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Whom the Gods Created
Casey was sitting in the Center, working on a tablet that was covered with Ancient cuneiform. She was staring at the marks, not even seeing them, her mind wandering…although she wasn't actually aware of that fact, when the phone on the desk rang. She shook herself, sighed, and reached to answer it. Heard only the dial tone. She frowned, replaced the receiver. Only for the phone to start ringing again. For the second time she heard only the dial tone. Okay, if this was someone's idea of a joke, I'm not amused, she huffed silently. When the phone rang for the third time, she tried to ignore it. Finally, she jerked the handset from the base. "What?"
"What's wrong, babe?"
She sighed. "Did you call here before?"
"Before? No, why?"
"The phone rang twice, when I answered, all I got was a dial tone," she explained.
Sitting in his office in the mountain, Daniel frowned. The phone system on the base was set up to allow easy access from one office or lab to another. Any calls coming from outside of the base went through the switchboard first. The caller had to request either the office or lab or person that they wished to speak to specifically. So it wasn't very likely that there were any prank calls coming from off base. He couldn't think of anyone who would be likely to play around like that on base.
'That' feeling began to settle over her. Before she could say anything, she heard a 'click', and a dial tone. She pulled the receiver away from her ear and stared at it. The dial tone began to change…until it was clicks and clacks. She'd never been good with Morse code. But that was exactly what it sounded like. With a sigh, she grabbed a pad, and began to take down the dots and dashes that she heard. Just as suddenly as the entire 'episode' started, it ended.
Daniel ran into the room. When the phone had gone dead, he'd feared the worst. He had contacted Jack, the alarms were wailing inside the mountain…not one of the phones were working properly. Fear that his Wife could be in danger had sent him racing for the Center. "Case?"
She looked up, took note of the worried look in his blue eyes. "I'm okay. But I think we just got a message." She held up the pad.
"Let's see what we've got," he said quietly. There was no doubt in his mind that the 'message' had been sent to Casey because of her gift. He glanced at the phone. Picked it up. Not even a dial tone now. He grabbed his cell phone. It wasn't working, either. "Can you contact your Dad?"
Casey nodded. 'Daddy?'
'I am here, Little One.'
'Something weird is going on, phones are all out here on the base.'
'I am aware. The phone system is down here, as well. Your mother informs me that the television and radio are also affected.'
'Not at the moment.'
'Maybe you'd better meet us in the briefing room.'
'I will be there.'
She looked up at her husband. "Daddy says that the phones are out everywhere, and the television and radio are out as well."
Daniel frowned. "Disrupting communication is the first thing an enemy would want to do," he said slowly.
"Well, they've succeeded, whoever they are," Casey replied. She frowned as the poking in the back of her mind became stronger. "I told Daddy to meet us in the briefing room."
He nodded, took her hand. "Let's go find out what's going on."
A A A A A A
Organized chaos reigned inside the mountain as each level, each section, reported loss of communication abilities, and interference on some of the more sensitive equipment that ran experiments of various sorts. Sam and the group from JPL had been working on satellites, only to have three of their computers, used for setting and checking frequencies, begin to malfunction.
"I thought that the base was shielded from this sort of interference," Casey said.
"It is," Sam replied, her frown intense. "Something…someone is capable of overriding all of our defense mechanisms."
"I hate the sound of that," Duncan said.
"Case, show them," Daniel said softly.
"Before Daniel called me, the phone rang twice. All I got was a dial tone when I answered. Then, in the middle of our conversation, the phone went dead. Then I heard a bunch of clicks and clacks," she said softly.
"'Clicks and clacks'?" Jack asked, raising one eyebrow.
She nodded. "It didn't sound like anything at first, and then I heard…sensed maybe…that there was a pattern. So, I took it down. I thought maybe it was Morse code or something."
Daniel slid the pad toward the gray haired man. "Does it make any sense?"
Jack examined the dots and dashes. He shook his head. "If it's Morse code, it's gibberish."
"Then it's another sort of signal," Sam said. "Let me see it." She glanced at the marks on the paper. "It almost looks like…"
"It almost looks like what?" Duncan asked when Sam's frown deepened.
"These are prime numbers," she said at last. "At least, that's what it looks like. I'd like to take this down and run it through the computer.
"Do it," the Highlander replied.
Sam nodded, took the pad and disappeared into the corridor.
That poking would not stop! Casey shook her head slightly. Pressed her hand to the side of her head.
"Case?" Daniel asked softly.
"I don't know," she whispered. "There's something, I just…I can't…" she shook her head again. "I know that there's something going on. I can't…focus…it's like…it's like I'm being… blocked…but I'm not sure it's on purpose."
Duncan frowned. "I suppose that whatever is interfering with all of the electrical signals from the satellites could affect you…the function of the brain is chemical and electrical."
