Author's note: Here is the fourth chapter. I'm not that happy how it turned out, mostly the first part of the chapter, but no matter how many times I tried to change it, it still didn't sound right. Ah, what can you do. Apparently, there must be a chapter that you like the least.
Stormwolf3710: The AI is in charge of the entire city so the name is the same. Ships as well will have AIs the crew refers to with the ship's name. The grey aliens will have a role in the story, mostly to make the Pegasus galaxy a little more interesting. I'm not very familiar with the races in Star Wars, but it is not that strange since in most shows, they actually take some human characteristic and blow it over proportion. The best example are the races in the Star Trek series. Logical (Vulcan), aggressive (Klingon), paranoid (Romulans), greedy (Ferengi) and the humans of course as the do gooders.
Senrab Nomis: Some questions about the Lucians and Aschen coming right up in this chapter. Also, the Jaffa are a great source of information, and the Aschen know the Terrans could not have possibly made such a leap without outside help. The Jaffa are also aware the Asgard had given Earth shielding tech. Still, the inability to reach Earth without being blown to pieces is a big problem for the Aschen to actually check some facts. The Terrans are preparing for the enemy Liam had dreamed of, but only the council is apprised of that. The AI is something the Terrans must have, since only few have the ability to sit in the chair and be able to access the full capabilities of the neural interface. It was not designed for them after all.
Draco volans: I forgot about Faxon too, but I rewatched that episode and went back to say a few words about him too. The commander of Borealis will be... someone from SGU.
romanhellhound: Thank you. In my opinion, the second book will be even better. The first book was after all my first attempt at writing something.
Thanks for reading my story and thanks to my beta reader for helping out.
I hope you'll enjoy this chapter too.
Pegasus Galaxy – Babylon One
Richard Wolsey was standing in front of one of the countless windows of the CIC level, watching intently at the void of space outside the station. Almost a year ago Richard had finally seen the light. He finally realized the future was with the Terrans and not against them, especially after he had started to see Earth's representatives for what they really were. Bureaucrats with their only job being to make problems for the Terrans without any good reason. And since he was one of them at the time, he had started to dislike himself as well. It was then that he decided a drastic change in his life was in order and what better way to do it than to join the Terrans and leave his old life behind. Since the Terrans had ways to find out if he was joining the Terrans for nefarious reasons, they were able to quickly ascertain he was telling the truth and that he indeed wanted to join them for the right reasons. From that point on, he had dedicated his life as an expert diplomat, helping brokering deals with many races first in the Milky Way and later in the Pegasus galaxy.
When the many races in the Pegasus galaxy started coming out of hiding after having learned the Wraith were not a threat anymore, his job became incredibly interesting. New races, nonhuman races, had started venturing into the galaxy once again like they had done a long time ago, before the Wraith existed, and they were all looking for one race in particular, the one that had been instrumental in the downfall of the Wraith. The Terrans.
Soon, the Terrans understood the Pegasus galaxy was changing and it was doing so very quickly, and since the Terrans didn't want for hostilities or even worse full blown wars to start among the many races in the galaxy, they knew they needed a way to make those races get to know each other in order to find a way to coexist peacefully. The solution to their latest problem had come to Jack who, one morning, had suddenly woken up, screaming only two words. BABYLON FIVE!
It had been a stroke of genius, with the other council members very much interested in Jack's idea. It would be a place where all races could meet and not just through the gate. It would be a place where deals could be made, merchandise could be sold or bought and where, hopefully, the many races in the galaxy would find a way to coexist all together in peace. Now the only problem was, somebody needed to build the damn thing.
Ideas had quickly started to flow, with engineers working on the various designs for the first Terran space station. It didn't take long when they'd realized they would need help; a lot of help. To their astonishment, both Liam and the Asgard were immediately on board, jumping at the opportunity of building something truly unique, something not even they had ever thought of building. A place where races from everywhere could come and meet was something they would really like to be part of. Even the Nox had expressed their wish to help and even send a few people permanently on the station once it was finished.
This had been the point where everything looked great and, of course, where problems inevitably started coming in, one after the other. The first problem was the station had been designed to be more than five miles tall and three miles in diameter where the top saucer section would be at the widest, and the station would be built in an approximate shape of a Starfleet Dock in the Star Trek series, with Jack actually showing the others a screenshot of how it looked. In short, the station would look like a gigantic mushroom. The problem was in her massive size, which meant a massive amount of raw materials would be needed, and since all three races knew their reserves were all to be channeled into building new ships in anticipation for the enemy Liam had dreamed of, nobody liked the idea of having to lose precious materials that could mean being unable to build dozens of warships more.
The solution to the problem could have been only one. They needed to build the space station with some other materials, some that weren't so precious or rare as Naquadah, Trinium or Neutronium were. The three races put their combined minds to work and came up with a material using three other elements nobody would lose any sleep over. The new composite material was made with carbon nanotubes, hardened steel and titanium, and everybody was more than happy how the material performed. After all, nobody cared if the station's armor was built with something heavier than Trinium, especially since the space station would not go anywhere. It would be built in the same place where it would stay. There was also the fact the station wasn't supposed to be for military purposes in the first place.
