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Whom the Gods Created
"Any idea who our new…uh…friends…are?" Sam asked.
"I have no idea," Daniel replied. "We need to get everything that's in this computer. I'm betting that there will be star charts, as well as information on various cultures that have been encountered."
"I agree," Sam said, nodding her head. "From what I've been able to tell, connections to the main library have been sabotaged."
"Anyway to work around it?" Daniel asked.
"Where there's a will, there's a way," Sam grinned.
"Daniel?" Duncan's voice echoed over the radios.
"Go ahead," Daniel responded.
"We heard your messages. Kyle has that ship on instruments. What the hell is going on out there?"
Daniel began to update the Highlander. Sam was busy trying recover the data in the computer library with the aid of the 'gizmo wizard' of SGI-8. Between the two women, if they couldn't retrieve the information, no one could.
Casey studied the men who were still tied up, curled in the corner, eyes wide with fright. She crouched down beside them. "Do you have any idea where Della and her friends might be hiding?"
The captain shook his head. "I do not know."
"We have to find them. We won't leave without them."
"To risk everyone for the sake of six people…"
"We don't leave anyone behind," Casey said, her voice cold. "Personally, I'd like to turn you over to our friends out there. Wouldn't bother me a bit. But Daniel has convinced them that there are no Travelers. So, for the time being, we're stuck with you. Don't think it's generosity on our part. It's not. It's simple necessity. If those aliens knew you were here, there isn't anything Daniel could say to keep them from destroying this ship before we could all get off of it."
The man refused to meet her eyes. "We have done only what was necessary."
"You have engaged in genocide! Planet-wide genocide! How many times? How many civilizations have you destroyed? How many people have died because of you?" Casey demanded, anger flashing in her green eyes. "You sicken me!"
"You would do the same, if your world was dying!" he hissed.
"No! Never! We would seek new homes, yes. But we would do so peacefully. Probably try to find planets where there aren't already people living, unless they invited us to join them. We would never take lives so callously…so cruelly."
"We are a powerful race. An intelligent race. To take the chance that our genetic line might become…contaminated…with lesser beings is a risk we are not willing to take!"
She stared at him. "How damned arrogant! I happen to know for a fact that you aren't the most intelligent. For my money, that honor goes to the Asgard. Most advanced? Tollan's are right up there with the Asgard and the Nox. You aren't any better, any smarter, any wiser than the people you destroy. The only place where you're all that and a bag of chips too is in the windmills of your own narrow, bigoted minds!"
He didn't understand everything she said. But the sentiment came through, loud and clear. He closed his eyes. Forced away the memories of Della telling him the same thing. The artist had been screaming at him when she had made those observations. They just didn't understand. Sacrifices had to be made for the sake of the Travelers. To ensure that they continued to exist…as they were...not some 'watered down' version of themselves.
A A A A A A
Jack poked his head around the corner, motioned to Teal'c. The Jaffa slipped around him and hid in a nearby doorway. Another nod, and Lieutenant Palmer moved forward of Teal'c's position. So far there hadn't been any sign of the other Travelers, or Replicators. The teams 'leap-frogged' down the corridor, only to find that the elevator doors refused to open. Shit! As much as he didn't want his 'kids' in those damned access shafts, it seemed that they weren't going to be given any other choices. They had to reach the level, and the chamber, where the...creatures...had been put into cryogenic pods. The fact that they would then be required to open said pods without killing the occupants was a thought he pushed away. One problem at a time. He glanced at the Jaffa. "Guess we climb."
"So it would seem."
"I'm not too crazy about it."
"Nor am I."
"I'll take point. You cover our six." Jack glanced at the young people who stood waiting for his orders. "Keep your weapons ready at all times. It will make climbing all that much slower and more difficult, but we don't have any other options."
Nervous glances were exchanged.
Taking the lead, Jack crawled into the narrow opening. If the Replicators decided to attack them here, there was little chance of survival. Think good thoughts, he told himself. So far, the damned metal monsters hadn't seemed as...aggressive...as normal. That was a good thing. The fact that they were acting abnormally made it difficult to predict what they would do. A bad thing. The entire situation sucked. Big time.
