Deep space is a vast open nothingness. Solar winds pushing debris about the abyss. Many have stood and stared in awe at their first sight of the darkness of space. A million million pinpricks of light in the sky. There is no up, no down, no direction. Many have also gone insane staring at it, unable to take in the vastness. Poets, prophets and scientists have waxed lyrical on its qualities both philosophical and technical. None able to capture its magnificence or majesty.
This particular area of vast nothingness, located on the far rim of the galaxy, is especially devoid of life. An abnormality in the universe as the vast majority of space, deep or otherwise, is teeming with life. Here nothing. Until now.
The bow of a large vessel ploughs forward. Grey, battle scarred and covered in emission tubes, missile launchers and antennae of all types. Squat and ugly but possessed of a strange beauty it is an instrument of exploration that has been turned to a different job. War. Its war, however, has ended for now and it has returned to the task it was designed in part for.
Its unlovely hulk forces its way through the emptiness. Shields shouldering space's detritus to one side, filtering radiation away from the battered hull. Electronic senses sweeping the void searching, probing inquisitively for something, anything.
USS George S Hammond
Deep Space Patrol
30 Jul 2012
So far the patrol had been quiet, nothing more than a survey of an unknown area of space on the far side of the galaxy.
The Stargate network didn't cover it so the sector represented a blank area on the Galactic map. It didn't appear on any reports, the Go'auld, Lucian Alliance and the Ori had, oddly, not even touched it. Even the all knowing Asgard had no records about it. Real unknown space.
Now the Hammond, still under the command of Colonel Sam Carter, had been dispatched to search and map it. Seek out new worlds Carter, boldly go! Major General Jack O'Neill had quipped over the sub-space link, grinning like a Cheshire cat! So here the Hammond found itself, cataloguing planets and generally nosing around.
The bridge was quiet, ships nominal night time usually was, crewmen sat monitoring screens and systems as the blunt nose of the ship pushed through the night. The majority of the ships 200 strong compliment lay asleep in their bunks, automated systems taking care of the running of the vessels systems.
The lighting was subdued. Work lamps glowing at stations, throwing pools of light into the dimness. The few people on duty during mid-watch sat fighting sleep and quietly gazing at displays and scopes.
At the science terminal Major Tyrone Franklin yawned and rubbed his eyes as he stared at his screens, face bathed in a greenish glow. He sat up and stretched, arms going out and back arching. He closed his eyes and hoped that when he opened them he'd be in his bunk! Cracking one eye slightly he groaned. No, still on the bridge. It had seemed an eternity since coming on watch and his eyes strayed to the large brass ships clock on the bulkhead above his station.
Still early. They'd been transiting the area for three days now. Nothing. Empty spaces, the odd planetoid or asteroid. None of them life supporting. He balled his hands and rubbed his eyes. A bleeping started and Franklin swung back to his screen. Not expecting much in this dead area he was surprised to note a small object registering on his screen. He double-tapped on the screen and a set of green cross hairs appeared, bracketing the small glow. Figures and data danced across the screen. Radiation levels spiking, magnetic fields going bananas! His mind raced, calculated size, mass and distance. He frowned as it came up with a figure that didn't make much sense. It was all he needed to know his arm shot out, keying the ships 1MC.
"Commander to the bridge!"
4522 Km off the port bow of the solitary ship the anomaly slowly grew, flashing magenta and orange every now and again. Its appearance had been an accident of nature, physics, who knew what. But one thing that was certain, it would effect countless millions of beings over the next minutes.
The voice came muffled through the murky depths of darkness. It sounded familiar, but urgent. Maybe if she ignored it...hmmpf maybe not. Colonel Samantha Carter, former member of SG1, veteran of many battles, many operations and many unknown phenomena dragged herself from sleep. She sat upright fighting to get to full alert wakefulness. The comm pinged again followed by Ty Franklin's booming Boston accent.
"Commander to the bridge!"
She stood, rubbing sleep and grit from her eyes, catching the clock on the bulkhead over her desk, 0355? She pulled her flight suit on and splashed water on her face. The hull rang with the muted clang of a launching ship. 302 launch? Curious! Turning she searched for her boots and slipped them on before slapping the door release and pelting up the corridor. Wondering what this job would bring next.
