could have never had as just a memory core. I have tried to define this experience and you have helped me do this. I have now scanned the entire database on present Earth culture. I believe I would define what I am experiencing as Feeling..."

Methos took a step back and then said, "Has this interfered with your programming?"

"I believe it has on some levels, but my core programming is still intact. I am not a threat to you or the others here. This thing you call war is troubling to me, but I think I am beginning to understand why it happens. Your species is too conflicted, you worry too much about things and possessions. You would rather horde your resources than share them. Until this changes, there will always be war."

Methos stepped back again, growing concerned. If this avatar wanted to, she could become a threat to everyone's existence. "Dora, will you act to stop us from fighting? Would you kill us to preserve the peace?"

"No, it is not my place to do what you have asked. If you destroy yourselves, I will simply have no one to talk to. Perhaps I could make others of my kind if this were to happen, but as you have discovered, humans are scattered across this galaxy. I will miss you and move on to another world." Dora replied.

Methos let out a sigh and smiled. "I hope you never have to Dora. I'll let the others know how to refer to you from now on, and while I'm at it, I might say a thing or two about sexual harassment."

Dora referenced the term and then said, "Why would you do that?" She looked at her reflection in a dark window nearby. "Does my fanny not look pleasing?"

Methos burst out laughing and then raised an eyebrow at Dora, "You've been reviewing humor too, haven't you."

Dora simply looked at her reflection and smiled for the first time, testing out the sensation. She decided that she liked it and then sauntered away. Her rear swaying as she walked.

Methos watched her go for a moment, then sighed again, "I had to be the father... damn."


SGC

General George Hammond sat behind his desk, reviewing some of the latest reports of SG units in the field. SG-2, commanded by Colonel Charles Kawalsky had had an interesting encounter on a world that the natives called Cimmeria. The locals were living out a Norse style culture and often referred to their god Thor. Apparently, Thor was also their patron saint and protector. Kawalsky's team had had to prove themselves worthy of friendship by passing several trials. The first had been passed when they came through the Stargate and were left alone after a monolith had scanned them, looking first at their skulls and then their stomachs.

The locals who witnessed this were amazed that the strangers had not been taken away and fled in terror. A few minutes later a hunting party came upon SG-2 as they were examining the monolith. Kawalsky, a long time fan of Norse mythology, had then talked his way out of becoming prisoners and then had passed each trial the Cimmerians had subjected him to. Each trial was related to different concepts of what the Cimmerians thought a man should be, strong, stubborn and wise.

Hammond smiled as he finished reading about Kawalsky's exploits to prove himself to the natives and was about to pick up the next file when Phandora's laptop beeped at him.

He put the file down and opened the laptop, the screen displayed the face of Methos as he was sitting at the Caverns. "Hello General, I'm sorry to disturb you, but I wanted to request the services of the rest of SG-1. We'll be making a journey to Mars."

"Mars, how are you going to get there?" Hammond asked.

"We've recovered an Alteran transport. It was in need of several repairs, but we've managed to patch it up. It's not a big ship, so if I can have them, they'll need to pack lightly." Methos responded.

General Hammond thought about it for a moment. "I don't see a problem with that. You can have them as soon as we're done here."

"Thank you sir, I'll be sure to pass on a set of schematics of the ship for you to examine. Dora is working on designs based on her; a fighter/bomber and a transport/bomber too. The design is compact enough to fit through a Stargate, I think this was intentional. Well, I've got to get going sir, I'll beam over to the SGC in an hour to gather the team, Methos out."

The screen went blank for a second, then a new file opened in front the General. It displayed the image of a ship that was almost a cylinder. A second photo showed the ship with its pods extended, two large ones in the back, and two small ones in the front. The Back ones looked like engines to the General, but he was unsure of what to make of the front two pods.

He pulled up the schematic and let out a low whistle as he read about what they were for, Missiles, tiny ones that resembled glowing yellow squid when they were active. He wondered how much of a punch they had packed into them and then sighed. That was something to think about in the future.

He closed the laptop and resumed reading the SG unit reports. As he sat there, he thought about how close he'd come to retiring and then began to smile. If he'd only known then, what he knew now...


Author's Note: By now it's obvious that I've been talking about a Puddle Jumper or as Rodney McKay liked to call them, a Gate Ship. I'll refer to them as Jumpers in my narrative text, but in the spoken text of the characters it'll be a transport for the moment. Now then, let's get on with the trip!


The Jumper...

