To new readers- the concept of SGD is sort of my version of a fix fic, the way I thought things should have gone. It splits off in Season 7 of SG-1, where Anubis' attack is far more destructive than it was in canon. This leads to disclosure, and Earth is united in a fashion against alien threats, forming the Stargate Alliance and Allied Earth Space Forces. They are also more advanced technologically, with powered armour and powerful starships. Season One stays relatively close to canon, diverging near the end. Season 2 brings in the Ori, but under drastically different circumstances.
I started writing the first season of SGD nearly two years ago, and I've improved a lot as a writer since then. Early installments, when I go back and read them, are positively facepalm-worthy. They're short, poorly written, and either follow canon too closely with no apparent explanation or follow alternate plotlines that make little sense. I'm not going to fundamentally change SGD, but I'm going to fix as much as I can. New readers will hopefully appreciate being able to start from the beginning without having to suffer through an awful story, and old readers can go back and enjoy a slightly different take on the same thing.
Although the original intention was to take existing chapters and polish them, many of them are so bad they had to be rewritten from scratch. Lost City is one of them. I hope you enjoy this new, improved version of SGD.
Doctor Elizabeth Weir, Ph.D, nervously played a small chain between her fingers. The chain in question attached a set of balances to a small bronze statue. The statue in question was sitting on a large desk made of old, sturdy wood. The desk in question was sitting in the Oval Office of the White House.
"Doctor Weir,"a friendly voice greeted, and she immediately stopped and spun around. President Henry Hayes marched from the entrance to his desk. "Sorry I kept you so late."
"Well, that's alright, I've been, uh, doing a little reading." Weir paused. Always observant, she noted Hayes' casual demeanour and the fact that he was wearing a tie, but no jacket. He came across as pleasant and charismatic- a good cover to hide one's intentions beneath. "Mr. President, I mean, this is truly so, outrageous, I feel compelled on behalf of everyone who has no idea to, that, that-"
The President picked up one of his phones- the black one, not the red one- and waved it in Weir's direction, silencing her. "Megan, could you get a car ready for Doctor Weir. Five minutes, thanks."
"Sit down," the President told her, motioning to a chair. He turned around and poured a glass of alcohol from a decanter. "Would you like something?"
"No, thank you."
Hayes took his drink and leaned against his desk. He remarked, "Your reaction was very similar to mine when I first found out."
"I'm sorry, sir, but five minutes?" Weir asked, skeptical.
"The negotiation you mediated in North Africa?" Hayes mentioned offhand.
Taking a seat on the soft, supple couch, she asked, "What does that have to do with this?"
"Well, just that… the Stargate probably makes that seems like child's play."
"Well, frankly sir, I have absolutely no idea what you want from me."
"You've brokered a dozen of the most sensitive international treaties in modern times. You speak God knows how many languages."
"Five," Hayes chewed his lip, nodding. "I suppose your aversion to the military will be an issue."
"What are we talking about, exactly?" Weir asked. She knew that she would have to work with the military, but she had no idea to what degree. She didn't even know how or why they wanted her involved, though she was starting to piece together the clues.
"You running the Stargate Program."
Elizabeth's jaw dropped. "Oh, uh..."
The President continued on. "We've already done the initial review. We've decided to suspend current operations until a new government division can be established."
He sat down on the couch next to Weir. "There's no question the Stargate is a dangerous thing. Given what we know is going on out there, it's something we cannot ignore."
"No, obviously not," Weir mused. She turned to the President. "I don't want this to sound like a terribly self-centred question, but why me?"
"What do you think?"
"Well, I'm betting other world leaders are pressuring you for control," Weir began. This was something she knew how to do. "I can advise you there. But I am not qualified to negotiate with aliens."
"No one is, Doctor," Hayes admitted. "Not you, not me. But someone has to do it. The fact is, we can't keep this thing a secret forever."
"And you want to put a friendly face on this when it goes public." Weir surmised. "Someone a little less threatening than an Air Force general."
"People will panic. It's going to take anything and everything we have to keep our civilization from turning upside down." The President checked his watch before getting up and heading to the door. "But make no mistake, you're not just a figurehead for the sake of publicity. I chose you for a damn good reason."
Weir stood up and followed him to the door. "I take it my five minutes are up."
"Actually, it was seven." He smiled and opened the door. "Don't worry, this is just the beginning."
Before she made it out the doorway, Weir stopped and turned to the President. "What if I say no, sir?"
"Never going to happen."
Weir nodded and left as President Hayes greeted the next visitor to his office. In the hall she met the man who had brought her there.
"So, things aren't quite as simple as they seem," Vice President Kinsey said right away. Unlike Hayes, it was obvious to Weir that Kinsey was a player. He was a pure politician, only concerned for his own political career. Perhaps that was unfair- Kinsey had been pleasant and helpful to Weir, but she couldn't help but think he was up to something in the background.
"Well, they never seemed simple, sir," Weir replied, still overwhelmed.
