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 but without our hyperdrive, we will be unable to make it back to a friendly system," replied Helia.
"We have brought Atlantis with us. Begin your deceleration Captain, we can start repairs once we have brought the Tria to a halt," added Loras. "Can I ask how your crew is?"
Helia straightened, "We lost two hundred and six crewmen," she reported sadly. "A hundred and four survivors."
Loras nodded sadly, clearly her news was not unexpected if unwelcome, "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."
Admiral Adama had to mentally pinch himself as he stood with President Roslin, Elosha, Holy Mother Rand and three Quorum representatives. Fleeing blindly from the Colonies seemed like a lifetime ago.
"Admiral, we have contact with the Aurora," reported Commander Tigh as he lowered the communicator. "Captain Tal is bringing across the Tria's commanding officer on one of their shuttles."
"Thank you, Commander," replied Adama. "Can we have the guard of honour standing by."
"On it Sir," replied Tigh before he turned to gesture to Colonel Sparta.
Moments later the honour guard were in position, standing easy, waiting on the order to come to attention.
"Let's hope that the new arrivals adopt the same attitude as Aressa and Captain Tal," Roslin commented quietly, just loudly enough for those near her to hear.
"So far the Alterans have been nothing if not understanding of our situation. Which speaks of their ethics and compassion," said Elosha with quiet conviction. "Will Aressa be joining us?"
"She's on her way," replied Adama. "She was getting resources in place for the Tria."
"Here we go, Sir," announced Tigh as the shuttle descended.
The shuttle landed and the rear hatch opened to reveal Captain Tal and a middle-aged blond woman.
The honour guard came to attention and the official welcome began.
Atlantis - Reception Room
"An amazing story Madam President," said Captain Helia with a seemingly genuine smile. "I can see, councilwoman Aressa, why you have thrown open Atlantis."
Aressa smiled back and gave the Captain a nod of acknowledgement. "Given that they rescued me first and that two of our modern descendants were a part of the fleet…well, it seemed an obvious course."
Helia frowned, "I don't mean to imply that you should not have. Given both our people's situation, it makes sense that we rebuild together. My only concern would be that our technology could be dangerous in the wrong hands. From what I can see, the right choices have been made."
Roslin smiled sadly, "None of us really have a choice, do we?"
"No, we don't," agreed Holy Mother Rand. "But our peoples have survived, and I don't doubt for a moment that together we can achieve great things."
Adama nodded, acknowledging her words. "We have a lot of work to do."
"Very true, first on the agenda is the upcoming Quorum meeting…."
Aressa stepped up to the crewman from the Tria, who nodded. She gently touched his face and concentrated. Letting her knowledge of Caprican and English flow into the Lantean's mind. After a few moments, she let the connection ebb.
Aressa felt a moment of weariness but dismissed it, she could rest later. "How do you feel?"
"That was an interesting experience," replied the crewman as he rubbed at his temples. "I have read of the technique but had not experienced it myself, despite my abilities."
Aressa smiled wryly, "I'm sure it is Juvian, Do you think you will be able to complete the transfer with others?"
Juvian slowly nodded, "I believe so, we need to find out quickly I believe."
Aressa had looked through the Lantean crew lists, looking for those with the potential to use the abilities needed. Even among the Lanteans, there were few with the ability, but she had found two with the potential. One in her initial search of the Aurora and one, Juvian from the Tria.
"Well, it is something that will help your crewmates interact with the Colonials."
After Juvian had left to rest, Aressa sat and closed her eyes. Although she was bone tired, she still had tasks she had to complete, all vital. She really could use more help.
The Quorum Chamber Atlantis
President Roslin hesitated and took a deep breath as she approached the entrance to the Quorum's new chamber on Atlantis.
The Quorum meeting was proceeding as expected. The various committees were reporting on their projects and then the meeting moved on to question time.
President Roslin was looking at her notes as her sometime ally Sarah Porter stood to address the representatives. The perusal of her notes ground to a halt at Porter's words.
"Madam President, fellow representatives, I move for a vote to conduct general elections for a new legislative assembly."
Roslin started to speak, but her words were lost in the sudden cacophony of voices.
Porter slapped her hand on the table, "If I am permitted to finish?" The noise lowered slightly. "This administration was one that came into being due to the attack on our people orchestrated by the Cylon One. I think we can all agree that the situation has changed dramatically."
The Quorum members were starting to listen now. "And while I have not always agreed with President Roslin…I must admit that she has done an admirable job. However, it does not change the facts. The situation has changed for the better. We are no longer a ragtag fleet of ships barely surviving. Thanks to a miraculous series of interventions, the bravery of our warriors, the help of new allies and steadfast leadership we are now a society on the brink of a historic rebirth And yet, for that to truly bear fruit, we need to re-establish proper government. We need bodies to oversee the functions of government. The Quorum was never designed to rule directly and as we build and activate infrastructure, establish the rule of law, develop our medical capabilities and countless other things this body it will soon be clear that twelve of us will…not…be…adequate. We need to recognise that and act accordingly by electing a government, not a President. So, I move a vote to hold a legislative election."
As Roslin tried not to react, all around the room people began to speak.
Presidential Office - Atlantis
Roslin turned to look at her aides, "Do I have the numbers?"
There was a moment of silence and then Billy Keikeya cleared his throat. "To win a vote to block the motion…no Madam President. But do we want to?"
Roslin held up her hand, "What are you suggesting Billy?"
Billy sat up, squaring his shoulders. "Sarah Porter is not your enemy, Ma'am. Her suggestion is not a bad one, nor do I believe that it is aimed at you. We have elections on our own agenda, and this would just bring them forward. As for needing governmental structures…well, I tend to agree. We do need to rebuild those mechanisms. If we support Porter's motion, we may well gain some of her supporters as well."
Her economics adviser, Wallace Gray, ran a hand through his thinning hair, "You might be on to something Billy. We have recreated an executive branch but with no legislative branch, we have no way to form a proper cabinet. We could just appoint people to office or establish committees, but…"
"But that will look like I am a dictator," added Roslin with some heat. "Okay, so if we do this, and I am not convinced it is a workable idea, how do we proceed? I will not incite political infighting and risk the safety of the people we are meant to serve."
"The Colonial legislature was bicameral for a reason, two separate houses to ensure the people were well represented," argued Gray. "We can…well, we can use the same nomination process but change the numbers to match the number of Colonial citizens eligible to vote. Say a thousand signatures to nominate a candidate?"
Roslin looked thoughtful before grimacing. "I need to speak to Porter."
Not surprisingly Sarah Porter was easily found and quite willing to meet the president.
"President Roslin," offered Porter as she entered, followed by seven other Quorum representatives. It was a surprising group, Miksa Burian, Arden Sol, Perah Enyeto, Oswyn Eriku and Robin Wenutu. All, save Oswyn, were women and they were not natural allies, in that they often disagreed about policy. They were, however, people that seemed to be working in the best interests of those they represented.
"I see you have brought a delegation with you, Sarah," said Roslin in a mild tone of voice.
Sarah nodded, "I have madam President. Although I am not the spokeswoman. We are coming to you as individual representatives of the Quorum to reinforce our desire for elections."
"I see," replied Roslin neutrally.
Miksa Burian smiled, amused. "Don't look so worried Laura. We may not always see eye to eye, but I respect what you've managed to do amid the chaos. This last month has been, well it's been eye-opening. The Cylon civil war, the priest and priestess who led us to the ancients…well, I don't think anyone could have managed these situations any better than you have. You've kept the military inline and held the fleet together. But we need more. Atlantis has been a revelation and we have a real opportunity to rebuild and I'll be damned if I'll allow it to be pissed away by political infighting." The Aquarian representative had always been rather amicable but passionate about her people. Roslin knew she had been an artist before the fall of the Colonies and involved in the rather relaxed political system on Aquaria.
Robin Wenutu of Canceron adjusted her glasses as she shot Miksa a quelling look, "Miksa is right. You've done your best, but we need to rebuild our government. There are too many big decisions to be made. The Cylons for one."
"The Cylons?" Roslin prompted, carefully. Wenutu had not been one of the outspoken representatives calling for the Cylons to go their own way but neither had she been supporting those that spoke of reconciliation.
