My thanks to all of you who wrote reviews, and to all of you who favored this story.
Stargate: SVU 4
Several days later.
O'Neill sat back in his seat at his desk and let out a weary sigh. It had been a tough few days, what with the memorial service for the 36 Prometheus crew members, including Colonel Newell, who were killed by the Ori. Also eulogized were the personnel, including six Marines, who were killed in action while helping to defend the Atlantis base from the Wraith.
They managed to pull their fat through the fire once more, but there were still too many dead for O'Neill's comfort. Even a single life lost was still one person too many. He had spent the last few days personally writing to the families of each and every one of the dead.
O'Neill switched on his laptop and checked for email. There was one from Sam, who was already at his house, preparing for the party that he was hosting. It was yet another one of O'Neill's famous "leave your rank at the door" get-togethers that he always threw after the completion of a big mission. He wasn't sure how this became a tradition, but he welcomed it, nonetheless.
Sam wrote that she had stopped off and done the shopping before coming to his place. Hailey and Satterfield were with her, and helping to set up. "Just come straight home," she wrote, "and be prepared to have some serious fun."
O'Neill laughed when he saw that. He was truly blessed to have Sam in his life. And he was looking forward to spending some quality time with her much later, when they were alone after the party.
When the stargate alert sounded, O'Neill immediately shut down his laptop and left his office while Walter called for him over the base intercom. Camille waited for him in the control room. The iris was shut over the active gate.
"We're getting a live feed message," Camille told him. "It's from Neith."
O'Neill braced himself inwardly for this. "Very well. Put it up on the monitors."
Neith appeared on the screen, she stood with Ba'al at her side. O'Neill couldn't help but wonder just how close their relationship was.
Before O'Neill could even say anything, Neith said, "You lied to me."
"About what?" O'Neill asked. He knew full well what she meant, but why make it easy on her?
"I am standing here on Tyro, General O'Neill, and after my Jaffa had turned this dust ball of a planet upside-down, we could find no evidence that the Sons Of Darkness were ever here."
"Our intel on that was faulty," O'Neill said. And that was the closest he would ever admit to having lied to her. "But we did find the Sons Of Darkness' real base, and we destroyed it, along with them. I'll be glad to send you the coordinates, so you can see for yourself."
"Thank you," Neith said, when Ba'al acknowledged receipt of the data.
"As far as helping with the Replicators," O'Neill added. "We have been trying to contact the Asgard since the Reps first returned, but we haven't been able to get a response."
"No need," Neith told him coolly. "The Replicator problem is now under control."
"You've been able to stop them?"
"Yes," Neith said.
'What the hell does that mean?' O'Neill wondered. He was careful to keep a poker face. "If you've managed to find a solution to dealing with the Replicators, we'd appreciate it if you could share it with us."
"Like you have shared your solution dealing with them?" Neith asked. "And how you have misled us into attacking the Tyro system for no reason?"
"With good reason," O'Neill insisted. "Even if the Sons had nothing to do with them, the Ori were still a major threat that couldn't be ignored."
"Agreed," Neith said, after a thoughtful pause. "It would appear that we both face a dangerous new threat, General. The Ori may be gone, now, but they will be back. It would be best for us to continue with this alliance."
"I couldn't agree more," O'Neill told her.
"And in light of seeking better relations with each other, to further strenghten this alliance," Neith added, "I would hope that you shall be more honest and upfront with us in the future."
"We will be as honest and upfront with you as you will be with us," O'Neill said.
Neith just gave him a wry smile. "I look forward to our next conversation, General O'Neill."
When the transmission ended, Camille shook her head and said, "The backstabbing liar is demanding more honesty from us?"
"I still don't trust her as far as I can throw her," O'Neill admitted. "But we need this alliance. There's a limited supply of drones left at the Artic weapons platform. So we need their firepower to protect us against the Ori. At least until we can get our own fleet of ships up and running."
"But you told me that even with the new Daedelus-class ship being built, we'll still be hopelessly outmatched by the Ori."
"I know," O'Neill said with a sigh. "One crisis at a time, Camille. Are you coming to the party tonight?"
