Disclaimer: The characters of Stargate belong to MGM. The universe of Doctor Who belongs to BBC.
'Not all Time Lords perished into the Time Wars. One escaped into another universe.'
The Destiny's Time Lord
Everett looked up and saw the growing red dot on Doctor Stealth's side. The man saved his life and now lay dying in his arm. Stealth smiled wide.
"It is not over, Everett," – He said with fading voice. "It is just the beginning."
Everett looked up. Rush, Chloe, Matt, Grier and TJ had just come in.
"Oh my god," – TJ said and rushed to him but he pushed her back.
"You can't do anything, TJ," – He said barely. "But it is not necessary either."
Suddenly his face and hands started to glow in an odd yellowish light.
"It has begun." – His voice became coarse and he stood up pushing himself away from Everett. "Prepare yourselves to be amazed."
The yellowish light suddenly flared up in intensity. The result was astonishing...
Three years after the crew entered the stasis pods...
In the distant depths of the stars a twinkle appeared and started growing in size. With a sudden false movement it came to a halt. It was no longer a twinkle but a massive metallic corpse with curved shape, oval wings coming from the main body, protruding rods, and windows.
The massive metallic beast headed straight for the nearby source of light. It was a class G star ravishingly yellow. The beast did not slow down. Reaching the top of the yellow source it dived inside the coronosphere.
Beneath the span of its two wings, cylindrical cones appeared inhaling the radiation of the star. Inside, lights started coming to life one after the other. The metallic beast soaked and saturated with the juice of the yellow star gracefully rose up back to the deep cold of space and with one swift move it once more like a simple twinkle it disappeared into hyperspace.
Somewhere deep inside its belly, a corridor, now illuminated, with long hallways contained strange, bizarre cages. Each appeared to be frozen from the inside. Before them, a console three feet high came to life. Little twinkles appeared all over it. One cage defrosted.
A young man inside the cage exclaimed. He climbed out of the stasis pod and looked around, his eyes getting used to be used again. It did not seem that long ago though. It had been only three years.
He rushed to the console and ran a diagnostic then sighed relieved. They were all alright, his thoughts were serene. But he had another duty. He had to check.
He left the corridor with the pods, took the elevator (sort of elevator) until he stood before a metallic door. He entered the code. The door unlocked and revealed another door. He pressed the opening button on the side. It changed from red to green. He ventured in. It was as he had left it, as they had left it, the bridge.
Down the stairs, around the ramp, and onto the command chair, he sat. He pushed just one button that glowed in white light and the whole place illuminated. The entire structure beneath his feet rose up and revealed the beauty he had yearned for, the lights of the stars passing like waves and lines in a swirl of beauty colours.
He made preliminary checks on the system. Everything was working perfectly fine. Power had just been recharged. They had a full tank. He smiled. His eyes twinkled like the diamonds outside.
There was one more thing to check, one last thing – time but not just on his side. He ran out of the bridge with the elevator several levels down to the storage. There he found a small metallic briefcase. Inside it, there was a box. Inside the box, there were four small, dark stones and light pad. He placed one stone over the pad, closed his eyes and activated it.
It was going so well – he said to himself. But nothing happened. He opened his eyes and he was still aboard. He shut down the pad and reactivated it again, and again nothing. Feelings of desperation crawled inside him along with hope. Maybe they weren't so watchful these days. He would try again after he awakens the others. At the very least, the ship's records said what he had hoped they would say – three years.
He was back in the corridor with the pods. The first to reactivate was his friend and mentor, the man whom he accepted as a father figure, Colonel Everett Young. The pod defrosted, the door opened and the colonel woke up from his slumber.
Everett stepped out of the pod getting used back to his limbs. It wasn't so bad inside these pods.
"Did we make it?" – He asked looking at the young man before him.
Eli beamed. "Yes, sir." Of course, there was this matter of not being able to make contact with the other side but he did not want to bother him with that just yet.
"The ship has power?"
"It has recently recharged."
"Excellent," – Everett exclaimed satisfied. "Your plan worked brilliantly. Start waking the others."
"Already on it!"
In the next ten minutes, Chloe, Tamara, Grier, Camille, Matt and Rush were out. Rush went on helping Eli set the others free.
"It is good to see you, sir." – Grier said saluting.
"We made it!" – Matt exclaimed getting into Chloe's embrace. "Eli, thanks, man!"
"No problem," – Eli replied while releasing others.
"Alright, everyone, Matt, Ron, go to the armoury, TJ, infirmary," – Everett ordered. "Eli, did you check the bridge?"
"Volker and Broody, bridge duty, Chloe, storage, let's take out some supplies, people will be hungry."
Everyone went to their tasks. Three years of slumber and the worst had passed but they had to look up to the future and start supplying with fresh goods (and since the stores on this side of the universe did not grow like trees it would take some time).
Rush, as soon as everyone was out, headed to the bridge while Everett made the rounds to check on their supplies. Everything was as they had left it. Sitting on the big chair, he rechecked if everything was the way they had hoped.
Almost immediately after checking the system, Rush noticed an anomaly in the logs – a deletion point. It happened during the last day of the two week's deadline Eli had to make his pod operational. The irony was everything that happened that day was deleted. There was no record what the ship had done then. He checked the logs before that but nothing out of the ordinary. He frowned. What could be the reason for that? And should he tell anyone? He made a mental note to ask Eli. Otherwise everything else checked out. They had skipped the bad galaxy uninterrupted.
