Asgard Vessel General O'Neill
Asgard Space, Two Days Later
Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgard fleet, gazed around the command centre of his new flagship with approval. The General O'Neill was only the second ship of her class, a Hammond-class command dreadnought, bigger and more powerful than the O'Neill-class battlecruisers that had served his people so well for the last few centuries. Similar in appearance to an O'Neill this new ship incorporated all the latest in technology including some Ancient technological elements shared with the Asgard by their Tau'ri allies.
Thor was very proud of these new ships; they were a testament to the reinvigoration the Asgard race had experienced over the last few centuries. Ever since the answer to the genetic degradation problems with their cloning technology had been found in Atlantis vast database, the Asgard had been working tirelessly to rebuild their galaxy and the empire they had almost lost to the Replicators. Now finally after centuries of tireless work that reconstruction was at last was completed and the Asgard race was once more growing in number as their new clones could actually reproduce. They were showing to the universe that they were once more one of the five great races that this part of the universe had produced. Races that included the Ancients or the Alterans to use their proper name and their Tau'ri second evolution.
Thor stiffened suddenly as he felt a presence touch his mind. Thor, a soft voice said into his head, a voice he hadn't heard in along time. Thor we need to talk, come to your chambers, the voice continued, and this time Thor placed it and felt surprise ripple through his body. Though surprised he was also concerned and immediately used the ships internal transporters to move himself to his personal chambers.
To find Daniel Jackson waiting there for him, leaning against the wall, looking as he had looked as a young man all those centuries ago. There was nothing to immediately give away that he wasn't really here, at least not in a corporeal sense, he hadn't had a corporeal body for a few centuries now. Not since he had once again ascended at the natural end of his life.
"Daniel Jackson this a pleasant surprise," Thor said in greeting even as he sat down in his chair.
"It is good to see you again, Thor," Daniel replied standing up straight. "Unfortunately this isn't a social call."
"I suspected as much," Thor answered, slipping into the fashion of talking to a Tau'ri - even an ascended one - with practiced ease. "What can we do for you?"
"You are aware that a cityship with escorts was sent to dark matter galaxy a few weeks ago?"
"I am aware of Rivendell's mission yes," Thor replied. "As far as I am aware there has been no contact from them since."
"That is correct. As a matter of fact a fleet of warships is to be sent to that galaxy soon to investigate what happened to them. We would like you to accompany them." Had he had eyebrows Thor's would have shot up in surprise at that, it was incredibly rare for the ascended Alterans to ask anything from their old Asgard allies. In fact as far as Thor could recall it was unprecedented.
"May I ask why?"
"You can. Something occurred in that dark matter galaxy that for a moment in time shattered subspace," Daniel replied. "We have been too busy repairing the damage to the very fabric of the universe it caused to investigate what caused the disruption, all we know is it originated at the same general coordinates that Rivendell was aiming for."
"You want us to investigate what caused it?"
"If you can yes. If subspace was shattered there once it could potentially happen again. If it happens again then the damage it could do to the fabric of the universe could be even worse." Daniel replied. "We need to know if it was a one off occurrence or if it's going to happen again, we must not let it happen again. The universe is a fragile balance of different forces it cannot withstand many major disruptions like that. If too many occurred then the consequences could be disastrous."
"It is that serious?"
"Yes, Thor it is. It could cause a rupture in the very fabric of the universe and not even the others know what that would do, all we know is it would not be good."
"I see. Very well I will speak with the High Council immediately," Thor replied. "As soon as they are informed of the potential seriousness of the situation I have no doubt they will release ships to investigate the cause of this shattering of subspace that you speak of."
Daniel smiled. "Thank you, Thor," he said. "I will let the others know. One more thing, when you go to that galaxy please be careful. I sense a malevolence there, a darkness greater than anything I have ever felt, watch yourselves when you go there."
"I will," Thor replied, feeling a chill go down his spine at that. He didn't like the sound of that at all. "I will keep an eye on the Tau'ri, even though they are more than capable of looking after themselves these days."
"That's all I can ask, Thor. Thank you," Daniel said his voice turning ethereal as he began to glow. In moments he had become nothing more than a glowing tentacled mass of pure energy and light. For a moment more he remained there then faded away as if he had never been present at all.
Thor sat there in his chair looking at the place where his old friend had been, mentally going over what Daniel had told him. Then he pressed a control on the sides of his chair, opening a communications link to the bridge.
