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Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-05-29 07:19pm
Jacob’s feet hurt from trying to make his way through the brambles and bric-a-brac within the seemingly endless forest of the Furling kingdom. He was not accustomed to long marches, even in the time when he’d been a young man in the Airforce he’d had relatively limited experience with long distance hiking through the wilderness. Selmak was more accustomed to roughing it than he was, but even the Tok’ra tended to have supplies and resources with him when he traveled. There was a small pouch of flint, tinder, and some emergency rations that Selmak and Jacob kept with them just in case of an emergency, but it was sitting in his quarters back at the SGC next to the ruck sack full of clothing and a Zat gun that Selmak deeply wished he had with him right now.
If they lived through this Jacob wasn’t ever taking that damn pouch off again, never mind that Selmak and Jacob both disliked how it chafed against their leg. Jacob paused in the woods at a distant flicker of firelight, “Crap. There is someone out there.”
“Indeed.” Selmak replied mentally, the symbiote’s sense of deep disquiet resonating in Jacob’s mind. The symbiote was feeling as lost and terrified as Jacob. Selmak literally did not know what they faced in the Furling kingdoms. For all the Tok’ra’s warnings about the Furlings, their actual intelligence on the Furlings was essentially an instinctual and primal horror at having to even be around them. “But I don’t think that we can afford to walk around this one unless we want to walk down and back to that cave. There Is no safer path.”
“I’ll pass.” Jacob gagged a bit at that thought. Selmak and he had mutually come to the agreement that there was no reason for them to walk into any cave covered in that many cobwebs. Nothing good was going to be in that cave. In the furling realms things that were beautiful were just waiting for the opportunity to kill you and the ugly ones weren’t going to wait around for an opportunity to present itself.
“The point still stands, Jacob.” The symbiote’s voice was a strained. It had been a while since either of them slept. “We can’t keep avoiding every camp we see. Eventually we’re going to have to interact with someone if only to avoid starvation.
General Carter couldn’t really argue against that logic, reluctant though he was to interact with another resident of this place. Jacob wasn’t entirely sure how long they’d been in the forest. It was difficult to gauge time considering that day and night seemed to be factors of geography rather than chronology. But, assuming that his watch was still reliable, a fact he couldn’t be any surer of than any other element of this horrible place, it had been two days since he’d last had anything resembling a meal. His meager diet of raw songbird eggs and some sort of green tuber Selmak assured him was edible had proven enough to sustain him but not enough to fight back the painful stabs of starvation in his belly.
He was delirious and he knew it. It was hard to focus for long on anything other than just how hungry he was. He ran his dry tongue over chapped lips, considering his options before deciding that he didn’t really have a better alternative. “I don’t like this.”
“They are Furlings. They will not be able to resist a bargain.” Selmak regurgitated his second-hand knowledge with surprising confidence. “It will not be a price we wish to pay, but it will be a bargain.”
“Screw it, I can’t spend the rest of my life wrestling monsters to the ground and beating them to death. It’s exhausting.” Jacob shook his head, looking down at the red stains along his hands. There had been at least twelve attacks on his person since they’d entered the forest. Some were just beasts, unthinking creatures that seemed drawn to attack him like a moth drawn to a flame. Two had been humanoid creatures, like the woman who’d tried to draw him into the lake. Well – sort of like her, they’d been squat creatures. Ugly things with smooshed in faces, they’d seemed like part of the trees around him till they leapt out and tried to stab him with long stone knives. They were clumsy, however, and no match for his symbiote enhanced strength. He hadn’t wanted to kill them, but he was terrified that they’d report him to something bigger and more dangerous if he didn’t.
He felt immense shame at the when he’d first seen their little broken bodies on the ground when the fight ended. Winning a fight to the death against what appeared to be little more than children wasn’t a victory he wanted to be able to claim. It was a sensation greatly tempered greatly by Selmak’s revelation that the stone knives were coated in virulent and almost certainly fatal neurotoxins.
Jacob approached the camp cautiously, keeping an eye out for traps or more of the forest’s monsters. He caught glimpses of a single figure in the flickering light of the campfire. They were smaller than Jacob, cloaked in green and sitting in front of what looked tantalizingly like a cook pot full of stew. His suspicious was confirmed as the woman sliced potatoes into the wide pot above the flames.
He made sure to stay a good ten meters from the woman when he announced his presence. “Hey there! Hello.”
The figure looked around at him in mild surprise, looking him up and down briefly. Jacob knew that he didn’t exactly make a great impression at the moment. His Tok’ra uniform was stained red with blood that had run down his front, giving the scaled patch over his shoulder the distinct impression that he’d freshly torn it from some great, scaly beast. He couldn’t quite catch the face of the cloaked figure, but there was a brief pause before a woman’s voice echoed across the empty space with a distinctly American twang.
“You have got to be kidding me. I mean, I’ve had fairies try to sneak into my camp before. I’ve seen costumes, I’ve seen spells, I’ve even had them try to put glamors upon themselves to look like a friend or relative.” She pushed the hood of her cloak back, exposing golden-brown hair tied back into a pony-tail. She wasn’t happy, but Jacob would have described her as more confused than angry. “I mean, it’s not the worst attempt I’ve seen yet but it’s up there.”
“I’m half human if that helps.” Jacob laughed, holding his hands up. “Now, can I please come closer to your fire? I’m very hungry and that stew smells amazing from where I’m standing.”
“I don’t know. Can you?” The woman rolled her eyes, looking back to her stew pot as she adjusted the copper bangles on her wrist. Taking that as a tacit permission Jacob approached her slowly, keeping his hands in the air so as not to spook her.
“So did you just miss the entry level “how to be a Fairy” class that they give at orientation?” The woman snorted, her lip quirking up as Jacob walked towards her. Her expression turned to one of utter disbelief as Jacob crossed the trench that she’d dug in the fine brown dirt around her camp-site. He took care not to disturb the trench as he passed over it, noting idly that it formed a circle around the place where the woman had built her fire.
There was an immediate shift in the woman’s mood when he crossed that threshold. She was no longer idly amused by his presence. While she hadn’t stopped putting food into the pot, she seemed more focused on the knife she was using to cut her food than she had previously been in the act of cooking. “That’s a neat trick. I’d like to know how you pulled it off.”
“No real trick to it.” Jacob replied, sitting down on the ground across from the woman and enjoying the warmth of her fire. “You know, put one foot in front of the other.”
“You’re not a fairy, are you?” The woman was scrupulously avoiding making direct eye contact with Jacob as she pulled what looked very much like a wand from within her cloak.
“Nope.” Jacob replied. “100% red blooded American man. Well, close enough to 100% anyway.”
“That would be the human half, I assume.” The woman replied in deadpan monotone. “It’s the other 50% that I’m more worried about.”
“I assure you that we mean you no harm.” Jacob’s eyes flashed. “We have nothing to gain from such an action.”
To her credit she didn’t flinch when Selmak took over, which is more than Jacob could say when he’d first encountered a Tok’ra. “That isn’t an answer to my question.”
“I am Selmak of the Tok’ra, though I suspect that will hold little meaning to you. My people were banished from the first world of men long before Egeria’s war began. I am of the bloodline who begat Ra, Zeus, and many of the other so called “gods” of the old pantheons.” The Tok’ra supplied. There was a brief moment of pride in his proclamation of his bloodline, overwhelmed by a greater moment of shame for having felt that pride.
“And that would make you the god of what exactly?” The woman’s expressionless deadpan would likely have amused Jacob were he not convinced that she was capable of inflicting terrible violence upon them. Selmak believed the woman to be a Tok’taur, one of the advanced humans of the first world. “Advanced human” Jacob wasn’t sure about but given the ACDC T—shirt just barely visible within the woman’s cloak paired with a set of Levis, he was quite convinced that she was from Earth.
“Other than being a cosmic pain in my ass? Not much.” Jacob interjected. “The Tok’ra are actually waging a civil war against the Goa’uld Pantheons to remove them from power and free their enslaved worshippers across the Empire.”
“Jesus! How long have you been in the Nevernever exactly?” The woman’s brow arched. “Because I’ve got some good news for you, Greece and Egypt have been liberated for quite a while now.”
“The First World was the first to rebel. Other planets have not been so lucky.” Selmak replied. “The other realms of the old Gods are still governed as the kingdoms of old.”
There was a brief pause before the woman pinched the bridge of her nose in apparent pain. “I take back what I said before. This has to be the worst attempt I’ve ever seen. You’re not even trying to hide the fact that you’re not human and you’re pairing it with the most insane backstory I’ve ever heard.”
“I speak only truth.” Selmak replied abruptly. “And seek nothing more than a meal and safe passage back to the First World.”
“Directly to Colorado Springs, Colorado, if possible.” Jacob interjected.
“You want me to take you to Colorado?” The woman asked as she returned her knife to its sheath. She still kept the wand in her other hand as she ladled out two bowls of soup. Jacob’s mouth watered at the sight of them. “Why?”
“I need to go back there.” Jacob replied. “Immediately.”
She continued to stare at Jacob expectantly till he finally said. “I’m a General with the Air Force. I got tossed into this forest by something called ‘Cat Sith.”
“Don’t say his name!” The woman’s impassive mask broke into an expression of actual horror. “This is the Nevernever! People are listening…. Worse than people as well.”
“Sorry. But he was the one who stranded me here. I’m worried what is happening there without me there to help.” Jacob shook his head. “If you can help me get back you need to help me.”
“And what, pray tell, do I get in trade for this?” Spoke the woman, but there was no real heart in it. Jacob was convinced that she would help him.
“Other than the gratitude of a Two Star General with the United States Air Force?” Jacob smiled. “I have a lot of resources at my disposal. What do you need? Because I need to get back to NORAD ASAP.”
The woman nearly knocked over the cook-pot as she stood up and screeched. “NORAD?”
“Yes.” Jacob replied.
“The winter court is abducting high-ranking US Military personnel and stranding them in the Nevernever? From NORAD? As in, “we keep track of the Nukes” NORAD?” The idea seemed to horrify her beyond her ability to conceal her emptions. “Why?”
“He didn’t exactly stop to explain things.” Jacob replied. “He pounced, I went down and there’s all she wrote.”
There was another long pause before the woman spoke. “I need you to stare into my eyes.”
“Sure…” Jacob arched an eyebrow in confusion before Selmak spoke aloud, as much for the woman’s benefit as Jacob’s. “She wishes to see your soul to know if we are lying. She believes that I have possibly possessed you and made you believe those things – she is wrong but it is the sort of thing that many different parasites would do. It will not be pleasant.”
“Any more unpleasant than seeing your memories?” Jacob queried, thinking back to the things that the Tok’ra had shown him from Goa’uld ceremonies. Moloch’s reveries were not the worst thing Selmak had witnessed.
“Unlikely.” Selmak replied aloud, his eyes flashing as he looked up to stare into the woman’s gaze. Their eyes met and suddenly Jacob was transported elsewhere. He was not alone. Draped across his neck and shoulders was an elegant serpent with a skin pattern like white marble ending in the curious frilled head of the Goa’uld symbiotes. He knew in an instant that it was the Tok’ra, Selmak.
He tried to speak to the serpent, but found himself unable to make works, only to experience the rush of images washing over him. He witnessed glimpses of the woman’s life. He saw vague memories of what might have once been parents, insignificant wisps of forgotten memories from those who’d left her life in infancy. He caught fragments of the lonely life of a foster child, never quite staying in one place for long enough to belong until finally someone adopted her. He saw a happy family, an adoptive father and brother on a farm – until he saw those feelings of familial love for her brother shape into something different, but no less pure. He saw the feeling of betrayal as her adoptive father became a monster, doing terrible things to her in the pursuit of power.
He was having difficulty understanding the specifics, the woman’s conflicting emotions displayed a myriad of conflicting images of the same scene. Some showing her supplication to her adoptive father, some showing her begging and pleading not to do what he demanded. And then the world erupted into fire. Her adoptive father, dead. Her brother turned lover, the source of the flames – a beacon of rage who wished her dead as he had brought death upon her father. And then fear. He saw images of a woman who grew up in hiding, beholden to the debt she’d incurred in order to flee the righteous wroth of her lover and a shadowy cabal of cloaked men with glimmering blades.
He felt her shame, and her hope, and her fear and her guilt. Decades of guilt. Decades of loneness in which she hadn’t allowed herself another’s touch for fear that she might bring the doom upon them that she brought upon her first love. Decades in which she feared to be alone with any man for fear that she might become victim to mesmerism or mind magics. He felt the love she had for the Summer Court of the Furlings, paired with the absolute terror she had of what she owed them. It was a debt she might never be able to repay – a fate worse than death if it ever were called to task.
He snapped back to his body, keenly aware that Selmak’s visions within the woman’s mind had been different from his own. He would have to compare notes with the Tok’ra later when they had a moment. The woman was not fairing as well for having seen the inside of his and Selmak’s heads. She stood stock still, just shivering as a white glow shimmered across her eyes, her lip quivering as she muttered in what sounded vaguely like the Goa’uld language. When she snapped back into reality, there were tears in her eyes. “I’ll help you.”
“I’ll owe you one.” Jacob replied.
“No. You won’t.” The woman shivered wiping her eyes with her sleeves. “I want to help. This is for me – not you.” She cleared her throat. “But I don’t know how to get to Colorado. I can get you to Earth, no problem, but getting you to a place that specific means that I’d have to ask for a route. Which means I’d have to trade for it. And if the one who you claim is responsible for sending you here is responsible, then he will have ensured that the cost of that information will be too much for us to afford, at least temporarily.”
“It’s a step ahead of where I was.” Jacob replied. “How close can you get me?”