"Be careful who you trust, Doctor," Kinsey warned. There was a subtle threat evident in his voice.
"Does that include you, sir?"
"He may be the President, but I am the one person on this fair planet you want on your side, and the one person you don't want to cross." He left, leaving Doctor Weir with even more to think about.
The elevator doors slid open, and Colonel Jack O'Neill stepped out, a folded piece of newsprint in his hand. He stopped only a few feet away, the rest of his team glaring at him. He asked casually, "How long have you been waiting for?"
Daniel Jackson tapped his watch. "You said half an hour an hour ago."
"General Hammond's waiting," Major Samantha Carter added.
They began heading toward the briefing room. Jack handed the crossword to the blonde-haired Major, a look of smug satisfaction on his face. She looked it over for a moment before telling him in disgust, "The fate of the world is hanging in the balance, and you've been sitting in your truck, finishing this?"
"I believe it was double or nothing."
Daniel cleared his throat. "Okay, so, I translated the ancient writing on the colonnade SG-2 discovered on P3X-439 and found a reference to the library of the Ancients. I think that it's a repository-"
"One of the head-sucking things that grabbed my head, made me talk crazy and then nearly killed me? Sounds like we should stay away, then."
"Well, sir, considering what we know now, we should be able to find another way to access the information," Sam informed him, climbing the staircase that led to their destination. "Obviously we haven't been able to try anything for real, but we've made a lot of progress in theoretical work."
"Theoretical work," O'Neill echoed disdainfully.
"Look, the point is that we should go there as soon as possible," Daniel concluded as the entered the briefing room.
"Harper, Reynolds," O'Neill greeted upon noticing the two men.
"SG-3 spotted a Goa'uld reconnaissance drone while on the planet where they found the colonnade," Carter explained to her superior. "Since that obviously means the Goa'uld were aware of its existence, SG's 3 and 5 will be providing back-up. Both teams are equipped and trained for the latest Aegis suits and we'll be packing heavy weapons. Of course, General Hammond has to approve the mission first."
"Good morning, SG-1," the General greeted as he entered the room. He sounded tired, distracted. With the threat of global annihilation on everyone's mind, it was hardly surprising. He walked up to O'Neill. "Nice of you to join us."
"Good morning, sir," the Colonel replied, taking his seat. The rest of the room followed.
"I've read Doctor Jackson's report on his translation," Hammond began. "Given what happened the last time you encountered something like this, I'm surprised you're so willing to take on this mission."
"So am I, sir," O'Neill quipped.
"Jack," Daniel prodded. "Why wouldn't we want to gain access to the greatest repository of knowledge in the known universe, once and for all finding the lost city of the Ancients, and use their technology to save the entire galaxy from the evil oppression of the goa'uld?"
"Well, there's that."
"From the mission file I've read, it's one of those things that whips up from the wall, grabs your head and rearranges your brain, right?" Colonel Reynolds asked.
"Sort of," Daniel told him.
"It basically downloads the entire library of Ancient knowledge into a person's mind," Carter explained. "That massive amount of data then slowly unspools into your brain, eventually taking over your consciousness completely."
"Except it wasn't meant for a physiology as primitive as ours, so it kills you in a matter of days," Daniel added.
"The report says that almost happened last time, sir," Harper mentioned.
"The Asgard removed the information from O'Neill's mind before he was lost to us," Teal'c told him.
"So, why don't we just shoot Thor a call, get him standing by as backup," O'Neill suggested.
Carter shook her head. "We tried, sir, he's not responding."
"None of our alien allies have been particularly reliable of late. Should something happen again-"
Daniel cut Hammond off. "General, no one's saying anyone should directly interface with the device, we're suggesting we extract it and bring it home for study."
"The engineering team that studied the last one of these devices you found determined nothing, after six months of research," he stated in response.
"We believe that that device's power source was depleted after Colonel O'Neill activated it," Carter explained.
The General turned to O'Neill. "Recent intel suggests that Anubis has become a serious threat to dominate the rest of the Goa'uld in a very short time. We have to consider Earth is at risk now, more than ever.
"If the knowledge contained within this device can lead us to technologies we can use to defend ourselves, we must pursue it. You have a go. And be careful, people."
The gate was located in an area like most of the others SG-1 had visited in the past seven years. The gravity and air pressure was almost the same as Earth, with an atmospheric composition that would be considered clean at home. Temperature-wise, it was a little warm, but well within the acceptable range for humans. The area around the gate was forested, with a large grassy clearing scattered with large chunks of stone rubble. In the distance was their target, a massive stone effigy of a sitting man with the head long gone, leaving large amounts of shattered debris around it. It was surrounded by the colonnade where they found the inscription.
"Reynolds," O'Neill called. "Set up a defence perimeter as you see fit. Hold the gate 'till we get back."
"You got it," Reynolds acknowledged before directing his own men.