Later in the day, the command crew gathered in the mess hall to hear Eli's story. He had been left out as the last pod did not work. Eli was getting to the last days and Rush, uncharacteristically, decided to ask.
"Eli," – He said. "What happened the last day of the two weeks?"
Eli looked up at him and so did the others.
"Why?" – Everett asked.
"I noticed a deletion point in the logs for that particular day. No record whatsoever of any ship activities. There has to be something and there is nothing. Eli, what happened?"
Everyone turned their heads to Eli. The trouble was Eli looked surprised and confused about it.
"What do you mean? There has to be something. It is the day I fixed the pod." – Eli replied.
"And yet, the logs are deleted completely."
"That can't be right." – Eli exclaimed. He took the pad next to him and accessed the logs. Surprisingly, Rush was telling the truth. "Nothing...but this can't be."
"Alright, recant then what happened?" – Everett said. There was something. This much was clear.
"Well, I got up headed down to the stasis pods console and continued my reading. I was close I could feel it. There was no physically nothing wrong with the pod, ironically. It was something with the configuration that was off." Eli stood up and started pacing back and forth. "In the manual, I found a possible lead on what had to be wrong and decided to test it. I ran the new configuration and then a full diagnostic."
Eli sighed deeply in frustration. "It did not work. The pod did not activate. This took about half of the day. I went down to the storage to eat. Then I was to the observatory, I just like the view. I returned to the pages and pages of the manual. Time was running out and I had to do something or kick the bucket." Eli chuckled nervously. "The pod wasn't activating. I ran a different configuration but still...I was so frustrated and then..."
"Then?" – Rush intrigued urged.
"Well, it was not sophisticated. I used the old way of doing things...I gave it a good kick. All the lights activated and the diagnostic checked out in the last minutes. I stepped in and woke ten minutes before I released Colonel Young."
"So nothing out of ordinary happened?" – Rush insisted. "The ship did not drop out of FTL during the two weeks at all?"
"No," – Eli shook head.
"Ha," – Rush exclaimed. He was thoughtful and seeing Everett it seemed they both had a problem with the story. Something was missing. Something was not right. But if it was a dream, of the Destiny's provided dream states, why then show them the deletion point.
"Alright, we survived. This is what is important." – Everett said firmly. "We need to make a stop to resupply. Rush, check the available planets ahead."
"Of course," – Rush said and left. He did notice that Everett wanted a word afterwards with him.
"The rest of us, we have our duties. Let's get on with them."
Everett left the mess hall and headed to the room with the stones. It was high time they made contact with Earth.
"The stones are set?" – He asked the Airman as he entered the room.
"Alright, let's get on with it." Everett placed the stone on the pad, the pad activated and again nothing happened. "Huh," Everett exclaimed. It was becoming frustrating. "Keep trying until you make contact."
By the end of the day, Everett returned to his quarters. Rush was waiting for him by the door. Everett let him in.
"What do you think?"
"If it is a dream state then why show us the deletion point?" – Rush said.
"I've been wondering the same." – Everett admitted. "But we can't make contact with Earth."
"It is possible something happened on the other end."
"I know." – Everett sighed. "But this doesn't explain the deletion point. Did you check the kinos?"
"They were deactivated before we went into the pods if you remember."
"Then we have only Eli's word?"
"Yep," – Rush nodded. "I'm not the one to question him but..."
"I know. I'm also the last person to do that too but you're right something here is...off." – Everett look was serious and concerned. "What do you propose we do?"
"As much as I hate saying it..."
"Alright..." – Everett was not very keen on the idea either but something had to be done. There was an inconsistence. "Restrict his moves?"
"No," – Rush shook head. "Pushing him away and so, no. We leave him and watch from a distance."
"And if it is a threat?"
"We deal with it." – Rush replied. "We can't start losing trust in him."
"Coming from you it is a compliment." – Everett observed.
"His plan saved our lives."
"It did. Have Chloe be on his side."
"Should I tell her?"
"No," – Everett was starting not to like this idea but it was the best solution. "Just tell her we're concerned."
"Why don't you tell her?"
"You're afraid she will know?"
"You saved her too. She trusts you."
"And she doesn't you?"
"No, I did not mean it this way but..."
"Alright," – Rush ceded. "Good night, Colonel."
"Good night, Rush."
In this very moment, they sensed the ship had dropped out of FTL. Everett's radio activated.
"Colonel Young, we dropped out of FTL." – It was Broody's voice. "But there are no gates."
"Here we go again," – Everett exclaimed. "This is Young. Security teams to the gate."
They both left and headed to the gate room where they found the gate activating. The military units gathered in a circle, arms ready to pull the trigger on anything hostile. The unstable vortex formed and then settled into the known puddle stillness.
"Stand ready," – Matt said to his fellow soldiers aiming at the gate's puddle.
The puddle stillness was disrupted by sudden burst of flashes. All tensed frowning. This had happened before but then the puddle resumed stillness. This effect produced itself again and again but still nothing was coming through.
"What the hell, Rush?" – Everett turned to him.
Rush was checking the diagnostic tools on the console. The data he was receiving was not making any sense at all. And then something even more confusing and impossible happened. The silver puddle altered colour and became orange bluish. The flashing in it increased exponentially. The military instinctively stepped backwards.
And out of the blue, a man crossed through the event horizon with all the symptoms of dizziness and wobbling. He was young, even younger than Matt but there were twinkles in his eyes that suggested otherwise. He wore a long black tuxedo with a white scarf, orange striped shirt with silver beads, black tie on orange balloons, white sneakers with orange ties, and a black bowler hat, again with orange stripes.
