Hyperspace, on the way to planet designated P2B-382; Ancient name: Illirianis. 2015.
"SG-1, we'll be arriving over Illirianis in just under three minutes." A male voice said over the speakers in the hanger bay.
"Hey," Colonel John Sheppard, the commander of the Phoenix said standing at the entrance to the Puddle Jumper to the dark haired woman sitting across from Dr. Rodney Mackay, Atlantis' chief scientist. The woman looked at the Colonel before giving him a small smile, her eyes then shifted to the woman and man carrying metallic cases behind the Colonel. Colonel Sheppard's hand rested on the hull of the greenish grey cylindrical ship just above the button that would close the rear ramp once the team known as SG-1 finished inspecting their equipment and supplies for their mission.
However, this was a different SG-1 than the one Colonel Sheppard met in Atlantis the day they disrupted the Ori Supergate in the Milky Way from dialling out. This team wasn't the team comprised of Colonel Mitchell, Teal'c, Colonel Samantha Carter, Vala, and Dr. Daniel Jackson. In fact, the first four were missing in action- most likely dead- during the mission to send the Sangraal to the Ori galaxy. And Daniel Jackson was considered a traitor. The last one to see them was General Jack O'Neill who was found unconscious on the damaged Odyssey by ships from the Free Jaffa Nation after the Ori ship carrying the Sangraal left through the Supergate, and to the Ori Galaxy.
Back in the present day, Colonel Sheppard walked into the Jumper after stepping aside previously so that the Athosian woman and second in command of SG-1, Teyla Emmagen, and the Satedan soldier, Ronon Dax, could walk in with the cases of weapons and ammunition they were carrying. In the meantime, Mackay, was running diagnostics along with the dark haired woman on the seat across from him. And in the pilot seat was Lt. Colonel Evan Lorne, the new SG-1 commander, who looked back at Colonel Sheppard and nodded his head before turning and continued pre-flight procedures.
Colonel Sheppard acknowledged Colonel Lorne after the former led into the Jumper. Sheppard's head then turned towards the dark haired, thirty five year old in a jumpsuit with the SG-1 badge on her upper left arm and the Pegasus logo on the upper right arm, with the old patch for the SGC just below it. Seeing her again brought back memories for the Colonel. Memories that rushed back into his mind as if a dam broke after the woman reappeared in Atlantis a week ago.
Sensing that someone was looking at her, the woman looked up at MacKay, who was staring down at his tablet and running diagnostics, and then at Teyla, Ronan, and finally her eyes settled on Colonel Sheppard as he walked up behind Ronan. And a small smile formed on her face.
"So, you coming with us?" Ronon asked after placing the case on the floor underneath the port side seats in the rear compartment. Ronon then turned around and arched an eyebrow upwards as he stared at the Colonel. Colonel Sheppard looked away from the woman, and then turned his head towards the Satedan soldier.
"I wish," the Colonel said shaking his head as he walked up to the dark haired woman and placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at the Colonel and gave him a soft smile when he asked, "are you sure you need to be down there, Elizabeth?"
"There's no other way, John," she said. The Colonel frowned before nodding his head while she continued to speak, "only I can gain access."
"I still have to agree with the Colonel, Dr. Weir," Lt. Colonel Lorne said looking over his shoulder at the woman, "you could stay on board the Phoenix, and…"
"The Library needs the genetic code of a former Ascended being to gain access," Elizabeth replied, "unless you can find Dr. Jackson's location?" she then smirked at Colonel Sheppard and shrugged her shoulders before continuing, "Well, I'm the only you've got."
"Then you be careful down there," the Colonel said as he crouched down and placed a hand on Elizabeth's knee, "understood?"
"She will be safe," Teyla said as she placed a hand on the Colonel's shoulder while Elizabeth nodded her head, "Colonel Lorne, Ronan, Rodney, and I will watch over her."
The Colonel stared into Elizabeth's eyes before giving her a small smile. He wanted to kiss her cheek, but given where he was… surrounded by his subordinates…. He decided against it. The Colonel stood up and then patted Elizabeth's arm before telling her, once again, to be careful. Colonel Sheppard then turned and walked out of the ship. On the way, he patted Ronon on the back, "take care of them, Ronon," Colonel Sheppard reminded the tall, dark-skinned, man. Ronon nodded at the Colonel, his face serious, before saying that all of them were coming back safe and sound. The Colonel glanced at Elizabeth, who was looking back at him, before looking away at Ronon.
She saw the Colonel pat Ron one's shoulder one more time before nodding his head and then saying, "SG-1, you leave in two minutes."
Orbit of planet designated P2B-382; Ancient name: Illirianis. 2015.
It has been eight years. Eight years since the Ori discovered the existence of humans in the Milky Way in 2007.
Eight years since they started sending their armies through the new Supergate after the initial one was destroyed. Eight years since the beginning of their crusade to force all humans to worship Origin.
In late 2008 came the betrayal. It's been seven years since the loss of SG-1. Seven years since the death of the Ancients that protected the Milky Way, also caused by the traitor known as Daniel Jackson activating the Saangral before he flew the Ori ship through the Supergate.
It would be a year later, in late 2009, that the full force of the Ori army came through the Supergate- over a hundred ships led by Prior Daniel- and thus began the conversion of the Milky Way by the Ori. It was this year, following the attack on Earth by eight Ori vessels led by Daniel Jackson, that the galaxy fell.
On Earth, the devastating attack destroyed every bit of resistance on the planet including the SGC, resulting in the evacuation to Pegasus, and the Pentagon. It would be in December of 2009 that the Asgard Vessels; O'Neill Two, the Ragnarok, the Belisknir, and the Valhalla as well as the Earth ships Odyssey, Apollo, and the Daedalus sustained major damage evacuating as many people on the 'Alpha List' as possible before leaving Earth orbit for Pegasus a few weeks after the initial attack by the eight Ori ships.
It would be in January of 2010, that the Asgard sent a contingent of ships and people, including Thor, from Orilla in the galaxy known as Ida, to Pegasus- specifically the new world hosting Atlantis. All so that they could take up the offer of searching for a cure to their genetic condition in the Lost City of the Ancients, in return for help in developing defences against the Ori.
It has been five years since the Ori army marched across the Milky Way unopposed, beating down people and planets until they submitted to Origin. In the meantime, the Ascended Ori gained as much power as possible thanks to their Orici converting planets to Origin, the people giving up their free will under threat of death and destruction so that the Ori could gain more power. It was the fall of Earth and the SGC that had people lose hope, making them more susceptible to converting to Origin.
In a few more months following the evacuation of Earth, followed by the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma sites that the Milky Way fell. Its defenders retreated to Pegasus, which was now being protected by the Ascended Ancients of that galaxy, until the time they were powerful enough to return and wrest back their worlds.
And that time had come.
In the depths of space, a blue hued breach tore open before a gunmetal grey coloured ship, a BC-305 Carter Class ship- the Phoenix- exited the Hyperspace window for a special mission. A mission that would hopefully save the galaxy. Upon exiting the hyperspace window, the ship engaged its cloak.
With the Jumper being prepped for launch, Colonel Sheppard entered the bridge after exiting a personal matter transporter like the ones on Atlantis at the rear of the bridge. As he walked to his Command Chair, the the Colonel still remembered the day that he learned about the fall of Earth.
It was in late 2009, two months after the death of Dr. Elizabeth Weir, or at least the replicator that claimed to be the former leader of the Atlantis expedition, that AR- Atlantis Recon- 1 was about to leave for a mission. Just as the Stargate started to dial out, suddenly the alarms in Stargate Operations blared. One of the technicians yelled that there was an incoming wormhole. Immediately, Colonel Sheppard and the others down in the Gateroom followed procedure and took on defensive positions even as the Stargate shield rose up to cover the event horizon.
"What is it?" Richard Woolsey, the man the IOA had seen fit to replace Dr. Weir after her first death at the hands of Oberoth, the human form replicator, said as he strode out of his office.
"Sir, it's the SGC, Emergency Priority transmission," yelled out one of the technicians as Colonel Sheppard turned back to the stunned Woolsey before hearing a voice, General Landry's booming voice, with the thundering sounds of 'dhooom' in the background as if the entire SGC was being shaken apart. And then there were the screams of people in the background, that resonate through the air from the speakers.
"Atlantis, this is a priority red transmission, I'm declaring an emergency evacuation. Omega Protocols are in effect!"
"Lower the shield!" yelled Woolsey before he pressed the ear piece in his left ear, "Dr. Keller, Dr. Carson… get your medical teams to the Gate Room. Now!" He then turned to one of the technicians and ordered, "Mackey, contact the Odyssey, and Apollo, get them back to Atlantis. Authorization, Pegasus Alpha One."
