Disclaimer: The characters of Stargate belong to MGM. The characters of the Four Orders are entirely my own.
Day Eight: Saturday – Part II
Previously on Lucifer…
"The expression on your face is priceless, Commander Jehs." – The Venkrat gloated. "With your heads on display, the Alterran scum will run in terror. "
It was one minute pass midnight.
"Yeah, this may not be as easy as you think, Hodhar of the Venkrat," – A melodic voice interrupted.
All heads turned into the direction of the gate and froze. A tall, divinely beautiful, with white robes and a silvery mantle, the source of the voice stood, his eyes shining as bright as the night sky and behind him…
Behind him four others stood. Their eyes were filled with cold fury and determination. It was Saturday, the day of ultimate and endless possibilities, the nexus of dreams. The four were of silvery robes each holding a staff with a glittering crystal perched atop.
The first on the left was a woman with bright blue eyes. She swung and swirled her staff. A blast wave crossed the floor and all Venkrat fell to the ground. The second behind her a man just slightly taller than her held high his staff and the blast put down all Venkrat on the top floors.
The man on right with the tattoo on his head swirled his and all those on the left were pinned to the ground. The man behind him wearing odd jewelry on his face raised a hand, the crystal glowed and the rest fell.
Hodhar of the Venkrat was the only one standing. "Who are you?"
"I am Lucifer, the night star and these," – Lucifer pointed to the four behind him. "These are the Heralded Four, the Avenging Demons of Atlantis." He raised his hand.
Hodhar reached for his throat as it was turning mauve. It was as though someone was squeezing the air out of him with an invisible hand. He fought for air but nothing could help him now. The struggle ended after a moment. Hodhar fell hard to the ground.
The Grand Council of Atlantis stood rooted on the spot and their eyes were absorbing the view of the living legend before them: Commanders Tealus and Jonus, Researcher Donos and Grand Councilor Sotra.
"I think you could say we came at the right time." – Lucifer shared with the four all beaming.
"As always, Lucifer, your timing sucks." – Jonus remarked.
"Hello," – Donos moved to the still stunner Grand Council. "I'm…"
"Donos," – Ayne said with reverence in her voice. "Grand Councilor Sotra, Commanders Jonus and Tealus."
"Oh, we are famous." – Jonus noted.
"You haven't…" – Ayne trailed off. The prophecy was right one hundred percent. They haven't aged even one bit.
"We haven't – what?" – Donos looked at her perplexed.
Lucifer made a face then shook head and walked to the controls and unsealed everything.
"She meant the years haven't touched you." – Lucifer said after he had finished with the controls. His bright eyes scanned the still stunned group of five and a smile came to his face. Yes, they had come at the right time. He walked towards them and stopped before them. "You are the Grand Council, right?"
"Yes," – Ayne nodded.
"Fancy that," – Jonus observed.
"I am Ayne, Lead Inventor," – Ayne said. "This is Callus, chief engineer." She said pointing at the one. "Derris, environment, Jehs, Commander of the complex, and Milu…"
"City Governor," – Lucifer said with a bow. "Well, then, where is Atlantis?"
All five made a face contorted with pain.
"Atlantis has been destroyed in the battle with the Venkrat over Terra." – Jehs explained.
"This is most unfortunate." – Lucifer observed. "Did you manage to salvage the database?"
"Yes, most of it,"
"Excellent, I guess you would have to fill us in the past few million years."
Commander Jehs when waking up yesterday would not have dreamed that the next day he would be standing face to face with the Alterrans living legends – The Heralded Four. And they looked in a way humble and perfectly normal but in other like the gods of old. Maybe this last was Lucifer's influence. Anyone standing next to him would give this impression.
The briefing was long and took the next four days. Every Alterran, big and little, came to see the prophesized four. Special interest represented Councilor Sotra and of course Lucifer, the odd transdimensional being.
"I imagine your descendants would be grateful for a chat eye to eye." – Lucifer said when they were finally alone.
"Uh, maybe," – Jonus nodded.
"Maybe, we should not have…you know…" – Sotra said.
"Interfered with the timeline…" – Jonus continued her thought. "Well, let's see who do you have to thank for that? Hum…ah, I know – HIM!"
"Well," – Lucifer mumbled. "I did not say you should fornicate."
"Fornicate?" – Jonus exploded.
"Yeah," – Lucifer nodded with a devious smile. "It is a word as good as any. It was inevitable you would end up with someone though making children – well, I did not force you to do so. You did it on your own."
"He is right. It is an opportunity of a lifetime." – Donos intervened on Lucifer's behalf. "How often do we get to meet our grand, grand something children?"
"Speak for yourself, Donos." – Jonus said and stormed out.
"What's with him?"
"I imagine bad food." – Lucifer replied.
"I'll go talk to him." – Tealus said and left as well.
"He's not happy we are not back in our own time." – Sotra explained to Donos.
"And you too?"
"Yes, we should have returned already." – She said though she was speaking more to Lucifer than to Donos.
"We are where we are needed." – Lucifer said. "History has not taken the right course yet and we have to make sure it does."
"You said it will tend to itself, if memory serves." – Donos reminded.
"Some of it yeah," – Lucifer replied. "But the rest is up to us."
"Why did we ever listen to you?"
"I guess it was meant to be."
"Then the universe has an odd sense of humor," – Donos pointed out.
"You'd be surprised."
The next day, the Grand Council was once more in session but with the addition of Sotra. Jonus and Tealus had gone to help out the fleet admirals in the upcoming confrontation with the Venkrat. Donos had dug into the archives and Lucifer had joined him.
