- *No Site Warnings Apply
- Alternate Universe
- Time Travel
Rodney was in the cafeteria sitting quietly with Jeannie and Madison as they ate. He’d grabbed an Athosian drink that was basically a protein shake not long ago, so he wasn’t actually hungry. He had stopped using artificial protein bars to supplement his diet in this time line when Teyla offered the alternative. It was all natural, was allergen free, and actually tasted pretty good.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Jeannie said softly. “I, when all this started all I could think was how glad I was that you were already off planet. They were targeting intellectuals, homosexuals, even people that were superior athletes. Claiming that anyone that didn’t code as ‘normal’ must be of some alien origin.”
“And people believed this?” Rodney demanded.
“Yes, especially when it was disclosed that both Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson had the ATA gene.” Jeannie sighed tired. “That whole died and ascended and came back thing that Dr. Jackson did? That did not go over well with religious leaders. Especially after he tried to explain the concept of ascended beings using Osirus, Buddha, and Jesus as examples of ascension myths.” She turned to Madison, who was playing with her meal. “Finish your stew, honey.”
“He didn’t,” Rodney groaned. “I despise organized religion and even I’m not that stupid.”
“I think he was trying to disabuse any notion that he might claim to be a messiah figure,” Jeannie suggested. “But it got turned around on him to make it look like he was trying to claim that all religious figures were of alien origin. He hasn’t had a moment’s peace since.”
Rodney let the sounds of the cafeteria fill the silence between them for several minutes while Jeannie tended to Madison. “What happened to Kaleb?” he asked.
Jeannie froze at the question, biting her lip. “There was a protest at the university where Kaleb worked,” she began. “Two sides, one was pro-Stargate, the other was Earth First. I don’t know how it turned violent. I saw a little on the television, but Madison was in the room so I turned it off. The police said someone started shooting into the pro-Stargate crowd.” She bit back a sob. “Kaleb was just trying to calm people. He got between two students fighting, people that where from his own classes. A witness said that someone wearing a mask came out of the crowd and shot him in the head point blank.”
“He was targeted?” Rodney asked, horrified.
“Yes!” she sobbed, covering her face with her hands. “No one knows who did it or why, but I can guess.”
“Someone has been following me for months,” Jeannie said. “I thought I was imagining it, but then someone broke into our house. The only they didn’t take anything of value.”
“What happened after Kaleb?” Rodney didn’t want to push, but he needed to know.
“Both sides blamed the other for his death,” Jeannie said. “Tried to make him a martyr for their side, make me a spokesman for them. I refused and I called the emergency contact you gave me. Major Carter had me and Madison beamed directly to the SGC. We’ve been either in that mountain or on the Icarus for months.”
“Jeannie,” Rodney took her hands in his. “I am so sorry this happened to you.”
“It’s not your fault,” Jeannie replied sadly. “But thank you.”
Rodney’s radio chimed. “Damn it,” he muttered. “I have to go.”
“It’s okay, Mer,” Jeannie said. “I know you’ve got a lot on your plate. Just let me know if you need any help.”
“I will,” Rodney promised. “I would love your help in the labs, as soon as we get some sort of daycare worked out.” He pulled her into a hug. “I’m so glad you’re here.” He let her go and headed out to the hallway. “Talk to me, Radek.”
John entered the glass-encased office in the gate room, no one used it as anything other than a break room now. There was a desk with snacks and cold and hot drink carafes. No one would ever use the room as an office again. He grabbed a piece of fruit and a drink, needing to eat something.
He turned when he saw Ronon climb the stairs from the gate room floor. He gestured for his friend to come in with his free hand.
“When was the last time you ate?” Ronon asked.
“Too long,” John replied through a mouthful of fruit filled pastry. “Basically haven’t stopped since we booted Beckett over to the mainland.”
“Can you talk and eat at the same time?” Ronon asked.
“Yeah, follow me,” John replied. He headed for the stairs.
“The survivors on Sateda were on an island off the coast of the secondary continent called Meyandare,” Ronon said.
John’s lips twitched a little.
“Don’t start,” Ronon said aggrievedly. “Captain Holland already gave me shit about that. Earth wordplay is awful.”
“Not a word,” John promised. “You were able to talk to them?”
“It took some convincing,” Ronon replied. “They thought I was a deserter because I was in Kell’s regiment.”
“I assume you were able to convince them otherwise,” John said.
“Yeah,” Ronon grinned. “You are not going to believe what they had with them.”
“What?” John demanded as they headed down a hallway the medical center.
“An ancient manufacturing plant,” Ronon replied. “The government used it for mass producing gun powder and bullets. They can customize the machines to any type and size.”
“Ancient?” John froze, not sure if he heard right. “They can replicate our Earth style casings?”
“They can,” Ronon replied. “Captain Holland gave them a sample to see if they could make copies. It worked. Holland even tested fired it.”
“Some Satedans have Ancients as ancestors, just like Tau’ri,” Ronon shrugged. “It had been a legend when I was a kid. Turned out it was true.” He scowled. “They kept it going through selected breeding.”
“Yipes,” John grimaced.
“Yeah,” Ronon agreed. “It was something that the island population had done for generations, not something forced on them.” He shook his head. “Anyway, they’re willing to help us fight the wraith by manufacturing what we need. Their only limit is power. They have a ZPM, but it’s nearly depleted.”