"Woolsey," Colonel Sheppard yelled up at the bald man while wondering what it was that the Omega Protocol meant. However, Woolsey just turned his head and stared at the military leader of the Atlantis expedition, and the look on his face look told Sheppard all he need to know. Whatever this Omega Protocol was, whatever Authorization Pegasus was, the only reason it would ever be activated was in the most extreme of situations.
And this seemed to be one of them.
The Colonel then turned back to the event horizon as soon as another emergency SGC transmission by General Landry was sent explaining that Ori ships were attacking Earth. He said that the order had been given by the President to evacuate to Atlantis. Once the shield was down, officers and personnel from the SGC rushed in through the Gate. Once the entire personnel of the SGC rushed through the Stargate, General Landry was the last person through before ordering the Gate to be shut down.
Colonel Sheppard and the others would later learn that the Ori attacked Earth, and that they targeted and destroyed all Earth defence installations. It would be two weeks later that a combined Tau'ri-Asgard evacuation force arrived over Earth, retrieved the people on the Alpha list, and then escaped after taking damage. At the same time, other Asgard vessels evacuated people from the Free Jaffa Nation before leaving the Milky Way for the last time.
For the next five years, Atlantis was preparing for war against the Ori Army, while at the same time being at war with the Wraith. However, it would be the coming of the young Wraith Queen known as Death that changed everything. After three Asgard ships and the Odyssey destroyed a ZPM powered hive ship, Queen Death made herself known. For a year she gathered the splintered Wraith into one force, a force that could very easily crush her rivals.
To prevent that from happening, the Wraith known as Todd, together with his own Alliance which included a Queen, seeked help from Atlantis. And Atlantis answered the call; Woolsey, General O'Neill, and General Landry agreed that Queen Death was a thorn on all of their sides. Together with the rumour that she managed to discover an Ancient facility that contained information on shielding technology and intergalactic hyperdrive, there was a consensus that Death needed to be stopped.
The combined forces of Todd's Alliance, the Tau'ri, the Asgard, and the remnants of the Free Jaffa Nation crushed the forces of Queen Death. The data on combining Wraith technology with shields and Intergalactic hyperdrive were also destroyed by Mackay and his team of scientists once the Ancient compound was discovered. With the defeat of Queen Death, the Wraith offered the Tau'ri a treaty as thanks for their help in defeating their mutual enemy.
The treaty would divide the Pegasus Galaxy in half; one half belonging to the Tau'ri Alliance with planets that included Sateda and New Athos, and the other half would belong to the Wraith. With a need to turn their attention to the Ori, the Tau'ri Alliance agreed to sign the treaty on the condition that Todd and his people take a recently developed, but untested, new retrovirus. It was developed by a Tau'ri-Asgard team, and it would theoretically prevent the death of anyone the Wraith fed upon.
And it was something the Wraith agreed to.
And with the stroke of a pen, the war between the Wraith and the Tau'ri were over, and there was a collective sigh of relief even though half the galaxy was surrendered to the Wraith. Now The Tau'ri needed to turn back to the Ori. It would be very soon after the war that one of the junior technicians discovered five planets in the Atlantis Database that contained ship building and weapons facilities, four of them were in the Tau'ri zone of control, while the fifth was in the Wraith half of the galaxy.
While engineers were sent to the four planets to find a way to reactivate the ship building facilities, the cloaked Odyssey was sent to the fifth planet. The Odyssey found that the planet was not inhabited, which brought a collective sigh of relief from Woolsey and the others. Later it was agreed that the planets ship building facilities should remain dormant in the event that the Wraith use the Tau'ri presence as an excuse to re-ignite the war.
And so, with the Pegasus galaxy in relative peace, Atlantis prepared for war against the Ori.
The Phoenix, now.
Back in the present day, Colonel Lorne was notified that the Phoenix had come out of hyperspace and that the Jumper was ready to leave the hanger bay on his signal. The Colonel looked back up at the open end of the hanger bay. He could see the stars instead of the hyperspace tunnel and sent an acknowledgement to the Phoenix bridge.
"SG-1, you guys know the drill," the Colonel said as he looked out the viewport at the planet below as he sat in his chair, "find the entrance to the library, get in, and then get out."
"The advancements to the Phoenix's cloaking generator should be enough to hide us from the Ori, John," Elizabeth said as she made her way to the co-pilot's seat.
"And thank you for that," the Colonel smiled remembering the briefing with Elizabeth after she had slept for four days straight in the infirmary.
Colonel John Sheppard's quarters, Atlantis, 2015; a little under two weeks ago.
"Elizabeth?" John whispered spinning around just as he was about to get onto his bed. It had been nearly six years since the replicator version of Elizabeth Weir sacrificed herself and her fellow human form replicators who, by all rights, were supposed to be floating around in deep space after exiting a Space Gate. The Colonel thought he was only hearing things before he sighed and then turned back towards his bed.
He pulled away his blanket as he dreamt of lying down and sleeping after another hectic day following his promotion three months ago to a full-bird Colonel. The man was about to get on the bed when he heard the soft, familiar voice, "John."
The Colonel got off the bed and then stood up in a defensive position while he opened his eyes wide at a white light forming out of nowhere inches from where he was standing. He then ran to his side table and picked up the communicator before calling for security to his quarters. As he spoke, the Colonel saw the light taking on human form.
He then heard his name being called once again. The Colonel opened his eyes wide when he recognized the face as the white light started to fade away slowly. He watched dumb-founded as the light faded completely away to reveal a nude Elizabeth Weir standing in front of him, reaching out with one hand.
"John." She said before her eyes rolled upwards and she collapsed forward into his arms. The Colonel immediately dropped the communicator on the floor before he gently lay the unconscious Elizabeth on the cool Atlantis floor. He then reached back and pulled his blanket off the bed and then spread it over the unconscious Elizabeth.
"Elizabeth?" he asked placing his hand on her blanket covered upper arm.
"John?" she mumbled before opening her eyes slightly, "I… I came.. came back…"
"We sent you through a space gate, Elizabeth… how…? How are you here?" a confused Colonel stammered as he leaned down towards her. One hand remaining on her blanket covered shoulder as he gently pushed her onto her back, and his other hand on her forehead.
"Ancients…. Peg… Pegasus…. Ancients sent me back…" she whispered looking at a blurry form of Colonel Sheppard as her eyelids started to get heavy, "they… they… afraid… so afraid…"
"Elizabeth?" Colonel Sheppard called her name as she closed her eyes just as the door opened and a security team stood just outside in the hallway staring in surprise at the covered body lying on the floor. The Colonel looked up and barked an order, "call Dr. Keller, now!"
Elizabeth would wake up four days later, and when she did, she met with the surprised Teyla, Mackay, and Ronon who were taking care of her by remaining at her bedside in shifts. It would be an hour after their reunion that it was only General Landry, General O'Neill, Woolsey, Thor, and Colonel Sheppard standing around her as she sat up in her bed in the infirmary. The first thing that Elizabeth confirmed was that the Milky Way Ancients were confirmed to have been killed off… their place now having been taken over by the Ori.
"Dr. Weir," Woolsey said shaking his head, "but that doesn't explain how you are here. You were a replicator, and…."
"She's a fully biological woman now," Dr. Keller said with Dr. Beckett standing by her side, both holding tablets in their hands. Dr. Keller nodded at Dr. Beckett and said, "the both of us checked her DNA, we... we checked everything. We checked everything multiples time. There's no trace of a single Replicator nanocell."
"But we can't explain how she's here," Dr. Beckett.
"I can't explain it either, Carson" Elisabeth said as she looked at the people in front of her, and then stopped talking, "wait, where's the President?"
Woolsey shook his head before General Landry said that the White House was destroyed followed the evacuation order. "The White House was destroyed after the President gave the order to evacuate. The Alpha, Beta, and Gamma sites were all evacuated by the Daedalus after receiving the order to return to Atlantis."
"I barely made it out with my staff, including Walter," General O'Neill said as he rubbed the back of his grey haired head, "the blasts from the Ori ships destroyed the Pentagon and the surrounding area, luckily most of us were in the underground HWC bunker."
"We beamed O'Neill and hundreds of others off Earth during the operation to retrieve those on the Alpha List," Thor said.
"Dr Weir? About how you returned?" Woolsey asked while signalling the dark haired woman to answer his question.
"Oh, right, sorry," Elizabeth said shaking her head, "yes, I remember floating in space after walking through the Space gate. I remember feeling cold… I remember closing my eyes, hoping that the others would follow me out through the Gate. I wanted to protect Atlantis, by leading the others into that trap. And… and then I felt warm. I remember standing in a white room facing… facing an Asgard."
"Dr. Weir," Thor said, "the Asgard cannot Ascend. We have made too many technological changes to our bodies to achieve Ascension. Even though we managed to curtail the genetic degradation using information from the Atlantis database, we still cannot Ascend."