Lucifer thought it best to stir away for now from the others. They needed to blend in and do their duty towards the Alterrans. Besides he needed time to present the new blueprints for the last version of Atlantis and the beginning of sending the seed ships. Destiny cannot wait.
"Grand Councilor, welcome," – Milu greeted. "On behalf of the council,"
"It is just Sotra, these days," – Sotra interrupted her. She did not want them to think she was imposing herself no matter how great the honor for them really was. From her point of view it was two months since they left the old Alterran domain. Travelling in time and with Lucifer was sometimes an exhausting experience and wrapping one mind around it was difficult at best. All the new information was simply overwhelming which the reason is why she usually disapproved of it.
"As you wish," – Milu ceded.
"Though your arrival had stirred the spirits," – Commander Jehs said. He was actually quite honored and humbled in the presence of the Four. And the real reason for that was that he was their descendant. His line came from the union of Donos' daughter Sha're to the councilor and commander's Jonus' son Davus. "We wish you to maintain your given title and position."
"Agreed," – Callus nodded approvingly. "We need your expertise."
"Let's give the councilor the space to make that decision on her, own." – Ayne suggested butting in the conversation.
"Agreed," – The others nodded.
"Thank you," – Sotra said though not really sure what she was thanking them for. There were times she really needed to talk to Lucifer but the psychic link with him no longer existed. Sotra smiled to herself. In the beginning, her team and she would have given anything to get rid of the odd transdimensional being in their heads but now she was actually missing it. Having a friend no one could see had its invaluable perks.
The council dived into the daily routines and troubles of the Alterran society. For Sotra it was mighty interesting to charter the progress they had made and to find out how much things have not changed much anyway. They were having much the same problems as four million years ago. The slight addition of this new race the Venkrat was more or less a welcomed diversion.
The progress over the seed ships however was almost nonexistent. They had made many mistakes and the AI was still giving them a great deal of the trouble. The first waves sent over time had failed one after the other.
So making the alliance with the Herald was just but a pebble on the beach, Sotra thought tiredly. Lucifer had really gotten them on the slow curve to return home or maybe even never. This kind of thought had crossed her mind on several occasions and more and more often these last few days. She was thinking of the impact she and her colleagues will have on the balance of power, and the danger they posed. Their knowledge was now off the charts.
They knew the inner workings of the Alterran society better than the Alterrans themselves. They knew many aspects of their technology as, Christ, they had developed several of them. They knew almost everything about the seed ships and Destiny itself. Hell, she helped in the design of the hull and navigational system while Tealus and Jonus contributed for the deployment of the weapons' systems across the ship. Donos had helped design part of the library systems of the first two failed experiments. The rest of the Alterrans' experiments were ironically all based on their improvements of the ship's systems.
No, returning to their time was probably not the best thing after all. But the question arose if they did not then what would happen to their time line or their very presence into the past? If they had never gone with Lucifer in the first place then it was mightily possible everything they had done into the past would be erased and this would be a paradox. Their entire time line could unravel. Now, this would be a total disaster of different proportions.
But they had gone to nineteen six nine and back without a hiccup, more or less. Was it possible then to travel so far back in time and return also without a hiccup? And if they never returned then what… It was hard to say. Time travel is a fickle, fragile thing. There were many theories on the subject but no credible, reliable data or base of comparison. It was a hard choice to make. But maybe just maybe the answer was easy and everything was possible. They were to create a separate time line within their own time stream. It was not an unreasonable assumption.
Suddenly, she snapped out of these thoughts and realized the meeting was over. The others were getting up and back to their duties. She stood up too and headed for the quarters they had prepared for her. She needed to take her mind off the recent thoughts though what she really needed was a problem to solve.
In her quarters, she found a bundle of flowers and the flattering words of Lucifer and his unique sense of humor though some of it was streaming straight from Jonus. He had occupied his head too. But it was enough to make her smile and she suspected that was the point.
Donos was in the library his nose into the books. Philosophies, Astro-events, mathematics, though these he really did not understand for they were far too complicated, history, archeology even though in the primitive stages, apparently the Alterrans did not pay much attention to primitive cultures as they did four millions years ago and well they were using computers and staff, all these have changed and not during their absence.
The Alterrans had explored though. Though the waves of seed ships had failed they had at least seeded the Pegasus Galaxy. The Alterrans had left behind a small team to seed civilizations here and there as well and it was going great so far. Unfortunately these things take time and they do not use shortcuts as the Heralded Four.
It seemed only like yesterday when Lucifer appeared into their heads and took them on this adventure bribing them with the ultimate possibilities. Of course they fell for it as it was too lucrative an opportunity to miss. When one is pushed to the wall one takes every rope to salvation. And what a journey they were having now.
Donos sighed deeply leaving the book aside. Lucifer had gotten them into mighty trouble across time and space. The one lovely aspect these days was the absence of his voice in the head. Donos could live with many things in there just not Lucifer. Sharing his memories and thoughts at all times had been a difficult experience. But now it was different Lucifer no longer lived into his head.
"Or so you think." – The distant voice of Lucifer whispered.
"Get out of my thoughts!" – Donos exclaimed angrily.
"We will always be linked, Daniel. Just because I don't live there permanently doesn't mean anything."
"Go bother someone else!"
Hopefully, Lucifer did not reply. Donos sighed. How did all this happen? Ah, yes, they wanted the easy fix. Nothing is easy. This phrase today was taking a whole new meaning. Never ever accept help from anyone that wants to give you an easy fix otherwise one will get into holly trouble.
Several days had to pass before everything went to normal in the base. Security had been reinforced thanks to Tealus that was helping Commander Jehs avoid the embarrassment that led to the infiltration of the base.