Wenutu straightened, pushing her shoulders back. "I may not ever forgive them for their actions…how could I? My dead daughters and my grandchildren that never got the chance to live haunts me. But we must focus on the living. The Cylons were victims too and we have a chance here to stop this from ever happening again. If we want to capitalise on the opportunities here, we need the right tools of state."
Oswyn Eriku placed a gentle, supporting hand on his colleagues' shoulder. "Robin is right. I attended the Cylons religious service with Priestess Elosha and found it quite moving. I believe that they want to help. My wife just had a new treatment for her liver disease in the hospital that the Lanteans and the Cylons helped to build. I can't see any other course but reconciliation. My son was returned to me by the Cylons…alive, thank the gods." Oswyn made no move to wipe away the tears in his eyes. "And he held my three-year-old granddaughter's hand as he walked off their transport. We must act, Madam President. I believe that their desire to work with us is sincere."
Porter cleared her throat, clearly moved by her colleague's words. "We are suggesting an alliance. That we form a political alliance…we will support your initiatives and back candidates we believe will work with us."
Roslin could see Wallace Gray and Billy nodding.
With a nod Roslin stood and offered Porter her hand, "Then I believe that we do, indeed, have a great deal to discuss."
Doctor Sherman Cottle glared at the illuminated no smoking sign above his new office door. He had no desire to receive another lecture about the new hospital's non-smoking policy. If he needed a smoke, he would have to leave the hospital and go to one of the 'open' park areas…or return to his old office on the Galactica. Still, he had to admit that the new office was…better wasn't a good enough word. It looked like a high-tech office in one of the best hospitals planetside.
He had access to, frankly, mind-blowing diagnostic and treatment options to mention the healing abilities of Aressa. He had been concerned when Hermione left but Aressa was, if anything, more qualified than Hermione. If not, in her own words, quite as powerful.
A monitor on his desk pinged and he looked down to see a reminder. By force of habit, he checked his watch. Yes, it was time for his Ante-Natal clinic. Standing he pulled on his white coat and grabbed his Stethoscope. The door hissed open as he walked toward it and he walked briskly toward the clinic doors, pausing only to nod toward Miss Herron, his new civilian secretary.
Less than two minutes later he strolled into the clinic and was handed a data pad by Nurse Sashon, "Thank you Sashon, how many?"
"Twelve Doctor,' replied Sashon with a smile for her irascible boss. "Including two new patients."
"Two, right well that is good. I will see new patients first. They've had their blood work done?"
Sashon nodded, tapping on the screen attached to the wall. "I've forwarded to them to you Doctor."
Cottle rolled his eyes, he knew better than to even unintentionally question Sashon's skill at managing both her patients and her doctor. "Good, anything I need to know?"
Sashon paused and then gestured to the far side of the waiting room. He looked up and spotted his Cylon Medic Simon taking quietly to his wife Giana. He turned back to Sashon and raised an eyebrow.
Sashon nodded slowly, "I confirmed the blood work and the MSU test. It all looks normal and the diagnostic scan says six weeks."
Cottle paused for a moment, then shrugged, "Well that's a bloody surprise…I'd best see them first."
When Giana's name was called, Simon helped Giana to her feet and then led her into the examination room.
"Giana, Simon come in," said Cottle as he held the door open.
"Doctor," acknowledged Simon as he pulled out a seat for his wife.
"Doctor Cottle," said Giana with a worried smile.
Cottle took a seat, "Where's Jemmey today?"
"She's in school today," replied Giana. "We haven't said anything yet."
"Ah, good…so, I am sure that you are aware that you are pregnant. The scan you had earlier with Sashon estimates six weeks," reported Cottle with a faint smile. "Everything looks normal Giana. Congratulations."
"Normal…." whispered Giana as her hand went to her stomach.
Cottle looked at his pad as he nodded reassuringly, "As far as we can determine."
The normally stoic Simon looked stunned. "When we did the test, I wasn't sure."
Cottle never really knew how people would react to news of a pregnancy. It was clear that this couple, regardless of their backgrounds were going to be on the happy side of the spectrum. "I'll put you on folate and Sashon can get you into the system. I think, for now, that we'll proceed with weekly appointments."
Simon raised an eyebrow at the frequency
Cottle quickly moved to reassure the Medic, "I'm just being cautious Simon. As far as we know this is only the second-ever Cylon-Human hybrid."
Simon nodded and he and Giana were handed over to Sashon to get their prescription and the ante-natal packs.
His next patients were both well known to him.
Nora Farmer and Tucker Clellan. It looked like they too were around the five-week mark. He smirked at his datapad; it looks like Farmer had been busy on her enforced period of bed rest.
"Hey Doc," said Clellan as he and Farmer entered.
"Tucker, Nora…well this is a surprise," he said with a wry smile.
"For me too," agreed Farmer with a smile. "I thought I was unwell. I nearly fainted when Sashon said I was pregnant. I'm only just overdue for my period."
Cottle mock scowled at Clellan, "Bed rest Tucker." The scowl fell away as he smiled. "Well, congratulations."
He went through the need for Folate and sent them out to make their ante-natal appointments. This one he had to report. All flight-capable female pilots that were pregnant had to be reported. What, in civilian life, would have been a privacy breach was normal for military women. Admiral Adama would be both annoyed and no doubt happy for his officers.
With a glance down, he checked his next patient file.
Atlantis – Cylon Church
Holy Mother Rand's smile was broad as she took Giana's hand. "It is wonderful news Giana, but it is up to you if you want to share it."
"Won't…people want to know?" Giana's voice was almost a whisper as Simon gently took her other hand.
"I'm sure Doctor Jackson would be interested as he is treating Sharon. Simon's brothers and sisters will be stunned. For us it is a miracle," explained Rand.
"They will, children have been a dream for so long," Simon reassured her. "But it is up to you. It is early days yet so we can hold off telling anyone."
"I suggest that you think about it, over the next few days. There is no rush," added Rand. "Now, will you both stay for the evening service?"
Colonial News Network
"The Quorum has voted, resulting in an eight to four majority vote supporting a legislative election. This news is rather surprising given that the President had always maintained that she would hold off on elections…."
"That's true but a proposal was tabled by the Quorum and on reflection, President Roslin put it to the vote," explained Playa.
"But…we'll I suppose that explains the short notice and not drawing it out. The electoral procedures are, I understand, fairly standard, Playa?"
"They are and that too was addressed by the Quorum. Minimum numbers to form a party and a secret ballot. Ha, it's nice to see that someone got rid of the Caprican collages system….hmmm simple majority. This will be very interesting, I can't wait for the platforms," nobody could possibly miss the excitement in the journalist's voice. "I wonder if we'll see a pro-Cylon party?"
Commander Tigh nearly choked on his caf, "What the….you can't be serious!"
A grinning Starbuck handed Tigh the pamphlet she had found on the Ready Room noticeboard.
"Frak, has the Admiral seen this?" Tigh demanded as he resisted the urge to tear the damn thing up. "Who put it up?"
Starbuck shrugged, "Who knows Sir, maybe Boomer?"
Tigh opened his mouth, paused and sighed as he reconsidered. He looked back down at the pamphlet. "A religious coalition…with the damn Cylons. The religious nutters are going to riot."
Starbuck looked thoughtful as she sipped her own caf. "I don't know about that. I went with Boomer and the Chief to their church. There were more than a few people there and Rand had them all nodding. Even Priestess Elosha was there, Frak gave a speech and all."
Tigh was past reacting…now he was thinking. Thanks to Sparta and his games there had been a lot of talk making the rounds about the 'loyal/good Cylons'. Their First Hybrid had certainly made sure that a large number of people were less likely to want all the Cylons dead or gone. You saw a lot of them walking around Atlantis, helping with repairs, working on infrastructure projects…quietly making sure people didn't see individual Cylons as a threat….well, frak.
"I'll let the Admiral know," said Tigh. "Starbuck, can you get Helo and Boomer up here…and good work, showing me this."
Starbuck raised an eyebrow, "I think she's on duty at the moment."