This oddly attired man looked around then took a small metallic stick out of his pocket that produced a metallic buzz and an orange light came at its end. The buzzing stopped and he looked at it as though it was some measuring unit and put it back in his tuxedo inner pocket.
"Well then," – He said energetically, walked to the console where Rush was still observing stupefied and pushed him aside. "Aha, we are on a ship, in space, and...oh, wow, in the Callisto star belt..."
Everett had to blink many times as this odd being continued babbling at a very high speed walking from Rush's console to the gate and back. He got confused and bewildered at the first two paragraphs of streaming speech but was still rooted. All his men were too.
"You haven't lost your ability to speak, I hope?" – The odd man said expectantly staring at them having finally stopped pacing around.
Eli had come just in time to see the odd man come in. He followed his crazy pacing around for a time and a tiny smile had appeared on his face. He was here just as he had promised. Things aboard were about to change – drastically. The crew of Destiny was on it for a threat of universal proportions. The tiny smile vanished and he took a state of utter bewilderment just like the others.
"Who are you?" – Everett finally managed to break free of his stupor.
"I'm a bit lost. Did you not hear me?" – The man replied instead looking at Everett with a mix of disapproval and frustration.
Everett blinked again hard.
"It doesn't really tell us your name." – Rush stated bluntly.
The odd man turned to him examining him from top to bottom as though he had just noticed him. "Humans..." He mumbled barely audibly. "But it doesn't help standing around either. Come on; kick this bucket back to flight. I have considerable work to do." He said and bolted down the corridor before anyone could even move.
"After him," – Everett ordered.
Matt and Grier did not wait to be told twice and pursued the odd man. They ran down the corridor but the odd one was nowhere in sight. They did not think this man could run this fast. The ship jumped back to FTL. Matt and Grier calling for reinforcement split in order to cover more ground. Everett and Rush returned to the bridge to use the ship's sensors to locate the intruder.
Rush pushed in the necessary commands and the display of the ship appeared on the monitors. There were many dots moving around but it was not possible to say who was who as it appeared no one was wandering alone anywhere on the ship.
After many hours of search the odd man was not found anywhere. It was as though he had vanished and worse that he was some mass hallucination.
But the odd one was still onboard. He ran down the corridor and then to another leading to the storage where he had left something very special. It was an oblong crate seven feet high. He opened it and vanished inside. If anyone had followed him he would have had his jaw fall to the floor in utter shock and temporary loss of words.
"There is no sign of him anywhere. We have searched the ship top to bottom. Where the hell did he vanish?" – Everett asked when they gathered again in the mess hall.
"Who was he?" – Camille asked.
"I don't have the foggiest." – Everett replied frustrated. "Rush, what the hell happened to the gate?"
"I don't know." – Rush said. It was something you do not hear often coming from him. "The data was impossible. I haven't been able to make heads and tails out of it."
"Work on it! We have to know what the hell."
"In the meantime, keep vigilant eye for our intruder."
The next day, Destiny jumped out of FTL into normal space and in range of four worlds all of which were available for exploration. The kino's results were excellent for gathering supplies on all worlds.
Everett assembled four teams. He was leading one, Matt and Grier one, TJ one and Rush the last one. Eli joined Matt's team.
"Alright, people, we have a little over eighteen hours. Let's make the best of it." – Everett said and crossed through to the first world.
The immediate area around the gate was a lush green forest. He led his team into the forest until they reached out of its premises to a creek and open lands as far as the horizon. His people started collecting samples from the different plants around. The water turned out to be good for drinking so they started gathering it.
Matt and Grier's world was similar with a lot of vegetation with fruit trees and bushes. They began collecting samples while Eli took a walk further out. He was almost out of sight of the group when he stopped. He had spotted something familiar. It was a small symbol engraved on a tree. He followed it and vanished out of sight going deeper into the forest.
"Where is Eli?" – Matt asked after a while.
Grier looked around. "I don't know."
"Eli, this is Scott, come in!" – Matt called on the radio but no response. "Oh, dammit, I'll go looking for him. Keep gathering here."
"Keep in touch,"
"I'll every ten minutes." – Matt said.
Eli had continued walking until reaching a glade with just a few big trees. He grabbed the lowest branch and headed up the tree. On the highest branch he could reach there was a small package. He took it and put it in his pocket. He started his descent when he heard Matt's voice.
"Crap," – Eli muttered but remained on the tree not making another sound. It was not time yet for revelations. Matt passed under his tree and continued without stopping. Eli relaxed but waited another five minutes before going down.
He proceeded after Matt then changed direction. He reached another glade where he lied down making sure it looked like he had slipped and passed out. Matt returning found him this way.
"Eli!" – He shouted and reached him shaking him. Eli stirred. "What happened?"
"Must have slipped...fallen" – Eli replied groggily.
"Can you stand up?"
"Yeah...I think so." – Eli stood up slowly.
"What were you doing here?"
"I saw this fruit up there." – He pointed up at the tree branches. "Tried to reach them and..."
"You should be more careful." – Matt said with concern. "No one should wander off like this. Can you walk?"
"Alright, let's head back."
Helped on the side by Matt, they returned to the gate area.
"What happened?" – Grier asked.
"He had tried to get a fruit and fell."
"Oh, he will be alright."