Jonus was back teaching cadets and ironically he loved it. The Alterran technology for the simulations had improved significantly over the years. Of course it was more digital than manual than ever but it was doing the job. And when the cadets did go to the real thing they were well prepared. Well, they still could not beat Jonus but then no one could.
"Observe closely your pitch," – Jonus was explaining to a young cadet as Lucifer waltzed in.
"Ah, commander Jonus," – Lucifer exclaimed. "And a youngling…"
"Can I help you with something?" – Jonus asked raising an eyebrow.
"Yep, you could, you can."
"I need a pilot to take into the heart of the enemy's territories."
"You what?" – Jonus exclaimed stunned. Lucifer sometimes had a peculiar sense of humor.
"Do you have hearing deficiencies?" – Lucifer replied all beaming and teasing.
"And what do you intend to do in there?"
"Do you ever give a straight answer? You know the ones with details and stuff."
"Well, if I do, you won't understand a thing, which is why I prefer the short, mysterious versions."
"Well, then you're done with the lesson, I shall expect you and the rest of your team in the hangarbay ready to depart."
"You're indeed slow today." – Lucifer yawned. "Jonus, Tealus, Sotra and Donos, AN-1.Come on, chop, chop, lots to do."
Lucifer left and Jonus blinked a few times before returning to the lesson at hand. Lucifer remained an odd being. He always got them into big trouble but they kind a liked it.
Jonus finished the lesson a few hours later. He left the simulation hall and went to fetch the others. He found Donos in the library his nose into some old dusty books some of which he had written.
"Relieving the past, hey Donos?" – Jonus said as he entered.
Donos lift his head and gave him his usual annoyed look. "Yeah,"
"Time to go!"
"Go?" – Donos looked up leaving the book he was examining. "Go?"
"We have a Lucifer mission at hand."
"No, thank you,"
"Oh, come on, Donos, it will be fun." – Jonus said though even he did not sound very optimistic about it and Donos clearly sensed it.
"I gather it is something dangerous, crazy and we have no choice about it?"
"Yeah," – Jonus nodded.
"Huh, right," – Donos said and put the book he had been reading back in its place. "Well, then we must not keep his lordship wait."
"Goodie, I'll go get Tealus and you go fetch Sotra."
Jonus reached the control room hoping to find Tealus there but he wasn't.
"Where is commander Tealus?" – He asked.
"He is with Commander Jehs on the outside perimeter of the base."
"Reach them. I need a word with commander Tealus."
Jonus looked around. Some things had changed since they left but in essential the Ancients have not changed much. They were kind of a decadent race when it comes to changes.
"I have commander Tealus."
"Tealus, old buddy," – Jonus said.
"We are prepping a little excursion and we need you, twenty minutes in the launch bay."
"I shall be there."
Donos had left the library and went four levels down to the research facilities. Grand Councilor Sotra was once more working her dream job – research and development. This time she had the reverence level up to new heights.
When he entered into the main lab he saw many researchers, their mouths half open, listening to the living legend. He waited patiently until she had finished before approaching her.
"Da…" – Sotra said and quickly corrected herself. "Donos. It is good to see you. What brings you down?"
"A rather common element for growing disappointment and unpleasant surprises…"
"Oh!" – Sotra smiled. "What does his lordship want now?"
"We have a planned trip." – Donos replied with a bitter smile.
"Aha," – Sotra touched his shoulder understandingly and added. "I shall be a minute."
Lucifer reached the hangar bay that Jonus insisted on calling launch bay but hey everyone with their interpretations. The four had gathered and were ready. He gestured them to the closest puddle jumper.
Once in and strapped in, Jonus closed the rear hatch and started the engines. The jumper responded immediately, flying out, they quickly gained altitude.
"Where are we going?" – Donos asked though he really did not expect a direct answer.
"Head for the gate." – Lucifer commanded.
"Right," – Jonus turned the ship to the gate. "What address should I dial?"
"I'll dial it." – Lucifer bent over and started entering an address. Sotra observed him but this address was unknown to her.
"Is it a new one?"
"Not exactly," – Lucifer replied mysteriously. "It depends on the point of view."
Jonus put the ship through the gate and shortly after they reemerged into space. There was a lot of empty space and lots of emptiness. It was a miracle a gate could operate here. There were no planets at all.
"Sam?" – Jonus looked at her. "How can…"
"I don't know." – Sotra replied. "Lucifer, how can a gate operated in the middle of nowhere?"
"Well, as I said it depends on the point of view." – Lucifer replied.
"And the point of view is?" – Donos asked.
Lucifer rummaged through his pockets and took out a small oblong objects and pointed in to the emptiness ahead and said. "This,"
They all almost fell off their chairs. Before them, a whole, enormous platform decloaked. It was a space dock. The gate was floating in its near orbit. In the middle of the dock there was in the process of building an enormous ship.
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is the new class ship called Destiny." – Lucifer answered their unasked question. "This ship will go to explore the universe more or less."
"When it is finished you mean?"
"Yes, of course," – Lucifer nodded.
"How many people know it is here?"
"No one. I stole it."
"You what?" – Sotra exclaimed shocked.
"I stole it. The Alterrans do not know it is here. They never knew. They are building one of their own."
"As far as history is concerned the Ancients will launch Destiny from Earth in about a few hundred thousand years. In ten years time, they will launch the seed ships. Today is a very important day. It is the day the Venkrat leave the Milky Way Galaxy and it is also the day Ayne, chief inventor, comes up with the idea of the AI. Little does history know that Grand Councilor Sotra is the one who made it all possible."