The crews of the Colonial ships were mostly on detached duty onboard Atlantis with the Battlestars and many of the civilian ships being manned by skeleton crews conducting repairs. Galactica even had a group of Lantean engineers onboard looking the Old Girl over for a possible refit. A new power plant and shields for a start.
"Good, get moving Starbuck" ordered Tigh.
Roslin had to force herself not to react.
"How many signatures on the party nomination, Billy?"
"Six Thousand Four Hundred and twelve," repeated Billy.
Roslin surprised everyone by bursting out into unrestrained laughter. It took her nearly two minutes to compose herself. "Well, that shows how much our analysis is worth."
"We could…" Wallace Grey trailed off as Roslin waved off his suggestion.
"We won't, no, we can't ask for an investigation. It makes us look petty," explained Roslin. "So, the second biggest party will, based on nominations, be the Religious Coalition, interesting. Given that we only have a week, how is this going to fly with the fleet?"
Billy looked down at his notes, "Based on informal polling…Madam President, I think we might be looking at four distinct parties. The religious coalition, the conservatives, our block, assuming they co-operate and the pro-separation party."
Roslin nodded, "Which was is it going?"
Billy looked uncomfortable as he answered, "Too early to have anything solid but so far, based on what we know, we could have a friendly majority."
Gray winced, "That seems rather presumptuous at this point Billy."
Billy shrugged, "I said it's early…"
"Enough people," said Roslin as she stood. "We know what we need to do. Billy set up meetings with Porter and her allies. I'm already meeting with Lacy and Elosha today."
Atlantis – Repair Dock
Helia frowned as she studied the detailed scans of the Galactica. The Colonial ships were primitive but even with their technological limitations, they were still an impressive design. Simple, modular and geared toward toughness. However, they would be facing ships with shields and energy weapons. To survive the fleet needed it's defensive and offensive capability increased and to do that it would need a new power source. Lantean technology could solve that…but it wouldn't be easy. Retrofitting was the answer, but would this be something the Colonials were open to exploring?
The technology was dated but effective. Indeed, their FTL systems were an interesting concept. Limited by their sensor technology, of course, still it would be interesting to look at the possibilities when tied to Lantean sensors and power sources.
A cleared throat behind her revealed a Colonial with a…yes, a meal on a tray and a steaming cup. Given the rationing on the Tria, the savoury smell of the food was very enticing. A meal would be welcome and then she could head to the next briefing. The Colonial Admiral Adama would be there and it might afford her the opportunity to discuss her thoughts with him.
"Retrofitting is a rather interesting option. It has its problems, of course, but the benefits would be huge," agreed Baltar as he studied Helia's proposal. "How solid are these projections?"
"Fairly solid Doctor, our technology will allow us to fabricate the materials fairly quickly," explained Helia.
Admiral Adama was still carefully looking over the specifications as he cleared his throat. "And this would not require major structural changes to our ships, Captain?"
"They should not Admiral," replied Helia. "At least for the Battlestars. Their modular design means that the process is a lot less complicated. As for your Vipers and Raptors, I have several engineers looking at what could be done."
Adama relaxed as he looked up from the briefing notes, "I will speak to my command staff and assign several of our best engineers to work with you. Thank you for the briefing," he smiled at the Lantean. "I think I can honestly say that I'm sold."
Hermione's reunion with her parents had been quickly arranged and given that they were the parents of a witch (and a war-hero) the ICW didn't consider that the statue of secrecy was at risk. Given the ICW's ongoing frustration with the doings of the British Ministry they didn't even bother with notifying them, instead, two ICW Hit Wizards in Muggle attire, arrived at the Granger's home just after 6 pm and left, via Portkey less than ten minutes later.
Harry had left Hermione to have a private reunion with her parents. He could see the emotion on her face as soon as her parents had walked into the room. She deserved some uninterrupted family time.
Exiting the VIP meeting room, he nearly collided with Colonel O'Neill.
O'Neill stepped to the side and nodded, "Ambassador Potter." The Colonel's smug expression and sarcastic tone had Harry rolling his eyes.
"Good morning Colonel," Harry studied the bland grey corridor, looking left and then right with a frown. "Perhaps you could direct me to the mess hall?"
"Of course, Ambassador, if you would come this way," he gestured to the right.
"Thanks, how long until we reconvene?" Harry asked as he fell in beside O'Neill
"I believe that General Hammond mentioned an afternoon briefing. The President, sorry Presidents had to clear their schedules so that they could attend," explained O'Neill. "Your name certainly had some pull with the powers that be."
Harry turned to O'Neill, "Colonel, I apologise for the deception, but I was abiding by the laws of my people."
O'Neill slowly nodded, "I can respect that. So…magic, how is that working for you?"
Harry shrugged, "It has its moments."
"How about we grab something to eat and you can tell me about it," suggested O'Neill.
The Grangers were still in a state of shock when Harry returned an hour later.
"Harry!" exclaimed Jane Granger before pulling him to a hug. As soon as he was released, her husband David shook his hand. Harry had grown quite friendly with the Granger's since the end of the war.
"Good to see you both safe," said David with a faint smile. "We were worried you two had eloped."
The twin admonishments of "David!" and "Dad!" overlapped.
David Granger laughed and held his hands up in surrender. "Well maybe not that, although Hermione tells us that you two have grown closer. We'll have a pint later and have a talk eh lad."
Harry laughed, not entirely comfortably, "Absolutely Mister Granger."
David and Jane sat on the small lounge in the room while Hermione and Harry took the two single chairs. After they were seated David cleared his throat, "Hermione's caught us up on what I am sure is a rather abridged version of your adventures. And, we have got a…ah briefing coming up soon with the President." David shook his head and smiled, "Can't believe that I'm meeting two Presidents today. Anyway, after the meeting would it be possible to see the Mercury?"
"I don't see why not," replied Harry as Hermione nodded her agreement.
Rolion met them as the Gangers and Harry arrived onboard.
"Welcome aboard," greeted Rolion as soon as the Grangers stopped looking around in surprise.
David cleared his throat, "Yes…um yes, David Granger and this is my wife, Jane."
"I am Rolion Seb," said the Lantean with a smile and a polite nod. "The others are in the Mess waiting."
"Thanks, Rolion," replied Hermione. "Mum, Dad, it's this way."
Hermione and Harry led her parents to the small mess room. Both elder Grangers were looking around with a great deal of interest as they followed along.
The others were indeed waiting. Rebeka jumped to her feet and almost stood to attention as soon as she spotted the Grangers. "Harry, Hermione welcome back. These must be your parents. It's a pleasure to meet you Ma'am, Sir."
Ajax stood and walked over to stand beside Rebeka. "Likewise, Miss Granger is a credit to you both."
Valeria Six smiled as Hermione's cheeks coloured, "Hermione and Harry have been instrumental in helping our peoples."
"Um, perhaps some introductions?" suggested a rather amused Jane Granger.
Hermione quickly introduced the others and the Valeria gestured to the small table. "Rebeka has made tea. Perhaps we would be more comfortable if we were seated."
It did indeed help. Soon the Grangers were chatting with the Mercury's crew.
Jane was asking Rebeka about her job as David spoke with Valeria and Ajax. Hermione was listening and occasionally adding detail. Harry took the opportunity to give Rolion a report of the meeting with the Presidents.
"So, it went well, and we have a potential alliance?" Rolion asked as Harry finished.
Harry shrugged, "They seem legitimate. The ICW is certainly pulling out all the stops."
"They are the international body that oversees your people?" Rolion asked, seeking confirmation.
Harry nodded, "They are."
Rolion kept his voice low, "You implied that they might not welcome these events. Do we need to be concerned?"
"I'm not sure…I don't want to be paranoid because I haven't really dealt with the ICW or Americans. I'm not sure what they want, but I do remember that we were taught that the American Ministry is a lot stricter about interacting with non-Magicals." Harry gestured toward the Grangers, "Helping them get out of Britain seems a bit out of character."
Rolion frowned, "Could it be political manoeuvring?"
"Knowing the Wizarding world, probably. But I'm not going to waste time trying to figure it out. We need to get back to the fleet and report. It's great that the ICW wants to help but our first step should be getting everyone to safety," replied Harry.
