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Whom the Gods Created
Jack took a deep breath, looked over at Casey, then grabbed his radio. Sometimes they all forgot just exactly how far they had managed to come technologically, thanks to Thor and his little gray buddies, and the Tollans, who didn't seem to have a problem sharing information with Immortals. Maybe because Immortals were…older…wiser. "This is SG-1 to the Prometheus."
"Prometheus here, go ahead, General," Jim Bradshaw's voice replied.
"Jim, we lost a team. They're near the center of the ship. Can you get a lock on them and get them out of there?"
"We can try, sir."
Several long seconds ticked by. "Have a lock on them now. They're moving."
"Yeah, well, right now we don't have a choice. Get them out of there. Then put 'em back down in the command center."
"You got it. Give us a few minutes."
"We'll be waiting." Jack nodded toward the corridor. "Let's wait for SG-4, get their report, and see if there's another way to that level and that armory. We need to know what all is in there, as well."
"If the Travelers have been fighting, there might not be much left," Sam said.
"Possibly," Jack allowed. "There's also the chance that neither group of Travelers was anxious to annihilate each other…just control the ship."
"It's also possible that if Casey is right, and the survivors are crew members, maybe they all need to be here," Daniel pointed out.
"Another viable theory," Jack agreed. "Let's get back to the command center, pick up SG-4, and find a new path to our equipment."
A A A A A A
None of the men had been prepared when they turned a corner into yet another corridor. Replicators had been everywhere. But they didn't seem to be doing anything. Just…sitting there. Before any of them were able to process this information fully, they were beamed out of the corridor and onto the Prometheus.
"Yes!" Mills said excitedly. "We need to get armed!"
"We need to take more ammo too," Peterson suggested.
Colonel Bradshaw had been waiting for the team. He grinned at their exuberance. "I'm sure General O'Neill would appreciate that."
Ten minutes later, armed, and carrying ammo boxes full of P90 cartridges, SG-4 beamed back to the alien ship.
Palmer glanced at General O'Neill, then walked toward Casey. Handed her a P90. "SG-4 reporting, ma'am."
Casey smiled. "Let's hear it."
"Well, we managed to get away from the freaky bitch and her buddies," Lieutenant Palmer said. "They let us go. The escape was too easy."
Jack nodded. These young people were intelligent. They listened. They learned well. And they were putting those lessons to good use. George Hammond had been right. The Gamma Military Force was the best there was. The cream of the crop.
"We decided to head toward the center of the ship, since that's where life support systems are. We had to go through several of the rooms where those cryo-chambers are, and they were damned hot."
"Getting hotter," Peterson added softly.
"We thought if we could just get to life support, we could turn the heat down," Palmer explained. "We saw a lot of those metal bugs. Doing whatever it was that they do. Except the last time, just before we got beamed out, they were all just…sitting there."
"Sitting there?" Jack asked.
"Yes, sir. Not moving…not doing anything," the young man replied.
Daniel frowned. "We know that they know we're here."
"Maybe they don't think we're a threat," Sam said.
"I don't understand why they haven't taken this ship completely…and landed somewhere by now," Jack said.
"Certainly not typical behavior," Sam agreed.
"Unless there were only a few pieces," Daniel said slowly.
Sam frowned, then nodded. "It would take time to replicate if there were fewer than half a dozen pieces. Even then, they would have to be in close proximity of each other to even be able to get together to replicate."
"Maybe there were…bits…of Replicators floating out there. As big as this ship is, if they managed to be…picked up…" Daniel mused, tapping his finger against his lips.
"There's still the problem of getting them together," Sam pointed out.
"If the androids were awake and maintaining the ship, maybe these…pieces were found, and tossed somewhere. We've watched seemingly inanimate pieces slowly move toward one another," Daniel replied.
"True," Sam nodded. She and Daniel had watched that happen after Reese had been killed, and all of the Replicator components had been destroyed…all but a small handful that they had been eager to study. After watching those two single pieces move slowly toward each other, as if drawn by magnets, they had quickly destroyed every single Replicator piece that had been in the lab.
"If that's true," Casey said, "then they didn't necessarily need to be found to get together."
Jack frowned. "You said that it's been a couple of hundred years since this ship picked up the…uh…creatures, right?"
"About that," Casey replied.
"We don't know how long this ship was in transit before getting to that planet," the older man continued. "It could be that the Replicators had taken control of the androids, but hadn't… replicated much. Maybe they're just now getting the numbers, starting to grow."