Daniel nodded. "It might be that none of the interference is intentional."
Aaron had appeared in the room, having stopped long enough to check on his grandchildren, and those of his daughter's friends. "All of the children are safe," he said immediately.
"Daddy, I'm being blocked," Casey told him.
The Ancient frowned. Casey was a powerful seer, it would take considerable effort to keep her from 'seeing'. He closed his eyes. Found that his own powers were muted…not as clear as they should have been. "There is a ship entering orbit above us. The Phoenix, Persephone, and Thor's ship are being affected as well, none of their communications systems seem to be working."
"Daddy, don't let them fire on that ship!"
With a nod, Aaron disappeared in a flash, reappearing on the bridge of the Phoenix long enough to warn against firing on the strange ship that had settled into orbit above Hope, then making a brief appearance on the Persephone. He delivered the same message to Thor, then reappeared in the briefing room. "They will not fire unless fired upon," the Ancient reported.
"Good. I don't think we should be shooting at someone we don't even know," Casey replied, relieved that her father had been able to alert the ships so quickly.
"Why not?" Jack asked. "Obviously whoever they are, they're trying to shut us down."
Casey shook her head. "No, I don't think so. I don't think they're aware that they're causing any disruptions. They've been trying to send a signal to us, but for some reason, I was the only one to get it."
Sam hurried back into the room. "We're starting to get the same signal on all of the phones now," she reported. "I'm thinking that Casey 'heard' it before we did because of her gift. I'm assuming that it's being relayed into every phone in Hope."
"So how do we communicate with these…beings?" Duncan asked.
"ET phone home," Casey murmured. She looked up, found all eyes on her. "What?"
"ET phone home?" Jack asked.
Daniel grinned. "You just said 'ET phone home'."
She groaned. "I so hate when that happens!"
"She might have the right idea," Sam said. She stood up, went to the table near the door, picked up the handset, brought it back to the conference table. She began to take it apart.
"I give up, what are you doing?" Jack asked after watching her for a moment.
"Trying to make a call," the astrophysicist replied. She began to tap against the components in her hand.
"Tell them to cease and desist," Jack grumbled.
Casey giggled. Then cried out in pain. It was if a hot spike had been driven through one temple and out the other side of her head. She pressed her fingers to her temples, then fainted.
"Oh, hell," Daniel mumbled, grabbing his wife before her face hit the table. He looked over to see that his father-in-law was pale, pressing fingers to his own head. "Aaron?"
"I do not know what is happening," the man said quietly.
"Tell me this isn't some sort of attack," Jack said, his voice strained.
"Casey did not believe the actions of those on this mysterious ship to be malevolent. I believe she is correct," the Ancient gasped.
"I wonder if Westland is experiencing the same thing," Duncan murmured.
The Immortals who had been rescued by SG-1, their DNA altered by Thor to allow them to leave the solar system where they had been created, had settled into quiet life on Gamma. That they were alive was enough for them, having been hunted by the very people they had helped, the civilization that the Immortals of that world had been instrumental in creating. Not one of them worked on the base, nor were any of them interested…or allowed…to work in the hospital or any of the various research laboratories that had sprung up on the 'new world'. They kept to themselves, having chosen to live together in one of the 'older' houses in Hope.
"No way to know without finding him to check on him," Daniel said.
"Maybe we should do that," Sam said quietly. She nodded toward her unconscious friend. "If they don't know what's happening, it could panic them."
Duncan nodded. Motioned for the SF standing guard at the door. "Tell Kyle to get someone to Kaitlyn's place. If Westland is unconscious, have him brought here. His friends are welcome to stay with him."
The young man nodded solemnly, cast a worried glance at Casey, the woman who saw to it that none of the SG teams walked through the 'gate into any situation blindly, and hurried from the room.
"We should take her to the infirmary," Jack said softly. He glanced at the Ancient. If Aaron was affected, no doubt Erin was as well. "Teal'c, do you think Carly would mind sitting with the Jackson kids?"
"I believe she would be most happy to do so," the large man replied.
"Could you see to it? Bring Erin here as well," the gray haired general said.
With a regal nod of his head, Teal'c stood and left the room.
A A A A A A
"Meemaw? Meemaw?" Emily continued to shake the woman's shoulder.
Erin Desala had been preparing lunch for her grandchildren when the pain struck her, so overwhelming that, like her daughter, it rendered her unconscious.
Emily Jackson was a very bright little girl. Twice she 'd tried to dial 9-1-1, just like she'd been taught. But the telephone was broken…it was making funny noises, and she couldn't make it work. Nicholas watched as his five year old sister paced the floor. Ethan had started fussing, and the little girl was at a loss as to know what to do for her youngest brother. "Nicholas, you stay right here. Don't lets nobody come in but me. 'Stand?"