"We have room on the ship for Hermione's parents," offered Rolion. "I understand that they have medical backgrounds, skills that the fleet needs even with your abilities."
Harry frowned as he considered Rolion's words. It was true that the fleet had a need for qualified medical staff. He had heard Hermione talk about it often enough. The trouble was that the fleet wasn't without its dangers. "I'll ask Hermione what she wants to do. I expect that her parents will stay the night."
"As to reporting to the fleet. I agree," acknowledged Rolion. "Although the Goa'uld were an unforeseen problem. From what we have been told, their ships might not be a threat to Atlantis. I'm not discounting the warning and given their nature, we will, without doubt, be at risk of attack."
Harry had to nod, Rolion was spot on. "The good news is that the Asgard, Nox and Earth are going to provide aid. That's a win."
Laughter had both men turning back to the group.
"We should join them," suggested Harry.
The evening was certainly eye-opening for the Grangers.
They were both fascinated by Valeria Six. The concept of artificial intelligence was not new on Earth. Nor was the idea of a humanoid android. What excited their curiosity was their belief that Valeria was neither.
"You're a clone, Valeria," explained Jane. "The silicate pathways and the ability to interact with your computers are…well, they are more fantastically complicated implants than anything that would be in an android."
David nodded along as his wife spoke. "I think Hermione's diagnostic spell proved that you are close enough to human for it to work. And your pregnant sister means that you are biologically similar enough to have a child."
Valeria looked stunned.
Ajax, who had been listening intently, cleared his throat. "I read a paper on cloning when I was being trained. There was research being conducted on cloning organs to help people who needed a transplant. It sounds like these outsider Cylons simply took it to another level." The medic shook his head, his expression worried. "I think what you are saying makes sense, David. I'd just be careful who you say it to. There are a lot of idiots in the fleet."
Valeria recovered from her surprise as the medic spoke. "I think that it is something we need to have proper discussions about. Holy Mother Rand recently gave a sermon about our nature. I think she would like a neutral party's thoughts on the matter."
"We would be happy to speak with her," replied Jane with a smile.
Later, in the small cabin Harry and Hermione would be sharing with her parents, Harry and the David were sharing a cup of tea. Hermione and her mother were still talking to Rolion about the logistics of stocking emergency supplies for the fleet.
Leaving the two men to talk.
Harry had somewhat nervously made the tea and sat on the bunk opposite David.
"You are looking a bit peaky Harry…relax. I'm not going to take your head off."
Harry smiled ruefully, "I'll admit I am a bit nervous."
"A big war hero like you?" David asked with a grin.
"Well I am now your daughter's boyfriend," replied Harry.
David stared at him for a few moments before smiling. "You and Hermione were best friends at school." The smile faded as he continued. "You survived dangers…no, horrors that I still have nightmares about. Ron aside, we honestly thought you two would have hooked up at some point. Now, the whole alien fleet thing we didn't count on. But I am still glad that you are with her Harry. You two have stuck together through thick and thin. That builds strong relationships."
Harry could feel the emotion in David's words. "Thank you, Mr…David."
The two men shared a look and Harry relaxed, just a bit.
Harry was silent for a few moments as he sipped his tea, "So, what happened after we disappeared?"
Harry was less than impressed as David revealed their ongoing issues with the Wizarding World. Apparently, they had been questioned by Aurors three times. Then the Daily Prophet had run a story on his and Hermione's disappearance that alluded to bad blood between Hermione and her parents. The Minister had made denials, but the damage had been done. Their dental practice had been burnt to the ground in suspicious circumstances and the Aurors had been unable or perhaps unwilling to find those responsible. The Grangers entreaties to the Metropolitan police service had 'somehow' been ignored.
"We know the Aurors got to them and then we got a letter from the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes telling us to cease and desist causing them problems," reported David. "Hermione was upset, thinking that her absence was to blame. We don't blame her by the way, there are idiots and bigots in every society, and we refuse to be victims."
"Still, I'm sorry it happened, David. I know how much the practice meant for you," offered Harry.
David shrugged then smiled in what looked like genuine amusement. "Nobody was hurt, and we eventually got a nice payout. Jane and I were considering our options as we waited for you two to turn up. Now…I'm an astronaut."
Harry laughed, amused as David sat up straighter and offered a Boy Scout salute. "That's one for my old Scout leader. Told me I needed to be more adventurous."
Both men shared a laugh as the door swung open admitting Hermione and Jane.
Jane smiled brightly, "I see you two are having a grand time…oh, tea! Is there any left?"
"I'll get some more," replied Harry as he stood and made his way to the mess.
When he returned with two mugs and a steaming pot, the three Granger's were studying an image of Atlantis on the small display mounted on the wall. Harry poured two cups and served the ladies as their conversation continued.
"…Truly amazing Hermione. The Ancient's certainly built to last. And the entire fleet is now using the city?" Jane asked as took a sip of her tea.
Hermione explained the situation in more detail. Filling in the gaps from her earlier, simplified explanations. As she spoke of the Colonial refugees and the situation on Atlantis, her parents shared a look.
Jane cleared her throat, "You know we could help, Hermione. With the practice gone…"
Hermione shook her head, "It's dangerous, we were not exaggerating about that."
"We know, Hermione. But what type of people would we be if we didn't help?" David asked in reply. "Besides…I think your mother would stow away if you tried to leave her behind."
Jane rolled her eyes, "So says the man with an attic full of Star Wars toys!"
"Collectables!" protested David indignantly.
Jane pointed her fingers at her husband, "Pew…pew, take that Darth Vader."
Hermione giggled at her father's embarrassment.
David adopted a gleeful expression as he pointed at his wife, "That's an interesting reference from someone who claims never to have seen the films."
Harry, who hadn't seen the films either, cleared his throat. "Are you two really considering coming?"
David was grinning like an idiot as he took a seat on the bridge. "I can't believe that we are going to another planet."
"Perhaps several," suggested Rolion with a smile for the excited David.
"We've got nearly two weeks until Atlantis arrives with the fleet. The Asgard provided us with fairly detailed charts but a survey of the planets they have suggested is still required," explained Valeria from her spot next to Jane. The two of them looked to be getting on quite well.
"I remember my first trip," added Rebeka with a sad smile at the memory. "My parents took me to Virgon for the holidays."
"Are we ready?" asked Rolion from the command chair.
The next two weeks were rather interesting as they surveyed two of the most promising planets. The expanded crew undertook several visits, for samples, as well as conducting detailed orbital scans. On the last day of the survey mission, the crew were woken by Harry as a ship dropped out of Hyperspace at the outskirts of the system.
"Do we know who it is?" asked Hermione.
"According to the Asgard database it is Hebridan," reported Harry. "And it is suffering from quite severe damage. In fact, they have just lost power. Hold on…it looks like they are trying to restore power to their key systems. I am trying to get through to them now."
"Are they friendly?" Ajax asked as he studied the data Harry was displaying on the screen.
"Yes, they are…hold on…I'm trying to transport them," Harry's eyes closed as he concentrated on operating the Mercury's systems.
"I'll go and prep for casualties," said Ajax as he stood.
"We'll help," said David as he and Jane stood to join Ajax.
Hermione stood as well, "I'll go in case it's bad."
"Damn it," cursed Harry. "I've lost one of the life signs."
Hermione pulled her wand as three figures appeared in a flash of white light. Two were dragging a third figure.
As they realised that they were no longer on their ship, one of the new arrivals, a human appearing woman, looked around in shock. Seeing Ajax approaching with his hands raised, she straightened and said something to her non-human companion. Who lowered their injured crewmate to the deck.
Ajax gestured to the injured alien, hopeful that they would understand he wanted to treat their crewmate.
The woman spoke again, and her alien crewmate stepped back from the motionless figure.
Ajax and Hermione moved forward quickly.
Ajax was silent and grim-faced as he took in the burns and the massive gash across the chest of the fallen man. "He's badly burnt…I'd say second degree if not third and that gash may," he peeled back a bit of the strange flight coveralls with tweezers. "No, will need to be debrided before it is closed."
