Chapter 23 – Gods Among Us
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"What does it say Danny?" asked O'Neill.
"Mercury," replied Jackson.
"Interesting," mused O'Neill. "So, a humanoid, spacefaring race that writes in Ancient. We sure they aren't the Tollans?"
"Sir, they are coming back out of the ruins," warned Carter.
"Well campers, let's go and introduce ourselves," ordered O'Neill.
"They are definitely watching us, in fact, they have just shown themselves," warned Rolion.
"So how do we play this?" asked Ajax.
Rolion shrugged, "I would suggest that we be cautious. Those are most certainly military uniforms and they are armed. I think it's not unreasonable for us to ready our weapons."
"I can try the translation spell," suggested Hermione.
"Let me try first. I would like to keep your abilities secret, just in case," replied Rolion.
The four people approached slowly but didn't seem to be acting aggressively. Rolion stepped in front of the group and made a show of holstering his weapon.
Jack O'Neill had conducted a great many first contacts, well first introductions. Stargate Command had specialist teams for the actual official first contact stiff. He usually got to find out, first hand, if the new life and civilisations were violent or not. As they approached the other group paused and seemed to go for their sidearms but only it seemed to match SG1's actions.
"Okay people let's play it cool here," Jack ordered quietly as the distance closed.
Eventually, an older man stepped forward, and quite obviously holstered his sidearm before studying Jack with what looked like genuine curiosity.
Jack let his gun hang by its strap before raising a hand in greeting. "Howdy folks, doing a bit of exploring?"
He hid a smile at Daniel's whispered, "Jack."
The question seemed to cause some confusion. Their leader turned back to the others, two of whom were studying him with narrowing eyes. Jack risked a glance a Teal'c, who shook his head slightly, so not Goa'uld.
The older man turned back and shrugged, speaking in what to Jack's ears sounded almost like Latin. Turning he saw that Daniel wore an excited almost childlike expression of glee. "Daniel, share with the class."
"If I'm right Jack, he's speaking a variant of the language of the ancients. That ties in with the writing on the ship," explained Daniel. The archeologist stepped up beside Jack.
"Greetings, my name is Daniel, Dr Daniel Jackson," in what he hoped was passable Ancient.
The man smiled, seemingly amused, "And greetings to you Doctor Jackson. It is pleasing to hear that people retain knowledge of our language."
He spoke slowly, seemingly giving Daniel time to translate.
Jack stepped closer to his teammate, "Danny?"
"Just saying hello Jack and I was right, he's speaking in the language of the Ancients," explained Daniel.
"So, what's the go Danny boy, are we going to have any unpleasantness, or can we break out the milk and cookies?"
Before Daniel could formulate an answer, his attention was drawn to one of the women in the group. She was whispering to one of her people and he thought he had heard what sounded like ancient Greek. What was astonishing was that their spokesman clearly believed that the language of the Ancients was his native tongue. However, Jack was clearly impatient for him to get to what he saw as the important bits. He would address the roots of the language later, for now, he stepped forward translating the standard questions into Ancient.
Hermione watched as Rolion politely answered questions. Their leader seemed rather bored with the whole situation while the talk dark man kept a careful eye out. The only woman on their team seemed to be paying close attention to the conversation.
Harry had accompanied Valeria, Rebeka and Ajax back to the Mercury with what they had found in the pyramid. It also removed the number of targets should things go south. On his way back, he studied the terrain and carefully checked for anything untoward.
As he approached the two groups he caught the end of Daniel's explanation to Colonel O'Neill, presumedly the older man.
"…they are a scouting party. They're checking to see if this planet is still suitable for an agrarian colony. They were not expecting the village or the Ha'tak, so they decided to survey the area."
"It sounds like these houses didn't belong to their people," mused the blonde. "Daniel, ask them how long it has been since they originally scouted this world. Because that destruction in the town looks old."
As Daniel spoke to Rolion, Harry caught Hermione's eye and gestured for him to join him for a moment. He discreetly cast a muffling charm to ensure that they were not overheard. Even with the charm, he made sure to speak in the Lantean language. "What do you think?"
"I think they are what they say but who knows. They are American Harry, the accents, the idiom, it all matches up."
Harry frowned, "So assuming they got here by Astria Porta, that means that there is one on Earth somewhere, other than buried in Antarctica."
"That's logical," admitted Hermione.
"Well then, how come nobody knows about it? How could they keep something like this secret?" Harry asked rhetorically.
"I have no idea…but it is possible," insisted Hermione.
"Maybe," agreed Harry. "I wonder how long they've been out exploring. It can't be all that easy to hide even a small team travelling off world."
Hermione considered for a few moments before turning to speak to Harry. "Why though, why risk it and why send armed military teams?"
Harry looked over to where Daniel was talking to Rolion. "If even their Doctors are armed, it is possible that they've run into trouble?"
"Maybe, you know they could be a good source of information," suggested Hermione.
"Bur what will they want in return?" asked Harry.
It turned out that they were looking to gain access to technology to help fight a race called the Goa'uld. They were a race of parasites who apparently preyed on many of the civilisations in the Galaxy.
Rolion seemed puzzled when this was explained. He actually looked rather angry, "What of the great alliance?"
Daniel's eyes widened before he collected himself, "What…wait, the alliance of the four great races. Is that what you mean?"
"Yes, my people may have left this Galaxy, but our allies should still have a presence here. If you will excuse me, Doctor Jackson, I need to speak to my teammates."
As Rolion walked over to his younger teammates, Jack and Sam approached Daniel.
"So?" prompted Jack.
Daniel looked slightly stunned, "He's talking about his people and the alliance of the four races. His people may be the descendants of the Ancients!"
Sam was just as excited, "If that's true, then this could be big Sir. His ancestors were partners with the Asgard and the Nox. If they have access to even some of their ancestor's technology…I mean they built the gate network."
"Indeed Samantha Carter, most Goa'uld technology is copied from the materials left behind by the Ancients," added Teal'c.
"So, assuming that they're on the level, this is something we should probably phone home about," said Jack before he received universal nods. "I'll call SG-Two, they can dial in and report."
"What's the matter?" asked Valeria.
Rolion shook his head, his expression frustrated. "When my people fled the plague, retreating to the Pegasus galaxy. We left things in the hands of our allies. These Goa'uld sound almost as bad as the Wraith and it worries me that they have seemingly done nothing."
"Do we know if they are still around?" asked Harry.
"I think we need to find out," said Rolion. "The ship has means to contact them. I've been holding off until we had more information, but I guess it can't wait now."
"What about our new friends here?" asked Harry. As he turned to the four human's all four were suddenly moving.
"We've got enemy troops coming through the gate, Twenty Jaffa" warned Jack, "SG-Two is pulling back to rendezvous three as they look to be heading this way."
"What is happening?" Rolion asked Daniel. Keeping up the appearance of needing a translation.
"Jaffa are coming through the gate. Our team that was guarding it are pulling back, but they will soon be able to see your ship," Daniel as quickly and clearly as he could.
Rolion nodded, "Very well, we will get airborne. Are you and your team's safe Colonel? We can transport you to a safer location if needed."
Daniel translated for Jack who quickly contacted SG-Two.
"…it's not a great time Jack…we've been…spot…they've got…forcements coming through…be in a spot of…"
"Damn," muttered Jack as the connection was abruptly cut-off.
Harry shared a look with Rolion, who nodded.
"We have the ability to help Daniel, but we need to get back to our ship," offered Rolion.
Daniel translated, and Jack paused for a moment, clearly in two minds before nodding. "Let's go."
The Mercury was airborne quickly, far more quickly than the Stargate team had expected. Rolion was in an odd-looking chair that seemed to allow Rolion to pilot the ship.
Valeria helped SG1 strap in to the spare crew seats as Harry and Hermione disappeared aft.
"Where are they going?" asked Jack as the door closed behind them.
"How are we going to do this, the transporter?" asked Hermione. "You are aren't you. Harry, we've hardly even tested it!"
"I know, but Rolion assures me it works just fine. For his people, it's tried and tested technology," argued Harry. "And besides landing and fighting, we don't have a lot of choices."
"You realise that they are in combat. We will have to use some sort of selection process," pointed out Hermione as she thought quickly about the transporter technology and accessed a control surface. "Well, this should be possible, according to Doctor Jackson, Jaffa and Goa'uld have symbionts. We can screen out anything with one."
"We are coming in fast," reported Rolion from the control chair.
Hermione quickly assessed the control panel and set it to target humans with standard physiology. "I have four human and about sixteen others, they are in range…transporting."
Four figures, one kneeling facing away from the others and two carrying a third, clearly injured man.
"What the…" the kneeling man looked around in confusion and lowered his gun slightly. "Who the hell are you?"
Harry blinked unsure what to say to the armed SG team. Before he could respond Hermione pushed past him, headed toward the injured man. Things were looking a bit dicey, as guns started to come up again. Then the door opened admitting Daniel and Jack.
Jack gestured to SG-2, "Stand down, they're friendlies."
Hermione gestured for the two men to put the third down on the floor.
"Ah crap," muttered Jack as he took in the picture. Carl Warren looked like he had been hit by two Staff blasts. Somehow, he was still alive but without a miracle, he wouldn't be much longer.
Hermione, however, didn't so much as pause. Short gripping her wand, she quickly cast a diagnostic charm. The results, along with her recent medical training told her that she might be able to save the gravely injured soldier but only of if she acted right now. She turned to look at Harry, who nodded and turned to Daniel.
"Hermione is a healer. She is going to try and help your man. Can you please tell the others so that we don't have any incidents." He spoke slowly, making sure that Daniel understood.
"She's a healer Jack," explained Daniel. "She's going to try and help."
Hermione started casting, as quietly as she could. Pouring healing energy into the two wounds.
"What the hell, are you seeing this Danny?" asked Jack.
Daniel watched, fascinated, as the woman slowly chanted running her hand over the two wounds. The wounds that were healing at a spectacular rate.
Major Michael Coburn lowered his voice, as he spoke to Jack. "Are they like the Nox?"
"No idea Major," admitted Jack quietly. It appeared that it was Karl's lucky day.
SG1 sat in what was a rather well-designed mess facility polishing off what had tasted an awful lot like chicken stew. The crew of the Mercury had left them to it after issuing the meals.
"So, Carl looks like he's going to make it," said Jack as he sniffed the drink in his cup before taking a sip.
SG-2 were sitting with their recovering teammate, overjoyed that he had survived his injuries.
