Are We There Yet?
Summary: Battlestar Galactica meets Stargate Atlantis while Jack O'Neill is in command. How would the first contact work out?
Category: Crossover/AU, Het only
Rating: Teen for some language and episode level violence
Spoilers for Seasons 3 of Atlantis and BSG
Season: Eleven+ for Stargate SG-1 AU, For BSG after season two –This is a Season Three AU
Stargate's Jack O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, Sam Carter, Teal'c, Cameron Mitchell, John Sheppard, Weir, McKay, Beckett, Teyla, Ronon, Woolsey, Landry, Caldwell, Major Lorne, Thor.
BSG's: Admiral Wm Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, Col. Tigh, Pres. Roslin, Lt. Gaeta, Lt. Dualla, Cally, Tyrol, Helo, Athena, Six, Baltar, Zarek as VP, Anders, bridge crew.
Pairings: None other than as canon because some of the BSG folks are married. I don't write S/J.
Author's note: This is AU. If you are a stickler for canon, give me a break. Jack isn't in charge of Atlantis. BSG is another show. And Starbuck is a woman. THAT's AU. I have done the situation and characters according to my view of the shows and how they would meld. I've read Ron Moore's podcasts, many articles, as well as the transcripts. This is my take on it. The new ZPM came from either the recently found Ancients or stolen from the Asurans. Whatever. They have one now. Apollo is a Major and the Pegasus still exists. Baltar's status is as of the end of Season Three. This is my AU story.
DISCLAIMER: "Stargate SG-1/Atlantis" and its characters are the property of Sony Pictures, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp., Showtime/Viacom and USA Networks, Inc. BSG is the property of Ron Moore and others. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations and story are the property of the author(s), and may not be republished or archived elsewhere without the author's permission.
"Closing on us fast, sir," the Tactical Officer reported to Admiral Adama. "The speed is incredible."
"Launch Vipers. Start jump calculations." Adama looked up with a stoic visage at his bridge crew. One thing you could say for Admiral William Adama, he never cracked. No matter what the Cylons threw at him, he never broke a sweat.
"Viper squadrons away, sir."
"Call Pegasus, let Major Adama know."
"Major Adama on line now sir, for you," reported Lt. Felix Gaeta, Officer of the Watch.
"Lee, we'll feed you the jump calculations."
"Rodger that, sir. We have advised the fleet." Major Lee Adama, aka Apollo, was the Admiral's son. He had been the CAG on the Galactica when the Pegasus needed a new commander that Adama could trust. At times in the past, Lee had stood against Adama's decisions. Finally the two reached a professional accommodation. The two men were uncomfortable on a personal level but were professionals to the core.
"Sir, these are not Cylon ships. Sensors can't match them to any known configuration. So unless the Cylons have something new…" the Tac Officer trailed off.
"You get that, Lee?"
"Yes, sir. We're on it."
The Pegasus was a new model of the Galactica's class of ships. Her on board navigation and sensor arrays were next generation equipment, yet for strategic reasons relied on old-style electronics with cords to prevent Cylon tampering. Both Battlestars were old, and they were the last of their kind. As far as anyone in the fleet knew, the few remaining human beings in the universe were about to be attacked once more.
After the destruction of the Twelve Colonies by the Cylons, a cybernetic race of robots, the human survivors took to space in whatever craft were available. At last count, slightly less than 40,000 persons remained after the aborted attempt to build a new colony. The Cylons showed up on New Caprica to occupy it and enslave the humans for what purposes could only be guessed. After two years, the fleet was together again thanks to the New Caprica Resistance Movement. The Resistance Movement on the planet along with a strategic attack from the two remaining Battlestars, managed to create a window of opportunity to launch all remaining ships on the planet with as many survivors as possible. So many had died on the planet, a census had to be taken. The sojourn on New Caprica had been a disastrous experiment, which lost 20 percent of the original survivors.
On the run again, supplies were low. Adama ordered food rationing. But only the Admiral, Major Lee Adama, Colonel Saul Tigh, and Captain Kara Thrace, the CAG, knew just how low on ordnance they were. Worse, their fuel supply was dwindling as their last remaining supply of Tyllium ore was being refined for use. When the refined ore was gone, so was the fuel. They had to find more. In short, time was running out.
With a supreme effort, they made it across the galactic void to this new galaxy. They gambled the Cylons would not follow. However, their luck was running out. A new formidable enemy had just appeared. Two enormous ships of unknown design were launching an attack without as much as a hail. Obviously, the welcome wagon was on strike.
Chatter between the Viper fighters and the CIC (bridge) personnel indicated a new highly advanced foe was sure to overwhelm the fleet. The missiles launched by the Vipers had no effect. Some sort of protection threw off the collision between the ships and Colonial weapons fire.
"Frak! Did you see that?" demanded the new CAG, one Captain Kara Thrace, aka Starbuck for her call sign. "Galactica, the enemy just disintegrated one of our ships. I mean no wreckage, nothing. It's just gone, sir. Weapons fire of no use. Your orders, sir?"
"Break off and return to launch bay. We are preparing to jump," came the reply from the bridge.
"All Vipers, let's go home. We can't do anything out here. That's an order."
Even as the squadrons retreated a few were picked off by the new enemy. The engagement had lasted only a few minutes. It was a total rout. As the CAG, Starbuck was the last to go home, escorting a damaged Viper. Checking out her window to assess the situation, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. With the instincts for which she was infamous, Starbuck flipped her craft to face backwards and get a good view.
What she saw made her gasp. Several other enormous ships not seen before were firing on the enemy. Some sort of missiles took flight and disappeared. Nearly instantly, the enemy ships blew apart.
"Incredible, Galactica we have new bogeys blasting away at the first group. They came out of nowhere. Galactica do you read? I'm going back for a better look. If these guys can take out the first group, we could be in worse trouble."
"Negative, Starbuck. Return to Galactica. We are going to jump."
"Damn it, she's going back, isn't she?" Colonel Tigh swore under his breath.
"That woman has a death wish," Admiral Adama huffed. "Starbuck this is Galactica. Return to the Pegasus. She's closer. We are going to jump. Saying again, we are going to jump."
"Galactica, this is Starbuck. The new guys are blowing the frak out of the first group. One of their fighters just ripped past me and took out a hostile."
"Did she just say one of the new ones helped her?" Tigh was amazed but irritated at Starbuck. He usually was. He thought she was a loose canon. She despised him for being a drunk.
"I don't care. We can't afford to lose the fleet finding out." Adama spoke his orders again. "Starbuck, this is Adama, break off and get to the Pegasus, Now!"
"No sir, two more new guys just came level with me and waved. One of them is wiggling his wings at me, sir. Repeat, being escorted now by two of the new guys." She paused. After some static the bridge heard her say, "My new escort just blew the crap out of an attacker. They are protecting me!"
Explosions ripped through another enemy ship which disappeared into some sort of an anomaly. The rest of the ships that could did the same thing.
"Sir, enemy has jumped." Starbuck frantically called the Galactica. "Repeat, the first group has jumped."
"We read that, Starbuck. What's your situation?"
"Being surrounded by the new guys," reported Starbuck. "But I think they are friendlies. At least they aren't firing on me. And one keeps wiggling his wings. That's the usual greeting between pilots, at least with us."
"You THINK?" Adama looked aggravated. He had to make a decision. "Try and bring one on board, then we jump. We can always come back if they are friendlies. You have just enough time before we jump."
"Throwing out the welcome mat, sir."
"What do you think, Saul?" Adama turned to his 2IC. Saul had good instincts. The two men had worked together for much of their careers. Saul shrugged.
"What are the remaining large ships doing? Are we getting any hails?"
"We seem to get some sort of regular signal, but we haven't managed to understand it. The new mother ships are keeping their distance. No more fighters have been launched. The others seem to be mopping up," Dee reported.
"We take a chance. We're nearly finished if this place doesn't work out," he growled softly to Adama.
"Repeat back to them their signal. I'm guessing that's a hail." Adama waited until Dee was finished. "Mr. Gaeta, are the fighters following Starbuck?"
"Yes, sir, they are flying in formation, matching her speed and vector."