"Connect me to the High Council immediately," he ordered. "I must speak with them about a matter of the utmost urgency."
"Yes, commander. Please stand by."
Makora System, Tau'ri Federation
Three Days Later
Admiral Helena Hawkins materialised aboard Starbase 232 with a puzzled frown on her face. She had been on board her flagship, the Repulse/, preparing her fleet for a potentially extended deployment away from Tau'ri space. Her fleet the 4th Fleet was being sent to the recently discovered dark matter galaxy that Rivendell had been heading for to investigate what had happened to the cityship. There had been no response to any attempts to contact Rivendell or any of her escorts, even the /Achilles remained as silent as a ghost.
The ominous silence had both the Council and Defence Force Command very worried; they had decided to send a full blown battle fleet to investigate what had happened. Helena had just finished a major meeting with her fleet commanders when they had been hailed; Admiral Mitchell was requesting her presence over here on the space station on an undisclosed but urgent manner.
I wonder what this is about, Helena thought as she made her way through the corridors of the space station towards Admiral Mitchell's office. Having been to Starbase 232 on many occasions in the past she knew the way like the back of her hand. As she walked Helena thought about her mission, and what could explain the terrifying silence on subspace communication bands. It was possible that the colony fleet was intact and just couldn't get in contact with them through some form of interference, that had been known to happen under certain conditions and there were still so many unknowns about dark matter. Equally the fleet could have met tragedy, encountering some kind of interstellar calamity that had destroyed them, equally they could have been attacked by an unknown race and either destroyed of captured.
Of all the possibilities Helena hoped that it was not going to be the last one, if Rivendell had been destroyed or captured then she knew it could lead to war. In total there had been nearly thirty five thousand people in that task force between Rivendell and the starship crews, the Council would not let such a massacre go unpunished. The entire Federation would be enraged making war inevitable. Like many in the Defence Force Helena didn't want there to be a war, she knew just how terribly powerful modern weapons were, but she would not be afraid of it if it came.
With effort Helena shook off her increasingly dark thoughts as she arrived at Admiral Mitchell's office, or rather the small antechamber before the office. The young lieutenant on duty there looked up at the sound of her footsteps on the deck.
"Can we help you, admiral," the lieutenant asked in a deep, distorted voice that indicated that a symbiote was speaking. Helena immediately knew the lieutenant would have to be a Tok'ra; the Goa'uld no longer existed after all having been exterminated centuries ago though the Tok'ra numbers were growing, especially since the young Queen Terayac had defected to them from the Goa'uld. Bringing with her the knowledge that had finally exterminated what had remained of the System Lords. Still hearing the distorted voice creeped Helena out a bit, though she was used to dealing with Tok'ra as there were several on the Repulse, one being her chief engineer.
"Yes, I'm here to see Admiral Mitchell. He sent for me," Helena replied.
"Admiral Hawkins," the lieutenant asked in a normal voice this time as the host spoke. Helena nodded. The lieutenant smiled. "Go on in their waiting for you."
"Thank you," Helena replied easing past the desk and going to the office door, before disappearing inside. The lieutenant watched her go, before inwardly speaking to his symbiote.
"You really shouldn't do that Seresh," he said.
"Oh come on, Jason. What's the harm in me speaking from time to time," Seresh replied. "I do have opinions and feelings. Its not my fault people get uncomfortable hearing me, people should be a bit more open minded."
"You can't blame them really, given that beings similar to you dominated this galaxy like an evil plague for thousand of years. It's going to spawn bad memories that will take a very long time to fade." A soft resigned sigh filtered through Jason's mind.
"I guess your right. I'm sorry you're my first host and we've only been bonded for a few years, I'm still not used to the fact that other humans - outside your family - sometimes get uncomfortable with me. I just wish things were easier and I could talk more often without creeping others out."
"I know, Seresh. I know," Jason replied before returning to his duties as Admiral Mitchell's adjutant.
Helena Hawkins stepped into Admiral Jordan Mitchell's office and immediately got a surprise. She wasn't surprised to see Admiral Mitchell's waiting for her but she was surprised to see that there was an Asgard in the room with him. An Asgard that she recognised as being Odin the Asgard ambassador to Earth, the fact that he was out here on this station, twenty thousand light years from Earth, was very surprising.