The young seer frowned. "Possible. The androids were already running amok…maybe the Travelers didn't know just how much of a threat the Replicators really were…they just wanted to be rid of out-of-control androids."
"Ask," Jack said, turning his attention to the men sitting in the corner, restrained and silent.
Daniel walked toward the men, crouched down in front of the man obviously the leader… perhaps the captain of the ship. "Did you know about the Replicators when you landed on Capricia?"
"Capricia?" the man asked.
"The planet where you found your…passengers," Daniel explained.
The man closed his eyes. "We were awakened when the…hidden…sensors indicated that the life support systems for the cryogenic tubes had been altered," he said softly. "We caught them...the Caretakers…injecting the sanitizer into the system environments. We fought them. We were only able to save six. Out of twenty-five thousand of our people, we saved six! Della, one of the greatest artists our people have ever known. Her lover, and a family of four-"
"Wait," Casey said, interrupting. "Sanitizer?"
"The virus released from the ship upon landing," the man explained.
"Oh, that's just cold," the young woman hissed. "Nice, clinical name for the disease that resulted in complete genocide."
Daniel's eyes narrowed. "Go on," he told the prisoner.
"Della and her…followers…wished nothing to do with us. Called us murderers. We, who maintain the ships, flew them…who saw to it that they found the paradise for which they sought…how could they not know what was to be done?"
"Well, apparently they didn't know," Daniel replied dryly. "What happened to all of the dead Travelers?"
"The…creatures, as you call them, helped us to take them from the ship. We…there were so many, and no time…We dug mass graves. It was the best we could do," the man insisted weakly.
"These people…the creatures…because they had a specific destination, you agreed to take them onboard, even knowing about the Replicators and the fact that the androids were no longer under your control?" Daniel asked.
"At first they asked for passage. Then they begged for passage. Then they demanded passage. They greatly out numbered us. We couldn't hold out against them. So we agreed to try to get them to this place of hope," the man replied. "They did not understand how long it would take to arrive. Once they learned that there were pods where they could grow food, they insisted on living as if they were still on their planet. After two full cycles, they finally realized that it would be some time before we arrived."
"What about the androids and the Replicators, where were they during all of this?" Jack asked.
"I honestly do not know. They remained on two levels of the ship. We never saw them."
Glances were exchanged. "That is not typical behavior," Jack pointed out.
"They would have had to have had a Queen, an…intelligence…that could have taken control of the androids," Sam said. "If that's the case, then we're right back where we started…they should be in complete control of this ship."
"Unless the protocols built into the androids are interfering," Casey said softly.
"Say what?" Daniel asked.
"What what?" Casey asked in return.
He couldn't help but grin when those beautiful green eyes began to roll when she realized that once again she had said something unawares. "Protocols. Protecting the Travelers."
"Didn't work, they killed their masters, remember?" Jack pointed out.
"And had a major freak out afterwards," Casey said.
Again all eyes went to the slender seer. "What do you see, Angel?"
"The head bitch…she was under total control of the Replicators. The others followed her orders. So the…um…Queen…didn't feel the need to control them directly. So the lavender-eyed bitch kills the Travelers, and the other androids suffered near melt down when they realized what had happened. The Queen…" she closed her eyes, watched the images carefully as they flashed across her mind. "When the others understood what they had done, they returned to their…sort of like a recharging pad…anyway, they went back there, and literally shut themselves down. The Queen decided that she was going to have to interface directly with them."
"And got feedback…all of the protocols," Sam said softly.
"Yep. But I don't think the Queen or the bitch understand that it's happening," Casey replied.
"So they're working, only much more slowly than normal, and trying not to…harm…any humans. After all, the android protocols were to protect those humans at all costs," Sam finished.
"Interface! We have to find out who the interface is...save him...or her!" Casey said, shivering slightly.
"Casey, we can't. If we…interfere, this ship will…shut down," Sam said gently.
The young blonde whirled to face the man sitting on the floor. "You are so twisted! How in the hell did your people sink so damned low?"
"Survival," he spat. "We are an advanced people! Far more advanced, more important than any groups of cave dwellers or villages full of farmers! They were expendable, so that our people might live on!"
"Stupid. Arrogant and stupid," Casey replied coldly.
"Uh, sirs, ma'am," Lieutenant Larsen said quietly. "What about that other ship? What if there's a full contingent of Travelers on it?"
Jack gave the young woman a small smile. "Yeah, that'll be a pain in the ass, won't it?"