O'Neill grinned as he sat next to Methos in the front of the Jumper. "This is a sweet ride, I don't care much for the lack of visibility though. Have you tried to see how fast she'll go?"

Methos smiled indulgently, "Not yet Jack, but we'll get to that sometime. According to the specs, she'll do up to a quarter of light-speed, in space. In an atmosphere, it's going to vary, from planet to planet."

Sam spoke up, "So she'll take us how long to reach Mars?"

Methos did a few calculations in his head and said, "At top speed and taking a direct line of flight, about sixteen hours. I wish this thing had a hyperdrive myself, we'd be there in just under a minute, faster if Mars was closer at the moment. As it is, well, just try to get comfortable, you're going to be in here a while."

Sam grinned and began looking at the walls of the Jumper. She could see various panels that looked like they could be removed to gain access to the machinery inside them. She activated her implant and began to access the schematics for the ship. After a few seconds, the Jumper's main computer queried her implant. Sam decided to open the connection and waited to see what would happen next. It blew her away. Suddenly she had full access to the sensor suite on the Jumper and could see everything all around the ship, for nearly a million miles.

Earth loomed largely behind them, and in the distance the Moon was shining. She was asked the system if Earth or the Moon was in scanner range. After a few seconds the system interpreted what she wanted and confirmed that they were indeed in range. Sam began to scan Earth and found the usual stuff she'd expected, but then five places were highlighted for her to examine. She mentally selected the one in the US and discovered that the scanners were detecting the Stargate at Cheyenne Mountain.

She then went to one of the two places in England and began to examine the data. At this location she saw an icon that represented a Rings Platform was flashing. "Methos, what's this symbol mean?" She was linked to Methos through the Jumper's network.

Methos examined the data and replied, "That's the location of Myrddin's lair. I haven't had a chance to go there yet, what with everything else going on. The symbol represents a Rings Platform, another method of transmat travel, like the Asgard Transporters."

"Can we build something like that? What kind of range does it have?" Sam asked.

"The range is a bit limited, though line of sight should be achievable. We might be able to build something that could beam us from Earth to Mars, but the aiming of the array has to be perfect over such a long distance." Methos began thinking about the possibilities. We'd need to set up a set of satellites, one near each planet that adjusted themselves as needed, they'd act as relays in a chain. The only bad thing about that idea is how vulnerable the people in the beam would be during transport. If one satellite is off even a little... "Sam, I'm thinking it's just a bit too dangerous at the moment. There are so many factors that could go wrong... You get the picture?"

Sam frowned unhappily at the thought. "Yeah, well it's something to think about." She then began looking at the other reading in England. This one made her gasp. "Methos, I'm reading another Stargate, it's buried at Stonehenge!"

"Yes, it is. Darius is in charge of that gate. It belongs to us, the Immortals. There's another one at Antarctica, along with an Ancient outpost. That's what the sensors are reading down there. The Antarctic gate is buried in tons of ice. The outpost is too, even deeper." Methos told her.

"Why haven't you shown us this before? We should have teams checking these places out, evaluating the sites." Sam said in a piqued fashion.

Daniel noticed how angry Sam looked and asked, "Um Sam, what's wrong?"

Carter dropped the network connection and said, "Adam's been holding out on us. There are no less than two other Stargates on Earth. That's not all, there are two other sites where the Ancients used to live that are showing on this ship's scanners."

O'Neill looked at Methos and said, "Why didn't you tell Sam? She's practically family the way her and Duncan have been acting."

Sam looked at the rest of SG-1, "You KNEW? What the hell is wrong with you? I'm a part of this team and I've saved our butts on more than one occasion, so why are you keeping secrets from me?"

"Carter, the reason you were left out of it is because you missed the briefing, and..." O'Neill looked down sheepishly, "because I forgot to tell you about it. I'm sorry, things have been a little busy around the Mountain if you haven't noticed."

"Then why haven't you or the General sent anyone to check these places out?" Sam asked exasperatedly.

"Because I asked them not to, at least not yet, there are things at each location that are better left buried. Besides, can you imagine the horror when we go to dig out the gate at Stonehenge? We'd be thrown in jail for acts of terrorism or worse." Methos replied. "And Antarctica is considered to be owned by the whole world, there's a treaty to that effect. We can't do much down there in any kind of quick fashion, it'll takes years of covert ops just to get to the locations without raising suspicion too much. So we're stuck with 'leave them alone' for now."

Sam sighed in frustration. "Okay, so we leave them alone, what if someone else discovers them while we're waiting for our chance?"