The second problem had been raised by the Asgard and the other three great races had no choice but to agree that it was a good call. The station shouldn't have any of the many technologies they deemed too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands. Among the most prominent technologies were of course the latest in weapons, shields, sensors, propulsion systems, power generation and teleportation technology. The Asgard raised the inevitable question of, how smart it would be to place those technologies on a station that was supposed to have thousands of aliens from countless unknown races roaming around, with the station not having the ability to move or to self-destruct if necessary. All ships have a self-destruct in case they are boarded and there is no other way to save the ship, but the crews know the risks involved. Something the many thousands of inhabitants on the space station, from many different races, would have not signed up for.
The first to go were the Asgard shields and the latest in plasma beam weapons. Even the Terrans agreed they were not ready to place their latest advancements in plasma beam weapons or even the latest of their plasma cannons to be available for anyone to take a look at. They all knew, no matter how many security precautions you place, there is always somebody who could find a way to go around them and steal some secrets the four great races would never want to be stolen. The next to go was the Asgard beaming technology. Everybody could imagine what kind of destruction such technology could cause if it falls into the wrong hands, especially since it had already happened in the past.
The three races had come to a satisfactory concordance on what the station should and shouldn't have. For shields they decided to use the same configuration that had been used by the Prometheus when it was first built. All agreed they could live with themselves if those shields fell into the wrong hands. After all, they were not much better than what the Ha'tak ships had at the time. Still, they had placed so many shield generators that, in conjunction with the massive central Naquadah reactor, they would provide more than adequate protection for a station with no military purpose in mind. They were also adamant they wouldn't use Naquadria to boost the reactor's power output. There were two reasons for that. One was the material being incredibly volatile and when the reactor can hold rods weighing almost a ton, it really wasn't a good idea. The second problem was maintenance. The standard Naquadah reactor was much more reliable than the N/N reactors the Terrans and Guardians used in their ships that needed constant maintenance and calibration to operate at peak efficiency. After all, they were boosted to deliver incredible amounts of power. Still, the reactor they had installed was so massive that it could provide more than enough juice to the shields and any other system in case a greater that usual amount of power would be needed, such as in case of an attack.
For weapons, the Terrans decided they would use their first version of plasma cannons, the same they had first installed on the Daedalus. Since then, the Daedalus' weapons had been upgraded three times, every time with more powerful versions so it was believed to be obsolete tech. The station also had plasma repeaters all around it. The station would have 36 plasma cannons and 80 double barrel turrets with the plasma repeater technology having been reverse engineered from the Kull Warrior's weapon. It had taken two years for the Terrans to understand how the weapon worked, mostly because it was not a priority project, but also because it was very difficult to reverse engineer something that Anubis didn't want anyone else to have. He had placed so many security measures that the scientists had to work with silk gloves the entire time.
The last weapon the station had was a gift from Liam. The weapon wasn't any revolutionary technology and if used on ships, its power wouldn't be anything extraordinary, but the space station had a saucer section with a diameter of three miles on its widest point. It also meant the circumference was more than 9 miles, perfect for a big particle accelerator. When the weapon fired, a massive buildup of protons would form on the opposite side of the saucer of where the target would be. Once charged, the protons would travel around the saucer, traversing the 4.5 miles of the saucer from both sides. The protons would at that point reach incredible speed and once the two proton streams connected, a particle beam would shoot out of the saucer at the target. The weapon was also perfect because it could fire from anywhere around the saucer, giving the station a 360 degrees coverage. The weapon could also change its power output by increments of one percent. If set on low yield, the weapon's rate of fire would be drastically increased. On the other hand, when the weapon was fully charged, it was thought it could destroy a hive with only a few shots. The station maybe didn't use the latest in weapons and shielding technology, but it was still far from being defenseless.
Three months it took to make the designs for the space station and three more for the myriad of ships from all three races to build it. Two dozen O'Neill and Beliskner ships, three builder ships from Liam and seven Daedalus class cruisers led by the Redemption, all working towards achieving one goal. It was like looking an orchestra performing a masterpiece. In unison, all ships had started building the station's support structure first and once they had finished, the outlining shape of the space station could already be recognized. The 30 ships then continued to beam the external armor plating, starting from the bottom cylindrical structure and finishing at the massive top saucer section.
Once the external structure was completed, with the station capable of being pressurized, the work continued with the beaming of the thousands of floor plates the station would need. The station after all had more than 700 levels that needed plating. Once floors had finally taken form, the first thing that had to be done was the installation of the twelve backup generators in the saucer section in order to power the life support system to allow the engineers to start working on the inside of the massive station. The Command floors were on the very top of the station and there the engineers had worked first in order to install everything they would need to control the station.
Bellow the CIC, the next 50 floors were for everything the Terrans would need for living. Accommodations for the crew, relaxation areas, mess halls, gyms, pools and storage rooms were built on those floors. The station also needed shared spaces where visitors could meet and perform businesses. A hundred floors had been dedicated for the sole purpose of races being able to mingle or buy and sell merchandise. Every race could also have an embassy on the station. Those had been built just below the Common Area and above the next 50 floors having been dedicated for guest accommodations, ranging from penthouses for VIPs to small rooms just to spend the night.
Below the saucer section were the floors dedicated to the station's hospital. Those floors were also the last available to the station's guests. Below the hospital, the cylindrical structure had a thickening where hangars, repair bays and construction yards were located. And last but not least was engineering with the reactor more than a mile long. The reactor was actually a series of 24 reactor units combined together. It had been calculated that the station could work properly even if 22 of the 24 reactor units stopped working and indeed most of the time only 4 units at a time would be online and only at fifty percent capacity.
