Disclaimer: This is an AU of the movie Stargate Continuum.
I don't own Stargate as it belongs to MGM. I only own this story and any original content.
Chapter 01 – Revealing the Past
The Denmark Strait
24th September 1950
The end of the Second World War hadn't been kind to the British Empire. Indeed those who were once allies had become enemies, those that had been allies had become belligerents. Crippled by massive debt it seemed that the British Empire would be forced to take a back-seat as the new superpowers the United States and the USSR came to the stage.
Not that you could feel that aboard the Royal Navies newest battleship HMS Vanguard (23). Though the atmosphere on board was tense with the recent discovery of the Soviet Spy Ring it didn't detract from the crew's professionalism. Indeed the ship was having a rare break from its royal duties to patrol the Denmark Strait. Though Captain James Hood had to question the thinking that lead to that decision.
The completion of the Soyuz-Class had certainly come as a surprise. While construction had been postponed during the war the program hadn't been cancelled as most navies had thought. With a length 269 metres, a beam 38.9 metres and a draft of 10.4 metres. With a weight of 59,000 tones standard load and 65,000 tones fully loaded and armed with twelve sixteen-inch guns in three triple turrets. These new vessels matched the Americans Iowa-class ships in terms of firepower. At least on paper with serious doubts being about the quality of the materials that the armour was made from.
More worryingly fifteen of these ships had been ordered with eight currently in commission and another six being built to a modified design. Though intelligence services hadn't managed to obtain the exact details of the modifications. It was thought that these ships were meant to counter the American Montana-Class. Which had been ordered alongside two additional Iowa-class ships to counter the threat of the Soyuz-Class. Also, it seemed the Soviets were determined to build a large navy. With the large numbers of destroyers and cruisers being built.
In comparison, all the Royal Navy had was the new HMS Vanguard and the four surviving King George V-Class Battleships. HMS King George V, HMS Duke of York, HMS Anson and HMS Howe. Which didn't match-up to the soviet ships and indeed the government was considering scrapping the King George V-Class.
In fact, even with the war in Korea a lot of the surface fleet was being downsized. The fact that they couldn't afford to complete the Lion-Class Battleships was something that left a sour taste in the mouth of most Captains.
Indeed that was something that surprised him. While they had been allies in the Second World War recent events had made them question that decision. With the destruction of the German Spy Ring at the start of the second world war. They had been able to uncover and dismantle the Soviet Spy Ring. It was only the war and a few choice words from the Americans that prevented the tensions from boiling over into conflict.
The following lend-lease agreement had only extended that distrust to the Americans. As the destroyers, they had given them were only just seaworthy much less combat-capable. Needless to say, some of the things said by the diplomats upon receiving the news where best not put down on paper. The actions of the Americans during the postwar period only served to heighten that distrust even further. With the Americans reneging on the Atomic Agreement and keeping the knowledge to themselves.
Regardless of the reason, they had been at sea for the past six days. With the weather setting in everybody was getting the ship ready for rough weather. The seas had been exceedingly rough this year with swells above the norm. For Captain Hood sitting in the privacy of his cabin, the question was where to go next. They had detected signs of the presence of soviet subs the day before. But the SONAR contact was faint and they had quickly lost track of it.
Still, he wasn't in a hurry after all the Royal Navy had learnt its lesson about captain ships hunting submarines during the war. It was not a good idea. So he had just reported the contact to headquarters before resuming his patrol.
As he poured himself a cup of tea he couldn't help but think of where he was. It was here almost nine years ago that the Battlecruiser HMS Hood. The ship named after his grandfather Horace Hood went down sunk by they battleship Bismark. It was something that his crew was thinking of as they continued their patrol. Already several men had voiced their desire to try and find the wreck. Indeed he wanted to do just that but their orders were clear and he didn't think the admiralty would take kindly to any deviation of them.