"Her name was… I mean is, Ran," Elizabeth said as Thor tilted his head, "she said that she Ascended long before you began your cloning program."
"I see," Thor whispered nodding his head before asking Elizabeth to continue, "so she is one of the original Asgard?"
"Yes," Elizabeth nodded her head before looking away from Thor, and then to General O'Neill and the others.
She explained that the Ascended in Pegasus, like Chaya-Sar and Ran, were afraid of what was going to happen next. Especially since Prior Daniel and the Orici, Adria, were able to rebuild most of the Sangraal. Now Adria and Daniel are seeking to build the arming mechanism.
"Wait, what?" Colonel Sheppard said waving his arms while the others glanced at each other in worry.
"We sensed it," Elizabeth said staring at Colonel Sheppard, "I was sent back to… to help find Illirianis."
"Illirianis?" Thor asked in surprise as his eyes widened, "you know where it is?"
"Yes," Elizabeth said.
"What's Illirianis?" General Landry asked Thor, and then turned his head to Elizabeth.
"The Furling homeworld in this galaxy before they left for parts unknown," the Thor said as the others, except for Elizabeth, stared at the grey alien in surprise, "even the Asgard, the Ancients, and the Nox were never able to discover its location. But Illirianis is the most important location in any galaxy."
"The Library of the Alliance of Four Great Races," Elizabeth whispered nodding her head at Thor, and then turning to the still stunned and confused General O'Neill, "it's a repository of knowledge, General. Just as any library. Do you remember the Ancient repository of Knowledge that you downloaded into your mind?"
"Uh huh?" General O'Neill said before he shook his head in realization and said, "you mean the stuff that was downloaded into my mind came from that library?"
"There is a copy contained in the Library. The location so secret that the Ancients would have to hand over their information to the Furling Keeper of the Library, and he would then add it to the matrix of information belonging o each race. The only thing with his location is that the data is searchable, I just need to know what I'm looking for."
"And you do?" asked Woolsey, "I mean, you do know what you're looking for?"
"I know what we need, Richard," Elizabeth said leaning forward on her bed, "I… I wanted to tell all of you this but the Others prevented me. They didn't want me to interfere. But all of you managed to do more good without my help, and the Ascended were already protecting this galaxy from the Ori. Hiding humanity. But…"
"We thought Merlin took away the knowledge of Atlantis from Daniel's mind when he died," Elizabeth whispered "we were wrong. Daniel and Adria took all this time to research the information in Merlin's lab before discovering the Sangraal's secrets. And then… then they managed to build it."
"I know where they are…. I know where Illirianis is," Elizabeth continued while the others looked at each other in silent worry at the thought that a force of Ori ships would be making it to Pegasus.
"We need to destroy their Sangraal," General Landry said just as General O'Neill took a step forward towards Elizabeth.
"Doc, we need the Sangraal's location, and the location of the Library," General O'Neill said before turning to Colonel Sheppard, "prepare your crew, Sheppard. You guys leave in two hours. Push the hyperdrive engines on the Phoenix if you have to. " Colonel Sheppard nodded his head before the General turned to General Landry, Woolsey, and Thor, "Hank, Richard, Thor, we need to devise a distraction while the Phoenix heads over to Illirianis."
The Phoenix, now.
"Ready to launch, Jumper One?"
"Yes, sir," Colonel Lorne said before the Jumper floated up from the floor of the hanger bay, its wings extending outwards from its storage spaces on the port and starboard sides. The ship then flew out of the hanger bay past two squadrons of F-302 fighter interceptors.
"Good luck," Colonel Sheppard said before looking up at the backs of the officers in front of him. They were seated behind a curved console that combined the separate navigation and tactical consoles that were standard on the Daedalus class vessels, "Lt. West, Lt. Singer… I want all weapons ready to fire at a moment's notice."
"Yes, sir," said Lt. West as he readied the weapons systems. With the unlocking of the Atlantis Knowledge Base, the Tau'ri were able to improve on their weapons systems; all of which were evident on the new Carter Class ships- Tau'ri railguns, Ancient plasma cannons, and four turrets that fired plasma beams similar to the weapon on the Ancient Lagrangian Point Defence Satellites. The Phoenix was the first Carter class vessel, a Class that took two years to develop, and six months to build using the newly discovered Ancient ship building facilities.
The Carter was the first ship of the line commanded by General O'Neill. The ship, along with the Adelaide and the George Washington was heading straight for the planet P9U7-903, along with the Daedalus, Odyssey, and the Apollo so that they could destroy the Sangraal in a pre-emptive strike- the distaction. They were joined by ten Asgard vessels, and five Jaffa motherships.
They were due to arrive over the planet in two minutes. Elizabeth told them the location of the lab where the Sangraal was being built. The plan was that the Carter would lead Task Force Omega to P9U7-903 where half the fleet, including the Asgard vessels and the Jaffa Motherships, would take on any orbiting ships. In the meantime, the others would fire six Horizon class Type Ten Naquadria Nuclear Weapon systems down to the planet.
They were going to burn the world, destroying any trace of the weapon, before leaving via Hyperspace. They were then going to conduct hit and run attacks on the worlds that were central to the Ori ship building effort.
The skies over Illirianis.
As the Jumper flew down to the blue planet below, the crew stared out the forward viewport at the two massive continents surrounded by several smaller continents, islands, and oceans. The ship was heading for the northern most pole of the second largest continent, the most of which was covered by greyish clouds. "Looks like a storm is coming," Ronon said looking at the holographic HUD. Colonel Lorne stared at the weather data the cloaked Jumpers sensors were collecting and frowned, "sensors are showing a temperature drop at the target coordinates, it's now negative forty Celsius. And it's still dropping. And dropping fast."
"Which is why we packed warm," Elizabeth said as she stared at the HUD which was now showing them a flight path that would take them to their location. Once the Jumper was in the atmosphere, the Colonel turned the ship towards the line that indicated the flight path. The shop then entered the cloud cover. The ship was being buffeted by winds as it entered the clouds, followed by the water vapor hitting the front viewport freezing almost immediately.
"Okay, the hull's heating up automatically," Mackay said as the ship shook slightly. He looked up at Elizabeth who said it was probably nothing. Mackay then looked back down at his table and narrowed his eyes in confusion, "we just passed through some kind of energy field."
"What energy field?" asked the Colonel as he checked the HUD before going, "oh, that energy field". Indeed, sensors did show the Jumper travelled through some kind of a previously undetected energy field. However, the field couldn't be identified, no matter how much he tried.
"Phoenix to Jumper 1, do you copy?" Colonel Sheppard's voice rang through the speakers.
"Copy, Colonel," said Colonel Lorne as he glanced at Elizabeth, and then at Ronan and Teyla who were behind him and standing in between the pilot and co-pilot seats respectively, before glancing at the reading on the HUD in front of him, "we entered some kind of an unknown energy field that extends as far as the eye can see."
"We lost your life signs, Jumper 1," Colonel Sheppard said as he stood at the front viewport.
"It could be the energy field that's hiding us, John," Elizabeth said, "are there any other life signs on this planet?"
"None," Colonel Sheppard said after looking down at Lt. West who shook his head."
"Keep this channel open," Colonel Sheppard ordered, "without any way to detect life signs, for whatever reason, I want to at least hear you guys."
Elizabeth turned towards Colonel Lorne who glanced at the HUD while the ship swayed to and fro as it flew through the heavy clouds. The Jumper was being buffeted by extremely heavy winds, and it was thanks to the inertial dampening system that no-one threw up their lunch.
"It's getting bad up here," Mackay said as he leaned back on his seat, "really jumpy."
"It should be over soon, Mackay," Ronon said as Colonel Sheppard smirked from the bridge on the Phoenix.
Meanwhile, Colonel Lorne nodded his head before saying, "yep, stand by. Breaking cloud cover in three seconds."
"You guys alright?" Colonel Sheppard asked.
"We're clear, sir," Colonel Lorne said looking out at the snow-covered tundra as snow and ice continued to rain down, "should be smooth sailing from here."
"So this is the location of the Library of the Alliance of Four," Teyla asked as she looked at Elizabeth while Ronon was leaning forward while remaining seated.
"If the complex on Heliopolis was a place to share knowledge," said Elizabeth as she looked at Ronon, "then this Library is where all that knowledge is stored. Imagine, this is the single most important place in two Galaxies, the location of everything that makes the Asgard, Furlings, Ancient, and the Nox, who they are. Their knowledge, their history."
"Their weapons," Ronon added.
"And weapons," Elizabeth said nodding her head, "and it's all on the planet that used to be the Furling Homeworld before they left the galaxy." Elizabeth then turned her head and stared at the holographic HUD which showed they were five minutes away. "The keys to saving the galaxy is here."
