Thank you for all of your patience guys, and also for the reviews. I'm glad that you guys are liking the story so far.
And a huge thank you to my beta Joe Lawyer for all the work that he does editing and smoothing out these chapters
February 23, 1996
It was at moments like these that Harry considered just how far ahead the Lanteans were compared to the known races of several galaxies.
He was standing out on a balcony of the central spire of Atlantis, drinking in the sight of Paradise from orbit. It was mesmerizing, seeing the mass of greenery and oceans on the planet's surface
Atlantis had spent only a few weeks on the surface of the Ocean of Paradise before Harry had gone over the logs of active experiments going on at the time that the Ancients had abandoned the city and subsequently decided that it would be far more prudent if the city was not on the planet's surface. Instead, it was now in orbit with the various drone manufacturing facilities and orbital defenses, so that any biological agent from the city would not be able to spread across the planet should some sort of accident occur.
While he liked the design of the city ship, it was a little bit of a stretch to truly call it a 'city'. If it wasn't for the multitude of towers, there would barely be any space for the Lanteans to live. He mentally shrugged to himself, guessing that for a race that could theoretically live forever if they wished, having children didn't exactly seem to be much of a priority for them. They had seemed to prefer to spend their time with their work and advancing their own knowledge with experiments and expeditions to different parts of the galaxy.
And while he was on the subject of experiments...
What kind of idiot leaves a creature that eats energy trapped in a cage for those that followed to discover or accidentally stumble upon? If he was that creature, he would have been beyond annoyed and taken out whatever unlucky sod managed to set it free after several thousand years of captivity.
Speaking of said creature, Harry had it contained within one of the City's many research labs, shielding the rest of the energy signatures from detection within the room and keeping it appeased with a fair amount of power for sustenance. The way that it literally sucked up the energy from a short distance away from the generator made him very interested in the scientific principles that allowed it to do so. After all, if there was a way to drain the power from another ship from a distance...said ship would not be able to fight back. A ship targeted with such a weapon would be dead in space or near defenseless.
Of course, it had yet to be seen if a ship's shields could be drained in such a manner, (though he'd have to test that at some point) but even if it couldn't be used to drain shields and a ship's internal power, it would be a useful tool against the Wraith. If he had enough time to work on it that is, he had so many projects ongoing as it was.
It had been brought to his attention by James of all people that Harry seemed to be stalling, that while his experiments had been expanding the knowledge and correspondingly the power his ships could wield, they were not assisting him in planning further actions against the Wraith. He had described the problem of the Wraith to the adult wizards of Paradise a long time ago, but other than mapping out their locations and making plans of what to do once he decided to confront them, he really hadn't done anything further.
When James mentioned it Harry had nearly snapped at him for criticizing his efforts. It wasn't like any of the Wizards could help him with his plans, so how could he so easily say what Harry was doing wrong.
It was true that Harry had been spending most of his time researching on various projects that had caught his interest, but he wasn't so sure that it would be fair to say he hadn't been planning for the day that he attacked the Wraith. His probes were checking a few more obscure locations within the Pegasus Galaxy for Wraith signals, but if he was being honest with himself he could agree that it was nearly pointless to be doing so.
His greatest fear was that if his information wasn't complete, he could awaken some far off wraith ship that he'd failed to locate before, which would then start attacking innocent planets for people to feed and eventually create more ships. Millions of lives literally hung in the balance, should he fail to destroy all of the Wraith throughout the galaxy in the same attack. Frankly, with their period of hibernation, he could afford to take his time.
He was similarly on a standstill in regards to his goal of defeating the Goa'uld. Hell, the humans of Earth had done more to damage the Goa'uld's power structure than he had, and though he tried not to feel overly arrogant about the advanced technology of his people, that fact still stung a bit. The main problem still remained the sheer number of Goa'uld ships that could be brought to bear in relation to his own. That and their ship's ability to remain in Hyperspace indefinitely so long as they had power, unlike the Wraith, whose biological ships could not travel in hyperspace for too long without taking breaks to remove the radiation from their hulls and effect periodic repairs.
The numbers problem was something that was slowly being dealt with. Since June 1995 Harry had dedicated five groups of 128 constructor drones(one group per ship) to the construction of M-Ares class ships. Each M-Ares would take a little under three months to complete, and he had already built ten of them in addition to the original upgraded and non-upgraded versions of the Ares.
But the Wraith needed to be dealt with soon. He and Merlin had decided that they would attack the Wraith on May 31 of this current year so he would have time to work on and implement a few more ideas for their ships, as well as finish the current batch of five M-Ares that were being built in orbit.
Digging through the Atlantis archives had revealed an ingenious device created by a brilliant Lantean scientist that was designed to destroy ships upon their entry into hyperspace. Of course, it had the nasty side effect of exploding any active stargates within the area it was activated, so there were still some major problems to be worked out if he wanted to use it.
Merlin had grimaced at the mention of the Attero device, and nearly forbid Harry from working with it. Harry believed that the issue with the device was not that it would destroy the stargates, but that it was too ambitious as designed, and its area of effect was far too large. It woud serve their purposes far better as a discrete means to keep enemy ships from fleeing the scene of a battle or planetary system by jumping into hyperspace, but only once they figured out how to properly limit its area of effect to a size and shape of their choosing.
Merlin had left in one of the M-Hermes class ships to work on this device nearly 200,000 light years above the galactic plane in the desolate space between galaxies. Given that the device was originally designed to work in a galaxy less than a tenth the size of the Milky Way, Harry thought Merlin was grossly overreacting with his safety concerns.
May 31 1996
M-Ares class Achilles
Harry watched with grim resolve as the countdown for the bombs on the inactive hive ships dropped to zero.
Across the Pegasus galaxy 3400 meter long Hive ships burrowed deep within the ground and orbiting inactive in space detonated in bursts of azure light, the naquadria enhanced bombs had been placed for maximum effect, largely vaporizing the ships before any of the hibernating Wraith elsewhere in the galaxy could wake up.
The entire process took mere seconds. Harry looked to the hyperspace scanner to confirm the rest of his plan was still viable.
The problem of controlling his ships had been solved with a rather basic system. He had a large representation of the galaxy in front of him, along with the locations of his ships in green and the location of the Wraith ships he had tagged with transponders in red. Each ship was ordered to engage its targets after exiting hyperspace at the coordinates he had assigned them, and if the ship was not able to accomplish its attacks autonomously, then he would take direct control of it via mental connection.
He had fifteen M-Ares class ships engaging the remaining hives left in pegasus, the few that had remained active that is, after activating the altered Attero device around them. The wraith would not be escaping this day.
Hyperspace windows opened all over the galaxy as lone M-Ares class ships attacked the Wraith without warning or mercy. The solitary nature of the Wraith Queens did them a great disservice in this moment, as the solitary hives along with their cruiser escorts were quickly overwhelmed by the kilometer long, magically enhanced warships. Drones were launched by the thousands in great swarms, tearing through the hull and vaporizing power conduits and Wraith soldiers alike as they passed through the organic material.