"Take a look, Angel," Daniel said softly.
With a nod, she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I really don't like this mission at all," she said, letting him pull her into his arms as they stood in that sunny meadow.
"Me, either, babe."
"Well, let's take a little look-see, shall we?"
"Yep." He opened himself slowly. Felt her gentle touch as she took the strength she needed. 'Followed' her as she moved across space toward the advancing ship.
"Um, it is just me, or is this ship totally different?"
"Looks sort of like a beached whale, doesn't it?" Daniel asked.
"I'm not familiar with that type of ship," the archaeologist admitted.
"Well, it seems that the party is about to get bigger," Casey sighed.
"Take a look, Case. We need to know who…or what…we're dealing with."
With a nod, she moved closer to the ship. It wasn't as large as the Traveler ship, but dwarfed the Gammian ships, and Thor's Asgard vessel as well. "Different...not humans...I don't think...Well, I can't get much. Anger, I'm getting lots of anger. Toward the Travelers."
"Maybe the Travelers moved in on a planet that belonged to them?"
"Maybe." She shivered. "I think we'd better try to communicate with them now. They're in a shoot first, ask questions later sort of mood, and I don't think we can hold out against a ship like that."
"Let's get back then." He hugged her tightly just before moving away from her. "Love you," he whispered.
"Love you," she whispered in reply.
Jack was pacing. "Well?"
"Whoever is out there is madder than hell…at the Travelers," Casey replied.
A frown creased the general's forehead. "Sam, can you find and operate the communications on this ship?"
"I can try."
"Danny, I need you to get a message to that ship. Let them know that we're not Travelers, and that only a handful are alive. Let 'em know about the Replicators as well," Jack ordered. "Teal'c, you're with me. SG-4 and -5, let's go. We need to get those…uh…people…out of those pods and off of this ship."
All eyes turned to look at the blonde seer. "Are you out of your mind? If we land this thing, those damned metal bugs will take Hope out in a matter of days!" Jack said, his voice rising slightly in pitch, and volume.
"There's a lot of desert on Gamma, Jack," she said softly. "There is no way for Thor to get nearly eight hundred people off this ship. What needs to be done, he'll have to do here."
Daniel took a deep breath. "She's right."
"Thor has the Ancient weapon," Sam reminded the team.
With a sharp nod, Jack glanced at Sam. "Get that message to that ship. Then talk to Thor. Find out if he can use that weapon while we're standing here."
Teal'c stared at their prisoners. "These men know where the communications consoles are located."
Jack looked at the man who was obviously the captain of the ship. "Which one?"
"There," the man replied hoarsely, pointing toward the center row of consoles with his chin. "Fourth station." It was quite plain to him that these people would like to see him and his men dead. He wasn't a hero. He would do whatever he had to do in order to live.
Daniel and Sam hurried to the curved surface. "Here," Daniel said softly, pointing to the controls.
"Got it," she replied. Even if the labels were in a language she couldn't read, the general lay-out of the console was typical for communications. "You're on, I think."
"This is Doctor Daniel Jackson, of the Planet Gamma, to the ship that approaches. We're on the Traveler's ship right now. There are only ten Travelers alive. The…Caretakers…have been taken over by Replicators. There are nearly eight hundred people…our people…that we need to get to the planet's surface. We understand that you're angry. But please, don't attack this ship."
Several long minutes ticked by. Finally a message was received. Daniel frowned as he listened to the language, tried to pick out anything that sounded vaguely familiar.
"So, any clue what they said?" Jack asked.
"Not yet," the archaeologist/linguist replied.
"I take it that there's the chance that the message we just heard was a warning?"
"It's possible," Daniel agreed.
"Oy. It's up to you, Danny. We're sitting here with our butts hanging out with those satellites down. As big as you say that thing is, there's the chance that even with Thor's help we won't be able to stop it," Jack said quietly.
The young man nodded. Looked at his wife. "Any ideas?"
"You're the Chosen, My Heart," she said softly. Confidently.
He barely quelled the urge to roll his eyes. "I have no idea what to do."
"We need to talk to them, Daniel." She reached out, caressed his cheek. "The knowledge you need is there, in that beautiful, amazing, brilliant mind of yours. Close your eyes."
He obeyed with absolutely no hesitation. She was his Heart. She was his Guide.
"Sam, can you play that message again?" Casey asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Sure," Sam replied, her own voice soft. The alien voice…the unknown language filled the air.
"Again," Casey said softly. "Don't force it, Daniel. Just relax. Let the words flow over you."