"Amazing technology Sir," agreed Samantha Carter. "I'd love to see what they are using. I'm sure the SGC could use something like it."
Daniel shook his head, "If they used technology Sam, I only saw a stick."
"So is anyone else thinking of the Nox?" asked Jack.
"Perhaps they are simply able to apply similar abilities," offered Teal'c.
Daniel turned at the sound of someone speaking ancient, to see Rolion. "Doctor Jackson, would you please translate for me?"
Daniel nodded and Rolion smiled, "Thank you, if you are finished I would like to discuss our options."
When Daniel finished translating, Jack was leaning forward eagerly.
"As your teammate is now able to travel safely, I wanted to check on how you would like to proceed. We have a functioning Astria Porta on board but if you prefer we can travel to the nearest safe planet with a gate. Unless you wish to be returned to Nova Agricola, the planet where we met." Rolion explained via Daniel.
"Danny, ask if he is open to trade talks," ordered Jack.
Rolion's expression was hard to read as he replied, "That is something that our leadership will need to consider. I am prepared to give you the means to contact us. I repeat that we are essentially a scouting mission. I have no capacity to bind my people to agreements."
"Tell him we understand Daniel. We'll need to run this past General Hammond," said Jack with a barely hidden frown. Rolion was being sensible, not committing to anything he wasn't authorised to do. He had to hope that it was a good sign. "We should probably head home anyway. The SGC must be wondering what happened."
Sam was suitably impressed with the functional gate the Mercury had onboard. Although she was itching to study the technology now wasn't the time. Using the slightly odd DHD, she dialled the SGC and activated her GDO. Beside her, the curly-haired crewmember watch in interest, giving Sam a smile when the gate opened and politely left the room giving Sam some privacy to set up their return to the SGC.
Sam studied the console Hermione was working on and then turned to Daniel, "Daniel can you ask them about the power requirements. I know that our gate draws a lot of power."
Daniel asked Rolion who shrugged and replied with a slight smile.
"He said the ship's power source is more than sufficient," translated Daniel.
"We good to go campers?" asked Jack as he entered the ships 'Gate Room' with Teal'c.
"Yes Sir," replied Carter.
"Doctor Jackson, could you please pass on our thanks for healing Carl," said Major Michael Coburn as he nodded politely toward Hermione.
"I thought I was a goner Ma'am, I really appreciate the help," added Captain Carl Warren. "And thanks for the new shirt."
Jack gave Rolion a nod, "Carter dial up the SGC."
SGC – Conference Room
"It sounds like an interesting mission Colonel," said General Hammond as he looked over SG1's initial reports.
"Nice to meet some advanced people who aren't trying to kill us or think we need to stay home for our own good," replied Jack,
"What do we know about these people?" asked Hammond.
"They are using advanced technology and they seem to speak the same language as the ancients. They seem to have similar technology to the Asgard and the Nox, although that is mostly speculation," explained Sam. "According to Doctor Frasier, they certainly have advanced healing abilities and most certainly saved Captain Warren's life."
Hammon looked down at the report, "Could they be the same people or the descendants of these Ancients?"
Daniel shook his head, "We don't have enough information. Rolion spoke a variant of the language we know as ancient but two other crew members spoke what sounded like a form of ancient Greek."
"And the device?" Hammond asked Carter.
"Is a holographic subspace communicator. A very advanced one and as far as I can tell it is similar in function to what we have seen from the Asgard," reported Sam.
Daniel looked up from his notes, "I've studied the images we captured of their ship and what I noted down of the writing. It correlates with what we know of their written language and from what I could tell he was a native speaker of the language."
"So, they could they be Ancients, or at least their descendants or they could be people using their technology," mused Hammond. "Is there any way of confirming this theory?"
"Given the fact that they disappeared at least ten thousand years ago, I am not sure how we could determine that," pointed out a disappointed sounding Daniel.
"We could ask them," said Jack with a touch of mock-asperity. "We have the means."
"The Asgard may be able to shed some light on their origins," suggested Daniel.
Hammond looked thoughtful as he sat back in his chair, "If such an advanced race would be willing to enter into talks it could be a huge boon for the program people. I want you thinking about what we need to ask them, if and when we hear from them."
Harry rubbed his temples in frustration, "So, America has got military exploration teams travelling through the Astria Porta network, stirring up trouble with these Goa'uld characters as they search for technology they can use."
Rolion smiled tiredly, "Essentially, although what worries me is that none of the other Alliance members has sought to end the threat posed by these Goa'uld."
"And you want to contact your former allies, to ask why," finished Hermione.
Valeria cleared her throat, "I understand Rolion, but we also have another mission. Nova Agricola may not be the haven that we hoped for if these Goa'uld have a presence there. Perhaps we should look at the other potential colony locations. We are on a tight timetable."
"It's a good point Valeria but we also need to also consider that the Argard, Nox and Furlings may have vital information on the current situation. Dealing with them, at least initially should not interfere with our mission," explained Rolion.
"Are these Goa'uld that much of a threat?" asked Rebeka.
"They could be," replied Rolion. "But, we really don't have a clear picture of just how much of a threat they are."
Ajax grimaced, "From a tactical point of view, ignorance of their capabilities is not ideal Rebeka. I think Rolion's right. It can't hurt to check in with some potential allies."
"Well, let's make some calls. I think that I'll start with the Asgard." Rolion led the way to the control room where he activated the communication console. Checking the history databank, he quickly entered into a series of numbers on the control pad.
A few moments later a figure appeared on the control surface. It had greyish skin tones and skinny arms, a large head and large black eyes.
"Greetings I am Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgard fleet."
Rolion nodded, "I greet you in return, Supreme Commander Thor. I am Rolion of the Lanteans."
Thor seemed to freeze, unblinking, "You are Alteran?"
Rolion studied Thor for a moment before inclining his head, "I am."
"Then I welcome you in the name of our old friendship," replied Thor. "I have your location; would a meeting be acceptable?"
"Of course," replied Rolian. "I believe that we have much to discuss."
The Asgard vessel pulled alongside the Mercury and then the Asgard, Thor, appeared at the rear of the control room in a flash of white light.
Harry tried not to stare at the small naked alien. Hermione was almost bouncing up and down in excitement while Valeria, Rebeka and Ajax simply stared at the small being.
"Welcome onboard Supreme Commander," said Rolion as he stepped forward to meet Thor.
Thor blinked a few times and bowed his head, "Thank you, I bring greetings from the Asgard High Council. We were surprised to receive a message from your people."
Rolion glanced over at Harry and Hermione, "Thor, it is a long story."
Three hours later, Thor sat quietly, processing what he had been told. "I had no idea that your direct ancestors remained hidden on Earth. Had we known we would have considered initiating contact."
Harry's expression was grim as he addressed Thor. "That would probably not be wise. Our civilisation is insular…maybe not as bad as it was a few decades ago, but still rather ignorant of the outside world."
Rolion laughed, "Don't let him fool you Thor. They may be a bit backward technology-wise, but their mastery of energy manipulation is far beyond what my people thought possible."
"A mutation?" theorised Thor.
Hermione nodded, "We think so but one that has bred true."
"Intriguing, I look forward to a demonstration. What will your people do now?" Thor asked as he turned to Rolion.
"We plan to establish a colony for the refugees in our fleet. Atlantis gives us a defensible base of operations and a good start on infrastructure," explained Rolion.
Thor blinked several times, then nodded. "A sensible plan, although the Goa'uld may target you, I am certain that they will perceive you as a threat."
Harry smiled coldly, "We thank you for the warning. The Goa'uld will find Atlantis a far from easy target."
"I hope that you are correct," replied Thor. "I will send a copy of our latest strategic and political intelligence."
Rolion sat quietly for a moment before replying, "What happened to the great alliance Thor?"
"The Great Alliance began breaking apart with your departure and the extinction of the Furlings. The Nox embraced pacifism and we were left to try and protect and guide the younger races. We are stretched thin, our protected planets treaty was meant to protect weaken cultures, but it is a bluff as we lack the military might to truly enforce it," explained Thor. "And to complicate matters we have an enemy in our home galaxy that is far worse than the Goa'uld, the replicators. They are advanced artificial lifeforms that can replicate themselves indefinitely if they have access to resources. Once they take a world they will strip everything they can use."
"Are these Replicators a threat to Earth?" asked Harry.
"Yes," was the immediate reply. "I believe that it is inevitable that they will find their way here unless we can defeat them."
"What are their weaknesses?" asked Hermione.
"They are resistant to energy weapons, but they can be damaged by physical attacks," explained Thor.
"What about EMP's?" asked Rolion.
Thor's head tilted to the side as he apparently considered the question. "An electromagnetic pulse could theoretically disrupt the link between replicators."
Rolion walked over to a panel and began typing. After a moment an image appeared on the screen. As he stepped back Thor walked over to study the image. He was silent for a few moments before he turned to Rolion. "Would you be willing to share this technology with the Asgard?"
"Yes, of course," replied Rolion.
Harry silently wondered if Magic would be effective.
"You have full access to your people's technology?" asked Thor.
"We do," replied Rolion.
"Then there is something else that I believe your people may be able to assist with. Your people's understanding of genetics was quite advanced and the single largest problem we face is to do with our cloning process," explained Thor.
"I see, perhaps we can help or perhaps some of our allies may be of assistance," Rolion glanced at Valeria who nodded thoughtfully.
"Excellent, any such aid will be of immense value to my people," Thor's calm voice had a slightly different timbre as he nodded.
Rolion smiled at the Asgard, "Once we have completed our mission, you must meet with our healers."
Thor seemed satisfied as he touched a controller on his wrist and a three-dimensional star map appeared. "You are seeking a site for a colony, are you not?"
"We are," confirmed Hermione.
Thor somehow manipulated the star map and it rotated and then highlighted two systems. "Both of these systems have at least one planet that should suit your needs. They are both in systems ignored by the Goa'uld and neither is a part of the gate network."
Harry studied the nearest system, "Neither is populated?"
"Correct, neither has developed intelligent life but do have acceptable levels of biodiversity and would support human populations," explained Thor.
Harry was impressed that Thor was being so helpful, considering they had just met. "Thank you, Thor, we will investigate both systems"
"I will forward the information we hold to you," promised Thor.
Rolion gave Thor a half-bow, "Again we thank you."
Thor then turned to Harry and Hermione, "Are you going to contact you people on Earth?"
Harry shrugged in response, "We are unsure. Our people are insular, and I am not sure if I want to be the one to explain their significance in the greater universe. Under our laws, I could be arrested for exposing our people. The Americans we meet seemed like good people but…well, we need to decide. For now, I am committed to helping the fleet."