Colonel Tigh looked at Adama. They rarely had to exchange words in these situations. Colonel Tigh checked with the "Flattop" salvage and repair ship where the group was to be directed. He wanted to be certain the alien craft were isolated from the rest of the fleet. The best place to dock them was on the flat launch pad of the repair ship. Tigh ordered a brigade of Marines to the flight deck and the repair teams to be ready to deal with damage caused by the alien ships and their pilots. No sense taking more risk than they were already. He heard Dee alerting Apollo, captain of the Pegasus that Starbuck was diverting to the Flattop.
Adama waited patiently for the outcome. Even as Starbuck and the new fighters landed on the Flattop, the fleet began to jump. One by one they winked out, only to reappear elsewhere a moment later. They all breathed a sigh of relief. No more ships had taken damage. The fleet began the standard roll call check for damage and casualties. Even so, the crew on the Galactica's bridge was collectively holding their breaths for news from the Flattop.
On board the Flattop, the Marines took up their battle stations. Four of the new birds had come to a stop. Canopies were opening. Starbuck extracted herself from her Viper leaving it for the flight crews. The Marines gave her their signs of being ready. So she unsheathed her side arm, slowly walking up to the first craft. Starbuck looked up at the cockpit.
The pilot looked at her from inside his helmet. He hesitated and then began to unmask. Kara blinked. He looked human. Both she and the pilot gave each other the once over. Satisfied no one made any threatening moves, the pilot unhitched himself, but remained seated.
"And you are," he asked?
"Oh, wow you know my language?" Kara was amazed. They were in a totally different galaxy and the natives spoke Colonial?
"No, not really, you just think I do. Now, who are you people?"
"I could ask you the same thing."
"Some welcome you got going here." He indicated the Marines pointing their weapons at him. "We just saved your ass. Ok, I'll go first. I'm Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell of the Earth Ship Daedalus. And now, for the 64 dollar question, who the hell are you, ma'am?"
For once in her life, Starbuck was dumbstruck. Standing there gaping, Cam realized he had said something wrong. He unsheathed his service pistol from its casing strapped to his flight suit, holding it out of sight inside the cockpit.
"Now it's your turn, ma'am."
"Oh, oh, right, sorry. I'm Captain Kara Thrace of the Colonial Fleet."
"I have to ask, are you human?"
"So my grandma keeps wondering, yes ma'am. I am assuming you are too?"
Kara nodded, "yes, at least my grandma told me I was."
"You haven't told me what your people are doing here and why all the heavy ordnance. We did take the risk of coming here to have this little chat."
"We can explain elsewhere. We won't shoot if you won't shoot. Deal?"
Cam thought it over. "Deal. I was feeling cramped in here anyway."
Starbuck signaled for the flight crews to bring ladders to help the pilots out of their cockpits. Each man carefully exited making certain to keep his hands visible at all times. Standing at the base of his plane, Mitchell offered Starbuck his hand. She looked at it, hesitating.
"I promise I don't bite." He used his charming smile. Kara eyed him carefully. Then she took it. Applause broke out on the deck. Listening to the exchange on the video feed, both the Pegasus and the Galactica bridge crews breathed a sigh of relief and broke into applause.
"It's going to be a long de-briefing isn't it," Cam joked?
"You could say," she replied answering his grin with her own smile.
The Marines advanced demanding all weapons be relinquished. Cam gave his side arm to Starbuck.
"I'll want that back, ma'am."
On board the Daedalus, Colonel Steven Caldwell exclaimed, "you've got to be kidding me!"
"They just disappeared, sir."
"We just saved their asses and they cut and ran?"
"Seems likely, sir."
"Four of our F-302s were last seen approaching one of the two capital ships. Sir, we are not getting a response to our hails to Colonel Mitchell's squad."
"What are you saying, Major? Did they destroy our ships?"
"No signs of debris, sir. They vanished too," reported Major Gant.
"Let's hope they went with those guys," the helmsman opined.
"Why? Ever consider how they would get back?" Caldwell was not happy about this.
"Stargates, sir, would be my guess."
"Alright, give me the numbers."
"Other than Colonel Mitchell's squad, all our ships are present and accounted for. There are reports of minimal damage to several F-302s and one of our Al'kesh. The Al'kesh is still under its own power and is requesting permission to head back to Atlantis."
"Clear them to go and let's see about getting the hell out of here ourselves."
"Sir, what about Colonel Mitchell?"
"What do you expect me to do, get a crystal ball? If he is ok, and can use a Stargate, we will hear from him."
"Sir, the Borodino is reporting they have captured two of the pilots and one of their craft from the defenders. They are both in Sick Bay receiving treatments. One is awake. Your orders, sir?"
"Get me Commander Orlov," Caldwell replied. The new Odyssey was commanded by the Russians as part of the Gate Alliance Treaty. Having been supportive allies, they were coming into their own, demanding to share in the action.
"Commander Orlov, sir."
"What did you find out, Commander?"
"The pilot says they are humans escaping from a terrible robot enemy. He's shaken, not stirred." Orlov loved to reference old James Bond movies. Caldwell rolled his eyes and waited patiently. Orlov was a professional. He knew what to do. "Anyway, when we told him his ships disappeared he was happy until I told him four of ours most probably went with them. He understands we would like them back."
Orlov had a gift for understatement. He didn't flinch at very much. Caldwell respected him. The two had a mutual if uneasy working relationship. Both men had come of age during the Cold War when Russia and the United States were enemies. It was difficult to let these things go. But they were working at it, on some level.
"What are the odds, Commander?"
"The pilot says very good. If our personnel are friendlies, then once that determination is made, the fleet could return here, or some part of the fleet. But they had civilians they had to protect. That was their first priority not knowing if we would turn on them next."
"Ok, makes sense. Can we contact them?"
"He says there is no known way to track what he terms a 'jump.' And he doesn't know the coordinates just being an ordinary pilot."
Caldwell commed Hermiod. The Asgaard crewmember worked in engineering to assist with all the Asgaard installed equipment the humans could not handle. Caldwell wanted to find out if the Asgaard knew a way to track the other fleet. The answer was not with the equipment on hand.
"Commander, leave a cloaked puddle jumper for 24 hours just in case they do return. Let's go home, Caldwell out."
Colonial Ship The Flattop:
On the Colonial ship, Cam Mitchell took in what he could as some hulking guards escorted him to a nearby briefing room. The interior of the ship was depressing. No color other than muted greys, blacks, and whites decorated the ship. It seemed old. He couldn't explain why he had that feeling, but he was sure of it. It even had that stale smell that reeked of 'old.'
Entering the room, Cam saw a table with some Spartan chairs, no decorations, and not much else of note. Either they stripped it so he wouldn't see anything, or they didn't have anything. From the grim looks on the faces in the hall, these folks were not happy campers. Cam guessed they didn't have much.
Starbuck indicated the chairs and took one herself. Armed guards stood watch outside the room. Cam approved of their caution, although he was making mental notes how to get out if he needed. The other three pilots sat as well. As the ranking officer and squadron leader, Cam did the talking. He figured whoever was in charge was listening in.
Presently, a man introduced as a doctor entered the room with an assistant and some equipment. Reflexively, every man rolled up his sleeve. Starbuck noticed with some amusement. It was not something the Cylons would have done so quickly without being asked. Cam gave her a bored expression. He was trying to read her as she was trying to read him. Judging by the needles and so forth, Cam figured these folks were at or near Earth's level of development but without the Asgaard technology. He knew sensor readings indicated these folks had pitched a few nukes at the enemy. That they had space travel was a good sign.
"I see you've done this before," Starbuck commented evenly.
"Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, ma'am." Cam rolled his sleeve back down and let the doctor listen to his heart. Looking up at the man, he joked, "oh, it's in there somewhere. Although, my last girlfriend said I didn't have one." One of Cam's pilots snorted at that comment. But Starbuck maintained a professional demeanor even though she appreciated the humor.
The doctor went through as much of a check as he could not being in the medical bay. He faced Starbuck saying, "as good as I can. I'd say they are human subject to the blood tests. Heart, lungs, all in the right places doing their jobs. I'll call you with the results."
"That's what they all say, but you generally have to call them," Cam snarked back at him. "What, 'no take two aspirins and call me in the morning?' I want to know my cholesterol numbers, those triglycerides are nasty stuff," he called after the doctor's retreating back. Cam turned his attention back to the woman. "And now what? You interrogate us without even offering a cup of coffee?"
Starbuck understood he was being sarcastic but she didn't recognize some of the words. "Coffee?"