In desperate retaliation the dying Wraith hives did their best to destroy the powerful M-Ares class ships, blue pulses of concentrated destructive energy swiftly crossing the void between ships only to strike nothing as the nimble Battleships managed to avoid the majority of their fire through maneuvering around them like escorts.
In desperation untold thousands of manned darts were launched from the ships, quickly accelerating and firing on the Hermes. It was a scene that repeated itself all over the galaxy; the fighters were rapidly destroyed by the anti-fighter weapons systems aboard each Ares, each turret taking only a tenth of a second at most for the powerful dedicated systems to target and fire a single burst of power at nearly unavoidable speeds. Seeing their ships being destroyed so easily, the remaining darts flew as erratically as possible to avoid the weapons fire while firing on their target, but the shields of the Ares class ships easily shrugged off the energy pulses and continued to fire without mercy.
In a futile attempt to destroy the warships a number of the Wraith fighters accelerated to their highest speeds and physically rammed the ships attacking them, destroying themselves in the process. Very few were successful at this, however, as they were not able to properly follow a moving target at such speeds and strike it head on. Even those few fighters that managed to detonate against the shields did negligible damage at best.
Several times, the cruisers escorting the hives tried to cut their losses and escape the battle. Unfortunately for them, Merlin's time working on the Attero device had been fruitful; the Ares class ships had deployed the Attero Device'santi-hyperspace field the moment they exited from hyperspace, before the battle had even begun. The few ships who were successful in forming a hyperspace window were quickly shattered into millions of pieces across space. The other cruisers quickly realized that there would be no escape this day.
After only a few minutes, the Wraith's millennia old reign of terror over the galaxy had finally come to an end. The scourge of his people had finally been destroyed.
It almost felt anti-climactic in a way, Harry mused. The Wraith had literally forced the Lanteans out of the galaxy with their greater numbers, but the years in-between their victory and now seemed to have made them complacent, arrogant in their superiority and supremacy over the galaxy. All it had taken was a successful ambush and strategy to destroy them all in one fell swoop.
Harry mentally reviewed the combat data streaming in from all over the galaxy. Not a single one of his ships had been lost or damaged, the Ares' shielding and magically enchanted armor proving itself in battle. It was a decisive victory.
He gave himself a firm nod, preparing to enter hyperspace when a low pinging noise rang from the subspace display.
Harry frowned at it, wondering just what was going on before he decided to indulge his curiosity. Absently he ordered his fleet of cargo ships standing by to begin cleaning up the various battlefields and salvaging any useful or valuable materials, jumping into the systems where he and the Wraith had fought to collect the bodies along with the shattered hulls of the hive ships, cruisers, and darts by beaming the debris into their matter buffers. This was an important and intelligent move, both for the raw materials as well as to prevent less advanced races from studying the debris and likely dooming themselves, should they prove not yet ready to handle the knowledge
The signal was very weak, and one that he hadn't noticed or detected the last time he was in this galaxy. Perhaps the ship had reacted to his activation of Atlantis somehow? He mused.
Harry shook his head. It didn't matter why the ship had suddenly decided to show up, if it was truly a Lantean ship, then he would need to investigate it and possibly destroy it so that none of the other space-faring races nearby (his probes had detected a few) could get their hands on the advanced technology.
A few minutes later
Harry stared at the derelict Lantean ship floating in space with trembling hands, the sensor reports blinking in front of him, waiting for his review.
There were living Lanteans on that ship. Brothers and sisters of his ancestors were locked in a frozen sleep, just waiting to be awakened.
Merlin was going to be so thrilled! As it was Harry felt like jumping around in glee. His people were alive!
He sent a quick message to Paradise via his subspace communicators, knowing that the ship he was currently flying in had nowhere near enough space for over four hundred crewmen. He had designed the ship to be crewed by a maximum of twenty people, more of a dedicated warship than transport. The ship was not just a large hull with empty space on the inside after all. The majority of the ship was completely solid, a thick framework of metal with several pockets for its required systems and living quarters, along with drone storage rooms. Even all fifteen Ares class ships traveling together would be unable to take the entire crew of the Aurora. The only ship that he had capable of housing so many people and treating them after their hibernation in cryostasis was Atlantis itself.
Now he just had to wait for a little over six hours for Merlin to arrive. He decided to spend that time preparing the medical facilities he had on board as well as checking the progress his M-Hermes fleet had with finishing off the Wraith.
Aetius groaned lowly as his sluggish mind felt like it was swimming through the equivalent of cold molasses. The last thing he remembered was ordering the crew to enter stasis after the Aurora's hyperdrive was too damaged to get them home in time. That and the hope that the Council of Atlantis would be able to find his crew and retrieve the information they so desperately needed to win the war against the Wraith.
He forced his eyes open, hearing a low beeping sound reminiscent of the healing beds of Atlantis. They had been rescued!
Aetius shoved himself upward, hearing an increase in the beeping but not caring. His muscles were trembling with the effort to keep him up and it bothered him. Just how long had he been asleep for his muscles to atrophy so much?
He stared at the room around him, trying to place it. He didn't remember such a design in Atlantis or any of its ships. This looked almost like he was somewhere else, like on a pleasure planet or something similar. But those had been forbidden to visit as the Wraith war reached its climax. Unless his people had relocated to one of them once the war it seemed that the war was lost?
Aetius was interrupted from his musings by the sound of the door opening. It was then that he realized that he had no idea where the remainder of his crew was.
An elegant looking woman came through, looking at him with a kind gleam in her eyes, the eyes of a healer meant to calm a potentially emotional patient. She held in her hand a smooth piece of wood that looked worn from use, but very well maintained, though what she used it for he had absolutely no idea.
Andromeda gave the newly awoken man a once over. As Harry had said living in suspended animation for far longer than intended had made the crew members of the Aurora incredibly weak. As it was Harry had refused to even enter the same room as them, only allowing Andromeda to go treat them once she had gotten a shield from him to neutralize any contagious diseases that she could either pass or receive from the weakened crew. Andromeda had honestly been incredibly amused by just how bouncy Harry was over the presence of living Lanteans to feel annoyed that someone more than thirty years her junior deigned to order her around. Well that and the fact that she really didn't want to get him annoyed with her after what happened to Sirius.
She gave him a calm smile and spoke. "Hello, my name is Andromeda, your people are on the planet Paradise."
She rolled her eyes slightly when she said the name of the planet, but Aetius, like all Lanteans, was more advanced than most humans. Though there were few Lanteans that could access the full telekinetic abilities of their ancestors, most of them had some low level form of telepathy or empathy, the latter of which he was using to his advantage right now.
The woman felt like a mixture of exasperated and happy when she said the name Paradise, as though she thought the name was infantile, yet also thought that it fit rather well. He could sense nothing but curiosity and a bit of worry from her regarding him, that last bit confused him until he realized that he had yet to reply to her greeting.
"My name is Aetius, Captain of the Aurora." He rasped, frowning and touching at his throat. Why was it so dry from disuse?