"Earth has been threatened on numerous occasions, the SGC has done well to prevail and maintain their secret. I would suggest that there are few others that could be trusted to understanding."
"Are they still using the defences my people left on Earth?" asked Rolion.
"Defences, I was unaware of any Alteran defences being used on Earth," replied Thor.
"The record shows that our defences were left in place. They should still be there even if they lack power," said Rolion.
"Stargate command appear to be unaware of them. Are you going to inform them?" asked Thor.
Harry shook his head and smiled grimly, "I am not sure Thor. It's not the SGC I am worried about. Experience tells me that the politicians will be the problem."
The holographic image of Aressa nodded thoughtfully, "It is good to know that the Asgard and the Nox have survived."
Hermione sat forward, looking at those gathered in the conference room back on Atlantis," The Asgard shared quite a bit of information. They are worried about the Goa'uld. From what I have read so far it seems to match what we recovered from the Goa'uld ship."
The Captain of the Aurora nodded, "It seems to, which is somewhat worrying. These Goa'uld are a concern, despite our technological advantages we would potentially be vastly outnumbered. From what the Asgard have shared with us and from the recovered Goa'uld crystals, it is very clear that they are a rapacious race that sees all others as potential enemies or potential slaves. The records of the Goa'uld whose ship you found seem to clearly indicate that they will covet our technology."
"Can we beat them?" Harry asked the Lantean.
"They fear the Asgard for a reason Harry. They lack the capacity to take Atlantis and they would need a significant disparity of forces to hope to beat the Aurora. And while they have significant forces, the good news is that they demonstrate almost as much belligerence toward their fellow Goa'uld as they do their external foes."
"That's something anyway," said serious looking Roslin. "The more they fight among themselves the less threat they are to us."
"We will look over everything in detail Commander Potter," promised Admiral Adama with a slight smile.
Harry refused to be baited by Adama. Despite Harry being in 'command' of the mission, it was the experienced Rolion that was really leading.
Roslin shot Adama a look before turning back to the crew of the Mercury. "So, your team will be beginning your surveys of the recommended planets?"
"Yes, Madam President, we will," replied Rolion.
Roslin looked pleased, "Good, then we will leave you to it."
The Mercury - Mess
The world Hermione had recorded in her notes as Aurus 3, based on the Asgard designation, had been named New Picon by Rebeka. Like the former Colonial world, nearly seventy percent of its surface is water. Even with that, it was a remarkably diverse world with five continent-sized land masses.
"It is certainly a possibility," mused Hermione as the crew studied the Asgard's data in preparation for their visit. "It has two fairly large polar ice caps."
"It seems the three largest landmasses are along the equator, so fairly temperate as well," added Valeria.
Ajax frowned as he considered the rest of the planets in the system, "Why is nobody interested in it, it seems like a good system to colonise?"
"It lacks many of the resources the Goa'uld desire and it is in unclaimed space," explained Rolion. "And it lacks an Astria Porta."
"Well it certainly seems like a good possibility," agreed Harry. "I think we can log it as one."
"Where to next?" asked Rebeka as she sipped at her tea.
"Are we are still going to contact the Nox?" asked Rolion.
Harry considered for a moment before nodding, "I think it's a good idea. Although, Thor's records did imply that they haven't really interacted with the Asgard all that much since the Alliance broke down."
"They are pacifists are they not?" Valeria asked Rolion.
"I suspect they still are," replied Rolion. "Based on Thor's information, they have survived despite the heavy toll they suffered when the plague ravaged the galaxy. I do find it odd that they seem to have evolved as rather Isolationist. They were once great healers and environmental experts."
Harry stood, "Well, we will hopefully find out soon enough. It's my turn in the control chair so I'll let everyone know when we are on our way."
The Nox's homeworld looked beautiful from orbit.
"We can't detect anything on our scanners?" asked a clearly puzzled Hermione.
Rolion looked over the data carefully, "Well they are quite good at cloaking technology."
"Should we hail them?" asked Harry. "If they are as advanced as we think, I suspect that they will have already detected us."
Hermione gave a little shrug, "Maybe they are waiting for us to initiate contact."
Harry nodded and composed a message in Alteran.
After a moment Harry smiled, "That got a response." He closed his eyes for a moment. "Ah, I'll put it on the screen."
From the control chair, Harry activated the communications monitor and an image appeared. The female, presumably a Nox looked like a slightly built human female. At first glance anyway, despite the initial impression the Nox had a grey cast to their skin but more telling was the grass-like hair.
The Nox blinked and then tilted her head slightly, an odd almost fascinated look on her face. "It seems that the Alterans have returned. It is unexpected…why have you come here?"
"We come seeking the wisdom of our old allies," replied Rolion.
"Your ship is armed," stated the Nox.
"It is," admitted Rolion.
"Do not land, I will come to you if that is acceptable?"
Rolion looked over to Harry, who nodded. "That would be acceptable."
The Astria Porta closed abruptly as the Nox stepped out. She looked about curiously before focusing her attention on the waiting welcoming party.
With a friendly smile, the Nox made a curious gesture, a wave of her hand with her fingers spread wide, "We welcome you back, children of the Ancients. I am Lyra."
Lyra had spoken Alteran, so Harry replied in the same language with a polite smile.
"Welcome aboard Lyra,"
Lyra studied Harry curiously before turning to Hermione. After a few moments of awkward silence, she smiled. "And welcome to you, young mystics."
Seeing Harry's recognition of the Latin word, Hermione caught Harry's eyes and gave a small nod. Yes, she had heard the Latin word for Mystic.
Lyra smiled, "Ah, you had not expected me to notice? Perhaps we will speak before you leave." Turning away from Harry and Hermione she turned her attention to Rolion. "I do not judge, your ways are for you, but I must ask, have your people interfered with these younger races?"
Rolion sighed and shook his head, "Not in the way that I think you imply. Perhaps if we share our story?"
"Very well," replied Lyra.
Rolion, Harry and Hermione shared their stories over the next few hours. Lyra was a very good listener and only asked a few, clarifying questions. As the story reached the present, she sighed and made an odd shrugging gesture. "Ah, well, you were wise to leave…I hope that those you left behind find a better path."
Harry resisted the temptation to speak when he realised that Lyra was talking of the Cylons and the Wraith as much as the remaining Colonials and Lanteans. As Rolion had made abundantly clear, the Nox were pacifists.
"You are seeking our help," stated Lyra in a neutral voice. "For the sake of our old friendship, I will take your pleas to my people."
"Thank you," replied Rolion.
Lyra nodded solemnly and then turned to Harry and Hermione, "It is rare that we meet new friends that share my people's skills. If you are free, might we speak?"
Harry and Hermione and Lyra aft, toward their cabin. Once they entered the Nox looked around in interest before moving to sit on one of the two chairs. Harry and Hermione took the bed.
"Do you know of others with our abilities?" asked Hermione once they were all comfortably seated.
Lyra cocked her head to one side, "Hmm, that is not an easy question to answer. My people are focused on healing and natural cycles. We seek to be a part of nature and so our abilities developed along those paths. You seem more akin to the Furlings and the few Alterans that followed the mystical path. It is difficult for me to know for sure."
"You said you could feel us," Harry reminded Lyra.
Lyra's lips turned up in to a smile, "And I can, you both shine to those with the ability to see it."
"Aressa could sense you were Alteran," mused Hermione.
"Aressa is the ancient you revived? Then yes, as a healer she probably did sense something," confirmed Lyra.
"Are there others out there?" asked Harry.
"Others, besides the Nox?" Lyra asked. When Harry nodded, she shrugged. "The Furlings are gone as were the Alterans until you returned. There are other individuals who seem to have found the same path, but they are few in number."
"Damn, I was hoping that we might find…well, I don't know. Some hint that the Lanteans who returned survived or passed on their knowledge," said Harry.
"It may be that you will be welcome among my people," said Lyra. "Although it will not be so soon. There is much to consider first. But I can see that you need help. What of your people?"
"The wizarding world is, on the whole, not open to new ideas," explained Hermione. "If we went home, I think the powers that be would think we were crazy."
Lyra looked puzzled, "Do your people not know of Stargate Command?"
Harry shrugged, "I don't know, we certainly didn't know about them until we met them on Nova Agricola. We didn't know there was life out here until we came across a buried ship."
"A ship?" prompted Lyra.
Harry explained about the ship they had found and how they had been found by the Colonials.
"Ah, from your description it could be a Furling ship," Explained Lyra. "Perhaps you should ask the Asgard, they may have the means to repair it."
"That does sound like a good idea," agreed Hermione. "Lyra are you able to tell us a little about your people's abilities?"
"Of course, knowledge is to be shared but our ways are not yours. Perhaps I might have answers, or it may be that others will have them," explained Lyra.
Hermione took that as permission to start asking. Harry, thanks to his long association with his girlfriend, was about to settle in for a long session when Valeria's voice came over the comm network.
"Harry can you come to the bridge please."
"If you will excuse me," said Harry as he stood.
"What's happening?" Harry asked Valeria as he walked on to the bridge.
Valeria gestured toward Rolion.
"We have been contacted by General Hammond at Stargate Command. One of his teams has gone missing and he is having trouble contacting any of his off-world allies," explained Rolion.
"Why does he need off-world help, why not use the Astria Porta?" asked Harry.
"It seems the planet's Astria Porta is not functioning, so they are trying to get a ship to find their missing team," explained Rolion. "I have already explained that we have activated our translator program so that you don't have to converse via translators."
Harry resisted the urge to swear, "Glad you thought of that. Ah well, we can't really say no, can we?"
Rolion activated the communication network and almost instantly an image of an older bald man appeared. "General Hammond, this is the leader of our expedition, Harry."
"Thank you for replying so quickly Harry."
Harry waved away the thanks, "Not a problem General Hammond. Rolion told me that you have a missing team, do you have any idea what may have happened?"
"One of my survey teams, SG Eleven, was surveying a planet that was formally a Goa'uld world. They apparently abandoned it several centuries ago based on the ruins they found. They had been reporting that all was well until they missed a scheduled report. We tried to dial the gate, but it would not connect. We have not been able to connect to the gate since," explained Hammond.
"Do you think they have been attacked?" asked Harry.
"It is a possibility," agreed Hammond.
Harry frowned, "General, we are on a survey mission. Fighting a large Goa'uld force might be problematic."
"I am happy to provide you with several armed teams if you need them," offered Hammond.
