- Alternate Universe
- Time Travel
“Dr. Grodin, report?” Rodney demanded as he and John entered the gate room. Several technicians and scientists were running around to different consoles each one trying to talk over the other. “What is going on.”
“I’ll let Dr. Zelenka explain,” Dr. Grodin replied.
“Rodney!” Dr. Radek Zelenka came running over to him. “You and the Major must see this.”
“What?” John demanded.
“The deep space sensors have detected a ship,” he said. “An Earth ship.”
“What?” John ran up to the main monitor. He touched several controls and the image zoomed in on the dot at the farthest reaches of their sensor grid. “Holy fuck.”
“When did it appear?” Rodney asked.
“The relays work in real time,” Radek reminded him. “So, ten minutes ago.”
“Course and speed?” John asked.
“They do no appear to be going anywhere,” Radek said. “They haven’t moved more than a few kilometers since they appeared.”
“They could have damaged their engines getting to Pegasus,” John said.
“Oh no,” Rodney said as he scrolled through the readings. “It is broadcasting a distress signal on all channels.”
“For fucks sake,” John cursed. “That’ll bring any nearby Wraith ships right to them.”
“I can not imagine that who ever is on that has any idea the danger they are putting themselves in,” Radek replied.
“Where is the nearest gate to their location?” John asked.
“Not nearly close enough,” Rodney said. “It’d take three days by Jumper to get to them.”
“Right,” John grabbed to headset for the Public Address system. “Attention, this is Major Sheppard. All personnel assigned to the Orion please report to the landing pad. I repeat, all Orion personnel report to the landing pad for immediate departure with full tactical gear.”
“You will take our Ancient ship then,” Radek said.
“We have to,” John said.
“No, no,” Radek waved a hand. “This is a good thing. Take that ship out, let her fly. She is a good ship that needs a strong ATA gene for the captain’s chair. The shakedown cruise went well, but Lorne didn’t have nearly the response time form her that you got.”
“I’m the commander of the entire expedition,” John said. “I can’t just leave.”
“Yes you can,” Radek replied. “You have many good officers, you have Lorne and O’Neill who can hold the city while you and Rodney save whoever is on that ship.”
“Right,” John tapped his radio. “Captain Lorne, Captain O’Neill, report to my office.”
“Yes, sir.” Lorne replied.
“On my way,” O’Neill responded.
“Rodney,” John turned. “We’re not taking any changes. Full tactical, even you.”
“I’ll grab our go bags and meet you on the ship,” Rodney replied. “Radek, you’re in charge of the minions while we’re gone. Don’t let anyone blow themselves up.”
“I’ll do my best,” Radek replied. “And you will not be foolish and get yourself killed.”
“I’ll do my best,” Rodney echoed and jogged off to the transporter.
The experience of flying through space controlling a ship the size of the Orion as apposed to a puddle-jumper was that as he had to let the ship tell him how much torque it could handle before he commanded a maneuver. He didn’t have to sit in the chair at all times during hyperspace travel, but the trip was going to be a short one, and he wanted to be in the chair if they came out of hyperspace into a combat situation.
He looked at all the men and women on the bridge, his eyes falling on Rodney standing next to the command dais. Each one of them was wearing their full tactical gear set. Scientists in flack jackets and carrying sidearms hadn’t been a thing in the first timeline except during the first siege. He had regretted agreeing to the scaling back after the wraith had been tricked into thinking they were all dead. Weir hadn’t seen the need, and he had not been able to persuade even Col. Carter to issue firearms and maintain at least target practice for the science division members. It had cost them in lives not just the scientists, who were often caught unarmed and unprepared, but in the lives of the soldiers who had to place themselves in the path of whatever danger threatened.
Some would argue that it was a soldiers job to do so. John believed then and now, that a scientist in a war zone was obligated to keep themselves alive through being proactive and aware. Which was why he had advocated to the chain of command that all expedition members had to be certified at the gun rage with at least a pistol.
Rodney had a M4 sitting on the platform next to him, a .9mm pistol on his hip, and a katana strapped to his back. After a year without contact with Earth, every soldier had been given bladed weapons training. Whether that training was with Dr. Miko Kusanagi or with Ronon of Sateda, it didn’t matter. None of the soldiers were exempt and as soon as they past muster, they were issued a sword that became part of their kit.