Hermione didn't hesitate, raising her voice so that Harry could hear she called out orders. "Rolion, take over from Harry. Harry, I need a translation spell. Mum, Dad can you check the others. Kit's are in the white box."
Short gripping her wand she quickly cast a healing spell designed to sterilize a wound. Then she began clearing away the burnt material around the now bleeding gash. "Ajax, start getting those burnt areas exposed but first spray the cut with Epidimene…"
The next ten minutes were frantic as Hermione and Ajax worked to treat the injured man.
Captain La'el Montrose had honestly thought that her time was up when her damaged ship lost main power in an explosion right after they were forced to drop out of hyperspace. Kurlos and Harrid had both been badly burnt and both she and Larton had barely managed to get Kurlos clear when all hell broke loose.
Then there was a bright white light and she was somewhere else.
Luckily, they appeared friendly.
Kurlos was being treated and both she and Larton were safe for now. She knew, without being told, that the absence of Harrid was not good news. Eventually, an older woman approached them carrying a white container. She must be a medic, thought La'el as she nodded. After receiving a small nod, she allowed the woman to examine her. Taking the opportunity, she tried all the six languages she knew to no avail. The language barrier was presenting problems but the actions of her new 'friends' were clearly non-hostile, so very unlikely to be Goa'uld.
After the older woman had seen to her cuts and checked her eyes, maybe for a concussion, she was replaced by a younger man who, for some unknown reason, pointed a stick at her. He spoke a few words and then suddenly she could understand him.
"…hope this works. Can you understand me?"
La'el stared at him for a moment before nodding, "Um, how did you do that?"
The man smiled, "Special skill. So how are you feeling, any pain?"
She shook her head, "No, I'm good. I'm Captain Montrose, La'el Montrose of Hebridan. This is my first officer Larton. You doctor is working on Kurlos."
The man nodded, "Thank you, I'm Harry…I'll introduce you to everyone in a minute. But first I wanted to check if we need to leave the area. Were you in combat?"
La'el grimaced, "The Goa'uld attacked our convoy. The area of space we were in is usually pretty safe…well, it was. I saw one of the cargo-carriers hulled and the military escort ship nearly destroyed. The Convoy commander ordered us to scatter. I'm not sure who else made it."
"Then I had better let the others know. But first, I'm sorry to say we lost one of the signals when we transported you off your ship."
La'el sighed as she felt a wave of loss, Harrid had been with her for years. "Thank you for trying and for saving my crew."
The man Harry nodded, giving her a sad smile. "I'll go and let the others know. Please ask if you need anything."
An hour later, she and her two crewmates were treated to a decent meal as the pilot, Rolion, tried to contact Hebridan.
The Hebridian authorities were quite co-operative. Sending a military ship to pick up the rescued crew.
"We thank your crew for the rescue of our people," said the Captain of the Hebridian frigate. "May I ask where you are from?"
"My people recently entered this region of space. We are currently looking to establish a colony," explained Rolion. "The presence of the Goa'uld is a rather worrying sign if they have their eyes on this system."
The Hebridian Captain frowned thoughtfully, "I suspect that it was an attack of opportunity. The Goa'uld are a threat to all but mostly they stay clear of worlds that have proven that they can fight back. That doesn't stop them attacking our ships when they have the advantage. We've sent ships to the area to help any survivors," he paused and shook his head sadly. "It is unlikely that they left any alive but there is always hope."
Harry shared a look with Hermione, who nodded. He straightened and returned his focus to the Captain. "Is there anything that we can do to help?"
"Despite our status as a survey vessel, the Mercury is well able to defend itself, Captain," explained Rolion. "And we have medical facilities."
The Captain smiled, "I thank you for the offer, but you really have done enough. We are in your debt already as your assistance saved several of our citizens."
Harry accepted the Captains words with a nod, "Then we will continue with our mission, safe travels Captain."
Once the Hebridians had left, everyone gathered in the Mess.
"Well this system looks less attractive," said Valeria from her seat next to Rebeka.
"I think we should head to our rendezvous," suggested Harry. "We have the data to consider and the fleet needs a destination."
Harry looked around the others, seeing nods. "So, we are agreed?"
Hermione then turned to her parents, "Mum, Dad, we can take you home if you want."
"Jane and I will go with you. If for no other reason than to get a better idea of the current medical situation in the fleet so that we can see what is needed," explained David.
"And I would like to spend some time with you and Harry," added Jane.
Atlantis – Meeting Room
Admiral Adama looked over the status reports as he waited for the others who formed the executive briefing to arrive. It was very encouraging reading and there were days when he wanted to pinch himself just to make sure he wasn't dreaming.
All the civilians were now safely relocated aboard Atlantis. A feat that was overshadowed by the rebirth of many of the things that made up their civilisation. The hospital was open. There was food being grown, non-military goods were being produced. Clothing, shoes and the like were starting to appear as some of the machinery on Atlantis was repaired. An economy was reforming, and lives were returning to something like normalcy. There was, of course, a long way to go. It would be months before things were fully operational, but the changes were a good start.
Added to that, the fleet was in an excellent position. Weeks of drydock had seen the Colonial warships at nearly 100% operational readiness. The crews were well-rested, downtime for them meant that they were no longer operating on the 'red-line'. Many having their first consecutive days of stand-down since the fall of the Colonies.
It was incredibly strange to be sitting in extra-galactic space onboard a city that was older than their civilisation. They were safe, for now, and it was time for his people to make some decisions. Tomorrow, they were scheduled to make their final Hyperspace trip, less than an hour, to the rendezvous with the Mercury.
Adama turned to see President Roslin's aide, Billy Keikeya.
"The President wanted me to inform you that she is running a few minutes late. The media contingent was waiting for her as she left her office," explained Billy with an apologetic look. "The elections are still a hot topic."
Adama waved off the apology, "Take a seat Mister Keikeya."
The aide looked a bit hesitant before nodding and slipping into his usual seat next to the Presidents.
Adama gathered his papers, "How did last night's Quorum meeting go?"
Billy looked somewhat startled to be asked his opinion and took a moment to answer. "Um…well, I think. The President was pleased that we got through the candidate nomination process without any major problems."
Adama was about to ask about the nominations when the doors opened again to reveal Aressa, President Roslin and his son.
Roslin smiled as she came in and sat, "Sorry Bill, I was delayed and then Aressa came with an update from the Mercury mission."
"A new report?" Adama asked.
"A check-in, they are set to make the rendezvous and they have sent their full report. It looks like an interesting read," said Aressa with a smile. "They have certainly exceeded any expectations I held for the mission."
Apollo handed out several folders of printed materials. "We have a summary sheet on top."
The next few minutes were quite as everyone save Aressa studied the reports.
Admiral Adama felt a surge of relief as he read through the summary sheet and then the attached report and the images that came with it.
They had been a disparate mixed crew and they had included two of the fleet's biggest assets. It had been a risk, but they had needed the intelligence on the proposed destination desperately. It had been a gamble with the safety of everyone in the fleet as the stakes.
And they had apparently done themselves proud. Two systems that met their parameters and valuable alliances that might be the salvation of their people. Removing his glasses, he massaged his temples as he felt an almost tangible sense of relief. His job had, for far too long, been seeking the best course among a sea of terrible options. Now…now they were on the cusp of safety and security.
"This is amazing," whispered Roslin. "They've actually done it."
Adama cleared his throat as he put his glasses back on, "It is excellent news, but we need to take a moment here. We need to prepare just in case. Despite our good fortune, this is a huge logistical undertaking. Plus, I want to ensure that we don't let our guard down. These Goa'uld might not be able to take Atlantis, but I refuse to dismiss them as a threat. That sort of thinking could get us all killed."
Apollo nodded in agreement, "I agree Admiral, I've already started a list of where we are at with restarting key infrastructure planetside…"
Adama hid a smile as Lee launched into a concise report. His son was thriving in his leadership role and was well respected by the leadership team. There were a few logistical questions from Roslin, but overall things seemed to be coming together.
"We have a briefing with the fleet military leadership in an hour," Adama reminded the others. "Lee, I would like you to run the briefing. And we'll see if we can include Captains Loras Tal and Lyna Helia if they are free. Their input could be helpful regarding their technology."