"SG-1, move out." They broke into a fast walk, heading toward the structure in the distance. It was the first time O'Neill had covered any sort of distance wearing full armour, and his initial impression was not a fond one. It was very odd, and though he felt light on his feet, he could tell he was sinking in more because of increased ground pressure. It was extremely unnatural.
It didn't take long to reach the ancient stone structure, and then the slow part began. Daniel quickly began unpacking and searching the ruins with Carter and Teal'c. O'Neill stood watch- or rather sat watch, ostensibly guarding against any incoming threat. He checked his watch. It had been an agonizing hour and... three minutes.
"You know, we've searched this place, up and down."
"I know," Daniel replied, briefly glancing up from his notebook.
"We could have Goa'uld on our collective asses any minute now."
"I know." Daniel paused. "According to the text on this column, it's inside."
O'Neill slowly stood up, which seemed even more unnatural than walking. He strode over to where the rest of his team stood. "Inside, you say?"
The structure was composed of a row of columns perhaps two metres away from a solid wall, all covered with inscriptions, all below the large statue. The Colonel gestured around them. "There is no 'inside'. There's just a whole lotta outside."
"I know," Daniel replied.
"I'm getting some strange readings coming from here," Carter interrupted, pointing out a section of wall.
"And it took you this long to find it?" O'Neill asked, in mock disbelief.
Her answer was absolutely serious. "The sensors in my suit are highly experimental. I thought it was just a glitch in the system until I dug deeper and isolated the signal."
"Huh. If I'm right..." Daniel pressed several symbols on the wall in front of him, then pressed several more lower down. A roughly circular, ridged black object appeared on the wall Carter was looking at, and she jumped back in surprise.
"Looks like we found it," O'Neill stated. He keyed the comm system with a movement of his jaw- something he wasn't used to. There was also a button on the grip of his modified FAL rifle, but he found that even worse. "Reynolds, come in."
"Go ahead," the other Colonel acknowledged.
"Yeah, we got something here, stand by." Beside him, Daniel turned to Carter and mouthed 'something'. She shrugged in response.
"All clear for the moment."
"Now we just have to figure out how to get this thing out of the wall," Carter mused. "Any ideas?"
"Grab and rip?" O'Neill asked. "You mentioned the joint servos and artificial whatsits-"
"Muscles, sir, artificial muscles. Not quite an accurate term, but it sounds better than 'bio-mimetic electroreactive linear actuator'."
"Two to three times normal human strength?"
"Between five and ten, actually, sir, although only some of that is actually usable."
"Exactly. Why don't you just grab that thing and tear it out of the wall?"
"You can't be serious, Jack!" Daniel objected. He took a step forward and the device snapped out at him. He immediately took a step back.
"Alright, one more time, why are we doing this, why?"
It began as a feeling, a twisting in his gut that something was wrong. He thought he might have heard something, saw a flicker on the horizon. Colonel Reynolds turned to the airman monitoring the sensor readouts on the MALP. "You hear anything, Harper?"
Instead of dispelling his suspicions, he only confirmed them. "Sir, we got multiple bogeys, coming in fast!"
Colonel Reynolds immediately flicked the safety off his weapon as the men around him prepared for battle, taking positions behind cover and getting their weapons ready to fire. "Dial the gate! Send constant radio signal, we have to keep that door open!"
"SG-1, we have incoming."
Colonel O'Neill ducked behind one of the columns as a pair of Death Gliders strafed the ancient structure with their staff cannons. A faint blue glow briefly pulsed around him and a bar appeared on his HUD, showing that his shields had been automatically raised. It was too much like a video game for him. He turned to his team. "Alright, let's go."
"Jack, we can't just leave!" Daniel argued.
"We must not let this fall into the hands of Anubis," Teal'c added.
"Fine." O'Neill opened a pouch on his tactical vest and removed two sticks of C4, placing them next to the Repository.
"JACK!" Daniel shouted. Outside, a pair of cargo ships had landed, disgorging groups of Jaffa. Most of them headed for the Stargate, but a dozen split off, heading straight for them.
"Sir, he's right," Carter argued, shouting over the loud chattering of her battle rifle. She took two of the Jaffa down before a staff blast grazed took down her shields and she dropped back behind cover. "If we destroy it we lose our only chance of finding the location of the Lost City."
"O'Neill," Teal'c called, motioning with his head toward the incoming Jaffa.
"Alright, then what?" O'Neill asked, shouldering his own weapon.
"Jack, someone has to do it. The answer is in there." Daniel said quickly. "If we don't find the Lost City we're as good as dead. Let me do it!"
"And who does the translating when you go Ancient?" O'Neill shot back. He stood up and began moving toward the Repository. "Carter's too valuable, and it doesn't work on Teal'c, so here goes nothing."
Jack removed his helmet, clipping it to his tactical vest, and plunged his head toward the device. It reached out and grabbed him before beginning to download an incomprehensible amount of information into his brain.
