Chapter 2 - Politics
Note: I figured it was about time I wrote this, since it's sat on a third of the way written for several months
Now in first person present tense!
Knuckles rap on my door. I call for my visitor to enter, and he does so. A thick stack of folders heavily lands on my desk. "These are the files on 'Area 52'?" I question.
"The introductory ones, yes. There's more, if you need them. I'm Lieutenant Colonel Samuels, Senator."
"I know who you are." Does he think a senator can't keep track of his own appointments?
He motions to the folders, all marked 'Top Secret'. "The particulars are all there, but I expect you'd prefer me to give you an overview."
I nod. "Do tell. What are the Air Force secretly doing with 7.4 billion dollars a year?"
"It's called the Stargate Program. A Stargate is a large metal ring that can serve as a portal allowing instantaneous travel to other planets throughout the galaxy."
I can hardly believe my ears. Don't we have enough issues to pour money into, without inventing ways to look for more? "You can't be serious," I tell him.
"Oh no, it's definitely real. Teams are sent through regularly. The power requirements are one of the main costs."
"Who invented this device, and more importantly, who allowed it to be used?" I demand.
"We didn't build it: we found it. In an archaeological dig in Giza, Egypt."
I struggle to understand what he is trying to say. The Egyptians built it? "Could you please make yourself clear?"
"The Stargate network was created by aliens, Senator. Earth's Stargate was buried thousands of years ago after the humans of the time kicked out the alien who had enslaved them, in some sort of uprising. When we figured out how to operate the Stargate, a team was sent on a mission to determine and neutralise any threat. They encountered a civilisation of humans who had been taken from ancient Egypt, and were able to defeat Ra, the alien who had enslaved them. We believed that the Stargate could only take us to one other planet, named Abydos, but we discovered otherwise when another alien, named Apophis, came to Earth and kidnapped one of our personnel. This…"
"This is preposterous!" I exclaim. "It sounds like this device was buried for a good reason. Why can't we simply bury it again?"
"The reason given is that the purpose of the Stargate Program is to find technology and allies to benefit Earth and help in the fight against these aliens, the Goa'uld. There are many planets out there which are populated by people taken from Earth in ages past, and there is allegedly much we can learn from them."
This sounds far too risky. Why fight these things when we could simply cut them off? "Allies… it sounds more like we've made an enemy."
"You're correct, Senator. I suggest you read these reports to get a complete picture of what's out there. What we know of it, that is."
That sounds like a reasonable idea, so I pick up the top file, and read a description of this Stargate device. As I begin to understand what it could do, I can see the myriad dangers it exposed us to. A briefing on the nature of these creatures, the Goa'uld, worries me even more. A being that possesses humans and claims godhood… such a thing should not be allowed access to our planet, at any cost. Next I come to the report on the initial mission to Abydos. Jack O'Neill's mission report. Or rather, his reports, as there is the original fabricated version, followed by a later 'honest' version.
"How was this O'Neill chosen for the mission?" I ask.
"He was suicidal," Samuels answers bluntly.
I am not particularly surprised. "What was done with him when his duplicity was revealed?"
Samuels shakes his head. "He was given command of the return mission to Abydos, and is now the leader of the 'premier' off-world team, SG-1.
"What?!" I explode.
"Somehow he got on General Hammond's good side."
"I can't believe this!" I really can't. Jonathan O'Neill is the last person I want in such a position. I briefly wonder if he did this deliberately to taunt me. He can't have, as he hardly knows I exist.
"Believe it. There are a lot more mission reports by him, some of which I have included."
Instead of answering, I pick up the next file and begin to read of the latest problems my nephew has caused. My despair only grows.
A few days later...
The elevator descends into the pit, taking me ever closer to the ungodly device, and to the murderer. I silently wonder how people could so willingly – so lightly – open the door for God-only-knows-what to get onto this planet, and then expect more money from the taxpayers to keep doing it. I know I must put a stop to it, and I know that the ones involved will not be pleased to lose their jobs or their toys. Perhaps I will be able to convince them of the folly of their actions, and they will stop willingly. One can only hope.
I do my best. I try to show that they have overestimated the threat in order to create a sense of urgent need. They don't see it, choosing to believe that a few misguided souls hopping from planet to planet are more effective that the entire military force of the United States. They can't even understand that they only stir up more trouble by continuing. Isn't it obvious that we should stop taking chances before it is too late? Apparently not. SG-1 may know plenty about stars, physics, languages, cultures, and battle, but none of them seem to have any common sense.