Northern part of Westeros, Last Hearth, at that same time.
So much life, the Night King thought as he flew over the castle of Last Hearth- the home of House Umber, one of the Bannermen for House Stark of Winterfell. As the undead dragon, Viserion, landed amongst the dead lying cold in the snow-covered ground, the Night King raised his hands and silently ordered the dead to rise.
He watched the thousands of dead on the ground open their eyes, which turned bright blue, before getting to their feet. The Night King then ordered his forces to make the week long trek to Winterfell. As the dead began walking past Viserion who roared out loud at the sky, the Night King sensed something unusual. He could sense life. While that wasn't in itself strange, he sensed it traveling through the air at a great rate of speed. Looking up at the sky, he scanned his surroundings with his glowing blue eyes and furrowed his eyebrows. He looked over his shoulder, and then turned Viserion around while staring out at the sky, this time towards the Wall.
Closing his eyes, the Night King could feel the lifeforce of the five humans flying away, towards the Wall. The same wall where he used Viserion to destroy the section connected to Eastwatch and then, while his army of the dead marched past the collapsed wall, first to Karhold where they killed what remained of House Karstark, and then to Last Hearth, the Night King destroyed Castle Black. Later reanimating those killed, the Night King ordered them to Last Hearth to join the rest of his army.
The Night King slapped Viserion's thick, scaly, skin before the massive dragon took off roaring into the air. He knew that the dragon was locked onto the scent of the flying humans; if there was another dragon headed into the North, he was going to kill it.. and then raise it as a Wight.
Five Kilometers North of the Wall, 5 minutes later.
"Colonel Sheppard," Colonel Lorne said into the subspace radio as he gently lay down the Jumper onto the ice and snow-covered ground. SG-1 had finally reached their target coordinates, "we've reached the target coordinates."
"Copy that," Colonel Sheppard replied, "be careful down there. We're forecasting the temperature will be going down even further."
"Understood, Lorne out," Colonel Lorne nodded his head before he looked out the front viewport at the dark clouds overhead. Clouds that seemed to block out the sun; they could still see the snow and ice falling down onto the ship and the surrounding areas, as well as hear the 'gush' of wind as the small ship slightly trembled.
It was at this time that Elizabeth, McKay, Ronon, and Teyla got off their seats and headed for the metal cases in the rear compartment of the Jumper, Colonel Lorne pulled up the latest sensor data onto the holographic HUD in front of him and said, while connected to the Phoenix, "I'm reading a temperature of negative thirty five Celsius, with a wind chill of negative ten." Colonel Lorne said before looking back at the expressions on the rest of the team. They looked back at him with trepidation before Mackay spoke up and asked, while Tesla handed him a thick insulated jacket that was black in colour with orange accents and a fur lined collar and hoodie.
"These jackets will be warm enough, right?" he pointed at the jackets in his arms.
"We're not spending too long out there," Colonel Lorne said looking over his shoulder after receiving an acknowledgement from Colonel Sheppard who also told them to proceed cautiously. "Dr. Weir just needs to activate the control column, and then get us into the Library. And then we'll be warm, hopefully."
"Do scans show anything underneath?" Elizabeth asked as she put on her thick jacket after Ronon opened another one of the cases.
"Nothing," Colonel Lorne shook his head before getting off his seat, the console in front of him now deactivated since he wasn't in contact with the controls. "are you sure it's here, Dr. Weir?"
"Yes," she replied putting on gloves while the others, after putting on their gloves, goggles over their eyes, and the heavily insulated hoods over their heads, were prepared to leave. It was Ronon who pressed the button on the rear inside left bulkhead before the ramp started to open. As it did, a freezing cold gust of wind rushed into the Jumper which forced everyone to shudder. The cold was biting their skin even through the layers and layers of insulation with the team able to see their breathe condense in the cold air in front of their faces.
"Here we go then" Ronan said as he trudged down the ramp which already started to accumulate a layer of snow. His boots made a 'crunch' sound upon stepping on the snow, as did Teyla and the others who followed him down the ramp. The area around them was dark, as were the clouds hanging above them- but they could still see their immediate area.
There was no need for the Jumper's lights since it wasn't dark enough for the team to not see each other
"It's freezing!" McKay yelled, pieces of snow and ice getting into his mouth, as he yelled over the howling wind which served to bring down the cold down even more.
"Come on, Rodney!" Elizabeth yelled following him down onto the snow and ice-covered ground and patted his back, "it's not that bad!" Mackay turned around and narrowed his eyes though the goggles and glared at the smiling woman who brought up a scarf to cover the lower part of her face, and did the others. Once she was clear off the ramp, it rose up and closed behind her. She then gestured towards the Jumper behind her and said, "look at it this way, at least the Jumper's getting all warm and toasty for you."
Elizabeth than gave McKay a toothy smile before the latter had an idea, "you know, I could stay behind and work on the experimental Hyperdrive we installed in this Jumper!" he yelled over the loud howling wind, "you know, in case the Ori arrive over this world and…."
"We'll be fine, Rodney!" yelled Elizabeth before reaching out and holding his arm with her hand. "It's a simple mission. We'll go down there, get what we need, and then get out. And besides, the changes to the cloaking technology on the Phoenix should prevent the Ori from seeing us."
"But…." Mackay wanted to say when Elizabeth patted him on the shoulder again.
"If the Ori did know where we were, they would have come by now," Elizabeth said, "which means the modifications you made to the cloak are working." McKay took in a deep breath of the cold air before nodding his head, and then turned, walking further out onto the snow covered ground.
"Are you sure the Library has one of those construction pedestals?" Colonel Lorne asked looking back at Elizabeth while he walked next to Ronon. He was referring to the mission reports he read when the original SG-1 was brought to Merlin's lab. Before he transferred his consciousness Daniel, Merlin was using an ancient device… an energy-matter converter that was able to synthesize complex materials that were then combined to form part of the Sangraal. However, Merlin died before finishing it… which was why he transferred his mind to inside Daniel.
Elizabeth nodded to the left and then nodded her head. She led the group to a spot two meters away while saying that she wasn't sure what would be down there in the library. She was just aware that the data they needed would be down there, "so we'll have to use the energy matter converters on the Phoenix," she added before stopping suddenly as if she knew where she needed to go, and then looking down at the ground, "or… oh, wait, it's right here."
Elizabeth crouched down, and then took off her thick gloves before placing the palm of her hand on the surface of the snow and ice covered ground. Ronon, McKay, Teyla, and Colonel Lorne stood around Elizabeth as she started to rise to her feet while, at the same time, the surface of a cream coloured and black accented column rose up. The ice and snow on the of the column's surface started to steam before the heated surface melted it away to reveal a Panel that had the outline of a palm and five holes where the end of the fingers were meant to be placed.
Elizabeth then shook her head and looked back at McKay, realizing she hadn't finished what she wanted to say to him, so Elizabeth stared back at the holes while whispering, "or we may have to return to Atlantis to use the converter there if…"
"Didn't it take days to have the Sangraal built?" asked Ronan.
"Yes," Elizabeth said as she turned to look at Ronon, "but that doesn't change what we need to do. That Sangraal was built from Daniel's mind… a human mind. I'm hoping that the converter down there, if there is one, will be faster."
"I'm not saying we change any thing we've got planned," Ronon said, "I still want to fight these things. Just saying that it could take more than a day to build it." Ronon then looked around at the snow falling much heavier than before, and turned to look at Elizabeth once again while Teyla placed a hand on her shoulder, "I'm just saying it's getting cold."
"I told you!" stuttered a shivering McKay who wrapped his arms around his own body.
"Then I guess we're lucky that it's going to be warm down there," Elizabeth said as she placed her hand on the panel. She then turned her head sharply at the device when she felt something sharp prickly her fingers before there was a hiss. Ronon and the other saw a flash of white light around them before finding themselves still standing in the ice and snow; shivering in the cold as the wind penetrated the heavy insulation.
But Elizabeth was gone, "Okay, what just happened?" That was the only question to come out of McKay's lips as he and the others spun around searching for Elizabeth. However, she wasn't anywhere near them… in fact, they had no idea where she was teleported to. All they knew was that she wasn't with them.
"We need to contact the Phoenix," Colonel Lorne said before frowning and looking out into the near white-out conditions and snow and ice fell on them and on the Jumper, "let's head back."
The Library, a second later.
While the remaining members of a very confused and worried SG-1 were heading back to the Jumper, Elizabeth found herself surrounded by darkness once the bright white shimmering light faded away. Her surroundings were lit for an instant during the transport sequence, but now she was surrounded in darkness once again.