Harry quickly thought through the pro's and con's of the offer as General Hammond waited patiently. "That might help General."
Hammond looked somewhat relieved by Harry's acceptance of his help, "Thank you, as time is of the essence what would be the best way to get troops to you?"
"We can use the Astria Porta, we have one on our ship."
Hammond agreed and Rolion sent the SGC their gate address.
"Would it be possible for me to meet your crew Harry?" asked Hammond.
Harry studied the older man for a moment, trying to work out why he might want a face to face meeting before deciding to simply ask. "Might I ask why General Hammond?"
"You rescued to of my teams and directly saved at least one life. We owe you Harry and I wanted to thank you personally," replied Hammond with a slight smile. "You may not be an official ally but one of the things we hope to do is make friends."
'Well, he certainly sounds sincere,' thought Harry. "I'm sure that can be arranged General, at your base or on our ship?"
"As much as I would love to see your ship, perhaps here might be best," replied Hammond.
Stargate Command – Briefing Room
"Are we a go Sir?" asked O'Neill as he took a seat at the table. The Colonel had been the last of SG1 to arrive. Carter made a point to not mention the fact that she had seen her team's leader playing solitaire on his computer as she made her way to the meeting.
A pleased looking General Hammond nodded, "They have Colonel. The leader of their expedition, Harry, agreed to helping you get to P3H-826 via the gate on their ship."
A rather dishevelled Jackson looked up from his notes, "Harry, I thought Rolion was their leader."
Hammond ignored Daniels appearance, speculating, correctly that the Archaeologist had puller another all-nighter. "Rolion made it clear that Harry was the expedition leader."
"He did look a bit young for command didn't he Sir?" asked Carter.
"Not every culture has the same bias as ours Sam," pointed out Jackson.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow as he sat forward, "It could be that Rolion is an experienced man and Harry his nominal superior. In my research of Earth's military, such arrangements were not unusual. I believe the phrase is seasoning a green officer."
"That actually makes sense Teal'c," mused O'Neill. "A promising but green Lieutenant being helped along by an experienced Non-Com. A survey mission would be a perfect opportunity."
"Well until we can find out this is just speculation," argued Jackson.
"Doctor Jackson is right," chimed in Hammond. "Colonel, your team needs to be ready to deploy by eleven-hundred. I'm also putting teams three and four on standby."
At precisely 1100 hrs the SGC received a signal from the Mercury. Moments later the Iris retracted, and two young people crossed over the event horizon. Both were dressed in the cream and tan uniforms the SGC were associating with the Mercury's crew. To the SGC personnel, they looked to be in their late teens. The SGC's security team relaxed as General Hammond ordered them to stand down.
Hammond stepped forward to meet the two visitors as the reached the bottom of the ramp. "Welcome to Stargate Command."
Harry smiled politely, offering a slight bow. "It is a pleasure to be here, may I introduce my colleague Hermione."
Hermione was looking around with interest at the gate-room, "Thank you for inviting us."
"Please let me introduce some of my senior staff. You know Colonel O'Neill and his team. I would also like to introduce Doctor Frasier, our Chief Medical Officer."
"It is nice to meet you, Doctor," offered Harry.
"I understand I have you to thank for Captain Warren's survival and swift recovery," said Doctor Frasier with a genuine smile.
"I'm just glad that I could help," replied Hermione.
Doctor Frasier shook her head with a gentle smile, "Don't sell yourself short, you did a fantastic job. Far better than I would have been able to do with our best equipment. I would love an opportunity to discuss your people's medical abilities."
Harry had to hide his amusement at Hermione's sudden blush, "It was my pleasure."
"If it isn't a breach of protocol may I ask how you did it?" asked Frasier.
"Oh, well it isn't technology. A small number of my people can manipulate energy to heal. I don't think that I have the time to go into detail at the moment but if it is permissible we can talk more when we return," replied Hermione. "I might be able to get you a meeting with Aressa, she is an actual healer. I am, well I suppose the closest word is an archeologist, healing was something I picked up as part of my education."
Frasier looked fascinated and poised to ask another question when Hammond cleared his throat.
"If time wasn't such a factor Doctor, I would be asking for some more detailed talks myself. As it is SG1 are prepared to depart."
"Of course, Sir," replied Frasier.
"We'll get them back as quick as we can Doc," interjected O'Neill.
"We don't have a dialling device," explained Hammond. "So, you may need to…"
He trailed off as Hermione handed him a piece of paper, "That is the address General."
"Thank you Hermione, I'll take it to the control room," with a polite smile Hammond left the gate room.
"General Hammond is right, we owe you," said O'Neill.
"We could help," said Harry with a shrug. The sound of the gate dialling had him glancing over his shoulder for a moment before he returned his attention to SG1. "You never know, we might need help someday."
O'Neill was about to say something else but was cut-off by Hermione who was asking Carter how the developed a manual dialling system.
When the wormhole formed, O'Neill gestured for Harry to proceed him. Harry glanced over at Hermione who was deep in conversation with Carter. With a resigned shrug, he walked up the ramp and stepped into the Astria Porta.
From orbit, P3H-826 looked quite like Earth except for the fact that it's two large continents were positioned on the equator. The waters between the two landmasses were dotted with island chains, literally thousands of small islands.
The missing SG team had been surveying several large ruins and an area that had been provisionally identified as a possible mine site. The ruins and the mine site were less than a mile from the Astria Porta or Stargate as the SGC persisted in calling it.
Everyone had been hopeful that communications with the team could be re-established once in orbit, but they hadn't answered yet.
"There is no Astria Porta…Stargate on the planet" announced Hermione from the control chair. "It has a pretty unique energy signature and even if it was buried we would pick it up."
"Damn it," muttered O'Neill. "Where the heck are they?"
"There are no human life signs in the ruins or the mines," added Hermione.
"Sir," began Carter before she was cut-off by Hermione. "A ship just dropped out of Hyperspace and cloaked…wow, badly. Their cloak is pretty average, about the only thing it is doing is blocking the visible spectrum. Here look," Hermione manipulated the view screen until a slightly blurry image of a ship appeared.
"Aw crap, that's an Al'kesh, a Goa'uld ship," warned O'Neill.
A few moments passed, "Have they seen us?" asked Rebeka.
Harry offered a shrug, "We are cloaked, and our cloak is a lot harder to spot, so maybe not."
"Does your ship carry weapons?" asked Teal'c.
Rolion nodded, "We do, but I am not prepared to attack without at least seeking a peaceful resolution. Based on what the Asgard shared with us, we have vastly superior shields and weapons. This Al'kesh is no threat to us."
"And besides, they might be our only link to your missing team," reasoned Hermione.
O'Neill sighed, "It's your ship."
Hermione opened a channel and hailed the Al'kesh, "Goa'uld vessel, this is the Mercury. Please state your intentions."
"Mercury, we are currently holding four injured humans. Something tripped our hyperspace sensor so we came in the hope that you might be able to assist."
"I know that voice, Sir, it's Dad!" exclaimed Carter.
"Can I talk to them?" asked O'Neill.
Hermione adjusted the controls, "There you are Colonel."
"Selmak, this is Jack O'Neill, what the hell is going on?"
"Jack…where did you get the ship?" asked Jacob Carter/Selmak.
"I'll explain later," promised O'Neill. "Why have you got SG11?"
"The short version is that they are all off their heads after being exposed to a native virus spread by insects on the planet below. It's the reason the Goa'uld abandoned their mines there. The Goa'uld and Tok'ra are not susceptible but humans and Jaffa most definitely are. Your team was incredibly lucky that we picked up their distress call. It wasn't repeated as they basically had all been impacted by then. As for the gate, it's in my cargo bay. We didn't want them dialling up and escaping to spread the virus. They should be fine in a few days."
"Why didn't you contact the SGC?" asked Carter.
"Hey Sammy, what do you mean. One of my colleagues contacted the SGC, we've been waiting for you to contact us with a rendezvous."
"Dad, we haven't heard anything."
The Tok'ra was quiet for a long moment, "We might have a problem. This is beginning to smell funny."
"Where is the Tok'ra who sent the message?" asked O'Neill.
"Avish is on-board, he's in the cargo area checking on SG11."
"Looks like you have a problem, Jacob," replied O'Neill.
"Looks like, damn…I don't know that I can take Avish and protect your people." Jacob's voice was hard. "I can't let him get away Jack."
Hermione frowned, "Where in relation to you is this Avish?"
"To whom am I speaking?"
"They are friends Jacob," Jack reassured the Tok'ra agent.
"There are only six of us onboard, I'm alone here the other life signs should be aft," reported Jacob.
"Their shields are minimal Colonel, we could beam everyone one aft of the bridge over or we can send your team to the bridge," explained Hermione.
"Want some help Jacob?" asked O'Neill.
Beaming over SG1 over to the Al'kesh would be easy enough but capturing a Goa'uld spy would be far harder. Complicating matters was the fact that he had four hostages. Beaming the Goa'uld to the Mercury would be a better solution. As he could be scanned for weapons and then stunned on arrival.
O'Neill shook his head, "Let's not risk Jacob or SG11."
Hermione looked over at Harry who nodded, "Put him in the cargo bay."
Rolion picked up a Lantean stunner as Harry short gripped his wand. "We could use some help, Colonel."
A moment later they were in the Cargo Bay. O'Neill watched as Harry and Rolion stood on either side of the cargo bay, "If we don't get him it's your job Colonel," advised Harry.
"We are ready Hermione," reported Harry.
"Transporting," announced Hermione.
A moment later a figure appeared in the middle of the Cargo Bay. Despite his obvious surprise, the suspected Goa'uld managed to avoid Rolion's shot. Straightening he raised his hand…
And was blasted back into the bulkhead by Harry.
O'Neill looked between the two of them, "Okay what the hell was that?"
"A stunner," Harry replied truthfully. "Now Colonel, let's get our new friend secured and we can see to your sick men."
Once the still unconscious Goa'uld was secured Harry and the others returned to the bridge.
"…council will need to be informed. We need to work out what exactly he had access to that he passed to the Goa'uld."
"Well he's locked up tight," said O'Neill once Jacob finished speaking.
"Colonel, as I was telling Sam, I need to report this to the council. I am happy to transfer SG11 to your care."
"I can beam you over if you wish," offered Hermione.
"That would be acceptable," replied Jacob.
A moment later, five flashed of white light faded leaving one standing and four reclining figures.
"I'll move them to our sick bay, Ajax can you please look them over?"
"Yes Ma'am," replied Ajax as he stood and made his way aft.