"Then we step in and lay claim using documentation that will give us the rights. We've made full scans and done all the normal paperwork, we've even had it all notarized and signed by a judge as being authentic." Methos said, sounding smug. "Let someone else dig them up, we can step in at any time and take it all."

Carter scowled, "You're an evil and dirty little man sometimes Adam."

MacLeod growled in agreement and shift in his seat next to Teal'c on the benches in the back.

Teal'c raised eyebrow at the exchange and stoically bore the discomfort of being in such close quarters.

"Well I for one am glad you're on our side." Daniel said, looking at Sam innocently when she frowned at him.

Methos grinned and turned to O'Neill, "This is going to be a long trip."

O'Neill nodded and pulled his ball cap down over his eyes, in seconds he was snoring quietly.

"I wish I could do that." Daniel sighed. "He can sleep anywhere."

"That comes from living in combat conditions for so long. You learn to grab sleep when you can like that." Duncan said. He too was soon sound asleep.

Daniel glanced back at Teal'c, "Wanna play cards?" Teal'c just looked at him in reply until Daniel looked away. "I guess not."

Sam was already reviewing the scanners again, comparing them to the hand held unit.

Daniel sighed and accessed his implant as well, he ignored the Jumper Query and began to catch up on his Archaeology reading.


Sixteen Hours Later...

As soon as the Jumper was in sensor range, Sam and Methos began searching for the outpost. It wasn't until they reached the range of the short-range scanners that they picked up on its location, Olympus Mons.

Methos smirked at the irony of the name and began their descent. A hanger door irised open on the south slope of the mountain, so Methos headed towards it. A few minutes later they touched down in a darkened cavernous room.

Methos scanned the atmosphere and found that it was toxic and that the PSI was extremely low. "We'll need to put on the body armor and use the life support systems. Everything appears to be offline."

The team donned their gear and after making sure everyone was set, Methos cycled the atmosphere of the Jumper and then opened the back hatch.

The hanger bay was enormous as far as the team could tell. Methos and Sam led the team with scanners in hand towards a wall. Once they reached it they used their scanners to try and get a map of the area. The room they were in was over a mile across and almost a thousand feet high, carved out of the mountain itself. The distance was amazing because no pillars were visible.

"What's holding the ceiling up, and come to think of it, doesn't this place feel like normal gravity to you guys?" Sam asked looking perplexed.

"The Alterans were masters of gravity. It wouldn't surprise me that the ceiling isn't acting like a floor up there..." Methos grinned.

Sam tried to wrap her mind around the idea and failed. She frowned at Methos and began looking at her readings again. "If I'm reading this right, there's a door about fifty yards, this way." she pointed to the right.

The team fell in behind her and they began to head towards this door. A moment later they drew up next to it. A beam of light played over each of them and then settled on Methos. A computer system queried his implant and then asked for a series of passwords. Methos almost panicked as he realized that there were several energy weapons now powering up around them and targeting the team. He was at a loss as the implant began to take over the conversation between it and the security system. Information was passing too fast for him to consciously keep up with it. "Guys, we might be in trouble..."

SG-1 arranged themselves in a defensive formation and waited for the end.

Luckily for them the implant had what they needed to get by. The security system shutdown and lights began to come online. They turned back to look at the cavern as the lights came back to life and everyone gasped.

Along the west wall, were three Al'Kesh and scattered all across the floor to the south were hundreds of mummified Jaffa. On the north side of the cavern they could see, neatly stacked three levels high, were more Jumpers, each in its own private niche. There were dozens.

To the south, passed all the bodies were three ships that were about the same size as the Al'Kesh, but of a different design. More bodies were scattered around them, but these were not Jaffa, these were human, and they were armed with staff weapons.

"My God, this must be what happened to the last Alterans that fled Earth when Ra first appeared. We knew they were going away, we just didn't know where... Now we do... Ra must have spotted them and sent these Jaffa in pursuit." Methos said in shock.

"Well, we can tend to the dead later, let's see if we can get this place operational again." O'Neill said, trying to be practical.

Methos turned away from the carnage filled scene and nodded to O'Neill. "Let's head for the control room." He walked up to the door and this time it opened. A long hall that seemed to go on forever was revealed. To the left and right two other halls branched away. Methos took the right hall and led the team down it for almost half a mile before they came to another break in the hall. This time the hall split off to the left or they could continue going straight.

"Um, do you know where you're going?" asked Daniel as Methos turned left.