The squeak of the comm interrupted the silence "Captain Hood please come to the CIC. Repeat Captain Hood please come to the CIC". Sighing he finished off the last of his tea straightened his uniform jacket picked up his cap and exited the cabin. As he walked down the corridor he couldn't help but scowl at the wooden cladding that was still attached. He had been told that as they weren't expecting any action that there was no need to remove it. Still, it wasn't something he liked. Sure he like the rest of the crew considered it to be an honour to ferry the royal family but this was a warship, not a yacht. If they got into a fight the cladding would go up as easily as gasoline especially with the varnish coating.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts he finally arrived at the CIC. The room itself was fairly was long and narrow with consoles and men on either side. The crew noticed him enter but before they could stand he said "At Ease" before walking over to the Radar station. Where the XO Lieutenant Alexander Mathews was leaning over the crewman manning the console. Not even looking over his shoulder he said "Approximately ten minutes ago we detected a large surface contact at the extreme edge of our radar range. The contact is too strong to be just ice and it is not transmitting any kind of identification. We have been trying to hail it for the past five minutes but so far it has refused all contact." he finished before nodding to the radio operator.
"This is HMS Vanguard of her majesty's royal navy to the unknown vessel bearing North-West of our position. Please state your name, affiliation and purpose for being in restricted waters. If you don't comply you will be boarded. I repeat this is her majesty's warship HMS Vanguard to the unknown vessel in our path. Please state your name, affiliation and purpose for being in restricted waters. If you do not comply you will be boarded". However same as the previous transmissions there was nothing but static.
Looking at the image Captain Hood asked: "What is its heading and has it changed since you noticed it?".
His XO simply shook his head "Its current heading would put it on a direct course for the Ice pack. Given that there hasn't been any response and the fact that it has been travelling at a slow if constant speed. And that if it was another vessel than they would at least identify themselves. Given everything, I'd say it was a ghost ship".
Captain Hood seemed to think for a moment before asking "Where is this Ghost Ship" directing the question to the crewmen manning the console.
"Based on the fact that it is at the extreme range of our radar. I'd guess that the ship is at least two hundred and seventy miles away, sir" the crewmen responded promptly.
"And how long would it take to get there?" he continued.
"Based on our current speed of fifteen knots, I'd say eighteen hours. Though if we increased speed to twenty knots it would cut the intercept time down to thirteen and a half hours. Though that could change given the weather front coming down from the arctic" the crewmen replied.
"And how long until that weather front hits us".
"Around seven hours sir".
Captain Hood thought for a moment before saying "Put me ship-wide". "This is the Captain. Ten minutes ago we detected a vessel two hundred and seventy miles away from our current location. This vessel has refused to identify itself and continues on a heading into the arctic ice pack. As Captain of this ship, I have decided to intercept and board this vessel. Increase speed to twenty knots and commence rough weather preparations. Batten down the hatches people it's about to get rough" he finished. Turning to his communications officer he said "Send a transmission to Headquarters. Inform them of our find and our intentions".
As the crew set about readying the ship for rough whether he didn't know why but he began to feel something in his gut. He had only felt something like this twice before. Once the night before the Pearl Harbour Raid and before the Battle of Midway. Though then he had only been a liaison with the American Navy. Considering the consequences of both occasions he didn't know whether or not this was a good thing or a bad thing.
Still, they would know in roughly fourteen hours either way.
HMS Vanguard (23)
25th September 1950
In the hours since the Vanguard had changed course the weather had changed dramatically. Unlike the relatively calm seas the previous day the storm had caught up to them and now the ship rocked swaying from side to side as waves impacted the hull. To make matters worse they only had intermittent contact with the unknown vessel. The storm was intermittently disrupting the sensor array. Though they could tell the ship was getting closer.
As the ship was rocked back and forth Captain Hood was looking at the radar display in the CIC. "This is HMS Vanguard of her majesty's royal navy to the unknown vessel bearing North-West of our position. Please state your name, affiliation and purpose for being in restricted waters. If you don't comply you will be boarded. I repeat this is HMS Vanguard of her majesty's royal navy to the unknown vessel bearing North-West of our position. Please state your name, affiliation and purpose for being in restricted waters. If you don't comply you will be boarded" came from the communications officer.