She smiled just then. "Yes. Thank you for-"
Camille was interrupted by a brillant flash of light that came from the gate room. O'Neill thought it was from the gate, but that was still shut down. "Where'd that come from?" he asked.
"Sir!" Walter said, as he stood up and peered out the window. "Uh, we have a guest…."
"What?" O'Neill and Camille walked up to the window and gazed into the gate room.
An Asgard stood there, staring up at them. He waved and said, "Greetings, O'Neill."
"THOR!" O'Neill exuberantly cried, with his hands outstretched. He grabbed Camille by the hand and said, "Come on, you've gotta meet Thor."
When he led her into the gate room, Camille let out a gasp in shock. "Oh, uh, um, he's…like…completely naked!"
"It's his way. You get used to it," O'Neill said. "Thor, this is Camille Wray, she's the civilian leader of the SGC."
"Greetings," Thor said.
"Hello," Camille said. She then smiled and added, "Loved your movie, by the way! You know, the one you did with Natalie Portman?"
O'Neill chuckled, but when Thor just stared at her blankly, an embarrassed Camille quickly waved her hand and said, "Small joke…a very small joke…don't mind me…."
"I am sorry we were not able to respond to your hails so quickly, O'Neill," Thor said. "But we have been very busy fighting off a new assault by the Replicators. It has taken everything we have just to keep them at bay."
"They've popped up here, as well," O'Neill said. "Among other things."
"Yes, we read your message," Thor said with sorrow. "Unfortunately, we are unable to directly help you, as all of our ships are presently occupied in dealing with the Replicators. But while we can not help out with our fleet, we may be able to help you in another way."
"In what way?" O'Neill asked.
And when Thor told them, both O'Neill and Camille were so stunned, they actually had to hold onto each other for support.
Once the transmission with O'Neill was over, Ba'al asked, "And so we are keeping the alliance with the Tauri intact?"
Neith gazed out over the dead world of Tyro. An entire planet filled with people, and they were simply slaughtered so their home could be used as a stepping stone for an invasion force. The Tyronian people would have been enslaved by the Netian Empire, yet the Ori choose instead to kill them off, as if they were nothing more than pesky insects. That fact alone told Neith that these Ori had a special brand of insidiousness that made them especially dangerous.
'That, and the fact that just one of their ships outgunned two combined fleets of Ha'tak vessels,' she somberly thought. 'In the end, we defeated them, but just barely. And if the Ori were halfway decent tacticians, they will be expecting the Seeker Wave the next time we clash.'
"We shall honor the alliance with the Tauri," she told Ba'al. She gazed down at the initial report sent by the Ha'tak that she had assigned to check out the moon which O'Neill had told her about. "They did end the Sons Of Darkness threat for us, after all."
"Only because the Sons had threatened them, as well," Ba'al pointed out.
"True. But the Tauri are as resourceful and tenacious as the Ori are brutal and powerful," Neith said. "It may be wise to keep the Tauri close to us for the time being."
"And what of Io'tan? In her last message, she claimed to have quelled the uprising on her Ha'tak."
"We keep her close as well," Neith replied. "We shall supply her Ha'tak with whatever it needs on the sly, by using third parties. But we keep her independent, at least outwardly."
Ba'al smiled. "You plan to recruit her, and her Ha'tak, as privateers, working for us?"
"That is the plan. Io'tan and her Ha'tak may still be useful as a dagger leveled at the throats at the Tauri," Neith said. "Should the alliance no longer be of any use to us."
"Always keeping your options open," Ba'al said. "Very well played, my Lord Empress."
"Especially in light of the coming storm, which I anticipate will sweep across this galaxy," Neith said. "It is always best to keep one's options open, Ba'al. Come, Battlemaster, let us depart this graveyard and return to Mount Tanis. For there is much more planning to do."
When Olivia walked up to the make-shift bar that was set up in Jack's house, she found Cam standing behind it, chatting with Jennifer.
'These two have become really chummy,' she noted with a smile.
Seeing her, Cam said, "May I be of service, ma'am?"
Olivia asked for fruit drinks for herself, Grace, Daniel Jacob and TJ. They were all hanging out on Jack's patio out back. Cam set her up with the drinks, with help from Jennifer. Yet before Olivia tried carrying all of the drinks outside by herself, Cam offered to take some out with her.