“Chicago.” Replied the woman. “There are Air Force bases in Illinois, right?”
“Scott AFB is four hours outside of the city, but I shouldn’t have to go that far to get a secure telephone. The Great Lakes Naval Station is inside the city.” Jacob smiled, pleased that something was finally going his way. “I’m Jacob Carter by the way. General Jacob Carter.”
“Elaine.” Replied the woman, not supplying a last name as she handed him a bowl. “Eat up. We’ve got a long day ahead of us.”
“You don’t say.” Joked Jacob as he dug into his bowl of stew, with the plastic spoon she offered. “I’m looking forward to getting out of here and back to safety.”
“Don’t get too excited about it General.” The woman’s lip quirked in a sad smile. “The closest exit I know of leads into Fuller Park. I don’t know if I would describe that as safety.”
Jacob sighed. “Fucking Chicago. Anything else I should know?”
“I also don’t have any money.” Elaine admitted. “I don’t exactly use cash out here and credit cards require an address. So we’re hoofing it unless you know how to hotwire a car.” Jacob smiled and pulled his wallet out of a pocket in his vest, flashing a thick stack of green bills inside along with an array of plastic cards – expense cards with an unlimited credit withdrawal courtesy of the SGC. “I’ve got us covered.”
“Jesus, Daddy Warbucks, where were you going if the kitty hadn’t tossed you into the Nevernever? That looks like the set dressing for a rap video about making it rain.” Elaine eyed the money in astonishment. “Those are hundreds, aren’t they?”
“I don’t get to see my Grandchildren that often. When I do get to see them I like to spoil them.” Jacob smiled at the memory of Mark’s kids. “I was going to buy them new gear for soccer this year.”
There was a flash of what might have been envy for the childhood she’d never gotten to have, just a brief twitch of the eye but Selmak caught it.
“Is that all?” Jacob spoke between bites, it really was quite a good stew.
“We’re almost definitely going to end up in Vampire territory. The Red Court is actively on the war path for any wizard they can get their hands on and I’m technically a fugitive so even the vampires do attack us we can’t risk drawing too much attention to us or the Wizard secret police will drag me off for an impromptu decapitation.” Elaine shrugged.
Jacob’s wasn’t sure if it was his own ager or a sympathetic combination of his anger paired with Selmak’s that triggered an involuntary eye flash, but neither one of them very much liked the idea of an American being dragged off for summary execution. “Wizard Secret Police?”
“I honestly don’t know much about them. I’ve spent most of my life fleeing from them. I was only a teenager when I “broke” their laws.” Elaine explained, her face looking very much like the scared child from Jacob’s earlier vision as she made finger quotes around the word “broke.” “There are only a couple of laws in the Wizard government. Seven to be exact. If you violate any of them, to any degree, there is only one penalty – death. I had someone control my mind and force me to break the laws, but the Council isn’t really interested in extenuating circumstances.”
“They council would wish to execute me on sight as well if it makes you feel any better.” Selmak offered. “The Tok’ra rebellion happened long after our expulsion from the first world. I doubt they know the difference between one of the System Lords and one of my brethren.”
“Yeah, that sounds like them.” Elaine agreed.
“You’re telling me that there is a secret government operating on US soil and actively murdering US citizens?” Jacob’s voice wasn’t loud. He was too angry to shout. “And they were willing to execute a child?”
Elaine passed Jacob another bowl of soup, a sad little smile on her face. “You know. I wonder if the reason that the Wizards are so determined to keep the mortals out of things isn’t to avoid that exact facial expression.”
“I won’t let them kill you Elaine.” Jacob replied. “Not a US Citizen. Not while I still draw breath.”
Elaine laughed, it was an honest sound like silver bells. “I’m sure they’d be glad to arrange for just that General. But for the moment I’m more worried about the South Side of Chicago than the Wardens.”
“The what?” Jacob paused.
“The Grey Wardens.” Elaine replied. “They’re like the Wizard equivalent to James bond crossed with the terminator. They wear grey Cloaks over their head and shoulders.”
“Of course. I should have realized immediately.” Selmak Interjected mentally at Jacob. “That’s why he picked the title of Lord Warden as his new moniker. He’s rubbing the it in the White Council’s nose that they not only failed to kill him but he now is using their powers to ascend up the ladder of godhood. Considering that it was Wizards of the first Merlin’s Council who coordinated the joint effort between the magical peoples to repel the Goa’uld it’s a thematically appropriate choice. Heka DESPISED the Merlin.”
“How much should we assume he knows about Earth?” Jacob thought back to Selmak. “The Politics, the shifting loyalties between governments and so on? Do I need to start having nightmares about an Iranian-Goa’uld arms sharing agreement, an Iraqi Stargate Program, or a North Korean space fleet?”
“Presumably he knows everything that a contemporary resident of the first world would know.” Selmak replied mentally, shifting uncomfortably in Jacob’s skull. “I see no reason to assume that he would not capitalize upon that knowledge.”
“There aren’t many of them and they don’t know that I’m alive.” Elaine supplied, apparently taking Jacob’s silence for worry rather than introspection. He suspected that she hadn’t confessed her fugitive status to many people. “It shouldn’t be a problem.”
Jacob put down his second empty bowl. “Elaine, I stopped believing that things were just going to go right about twenty years ago. The worst that can go wrong is a good jumping off point for where things will actually go.”
Elaine smiled, stood up and messed up the circle with her toe. “Coming?”
“Don’t we need to put out the fire?” Jacob pointed to the still bubbling pot.
“Did you think that I cooked ten gallons of stew for myself?” Elaine chuckled as she opened a rip in the air that looked out on a dingy alleyway in the dead of night. “No, the others will get it when they get back. War is hungry work.”
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-06-08 01:33am
Sam's ears rang with the constant gunfire echoing through the tight corridors of the pyramid ship. The mask on her face, a breathing apparatus of Goa'uld make, was the only thing keeping her from asphyxiating as the ship's interior was exposed to the cruel vacuum of space. The near pitch black of the moon's surface was highlighted in staccato bursts as weapons fire brought a brief respite of illumination to the inky void.
The hull still glowed from where their attackers had burned their way through, casting a hateful red glow where molten metal spread across the floor. They must have brought some sort of advanced plasma weaponry to generate the requisite heat to burn through the re-enforced hull of a Goa'uld mothership. The structures were hardened to prevent damage from staff weapons or debris. They had melted more a five-foot-thick slab of re-enforced alien composite materials for their point of ingress in a time period that Sam wouldn't have believed possible without the use of a mothership's main weapons, and done so with close enough proximity to the discharge of the plasma apparatus that Sam would have expected them to have been fried or irradiated by the discharge.
By all accounts it shouldn't have been possible. But Sam had seen many impossible things since joining the SGC. The advanced races of the galaxy treated physics as more of a polite suggestion than a strict law, and supplemented the practical with the unlikely whenever possible. Skepticism was a luxury for people not defending an alien pyramid from space Romans on the moon. Doctor Daniel Jackson and LT Johnson barely had time to take position in the corridor before their attackers were upon them.
She fired at the closest Roman, retreated back behind Daniel, covered his retreat, and so on as they followed the Colonel's plan. Kill as many of the boarders as they could manage on their way to the ring room, meet up with the re-enforcements Colonel Makepeace had radioed for, and assault the enemy with superior firepower when they were at their weakest.
"Fire in the hole," Shouted Colonel Makepeace as he tossed a metal ball down the corridor and at the face of an approaching Roman. Sam ducked back behind her pillar, taking the chance to catch her breath as a cloud of debris and metal shards showered the man's boiled leather armor. When she turned back the Legionary was bloody but still standing. His skin and armor rippled briefly, blistering into black scales as the man clutched at gaping wounds across his body. He fell to his knees, holding at the seeping wounds across his flesh to keep the shimmering ruby blood within his body.
His compatriots formed moved around him, planting black shields and long spears between their wounded comrade and their attackers. They were highly disciplined, as Carter and the Marines opened fire upon them they showed no fear even as bullets ripped through their shields and into their bodies. Carter watched hot led pierced men's faces and bodies, dropping them to the ground but there always seemed to be a man to take the place of the man she shot.
At first, Sam felt bad for how outmatched the Romans seemed to be. Their spears and shields provided them with little protection against modern weaponry, as long as Carter and Daniel continued to tactically retreat with SG-3 in the direction of the central ring room they would be sufficiently thin the herd so that when SG teams 5 and 6 arrived the boarders would be easy pickings. Or so she'd though till one of the Romans she shot was replaced by a roman wearing torn armor and a bullet ridden shield, a man she was certain had been wounded by the grenade. His wounds had healed over, angry pink flesh meeting patches of thick scales where his wounds had been when the shrapnel hit.
"Sam!" Daniel shouted over the raging projectile fire. "They're not going down!"
"Oh no," Sam groaned as she shot a Roman through the head and he just staggered, reaching up to clutch his headwound.
"I'm running low on Ammo here." LT Johnson snarled, slapping another magazine into his rifle as he covered Major Warren's retreat.
"Major Carter, I could really use a clever idea here!" Colonel Makepeace tossed another grenade stalling the shield wall and forcing the rank behind it to climb over their wounded brethren. Carter flinched at the reptilian eyes in the darkness, flashing back with every burst of her weapon. They were looking less and less like men with every wound they took, seeming more and more like what would happen if an Unas and a human were ever to produce a viable infant.
Carter's magazine clicked – she was out of ammunition for her rifle. Furious and cursing her luck she reached down and pulled the alien pistol from where it was holstered at her hip, letting the cobra head it snap to attention with an angry zip-hiss of electricity. She squeezed the firing mechanism, sending four bolts of lightning zipping down the corridor. They did not, as a zat-weapons normally did, cascade across the man she fired them at. No, their collision caused something Sam hadn't ever seen before. The bolts ripped through the man's shield and armor, causing them to evaporate into smoke as they ripped through his form. Where they touched his skin spidery patters of blue lightning spread out, thick pustules of sickly liquid bursting from under scaly skin. He howled in agony as his body expanded like she'd started to inflate him like a balloon, right up till his body erupted into a shower of meat and ruby-red blood.
The Romans did not take the death of their compatriot well.
Colonel Makepeace didn't even need to bother yelling "retreat" as a confusing stream of glowing projectiles streamed down the corridor. Balls of swirling lightning, torrents of acid, black gouts of flame, and any number of other noxious and caustic weapons followed Sam as she grabbed Daniel, ducking down into a large antechamber off the main corridor to the ring room. The tile he'd been standing on shattered as a huge spur of bone coated in orange liquid landed on it. Purple smoke rose from the smoldering rubble, sending yellow sparks in every direction.
She kicked the bulkhead controls to slam down the door behind her, separating her allies from their pursuers.
"Dr. Jackson is there some sort of a Legend about Roman Legionaries that I don't know about?" The Colonel wheezed as he tried to catch his breath. "Because I'll admit I wasn't the best student, but I feel like that was something that I would have found worth remembering."
"I actually think they're cavalry." Daniel gasped in reply, pulling out his canteen and drinking its contents before discarding it. "Their standard wasn't right for legionnaires"
"Their what?" The Colonel looked to the other Marines as though hoping one of them would translate what was just said to them.
"Their standard bearer wasn't carrying the Aquila, they were carrying a Dacian cavalry standard." Daniel replied. "It wasn't right for them to be Legionnaires."
"Daniel is there some sort of a Legend about Roman Cavalry that I don't know about?" The Colonel asked between clenched teeth while Sam ripped the crystal from the door controls, sealing a bulkhead between themselves and the Romans. "Because I feel like even as a Goa'uld trick, that one should have made the history books."
"I think it did." Daniel pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "I think that they're dragons."
"Dragons?" Colonel Makepeace replied in frustrated deadpan. "I seem to recall the ones upstairs being less bipedal."
"Dragon lore is extensive – some just describe them as being unthinking monsters but others, especially the Eastern mythologies, describe them as beings of powerful magics." Daniel pulled his Zat gun from his hip, activating it. "And considering that they're currently trying to burn through the bulkhead with their fire breath, I'm going to go out on a limb and say 'Dragon' given that the Lord Warden literally told us that Dragons were going to come and try to murder us for having this ship."
"Dragons." The Colonel rolled his eyes as checked his magazine, accounting for how many rounds he had left. "It figures that the snake would be honest about how his gift was going to get us killed."
The door to the ring room was starting to glow at the edges, molten hot sparks were spitting out from where the bulkhead met the ground. Sam swallowed, trying to do the math on what combination of biological or technological advances would be required to manifest the abilities the Romans had shown.
"Do we retreat to the SGC? Let them know what we've found." LT Johnson asked, a slightly hopeful note in his voice at the thought of retreat coming in to his voice as he adjusted his breathing apparatus.
"Stow that Marine. We still have people on this ship, we don't leave till they leave. We've got three Zat guns between us. Teal'c is bringing more. We have them at a bottle-neck." Colonel Makepeace shook his head. "I'm not giving up this ship to anyone, not before we've gotten what we need. Bullets don't kill these things but I'm damn sure they more than tickle. That should give us time to Zat anyone who gets too friendly. They really don't seem to like Zats."
"It must have something to do with the trans-phasic properties of Zat weaponry." Sam considered what she knew about the Furlings. "Dragons must be like the Furlings or the Retou, they're manifesting on this dimensional plane. That must require a tremendous amount of energy. Given that Zat weaponry disrupts the bonds between electrons their effects upon any creature who isn't native to this dimension's laws of physics must be catastrophic. Once the phase state of any individual particle is disrupted it causes a cascade effect." Sam wondered if the Zat weaponry's effects upon dragons was an ancillary benefit discovered after the weapon had been designed or if it had been the weapon's intended purpose from the start.
