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Whom the Gods Created
"I think we're as ready as we'll ever be," Sam sighed. She looked up at her best friend. "We've tried to keep the message down to the same amount of time it took for us to receive theirs. Seventeen minutes. You'll have to keep the satellite powered for thirty four minutes. We'll need time to get the message 'uploaded'."
Daniel nodded. "I'll do my best."
Duncan, Jack, and Teal'c watched nervously as Daniel put his hands on the computer that controlled the satellite that orbited above them. The computer itself was working…the satellite, however, was not.
He'd used the Fire before in this manner. If he could just 'link' from the computer to the satellite…Brushing aside the burning desire…the need…to have Casey standing beside him, her soft hands gently touching his body, sending her Fire to him…he took a deep breath. Began to will the power to the satellite.
Sam and her colleagues and assistants watched with bated breath. As soon as they had confirmation that the satellite was fully functional, the upload would begin. Which hopefully wouldn't take more than the seventeen allotted minutes. Then, triggered by the instructions imbedded in the information, the satellite would beam the message to the ship that was sending the next in the series of prime numbers. That would take another seventeen minutes. Then, all they could do was wait…and hope.
He focused the Fire as well as he could. He needed Casey's help! He had no idea if he was getting anywhere near the damned thing!
"Got it! Jim said excitedly.
"Start the upload," Sam instructed. She watched carefully, her attention divided between keeping track of the upload of information, and her best friend.
Minutes ticked by. He could feel the beads of sweat as they rolled down his face, down his neck, between his shoulder blades…over his chest. The pull of energy was intense, and it was taking his full concentration to keep the Fire moving.
Time became their enemy. The longer Daniel continued to power the satellite, the more drained his body became. If he was unable to keep the transfer of information going, there was no way to know if enough had made it to the aliens who waited above them for the work to be translated.
"Seven more minutes," Sam said softly.
God, he needed Casey! He was fast approaching the end of his endurance. Her Fire would be enough to keep him going…concentrate…have to do this…for Her! She might not regain consciousness until…whoever they were…understood that their methods of communication were hurting her…so tired…can't do this much longer…
His body was beginning to shake. The palms of his hands were a mass of blisters as he continued to send the Fire into the computer, and up to the satellite. Can't hold on much longer…too tired…for her…do it for her…
"Time! You can stop, now Daniel," Sam said wrapping her arm around his shoulders.
He collapsed face first onto the computer console. Jack and Teal'c gently lifted him, carried him to the infirmary.
The blonde astrophysicist turned to the dark haired Immortal who waited beside the door. "Now we wait," she said.
"Let's hope that Daniel's conscious in time to talk to these people, if they understand what we're trying to say to them," Duncan replied. He watched as Brad and Jim twisted in their chairs, nervously chewing on the tops of their pens. As Sam paced the width of the lab again and again, her long legs taking her from one side to the other with a minimum of steps.
So they waited. Worried. Thirty minutes passed, thirty minutes of nerve wracking silence… waiting, hoping that the aliens would understand their message
"Uh oh," Brad murmured.
"What?" Jim asked, examining his own control panel.
"What's up?" Sam asked worriedly
"I think they're getting ready to send another 'message'. The prime number sequence ended. Just like it did the last time they sent their message," Brad replied.
Another burst of energy seemed to flow over the telephone lines. Again, it lasted for seventeen minutes. It was, unfortunately, exactly the same as the message that had been received before.
"Maybe they aren't having any better luck deciphering our code than we did deciphering theirs," Jim said wearily.
"Too bad they don't just land somewhere and come out…we might have a better chance of getting through to each other," Brad said, shaking his head. "They always landed in those old sci-fi movies."
Sam couldn't help but giggle. "Yeah, but usually when they did, it wasn't good for Earth."
"Good point," Brad grinned.
"Any luck?" a voice asked softly from the doorway.