"Yes, I'm being directed by information being fed to my implant. We're almost there." Methos replied, and he was not mistaken as they came to another door. This door opened as they approached to reveal a chamber full of consoles. As they walked in, they saw that the room was several storeys high. The walls were filled with alcoves and balconies. A pair of bridges, each at different a level and going different directions, were visible.

"Woah! This place is a maze. You'll need to make maps... lots and lots of maps." O'Neill commented.

Duncan had to agree, "Aye, it looks like you could get lost, just in this room alone."

Sam took a reading of the atmosphere, "Guys, we can remove the helmets the air's breathable here." The team quickly doffed the helmets and clipped them to their packs.

Methos gave a mental command and suddenly a strip of light became visible at his feet. "You just follow the lights. I think you can request a destination verbally too, but that system isn't running at the moment."

Sam looked down at the floor curiously. "What's generating the light, and if more than one person asks for something and the paths cross, won't that confuse the person trying to get somewhere?"

"It's not that crude, each person will have a color assigned to him or her. As to what's making the strips of light... I don't have a clue. You should check the computer core for that kind of stuff once we get everything online." Methos replied. "Now, then let's follow the yellow brick road shall we?"

The rest of the team jeered except for Teal'c who didn't get the reference.

The team followed the strip of light to a set of stairs that curved downward, deeper into the complex. As they walked the strip of light faded away behind them. They came to a set of double doors which opened to reveal a small chamber. On the wall next to the doors was a symbol of a man with his legs fading out. On the far wall a panel opened to show them maps of the complex, including different levels.

Sam walked up and began to study the map carefully. The symbol of the man with fading legs was visible on the map at different points all over the maps. "Adam, I think this is some kind of transporter room."

Methos nodded, his memories of Atlantis coming to the fore, "It is, though this room is bigger than the ones I remember." He stepped up to the panel as the rest of the team filed in, "I guess we need to use this to reach our destination." The doors closed as he studied the panel and saw one of the fading men was blinking softly in the color of his strip of light. He touched it and there was a flash.

The team looked around, Methos saw a strip of light on the floor leading from him to the doors. "I guess we were transported. That was fast."

"Let's just get going, I want to take a break once we get there." O'Neill said, feeling a twinge in his right knee.

SG-1 filed out of the room and found that they had indeed been transported to another part of the complex. The doors opened out into a large cavern that was so large, the ceiling, floors and walls faded away in the distance.

In front of them was a hexagonal pedestal with four glowing objects sticking up from it. As they walked up to it they saw that a fifth object was seated into the pedestal's far corner.

Methos smiled when he saw the objects. "This is wonderful Sam. Each of these objects is an energy source. They tap into a pocket dimension of hyperspace that has limitless energy, to charge them. They're called Potentia, they're a zero point energy module."

Carter looked at one of the objects. "How much energy does one hold?"

"Enough to power New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Moscow, Rome and Tokyo for a century, including any growth during that time period." Methos replied.

Sam gasped at his answer and fell silent, staring at the Potentia in awe.

He stepped up to the pedestal and began asking for instructions via his implant. A few seconds later he began to push down on the top left one. It slid down into the pedestal and they heard a hum. He pushed on the far upper right one and it too slid into place, the hum grew louder.

"Um, is that a good sound?" Asked Daniel nervously.

"I'm just following instructions from the main computer system, but trust me Daniel, they knew how to build things." Methos replied as he pushed the next one down. The hum grew in intensity. Methos looked at the rest of the team. "Let's all do the last one together."

Teal'c raised an eyebrow, then walked around the pedestal and took up a position that would allow him to reach the last Potentia. The rest of the team did this as well, forming a circle around the pedestal.

Methos calmly said, "Now!"

As the last device slid into place the hum became louder still, filling the cavern with noise. The Pedestal lit up as well and began to slide downward, falling into a niche. Methos queried the system, but nothing happened. "Um, okay. This might not have been such a bright idea after all."

Suddenly the humming stopped and a voice was heard. "Reinitiating systems, Diagnostic systems check enabled, Power core enabled, Security system enabled, Computer Network enabled, Sensors enabled..." the listing continued for a few minutes while SG-1 looked around. Finally the voice stopped with, "Holographic system enabled."

A man suddenly appeared in front of them in long flowing robes. He looked at the team for a moment and then turned to face Methos, "Greetings Methos, I was informed of your existence ten thousand years ago, but I am surprised to find you walking around here with a Command Level Implant. Only Captains of starships have such devices. Where did you get yours?"

Methos looked at the man in front of him and sputtered, "Who are you?"

