Chapter 02 – Cadia
Stargate Embarkation Room
If SG1 had to describe how it felt to travel through the Stargate for the first time in one word it would be weird. Upon exiting the Stargate Captain Shepard's first thought was 'Wow it's dark'. Indeed the room they were in was close to pitch black as it could get. The pale blue light of the stargate being the only source of illumination. It was enough however for him to see where they were.
Wondering if his team had made it through safely he looked behind him and was relieved to find other three members of his unit standing beside him. Smiling he turned his attention to the room the stargate was in. There was no light in the room save for that which came from the gate. This was made worse by the fact that the walls were coloured black. Looking down he noted two parallel white lines leading to the far wall. Now looking up he noticed there was some kind of triangular windows. Obviously some kind of command centre.
"Sir the pedestal isn't here" came the voice of Corporal Bower. Looking around he quickly confirmed it was true. Damn it he thought. Before he could think about it any further a voice came over the radio. "This is command to SG1 are you receiving me" came the voice.
"This is SG1. We have arrived safely. Repeat we have arrived safely. Pedestal device is absent. Repeat pedestal device is absent. We have a good idea of where it might be though." he replied.
The reply came moments later "Understood. Is there anything you need".
"Yes, sir. Would it be possible for you to send through some of those new portable flashlights? It's really dark in here and the only light is that which is coming from the gate".
"Understood. Flash-lights will be through in a few minutes. Although I would advise caution. They are heavy. You will be down a man. We will keep the stargate on as long as possible. We will redial when it shuts off".
"Understood" and a few minutes later a small crate was sent through and upon opening it revealed the flashlight itself. "Thompson you will carry the flashlight" he ordered. It made sense Thompson was the least experienced off the group after all.
"Yes sir" he replied slinging his rifle over his shoulder and picking it up. He then proceeded to wind the crank the handle after a few moments the flashlight turned on. With the extra light, Shepard was able to see a closed door at the end of the room. Quickly searching the room and finding no other doors the team moved out. On the way, they noticed that off to the right was a recessed area. Somewhat curious they went over and noted the yellow markings surrounding it. "Must be some kind of elevator" Lieutenant Anderson muttered before saying "Notice something".
The comment drew the attention of Captain Shepard "Notice what Lieutenant" somewhat curious about what he found.
"Since we got here I noticed something hasn't really smelt right. I only just realised why. There is no airflow here sir" he replied looking concerned.
Shepard smelt the air before saying "Damn it. Alright, people lets move. I don't care how much air is in this room. I don't want my tombstone to read 'Here lies Captain Alan Shepard. Died from suffocation'. Let's move".
The group reached the door soon after that. Finding a keypad with the button pulsing Captain Shepard ordered "Alright everybody stand-back" before pressing the button. A light began to shine out the top before proceeding to move over him from top to bottom. Eventually, the light stopped before the keypad turned green and the door opened. Seeing the corridor itself Shepard couldn't help but whistle. Whoever had built this place had done so with attacks coming from the gate in mind. Natural choke points had been built into the facility itself making attacking this place at the very least extremely costly.
Walking through the corridors though it soon became clear that no one corridor lead directly to the control room itself. This only supported the idea that the base had been built with the sole purpose of the Stargate in mind. With the base seeming to be a virtual maze it was half an hour until they finally reached a set of stairs leading to the upper level. Ascending the stairs they turned right and proceed back in the direction of the control room. Passing by more defensive emplacements they arrived at the locked control room.
Just like before when Shepard pressed the button on the keypad he seemed to be scanned before the keypad flashed green and the room opened. Walking inside he found that it was in fact split into two sections. The first section contained a circular table in the middle with a series of consoles recessed into the far wall. A door separated the two sections. The second section was slightly different with two pits containing multiple consoles. A walkway on either side separated the two pits and the pedestal sat on the right in its own dedicated space. Looking closer at it he noted that the pedestal had been modified as wires connected it to one of the consoles.
Walking on the middle walkway towards the window, he got a good look at the embarkation room and the active gate. Pressing the transmit button on his radio he said: "This is Captain Shepard to Command to do you read me.".
"This is command we read you go ahead".
"We have located the control room and the pedestal device. The base is shut down and life support is not active at this time. Repeat life support not active at this time. We are attempting to activate it.".
"Understood. Good luck command out." before the radio shut off.
Turning to his second in command, he asked: "How would you turn the life support on Anderson".