Back on the ship, the odd man reappeared having changed attire. He was now blending perfectly with the others. He moved around them with ease. He had a lot of work to do and not so much time. His stay here was necessary but he did not want to extend it much.
Things had not gone entirely according to plan and he had to fix them. Explaining that to the crew will be challenging at best. They might even want to return home and he could not accommodate them, not to mention they might try using force. But then again, military force has never worked with him or the others of his kind.
The visit to the four worlds had proved to be very productive. The teams returned with lots of fruits and other edibles. Many of the plants were of medicinal value and they had a tank full of water. The hydroponics was set once more on the lower levels until repairs could be done to the domed structure.
Destiny jumped back to hyperspace.
"How are we doing?" – Everett asked.
"Most systems are the way we had left them." – Rush replied.
"We have to focus then on structural integrity and shields. Weapons would be nice too."
"We have started with the less critical parts of the hull. I have Broody and Volker on the shield grid and the next time we drop out they will be getting with it."
"Good," – Everett said. "Dr. Parker?"
"Well, given her state, she can't help much but I've assigned her to hydroponics."
"Have someone help her."
"Of course," – Rush said. "I'll assign a team to the weapons systems too, preferably the one we had last time. They have become very efficient."
"Good," – Everett nodded. "Camille?"
"Yeah, I was thinking of organizing some mass activities to boost morale. Our inability to make contact with Earth has dealt a serious blow to it."
"I'd be better off." – Rush said. "I had Chloe work some equations."
"Our mission, but mostly FTL improvement," – Rush replied. "We may well not may but should improve our jump capability to conserve energy. One never knows when you could run into trouble."
"Yeah, I think we can all vouch for that." – Everett agreed with a bitter smile. "Very well, keep me posted."
Eli was working the late shift on the bridge. They were travelling fast towards an unavoidable future though he hoped there was something that could be done to prevent it. The trouble was as the odd one had said that fixed points cannot be undone unless one cheats very cleverly. He was just hoping the odd one would find a solution by then.
It was difficult for him not being able to tell his friends but as he came to think of it they were not exactly his friends though the difference was just by ten days. Even so he did not belong here. It was much like the time when they met with the other Rush, twelve hours older than the other. But still, Eli sighed deeply. He wondered where the odd one was.
His shift ended and was replaced by the daily one. Eli headed back to his quarters but on the way passed by hydroponics. Dr. Parker was there giving orders here and there. There were three or four people executing them. Among them, Eli noticed the odd one and almost blew his cover. How on Earth had he achieved this? No one seemed to be paying much attention to him.
Eli passed by him barely nodding. He spoke with Dr. Parker then headed out. On the door, he stopped and looked back. The odd one seemed to be interacting with everyone and looked like they were accepting as something perfectly normal, as one of their own. This was very strange for Eli. How does one do this? Be a part of the team when no one has seen you before. Eli shrugged and walked away.
Tamara's day began with a few headaches and bruises but in all it was a rather calm day. She continued her study of the instruments in the medical bay. Of course, she had not forgotten her greatest fear – the ALS but had gotten used to it. 'You deal with the hand you've been dealt.' She had told Chloe back then and it was true. There was no point on dwelling on things one had no control over.
Tamara turned around. It was Chloe.
Chloe came holding her elbow.
"What happened?" – Tamara went to her.
"I fell, well, I slept." – Chloe replied and sat down on one of the beds.
"Give it here." – Tamara said and took a look. It was only a bruise. "You've bruised it. Let me put some bandage on it."
"How's the day going?"
"It is calm." – Tama replied. "I've uncovered some other uses for the medical instruments here."
"No, not really, but useful."
"How are you doing?"
Tamara had a feeling Chloe would go in that direction again.
"I'm fine. There, good as a new."
"Thanks," – Chloe certainly wanted to get her to talk but pushing her was not serving any purpose either.
Chloe smiled. TJ had turned the tables.
"We are fine." – Chloe replied. "Look, if you want to talk, I'm here for you."
"Chloe," – Tamara sighed. "I think we have covered that part."
"I hope I'm not bothering anyone?" – A voice interrupted. Tamara and Chloe turned around. He was mid thirties with bright green eyes.
"No, not all," – Chloe said giving TJ a wink.
"What can I do for you, Dr….?"
"Stealth." – He replied. "Some of the plants we brought back have invoked a rash. See?" He rolled his sleeve and a part of his left hand was all red.
"Ah, alright, have a seat here," – Tamara said. "Which plants?"
"Oh, those," – And he left them beside him.
"I will be off then. See you, TJ."
Tamara took a sample of the plants and put it in a flask then added a liquid to it. While she waited for the result she used a liniment on Dr. Stealth's skin. It seemed to be having an effect. The doctor was the perfect patient. He was calm and patient.
Tamara moved to one of her instruments to check on the plant's result. There was a sudden sound of buzzing but it was gone almost momentarily. She turned around the doctor looked at her expectantly.
"Lieutenant? Is something wrong?"
"Ah, no," – She shook head. She must have imagined it or perhaps it had come from the machine. It was making that noise from time to time. She focused back on the flask. The result was as she had expected. Her liniment was working perfectly for this kind of rash. "Apply this again in two hours; the rash should be gone by then."
"Thank you, lieutenant," – Stealth replied smiling.
That smile was contagious and very charming as Tamara noticed. "Is there something else, Doctor?"
"Well," – Stealth said. "I was wondering…ah…would you care for a drink later?"