The sparks that had been spitting under the door stilled, a sudden and terrifying quiet coming from the other side of the bulkhead after the sudden clash of heavy feet coming to attention as spears were brought up against shields. There was a sudden and haunting quiet from outside the room as the sound of a man's shoes clacking upon the ground echoed down the corridor. They came closer, step by step, a hitched and labored pace to them as though the man making them was walking with a slight limp. The slight drag-thump of the man's walk was somehow more foreboding than the ravenous cries of the dragons had ever been.
And then a word was spoken.
It was not a complex word, astonishingly simple really. Two syllables spoken in the imperative.
The Door burst inwards, knocking Sam off her feet as it ripped itself from the wall and few inwards. She fell backward tail over teakettle, scrambling to pick her Zat back up off the ground as a man entered the room. She raised her weapon to fire at the man only for another imperative to ring our across the room.
And just like that Sam stopped. She stopped moving, she was barely breathing, even her eyes were struggling to move as she willed them to examine her companions. They were all trapped in similar predicaments, twitching as they attempted to fight the overpowering sense of stillness.
"Remove their weapons." Spoke the man. There wasn't the same resonance to this sentence, the immediate and immutable fact of what had been spoken wasn't there, but there was a regal sense of command in the man's cultured gravely rumble.
He shambled into Sam's line of vision as the Dragon soldiers entered the ring-room. The rage that had filled their very being when they'd chased Sam and her allies was replaced with a combination of reverence and terror for the man who now stood before her. He was tall, of an obviously muscular build and clearly knew how to use that muscle. In contrast to the others, he was wearing a light grey three-piece suit that wouldn't have looked out of place in an executive board room accented with a white silk shirt and a bright green tie.
He had likely once been handsome, in a severe and rugged sort of way. The esthetic as marred, however, by the seeping red wounds covering half his body. One of his hands was bandaged, having been cut and mangled to a degree that she could discern which fingers were missing even though the swaddling. Someone had gored the man and lit him on fire, recently. He examined her through the eye that was not swollen shut and drippling ruby-red blood, thin trails of smoke coming from his dimples as he smiled at Sam with a mouth full of very sharp teeth. Paired with the red stains on his silk shirt where his wounds had seeped into the fabric and it gave the man a sharkish appearance.
He looked her up and down with a sort of predatory masculine appreciation as he pulled the weapon from her fingers, even as her body vibrated with the effort of trying to pull the trigger. "You will find me to be more capable prey than the scion you dispatched."
Sam's jaw twitched as she tried to speak, furious that her muscles were betraying her. The man tutted, clicking his tongue against his teeth. "Now, you will speak to me, and speak truly. If you lie to me –" He reached down Sam's collar, pulling her dog tags from her shirt and reading them. " -Samatha Carter, such a pretty name – If you lie to me, I will know it, and you will regret it."
Sam's eyes bulged at the sudden sense of immense pressure as the man spoke her name. There was a sense of pressure from all sides that briefly gave her the sensation that it might crush her. Telekinesis, yet another impossible ability demonstrated by the so-called dragons. The man continued, letting go of her dog tags and looking at each of the SG team members in turn. "The same extends to each of you. You will speak and I will listen."
He looked at the Colonel, taking in the man's rank as he walked over and pulled out the man's dog-tags. "Colonel Makepeace. How long until your re-enforcements arrive?"
The Colonel's mouth twitched as he fought the urge to speak. The man in the suit spoke again in the imperative. "Speak."
"Two response teams are coming. They were on call to suit up and teleport in within twenty minutes of a distress call I sent ten minutes ago." The words rolled out of the Colonel's mouth, seemingly against his will.
"Do they know that I am here?" Asked the man.
The Colonel's lips twitched again, sweat beading across his brow as he fought the urge to speak. Sam was pretty sure he'd ruptured a blood vessel in his eye from the strain. The man smiled his sharkish grin, a mildly pleased lilt in his speech as he said. "My, you are the strong willed one. Mortals are rarely able to resist me even once. I am almost impressed."
The Colonel stared daggers at the man, willing him to die.
"I do not wish to cause you any more harm than is necessary to such an interesting specimen of mankind. Fortunately, you are only as strong as the weakest link in your chain. And you have brought men with you who lack your experience and fortitude of will." The man looked to the marine lieutenant. "Do they know I'm here?"
"Jesus man, I'm not evens sure what the fuck you are – let alone who are." The words poured out from the junior officer's lips at break neck speeds, he couldn't seem to get the words out fast enough. "We told them everything we knew about you which was essentially "you're here" and "you're attacking."
"Are they going to bring the Goa'uld who owns this vessel with them from?" Asked the man. "Your patron."
"No." Replied the Lieutenant, genuine surprise in his voice.
"Where is your patron god." Repeated the man, a twinge of the imperative in his voice. "Tell me where the Goa'uld is so that I might liberate his skull from his neck."
"I don't know." Replied the Lieutenant.
Anger was in the man's voice, the vocalization of which felt like a knife stabbing into Sam's ear. "Do not lie. This is a Goa'uld ship. You are onboard it, where is the Goa'uld?"
"He isn't here." Sam shouted, willing her mouth to move. The man turned around to face her, an amused look on his injured face. Sam looked him dead in the eye. "He isn't even in this Solar System. He left through the Stargate."
"To where?" Asked the man, fury in his voice.
"I don't know." Replied Sam, "I honestly don't know. I wasn't there when the gate was used."
"Who was?" Asked the man.
Sam's eye twitched, it was a slight motion but it was apparently enough for the man to turn to Daniel and ask his question again. "What planet did the Goa'uld go to."
"Nekheb." Daniel replied. "The Lord Warden called his planet Nekheb."
"Nekheb…." The man's face betrayed no emotion. A saurian aspect of stillness in him as he froze in place, contemplating that fact. "You are certain of that?"
"Yes." Replied Daniel.
There was another pause as the man examined Doctor Jackson. "You are less ridiculous in those fatigues than I would have imagined when I met you five years ago. It was amusing to see men dismiss truth so emphatically even as it was spoken from the mouths of babes."
"You have been honest with me so I will reward you in kind." He snapped his fingers, and the Stargate team members suddenly found themselves able to move again. "Remember that that which has been given can be taken away."
Sam fell to the ground as her legs gave out under her, falling to the ground. She looked around the room, thrilled to just be able to move her neck again. The men who had been dressed like romans, the ones that the man referred to as "scions," had filled up the room. While a small contingent of them had taken place in a protective perimeter to prevent Sam, Daniel, and the Marines from escaping, the majority were pawing through the contents of the stargate team member's backpacks. They removed each of the items in turn, speaking to each other in a guttural grunting language that Sam recognized from earlier that day.
It was the same language spoken by the little girl she'd found in the cargo-ship. They seemed to be engaged in a debate over what constituted appropriate clothing. They seemed to have realized the anachronistic nature of their garb and were attempting to correct it. There was not an accord in how to achieve this goal, however. Some seemed to have shifted their clothing into something closer to the man's suit while others were changing their appearance to resemble the Stargate Team fatigues. A few more indecisive scions had tried to combine the two esthetics with limited success, their skin and clothing kept rippling as they communally tried to generate a more perfect Colonel's lip curled in disgust as one of the Scions shifted his appearance in imitation of the Colonel, including the rank insignias.
"Colonel?" Asked the man.
"What do you want?" Asked the Colonel, the Marine's tone appending a litany of swear words to the end of his sentence.
"I want you to use your radio to tell your leadership precisely how many soldiers are up here. I want you to inform them of precisely how hard they are to kill. I want you to inform them that I have taken you hostage for safe passage." The man smiled. "And I want you to inform them that I will soon arrive to negotiate. You have my word that I will arrive alone and unarmed."
"Negotiate?" Asked the Colonel incredulously.
"Taws not I who fired upon you when first my scions entered this vessel." The man replied. "I will speak my terms and your people will come to an accord with my terms."
"And if they don't" Asked Doctor Jackson.
"Then when next I return I will be neither alone nor unarmed." Replied the man.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-06-08 01:35am
"You're dripping on the floor." Jack said, handing the purple ichor soaked priestess a towel from his laundry hamper for lack of a better course of action to take. She took the towel and wiped at the purple fluid, removing most of it – minus a purple residue that stained her light chocolate skin. The fluid sizzled across her tattoos, shimmering green where it touched. Given just how much of her there were tattoos on, it was actually a bit of a light show.
The woman in front of Jack was extremely naked, a fact that was exacerbated by how little she seemed to be bothered by being naked in the middle of the passageway. There was no amount of trying to maintain eye contact that was going to allow Jack even the pretense of respecting her apparently absent concept of modesty. He knew that as the ranking Officer present for… whatever the hell it was that had happened in the priestess' quarters, he was going to have to conduct the preliminary incident inquiry. But he wasn't going to be able to focus on anything until the woman had some damn pants on.
"She's pretty." Spoke the small voice of Emily, reminding Jack that the child had accompanied him when he'd gone to do his laundry. She pointed to the priestess, seemingly entranced by the woman's many glimmering piercings – a fair number of which were attached to places that Jack was a little embarrassed to even think about on a woman he hadn't bought dinner for. "Mine?"
"You can't own people." Jack grumbled, rooting in his laundry for something that wasn't a uniform item and pulling out a ratty pair of black nylon gym shorts and a polyester shirt so old you couldn't even make out the Bass Pro logo on it any more. Emily watched the exchange, muttering in her guttural native language something that sounded less than impresses by her inability to own the priestess.
To his surprise, she took them – shimmying up into the gym shorts in a way that was practically pornographic in spite of the fact that she was actually putting on clothing and putting her arms through the sleeves of her shirt. She did not button the front, leaving the loose bits of shirt to hang over her breasts and expose her midriff.
"For crying out loud," Jack put down the hamper and walked over to her – doing the buttons so that she wouldn't give some passer by a show if she turned too quickly. She said something that might have been a snake version of "thank you" to which he replied, "You're welcome." As he turned to the SFs who'd rushed into the Priestess' room only moments prior.
The senior ranking SF looked at the priestess warily, speaking to the Colonel slowly and deliberately in a friendly tone while smiling – too deliberately for his convivial tone to be honest. "Sir, you need to back away from that woman."
"Airman?" The Colonel replied, taking a step back to put himself between the SF and the priestess.
"Sir there are… things… in that room. I don't know what they are. She's covered in their blood." The SF spoke slowly. "They were disguised as Doctor Frasier and two members of the SGC when they showed us their IDs. I don't know what they are or how many of them there are walking around this base but we have to assume that they came here with the Goa'uld prisoners. They're the only ones outside of the SGC who would have had prolonged time alone with the doctor."
Jack walked over to the door, gently holding Emily's hand in his and keeping her behind him as he poked his head in to look at the "things" in question. Three chitinous monsters were gored in the space, body parts spread about the room in ways that had left patterns of neon-purple ichor across the room. He clapped his hand over Emily's eyes as she looked into the room and started screaming in her growling, guttural native tongue. He cursed himself for having let the kid see that. Alien gore or not, kids didn't need to see that degree of death.
"Understood." The Colonel replied to the SF, remembering how adamantly the recent defectors from the Warden's cadre had been to remove the priestess from their presence. Perhaps they were afraid that she would blow their cover – the tattoos across her body seemed to have technological properties to them that affected the purple shelled species greatly. "Take her down to the stockade, I'll get the General to put the base in lockdown till we can parse out who is a shapeshifter."
"Roger." The SF replied, nodding in assent before his head exploded. Jack flinched as Emily screamed, her voice like a siren as a group of Marines opened fire down the corridor, trying to kill them. Jack dragged Emily into an alcove, furious that he was without a weapon. He reached out to the dead SF's shoulder, grabbing him by his combat webbing and dragging him across the ground. Emily kept screaming, grabbing Jack so hard around the waist that he was having trouble breathing. He reached past her, smashing his hand over the red button on the wall warning of a base incursion.
Jack blinked. That was bad. There were only a couple of people who would have the authority to cancel that legitimately – at least two of whom had to be compromised in order to disable the system. One of whom had to be General Hammond. These things had either tortured, compromised, or snaked General Hammond into giving them the codes to disable the alarms.
Time for plan B.
He kissed the top of her head even as bullets cracked the wall near where they hid. "It's going to be ok Emily." He said in a calmer voice than he felt as he yanked the SF's weapon out from under his body, turning it to automatic fire and pulling himself from her embrace so that he could move. "I promised to protect you, and I mean it."
"Protect." Emily said in a particularly small voice, as though unconvinced of his capacity though not his sincerity.
Jack looked across the corridor to where the other SF and Priestess were hunkered down. The SF, to his credit, was managing to stay relatively calm in spite of having seen his fellow watch-stander die. He'd already slain one of the faux-marines, exposing it's chitinous purple form in death. He fired into the face of another, hoping against hope that it was a shapeshifter as he had otherwise have slain a man he'd known for two years. Jack flinched, realizing that he wasn't going to know if anyone on base was a friendly any more. If these things actually managed to get off base they would be a nightmare.
He would have to tell someone if he lived. A prospect that felt increasingly unlikely as the "not-marines" received reinforcements in the form of chitinous purple soldiers carrying Earth weapons, they were not cloaked by whatever technology concealed their fellows. There was an exit in the opposite direction from the approaching shape-shifters, but it would require that Jack and the others expose themselves out of cover for thirty feet before they hit the elevator. Even assuming that the elevator was on their floor, it would be suicide to try to reach it.