"'Stand," the little boy replied, nodding his blonde head. With the uncanny ability of a child, he understood that something was wrong. He also understood that his big sister was about to do something about the situation.
Emily hurried to the back door in the laundry room. She slipped outside, stared at the gate that Daddy had told them never to open. But this was a 'mergency. Daddy wouldn't get mad at her if it was a 'mergency. She stretched up, barely able to reach the latch that Daniel had put as high as possible. She had to push hard, and it took several attempts, but at last she had the gate open. She ran next door, opened the gate in the Murlow's fence, and dashed to the back of the house.
Katie Murlow was cleaning out her refrigerator, and jumped with surprise, and not a little fright, when Emily Jackson appeared at her elbow. "Emily! You startled me!"
"Meemaw fell down! She won't wakes up!" the little girl explained, her blue eyes wide with fright.
The woman was on her feet, pulling rubber gloves from her hands. She knew all about the Jacksons, and the Desalas. If Erin was down, something was terribly wrong. "Show me, sweetie," she said, taking the frightened child's hand.
Erin was indeed unconscious. Katie, who stood five foot three inches, and weighed in at ninety-seven pounds, could do nothing more than put a pillow beneath the woman's head, and cover her with an afghan. Ethan was screaming his displeasure at being ignored, so she turned her attention to him. A bottle was sitting on the counter. It felt warm enough, Katie thought. She checked the baby's diaper…it had just been changed, apparently. Sandwiches were half made on the counter.
"I know you're hungry, Emily, but can you and Nicholas wait until I've fed Ethan?" Katie asked, settling into a chair in the conversation room.
The blonde head moved up and down. "Is Meemaw dead?"
This poor child has been through so much, Katie thought sympathetically. "No, sweetie. She's just asleep."
"Mommy go-ded to sleep once, and I couldn't wakes her up. She was talking a lady who knows my Auntie Oma. Is Meemaw talking to that lady?"
Even knowing about Casey's Immortality, and her psychic gifts, Katie was taken aback at the simple question. Life must be amazing in this house, she thought. Terrifying, amazing, totally bizarre! She'd heard Casey say numerous times that she'd trade it all for a normal life. "I don't know, Emily. We'll have to ask her when she wakes up."
Ethan suckled greedily at the bottle as soon as the nipple came into contact with his tiny lips. Like his brother, he had a very healthy appetite.
"Emily, can you bring me the telephone?" Katie asked as soon as she had the baby settled in the crook of her arm, happily taking his bottle.
"'Phone is broken," Emily announced.
"Bring it to me, maybe I can fix it," the neighbor said. She hadn't been listening to either the television or the radio, hadn't heard the strange clicks and clacks that had taken over the stations. Nor had she tried using her phone since whatever was happening had started.
Emily handed the cordless phone to the woman. "It don't work."
After a few frustrated attempts to dial out, Katie smiled. "It certainly doesn't. Well, for now, we'll just wait. I'm sure your Mommy or Daddy will be here soon."
The little girl dropped down on the ottoman in front of the woman who sat feeding her baby brother. "I hope so," she sighed.
Fifteen minutes later, the doorbell rang. Emily and Nicholas raced to the front door, pulled it open before Katie could stop them. The woman was terrified that the children would be snatched, taken before she could prevent it from happening. She sighed audibly with relief when the large Jaffa she'd met at the Jackson's barbecues stepped into the house.
"Is Erin Desala well?" he asked as soon as he saw the neighbor woman.
"No, she's not. Emily came and got me, she said her grandmother wouldn't 'wake up'," Katie replied.
Carly had followed her husband. Laughed when Emily and Nicholas greeted her with squeals of delight. She dropped down to her knees and hugged them, accepting their hugs in return. "I will stay with the children if you wish to return to your home," she said quietly.
Katie smiled. Knew that the children would probably be more relaxed in the care of someone they knew well, someone who was an active part of their lives. She transferred Ethan to the Spanish woman's arms. "I'm right next door if you need anything. Emily, you did a very good thing by coming to get me," she said, running her hand over the little girl's hair.
"Indeed you did," Carly agreed. "You are a very smart little girl. I am certain your Mommy and Daddy will be very proud of you."
Emily beamed under the praise of the adults. She looked up at Teal'c, her little head back as far as it would go in order to see the tall man. "You help my Meemaw, Unka T?"
"Indeed," Teal'c replied, smiling at the little girl. "I will take her to the infirmary. I am quite certain that Doctor Montigue will be able to help her."
"Dok'tor Monty will fix her," Emily nodded. She had the utmost faith in the man who had cared for her when she had been shot.