All this made Woolsey increasingly worried. When he took the job, he thought the station would be like a fortress, impenetrable to anything, but now it looked as if that would not be the case. He wasn't a scientist, but he knew what it meant when they said the station would have nothing of the most advanced technologies at their disposal, and he even less liked the sensation of entrapment he was feeling. There was no beaming technology of any kind and there was no stargate on the station. Woolsey sighed, watching as a flight of F-302c code-name Viper flew in front of his window. He suddenly felt relieved, realizing that there were other things here that would protect the station from attack. The F-302c was the latest in fighter technology the Terrans could come up with. To an untrained eye, the third version of the fighter looked the same as its predecessors, but the craft could not be more different. The Viper had increased maneuverability and acceleration thanks to its new propulsion system and thrusters. The pilot now also had the ability to pilot the craft with the help of a neural interface, similar to what a puddle jumper had, embedded in his helmet. The neural interface would make the pilot's reaction time drop and not by a negligible amount. But all this were minor changes in comparison to the rest. The Viper had lost its railguns that had been replaced with two plasma repeaters and it had a low level shield that could absorb many shots from a similar craft before dropping or, if the shield wasn't in use, the craft could cloak instead. The Viper was a beast in its own right and the last addition to the craft was the crown jewel of the engineers' work. The Viper had a working hyperdrive capable of crossing half a light year. It wasn't much, not if you wanted to cross star systems with the ship, but this wasn't the reason they wanted the Viper to have a hyperdrive. The hyperdrive was to be able to jump anywhere in the system to quickly provide support or to make sudden attacks on the enemy. This way the number of patrols would need to be smaller since, no matter where the patrol was in the system, it could move quickly or get reinforcements in a very short time.
And this wasn't even what made Woolsey relax. What did make him relax were the three AF-307 that would, from time to time, patrol the system. The Assault Frigate was one of the latest additions to the ever growing pool of ship types available to the Terrans. The AF-307 was 150 meters in length, less than half of the BC-304, and it didn't have the two hangar bays. Even though it had never been tested, it was believed the AF-307 would be more than enough to destroy a Ha'tak if there were more than one of them. Working in packs, with their main plasma beam weapon and four omnidirectional dual plasma repeaters and railguns, combined with the latest roar in shielding, the ships could make 99 percent of races in this galaxy crap their pants.
The reason for the Terrans decision to build a smaller ship was because a galaxy is a very large place, and since they have to watch two of them, they wanted to have the numbers to do it. If they had continued building only larger ships, they would have exhausted their available number of qualified officers and technicians before having enough ships and it would have taken much longer to build so many since the frigate could be easily built in a month and each shipyard on Asura could build up to three at a time.
Behind Woolsey, a very impatient Jack O'Neill stepped closer, "Shall we?"
Woolsey turned, looking straight into Jack's eyes, "Oh, yes of course."
Together they moved to the center of the CIC where several technicians were working on their consoles.
"Is everything ready?" Woolsey asked the assorted crew.
"Everything is in the green sir," one of the technicians replied.
"Activate the first four reactor units," Woolsey ordered.
The same technician inputted the necessary commands, which was actually pushing four buttons on his touchscreen. He waited for a long two minutes before the display showed 4 of the 24 reactor units coming online, "Four units are online and in the green, I've shut down the backup generators."
"Very good," Woolsey replied. He knew there wouldn't be any problem since they had already tested all reactor units a few days ago. He turned to face Jack, "I think we are ready to receive our guests?"
"I think so too, especially since this is going to be a very long day, and I won't like it at all," Jack replied, thinking of the various introductions and ceremonies this day had been filled with.
Woolsey nodded, knowing full well Jack was right; it would be a long day. He turned toward another technician. "Extend the docking arms and broadcast a message telling our guests we are ready to receive them the moment the arms are deployed."
Outside the space station, near the middle of the saucer section, eight docking arms each a mile long and looking like scythes, extended from the station until they reached an angle of 45 degrees. The docking arms were slightly curved, just like the saucer section was, and from above it looked like the saucer just got eight blades slightly curved anticlockwise all around it. While this was happening near the middle of the saucer section, the same but much smaller docking arms extended from the hangar bay sections. Those were smaller than those above and they would be used for smaller ships.
At a certain distance from the station, a group of thirty plus ships started their slow approach toward the docking arms. There were no two ships looking the same as all were from different races all around the galaxy. The only ship that was recognizable was Katana's ship as this was something the Travelers were very interested in. While the ships were slowly docking on the various docking arms, three or four on each, other guests were being ferried from the planet below. The Terrans didn't want to have a stargate on the station, so they'd decided they would build a small outpost directly below the station on the planet's surface and then ferry people with small transport ships they had built just for the occasion. It was the only way for races without the ability to travel through space to reach the station.
"So, all these races are going to sell and buy stuff from others on the station, including us. How are we going to do that without a currency system?" Jack asked Woolsey while they were waiting their guests to disembark. He knew they must have come up with something, but he hadn't been informed, or probably the truth was he had skipped the memo with the pertinent information.
"Oh, but we have a currency system, and a very good one," Woolsey replied, smiling.
"Please do tell."
"Well, we took something from our history and made it better. You know how on Earth a hundred years ago you had our monetary system tied up with how much deposits of gold you had. Well, we did something similar here."
Jack thought about it, and he didn't get it, "What? Are you telling me people here have to deposit gold?"