As he collapsed against the stone wall, Colonel Reynolds' voice came over the comm net. "SG-1, where the hell are you guys? We can't hold out for long!"
"Colonel Reynolds, we are headed back to the gate!" Carter told him. Beside her, Teal'c and Daniel picked up their unconscious teammate and began carrying him away, toward the gate. She brought up the rear, firing away at the Jaffa still marching toward them. She winced as a staff blast flew straight towards her and fizzled against her shields, wiping them out again. Holding her rifle in one hand, she squeezed the detonator in the other.
Behind them, the C-4 exploded, obliterating the Repository of Knowledge, a good chunk of the wall it was mounted on, and most of the pillar in front of it. It also momentarily distracted the Jaffa, allowing SG-1 to move towards the gate unopposed for several seconds.
"Hold positions!" Reynolds shouted. Around him, it was barely controlled chaos. One of his machine gunners was trying to engage a Death Glider with his M240B, while the other was shredding the Jaffa as they came over the ridge. Everyone was shooting, either at the attack craft in the air or the troops on the ground. Beside the Colonel, a Stinger missile leaped into the air, tracking and obliterating a Death Glider. "Breise, you're with me!"
They ran toward SG-1 with the intention of meeting in the middle. Unlike O'Neill, Reynolds didn't have time to think about how odd moving about in his armour was. He was, however, thankful when it stopped a staff blast aimed at his chest.
Ten metres away, the flagship team dove to the ground as a Death Glider entered a strafing run. Reynolds and Breise did the same, getting up as soon as the deadly craft had passed. He helped Teal'c lift O'Neill up before beginning to head back to the gate as the rest provided covering fire.
"General Hammond, we're coming through the gate!" he shouted as they approached. Ahead of him, the first elements of his team began the retreat as the rest covered them. The Jaffa were pushing forward, protected by Death Gliders and Al'kesh. He pushed SG-1 toward the wormhole. "We're right behind you, sir, go, go!"
As soon as the teams came through and the gate shut down, General Hammond strode in through the blast doors. Immediately, he eyed their dirty, scratched and burnt suits and asked, "What happened?"
"Didn't quite go according to plan, sir," the now-lucid O'Neill told him.
"We have to get him to the infirmary," Daniel insisted, helping him along.
"I did it again," O'Neill explained curtly. Hammond sighed in disbelief as he watched them leave.
Ten minutes later, after they had changed, the members of SG-1 minus O'Neill convened in the briefing room. The stood up as General Hammond entered the room.
"How the hell did this happen?" the General asked immediately.
"It wasn't an accident, sir," Carter told him.
"He did it deliberately," Daniel added.
"In order to access the knowledge of the Ancients," Teal'c finished.
"He, uh, figured we'd never get another shot at it," Daniel elaborated.
"We know from experience that the Ancient knowledge will essentially overwrite the Colonel's brain," Carter explained. "We're hoping that during the transformation process he'll become aware of the information we're looking for. And then it will overwhelm his nervous system and the Colonel will-"
Colonel O'Neill climbed up the stairs into the room. "What? Meet my maker? Pay the piper? Reach the pearly gates? Start pushing up daisies here and there?"
"You should be in the infirmary," Hammond told him, quietly.
"Why? We all know exactly what's going to happen. In a few days I start speaking some strange language, a few days after that I start doing things beyond my control, and a few days after that… it's goodnight my someone, goodnight."
He paused and turned to the General. "So, with your permission, sir, I'd like to take the weekend, get a few personal things together."
"The last time, it did take a couple of days before we noticed any change in the Colonel's behaviour." Carter assured him.
"Thank you, sir. Now, if you'll excuse me, my favourite television show starts in half an hour."
Jack O'Neill's Cabin
"It's the perfect analogy. Burns as Goa'uld."
SG-1 sat around the coffee table. Daniel was balancing an orange on top of a beer bottle, with several empty ones in close proximity. Teal'c nursed a glass of fruit juice, and both Sam and Jack were drinking beer, the former at a more moderate rate.
Sam shook her head. "I'm sorry, sir, but I have to agree. I don't see the connection."
"Alright, that does it." Jack waved his arms above his head. "You know, the entire VHS collection was going to one of you. Now it's going to Siler, he gets it."
There was a series of knocks at the door. Jack stood up to get it, muttering, "Thank God, pizza."
"Well, you're not the usual delivery boy." He mentally kicked himself as soon as he said it. The man at the door was none other than General Hammond, albeit in civilian clothes.
Before he could apologize, the General asked, "Is this a good time?"
"It's always a good time for you, sir. Come on in." He led the older man to the living room and left to get him a chair and a beer.
"General." Sam greeted, standing.
He waved her off. "At ease, Major, at ease." Behind him, Jack brought the chair, and he sat down before taking the beer. "Glad to find all of you here. I've been relieved of command."
There was a shocked pause. Quietly, O'Neill asked, "What."