"A hot beverage made from roasted beans," he replied noting that she made a face. "Don't knock it until you've tried it, ma'am."
"I'm sure." She looked over to the sentry, "bring in some refreshments." Turning back to Mitchell she asked, "You happy now?"
"Happy enough for the moment," he answered deadpan. "So you're the warm up band for this interrogation. We got that. Can we skip along to the part where you tell us something about you?"
"I'm single, looking, and a pilot," Starbuck snarked back.
"What a coincidence. I'm single, good looking, and a great pilot." He answered in a friendly tone, but his observant eyes were looking for anything that could become a weapon. So far the only objects were the chairs and their legs if they could be broken. The table was metal and too heavy to break.
Listening on the bridge of the Galactica, Colonel Tigh rolled his eye and made sure Adama saw him do it. Adama gave him a look of 'listen she'll get it out of them.' At least the doctor was sure they were human as claimed. Cylons also had blood, which was very difficult to distinguish from human blood. However, reports from the flight deck while preliminary indicated that everything in the F-302s was more advanced than the Vipers, but was nothing like Cylon manufacturing. There was nothing organic in them.
At least these folks were polite, thought Major Apollo, watching from the bridge of the Pegasus. If they were human, then these could be the people from Earth. He had heard Mitchell identify himself with the word Earth in there. Apollo had replayed the remark several times to be sure. Of course, it could be a Cylon trick, but nothing about these folks suggested they were Cylons. What he didn't like was the remark about how Starbuck only thought she heard him speak Colonial. Before the briefing, he had commented as much to the Admiral who agreed it was interestingly phrased. Were these persons another form of Cylon who had some translation program? Apollo had no doubt that Starbuck had heard the remark and was curious too.
"Now what did you mean when you said I only thought I heard you speak in my language?"
"It meant you only thought you heard me speak in your language." He gazed back at her. "Can we please just skip ahead to where you tell me what you people are doing here?"
"In this galaxy, in this star system, fighting the Wraith, getting your asses kicked from here to hell… pick one."
"We were fighting the 'Wraith' because they attacked us. We had no warning. They showed up and opened fire. Got any ideas why they would do that?"
"I might." Mitchell sighed. "Fine, you obviously don't know about the Wraith or you wouldn't ask that question. It's what they do."
"Open fire on other ships before they even talk to them?"
"Pretty much, yep, that's about it."
"Maybe they thought we were you. Maybe they thought they needed to kick our asses to hell because of you."
"Maybe, but more likely they were just hungry, looking for a snack."
"The Wraith eat humans. We are their food. Go figure."
"Yum, yum," intoned one of the other pilots.
"We're finger licking good," said another pilot.
"That's a good one. I'll have to remember it," answer the fourth.
"You're joking." Starbuck wasn't going to be taken in by such a wild claim.
"Do I look like I'm joking?" Cam pointed to his deadpan face. Starbuck looked at the other pilots who were nodding their heads in agreement. One of them shrugged at her indicating that was the truth.
"They eat humans." She looked from one to the other to the other.
"They actually suck the life force out of us with their hands. It's complicated and very painful, for the human. The Wraith have a good time, though." Heads bobbed in agreement.
"As long as somebody does," Starbuck was doubtful. This was too weird. "I don't believe you. I would advise you to start cooperating. We can do this the easy way or the hard way it's all the same to me."
"My, oh my, we already skipped way, way ahead to the threats." Mitchell didn't like this turn of conversation. "We're done talking to you. Bring in the next act, someone who is farther up the food chain." He sat back and folded his arms.
"Sorry, you're stuck with me." Starbuck leaned in. "Now about your remark that I only think you speak Colonial. I understand you just fine. What did you mean by it?"
None of the pilots would answer her. One stared at the ceiling. Another fiddled with his fingernails. One started to whistle 'Dixie.' The first two grinned at the joke. But Cam leaned back and pretended to close his eyes. Actually, he was trying to figure out if they could crawl through the air vents and decided someone much smaller would have to try. Several minutes passed while Starbuck waited to let them understand she wasn't leaving.
"Fine, what did you mean by saying you are from the 'Earth ship Daedalus?' What does Daedalus mean to you?" She got no reply. "Is Earth your homeworld?" Nothing. "What were the weapons you used against these 'Wraith'? Were they some kind of nuke?"
No one answered.
Watching the feed on the bridge of the Galactica, Adama looked at Tigh. Both men knew such information warranted a more senior person to interview these men. If the fleet really faced that level of threat, someone had to go over there. By then, the fleet had already jumped out of immediate danger. Adama decided on sending Apollo as his representative, along with another Marine contingent.
In the interrogation room, Starbuck stared patiently at the alien pilots. Fine, she figured they could sit there and wait all day if that's what it took. They hadn't done anything threatening, so physical force was unwarranted. Refreshments arrived but no one partook. At this point, each pilot figured the food was laced with drugs.
Finally after some interval, the door flung open. Major Apollo walked in escorted by two bodyguards. Starbuck and the marines came to attention. If there were aliens out to eat humans, he had to understand the threat, quickly.
"Now that's what I'm talking about," pointed Mitchell to Apollo. "I take it you are her superior?"
"Major Lee Adama, Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell was it?"
"You go to the head of the class." Mitchell saw the confusion. "Yes, sir, I am."
"We have to be sure you are not our enemy, so we have taken these precautions. You would do the same. "I'm the captain of the Colonial Battlestar Pegasus. Am I senior enough for you?" Apollo offered his hand. Mitchell thought about it, and accepted.
"What a coincidence."
"We call this galaxy the 'Pegasus' Galaxy."
"That is a coincidence. We recognize the names 'Daedalus' and 'Pegasus.' Do the names have meaning for you or is it just random?"
"If I remember my ancient mythology correctly, Daedalus tried to fly with his son, Icarus, who did not listen to dear old dad and got too close to the sun. The wax on Icarus' wings melted and he fell like a stone. Daddy Daedalus made it to land and built a temple to the Greek god Apollo, hanging up his wings as an offering. Pegasus was a winged horse that could fly to the top of Mt. Olympus where the ancient Greek gods lived. Does that do it for you?"
Apollo stood there stunned. It showed on his face and on Starbuck's. In fact the guards were having trouble with it too, shifting a bit though remaining at attention. Catching himself, Apollo said, "Perhaps, I should mention that as a pilot, my call sign is Apollo for the god who lived on Mt. Olympus. How is it you know these things?"
Mitchell shrugged, "my grandma liked to read me those myths for bedtime stories. She had a wicked sense of humor to do that to a kid."
"You said the word, 'Earth.' Is that your homeworld?"
"Now why should I tell you anymore than I have? We save your butts from the Wraith. We came here honorably. And yet, we are interrogated and threatened. I don't see what's in it for us. We trusted you. And this is the thanks we get, a nasty interrogation room? I want to speak to my ship. They'll be worried about us. After that maybe, and I say maybe, I'll discuss answering more questions."
"I understand. I won't apologize for detaining you here. You would do the exact same thing in our position, sir. Lt. Colonel, I remind you that no one has raised a hand against you. Please, calm down, sir."
"Oh so now it's 'sir.' Cam gave him an appraising glance. "So let me talk to my people. Then, I might calm down."
"That's a problem. We aren't in that sector anymore. We are too far for our communications to work." Apollo looked uncomfortable. He saw Mitchell get irritated at what he thought was deception. "I am not lying to you. We had to move the fleet to safety. We are escorting civilians."
"Escorting them to where," Mitchell demanded?
Mitchell stared at the man looking for signs of deception. Clearly he was affected by the conversation. But Cam didn't sense any deception.
"Earth." Mitchell evaluated the Major. He looked like a straight shooter. "That's a problem. Who is your superior? We need to talk."
"Lt. Colonel, first answer me. Are you from Earth?"
"Yes, Major we are."
"Please, follow me, Lt. Colonel. In the meantime, your team will be given better accommodations in our lounge." He turned to one of the guards. "See that they are made comfortable."
"Starbuck you are with me."
From the Captain's office, Apollo placed the call to his father on the Galactica. After a few moments of conference, Adama decided to have Mitchell meet him in person. Apollo detailed Starbuck to fly them over. A Raptor shuttle with the three of them and two guards departed for the Galactica. Within minutes, they were on the other ship headed for the Admiral's briefing room. A Marine brigade escorted them.