"WHAT? ME?" – Sotra exclaimed. "I have no idea why it has not worked."
"You're about to find out." – Lucifer replied.
"Slow down!" – Jonus said raising his voice. "How do the Ven-something leave the galaxy?"
"They do because we are going to tell them and…"
"And they are going to listen because…" – Donos asked eyeing the odd being.
"Well, it is because we are going to betray the Ancients."
"You heard me."
"We are going to betray the race we've…"
"Oh, yes," – Lucifer interrupted all beaming.
"Do mind telling us what are you up to?" – Sotra asked softly.
"Not yet," – Lucifer said. "Trust me it is going to be epic."
"You got that right." – Jonus agreed. "We are going back."
"Oh, no, you don't." – Lucifer replied and suddenly the gate vanished.
"What the hell did you do? Where is the gate?"
"When we are done then you will have the gate not before." – Lucifer replied with flushing eyes.
"Bring it back."
"No," – Lucifer said firmly. "Head for the docking bay at the bow of the ship."
Jonus sighed in defeat and followed the instruction to the letter. He drove the jumped to the bow of the ship where he saw the docking port. He aligned the ship perfectly.
"Good," – Lucifer said approvingly. "Get into the suits. There is no atmosphere there, yet."
Suits on, they proceeded through the hatch onto the ship. Lucifer, no suit needed, led the way through the labyrinth of protruding pillars, construction material spread the breath and length of the corridors.
Finally, they reached an elevator that took them to the inner part of the ship where the gate room was. The gate was unlike any models they have seen before.
"This is the gate?" – Tealus asked moving closer to have a better look at it.
"Yes, it is the first type of gates the Ancients have ever constructed."
"Why use such archaic model?" – Donos asked.
"This archaic model, Donos, has one advantage over the others." – Lucifer replied. "One it is short range and two it is the only model that can accept a code."
"A code?" – Donos said not understanding.
"Yes, a code, each gate, Daniel, is made of thirty nine symbols and nine chevrons." – Lucifer explained patiently. "Now, you have seen only seven activate. The seven work within the galaxy. To dial another galaxy would be like a dialing a different area code hence one more chevron needed – eight. Now to dial all chevrons, this is a different story. The ninth chevron is specific to each gate. It can be dialed from everywhere. The point of origin is preset and it doesn't matter where you are currently. The sequence of nine chevrons is a code. This code has a distance requirement."
"Yes, you can't dial the code while this ship is within this galaxy or within any galaxy nearby."
"Why not?" – Sotra asked.
"Because, it requires an insane amount of energy…" – Lucifer replied and showed her the figures.
"Oh, wow!" – She exclaimed stunned. "That, this is wow!"
"And the energy levels are…"
"They are proportional to the distance."
"Very good," – Lucifer smiled. "This ship can be reached with the code when it is at least a billion light years away."
"A billion light years!" – Jonus, Donos and Tealus exclaimed.
"Wow!" – Jonus said. "That is really freaky far."
"And super cool!" – Sotra exclaimed.
"Well, this is the general thought. It could be give or take a few hundred thousand light years of course." – Lucifer added.
"So if the Ancients are building their own ship what do you need this one for and where did you get it? – Donos asked.
"The Ancient's ship and this one will have the same technology more or less. Actually, no, this one will be mor eadvanced, a bit more in certain aspects." – Lucifer replied. "For a ship to last a million years, you need a material that can last that much, a renewable power source, artificial intelligence that can sustain the ship and breathable air. Now, the life support system must be…"
"Independent of the rest of the ship's systems." – Sotra said. "And the same goes for gravity."
"Exactly," – Lucifer nodded approvingly. "Now, the material is present. The Ancients were always good in lasting materials. Their alloy is very special. It can withstand not only the space radiation but also the tides of the years. You have seen it with Atlantis."
"And the power source," – Sotra asked but then had her answer almost immediately. "The Herald!"
"Very good," – Lucifer smiled. "The alliance with the Herald was crucial. Without it this project would have never happened. Now do you understand why you had to be there?"
"They could have done without us." – Donos said.
"No," – Lucifer shook head. "The Ancients were not going to react that way. You know them. You've lived with them. You know how they respond to the unknown. They needed someone with first contact experience. And who better than you?"
"Our first contact ended with a nuclear bomb, remember?" – Jonus remarked.
"Well," – Lucifer shrugged. "True, but you do have more experience than the ancients. As far as they were concerned that ship was threat or they would be in the opposite extreme. If they don't see us or have an interest in us, it is for the better. They would not have made contact."
"Once they made contact though…" – Donos noted. "They did it right."
"Once someone does the job for you it is not so difficult but it is the first step that makes it important, Daniel."
"And the last is it the AI?" – Tealus reminded.
"Yes, Teal'c, the last ironically had become the most important – the AI. You know full well that the Ancients are not really fans of the AI mostly because every attempt they had made was af ailure, a grand one." – Lucifer said.
"So what do they need to make it work?" – Jonus asked.
"They need the AI to best able. So far, their attempts have failed because they were trying to build a mind and it was not working. The AI needs to be able to use the sensors, to analyze data and process it, to determine viabilities, to make decisions based on the data it receives. Now the AI doesn't need to be entirely sentient."
"And this is where they had failed." – Sotra replied hit by an illumination. "They were trying to make it fully sentient."
"No, they are trying to make it an individual like you and me, and they made a mistake. Every time they had launched a prototype this prototype being sentient got into conflict with its own systems and thus failed. Imagine your mind waking up in this monstrous body travelling through the depths of space with the thought…"
"…that you are an individual." – Sotra completed the thought then slapped herself on the forehead. "It must have been traumatic."
