Authors Note: This story is the result of a joint project between myself, Keiran Halcyon and Wolf of Dawn on spacebattles . com and is an AU of the canon Stargate universe. While the three of us have absolutely nothing against the canon timeline as depicted in SG-1 and Atlantis we couldn't help but notice a number of problems with the timeline. This is our attempt to correct them.
Chapter One: The End of Ra
22nd June 1995,
Ra's Pyramid, Abydos
312 Light Years Core ward from Earth.
As a veteran of Black Ops that would never see the light of day both during the Cold War and later the Gulf War, Jonathan 'Jack' O'Neill, full bird Colonel in the United States Air Force, could say that he had experienced extremely crazy and F.U.B.A.R. situations in his time. The Op in East Germany, where thanks to screwed up Intel his entire team had been picked off by a Stazi ambush always stood out as a great example. Then there was getting left behind at an LZ in the Gulf and then enjoying six months of quality POW time with Saddam's goon squad. That was an experience that held more than its share of F.U.B.A.R. moments.
Hearing the gunshot that claimed his son's life was the worst of them all though.
He was setting a new standard for himself now though; stuffing the head of a human masquerading as a god into a Ring-like Matter-Energy Transport Device on a desert planet three hundred light years away from Earth, and sending it to the parasitical alien who called himself RA of all things…this was an entirely new level of fucked up.
A flash of light, and the struggling alien went slack under Jack's grip.
The Rings retreated back into the ceiling to reveal two semi-conscious people that had come down from the ship. One was the native Abydonian woman, Sha're, who had supposedly married the man lying next to her, Daniel Jackson. Jack put out of his mind the fact that he had just seen her get killed by the guard whose head they had just swapped places with. He had more important things to consider right now; such as the timer to the nuclear bomb counting down on the other side of large room within the Pyramid.
It read one minute fifty three seconds.
He rushed over to it, typed his keycode into the small console, and hit the bright red kill-switch.
Nothing happened. The timer continued and was now past one minute forty three. Frowning he pulled out the separate Timer Module…the time continued advancing. He groaned in frustration and let fly with a frustrated, "You gotta be kiddin me!"
At one minute thirty three, he began to desperately tap new commands into the keypad while drawing on the training he had received in the past. As an Air Force officer that had flown nukes around in B52s and the Stealth Bomber he had to have the skills to manually disarm any bomb he flew around. It had been a while since he had last practiced, but he felt all the procedures and commands coming back to the forefront of his mind. There was nothing like the threat of an impending nuclear reaction in one's face to restore the memory.
His focus was absolute as he continued to try, purposefully not looking at the timer. Then the entire pyramid began to shake and he inwardly cursed as he lost concentration for a moment. Listening to the deafening sounds accompanying the mini-quake he could come to only one conclusion; Ra was leaving.
He heard footsteps behind him as he tried to refocus on the apparently rigged weapon in front of him.
"How much time do we have left?" asked Daniel Jackson.
"Forty five seconds," Jack commented shortly, his finger typing as fast as possible.
The archaeologist pointed to the ceiling. "He's leaving. Turn it off!"
"I'm trying to," snapped Jack. The last program code procedure he knew had no effect. "I can't disarm it."
Daniel blinked at Jack and yelled out a slightly panicked, "What?"
"I can't stop it! They've got it rigged." Jack stepped back and inwardly cursed the asshole that was General West. It could only have been his order that turned the nuke into a one-way ticket. He couldn't believe that after surviving all the shit he had been through in his life that he would die next to a nerdy, wrongly discredited archaeologist. At least he wouldn't feel a thing and it would be quick.
They watched as the timer went past forty five seconds.
Sha're awakened at this point from her bout of unconsciousness and backed away from the headless corpse of the Anubis guard warily. The rumbling stopped, Ra's ship was airborne. The timer reached thirty eight seconds. Jack whipped his head around to meet Daniel's eyes and he could see the same idea reflected in them.
"I've got an idea."
They hurried forward and Jack took the lower end of the cylindrical nuke, whilst Daniel reached for the upper.
"On three, two and three." With a heave Jack lifted, Daniel guiding his own end until the device tipped over and the weight was shared between them. They moved as fast as they dared, not wanting to trip and let the heavy nuke fall and wasting what little time they had left.
At twenty six seconds they had managed to carry the nuke within the perimeter of the Transport Rings. Jack let down his end first, and Daniel was startled by the sudden shift in weight that he almost over-compensated for the weight and would've tipped the device over. He caught himself just in time, and hurried away.