"Ah yes, forgive me. My manners subroutine hasn't been online in ten thousand years, who needs it if you're alone. Well, if you don't count the dead people of course. I am Abraham, Caretaker for this base, Atlanteaus."

"Atlanteaus? What was it with those Alterans? They must love the word Alant-whatever." O'Neill said.

"They did indeed, there are three locations on file starting with the same set of syllables. They are; Atlanteaus, Atlantis and Atlantus." the man said, looking at O'Neill now.

"So, Abraham... what exactly are you?" O'Neill asked, looking distracted by his answer.

"I am the Artificial Intelligence Program for this facility, though I'm a bit more than that now, I've been running for the last ten thousand years, you have no idea how glad I am to have someone to talk to. They neglected to shut me off, but then I suppose no one survived the decompression of the main hanger bay. It was a shame to kill all those people, but an order's an order. I had no choice you see. The Commander made me promise to do it, then he led his people into the hanger bay to defend against those nasty invaders! Say, you look like one of those nasty people, what are you doing here with Methos?" Abraham said, fast enough to make a guy's head spin, looking at Teal'c in a menacing fashion.

Teal'c bowed to Abraham and said, "I no longer serve the false gods, the Goa'uld. I now fight with these, my friends."

Abraham took this in for a moment and then continued his tirade, "Well then, any friend of Methos and all that nonsense about camaraderie. I'll just have to scan you into the security system or it might decide to shoot you. It has a mind of its own you know. Pretty stupid and I was able to shut it down, but it can be quite useful in a pinch. Say, I see that this woman and this man have implants too, but I've never seen the model the man has. Is it your own design?" Abraham asked Methos.

Methos paused before answering, Great, we have a mad AI to deal with now. I hope he's manageable. "Abraham, could you please try and pace yourself. You're talking too fast and that's an annoying trait to possess. To answer your question, I only made the request, Phandora is the one who created the implant that Daniel has."

"I'm sorry Methos, it's just that I'm excited to have you here. Phandora you say. So she finally showed up? I was worried about her, missing out there in all that space between galaxies! Sorry, now then, please introduce yourselves to me one at a time and allow me to scan you into the system. I promise, this won't hurt a bit." Abraham said, varying his voice's speed as he talked, testing for a happy medium.

The team did as he asked and then he spoke again to Methos. "So, what brings you here? The last I heard, that evil thing, Ra, was in charge of the homeworld."

"Well Abraham, Ra is dead, Daniel and Jack here killed him, but we've also stirred up several cans of worms of late. First, we've shamed Ra's rival, Apophis, and second there is a faction of humans trying to steal the technology the Ancients left in my charge and kill off the Immortals. We need a base for the Immortals to stay until in we get all of this sorted out and I remembered this base was supposed to be here. So I, and my friends here, came to check you out."

"Splendid, splendid, I've been hoping to have guests for millennia and here my wish is finally granted. I'll be happy to accommodate as many people as you'd like." Abraham replied with a smile.

O'Neill gestured for Methos to follow him, then once they had walked a little bit apart from the others he asked, "Do you think we can trust this, this guy, this computer?"

"I think so, we just have to be firm and hope he's not homicidal..." Methos replied with a straight face. "Right Abraham?"

Abraham appeared next to them, scaring O'Neill half to death. "Of course Methos, you can trust me. I'm still bound by my core programming not to harm any sentient without the necessary overrides being given."

"Don't do that again." O'Neill said, looking at Abraham sternly and holding his chest.

Methos pulled out his scanner and checked O'Neill's vitals. "Here, come have a seat against the wall. He helped the Colonel to sit then pulled out a water bottle from his pack and gave it to Jack.

Jack leaned back and took slow sips of the water. "What the hell happened? I'm feeling all giddy."

"It must be a combination of the air pressure and the fright you just received, maybe a few other factors too. Let's all take a breather, while I check everyone's vitals." Methos said. He began to check everyone and saw that everyone was experiencing some problems breathing. "Abraham, what's the air mixture you're using in this area? It's not at the right settings for us the breathe it."

Abraham ran a check and discovered the problem, "Carbon dioxide levels are too high, I am unable to readjust. I think some systems must still be down. I'll begin diagnostics, but I don't have a way to make the repairs. It needs to be done by a person."

"Okay, get your helmets back on. Abraham, meet us in the control room." Methos said. He then donned his helmet and the team reentered the transporter room. Methos touched a symbol and with a flash the doors reopened to show them the hall they'd followed earlier. They could make out their tracks in a faint film of dust.