"It has to be focused on its mission and the potential crew that will inhabit it at some point, focused on helping and assisting so to complete the mission."
"Exactly," – Lucifer confirmed. "And this is where you come in. The seed ships need to do more or less the same but with a slight difference. They need to scout the entire breath of all galaxies they cross, find the planets with viability for supporting life, gather resources, manufacture gates and deposit them on those planets. They also need to be able to communicate this with each other and the main ship via subspace."
"The usual technology for subspace communication won't do the trick." – Sotra observed. "But something else might. I was looking at a prototype project to send one's consciousness across vast distances."
"It is not prototype." – Lucifer said. "It is something they brought with them but never really expanded on it."
"We should explore that." – Sotra said. "Maybe we could construct the ship's communication that way too."
"You see she's already jumping into the saddle." – Lucifer turned to the other three.
"I have to suggest it to Ayne, right?" – Sotra gathered.
"Yes," – Lucifer nodded.
"The mission?" – Tealus asked.
"To seek the answer to all." – Lucifer replied.
"Wait!" – Donos exclaimed suddenly remembering something he had read. "They had recorded a sound from the beginning of the universe."
"Yes, they picked as tructure within the sound suggesting intelligence before time itself."
"And," – Sotra added. "The idea that the universe may not have occurred naturally."
"WOW! It is definitely worth pursuing."
"42!" – Donos exclaimed. "It is the ultimate answer to the universe and life as we know it."
"And the ship Destiny is sent to find those answers." – Lucifer added.
"Then why did you steal this ship?"
"I took it because along the way, the other one will need the help of this one." – Lucifer replied. "It is difficult to explain. It is a kind of premonition."
"Alright," – Jonus said. "I can live with that."
"You mentioned the Venkrat will be leaving today?" – Tealus reminded.
"Oh, yes, they are." – Lucifer said.
Lucifer smiled. "I changed the respond keys of the Alterran fleet. When the Venkrat use them to locate them they will see all of them gathered around planet Destiny."
"Why?" – Jonus asked not understanding.
"And then we will tell them how to jump in unannounced. Believe me they would not want to miss an opportunity like this to crush their enemies once and for all."
"But how would they drop unannounced?" – Sotra asked intrigued. "They have no way of achieving that."
"They will say the same." – Donos added.
"Not exactly," – Lucifer kept smiling. "I'll show them a different way. First they will want to test it and then they will all go." His smile turned into his usual self indulged and sinister laughter.
"A different way – what way?"
"Something even you are not familiar with – a subspace gate."
"What the hell is a subspace gate?"
"The subspace gates do not work like the Stargates. They are more like direct link points. They connect to specific places in space. Each galaxy has at least four such places." – Lucifer elaborated. "And I'm going to send them through one."
"But you have to prove it works."
"Of course, I know of one that goes within the galaxy and with my instructions back to the starting point. What they will know is that the subspace gates are the natural stargates."
"While omitting their real purpose?" – Donos added.
"Oh, well, we have a plan then." – Jonus concluded.
"I have one more question." – Sotra turned to Lucifer. "Why are you showing us this ship?"
Lucifer smile grew wider. "In time, it will come to you." He replied.
"Well, then, we have work to do." – Jonus said.
Final preparations were made and they were off to the heart of the Venkrat fleet.
"Ah, Lucifer," – Sotra had a sudden thought. "Why haven't they tried to model the AI like the one on Atlantis?"
"Hum, interesting thought!" – Lucifer noted. "And it is a good question. You should ask them. Dial the gate or no, I will." Lucifer decloaked the gate and dialed it. Jonus took the ship through.
Seconds later they emerged over a barren world and its orbit other than the gate itself space crawled with the extensive fleet of the Venkrat. They were spotted almost immediately. Lucifer did not let Jonus cloak the jumper.
"Signal them. Tell them we have important information for the second chump."
"You are kidding right?" – Jonus exclaimed.
"It is not my fault how they name their positions." – Lucifer observed.
"They might have as well called it second trunk to the left." – Jonus noted.
"They might have – yeah!" – Lucifer burst into laughter with the others.
"We are getting something." – Jonus announced and frowned. "Docking procedures."
"Gee, what a surprise,"
Jonus directed the ship to main Venkrat command vessel, a large monstrosity though with tiny hangar bays. The jumper landed. Lucifer and his team readied and opened the rear hatch. On the other side armed to the teeth, a security squad stood with the second lieutenant to the chump.
"Surrender!" – He shouted. "You are my prisoners."
"Oh, I beg to differ." – Lucifer noted stepping forward. "We are on parley mission and as such you will abide by its ruling, second lieutenant."
The second lieutenant stood speechless at this introduction.
"Well, then, boy,lead the way. I don't have all day." – Lucifer urged, passed by him and the security detail stopped and waved him to move his ass.
The Venkrat blinked stunned but oddly enough obeyed the odd being, Lucifer. The security detail passed on each side of the team and they all headed for the command center of the ship where the second chump awaited their arrival.
"Greedings,ohGloriouschump,commanderoftheVenguard." – Lucifer greeted with open arms as he entered the commander center.
"Did he mean greetings?" – Donos whispered in Jonus' ear.
The second chump turned to face the unexpected guests. He was barely four feet tall and next to Lucifer looked like a dwarf of the fairy tales.
"You have come to surrender." – The second chump said.
"On the contrary," – Lucifer replied all beaming then his mood suddenly vanished and he sat heavily on a chair. "You were right all along."
"I was?" – The second chump repeated perplexed.