Taking it all in, Mitchell had the sense that this ship was even older and had seen more use that the previous one. These people's decorating sense was 'early grim verging on medieval depressing.' What did that say about their culture? The Admiral's briefing room was more comfortable but hardly attractive.
Adama took in the appearance of their visitor. He too looked for signs of deception. Finding nothing but a professional officer, he offered Mitchell a seat. Mitchell was impressed by the gravitas of the Admiral. His wizened features told a tale of a long career and much suffering. After they finished sizing each other up, Adama began gently.
"We want to thank you for what your people did back there for us. You didn't know us and still risked your lives for ours. We are grateful." He nodded in acknowledgment. Mitchell accepted the same. "We have suffered a catastrophe that ended our civilization. As a result, we are vulnerable. Presently, we are escorting a large civilian fleet. Our priority is to find a safe harbor for our people."
Adama paused, studying the alien. "To do that, we are looking for a specific planet. It is a place told in legends through the ages. We didn't really believe it existed until you said you were from the 'Earth Ship Daedalus' and told the story of Daedalus and Pegasus, as we know it too. We believe that the people on Earth are our brethren. This Earth colony was established thousands of years ago. But we became separated. It was lost to us. If you are really from Earth, then you are the answer to our prayers."
Mitchell took a few moments to compose his reply. Then he began softly.
"Admiral, thank you for treating me with the courtesy of a face to face meeting. It is much appreciated," Cam looked him straight in the eye. "I'm a military man, as you are. Giving up information does not come easily. Obviously, you heard me introduce myself in the landing bay. You heard correctly. I am from Earth."
Sighs went around the table. Adama took off his eyeglasses and rubbed his eyes to cover the emotion he felt. Mitchell could tell these people had felt terrible anguish that it might not be true. So he pressed on.
"Sir, I must know before I continue. How many civilians and how large of a fleet do you have?"
"That's good. You are doing a threat assessment. I would do the same. Lt. Colonel. I too must conduct a threat assessment. We saw what you did to these 'Wraith' as you call them. Your capabilities are astonishing. As to our numbers, let's say in round numbers we have thousands of civilians, plus escort." Adama spoke sternly, "We are prepared to defend ourselves." He let Mitchell digest the information for a few moments. "Their safety is my number one priority."
"Thank you, sir. May I ask what happened that you are out here searching like this?"
Adama deliberated whether to chance the truth. Well the man wasn't going anywhere so fast. If Mitchell didn't seem to be honorable, he could take a long walk out a short airlock. But things were desperate. Adama sighed and told him the sad story. Mitchell was visibly affected.
"Then, sir, you have found the right people." He took a breath, "but you cannot go to Earth." As he expected, they reacted with alarm. "As least not the whole group right away."
"You are from Earth but you say we cannot go there?"
"Sir, I can't speak for my leaders entirely. Perhaps when you speak with them, you will find a way to solve this situation."
"You would allow me to speak to the leaders of Earth?"
"I have no doubt that in the next few days, you will, sir."
Adama was shaken. To think that the end of the voyage was here was almost too much. Everyone in the room was feeling overwhelmed.
"We are that close to Earth that we could be there in just a few days?"
"No, sir. You are nowhere near Earth. You are in the wrong galaxy, entirely."
Groans of disappointment came from the assembly.
"Admiral, we have a way of getting you there, provided they agree to host you instead of coming here to see you."
"Now I am intrigued. I confess seeing your fleet in battle was most impressive. But going to another Galaxy in days? I don't understand how you can take me so far so quickly, nor even understand what you are doing here in another galaxy."
"Don't worry about that, sir. Just accept for now that it is true. As to what we are doing here, we are exploring. That's what we do. We explore."
"You, you go to other galaxies to explore, just to explore?"
"Pretty much, yes sir." Cam grinned.
"Why can't we go to Earth from here is that?"
"It's a political problem you should take up with my superiors."
"I see. Well it is good to know some things are the same."
"Yes, sir. So when you talk to our leaders, perhaps you can solve it at that level. What I can do is introduce you to our local leaders right here in Pegasus. Major Apollo tells me that you have moved to a new location since the battle. I must report in, sir. You would want to do the same."
"I'm afraid we are too far to use our communications. And, I don't want to go back to the site of the battle lest the enemy, these Wraiths, reappear for whatever reason they appeared in the first place." Adama took a breath, "You are serious. Wraith feed on humans?"
"Yes, sir, we are their only source of food. Right now, they are out there in the beginning of their feeding cycle which comes every few hundred years. Recently, the Wraith have wiped out whole planets."
"Oh my…" Adama was at a loss for words. "To have come so far just to walk into another pit."
"Sir, I have the solution, if you will hear me out."
"I would need you to authorize one of your ships to make a 'jump' as you call it back to the previous coordinates. I nearly guarantee that we left a ship there waiting to see if you reappear. I don't know how long they will stay, but it's not been so long yet. If they are not there, there is a way to get to my base from there. I assume your ship can jump back here?"
"Yes, it can. But, I'm afraid I don't want to risk even one craft if I don't have to."
"The Wraith could be here too, sir. They inhabit this entire galaxy. The longer you keep me from reporting in, the greater your chances of being discovered somewhere we can't defend you.
It goes like this. I have to know where I am in order to return there. I don't know where I am here, sir. I knew back at the battle site. I can't bring help to you unless I can get back to my first position. If you send me with someone in one of your ships that can jump there and back here we have a chance."
Cam paused to let that fact sink in. Cam knew the probability of having a Stargate nearby was high. He hoped it was not an orbital Stargate or he would have to try another planet. An F-302 does not fit inside a Stargate. Cam continued after Adama's nod.
"I could lie to you and tell you if I left from here I would come back. But the truth is while I can get home from here, I have no way to identify where here is from that end. If I left from here, I wouldn't know where to come back. Do you see the problem?"
Adama thought that over a couple of times. It almost made sense. But how could such a little ship make a jump? Still, they were more advanced.
"And your people would defend us again?"
"Because you are human beings, sir, and they are the Wraith."
"It's that simple?"
"It's that simple. We don't leave our people behind."
Adama studied the man intently. That part made sense. His people had defended the fleet once. They might do it again. But what would they want in return?"
"Interesting choice of words, 'our people,' did you mean that to include us?" Cam nodded yes. "And if we ask for your protection, safe harbor, what would become of us?"
"You will get on with your lives on a new planet, maybe even the one we are on right now." Cam realized something. "In fact, you will most likely come to stay with us because we have no other means to house so many or take care of you."
"If we stay with you, then what?"
"I don't understand, sir."
"Would you want us to work for you, or be your servants, or might we become your slaves?"
"Oh god, no, we don't think like that. We don't permit slavery of any kind. If I have given you that impression, sir…"
"No you didn't. I just had to ask." Adama looked thoughtful. "So what would they want in exchange for safe harbor?"
"We would want to learn from you. We would share knowledge between us. Later, when things settle down, your folks would integrate into our society. We are a diverse people. Our strength comes from our diversity. Adding your people would only make us all stronger."
"If all this is true, you are a gift from the gods." Adama turned to Starbuck. "These are your rules of engagement. Take him back and go with him to meet his people. If you think for a moment they are definitely not what he says they are, do not come back. If there is any room for doubt, return. While you are gone, we shall leave this location according to jump protocols. There will be a sentry left here with a senior officer who has the authority to negotiate with these aliens, but even they will not know how to find the fleet. We have protocols to shield us. That means, Lt. Colonel Mitchell, if you do not return Starbuck and our senior staff, we shall eliminate your team after 3 days. There is no way to find us."
"Yes sir." Mitchell needed clarification. "We can be back in a day. A day is one normal waking and sleep cycle." Mitchell explained how a day was calculated trying to pin it down to hours, but the best they could do was counting how many segments in each side's day and comparing it to an average bodily cycle. Mitchell had 26 hours in a day for the first round.
"That is acceptable." Adama looked at Starbuck who nodded back that she understood. "Then go."
Mitchell was sent out so that Adama could speak further to Starbuck.