They had been broadcasting for the past fourteen hours and so far there had been no reply. Not that he expected anything at this point. As the ship rocked to the left he turned to the XO and said "I'm going to the bridge. Based on the radar image we should make contact within the next ten minutes or so. Take command here". The XO nodded and as he left took the captains previous position.
Walking through the corridors, he was occasionally forced to brace himself as the ship continued to be hit by wave after wave. This was by far some of the nastiest weather he had ever en-counted in all his years at sea. If it got any worse then he would have to call off the interception and retreat to calmer waters. Climbing the stairs he walked along another corridor before finally arriving on the bridge.
The Bridge was fairly compact for a battleship but it was still big enough to house ten crewmen one of whom noticed him enter and shouted: "OFFICER ON DECK!". As he said this everybody stood to attention before Hood said "At Ease. Return to your duties". Before taking his seat in the captain's chair. Illuminated only by the ships lighting the darkness and spray meant that they could only just barely see the bow as it cut through the waves.
Turning to his aide, he ordered "We can't see anything in this bloody weather. Turn on all searchlights". His aide nodded before walking over to the comm station and communicating the order. Moments later spotlights at the bow came on the bright white light shot out into the darkness. While across the vessel other searchlights turned on and soon every one of the lights on the ship was active and searching the waves for their objective.
Half an hour passed without any contact before finally one of the searchlights at the bow briefly made contact with something. Almost immediately the searchlight retrained its sights and soon announced over the comm "Contact sighted!". Soon every searchlight was trained on the contact which illuminated something that hadn't been seen in over twenty years.
Clearly, the vessel had seen better days for starters it was old really old and they could see that it had better days as the vessel was covered in rust and seaweed. All the windows had been destroyed and the interior was open to the elements. What was more surprising was the large circular hole nine meters in diameter in the side.
Looking at the vessel more closely James noticed a number of gashes in the side. If they didn't do anything soon then the ship would sink. Thinking quickly he ordered "Bring us alongside and throw a tow line over. We need to do something before that ship takes on enough water and capsizes". With that said the crew quickly carried out their orders and soon the Vanguard was side by side to the smaller vessel. Quickly the marines boarded and soon the crew began to tie the two ships together covering the hole.
With the operation complete it was decided to wait until daylight to explore the rest of the ship. As the searchlight continued to run along the side, before it finally focused on the bow and revealed the vessels name.
25th September 1950
After they had successfully anchored the vessel to the Vanguard the marines and crew had retreated back to the ship. The decision had been simple to make as a number of factors simply didn't make exploration of the vessel possible at the time. The first was the weather as the time it was rough and the waves could easily sweep a crewman overboard. The second was the darkness that limited visibility. The final part was the uncertain nature of the Achilles structural integrity.
It was eventually decided to wait until daylight and reassess the options which turned out to be the right call as there was a brief pause in the rough weather. However this far north in the winter they only had a few hours of daylight. As soon as the sun appeared over the horizon the marines assembled on deck ready to repel down to the vessel.
Soon Captain Hood exited the superstructure and as soon as he appeared one of the marines noticed him and shouted "ATTENTION!". As one every marine stood in perfectly ordered lines with their rifles at the side. "At Ease" Hood spoke and the men relaxed a little.
"Gentlemen your mission today will be to explore the Achilles and find out what happened to her. Now we don't know what kind of shape she is in given that she has been at sea for twenty years. Which was one of the reasons why I suspended any kind of exploration last night. So remain vigilant and pay attention. If nothing else comes of this then see if you can find and recover the bodies of the crew. So we can at least send them back to their families. God Speed Men" he finished.
As one the marines saluted before the first group attached themselves to the cables and stepped up to the rails, climbed up, turned around and started to repel down the side. When their feet hit the deck and the men had cleared the area more marines followed before finally the boarding party was on board.
As the marines went about securing the deck Major Jonathan McKay surveyed their progress. The man was in his early forties but the scar running down his face showed he was a veteran. He had seen action during the second world war and had been part of the D-Day landings. Being part of the first assault on Juno Beach he had won a Victoria Cross for his actions that day. Comparing the men he had then to now all he could think was Rookies before chuckling to himself.