Anderson put his raised his arm and cupped his chin appearing to think about it. Finally, he answered "If I were them, sir, I would have it linked to the power supply or at least a backup power supply. For redundancies sake. But, I wouldn't have a clue where the power supply room could be".
As if on his say so the table at the back began to emit blue light before displaying a hologram like what he had seen from Goa'uld technology. What was surprising was that it was displaying a route to the power room. "That's convenient" he muttered.
Thinking about it, for a moment Shepard muttered "To Convenient" before saying "Who was that show yourself. We are peaceful explorers and mean you no harm". For a moment nothing happened before the hologram vanished. Replaced by a face reassembling an Asian female. A good looking one at that. 
"Well, I guess you are more intelligent than I thought. My apologies for trying to deceive you. My name is Caretaker and I am the AI in charge of this facility". She says smiling.
The team is stunned for a moment before Shepard responded. "It's alright. Just don't do it again. Let me introduce my team. I am Captain Alan Shepard commander of SG1, this is Lieutenant Anderson, Corporal Bower and Corporal Thompson. I take it you were the one who opened the doors for us?" he asked.
"Yes I was and it is a pleasure to meet you" she replied.
"Where is everybody?" he asked. It was odd that given the nature of this facility they should have been captured the moment they stepped out the gate.
"Unfortunately this facility has remained uninhabited for an extremely long time. My directives would have ordinarily been to neutralise you and wait for a response team. But considering the amount of time that has past since my last activation. I decided a different response was required".
"Well, I thank you for not following that directive. Out of curiosity how long has this place been uninhabited".
"Last time anybody entered this facility was 15,000 cycles ago" she replied the sadness clear on both her face and in her tone of voice.
The team looked at each other at that before Anderson asked: "How long is a cycle?".
She answered almost immediately "389 planetary rotations".
"and how long is a single planetary rotation".
"27 hours" she responded looking at them with a blank expression.
At that Anderson cupped his hand to his chin and seemed to think for a moment before his eyes widened. "You mean to say that nobody has entered this facility for the past 15,000 years. Didn't anybody come back here" he asked incredulously. The idea that anybody would leave a place like this uninhabited for that long was simply impossible. Even if whoever built this place had forgotten about it. They had more than enough time to just stumble across it.
She was obviously sad but suddenly her expression shifted to one of confusion. "Records show a power spike coming from the gate roughly five thousand years ago. In fact, sensors confirm that that Stargate did activate and somebody came through. How did I miss it? Sorry I was distracted there for a moment. But in response to your question. All human life-signs on this planet ceased 50 cycles after this facility was abandoned. As it is you are currently the only human life-signs registering on Cadia or Rendili" she informed them.
"Cadia's Moon" she responded.
The team looked at each other for a moment before Shepard asked. "I'm sorry you were left alone for so long".
"Thank you" she responded with a small smile.
Shepard thought for a moment. This was a golden opportunity. The planet was uninhabited and obviously, the civilisation that built this place was obviously technologically advanced. If they could make some kind of deal…
"So what do you want to do," he asked.
She looked confused for a moment before saying "What do you mean?".
Shepard took a breath "Well, do you want us to leave?" he asked.
She thought for a bit before answering "No, it's been a long time since I had contact with anybody".
"Well, I have a suggestion. What if we used this facility?" he asked.
She looked surprised and seemed to consider his question. "What do you mean by that?"
"Well, the way I see it is this. Your people, unfortunately, are gone and given the amount of time that has past it is unlikely they will return. What I propose is this. The British Empire would like to explore the planet and likely in the colonise it. With your permission of course. That way not only are you no longer alone but we can see to it that your people are never forgotten. But, if you want us to leave and not come back then we will abide by your wishes." he replied giving her a small smile.
Again she looked surprised at the suggestion. As did the rest of his team. They had all been given orders to make contact with alien cultures and acquire alien technology. But what Shepard was proposing was on a whole different level. Taking control of an entire planet would certainly grant him a knighthood if it succeeded. It had to take a lot of guts to suggest this. However, the more they thought about it started to make sense. Clearly, if they tried to assault and take this place then the casualties would be immense. They didn't even know what kind of defences it had since Caretaker had let them in after all.
If they could gain control of an entire planet with its resources and advanced technology the British Empire would have an insurmountable edge. Something that was particularly sought after given the current tensions with France was highly desirable.
The silence lasted for five minutes before a smile broke out on her face. "Well, my final orders were to maintain this facility until somebody came back. At which point they would take charge. Nowhere in those orders did it say who that would be. Regardless I doubt my creators would want their efforts to go to waste. I accept your proposal, Captain Shepard".