"Indeed," Teal'c smiled. He followed Katie Murlow into the kitchen, gathered Erin into his arms. "I do not know how long it will be before I am able to get word to you. Be prepared to take the children to the safe room," he told his wife. He kissed her, nodded at Katie, and hurried back out the front door.
Aaron was now unconscious, and was in a bed next to the one occupied by his daughter. Westland had been brought in, also unconscious. His friends sat quietly near the bed where he lay.
Teal'c walked into the room, put Erin in the empty bed beside Aaron. "Emily had the presence of mind to seek help from your neighbor when she was unable to awaken her grandmother," Teal'c told Daniel.
He couldn't help but smile. Emily was a very smart little girl. Daniel had no doubt that it hadn't taken her long to figure out that the phones weren't working, and to seek help from the Murlow's. His daughter's gift wasn't yet 'developed', which was probably what kept her from suffering the same fate as those who had special psychic gifts.
"I hate the fact that we're going to be working blind," Jack murmured softly.
"I agree," Duncan replied. "If Case didn't believe…whoever it is up there…is doing all of this on purpose, I suggest we proceed with that assumption."
Jack nodded. He looked over at his wife. Sam had sent a message back to the ship, or at least, she was hoping that she had, a reply that consisted of the next string of prime numbers. So far there had been no change in the 'message' that had been 'arriving' for the past hour. "How long before we know if you got through?"
Sam shrugged. "I don't know. If they received it, we should be noticing a change in the message…the string of primes that would follow what I sent."
"For now, all we can do is wait, I guess," Duncan said. "I'm sending the Marines into town. They can let Robert and Gary know what's going on," he said, referring to Hope's mayor and newly elected police commissioner. Gary Brady was Immortal, and had been in law enforcement for nearly three hundred years. He'd been one of the original Texas Rangers.
"Good idea. As long as the power stays on, we'll avoid mass panic," Jack replied.
"I don't think we'll see any other disruptions," Sam said. "So far…they…seem to be focused on our communications."
"Trying to communicate with us," Daniel replied softly. He brushed a lock of hair from Casey's face.
"Well, as soon as we can have a sit down with these people, whoever they are, we're going to need those diplomatic skills of yours, Danny," Jack said.
The young archaeologist smiled. "I'll do my best."
"That's all I'm asking," Jack told him, smiling at his best friend. If Daniel couldn't get through to whoever it was up there, nobody could.
"Colonel Carter!" one of the technicians raced into the infirmary. "The message has changed!"
"This is it, people," Jack said.
Duncan nodded. "Let's go back to the briefing room."
Daniel caressed her cheek. Hated the thought of working without her. Hoped that her…skills…wouldn't be needed before they could convince these…visitors…that their attempts at communication were disrupting life on Gamma, and harming several of its citizens.
A A A A A A
Just as Sam had hoped, the next string of prime numbers was being sent. Once again she very carefully tapped out by hand the following string. Thirty minutes later a 'blast' of information lasting nearly seventeen minutes had been sent.
Daniel looked at the printout of the dots and dashes. "Without a reference, a starting point, I have no idea what this means," he admitted.
"What about letting the computer try to translate it?" Jack suggested.
"The computer isn't having any better luck than we are," Sam reported.
The young archaeologist was frowning. "I have an idea. But I don't know if it can be done."
"What?" Duncan asked.
"If we could…transmit…images, common images…and star charts…and label them, perhaps they could find the key to our language, then send us the key to theirs."
Sam frowned. "Right now, tapping out strings of prime numbers is all I can do."
Duncan studied the young archaeologist. "Daniel, you're The Chosen. Isn't there something in your repertoire that you can draw on?"
He frowned. He'd never attempted to do anything without Casey's help, her guidance. He automatically reached out to touch her, feel her, caress her. Felt the 'dimness' that signified that she was still unconscious. "I could try."
"If you could just power one of the satellites, I might be able to send a message. I could send an image of our solar system, then images of Gamma, and Hope," Sam said, hope flaring in her eyes at the thought of being able to send a full message back to the...visitors.
"I'll try," the young man repeated quietly. "Just tell me what to do."
"We need to go to the lab. Controls for the all of the satellites are there," Sam said, rising to her feet.
Daniel nodded, and stood as well. "I'll try to compose a short, simple message, and then put it into as many languages as I can think of."
Duncan nodded his agreement. "Good luck," he said softly.
Jack and Teal'c were going to get the teams organized, ready to fight if need be. Several young Airmen were going to be messengers, reporting any progress to the waiting city officials. The longer this…crisis…continued, the more need for information to disseminate to the people of the city. The citizens of Hope lived on the 'frontier'. They were aware that trouble could strike them at any time. But not knowing what was happening was a terrifying thing, and the longer that situation lasted, the worse things could become. One disaster at a time was all they wanted to have to deal with.
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