Four more flashes of white and Jacob was standing by himself. Spotting Sam he stepped over and embraced his daughter. "Good to see you in the flesh Samantha."
Jacob's eyes flashed golden for a moment and then when he spoke his voice was deeper and held an odd reverberation, "The Tok'ra would like to thank you for your intervention."
Harry raised an eyebrow, "So I assume that you are the symbiote, Selmak?"
"Indeed, may I ask where you are from? Your ship is unfamiliar to me."
"My people are Lantean, although when we dwelt in this galaxy we were apparently known now as the Ancients," replied Rolion. The Lantean was keeping to the script. Making sure not to give away Harry and Hermione's secret and helping them avoid a direct lie.
Daniel who had been listening quietly stepped forward, eyes alight with excitement and curiosity. "You are the Anquietas, the gate builders!"
Rolion studied Daniel with a slight smile, "Yes, my people did build the gate network. Although others have expanded on it. You have met the Asgard and the Nox, surely our survival is no less likely."
"I…I…" Daniel trailed off unable to put together a coherent sentence.
"Three large ships have just appeared out of Hyperspace," warned Hermione.
"Do we know who they are?" asked O'Neill.
"Well they sort of look like flying pyramids, so I would say Goa'uld," replied Hermione.
"Ha'taks, it looks like Avish had already warned his buddies," said O'Neill with a grimace.
"Should we just go? We are cloaked…woah, I think they just brought their weapons online!" warned Hermione.
"It is unlikely that they will be able to detect us," said Rolion". "But your ship may well be."
"They are transmitting a message," announced Hermione. "Hang on a moment and I'll play it."
"…you will die now Tok'ra. Die in the name of Ba'al"
Hermione flinched and there was the briefest sensation of movement, "Sorry, had to move, they were firing on Al'kesh…it has been destroyed."
"Damn," muttered Jacob. "That was a good ship."
"They look like they are…yes, they just jumped to hyperspace," confirmed Hermione.
Jacob was rather pale as turned to Harry, "Can I question the prisoner. I have no idea what he has passed on to the Goa'uld." His eyes flashed as Selmak took control. "Jacob is right, time is of the essence. I must speak to my people to warn them."
"You may use our communications equipment. Hermione will be able to help you." offered Harry. As the Tok'ra walked over to Hermione, Harry turned to the others. "I want to check in with Ajax. Then we can send you all home."
"How are they?" Harry asked quietly.
Ajax pulled his gloves off and put them in the waste bin as he shook his head, "I think what they said about the virus is true. It's almost like a very bad cold but with hallucinations. Whatever sedation they used is a lot stronger than Morpha, by my readings they'll be out for a few hours more."
Harry watched as the medic stripped out of his plastic apron, "Is it infectious?"
Ajax looked unhappy as he shrugged, "No idea, but if they were telling the truth then it's a blood-borne virus. They are usually hard to catch without direct fluid transfer or something like an insect bite."
Ajax was smart and good at his job. So, it was unlikely he was either overacting. "Do we need to be worried?"
"Maybe Harry, I know that you and Hermione can heal, but from what Doc Jackson said you can't do much about a virus. Well, I'm a field medic, this is out of my league. I think they need proper medical care."
Harry looked over at the unconscious figures and then back to Ajax. "Okay, so I'll let Colonel O'Neill know that he needs to get these guys back to their base. Thanks, Ajax, and hey, be careful alright."
"Will do Sir," replied Ajax with an only slightly exaggerated salute.
Harry left sickbay to seek out Rolion. He found the Lantean studying an engineering console. "Rolion, I have a question."
"Sure, how can I help," replied Rolion.
"Should we tell the SGC about the defences that were left on Earth?"
Rolion frowned, "Ah, well they are your people, mine too in a way."
"But," added Harry.
"But, the people of Earth are apparently still fighting among themselves and you are worried about it being used for internal conflict."
"Yes, that is pretty much it," said a subdued Harry. "If we give it to the SGC they will report it and then the military will know."
"Is it truly that bad Harry?" asked Rolion.
Harry paused to consider what he knew of Earth's government. He had to admit that his opinion was rather tainted by his experience with the Ministry of Magic. "My little corner of the world was."
"If the Drone launchers and command chair are still on Earth and still in working condition, we might be able to build some protocols in to help in that scenario. However, even if we show them they will need Alteran DNA to operate the Command chair properly," Rolion reminded Harry.
"Which may be present in most magicals," replied Harry with a grimace.
"I want to thank you for your help," said a solemn-faced O'Neill as he watched the four members of SG11 carried in to the cargo bay.
Harry waved off O'Neill's question. "Not a problem Colonel O'Neill."
"You can call me Jack, Harry," O'Neill corrected him with a faint smile.
"You have the thanks of the Tok'ra as well," added Jacob. The Tok'ra agent was travelling home via Earth'e stargate.
Harry waved off their thanks, "It is no problem, Ajax are they ready to go?"
Ajax was frowning as he looked at what Harry assumed were medical charts. "If it is all right Harry can I travel with them? I'd like to hand over to their doctor."
"Will that be a problem?" Harry asked O'Neill.
"No, no problem. I am sure Doctor Frasier would appreciate a handover," added Sam Carter.
"I'll come with you," said Harry.
SGC – Medical Isolation Room
Doctor Janet Frasier looked relieved as she finished removing her facemask and plastic gown. "You were right, it's a virus, a nasty one, but thankfully they are all fighting it off. I'll keep them in isolation until we get the lab work back. However, from what we found on the initial tests, I would say they will make a full recovery in a week or two."
"Will there be any long-term effects?" asked General Hammond.
Janet shook her head, "I won't know until later Sir. It seems to be similar to Japanese encephalitis. I would recommend that make a medical notation about the address. We really don't want people being exposed to this one." She turned to where Ajax was quietly waiting. "We need to thank your crew and the Tok'ra. I wouldn't have liked to have waited too much longer before getting their symptoms managed. Their airways were well on the way to becoming compromised."
"Glad I could help Ma'am," replied Ajax with a smile. "I'm just a field medic Doctor."
"A well trained one. If you don't mind me asking where you a part of treating Captain Warren?"
Ajax grinned, "No Ma'am, that would be Hermione. She's a healer."
"Healer as opposed to Doctor?" Frasier asked somewhat confused. "Is there a difference?"
"Hermione and Aressa have special abilities Ma'am. They can heal serious wounds, trauma injuries and the like. Just like Captain Warren's. I'm really not an expert on their people's abilities Doctor." Ajax looked a little worried at the turn in their conversation.
Frasier held up a hand, "Sorry, I don't mean to push but I'm fascinated and would love to know how they do it."
Ajax suddenly smiled, "I know Doc Cottle, the fleets CMO and Doctor Jackson of the Triton were both pretty keen to see what Hermione could do."
'Why didn't they know?' thought Janet Frasier.
Janet made a point of not asking any more direct questions as she spoke to the young medic. But she would be mentioning her unanswered questions to General Hammond.
Harry sipped at his cup of tea and smiled politely as General Hammond poured his own beverage, coffee in the Generals case.
"I guess that you have questions General," said Harry.
"I do, I have been asked by the President, my commander-in-chief, if you would be willing to hold trade negotiations. I believe that you are aware of our difficulties with the Goa'uld."
Harry considered his answer before replying. "General, let me be frank with you. Right now, we have the grand total of one ship in this galaxy. A science vessel that was sent to survey some of the planets our ancestors once considered as potential colonies. Since arriving, we have only just contacted our historical allies and we are still surveying several worlds. That mission is paramount for us. That being said, we have been briefed by the Asgard on the current situation with the Goa'uld. I understand that earth is racing to get try and level the playing field and I might have something that could help. Unfortunately, I am wary of the political ramifications you will face if I inform you."
Hammond frowned, "Political ramifications?"
"At the least," replied Harry. "General Hammond I believe that you have the best of intentions, but I know that you answer to others."
"I see," replied Hammond in a neutral voice.
Harry had to smile, "But, I also know that there are people, like yourself that will do their best to use this knowledge wisely." With that, he pulled a single data crystal out of his pocket. "I assume Samantha can access the information on this crystal?"
Hammond took the proffered crystal, "I believe that she can Harry. May I ask what is on there?"
"The location of the original defences we built to protect our settlement on Earth."
Hammond's mouth opened and closed a few times as he tried to find something to say.
O'Neill stared incredulously at his Commanding Officer, "Wait, are they saying that they used to live on Earth!?"
"That is what Harry claims Colonel," Hammond assured him.
Jackson looked up from where he was making copious notes. "This could re-write the history of Earth. No, sorry it will re-write our history."
Carter seemed rather interested, "Did he offer anything as proof Sir?"
"The location of an Ancient defence complex. The problem is that is in Antarctica and despite the fact it is in American Territory we have the Antarctica Treaty to worry about," explained Hammond. "I've already contacted the President to see what, if anything we can do."
"Darn," muttered O'Neill.
"I am unfamiliar with the Antarctica Treaty," said Teal'c.
"Among other things, the Antarctic Treaty specifically prohibits military activities," explained Carter.
"Ah, Does the President believe that this difficulty can be overcome?" asked Teal'c.
Hammond shook his head, "Not easily. We could establish a research station above the base but that move has its own risks."
"Would the technology still work?" asked Jackson. "I mean we haven't had any luck with anything else we have of theirs."
Hammond glanced down at his notes. "Harry and his people believe it is possible and even if the power source has failed they have the means to replace it. Apparently, much of the technology is genetically locked. Although it is possible to allow us access."
O'Neill raised an eyebrow, "What's the catch?"
"So far they are only asking for any intelligence we have on current galactic events. They are looking at establishing a colony or colonies and want to know of any potential threats," answered Hammond. "And potentially a flora and fauna exchange."
"It sounds too good to be true," said O'Neill.
"And maybe it's the breakthrough that we have been looking for Colonel," replied Hammond, his expression not inviting his 2IC to interrupt. "SG1, Harry has offered to take you on the Mercury. If you don't trust Harry Colonel there will be a flight waiting for you Peterson at O-Six-Hundred. I'd suggest you pack warm clothes."
"Oh joy," muttered O'Neill quietly.
"So, Rolion can we get to Earth by then?" Harry asked with a grimace. "I hope so otherwise, it means side-along apparating to a place I barely remember."
Rolion laughed, amused at Harry's predicament. "You could have just called ahead and asked and yes, we can. You had better contact the SGC."