He swore as a bullet tore through the stomach of the remaining SF, piercing the man's belly and exiting through his back to spill out the man's innards. He dropped to his knees, clutching his wound. Their attackers took advantage of his suddenly exposed form and ripped through him with another ten bullets. The priestess pulled the dead man's pistol from his holster, pressing her finger pointlessly against the trigger – either unaware of or unable to operate the Beretta's safety. Jack's eye twitched, wanting very much to grab the gun from her hands. A weapon in untrained hands was potentially as dangerous to an ally as an enemy.
He shoved Emily back into the corner as she tried to get a better look at the action. "Stay down!"
The invading force was getting harder and harder to keep suppressed. They had a tactically superior position and greater numbers. Even if someone were to arrive who weren't some sort of shapeshifting crustacean they'd been hard pressed to tell who they were supposed to be assisting. He needed a distraction and he needed it fast. He ducked back into the alcove, taking stock of his available resources. He had a gun that was easily a quarter to a halfway through its magazine already, a three-inch pocket knife, and not a whole heck of a lot else to play with.
He was out of good choices so he made a bad one, ducking out of cover to grab a flash-bang grenade from the SF's belt and fling it down the passageway. He dropped to the ground behind the dead man's body – hoping against hope that they corpse would provide some obstruction to the attackers as she shoved his fingers in his ears and slammed shut his eyelids. His ears rang with the explosion as he stood up, grabbing the wrist of Emily and the now blinded priestess of Nekheb and rushing them towards the elevator.
The crab-men must have had sensitive eyes, they fired wildly while screeching a warbling cry of pain. Bullets soared down the hallway at random, grazing the meat of Jack's thigh and shoulder. The priestess cried out in pain as one penetrated her arm, blood seeping out and down to just get absorbed into the strange pattern of tattoos covering her.
Jack pulled his access card from his pocket and swiped it through the elevator door's control mechanism only to feel his heart sink as it flashed red twice and displayed an error message. "Unable to comply. Access to this level has been terminated." Someone – likely the same someone who'd tampered with the alarms – had disabled his access to the elevators.
"No, no, no, no, no! Not now." Jack swiped his card again, firing at the regrouping crab-people. There was a second crack of gunfire as the Priestess fired her stolen pistol with her uninjured arm. Her shots were wildly inaccurate, the idea that she would have to actually aim the weapon seemed alien to her. She also didn't seem to have a good grasp of ammo scarcity – she just kept pulling the trigger till she was entirely out of ammunition.
Jack kept swiping his card and the elevator kept displaying the same error.
The elevator wasn't coming.
They were going to die.
It was at roughly that moment that Jack accepted his inevitable demise that the corridor exploded into flames. Emily's puffed out her cheeks like a chipmunk, parting her lips and blowing hard in a whistling pucker that directed a gout of black fire tipped with plumes of emerald. The fiery torrent spun in geometric patterns that no fire ought to have obeyed, spreading out into a searing latticework of pain that gouged across the floor and ceiling of the corridor. The crab men screamed and retreated as the fire impacted their front lines, exploding in a corona of shimmering black that collapsed inward, crushing their bodies.
The concrete and steel lining the corridor's ceiling in front of the Priestess' room collapsed on the crab men – crushing them under rubble and exposing the level above them. Jack's brief moment of panic that someone from the level above might have been caught in the collapse subsided when he remembered that they were on level 12 of the SGC. The only items housed on level 11 were the checkpoint from the main elevator leading to NORAD and the water purification plant for the SGC – a fact re-enforced by the sudden rush of water from a cracked storage tank.
"Where the hell did that come from kiddo?" Jack blinked, looking from Emily to the Priestess. The Priestess was thrilled, grinning from ear to ear. Jack wasn't entirely sure if that was a byproduct of not dying or of having witnessed something that she was doubtlessly interpreting as a miracle. There was going to be a passage about this in that woman's damnable holy book, he just knew it.
She grinned back toothily bobbing back and forth on her heels as she cozied up to the Colonel. She pointed to Jack. "Jack mine. I keep. Friends fight together. Bad guys hurt friend."
"Lets keep that to a minimum kiddo – I don't think the base can handle much more of that kind of help." Jack squinted up the sudden ramp of rubble, trying to judge how stable the debris was. They needed to reach level 11 to leave the SGC but it wouldn't do him any good if the whole thing collapsed in on them while they were climbing. He looked at Emily's and the Priestess' feet – wishing he had proper shoes to give them. Not all of the rubble had broken cleanly and there were bits of exposed rebar and damaged pipes – all of which would be hard to traverse without shoes.
"What the hell is going on down there?" Asked a furious man's voice as a beam of light cast down from the darkness of the level above. "Colonel O'Neill? Is that you? Who was shooting?"
"Siler?" Jack asked, holding his hand up to his face. "Get that damn light out of my face."
"Sorry sir." Siler replied, lowering the flashlight and giving the Colonel a better look at the man addressing him. Master Sergeant Sylvester Siler was above them, holding a flashlight in one hand and a pistol in the other. Two SFs stood on either side of him. "We heard the gunfire and came to investigate – who was shooting? Other than you, I mean."
"I'll explain once you get me up there." Jack replied. "And I mean only me. I'm declaring a Foothold situation Siler. Code word Benedict."
Siler blanched. "Sir are you sure."
"Do I look like a man who is unclear in his motivations Master Sargent?" Jack asked, wiping the dust from his front. "Do it, and have the duty officer pass the word to all levels above us. Whoever these guys are they can't be allowed to leave the base."
Foothold was a last resort code word, the term used for when a hostile alien force had penetrated far enough into the SGC that they'd managed to compromise the facility. Once declared it could not be invalidated except by senior leadership outside of the SGC – specifically that of the NID. They would be tasked with coming to the SGC, purging the threat, and ensuring that lingering forces did not continue to compromise America's security after the threat has been removed from the SGC. It was not a term to be invoked lightly.
It took a while for Jack and his female companions to safely scale the rubble and reach level 11 by which time Siler and the SF's had executed the necessary procedures for shutting down power to the elevator and locking off access to the lower levels of the base. It wouldn't prevent access to every escape hatch, but hopefully NORAD's standard security would be able to monitor and secure those routes till the cavalry arrived. Most notably, it would cut off access to the generators on level 5 of the SGC – rendering all outgoing gate traffic inoperable. They would have lights and ventilation, but that was about it. Even the phones would be cut off in short order. The emergency battery on level 23 would delay the effects of a total shutoff, but only for about six hours.
Jack took the secure telephone offered to him by Siler and dialed in a telephone number he'd been forced to learn by heart a year ago, just in case something like this were to befall the SGC. It rang three times, a chirruping beep that felt distastefully chipper to Jack given the circumstances. A man answered the telephone after the third ring, his voice worried. "National Institute of Defense special programs department. How may I help you?"
Jack recognized the voice immediately. "Colonel Maybourne, this is Jack O'Neill."
"Jack?" The NID Colonel replied in a voice of grave concern. "You're calling me? On this line?"
"Foothold." Jack replied.
There was a long pause. "You realize the severity of what you're saying?"
"You realize the impossibility that I would elect to speak to you for this long if I didn't?" Jack replied. "They've gotten access to our armory and seem to be able to shape-shift. How quickly can you get here?"
"We already have a response team on call in Colorado." Colonel Harry Maybourne replied. "We can be there in one, maybe two hours at the most."
"You're already in – were you planning on doing this?" Jack asked in indignation.
"Colonel, you played host to four different Goa'uld in the past 24 hours." Harry replied. "Yes, we had a team prepared to respond if they managed to leave something that compromised the base."
"And the best you could manage was a two-hour ETA?" Jack snorted. "What, are they union?"
"The SGC does not allow the NID a permanent footprint on base." Maybourne replied, "because you specifically prevented them from having one" remaining implied rather than outright stated. "We couldn't sent them till the orders were cut and funding was allocated for our per-diem."
"I can't believe I'm saying this Harry, but I'm seriously regretting the fact that you're not closer than that." Jack replied, realizing with horror that he actually meant it. "We need you here ASAP."
"That might be the scariest thing you've told me." Colonel Maybourne replied.
"Harry." Replied Jack as a wailing sound started seeping through the rubble and the distant rumble of gunfire echoed up through the SGC's lower levels. "I don't think we've even started on scary yet."
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-06-08 05:58am
Oh, we've gotten scary. Horrific and terrifying is the next things to come
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-08-02 10:17pm
Janet Frasier woke with a jolt of nervous energy, struggling against the confines of chitinous purple material. She ripped drunkenly at her face, tearing a leathery mess of crustacean-like nodules from her mouth and lips, retching at the taste of dark brown ichor. She could barely see in the near total dark of the room, only catching glimpses of the space around her. There were dozens of people suspended in harnesses from the ceiling. The softly rising and falling chest of those closest to her gave the doctor hope that her fellow prisoners were alive, though their macabre prison of rotting meat was less encouraging.
Janet kicked against her bonds, only managing to sway gently back and forth for her trouble. She kicked harder, using the momentum to carry her to the nearest prisoner. She overshot her mark the first time, hitting him harder than she meant to and knocking the wind out of herself. Not hard enough to wake him up apparently – whatever cocktail of drugs or alien technology had to be potent. She took a moment to catch her breath before trying again, impacting against his side with less force and managing to grab ahold of the man’s belt.
She didn’t dare try to pull him out of the mask – anesthesia was a dangerous proposition even when the process didn’t involve alien technology and Janet wasn’t going to risk pulling him out till she understood the potential consequences of having done so. Given that she was no longer under its influence, however, she’d be damned if she was going to just hang in the air like an idiot.
She groped through the man’s pockets, pulling out the contents in search of something to help her current predicament. “Come on, have a knife, come on.”
The marine had to have a knife in his pocket. Marines always had a knife on them. After trying six different pockets however, Janet conceded that at least some Marines were content to obey the Air Force’s prohibition on carrying knives with them into the SGC unless specifically authorized. Not that this individual seemed overly bothered by regulations, Janet gagged as she realized she’d stuck her finger into an improvised spittoon that the man had made out of a plastic bottle and placed in his pocket.
She wiped off the water against the man’s leg and smiled, feeling the plastic hilt of a knife near the man’s boot. Not in his pockets then, he’d elected to strap the knife to his leg. She debloused the man’s boot, reaching up to grab the weapon. She let go of the man going back to dangling in place as she sawed at the thick, meaty vines suspending her from the ceiling. They were putrid, fusty things. As her knife sawed though the thick purple fat she sliced through glowing green cysts of liquid that made her gag. The closest scent she could remember to this was back at med school when she’d been given her first cadaver.
She stopped sawing through her bonds at the sound of a woman retching to her right. A dark-skinned SF was ripping her chitinous gag from her face, swearing profusely in a thick New Jersey accent. It had been a while since Janet heard that many different grammatical uses of the F-word.
“Quiet!” Janet hissed. “We don’t want them to hear us.”
“Doc?” Repled the SF as a second SF showed signs of waking up. “Doc what’s going on?”
“I don’t know.” Janet replied, reaching out to rip the gag from the second SF and tilting abruptly as the rope of flesh she’d been sawing through gave way midway through. The doctor dangled at an awkward angle from the remaining rope, holding herself up by the second SF’s harness.
“Doc?” Asked the first SF again.
“I’m fine. We’re going to be fine. Just, stay quiet and we’ll figure out what to do next.” Janet replied, though she had little to no confidence that either was true. “I just need to – ”
Janet didn’t get the chance to say what she needed to accomplish. The fleshy bonds seemed to have been designed to work in pairs. Without the second rope of flesh, her harness was ill equipped to elevate her mass. With a sound of ripping tendon Janet found herself on the floor, groaning with the impact of her chitinous harness hitting the ground.
“Doc!” The SF said in a voice of worry. “You ok?”
“I’m fine,” Janet replied as best she could, though the wind had been completely knocked out of her in the fall. She stood up uneasily, prying the chitinous harness from her to let it clatter to the ground and reaching for the light-switch only to pull her hand back when her finger touched a chitinous tumor growing over the box. She wiped the slime off her hand on her pant leg, jumping in surprise as another body hit the floor followed quickly by a second. It would seem that the first SF had her own knife, and had seen fit to cut down the second SF.
Janet was once again treated to a litany of creative swear words as the women removed their chitinous bonds and pulled flashlights out of their body armor to survey their surroundings. Janet was less inclined to quiet them as she began to understand the gravity of their situation. There were dozens of bodies suspended from the ceiling. How was that even possible? Janet looked at her watch – she’d only been unconscious for half a day. She looked out the window of the storage room they sat within and swallowed as she realized that she could see the outlines of more feet dangling down in the next room.
Had the entire command been captured?
“Turn off those lights!” Janet hissed, motion from the next room catching her eye. Someone was walking in to the next room, likely someone unfriendly.
The next room was bathed in light as a quartet of men walked in. Two purple armored alien looking warriors holding weapons that Janet knew they had to have plundered from the SGC, and two people Janet recognized all too well. General Hammond and Lieutenant Baker, both of whom looked far too friendly with the armed aliens.
“General Hammond?” Asked the second SF. There was genuine hurt in her voice. “He betrayed us?”
“Not unless there are two of them,” The First SF pointed upward, indicating a portly body hanging from the ceiling. General Hammond, a not insubstantial man, was one of the bodies suspended from the ceiling.
“Then who the eff is that?” Asked the second SF. “And how do we kick his ass?”
“You’re unarmed, don’t be stupid.” Janet hissed. “Be quiet, I’m trying to listen.”
Janet could just barely hear the not-hammond speaking with the aliens. She couldn’t make heads or tails of the grumbling groans of the armed guards, but Hammond’s proxy was speaking in plain English. And boy was he mad. “I don’t want your excuses, I want a way out of this facility. Unless we can get word back this will have been all for nothing.”