The access shaft was narrow. He continued to bump his shoulders on the metal of the surrounding walls. Teal’c would be damned uncomfortable in this thing. He shook his head mentally. If only the few...creatures...that had been sent to take the rest of their people out of those cryogenic tubes had succeeded, they wouldn’t have to do this! Thor could just beam them out...to wherever they had to go. Surely the little gray guy could get them all to Gamma safely! Then they’d worry about getting their genes fixed.
The heat was nearly unbearable. Another oddity. Usually the Replicators liked it cold. Not too cold, but colder than he was comfortable with. Sam had once told him that electronic equipment tended to fail when the temperatures were too high. Okay, maybe the bugs weren't electronic equipment, but still...
"Any idea which way we have to go when we get to the right level?" Lieutenant Palmer asked, his voice oddly muted in the body filled shaft.
"Nope," Jack replied. "Casey will be able to tell us."
A A A A A A
Sam frowned at the display screen. "They’re moving closer."
Daniel was frowning as well. "If I could just get over there, maybe I could make them understand that we need more time."
"Colonel Carter, are you there?"
"Go ahead, Thor."
"After careful examination of my ship, and those of Gamma, I have come to the conclusion that there will not be enough room for all eight hundred of the refugees. I suggest that we land the vessel you currently inhabit."
"Is there any way to take out the Replicators while we’re still on board?" the colonel asked.
"I do not know. I would prefer to experiment within a controlled environment. I do not know what affect the Ancient weapon would have on the human physiology."
"Damn!" Sam hissed.
"Thor, is there any way that you can get Casey and me to that ship?" Daniel asked.
"I believe so," was the calm reply.
"Then do it. If we’re going to have to land, or take longer than a day to evacuate those people, the only chance I have of making our friends out there understand is face to face."
"Give me a moment to scan the vessel," Thor said.
Daniel pulled Casey close. "I need your help, Angel. We have to get through to them."
The slender blonde shivered. "Try to talk to them once more," she said softly.
With a nod, Daniel glanced at Sam.
"You’re on," the astrophysicist said.
"This is Doctor Daniel Jackson. We’ve encountered a few...problems...with getting our people off of the Traveler’s ship. We need more time."
Silence filled the room as they waited for the reply.
"Tell Jack," Daniel said quietly.
Sam filled the CO of SG-1 in on what Thor had told them. "Take it down," Jack ordered. "Tell whoever it is out there that we’ll send it back up as soon as we have our people off."
Carefully, Sam and Daniel searched the control consoles. Found the helm. "Okay, here we go," the archaeologist said quietly.
The ship had barely moved when it was hit with weapons fire. It was apparent that it had merely been a ‘shot across the bow’, a warning not to move.
Jack fell against the wall, one hand slipping from the rung of the ladder. "What the hell was that?"
"I guess they don’t want us going anywhere," Sam’s voice replied.
He wiped his face against his shoulder. This mission just could not get any worse! "Okay, suggestions?"
"Daniel wants to go over to that ship. He thinks if he talks to them face to face he might be able to buy us more time."
Was he nuts? Was he totally out of his mind? "No way!"
"Jack, it could be our only chance," Daniel’s voice pleaded.
"No, Daniel. We have no idea what’s over there. We’ll do the best we can."
Daniel shook his head. He'd disobeyed Jack in the past, when he felt that the older man was being unreasonable. Once again he would follow his heart. "Thor, it’s time for me to make a visit."
"I understand, Doctor Jackson," the alien replied. "Readings indicate a suitable environment. I shall try to put you on the bridge of their ship."
Jack put his foot on the deck plating. Well, they were down two levels. Now he just needed the team seer to tell him which direction. "Case, we’re on the third level...which way?"
"Uh...Casey isn’t here...exactly," Sam’s voice said hesitantly.