"Are we doing the right thing?" asked a worried looking Valeria. "Helping Earth I mean," clarified the Cylon.
"I have my concerns," admitted Hermione. "But, given what we know a fleet of Goa'uld ships could do some serious damage to Earth before their allies could arrive. This at least gives them a fighting chance."
"And based on the specifications Rolion showed us, it can't be moved or easily replicated," added Rebeka.
"Or turned on their own people. I can change the targeting protocols," Rolion assured the others.
"What about the genetic locks?" asked Ajax. "Can't they just change the protocols back?"
"That's a good question," admitted Rolion. "I can remove them but not fully from the control chair. To change it back, well that needs someone with enough of an Alteran genetic fingerprint and the knowledge to operate Alteran systems. So yes, it's possible for the command system to be locked but unlikely."
"We know there are people on Earth with those genes," said Hermione.
Harry grimaced, "And do we want technophobic wizards with access to a drone launcher?"
"Would it only be wizards, I mean wouldn't squibs and some non-magical's have the gene?" Hermione asked thoughtfully. "For all we know, a large proportion of humans might carry the gene."
"But not the knowledge," argued Rolion. "It is not a perfect solution, but it does give us time to get settled."
"I have to admit, it is a lot quicker travelling by Starship than it is by Airforce transport," said Jack as he watched Antarctica grow large in the viewport.
"We will be transporting down shortly," warned Rolion.
"And you are sure that there are no defences we need to worry about?" asked Jack.
Harry smiled reassuringly, "Not that we are aware of Colonel. Hermione and I will accompany you and ensure that the facility is safe and to replace the power source if it is required. Once we know it's condition, we can also make the changes we need so that you can operate the systems. Rolion will be able to pull us out if anything goes wrong."
By the time SG1 had their gear together Harry and Hermione were waiting beside the transporter console. Harry was carrying a leather satchel but otherwise, they simply wore their uniforms.
"Ready?" asked Rolion.
O'Neill looked to his teammates, who nodded, "I guess we are."
In a flash of white light, the six found themselves in a dark room. Before any of SG1 could find and activate a torch, Harry said something under his breath and held his hand up. His light source showed a room, with a control chair on a slightly raised dais.
Moving quickly, Hermione went and sat in the chair. A moment later lights switched on and several monitors around the walls flickered to life.
"The Potentia is at zero-point-six percent," reported Hermione. "Most systems are offline. We'll have to replace it Harry."
"Okay, can I have some light please," asked Harry as he took his bag off his shoulder.
SG1 used hand-held torches to light up the edge of the dais as a section of it rose up from the floor. "Ready Hermione."
As the lights went out, Harry mover quickly replacing the drained Potentia with the Mercury's spare. As he finished the Potentia sand back into the floor. Almost immediately the lights came back on and various consoles around the room activated.
"We good?" asked O'Neill.
Hermione spent a few moments looking through files before nodding. "Some systems are off-line. I'm running diagnostics, but it looks like the automated repair function should be enough, now that it has power. I'm just going to look at the protocols that Rolion recommended."
"Protocols?" asked Carter.
Hermione gestured for Carter to come over to the control chair. "We need to make changes to the security protocols so that humans can use the systems here. If you like Samantha I can show you how the targeting will work."
O'Neill, Jackson and Teal'c took the opportunity to explore the facility while Harry stood watch over Hermione.
General Hammond was feeling rather relieved as he placed the Ancient communicator back on his desk.
Jack and more importantly Sam, had sounded rather excited when they reported that the Ancient's weapon would soon be in working order.
Based on what Harry had told them they would have sensors capable of scanning almost a quarter of the Milky Way galaxy and a formidable weapon to protect Earth. It was a huge win and a major game changer. It was also a political nightmare and entirely possible of causing a major falling out with some very valuable political allies.
Picking up his direct line to the White House, General Hammond prepared to report to his Commander-in-Chief. No doubt he, or some of the (in the know) Joint Chiefs would have to begin planning for a permanent Antarctic base. The SGC would no doubt be supplying personnel to help and that brought its own issues.
"Unscheduled off-world activation!"
Walter Harriman's oft-spoken warning had General Hammond moving quickly to the Gate Control Room.
"What is happening?" Hammond asked Harriman as he looked out at the closed Iris and active gate.
"It's the Tok'ra sir, General Carter," replied Harriman. "We just received his GDO code."
"Open the Iris."
"It's good to see you again George," said Jacob as sat opposite Hammond. "Although I suspect you are wondering why I'm here."
"I did want to speak to you about SG1's retrieval of SG11," replied Hammond. "You left pretty quickly, understandably."
Jacob smiled, "Well officially I'm here to discuss that mission. Unofficially, I'm here to also ask about your newest allies."
Hammond's expression grew guarded.
Jacob sighed, "George, this is important if they are truly Ancients and they are returning to the Milky Way then it could represent a major, no the major shift in power throughout the galaxy. The Goa'uld fear the Asgard thanks to their technological might and the Asgard were far less advanced the Ancients. If they return in force it will mean war with the Goa'uld…and the Tok'ra feel they might go down with the Goa'uld. We need to speak to them, George."
Hammond kept his expression neutral as he absorbed the Tok'ra agent's words. He made what sounded like a fair point. The trouble was that despite their shared experiences, General Jacob Carter (Ret) no longer had the same priorities as his former comrades.
"I'll see what I can do Jacob," promised Hammond.
"Well I'm calling this one a win," said Jack O'Neill to Teal'c as he watched Hermione walk Sam Carter through the panels used for scanning and targeting. Hermione seemed capable and Carter was in her element.
Daniel looked up from where he was studying a sketch of the ancient writing he had encountered around the outpost. "When are we heading back Jack?"
"I guess after we secure the site and General Hammond gets some men here. Although, I can't see how anyone else could find this place," replied O'Neill.
"The base would be all but impossible to find without the help of the Ancients," added Teal'c.
"Yeah, we owe them one. I'd like to have them around for some steak, good old-fashioned cook-up," he smiled and shrugged. "Ah well, for now, that might have to be a feed in the SGC."
O'Neill turned to Carter who was packing up her laptop. "I think we have everything we need. The base is mostly automated and Hermoine believes that they can help set a link up at the SGC that will allow us to control the systems onsite."
"Good work, so we can go?" O'Neill asked.
Stargate Command - Conference Room
"On behalf of Earth, we would like to thank you for your help so far."
Harry and Hermione nodded politely as General Hammond finished speaking. The SGC was really playing the VIP card. No doubt to highlight just how thankful they were for a defence system that could protect Earth.
A few moments Two stewards began serving plates of sandwiches and pots of tea and coffee.
"Please join us for some refreshments before we walk through some of the points the President and the Joint Chiefs have made," said Hammond.
"I'd love a tea," said Hermione softly.
"I'll get you one," said Harry with a smile as he walked over to the buffet table.
"So not too boring?" O'Neill asked Harry as he poured Hermione a tea.
Harry gave the Colonel a small shrug, "It's necessary."
O'Neill had to agree, it was necessary and very much worth it.
Before he could comment, there was a commotion outside the door before it swung open to admit a U.S Airforce Colonel in Dress Blues. He was followed by four Airmen, armed Airmen.
"What is the meaning of this Colonel?" demanded Hammond as he moved to intercept the intruder.
"I'm here on order from General Cole of the National Intelligence Department to have the two aliens transported to Nellis Air Force Base for debriefing," explained the newly arrived Colonel as he extended a hand holding an envelope to General Hammond.
Hammond took the envelope, opened it and read the letter inside. Once he finished he looked coldly at the Colonel. "I assume you are Colonel Simmons?"
"Yes Sir," replied Simmons.
"Well Colonel, I am afraid that I am going to have to check the authenticity of these orders," said Hammond as he studied the Colonel.
"Sir, with all due respect, General Cole…" He was cut-off by Hammond's raised hand. "Is not in my chain of command. And given that these orders are diametrically opposed by the orders I was given by the Joint Chiefs and the President, I think you may have been given bad advice Colonel."
Colonel Simmon's eyes narrowed, "I see, very well Sir I have no choice but to wait until my orders are confirmed. Until then Sir, I must insist that they are held in secure quarters…we don't want a repeat of the Tollan incident do we Sir."
Hammond straightened and glared at the junior officer, "Watch your tone with me, Colonel. I will assign VIP quarters until this mess is worked out. Is that understood Colonel?"
Simmons looked like he had bitten into a lemon as he and his men moved toward the door. "You leave me no choice but to act on the orders of General Cole. He was concerned that you would let Alien's access the Earth-based weapons platform and you have…and now you are having quite the…celebration." He twisted his wrist and a silver sphere dropped into his hand.
Hammond charged forward looking furious as he seemed to swell in size, "I…"
The Colonel stepped back toward the doorway looking the throw the silver sphere when it zipped out of his hands and into Harry's.
"I don't think so," muttered Harry.
With everybody's eyes on Simmon's, most missed his companions bringing weapons out from under their BDU, jackets. However, the moment they raised them the trained soldiers in the room burst into action.
Unluckily for the man nearest to Teal'c that meant he was thrown into a wall. The second had his feet kicked out from underneath him by O'Neill. As he fell, the Colonel disabled him with a blow to the back of the head. The third and fourth opened fire.
Harry stunned Simmons and was turning his wand on to the third man when he fired. Harry dived out of the way, leaving General Hammond to take the full brunt of the weapons hit along with one of the stewards.
Hermione had shielded herself when Harry had summoned the silver ball, realising that it was some sort of attack. Unfortunately, that meant that she was facing the wrong way when she was shot by the fourth NID agent.
Unaware of Hermione's fall, Harry's wand shot into his hand as he raised a shield to defend himself and moved to take down the NID men. His first spell, an overpowered stunner, blasted the third off his feet.
Amid the chaos in the room, the last managed to get off two shots, one dropping Samantha Carter as she charged him. The other clipping Daniel Jackson before O'Neill and Teal'c had him disarmed and unconscious of the floor.
A moment later, six armed Airmen burst through the door.
Hermione woke up with a blinding headache.
She turned her head and squinted at a grim-faced Harry who was sitting beside her before taking in the room. Given the beds and the fact that she could make out Doctor Frasier approaching she assumed she was in the SGC's hospital.
"Harry, what happened?"
If anything, Harry's expression became grimmer. "The SGC had an unexpected visitor from another Government department call the NID. They apparently wanted us to be debriefed at their base. Then when Hammond said no, they attacked. While you and the others have been recovering, Colonel O'Neill has been in charge. He's fairly bloody pissed and has even been on the phone to the President."