The creatures warbled in reply.
“Colonization is a secondary concern at this point.” Replied not-Hammond. “We have drawn the attention of the true enemy. The Patriarchs must be informed and supply lines must be established, this is the first world. The Furlings are tied to it. Conquer it and their empire crumbles.”
Another warble was said in reply, though Janet was certain it had been eager and perhaps a bit afraid.
“Yes.” Agreed Hammond’s proxy. “I believe that we will have to do so. Our orders were to only provide token resistance if our ploy was discovered, but this world is too important. I will be reprimanded, but it must be so.”
“Sir, we aren’t going to be able to resupply unless we get the gate up and running but we aren’t going to be able to get the gate running without either more troops to fight our way out or better weapons to overcome the defenses of the first world.” Lieutenant Baker shook his head. “We were kitted out to infiltrate an army of primitives, not battle a Sidhe death squad. The ones who are ambushing our forces are no mere spirits, they were weapons of Winter. Our wards are being eroded by magics unlike any I’ve ever seen. They are not of Sidhe or Mortal make. Powerful forces are at work here.”
“Then we must have weapons to match theirs.” Replied the not-Hammond. “We are only without one path to power. Some paths can never be closed.”
The guards warbled rapidly, talking over each other in their hurry to convey meaning.
“I know the dangers.” The not-Hammond growled angrily. “But we cannot fail. Not when we have been given this opportunity.”
“I volunteer.” Lieutenant Baker put his hand on the not-Hammond’s shoulder. “It was my squad that failed to slay the interlopers. It should not fall on another.”
The warbling creatures slapped their chest in salute as Hammond turned to the baker proxy. “You know what must come next.”
“I serve the masters.” Replied Baker, bowing his head as Hammond removed a purple dagger and cut baker from stem to stern in one practiced motion, twisting his arm to ensure that the man’s bowels were speared on the knife and wrapped around his arm. The not-Hammond’s face curved up into a horrible rictus, his face seemingly not designed for whatever emotions were going through the man’s mind as he spoke – well Janet wasn’t sure if words was the appropriate way of describing what Hammond spoke.
If music had an equal and opposite force, it would have been what came out of Hammond’s lips. It was harsh and atonal, neither rhythmic nor organized. It was like vocalized static, and it literally hurt to listen. Janet clapped her hands over her ears, feeling something wet against her hands as she did so. When the noise stopped and she pulled back her hands she was unsurprised to find that they were stained with blood. She was certain that her ear drums weren’t ruptured as she could still hear, but there weren’t a whole lot of happy reasons for that sort of reaction.
When she looked back into the room the disemboweled organs had grown and extended into a thick pupae, dripping with orange phlegm and pulsing rhythmically. It spread, diving down the middle and spreading out into a hole of swirling green light that couldn’t help but remind Janet of the stargate. A few moments later the portal disgorged a group of pink crustacean-like insect beings. The creature’s hovered, fluttering on tiny bat-like wings as their faceless heads tilted round the room, observing the space with a fluttering mass of convulsing antennae. The stood silently in front of the portal, opening and closing their pincers.
“I need weapons. Powerful weapons, and I am willing to pay for them.” Hammond spoke. “You know who we are. You know the cause for which we fight.”
The insects fluttered on their bat-wings, indicating neither interest nor approval. The not Hammond, apparently emboldened by not having been outright slain by those to whom he spoke, continued. “We are besieged by the Sidhe and their allies. I need something that will give me the ability to counter that.”
The insects continued their silent vigil, their claws clicking till one of them pointed to a medical gurney in the room’s center. Hammond nodded, getting on to the gurney as he spoke to his men. “No matter what happens, do not interfere.”
The aliens looked at each other, seemingly as nervous about the insects as Janet was, backed away, seemingly afraid that they might get caught up in whatever was about to happen. Janet and the second sf slapped their hands over the first SF’s mouth as she started to scream, using her fist to muffle the woman’s horror as the insects began their perverse surgery. Janet was too terrified to look away as the most twisted medical procedure she’d ever seen in her life took place. The insects started their process by cracking open the not-Hammond’s cranium and pulling out his brain, placing it in a cylindrical jar that they then set upon the ground before beginning their work on the not-Hammond’s body. Whatever power had been keeping up the illusion of Hammond’s form was disrupted by that action, though not enough to prevent the screams coming from the jar from echoing with the Texan general’s tones. The pretender howled impotently, his cruel surgeons apparently concerned only with their work and not the man’s pain. They systematically dismembered the man’s body, removing all of the organs, muscle fibers, and bones in turn, fretting over them with their claws and examining them with long proboscises before attaching odd machines to them and implanting pulsing bits of fungi from their pockets.
Apparently dissatisfied with the materials they had to work with, one of the insects pulled a woman down from the ceiling. She kicked and screamed in her brief moment of consciousness before she too was dismembered, leaving her to scream from a different glass cylinder from the first. The insects pulled the bones from her meat, seeming to prefer them to the ones the man had started out with, chewing them and using them to form a paste that they secreted, spreading it across the man’s rib cage and forming thick plates of bone.
They mixed and matched from the two bodies, adding in their own technologies as was required, rebuilding the man from the ground up. By the time they were done he was nine feet tall and his carapace was barely recognizable beneath thick, black fungi. A set of terrible jaws were in his mouth, bearing a mismatched set of the woman’s teeth and thick, knife-like tusks the insects pulled from the seemingly bottomless bags they carried. Two sets of eyes looked out from the man’s face, inhuman and human both contorted into excruciating agony.
As they put the man’s brain back into his new body it contorted, unused to its new musculature. The twisted haemonculus of a man curled into a ball, sobbing piteously at the pain of his rebirth. Though not as piteously as the woman’s sobs from within the cylinder as the insects lifted it to show her what remained of her meat.
“I’ve paid your price.” Spoke the man, his voice a twisting mix of alien speech and Hammond’s Texas lilt. “Now give us the weapons.”
The insects made a chittering sound that might have been mistaken for laughter before pointing at the man.
“No!” The man replied. “Its not enough. We need more. Please help us.”
The insects continued their terrible laughter as they went back through the portal, closing it behind them. It was not till the screaming stopped that Janet realized that they’d taken the cylinder containing the woman’s brain with them when they’d left. Those monsters had taken her with them.
“Whores of Yuggoth!” The haemonculus swore, smashing his fist into the table. It crumpled under his fist with a force beyond what seemed possible from his frame. He blinked all four sets of eyes, smiling his misshapen maw as he reached out to grab one of the guard’s fire-arms. It crushed beneath his fingers, steel shredding like paper under his now razor-sharp claws. He began to laugh, a cruel and twisting sound. “Glorious whores of Yuggoth!”
The guard warbled, perplexed by his superior’s actions.
“No – I will head to the front lines and face this problem head on. The surgery wasn’t just their price, it was their payment.” He shook his head. “We must hurry. I do not know how long the body they made me will last. We must secure victory before we reach the limits of this experimental form.”
The three aliens left the room, guards nervously following their master.
Janet took her hand from the SF’s mouth. Idly aware that she was bleeding from where the woman’s teeth broke through the skin. Screw anesthesia, Janet had to get these people down from where they were hanging as soon as was possible before they ended up being loose parts for making more of those awful things. “We need to get everyone down, now.”
“Doc you don’t gotta tell me twice.” Replied the second SF. “That was some seriously effed up stuff.”
The first SF didn’t even bother to swear.
Janet was briefly speculating on the possibility that there might be a ladder in the supply closet when a blue glow started filling the room accompanied with an abrupt chill of frigid air and rattling breath. She turned on her heel to face yet another nightmare. Two incorporeal, frozen corpses rose through the floor – ghastly apparitions of death and vengeance. They looked from Janet to the two SFs, sniffing the air before growling in apparent disappointment that they hadn’t found whatever they were looking to find.
“Where is it?” They spoke in unison, growling an approximation to human speech that made Janet’s spine crawl as their eyes glowed. It was not any language that Janet had ever heard spoken, though she understood its meaning plain as day. “Where are the things we must kill.”
“They left.” Janet pointed out the door. “They came and they left.”
The creatures grinned, a near erotic lust in the cracked and frozen orbs of their eyes as they flew from the room, passing through the door as they went. The first SF stood up, walked over to the door and put her hand on it to re-assure herself that it was, in fact, solid. She ran her fingers over the patch of ice, looked up at the hanging collection of chiton covered prisoners, and looked back to the second SF. “I don’t care how much of a bonus they end up offering me to re-enlist. Ghosts is where I draw the line. Just give me my damn DD-214, debrief me, and let me work at a Dennys or something.”
“That wasn’t a ghost.” The other SF replied. “It couldn’t have been.”
“Puta, did you not see those nametags?” Interjected the first. “I know those guys. I know a ghost when I see it. And that was a fucking ghost!”
“Whatever they were, they weren’t friends of the ones who put us here. For now I’m ok with just accepting that they’re not our enemies.” Janet replied, choosing not to think about just how “ghostly” the two men had appeared to her. Doubtlessly Samantha Carter would end up explaining away the mythos of them, but for the moment she was perfectly happy to have something that scary heading for the monsters who’d sacrificed a woman’s life on a whim. She noticed that many of the hanging figures had begun to stir in their harnesses and would soon need to come down. “For now, help me move that shelf. I think we can use it to get up there.”
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-08-03 10:51am
Ok, I'm not sure how Frasier kept from screaming herself, because I'd have been clawing a hole in the wall to get AWAY from that shit.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-08-06 12:49am
Teal’c’s fingers wrapped around the haft of his staff weapon, finding purchase in the small grooves that wrapped up and down the naquadah-laced metal. He found great comfort in that feeling, as much now as when he’d believed that the staff was actually infused with the might of his god. Staff Weapons, he now knew, were not divine instruments. They were merely tools, given power through the mechanisms and secret workings of the universe within which they lived. It was a power, to be certain, but nothing of divine or infernal origin.
Major Samantha Carter had taught him the science behind the weapon as best she could, though without her width and breadth of the physical sciences Teal’c had only been able to follow the gist of what she’d explained to him. He had endeavored to educated himself in the specifics of the Tau’ri understanding of natural laws since reaching the first world in the hopes that he might be able to operate on a level playing field to his compatriots, but there was only so much study that one could do while living an active lifestyle. He could not hope to match the many thousands upon thousands of hours that Major Carter had invested into learning the intricacies of the physical world. She had a way of wrapping math and logic into a sorcery as potent as any Goa’uld ritual that he had ever witnessed or participated in.
Somehow, she had managed to master the intricacies of the celestial realms without ever believing in them. The unknowable was, in the Majors opinion, something to be dissected and documented until the divine became the mundane. She had an amazing affinity for compressing the impossible into a pithy phrase and an equation.
He envied her education. Though he was wise in the ways of warfare, Teal’c was comparatively illiterate in so many matters that the Tau’ri took for granted. He’d found himself watching programs intended for small children simply because he could understand them without a greater foundation in the Tau’ri culture. It was somewhat embarrassing to know that the programming he chose to watch was considered infantile by his peers, but he found great joy in the complex plays and drama the Tau’ri wove for their children. His mentor Bra’tac would have agreed with Teal’c, he suspected, that men of the moral caliber of Mr. Rogers were worthy of consideration. A man of such serenity could command a warrior’s heart.
He knew that he could defeat any one of the Tau’ri warriors with whom he stood in single combat, were such an action required, but it bothered him to know that any one of them had been educated in art and philosophy to a degree that he would never entirely be able to catch up. For all their pride in being “just folks,” their basic education was more encompassing than most priests and scholars of Chulak. None of them seemed to have noticed his deficiencies thus far, as he had elected to only speak when he felt certain that he could express himself without fear of appearing foolish, but it was impossible not to regularly feel like a fool given the cultural divide between Teal’c and his adopted world.
He still felt like a stranger just leaving the subterranean parts of the SGC to let the sun touch his face above ground. The very nature of his birth meant that he was a secret of the American government, something to be spirited away and kept behind locked doors. Every moment that he was not under lock and key was a moment in which the fragile illusion of isolation might be shattered and the Tau’ri would have to face the existence of a greater universe beyond themselves.
Teal’c had not questioned the wisdom of this in public – he had, after all, sworn his oath of loyalty to the Americans – but it had always seemed amazingly odd to him that the Americans were so fearful of allowing the world to know the Goa’uld lay in the stars. Colonel O’Neill had implied that the other great nations of Tau’ri would object to their rival controlling an object as potent as the Stargate, suggesting that they might go so far as to invade America or attack it with atomic weapons. But given the existential threat of the Goa’uld, such rivalries couldn’t help but feel petty and insignificant to Teal’c.
Colonel O’Neill’s abject hatred of the Russians, however, was enough for Teal’c to quell those fears. O’Neill was a worthy warrior, and the only people he talked about with the same vitriol as he spoke of the Russians were the Goa’uld. A warrior of substance did not express vitriol without cause, and a warrior’s ally accepted the warrior’s enemies as his own. Perhaps it was just a product of his cultural illiteracy. He hoped that too would correct with time.
In matters of war, however, Teal’c expertise was supreme. And the Tau’ri of the SGC, for all their education in the arts and sciences, were willing to defer to his expertise in matters of Goa’uld warfare. He looked to the two SG combat response teams standing outside the Goa’uld transport, just past the check-point manned by a heavily armed SF brigade.