"What do you mean, she’s not there?"
"She went to that other ship with Daniel."
Goddamn it! I should be used to it by now! He should, he continued to complain to himself, be accustomed to giving an order and having Daniel completely disregard it. And go off and do something stupid. Usually with very unpleasant consequences. "When he gets back, tell him I’m going to kick his ass!"
Teal’c hid a smile. If Daniel Jackson had gone to the alien vessel, then he had reason to believe it was necessary. O’Neill was just as aware of this fact as he was. He tightened his grip on the P90 in his hand. Scanned every inch of the corridor. The ship was too large to try and find the way on their own. More time would be wasted by doing so.
"Keep your eyes open," Jack growled. "We stay put for now."
A A A A A A
In a blinding flash of light, Daniel and Casey disappeared from the command center. And reappeared on the control deck of a very alien spacecraft. Looking at...aliens.
Ants, Casey thought, trying to subdue the panic that rose in her chest. They looked like freaking ants! Tall - very tall - ants. They walked on two legs. Had two sets of arms. And...ant faces. And antennae. Which seemed to be waving furiously in their direction. She unconsciously moved closer to Daniel, wrapped her hands around his arm.
"I am Doctor Jackson," Daniel said quietly, calmly. "I have come to beg your mercy. We have two options, land that ship, and get our people off, at which time we’ll send it back to you to be destroyed. Or we need more time."
"The ship must be destroyed."
"I understand that."
"You have what is left of one full rotation of the planet beneath us."
He sighed. "Please..."
"The ship must be destroyed."
She reached out. So...alien. They operated...lived...as a group...like a hive. And she could sense absolutely no emotion other than anger. "They don’t understand, Daniel," she whispered. "They feel anger. But it seems to be the only emotion that they’re capable of. Love, joy, compassion...I can’t sense any of those feelings in them."
He nodded wearily. Keyed his radio. "Thor, we need a lift back to the Traveler’s ship."
Another flash of light, and they were right back where they had started from.
"Jack’s pissed," Sam said immediately.
Casey grinned. Closed her eyes. Met Daniel in the meadow, and did a quick search of the ship near the spot where her two team mates waited. She grabbed her radio. "Jack, facing the access shaft, turn right. Follow that corridor. Fourth door on the left."
A A A A A A
So far there had been no sign of Traveler’s, Replicators, or androids. With luck, it would remain that way.
"Is it just me, or is it getting hotter?" Lieutenant Larsen asked, wiping her face with the back of her hand.
"It’s getting hotter," Sergeant Peterson agreed.
"Let’s move, campers. We’re running out of time," Jack said. In more ways than one, he added silently.
Just as they feared, the door refused to open. They didn’t have time to try and strong arm it. Jack reached for a small brick of C-4. It would probably blow the damned thing into pieces, but right now they didn’t have many choices. "Get back down the corridor, behind support beams," he ordered. He slapped the explosive into place, pushed the fuse into the putty like substance, then dove for cover, pushing the detonator button as he did so.
The door blew apart, fell sideways. Teal’c shoved it out of the way, then stepped into the dimly lit room. Red emergency lights were glowing. If possible, the room was hotter than the corridor.
"Find the control panel for these things," Jack ordered, already scanning the lower level of the massive room. There were easily a thousand cryogenic pods. And they could see that they were occupied.
Lieutenant Palmer approached the first pod. The...creatures...he had seen had been pale to the point of being pasty white. The face in the pod he was staring at was cherry red. He didn’t pretend to understand all of the pod readouts that flashed on a small screen. But he could understand the warning light that continued to flash. "Sir, this pod is malfunctioning."
Jack bit his lip. Made a command decision. Hoped for the best. "Break the glass. Be as careful as you can, but we need to get these people out of these things."
With a nod, the young man used the butt of his weapon. It took several blows before the glass finally broke enough that he could use his knife to pull it away from the pod. He pressed his fingers to the neck of the creature. There was no pulse. "This one is dead, sir."
"This one too," Mills called out.