"Ah, I'm…" – Tamara was not prepared for this. He caught her off guard. She honestly speaking could not recall seeing him in the infirmary before though she had seeing him with Dr. Parker's team. They had never spoken one on one.
"You are very busy, I see." – Stealth finished her thought. "Perhaps another time." And he left before she could answer.
Tamara opened and closed her mouth. She did not think someone before had read her this fast. She thrust her head back into work but for some reason she could not stop thinking of him.
When her shift ended she passed by the mess hall to have something to eat and there he was again, sitting alone on a table. She took her ration then hesitated for a moment but went and sat with him.
"Of course, lieutenant," – Stealth replied without looking up as though he was expecting her to do nothing else than that.
"I can't recall you ever being in the infirmary before."
"I never had the reason to be until today obviously." – He replied looking her in the eyes. "I'm usually very healthy."
"No bruises, no nothing?"
"Not usually, I always stay away from trouble." – He smiled.
"And when I can't I guess you never took notice before."
"And now I have?"
He looked at her. "You make it sound like I should."
"Oh, no, I did not mean it this way." – Tamara said apologizing.
He smiled again. It was indeed contagious. His eyes seemed to twinkle and Tamara was lost in them. She had always favored Everett but perhaps it did not have to be always him. Dr. Stealth had a rare charm.
"Well, thank you, for your company, but I have to get back to the plants, or else Dr. Parker would not be very happy."
"Surely you have to rest too?"
"Well, we are pulling our shifts. Hydroponics is very important to our continuous survival."
"Yes, it is. Another time then…"
He smiled she was turning the tables in her favor with his own words. "Another time, another place. Good day to you, Lieutenant Johansen."
"You too, Dr. Stealth."
Dr. Stealth – hugh, Tamara's thoughts were racing. She returned to the med bay just for the sake of finding more about him. But indeed, she had no logs of him ever coming in sick. There were a few notes on the times they were under fire but so did everyone else.
Of course, the best source would be Camille. But how was she to approach the matter? Well, she could simply take while Camille was away though that would be like stealing. Did she have it in her? Well, everyone does. But why the sudden interest in him?
She had barely seen him in med bay for a rash and shared his table but that was all. And yet it was everything. What was the saying? 'It takes a minute to find something special in someone, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them but it takes an entire life to forget them'. Has she moved to the part yet? She could give this answer but all she knew was she wanted to know more. She decided she will take the file.
She saw Camille come in at the regular time to eat. It was now or never. She raced to Camille's quarters. She opened the door and went in. Finding the files took all but a minute and she extracted Stealth's file then left Camille's quarters and headed to hers.
There she sat down slowly inhaling and exhaling calming herself down. Her heart though was racing. She just committed a crime. She stole a file almost without a second thought. She wondered how it would take Camille to sound the alarm. But she did not care.
She opened his file. Dr. Ian Stealth graduated at Oxford University with full honors in Biology, Herbology, and here Tamara looked surprised – Ancient history and Astrophysics. But his main focus has always been Biology and Herbology. According to Camille, he was calm, patient, resourceful and quite the people's person. He had been assigned to the SGC six years ago and he had been on various missions offworld. He held the rank of Captain, US Air Force but some reason he was never assigned to the military groups he has always been civilian. Now this was interesting. He could easily be some black ops or special ops.
"Enjoying my file, Lieutenant?"
Tamara jumped startled. In the corner of her room near the crate she was using to hold some things Stealth was sitting. How did she miss him when she entered? And what was he doing in her room?
"Ah…" – Tamara was still at a loss of words.
"I seriously doubt Ms. Wray knows you have this, right?" – But he was smiling. Something was telling her he was rather enjoying this.
"What are you doing in my room?"
"Well, I did ask first." – He countered.
"Really…" – He continued smiling. "And if I am to ask her right now she would agree?"
Tamara swallowed – of course she wouldn't.
He moved to her and took the file off her hand. "Hum, I didn't think so. Well, what has Camille written about me?" He took a quick look. "Oh!"
"Is it true?" – Tamara asked finally snapping out of the original shock of him being here.
"Yes, all of it,"
"So what are you – Special Ops, Black Ops or Counter Intelligence and more to the point why are you here, not to mention in my room?"
"Wow! That's a whole load of questions, Lieutenant."
"Even if I was some of the above mentioned I couldn't tell you, you know that?" – He said sitting on her bed. "Now how about that…caught in the act?"
"What does Camille know?"
"Only what she has been told."
"And the rest?"
"The rest is classified."
"Several billion light years away, really? Are you going to play that card?"
He chuckled. "I came to your room to place a surprise. This…" It was a bouquet of flowers. "But you came rushing in not minding your surroundings at all and with this lovely file in hand, reading, and well whispering my name. Well, I'm flattered. It is as good as it can get for a first date. Wouldn't you agree?"
"Yeah, it would." – She blushed a bit. "And the rest?"
"If I tell you I would have broken my word whether we are ten miles away or ten thousand changes nothing."
"Need to know and crap?"
"Pretty much, you're catching up quickly."
"So are you military or not?"
"I can't answer that either."
"Aha," – She stood up moving closer to him. And then without any warning she attacked though she found herself on the floor quicker than she could have expected. He was holding both her hands behind her back and had a knee on her too.
"Anyone can learn this move, Tamara." – He said as to answer her victorious smile. "It doesn't prove anything."
"Yes, it does."
"No, it doesn't."
"God, I love an authoritative woman." – He released the grip and picked her up. His eyes were now into hers. He moved one step closer. They were almost touching. "You are quite special, Tamara."