Jack pulled the Anubis guard's remains out of the way and ripped off the gauntlet housing the Ring's activation jewel on it. He joined a gasping Daniel and watched as the nuke counted down past fifteen seconds.
"Think this will work with Ra's ship in orbit?"
"Only…one way to find out."
"One load of highly concentrated sunshine, coming up!" Jack thumbed the jewel and it lit up. The now characteristic scream of obsidian metal on metal, heralded the five Rings coming back down again, landing perfectly a foot above from each other, and surrounding the nuke. With a blinding white flash light the weapon underwent dematerialization and was gone.
"C'mon," Jack beckoned Daniel and Sha're to follow him outside.
They needed no further encouragement.
Jack emerged first and it was to the sound of jubilant cheers coming from the crowd of Abydonians on the long stone entranceway; who were all looking up into the clear blue sky. He looked up in the same direction and was treated to the sight of massive explosion in low orbit of the planet which, all-too-rapidly for Jack's satisfaction, began dissipating in the void of space.
'We've done it,' Jack thought with grim satisfaction. He'd never imagined that he would be the one to go down in history as 'firing' the third nuclear weapon his country had ever used in anger. It wasn't exactly a career point he'd wanted, but at least it was done to protect an entire planet, possibly two, from destruction at the hands of an alien.
His thoughts were interrupted by a commotion amongst the Abydonians. Kawalski and Ferretti, members of his team on this FUBAR expedition, were walking up the ramp with wide grins of elation at their collective victory. They were followed closely by Skaara, the swarthy young man who had dared to defy a god, with his contingent of 'militia'. The ragtag team of combatants came to a stop and his two officers saluted. Skaara and the militia quickly followed the men's example.
Jack allowed a genuine grin to show on his face, and returned their salute. The unmistakable sound of kissing reached his ears, and he turned to see Daniel and Sha're rather thoroughly enjoying the activity.
'Guess he doesn't mind being her 'husband', he thought.
Kasuf, the Abydonian Elder, raised his hands and the crowd instantly quieted allowing him to begin a triumphant speech. Jack had no idea what was being said since Daniel was still rather busy with his wife, but the tone of what the man was saying, along with his body language and the crowd's response, managed to break through the language barrier.
They were free now. No more living in fear from a false alien god. No longer did they have to slave away in the mines, nor give up their most beautiful and strong into the service of Ra. They weren't 'things' any more. They were people now…human, and free to choose their own way of life. Jack wondered if this was what the American Abolitionists like Harriet Tubman and Henry Garnet had felt like during the first half of the nineteenth century.
It was too bad that he would never feel like that again.
Now that the seventh symbol on the Abydonian Stargate was known the way back to Earth was open, but there was a lot of preparation to do before it could happen. Ferretti, Kawalski and a couple of the Abydonian boys were busy gathering all the mission gear back onto the FRED mobile cargo platform. There was also the grim task of collecting the bodies of those who had died fighting against Ra and his fake lesser gods.
The Abydonian dead were collected and buried in moving and utterly unique ceremonies. What Jack remembered most about them was how they would figuratively weigh the soul of the deceased against a feather on a ceremonial scale; if the soul was lighter than the feather, the spirit could pass into the blessed afterlife. Of course, the scale never wavered, but it was the thought behind it and the tradition that mattered most.
Then there was the matter of two men he had lost. Lieutenant Brown had been killed by a staff weapon, and last he had seen his body was still in that water prison pit on Ra's ship. This meant that there was no body to take home to the man's family. Captain Freeman had also fallen in the final battle, also to an energy weapon. His body was now wrapped in a black body bag and carefully placed in the FRED, for return Earth and a full military burial.
He inwardly grimaced at the idea that he would have to write another of those damn letters to the family; filled with lies on how their brother, son or uncle had died. He had written far too many of those over the course of his career.
Jack sighed wearily. "What is it, Jackson?"
"Uh, I just wanna, uh…you see…"
A glance showed that Jackson, still clad in the Abydonian robes, was practically itching to get something off his chest. It didn't take a genius to figure out what he was struggling to articulate.
"You want to stay."
"Uh," he grinned uncomfortably as Jack sent him a narrow eyed measuring stare. "Yes…I, uh, it's the chance of a lifetime, and…" The young archaeologist sent a look to where Sha're and group of similarly aged women were huddled together, giggling and gossiping as only women could.