SG-6 and SG-7 held different mandates than his own team. SG-6 was a primarily tasked with search and rescue, while SG-7 was a combat medical response team. Effectively their job was entering the most dangerous situations possible and rescue the diplomatic and exploration teams when some local threat prevented them from being able to escape on their own. It was a reactionary rather than proactive position, but it was utterly vital given the fluid nature of Stargate Command’s operations. Extraction teams regularly saw as much combat, if not more, than the actual aggressor squads like SG-3.
Aggressor squads had the luxury of planning their assaults in advance, choosing targets with minimized risk. The CSAR missions didn’t allow for that, situations requiring their involvement were ones in which the enemy had chosen the time and place to their own advantage. It required men who would choose to throw themselves into overwhelming odds to fulfil that most Tau’ri of sentiments “nobody gets left behind.”
That sense of loyalty to one’s comrades in arms, even to just ensuring the recovery of their bodies for proper funeral rites, was perhaps the most admirable quality of Tau’ri warriors. Too often in war Teal’c had been forced to abandon his fellow Jaffa to the mercies of rival armies or to leave honored warriors just to rot on the battlefield for lack of an opportunity to ensure proper burial. Apophis’ only concern for the deceased had been ensuring that they were quickly replaced with Jaffa capable of continuing whatever damnable conflict the false god started most recently.
While he had great respect for their mission, the Jaffa warrior was not overly familiar with either team, only vaguely recognizing the Air Force personnel from what few encounters he’d had with them on base. Teal’c hadn’t ever exactly been a social butterfly and the Tau’ri external to SG-1 seemed to be intimidated by the presence of a Jaffa. He was, however, familiar with the instant expression of deference on their faces as he provided them with a brief overview of Goa’uld mothership security and invasion tactics. These were men who respected their own limitations and were eager to learn the requisite information to correct their ignorance.
The Colonel in charge of SG-7’s lip curled, not overly liking Teal’c’s answer to his question. “Teal’c is there really no way of teleporting on to the ship without opening ourselves to attack?”
“There is no such method.” Teal’c replied. “Once we have materialized within the ship we will have only seconds to target any potential threats. If our allies aboard the ship have not established a defensive perimeter around our point of entry it will be remarkably difficult to assault a mothership without incurring casualties.”
“That’s not ideal.” The Colonel griped.
“The Goa’uld do not wish for it to be ideal.” Teal’c replied. “Teleportation is for their personal convenience, not for ease of access for a would-be invader.”
Admittedly, few enough ships maintained a serviceable watch schedule to properly guard the ring transporters well enough to actually keep that defense serviceable. In an ideal world several guards would be posted around the ring transporters, ready to fire on any unwanted intruders. However as the Goa’uld preferred that all able bodied Jaffa be in their immediate proximity to fight off a would-be assassin, defense of positions outside the immediate vicinity of their pathetic excuse for a god was not part of the Goa’uld model for defense. Even as recently as a century ago that would not have been the case, but few Goa’uld remained with the magical strength to maintain the ships wards sufficiently to prevent incursion from Furlings or Demons – neither of whom required ring transporters to assault a ship.
In the heyday of the Goa’uld Empire, the Jaffa hadn’t even needed to patrol the interior of their warships. The warding upon the ship’s walls were more than sufficient to repel all but the most potent of invaders. A disobedient slave or summoned spirit would quickly find out just how malevolent the System Lord’s spell work could get.
Teal’c never quite found the right words to articulate those nuances in English and the Jaffa language’s vocabulary was woefully insufficient to explain half the necessary concepts. There were likely words that could express his meaning properly in English. Given that he had no verbalization from which to start, however, even if he asked Dr. Daniel Jackson or one of the anthropologists for assistance in finding the proper words there wouldn’t be a concept to translate from, just an idea to be articulated. Perhaps once he’d finished studying the grammar textbook sitting in his quarters he’d finally have the words he needed.
“We’ll have to just face in all directions and hope that we shoot them before they shoot us.” The Colonel in charge of SG-6 replied. “It’s not perfect but they’re taking fire. We can’t leave them to whoever is attacking the ship.”
“Incoming!” Shouted one of the SF’s guarding the Goa’uld transport. The SFs manner their posts, pointing carbines and heavy weaponry towards the ship’s interior where a sudden beam of light shone from within. Teal’c and the SG teams took cover behind the sand bags the SF’s had stacked around the ship, taking aim at the door and waiting for whoever it was to exit the door.
Slowly, deliberately, a single figure exited the ship. Wooden sole shoes clicked against Goa’uld deck plates as a man made his way out from the cargo-hold and in to the light of day. A tall man in a grey, three-piece suit walked to the ship’s door, his hands hung lazily to his side as though he hadn’t a care in the world. Though he was visibly wounded he walked without any apparent care for his injuries, his eyes moving back and forth as though the swollen flesh covering half his face were no impediment to their use. For a man as clearly mauled as the gentleman appeared to be, he walked with none of the limping or pained exertions Teal’c would have expected from someone with recent 4th degree burns. Either the man was inordinately tough, or all was not as it seemed.
He entirely disregarded the collected SF’s demands that he “stay put or they shoot.” The man looked from person to person within the crowd before his gaze fell upon Teal’c. The symbiote within his belly churned under the man’s gaze, burrowing painfully into the back of the womb within his belly. A shiver ran through his spine as the man’s burned face curved up into a pleased smile.
“Finally,” The man spoke in a cultured voice that ran with an undertone of smoke and honey. “A sign of progress.”
He walked forward towards Teal’c, continuing to disregard the SFs. They shouted louder, demanding that the gentleman say still. They warned him that he was getting too close. They warned him that they were going to shoot. They warned him that it was his last chance, still he ignored them.
It was not till they opened fire upon the Gentleman that Teal’c truly got a sense for how outmatched the warriors of the Tau’ri were for this threat. The man stopped walking after the first weapon impacted with his chest, raising an eyebrow in curiosity at the rip in his suit. He pulled the flattened bullet from his flesh, examining the pattern before dropping it to the ground. He stood still with his arms crossed, impatiently tapping his foot as the collected forces of the Tau’ri expended their ammunition upon him, tearing great holes into his previously immaculate suit.
He waited until they’d expended their ammunition, giving it a few moments for some brave men to try tossing grenades as well. The gentleman stood with a bored expression in his now tattered and shredded finery, looking to the Jaffa warrior before saying. “Are you quite finished yet? I appreciate that we must go through the motions for the sake of propriety but you have to see that you are entirely outmatched.”
He snapped the fingers of his uninjured hand, and the tattered fabrics of his clothing wove themselves back together as a small pile of flattened projectiles clattered to the cement beneath his feet. “I have come to parley. If you continue to force violence into this matter, I will return in kind. You would not like the consequences of that action. Your people have been detained but not harmed. I see no reason to do them any more harm than is necessary for me to address the grievance that has been inflicted upon me and mine.”
“Who are you?” Asked the colonel in charge of SG-7.
The man’s eyes narrowed. “I am not here to speak to some mortal dog. I am here to speak to the chosen of your patron. If your chattel speaks without permission again, I will be forced to correct that behavior. Is that understood?”
“Chattel?” The colonel growled. “Listen asshole…”
“Sleep.” The man commanded, not even looking at the colonel. The man fell bonelessly to the ground, his snoring form dropping to the concrete. He looked back to Teal’c. “Your patron allows too many liberties.”
“The Tau’ri serve no master beyond the will of their own heart.” Teal’c replied.
“And does the will of their heart have a name?” The gentleman replied in a voice of exasperation. “Set? Anubis? Sokar? I know that it was not the forces of Yu, he would not betray our alliance in so gauche a fashion.”
“You misunderstand.” Teal’c replied. “The Tau’ri serve no god. Nor do I.”
The man rolled his eyes. “Jaffa, I am not a fool, do not treat me as one. A Goa’uld intruded into my realm using powers that they have not wielded since before the Folly of Thoth, attacked my brood, and sought shelter on this world. I found the aggressor’s vessel in Earth’s skies, full of warriors bearing the colors of America. And now, I find American warriors in the company of a Jaffa – the client race of the Fallen Pantheon – in possession of the very ship that invaded my realm.”
“It was a price paid to allow safe passage to the Goa’uld through the Chappa’ai of the Tau’ri.” Teal’c replied. “We serve no Goa’uld. We are enemies of the System Lords.”
“Speak the truth.” The man commanded, his voice reverberating with a tone of overpowering will. It made Teal’c teeth rattle, agitating his molars.
Teal’c raised his eyebrow in mild reproach. “I already have.”
The Gentleman blinked, clearly not accustomed to realizing that he had been wrong. His brow furrowed in thought. “In truth – the Goa’uld who has wronged me is not here?”
“I speak in truth.” Teal’c replied. “Heka and his retinue have long since departed. Supreme Commander Thor forced their retreat under pain of death.”
“Ah, the spellweaver.” The Gentleman replied, seemingly mollified. “Yes, the invasion did reek of arrogance and desperation. Very well, if there is no patron god with whom I might parlay, then I would speak with the mortal who has been marked by Thor Odinson as Chosen.”
“Chosen?” Teal’c queried.
“The warrior who the Asgard come to first. The warrior who has earned his respect. The one who Thor Odinson has elected as proxy for your armies.” The gentleman replied. “I will deign to parley with a mortal who has been so marked.”
“There is such a man.” Teal’c replied, catching the worried look in the eyes of SG-6’s colonel. Colonel O’Neill’s reputation was not one of diplomatic tact.
“Good, I will see him now.” The man replied, idly twisting his finger to telekinetically snap the arm of an SF who’d been reaching for a knife. Teal’c resisted the urge to shudder. This man, whoever he was, held immense power.
“I will request his presence, but only if you give your word that you will do no harm to your hostages till you’ve concluded negotiating terms with the Colonel.” Teal’c replied.
“I have no need to injure them. Not yet.” Replied the man. “They have failed to harm anything of value, though not for lack of trying. And I am eager to see what sort of man has caught the attention of the Norse Pantheon.”
“To whom shall I tell him he is to be addressing?” Teal’c inquired. “And what titles shall he use.”
“I am Ferrovax. I have no need of titles.” The man replied.
Teal’c wasn’t sure if he wanted to run away, faint or both. Ferrovax was the dragon. Not “a” dragon, he was “the” Dragon. He was the serpent from which all lesser dragons spawned. When the great Folly of Thoth came to pass, no faction involved in the conflict had dared to instigate anything with the ancient serpent of the stars. None of them had been foolish enough. Heka apparently had.
And now he was at the gates of the SGC, making demands. All things considered, it was probably wisest to let the Colonel handle this negotiation. Teal’c did not want to address the King of Dragons for a second longer than was strictly necessary for fear the primordial elemental force might take offense to his presence. Teal’c was not one to shy away from danger, but a leaf cannot overwhelm the wind.
However, before Teal’c had an opportunity to call for the Colonel, the warrior from Minnesota’s voice spoke from the secure radios of the SG-teams. A single word, “Foothold.”
The colonel from SG-6 swore profusely, “You have got to be kidding me.”
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-08-20 02:47am
There were few things as certain in Dr. Simon Coombs life that he would call “destiny.” As a man of science, he was averse to making sweeping predictions about what would happen in the future without sufficient evidence to support them. Simon was not a man of violence, he’d barely been able to dissect lab animals as part of his undergraduate training. He hadn’t even been able to bring himself to be mean to people in either Baldur’s Gate or Fallout 2. He hadn’t been able to bring himself to steal in Daggerfall because it made him feel too guilty. It had taken him six different goes at the pistol qualification before he’d been able to come close to passing because he found the very idea that he was holding something that gave him absolute power over life and death to be terrifying. It bore repeating that even with his improved comfort level, he “came close” to passing. He had not yet passed.
Suffice it to say that any man building a predictive model based around Simon’s life thus far would have relegated the probability that he would do violence to his fellow man as being a statistically negligible factor.
None of that changed the immutable fact that Simon was going to kill Jay Felger if they lived through this – possibly just maim him if outright murder proved logistically impractical. Perhaps he’d do both, he wasn’t married to any one plan. But the series of moronic decisions that his co-worker had chosen to do in order to get them to this point ought to merit some degree of permanent and painful corrective behavior adjustment.
Felger belonged in a lab. He belonged in a highly supervised laboratory environment with a protective layer of bureaucratic limitations between him and his funding to delay his process enough that his interns and co-workers were given the opportunity to sanity check his processes. Dr. Felger was one of those men unfortunate enough to understand the possibilities of his actions but unburdened by the sense of cause and effect that prevented one from releasing an alien with delusions of godhood from a prison that looked like it belonged in an early Dungeons and Dragons module.
Simon understood how someone with Jay’s knowledge base truly was vital for the analysis of Goa’uld technology, there were fewer than a dozen scientists with even half Dr. Felger’s knowledge base of weaponized plasma or Goa’uld power generators and only four of them had passed the medical exams necessary to go on off world missions. That three of the four were currently onboard the Goa’uld mothership had required just short of an act of God – though a lesser pantheon of Goa’uld Lords dropping the most powerful weapons system ever owned by the American military had apparently sufficed. Even in context with just how important it was for them to be there, Simon was pretty sure that leaving Jay to his own devices was going to prove as – if not more – dangerous than whatever was attacking the ship.
He sent Jay a spiteful glare, willing the man to die in a fire as he growled under his breath. “You see! You see what you did? All that we had to do was stay put and don’t touch anything. That requires literally no effort.”
“I know Coombs.” Jay hissed back.
“That woman is a Goa’uld. We are currently prisoners of a Gou’uld.” Simon growled.
“I know Coombs.” Dr. Felger rounded on Simon, his eyes bulging slightly as he shushed his fellow scientist. “Complaining about it isn’t going to make things better. We just have to think… what would Colonel O’Neill do in this situation?”