"Ah Admiral Hawkins welcome," Mitchell said noticing her. "Please be seated. I am sure you are wondering why I sent for you."
"The thought had crossed my mind, sir," Helena replied as she sat down. Though they had the same rank, Mitchell was her direct superior as he was in charge of all fleet activity in this quadrant.
"I asked to see you because your mission is far more critical than you realise," Mitchell replied. "You will have some additional reinforcements besides your own ships; an Asgard fleet under Supreme Commander Thor will be arriving here soon to join you." Helena blinked startled, it was highly unusual for the Asgard to send large fleets anywhere, even though their numbers were growing and they were no longer faced with the possibility of extinction.
"May I ask what is going on, sir?"
"Ambassador Odin can explain," Mitchell replied, gesturing to Odin. Odin inclined his head in acknowledgement.
"Greetings Admiral Hawkins," Odin said in greeting.
"Ambassador," Helena replied politely. "What's this about?"
"A matter of the gravest urgency," Odin reported. "Three of your days ago Supreme Commander Thor was contacted by Daniel Jackson representing the ascended Ancients."
Helena's eyebrows shot up in surprise. Why would the ascended form of Daniel Jackson go and see Thor? It definitely wouldn't be for a touch of nostalgic conversation. It had to be related to where here fleet was going, but why? Were the Ancients going to be getting involved with the search? If they were then what was going on? What was so important that they were willing to break their own rules about interference with lower planes of existence? Was it related to Rivendell's ominous silence? The questions echoed through her mind. She looked carefully at Odin, hoping that the Asgard would have the answers to her questions.
"Please continue," Helena said. Odin inclined his head slightly.
"So that you may understand the seriousness of the situation I will now show the recording taken aboard Thor's new flagship," Odin said manipulating the controls built into the sides of his Asgard style chair, which had established a remote link with the stations main computer.
The lights in the room dimmed slightly and a holographic screen coalesced into existence over the desk that they were all sat around. Helena focused her attention on the screen which showed an unfamiliar chamber on what was clearly an Asgard vessel, the dÃ©cor and style of construction made that obvious. In the room were Thor sitting in a chair and a man that Helena recognised from history files as being Daniel Jackson stood nearby, clad in the white clothing that ascended beings favoured when dealing with lower planes of existence.
Helena listened intently and with growing concern as Daniel and Thor conversed about subspace shattering and threats to the very fabric of the universe. Though she didn't understand what he meant by the universe being a delicate balance of forces that could be threatened by this possible rupture, she could tell Daniel was very worried by it, reflecting the fears of the Ancients themselves. Anything that could worry the Ancients so much that they would take the unprecedented step of directly asking the Asgard for assistance was a cause of immense concern.
Her concern only grew when she heard Daniel's veiled warning to Thor. The words about a dark, malevolence being present in the galaxy Rivendell had been sent to filled her with profound apprehension. It made it all the more apparent to Helena that they needed to determine Rivendell's fate, especially if it was somehow linked to the brief shattering of subspace Daniel had spoken of.
On the holographic screen Helena observed Daniel revert to the energy state that was now his natural form before fading away. Then the recording ended and the hologram evaporated into nothingness and the illumination in the office returned to full strength. For a few moments there was silence in the office as everyone digested to contents of the recording, though both Odin and Mitchell had seen it before.
"Well, admiral what's your impression," Mitchell said at last breaking the silence.
Helena considered for a few moments before answering. "Worrying sir," she said. "Anything that has the Ancients so worried that they would make such an unprecedented request is a cause for immense concern. I can't help wondering though if this subspace shattering that Daniel spoke of is related to Rivendell's lack of communication."
"That possibility has occurred to command," Mitchell agreed. "I did so as soon as soon as the Asgard first showed us this recording. It is imperative that we find out what happened to Rivendell and what caused this subspace shattering."
"Since our goals are almost identical," Odin added. "We agreed that this mission should be a joint one. The fleet we have assembled will depart orbit of Orilla and arrive here within the hour."
"Can the fourth fleet be ready to depart in that time," Mitchell asked. Helena considered for a few moments.
"Yes, sir we can. All supplies have already been loaded aboard and all ships are fully operational. We're just waiting for the last group of crew to come back from leave on the planet this station orbits. They should be transporting up in the next twenty minutes or so."