"No, not just gold. We have found a study in Atlantis' database where the Lanteans have calculated how much different matter there is in this galaxy. This way we know how precious some materials are and how others aren't. For example, we know Neutronium is the least available metal in the galaxy, quickly followed by Naquadah, Trinium, Rhodium and Iridium, which makes their price skyrocket. We also calculated how many applications a certain material has, making it more or less valuable. For example Hydrogen is much more useful than Nitrogen, and even though you can find Hydrogen in much greater quantities, it is still more valuable than Nitrogen. It also takes time and energy to get it from water. This way we've given a nominal value to all matter in this galaxy."
"So what, somebody can deposit practically everything, and get money for it?"
"In essence, yes, but you must understand that if you bring a pound of Naquadah you get 78,000 credits for it, or 224,000 credits if you bring Neutronium, while if you bring a ton of Nitrogen, you get a tenth of a credit, which makes it very impractical to use as a deposit. We also set the top amount on how much of a specific material you can bring, so no, nobody can bring unlimited amounts of very common matter and get unlimited credits for it. Of course, everybody can bring as much Naquadah or Neutronium they want."
"Okay, I think I got it, but then what? We start dealing in those materials?"
"No, this is just a deposit to get credits that you can give back for the same deposit, if you didn't spend them of course. The deposit stays here in our vaults or in the vaults on the planet's surface if there is no more room here, but for now this isn't a problem. Every race can bring what they want. Their DNA is then scanned and they are given a certain amount of credits for it that is tied to their DNA. Everyone who wants to do business here must register with us. There is no physical money though, everything is only a bunch of numbers on a memory storage device, and for now the credits we give work only on the station. Everybody is given a bracelet tied to the wearer's DNA and other biometric parameters so even if it is stolen, you can't use it. Your DNA is actually the encryption key to access your account, at least that's what Doctor McKay told me. The bracelet allows you to input the amount you are ready to transfer to make a purchase through a small interface, and that's it."
"You are not worried there will be those who will force others to transfer them their money?"
"Of course, there is always a chance of that happening, but since every transaction is recorded with the information of the seller and buyer's accounts, plus the amount and what it was purchased, it's easy to report a crime and find the perpetrator. The transaction is then canceled and appropriate actions are taken against the perpetrator, usually resulting in the guilty party being banned from the station. The entire station is also monitored by countless sensors and cameras and since the bracelet doesn't work outside the station, it would be very difficult to commit a crime and not get caught. But isn't all this something you should already know?" Woolsey finished, looking straight at Jack with a wicked smile. He knew about Jack's dislike towards documents, reports and all paperwork in general.
"I was, but it just slipped my mind," Jack replied sheepishly. This was the first time he heard about all this and he wanted to change the subject quickly. "Shouldn't we get started with our part?"
Woolsey agreed. The various ambassadors and their entourage had most certainly already filled the large conference room on the Embassy Level and he now needed to greet them properly. Jack and Woolsey walked to the center of the CIC where there were several turbo-lifts. With the internal inertial dampeners the turbo-lift crossed the almost hundred floors in few seconds, depositing the two of them on the ground floor of the Embassy Level. The center of the floor, except for the turbo-lifts had a sizeable garden with a waterfall coming down from the entire height of the Embassy Level which was twenty floors high. Around them, on all sides, floor after floor were filled with balconies looking at the center where the two of them had exited. Everything had been designed this way. The central turbo-lifts would always bring you on the ground level of the CIC, Crew Accommodations, Embassy, Common Area, Guest Accommodations, Hospital, Hangar Bay or Engineering. From there you would have to take other smaller elevators on the far sides of the floor if you wanted to go up on some of the many floors in the distinct sections.
Woolsey and Jack walked in one of the many conference rooms on the first floor. Upon entry, they saw almost a hundred ambassadors with their escorts seated in separate booths, almost completely filling the entire conference room. Jack could quickly count there was almost four hundred people in the room, all waiting for the meeting to start. Woolsey and Jack walked toward the front of the conference room where the podium was. Woolsey stepped on the front of the podium while Jack took one of the four seats a few meters behind. The other three seats were filled with the same number of very important people. Before taking his seat, Jack nodded to Thor, Liam and Lya seating next to him.
Woolsey waited until Jack was comfortably seated and then he waited a little more while looking at the many different races seated in front of him. There were many, he had to admit it, and he didn't know most of them. On the left side, he could see most of the booths had been filled with humans from many worlds. There, he could see the Athosians, Travelers, Manarians, Genii, Daganians, Taranians, Sions, Latirans, Free Peoples of Riva, Tribes of Santhal, Harmony's people, Olesians, Hallonans and Galdarans, plus many more he didn't recognize. On the other side were the other races that had for a long time hidden their existence in this galaxy in fear of the Wraith. Now, they all stood here in front of him, waiting patiently for him to start his speech. So, he did.
"More than ten thousand years ago, a race had risen in this galaxy, a race we all know as the Wraith. This race began waging war against any and all other races in this galaxy they would encounter. While the humans were being hunted as their only source of food, the other races were hunted down, killed and almost brought to the brink of extinction, with the only real possibility if they wanted to survive being to flee and hide.
"At the time, there was only one race capable of opposing them; the Lanteans. They were the most advanced race in the galaxy and the only one who had the strength to stop the Wraith. For many years the Lanteans waged war with the Wraith, a bloody war with many losses on both sides. It was only until a hundred years later that the Lanteans were finally able to build a fleet strong enough to force the Wraith to retreat.
