TITLE: A New Guard
AUTHOR: Methos (methos )
DISCLAIMER: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon; Stargate SG1, the Stargate universe and all related characters and mythos belong to a bunch of people over at MGM, Superman and all DCU characters belong to their respective owners... nothing is mine, only the extremely twisted idea…
"Over here!" Teal'c called out through the snow. It had taken them the better part of an hour to trench back through the snow and up the ice covered section of the saucer, the frozen metal with fresh snow being even more treacherous to traverse than the fresh ground snow around them.
"What you got?" Major Ferretti called out from his position, they'd all fanned out around the top size of the saucer section to gauge the damage while looking for possible entry points. "Found a way in?" He asked as he slowly moved around the raised section of the level they were on to see where Teal'c had gone.
The layout was certainly odd for a starship, while he'd always imagined the tops of the saucers to be smooth and flat, like he vaguely remembered seeing on the TV show when he was a kid, the saucer section they were on was very different.
Stretching out around them was a smooth curved surface, like the side they'd climbed up from the snow to get on top originally, but towards the top, about two thirds of the way in, it tapered down to a point with a raised area they'd had to climb. Then another point narrower than the one before, and several more, raising the next area up by what he assumed was a deck of the ship each time.
"Hey, Warren, how many decks does this thing have anyway?" Major Ferretti called out, looking around to see where Major Warren was, arcing his neck to look up when he heard a reply coming from the section above where he currently was. "What you doing up there?"
"The bridge sir," Major Warren called back. "It's at the top in the centre of the saucer section. Looks like fourteen decks on the saucer section, ten more on the star drive. I thought the bridge might be our best bet."
"And probably the most armoured part of the ship," Major Ferretti called back. "Get down here, Teal'c thinks he's found something." He called as he moved around to where Teal'c was stood, pointing at an area on the aft section of the raised area Major Warren was on currently. "Woo, ok, that's impressive," He whistled out, looking at the large windows that covered the entire length of the 'wall' Teal'c was currently pointing his staff at.
"Indeed," Teal'c nodded thoughtfully.
The interior of the area behind the windows was clearly visible, and while a large table and several chairs had been thrown against the far wall away from the windows, a large bed and mattress had been thrown around in the room as well, along with some various decorations, obviously from the inertia of the landing, but they could easily make out power was still functioning inside from the lighting and monitors around the room that were still flickering slightly.
"Actually, I was talking about the glass," Major Ferretti nodded back, pulling his P-90 from around where it had been slung over his shoulder and rapping the glass with the barrel. "Sounds pretty thin, how'd you think it…"
"It's not glass," Major Warren called from above where he was stood on the deck above the windows they were looking at. "The older ships used transparent aluminum, but I'd say in the hundred years or so since then, they figured out how to make it tougher or thinner. Looks like the VIP quarters to me."
"Transparent aluminum?" Major Ferretti asked sceptically.
"Don't look at me," Major Warren shrugged. "About an inch of this stuff could hold back a few thousand gallons of water, and that was made at low tech. This stuff, I bet it's rated a lot higher."
"Probably why it survived impact," Major Ferretti nodded thoughtfully. "We got any chance of cutting through it?"
"Not with these tools," Major Warren shook his head. "You'd need a plasma cutter or something to get through that, and all those would be back in the engineering section."
"Which again we'd have to find a way in to," Major Ferretti nodded thoughtfully. "Ok, keep searching people, we need to find a…"
"Major, over here!" Lieutenant Sands called out from where he had still been searching. "I've got something."
"What is it?" Major Ferretti called back, moving to the edge of the raised level they were on and looking down to see Lieutenant Sands a hundred meters or so towards the front of the ship, knelt down on the hull and scraping away at something.
"Some sort of access panel," Lieutenant Sands called out. "Looks like an air lock or something."
"Sounds good to me." Major Ferretti yelled back. "Hey, Sands has found a way in. Down here." He called out loudly, waving to catch everyone's attention and pointing in the direction he was in. Carefully sliding down the side of the hull he managed to reach the level Sands was on, Teal'c and Major Warren moving carefully behind him over the iced hull.