One of the marines walked up to him before saluting and saying "Deck secure sir". He nodded to the marine before saying "Alright, men split into five teams of four and sweep this ship from top to bottom. Remember as the Captain said to pay attention as the entire structure of this ship has been exposed for twenty years to the sea. I don't have to remind you what that does to a ship do I?" before switching his voice to that of a low growl. "Because if I find out that one of you was injured for something stupid. Then you will be sent back to school. Do I Make Myself Clear!".
"We Get You SIR!" came the reply.
"Good. You three come with me the rest of you move out". With that everybody split into teams and began to search the Achilles. Two teams searched the port side while another two searched starboard and Major McKay's team entered via the bridge. Upon entering the first thing the major's keen eye noticed was the unusual scorch marks. What was more worrying was the scorch marks ran in a perfect line towards the port exit door.
Then one of the marines said "Sir, casings". That certainly attracted his attention and he joined the marine. Bending down he picked up and examined the remains of the cartridge. "This is a 7.62mm cartridge" before muttering "This is the last thing we need" after all only one military used that type of round. "Major take a look at this" came from the marine to his left. Getting up and walking over he saw what the marine was looking at "She must have running at full power until she was bone dry". This was really beginning to creep him out.
Unstrapping his radio he pressed the transmit button "This is Major McKay to all teams report in". Almost immediately the replies came.
"This is team Bravo at the stern nothing to report".
"This is team Charlie we are seeing evidence of one hell of a firefight" that certainly got his attention.
"Where are you?" he replied concerned. Something just didn't feel right.
"We are in the ship's galley" came the reply before the rest of the teams cleared with nothing to report and team Charlie provided the directions. Soon the major along with team alpha arrived at the galley. The walls outside had been covered in bullet holes and there where a number of skeletons clutching a strange kind of staff.
Upon entering the galley itself the major couldn't help but agree with team Charlie's assessment. The tables had been upended and now sat on their sides in a circle pointing towards both doors. Again the major noticed the strange scorch marks and again like the marks on the bridge. All of the marks were focused on the tables and evidently based on the hole in one of them had melted through. Behind the tables were the skeletons of the crew along with a number of old fashioned rifles and what looked like three black AK-47's. Something that wasn't possible as the AK-47 rifle had only entered mass production three years ago.
Looking at the scene, his mind somewhat pieced together what had happened. At some point in the vessels voyage, they had been boarded by the people holding the staffs. After a desperate firefight, the crew of the Achilles had made a final last stand in the galley. Before being overwhelmed and killed.
Then he heard one of the newest marines private Jenkins say "What's this thing" before picking up a small ball the size of a large orange. The private then did something monumentally stupid as he pressed the small button on the top. The preceding whining certainly got the majors attention as his head snapped around in time to see the object start to pulse. Realising exactly what the idiot was holding he rushed over and snatched it off the idiot. Before beginning a mad dash through the ship and up the stairs. Reaching the top deck he threw it overboard just time as the object soon detonated as it started to sink.
While mitigated slightly by the water the explosion was still large. With the explosion throwing a large volume of water into the sky somewhat reassembling a depth charge. The shock-wave then reached the ship knocking every marine still on the deck off their feet and slamming Major McKay straight into the wall and knocking him out. Onboard the vanguard the damage was minimal with the shock-wave blowing out the windows on the bridge. Causing some minor injuries as shards of glass cut into unprotected skin.
As the major regained consciousness the first thing he heard which rather worried him was the groaning. Evidently, the vessels structure wasn't meant to handle explosions of that size. Though eventually the groaning stopped and the major had regained enough balance to stand up. Leaning against the wall he picked up his radio which was laying beside him the force of the blow having knocked it off his belt. Growling he pressed the transmit button and said "Everybody report".
Thankfully everybody only reported minor injuries. Now his thoughts turned to the private and naturally he was extremely angry I said be careful goddammit! Before getting up and going back down the stairs and returning to the galley. Spotting the idiot he walked over. The idiot obviously noticed his cold fury as he took a step back before the major finally reached him picked him up by the scruff of his suit and slammed him over the serving counter.