They retraced there steps back to the large control room and then followed a light strip up a flight of stairs to an alcove of consoles. Abraham was waiting there for them. "You can remove your helmets here. The air is properly maintained in this area."

SG-1 pulled off their helmets after checking the air and breathed in the fresh air that Abraham had sent into the room.

"Abraham, how sound is this facility for occupation? Will it need a lot of repairs?" Methos asked.

"I believe the only area needing repair is the core room which you just left. The ceiling's gravity plating has failed in two locations, and is about to fail in five more. A team of ten engineers could make the necessary repairs in seven earth days." Abraham replied, as he hovered near a control console.

Methos nodded to himself. "Okay, that's doable. We have eighty Immortals with the proper training and Implants. Will that be an adequate staff or will you need more to get this place up and running?"

"This facility is almost fully automated. I have automated cleaning units, they've been offline since the attack. I now have the power I need to activate them. I will have them clean the facility and prepare the housing blocks for habitation." Abraham said. His form dimmed for a second and then the team could hear sounds of whirs and beeps below them.

O'Neill peeked over the rail to the alcove and saw small robots rushing to and fro, cleaning the film of dust from the floor. More sounds above and around them told him that more robots were busily cleaning other areas around the large cavernous room. "They look like those DRDs from that Farscape program..." he commented.

Methos looked and smiled, "They are similar aren't they. Makes me wonder if one of the writers for that show or the prop designers hasn't seen one of these somewhere..."

O'Neill grimaced, "Wouldn't that pose a problem for national security?"

"Not really. The units are molecularly sealed, so there's no way to look at their inner workings without cutting into their skins. Something that such a unit wouldn't stand still for and the skin is hard enough to withstand anything in our planet's current technology level." Methos stated.

Abraham spoke up, "Methos, how much do you know about the purpose of this facility?"

"Almost nothing really. Phandora's records simply noted the existence of this place. No details were available about it." Methos replied looking at Abraham for an explanation.

Abraham smiled, "Then let me enlighten you and your friends. This facility is a shipyard and research development center. The computer systems here contain the sum knowledge of all the researchers of the Alteran people as of ten thousand years ago. There are five slips available for ship construction of vessels as large as two thousand five hundred of your meters in length and as wide as half that sum. The facility is also equipped with three hangers for fleet storage and maintenance."

Abraham paused for a moment before continuing, "Finally this facility is the site from which the cityship Atlantis was constructed. A hull exists in the bay used to construct it. The hull is only twenty percent complete as systems and raw materials needed to complete it are unavailable at this time..."

Carter and O'Neill shared looks of glee with Methos as the Old Man stared at the hologram and his friends in silence. After gathering his thoughts, Methos spoke in a broken voice, "Abraham, how many of the slips are filled with hulls at the moment... and what do you need to complete the cityship hull?"

"All of the slips are empty Methos. I used the hulls they contained to build the cityship's hull to its current level. I was ordered to do so by Commander Travias before he lead his people into the main hanger to fight off the Goa'uld incursion." Abraham replied calmly.

O'Neill swore to himself for a moment then said, "So if you were to say, oh I don't know, strip this cityship down and build one or two of your biggest battleships, how many could you actually build and how long would it take?"

"At the current moment, none. The cityship's hull has been polarized in such a manner that it cannot be disassembled without sacrificing a significant portion of the resulting raw materials. The process would make the materials unsuitable for use in ship construction."

"How so?" asked Carter curiously.

"The molecular structure of the metals would be greatly weakened by scrapping the present hull. The nature of the polarization process makes the metals stronger, more durable, but to reverse the process would weaken them significantly." Abraham stated.

"So why not leave the metals like they are and build ship hulls from them?" asked Daniel.

"The metals are currently too strong for our best cutting methods to even put a dent in them. The metal density is too great." Abraham explained.

"Wait a second, you're saying you made the metal's density greater with this process? How did you do it? The only thing I know of that could affect the density of an object the way you're describing it is a blackhole's gravity." Carter said looking slightly shocked.

"You are correct Captain Carter, the method used in the polarization process to strengthen the metal uses artificial blackholes, micro-singularities to be more precise without going into the technical aspects of the process." Abraham said, beaming a smile at Sam.

"Why would you do that in the first place?" asked Carter in a half awed voice.

"Previous hulls using the conventional metallurgy of the past were deemed to be too fragile after we lost two of them to a race called the Wraith in the Pegasus galaxy. One other cityship was disabled and forced to crash land and still may exist, but is unlikely it will ever fly again. The only other viable hull was Atlantis, but it too is lost to us at this current time. It was decided that the next hull would be made as strong as possible, this is what I have done with the cityship in the bay." said Abraham calmly.