"And dying." – She whispered.
"Why do they always spoil the moment?" – He whispered back moving a step back and then took her into his embrace and his lips locked into hers.
Bliss, Tamara thought. He was definitely the best kisser she had ever encountered. Even Everett had what to learn from him. The bliss lasted a few more seconds before he broke it and pushed away from her his eyes still locked into hers.
Again, this is not part of the plan, Stealth's thought passed like a flash in his mind. But hey, the unexpected was what he was here for. But forming a relationship with Tamara would bring many complications. What the file of Camille did not say was what was in his real file. He technically outranked Colonel Young. He held the rank of Lieutenant General US Air Force. And he was indeed here on a very special assignment of which only Senator Jellies and the Joint Chief of Staff knew anything about.
Of course, there was another part that only the senator knew. Stealth had saved his life all these years ago and had taken him into the crate where the senator had a complete loss of words and absolute paralysis. It took the poor senator several days to come to terms with the new reality of Stealth's capabilities. Dr. Stealth was the most effective operative in the history of the United States.
A relationship however would complicate matters a lot. But he had fallen for her the first moment he saw her though he knew of her relationship with Young he had always kept his distance but now she was into him. And that was a problem. Any other time, he would have given it a chance but not now. He couldn't. There was far too much at stake.
"I'm sorry," – He said and moved to the door.
"Ian!" – Tamara called.
He stopped, sighed heavily but pressed the open button. On the threshold he turned around to face her. "I'm sorry, Tamara, I can't although I would give anything if I could. Right now, it is simply…simply impossible."
"I wish I could tell I really do but I can't. It will only make things very complicated, more than they should be."
"Why? What is going on?"
"Forget me, Tamara." – He said firmly. "Or I will have to use force." He winked and left down the corridor.
Bliss, it lasted only moments but it would take a lifetime to forget it. Now she understood the saying. Ian, he had an agenda of his own and she will find out what it is. But then she would have to report it and the explanation would be difficult, very difficult, best not to say anything just like he said – forget me. She shut the door and went to sleep.
The next day, Rush woke up early. Sleeping isn't really his thing. He had so much word to do and of course sleeping is important so he could keep his objectivity but hey it was wasting precious time.
Passing quickly by the mess hall and he was off to the bridge. There were still many areas of the ship they had not explored and it was high time they did. He extended the shields as those areas were more or less exposed to vacuum. Pressure returned to normal and he was off exploring. He took Broody with him though he really did not need him but expecting Everett's objections he kind of had to.
That area had new quarters and a few new labs. He couldn't ever understand the need of so many labs. But perhaps, the Ancients anticipated they would need them or perhaps each had its distinct functionality that they have conveniently removed from the manuals. The Ancients, they were great in making many things just never explaining them. It is very frustrating sometimes.
He started by examining the data from the consoles in the first two labs. There was nothing special in there. The third lab however presented an interesting challenge. There were a few active files in there. Activating them though proved somewhat difficult as they were heavily encrypted.
"Eli, this is Dr. Rush. Eli?" – Rush called on the radio.
"Yes," – Eli responded.
"I require your assistance."
"Where are you?"
"Four levels down,"
"Ah, the new area, I'll be there shortly."
Rush shook his head. Other than the oddity in Eli's tale of the last days, he had noticed a change in his behavior. At times the last two days, he had been more distracted than usual. Rush wondered of the reason but came up empty. Perhaps being stuck on the ship alone for two weeks had taken its toll on the boy's sanity more than he was admitting. Of course there could be other explanations.
Rush focused on the problem at hand. Eli came just ten minutes later.
"What can I do?"
"There are active files in here but are heavily encrypted. I need your help to decrypt them."
"Really?" – Eli moved to the console opposite of Rush and started pocking around. It was indeed odd. The files were encrypted. Rush was certainly not imaging it. But after a few minutes of pocking, the really interesting oddity was that those files have been accessed relatively recently.
Several hours of hard work later, Eli managed to crack them open. What he found in them was stunning.
"I've done it." – Eli announced. Rush hurried to his console and took a look. "It is power logs. Why would anyone encrypt power logs?"
"This is an interesting question." – Rush shared shrugging. Eli was right it made no sense to encrypt power logs.
"What the…?" – Eli exclaimed. There was something odd about the logs. "If I am reading this correctly, the logs were encrypted by Destiny."
"Yes, I've noticed." – Rush said. "The question is why?"
"I guess you have to cross check with those that we have." – Eli suggested.
"Right," – Rush moved back to his console and called in the data and found the first series of inconsistencies ever. "They don't match."
"Yeah? Let me see!" – Eli came to him and quickly agreed. Part of the power was going somewhere else. But this is what made no sense at all. He traced the power from the encrypted files but it ended somewhere in the bow of the ship though where was beyond him.
"It makes no sense." – Rush shared.
"It is like it is going nowhere." – Eli agreed. "There is nothing of this vital importance there."
"And yet, Destiny is relocating power for that segment." – Rush said.
"Significant power, you mean." – Eli corrected him. "What could possibly Destiny need it for? Could it be for the docking ring?"
"I don't think so." – Rush shook head. It was indeed an interesting mystery. There was nothing that important there. At the very least nothing that showed. "We have to go there and find out. Maybe it is something we missed."
"It is possible. We haven't uncovered all of Destiny's secrets."