"Hello?" Elizabeth yelled, her voice echoing as she took a step forward before spinning around searching for the outlines of her friends. Her vision was blurred thanks to the bright white light, and then herself suddenly appearing in a dark place. She tried to rub the lights in her vision away by rubbing her eyes with the back of her hands, and it helped. While rubbing her eyes, Elizabeth called out, "Teyla? Ronon, Col…" Before she could say Colonel Lorne's name, soft overhead lights started to activate.
Elizabeth looked up soft yellow lights started to activate one by one, and then the lights slowly brightened as several more lit up slowly. She looked around, finding herself in a cavernous room with four consoles surrounding her. And that was all she saw while spinning around and reaching for the ear piece, "Colonel Lorne?"
She hoped that the signal from her ear piece would make it to Colonel Lorne, or to Teyla, Ronon, McKAy, or even to Colonel Sheppard on the Phoenix. But all Elizabeth received was static. Elizabeth rushed to one of the consoles, a gleaming white colour with several scripts etched onto a glass panel written in the Asgard language.
Elizabeth then ran to the other console and smiled, it was written in the language of the Ancients. The console was exactly the same, except for the language used. Elizabeth then rushed to the next console while taking off her jacket and dropping it to the floor. She then pulled the goggles off her eyes and paces it on her forehead while taking off the gloves and dropping them onto the floor. The warm air in the cavern brushed against her skin, warming her body while she stared at a script she hadn't seen before – the language of the Furlings, "and the last one must be the language of the Nox."
She took a deep breath before calling her team once again through her ear-piece. But there was no luck, just as when she tried contacting them when she arrived. "Ok," she whispered looking around at the consoles before dashing for the console that belonged to the Ancients, 'okay Elizabeth, one thing at a time.' She placed her hand on the console and watched in awe as it responded and lit up. At the same time, she looked up upon hearing a creaking sound and saw that the spot where she had been teleported to was now being retracted into a recess in the floor. The piece of the floor sank beneath the floor before being replaced by a pedestal that rose through the hole. With a thud, the new piece of floor that contained the pedestal stopped, the top of the pedestal now only five inches above the surface of the floor. Elizabeth watched at the surface of the pedestal glowed yellow before a hologram depicting an Ancient script flowing from left to right activated.
"Now show me where the exits are," she said looking back down at the console before starting to tap the transparent buttons, "and then… then I'm getting the data for the Ark of Truth, and the Sangraal." While Elizabeth was typing away at the console, the images of various items speed through in the hologram… as if it was a directory. "There you are," she whispered looking up at the Sangraal, "found you. Now, let's see if there is an energy-matter converter here." While she searched the directory in the library through the console, Elizabeth missed one such image that showed an oval rock… an oval rock that was covered in what looked like scales. It was there for an instant, before moving onto the next image, and then the next, and then the next, before she found what she was looking for, 'yes! An energy-matter converter. Okay… I have the exits, and I have the converter, and now….' Elizabeth then started to search for the Ark of Truth. The exits and the matter converter were in a separate area of the massive complex that spanned an entire continent beneath ancient rock and stone.
'I'll have to take the data to the converter,' Elizabeth thought as she typed on the console before she looked up at the hologram in front of her. Just as the console on the Jumper, the device in the Library read her mind and the hologram immediately showed her the route to the transporter which would take her to the Converter. As the hologram showed Elizabeth where she would be transported to, a red line extended from the destination transporter to the converter, and then to a transporter that would teleport her out of the library to the frozen hell she had just come from. Elizabeth smiled upon realizing, with relief, that there was a way out of the Library, before a frown appeared on her face before she narrowed her eyes at the holographic map in front of her. She was staring at a large room in the section just before the room containing the matter converter labelled 'Physical Specimens' in the Ancient language while whispering, "wait, this is a data library. There should be nothing here that's physical… it's all data that would be stored. Why's there an entire section on physical specimens from… wait, Terra? From Earth?"
"From what I remember," Elizabeth continued talking to herself, "there shouldn't be any physical specimens here. So, what's in there?" She pressed a few buttons while staring at the map morphing back into the Library directory- the images changed at a very quick rate before stopping at the oval rock which had blue and gold highlights, "specimens currently viable, forty-two." Elizabeth was confused while she walked round the console towards the hologram. She read the Ancient script beneath the number of the stones that were viable, and her eyes widened, "Draco Ovum. Terra."
"Draco?" Elizabeth asked herself as she looked away, "that's Latin. Latin for…" Elizabeth looked back up at the image of the stone and whispered, "dragon eggs? But…." Before she could finish her train of thought, Elizabeth turned around and scanned the immediate area with her eyes. The woman thought that she was being watched; although she didn't see anyone physically present around her.
"Hello?" she said walking back to the Ancient console. She placed her hand on the angled surface and tapped on a few buttons, changing the image behind her while she looked around; there was no one there. But she felt as if she was being watched, "anyone there?" Shaking her head after a few seconds, Elizabeth turned back to the hologram and switched the holographic index to the Sangraal. While she was checking to see how long the energy-matter converter would take to build the device, an unseen figure stood staring in surprise at the hologram, and then he turned his head towards Elizabeth.
"What is this?" the dark-haired figure in black and grey clothes said as he walked towards the hologram floating above the pedestal. He stared transfixed at the strange image that represented, unknown to him, the Sangraal. "Who are you?" the figure whispered looking back at Elizabeth, before he blinked his eyes and then appeared in the Jumper just as Colonel Lorne and the others closed the ramp behind them. He saw McKay taking off the gloves while breathing hard, and then rub his hands together. He then turned and watched, with fascination, at the holographic HUD that appeared once the Colonel placed his hands on the console.
"I'm raising the heat," Colonel Lorne said before the figure turned to a person he was surprised to see.
"Drogo," the figure in the black tunic and trousers whispered shaking his head. The figure remembered the visions he had seen when first hearing that the young woman calling herself the Queen of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, was accompanying his half brother, Jon Snow, to Winterfell. After reading the message, the figure had focused on the Dragon Queen and 'saw' her trails and tribulations- her entire history including her wedding to Khal Drogo, her first husband who later died. The man the figure was looking at now could have been Drogo's twin, he then saw the tanned woman as she took off her coat and lay it on a seat.
"Colonel, do you have her lifesigns?" Teyla asked while the figure stared at her.
"Nothing," Colonel Lorne said, "I'm contacting the Phoenix."
And then a second later, the figure felt himself pulling his spirit back into his body.
Bran Stark opened his eyes and stared at the pale white Heart-tree in the godswood behind Winterfell. What he saw was unexplainable, what he saw looked like magic- Lights and images floating out of nowhere, he saw a man who looked like a dead warlord, 'what is happening here?' Bran stared at the tree while feeling himself being watched. He looked over his shoulder and noticed one of the Winterfell guards; a young man who was nervous about guarding the disabled Lord of Winterfell on the orders of Sansa Stark- the current Lady of Winterfell and Bran's sister.
"My Lord," the young man told Brandon, "the King in the North has been sighted with his retinue."
"Take me to my sisters," Bran whispered before the guard nodded his head and rushed to Bran's wheelchair. A part of Bran, the part that could still feel just as he was before heading North of the Wall years ago- while the rest of his mind tried to make sense of what he was seeing around the world- was excited about seeing his brother again. 'No, my cousin,' he thought to himself as the guard walked around him and placed his gloved hands on the wheelchair armrest, 'Aegon Targaryen.'
The Phoenix, a few minutes later.
"SG-1 to Phoenix," Colonel Lorne's voice came through the speaker in the bridge while Colonel Sheppard leaned forward. He was surprise to hear from the SG-1 commander so soon after they had landed, and a part of him was worried that Elizabeth was wrong about the library being located in the planet below them. However, the man's curiosity about why the team called in so early dissipated and turned to intense worry when Colonel Lorne continued, "we found the control column but… but only Dr. Weir was beamed into the library, sir."
"What?" the surprised Colonel Sheppard said as he stood up from his seat, his mouth hanging open in surprise for a second before regaining his composure, "how did that happen? I thought the beam was…"
"We didn't know," McKay interrupted as he pushed Colonel Lorne to one side at the cockpit while adding, "Elizabeth did say that the blood of a former ascended was needed to get in. I guess it also meant that those who weren't former ascended beings couldn't get in. The rest of us who had to rush back to the jumper in below freezing weather."
"Basically only the Doc could get in," Ronon spoke after MacKay apologized when he imagined what Colonel Sheppard's reaction must have been to hearing that Elizabeth was lost again. McKay sighed and then walked back into the rear compartment, tired as he wondered if they had really lost Elizabeth again to an unknown fate, while Ronon walked over to the co-pilot seat and sat down, "what do you want us to do, Sheppard?"
"I…" the Colonel said just as the alarms in the ship started to go off, "stand by, SG-1." The Colonel then turned to Lt. West and asked him what was going on. It was once the young office told Colonel Sheppard that they were detecting hyperspace windows that the latter's expression hardened. He then rushed back to his seat and yelled a message down to the Jumper, "SG-1, I am ordering radio silence. No matter what happens up here, your orders are to stay where you are and wait for Dr. Weir. The Ori can not know that we have someone on the planet."