"The President has effectively shut down the SGC for a three month review process," Hammond explained. "During which time a newly formed government department will take the place of Stargate Command."
"But sir, the Colonel!" Sam objected. "We don't have much time."
"How could this happen?" Teal'c asked.
"Kinsey," Daniel surmised.
"Does anyone know anyone who voted for those two shrubs?" Jack asked.
"I've known President Hayes for a long time. He's a good man," Hammond countered. "As for his running mate, Robert Kinsey brought in a lot of campaign financing and for all we know, he may have used his knowledge of the Stargate as leverage to get himself a place on the ticket."
"What, we're just gonna lie down for this?" Daniel asked.
"Now, we've been in this situation before-" Jack began.
Hammond shook his head. "This time it's different. There's too much at stake."
"Who's replacing you, sir?" Sam asked.
"Her name is Doctor Elizabeth Weir."
"Amazing, isn't it?" Daniel Jackson asked.
"I don't really care," replied the woman standing in front of the briefing room window overlooking the gate. She was a brunette, dressed modestly in a dark blouse, pale skirt and flats.
Confused and more than a little disappointed, Daniel replied, "Okay."
The woman quickly turned around and motioned for Daniel not to leave. "Okay, bye."
She removed a wireless earpiece from her ear. "Sorry about that. I must look insane when I do that, talking to myself. Elizabeth Weir."
Daniel shook her extended hand. "Daniel Jackson."
He gestured to the table behind them, stacked with books and paperwork. "So, a little light reading?"
"I've been awake all weekend. The reality of this, it's an unbelievable adrenaline rush." She sighed. "You know, I didn't expect the warmest welcome from the military personnel."
"You're replacing a great man, uniform or otherwise," Daniel told her.
"I know. But I'm hoping that you of all people won't jump to conclusions."
"Like why someone like you is here?"
Weir raised an eyebrow. "Someone like me?"
"Yeah, someone who started their career as a political activist, lobbying against government spending on the military."
"And how I end up working for those I was criticizing. Believe me, the irony is not lost on me."
She paused again. "I don't know why I've been given this job, I really don't. But I'm going to do it to the best of my ability as long as I'm here. I plan to start by examining the program's mandate-"
"Don't underestimate the immediate threat," Daniel told her.
"No, I'm not," Weir assured him. "But this country's history of manifest destiny cannot be continue out to the rest of the galaxy. Especially when this is all being done behind the back of not just our nation but entire planet."
"Hey, I'm not saying that everything that's been going on here is right. I mean we have no right to play God. But neither do the Goa'uld," Daniel explained. "Now I know none of this seems real to you on paper, but trust me, they're pure evil. Now, if they had the chance, they would either destroy us, or enslave us all."
"All of them?" she asked, not believing it. "Pure evil? That sounds a lot like a bad comic book. Racial profiling, seeing the world in black and white. Surely it's a lot more complex than that."
"Maybe it is," Daniel conceded. "But in the world of the System Lords, only the cruelest, most brutal make it to the top. Some of the minor Goa'uld might not be too bad, but they're not the real threat. Take Apophis. If he had the chance, he would destroy or enslave us all. Anubis is even worse."
Realizing he had been leaning against the table, Daniel straightened himself out. "Now, you can read as many mission reports as you want, but before you decide what should and shouldn't be done round here, why don't you go through that gate, and see what's going on for yourself."
"In good time."
"We may not have good time. And Jack O'Neill certainly doesn't."
"I want you to know that Colonel O'Neill's current condition is of serious concern to me."
Daniel sighed. "You have to realize that Jack only did what he did because it was our only way to find the location of the Lost City. The Lost City that holds the key to the defence of-"
"Unscheduled offworld activation!" Walter's voice pierced over the intercom. The two quickly headed down into the control room, descending the staircase as the Stargate activated.
"Doctor Weir, we are receiving Bra'tac's personal IDC."
Weir nodded. "Go ahead. Open the iris."
They took another flight of stairs to the gateroom as the iris opened. An old, grizzled Jaffa emerged from the Stargate.
"Bra'tac," Daniel greeted. The Jaffa master looked at Daniel, then Weir. He frowned. "This is Elizabeth Weir. She's the new leader of this facility."
"Hello," Weir greeted.
Bra'tac turned to Daniel. "Has Hammond of Texas fallen in battle?"
"No, he's fine. There's been some... internal changes. Politics."
"I see." He did not.
Seeing the disturbed look on Bra'tac's face, Daniel asked, "What's wrong?"
"I'm afraid I am not the bearer of good news. We've had word from Jaffa loyal to our cause. Anubis is gathering the full force of his fleet. He will be here, in three days."
They headed up to the conference room, where SG-1 was waiting. Bra'tac repeated the news, to which Jack snidely replied, "Three days from now's a Thursday. Thursday's not good for us."
"Why now?" Carter asked.
"If Anubis believes that we know the location of the Lost City-" Teal'c began.