"The Lanteans were confident in their technological superiority, certain there was nothing the Wraith could do to change their fate, but the events that followed have showed the Lanteans were in fact overconfident, something that had cost them the war. The Wraith were able to destroy a few Lantean warships that had a small but very powerful device on board; the Potentia. Once acquired, the Wraith were able to improve their cloning process and shipbuilding tenfold and in a few years, the tide of the war turned in their favor."
"The Lantean fought bravely, but no matter how many Wraith ships they would destroy, more, many more would appear. With the constant increase of the Wraith forces, the Lanteans were forced to retreat to the last bastion of their civilization, their capital city Atlantis. For many years the city was besieged, every time being able to destroy the attackers, but only for more to come and begin the siege all over again."
"In the end, the Lanteans lost all hope, deciding to slumber their city on the bottom of the ocean and leave for the Milky Way galaxy through the stargate in hope they could, one day, become strong enough to return and face the Wraith once again. Unfortunately, this never came to pass."
"Approximately ten thousand years later, or better to say, six years ago, we the humans from Earth found a way to reach Atlantis once again. A small expedition was sent through the gate on an exploratory mission where we soon realized the city was running out of power and if that happened, the city would be completely flooded and all expedition members would die. Teams were sent on another planet, looking for ways to keep the city powered, or if not possible, to find a safe place where they could relocate leaving the city to its fate. It was then that the Terrans first met the Athosians, a race of humans native to the Pegasus galaxy," Woolsey said, turning to face Holland and nodding to him with a slight smile. He then turned to face the crowd again, continuing in a more somber tone. "Unfortunately, the Athosians weren't the only race the expedition members met that day for the first time. The Wraith came through the gate with their darts and quickly managed to capture several Athosians as well as a Terran before leaving the planet. In an attempt to rescue the captives, the Terrans followed them to the Wraith base. Even though they succeeded in saving the Athosians, the expedition members unknowingly set events in motion that would change the Pegasus galaxy in the years to come. By killing the Wraith queen, the Wraith began their awakening from their long sleep ahead of time."
"Even though the expedition members managed to save the Ancestral city by raising it from the bottom of the ocean, they found themselves stranded in a hostile galaxy with limited resources at their disposal, on many occasions surviving only with the help of allies in this galaxy."
"Eventually the situation changed, with the expedition finally being able to contact our home world," Woolsey turned to face the four members of the great races, "and with the help of allies, we turned the tide of war against the Wraith. We started an aggressive campaign, attacking the Wraith on any occasion we could find. Soon, a plan was formed where the humans from the Pegasus galaxy were to be relocated to another galaxy where the Wraith could not reach them. As a result, the Wraith soon found out their food source dwindling and had no other choice but to find a place where to hide and go back into hibernation."
"Although the Wraith are far from being defeated, we do believe they do not pose a threat anymore, not as much as they did for the previous ten thousand long years. This also made possible for many races that had to hide for so long to come out of hiding and join the rest of the races in the galaxy."
"This space station was built by us all, the Terrans and its closest allies, for a very important reason. What we are doing here today is an important first step toward interplanetary government; a... Federation if you will. This space station is a place where all the races in the Pegasus galaxy can meet and work together toward a common goal, a very noble common goal. A way to coexist peacefully and a way to solve our problems in a civilized manner without the need to fight among each other. A galaxy is a very big place, and there is no reason why we all shouldn't be able to live together and prosper in peace. Today, I welcome you all to this space station as a first step for a brighter future in which we live and prosper as one. Welcome."
Woolsey finished his lengthy speech, with all those present in the conference room clapping their hands. It was a very important step, and they all knew it.
The meeting continued through the scheduled procession, with the four great races being the first to sign the needed documents all present would eventually need to sign. After all, they all needed to be equal on the station.
First it was the turn for Jack who, while a large display showed the vaults on one of the lower floor having received the deposit of precious materials, had signed the documents with his DNA and other biometric parameters being stored in the system. Tons of Naquadah, Neutronium and Trinium as well as other materials like Platinum, Gold and Silver were stored in order to receive a billion credits and the small wristband to access their newly created account. Of course, the deposit was symbolic, with only a billion credits placed in the Terran account, something all four great races would do. In time, the races would eventually bring much more to deposit.
Jack took the small box with a specifically designed bracelet inside. The one Jack got was a mix of Trinum and Gold with an inscription written in Latin letters. Liam received his bracelet completely made of Naquadah and Platinum with an inscription in Ancient letters. Thor received one completely made in Neutronium with symbols made in the Asgard written language. The same was given to Lya, except it wasn't made from metals, but instead it was made from a material resembling leather. Of course it wasn't real leather since the Nox would never like to wear something made from a dead animal. Instead the bracelet was made from fibers from plants, readily available on the Nox world. Lya took the small box, intently looking at the content inside. She smiled, appreciating the thoughtfulness of the Terrans. The Nox had never valued precious metals more than for what their possible applications were.
One after the other, the many ambassadors proceeded through the same protocol, all receiving a bracelet that had been specifically designed for them while another, more common type of bracelet, had been designed to be given to private citizens who had come to the station. It had taken a lot of time to go through all the various races in the room, with introductions and talks, but eventually the meeting had finally ended.