Doctor Jackson, while a scholar and intelligent man, seems to be set on fighting these Goa'uld, out of revenge for his alien wife, or a futile attempt to rescue her. Captain Carter is a capable officer, but has become too caught up in proving that capability to consider the wisdom of proceeding. The alien – Teal'c – claims to be loyal, but that means nothing to me. Even now, he carries one of those evil parasites which claim godhood. If I had my way, the abomination would be destroyed immediately.
As for my nephew, the murderer, I can't believe that he's even allowed in the facility! Not only did he lie to his superiors about the very first mission to another world – lies which severely impacted our security – but he was only chosen because he was suicidal. Allowing him to lead the 'premier team' is madness! Has no one thought to count the number of people who have died around him? And I don't mean hostiles. I was not surprised to hear that his son had shot himself with his own gun: Jonathan was trouble from birth.
And now Jackson is claiming to have a warning about an imminent attack. An attack which occurred in an 'alternate reality'. Pah! He might as well say he had a dream for all I care. Not only is he grasping at straws, he's trying to make straws from thin air! And the others are supporting him. I've never heard such desperate, nonsensical eleventh-hour pleading before, and I tell them so. Not only do they deny that God can preserve us, they call me a fool to my face!
I have had enough of this. Before this meeting, I had hoped to convince these people to shut down gracefully. Now that I have seen the fools running the show – especially that general who allows such misguided thinking and insubordination – I have changed my mind. These people should be disgraced. If I had my way, the lot of them would be tied to their infernal Stargate before I drop it into the ocean. Like a giant millstone, which is only fitting for any who would try to lead this innocent planet astray.
News of the shutdown of the SGC slowly reaches my office. It is all good. Then I hear that SG-1 went through the Stargate. This just goes to show how pitiful security is at the SGC. If four people – one a civilian – can access the Stargate without authorisation, what chance do we have keeping out hostile aliens? I am relieved that it will be buried very soon.
As for SG-1, they've made their bed, and will be lying in it for the rest of their presumably short lives. There's no chance that they will ever see Earth again, which makes me feel even safer. Once the Stargate is laid to rest – this time more permanently than the Ancient Egyptians managed – I will be able to breath much easier. The 7.4 billion savings won't hurt either.
The next day, the news changes for the worse. Two objects enter the solar system, and are identified as Goa'uld motherships. It seems that I stopped the SGC too late, and now we have a fight on our hands. To ensure that the people in that cursed mountain are kept in line, I send Lieutenant Colonel Samuels to 'co-ordinate' between the SGC and the Pentagon. Hopefully, he can keep Hammond from doing anything stupid.
Some news is for the better. Apparently a man named Colonel Maybourne has worked with Samuels to oversee development of a suitable weapon for destroying the alien vessels. It seems that we already had what we needed, nullifying any arguments in favour of keeping the Stargate open. I am glad that someone knows what they are doing, and will have to meet this Maybourne when this is over.
I next hear that the ships have moved into orbit, and the missiles have been launched. I wait in anticipation of the invaders' destruction.
The following news is not good. The weapons were neutralised by an unanticipated energy shield. I am worried, but I have hope. We have an entire planet, while they are only two ships. They are close enough now that I go outside, wondering when they will become visible.
It does not take long, but I do not see what I feared, but what I hoped: a massive fireball. I am relieved – the threat is over. It seems that the missiles did some damage after all. I watch as the glow fades and return indoors.
Back in my office, I hear that Doctor Jackson has returned to the SGC, bearing news that SG-1 were on the ships. How he escaped, I do not understand, nor do I care. It is worrying that SG-1 could have been responsible for the destruction of the invaders. Now they will be seen as fallen heroes, and no one will learn anything from this lesson. Three dead out of four isn't bad, and the survivor is the most harmless, being a human civilian with no authority.
My mood darkens significantly when I hear that the remainder of SG-1 was rescued by the space shuttle, and are expected to continue their previous postings at the SGC. The fools are rushing back into the breach, and all my efforts to protect Earth have been undone, and the seven billion is suddenly allocated. Something has to be done. I'll have to try another tactic. If the Stargate cannot be buried, if we cannot shut Pandora's box, then we must at least put the right people in control. Someone who knows what he is doing. Someone with common sense. Someone who actually deserves such power.
Someone like me.
This will take time.