"There's something I've been meaning to tell you," Cam said, as they paused on their way to the patio. "There was a time when I wondered what the hell you were doing on this team. And I was wrong, dead wrong. You're a valuable asset to SG-1, Olivia. And I'm mighty pleased to be working with you."
She smiled at him. "Thanks, Cam. I appreciate it. I'm pleased to be working with you, too. And, by the way, my friends call me Liv."
Before they could continue outside, Jack had entered the house, with Camille and her girlfriend, Sharon. The excitement level in the living room rose to a fever pitch. Jack had called earlier and told Sam that he would be late because of an unexpected visitor from up North. Sam had correctly deciphered this to mean that the Asgard had finally responded to the SGC's hails. And so once Jack had finally walked in through the door, the entire party had hushed up, just to hear what he had to say. Cam went outside to call everybody else in.
When Jack finally explained the situation, Olivia just couldn't believe it. The Asgard were actually going to give Earth some of their technology to use. Superior shields, lasers, and a hyperspace drive that was completely designed by the Asgard for the new Daedalus-class ships that were presently under construction. An Asgard would serve as the engineer for each ship.
When she heard that last part, Olivia couldn't help but say, "The first Asgard ship's engineer, will his name be Scotty?"
That was met with chuckles and groans from the crowd, who included all of SG-1, Janet and Cassie, as well as Bobby and Gail from SG-3; Stacy, Elizabeth Weir, John Sheppard, Rodney McKay and Radek Zelenka from Atlantis. The Atlantis folks had come home for the memorial service, and stayed on when Jack invited them to the party.
"That's a better joke than what I said to Thor," Camille told Olivia, with a shake of her head. "Oh, God…I'm still cringing over that one!"
"She said she enjoyed his movie," Jack told Sam, "and you know Thor; it went over like a lead balloon."
"The Asgard are great allies," Sam said, "but they have no sense of humor whatsoever."
"I was just so taken aback!" a mortified Camille said. "I mean, here was a real live alien, and he was naked! God, I'm such an idiot!"
Sharon just pulled her lover into a one-armed hug. "It's all right, babe. Stop beating yourself up over it."
"You'll get used to Thor," O'Neill assured Camille. "You'll see that he's a pretty cool guy."
Olivia noticed that TJ went back out onto the patio and sat back down on the bench.
"Are you all right?" Olivia asked, as she stepped onto the patio. Daniel and the others had also joined her.
TJ nodded with a smile. She looked beautiful in dark dress jeans and a burgundy colored V-necked sweater. Her feet were bare as she sat cross-legged on the bench. "Sorry, I guess I got lost in thought."
"This news about the Daedalus-Class ships is great," Grace said, in a bid to make conversation.
"This is really big news," Jacob said. "We've finally got a major edge over everybody out there; the Netian Empire, the Ori."
"Hopefully, having a ship armed with this tech should make the hunt for the Sangraal go more smoothly," Daniel agreed.
But Olivia stared at TJ with concern. She had gazed up at the skies with such intensity that it was starting to be worrisome. Jack and Sam had come out to the patio, and they stopped their casual conversation to gaze anxiously at TJ.
"TJ?" Olivia asked. "What is it?"
TJ stared at her. "I was seriously thinking about leaving the SGC. After what happened to me, I wasn't sure if I could be able to step through the gate, or go onboard another spaceship again. But in light of my new-found abilities, and now this latest news, I think I'll stay with the SGC."
Olivia recalled the furor that arose when it was discovered that TJ, and TJ alone, could easily understand the Ori pilot whom they kept prisoner at the SGC. She could even speak to the man, who had stopped his incessant chanting and calmed down considerably when TJ reached out to him. It turned out the pilot's name was Tomin, and he was from a small farming village called Ver Isca, before joining the army of the Ori Hegemony.
Sam and Janet had both theorized that TJ's ability to understand the Ori language might be a side effect of her unnatural pregnancy. TJ had told them that the Ori Priors had spoken English to her when she was a captive of theirs. But, until now, there had been no way to directly communicate with the average Ori soldier. TJ had become their translator.
"If you still need time off, be sure to take it," Olivia told her.