They rendered themselves by the bow of the ship looking for labs they might have missed but they knew everything for that segment. Nevertheless, they checked every room in that area but remained empty handed. Whatever Destiny was hiding remained hidden.
Meanwhile, Dr. Stealth was at a console too on the other side of the ship. He had accessed the long range logs (the data transmitted by the seed ships). He wanted to make sure history doesn't repeat itself but had a very small window in which to alter the events without destabilizing time. They were fast approaching the point of no return.
He needed some materials to complete the trickery required to cheat fate. Thankfully he found in the flowing data what he was looking for. He bolted to the bridge. Volker was there alone. He had to get him away.
"Dr. Volker, Dr. Rush has asked of your presence at the bow of the ship." – Stealth said.
"He hasn't called on the radio." – Volker noted.
"True," – Stealth said. "But they are in a room that is blocking the radio for some reason."
"Ah, alright then," – Volker said and left.
The moment Volker left the bridge, Stealth rigged the lock. Now, none will be to enter until he is done. It would raise a few questions but he did not care. He sat on the command chair and ordered Destiny out of FTL. The ship dropped. Stealth then started entering the new course which put the ship quite off the original course but it had to be done.
Down at the control room, Broody noticed the ship had dropped out of FTL but there were no gates in the vicinity. He contacted Everett and pointed this out. Everett called Rush and asked but found out he and Eli were at the bow of the ship.
"Then who is on bridge duty?" – Everett asked.
"It should be Dr. Volker." – Eli replied.
"Well, I'm not." – Volker said. "Dr. Stealth told me you needed me down here."
"I haven't…" – Rush trailed off. "I haven't sent for you."
"Dr. Stealth, come in!" – Everett called on the radio but there was no response. "Scott, Grier, go to the bridge and see what the hell is going on."
"Right away," – Matt replied.
He and Grier got to the bridge but the door did not open.
"Ah, Colonel, we are before the bridge but the door is not opening." – Matt reported.
"WHAT?" – Rush exclaimed over the radio. "Wait for us, we are coming."
Eli, Rush and Young joined Matt and Grier before the bridge door. The controls however for the inner were not unresponsive.
"Stealth, what the hell are doing?" – Everett exclaimed. "Stealth, reply!"
"How does he know how to block the door?" – Grier asked.
"Wasn't he with Dr. Parker's team?" – Matt said.
"I don't know." – Rush replied but continued to manipulate the crystals of the door hoping it would override whatever the doctor was doing.
Stealth heard them but did not have the time to explain himself. There was far too much at stake. He input the new course and directed Destiny at the nearest star. He was going to do something no one, not even the Ancient would have thought of putting the ship through.
"Ah, guys, we have altered course." – Broody informed from the control room.
"Where's the ship heading?" – Rush asked.
"It is going for the local star. We will be there in less than ten minutes."
"What the hell is he up to?" – Everett asked though he was directing solely at Rush. "I thought we had full tank."
"We do." – Rush replied firmly though he was conflicted of Stealth's acts.
Eli left the group and headed just two levels down to a lab. He encrypted his comm. So he could speak to the bridge without anyone overhearing him.
"Ian, what the hell are you doing?" – Eli asked.
"Time is nearly upon us." – Stealth replied.
"We have eight days." – Eli said. "Before…ah…you know…
"No, we have even less than that. Eli, I have a very small window in which to help you. If I don't take it, you are not going to make it."
"I know but you don't have to risk everyone for me."
"Yes, I do. Now, stop whining and go sabotage Rush's efforts."
"He will notice." – Eli countered.
"It is a risk you have to take. I cannot be stopped in the next twenty minutes. Now go!"
Eli sighed deeply. He had to create a diversion. It was best solution. He went down to the military storage, knocked down the guard, and took some explosives.
"Ooh, I'm going to regret that." – Eli said to himself.
He went to the control room. Broody was there still trying to help Rush in the efforts to override the door controls.
"Hey, "– Eli said. "How is it coming?"
"It is not. Whatever Stealth did, I can't override it. Somehow he's managed to block the entire system."
"Let me try." – Eli said. "I think I see the problem."
"You do?" – Broody looked up.
"Yes, come and see."
Broody came and looked on the screen. "Here?"
"Yes," – Eli replied. Broody looked but in the next moment lost consciousness. Eli had hit him. "Yep, I'll be spending the rest of the voyage in the brig. I hope you're happy."
"Stop stalling, Eli and get on with it." – Stealth said.
"Alright," – Eli replied.
He placed the charges around the consoles and one on Broody who woke up a minute later. Seeing himself unable to move he watched in utter shock as Eli continued placing charges around the consoles.
"Eli, what the hell are doing?"
"What must be." – Eli replied then placed the last charge. He went to the door and rigged it lock. "Now, call Rush and tell him to stop or I'll push the button."
He activated the COMs. "Speak."
"Dr. Rush, Colonel Young," – Broody called.
"Yes, Mr. Broody, what is it?" – Everett replied.
"Ah, I have Eli in the control room," – Broody said. Eli relentlessly urged him to continue. He swallowed hard his tongue dry. "He has placed four C4s around the consoles and one on me. He demands Rush stops all efforts to open the bridge doors."
"Mr. Broody, it is not time for jokes."
"I wish I was making one, Colonel." – Broody replied his voice trembling as Eli's fingers moved closer to the detonator. "Eli, for God sake no, you will kill yourself."
"I'm willing to take the chance." – Eli whispered.
Everett looked apprehensively at Rush.
"What the hell is going on in there?" – Matt exclaimed.