Andromeda took in his words and her eyes widened slightly before she deactivated the English-Lantean translator and said. "Hadrian, you might want to get in here."
Harry appeared in the room via beaming, and Aetius frowned slightly as he looked at the boy. He couldn't be over eighteen years of age! Most likely even younger than that.
"Whats wrong?" He asked, looking over to Aetius and smiling as he realized the man was awake.
Aetius frowned further when he realized that this young man was a member of his race, and his telepathy must be unusually powerful for one of their people if he couldn't feel anything other than a faint sense of curiosity.
"He says his name is Aetius, and he is the Captain of the Aurora." Andromeda stated plainly.
Immediately the joyful expression calmed to a more businesslike smile. Harry gave him a considering look before he gestured with his hand. Before Aetius' very eyes a chair was built from energy alone, but the speed was far greater than what he was accustomed to with the technology he was familiar with.
"I know that you must be feeling a bit confused right now, but I need you to please remain calm." Harry murmured, looking over to Andromeda. "Can you bring Merlin over here; I think the Captain would prefer to see a familiar face."
Aetius' head tilted slightly in a confused gesture, wondering just who this 'Merlin' was.
Andromeda knew that Harry could have just contacted Merlin mentally, so this was obviously meant as a dismissal for her.
She nodded to him as she left the room, not feeling as annoyed as she thought she would be. Harry was speaking with his genetic ancestors, something that while interesting, did not have as much emotional impact for her as it did for him
Technically they were her ancestors as well, but Andromeda felt more disconnected from them as she did not share the same abilities as they did. Though Harry had said that he would be able to restore his ability to practice magic as they did with a combination of Lantean healing and genetic modification, he still hadn't, and if she didn't know better, she would even say that he was afraid of doing so.
A few minutes after she left the room Merlin came into the room in the appearance of Moros, High Councilor of Atlantis.
Aetius' eyes widened before a surge of adrenaline moved through his body and he stood up to give a sharp bow and salute, which Merlin waved away irritably.
"It is good to see you once again High Councilor." Aetius spoke formally, shooting glances between Merlin and Harry as if unsure of what to say. He ignored the trembling in his legs, focusing on the face of the head Councilor.
Merlin sighed softly before he murmured. "I must be getting the bluntness from him." Louder, he said. "You will want to sit down Captain, what I have to tell you will not be easy to hear."
Warily, Aetius frowned and sat down as suggested, once again looking between the two of them.
"To get directly to the point, you and your crew have been asleep for a very long time Captain." Merlin spoke gravely.
"How long?" Aetius asked, a tinge of fear coloring his tone.
"Long enough for the remainder of our people to have abandoned Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy before returning here to Avalon." Merlin said bluntly.
The captain paled drastically, which considering his already pallid skin tone made him look on the verge of fainting.
Merlin took a deep breath before continuing. "You and your crew have been in stasis for over 10,000 years onboard the Aurora, even a little bit longer and even our most advanced technologies would have had trouble resuscitating you and your crew."
He paused before continuing. "Now, what you must know is that after our people abandoned Atlantis, while many chose to ascend, many others intermarried into the less evolved people of Terra…This heritage showed itself in the evolution of a diverse and secondary set of abilities, powerful and yet distinct from our own. After my original creator Ascended he descended to watch over these people as well as work on a way of destroying Ascended beings, should the day ever come that such a weapon be desperately needed."
"You are not Moros?"
Merlin gave a patient smile. "I am a copy of his consciousness that he created to assist him with his various experiments and projects. After he left Terra through the Astria, I was left alone in the cavern in which he worked, until Hadrian here was drawn to the Laboratory and met me." Here he gestured to Harry. "Hadrian is one of our people's descendants, and though he once had the more diversified abilities of his birth parents, which they came to call 'magic', they were lost in an attack on him and his brother when he was very young.
"Hadrian is now an exceedingly powerful telekinetic and telepath by our standards, and has been working with me to bring our people and their descendants back to the galaxy. He discovered your ship after cleansing Pegasus of the Wraith threat once and for all."
Merlin was not surprised in the least when Aetius shot up from his seat, a thunderous expression on his face. He noticed that Harry tensed at the sudden movement before relaxing once again.
"What do you mean cleansed? You can't be serious! How could this boy have the defeated the Wraith when all of our efforts failed!" He exclaimed.
Harry's expression darkened slightly at the implication that they were lying but he said nothing, remaining calm. The captain had long lived his life in fear that the Wraith would finally overrun his people, much like the Wizards of Earth had lived in fear of Voldemort after the first War ended. He could not hold his disbelief against the man, not after how long the Lanteans had struggled mightily to defeat the Wraith.
"We were able to kill them for one simple reason, after all of this time standing unopposed the Wraith had grown complacent and arrogant, they did not think that there would be any race capable of wiping them out once our people fled the galaxy in defeat." Harry spoke softly. He wasn't exactly proud of destroying the Wraith while they were asleep, but he knew that it had been a far better alternative than a long drawn out war with them that would have cost the lives of millions of innocent humans. He would live with that, it would be his burden, and the cost was a fair one.
"The numbers of hive ships seen during your war were long gone, a thing of history. Those numbers were unsustainable in the ten thousand years after they won the war and in light of the dwindling human populations of the galaxy. The Wraith population levels required them to cull far too many in too short a time to feed their people. This inevitably lead them to fight amongst themselves for the remaining resources. Thus through internecine warfare and starvation, their current fleet was only a small percentage of what you would remember. In fact due to the low human populations, the majority of their fleet were in a period of dormancy when we went back to Pegasus, a period of time meant to allow the human populations to bounce back in numbers before once again culling them. So we took our time, mapping out the location of every single one of their dormant hibernating ships throughout the galaxy and placing subspace beacons on them should they become active once again. After we were sure that we had located them all, we placed powerful bombs that I designed on every dormant Wraith ship and once they were all placd, detonated them simultaneously across the galaxy. I then attacked and destroyed the few active hive ships with our own fleet of warships that I also designed and built." He finished.
Aetius looked at the boy with a mixture of disbelief and wonder. The sequence of events described to him made sense in their execution, but it was still a lot to absorb.
"And you came up with this plan?" He asked, looking at Harry and then Merlin.
Merlin shrugged. "Hadrian rivals Janus himself in his creativity and has an excellent mind for tactics...when he wants to anyway" He added under his breath.
Harry's eyes narrowed at Merlin. They both knew that they would all be able to hear that statement, but Harry decided to ignore it.
"To be honest, the sense I got of Lantean tactics during the war was heavily based on shield and weapon strength." Harry ventured. "In many cases during the Wraith War, our ships chose to stand their ground and allowed their shields to take the punishment from Wraith ships rather than dodging. In contrast the ships we designed are much more focused on maneuverability than heavy firepower, though they are still much more powerful than the Aurora class as they are dedicated warships. This is especially true with the upgrades made possible by studying the techniques developed by the Alteran descendants on Terra."