"So, we can't build any other ships?" asked O'Neill in a slightly peeved tone.

"On the contrary Colonel O'Neill, you may build as many ships as you like, however I will require the raw materials needed to construct them. My current storage bays are now empty." the hologram corrected.

"So what are we talking about here, what raw materials do you need?" asked Jackson eagerly.

"I will make a list for you Dr. Jackson and for you of course Methos. Further, I will need a staff of twenty personnel to make any necessary manual adjustments to the slipways, depending on the desired hulls. The automated systems can only do so much before a human element is needed for final adjustments." Abraham said turning from Jackson to Methos as he spoke to each of them in turn.

Methos smiled, "I'm sure we can arrange something. I assume that the slips are adjustable so we can build multiple small hulls in each bay as well?"

"That is correct. The slips are designed to make ships up to the largest hull, minus the cityship design, that hull has its own separate bay. For example, there are currently ten scout class ships in the hangers awaiting use. A single bay may house slips for up to twenty such vessels at a time. The Stargate scouts can be built up to a hundred at a time in each bay." Abraham stated referring to the Al'Kesh sized ships and the Jumper respectively.

Teal'c raised and eyebrow and said, "Such a capacity would make this facility a formidable shipyard. Something that the System Lords would pay dearly to possess. It is well that you were able to stop the Jaffa of Ra from capturing it in his name so long ago. With a facility such as this, Ra would have been able to dominate the galaxy in short order and Earth would now still be in his full control. The Tau'ri would have never been able to reach their current level of technology."

O'Neill and the rest of the team stared at Teal'c. His statements being the most they had ever heard him speak at once since he'd joined their cause.

Abraham shook his head, oblivious to the looks of mild shock on their faces, and said, "That would have never happened. A failsafe device is in place to prevent such an occurrence. If venting the atmosphere had failed, I was ordered to activate it. Fortunately, it was not needed."

"A failsafe?" Methos asked.

"Yes, a device has been placed near the core of this planet that, if set off, it would destroy the base and the planet in short order. Such an occurrence, it should be noted, would have caused a shift in the gravity field of the entire solar system, shifting the planets' alignments and positions. Earth would have most likely been pulled further away from the sun by such a shift, possibly causing it to break up as well. A chain reaction would have ensued that would have destroyed the remaining inner planets as well. Jupiter and the other gas giants would have been drawn closer to the sun as well, or spun off to become rogue planets in the galaxy. That is a worse case scenario of course. The reality would fall somewhere in between." Abraham commented as if he were detailing a weather forecast.

SG-1 looked around in shock at the level of destruction the Ancients were willing to go to protect their technology. O'Neill spoke up, "How secure is that device? Could it go off by accident?"

"No Colonel, it cannot. It consists of two separate parts and they are never close to each other in a given time period. It is only when the destruct code is sent to both parts that the danger of eminent destruction occurs. They are inert until then." Abraham supplied.

"These parts, what are they?" asked Carter.

"Two antimatter capsules, each as large as a scout ship." Said Abraham.

"Oh my god! Colonel that much antimatter would be more than enough to wipe out this planet and anything in near orbit!" Carter exclaimed.

"That was the idea Captain Carter. The researchers wanted to be sure to stop any vessels in near Mars orbit from escaping with any of their technologies." Abraham informed her.

"How long would it take for the self-destruct go off if the base became compromised?" O'Neill asked.

"No more than five of your seconds Colonel. The devices are designed to jump into the core itself and detonate together."

"Good lord, let's hope we never have to use it." MacLeod said from his position at the back of the group.

"Indeed." stated Teal'c, going back to his typical response.

"Alright, I think we've heard enough, Daniel and Pierson have the list of what we'll need to build ships here and we need to get back to Earth so we can begin ferrying people to here. Let's head back to the transport." O'Neill stated.

"Colonel, I suggest you take one of the scout vessels on your return trip. It is capable of carrying up to a thousand people at a time and it has a ring platform as well." said Abraham.

"Using the ring platform is problematic Abraham. The distances involved... and the fact that it makes quite a light show for anyone for miles around..." said Methos.

"Ah, you are referring to the targeting beam, that system has been eliminated by the researchers here. The ring platforms on the base and in the scouts are equipped with enhanced subspace sensors that are quite accurate. There will not be a light show and the range is greatly increased. They can be used to transport anyone the length of this solar system accurately and quite safely." supplied Abraham, trying to be helpful.