The team smiled at that before suddenly all light apart from the flashlight went out. Turning around they discovered the Stargate had indeed shut off. They looked at each other confused before Shepard muttered: "Why did that happen".
It was caretaker who answered him. "Based on the experiments we conducted during the limited amount of time the stargate was operational. We discovered that the gate could only be active for at most of 38 minutes. Anything more required an exponential increase in power output. Of the kind that could only be met by a capital grade starship reactor".
"Huh, well I suppose all we have to do is wait for command to redial before heading home" Shepard commented.
Caretaker looked concerned at that. "I hope you aren't planning to go through the gate. When they dial".
"Because you can only go one way when going through the gate. If you go through when they redial.." she trailed off.
"Then we will die. That's what you were going to say isn't it?" Shepard finished.
Caretaker nodded her head in confirmation. Hearing that Shepard couldn't help but sigh before leaning back against the wall. The other members of the team looked at each other before corporal bower muttered: "Well, how are we going to get home".
Caretaker turned her hologram towards him and answered. "That's easy. The computer system is directly connected to the DHD. This allows the computer to automatically calculate the coordinates of incoming connections. Once you have the main power back online. Then all that will be needed is for your home base to dial Cadia again. And you have a way back" she finished. The smugness clear on her face.
"DHD?" Shepard commented confused.
Caretaker seemed to realise that he was confused obviously he wouldn't know Cadian terms and her expression changed. To that what only could be described as a sheepish look before replying "It stands for Dial Home Device Sir".
Again the team looked at each other before Shepard said "Huh. Describes its function to a tea and is better than just saying the pedestal all the time. DHD it is".
Thompson looked like he wanted to protest but Shepard looked at him the amusement clear on his face and said condescendingly "You got a better idea, Thompson". Thompson looked around saw he was getting no support and remained quiet.
Shepard looked a little smug at that before saying "Good" and turning away. At which both Lieutenant Anderson and Corporal Bower started snickering. Which caused the captain to turn back and look at them. At which point they stopped their snickers and stood to attention. At which Shepard simply narrowed his eyes a bit before turning back to Caretaker. Who had been watching the scene in amusement?
Shepard simply shook his head and turned back to the task at hand. Turning to caretaker he asked, "What's the quickest way to the power supply room".
Immediately caretakers face vanished replaced by a hologram of the quickest route to where they needed to go. However, it was lieutenant Anderson who noticed something. "Sir we are going to have to split up. One group can provide directions while the other.."
"Goes to the power room. Alright, Anderson you and Thompson you will go to the power room and restart the generator. We will remain here. The radios have limited range and I don't want command thinking we are dead when they dial back". The two nodded their heads confirming they understand the orders. But before they could go caretaker interrupted.
"I should inform you that the door to the power room is sealed. You will have to use one of the maintenance ladders in order to access it. The power supply room is on the lowest level of this complex. As such with the elevator system offline it should take you half an hour to reach it" she said.
With that Anderson's unit left the control room and guided by Shepard over the radio it took them half an hour to get to the maintenance ladder. "We have arrived at the maintenance ladder sir" he reported.
"Good. Now the system should be easy to start-up. All you have to do is start it up and caretaker can handle the rest" Shepard replied.
"That's the thing, sir. I recognised some of the writing on the way here and while I know enough to see that it's in Aurabesh it doesn't mean I can read it. Hell, I am surprised we could even communicate with caretaker in the first place" he commented.
At that Shepard and Bower looked at each other as their eyes widened in realisation. Now that they thought about it the fact that they were able to communicate at all was surprising. Seeing that she needed to answer the unspoken question before the speculation got out of hand she replied. "Your language was similar to Cadian Basic. As such it was relatively easy to translate it".
"Huh, alright, that's that settled. Wonder why command is taking so long to dial back" Shepard commented. Anderson entered the control room and thanks to instructions Caretaker relayed through him. They were finally rewarded when a low whining sound began to reverberate throughout the base. Slowly this sound began to get loader and loader. Until finally the lights flickered, the computers lit up and the familiar flow of air began to be felt on their skin.
The base was coming back to life.
"Yes," Shepard said happily before getting on his radio and saying "Good work Anderson".
"No problem sir. Just doing my job" Anderson replied with a hint of humour before chuckling.