"Yes," – Lucifer sighed heavily. "The wretched Alterrans were never to be trusted. They are arrogant and self absorbed. They care for nothing but their dominion."
"Hum that they do." – The second chump agreed.
"I came in peace to them bringing them the Heralded Four, the saviors but…" – Lucifer shook head with bitter smile. "It bit me back. They tried to enslave our minds, hinder our souls, burden our existence."
"Barbarians!" – The second chump observed. He paced for a while. "So why have you come to us? What can we do? Last we tried you stopped us."
Lucifer nodded apologetically. "This is very true. I did. At the time, I did not see it but now Id o."
"It took it some time."
"We have come to aid you."
"Aid us?" – The second chump repeated looking suspiciously at Lucifer. "How?"
"What if I tell you that there is a way to attack them suddenly and unannounced?"
"I was going to share this with them but seeing how they treated us, how bit the hand that was there to help them, I changed me mind."
"Attack them without warning, no warning at all?"
"Yes," – Lucifer replied with a growing smile.
"You know they have built stargates, which allows them to communicate faster than anyone and also to send ships, well small ships, through vast distances almost instantaneously."
"Yes, we are aware."
"It is a rather big inconvenience for you, isn't it?"
"Yes," – The second chump nodded in agreement.
"Well, I can provide you with something similar." – Lucifer said and stood up. "For a price, of course,"
"Of course," – The second chump said and approached him. "Name your price though I would like a demonstration first. For all I know you could be setting a trap."
"You'd think me capable of that?" – Lucifer asked outraged.
"No offense, but yes,"
"Hum," – Lucifer mumbled. "I could yes, but I need some guarantee you won't trick me."
"Whatever you want."
Lucifer smiled almost victoriously. "Whatever I want…"
"Yes," – The second chump confirmed.
"Hum, alright, I want your daughter in chains on my ship as a guarantee. And oh, you are the one to put them on her."
Lucifer's audacious suggestion was met with awe and utter shock but one look at him and they understood the odd creatures was adamant. The second chump had his reservations regarding Lucifer's honesty but his suggestion proved his intentions were serious. It was indeed audacious to make such a request but it did secure him the second chump's word one hundred percent.
"Oh, now!" – Lucifer added.
The second chump touched a button on the screen and a rank forth lieutenant entered the commander center. It was the second chump's daughter. She was her father's spitting image though she was slightly taller than him.
The second chumpmoved to her and whispered something in her ear. She turned red at the idea but understood its importance so she did not made another sound or protested when her father along with Lucifer and SG-1 went back to the puddle jumper. There the second chump put restraints on her, which Lucifer promptly verified.
"Excellent, Commander Tealus shall remain on the ship."
"Agreed." – The second chump nodded.
"Very well, then," – Lucifer exclaimed relieved. 'So far so good', he thought. "Now, let us return to the command center."
They returned back. SG-1 looked at each other. Lucifer was full of surprises.
"Now, how do I achieve absolute surprise over the Alterrans?"
"Their entire fleet shall be gathered around their last stronghold by tomorrow morning. Strength in numbers…"
"Yes, indeed," – Lucifer said. "Now, I mentioned the stargates."
"You said you had something similar. Yes?"
"Oh, yeah," – Lucifer nodded. "You said you wanted a demonstration."
"Then you shall have it. Select two ships of your fleet – whomever you want."
The second chump studied Lucifer's face for a moment then barked a command. Two scout ships moved closer to the command vessel.
"Give me a direct line to them!" – Lucifer commanded.
The order was given and the channel open.
"Captain, listen very carefully and encrypt this communication every two seconds, do you copy?" – Lucifer said over the Comm.
"Understood." – The answer came from the other side.
"Good, now, I'll give you space coordinates. When you arrive there you signal back to the command vessel. You will also provide secure link. When you do I shall tell you exactly what to do. You will not deviate even in the slightest from what I shall tell you. Is this understood?"
"Excellent, now proceed to gamma sera, three niner, oh one six two, grid pheta epsilon. When you arrive…"
"I call you back. See you in twenty."
The link was severed. The scout ships moved out of the main fleet and jumped to the depths of space. The coordinates Lucifer had provided were relatively close by.
The link was restored just twenty minutes later. The captain of the scout ship had arrived at the predetermined coordinates. There was nothing in particular of interest at the area. He had wondered what the significance of this place was.
"We are here."
"Show us!" – Lucifer ordered.
The main viewer replaced the face of the captain with the area. Lucifer's eyes scanned the star configuration and he smiled satisfied.
"Now, Captain, you will do exactly as instructed. Do you understand me? If you deviate from my instructions you will not return."
"I shall follow them to the letter."
"Good," – Lucifer said. "Now, you will input a new course: zelta, four, sixer, conra, eight then you will lower your shield integrity to sixty seven point four two percent, precisely, then you will lower your structural integrity to seventy one point three nine percent precisely. Do you understand?"
"Good, once you emerge into normal space again. You will restore your system back to normal then you will wait for an hour. Once the hour passes you will enter a new course: three one, four one sixer, size domicron two. You will then firstly lower your structural integrity to fifty seven point one percent precisely, and secondly your shield integrity to eighty three percent precisely. Do you understand?"
"Good, now repeat it."
The captain repeated mot-a-mot Lucifer's instruction. "What if something goes wrong?"
"Then you will be dead." – Lucifer answered. "Do not deviate from my instructions. Your ships will register a subspace corridor of magnitude fourteen, which will put a scare to you which is why I'm telling not to do anything stupid like restoring your integrity fields. Do you copy?"
"Perfectly," – The captain gulped.
"Well then good luck. We await your return." – Lucifer wished and severed the link.