"Starbuck, in addition to the jump protocols you know, we shall fit you with recorders that cannot be tampered with. You will not know the codes. The sentry ship will be able to review the data you record. That way, if you are drugged or otherwise induced to believe them or coerced to return to the sentry, we shall know. If you are coerced, return to the sentry. By not sending the right signal, the sentry will know you have been coerced. They will not send a signal back to you to disarm the explosives on your ship. If you do not return in a day as we have agreed to the first point, your ship will explode wherever it is. And so will the sentry afterwards. We have to believe these people can find a way to track us if either of you make a jump that takes you to the fleet. So, we shall jump several more times leaving clues which can only find other sentries. Each one will explode after a certain amount of time without receiving the correct code. After three days, we will not leave any more sentries."
"Yes, sir, I understand."
"If there is any room for doubt, come back. Let the senior staff take it from there."
"Yes, sir. If I am certain they are no good. I don't come back or don't send the signal to the sentry. If don't know for sure, let the senior staff make that determination."
Galactica Flight Deck
Back in the Raptor, Starbuck set her controls. She maneuvered away from the fleet. While she did, Mitchell tried to count the ships and came to an estimate to report. The three guards with them made a crowded cabin. They would stand guard over the ship and the Captain."
"Just so you know, if you give me any crap, I'll kill you."
"Just so you know, I'm not impressed."
"Ready and jump."
The Raptor being the smallest ship that could make a jump carried them back to the previous coordinates. Almost immediately, Mitchell's com unit started to squawk.
"Hey, we thought we'd lost you when they turned tail and RAN."
"Good to hear from you too, Sheppard."
"So what the hell are you driving over there?"
"I'm not driving, my friend here is. Say hello, Starbuck."
"Hello. This is Colonial Raptor to Sheppard. I am returning Colonel Mitchell because he is a pain in the ass. Over."
"Nice to meet you, too, I guess. What happened to the other three?"
"They are still with my folks enjoying the hospitality and witty banter. Can we please get on with this?"
"Negative. We cannot take your ship through the Stargate. So you'll have to land on that planet down there and come aboard."
"Repeat, we cannot take your ship through the Stargate. Your ship won't fit. So you'll have to go through it in my ship. Is that clear?"
"Not at all, but I understand the landing part. I'd ask you to lead us in, but I don't know where you are."
The Puddle Jumper de-cloaked right in front of Starbuck's Raptor. Sheppard smiled and waived. Starbuck lurched the ship hard to avoid a collision. Mitchell was glad he had on his seat belt, noticing her reflexes were excellent.
"You didn't have to do that. I had matched your speed perfectly. Now follow me."
Starbuck looked at Mitchell, "is he crazy?"
"Probably, but you'll get used to it."
Down on the planet, the Starbuck detailed two guards to watch the ship. Then Starbuck, her guard, and Mitchell joined the crew in the Puddle Jumper for the return trip to Atlantis. Approaching the space based Stargate orbiting the planet below Sheppard dialed the Gate. Starbuck watched as the crew operated efficiently. Then she realized they were passing through some sort of ring. In the blink of an eye, the planet below was gone and the Jumper came to a stop inside the Atlantis Gate room with Starbuck shrieking they were going to crash.
"You people are certifiably insane."
"We get that a lot," Mitchell smirked. "Welcome home." Cam helped her disembark. He pointed to the figures standing in the Control Room overlooking the staging area.
"Starbuck, I want you to meet the civilian leader of this facility, Dr. Elizabeth Weir. And the tall grumpy looking man next to her is our military leader, Major General Jack O'Neill." On cue Jack frowned.
"I thought we had an understanding about bringing aliens home, Mitchell," Jack spoke through the PA system.
"Yes, sir we did, past tense. Look, we're on the clock. My guys are still with hers. And we only have, 25 hours left to retrieve them or they go bye-bye for good sir."
"Fine, get yourselves checked out first, debriefing in one hour."
"C'mon, I'll show you something." Mitchell led her and the guard to the observation deck overlooking the city of Atlantis, floating on the ocean. It took Kara's breath away. "This is where your people would live, with us."
"Wow, it looks like home, before the Cylons destroyed it, only it didn't float." She hung over the railing to look below. "Okay, Mitchell, so far so good. Now, explain how you did that. One second we were at that planet and the next we were inside this city. Is this city somewhere on that planet where I left the Raptor?"
"My real name is Kara Thrace, you can call me Kara."
"Call me Cam, for Cameron. And no, we are hundreds of light years from that planet."
"Hun-hundreds of light years? You, we, that is I…"
"Yes, kinda boggles the mind, don't it?" Cam smiled broadly. "We have to go see the doctor, just like on your ship. And one thing is the same."
"The needles," he grimaced. Kara returned him one and shrugged. "Satisfied?"
"Beginning to be. Your people would really let us stay here?"
"Probably, but it's up to the General and the folks back on Earth."
"Well then, I'll have to mind my manners."
"You have manners?"
Atlantis Briefing Room
An hour later, and one trip to the mess hall completed, the de-briefing began. Jack had already heard about the battle and the escape. Now he got the rest of the story and it was a doosie.
"So we are talking about taking in 40,000 refugees, here in Atlantis?"
"That's correct, sir."
"I didn't make up the spare room, yet. Oy," he groaned.
"I admit that's a lot of people. But this city is huge, General." Starbuck didn't know what to make of the General's reaction. "And Cam says it's mostly uninhabited."
"That's not the problem, Captain. First of all, we don't have supplies here for 40,000 more people. Those have to come from Earth. That takes time." He paused when he saw her face light up at the mention of Earth. In his heart, Jack felt for these people. But there was more to it than just wanting to help. "You should have some things you brought with you. How sizable a cushion do you have for food?"
"Sir, if I may interrupt," Dr. Carson Beckett realize the mistake. "We can't let them bring food stuffs with them. At least not until they've gone through quarantine and a thorough examination. And that goes for all their belongings too. We don't know what sorts of germs or insects they might bring in. All of them would have to go through a medical check and some sort of quarantine. It could take months."
"You're kidding, right?" Starbuck was appalled.
"Simmer down, Captain, we haven't said no… and we haven't said yes. This just hit us. We have to think this through."
"Did anyone think that maybe, the Cylons have some way to track these people? I mean if the Cylons keep turning up, as she said, there must be something they use to find these folks." Dr. Rodney McKay was thinking two jumps ahead as usual. But the implications had not occurred to the other people around the table. "And for that matter, if Cylons can look like Human Form Replicators, how do we know we aren't taking one in along with the rest of them, or for that matter, many Cylons?"
"Human form what," Starbuck asked Cam?
"Like Cylons, probably worse."
"Holy frak! You have Cylons too?" Starbuck rocked back in her chair. "Is the whole frakking universe filled with Toasters taking over?"
"Yeah, machines whether they look like us or the toaster on my kitchen counter, they are still just machines… toasters. Frakking unbelievable."
"I like that, 'toasters.' Finally, someone who gets it," Jack murmured. "Captain, do you think you have any toasters among you?"
"Hard to say, sir. They have blood, skin tissue that regenerates, hair, the works. Not all of them are like that, only a few. There are several models which they repeat over and over. Each one has a specific type of programming that simulates human behavior of different temperaments. However, they each have a hidden agenda. The rest look like the machines they are."
"Do you have any samples we could examine?" McKay was snapping his fingers with an idea. "Wait a minute. We have the life signs detector. If the person doesn't register, bingo, it's a… toaster!"
"Very good, Rodney," Dr. Weir responded with a quick smile. She noticed Sheppard jerk his head slightly to indicate the visitors should go. "General, I think we should talk about this in more detail. The Captain would find that discussion very dull."
"Captain," Sheppard began, "would you mind excusing us? We have some things to deliberate. Ronon will give you a tour of some of the facility you might enjoy." Ronon got up taking his cue and gestured for Starbuck to go with him. She didn't like it, but she had no choice.
After they had gone, Weir looked at Sheppard knowing something important was brewing. "What is it, John. What are you worried about?"
"Well, let's examine this legend. There was a planet, where all humans started. From there they founded societies on 13 planets they call colonies. Twelve stayed in touch for thousands of years. That's the key, thousands of years. If they come from another galaxy and they did send a colony to Earth thousands of years ago, who do we know with a similar story?"
Every head swiveled looking at every other head. The lights were on and everyone was home. It took a few moments to digest.
"If what you're suggesting is true," Mitchell replied, "we have no choice but to accept them. And we have to keep them here. They can never go to Earth."