"Excellent," Mitchell replied.
"Once the Asgard ships arrive and have formed up we can leave," Helena added.
"Excellent. Well I am sure you would like to get back to the Repulse and see to the fleet's final preparations," Mitchell said.
"Yes, sir," Helena replied, realising that the meeting was over. Admiral Mitchell smiled.
"I will see that amended orders are sent to your ship, to reflect the joint mission. You are dismissed, Admiral," Mitchell answered. "Good luck on your mission."
"Thank you, sir," Helena acknowledged with a smile before standing up, she gave a polite nod to the Asgard ambassador then left the room to go to a section where she could transport back to the Repulse, a section outside the range of the transporter beam suppressor field that covered the vital facilities in the stations core.
As she walked Helena was once again lost in thought, thinking about what she had just learned. Whatever is going on in that dark matter galaxy I'll get to the bottom of it, she thought, I have to.
A Short Time Later
Admiral Helena Hawkins sat in her ready room and smiled as she read the last system status report that had just been delivered to her. Finally everything was ready, the last of the crewmen had returned from the planet and every system on the five hundred Tau'ri or Tau'ri allied ships of her fleet was ready to go. Excellent, she thought, as soon as the Asgard fleet arrives we'll be able to get underway.
The soft chime of the desk intercom startled her and Helena reached out and pressed the offending device. "Yes," she asked. A holographic screen appeared in the air in front of her showing the face and torso of her flagships commanding officer, Captain Timothy Baker.
"Sorry to disturb you, admiral," Tim said. "But our long range scanners have picked up the Asgard fleet approaching. They should be dropping out of hyperspace in the next few minutes."
"I see. Thank you, captain," Helena replied. "Signal the fleet to break orbit and form up. As soon as the Asgard fleet arrives they will be joining formation with us. Then we can get underway. I'll be on the flag bridge shortly."
"Aye, ma'am," Tim replied. Helena pressed a button on her intercom control panel and the holographic screen vanished. Helena smiled softly and stood up, it was almost time to get this show on the road, and she could feel excitement stirring in hair veins. She couldn't help but feel it though she knew they would be flying into a potentially very dangerous and unknown situation. I just hope things are not as bad as everyone fears, she thought as she left her quarters for the Repulse flag bridge.
It took only a few moments for Helena to reach the flag bridge from her ready room, the two marines at the entrance snapped to attention as she entered. Helena nodded to them politely and moved to her command chair.
"What's the position of the Asgard fleet now," Helena asked as she sat down.
"The Asgard fleet has just entered the system, ma'am," Ensign Stewart at sensors reported. "They will be dropping from hyperspace in approximately thirty seconds."
"Show me," Helena ordered, looking at the high resolution screens at the front of the flag bridge. The screens came on immediately and showed a normal star field, veiled here and there by ribbons of multicoloured nebula gasses.
For a moment the star field remained unchanging, eternal as it always did. Then a hyperspace window burst into existence, spilling light and energy into normal space, a moment before it disgorged the Asgard fleet. A fleet that while much smaller than the one Helena commanded was still a source of awe and respect, for it was a fleet whose strength and power was undoubted, a fleet who could strike terror into the hearts of anyone foolish enough to make an enemy out of the mighty Asgard.
The fleet consisted of forty O'Neill-class battlecruisers each escorted by two Jackson-class destroyers, which were powerful warships in their own rights though they lacked the firepower of the bigger O'Neill's. But it was the ship leading the Asgard fleet that really caught Helena's attention, it was almost twice the size of the O'Neill battlecruisers and while the design was similar they were a great many subtle differences in the design. The power readings the ship was producing were much higher than what was regularly attributed to Asgard vessels and Helena knew that that meant the ship wasn't being powered by the Asgard normal neutron ion generators, though it would have them. Instead it was being powered by the zero point module technology her people had shared with the Asgard.
It took Helena only a few moments to recognise the vessel as one of the Asgards new Hammond-class command dreadnoughts. Hovering close to the dreadnought in escort positions were another four Jackson-class ships, which were utterly dwarfed by the new vessel. She had been briefed on the Hammond-class but hadn't really appreciated them until now when she actually saw one, though it was still smaller than her own Rampart-class super dreadnought it was a very impressive ship.
"Admiral the Asgard flagship is hailing us," Lieutenant Taylor reported from the communications station.