"Daniel!" Sam hurried over, hugged the man. "Not yet. They sent the same message again, thirty minutes after ours ended."
"Let's see it," he said. Jack and Teal'c followed him into the room.
She sat down at one of the consoles, began to scroll through the lines of 'noise' that had made up the message.
"Wait, wait…go back," he said, sitting closer to the monitor. "Slowly…back more…more… there!"
"I don't see anything," Sam admitted after studying the lines of ones and zeros for a moment.
"Don't look at the numbers. Look at the shapes they create," Daniel said gently.
The blonde scientist frowned, examined the lines of 'code' that he had pointed out.
"Do you see it?" The young archaeologist was beginning to get excited.
"It almost looks like…well sort of like Ancient cuneiform," Sam admitted.
"At least pieces of the letters," Daniel confirmed. "Can you print this out?"
"Sure," she replied.
Within five minutes Daniel had the printer sheets spread out on the table. "We need to trim the edges of the paper off," he said after staring at the pages for a few minutes.
Carefully, the white margins were removed. Sam watched him as he carefully pushed the sheets together. Frowned slightly. "I don't recognize much," she said finally.
Daniel stared at the printed pages. Located the lines that had first 'jumped out' at him. Began to work from there. Located the same 'letters' in seven other places. "It's an SOS," he said finally.
"Then they're seeking help?" Duncan asked.
"Looks that way," the young man replied.
"If they can understand our message, maybe they'll shut down their…transmitters…" Sam said. "That would allow us to try to communicate with them."
Daniel shook his head. "I think this is automated."
"Why don't I like the sound of that?" Jack asked.
"Because if it is, I have no idea how to shut it off, not without destroying that ship," Daniel said softly. "I won't do that. Not if there's a chance that there are still living beings on it."
No one needed to ask him why. He'd been forced to kill too many times, on too grand a scale to ever use his 'gift' that way again; never again on anyone who wasn't an attacking enemy.
"Without Casey, there's no way for me to…get there…and check it out."
"That's not exactly true," Jack said. "There are several ships in the port, aren't there?"
"About a half dozen or so, I think," Duncan replied. "They've all been grounded due to the communications blackout."
"So, we take a ship out there, dock with…whatever it is…and go on board. See what we can find out. Maybe we can turn off this automated message ourselves," Jack said.
Sam nodded. "It might be our only chance to re-establish control. If this is automated, the people on board might be in some sort of cryogenic sleep."
This comment nudged Jack's memory. And it wasn't a pleasant trip down memory lane, either. Images of Daniel connected to that damned machine flickered past his eyes. "This couldn't be another group like the ones on that planet where Daniel went Dell, could it?" he asked, a frown on his face.
Daniel frowned as well. "I don't think so. From what I can remember…there was the feeling that the ship that landed there was the only one to have completed the journey."
"Like I said…it could be another ship from that same group," Jack replied. "Maybe this ship just hadn't completed the journey."
"Doesn't matter who it is at this point," Duncan said. "Right now we need to shut that damned thing off. If taking a ship up there is the only way to do so, then that's what we'll do."
"I don't think we have any other choices," Sam agreed.
"Okay, let's get a couple of teams together," Jack said. "We have to get this done soon. We're sitting ducks and blind as freaking bats if we don't get our satellites and our resident seer back."
He couldn't help but smile. Casey was as much a part of the defense network of Gamma as any of the satellites. Having her unconscious in the infirmary was not what he wanted, either. Daniel hated the thought of leaving the planet without her, but for the time being, he had no choice.
A A A A A A
There were seven ships in the Gamma Spaceport; seven captains anxious to know what was happening, and when they would be allowed to leave, all of them complaining…loudly…about their schedules. The Dockmaster sighed wearily. He'd just sent every one of them back to their ships, telling them that as soon as they heard from him, he'd have their answers. Not one had been amused. He almost moaned out loud when he saw General Jack O'Neill, the members of SG-1, and eight other uniformed people walk into the office.