“You want me to shoot you?” Simon replied acerbically, Felger’s hero worship really could be tiring.
“No – not, I mean, there has to be something that we can do to fix this.” Jay bemoaned, watching their new “god” Druana. The possessed Nox had largely ignored the two scientists except to sent them vitriolic glances when they got too loud, focusing instead upon meddling with the Goa’uld ship’s main computers. She seemed to be trying to gain control of the ship, a task at which she was failing woefully. As far as demonstrations of divine power went, it was pretty sub-par.
“Oh great, I guess we try just asking her to get back in the glowing nightmare prison and just shut the door behind her.” Simon snorted, rolling his eyes.
“You think that would work?” Jay replied in mild confusion, looking from the door to the Goa’uld and back. “It seemed pretty crummy in there.”
“No I don’t think it would work you – ” Simon let out a deep breath and counted down from thirty in his head. “No Jay, I don’t think that we’re going to be able to just talk this genie back into the bottle.”
“Hey, don’t get mad at me just because you haven’t thought of a better solution.” Jay shrugged.
“That was… that was my idea!” Simon gritted his teeth.
“Potato, potato.” Jay replied, pronouncing the word slightly the second time from the first. “Stay constructive Coombs. That’s what SG-1 does, and they haven’t lost yet.”
Simon’s pinched the bridge of his nose, resisting the urge to scream and choosing instead to focus on what the Goa’uld was doing. Druana had started re-sequencing the command codes in order to get around some of the ship’s safe guards in a way he hadn’t seen done before. No, it was more than that, she was actually writing an entirely new operating system to superimpose over the existing one that had been gutted when the Goa’uld had scuttled the ship on the moon’s surface. That actually was exiting, possibly even worth the near lethal danger they were in provided that he was able to get back to the SGC once this all ended. Goa’uld coding was non-binary, meaning that its construction wasn’t always intuitive to the human mind. This was probably the first example he could remember of an academic actually getting the chance to watch a Goa’uld computer system constructed from the ground up.
She didn’t seem overly frustrated by the task, so either she was particularly gifted in computer programming or the construction of this sort of system was something held within the collective genetic knowledge of the Goa’uld. It was a shame that the Goa’uld were universally evil, Simon thought. He could have achieved incredible things were such an intellect put to constructive purposes.
There was a shuddering whirr of energy across the holographic display in front of her shimmered from orange to blue, her newly constructed operating system taking control of the mothership. She paused for a moment to read various messages and warnings that she now had access to before devolving into a metallic screeching combination of words that Simon was entirely certain constituted the Goa’uld equivalent to swear words. Her eyes glowed bright enough to light up the room as she went from system readout to system readout, assessing the damages done.
“That doesn’t sound good.” Jay swallowed.
“It’s not.” Simon agreed, reading the messages as best he could from across the room. His Goa’uld wasn’t great, but he got the gist. “Thor scuttled the heck out of this ship. They disabled every weapons and propulsion system so that you’d have to manually enable each of them.”
“Why would they do that?” Asked Dr. Felger in surprise. “I thought they were our allies.”
“If I had to make a guess, I’d say it was so that we didn’t accidentally blow up the moon. They have some nasty weapons on these ships.” Simon replied. “We have literally no idea what these things do and are wandering the ship just poking stuff in the hope that it works. Turning off the multi-megaton death cannons feels like a decent idea.”
“Asgard?” Growled the metallic hiss of the Goa’uld goddess from across the room. “This was done by the Asgard?”
“Oh… crap…” Simon winced, realizing that it was probably not the best idea to reference the ancient enemy of their captor. He yelled in shock as the Goa’uld twisted her hand and lifted him into the air through apparent telekinesis. His toes dragged across the floor as she pulled him towards her, lifting him so that he could meet her eye to eye. He looked down, afraid to meet her gaze.
“Clever little thing.” The Goa’uld purred, pushing a tendril of moss covered dreadlocks out of her face as she ran her finger across Simon’s chin. “You know not to gaze upon your betters.”
“Hey! Hey, hey, hey.” Jay yelled as he scurried across the room to try and pull Simon back to the ground. “There’s no need for that. We’re complying! We’re complying!”
“Funny creatures.” The woman smiled, exposing a mouth full of bone white teeth set in blackened gums that stank of rotting plant matter. “Tell me of the Asgard, and I will not punish you.”
“Thor! Thor was the one who gave the ship to us.” Jay spoke before Simon could even try to tell him not to. “We got it as part of the protected planet’s treaty when Heka surrendered to us.”
The woman’s eyes flashed, a worried expression crossing her face. “This planet is protected?”
“Yes, the Tau’ri joined the protected planet’s treaty.” Jay continued, nodding emphatically. “The System Lords added us this year. Yu and Chronos came to Earth to sign it.”
There was a long pause before the Goa’uld spoke, “Tau’ri? The first world? I am on the first world?” In a tone that implied much but revealed little.
“Well, its moon but yeah – you’re near Earth.” Simon replied, realizing the implication of that question. The Goa’uld were afraid of the Asgard. By all accounts an Asgard warship could annihilate a Goa’uld fleet without too much trouble. Emphasizing Thor’s connection to the American government was definitely in Simon’s best interest.
The possessed Nox’s rage smoldered as she turned back to the computer, caressing several keys before exposing an image of SGC personnel bound and guarded by a cadre of men whose skin rippled and shifted as they changed form. She fiddled with the life-signs detector, scrolling across reams of data before letting loose another metallic sound that Simon was certain signified swear words.
“Major Carter!” Jay shouted in worry, “They’ve taken her. We have to do something!”
“These are not allies of your world?” Queried the Goa’uld.
“No – I don’t know who they are, but they attacked and captured our best warriors.” Jay replied. “We need to help them. To help her, please let us go.”
“No, the brood would not deign to deal with lessers.” She let go of Simon, dropping him unceremoniously to the floor. “Sorcerous bastard. He left me behind to be consumed by the creatures of this world. He knew. That bastard Heka knew the Asgard wouldn’t see through the warding he set on my cell till his armistice ran out.”
Simon did his best to blend in with the floor rather than draw more attention to himself, but found himself once again the focus of the Goa’uld’s attention. “Tell me, this ship, was it a place of great battle before it was surrendered to you? Was there much death in this place? Much suffering?”
“Yes…” Simon replied, a shiver running down his spine and the near sexual eagerness in the possessed nox’s voice. “I mean, there was a lot of blood in the halls but we never found any bodies other than the dragons.”
“Good. Very good.” The Goa’uld cackled, her eyes glowing. “Then you two shall be the first witnesses to my glory and to the divinity of my power. I will re-take this ship from the brood, and cast them into the pyre from which they came. I will rescue your ‘Carter’ and show you the power of a true god. You will have your help, and you will speak of your new god’s divinity to all those who would listen.”
One death obsessed snake with delusions of godhood and two scientists against an army of shape-shifting warriors capable of disabling the world’s most capable soldiers. Perfect, she was insane in addition to being telekinetic, Simon thought to himself. This day just kept getting better.
The Goa’uld raised her hands to the sky. Inky tendrils of power washing out across the room from her, the whole world shifting to a shade of azure in an instant. Simon shivered, a cloying cold washing across him as he exhaled and watched his breath turn to steam. He reached out to grab a book that fell from his pockets only for his fingers to pass through the solid object entirely. He yelped in shock, scrambling from the item as though he’d been scalded.
“Mortal, the material has only partial relevance to where we now stand.” Druana chuckled. “The place between is unnerving for those who have not experienced it before. Do not stray too far or I cannot take responsibility for what happened to you.”
Simon stood up, his eyes trying to focus on the space around him. They were still in the ship, or something that resembled it, but there was something off about it. The physical land marks were different somehow, though he was certain that nothing had moved in the room after she’d cast out the dark-light. It felt different, like an echo of the room they’d been in – an impression of what the space had represented in the past.
Very quickly, however, he became less interested in the geography as a grey humanoid form phased through the wall. The details were obscure, the proportions slightly off, as though he were looking at a badly molded plastic doll of a human. It had no real features, just gaping eye-sockets within a skull-like face, and a wide, empty mouth that hung open as though the lower jaw’s tendons had stretched out like old rubber bands.
It moved forward with a shuffling grace, as though it had no weight and only needed to touch the ground to propel itself forward with its toes. It came at them, it’s rattling breath the shadowy echo of the scream it had once been. It approached Simon, mindless and graceful as a hungry jellyfish.
“Jay, what the hell is that!” Simon screeched, pulling himself up with the help of the fellow scientist’s outstretched arm even as his mind ran through a litany of horror movies that might have fit the bill.
Druana was unimpressed by the creature, stepping in its path. “Begone wraith. I have no time for you. This chattel is mine, and I would not part with it so easily.”
The creature let loose a hollow rattle, reaching out to slash at Druana with its insubstantial fingers. She caught the creature’s arms before reaching it to the creature’s chest and pulling a glowing mote from the creature’s center. A cloud of something that looked like steam poured out from the creature, light kindling within it to play shadowy images across the vapor. The images grew dimmer until there was nothing left of the creature but a sagging outline of what the creature had once been and a colorless lump upon the ground.
Jay opened his mouth as though he were about to ask a question, but only managed to make a an incoherent screech of fear and incomprehension as exactly what he’d just witnessed. He managed another two high-pitched yelps before forming, “What?”
“Do not fear the wraith, they are echoes of longing and not to be tolerated. They hunger for life and in the spaces between, those who are whole and hale are a feast.” Druana chuckled as she painted glowing symbols in the air. They were neither goa’uld nor English, and followed a non-liner progression of movements through three-dimensional space that would have been impossible on any page.
The ground rippled as the glowing forms of men and women started to enter the room, passing through the walls, floor, and ceiling. They were nervous, chittering in fear and speaking animatedly in Goa’uld. They resembled Jaffa warriors and human slaves, each of them bearing wounds and injuries that Simon was quite certain had been enough to slay them all. Their wounds were terrifying but though their expressions of fear and yearning were more distressing to Simon in a way that he could not quite put his finger on.
Simon was a man of science. Presented sufficient evidence he was willing to re-assess his perspective. As evidence went, this was anecdotal but highly persuasive evidence that ghosts were real. This could easily be an illusion, there were numerous Goa’uld technologies which were able to replicated any individual aspect of what he was witnessing, but something instinctual, primal and entirely unscientific in the back of Simon’s mind had him convinced that the opposite was true.
He was staring at what might be the first reliable account of experience with the supernatural. There was apparently a life after death and it was awful. Was this it? Just wandering around terrified and injured until something put you out of your misery? That was more terrifying that any afterlife he’d ever imagined.
Druana was not bothered by the sudden appearance of the ghosts, nor troubled by their metaphysical implications. She addressed the collective spirits in her metallic rattle. “Children of the System Lords, heed me. You have been unable to pass on because your god has abandoned this place. The wards remain even though there are no priests or gods to give your last rites and send your Ka’s heart to be weighed. If no one comes to release you, you will be as damned as the Wraith I just unmade. You will live as much of eternity as you can endure, hungering and mindless until the bitter end. But worry not, for I will set you free.”
The spirits listened, their dead eyed faces and hollow rasping breaths focused on Druana’s words. There was a horrible eagerness to them, they were desperate for the release she offered. The Goa’uld smiled wickedly, “This ship has been taken by those the brood of serpents. Slay them and I will perform the last rites to free you. Salvation or damnation, your choice.”
The spirits rattled their assent, flitting down through the floor towards where the SG teams were imprisoned. Jay watched them leave before looking at the Goa’uld and asking. “What were those?” In a voice of abject horror.
Druana’s acerbic laughter echoed with the metallic tone of the Goa’uld. “I forget how young the race of men still is. How little you understand of death.”
“What does death have to do with anything?” Jay blinked, a very real possibility for what the things they’d just seen running through the doctor’s mind even as he rejected it as lunacy. There were no such things as ghosts after all.
“Dear child, we are in the space between what is and what is inevitable. The land that only the Nox have mastered thus far, though our elders are too weak to use it to its full potential.” Druana’s smile widened. “We are in the land of the dead.”
“I don’t believe in ghost stories.” Simon lied, fear infecting every syllable of his voice.
“You might as well start.” Druana winked as power coalesced around her fingers again. “Given that you’re in one.”
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-08-21 06:54pm
When did the Nox get free? I don't remember that part.
And WHY THE FUCK are you adding even MORE SHIT to be dealt with, when you've already got Cait Sith, Outsiders and DRAGONS? You're going overkill on this shit, imho, throwing too many villains out when you should be focusing on dealing with the main two you've introduced so far.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-09-05 03:35am
Ignore the complaints of heathens and the unlearned, this stuff is epic with a capital E and I for one want more of it. All that the traffic will bear.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-09-05 03:37am
By the way, is there a way I can download "God's Eye" in it's entirety? I want to read it again but would like to do so without having to go from post to post.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-09-05 11:08pm
This isn't the only archive it's posted on. Fanfiction.net is probably the resource for which you're looking.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-09-07 06:49am
I am curious though, is that how the Nox really are in your universe or is it a Nox who's been made a host by some other enterprising snake?
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-09-09 09:03pm
Druanna is a cannon character from Stargate
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-09-27 12:39am
Harry Maybourne was worried.
It was not an unusual state of affairs for the man, given the programs he was part of and the secrets he kept, there was generally something worth being worried about in his life. But as of late, a number of failsafe programs had been activated, none of which had transpired to be over reactions to the relevant threat category. Actions were transpiring that defied previous expectations, threats to the USA arising in avenues that seemed contrary to any degree of rational sense.