"Put them through," Helena replied, already knowing who the Asgard ships commander would be.
"Aye ma'am," Taylor responded and mentally ordered his console to put the signal onto the main screens.
Immediately the few of the intimidating wall of Asgard warships vanished to replaced by the face of an Asgard sitting in one of their distinctive chairs, backdropped by the glowing column of energy that was the distinctive feature of an Asgard bridge. The Asgard was immediately familiar to everyone on the flag bridge; most Tau'ri would recognise him though few had ever actually met him in person.
"Greetings I am Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgard fleet," Thor said. "Are you Admiral Hawkins?"
"Yes, Thor I am," Helena replied. "A pleasure to meet you at last."
"Likewise, admiral. My sensors show that your ships are fully prepared to begin the journey to the dark matter galaxy," Thor answered.
"Yes, Thor we are. Since we are both ready to depart then I suggest we form up without delay and get underway," Helena said. "Given the gravity of the situation we cannot afford to sit around wasting time."
"Indeed you are correct," Thor replied, not sounding surprised that she knew the true gravity of the situation. Thor had been informed by the High Council that Ambassador Odin would show the security recording of his conversation with Daniel Jackson to the admiral who would command the Tau'ri fleet. "Let us form up and get underway," Thor continued. "Once that has been done we can begin detailed planning for the mission."
"Agreed. I will contact you as soon as we are underway, Thor." Thor nodded in agreement and broke the connection from his end. The view of the Asgard fleet returned, only now the wall of ships was breaking up as the Asgard vessels moved to join the formation established by the mixture of Tau'ri and Jaffa warships that made up the forth fleet.
"Admiral the Asgard ships are moving to join formation with us," Ensign Stewart reported, though he knew it was unnecessary, but protocol demanded it.
"Thank you, ensign," Helena answered acknowledging the report, even as she leaned back in her chair to wait for formation to be established so they could leave this system and get the mission underway.
A Short Time Later
Admiral Jordan Mitchell stood besides Odin looking out through the huge transparent window that made up one wall of the room, at the assemble fleet. Combined the 4th fleet and Thor's fleet was truly a sight to behold, their gleaming marshal strength representing power on a scale that few forces in this part of the universe could match. Any moment now they will jump to hyperspace, he thought waiting patiently. The spectacle of seeing six hundred and twenty five warships all jumping into hyperspace together was a rare sight indeed.
Finally after a few more moments the waiting game was over. A massive hyperspace window burst into existence ahead of the assembled ships as they combined the subspace fields generated by their hyperdrives. For a moment more nothing happened, then the first wave of ships surged forward, seemed to stretch before disappearing into the window. The second wave followed them into hyperspace immediately. In the space of less than one and a half minutes the whole fleet vanished into hyperspace and the window folded closed, vanishing as if it had never been.
Admiral Mitchell continued to watch the place where the ships had disappeared from normal space for a few moments.
"Do you think they will find the answers to what is going on in that galaxy, Odin," he asked the Asgard ambassador. "What's happened to Rivendell and if it's related to this subspace shattering Daniel spoke of."
"We have to hope that they can, admiral," Odin replied. "Though my peoples understanding of subspace and the structure of the universe is not as advanced as the Ancients, our scientists have confirmed that large scale subspace shattering would be an incredibly dangerous and destructive phenomenon."
Mitchell nodded. "We checked the database in Atlantis for information on subspace shattering," he said. "There wasn't much information there but it did give frightening accounts of occasions when the Alterans encountered similar destructive subspace phenomena."
"We are aware of some of them," Odin agreed, inwardly shivering as he recalled reading those files, they had been included with the message from the High Council. "The only thing we can do, admiral is wait. Wait and hope that the crews of those ships can find us some answers. Unfortunately I cannot stay here to wait for those answers to come; I must return to Earth immediately, there are diplomatic matters that require my attention."
"Of course," Mitchell replied. "I'll arrange for you to be transported down to the Stargate on the planet below."
Odin inclined his head slightly. "Thank you, admiral."
Mitchell took a long last look out the viewport at the space where the fleets hyperspace window had been. Good luck out there, he thought to the departed ships, wishing they could hear him. He had a feeling that they were going to need all the luck they could get. Then he turned around and left, leaving Odin alone gazing out at the stars while he waited to be transported down to the planet for his return to Earth.
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