Jack and Woolsey also wanted to go down in the Common Area where, by now, it should be crawling with people. As they reached the lowest level of the Common Area section, they saw they were right. A lot of people were buzzing around, many already having taken possession of prepaid spaces, where they could conduct their businesses. Some had turned these spaces into stores, while others into restaurants or bars. Everything had been prearranged in order for today to be the grand opening.
"Wow! On this floor alone I can see more than a thousand people," Jack said while looking at the crowd in front of him.
"I've told you there will be a lot of people being interested in what we are offering here," Woolsey replied, smiling.
"I see that. So, how does money go around? How do they get their credits?"
"First we thought we would do the same as with the Embassies by just giving them credits for their deposit, but then we realized it would be too much work for us and we would also have difficulties checking to whom we are giving them since we don't know these people. So instead we have decided to give that job to their embassies. An embassy checks who the person is and it gives him the credits. How people compensate their embassies is not our concern, that's something between them. This way we also force the various embassies to check their own people since we told them they are responsible for them and if they do something illegal on the station they would be sanctioned as well. This way we believe they won't allow anyone to come here who they know are criminals on their planet," Woolsey explained.
"That does sound better than the first option," Jack replied.
"I agree. I'm certain we will have no problems here," Woolsey replied.
Even before Jack could give Woolsey a stern look, not approving of what he had just said, two aliens from different races, walking less than fifty meters from them, brushed one another. They turned facing each other, yelling some not very flattering words. Soon, the two individuals started pushing each other. Several individuals from their two respective races saw what was going on and decided to join in. It didn't take long before a brawl ensued with fists flying everywhere in front of the two dumbfounded humans. Terran security forces jumped in trying to split the two distinct races apart. One of the security personnel got a punch from a reptile looking green alien, sprawling to the floor very much hurt, especially to his ego. The other security guards looked at each other knowingly, before taking out their stun weapons and shooting the seven people who were still fighting. Security guards on the entire station had only stun weapons at their disposal as no lethal weapons were allowed here. On the station there was a military presence under the command of Colonel Lorne, but they would never be employed in situations like the one that had just transpired. They were here to protect the station from much bigger threats.
As the fight had abruptly ended, since all those involved were now being dragged to the brig, Jack gave Woolsey the stern look he had tried to give before the fight began, "I can't believe you just said that!"
"Neither can I, but I still believe there won't be… many incidents like this one," Woolsey replied.
"You know, in my line of work, and now in yours too, I learned how hope is great, but preparing for the worst is much better. I learned that Murphy guy was right all along."
Woolsey shrugged. He knew Jack was right, "Don't worry, I always plan for the worst, but I also think now I have other duties I need to attend to."
"Me too, I still have to visit Weir in another endless meeting and then go back to the Milky Way galaxy to probably many more endless meetings and… paperwork," Jack said shivering at the thought.
Both men took off for the turbo-lifts. While Jack went in one, going down to the hangar bay, Woolsey took another straight up to the CIC Level.
Milky Way Galaxy – Jaffa Planet
A hyperspace window tore space open, spewing a single Tel'tak. The moment the ship exited hyperspace it cloaked in order to conceal its arrival. The two pilots were transporting a precious cargo the Lucians wanted delivered in one of the cities on the planet. The pilots didn't ask what it was, but since the last ten times they had run errands for their masters it was Kassa, it was easy to deduce what the cargo was even this time.
Pushing forward toward the planet, the two pilots noticed the planet now had a Ha'tak in orbit, something that wasn't here the last time. They would have to be careful this time. If there was a Ha'tak in orbit, there was a great chance the situation on the ground had changed as well and not for the better. They also knew the Jaffa didn't like the contraband of Kassa and if they got caught, well, let's just say they would rather be captured by the Terrans than the Jaffa. There were even rumors that many who got caught by the Terrans actually thought of it more like liberation from slavery than punishment. Something that they definitely couldn't say if they got caught by the Jaffa… thought one of the pilots, shivering.
As the small ship went closer to the planet, confident in their cloak to protect them against detection, the two pilots forgot that a ship entering the atmosphere would create turbulence that a vigil Jaffa commander aboard the Ha'tak ship in orbit could easily detect; something that was just about to happen.
The first sign that something went wrong was when four gliders exited the much larger ship in orbit on a clear intercept course toward the Tel'tak. The pilots pushed forward, deeper into the planet's atmosphere. Failure wasn't an option when the Lucians were involved and the pilots knew that fact very well.
The four gliders started their relentless fire against the ship, but with the ship still being cloaked, it wasn't that easy to score a hit. Unfortunately, for the people aboard the Tel'tac at least, if the gliders poured enough plasma bolts in the general area where they believed the ship was, sooner or later, they were bound to score a hit. Suddenly, the ship shook as it got hit by a plasma bolt, only to be hit again and again as now the cloak wasn't working anymore. Still, the pilots continued toward their target thinking that once they landed they could maybe escape capture; somehow.
As the ship reached an altitude of three hundred meters, just above the city in question, a small sensor inside the large cargo box detected it had reached its intended target. Instantly, the small device sent a short impulse to a much larger one, a much deadlier one, inside the same casing.
On the ground Jaffa looked at the approaching Tel'tak chased by four gliders in close pursuit, asking what was happening. Their question will remain without an answer for them as a bright flash of light, quickly followed by a massive wave of pressure and heat pulverized them all to the molecular level, the same as the rest of the city.
In the same room as the last time, the same group of Lucians met again. The difference though this time was that silence was louder than anything else. Everybody was looking at their leader Odai sitting in his chair without moving a muscle or without looking anyone in particular. He was angry, everybody knew that, but what they didn't know was how angry he really was or what he was going to do.