Colonel Lorne understood, nodding his head, and then pulled up a HUD in front of him. It showed the area of space above them as four Ori motherships exited hyperspace while the Phoenix was cloaked. Lorne knew that Colonel Sheppard wanted to be cautious, that he didn't want the Ori ships tracing any signals back to the Jumper and the Phoenix. However, while Teyla and McKay, out of their jackets now, stood behind Lorne and Ronon staring at the HUD, it didn't seem as if the four ships in orbit could scan any lifesigns.
"Or they would have moved towards the planet," Teyla whispered, her voice low, as she watched the four Ori ships head towards a section of space. The same section of space where the Phoenix lay in orbit in the belief that the new cloaking generator would prevent them being found by the Ori.
Back in space, over Illirianis, the crew of the Phoenix felt as if they were holding their breaths. Colonel Sheppard was told that the Ori ships were running scans but the cloaked ship hadn't been detected. The Colonel nodded his head, but he wondered how it was that the Ori ships had known where they were. The mission was classified, with only General O'Neill and Woolsey knowing the exact details- the others in the task force had no idea where the Phoenix was heading to.. just that she had an important mission.
'So how do they…' the Colonel thought to himself when suddenly he felt what seemed like fingers brushing against his mind. The Colonel felt a chill going up and down his spine before he heard a female voice in his mind.
"Hallowed are the Ori."
The Colonel's eyes went wide before he yelled out his next order. They were discovered. "Military thrust! Come about! Disable the cloak. Raise shields and…!" BOOOM! The entire ship shook as one of the four beams that fired out of the four ships struck the hull of the Phoenix just before the shield itself could be activated. The orange coloured beam speared through the ship at an angle- it obliterated the conning tower, part of the central power conduit, the shield generators- the beam passed through several decks before destroying fulling lines, the area surrounding the mess hall- all before the beam passed though the port hanger bay. The beam left explosions in its wake- explosions that killed over a hundred people in total. Some of the people were lucky, they didn't feel anything as the heat from the plasma beam killed them instantly. Other died in the resulting explosions that tore through the vessels hallways until the fire reach heavy composite doors that sealed shut. Several injured were on the other side of those doors while the plasma fire fizzled out thanks to the vacuum of space.
"Evans!" Colonel Sheppard yelled as he got to his feet after being thrown from the command chair following the beam's impact, "evasive manoeuvres!" Sparks were flying down from the ceiling as the ship shook once again, and then there were the sounds of explosions in the distance from plasma weapons hitting the hull.
"Shield generators have been hit, sir!" yelled a crew member, "aft shields disabled! Forward shield arrays have been damaged from a powersurge!"
"Weapons! Lock on and fire with everything we have!" the Colonel added as the Phoenix's two out of four sub-light engines fired while the four Ori ships continued firing spherical blue energy bolts at the Phoenix, with the Tau'ri ship doing all it could to defend itself. It the meantime, on the bridge, there was a cacophony of voices as the Colonel glared out through the forward window.
"The Ori ships have finished charging their main weapons!"
"Forwards shields down to thirty percent!"
"We're losing main power! The central conduit's been hit!"
"Switch power to secondary conduits!" the Colonel yelled as alarms blared all around him.
"Inertial dampeners at fifty percent!"
"We've lost power to three quarters of the Ancient weapons, beam weapons are at twenty percent, and…." The sounds around him were getting too much as the Colonel stood up and ordered everyone to calm down. He then stared at the people in the suddenly silent bridge before relaying his orders.
"Reroute main power through the secondary conduits!" the Colonel yelled out, "transfer power from all unessential systems to the remaining weapons."
"Transferring," Lt. Evans said before nodding his head.
"Fire!" the Colonel said. The four Ori vessels fired their beam weapons at the phoenix. All of them missed as the one hundred and fifty meter long ship fired its two remaining engines running at half power, and banked and weaved past the plasma beams while firing red and orange spherical blasts of plasma.
"We're losing power to the engines, sir," one of the crew said as the engines bright blue hue started to fade.
"We rerouted power, didn't we?" the Colonel asked.
"The secondary conduits must have been hit, sensors are indicating a power leak," another member of the bridge crew said.
"Reroute power from the engines to the Ancient beam weapons," the Colonel ordered looking back over his shoulder, and then back to Lt. Evans siting at the console in front of him, "fire everything!"
The Phoenix came about and then banked left before two green coloured beams of plasma fired followed by one volley after another from the energy weapons towards the Ori ships.. The beams impacted the Ori shields, and then went through one end of the hull, and out the other side. The green coloured beam continued through one ship and then impacted the shields of the ship next to it. The other two Ori ships took up new positions before firing at the badly damaged Phoenix. One of the Ori beams missed the shorten 'neck' section of the ship as it turned hard to port while banking enough for the second beam to glance the aft section of the Phoenix- taking out the number three and four engines, leaving just one of them functional. It was just as the aft sections exploded before jettisoning bodies and debris out into space that the Phoenix fire another volley of energy weapons despite the desperate power situation. The bursts of energy and the green coloured Ancient energy beams tore through the shields and hulls of the remaining ships before they exploded in space.
But it was no time to cheer for the Phoenix crew. So far, they had lost a little over sixty people with forty more badly injured, fifteen critically. Damage control teams and the uninjured were taking injuries to the infirmary. In addition, there was another additional problem, "we have no subspace, communications, half our sensors are damaged, the port hanger bay fuel lines have been sealed to prevent further explosions, we ware leaking energy faster than before, and we have one engine at forty percent and… oh no!"
"What is it?" the Colonel demanded as he stared at the stunned officer,
"We're caught in the planet's gravity well, we.. we can't pull out."
The Colonel frowned while staring at the crewmember before he turned and looking at the forward viewport. He could already feel the ship shaking as it continued to head down towards the planet. He then rushed to his chair and pressed the button on the left armrest, "engineering get me anything…. And I mean anything to slow down our descent in the next five minutes. Everyone else get to crash stations!"
"Colonel Lorne," Teyla said as she and the others watched as the Phoenix's orbit started to rapidly decay after it destroyed the Ori vessels, "we need to do something." SG-1 had been watching the battle up in orbit with bated breath from the very moment that the Ori were, surprisingly, able to damage the cloaked Phoenix to when the Tau'ri vessel destroyed the four Ori ships before its engines gave out in the planet's gravity well. Teyla stared at the holographic HUD in trepidation while Colonel Lorne continued to contact the Phoenix over the subspace radio while ignoring Teyla's voice.
After the umpteenth time of Teyla calling for him, Colonel Lorne shook his head before saying that the communication systems must have been damaged on the Phoenix.
"We need to get up there and do something," Teyla insisted grabbing the Colonel's arm.
"We can't leave Dr Weir here alone, not in this cold," Ronan pointed out when he noticed the Colonel tightening his grip on the controls before the latter turned his head towards Teyla. Ronon then turned to the HUD as the blinking dot, representing the Phoenix, fell to a low orbit.
"The Phoenix will enter the atmosphere in three minutes," Mackay said standing behind the co-pilot's seat after making the mental calculations in his mind, "and then it'll be another six minutes before she crashes into the ground."
"And that's if the engineers on boards can't repair whatever it is that's wrong with the engines," Colonel Lorne asked looking back at Atlantis' lead scientist while he was trying to think of a way to break the news to the rest of the team about the secret orders he received from both Colonel Sheppard and General Landry back on Atlantis, "what could it be?"
"To cause catastrophic failure?" Mackay cried in frustration while he tried to imagine everything that could have gone wrong before finally settling on two possibilities, "the first attack by the Ori must have damaged the primary power conduits. It could have severed the connections, but then power would have transferred to secondary and tertiary conduits. But if those were damaged too….?"
"Then the ship would be powerless and crash?" Colonel Lorne asked.
"No, the ship still has some power," Mackay said before pointing at the HUD, "look, one engine's working but it's losing power. The whole ship's losing power fast, which means there's a leak that needs to be.. You know… plugged."
"We have to hope that they can do it," Lorne said.
"Colonel," Mackay said with his eyes wide open, "if they can't reroute the power through…" Mackay was frustrated as he mumbled to himself while making calculations in his head, "okay they need to transfer power to the remaining engine and the distribution network. And if all of that has been…." Mackay's eyes then lit up as he turned around and stared at the device on the rear bulkhead that had wires connected into ports on the port and starboard sides of the ship, "the Jumper! If we can reroute power using the Jumper as a temporary distribution network… then…."
"What will happen to the Jumper?" asked Lorne turning his seat around and looking back at Mackay.