"What?" General O'Neill wasn't sure they were all thinking the same thing.
"I could check her blood test again. I wasn't looking for it, but we always sample for it. Let me call my assistant," Dr. Beckett turned to make the call from his headset.
"What?" General O'Neill looked at Weir.
"They would create chaos back home if they were let loose." She swallowed and addressed O'Neill. "I hate to say this but Colonel Mitchell is right. They have to come. And they have to stay right here and no place else."
"What?" Jack was really getting pissed.
"Then we have to decide how to look after them. I've gotten the city back up and running after the last zed p.m. died, but this will tax our resources," McKay concluded. "It's a good thing we got one from the Ancients we rescued. From what Mitchell and Colonel Caldwell described, these folks aren't packing another zed p.m. They are too primitive. With all those extra people, we'll need more naquadah generators, super sized ones, to supplement the power supply for ordinary systems. The zed p.m. we have has to run the shields, the cloak, and power the Gate"
"Why would they have zed, um Z.P.M.'s? O'Neill cocked his head waiting for the other shoe to fall.
"General, don't you see what this means?"
"Pretend I don't."
"They are the Ancients, but they don't know it."
"She's got it!" Dr. Beckett exclaimed. "Of course I didn't think coming from another galaxy it was an issue, but she has the gene! I'll bet if we test her DNA against the Ancient's DNA database, we'll find many more."
"Can you do those tests on the blood sample we already have?" Dr. Weir was excited.
"I already ordered the analysis. It will take a couple of hours, but I feel confident if she has the gene then at least we are related."
"Wait a minute," Sheppard interrupted. "Maybe the Ancients went to more galaxies than just the Milky Way after they left here. Maybe the Colonials are like us, where the Ancients just mixed in with them. So the stories are similar. However, the Ancient genes are as diluted among them?"
"Or maybe they are real aliens and the Ancients mixed in with them as they did with you," Teyla weighed in. "Elizabeth, if these are the Ancestors, we would want them to be here with us."
"Beckett," the Doctor spoke into his headset. "Ok, I'll let them know." Beckett looked grave and said, "We already have confirmed thirty-five matches with her DNA. That's more than even you have, General. It's not conclusive, but it's a start."
"Why, how many does he have," Rodney petulantly inquired?
"None of your business, Rodney," answered Beckett.
"I have 32 matches, Dr. McKay," sighed General O'Neill.
"Um, actually, we re-ran your tests for a guideline when we found this part of the database, General," Beckett began hesitantly. "You have 34 and it could be more. We haven't learned how to do a really good cross check, yet."
"So, 34," Jack preened ever so slightly.
Hermiod walked into the room and took his place. The little Asgaard regarded O'Neill solemnly. "I have been monitoring this conversation."
"Of course you have," Jack intoned mildly. Here it comes, he thought.
"O'Neill has 10,183 matches. My superior Asgaard brain is able to handle this sort of database more easily. I searched it on my lunch hour one day."
"So, I'm still special." Jack had the slightest smirk. Over ten thousand matches, wow thought Jack. "Hermiod, could you give them a hand with the analysis?"
"I already did."
"What was I thinking? Go on, what did you find?"
"This human female has 12,232 matches. The Asgaard would be interested in meeting these people. They may hold a clue to the solution of our cloning problems. I spoke to Thor who took it up with the High Council. I am to give you their recommendation. They voted unanimously to invite these refugees to Atlantis"
"That didn't take long. I assume they are willing to help out," Jack knew he had a political problem. "Ok I've heard enough. We have to tell the Pentagon. Someone has to order from Costco." Hermiod stared back at Jack. "Supplies, we'll need groceries."
"The Asgaard will facilitate the transport of supplies, O'Neill. We shall assist with the re-settlement of these people and help you determine their true nature. Should they be too aggressive, the High Council is willing to guarantee your safety here."
"Then I had better tell Landry why everything in the commissary just disappeared." Jack got up so did everyone else. "Dial the SGC, I've got a phone call to make."
"Um, while you're at it?" McKay interrupted. "Um, General, could you have them send us the Ascendometer?"
"Why do you want that, McKay?" Sheppard was confused.
"Isn't it obvious? Why do you always leave all the thinking to me," he puffed? "Oh right, because I'm the genius. Obviously, if they are close to being the Ancients, shouldn't we know how far along they are? I mean how close to Ascension they are? We have to prepare for weird things happening."
Jack turned to face Hermiod, cocking his head. "If, Thor's still scooping up the contents of the SGC, give him a jingle and tell him to bring the Ascendometer."
"What is the Ascendometer, please," asked Teyla?
"A device we found in a laboratory," McKay replied. "It measures a person's physical progression towards achieving ascension. You need over 80 percent to do it without all the meditation and mumbo jumbo. The closer someone gets to the 80 percent, the more they acquire unusual abilities."
"Oh goody, folks going all glowy and scaring the dog." Jack mumbled as he loped off to call the SGC.
"Ronon," Dr. Weir called over her headset. "Bring her back to the control room. Thank you." Weir turned to Hermiod and asked, "Would you have any way to help us find the Colonial Fleet once Colonel Mitchell returns to them? I'm not sure we know how to tell them to get here."
"In fact, Dr. Weir, after Thor delivers the supplies, he would be able to tow them here. It would be more efficient."
"Tow them here," Weir looked as surprised as she ever got. "Well, thank you. And please thank the High Council for us."
"There is no need. We are doing this for ourselves as much as for you."
"Then, I think we should introduce you to Captain Starbuck."
"Her name is in fact Captain Thrace, Dr. Weir. Humans are particular about using the correct title with the correct name are they not?"
"Thank you, Hermiod, yes we are. Then we should introduce you to her."
"No, Dr. Weir. I believe she would have an adverse reaction at this point. Have her go back to her people. Thor will figure out how to find them without frightening them. He will determine the composition of their fleet. When you meet with the next delegation say one of your mother ships will tow them, and leave it without further explanation."
"Alright, then, that's the plan." Dr. Weir alerted Jack on his headset and called Mitchell back in to explain matters. With some trepidation, Starbuck entered the room for the verdict.
"Captain, we have decided to offer the Admiral the opportunity to come and discuss his concerns with us or send his representatives. If all goes well, then perhaps we can exchange visits. If you leave now, we can receive your delegation today. Please let him know that we wish all of you well and look forward to a subsequent meeting."
As she said it a flash of light all over the base brought down boxes of supplies.
"Jumping frak! Where, how?"
"Just a few supplies, don't worry about it. Please tell the Admiral we want you to bring his delegation back to the coordinates where you met Colonel Mitchell and Colonel Sheppard. From there, we shall transport his party as we did you."
At that moment, O'Neill walked in very satisfied. "I see Thor arrived with the stuff from Earth. He also brought the refrigeration equipment this time. So have some of your technicians find them all and plug them in before the stuff melts."
"Yes, General," Weir activated her head set and sent the techs off searching for the equipment. "The O'Neill II is so much faster than their previous ships. I just didn't think it was this fast."
"Yes, it is," Jack preened.
"Ready to go back, Captain?"
"One question sir," Starbuck answered. "How, I mean where did all this stuff come from? It just appeared a moment ago."
"One of our intergalactic ships just arrived from Earth with more supplies, that's all," Jack turned to go. "If we all agree to tow the Fleet here, we'll need it."
"Tow the Fleet, sir?"
"It's more efficient that way," Jack moved to leave.
"It would take only a few moments rather than wasting the time trying to program your systems," McKay added.
"One of your intergalactic… ships?" Starbuck became alarmed. How advanced were these people? They could send to another galaxy for boatloads of supplies. Then, a few moments later have them materialize out of thin air? They had enormous ships that could tow a fleet across hundreds of light years? Who were these people? They could be capable of anything. Starbuck wasn't sure any more that the Fleet should come.
"Well, it might have to make two trips." Weir glanced up to see Hermiod shaking his head no and holding up one finger. "But it probably will only take one."
"One of your ships can tow the entire Fleet across hundreds of light years in moments?" She was incredulous. "Now wait a moment." Starbuck was truly shocked. "You want me to believe that all these boxes just came from another Galaxy, boxes that showed up out of thin air?"
"We needed the extra supplies. Forty thousand people are a lot of mouths to feed."
"We only discussed the matter a short time ago. So in that short time, you had a ship go back and forth between galaxies?"