The officers around the second chump had copied every word Lucifer had said precisely as they heard them and set the sensors at maximum scan.
The second chump had heard and seen many crazy things but none sounded as crazy as Lucifer's proposal. He was in charge of the fleet because he had flexible thinking but even now he was not sure Lucifer's plan would work.
SG-1 was feeling the same way. They were not entirely convinced of the existence of these subspace gates. The scout ships obviously had reached their destination when an odd phenomenon appeared and engulfed the ships. They promptly disappeared off the radar.
Lucifer's smile was display absolute satisfaction and victory. Soon the Venkrat will leave the galaxy for good and never return.
An hour later, the odd phenomenon appeared without warning and the two scout ships reappeared in the middle of the fleet just two hundred meters off the starboard side of the command vessel startling everyone onboard. The second chump was now entirely convinced of Lucifer's plan.
He turned to Lucifer. "You held up your end of the bargain. Name your price."
"Ineed everything on this list delivered in sector Phaetory by the end of the day. When it arrives, I shall release your daughter and give you the instructions you need to perform the jump."
"Will it work for all ships?"
"I will make the necessary calculations. I should warn you though not to try this on your own. You will not make it. The calculation for a subspace gate jump are very complicated and even the slightest deviation leads to death. The subspace gates are in constant move. They are never at the same place twice hence the two set of instructions. You will need your entire fleet so to catch the Alterrans off guard."
"We can take them with what I have." – The second chump said proudly.
"If you could dot hat you'd have already done it." – Lucifer cut his enthusiasm off. "You need your entire fleet because the Alterrans have immobile defense grids that will be aiding them and if you go with your fleet alone you will lose despite the advantage I'm providing you."
"Very well, I shall inform kree command."
"Kree command?" – Jonus looked at Lucifer.
"Huh, oh, it is like high command, the top of the hierarchy." – He explained.
"Are we done?" – Donos asked.
"What is that list?" – Sotra asked.
"Huh? Oh, supplies for our ship, the big one." – Lucifer replied. "We leave tonight until then act normally. Oh, when they do ask you of the Alterrans be mean, but not too much. We do not want to raise the suspicion bars."
"Where would this gate send them?" – Sotra asked lowering her voice.
"Not here, Sotra." – Lucifer said and gestured towards the ship's systems. "They can hear us." He added silently. "Be patient."
Later in the day, the second chump greeted his guests again. The Kree command had agreed to the proposed strategy greatly convinced by Lucifer's demonstration. Ship started arriving by the hour and soon the space crawled with the mighty fleets of the Venkrat.
The Venkrat also believed in 'strength in numbers' which is why they kept their fleets close to each other. There were just two other fleets that were a bit further. They awaited their arrival by early the next day.
The rest of the spread ships around the galaxy were scooped by Lucifer and a fleet of scout ships via the subspace gate network. Lucifer wanted to make sure no ships of the Venkrat would remain in the Milky Way Galaxy.
SG-1 had remained on the command vessel of the second chump mostly as guarantee and to observe the arrival of the Venkrat officials. Ironically, it turned out the leaders of the Venkrat were called the major's Trunk and tall's Branch.
Jonus almost showed disrespect when he heard it. He had hard time holding himself up not to burst in laughter.
"Oh, Lucifer and his strange jokes," – He whispered to Donos.
"You never know when he's making one." – Donos agreed.
"Well, Colonel, you're the one who suggested it, remember?" – Sotra smiled.
"Yeah," – Jonus nodded. "I just did not know how seriously right I was and Lucifer, I'm going to kill him, someday."
The officials past by them and went into a private room with the second chump. SG-1 relaxed for now. They stay had to wait for Lucifer's return with what was left of the Venkrat fleet and after another exchange finally leave.
Lucifer and his fleet returned early the next day. He had managed to gather all stragglers and now the full force of the Venkrat has gathered. Lucifer came onboard the second chump's command vessel to greet the other dignitaries.
"We are expecting you deliver upon your word, Lord Lucifer." – The tall's Branch shared.
"I will as soon as my payment arrives." – Lucifer replied.
"Good, in the meantime, you need to spread your fleet. Each group of small ships needs to be close to the large capital vessels. The middle class ships will separate in groups of sixes and eights around the outside perimeter. The tier class nine's formation should do it."
"Tier Nine?" – The major's Trunk exclaimed. "It was never designed for such a large contingent of ships."
"Well, you just have to extend it and multiply it by the increase of ships."
"Execute formation Tier class Nine!"
Lucifer knew he was one step closer to victory. Now the only wild card at play was the Ancients. They had to know their enemy had gathered the bulk of their forces. And their response could blow everything up.
"What do you want, Lucifer?"
"I need you to check the perimeter. Sotra, go with him. Scan on all frequencies."
"Understood." – Sotra replied.
"Why?" – Jonus asked then looked at Sotra.
"He doesn't want the Ancients to catch us off guard." – She explained.
"Let's…never mind." – Jonus said thrusting his head. "Do you take the puddle or else?"
"Use their scout shuttles, baysix." – Lucifer said. "Sotra will show you how to use their sensors."
Sighing deeply of how this plan could go wrong, Jonus followed Sotra to bay six. The scout shuttles reminded in form a bee.
"That's a scout ship?" – Jonus observed.
"Tiny little buggers," – Sotra smiled and activated the hatch that opened sideways like a sports car. They climbed in. Sotra started the ignition sequence. "It is like flying a NASA shuttle, Colonel."
Operation of the shuttle was indeed like a NASA shuttle. Jonus got the hang of it before they left the main hangar deck. He set a course around the massive fleet. Sotra programmed the computer to scan for Ancient's signatures and communication frequencies.