"Come with me," Jack requested, and without pausing to wait walked out of the Stargate Room. He only stopped once they were outside of the Pyramid and well down the walkway. The late afternoon sun cast everything in a red sheen and already the temperature was plummeting. Jack kept his eyes fixed on the beautiful view of the desert and only spoke after hearing Daniel's footsteps coming to a stop next to him. "I'll let you stay, Jackson. I wouldn't get too comfortable though if I were you."
"What do you mean?"
"Ra's death changes things. The Earth Stargate won't need to be buried."
It was Daniel's turn to give a shrewd glance to the Air Force Colonel. "You're thinking that General West will want to set up an outpost here."
"Oh he will and he won't be the only one." Jack nodded firmly. "And it won't just be an outpost for long."
"Colonel, the Abydonians…"
"I know what you're going to say," Jack cut his impending objection off. "The fact of the matter is that Abydos is a planet of strategic importance now. It has a mine of the Stargate mineral; which I can bet you anything the eggheads back home will want to experiment with. You've seen what Ra can do with it, and when the General reads that in my report…"
"This planet belongs to the Abydonians, Colonel…"
"Of course it does," Jack agreed with astonishment. "Japan belongs to the Japanese, and last I checked there was still a US Airbase on Okinawa. We'll sign a treaty with Kasuf…and yes, I know he doesn't read; that's what you'll be there for."
Turning to face the archeologist Jack continued, "Oh, and let's not forget," he gestured to where the two drooping wing C-shaped alien fighter craft were landed. "Area 51's gonna want to take those things apart piece by piece for study. Not to mention the staff weapons we took from Ra's goons, and who knows what other gizmos and treasures are buried or hidden away in that pyramid and in Nagada City. I'll even recommend to the General about assigning you to head the archaeological team. That way you can stay with your wife and have the job you've always dreamed about." Jack saw out of the corner of his eye that Daniel was visibly considering it.
There were other aspects that Jack knew would be considered as well that he didn't mention. The strategic value of a place your enemies could never reach was enormous; usages ranging from nearly spy-proof R&D sites to an untouchable industrial complex were simply invaluable. Having a completely safe place to evacuate to if things went F.U.B.A.R. on Earth would certainly also rank highly on the list of considerations.
"How do you propose to compensate the Abydonians? So far this is all a one way street going in Earth's direction."
Jack shot the younger man a look that showed he was less than impressed with the man's question.
"Oh for cryin out loud; there are tons of things we could help them out on, take your pick Jackson. I think Nagada could do with a school since they're allowed to actually learn now. Let's start by teaching them how to write their own damn language!"
Jack calmed himself down a bit before continuing, "We can teach these people Jackson. We could send Engineers into the city to improve the infrastructure. Open a clinic. We could even import fresh water from Earth, given the fact they're a desert culture…I could stand here listing things all day. The Abydonians essentially have a proper civilization to build from scratch."
Daniel Jackson pulled off his glasses and wearily rubbed his eyes. He really had sold the Colonel short it seemed. "I see your point. In retrospect, I think perhaps it would've been a little selfish to ask you to report that everyone died back here and you set off the nuke behind you as you left."
"A little selfish, yes," Jack replied dryly. "Although, I can see you're just trying to protect your wife's culture and I respect that. I think you're more worried about General West and the fact that he rigged the bomb. My report will state that and it'll generate waves at the Pentagon. Hell, maybe it'll even stir up the White House; we detonated a nuke and that's something that riles up the suits in Washington. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we find ourselves with a new General in charge of Cheyenne Mountain soon."
"And what are you going to do?"
"Me? I've got some personal issues to sort out at home."
Daniel nodded. "You should consider eventually coming back, Colonel. The Abydonians respect you, Skaara and his boys especially. You were the one who fought and defeated the lesser gods. Both of us killed Ra. If you were the commander of whatever base ends up being established…"
Jack shook his head. "That's not up to me, Jackson."
"Well, I'll speak to Catherine…"
"Don't knock yourself out on my account. I was planning on retiring permanently out of the Air Force, but now." He sighed and gazed upwards at the sky that was in full twilight. "We're on another planet, a place we would've never set foot on within our lifetimes. The stars we could see from here, not to mention that if we can reverse engineer those fighter craft, we'd have easy spacelift here and on Earth…I'd be a fool to walk away from all this."
Daniel held out his hand. "You're not who I expected, Colonel."
He shook it. "Call me, Jack."