Today, Kavanagh had planned to take his kids camping now that he was back on Earth. Scheduling his leave time and convincing his ex-wife let him have the kids for more than the mandatory weekends the court had ordered her to provide had been hell. But listening to the twins play “I’m not touching you” while his youngest plastered his face to the window and his eldest had her nose stuck in a book made it all worth it.
It was shaping up to be the start of a pretty good week.
Until his youngest son unpeeled his face from the window and asked, “Daddy, what’s that?”
Kavanagh had looked out the passenger side window to see what his son was pointing at and answered him. “That’s a spaceship.”
“Cool,” was the overall response. And Kavanagh watched as his children turned to stare at the alien space craft that was making a sweeping pass along the highway.
Kavanagh picked up his cell phone and dialed Landry’s direct line at the SGC and said, “General, this is Doctor Kavanagh. Why is there an Ori scout ship outside my passenger window?”
Today, chaos ruled the SGC. No one knew how the Ori ships had made it to Earth undetected. No one was certain how the scout ships and troop transports were evading radar and detection. No one knew just how many Ori ships there actually were. Eye witness reports were currently the only way the SGC could even track their movements.
After bullying his way through security with his children, Kavanagh had been making his way to one of the labs when the mountain shook above them. When the dust settled, Kavanagh changed directions, heading for the closest armory first. The Corporal handing out weapons had done a down take before giving Kavanagh a pistol.
He had never liked guns. But with the Ori soldiers beginning their assault of the mountain, Kavanagh wasn’t going to trust the safety of his kids to just the marines. The SGC wasn’t impenetrable. If an Ori soldier made it past the marines and the guards, Kavanagh would do whatever it took to protect his kids.
Today, his oldest daughter killed a man.
Twenty two levels of the SGC had fallen under Ori control. Kavanagh had banged his head trying to shield his kids from a grenade blast when a small party of Ori soldiers had tried to take another level. She had seen the Ori man struggle forward and lift his weapon to fire at Kavanagh’s unguarded back and reacted. She’d pulled the pistol out of the waist band of his pants and pulled the trigger.
The shock of the gun firing, the kick back and powder burn against his ribs, the tremble of her arm afterwards had been enough to clear the fog from Kavanagh’s mind.
“Is he dead, daddy?” one of the twins asked, peeking around his other arm.
Taking the gun from his daughter’s hand and flicked the safety back, Kavanagh swallowed past sick knot in his throat. “Yes,” he answered. “He’s dead.”
“Are we going to die, too?”
“Not today,” Kavanagh answered. Scooping up his youngest son and urging his daughter and the twins to stick close.
Today, Kavanagh called in a debt.
The self destruct had been set by the time Kavanagh and his kids had made it to the control room. No one seemed to notice them at first. Everyone was too busy trying to find a safe place to evacuate the remaining personnel to.
The Alpha site and all research bases had been compromised. Every address they dialed was occupied by the Priors and the Ori soldiers. Every safe haven they thought of was destroyed or under enemy control.
Kavanagh pulled the technician out of his chair in front of the dialing computer, shouting, “Reroute the ZPMs power to the gate!”
“Rerouting,” someone answered his order behind him.
His daughter was staring at the wall with shell shocked eyes, his son was covered in a dead man’s blood, the twins hand a concussion and broken arm between them. Bringing up the dialing program, Kavanagh overrode the lockouts for long distance dialing.
“Doctor, Atlantis isn’t going to take us,” Harriman said.
“Yes, they will,” Kavanagh answered.
“ZPM power’s been routed to the gate!”
Everyone held their breath as the Stargate began to dial Atlantis. Kavanagh called up the IDC program and opened the video link to Atlantis when he sent through the SOS code.
Chuck’s face was the first one he saw when the video link established itself. “It’s the SOS, sir,” he said to someone off screen. And then he heard Sheppard’s voice in the background order the shield lowered just as Colonel Carter’s face appeared over Chuck’s shoulder.
“What’s going on, Doctor?” Carter asked.
“The land of the wicked shall burn for a hundred years,” Kavanagh began, “purging the world of the sinful and depraved, freeing it from the slavery of godlessness. And the fires will chase those wicked who flee that purifying touch, consuming the souls that turn away from the teachings of Origin, leaving them to torment eternal at the bottom of a watery grave.” One of the few soldiers they had been able to capture had told them this. He had made it clear that there would be no prisoners taken, no mercy shown.
“Raise the shield,” Carter’s voice whispered over the connection. “Raise the shield, Lieutenant. That’s an order!”
Kavanagh felt his gut twist. There was nowhere else to escape to in the Milky Way. There were no more safe havens that they could gate to. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. The mountain was going to blow and Kavanagh felt his desperation and panic rise as adrenaline pumped through his system. “Colonel, please!”
Atlantis was their last chance, their last hope. He couldn’t see what was going on beyond the camera. But each second dragged on through eternity. His children had witnessed death and destruction to an enemy they hadn’t known existed until that morning. His daughter had killed a man to save him. Kavanagh wasn’t even sure his heart was beating anymore, because they were going through that wormhole even if the shield went up.
“You’re clear, Kav,” Chuck finally said. “Come on home.”
And then they were racing to the gate and stepping through the event horizon.
Today, Kavanagh gave his children a tomorrow.