"We'll be using the Jumper as a bridge to bypass the damaged conduits that power the entire ship," Mackay said as if the answer was the most obvious thing in the world, "but that much power through the Jumper? Well…."
"The Jumper will be destroyed," Ronon stated as a fact, and Mackay shook his head.
"Could be destroyed," McKay corrected Ronon, "could… not will."
Lorne stared at McKay as he thought about the order he was given by the two Generals and Colonel Sheppard in the very unlikely scenario that the Phoenix was somehow discovered by the Ori. Lorne wanted a fool-proof plan, a plan that would save both the Jumper and the Phoenix; but his final order before leaving Atlantis had only one ship surviving if the worst case scenario took place.
"I want you to make sure the experimental hyperdrive is working," Lorne whispered while he turned back to stare at the Phoenix on the holographic HUD, "how.. how long will…? How long will it take?"
"Colonel, do you mean not to help the Phoenix?" Teyla asked with her eyebrows knitted together in confusion. Her eyes widened in disbelief when the Colonel looked back at her and then at the stunned McKay before saying that he his orders. She then turned her head to look at Ronon who had his arms crossed over his chest with his eyes closed in contemplation of what the Colonel just said before she continued to speak. "Evan, we can save the Phoenix, we can…."
"The ship just entered the atmosphere!" Mackay yelled as he pointed at the HUD, but Colonel Lorne didn't look back at him this time. Instead, he stared past the HUD at the snow falling outside, "they have another six minutes, they have…"
"In the unlike even that the Phoenix was attacked or destroyed by the Ori," Lorne whispered looking back at the stunned Teyla, and then at McKay, and back over his shoulder at Ronon who had his eyes closed. He then turned back to McKay and Teyla while continuing to speak, "the Jumper will not help in anyway. Our job is to remain cloaked until Dr Weir returns with the weapons, and then, either on the Phoenix or not, we're supposed to use the experimental Hyperdrive to get us to the rendezvous point outside the Milky Way." Teyla and McKay listened in stunned silence before Lorne looked away from them. Before the outraged McKAy could say anything, it was Ronon who spoke.
"We can't save them," Ronon said softly as he opened his eyes and stared at the HUD. The Satedan warrior knew a rescue could go one of two ways. They could fly the Jumper to the Phoenix where Mackay begins the process of using the Jumper as a power distribution relay. That could save the Phoenix and destroy the Jumper in the process. Or they could head to the Jumper, they could do everything to save the Phoenix, but they fail to use the Jumper as a relay either because it is simply not possible, or because MacKay would take too long to figure a way to accomplish his task thanks to the damage on board. In the end, with the second scenario, they all die and Elizabeth is left alone in the frozen wasteland where she would die.
In the end, Ronon said, they would lose. And the Ori would continue ruling the Milky Way unhindered.
"Lorne's right," Ronon said as the Colonel leaned back in his seat thinking about the decision he made to follow this particular order, and it caused a stinging sensation in his chest. it was a decision he knew would haunt him for the rest of his life. Lorne then took a deep breath and said, "This mission is far more important. I have no intention of bowing to some so-called gods… and we came here to get the weapons necessary to defeat them."
"But…." Teyla said.
"This isn't a decision I make lightly," Colonel Lorne said shaking his head before looking up at an angry Teyla, and then at a stunned Mackay. "But if we want to win against the Ori, we need those weapons. I cannot risk this jumper being destroyed or…"
"You're making a mistake, Colonel," Teyla said, her anger giving way to sadness as she leaned back on her seat. "We should be up there."
"Colonel," Mackay said his voice exuding urgency while his hand gripped the edge of the co-pilot seat tightly while he stood behind Teyla's chair, "I can reroute power through the Jumper, and…"
"I can't risk that. Teyla, McKay, you know the others don't know the location of this world… they're depending on us to get these weapons to them," Colonel Lorne said before looking at the HUD showing a blip, representing the Phoenix, falling into the atmosphere. He then closed his eyes, his mind still conflicted, and whispered, "make sure the hyperdrive works. We need it." The Colonel stared at the HUD, avoided the glares from Teyla and McKay, the last of whom looked back at Teyla before making his way unhappily to the rear of the Jumper.
He was soon joined by Ronon who was standing behind Colonel Lorne's seat. He and Teyla locked eyes together before looking away, "they need us to finish this mission, Teyla," Ronon whispered before walking past her with a heavy heart.
The Colonel turned his head to look at Ronon disappear into the rear of the Jumper before his head turned back towards the angry look on Teyla's face. "I…." but before the Colonel could finish what it was he needed to say, Teyla shook her head and whispered, "what would Elizabeth say?" She then stood up before Colonel Lorne could answer and made her way to the rear to help McKay with the hyperdrive.
Sighing he then turned back to the HUD and activated the communications system again, "Jumper One to Phoenix, do you copy?" There was still no answer as the Colonel sat alone in the cockpit while the others worked on the hyperdrive in the rear compartment, "Dr Weir, do you copy? Phoenix, do you copy?"
The Phoenix, now.
"Forward shields are at ten percent!" cried Lt. Evans over the loud groans and the loud shaking throughout the ship as it entered the atmosphere. The forward shield lit up as heat super hot flames engulfed the forward section of the Phoenix. With so much of the shield emitters damaged during the attack against the Ori, the ship was put down to a specific position so that it didn't burn up on re-entry. However, the shield still didn't help sections of the ventral hull as pieces were being torn off and then burned as the ship screamed through the upper atmosphere.
Colonel Sheppard felt his bones shake for the past few minutes while he tried to make out what everyone was shouting, in regards to the condition of the ship. However, there was one yell that concerned him, 'our engines are gone. The main and secondary conduits ruptured during re-entry. Damn it.'
"We're through with shields at five percent," said Lt. Evans as the shakes and groans from the ship lessened considerably. The ship was still groaning and shaking from the rapid descent through the air towards the ground.
"How long do we have before impact?" the Colonel asked. Lt. Evans looked over his shoulder before staring at another console which gave indications on what the Colonel had just asked. He did some calculations in his head before saying, "at our current rate of descent, we'll impact the ground in six minutes."
The Colonel nodded his head while the Phoenix continued to fall through the air at an angle like a rapidly descending bird since her engines had been cut off from power. With pieces falling off and dropping towards the ground, the Phoenix hurtled through the air while engineers were doing all they could to patch up the damaged tertiary conduits and then reinitialize power to the engines. There was still emergency power being provided by generators for the computers, internal communications, and the infirmary; but power to other vital areas were cut off.
"Engine room," the Colonel said after pressing down on a butting on the armrest of his command chair, "I need full reverse thrust, I need the engines, I need RCS controls, and I need the damn inertial dampeners to work. How long?"
"We're working on it, Colonel," said one of the engineers from the secondary engineering module in the ship since the primary engine room was partially destroyed, "We have people repairing the tertiary conduits as we speak- sir, we'll only just make it."
"You have five minutes," the Colonel said before hearing an acknowledgement from engineering.
"Short range and long-range communications have been damaged, sir," a crew member said from behind him.
"Several internal sensors have been damaged in the initial attack," said another member of the bridge crew, Lt. Castle, "we lost nearly eighty percent of the external sensors thanks to both the initial attack and the resultant power loss."
"So, we have some? The basics, maybe?" the Colonel asked before the female lieutenant nodded her head. Colonel Sheppard then ordering a scan of the immediate area around them, especially the area along their trajectory. 'Lorne, remember your orders. Anything happens to us, you and SG-1 get out of here and get to the rendezvous point. The weapons are the most important thing about this mission.'
"Yes, sir," the crew member said, "running a scan of the surface." The Colonel turned to the young Lieutenant and nodded his head before turning back to the sight of the heavy clouds they were hurtling towards.
"Ummmmm…. Sir?" Lt. Castle said from the rear port side of the ship, "sensors are detecting a structure five minutes away from us."
"What structure?" the Colonel asked as he turned his chair and stared at her.
"Unknown," she replied looking back at the Colonel before turning back towards the screen in front of her, "Stand-by, the sensors are showing… well… it looks like some kind of a castle and… oh no."
"Colonel, there's a little over five thousand lives in and around that structure."
Colonel Sheppard opened his eyes wide in surprise before pressing down on the button on his armrest, "engineering," he said with urgency in his voice, "we really need the engines and those reverse thrusters. We have lives on the ground. I repeat, we're about to crash into a little over five thousand lives on the ground."
"Understood, sir," was the reply as the Colonel stared out the forward viewport while the Phoenix entered the dark grey clouds below them. All he could do now was wait and hope that the engines came online before the ship crashed into the people on the ground.
Sansa wasn't happy about the entire situation. Not at all. Yes, she was happy to see Jon again, and Dany did intrigue her. She then glanced over at Arya and Brianne on either side of her before glancing at Arya once again while thinking to herself, 'Arya's excited about seeing dragons.' But, as Sansa shifted her eyes back towards the specks in the distance that was Jon and Dany's retinue of over one hundred people, Sansa still wasn't happy about the situation.