Apollo nodded his expression serious as he accepted the tasking which had the elder Adama internally chuckling. He could remember being a Lieutenant leading a briefing for his commanding officer. It was an acceptable way to give a more junior officer experience briefing peers and senior officers. Not that Lee needed too much work or would view it as anything other than another briefing. After all, he'd been CAG and a damn good one.
Maybe he'd be able to retire once everything had settled…a plot of land and…his thoughts trailed off as he forced himself back to the here and now.
"Perhaps I should read through the report again," mused Roslin. "The Quorum will no doubt have questions and with the elections…well everyone will want to be seen asking questions."
"I am happy to help you with the Quorum if you wish," offered Aressa with a smile. "With so many of my people helping run Atlantis I have rather more free time. I would be honoured to help you present to the Quorum."
"That would be very kind of you Aressa," said Roslin with a pleased smile. "The Quorum may not be as…difficult as they once were but they can be demanding."
"And their leadership is more important now than ever," replied Aressa. "I know that I'm not involved in the process, but I must say I think elections are a tremendous idea. I know a lot of the people are discussing it."
"And the Cylons?" asked Adama. "Regarding the report."
Roslin looked to Billy Keikeya, who consulted his notes. "The Cylon representatives have a briefing scheduled at…Ten."
Adama looked over at the clock on the wall, "So we move the fleet tomorrow, pending the Quorum's decision of course."
Hermione laughed at her father's reaction when she transfigured the bland looking canned fish into what smelt and looked like cooked salmon.
"No wonder they want you back, that is amazing…and it smells just right too."
"It still has the same nutritional value, but I can alter the smell, taste and texture," explained Hermione. "We also discovered that we can duplicate food, contrary to what we were taught at school. That has been far more helpful."
As Harry enjoyed the meal, Hermione and her parents launched into a discussion around nutrition and the possible medical conditions that the Colonials may be suffering from. As they finished up, Harry cleaned up and placed warming charms on the rest of the meals.
Once he had finished, he checked his watch. With a smile for the Granger's, he kissed Hermione on the cheek, "I'm on duty in five, so I'll go and relieve Rolion so that he can eat."
The crew of the Mercury had a spectacular view of the arrival of Atlantis.
Harry opened a secure channel to Atlantis, "Welcome Home Atlantis."
After a moment there was a reply, clearly from Admiral Adama. "This is Fleet Actual, it's good to see you, Mercury."
In the background, the crew of the Mercury could hear applause.
As the Mercury came into land on Atlantis, they could see the Battlestars lifting off alongside the Aurora and a second Lantean warship.
"It looks like they are not taking any chances," said Ajax quietly.
"There is nothing on sensors," reported Rolion. "So, I suspect that you are right."
Harry brought the Mercury down on to the pad gently and began shutting down systems. As he glanced out the window, he could see Aressa and a Colonial contingent consisting of Lee Adama, his father and President Roslin approaching followed by a small media contingent,
"Looks like we have a welcoming party."
"Is there anything we should or shouldn't do when meeting them?" asked Jane Granger.
Hermione gave her parents a reassuring smile, "No, just be yourselves."
Hermione and Harry had been discussing with her parents the situation they were entering, in detail. But that didn't stop their nerves.
"I can't believe that we are about to meet aliens," David said with a wide grin.
Hermione rolled her eyes at the enthusiasm in her Dad's voice. "Just remember they are a bit, touchy Dad."
"For good reason," added Valeria in a subdued voice.
David patted the Cylon's hand. "Indeed…a terrible war. One day I'll talk to you about some of the great conflicts on Earth. There were atrocities that still mark our people. But we recovered and for the most part, learned from our failures. I think your people have taken the first steps down that road. History tells me it won't be easy, but relationships can be repaired, and trust rebuilt."
Laura Roslin took a step forward as the crew of the Mercury and their guests walked toward the official reception committee. It was a relief to see them return safely, given both the importance of the mission's success and the irreplaceable abilities of Harry and Hermione. The two older unknowns with Mercury's crew must be Hermione's parents. Who, she remembered reading in the report, were skilled dentists. A profession sadly underrepresented among the Colonial survivors and one that would be in high demand.
Behind her, she could hear the reporters speaking to their audiences. These stories were important, that is why she set it up, but to be honest, the most important thing the Mercury's crew had achieved, besides finding a new homeworld, had not yet been released to the fleet.
Aliens…they had met the Lantean's surviving former allies. Alien civilisations that would be helping them. Even Harry and Hermione's people had pledged support. Somehow, they had done it. And soon the fleet would know it, safety and security were within their grasp…it was a heady feeling.
The group from the Mercury halted a few steps short of the President and the military members came to attention.
Harry cleared his throat, "The crew of the Mercury reporting Madam President."
Roslin smiled, "Thank you, Commander Potter, thank you all for your service. Your mission was critical to the fleet and you all exceeded any expectations we may have had."
"Indeed," added Admiral Adama. "And I look forward to hearing your full report."
"Thank you, Admiral," replied Harry. "We are ready to offer a full report."
"Good, I think we should get that out of the way. We have a full briefing scheduled tomorrow after the Quorum and military leadership have a chance to read through your report," replied Adama with a slight smile. While it was true that there were already briefing documents with the Military leadership, several key Quorum members and the Cylon leadership, the official report had not been released. Roslin and Sparta had been working behind the scenes preparing for the moment that was fast approaching. Arrival would mean that a decision had to be made, what would the future look like? Would the Colonial people and the Cylons rise to the occasion and build a better future?
Harry had to admit that introducing Hermione's parents to an array of people on Atlantis and then giving them a tour accompanied by Aressa and Lee Adama was amusing if only to watch David and Jane's reactions.
Aressa has them both wide-eyed and even silenced David, briefly.
"This ship is amazing!" exclaimed David as he followed behind Hermione and Harry, looking around gleefully as they walked to the cabin they had been assigned.
Jane simply smiled, amused by her husband's antics as she took in Atlantis with a calm demeanour but just as much interest.
"Atlantis is pretty amazing," agreed Hermione. "Even more so when you realise its more than ten thousand years old."
"I was stunned when I met Aressa…I mean she's older than our oldest civilisations," added David. "I have so many questions."
Hermione laughed and Harry cracked a smile, "Well, I'm sure you'll get a chance to ask them, sooner or later."
"I can't believe how much it's changed since we left. Having everyone on board, well…it feels alive now," said Harry as they passed several engineers working on a stretch of corridor. All four nodded respectfully.
Jane smiled at her daughter's boyfriend, "Very poetic, Harry. I didn't see it before, but from what you and Hermione have said I think I understand what you mean. It's the difference between a house and a home."
Hermione accepted her mother's words, but Harry looked less accepting. "I don't know if I think of this as home yet."
Hermione hid a sigh. Thanks to their earlier treatment, Harry was still suspicious of the Colonial and Cylon motivations. Despite their recent successful collaborations, those earlier experiences had left a scar. Which, she had to admit to herself, was unsurprising given his experiences in the Wizarding world.
Before Harry could speak Lee Adama and Aressa appeared from around the corner. They both looked pleased when they spotted the small group approaching.
"Ah, just the people I'm looking for," said Apollo with a sincere smile and a look of relief. "Aressa and I were looking over the landing locations and we'd like your teams' input."
"And I would like to steal a few moments of your time afterwards," added Aressa with a smile. "The idea of a teaching hospital has certainly taken off. Doctor Cottle has organised a meeting of all medical staff for tonight and has specifically invited you and your parents."
"My parents?" queried Hermione in surprise.
"Apparently it came up when you reported that they were dentists," explained Aressa with a grin.
Hermione looked over to her parents who nodded, "It sounds important."
Aressa nodded in acknowledgement, "It is, any medical specialists are welcome news. But please, don't feel like you to go. Doctor Cottle will understand."
David and Jane shared a look and Jane placed a hand on Hermione's arm as she addressed Aressa. "Hermione has made it very clear that there has been a great deal of suffering in the fleet due to a lack of resources and while it looks like there has been some massive improvement, we can't ignore that our help is needed."
"I'm sure it will be appreciated," added Apollo.