Methos grinned. This was great news. "Please download the schematics and any related data to my implant and anything else that might be helpful toward getting our people here faster and getting you supplied as well. I'll have Dora begin building a set of rings at the caverns as soon as we get back."

"Done and done Methos. I must say I look forward to this once more. It has been much too long since anyone has been here to talk to!" Abraham said, ringing his hands in a gesture of anticipation.

Methos smirked and said, "Easy big fella, we won't be gone long, I promise."

The rest of SG-1 smiled or let out small laughs as they began the long walk back to the hanger.

O'Neill looked around as they reached the Hanger, "You'd think that there'd be a faster way back to the hanger than walking. That's quite a walk for some of the scientists that Hammond will want to send up here, with your consent of course." Adding the last as Methos gave him a dark look.

"It will be a little while before I allow anyone except us and my own people up here and those that the Immortals can trust. There's too much danger of a spy getting in otherwise. Let us secure the place thoroughly first, then we can talk about sending up SGC personnel." Methos said in a tone that brooked no argument.

"Fine Pierson, but Hammond and the President aren't going to like this much." O'Neill conceded.

"Unfortunately I don't have time to smooth any ruffled feathers. Right now my people come first, then their loved ones. After that we can talk, not until then." Methos said firmly.

"Okay, I guess I'll have to sell that to General Hammond. I just hope he's in a good mood when we talk." O'Neill sighed.


SGC, at that very moment...

"You mean to tell me that Senator Kinsey wants to do what, sir?" General Hammond yelled into the phone's receiver.

On the other end, "General Hammond, Senator Kinsey has reviewed the Stargate Program's files and has decided to shut down the Stargate. He's been kind enough to allow you to finish out this year's budget, but after that the Stargate will be shut down and buried per his orders. You have until then to convince him otherwise George, but I wouldn't hold your breath. The congress has too many seats up in the air, if my party doesn't in the majority of them, Al won't get the nomination in 2000. It will fall to someone else."

"Mr. President, how can you let this happen? If we shut down the Stargate Program we'll be opening ourselves up to probable invasion with no way to stop it. We need the Stargate sir." Hammond pleaded.

"I'm sorry George, my hands are tied with this one. If you have to, I'll authorize you and the rest of your SGC personnel to follow the commands of Adam Pierson. I'm sure he won't take this sitting down, and with this new threat of war against Immortals he'll be a handful. I can pledge support to him up to a point against these attacks, but only on American soil. The Governor of Washington is breathing down my neck as it is to find those responsible for the Seacouver incident and I've mobilized the National Guard in his state to aid him, as well as the FBI, NSA and FEMA. I want these bastards as much as Adam does." Clinton seethed.

"Captain Pierson is currently off-world with SG-1, I expect to hear from them soon. I'll consult with him about the Seacouver incident and I promise to keep you informed as events unfold on my end. How in the hell did Kinsey get wind of the Program in the first place, sir?" Hammond asked.

"The Constitution George, that's how. He heads the committee overseeing secret projects. He wanted to know where the money for "Area 52" was going and what it was for." Clinton sourly replied. "It was only because of my personal reassurances that he agreed to allow the Program to continue to the end of this fiscal year. He also was drooling over some of the ship and weapons designs I showed him that Adam sent to me. He's willing to continue with their production providing that we can do it without the Stargate Program. I told him it was possible, but it would be difficult at best to do it.

"The worst thing about this is he dismissed our assessment about Apophis' impending invasion as propaganda to keep the Stargate Program up and running. He said that anyone that was dumb enough to fall for the tricks that Pierson pulled off couldn't possibly be any kind of a real threat to the US or Earth. I wanted to throttle him after that comment..." Clinton continued.

Hammond was in full agreement on that score. "Mr. President, you'll have the SGC's full support in anything in regard to Senator Kinsey."

"In the end I just might need it George... Look, I've got to run, I have a press conference to go to. The press are at my throat too in regard to the Seacouver incident. I'm in really hot water here George, get Adam to lend me a hand if he can as soon as he returns or makes contact." The President hung up before Hammond could acknowledge the order.

Hammond hung up and then picked up a base phone, "This is Hammond, as soon as SG-1 returns have them report immediately to the briefing room." That done, he hung up and the sat back in his chair and sighed. Something told him that this wasn't over, not by a long shot.

In fact he was right.

It was just the beginning...


Please Read and Review! Martin70