"Actually, we called it to come," Weir said nonchalantly. Jack shrugged. Starbuck stared back at them in a quandary.
"You folks are scary."
Starbuck backed away. She looked at them shaking her head. Dr. Weir remained silent letting Starbuck work it out. After Starbuck thought some more she recapitulated the situation.
"I get in a ship which flies quickly through a ring in space. Instantly, it ends up stopped inside an office building. You have a floating city that has elevators that flip your molecules from one end of the city to the other. You have ships that can hide themselves in plain view. Now you are telling me you have an even bigger ship than the one I saw blow up two huge Wraith ships. It's so huge it can make a trip between galaxies in a few moments just to deliver some food. I saw this stuff appear out of nowhere. Now you want your new 'big' ship to tow the entire fleet?"
"Very good, Captain," Weir replied mildly. She could see how disturbed the woman was. "You understand everything."
"You left out the part that this city is a flying space ship," Mitchell deadpanned.
"Now aren't you glad you took the pony ride here?"
O'Neill chuckled, "Hank said that Thor emptied out Petersen Air Force Base and Ft. Carson too. Then he made a pass by Area 51 and relieved them of their supplies. "Gotta love that guy." He chuckled some more.
"Wait, you just finished talking to a guy named Hank, who is on Earth?"
"Yes. He says welcome and looks forward to meeting you very soon." Jack stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels very satisfied.
"Earth in another galaxy? You spoke to Earth in another galaxy just now? I don't believe you. This is all an elaborate trick. You've drugged me and I am hallucinating all this. Just get away from me." Starbuck threw up her hands and backed away. "Wake up, wake up, c'mon wake up."
"I want to talk to her," Jack stated softly. Everyone understood they should leave. Once they were gone he faced her. He let her scrutinize him, not rushing things. Starbuck began to have that fight or flight response. Jack saw it coming on. In quiet but firm tones he said, "Captain, get control of yourself now. Now, Captain." Starbuck didn't move. "Captain, you are an officer. Behave like one."
"You aren't real. I am hallucinating."
"Oh for crying out loud," Jack paused. Once more, firmly, he said in his command voice, "That's enough." Many silent moments passed. Starbuck pinched herself. It hurt.
"I'm not sure I want to recommend coming. You could do anything, while we couldn't stop you."
"At least that statement is professional." Jack waited. Starbuck began to think not react. Jack waited a moment longer. "Captain, your people are in trouble. We have offered them a lifeline. Take it."
"None of that matters," O'Neill interrupted with authority. "Focus on the situation, Captain. Survival, what do you need? What do you have? Is it enough?"
Starbuck began to think it through.
"I doubt you are senior enough to make that decision. Let me speak to Admiral Adama's representative. We'll proceed from there."
Starbuck's eyes shot up in alarm. Patiently, Jack cocked his head. Starbuck licked her lips thinking what to do.
Jack knew he had reached her. "Go home. I have a base to run."
Starbuck got mad. Jack noted the change with satisfaction. "Just like that?"
"I'll make this clear, Captain. Dismissed." Jack turned around and left the room to find Weir and Mitchell in the Control Room.
Starbuck blinked. No one had ever spoken to her that frankly besides Colonel Tigh. The man was right. She should report and let another more senior officer come. Making that decision for the last of her people was above her pay grade.
"Take her home," Jack ordered Mitchell. "Tell them I am willing to receive the Admiral's senior staff only if they have the authority to make decisions." To Weir he simply said, "She's rattled, time for her to go. Anyway, I have to talk to Thor." With that, Jack activated his Asgaard stone and beamed away.
Thor's Ship The O'Neill II
On board the O'Neill II, Jack materialized in a room with many boxes.
"Whatcha doing here?"
"I hitched a ride with Thor. He said I would want to come."
"He's right." Jack looked at what Daniel was eating. "Got some more of that?" Daniel handed him some ice cream. "Sweet."
"I was eating in the commissary as all the food was disappearing and people were screaming in terror because all the food was disappearing. You know he finally figured out refrigeration. This time he took freezers and refrigerators. So someone might want to find them and plug them back in." Daniel reached for a beer. "Still cold I see."
"Elizabeth," Jack spoke into his headset. "Daniel is here. Please have the quartermaster send clothes to his quarters and other necessary supplies." He grinned. "The freezers are a nice touch. Thor's getting better at this."
"What's going on?"
"We've made some new friends."
"Oh really, that's nice, right?"
"Maybe, we need to look into the matter of taking on 40,000 refugees that may or may not be the last of the Ancients. Only they don't know about the Ancients. And they don't know they are descendents."
"So you want me to talk to them without giving that information away," Daniel scooped up some more ice cream. "What else?"
"They've still got three of my pilots. Mitchell's squadron paid them an accidental visit after a battle with the Wraith. Seems these folks are from another galaxy. We saved their asses and they ran for it. Now they want to know if we might consider taking them in."
"Thor was right."
"Coming, I do want to be here. So Jack, what exactly do you want me to determine?"
"Ancients, that's your department. I want you to figure out if we want to let them come here. Hermiod says the Asgaard High Council recommends we rescue them."
"Oh they do," Daniel shook his head. "So that's why Thor just appropriated all these supplies."
"That's not all. If we can get the "Colonials" to agree to come, Thor wants to tow them here en masse."
"Right. What else?"
"One of their more senior representatives will arrive shortly. Meet with him but don't tell them about the Asgaard. Just say one of our mother ships will tow them and leave it at that. We've spooked their representative enough. I want you to go as our representative to them. Find out if they are telling the truth. They claim to be protecting a civilian fleet of refugees."
"Ok, then what? Where are you going to be?"
"I'll be with Thor. Once you arrive at their fleet, we'll receive your implant's signal and come cloaked. Thor already tagged the two that are here. He'll tag the next bunch as well."
"I know the drill. I hope Landry knows where I went."
"I'll tell Weir to call and tell him you'll be out late. You've got a hot date." Jack half-smirked, tapping his watch. "Don't stay out past midnight on a school night."
He activated his Asgaard comm unit, sending Daniel down to Atlantis. Standing up, Jack snatched the ice cream and a spoon to eat on the way to see Thor. Entering the bridge, Jack looked for a trash can. Finding none, he gently set the empty ice cream container on a console near the door.
"What do you think, Buddy?" Jack walked across the bridge of the O'Neill II. The Asgaard had made a breakthrough in ship design. Among other things it was much faster, able to travel between galaxies in hours. To honor Thor's friend and the Asgaard's savior, they named the new ship for Jack, replacing the one Carter blew up.
"Think they'll bite?"
"On what should they bite, O'Neill?" Thor sighed. "Oh, one of your expressions, I understand. How was the pizza?"
"Oh that was great, thanks. We all enjoyed it." Jack looked down thoughtfully and then faced Thor. "Do you really think they have the cloning solution?"
"There is no way to tell without studying them. But even if we find a hint, it will be worth it."
"You wouldn't be thinking of going to their galaxy, would you?"
"Ah, right, so you want to find out from whence they got driven out so you can what?"
"Find something they may have overlooked. Ever since we examined organic Wraith technology, we have been studying applications. We find it intriguing that machines can manipulate flesh and blood. It is remarkable the tissue survives without being on a living organism. Even the Human Form Replicators cannot do that."
"Yes, well you nearly got yourselves wiped out the last time you got curious with Replicators. Word to the wise and all, I'm just saying."
"We may not find what we seek, O'Neill. Increasingly, it is more and more difficult to clone our bodies. We may need an interim solution."
"You can't be serious?" Jack swung around appalled. "Don't even go there."
"We may have no choice, I'm afraid."
"Thor, it would be the worst mistake you folks ever made. You guys have made some whoppers too." Jack thought for a moment. "Maybe we can come up with another great dumb idea instead? Let us try? At least hold off long enough to let us try before you stuff yourselves in some robot bodies."
"You may try, O'Neill. You must hurry. We have very few years left."
Two days later, after meeting with several of Galactica's representatives in Atlantis, Daniel eyed Cam as they marched through the corridors of the Galactica. Daniel's expression said it all. This place was grim and grimmer. At least this time, they skipped the interrogation and went directly to the Admiral's briefing room. Adama was already there with his staff. They knew another Earth representative had arrived. The greetings and introductions exchanged, everyone sat down to talk.