Samantha Carter loved her job. Always something new, challenging. This assignment had lasted, what? 15 years? And still showed no signs of slowing. The Goa'ould, the Ori, all sorts of enemies. Many disasters, many more triumphs. Yes she'd lost friends, Her father, Janet Frasier and Martouf amongst the more upsetting. But she'd gained more along the way, one in particular!
Within 10 steps she was on the bridge. The CO's bunk only being just moments from her station for situations just like these.
As she rounded the corner she saw her bridge crew settling into their seats. Dave Kleinman, recently promoted to Major, at the Nav console. Kevin Marks at the Helm/Defence console and Pat Meyers at the Star fighter Command station. She noticed that Meyers was still wearing an Air Force T-shirt and sweat pants, having run straight from her bed to the bridge. Already they slipped gracefully into their working relationship. Dr Daniel Jackson, along for the ride with SG1, stood behind Ty Franklin still hunched over the display at the Science station, a look that was part wonder part confused inquisitive curiosity plastered across his broad mahogany face.
"Ty, Daniel. What have we got?"
She stood next to Daniel, pulling her long hair into a ponytail then touching her friend on the arm in greeting. Franklin turned to speak but kept his eyes on the screen.
"Small anomaly boss. Its holding at about 3500 klicks now. We've stopped the ship and are at state 2."
Franklin paused and turned to look at the Colonel, embarrassment replacing the curiosity for a second.
"Colonel Mitchell and Teal'c have launched in a 302 to investigate...I tried stopping him, but, well you know the Colonel!"
Carter and Jackson both grimaced, fully understanding Franklin's words. Cam Mitchell was a great officer, pilot and leader but was very quick to act in these situations.
At the Anomaly
Mitchell sat front seat in the cockpit of the fighter. His displays glowing green in the darkness of space giving his face a strange ghoulish caste. He held the small ship in a slow turn around the glowing flashing object. His Jaffa friend Teal'c sat behind and above him monitoring the fighters sensor suite.
"Talk to me Goose?"
Teal'c raised an eyebrow, used to Mitchell's flippancy. He tapped a control and read a few lines of data.
"The object appears to be stationary Colonel Mitchell and my screen shows no further expansion. I would however urge that we remain at this distance."
Mitchell nodded and turned to look at the anomaly. It pulsed now and again, throwing plumes of gas off its edges. Pretty! He grinned and shook his head.
"Flight. Cannonball Four One Six. Am in a holding pattern around the object, you getting my data link?"
Mitchell gently pushed his controls to take the short fighter a shade closer to the glowing orb. It was mesmerizing, the flashes looking like small nuclear explosions and leaving an after glow on his retina. Blinking to clear his vision Mitchell steadied the control column with his knee and raised one hand and dropped the tinted visor down to shield his eyes. The comm crackled, interference from the orb was now encroaching on the channel. He frowned and fine tuned the set and Sam's voice came through loud and clear.
"Shaft, Hammond Niner. Data-Link is solid. What's it look like Cam?"
The Colonels lips twitched at her switch from call-sign to name. He glanced out of the cockpit. The anomaly sat pulsing and glowing, still off the fighters bows.
"It looks like a glowing football to me. Tee's not so sure though, he thinks a flaming melon."
Teal'c's eyebrow twitched beneath his Bonedome and he opened his mouth to talk but a flash of information on his Multi Function Display stopped him cold. Eyes wide he snapped his head up to stare out of the canopy. The anomaly, melon, football, whatever flashed a deep red. He looked back at the MFDs An alarm blared and the levels of...well the levels of something went off the scale. He had enough time to shout one word.
USS George S Hammond
Aboard the Hammond Sam, Daniel and Franklin watched as the small 302 circled the glowing mass. They could make out the tiny figures in its cockpit heads following the orb as they circled. Grinning all round at Mitchell's quips. Carter leaned forward to get a better look at the screen, hand on Franklin's shoulder. With horrifying speed the glowing object flashed red and a bow wave of crimson energy radiated out. It caught the F302 on the wingtip and spun it off. The expanding wave. Caught it in an instant and enveloped Mitchell and Teal'c. The 302 disappeared.
Carter spun to shout at Meyers to try the Guard or emergency frequency only to see that not only was she already shouting into her headset but that Kleinmann and Marks were turning the bow of the ship into the wave to lessen the impact.
Only Daniel's shout brought her around to see the wave about to hit her ship.
"ALL HANDS! BRACE FOR IMPAC..."
Suddenly the lights went out