At the slowly darkening expression on Aetius' face Harry sighed. "While drones are a very powerful and versatile weapon they can be depleted very quickly in battle, especially when you take into account that your own ships had no independent production capability on board. Also, the defensive turrets, while powerful, are less accurate than they should be, and don't have the necessary firepower to quickly bring down ships like your defensive satellites do..." Harry trailed off, then interfaced with the holographic projectors of his suit and displayed an image of the Ares class ship side-by-side the Aurora for comparison.
Aetius paused and stared at the simplistic looking ship. It had none of the complex communication arrays or seemingly compartmentalized ship design, and was completely symmetric in appearance. It was also less than a third of the size of one of the Aurora class ship, which was about as long as a Wraith hive but nowhere near as wide.
All in all, this ship looked little like anything their people would have built, more like the ships their Asgard allies had during the golden years of the Lanteans.
"This ship is called the Ares, named after one of the Deities of an older Terran religion, a God of War. It utilizes eight smaller versions of the energy beams weapons commonly used by the defensive point satelites and several dozen of the same energy turrets used on board the Aurora. Finally, it uses artificial pocket dimensions to store more than three times the number of drones aboard the Aurora class." Harry thought of mentioning that this was only made possible via magic, but decided against it for now, seeing how lost the Captain seemed to be with information overload. He looked at Merlin and raised an eyebrow, and Merlin nodded, agreeing that they should let the man rest.
"You and your crew have been provided rooms in an isolated wing of the resort, both to give you some space and to allow you to come to terms with what has happened." Harry said, then smiled gently. "There are a great many things that I would like to explain and show my people, and I will do so whenever you and your crew feel ready."
With that, Harry beamed himself from the room.
There were few things that Harry could ever want for a gift. He could create literally anything he wanted so long as he had the blueprints for it. Because of that material items were virtually worthless to him as gifts unless they were handcrafted by the person that gave them to him and useful in someway.
A prime example of this would be the staff holster he received from the Blacks a few years ago for Christmas, as he used it every day and wore it as a part of his suit.
However, seeing all of these people, his people, walking around the place he called home and interacting with the Wizards from earth was more than enough to make him abundantly happy.
It had not been easy, integrating these two groups of people. The Lanteans were incredibly wary of others, even if they were their genetic descendants, and the strange abilities wielded by the wizards and witches made them somewhat uncomfortable.
Very few of the Lanteans ventured out of the rooms he had provided them because of this, most of them coming to terms with the idea that all of the people that they had known and loved had been dead for thousands of years, although some might have chosen to ascend.
Four hundred and fifty Lanteans now made Paradise their home, and had taken to coping with their losses in various ways. Some of them chose to create great works of art using solely their hands and minds in their free time. Others wandered the great forests outside of the resort, feeling a sense of peace from communing with nature.
For a little under a month it had seemed like the two groups of people, Lanteans and Earth Humans, would stay separate from each other, until little Charles had a remarkable example of accidental magic after a temper tantrum and ended up in one of the common entertainment rooms used by the Aurora's crew via apparition.
The four year old then proceeded to hopelessly charm the more maternal members of the Aurora's crew; some of them playing with him until a frantic Sirius Black came charging into the room after Harry tracked down his son.
And the rest it seemed, was history; before this event the crew of the Aurora had thought of the Wizards as outsiders, people to avoid. They were not trying to be racist or discriminatory, but the fact of the matter was that they could not connect to the Wizards in any fashion. But seeing an innocent child and taking care of him for a time made them realize that these people were indeed...well, people. Just like them in most ways.
Harry was glad because despite their initial hesitance at mingling, the crew of the Aurora were warming up to the people that they were living with, eating in the Dining hall and on occasion talking with some of the elder Wizards.
Andromeda was surprisingly popular, she had replicated a large number of artistic works from Earth, especially music. She swore up and down that Mozart had to have been magical in some form, there was no way that his music could be so perfect otherwise.
James and Sirius were approached by members of the Aurora's ship-board security force, while Lily and Carolynn had several engineers and mathematicians chase after them once Harry disclosed that the energy fields enhancing the hull of his ships were originally an enchantment created by the goblins and wizards. Harry had been terribly amused by it and provided his personal research notes on the subject to the interested parties, saving the two witches from a sea of excited and crazed scientists.
To be fair though, it was a field that few if any Lanteans had ventured into before, and never in such detail. The thrill of new knowledge and discovery was very hard to resist for most Lanteans.
A few of the scientists had also gleefully taken up the task of continuing his groundbreaking work on integrating the regeneration and repair capabilities of Wraith bio-armor into his ships, and had made a critical breakthrough on that front much more quickly than Harry could have expected. Then again, he should have expected that the work would go much faster with more people working on it and bouncing ideas off each other with a fresh perspective.
However the most surprising thing for Harry was when several couples and even a few triads (he was not even going to ask how such relationships would work) had come to him asking permission to have families. He was still considered the de-facto leader of their expanded people through Merlin, but he hadn't expected them to accept that anytime soon, or at all really.
Harry had stared at them for a moment in confusion before realizing that asking for such permission had likely been a common practice on Atlantis. It made perfect sense given the limitations of space and the fact that their species was essentially immortal if they chose to be, thus having a child could be planned with little regard for 'child-bearing years.' Eventually he told them that they had never needed his permission to do so, and that they were free to plan their own lives. He ended by telling them that both he and their community would joyously welcome its future members into their hearts.
Even though it made him uncomfortable to think of his people simply as numbers, there were so few of them left that he wanted them to increase their population. Because of this he announced to all that if any of the crew wished to have children that they did not need to ask him for permission, that they would all gladly welcome the new members of their race.
He would also have to look into the idea of artificial wombs at some point. There were just too few of them to afford a large percentage of their race being incapacitated by pregnancy. An artificial womb would also allow their race to grow in numbers far faster than natural biology would allow.
In the rapid four months from the time he rescued the crew from their derelict ship the crew had integrated themselves into Paradise, for once in their lives living without a war overshadowing and influencing every thought, action, and decision. Harry planned to eventually staff some of his ships with members of the crew, but that wouldn't be for a few more years when he had enough ships to fully take on the Goa'uld.
The Goa'uld were still searching for him thanks to their attack on the mining outpost nearly two years ago, but they were far away from discovering Paradise's location. Their ships were only able to travel 32000c after all.
Harry cracked a wide grin as he watched Sirius regale some of the more mischievous members of the Aurora crew with tales of the pranks he pulled on his fellow Aurors. The unsettled looks that some of those listening were making made Harry want to laugh out loud.
Amaunet showed her First Prime no emotion when he bowed before her, though inwardly she was filled with fierce glee at the thought they had finally reached their destination.
It had been a long journey of over a month in hyperspace for her fleet to reach the world of Ka'nac as known in their databases. In reality it was a planet that had only recently been discovered by long-range scouts, Ha'tak vessels under the control of her King that looked for new planets to conquer once they had reached a sufficient level of technology or had valuable resources to exploit..