Adama began with the obvious question. How could Starbuck's fantastic claims be true? He didn't ask the next most obvious question. Did he want to get in bed with them? Kara had made some wild claims based on what she said she saw. His senior delegate and the guards supported those claims. Were they tricked? The recording devices did not seem to be compromised. The images and the discussions were bizarre. The whole proposal was too good to be true. If it's too good to be true, it's not true, thought Adama. What's the catch?
Daniel assured them that Starbuck spoke the truth.
"What is your purpose here today, Dr. Jackson?"
"I am here to have a look at your situation and to answer questions. Naturally, we want to verify that you are indeed escorting civilians and that you don't have a war fleet coming at us."
"Naturally. On the other hand, if I verify what we do and don't have, you might try to conquer us."
"Well, that's something I hope this meeting can resolve. I am authorized based on my inspection to issue you an invitation to come to Atlantis for additional meetings. See for yourself if what Captain Thrace and the others say is true. Talk to us. If you are who you say you are, then you are welcome."
"Thank you for the sentiments. I'll take the invitation under advisement for the rest of this meeting. You said you were here to answer questions. Very well," Adama went through his list verifying some of the more fantastic claims. He shook his head. Actually, his curiosity was aroused. The ambassador sent by the Earth people was nothing like what he expected. It was difficult to assess this man. Clearly he had a military demeanor at times. He also was a geek that claimed to be an intergalactic explorer, who had fought many battles. This Dr. Jackson was as brilliant a mind as Adama had ever encountered. What a study in contradictions!
"So that still leaves the question how you came to be so advanced."
"Admiral, we are a curious people. It is our nature to want to explore. We have been exploring to find new ideas, new science, and new technologies for some time. We have met some very nice people and some very bad people. Either way, we learned and adapted."
"I appreciate the way you answered that question. Colonel Mitchell said that you are here to explore. But we have seen that you can fight most effectively. No one comes just to explore without expecting to gain something tangible. With that kind of fire power, what do you hope to gain? Are you building an empire?
"No, I wouldn't call it an empire. We have made alliances with many peoples. As a result, we have begun to build a network, but that's all it is."
"What do you do with the worlds that are primitive by comparison?"
"We respect their sovereignty and offer to teach them useful things if they wish. We teach better farming methods, better education, and sanitation. Most importantly, we help with medicines. From them we learn about their cultures and seek to build a future relationship for the time when they are ready to stand as equals in science and learning."
"Very well said, but I would expect to hear nothing different." Adama checked his notes. "You say you are an archaeologist?" Daniel nodded. "How did you come to be selected as the ambassador to us?"
"I have known General O'Neill for many years. He was the commanding officer on our exploration team. Jack and I have a firm friendship based on trust and respect. It also helps that I read and write in many languages."
"Yes, we never did get the answer to why Colonel Mitchell said we only think you speak to us in our language. Explain."
"The truth is we don't know exactly. Something changes in a person once he passes through a Stargate. Afterwards, he understands most spoken languages, but not all. I am actually speaking to you in my own language but you hear me in yours. It is a great mystery. However, I can not necessarily read or write your language until I learn it the old-fashioned way, by study and hard work."
Adama chuckled. "So now Kara and the entire delegation have this facility too?"
"As far as I know, yes they do." Daniel reached into his pocket and placed a small disk on the table. The sentries made a motion towards their weapons. Adama gave a questioning look. "This is a greeting recorded by our civilian leader of Atlantis. Her name is Dr. Elizabeth Weir. She too has brokered many treaties and handles all civilian matters in the city and between Atlantis and foreign ambassadors. May I play her message?" He got the assent and activated the hologram recording.
Everyone in the room gasped as Elizabeth came to life in 3 D. She looked as real as if she were standing there next to Daniel. Even Adama had to wave his hand through her. When the speech concluded, she disappeared. Immediately sound and a bright flash of light revealed Jack O'Neill, who appeared in his dress blues with a chest full of medals. He looked around and greeted Daniel.
"You have an interactive feature to this?" Apollo was amazed.
"Depends what you mean by interactive," O'Neill replied. Everyone sucked in their breath. "Daniel, make the introductions. "Which one is Admiral William Adama?"
"I am. Who are you?"
"I'm Major General Jack O'Neill, the commander of Atlantis Base. I hope my good friend Daniel, here, has answered your questions satisfactorily. I wanted to add my personal greetings and say, 'howdy'," Jack gave a short hand wave.
"Hello," Adama said back. "I am really speaking to you, now?"
"Yes, sir, you certainly are. I'd like to invite you to Atlantis, Admiral. So just say the word and we can get this shindig started." Jack looked around at the stunned faces. No one knew what to say. Adama was non-plussed. "No, really… say the word." Jack checked his watch. Jack addressed Adama, "As much as I love small talk, it would be more productive to show you directly."
"Jack I haven't checked out the other ships yet."
"It's not necessary, Daniel. I already did it. They are civilians, especially on the Silver Cloud. Wow, they have some action going over there. You folks know how to have a good time."
"They are having a party?"
"Big party. Big." Jack saw Adama getting upset to discover they had been spying on the Fleet. In a more serious tone, Jack added, "Look, Admiral I respect your caution. I would do the same. But really, we are on the clock here. Sensors say that several Wraith Hive ships are in your area. We need to go."
"Jack?" Daniel waved his hand which collided with O'Neill's chest. "I hate it when you do that."
"Yes, I know," Jack smirked. "It's an upgrade so the holoimages work with the transporter." The guards raised their weapons. "Admiral, I wanted to drop by personally to introduce myself and to extend the invitation. But we all have to leave this area quickly."
The woman next to Daniel reached out, touched O'Neill, and yelped.
Jack moved to face Adama. "What do you say, Bill? I can call you Bill can't I?"
Jack stuck out his hand. A pregnant pause ensued as Adama tried to decide whether to accept the hand or shoot the intruder. This O'Neill had guts to show up like this. It was proof these people were extremely advanced, not only to appear out of thin air, but also to have found the Fleet.
"I have not given you permission to come aboard my ship, General O'Neill." Adama was pissed that these people were demonstrating their power in this arrogant manner.
"Permission to come aboard, sir?" Jack snapped to attention and gave him a perfect salute.
"Permission granted." Adama made the same gesture. "I don't see how we have any choice. I can't stop you from doing whatever you want, so let's see how it goes."
"Exxxxcellent. We should arrive at Atlantis in," Jack checked his watch and counted down with his fingers, "in five, four, three, two," Jack looked perplexed as nothing happened. He tapped his watch to check it was working. Then suddenly the meeting was standing on the Atlantis Observation Deck. "Ack, I thought I had that timed."
"What? Where are we? What did you do, kidnap us?" Adama was much shorter than O'Neill but he was pugnacious. Angry having been treated lightly, he went up to O'Neill and glared at him.
"You said the word, Bill. I distinctly recall you saying 'lets see it how it goes.' We went. Now we're here. Sweet, eh?"
"But I didn't, that's just an, oh hell with it." Adama eyed O'Neill with pique. Jack tried to look innocent.
"Did you bring the whole fleet?" Apollo was alarmed his ship had been left behind without him.
"Of course, we said we would bring you all, except, we got rid of six Cylons before we left."
"What did you do with them?"
"Turned them into toast," Jack looked around. "That's what you do with toasters, right?"
Adama snorted at the bravado of this man. But something about him was genuine. Jack gave a rueful smile and spoke gently to his counterpart.
"Turn around, Bill. I want you to see your new home." Reacting to O'Neill's thought activation, the doors turned on their hinges to allow the assembly passage to the outdoors. The ocean breeze blew in with the tang of clean salt air. O'Neill led the way.
Adama and his party followed, taking in the view of the city gleaming in the sunshine and floating on the ocean. The spires and buildings reached for the sky. The thought that they had reached sanctuary was almost too much for a few of them. Adama and O'Neill walked up to the railing and peered around. Adama nodded sagely.
"You're right. I had to see this for myself."
"Yes, you did."
"I really don't appreciate how you brought us here." He looked for a long while. Jack waited patiently. After collecting his thoughts, Adama extended his hand for real that time. In all seriousness, Jack accepted warmly.
"I think we have the beginnings of a beautiful friendship, Jack. I can call you Jack, right?"
"I would be honored if you would, Bill.