She cut him off. "We don't."
"Yes, but he doesn't know that we don't know," Daniel said.
Vice President Kinsey climbed up the staircase into the room. He was about the last person O'Neill was expecting to see- or wanted to see. The man taunted, "Well, some people just don't know when to leave."
"Shall we take a seat?" Weir offered. Each of them sat down as suggested, with Kinsey beside Weir at the head of the table. "Obviously this is a matter of grave importance."
"Which is why I've taken it upon myself to come on down and hear what Mister Bra'tac has to say personally," Kinsey finished, though everyone could sense the insincerity in his voice. "So, you believe this Goa'uld, Anubis, is planning to attack?"
"You may be certain of it," Bra'tac assured him.
"I'll say this, the timing is impeccable." Kinsey accused. "The moment we suspend Stargate operations you pull this out of your hat."
"Mr. Vice President, if you're suggesting that we'd make something like this up-" O'Neill began to argue.
The Vice President cut him off. "Yes, Colonel, that's exactly what I'm suggesting!"
"Yes, well that is exactly what we do," O'Neill replied sarcastically. "We sit around on our fat asses and create scenarios that put the planet at risk. That's exactly what we do."
"Oh, I'm sure you'll do just about anything," Kinsey retorted. O'Neill wasn't sure if the double entendre was deliberate or not.
"Gentlemen, for the purposes of this discussion that Master Bra'tac is in earnest," Weir said diplomatically. "And that the threat is real."
"We have to consider our options. We can't win this war conventionally. We could negotiate-"
"Oh for crying our loud, that's derentis!" Everyone looked at O'Neill. "What?"
"You just said derentis," Daniel pointed out.
"Derentis, what does that mean?" Kinsey asked.
Daniel explained, "I think what Colonel O'Neill was trying to say is that based on our past experiences, negotiating would be insane, crazy."
"Yeah, I got that," Weir replied.
"However, we believe that there may be alien technology within our reach that could defeat Anubis," Carter added.
Kinsey was still incredulous. "So now you're pulling a ray gun out of your hat?"
"There are weapons capable of defending this planet," Teal'c told him.
"I can't believe we're sitting here listening to this!" Kinsey raged.
"Mister Vice President, on his last mission-" Weir began.
"I know where it is," O'Neill said firmly. "I will. It's in there somewhere. Look, let me make this simple. I come up with the Lost City, we go find it. Yes or no?"
"No!" Kinsey shouted.
"I will consider it," Weir replied, far more diplomatically.
O'Neill nodded. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." SG-1 smiled slightly, realizing that if Weir wasn't on their side, she was at least not on Kinsey's.
Bra'tac rose, with Teal'c following a moment later. The old master told them, "I must return to Chulak."
"I too will go," Teal'c added. Seeing O'Neill's questioning look, he elaborated, "In hope of procuring ships and warriors to defend this world."
Weir nodded. "Good luck."
Teal'c bowed, and then left with Bra'tac. SG-1 followed to see them off, leaving Weir alone with Kinsey. He immediately demanded, "What the hell was that?"
"I'm sorry? What the hell was what?"
"You don't know O'Neill like I do!"
Weir sighed. "This is my call. Colonel O'Neill-"
"Is the one who got us into this mess in the first place! I want him gone, Doctor, I want them all gone. You haven't figured that out yet?"
"Oh, I've figured out quite a bit," Weir replied darkly. "This is my office, this is my chair. Until someone tells me otherwise I'm going to decisions as I see fit, not as they fit into your agenda."
"You have no idea what my agenda is!" Kinsey retorted.
Weir replied frankly, "I don't really care what your agenda is."
"You don't know anything, Doctor, and if you think you do, you're not as smart as I thought," Kinsey said before leaving her, with a few more unpleasant thoughts on her mind.
The White House
"Mister President," General Hammond greeted upon entering the Oval Office.
Hayes smiled. "General George Hammond! It was Lieutenant last time we spoke, wasn't it?"
"For both of us," he replied lightly. "That was a lot of hair ago, sir."
"You know, when I first took this job I thought I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. But then I found out what you do for a living."
He paused. "George, this had nothing to do with your record. If the American people had any idea what your contribution was-"
"That you sir. That's kind of you to say. One day, maybe, they will."
Hayes sighed. "And that's the awkward part. We've got to make sure that day comes."
He poured himself a drink and said casually. "If I were to tell you, and I'm speaking hypothetically here, we got word from one of our offworld allies that Anubis was going to attack in three days, what would you do?"
"Well, we would continue the attempt to find the Lost City and weapons it contains. At this point it is our last, best hope for Earth."
"Hypothetically, if you couldn't find it in time, or it turned out to be useless, what would you do next?"