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE PLAYING AT YOU MORON!. YOU COULD HAVE KILLED US ALL!" he shouted in the man's face before throwing him to the floor. Turning to one of the other marines he said: "Lieutenant this idiot is relieved of duty. Take his weapons and escort him to the brig".
The Lieutenant saluted saying "Sir" before he and his squad escorted the marine back to the vanguard. As the major calmed down the radio crackled to life and the voice of Captain Hood made itself clear. "This is Captain Hood to Major McKay report! What the hell happened over there".
"Sorry about that sir, Private Jenkins decided to mess with something explosive. He has been relieved of duty and a team is escorting him to the brig. Are there any injuries?".
He could almost hear the sigh as the captain responded "Thankfully only minor though all the ships windows had been blown out. We will be ready for Jenkins when he is back on board".
"There is something else sir. Before the explosion, we discovered and eventually confirmed that a large firefight had taken place. What's more, is that some of the bullet cartridge's we recovered are 7.62mm rounds" he trailed off.
The captain seemed to be thinking before he replied saying "But isn't that the same type of round as the Russians use?".
"That's correct sir. Before the explosion, we also found three AK rifles". The silence was almost deafening and went on for a minute before the reply came.
"That's the last thing we need," the captain said before sighing "I take it they had gotten here before us".
"That's the thing, sir, I don't think so. Based on the position of the bodies it looks like they were defending the ship with the crew. Along with the fact that we found another set of bodies covered in some kind of chain-mail armour plating. And from the positions of the bodies, I'd say they were the ones attacking the ship. Honestly, sir, this whole thing doesn't make any sense".
The captain seemed to think it over for a moment before the sound of paper rustling could be heard. "I just got a message from command. According to the records, the Achilles was a government-contracted freighter. Her last mission was to transport artefacts recovered from a dig conducted by Professor David Langford. She departed Alexandria on the 29th of August and made contact with Gibraltar a week later. All contact was lost at some point midway during her journey. A preliminary investigation was begun but with the entry of America into the second world war the investigation was cancelled. Though it appears that the professor has apparently been trying to get them to reopen the investigation. With little success given the government's current priorities".
Evidently upon hearing this the major couldn't help but agree. "What do you want us to do sir".
"Continue exploring the ship and find the artefacts related to the Langford expedition. You have two hours if you don't find anything of interest. Recover the bodies and anything of interest and we will scuttle the ship. Can't leave anything that may lead the Russians to even suspect we were here".
"Yes sir, orders received and understood out" he replied before the radio clicked off. Turning to the other men who by this point had gathered in the galley he said. "Alright, we have our orders. Bravo team you stay behind and catalogue everything you see here. The rest of you follow me to the cargo hold".
With that said McKay lead the remaining teams down the stairs and towards the cargo bay. Here they immediately saw more evidence of the intense firefight with multiple bullet casings and more scorch marks on the crates. Splitting up they searched parallel to each other with team alpha taking the centre. Seeing a clipboard one of the marines picked up and examined the contents.
"Major it says that crates marked SG one to twelve contain the Langford expedition artefacts".
"Good find let's move" he replied. With the knowledge of where to look, it didn't take them long to find what they were looking for.
Though how anybody would miss the nine-foot hole would be anybody's guess.
The crate labelled SG1 had a hole shaped like a perfect circle nine metres in diameter curved out of it lining up exactly with the hole on the side of the ship. But that wasn't the interesting thing. Again they noticed an AK rifle laying to the side behind a crate still being clutched onto by the skeleton of the man holding it.
In front of the crates was a ramp leading to the crate labelled SG1. A hole nearly nine metres in diameter as the perfectly curved circle lined up with the hole in the ship lining up perfectly. Clustered around the ramp where a number of bodies all wearing the strange armour that the attackers wore. This must be where the attack began McKay thought. What was interesting was what the ramp lead to.
The perfectly curved ring sitting in the centre.
Authors Note: Hello people and welcome to my newest story idea Achilles Heel. Now this story is a Brit wank and as you will see in later chapters. This story deals with Baal succeeding in his plot. Though it has consequences that he never imagined. He thought the Eagle was a nightmare to face.
He has just awoken the Lion.