Odai slowly rose from his seat, taking a walk around the table and the captains sitting there.
"So, you didn't like what I ordered the last time we saw each other and you decided to attack the Jaffa without my knowledge… or approval. Well, nicely done you dimwits! Instead of thinking that, maybe, I knew something more than you did, you took the matter into your own hands and screwed us all."
"The attack on the Jaffa was warranted, and you know it," Leto replied, fed up of being lectured.
"Really. And what would you say if I told you that, while you bunch of idiots were planning an unsanctioned attack at a civilian target, I was gathering important information? Information that shows the Jaffa are under the impression that we have attacked three of their planets with the Tok'ra symbiote poison and killed more than two hundred thousand Jaffa?"
"We didn't attack the Jaffa with any poison," Leto replied, puzzled by the news.
"I know that, you cretin! If you listened to my words, you would know I said how they are under the impression, which means somebody set us up. And now thanks to you worthless amoebas, there is not one chance in hell anyone in the entire universe will believe us if we say we've been set up."
This time, even Leto remained silent.
"You know, I don't ask a lot from you. I actually need only two things. I need obedience, and I need you to have just a little more brain than all those brainless grunts you have under you. And what do you do? In one fell swoop you show me that you can't follow orders and that you have even less brain than a monkey."
Again, Leto said nothing.
"So, the question now stands. What do I do with you bunch of morons?" Odai said, still making his round around the table. "I have the slight feeling you think if all of you were complicit in this, I won't be able to shoot you all because I need you. Well that may be true, but that doesn't mean all of you will get a get out free card," Odai said just as he stopped behind Leto.
Leto's eyes widened, understanding exactly what Odai's last words meant. He understood just as a bullet went right through his head.
As the rest of the captains around the table shrunk even further in their chairs, Odai continued his walk. "And to the rest of you, don't think I can't make it without two less captains, the same way as with one less. It will be up to you to show me in the days to come that you are not that second captain that I can do without."
"Now that this matter is finally solved, I want to hear ideas on who is behind the attack on the Jaffa and how they've succeeded in blaming us. Also knowing why they, whoever they are, have chosen us to be blamed would be nice too."
The room remained silent.
"I see," Odai said taking a deep breath. Choosing captains was never an easy thing to do. You didn't want idiots to run your empire, but you didn't want to have smart ones either. Those tend to sooner or later stab you in the back and take the throne for themselves. Still, he thought he had chosen well, but apparently he was wrong. Except for one, all others were complete tools, unable to make a smart decision even if their lives depended on it; just like in this case, because their lives did depend on what kind of answer they would give or not give. There was one among the captains though that Odai thought was smart, maybe even too smart. At first glance Lucius looked like a retard, barely having spoken two words in the last two year, but if you looked at how he was running his business, you quickly understood the man knew what he was doing. Odai also didn't like the quiet type; he actually hated the quiet type. They as well tend to stab you in the back without saying a single word. He also didn't like the coldness he saw in Lucius, a calculated coldness. Not that anyone in the room, he included, was much better, but that coldness and detachment he saw in Lucius was something that made him shiver at times. Somehow, he believed Lucius was… different.
Milky Way Galaxy – Aschen Prime
The usual group of very important Aschen was gathered once more in the same room as all the times before. Inside the room, the only Aschen known was Mollem. He was the one to start the meeting.
"We received encouraging news from our spy in the Lucian's ranks. It appears the war between them and the Jaffa will proceed as we planned."
"We haven't anticipated the Lucian leader going against it and instead trying to find information about why the Jaffa attacked their warehouse. We didn't account for that variable."
"True, but the Lucian captains took care of that problem when they attacked a Jaffa world. There is no turning back now."
"Perhaps. Still, Odai Ventrell looks like a man who uses his head. I don't believe he will stop searching for the truth."
"Our spy will keep a close eye on him and if necessary he will eliminate the threat and take control of the Lucian Alliance."
"It is preferable if the Lucian Alliance is not directly controlled by us. If one of ours is the leader, we become more exposed."
"This is only a contingency plan if Odai finds the truth, only a remote possibility if a might add."
"True enough. We have covered our tracks very carefully. There is no trace that leads back to us."
"What about the Terrans? From a few Jaffa under our control we have found the Terrans have already asked them if they need assistance. Will they join the fight?"
"Eventually; it's possible. But for now, the Jaffa want to fight the war alone, exactly as we predicted they would."
"Even alone the Jaffa are stronger than the Lucian Alliance. The war could be over very soon; too soon."
"Through our spy we will help the Lucians if need be. The war between them must last as long as possible, preferably until both are destroyed."
"I agree. What about the Ori? Do we have any more intel on them?"
"Very little. We know they are preparing and that, when they are ready, they will strike with whatever they have accumulated in these two years. I also worked on the probability of the Terrans being able to win against the Ori and I have extrapolated what kind of force they could have accumulated in these two years. The probability of the Terrans winning is small."
"How can you be so certain from so little data?"
"While I believe the Terrans are capable of defending Earth and maybe their colonies, they do not possess the necessary numbers to patrol the entire galaxy. Which means, slowly but surely, the Ori will make progress on other planets until only the Terran territories remain."
"Intriguing. Does this include us too?"