"We need your help," Jack said without preamble, as soon as he was near enough to the long, wide counter that split the equally long room half.
Martin Hembley had worked as a quartermaster on one of the first ships that had ever sailed from the port in London, when that port had consisted of a pier and a few shanties for storage. Through the years he'd worked at nearly every port in the world at some level or another…including Harbor Master of three of the largest harbors on Earth. Robert deValicort had believed him perfect for this job. He had centuries of experience, after all. Dealing with the problems that came from working with ships capable of space flight, however, was nothing like what he was used to handling. Oh, sure, he'd 'found his footing'. Had learned that basically the ship's captain and crew were the same as those of the old sailing ships. But the amount of technology involved was more than he understood on a good day. And this wasn't a good day. Of all the lousy times for Craig to go on vacation, he thought grumpily. That young man knew more about computers and data and refueling robots than he would ever comprehend. He heaved a sigh. "And what can I do for you, General?"
"We need to…borrow…one of those ships," Jack replied. He noted the name on the wooden sign that hung in front of the desk. "Martin."
Martin wiped a hand over his face. "I see. Well, with communications shot to hell, just how am I supposed to let the captains of those vessels know you need one?"
"Ever think of just walking up to one of them and knocking on the door?" Jack asked.
When Martin realized that the man was serious, he began to laugh. "Can't said that I have. Guess right now it's your best shot. Help yourself."
Jack grinned. "Any suggestions on which one would be the most…interested…in helping us out?"
"Probably Dooley Obernon. Freighter captain. Dock number ten," Martin replied.
With a nod, Jack turned to the two SG teams that accompanied SG-1. "Remember, we're guests."
The young people nodded. Followed the older man and his legendary team back out the door. When they found dock number ten, Jack began to laugh. "I think that Mr. Martin Hembley has one hell of a sense of humor."
The freighter that was captained by Dooley Obernon was more rust than metal. It had been repaired so many times that none of the parts appeared to belong to the original ship. And it had the most unusual name written in Terran on the side. "Wind Of The Gods" was proclaimed proudly, in dripping green painted letters nearly six feet high.
Daniel began to snicker. "I think Mr. Obernon must have one hell of a sense of humor, too."
"Does that mean what I think it means?" Sam asked, grinning broadly.
"I think so," Daniel replied.
Teal'c's cheek was twitching. "I believe that Casey Jackson would be the first to point out that Mr. Obernon has named his ship, 'Gods' farts'."
The team lost their battle to remain stoic in front of the much younger members of the two new teams. They burst into laugher, leaning on one another, struggling desperately to regain their composure.
"Casey will be madder than hell about missing this," Daniel gasped.
"You know the first question she would ask, don't you?" Jack asked, trying to catch his breath.
"What do gods' farts smell like?" Sam managed to say, before losing the battle to regain control, and laughing hysterically once again. Her teammates were nearly on the ground as they laughed with her.
"Well now, what have we here?" a very tall, muscular man with ebony skin stepped onto the cement walkway. His English was excellent, if heavily accented.
Jack wiped his eyes. Cast a glance at his team to assure himself that they were standing upright. "I'm General Jack O'Neill. We'd like to speak to Captain Obernon."
"That would be me," the giant of a man replied. He looked each of the team members over carefully. Stepped closer to Teal'c, until the two men were toe to toe, staring eye to eye.
"That's Teal'c, and he'll kick your ass before you can blink your eyes," Jack warned quietly.
Obernon glanced at the gray headed man. Raised his fist. Found himself on the ground, the dark skinned man named Teal'c kneeling in the middle of his chest. "I believe you're right, General Jack O'Neill." He began to chuckle. "And what do I owe the honor of meeting the great SG-1?"
"There's a ship up there, sending out an SOS. And it's playing havoc with our communications systems," Jack replied truthfully.
Teal'c offered the man his hand. Helped the ship's captain to his feet. Fought the grin that threatened when the man clapped him companionably on the back.