"Please, go and settle in, Hermione the meeting will be in the Medical complex," Aressa explained with a smile. "I'll let Doctor Cottle know."
"Thanks," replied Hermione.
Colonial News Service
"Welcome back, I'm here with President Roslin discussing the latest Quorum session. Madam President, before the break we were discussing the current status of the fleet."
"Indeed, and I hope that I have made clear that we are here, at this amazing turning point, thanks to the hard work of many of our people, our allies and no small amount of good luck."
"Madam President, we are hearing that some voices in the Quorum still have concerns about the chosen location based on the report from the Mercury mission."
"I can understand that Playa. We are days away from landing Atlantis on the surface of our new home and we have a huge task ahead of us. So yes, I understand their concerns. Which is why I welcome the ongoing debate in the Quorum. We must have open, frank debate, if we are to decide on the best course. The location surveyed has abundant plant and animal life and is not in the territory claimed by other races. We are faced with a new home with new neighbours…where before we and the Cylons were alone…now there is a multitude of life out there."
"Which raises the question of the status of the allied Cylons in the fleet. Many of your opponents have been vocal on the issue."
"Playa, as I have said many times, we have survived a terrible ordeal that has cost us countless lives and nearly destroyed us. And we survived it because we found unlooked-for help from new friends and old enemies. Many of our people are only with us because of the actions of the First Hybrid and the rebel Cylons. We have this new haven, a new home, because of the help of our Lantean friends. Aid will soon be arriving from the Lantean's allies and our cousins from Earth. If we had scorned their help, where would we be now? Besides, I think elections and out first look at our new home come first."
Harry wasn't a fan of politics, or should that be politicians? Even the good ones would take you for a bloody ride. Even with no cameras or microphones in sight, Roslin was a politician.
"I'd like to thank you for all the work you have done, Ambassador."
Harry nodded politely to the President, ignoring the looks of amusement on the faces of those watching. Holy Mother Rand and Elosha seemed to find his discomfort particularly amusing and unlike Zoe Graystone, Colonel Sparta and Admiral Adama, made no attempt to hide it.
Roslin's grin had a touch of shark to it, "Perhaps we should have had you two run as a party in the elections."
"No thank you," replied Harry as he put his notepad on the table.
Roslin smiled, unsurprised by Harry's reaction. "Well, thanks to you and your crew's good work we have a real chance to establish our new colony with the best possible start."
"Although we still need to work on the political and religious angles," said Sparta with a nod toward the President, Elosha and Rand. "The good news is that the population is optimistic and for good reason. For once rumour is working for us. I believe that our people will vote sensibly tomorrow."
"Well, let's get started people," said Roslin as she took her seat. She had expected to be nervous about the elections. Tomorrow could mean the end of her leadership of her people. But somehow it all felt right and proper.
O'Neill turned to see a saluting Airforce Major in dress uniform.
The Major smiled, "Pete Hall, I'm with the logistics team Colonel."
O'Neill nodded, "How can I help you, Major?"
Major Hall smiled, "We have the first lot of supplies in the gate room, Sir. And the medical and engineering people are ready as well."
O'Neill grinned, pleased. "Good work. I had best go and talk to the General then."
O'Neill found General Hammond exactly where had expected to, his office.
"Colonel?" asked Hammond as he looked up.
"The logistics people have got the first shipment ready and we have our first response teams ready to go, Sir," reported O'Neill.
"Excellent, well we had better get SG One and Two in for a full briefing, eleven hundred Colonel. I'll contact the President and get things moving with our other allies."
"Yes Sir," replied O'Neill with a smile and a salute.
Harry sat on their small couch, with Hermione snuggled up next to him. watching the Colonial News. The results of the voting were being dissected by the media experts.
"See Harry, I told you they would do it. Common sense won out," said Hermione as she looked up at him with a pleased smile.
Harry was about to call it 'Self Preservation' but simply nodded. All cynicism aside, it was a relief to see the people acting for the good of all the people. It was all but over, Roslin's Democratic party had won the majority of votes and she was already promising to work with all the elected representatives.
"We played a part in this Harry; you should be proud…Mister Ambassador." Hermione's smile had grown as she watched his eye roll.
"Let's see if you are still amused by the end of the week," replied Harry with a mock glare that was ruined by a wry smile. "We are going to be busy."
"True, but after…we'll be exploring a new world and helping set up a colony. It will be absolutely fascinating!"
"I'm sure your report will be a riveting read," replied Harry before wincing as his girlfriend poked him in the ribs.
"Don't poke fun at me, Mister!"
Harry laughed and kissed Hermione on the top of her head.
"We've got a few hours until Mum and Dad get back…" suggested Hermione with a raised eyebrow. "Whatever shall we do?"
ICW – Office of the American Representative
American Ambassador Willard Dean grinned and raised an eyebrow at his colleague, Patrick Derby. Derby was the Republic of Ireland's representative and a close personal friend and ally.
"Alright, stop looking so bloody smug," griped Derby.
Dean laughed, "It's called having faith, Pat."
Derby shook his head, smiling wryly. "I knew you would get a few but…two dozen!"
"From what I understand, the help will be needed. Potter's name has opened a few doors despite their Ministry buggering around. Useless the lot of them!"
"Well two dozen volunteers will certainly help matters and with no secrecy laws, they can really make a difference," added Derby. "Who's leading the relief effort?"
"British lad, Neville Longbottom. He's one of Potter and Granger's friends from school. He's the British equivalent of a herbalist and agri-wizard. Runs his own Herbology business but was more than willing to help refugees."
Derby ran his fingers through his beard, "Think they'll stay once they find out where they will be going?"
Those recruited to help a "group of magical refugees" had been led to believe that the refugees were on another continent.
"Yes, I do. Most won't stay on after the job, but you never know," replied Dean with a shrug. "Maybe the three healers…one is the grandmother of Harry's Godson. Why, are you interested Pat?"
"What, in helping to establish this new colony? Given the situation many wizards find themselves…a new place for wizards with no statute and equal status. I'd be astonished if many Mundane born are not interested. Merlin, considered from that angle, I'm interested!"
The first Colonial element to land on the planet was a Raptor piloted by Boomer and had four passengers. Two Colonial marines, an engineering officer and two invaluable Civilian surveyors armed with the basic tools of their trade. Their mission was to establish the best location for the first stage of the colony.
Atlantis – Religious Quarter
Harry was somewhat uncomfortable with churches. The Dursley's had never taken him and the wizarding world really didn't have much to do with organised religion.
But he was willing to make the effort because he could see just how much it meant to Hermione and her parents.
Tonight they were attending one of the mixed services hosted by Priestess Elosha and Holy Mother Rand. He found the number of Colonial's attending surprising given the Colonial opinion of Cylons but he supposed it was some sort of a step forward.
The service was interesting and the message seemed to be one of tolerance and new beginnings. Hermione and her parents were paying close attention to the speakers while Harry found himself watching the crowd.
Besides the variety of Cylon models, there were several people he recognised, a pilot, one of the nurses from the Galactica and a pair of deck crew he knew from the Triton. As the service finished he found himself reunited with Daniel. The Cylon embraced him, relieved that he had returned.
"It's good to see you Harry. I was worried about you both."
Harry smiled, pleased to have the opportunity to catch up with their friend. "How have you been Daniel?"
"Good, I'm working fulltime at the new hospital. I've just started my nursing equivalency course. I'm in the first intake…"
Harry listened as Daniel filled him in on what he had been doing. Hermione would be pleased to hear that he was doing well.
Colonial News Service
"Let me start by congratulating you on your parties victory Madam President."
"Thank you, Playa. I must say that we are humbled by the result," replied Roslin.
"Your party received Fifty-two per cent of the vote and with your allied parties, your coalition looks to have an eighty-one per cent majority…frankly Madam President, it is an astounding result!"
"Well we are in a rather unique position," explained Roslin. "I think our citizens realise that."
"Do you think the result was reflective of our arrival at our new home?"
Roslin paused for a moment before answering. "I suspect that there are a number of factors at play. Not the least being relief that our journey is coming to an end. But I believe that every member of this fleet should be looking to the future. There are countless opportunities and no doubt many challenges we will face. The important thing is that we will face them, together."