"Are you going to tell him anything?" Arya whispered looking out over the battlements past Winter Town. She was angry as well that Jon bent the knee to Dany without having consulted any of them. Sansa knew that Dany had sacrificed one of her dragons during what she and Arya considered a stupidly derived mission to capture a Wight from beyond the wall. "That doesn't mean that he should bend the knee," Sansa had said while they gathered in Bran's room a few days ago.
Arya glanced at her sister back in the present day, and then turned away towards the specks in the distance just as several riders and Ghost, Jon's direwolf, exited Winterfell to meet the retinue. "You knew Cerci more than any of us, Sansa," Arya whispered, "do you really believe she and the Lannister army will come to our aid?"
Brianne glanced at Sansa who locked her jaw staring out over the battlements. The tall knight hoped that Jamie would live up to his side of the deal. She hoped that he would be the one leading a great army down North to help them against the Whitewalkers and the army of the dead. There was something in her telling her to trust Jamie but she could not bring herself to trust Cersei despite having heard what the Queen had to say back in the Dragonpit. And Brianne's thoughts about Cerci were confirmed when Sansa simply said, "no."
Sansa closed her eyes and shook her head before continuing to say, "Cerci is more likely to watch the North, the Dothraki, the Unsullied, and the Dragons battle the army of the dead. She would rather have us kill each other," Sansa then rolled her hands into fists and knitted her eyebrows together, "and then she'll swoop down and finish the survivors off. She doesn't care about the North, or the South, or the…" Sansa realized she was raising her voice before she shook her head, lowered her voice with an apology before continuing, "we cannot trust her to send aid."
"So it's just us," Arya whispered while a chill went up her spine when she thought about Bran telling her and Sansa that a section of the Wall had come down. That the dead were heading for the Last Hearth and Karhold with the NightKing riding on the dead Viserion. It was news that stunned them all, news that Sansa sent to White Harbour where Jon and the Drogon queen landed two weeks ago.
"It is just us, my Ladies," Brianne said, "though I hope that Ser Jamie…." Sansa and Arya then turned to Brianne as she continued to speak with confidence, "would be able to defy the Queen if she should betray us. I believe he will come."
"We have to prepare as if we will not receive any aid," Sansa spoke before turning to Arya, "how goes training? Are the girls…"
"The children are doing all they can," Arya simply said, "they know what's coming and they're terrified. I can see it in their eyes." Arya saw that Sansa was about to say something, but she raised her hand signalling her sister to stop what she was about to say, "Lady Mormont is helping me in encouraging the children to train harder than before. She's already received training from Bear Island, and for her age she is able to handle a bow and arrow very well. I can tell you that despite the fear in the eyes of the children, many of them have improved immensely over the past couple of months."
Sansa nodded her head before turning to Brianne. She was about to ask Brianne how the training session with the adults were going together with the Hound. But before she could asked, Arya cut in with a smirk on her face, "just like you over the last month after Littlefinger's death."
Sansa looked back at her sister and recalled having to swallow her pride as they stood on these Battlements an hour after Littlefinger's death; they talked about their father, their mother, and the loss of their brothers. They talked about Bran and Jon, about how the latter had made such an important decision without consulting any of them. Once they finished talking, Sansa reminded Arya that Jon wanted everyone to learn how to wield a weapon- even the girls and women. Sansa remembered the questioning look on Arya's face when the latter turned to her before the redhead said, "show me how to at least fire an arrow." Sansa remembered Arya staring at her quizzically for a few seconds before she chuckled. And as the frowned grew on Sansa's face, Arya started to giggle. and then she began laughing out loud slapping her thighs.
And Sansa just stood there glaring at the laughing Arya.
Back in the present day, that memory was pushed aside at the sound of Bran's voice from the courtyard below.
"Sansa, Arya," he said as the guard who had been pushing his wheelchair stepped to one side while Bran looked up, "we have to…" However, before he could say that they could talk about what he had seen in his vision, there was a loud 'Boom, followed by a louder 'Boom' a few seconds later from the sky. Upon hearing the sounds, everyone who had been training in and around Winterfell, including in the barracks behind the walls surrounding the Winterfell godswood, looked around wondering what had happened.
"What was that?" Arya asked looking up at the cloud covered sky.
"Thunder perhaps," Sansa said before looking back down at Bran, "Bran, what…."
Then there was another loud 'Boom!' Sansa and the others, including Bran, turned sharply to the right and stared at the grey coloured clouds.
The Phoenix, a few seconds earlier.
It had taken some doing, but the engineers managed to patch up most of the secondary conduits using the portable naquada generators to power the shield emitters at the sections where the power leaks were the highest. Once the shields were in place and activated, Colonel Sheppard was notified before he ordered everyone to brace themselves.
"We have limited power, sir," the Colonel listened while nodding his head.
"Engine three will fire in two minutes," another voice said as the ship was falling through the air towards the clouds below.
"We still don't have inertial dampeners," another voice tinged with panic added.
"Engineering, we need the inertial dampeners or else we'll be smudges when engine number three fires, or when we fire the reverse thrusters to slow down," the Colonel said before a voice through the speakers said "stand-by." It would be three seconds later that the inertial dampeners were activated at half power. It was then, just as the Phoenix entered the thick grey clouds, that the RCS thrusters at the port and starboard sides of the 'neck' section, the sides of the space frame, the aft section, and at the sides of the hanger bays all fired with a loud Boom sound- the first boom that the people in Winterfell heard.
That was soon followed by the sound of the reverse thrusters firing with a deafening 'Boom' while everyone in the ship struggled to remain steady as the vessel shook- it was as if the ship would come apart at the seams. The Colonel and the others breathed a sigh of relief when they felt the ship starting to slow down. But suddenly the thrusters were deactivated and the ship started to fall faster.
"Engineering?" the Colonel called out through the intercom system as the ship started to shake once more, "what's…."
"Slight power dip caused by a section of the shield failing, sir," the engineer called out through the bridge speakers, "the shields are coming back up. The portable Naquada reactors were not meant to power the shield emitters, sir. Well, I mean it could but the reactors can't handle the power going through those seriously damaged conduits. It's like Asgard plasma beams being continuously fired at the side of the conduits, sides that are right now made up on an energy shield."
"Understood," the Colonel said, "but we have no choice." The Colonel then turned to the helm and said, "fire reverse thrusters at ten percent."
"Firing," was the response before the second 'Boom!' that the residents of Winterfell heard erupted. The ship started to slow down just before it broke through the clouds. It was at the moment that Sansa, Arya, and Brianne; as well as several guards on the walls of the castle could see the greyish object with dark singed holes on various parts of its body falling towards the castle.
"Sansa?" Arya said pointing at the grey object which had flames firing out its sides as it hurtled towards the castle, "what in seven hells is that?"
"I have no idea," Sansa whispered as the object started to get bigger the closer it came. Soon, everyone in the castle and the surrounding area was able to clearly see the falling object start to slow down before another 'BOOM' erupted.
Back on the ship, the number three engine fired, slowly propelling the ship forward as she slowed down. Sansa, Arya, the Hound, Brianne, Bran, and everyone else… including the retinue watched in stunned silence at the ship flew right over head- over nine hundred meters; the people in the castle feeling a sudden burst of warmth as the object flew overhead- the warmth followed by a gust of wind that spared through the castle and blew away the surrounding snow into the air.
From the battlements, the stunned Lady of Winterfell and her dark-haired sister watched as the blue glow coming from the rear of the object flickered and then died, as did the fires along the sides of the object.
"Sir!" the Colonel heard Lt. Evans call out in the Phoenix, "we've burnt out the naquada reactors!"
"Brace for impact!" the Colonel yelled into the speakers.
"Two hundred meters," Evans shouted while the Colonel stared out the forward viewport at the on-coming snow covered ground, "three hundred meters." The Colonel heart was racing as he wondered if Elizabeth was alright He wondered if they would make it out of this and survive, 'no matter what, get the weapons back to the fleet, Lorne. If we don't survive, and if we do… if we can't get the transponder or comms working again, follow your orders.'
"One hundred meters!"
"Brace for impact!" the Colonel yelled out through the speakers.
Sansa and the others, many of whom who were standing at the battlements and outside the gates watched as the great grey coloured object hit the ground. They heard an inhuman groan as the object skidded along the snow throwing up dirt, Ice and snow into the air. They watched it spin around as a large section, the hanger bay with the massive hole on its side caused by the Ori weaponry, was sheared off the skidding object before it came to a stop several kilometers away.
"By the gods," Sansa whispered staring at the strange object in the distance as it came to a rest, "what is that?"