The dark blonde head moved up and down in understanding. He listened carefully to each inflection, the tone of voice, every nuance. There…that word 'aultek'… that meant crime…no …wrong context…criminals! "Again," he whispered.
The young SF's of SG-4 and -5 watched intently. They'd heard about the famous SG-1. Had been overjoyed to draw the orders to work with them. Seeing Dr. Jackson and his wife in action was…fascinating. Barry Palmer and Melinda Larsen exchanged glances. Would their teams ever function like SG-1, five individuals…one entity? Like a finely oiled machine, General O'Neill claimed. And they were seeing it first hand.
"Again," Daniel said softly.
Sam continued to play the message, watching her best friend as he concentrated.
"It's a warning…being sent to Gamma," Daniel said at last. "Warning that the ship in orbit above the planet is a harbinger of death."
"I'd say those folks know about the Travelers," Jack said dryly.
"So it would seem," Daniel replied.
The ship shuddered around them. "Well, I guess they didn't get your message," Casey said.
"Seems like. Sam, can you send another message, and make sure that the SGC, and our ships, and Thor's ship hear it as well?"
"I can try," the blonde woman responded. She concentrated on the console in front of her, asked Daniel to translate three labels. Then smiled. "Ready whenever you are."
"Greetings from Planet Gamma. We have received and understand your warning. We too, know of the Travelers." His voice was firm. "The ship that is in orbit above our planet has no living Travelers on board."
"Daniel?" Jack asked, raising an eyebrow, as he listened to the quiet translation once the message had been sent.
"Trust me, Jack," the young man replied. "Another enemy, known as the Replicators, have taken control of the ship. We have several teams on board at this time, trying to rescue eight hundred of our people."
"We hear and understand your message."
"We would be honored to meet with you, to greet you as allies," Daniel said.
"The ship must be destroyed."
"Yes, we understand that." Once again the ship lurched around them as it was hit with another barrage of missiles. "If you continue to fire on that ship, we will be forced to fire on you. We have people on that ship!"
"The ship must be destroyed."
"Uh, General O'Neill, I think we have another problem," Lieutenant Palmer said, pointing toward one of the monitors. Four androids hovered just outside of the door.
"What the hell else can happen?" the older man grumped. "Danny, get those aliens off our asses. The rest of you, let's go. Teal'c, you take SG-5, head out that way. Palmer, your team is with me."
"Daniel, take out their weapons. Just the weapons," Casey said.
She reached out, gently wrapped her fingers around his. Met him in that sunny meadow.
"It won't be difficult. It might even convince them to leave us alone."
"Maybe. Maybe not, if they perceive the attack coming from this ship," he replied.
"We have to at least stop them from attacking us," she countered.
He nodded. "Help me, Angel."
"Let's go," she said softly. She gently took the Fire she needed, took him toward the ship that continued to approach. "There, do you see them?"
"Yeah, turrets. There must be at least fifty of the damned things!"
"The ones in front are what we need to worry about right now."
"Case, is there any way to move closer to the Persephone?"
Following his train of thought, she began to smile. "I think that can be arranged." With little effort she 'moved' them to 'stand' just in front of the Gammian ship. "Okay, Stud Muffin. Take 'em out!"
He grinned. Pulled up the Fire. Felt it burning his hands. Launched twin orbs of white fire toward the hulking ship, taking out two of the front gun turrets.
"Yes!" she squealed delightedly.
"You're so easy to impress," he laughed.
"If it's so easy, do it again," she challenged.
"Your wish is my command," he said softly. Once again called forth the Fire that burned in his veins. Took out two more of the turrets. "Let's go back, see if they're willing to talk now."
He opened his eyes. "Frequencies still open?" he asked Sam.
"Ready and waiting."
"We do not wish you harm. We only wish for you to leave the Traveler's ship alone until all of our people have been safely evacuated."
It was nearly five minutes before a reply was received. "Very well. You have one standard rotation of the planet to do so."
"We have a day to get everybody off of this ship and to Gamma," he reported. He grabbed his radio. "Jack, we have to get those…uh…people…out of those pods. We have a day to get everyone out of here."
"Got it. We're on our way."
"Any sign of the androids?"
"Nope. No Replicators, either."
"Maybe getting shot at diverted their attention."
"Maybe. Have Sam contact Thor. See if he can help move this group."
Daniel turned to look at the two blondes. "It's gonna be a long night."
The two women exchanged a glance, then nodded wearily.
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