"Eli!" – Everett called. "What sort of joke is this?"
"It is not a joke, Colonel." – Eli's voice thundered. "Rush, stop you're doing or I'm going to blow the controls to smithereens."
"See for yourself." – Eli said and activated a kino. "Scott has the pad for the kino."
Matt, indeed, did have it. He activated it and the picture they received was quite ugly. Eli was not joking at all. There were explosives all along the consoles and one on Broody.
"Eli, what the hell," – Matt exclaimed.
"Rush, Stop at once,"
"You know I won't do that." – Rush replied.
"So be it then," – Eli replied. "You have just forfeited Broody's life."
"No, wait!" – Everett said. "Rush, stop!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," – Everett nodded. "Alright, Eli, what do you want?"
"I want all of you away from the bridge."
"Eli, you realize you can't hold us forever." – Rush said.
"I don't have to forever. Move away."
"Do as he says."
"Good," – Eli said then moved to the console and made contact with the bridge. "I hope you know what you are doing."
"Don't worry, I do." – Stealth replied then added. "Did you compromise…never mind. We both have although it would have nicer if didn't blow both covers."
"Oh, I'm sorry I'm a bit preoccupied making sure your crazy plan works."
"Never mind, just keep them occupied. We are nearly there."
Meanwhile, Everett, Rush, Matt and Grier arrived before the control room doors. Rush got on with unlocking them.
"We might need to blow them, sir." – Matt said.
"We can't risk it." – Rush countered.
"Well, he's got a point, Rush." – Everett said. "Either way we risk it."
"Yes, but replacing the door is not part of the deal or killing them both while we are trying it."
"We need blow only the lock." – Matt explained.
"Get on with it."
"I don't think so, Colonel." – Eli interrupted. "I see you try and push the detonator. As fast as you can be you can't beat my finger."
"Eli, why are doing this?"
"I have my reasons."
"What you told us about the last wasn't true, was it?" – Rush asked.
"I have no idea what you mean." – Eli replied.
"Rush," – Everett lowered his voice. "Can you stall the engines?"
"I can try."
"Then go, we will keep him talking."
Rush was just leaving when he flew straight to the ceiling as did everyone else. The gravity was removed.
"What the hell…"
"I'm sorry, Dr. Rush, but I can't let stop me." – Stealth said on the radio.
"We are going to get you." – Everett replied. "Eventually,"
"But not right now, Colonel."
"How did he find the gravity control?" – Everett turned to Rush.
"I don't know. Even I don't know where they are."
In this moment, the door before Rush opened and Chloe appeared in a space suit.
"Great idea," – Everett exclaimed. "Chloe, can you stall the engines?"
"I can try,"
"No, take me with you." – Rush said. Chloe took hold of Rush and both disappeared through the door.
They needed time to get to engineering. Everett counted on stalling until then. It was not the best solution but it was a solution. Whatever Stealth was up to he was going to be stopped.
"You can't hold us this way forever, Stealth."
"You are very cute when angry, Everett." – Stealth replied. "I'll give you that. But I'm going to succeed. Oh, just don't do anything stupid. And just by the way, they won't make it in time."
"Rush and Ms. Armstrong," – Stealth replied. "What you thought I haven't noticed. Oh, please, Everett, when I take custody of something, I'm always prepared."
"But I can't stop them either."
"Never display such superiority especially when I'm in control of the ship, Everett. Besides, I do not have to stop them. I'm inches away from achieving my task."
"How did you get Eli onboard?"
"Oh," – He chuckled. "This is a story for another time if we live this long. Now, Everett, hush."
Stealth severed the link. The ship has just entered orbit of the sun. He plunged in towards the coronosphere and lowered the collectors.
"Colonel," – Camille called.
"We are heading straight into the corona."
"What?" – Everett exclaimed. "Stealth, what the hell…"
"Hush now, Colonel," – Stealth said with command authority in his voice. "Ladies and gentlemen, man your station and prepare for jump."
"JUMP?" – Rush exclaimed stunned over the radio. "You are insane. The ship can't jump yet."
"Oh, yes, it can." – Stealth replied. "Hold on to something, Nicolas."
The collectors of Destiny had begun to absorb the radiation of the sun when Stealth engaged the jump engines partially.
Camille staying at the observation docks looked in terror as Destiny plunged into a giant vortex of solar material. The entire ship shook violently.
Chloe and Rush had managed to reach another console and stared in terror as the ship dived into another mega solar flare. Rush frantically called the shield grid. It has fallen sixty percent.
"Stealth," – He shouted. "Be reasonable, another dive into a flare and we're done."
"Hush, little man, do not interrupt." – Stealth said. "Eli,"
"Transfer the power from the gravity generators to the shields."
Rush noticed a sudden increase in the shields. They were back at one hundred percent.
"Are going to dive into another one?"
"No, these have been more than enough. However, hold tightly, we are about to jump."
The ship shook again but Stealth held it steady. He transferred the command abilities onto a pad and left the bridge. He headed straight for his crate.
An eerie light encompassed the entire ship and then the sun and the flares vanished for a moment.
Camille observed stunned as the sun and the flares were replaced by utter darkness and then out of the blue they were once more in orbit of the sun.
The ship's collectors began absorbing again the radiation to restore power. Then the ship moved away from the sun.
Camille's eyes grew wide in terror when she noticed a familiar shape of a ship rapidly approaching them.
"Colonel, there is a drone ship up ahead."
To be continued…
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