"We could stall, sir, especially if Anubis believed we had an Ancient weapon capable of destroying his fleet. Of course, eventually he's going to call our bluff. After that, we can't stop an invasion but we can try to make it as difficult as possible. Despite the fact that it may show our hand, it is my recommendation to deploy the National Guard and all available military units both to keep our own people calm and to oppose an invasion force. We also have a stock of modified ballistic missiles, silo and sea launched, that may or may not be able to hit motherships in orbit, and may or may not be effective-"
"May or may not?"
"Yes, sir. The last time we tried, our weapons were completely ineffective. Though we've made advances since then, we have no idea how well the new missiles will perform until we test them. For secrecy reasons, we haven't been able to do that yet. If Anubis only brings a small fleet, we might just be able to destroy or at least cripple it."
"Let's say we do that and Anubis brings in more ships. He's called our bluff. What happens then?"
"Then, Mister President, Anubis attacks in full force. Most likely, he will begin with orbital bombardment on key targets, primarily cities. The damage will be similar to or more devastating than that of a large-scale nuclear attack, although without the lasting effects."
"Similar to or more devastating than a nuclear war," Hayes whispered, shaking his head. "I hoped to God I'd never have to do it, but I thought the worst thing that could happen would be a nuclear war. This... this is much worse."
"It's really happening, isn't it, sir," General Hammond said quietly.
"Yes, George, it is. While you were on the plane here I got word from the SGC. Anubis is on his way here as we speak."
"Does this mean anything to you?" Daniel Jackson asked, holding out a book.
Jack O'Neill glanced at the symbols briefly before going back to his crossword. "Nope."
"Could you at least look at it?"
"Daniel, I don't speak Ancient. Yet. And when I do, eventually, you know I'll never understand it."
"You have to try," Daniel insisted.
"Look, last time things just popped into my fron."
"Fron is head." Daniel muttered.
"Now, see, I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Well maybe if you stop working on the stupid cross-" He grabbed for the offending slip of paper.
Jack yanked it back. "Hey, hey….I'd like to at least finish that while I can."
"Hey, I thought you were supposed to be-" Sam began as she walked into the room.
Barely noticing her entrance, Daniel cut her off. "Thirteen across you wrote 'taonas'. Eight down you wrote 'proclarush'."
"What's eight down?" Sam asked, her curiosity piqued.
"Um…label. With those empty spaces I think the answer is supposed to be identification. Thirteen across is sphere. Jack, this is it."
Jack raised an eyebrow. "Now, see I assume we still speak the same language…mostly."
"Sphere…planet. Label…name," Daniel explained. "Proclarush taonas. I…I think you wrote the name of the planet we will find the Lost City in the crossword."
Jack still refused to bite. "Bit of a jump?"
Exasperated, Daniel retorted, "It has to mean something!"
"It does!" He took back the crossword and looked at it again before letting out a huff of frustration. "I'm hungry!"
He led them down the drab grey corridors to a staircase, up one level, and down another set of corridors to the commissary. There, Jack grabbed a rather large lunch and they sat down at their usual table. Neither Daniel nor Sam ate, though they did grab a coffee each.
"Proclarush taonas," Daniel mused. "According to this it means lost in fire. It was lost. This has to be the planet where the Lost City is."
"Well, even if it is, knowing the name of the planet doesn't really help," Sam reminded him. "Not unless we have a gate address to get us there."
Without warning, Jack ripped the SGC patch off of Daniel's shoulder. "At."
Sam shared a look with Daniel. "What?"
"At!" the Colonel repeated.
"This?" Daniel asked, pointing to it. "This is At?"
Jack shrugged. "Don't ask me what it means, I don't know."
"I think I do." Daniel pulled out his notebook and sketched the symbol of Canis Minor. He held it out to O'Neill. "What's this?"
"I'm sorry, did you just tell us to be quiet, or is that what the symbol means?"
"When I look at this, I think 'sh'. Make of that what you will."
"That's it," Daniel concluded.
"What?" Sam asked.
"Proclarush Taonas. Six syllables….What if each symbol on the Stargate has a corresponding sound so they can be spoken aloud?"
"Like an alphabet," Sam replied. She shook her head. "But it doesn't make any sense. We know Stargate addresses are based on a coordinate system. Each planet would have to be named for its coordinates, which might not even form real words. Adding to the complexity, each syllable would also refer to a constellation. It's not a workable system."
"Yes, but we're talking about the Lost City of the Ancients, one of their oldest settlements. Maybe the planet came first, and they named the symbols later."
"This is the gate address for the Lost City. It has to be."
Jack considered it for a moment. "Well, it's worth a shot."
The White House
Unbeknownst to the general public, there was a large, high-tech command bunker built under the White House. Though the President had various protective structures to evacuate to since the Second World War, the latest was built only a year ago. It was heavily protected from nuclear, conventional, and orbital attack. Underground cables led to transmitting stations around and outside the city as well as connections to landlines. The inside was packed with electrical supply and air filtration systems, powerful computers, control consoles, a large planning table, and some of the most important people in the United States.