"What sort of access?" Major Warren asked as they approached.
"Looks to be some sort of sealed hatch," Lieutenant Sands explained, gesturing to where he'd started to scrape away the snow and ice that had been building up around it. "An airlock maybe?"
"Makes sense," Major Warren nodded, pulling out the papers he'd folded up for the moment where he was exploring. "Deck four, mostly officers' quarters, subsystems, holodecks… yeah, two airlock ports, here and here." He pointed them out on the blueprints, noting how Major Ferretti was looking at the blueprints with interest now. "They're probably sealed with…" He paused, kneeling down beside the hatch where Lieutenant Sands was working and started to push the snow away, working methodically until he found the smaller section he was looking for. "Aha!" He grinned, scraping the ice away and pressing at the smaller section firmly until it hissed slightly and slid upwards to reveal a computer display underneath.
"That's new," Major Ferretti muttered, impressed that Major Warren had even known to look there for it.
"Access panel sir," Major Warren explained. "Wouldn't want to leave airlocks unsecured or crew without a way to enter them."
"Makes sense, just didn't expect it." Major Ferretti nodded in agreement. "So, what's the code?"
"I thought of that too," Major Warren grinned up, folding the blueprints back up and replacing them in his pocket before pulling out a small notepad and flicking through it quickly. "Sierra Charlie, two three one, dash, four two seven." He read out as he typed in the code on the touchscreen panel, grinning widely when the panel flashed authorization granted and the hatch hissed loudly before sliding back and up into the main hull section.
"Ok, how did you do that?" Major Ferretti asked curiously. "There's no way the geeks around would have gone into that much detail for a simple airlock hatch."
"No sir," Major Warren shook his head. "The code was Commander Riker's personal security code, he used it several times in the show, I thought it would be a good bet he hadn't changed it for the new ship after memorising it for seven years."
"Good thinking," Major Ferretti nodded, impressed at the initiative. "Ok, Teal'c, with me. The rest of you follow. We don't know what we'll be expecting in there, and if my memory is right, consoles and computers on Star Trek had a nasty habit of exploding when they got damaged. So stay away from anything that looks like it could go, and keep an eye out for the crew."
"Sir, you'll need the code to access the inner hatch as well," Major Warren explained. "It won't open while this hatch is open, safety override."
"Ok, we all get inside, you punch in the code again, and we go from there, any problem with that?" Major Ferretti asked, looking up at Major Warren to make sure there weren't any other objections, then continuing to climb down inside when he shook his head. "You got any clue what we're going to see in there?" Major Ferretti asked as he climbed inside the open hatch, pausing as he found a foothold inside.
"Either a well-armed security team waiting for us," Major Warren grinned. "Possibly with an angry Klingon in the lead." He continued when Major Ferretti shook his head in amusement. "I wouldn't know sir, but we haven't seen anyone in the rooms we've surveyed through the windows so far."
"Fair enough," Major Ferretti nodded, accepting this. "Follow down once I've made it to the second hatch, I'll call when it's clear." He ordered before continuing his climb down.
"Do you think he's alright?" Willow asked in a nervous voice as she sat on the bedroom floor with Buffy, flicking through one of the magazines that had a fuzzy picture of 'Superman' saving the plane on the front. "He sounded freaked out on the phone, do you think he's going to be alright?"
"I don't know," Buffy answered honestly. "He asked for Giles but didn't really talk much, he sounded weird though, like he was freaking out or something."
"Ohmygosh, you don't think he was hurt or something do you, like when Superman was possessing him?" Willow babbled out.
"I don't think so," Buffy shook her head. "I mean he was flying, flying! If he was all Superman like, then what could have hurt him?"
"But what if he was flying when the spell wore off, what if he fell, what if he was stopping bullets or something?" Willow babbled out nervously.
"If he'd had been hurt then he would have said so on the phone," Buffy explained reassuringly. "I'm sure he's just resting up somewhere."