This system was somewhat advanced technologically, already having started colonies on the more habitable moons of the solar system and a large trade in-between these rival nation-planets had begun. Her first target would be the main planet; once the worms inhabiting it were crushed into submission by her far superior forces she would move on to the other, weaker nations and destroy them utterly. It was good to be a Goa'uld.
A cruel smirk crossed her face against her will and she stood up from her throne, the blood in her veins singing for death and destruction.
Unbeknownst to her, a small device about the size of a basketball was floating above the northern pole, phased out of existence so that the local population would not know anything of it. It was mainly there to study the local population and send relevant data back to Paradise, but when its sensors detected the Goa'uld vessels exiting Hyperspace it sent an urgent message back home.
Amaunet took the ring platform to the hangar deck, trusting her first Prime to direct the initial bombardment of the planet as she made her way down with her cloaked Alkesh. Once she was on the surface, her King's armies would come through the eye of the gods aboard her ship and follow her as she attacked the worms on the ground.
Harry stilled as the message came in to his head, beaming himself up to the M-Ares in orbit while linking up to the systems of the nine other M-Hermes currently built. The probe's message had said there were over a hundred Ha'tak attacking a planet of humans only a few centuries below the level of the Serrakin race, and that while their ships were far more advanced than those of Earth tactical evaluations indicated that they stood no chance against the armada of Goa'uld ships attacking them. He cursed at the fact that he had been in the process of adding several newly imagined upgrades to the energy dispersion armor. He hadn't expected another attack on an advanced world so soon after the last one, which was stupid in hindsight. The Goa'uld didn't really act as a cohesive unit in their planning or attacks, what one did to a few less advanced planets would not affect the actions of the other Goa'uld, if they even heard about it.
With the help of the Lantean scientists onboard the Aurora he had designed and built a rudimentary Wraith-Lantean hybrid hull. His ships could now boast limited hull regeneration, but said regeneration was still far less powerful than that of the Wraith ships they were partially modeled on, yet he managed to keep the same strength of hull from before.
The nine M-Hermes were the only ships to have this completed armor installed, as they had been the testing group for the idea. Now he was seriously regretting refitting the remainder of his ships all at once with this still untested technology, but it couldn't be helped now.
His small fleet spent only a second verifying their destination coordinates and course before a hyperspace window opened and they disappeared into the vortex.
Harry's ships came out of hyperspace without any subtlety whatsoever, but as it was the Goa'uld were having far too much fun attacking the unshielded but heavily armored warships of the planet below to pay any attention to him.
Dozens of plasma bolts were flying haphazardly toward the defending fleet and once again Harry was struck with the lack of precision or coordinated fire the Goa'uld were using in their attacks. Either the tracking capability of the standard Ha'tak was incredibly bad, or the Jaffa just didn't know how to aim strategically for maximum effect.
In sharp contrast, the rapidly dwindling defensive fleet was filled with specialized ships, many of them attempting to fire anti-missile rounds at the incoming plasma bolts as if they would neutralize them. Unfortunately for them the magnetically contained plasma just pushed through the shells and struck the ships anyway, melting through armor at a frightening pace.
Harry spooled up his weapons' capacitor banks and had the weapons set to the largest possible energy output short of overload. The eight beam cannons aboard the Ares separated into four control groups of two, each pair of cannons firing a single burst at their targeted Ha'tak before switching targets, the previous Ha'tak succumbing to secondary explosions if not being destroyed outright by the blasts.
A second order to the ship had the M-Ares send out a broadband subspace jamming signal that left only the frequencies his ships used alone, keeping the Goa'uld ships disorganized and unable to communicate with each other to plan a counter-attack.
The nine Hermes class ships escorting him were redirected and flew towards the defending fleet, catching some fire from the defenders that didn't even drain the shields. Harry rolled his eyes as he commanded the ships to flip along their x-axes until they were presenting the top of the ships to the Ha'taks. Their shield emitters charged; instead of surrounding the Hermes class, the shields were projected outward in a flat disk around the top of the ships, providing a barrier to protect the defending ships from incoming fire. A few more shots from the defending fleet struck the unshielded portions of the Hermes from behind, but the magically enhanced hull took negligible damage before the defenders finally realized that his ships were protecting theirs from the attacking fleet and stopped firing upon them.
The small amount of damage done to the M-Hermes was quickly repaired through the regeneration systems, leaving no sign that they had even been hit.
On board the damaged and listing Homeworld Defense Force flagship, Admiral Cain watched in both fear and wonder as the single kilometer long vessel, barely the size of one of their standard cargo ships, let alone their warships, fired a continuous barrage of energy beams at the attacking fleet. Awe, mostly because said (relatively) small ship was tearing through the enemy fleet with unerring accuracy, only taking two shots to destroy a single ship before engaging the next. Fear because no matter how many shots were fired back at the ship, they simply washed against an energy barrier that could seemingly take them with ease.
Cain didn't know why the race with Pyramid ships attacked his home-world, but what he did know along with everyone else in his solar system was that the answer of whether or not his people were alone in the universe had been irrevocably answered. He was also incredibly glad that he was only an admiral and not the diplomat that would have to talk with the (hopefully) friendly ship currently tearing through the pyramid ships.
The fact that, what amounted to over-sized fighters, were projecting an energy barrier to protect the remainder of his fleet from the pyramid ships' fire lead him to believe that this other ship meant no harm to them. He wouldn't relax yet though, keeping the same attentiveness and diligence to his duty that was required of him to protect his home.
Amaunet frowned as she received reports about her ships being destroyed before no more communications came through the channel. She sniffed arrogantly; it did not matter if a few ships were destroyed so long as they ultimately accomplished what they had come here to do.
Her Alkesh landed on the sparsely forested area on the border of a major city. This looked like an appropriate place to attack and show her power.
As soon as the ship landed safely she activated the Chappa'ai on board and sent a messenger through. The ramp to the cloaked Al'kesh lowered with a loud thump, and she waited impatiently as her invasion force came through the eye and marched in formation outside of the ship, the black symbols inscribed on their foreheads gleaming in the mid-afternoon sun.
It was more than a little sad that the Jaffa just didn't know when to quit.
It had only taken Harry three minutes to destroy fifty four Ha'tak vessels, mostly targeting the ones that seemed like they were trying to fire on the planet's surface. Thousands of fighters had been launched and had gone on strafing runs against the Achilles, while even more of them tried to destroy the Hermes class ships while they were apparently unshielded, only to find to their horror that their fire was next to useless against the energy dampening armor coating his ships. A few that got too close for comfort were quickly taken out by a single drone each. The planet's defense fleet had already reformed itself so that the most damaged ships were now behind the others, a massive cone formation in front of them with the damaged flagship at the point.
Many more Death Gliders had tried ramming his shields at full speed upon seeing that their weapons were ineffective, but the majority of them were taken out by the anti-fighter turrets well before they could hit. Even the few that got through did negligible damage to his shields, regardless of their speed. Without their communications, the Ha'tak were unable to coordinate their attacks except through watching what the other ships did visually.