And the devil had really come to interfere. Sotra soon enough picked up the trail of puddle jumper.
"I really hated when he's right." – She exclaimed loudly.
"What?" – Jonus said.
"I'm picking up a vessel – forty clicks south."
"Alright, what do we do?"
"You take it out that's what." – Lucifer's voice echoed in his mind.
"You want me to fire on an Ancient vessel?"
"We don't have a choice. Cripple it but do not destroy it."
"Lucifer, I can't do that."
"If that ship alerts the Ancients, they in turn will alert the Venkrat and my plan goes to hell, not to mention that they will still be in this galaxy. No risk no reward, Colonel O'Neil. Now, do it!"
Jonus was not a hundred percent a fan of this plan but he's smart enough to know that the Ancients did not stand a chance in hell winning this war. So he twirled the ship and headed for the Ancients' vessel. The puddle jumper had gone to stealth mode to avoid detection but Jonus knew exactly how to hit it. He hesitated for a moment but pulled the trigger.
Orange bolts of light came out of the scout ship's weapons and the pilot of the puddle jumper came to realize the enemy knew he was there. He saw no other choice but to decloak and make a run for it. The enemy scout ship pursued. Their chase lasted for than twenty minutes. Each ship continued firing and missing.
"Now, Colonel, take it down." – Lucifer's voice was adamant.
Jonus sighed and this time fired for real. The jumper took several hits. Its pilot was doing his best to avoid the intense fire but his skills were not match for the Air Force colonel turned Ancient.
"It is done." – Jonus informed. "The ship is crippled. It will be able to reach the nearest gate in a day or so."
"Excellent, return to base,"
Upon return, Jonus and Sotra noticed a very ugly looking vessel. It resembled a great deal their hosts – short and wide. Jonus landed the scout ship near their jumper. Lucifer was waiting by it alongside the second chump.
"Your supplies have arrived, Lord Lucifer." – The second chump was just saying. "When can you expect the transmission?"
"Ah, commander Jonus, start the engines. We're leaving." – Lucifer said then turned to the second chump. "I presume there are escape pods on the cargo vessel?"
"Yes, there are."
"Good, I shall you give you now the first set of instructions. They contain the exact formation your ships need to be before you jump. Before we jump, I shall send you the escape pod with your daughter and the rest of the instructions."
"This is good news. You're not going to come with us?"
"Oh glorious one, I want to come but I do have a supply ship with supplies and I do not want them to be compromised therefore I have to politely excuse ourselves from this stroll." – Lucifer declined the offer. "Here is the file you need. It is encrypted – faux sixes. When you're done repositioning your ships, contact me and I shall send your daughter along."
Lucifer boarded the jumper. Jonus took off and left the main hangar.
"Head for the cargo ship!"
Jonus led the jumper into the belly of the cargo vessel. He landed and Lucifer dashed out alongside the second chump's daughter.
Lucifer reached the bridge of the ship, erected force fields around the hangars and fired up the engines. The cargo ship stirred away from the main body of the Venkrat fleet and headed to its outer perimeter.
The Venkrat fleet had almost reshaped its formation. Lucifer helped the daughter to the nearest escape pod and gave her a crystal containing the file with the last instructions.
"Good luck, youngling." – Lucifer said and sealed off the hatch. A minute later the escape pod was launched. Lucifer then dashed to the engine room. He had a few modifications to enter. "Sotra, use the internal sensors to look for anomalies."
"Are you expecting a double cross?" – Donos asked.
"One can never be too sure, Daniel." – Jonus replied instead.
"And hurry up, we don't have much time."
"I picked up something in rear of the ship." – Sotra announced. "Oh, sorry it is gone."
"I know I just fixed it. Is there anything else?"
"No, we are clean."
"Good, move us away from the fleet."
"Should I prep the ship for jump?"
"No, not yet,"
Lucifer returned to the bridge after fixing the engines.
"Now, engage the hyper engines sixty percent."
"Sixty?" – Sotra looked at him perplexed.
"Oh, just do it."
Sotra activated the hyper engines and the ship melted away from view. The Venkrat assumed they had jumped but they were wrong. The cargo ship was still there just out of sync.
"Oh, yes," – Lucifer replied and added with a smile. "You wouldn't want to miss this out."
The Venkrat fleet positioned and ready executed the given instructions to the letter. They thought they had won but they were wrong on that account too. The sabotage they thought they had rigged on the cargo ship Lucifer had disabled but the sabotage Lucifer did was beyond their wildest dreams. The subspace gate activated and the entire fleet jumped.
They did not appear however in the middle of the enemy's territory. They had arrived in a new galaxy. The closest planet was class S. Lucifer had double crossed them. What occurred to the second chump a second later is that he did not give those instructions on how to use the subspace gate to return to their previous location and there was indeed no real need for that as they were supposed to beat the Alterrans. They had no idea where they were now.
"Where are they?" – Donos asked seeing Lucifer's expression. He had a funny feeling about his answer.
Lucifer smiled wide. "They are…in a galaxy far, far away." And then added: "With no means to return at all. I'm sure they figured they were double crossed bigtime. The subspace gate's coordinates I gave them represents a one-way corridor. There is no turning back.Then again, it was never intended so on any account either way."
"How far out are they?" – Jonus asked.
"They are at Sybil 80. It is four hundred million light years from here. It is the only one-way gate that goes that far. They are not coming back."
"And now?" – Tealus asked in his simplistic way.
"Now, we finish what we started. We add the last chapters in our visit of the past." – Lucifer replied.
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