"But where?" Willow asked with wide eyes. "He's not at home, I tried calling there earlier."
"I don't know," Buffy answered in a small voice.
"How'd it go?" President Bartlet asked, looking up from his desk as Leo entered the oval office and closed the door behind him.
"As well as could be expected Mr President," Leo answered honestly as he entered the room fully. "CJ handled it, I don't think she's happy with it, but she handled it."
"I wouldn't be," President Bartlet shook his head as he finished work on the papers he was signing before pushing them aside to give Leo his full attention. "The press?"
"Went wild after she confirmed the incident," Leo said simply. "Fielding questions would have gone on all day, and we just don't have the answers they want. I told her to keep it quick, no questions, just a statement of facts and then move on."
"Probably the best way," President Bartlet nodded in agreement.
"I heard from Toby," Leo continued on. "Seems he's not impressed with the New York officials."
"Oh?" President Bartlet asked, genuinely interested and amused by Leo's tone of voice.
"Seems quite a unique situation down there, but he did confirm that New York are looking to make Mr Harris an offer in conjunction with ours." Leo explained. "To be honest, I don't know who was more shocked, Toby or me."
"Probably both," President Bartlet chuckled as he stood up and moved to pick up his briefcase from the side of the desk. "Have we heard back from Colonel O'Neill about what Mr Harris' plans are?"
"Not yet Mr President," Leo shook his head. "We'll probably know more this afternoon once Toby has spoken to him personally."
"And General Hammond's team?" President Bartlet asked curiously as he opened his briefcase. "The Antarctic team."
"No word since they last checked in Mr President," Leo shook his head again. "What have you got there?" He asked, watching as President Bartlet brought something out of his briefcase.
"Leo, did you know Zoey was a Trekkie?" President Bartlet asked in all seriousness.
"No sir I did not." Leo answered honestly.
"Well she is," President Bartlet frowned thoughtfully. "I made the mistake last night of mentioning to her if she knew anything about the series, if she had friends or knew of somewhere I could read up on all of this." He explained, gesturing to the folder on his desk marked 'Classified' in a bold red stamp. "She spent over an hour explaining things to me, I didn't even know she could talk for that long without breaking to talk about her school work."
Leo simply nodded at this information, not really knowing what else to say.
"Did you know, the star ships in Star Trek, they call them star ships not space ships, travel faster than light using something called a Warp Core?" President Bartlet asked. "Or that the Enterprise E is the sixth ship to bear the name, all with the same registration number?"
"No sir," Leo shook his head in amusement.
"Neither did I, but now I do." President Bartlet said, holding up the item he'd brought out of his briefcase. "She found this for me." He explained, handing over the video cassette to Leo. "The latest movie apparently."
"Star Trek First Contact?" Leo read off the title. "Released last summer." He noted, looking on the back for the date and information. "Captain Jean-Luc Picard," Leo frowned thoughtfully. "I thought the Enterprise was Captain Kirk's ship?"
"Nope," President Bartlet shook his head. "Captain Kirk was the captain of the original Enterprise and the Enterprise A. Captain Harriman took over the Enterprise B, Captain Rachel Garrett for the Enterprise C, and Captain Picard for the Enterprise D and E." He explained.
"Zoey explained all that to you Mr President?" Leo asked in amusement.
"And more," President Bartlet said in dismay. "When did my daughter become a geek Leo?" He paused thoughtfully before tapping the video case Leo was still holding. "We're going to have to find time to watch this." He said with a nod.
"I don't think we've got time to sit down and enjoy a movie Mr President." Leo said with a small smirk at the idea.
"Research," President Bartlet nodded firmly. "If this is the ship that crashed in the Antarctic, then I want to know everything I can about it." He said simply.
"Couldn't you just ask Zoey to write down all the information you'd need?" Leo asked, still eyeing the back of the video case wearily. "They call themselves the Borg. A half organic, half machine collective with a sole purpose. To conquer and assimilate all races." Leo frowned. "That doesn't sound good."