"I can see you are still worried," said Hermione.
"Rolion wanted to come down," explained Harry. "To protest our treatment if nothing else but I asked him not to. If things go bad, it would be giving them another hostage."
Hermione was frowning now, "Are we still in danger?"
Harry hesitated and then shook his head, "No, I think the…what did O'Neill call it? Ah yes, the Turf war is over for now. He said the President has contacted General Cole of whoever it was that issued the orders."
At the sound of someone clearing their throat, they both turned to see a serious looking General Hammond flanked by Colonel O'Neill.
"Hermione how are you feeling?" asked Hammond. Politely enough that he probably meant it.
"A bit of a smashing headache, but it's passing. And how are you General Hammond? I understand you were shot as well," Hermione politely pointed out.
"Sadly, it is not the first time I've been stunned. While there are some minor side effects to being shot once, being hit twice is fatal. Before I go any further, I would like to thank you both for your assistance." Hammond smiled and then gestured to O'Neill. "Colonel O'Neill has secured the base, so we should not have any more incidents."
"Are these sort of inter-departmental rivalries usual?" Hermione asked.
"No, but I will admit that the NID has been a thorn in our side. On that note, the President and the Joint Chiefs, our military leaders, have investigated General Cole. The General and several of his key staff have disappeared but we found enough evidence to clear the President of having given any orders."
Harry grimaced, thinking about the Ministry and how they had been infiltrated by Voldemort's thugs. "Please tell the President that we appreciate his prompt actions."
Hermione's eyes were shining with pride. Despite all that, she and Harry had endured. Despite the atrocious behaviour of those in power, he still managed to hold on to his temper and remain diplomatic.
"I shall," replied Hammond. "If you are up to it, the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General John Ryan would like to thank you both, personally. The Joint Chiefs have been worried, as have I, about defending Earth. Your help has given us the means to protect ourselves. He will be here at eighteen hundred hours if you are willing to meet with him."
Hermione and Harry shared a look, "We would be honoured. But do you mind if we ask Rolion to bring us some clean clothes."
"You know what George, I envy you…this command. I should have thrown my hat in the ring," General John Ryan smiled and nodded as Hammond passed him a cup of black coffee. "I've been stuck dealing with appropriation committees and acting as an advisor on some things in Europe that are so damn serious that I'm missing those meetings I used to complain about."
"What's happening in Europe?" Hammond asked curiously. He hadn't been told of any issues.
Ryan winced, "A missing VIP, a war hero and a political mess. I can't say too much more. It's above top secret, code word stuff." He rolled his eyes. "No names, no descriptions of the people involved. So if there is a leak, well we limit the amount people can find out. I was never an intelligence officer so all this cloak and dagger stuff drives me a bit nuts. I'd like something like this command." Ryan smiled. "So want my job?"
Hammond shook his head, smiling wistfully. "This was meant to be nothing more than shutting down the Stargate program, my last assignment before retirement."
Ryan fell silent, the price of command was that you rarely held it for more than a few years. Just as you got it working to your liking it was time to hand over the reins to the next man. "Well I'll be honest George, you've done a commendable job here. Your people have pulled our iron out of the fire more than once and I know you are shortlisted for the Joint Chiefs. To be honest, there's a good chance that the President will ask you to stay on here. This platform in the Antarctic, the return of the Ancients and all the political shifts. We need our best man here and that's you. Now, tell me about our two ancients. I got the briefing as I flew in but with this latest incident, I'd like to know how you think things will go."
Hammond reflected on the incident, a reflection that had him frowning, "The NID certainly did their best to sour our relationship."
Ryan leaned forward looking concerned, "Are they still willing to work with us?"
"They seem to be," Hammond reassured his superior. "I know it's early days yet, but they have certainly given us far more than we have given them."
"We know, the President has been pushing for ideas. One that I think might send the right message is an offer of material help with their new colony. Logistical if nothing else," explained Ryan.
"That might work," mused Hammond. "They haven't said much but I get the impression that the search for a colony was important. I am not an expert, but I would have thought that you would have a location before sending the colonists."
"Which means that there could be something they want to leave behind. That is an interesting twist. Well if the relationship continues to develop, hopefully, we'll find out," said Ryan before sipping his coffee. "Damn, that's good George!"
"Doctor Jackson gets it for me from an independent roaster in Colorado Springs. It's a damn sight better than what we got back in the day," explained Hammond with a rather nostalgic smile.
"True, I'll have to get the brand before I head back," replied Ryan.
The two Generals chatted as they finished their drinks. Then made their way toward the adjoining conference room.
Once everyone, bar their VIP's were seated, Sgt Harriman stuck his head in the door, "They are on their way now Sir."
Hammond saw Harry and Hermione enter and was about to introduce them when he saw General Ryan pale, "Jesus H Christ, you are Harry Potter!"
Harry and Hermione smiled politely as they walked in, nodding to their escort as he stopped outside the conference room. General Hammond was with another man in a similar uniform…who looked like he had seen a ghost.
"Jesus H Christ, you are Harry Potter!"
Hammond looked to his superior officer and old friend, "John…sir?"
General Ryan seemed to gather his wits, "General Hammond, I need you to clear the room. Everyone but our guests…and George, make sure every camera and recording device is switched off. Everything, understood? Once it is done please let us know."
Hammond nodded and ordered everyone out.
Once the room was cleared Ryan cleared his throat. "Once I know all the recording equipment is off, we need to talk."
That sat silently until General Hammond himself reappeared to inform that all the recording equipment was off. Ryan nodded and then dismissed a worried looking Hammond.
"Right Mister Potter and I assume Miss Granger?"
A rather shocked Hermione nodded slowly.
"What in the name of God is going on?"
Harry grimaced, "You're a wizard?"
Ryan shook his head, "No, I'm a Mundane but I've been read in because of my work. What is going on, is this a Magical issue?"
Harry looked to Hermione who gave a small nod. They had been worried that they might have been put in a situation where they would have to come clean. So soon and to a senior Military officer had not been something they had really discussed.
'But we should have,' Harry berated himself silently. "It is a long story General Ryan."
"Given your involvement and the implications, well I think I need to hear it, don't you son?"
Harry considered, just for a moment, apparating out. But dismissed the idea.
"Well General, it all started at an archeological dig…"
"What do you suppose is happening?" asked O'Neill. "They've been in there for nearly three hours!"
"No idea Sir," replied Carter.
"Great," groused O'Neill.
"How could General Ryan have known Harry?" asked Daniel.
"That is an interesting question, Daniel. I mean how could he, we didn't even know Harry had a last name," Carter looked thoughtful. "I could do some research, Sir."
"Good thinking Carter, we…" he trailed off as the door opened and General Ryan stuck his head out.
"Colonel, can you please get General Hammond here ASAP and we'll need some food and a pot of coffee…and tea."
Less than three minutes later, General Hammond appeared, closely followed by three stewards.
"Come in George, ah refreshments. Bring them in and then we'll get restarted."
Hammond waited until the stewards had left before speaking, "Sir, may I ask what is happening?"
Ryan nodded, "You can ask George, but I am afraid that there are circumstances that prohibit a detailed answer. In short, I have confirmed Harry and Hermione's desire to help the SGC and by extension, Earth improve their defences. Their people, the Alteran, have a dilemma that requires some…discretion. So let me be clear that only you and SG1 may be briefed in. You and they will be acting as our liaison's as the Alterans and those under their protection re-establish themselves."
"Those under their protection?" questioned Hammond.
Ryan looked to Harry, who began explaining. "General Hammond, the Alteran people have been absent from this galaxy for a long time and most of our people will not be returning. We do, however, have a refugee fleet that we are assisting. They are humans from what you call the Pegasus galaxy who lost a war. As part of our commitment to them, we are attempting to resettle them safely in this galaxy."
"That explains why you are surveying worlds," said Hammond. "But why not tell us?"
"To be honest General, the refugee fleet has lived through events that have reduced their population from a pre-war twenty-six Billion to a tiny fraction of that. When you talk of trust, I have to balance that against their lives," Harry explained. "We will, of course, help Earth and it's allies but we want you to understand that we have previous commitment to establish the refugees."
Hammond accepted the information without comment before turning to Ryan. "Will we receive a full briefing?"
Ryan shook his head, "George, I will need to get permission to brief you more fully and despite the importance of this, it may not be given. This is Presidential level eyes only and while I have been briefed, I can't brief you without authorisation."
Hammond had to admit that Ryan had little choice but to comply with his orders.
"I think it is worth enquiring," said Hermione.
Ryan turned to stare at her, "It may not be possible Ma'am."
"If we are to work with them, there is a chance they will work it out. Better that they are told and understand the situation than find out and mention it to the wrong person," explained Hermione.
Ryan sighed, "I can ask Miss Granger, but if the answer is no, then we will have to abide by the statute. I'll need to use your direct line George."
Hammond looked confused, "With respect Sir, what statute are we referring to?"
"I can't tell you that George, not without the President's approval." With that, Ryan disappeared into Hammond's office.
Hammond sat watching Harry and Hermione but not speaking. Eventually after a quarter of an hour had passed, he cleared his throat. "I assume you are bound by this statute as well?"
"Yes we are General Hammond," confirmed Harry. "And we are equally bound to silence unless special dispensation is given."
Hammond did not look pleased as he accepted their answer with a nod. The Commander of the SGC sat back and waited, realising that answers were not going to be given."
Just over Forty minutes later Ryan was back.
"The President has contacted the President of MACUSA and explained the situation. Apparently Mister Potter your name carries a great deal of weight this side of the pond. The President and representatives of MACUSA and the ICW will be here shortly." Hammond watched curiously as Ryan removed his Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge and placed it on the floor.
"The President is coming here?" asked Hammond, surprised by Ryan's seemingly odd behaviour. "And if I may Sir, what is MACUSA?"
There was a flash of white light and three people appeared in Hammond's office. The first had him leaping to his feet as he recognised the President. His Commander-in-Chief was accompanied by a sharply dressed middle-aged woman and a rather oddly dressed elderly man…seemingly wearing a gown.
Hammond found it hard to articulate his next question, "Mister President…I how?"
President Thomas Garret smiled reassuringly, "It's alright General, I'm sure you have questions. We'll do our best to answer them."
The woman stepped forward shaking her head, "You seem to have a penchant for finding trouble, Mister Potter."
Seeing that Harry did not seem to recognise her, the woman smiled. "You have no idea who I am, well I'm sure Miss Granger can fill you in on the detail later." She turned to President Garret and the others. "Willard, be a dear and raise a privacy shield will you."