“Attention crew,” John said as he opened the ship’s PA system. “We will be leaving hyperspace shortly. All security members assigned to boarding parties and Engineering repair crews, be ready to disembark as soon as possible. F-302 pilots be ready to launch in five minutes. We do not know what we will encounter when we exit into normal space, but we must be prepared for a fight with the Wraith or any other hostile forces we might encounter. Remember, just because that is an Earth ship, does not mean that there are friendlies onboard.”
“All decks report ready to leave hyperspace,” Rodney said.
“Leaving hyperspace in three-two-one,” John said and commanded the ship to drop into normal space. The transition was as smooth as silk compared to a Goa’uld ship or even an Earth ship. But there was still a mental lag time from when you saw the cascading waves of energy to the slow moving starscape.
The first thing to register was the tilt of the F-304, most ships stayed within what was known as the galactic plain. The spiral arms of the Milky Way created the disk shape from which that galaxy’s plain was formed. The Pegasus disk was on an oblique angle from the Milky Way, if the angle of the F-304 was anything to go by, the ship had dropped out of hyperspace and hadn’t moved under its own power since.
“Rodney,” John called. “Sensor readings?”
“Minimal power, life support and anti-gravity are barely functioning. There are about a hundred life signs on board.” Rodney replied. “The engines are offline, but there is definitely signs that the ship took a beating before it got here. There are at couple of hull scores from weapons fire and one of the flight decks looks like Swiss cheese.”
“Do we have a ship name?” he asked.
“Icarus,” Rodney said. He leaned closer to John and whispered. “There was no Icarus in the other time line.” John nodded understanding but said nothing.
“Open standard Earth communication frequencies,” John ordered.
“Frequencies open, sir,” Airman Ross replied.
“This is the Orion of the Atlantis Space Fleet to unknown Earth vessel,” John said. “Major John Sheppard in command. We are here to assist you. Do you read us?” There was nothing but silence from the other ship. “Unknown Earth vessel, you are broadcasting an open band distress signal in hostile space. You need to cease transmission before you alert the local indigenous hostile race to your presence.”
There was a burst of static and a voice no one expected. “Major Sheppard, this is Colonel Dmitri Chekhov. Commander of the Icarus of the United Earth Fleet. We read you.” He sounded exhausted. The one and only time John had met the man was briefly before the expedition departed for Pegasus.
“Col. Chekhov,” John called. “You need to cease transmission immediately.”
“Understood, Major,” Chekhov replied. There was a brief pause and Rodney nodded indicating that the transmission had stopped. “Are you able to give us a visual communication? It isn’t that I do not trust your voice, but we are at your mercy at the moment.”
John mentally activated the visual communications and the image of the Icarus’ bridge under emergency power came up on the main screen. Col Chekhov looked terrible, his skin was pale with a half healed cut across his forehead. The uniform he wore was dirty and scorched in places.
“Are you able to accept boarders?” John asked. “We have personnel prepared to board and effect repairs.”
“Your assistance is greatly appreciated, Major,” Chekhov said. “Our senior engineer was killed when the sub-light engines overloaded.”
“Can you pressurize the starboard hangar? We have small transport ships that can bring over a repair team, and we can transport any injured to our infirmary,” John offered.
“Yes, we will have it ready when you send the ship,” Chekhov replied. “If you could give us a complement of those on the repair team.”
“Six engineers and four security personnel,” John said.
“Security?” Chekhov looked mildly offended. “We are not a threat Major.”
“Please understand, Col. Chekhov,” John began. “We have been attempting to connect with the Earth gate for months with no success. Your ship’s sudden appearance in Pegasus and its condition is of great concern to us. I am more than willing to help you and your people, but I have to protect the people under my command.”
There was a long pause in which Chekhov seemed to weigh his options. “Of course, Major. We are in no position to begrudge your precautions.”
“Thank you, Colonel.”
“Sgt. Markum,” John called. “You have a go. I want your team on radio at all times. That goes for your medics as well, Dr. Biro.”
“Yes, sir,” Sgt. Markum said.
“Understood, Major,” Dr. Biro said.
Twenty minuted into the mission, John found himself strumming his fingers impatiently as the away teams reported on the damage to the ship and the crew.
“This doesn’t look good,” Rodney said. “The hyper-drive is intact, but the sub-light is fucked.”
“We’re going to have to tow her, aren’t we,” John sighed.