Suddenly the sound of the stargate turning alerted the team. Walking towards the window the Shepard saw that 3 of the 9 of the chevrons where glowing.
"Activating defences" caretaker said and soon some kind of energy field encompassed the gate. It's purple shimmering being almost beautiful in Shepard's eyes.
"What does that do?" he asked.
Caretaker looked at him before replying "The stargate requires a certain amount of room to successfully transit any object in travel. For matter, this distance is 0.3 microns from the event horizon. The shield is part of a two-layer defence system. The first is an energy shield located point 0.1 microns in front of the event horizon itself. This helps prevent any kind of energy from transiting. The second is a particle shield that prevents matter from transiting".
Shepard couldn't help but be shocked at that. The Cadian civilisation was ridiculously advanced far more than he thought. Now that he was looking at the gate in more detail he noticed that it was different than the one they had. For one thing, the chevrons were coloured purple instead of red. It was also coloured black instead of grey. Looking towards the DHD he realised that it too was different. Far from the round pedestal, they had this version was more angular similar to the consoles they had seen on the way here.
Was there more than one type of gate?
Regardless the final chevron on the Stargate finally locked and the characteristic wave energy shot out of the gate. Only to be stopped by the shield.
"Picking up a radio signal. Patching in now" caretaker said before they heard over the speakers.
"This is command to SG1 do you read me?".
"Huh, didn't know you could do that" Shepard said to caretaker.
"Once the computer systems were up and running. It was rather easy to intercept the signal" she replied.
"Who is that" came over the speakers as Shepard realised command could hear the conversation.
"Sorry, sir didn't realise you would hear that".
"Why wouldn't we Captain you are transmitting with the radio after all".
Even though command couldn't see him Shepard couldn't help but look a little sheepish at that. Scratching the back of his had he answered: "Not exactly sir".
A now confused voice replied "What do you mean. Not exactly".
"Well, sir. There is no other way to say this but" he took a deep breath "we have made first contact".
Stargate Control Room
The British Museum
London, United Kingdom
Silence. That was all that could be heard following Captain Shepard's declaration. The disbelief was palpable. Sure they knew the ring was an alien artefact. After all, it wasn't like the ancient egyptians could build a perfectly symmetrical ring nine metres in diameter. The idea that they would make first contact on the very first mission was unprecedented. In fact, some of the people in the room scoffed. No way they could get this lucky. Benjamin looked at the admiral who nodded before responding. "Captain Shepard this is director croft. I'm sorry but we need to confirm. Did you say you have made first contact?"
"That's affirmative sir" came Shepard's firm voice over the radio.
"I take it the female voice we heard earlier was one of the people you made contact with".
"My name is Caretaker and it is a pleasure to speak to you, Director Croft. I have been discussing the situation with Captain Shepard and we have come to an agreement" came the smooth female voice. What struck Benjamin as odd was that not only it spoke English but that the voice had an aristocratic quality to it. However, the fact that Captain Shepard had evidently conducted some kind of deal made the people in the room nervous.
"It is a pleasure to meet you as well. But I have to ask. What kind of agreement did you reach with Captain Shepard?" he asked apprehensively.
"I believe that's for Captain Shepard to discuss with you. But it isn't bad I assure you" even though the voice was stoic. And while Benjamin couldn't be sure he swore that it contained a hint of amusement.
Before he could continue Captain Shepard's voice came over the radio. "Don't worry sir its nothing bad. In fact, this could very well turn out to be to the greatest deal we have ever made. But just out of curiosity. Why did it take this long for command to dial back? Command said that they would dial back immediately when the Stargate disengaged. If you don't mind answering sir".
"It's alright, Captain. As it turns out some of the control crystals were knocked loose during transit and while they remained stable enough for an initial connection. The shaking of the gate knocked them out of position. It took us this long to identify and fix the problem".
"Understood sir. We have brought main power back online and as such we can dial home. Permission to return sir".
"Granted we have a lot to talk about," he said before turning to the officer in front of the pedestal and nodding his head. With that, the radio transmission cut out and when the officer pressed the red button the Stargate did as well.
The men looked at each other for a moment unsure about what to say or do. They hadn't expected this. But there was one thing they knew for sure as the Stargate began to turn and the chevrons started to glow.
The world had changed forever.
Authors Note: Hello everyone and welcome to chapter 02. Hope you enjoy it. I have included some pictures below and will endeavour to do so whenever I can. This is only on Spacebattles and Alternate History though.
 Just picture Boomer from Battlestar Galactica.