"Yes Ma'am," replied the older man. To Hammond's surprise, he pulled out a wooden stick and gestured. For a moment there was a flicker of coloured light and then the room was normal once more.
President Garret smiled politely, "General Hammond may I introduce my counterpart, President Sophie Roper of MACUAS and Ambassador Willard Dean of the ICW."
Hammond looked around unsure where to even begin.
President Garret gestured toward the chairs, "General you will need to take a seat. But first, I believe that General Ryan mentioned that you wanted SG1 briefed in. Perhaps you should get them here, I haven't got too long before people wonder where I am, and sure as hell, you'll need me here to verify what you've heard."
Colonel O'Neill started when General Hammond suddenly appeared in the doorway, "Sir, what…"
"Not now Colonel, get your team together and into the conference room."
O'Neill didn't even make a quip, he knew the look on his CO's face. "I'll get them moving Sir."
President Garret waited until everyone was seated. He had been thinking about how best to do this since General Ryan had first reported.
"What I'm about to share with you is one of the worlds most tightly kept secrets. There is a secret world of individuals with special abilities that have lived hidden beside the rest of society. From what we can determine they are the direct descendants of the Ancients and share many of their abilities. Harry and Hermione are members of that community. They managed to activate a device that transported them to the Pegasus Galaxy and as a result have managed to make contact with a fleet of refugees and the surviving remnants of the Alteran people. Any misinformation they may have used was in the process of obeying the laws of their people. President Roper and Ambassador Dean represent that community at an American and an international level."
Doctor Jackson looked gobsmacked, "There are Ancients living on Earth, in America?"
"And in all this time they haven't thought to help us out?" O'Neill's tone had Garret wincing.
"Your President has given you a rather simplistic explanation of our community," said Roper with a tight, forced smile. "The separation happened in 1692 Colonel, as a direct result of increasing attacks on our people. Does the Salem witch trials ring any bells?"
"If I may Ma'am?" Dean asked politely.
Roper looked contrite for a moment before nodding, "Of course, Willard."
Dean was quiet for a moment, seemingly considering those in the room. "There are many reasons, some sensible and some less so for the separation of our worlds. The ICW, the body I represent, is international and has been reconsidering this sensitive issue. And that sensitivity is, to many of our people, just as justified today as it was in the past.
Our community is in many ways backward, Oh we have access to power and abilities that others lack but we have all but eschewed all but the most simple technology. Our last large interaction was during World War Two and we only became involved in that because one of our people was assisting Hitler. Recently in the United Kingdom, another rogue tried to start a war, he was stopped by a group led by Mister Potter and Miss Granger. To many in our community, they are heroes whose disappearance was causing ripples through our world."
Dean smiled rather ruefully, "Some of my colleagues will now find themselves in a rather difficult position. Indeed the leadership of the ICW has been hoist with their own petard. They have insisted that any further changes demanded proof of a need. I would say these revelations constitute that proof. The fact that it was Harry Potter that has uncovered these truths will be met with a great deal of interest. I don't doubt that the debate on the floor of the ICW will be vigorous."
"May I ask what ICW stands for?" asked Carter.
Roper sighed and exchanged a look with Dean, "I am President Sophie Roper of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, which is generally shortened to MACUSA. We are the magical body in charge of governing the wizarding population of the United States of America. The ICW is the International Confederation of Wizards, similar to your United Nations."
O'Neill snorted in disbelief, "Wizards…really you expect us to believe that…"
A moment later, Colonel O'Neill's place at the table was being filled by a donkey, which immediately started braying.
"What…what the hell just happened?" demanded Hammond a he shot to his feet.
Carter's mouth was opening and closing as she tried to find something to say.
Jackson looked fascinated as he reached out to touch O'Neill.
Teal'c stared and then raised an eyebrow.
"Really Sophie, a donkey?" Dean sounded somewhere between exasperated and annoyed.
Roper grinned, "I've found an object lesson is often helpful."
President Garret was smiling, "I believe I was transformed into a rabbit when I expressed disbelief."
"Is…is that Colonel O'Neill?" asked Hammond.
"Oh yes, currently he's a donkey but Colonel O'Neill is in there somewhere," explained Roper.
"I'm sure you've made your point," suggested Dean.
Roper gestured, with a stick and Colonel O'Neill reappeared.
O'Neill patted himself down before looking up, "Was I just a donkey?"
"Indeed," confirmed Teal'c. "That was most impressive President Roper. I have never seen such technology."
Roper smiled, seemingly amused. "No technology, just the ability to manipulate energy in a way that is called Magic by our people."
"And you, Mister Potter can do this?" asked Hammond.
"Yes General Hammond, I can. Although we were not allowed to discuss it with you. So we omitted some of the facts," admitted Harry.
"Which was exactly what our laws insist they do," added Dean with a smile for Harry and Hermione.
"Normally," explained Roper, "we would not have announced our presence, save to those aware of our existence. But General Ryan's message was not something we could ignore. So I had Willard, our representative at the ICW call an emergency session of the inner council to seek clarity. As a result of that meeting, we have been given special dispensation to reveal the magical world to you, but only you. Harry and Hermione will act as our representatives and as your team will be their liaisons to your command and your President. Mister Potter, Miss Granger, are you willing to work with the SGC and serve as the ICW's representatives while we determine our next steps?"
Harry looked to Hermione who nodded, "I believe that we can…but, well I am not the most popular person with the British Ministry."
"We are not that popular," added Hermione as she took Harry's hand, offering her support.
Dean sighed, "We are aware of your problems with your Ministry. Given that the inner council does not, currently, have a British representative we have not felt the need to inform them of either your return or your representation of the ICW's interests."
Roper snorted, "Your new Minister is an improvement but Fudge set the bar so low that a concussed Gnome would have been an improvement. If you want, I'll throw in US citizenship. If they find out, we'll tell them to butt out."
Harry grinned, "Fair enough, although I can't speak for Hermione."
Hermione chewed her bottom lip, "I…I think that it would be good to have some protection, in case the Ministry does something stupid. Madam President, I do have to contact Gringott's, I am an employee and I am not sure if I've breached my contract. I also would like to contact my parents. They deserve to know I'm alright."
"I'll contact Gringott's and let them know that you were incommunicado and that the ICW has requested your help. I'm sure a reasonable sum of gold would ensure you don't suffer any legal entanglements. As for your parents, as they are No-Mag," Roper turned to look at her counterpart.
"I will ensure that they are contacted. Miss Granger," President Garret assured her.
"We can get them here if you wish to talk to them face to face. We have a former ambassador who now lives in England. A Portkey could be quickly arranged," offered Dean.
A suddenly tearful Hermione nodded, "That would be wonderful, thank you."
Dean smiled reassuringly, "I'll organise it immediately."
"Does this mean that you will help the refugees?" asked Harry.
Roper smiled, "Mister Potter that is why we have appointed you both. I am sure you have resources and friends who could assist you. After all, as ICW rep's you will need appropriate staff."
Hammond looked somewhat lost, "And our role in this will be what?"
President Garret cleared his throat, "General Hammond, I am hereby acknowledging and accepting the diplomatic credentials of Mister Potter and Miss Granger as ambassadors of the Alteran people. As such, I am assigning SG1 as the diplomatic team dealing with the Alteran's. This is an important and codeword protected diplomatic program. Am I understood General?"
"Yes Mister President," replied Hammond.
President Garret turned to Roper and Dean, "Does that meet your requirements Sophie, Willard?"
"Absolutely, Mister President…now we've ticked off all the political crap, I've got to ask Harry, really how do you get yourself into these situations?"
Atlantis – Intergalactic Space
Aressa glanced over at the current occupant of the command chair, Lera Trebal, before turning back to Admiral Adama, Roslin and the gathered commanding officers of the fleet.
"We are on schedule and the Aurora is keeping pace with us," she paused as the officers took a moment to absorb that their journey was underway. "We have also managed to get confirmation of what happened with the Tria." That bit of information had the room immediately paying attention. "Captain Tal?"
Loras Tal smiled and stepped forward, "We have successfully located the Tria. It is on a trajectory toward the Avalon galaxy. But, it is travelling at a fraction of its top speed. In fact, it is travelling at 99.9% the speed of light. I believe that something must have happened to the engines shortly after they left Pegasus. We've calculated that in the ten thousand years since my people left Pegasus, the Tria would be approximately at its current location, travelling at its current speed."
"Ten Thousand Years…is it even possible they are still alive?" asked Roslin.
"Madam President, due to relativity they have only experienced a few years and so yes, there is every likelihood that the crew are alive," explained Loras.
"Do we know anything about her Captain?" asked Admiral Adama.
"Our records show that the Tria was under command of a Captain Lyna Helia. I met her once when she was the First Officer of another ship. She seemed to be a competent officer," explained Loras as he activated a holographic emitter. "This is the official image of her."
The room stared at the three-dimensional image of a stern-looking woman with long curly blonde hair.
"Will she accept our arrangement?" asked Roslin.
Loras inclined his head, acknowledging the question. "Madam President, I would like to believe that all of my people would accept the necessity of our alliance. Both your and own own situation makes it necessary. But regardless, I have seniority and with Aressa as the civilian leader…Well, I can't see how she could object."
"So we are still scheduled to approach her with the Aurora?" asked Lee Adama.
"I think it would be best," replied Loras.
Bridge of the Aurora Class Ship – Tria
Captain Helia turned to look at her sensor operator, "It is what?"
"An Aurora class ship…it just appeared on our sensors," reported the junior officer serving at the sensor station.
"Could sensors be wrong?" Helia asked, trying to control her surging hope.
"No Captain, it is…the ship has opened subspace communications," reported the officer. His voice catching slightly as he sought to maintain his demeanour.
"Let me see it," ordered Helia.
A moment later the image of an older man in Lantean fleet uniform appeared.
"Greetings, it is good to see you again Captain Helia."
Helia gaped, staring at the image in shock, "Captain Tal…I…how?"
Tal smiled, "Captain, that is a long story. Are you able to decelerate your ship?"
"Yes, we can Sir," replied Helia.
"Then begin Captain, we can start repairs once we have brought the Tria to a halt," added Loras. "Can I ask how your crew is Captain?"
Helia straightened, "We lost two hundred and six crewmen," she reported sadly. "A hundred and four survivors."
Loras nodded sadly, "You have done well Captain. It's up to us to make sure we don't lose any more."
Helia smiled, her eyes glistening, "Yes Sir."