"Indeed." President Bartlet shook his head. "I asked Zoey about these Borg, according to her, they're the closest thing to a nightmare that exists in Star Trek."
"And if any of these Borg are on board the ship that crashed here Mr President?" Leo asked, not liking the idea of an invasion by a fictional race one bit.
"I don't even want to think about it." President Bartlet frowned. "Also, to add to those problems, we have the Russian, Chinese, and British ambassadors all pressing for appointments today."
"Well that's never good," Leo shook his head, handing the video case back to President Bartlet. "I think we can both guess what they want to talk about Mr President."
"The ship or Mr Harris?" President Bartlet asked as he replaced the video case in his briefcase and closed it shut.
"Either, both?" Leo replied thoughtfully. "Mr Harris' incident with the plane has already gone national, I'd put good money on the other countries have picked up the story as well." He said with a frown. "And the Russian and Chinese military both have satellites in orbit, and radar telemetry. They could just have easily been keeping an eye on the space ship as we were."
"As I thought," President Bartlet nodded. "I've contacted Josh, and asked him to bring in Doctor Weir for me."
"The diplomat?" Leo asked in surprise. "I thought she was dealing with the UN mediation in Israel."
"She was," President Bartlet nodded in agreement, moving back to behind his desk. "She mediated dozens of international accords for us, and for the UN. I'd like her take on what we're going to do about these situations. Especially if it turns out the Russian and Chinese were following the crash last night."
"Better her than me," Leo nodded thoughtfully. "When's she coming?" He asked curiously.
"Josh contacted her about an hour ago, we've already sent three diplomats to cover her absence while she's here. Flight time from Israel to Washington…" President Bartlet trailed off, checking his watch.
"About ten hours Mr President," Leo filled in for him.
"Late this evening," President Bartlet nodded. "Tomorrow morning then, I'll arrange for a briefing with her before we meet with the ambassadors. Arrange for someone to pick her up from the airport and a hotel for her. I have a feeling we're going to need her services here quite a bit."
"You want to meet them all together?" Leo asked with a frown. "Are you sure that's wise Mr President?"
"Probably not," President Bartlet shook his head in agreement. "But they're all here for the same thing, we might as well get it all out in the open in one swoop."
"No all Mr President." Leo frowned back. "The Stargate program and…"
"Will still remain secret until I'm given proof that any other government already has knowledge of it." President Bartlet finished off for Leo reassuringly. "But even without the Stargate program, we've got Mr Harris' incident with the plane, the space ship crashing on international land, we need Doctor Weir on this."
"No argument from me Mr President." Leo nodded in agreement.
"Prepare a briefing package for her. I want Doctor Weir brought up to speed as soon as she arrives." President Bartlet said with a nod, moving back to sit back on his chair and continue with the paperwork he had been going through when Leo had interrupted him.
"Yes Mr President." Leo nodded before moving to leave the room. "You still can't watch that movie here though sir."
"Get out," President Bartlet groused good-naturedly, watching as Leo shut the door behind him and left him to his thoughts.
"Yes, well, that certainly puts things into perspective." Giles nodded, taking off his glasses and cleaning them thoroughly against his shirt. Both the fact of the calendar Ethan was currently marking off, and the sight of Xander in the space several dozen meters away in a car park effectively bench pressing a large Humvee style transport.
"I thought it would," Ethan nodded in agreement, ignoring Xander's performance for the moment and bringing Giles' attention back to the calendar he was holding. "Second of November," He said urgently, tapping the date.
"I'm well aware of the date," Giles said with a scowl.
"Eighteen weeks from now, most of the eastern coast will be under attack," Ethan said soberly. "The following days, troops will start to land, and then…"
"Yes Ethan, I get the picture." Giles said with a stern nod. "Eighteen weeks."
"Eighteen weeks to turn him," Ethan nodded over to where Xander was now tossing the Humvee between his hands in the air, much to the fright of Captain Carter. "Well, into something resembling our Superman."