A lone Ha'tak suddenly stopped firing and instead set itself on a collision course with the Ares, accelerating to its maximum sunlight speed reminiscent of the suicide tactics that Merlin had noted the last time he had fought the Goa'uld. Its fellow ships soon followed the same idea, deactivating their weapons, transferring that power to their engines and shields and accelerating toward him.
He sighed to himself at the futility of this new attack and armed the drone banks.
Cain watched with rapt attention as the remaining pyramid ships abandoned all pretense of battle and instead accelerated on a collision course with the triangular prism-shaped ship. The reaction time of that ship's crew was nothing short of amazing, turrets changing targets fluidly to the nearest capital ships and destroying them while accelerating backward without any visible sign of thrust, much like the pyramid ships were able to do. It was like they were using gravity to move around instead of chemical thrust. Cain could only imagine how the egg-heads down in R and D would salivate over such a technology. Such a thing would rewrite the rules of fleet warfare. Hell, everything he was seeing here would rewrite the rules of fleet warfare. With those energy barriers, conventional tactics would be outdated and useless.
Cain strained his eyes as he noticed the barely-visible flying objects crossing the void on his view screen, moving through the barriers and hulls of the pyramid ships as if they weren't even there and detonating the approaching ships from within seconds after being fired. What the hell was that? Some kind of advanced missile?
When his ship's telescopes finally focused enough to see the missiles, he realized that they were minuscule, smaller than a human body. Hell, they looked only slightly larger than a toddler. What the hell was inside of those things that let them do so much damage?
Cain looked at what they were doing when they hit the pyramid ships, and for the first time in his military career, found himself gaping at the sight of the missiles going through the ship and coming back out over and over. They were melting through the hull and flying back out to do incredibly precise attacks. If a nuclear weapon had that kind of piercing ability... He shuddered minutely, thinking about what would happen if the outer territories had access to such a powerful technology.
Amaunet looked over three hundred of her King's Jaffa and barked out her commands before pressing a button on her Kara'kesh. Her ship immediately cloaked itself from view.
The jaffa bowed to her as one and she strode to the forefront of the army. No matter what her king said about allowing the jaffa to fight instead of her, she loved the feeling of combat, the blood singing in her veins. It didn't hurt that her personal shield would be more than sufficient to keep her out of danger from the primitive chemically propelled weapons most advanced human civilizations were capable of; even staff blasts would take some time to harm her, and by then she would have killed whoever was attacking her.
Her jaffa marched into the city from the grasslands, firing their staff weapons indiscriminately at the crowds staring at the night sky. Screams rang out and she smirked triumphantly as her forces sowed terror into the ranks of the worms inhabiting this planet.
Men, women, children; it did not matter who or how young or old they were, her jaffa killed anyone within their sight as Amaunet observed the devastation around her.
A low siren rang out; vehicles approached them filled with soldiers that should have not been there. Why hadn't her ships destroyed the military bases as she had ordered them to? Was her new first prime really so incompetent as to be losing that badly in orbit? She sighed to herself in annoyance as her Jaffa immediately targeted the hovering vehicles. She frowned when the drivers managed to swerve out of the way, and powerful rail gun turrets began firing upon her forces from within the armored vehicles.
She wasted no time activating her shield, directing the Jaffa to concentrate their fire on one of the vehicles at a time. Her Jaffa were dying too quickly against the powerful weapons, and she snarled. "Must I do everything myself?" She raged as she strode forward directly into the line of fire.
Arrogantly, she walked forward, ignoring the rail gun impacts along her shield and raising her kara'kesh. A wave of golden energy emanated from the device, slamming into the nearest tank. She smirked as the energy crumpled the front grille like a tin can.
Her Jaffa took heart and charged after her, firing their staff weapons as they ran and melting the armor of the tanks in a flurry of golden blasts. Slowly but surely, her forces cut through the armored column, at a loss of a fifth of their numbers. Amaunet gave a small frown at the loss of her soldiers before directing them to strike at the military bases where the armored vehicles had come from.
She would not give these pitiful worms another chance to harm her forces.
After dealing with the suicide run, the only thing left for him to do was take out the bombers and gliders.
However, before that could be easily be taken care of, Harry frowned as his sensors told him that there was a sizable goa'uld force on the ground, far too large for anything but a Ha'tak to land. He had been certain that he had destroyed all of the Ha'tak before they could deploy their troops. Maybe one had landed and he overlooked it?
He ordered the nine M-Hermes to deactivate their shields and beam their complement of constructors close to the damaged fleet. He knew that the action might make the members of the ships jumpy, but some of their fleet was dangerously close to imploding from acute structural failure. A few cargo ships were also called from outside the system to clean up the debris.
While his constructors patched up their ships to a minimum safe level, he would have to deal with the situation on the ground.
He appeared a few hundred feet away from the majority of the fighting, the Ares in orbit providing him with a real-time feed of what was happening. The jaffa were being held at bay for the moment by barricaded soldiers wielding primitive handheld rail guns. While the weapons were capable of piercing through the thick Jaffa armor, the firing rate was far too slow, and the Jaffa were quickly melting the barricades with every volley they fired.
Strangely enough, Harry could not spot the Goa'uld that had been leading them before. He decided that it would be best if he removed the Jaffa first before searching for the Goa'uld in command.
His helm formed over his head and he deactivated the holographic projectors before cloaking and running off to the right of the Jaffa formation.
Before he got too far, he froze, realizing that he was once again about to run headlong into a fight without even thinking of another plan.
He surrounded himself in a time dilation bubble to give himself some time to think, and a half second later(to the rest of the world) he reemerged from the time bubble with a new gleam in his eye.
His holographic projectors changed his appearance into that of a nondescript man in the appearance of one of the natives. However, this native appeared to be wielding an A'tar, a weapon known to be often used by the deadly and feared Ashrak assassins the system lords often sent after each other. A zat'nik'itel formed in a holster on his left hip, further cementing his persona as an elite Goa'uld assassin.
As he moved forward his suit manufactured a trio of high powered naquada grenades similar in design and style, albeit miniaturized, to the standard naquada bombs used by virtually all the Goa'uld in their Al'kesh bombers.
Still cloaked, he ran swiftly toward the jaffa army, throwing the grenades in a pattern to ensure the maximum effect.
The Jaffa, despite being distracted by the fight with the native army, immediately noticed the grenades. Shouts of alarm rang across their ranks, but the warning was given too late as the grenades detonated in synchronized waves of destructive energy. Eighty percent of the invading army was annihilated instantly by the explosion while the majority of the others were badly injured.
"Cronus sends his regards!" Harry shouted loudly in Goa'uld, making sure that even the human soldiers could hear him. Some of them looked rather shifty at his appearance but decided not to attack for fear of being hit with the same weapons he used on the Jaffa.
A cloaked Amaunet gnashed her teeth in hatred as the Ashrak bellowed his challenge. Cronus had been the sworn enemy of her king for millenia now, but for him to have known of this invasion beforehand, when it had taken a month to get here in hyperspace, spoke of many spies within the ranks of her King's forces. That was disturbing.