Harry nodded to the Lantean officer in the control chair and the older man closed his eyes for a moment before sitting up and then rising and stepping clear.
Harry sat and let the familiar sensation of linking with Atlantis wash over him. His shift was going to be dedicated to continuing the diagnostic checks on the systems required to land the city. They had, of course, already been run. But when landing something as huge as Atlantis, with as many people on board, nothing was being left to chance. So, while the survey teams worked Atlantis and every system they needed was being checked and re-checked.
The control chair opened a screen, on which was an indicator that they were receiving a message from an Asgard ship. He opened it, responded and then, when it ended, called Aressa and Lee Adama.
It looked like their new allies were ready.
Colonial News Network
"You are listening to our special coverage of the historic diplomatic meeting with our newest allies taking place, here on Atlantis. I'm Playa Palacios, live and I'll be joined back in the studio by my colleague James McManus and a special guest, our military liaison, Colonel Sparta."
Playa was being transmitted to the fleet from the Atlantis arrival area, where the active Astria Porta was disgorging new arrivals. McManus and Colonel Sparta were showing on a split-screen.
"Ah, this must be the Human delegation…led by Colonel O'Neill, apparently a veteran officer and the leader of Earth's premier exploration team."
Colonel Sparta nodded, "Stargate Command is a military command who use small exploration teams to explore via their Earth-based Astra Portia…also known as a Stargate." They had been provided a brief of the diplomatic groups arriving and biographies of the members of each. "With him are his team Captain Samantha Carter, The man in the glasses is Doctor Daniel Jackson and the last member, Teal'c."
"Who is a…Jaffa. A different species from humans, despite the similarities," added McManus.
Throughout Atlantis Colonials and Cylons were riveted to their screens. The arrivals were introduced and explained with the Asgard and Nox leaving many viewers stunned.
The welcomes and speeches were kept short and to the point and soon the Quorum, Assembly and Military officers were greeting the new arrivals in one of the largest Auditoriums.
"Playa, it must be interesting being on the floor," offered McManus.
"Amazing James, simply amazing. I was just speaking to one of the Nox representatives…Lyria is over five hundred years old! To speak to such a long-lived individual was one of the most awe-inspiring moments of my life."
"And the Cylons? Many have questioned their presence," injected McManus.
Many of those viewing noted the looks on both Playa's and Sparta's faces. Playa looked aggravated by the leading question while Sparta was giving McManus a cold look.
"Not that I've seen James. Our viewers might be interested to note that Supreme Commander Thor of the Asgard stated his interest in the Cylon people's technology. His people reproduce by cloning, much like the Cylons and have been having issues with the process. Earth based humans are interested in our technology…we might see other trade options in the future. I think that future and the aid being offered now are the main topics of discussion here."
Harry felt rather uncomfortable in his Lantean uniform, much to Hermione's less than secret amusement. She had shown solidarity by wearing her own uniform in lieu of a dress like her mothers.
Both Doctor's Granger were dressed in formal wear supplied by Aressa. They both looked stunning in the white and grey silken material.
Taking pity on her partner she stepped forward and slipped her arms through his. "It's meant to be a party, Harry."
"You know how much I love parties," replied Harry with a faint smile.
"Well there are a number of very important people here Mister Ambassador and we need to mingle," replied Hermione.
"Indeed, Missus Ambassador. Then we had best, as you say, mingle."
"Mingle, mingle…" said David Granger as he walked up with Jane on his arm. "This is the first time I've ever been to a do like this since my Uni days. But, I think the idea is to mingle, talk and get to know their representatives."
"Good advice," agreed Aressa as she joined them with Commander David Shelton. "We are building relationships with people, Harry. The better our relationship the better we understand each other and the less chance of misunderstandings."
Shelton grinned and Harry found it hard not to like the Commander of the Odyssey. He was a friendly and relaxed officer that reminded Harry of an older Bill Weasley. "And Mister Potter, Miss Granger as well, are some of the heroes of the hour. I am sure that many of the dignitaries here would love to meet you."
Harry bit the bullet and led the way over to where President Roslin was talking with Colonel O'Neill and an older woman he hadn't met.
O'Neill shot them an odd look which Harry wasn't sure how to interpret. "Colonel O'Neill, it's good to see you again."
O'Neill's lips turned up at the edges, "Mister and Missus ambassador, Doctor's Granger…this is our special envoy Doctor Elizabeth Weir."
Doctor Weir spilled politely, "It is a pleasure, and might I say an honour as well, Miss Granger and Mister Potter. I was briefed in by the…ah, by both Presidents."
Harry tried to hide his surprise as Hermione extended her hand to Weir. "Doctor Weir a pleasure to meet you. May I ask what you hold a doctorate in?"
Weir smiled as she shook Hermione's hand, "I have two PhD's, Political Science and International relations. I work mainly around diplomatic negotiations."
Hermione looked impressed, "What do you think so far?'
"Madam Ambassador, I'm still trying to process that I'm standing on a city-ship that is the basis of the Atlantis myth. Mission-wise, I am still at the listening stage."
David laughed, " It's pretty amazing isn't it?"
Roslin looked on amused before clearing her throat, "I cannot forget just how lucky we are to be here. Harry and Hermione were our salvation," she held up a hand to forestall Harry's protest. "It is true Mister Potter. I know that Aressa and her people are also very much a part of our salvation. Not to mention the role the Cylons played. But it was you two that allowed us to survive long enough to take advantage of the help that came our way."
Weir nodded, "I'd love to hear the full story. But that can wait…although, I would like to ask one question if that would be okay?"
Harry glanced at Hermione, who nodded. "Of course, Doctor."
"General Hammond wanted me to ask if you would consider speaking to the teams at Stargate Command."
Harry looked slightly taken back, "Speaking as in public speaking?"
"More like teaching, Ambassador. No doubt you both have some amazing information to share," explained Weir.
Harry was about to say no, he really did not enjoy public speaking but paused when Hermione took his hand. "I am bound by some restrictions that I would need to consider."
"Of course," replied Weir.
Hermione cleared her throat, "I think it's a very interesting idea, Doctor Weir. Although perhaps consider expanding it to the Lanteans and Colonials. Both have extensive experience in space."
Roslin looked pleased with the suggestion and was soon engaged in discussions with Doctor Weir.
"Well done love," Hermione said quietly.
Captain Mikkos looked down at his detailed survey notes. He and his team had been working for two days, surveying the potential landing location for Atlantis. Another team was working on the other side of the lake. They were looking at the site for the proposed town and potential farmland.
He was one of the few Colonial officers with surveying experience but as luck would have it, among the survivors were four Civil surveyors. Three construction specialists and one, Gods be praised, town planning specialist.
Mikkos turned to see a Marine Corporal. "Yes Corporal?"
"Mister Lindon from Team one has reported that they've found the entrance to the flooded cave network," the Corporal reported.
"Excellent, we had better head over and have a look," said Mikkos with a smile.
"Will I signal the Raptor, Sir?"
Mikkos shook his head, "No, it's not that far of a walk and I feel the need to stretch my legs."
The Corporal laughed, "Good call Sir. It's a nice day and it beats standing duty against a metal bulkhead."
He quickly let the rest of his team know that they could take a break and set off with the Corporal.
They had just reached the far marker when the Corporal paused.
Mikkos peered into the woods where the Corporal was looking, "Something wrong Corp?"
"Thought I saw light glinting off something metallic," reported the Corporal who had unslung his rifle.
Mikkos frowned as he stared into the woods that were…wait, there was something there. "I can see it…call it in Corp, and we'll have a look."
Mikkos waited as the Corporal pulled out a wireless and reported that they were looking into something and the marker number. When he had finished, Mikkos led the way into the woods. About thirty steps in there was a gully with a calf-deep stream at the bottom. There was also a twisted mass of metal. It was most certainly man-made and looked like a crash site.
The Corporal spoke first, "Gods, is that a ship?"
Mikkos was looking at it in shock. They had scanned and surveyed the area from the air. How had they missed this?
"Get me Atlantis," ordered Mikkos.