The interior was buzzing with activity. Across the nation, units were forming up and reporting in, with the feeds being directed to the command bunker as well as Cheyenne Mountain, where other designated politicians and generals had assembled. News media had picked up on the mobilization, and their reports were fed to monitors inside the bunker. Many other nations had been informed and each had a direct line into the bunker.
President Henry Hayes stepped into the chaos. This was no time for ceremony. There were a few polite nods and "Mister President"s before the staff went back to their duties, except for the ones whose duties were specifically to inform the President.
He held up his hands. "One at a time, please."
"Mister President, National Guard units are being activated across the country," General Maynard began. "Both the Army and Marines are deploying to defend key positions in the continental United States, including Washington, Cheyenne Mountain, and Area 51. We're trying to protect major cities the best we can but we simply do not have enough forces to deploy on anything but a reactionary basis."
"Hopefully they'll be able to hold the line when the time comes."
"The Air Force is also at full readiness, sir," General Jumper added. "That includes tactical air superiority and strike fighters as well as strategic bombers, Minuteman-Three strategic missiles and Minuteman-Four orbital intercept missiles. We are also focusing on defending key locations from attack as well as retaining nuclear strike capability as long as possible."
"I hope to god I don't have to give that order. Admiral?"
"All battle groups are on full alert. We still have two carriers and a handful of ballistic missile boats in port- they're scheduled to leave as soon as possible. The Hydra system is online and all Trident captains have been briefed on its intention and use."
"Sir!" a technician called. She handed a phone to the President. "President Mikhailov is on the line. He says it's urgent."
"This is the President of the United States. We're in a bit of a crisis-"
"The invasion," Mikhailov seethed, the digital connection giving his voice a harsher tone than intended. "How can we be so sure? Your armies are mobilizing, and your strategic forces are at full readiness. How can we know this is not preparation for an attack?"
"You have my personal word that this is real. We have no intention to attack any nation on Earth. I assume you've been briefed on the Stargate Program?"
"Da, I have."
"Then you'll know what's at stake. You're at full strategic readiness, too, we can see that. But we didn't call to ask why."
"I am sorry," the Russian President apologized, deflated. "It has been... difficult. An attack of this magnitude is... unprecedented. Many are confused. Many are unhappy. All are fearful."
"Your country has pulled through before," Hayes replied with genuine honesty. "I would give Russia a far better chance than the United States of surviving."
"Thank you, Mister President. You have my word that we will lend all assistance possible."
"Sir, the Chinese head of state is waiting."
"I have to deal with other matters," Hayes excused. "I wish you and your country good luck."
"And you, Mister President. Thank you."
Henry Hayes switched phones with the technician. Immediately, he was blasted with an angry stream of words. "-your armies are deploying! Your strategic forces are at high alert! China sees this as a threat to its security, as any sane country would!"
"Wait just a minute. I assume you've been made aware of the threat-"
"Ah yes, Anubis. You say he is on his way with a fleet, but you have no proof! You say you received this information from an ally, but you would not even tell us what ally! Your missiles are ready to launch, as is your starship. This could be a prelude to war!"
"I know what this looks like," Hayes replied smoothly. "But I can assure you that we have no intention of attacking any of our allies, including the People's Republic of China. We believe the information is genuine and we are acting upon it."
"We are deploying our own forces as we speak," the Chinese President told him, calmed down slightly but still with an edge to his voice. "We will defend China at all costs. I will not hesitate to give the order to destroy your cities."
"You should be going to full readiness, preparing for an attack," Hayes supported. "But the attack won't be from us. And on behalf of the United States of America, I wish you luck in defending your country."
The technician told him, "He ended the call, sir."
"Mister President, I suggest you deliver your speech before things get too out of hand," General Hammond urged from beside him.
"I think you're right, George." The President paused. "Oh, that reminds me. If you're up for it, I have another assignment for you. Figured you wouldn't want to stay stuck in this bunker."
"What is it, sir?"
"How would you feel commanding Earth's last line of defence?"
"The Prometheus? I would be honoured, sir." Hammond paused. "However, I should advise you that if we launch the Prometheus, it would show our hand. It would show that we lack the advanced weaponry Anubis is afraid of."
Hayes nodded. "I know. But if SG-1 fails, we need a contingency plan. I know you'll give it your all if the need arises."
"There's a helicopter waiting for you outside. Good luck."
As the General left, another aide called, "Mister President, they're ready for you."
"Very well." The President followed him out of the room, up a staircase through two sets of reinforced blast doors. They went down a familiar hallway and entered the White House press room. It was packed with TV crews and reporters, all attempting to ask questions.
The President of the United States held up a hand for silence. After the room quieted down, he began his speech. "My fellow Americans. What I am about to tell you will fundamentally change the way we see the world. There is a lot to cover, so this will be a long explanation, and at many points you may find it shocking. I ask you above all to stay calm and level-headed, and please hold your questions, however important they might seem, until the end.
"The question of whether we are alone in the universe has been answered."