There was no point in continuing to sabotage the enemy from within while her forces had already surrendered. She turned around to flee toward her ship, only to slam into a soldier running through the same hall she was currently located in.
The soldier cried out in alarm and she quickly snapped his neck, trying to keep him quiet. Unfortunately for her the very act of killing him alerted the entire base to her location as the soldier's life-sign monitor activated an alarm once it could not detect his brain activity.
Within a minute heavily reinforced doors sealed off all access to the corridor. Despite her best efforts with the Kara'kesh Aumaunet could not damage the two meter thick walls, and unknown to her a highly flammable gas was released into the sealed off corridor. The gas acted first as a means of suffocation for any invading force, and then, if the force had some form of breathing apparatus, could be ignited to kill them immediately. The uneasy state of affairs between nation-planets had granted the native humans an unexpected advantage in their security this day.
The gas was an annoyance for her to breath, but her healing abilities kept Amaunet standing as she tried to move forward. Apophis's queen did not even have a moment to scream before a small explosive device was dropped into the room and ignited the flammable gas, quickly swallowing her unshielded form in superheated air and fire.
Once the majority of the Jaffa army had been killed Harry gave the Jaffa a cold glare while the human soldiers restrained them. If a Jaffa tried to struggle they were quickly killed, the natives didn't seem to be feeling very merciful after the unprovoked and brutal attacks on their own people, especially after the deaths of many civilians.
Harry was led by a group of four wary soldiers through the halls of the base that he had just helped defend. His escort had already relieved him of the A'tar and zak'nik'itel but were not able to detect that his appearance was an illusion. Not that he expected them to see through his illusion.
He didn't worry about them trying to reverse engineer the weapons they'd taken from him; his ship would simply beam them back on board as soon as he left the planet.
His escort seemed incredibly nervous, even though their discipline remained firm. Two soldiers stood by his sides while another walked behind him with their weapons pointed at his heart, not that that would do much considering how advanced his armor and shielding was.
Harry was ushered into a very neat and clean room that seemed almost Spartan in terms of decoration. A man with numerous medals and honors adorning the right chest of his uniform watched him enter with a mixture of indifference and a small amount of fear.
The door slammed shut behind them and the man seemed to be examining him, taking in every detail. Harry activated his translator and spoke.
"I am sorry that your people had to be introduced to the wider galaxy in such a way."
The General of the Army, or whatever his equivalent was on this planet stiffened, his tongue moistening his lips.
"How can you speak our language?" He asked, his curt voice showing no signs of wavering or fear even if Harry could feel it in his emotions.
Harry saw no reason to lie. "I am using a piece of technology that allows you and I to understand the intentions behind the words each of us speaks, in this way it seems like each of us is hearing our own native language."
The General's apprehension spiked in that moment as he tensed slightly. "What was your purpose in attacking the invaders?"
"The Goa'uld are a menace that should have been eradicated millenia ago." Harry stated firmly, with a hint of disgust. "Their penchant for arrogance and masquerading as gods makes them a blight on this galaxy that will be rectified in time."
The general stared at his face for any hint of deception, then sighed softly, letting down his guard. "Do you know why these Gould attacked us?"
"You were getting too advanced for their liking; though your ships lacked the firepower to harm them, they did not want to risk your people becoming a threat to them in the future. I was observing your planet as I do with many other human inhabited worlds, and when I saw they were attacking you, I came to remove them."
The general stared at him. "Other human planets?" His tone had a hint of derision in it.
"The Goa'uld are a prideful and vain race, they took slaves from my home planet, the origin of all humanity in this galaxy, millenia ago and spread them all across the galaxy to work in mines and build their ships and generally to live as slaves for whatever they required. Once those planets ran out of the resources that they required they would oftentimes abandon them and their populations of human slaves to go searching for more resources elsewhere."
"Most of the planets in this galaxy are primitive civilizations, having been abandoned later than your planet or not having the resources to advance even further." He added on as an afterthought.
The general seemed to have a twitch in his eye as his annoyance and disbelief surged. "So let me get this straight, these 'Gould' took slaves from your planet and spread them around the rest of the galaxy for power, and they attacked Novana because they thought we were getting too advanced? And your people sent you here because they are opposed to these Gould and did not want them to succeed?"
Harry didn't show his annoyance at having to meet a military leader rather than a civilian one, but it did bother him. A military leader would only be suspicious of his motives so soon after his planet was attacked, while a civilian might be more open to listening to what he had to say with an eye towards the future, rather than an almost continuous threat assessment. Despite the obvious hostility, he nodded in answer to the man's question.
"Just how advanced are these Goa'uld technologically?" the man asked after a moment.
"A general idea or specifics?"
"General." The General stated flatly.
"Well, their ships have the ability to travel at a maximum speed of 32,000 times the speed of light for interstellar travel, which is rather slow compared to our ships, but most of their technology is scavenged from our ancestors so really it's not that hard to believe...Harry shook his head as he realized he was rambling and continued. "They possess capacitance based energy shielding that can be depleted given enough weaponry is used on them, but your nuclear missiles are next to useless on them and cannons are the same; only energy based weaponry can possibly harm their shields to a significant degree. Their main weapons are magnetically contained bolts of energetic plasma capable of easily eating through most metallic compounds...but they are also quite inaccurate in targeting and can only be used on large targets if they want a chance of hitting something. Or for use in orbital bombardment, where precision isn't exactly required, which is exactly what they would have done today."
The general paled, looking like he had a headache as he stared at Harry. Then he shook his head. "I'll need you to explain this to the Novanan security council, they will never believe me otherwise."
"I'm sure your fleet has some recordings of the battle in orbit, they could prove useful to you as well." Harry offered.
The general nodded and sent a message through the priority line, then gestured toward the open door. Harry rose a second after he did, contemplating what he should tell these people about the greater galaxy.
Four Hours Later
In a far corner of the medical facility a lone surgeon had the gristly task of examining the body of Amaunet.
Emmaine Sharlen was not the most attractive of women, during her childhood she had often been thought to be a male due to her proportions, and her parents could not afford the cosmetic surgeries that she had so craved in order to feel accepted.
Her appearance led her to be incredibly driven in school, completing her medical training two years earlier than the average graduation rate. She knew that her appearance could make her chances for employment even harder, and had accepted it as a part of herself despite the problems that it gave her.
The body she was examining was horrendously charred on the outside, but seemed less badly damaged on the inside than it had any right to be. She frowned and leaned closer to the corpse, opening the jaw of the former woman laying on the table in order to retrieve a sample for analysis. Before she knew what was happening something shot outside of the corpse's mouth and forced her lips open, burrowing into her body and curling around her spine.
Emmaine's body stiffened as her eyes glowed gold, and then left the room after grabbing the personal effects of the Goa'uld Queen's former body.
Amaunet released her displeasure on being forced to change bodies on the consciousness of the woman she was currently inhabiting. She left the hospital with the same nod that her host always gave to the guards, then walked into the forest as soon as she was out of their sight.