“Yes,” Rodney replied. “Though, you know, I think we could actually fit the Icarus inside the cargo hold. It’s only three hundred and fifty meters long. Just move the F-302s and the puddle-jumpers against the walls and it’ll fit.”
“Are you messing with me?” John demanded. “That’s nuts.”
“No,” Rodney brought up the simulations of the two ships onto the secondary monitor. “The Orion is ten times the size of the Icarus. The cargo bay has the room. We use the puddle-jumpers to tow her in and lock her down that way we don’t have to worry about the ship losing life support.”
“Alright,” John straightened in the command chair. “Col. Chekhov, do you read me?”
“I’m hear, Major,” Col Chekhov replied.
“We’re getting the damage reports from our people,” John said. “The repairs are going to take hours, if not days and I am not willing to hang here in middle of hostile territory for that long.”
“I do not wish to abandon this ship,” Col. Chekhov said.
“I have no intention of leaving any of you behind,” John said. “We going to give you a ride to Atlantis.”
After over an hour of painstaking maneuvering, the Icarus was safely landed inside the Orion. John met Col. Chekhov in person as he was escorted to the bridge.
“Welcome about, Colonel.” John said.
“Thank you, Major,” Col. Chekhov said. “This is my second in command, USAF Col. Cameron Mitchel.”
“A pleasure,” Mitchel said. “I wish we were meeting under better circumstances.”
“Likewise, sir,” John replied.
“The Icarus is being secured as we speak,” Rodney said. “While anti-gravity will hold it to the floor of the cargo bay, we don’t want it shifting if we have to do evasive maneuvers.”
“I didn’t realize how large your ship was until the moment it was over top of my own ship.” Chekhov said. “This is an Ancient ship? I saw their writing as I was escorted here.”
“Sir!” Airman Ross called. “We have a hyperspace window opening two hundred and fifteen kilometers away on our starboard side.”
“We’re out of time,” John said, jogging back to the control chair. “What are we looking at Rodney?”
“It’s a Wraith Cruiser.”
“Raise the shields,” John ordered. “Ready the starboard guns. Charge the forward canons.”
“Major,” Rodney asked. “I remind you we haven’t tested those guns yet.”
“Do you have any doubts about their functionality,” John asked.
“Well, no,” Rodney admitted. “Just, don’t go overboard.”
“No promises,” John replied with a shark like grin.
“What is happening?” Col. Chekhov demanded.
“Strap in,” Rodney demanded pointing at a pair of empty seats neat the wall. “And don’t touch anything.” He turned to his console. “I’m jamming their transmissions. They won’t be able to call for backup.”
The control chair lit up and an alarm began to blare. “Battle stations, repeat battle stations. This is not a drill. All crews to your battle stations.”
“The cruiser is launching Darts,” Airman Ross called over the alarm. “Shall we launch the 302s?”
“Negative,” John said. “Fire starboard rail-guns.” The ship hummed with power as the turrets on the starboard side opened up blasting into the side of the cruiser. “Launching drones.”
John closed his eyes and followed the flight of the missiles through space, targeting the drones taking them out easily.
“Cruiser is firing,” Rodney called.
“Brace for impact,” John announced. The ship shuddered slightly.
“Shields down the Ninety-five percent,” Rodney said. “Second wave of drones launching.”
John didn’t even bother to reply, he sank into the controls of the ship and fired the sub-light engines and maneuvering thrusters, turning the Orion to face wraith cruiser. “Fire forward rail-guns.”
“What is that thing made of?” Mitchel gasped.
“Organic technology,” Rodney said bitingly.
The darts disintegrated under a hail of projectiles. The cruiser fired at them again, multiple shots slamming into the shields.
“Forward shields at seventy-five percent,” Rodney said. “Forward batteries fully charged.”
“Firing forward canon.” The front view screen erupted with light as the canons fired at what was practically point-blank range. John opened his eyes and watched as the cruiser was split in half. A moment later the wraith ship’s engine exploded, reducing what was left to atoms. “Anything left on the sensors?” he asked.
“No sir,” Airman Ross replied. “The sensors are clear.”
“Thank you, Airman,” John said. “Damage report.”
“Negligible,” Rodney said. “One relay blew in the kitchen. It’s being repaired as we speak.”
“Good, setting course to Atlantis,” John said. “Prepare for hyperspace jump in three-two-one.”
end part 3