"We need to get to that ship."
"Mightn't the folks on that ship take offense?" Obernon asked.
"We don't think they're conscious," Daniel said. Damn it, we'd know for certain what was going on if Casey were awake, and with us! It had been a long time…years…since they'd walked into a situation without any idea at all of what they might be facing. He didn't like it. Not at all.
"Well, if they are, and they take it into their heads to fire on my ship, just what guarantee do I have that my crew and I will survive?"
Jack grinned. "In that piece of shit?" He motioned at the hulking ship beside them. "How do you know that damned thing will even make it into orbit?"
Obernon's eyes flashed. He roared with laughter. "You do have a legitimate point, General. However, may I point out that if I agree to help you, you'll be taking the same risk as my crew?"
"If your crew can do it, we can," Jack replied.
"I suppose you wish to dock with this…unknown…ship?"
"That's the plan, yeah," Jack said.
"Well, General Jack O'Neill, come on aboard the Wind. I'll see if I can't hold this piece of shit together long enough to get you to that ship and back again."
Jack laughed, accepted the large hand that Obernon thrust at him. "Thank you, Captain."
The teams followed the man onto the freighter. Daniel and Sam exchanged a glance. Yeah, it smelled as bad as the name was funny. But only until they had passed the large cargo bays. Neither of them were sure they wanted to know just exactly what kind of cargo this ship carried.
"There are three ships in orbit besides the alien craft," Jack told Obernon. "Two Gammian ships, and an Asgard ship. We have no way of knowing if we'll be able to communicate with them once we get up there. We know that they can't contact us, and we can't contact them right now."
"So you think it's possible that communications will be restored once we clear the atmosphere of the planet?" Obernon asked.
"It's a possibility," Sam replied. "Since the focus of the SOS seems to be toward Gamma, and Hope in particular."
The large man nodded. "Well, let's see what happens when we get up there."
Obernon's crew consisted of his brother, a man nearly as large as he was, who the captain introduced as Longwell; a tall, slender woman who looked as if she had Oriental genes in her family tree, who went by the name of Talianna. And a grizzled, white haired man named Buster, whom Obernon claimed was the best damned mechanic in the galaxy. The four settled into seats around the 'u' shaped bridge.
"You folks grab onto something, now," Obernon warned cheerfully. "We ain't never taken on passengers before, so we don't have any extra seats."
The team exchanged glances. Found hand holds on several of the support beams. Watched as the younger teams followed suit.
"Whenever you're ready," Jack said quietly.
The muffled roar of the engines made its way to their ears. The ship began to shudder and shake. The oscillation grew steadily worse, until the ship broke free of the gravity of the planet beneath them.
Everyone gasped when they got their first glimpse of the ship that was causing such disruption on the planet below. None of them had ever seen a ship as large. A single flat disk shape made up the center of the ship. The entire city of Hope could have been put in the middle of the disk, with more than enough room to line football fields end to end in a circle around it. Eight large 'legs' extended from the disk, and each 'leg' had a sphere at the end that was as large as a Goa'uld al'kesh.
"Holy shit!" one of the young team members exclaimed.
"How are we supposed to find the control center in that thing?" Daniel asked. Wishing once again that Casey was with them. He reached out to touch her, knowing that she was still unconscious, but needing to reassure himself that she was still there…still alive.
"I don't know," Sam asked, her sapphire blue eyes wide as the freighter drew closer to the target.
"Do you know if there's even a breathable atmosphere on that thing?" Obernon asked, his eyes wide.
"Nope," Jack replied. He keyed his radio. "This is General Jack O'Neill, on the freighter 'Wind of the Gods'. Come in Colonel Bailey. This is Jack O'Neill. Colonel Bradshaw, please reply."
"This is Colonel Bailey. What the hell is happening, sir?"
"Colonel Bradshaw, General. We can't get through to any of the satellites, or to the SGC."