She didn't want to be stuck inside of this ghastly host any longer than she had to.
February 2, 1997
Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado
It was quiet in this room. Airman Carolyn Roberts mused. Eerie even.
The heavy tarps were obviously covering some kind of tall circular object up by the ramp, but she didn't have any real desire to look at it, trying to focus on the game at hand. The other three officers were certainly focused on playing.
She crinkled her nose slightly at the smell of Sgt. Horner's cigar. She hated the smell of the damn things, but she could hardly complain about it as he was her superior and there was no sensitive machinery in here that could be harmed by the cigar.
The dealer shook his head as another person sat down at the table. "This hand's as lousy as this detail." He grumbled, before looking around the table and asking. "All right, everybody in or out?"
Horner gave the man an exasperated look. "Not you too."
The dealer ignored him as he dealt out the cards. "Seven to the deuce, nothin' there ... boss on the eight, nothing happening ... queen to the king, possible straight goin' there ... eight on the eight, and the jack gets a box. Eight's open."
Carolyn felt a slight bit of nervousness hit her as she looked around the room again. "Aren't you guys afraid of an officer coming down here or something?"
Horner gave her a slightly condescending look that made her subconsciously raise her hackles. "Trust me. Nobody ever comes down here but us."
Out of the corner of her eye Carolyn noticed the tarp seemed to flutter,like it had caught a draft of air. Despite herself she couldn't restrain the urge to jump. "Does that thing always do that?"
The dealer didn't even bother to look up from his cards as he asked. "Do what?"
Carolyn looked back as the thing under the tarp moved yet again. "Whatever it is under the tarp! I just... saw it move or do something!"
Horner snorted. "Probably the only thing it ever did was cost the American people obscene amounts of money."
Marks agreed with him. "They've been shipping out personnel from here for months now."
Carolyn stared at the thing while her fellow Airmen stared at the cards held in their hands. The tarp moved again! "I'm telling you, that thing is moving!"
Marks seemed completely uninterested, only asking if she was going to fold. She pretended to ignore him while muttering asshole under her breath.
She vaguely heard Horner say something about finishing the hand without her before the circle under the tarp seemed to creak.
All of a sudden there was a sense of shaking in the room. Was it some kind of localized earthquake or something? She wondered, almost panicking as the earthquake started to reach the poker table towards the back of the room.
She barely kept her balance. "Has this ever happened before?" She shouted to the rest of the group as the tarp started billowing until it fell to the floor.
Horner ran toward the emergency phone, frantically punching in numbers. Before he could finish however there was a whooshing sound and a wave of what looked like water exploded from the center of the ring, only to be returned back to the ring again. The phone dropped from nerveless fingers as Horner gaped along with his fellow airmen.
Carolyn slowly moved closer to the active device, unable to help her curiosity.
As the soldiers stared at her she moved up the ramp.
"The hell are you doing?" Marks cried out, but Carolyn ignored him, wanting to touch the surface of the standing water. Before she could however a small device about the size of an grapefruit appeared from inside the water and fell to the ground, as if it was tossed. It began emitting golden strands of light all around it. As her fellow airmen stood thunderstruck Carolyn bent down to examine the device more closely.
"Dammit Carol get back here, don't touch it!" Horner called fearfully, but she ignored him, picking it up. The entire room seemed to hold its breath as she did so before releasing it a second later when nothing happened. She gave her fellow airmen a nervous smile and started to move forward on the ramp.
A sucking sound was her only warning before a metal encased arm grabbed her roughly around the waist. She managed to give off a yelp before her mouth was covered with a metallic gauntlet, her ribs feeling as if they were being squeezed by a vice.
Marks tensed as he saw the guard hold onto her and raised his weapon. He nearly groaned out loud in frustration. There was no way he could fire at the figure holding his comrade without severely injuring or killing her.
"Hold your fire!" He called out, and his fellow officers reluctantly followed the order. Three more of the same serpent helmeted people came through the portal before a final one wearing an ornate golden version of the armor appeared.
The helmet retracted, revealing an Arabic looking man with a sneer on his face. He looked around the room disdainfully and barked out. "Jaffa! Kree!"
The guard holding her seemed to hesitate before it threw away Carolyn's weapon.
Her weapon clattered to the floor and Carolyn started to struggle. "Let go of me!"
The gold armored man raised his hand up to her face, a strange gold contraption placed over his fingers. He activated it and a gold stream of energy reached out and touched her forehead; Carolyn then found herself in a daze, unable to think.
Marks stared as the snake-man activated some kind of ray gun on his friend and growled out. "Let her go!"
A snake guard fired in his direction, a ball of orange plasma just barely missing him and crashing into the wall behind him, leaving a fiery hole a few feet deep in solid cement. He didn't celebrate his good fortune long, instead opting to open fire on the guard that fired on him.
Bullets and orange bolts of bright light filled the air, and the soldiers did their best to find cover behind the table, but it didn't offer them much protection.
Horner was spraying bullets like a madman, a non-verbal roar passing through his lips as he fired.
One of the airmen fell to the ground with a dull thump after one of the orange bolts struck him. His fellow soldiers, enraged by the obvious death of one of their own, ganged up on the Serpent guard that killed him, eventually piercing through a weak spot in his armor.
Marks felt a feral smile cross his lips at the obvious surprise on the gold-snake's face before he saw Horner go down, a smoking hole in his chest. He reloaded before opening fire once again, and could not react in time to dodge the orange bolt that killed him.
Hammond had been thoroughly enjoying the thought of his looming retirement when an alarm sounded in his office. Base personnel quickly grabbed their rifles and pistols before running down the hallway to the room with the artifact.
Hammond found himself puffing slightly as he followed after them. The blast doors opened and his soldiers quickly entered the room, forming a textbook defensive position.
As he entered the room Hammond could see two ranks of three people in snake-suits protecting another two, one of which holding a female airmen. The other airmen that had been in the room laid dead on the floor and the device was obviously active.
He barked at the soldiers to immediately open fire, staring at the man in the gold armor. He received a cruel smirk as the man's eyes glowed and the bullets hit some kind of orange barrier. The next moment the man turned around and activated the helm, turning around and walking through the portal as the American soldiers watched in fear and disbelief. A second after the last serpent guard passed through, the portal deactivated.
Hammond found himself walking forward, unable to believe that they had just been attacked without any warning. The device looked almost innocent in a way as it stood deactivated, the only sign that something had come through it were the bodies lying dead on the floor and the damage to the room.
I know that in the SGA episode all of the crew of the Aurora were in the middle of a shared mental construct, but it just didn't make sense to me that they would be trapped within the same mind-scape for so long. I believe that it was the Wraith that activated the artificial environment in order to get the information it wanted from them. Without the wraith activating the interface, then the crew of the Aurora would have remained within stasis, blissfully unaware.
Sorry about the long wait for this guys, I kept on deleting so many scenes and rewriting them before I felt that it was good enough to even send to my beta. That and a surprisingly busy holiday season made it really hard to finish this.
Anyway here it is, hope you liked it.