"Yes," Daniel agreed. "Perhaps you shouldn't push it."
Vala, Teal'c, Cam and Jennifer had come out just then, and they listened quietly to the conversation.
"But Everett's still out there," TJ said softly. "And so is my little girl. I mean, the birth might have been far from being normal, but she's still mine, you know? And it might have been Everett's body that raped me, but I know with my heart that his soul didn't have anything to do with it. I can't just walk away from either of them."
"We'll find them, TJ," Jack told her. "We won't rest until we do."
"And when you do find them, I want to be there," TJ replied. "I want to be there for Everett and for my little girl, just like you were for me these past few days, Liv."
Olivia remembered how devastated she felt when Elliot was taken by a Goa'uld, and she easily understood how TJ felt now. "I've been where you are now," Olivia told TJ, "and I understand exactly how you feel. I'd be very happy to have you working with us."
"All we've really managed to do here with the Ori is to buy ourselves some much-needed time," Jack said told TJ. "We've delayed the inevitable, which is a full-scale invasion of our galaxy. We've got Neith on our side, for now, but the more help we can get, the better. So if you have decided to stay in the SGC, TJ, then I'm very glad to hear it."
Taking TJ's hand in her own, Olivia turned to Sam and asked, "What do you think, Sam? Could SG-1 use a medic?"
"Hey, why not?" Sam replied with a smile. "SG-1 could use all the help it could get."
"Welcome to the ever-growing team," Daniel said.
"What's the head count in SG-1 now, two hundred?" Grace said jokingly.
"At least!" Cam replied, as he stepped forward. He nodded at TJ. "Welcome to this crazy team."
"I just hope you can stand dealing with this collection of assorted nuts!" Olivia said.
TJ burst into a broad smile at that, and Olivia was pleased to see it, for it had been far too long since she had seen TJ smile.
The door slid open and Rodney poked his head outside. "Hah! I knew it! The 'cool' party is out here, isn't it?"
Sam, who stood with her back facing Rodney, lightly bumped her head against Jack's shoulder in frustration and muttered through clenched teeth: "Did we really have to invite him?"
"The cool party is wherever you want it to be, Dr. McKay," Jack graciously replied, as he led Sam back inside. "Is there room enough for us in there?"
As Olivia and Daniel went back inside the house with the others, she said, "I guess the quest for the Sangraal can wait for now, huh?"
"Everybody needs a break now and then," he said. "Even the Ori, I suppose."
But from what she had seen of the Ori, Olivia somehow doubted that. Yet she kept her misgivings to herself and enjoyed the party for the rest of the night. For who knew how long this peace and quiet would last?
The Doci strode into the great hall, which was filled with the holographic projection of the galaxy which its inhabitants referred to as the Milky Way. It was the very same galaxy where the Ori once had a foothold, and lost it, because they were foolish enough to underestimate their enemy.
The Orici stood at the base of the holographic projection, carefully examining a dark region in the galaxy where no stars lay. She had now grown into an adult woman in full command of all her powers. And seeing her standing here, adorned regally as she was in her golden dress, with her blond hair swept back in a braid, made the Doci realize that this time, the Ori Hegemony would not underestimate its enemies.
This time, the Ori Hegemony would conquer the Milky Way.
"Yes?" the Orici asked.
"I come to inform you that Aral has been fully scanned," the Doci told her. "He does not have any parasites within his body."
The Orici nodded. "Excellent. He will make a fine general in my campaign." She pointed at the Milky Way and added, "The Tyro system was the wrong place for a beachhead, Doci. My super gate will be established in an empty, out of the way section of the Milky Way."
"Away from prying eyes," the Doci said with satisfaction. "Good. This will allow us to build our forces there with ease."
The Orici turned and smiled at him, her hellishly glowing eyes burning like twin red suns. "And once the Ori fleet, and our ground forces, are properly assembled, every planet within this galaxy will run red with the blood of all those who dared to oppose us!"
A/N: Not the end, not by a long shot. This story is meant to be the opening salvo in a major war for the Milky Way. But that's another tale for another time. I'd like to thank Brian Tyler, for his really cool soundtrack album for Battle: LA. This was a great album for me to listen to while writing the battle scenes. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the story.