"God help us," Giles muttered to himself.
"Given how things went the last time, I'd say God has little interest in this planet any more Ripper," Ethan said with a frown, staring over at Xander. "We're on our own here."
"Wow," Major Warren breathed out, readying his P-90 as they turned another corridor inside the space ship. So far they'd managed do open a few doors and wander around Deck Four with the aid of the blueprints he'd brought with them, but with no sign of any crew or anyone at all really.
"Which way now?" Major Ferretti asked, glaring slightly at the blueprints as they walked. So far Major Warren had tried three of the 'turbo lifts' as he'd called them, which should have been able to take them wherever they wanted in the ship, only he'd been unsuccessful in getting the doors to open on any of them.
"Up here on the right sir," Major Warren explained. After going through several of the larger rooms here, where doors were damaged or pushed open, he could definitely say that the Sovereign ship definitely lived up to its reputation, with living quarters he'd deem luxurious after spending time on Air Force barracks for the last decade or so.
"And we can get to the bridge from there?" Major Ferretti asked, his P-90 still at the ready as they turned another corner to find another intersection. "This ship is like a maze," He muttered to himself.
"Indeed," Teal'c intoned. The vessel was certainly different from any Goa'uld ship he had served on before, the soft greys and well lit corridors definitely spoke of Tau'ri origins, with lights seemingly coming from above on both sides of the corridor to provide well lit areas throughout.
"Here we go," Major Warren said, using his P-90 to point to a recessed area of the corridor that was pushed back five feet or so from the main corridor with no doors or reason for it.
"Good vantage point," Major Ferretti said appreciatively, noting how the little recessed area would be a good place to fight an invading force from, providing protection and cover, while giving a full view of the approaching corridors on either side of the intersection.
"I don't think they designed it with that in mind sir," Major Warren said with a shrug, pulling his P-90 around to over his shoulder and using the small rungs on the recessed wall to climb up several feet until he could access the square shaped panel raised off ground level. "Through here, we'll be able to access the Jefferies Tubes and go deck to deck from here." He explained.
"Hardly practical," Major Ferretti frowned as he watched Major Warren use some sort of twisting access port to open the hatch. "Ok people, hands and knees time." He said, looking up to the size of the opening. "Lead the way Warren, Sands, Casey, follow, me and Teal'c'll bring up the rear."
"Yes sir," Major Warren said, taking one last look at the blueprints he had and trying to memorise the next few sections they'd need to take before finding the main vertical run through the ship, before folding them away and climbing inside.
Walking out of DC Comic's head office in New York he paused, looking around the streets, doing his best to ignore the reporters that were camped out outside, being held back by hired security, obviously wanting to discuss the ramifications of the Superman incident with the copyright owners.
Looking across the street he noticed a bar / café already opening, the sad fact was, after nearly an hour inside with lawyers and officials from DC comics, it would have been enough to set him walking over already and contemplate having a drink, even when it wasn't even noon.
It basically boiled down to the fact that the current copyright owners were not happy to allow someone to use the Superman name and uniform without them formally Okaying it. And even then, such a 'right' came with a string of provisos if he even agreed to that. To top it all off, they weren't even willing to negotiate further until they'd met the 'Superman' in person, and evaluated him further to compare to their comic counterpart.
All in all, the morning spent discussing the differences and legalities between reality and comic fiction was enough to have Toby wishing Leo had sent down someone else with him, the meeting with the Deputy Mayor had been the perfect start to what was shaping up to be one of the worst days he could actually remember.
Now he actually had the even more daunting task of making his way to Mitchel Air Force base over in Westbury, over an hour's drive out of Manhattan in Sunday morning traffic, to actually meet this Superman in person, and receive a full briefing from one Colonel O'Neill, who if reports were to be believed, was highly decorated, but bordering on insubordinate at times.
"I will pay you back for this Leo," He muttered to himself as he walked the distance from DC Comics offices back to the multi-storey car park where he'd left the hire care he had for his stay in New York. "One way or another, I will pay you back."