"It does. If the Ori are smart, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, and if they have learned their lesson two years ago, the Ori will simply leave the Terrans alone and go conquer the rest of the galaxy. I believe the Jaffa will be among the first to be attacked, or one of the other worlds with a large human population. Eventually the Ori will find out about us as well and we will probably be annihilated since they will quickly realize we are never going to worship them."
"In your assessment, did you find a way to save us?"
"I did; two actually. The first is to pretend to worship them, but this can work for only a short period of time."
"And the second?"
"If we are attacked, we ask the Terrans for help. Both options have flaws though. The first as I stated is only short term and the second relies on the Terrans' benevolence, something we cannot count on with any certainty."
"I agree. Can we increase our planetary defenses?"
"We have already done that. More and we will have to stop building anything else, like ships. The problem is that I believe we do not possess the necessary technology to face the Ori if they come en masse. Maybe we can succeed in winning against few of their ships, but not against a larger fleet and I believe the Ori have spent these two years waiting for that exact reason."
"Have we at least been able to find a cure against their virus? Did the samples Earth provided us help?"
"It did. We are now more than certain we can devise a vaccine against the Prior's virus with minimal casualties for our population even if such virus is spread directly on our planet."
"Less than .1 percent mortality rate."
"That is still fourteen million lives."
"It is, but this is the worst case scenario and only if the virus is deployed on our planet on multiple locations at once. In reality I believe the mortality rate would be much lower."
"Still, I want you to create a group with the only job of finding a way to fight the Ori, their priors and their followers. I cannot place the fate of our race in the hands of the Terrans or to pretend to believe the Ori are gods and worship them."
The group quickly wrapped up their meeting, with many questions still remaining unanswered. The possibility of an alliance with the Terrans was a long shot, they all knew that, and they also knew they could not possibly win against the Ori. Yet, the Aschen game was to make other races fight each other until so weakened that they would be the only remaining power in the galaxy. If they can manage to help the Terrans enough to fight the Ori on equal footing, those two races could fight each other forever while they remain unscathed, the same as with the Lucians and the Jaffa. It was a dangerous game to play, but, apparently, the only one available to them at the moment.
Traveling through hyperspace at cruising speed, the Atlas was slowly making his way to the Pegasus galaxy. Thinking how, soon, this form of travel across galaxies would be a thing of the past, Colonel Gibbons wanted for this long journey to be his last. Liam was in the last stage of creating a network of supergates that would connect the four galaxies, allowing for ships to cross the vast distances between galaxies in a blink of an eye instead of the three weeks it now took to reach the Pegasus. It was the worst part of his job. His ass was hurting on how much time he had spent in his chair doing nothing except watching the blue hyperspace dimension through the frontal view. Gibbons actually started believing that watching hyperspace for longer periods had some kind of hypnotic influence of sorts. It had happened a few times now that he had simply lost the notion of time.
"Sir, I'm picking a time dilation field two thousand light years ahead of us," the sensor officer said, he too looking bored.
"Did you just say time dilation field?" the colonel asked, puzzled at what it could be. Especially here, still many light years outside the Pegasus galaxy.
"Yes sir. The distortion is small and I have no more information than that. We would have to drop out of hyperspace near it to get a better reading."
The colonel thought about it and he couldn't find a reason why they shouldn't check it out, especially since he was so bored that anything, no matter how small or insignificant, was better than doing… nothing, "Alright. Helm, drop us out of hyperspace ten light minutes away from the distortion."
It took them a few more minutes before the ship reached the disturbance. They dropped out of hyperspace, immediately using their sensors at full strength to get a better reading. The puzzling thing was that the distortion was moving at incredible speed towards them.
"Sir, it is a ship traveling at near the speed of light," the sensor officer said.
That was something that got the colonel's attention, "Is the time dilation field the result of the ship traveling at such speed?" Gibbons asked, remembering some scientist explaining to him the effect travel at such speeds would have.
"Yes sir," the officer answer, just as the ship passed them in a blink of an eye. "They have just passed us."
"Can we chase them?" the Colonel asked, the same moment he understood how stupid that must have sounded. There was no way they could chase a ship moving at near the speed of light.
"No sir, but the ship has started slowing down."
"Alright then. Helm I want you to follow that ship as much as we can," the colonel ordered. If they were stopping, it would be rude to just leave now.
It had taken almost half an hour, but eventually the ship managed to slow down. Actually, the colonel had to order them to make a small jump through hyperspace in order to get ahead of the ship because it had gained so much that it would have taken them hours to reach it at sublight speed, even after they had lowered their speed.
As the ship once more passed them at still higher speed then theirs, a hologram appeared on the bridge of the ship. It was a woman wearing the usual Alterran white robes.
"Greetings, I'm Captain Helia of the Lantean warship Tria," the woman said.
"Hello. I'm Colonel Gibbons, commander of the Terran battlecruiser Atlas," the captain replied.
"Yes, we are from Earth. Or Avalon if you will," the colonel answered, not knowing what name would jog the woman's memory.
There was a lot of questions swirling in her head, but there was a more pressing matter she needed to address first, "We need assistance. Our hyperdrive malfunctioned and we had no other choice but to continue our journey with only our sublight engines at our disposal. Can you provide us with transportation?"
"We can. We are on our way to Atlantis," the captain said.
"Thank you. We would appreciate it." the woman replied, her hologram disappearing from the bridge the next moment.
Colonel Gibbons smiled. They were apparently going to meet some living and breathing Lanteans.
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