Jack grinned. "We know. Thor, buddy, can you hear me?"
"We are listening, O'Neill," the Asgard replied.
"Okay, here's what we know. About two hours ago communications on Gamma went to hell. Seems the folks on that honkin' ship over there were trying to get our attention. It's knocked out everything, including all of our seers. Casey was with us long enough to warn us not to fire at that thing. She was also the first one to realize that there was a message encoded in the noise. Sam…Colonel Carter figured out they were sending prime numbers, and how to get a message back to them, sending the next stream of prime numbers. Everybody with me so far?
Three affirmative replies were received.
"Okay, after the second set of prime numbers we sent, they blasted us with seventeen minutes of information. Couldn't decipher it. Daniel…Doctor Jackson, came up with an idea on how to send a message, and he and Sam managed to get it sent. Another blast of info, again for seventeen minutes. Daniel noted that when the ones and zeros of the message were lined up just right, you could see Ancient cuneiform. It's literally an SOS," Jack continued. "Now, we have to get on that ship and shut that damned thing off before things get worse on the planet. Daniel thinks it's possible that this is an automatic signal, and we responded just enough to get it sent twice."
"Any intel at all on that thing?" Jim Bradshaw asked.
"None," Jack replied. "Since we have communication up here, I'm going to have you ring us to the Prometheus. I'll send Captain Obernon back to Hope with a message for MacLeod and deValicort. I want you to try and run any and all scans you can."
"Yes sir, General," Jim replied.
Jack turned to the giant of a captain. "Mind if we change our plans a bit?"
The man smiled. "Not at all. Don't know that my ship could dock with that thing anyway. I'll be more than happy to take these messages for you."
"Good. Robert deValicort will be at the City Hall, in the emergency center. Tell him you have a message from me. He'll listen. Just tell him what we've seen, and what we're doing. He'll get word to the SGC," Jack said.
"I can do that," Obernon nodded.
Jack nodded in return. "We appreciate the ride, Captain."
"It was an honor to help the great SG-1. Although I must ask, where is the very beautiful seer that I have seen in so many photographs?" the man asked.
"Unconscious," Daniel replied. "We have to get that thing turned off before it kills her."
The man nodded. "Good luck, my friends."
"Jim, got a lock?" Jack asked.
"Yes, sir. I'm counting twelve signals."
"You've got it," Jack replied. With a grin and a wave, he keyed his radio again, and the three teams disappeared in matching flashes of light.
"Well now, that's the most fun I've had in years," Obernon grinned. "Let's get back down there and let this deValicort know what's going on."
"We'll have to advertise that we've worked for the great SG-1, of SGC Gamma," Longwell grinned. "It'll look damned good on the advert."
"Maybe get us some decent cargo once in awhile," Buster nodded sagely.
A A A A A A
"We have no idea what we're going into," Jack said, watching each of 'his kids' as they donned their space suits. "As soon as we know, we'll signal. If there's breathable atmosphere, you'll join us ASAP," he told the young teams.
"Yes, sir," Lieutenant Melinda Larsen replied.
Daniel adjusted the helmet of his suit. Could feel himself being tugged and pulled at as crew members made sure the suit was completely secure, and then connected air hoses and radio wires. "Testing, one, two, three," he said quietly.
"Coming through loud and clear, Doctor Jackson. How are you hearing?"
"I can hear you just fine," he replied. He listened as Jack, Sam and Teal'c ran through their tests as well.
"Okay, campers, let's get this done," Jack's voice said. The team stood together, and with a thumbs up, he signaled that they were ready to go.
"Scanners have located what we think is the command center for that thing," Colonel Bradshaw's voice told them. "We're going to put you down in a corridor just to the right of it."
"Understood," Jack replied.
Miss you, Angel, Daniel thought as he waited to be beamed onto the alien ship. Hoping that this wouldn't prove to be one of the times that re-enforced the fact that he should never work apart from her.
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