"Same here," Lt. Larsen added.
Frantically the two teams rushed from pod to pod, trying to find any of the creatures still alive. Time seemed to stand still...and rush past them too quickly all at the same time. None of them were aware of how much time passed as they desperately searched for survivors.
"Found one!" Jones yelled excitedly. He pulled the small body from the tube. It appeared to be a child.
They froze in place when the lights began to flicker on above them, blinking against the unaccustomed glare.
"What are you doing?" a feminine voice demanded.
Jack turned around to face the speaker. It’s said that everyone has a double...a doppelganger that looks exactly the same. He bit back his gasp as he came face to face with Janet Fraiser's double. "Trying to save these people," he replied gruffly. "So far, we aren’t having much luck. The interiors of these pods are even hotter than this room."
"That’s not possible! I locked the controls!" the woman gasped.
"Lady, I’m telling you, these people cooked to death in those damned things!"
The woman lowered her weapon. Another woman, a man, and two young boys stepped into the room. "Hurry! We must save them!" She ran to the console that stood near the middle of the room. "I can’t establish control," she cried out.
Jack cocked his head to one side. Yep, that was definitely the sound of metal bugs on the move. "We gotta move, people!"
Sparks began to dance over the control console on the upper level...catching fire quickly.
"Found another alive one, sir!" a voice called from the third level.
"How many left to check?" Jack demanded.
"Fifty, at least," was the reply. Time continued to tick down as they rushed to examine the last of the pods.
A A A A A A
She closed her eyes as she laid back on the narrow bunk in the quarters to which she had been assigned. Fought the tears. Ten. Of eight hundred of the...creatures...humans genetically altered by evil beings, ten had survived. Three had been children. For so long she'd tried to protect them. When Derrick had insisted that the Healer had instructed him to take his people out of the pods, she'd tried to reason with him. Finally she'd stunned him, in order to get him and his ‘crew’ back into the cryogenic sleep chambers, and safety. Except...they hadn’t been safe. He had been right, she'd learned. General O’Neill had assured her that she and Pharrin and Narice and their boys would be relocated, along with the surviving Capricians, on a nice quiet planet, with a small, indigenous population willing to accept them.
A A A A A A
The captain stared at the wall of the cell. There had been no word from other Traveler’s in nearly one hundred years. It seemed that he and his crew were the last. How ironic that the very ones who should have been destroyed were the ones to eradicate the Travelers. He closed his eyes. His was of a proud people. Better to die than to have their bloodlines contaminated.
A A A A A A
The teams were subdued as they shuffled into the briefing room. Duncan settled into the chair at the head of the table. Listened to the reports from each of the teams.
"Thor cleared the ship of Replicators as soon as we were off of it," Jack said. "I suggest we keep an eye on where any pieces of that ship might fall when...whoever they are...destroy that thing. Just to be on the safe side."
"I agree," Duncan replied. "Daniel, any clue at all to the identity of those...uh...beings?"
Daniel wearily shook his head. "None. They didn’t seem interested in getting to know us. I let them know that we were abandoning the ship."
The Highlander nodded. "It’s been a long damned day. Go home. Get some sleep."
A A A A A A
They had held each other tightly in the afterglow of their love making. Daniel stared at the stars that he could see through the open French doors, Casey close beside him, breathing softly in sleep. He hated days like this. Days when they couldn’t move fast enough, sort through the puzzle pieces soon enough to make a difference. Ten people. Thor had assured them that the genetic repairs would be done in just a few days. But they had only managed to save ten people. He smiled, pressed a kiss to her forehead when she snuggled closer, wrapped her arm around his waist, slipped her leg between his. She'd told him that ten was better than none at all. It seemed like such an insignificant number, considering there had been eight hundred people searching for the Healer.
He closed his eyes. Days like today happened too often for his liking. But he would continue doing his job; just like his teammates, his friends. Because it was what they did. And sometimes, they were able to make a difference. Next time, he told himself, just before surrendering to sleep. Next time, they would win.
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