“You think it would work with a naquada generator?” John asked. The manifest from the Icarus had mentioned the ship had over a dozen in storage, though he had barely glanced at it.
“Maybe,” Ronon shrugged. “McKay or Zelenka need to look at it.”
“I want a look at it too,” John replied. “When are you expected back?”
“Not for a week,” Ronon replied. “There are a lot of people that need to be evacuated. It really isn’t safe to live on the planet anymore.”
“Why did they stay?” John asked. “The Stargate still works.”
“But not everyone has the knowledge to use it,” Ronon replied. “The Athosians are a small population, everyone needs to know how to dial the gate for safety, for hunting, for trade, or whatever. Sateda had a population in the hundreds of thousands. Not everyone needed or wanted to learn how to dial the gate or know safe worlds to escape to. There hadn’t been a need for a dozen generations. There were chosen members of each settlement that knew how to work the gate in case they needed to flee, but chances are good that a lot of those people didn’t survive the culling.”
“But you knew,” John pointed out.
“All military conscripts were taught certain safe gate addresses,” Ronon shrugged. “I learned others while I was a runner.” He smirked. “They don’t need to know how I learned all the other things I know.”
“No one does,” John agreed.
“One more thing,” Ronon said quietly. He looked around the hallway, there was no one in hearing range at the moment. “I saw Acastus Kolya on Sateda.”
“Where?” John demanded, his eyes going cold.
“He was with a group of scavengers that were caught trying to loot the central city” Ronon replied. “They were dressed as Menarians, but every one of them was Genii. Ladon Radim was with them.”
“What happened to them?”
“All their gear was confiscated, down to their skivvies, and they were sent back through the gate with as warning,” Ronon shrugged.
“I’d have loved to have seen that,” John smiled.
“He was pissed as hell at having been caught,” Ronon said. “I doubt they thought anyone still lived on the planet. Six years of zero contact with old allies, they probably thought Sateda had been culled to extinction.”
“Like we originally assumed,” John remembered. “Do you know what they were after?”
“Whatever it was, they didn’t get much,” Ronon said. “But I think they were looking for examples of integrated circuit boards. The Genii are hampered by the fact they can’t make their tech smaller.”
John nodded. “Good work.”
“Get some sleep, Sheppard,” Ronon said sternly. “I want to see you for the morning run.”
John groaned, but nodded. “See you then.”
“What have you got for me, Radek,” Rodney asked as he entered the lab. It was bustling with scientists working on multiple projects, but each had their own space.
“Follow me,” Radek said quietly. He turned and walked into the secondary lab space, they called it Lab 2, but it was also a secure room that was lockable only by someone with the ATA gene. This one was keyed specifically to Rodney and was where the most volatile experiments and unidentified devices were kept. “Please lock the door.”
“Okay,” Rodney said after he complied. “What’s going on?”
“I finished running the numbers for your experiment,” Radek said, pushing out a breath. “It will work.”
Rodney stared at him for a long moment. “Right. Thank you.”
“Rodney,” Radek look at him. “This is a horrible, devastating concept.”
“Col. Carter did worse,” Rodney stated.
“Yes,” Radek agreed. “She destroyed an entire solar system by forcing a star to go supernova. It was a one-time event. This though, if you- If we did this…”
“It could be a devastating weapon,” Rodney agreed.
“Using a stargate like this,” Radek shook his head. “You could destroy the surface of a planet in moments. It would devastate all organics and irradiate the surface for generations. Why would you? Is not the plasma canon enough? It is more powerful than anything I have ever seen. Not even the Asgard’s weapons can match it in sheer force.”
“The reason the wraith beat the Ancients is numbers,” Rodney said quietly. “No matter how many ships the Ancients shot out of the sky, they always had more. They didn’t realize that the wraith were inflating their numbers through an artificial breeding system. Basically cloning drones by the thousands on worlds specifically chosen for the mineral deposits and base organics they harvested for just that purpose.”
“That is not in the database,” Radek said. “I know it is not. How do you know this?”
“I can’t tell you that,” Rodney replied. “I- Just please trust me when I say that I would never have suggested this sort of thing if I didn’t think it was necessary for our survival.”
Radek was quiet, his eyes searching his friend’s expression. “We have been through much, you and I,” he said. “You advocated for me, helped me get into the SGC long before the project was comfortable letting in scientists from other countries. You are often three steps ahead of everyone else in the room. I have never begrudged you temperament because you have worked tirelessly to keep us all alive.” He looked down at the floor. “But those calculations, that plasma cannon. Rodney, you are at least ten years ahead of anything anyone else has thought of. You and Sheppard treat the Wraith as an imminent threat, yet we have only encountered them sporadically. The Genii are also a great threat, yet you knew that before we encountered them. Both of you refused to establish any sort of trade with them.”
“Then there is Dr. Carson Beckett,” Radek said. “Whom you have watched like a hawk even before we came to Pegasus. Though you professed to have a long friendship, you did not trust him past creating the ATA gene therapy. Your precautions when dealing with far-flung Ancient labs proved nearly prophetic.”
“Where are you going with this?” Rodney asked, with a sinking feeling.
“I will not say anything to anyone else,” Radek solemnly. “But for my own sanity I must know, when are you from?”
End part 8