It was as though the world started falling apart after Halloween. Something had happened on Halloween night, something of global significance that set a number of non-state actors into motion with a ferocity not previously observed. But try as he might, Harry had not been able to a clear answer from anyone as to what exactly had transpired to toss the world into an uproar. A watershed event capable of motivating that many people to action should have been blatant, the sort of thing that even the civilian media ought to have caught wind.
But nobody had. By all accounts Halloween had been like any previous Halloween in Harry’s life, and none of the requests for information he’d submitted to the NID’s intelligence components had been able to provide him with a satisfactory causal event. For some reason the person or persons responsible for the sudden uptick in global violence were choosing to keep their own consul – which was baffling in and of itself.
The “how” and “when” of a conflict was often difficult to determine from those participating in violent conflict. “Why” was generally a foregone conclusion. People just tended to tell you why they were going to war. They might lie. They might even not actually understand their true reason and provide an incorrect one. But utter silence on their motivation? That was…. unprecedented.
His NID SOUTHCOM counterpart had gone dark recently after reporting unusual patterns in activity within the cartels. Money was being exchanged for weapons in unprecedented quantities, directed to the purchase of Soviet surplus gear from the Balkans. The cartels were arming themselves, and not with the sort of arsenal that one associated with drug runners. They were investing in real weapons, the sort of things that could win wars as opposed to just fighting them. There were even early rumbling that they were trying to obtain WMDs. Criminal enterprises known to be part the major cartels had openly started conflicts across the globe, but nobody quite seemed sure why or with whom they were engaged.
The former Soviet countries had seemingly similar activity, with early reports suggesting that some of the smaller garrisons around Arkhangelsk were deploying their forces in a defensive posture around seemingly irrelevant asset. They were protecting areas without any clear benefit to the Russian government, often to its apparent detriment. A sudden re-deployment of forces was confusing; a sudden re-deployment of forces in a way that left them weak to NATO assets was baffling. Stranger still, not all elements of the Russian government seemed to have been properly inbriefed on the circumstances requiring their actions. It might have been mistaken for a power grab were the Prime Minister not clearly as clueless as anyone else in the government about the Russian President's seemingly schizophrenic actions.
More troubling that even the bloodshed and horror worldwide, was the irrefutable fact that someone in the United States government was doing their damndest to cover it up. He’d spent enough of his adult life sanitizing the dirty little secrets of the US government to recognize when someone else was getting sloppy. That wouldn’t be abnormal in and of itself, but the NID didn’t know who was doing it – meaning that there was either an intelligence agency operating outside the remit of their oversight agencies or that some private interest was operating with enough resources to hide themselves from the NID’s substantial resources. Neither of which particularly appealed to Harry in the long run.
And then there were the weird reports. Bodies were showing up that made no logical sense, skeletons that were clearly humanoid but not human, bodies that dissolved into nothing once they were cut open by the coroner, bodies that just got back up and walked out of the morgue. He would have dismissed it all as the impossible ravings of madmen if there hadn’t been so many similar reports filed at the same time that all followed the same basic narrative.
“Humanoid but definitely not human.” Had the Goa’uld or some other race been able to infiltrate the cartels? The Russians? Neither was appealing. The timing of this was all too close to be coincidental. Something was happening, something that could destabilize the world if it was allowed to take root. His lip curled, the petty squabbles of Earth might well damn her to alien rule if someone like the NID didn’t start demanding that sanity be applied to how Earth approached the galaxy.
The SGC had tried their way. They’d tried using the kid gloves with every species they met. They’d tried politely asking for technology and surviving on what scraps the Asgard and Tok’ra deigned to give them. They’d tried their best to protect the world while operating under the false premise that they could apply the “we’ll beat them eventually, we don’t need to be mean” approach to technology and development born of the sort of arrogance that could only come from the mistaken impression that they were, and would always remain, the preeminent superpower on Earth.
They’d tried, and sure as shooting they’d failed. They’d failed about as catastrophically as it was possible to fail.
And here he was, looking at an apparent loss of the most dangerous artefact in the world. An alien artefact which, for reasons entirely beyond him the Air Force had come to the conclusion was best located in NORTHCOM NORAD of all places. He sort of understood it when the device had been a matter of pure scientific curiosity, but given that it was effectively a portal that enemy combatants attempted to breach with startling regularity he couldn’t help but feel like it should have been re-located to an area of less prominence for the American military’s ability to coordinate its defenses. What damn good would it do the country to hide the Stargate from the Russians if their “protected” location effectively surrendered major military assets to an alien invasion.
It was just utter madness that the US government had ever allowed the Stargate program to get to the point where “nuke NORAD” was considered a viable strategy for anything short than outright apocalyptic horror.
The NID had been lobbying for greater control of the Stargate program to avoid this precise sort of foolishness. A foothold situation virtually guaranteed massive bloodshed to retake the Cheyanne Mountian Complex. For all he knew they’d managed to dig in and would be situated beneath 2,000 feet of solid granite. God help them all if this menace had managed to seal the blast doors, or the NID re-enforcements would find themselves on the wrong side of 25-ton blast doors outside of a fortified bunker that had been designed to survive blasts in the tens of megatons.
With its own independent heat, water, supplies, and power plant, an alien invader could feasibly build up an unstoppable offensive from within the complex. It would take months of uninterrupted excavation enough of the mountain to be able to mount a credible offensive against a proper foothold. That was the whole point of the nuclear bomb the SGC kept ensuring that any potential foothold situation would be brought to an abrupt end. It was blatant foolishness to supply a potential enemy with that sort of beachhead.
It was the opinion of the NID leadership – one that Maybourne shared entirely - that the Air Force was overly reliant on a tactical nuclear weapon as a first line of defense, given that the upper level of the facility contained the senior leadership of one of the largest Joint Commands in the military. As far as Harry was concerned, anyone unlucky enough to get a posting at NORTHCOM NORAD should be getting front line combat pay commensurate with the daily threat of total nuclear annihilation.
But the NID was a civilian agency, and the military was loath to bow to the demands of a civilian agency. They would most certainly not bow to the whims of an oversight agency whose members were viewed as “the enemy” for demanding that they exercise some of the most basic of safety and operational security concerns. Honestly, how was detaining the second in command of an alien dictator who’d just declared war on the United States an unreasonable request? Even recruits in the US military who’d been born US citizens went through a basic screening and qualification process before they were issued weapons. The man had killed the symbiote infected Kawalsky, earning his parole, but even that could have been staged or an opportunistic act.
The Jaffa’s sincerity was apparent now but the man had been functionally no different from any other defector. He should have been detained. Specialists should have been assigned to ask him questions and verify his story. It was just basic operational security. And Colonel O’Neill should not have been given the latitude he was provided in that decision-making process. He had not been capable of impartiality with regards to the disposition of such a valuable intelligence asset.
And here they were, three years after the NID had started making wild suggestions like “move the stargate to a dedicated facility that isn’t in Cheyanne Mountain,” “Stop using atomics as a primary method of defense in a populated section of Colorado,” and “start actually taking technology that we find on alien worlds and bring it home. We can relocate the fifty people who it currently provides protection.” Three years of being ignored and, just as Harry freaking knew would happen, the NIDs strike team was going to have to bail out the SGC.
The myopic leadership of Stargate Command wasn’t going to doom the planet, not if Harry could do anything about it. The men around him were all Americans, men who’d been hired by the NID specifically for the purpose of responding to issues relating to the programs that America needed corrected in quiet. The NID saw them as a balance to the Pentagon Standby Strike teams, and equipped and trained them with the intention of being able to go toe to toe with any threat they might find. They were made up of ex-special forces, service men who’d become sick of the limitations put upon them by the rules of engagement.
They still had their uses.
Their van slowed as they approached the parking lot of the Cheyanne Complex, a wall of people between them and the building. Someone, probably one of O’Neill’s, had issued the evacuation order for the complex. It would limit the potential collateral casualties, but there was a literal army of people who worked for NORTHCOM NORAD. Once evacuated, they had to go somewhere.
Confused and scared looking service members clustered around their NCOs and Petty Officers, taking head counts to ensure that they’d all managed to make it out of the building. Clustered groups of humanity so thick that the NID vehicles couldn’t hope to pass through them. Harry gritted his teeth and opened the door, muttering darkly under his breath as he adjusted the strap on his carbine. He’d known this would be an obstacle, but there was a pointed difference between realizing just how many people worked out of the mountain and coming face to face with a uniformed Woodstock imitation.
He lead his men through the crowd, shoving their way past them with determined looks on their face. They passed through with minimal effort, the near murderous glint in their eyes more than enough to discourage most curiosity. The SF’s challenged their entry at the gates, but it was a cursory gesture at best. The base security was scared, the sudden appearance of heavily armed men wearing full combat gear and American flags on their shoulders and identifying themselves as the “hostage response team” was exactly the sort of thing that they’d welcome given the distant thrum of gunfire beneath the earth.
Base security had clearly been ill prepared to mount defenses against the lower levels, yet another issue the NID had been repeatedly reporting for three years. It wasn’t entirely clear who was running the SF’s on the upper levels, nor was it clear which direction they expected an attack to come from.
“Christ this is a Charlie Foxtrot,” Groaned Maxwell Davis, an ex-Navy Seal with a scar running across his left cheek up from a disfigured lip where an Iraqi soldier had slit his mouth from the inside. “Half these kids wanted these orders to avoid combat. They’re greener than the damn grass.”
“They’re not our primary concern. We’re here to make sure they aren’t relevant to this situation. Hammond’s people will be leading the defense on the lower levels.” Harry sighed, pointedly not correcting the Maxwell. “We can expect a more practical force from the SGC.”
Maxwell grunted, clearly unimpressed at the SGC’s potential. The man was an arrogant ass, convinced that the only fighting force worth a damn were the Navy Seals and that among them really only he counted as a proper fighter. His unspoken opinion seemed to be that any skirmish in which he was not an immediate participant hadn’t been properly fought. He had an irritating habit of backing that opinion up with action, making him the perfect candidate to lead the NID answer to a Pentagon Strike Team.
“Look, I’d never say it to his face because the man is smug enough already but Colonel O’Neill is a good leader and a hell of a fighter. So stow your opinions till this is over.” Colonel Maybourne replied, more heat in his voice than he’d intended. Competent though he may be, the former Seal’s outright dismissal of any “Chairforce” capacity to fight grew quickly tiresome, as did his insistence upon referring to Harry as a “tech.”
Maxwell arched a brow in a petulant gesture as though to say “yeah right” and “I didn’t need to say a damn thing for you to know what I meant.” His blonde eyebrow receded into hair that was far too long for a proper military haircut as the smile lines showed in his cheeks. Harry felt his own eye twitch, as he took a series of calming breaths.
The man was really worse than O’Neill. O’Neill at least had some degree of humility. “Just lead the way.”
“You heard the man.” He replied to the NID strike team as he patted his chest, running a finger over the pocket Harry knew contained a tin of dip tobacco. Tapping his finger twice over the round bump to confirm that it was there to the man’s satisfaction, Maxwell then issued a series of curt orders to his team as they breached NORAD, ready for a fight.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-09-27 11:51am
Oh please please please let these a-holes die messily and having been no use whatsoever other than a convenient distraction.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-09-28 03:31am
Din't even let them be that, have them die to the fairies fighting the horrors.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-10-09 03:58am
Jacob Carter felt the immediate bite of a Chicago Autumn, cool air frigid against his soaking clothes. The rough spun wool and leather only seemed to distribute the biting whip of afternoon air rather than mitigating it in any measurable way. His feet trembled in his boots as he stepped through the rip between worlds, following his guide into a dingy alleyway.
Elaine pulled the cloak from her shoulders, stashing it in a bright nylon backpack as she pulled a length of chain from inside it. She wrapped the chain around her arm, letting the excess hang loose. Its tip sizzled ominously and smelled vaguely of ozone. There was a look of caution in her eye, the carefully emotionless mask of readiness that Jacob knew could only mean that she was genuinely worried about her immediate safety.
Is this not a district of one of the most developed cities of the First World? Queried Selmak, the symbiote's voice more curious than worried. Odd that she is so troubled in its heart.
"Not exactly." Jacob thought back to his mental co-habitant. "Fuller Park is one of the worst neighborhoods in the city by almost every metric. I would be hesitant to drive through here, and we're on foot."
Are not the streets policed? Selmak replied in mild confusion. The symbiote's experience with the home world of Humans had been highly structured thus far, the military wasn't going to risk its alliance with the Tok'ra by putting Tok'ra representatives in undue danger.
So the locations chosen for the Tok'ra's visits were scrupulously screened, designed to not only provide the greatest degree of defensibility but to cast Earth in the most positive light possible. And while the Tok'ra could access all of Jacob's memories to learn of Earth's less admirable qualities, it had been Jacob's experience thus far that Selmak preferred to live things for himself.
Consequently, there were certain gaps in the Tok'ra's knowledge of some of the more nuanced specifics of life as a Tau'ri - the live and vibrant criminal culture of Chicago's inner cities for example. Jacob wasn't an expert in the subject by any measure, but he knew enough to realize that he was the wrong age, income bracket, profession and ethnicity to not irritate someone living here just by virtue of his very presence. He thought back to the symbiote, "Cops come here rarely if at all unless they're forced to be here. Certain elements of the locals tend to object to their presence. It interferes with business."
Business? Selmak queried internally, sorting through Jacob's memories before sighing disappointedly. Ah, drugs and prostitution. Charming.
"We're going to need to take a cab." Elaine chewed her lip in thought, pouting in a way that Jacob was entirely too old to find enticing - or so he assured himself firmly. "But we're at least four blocks from anywhere that a cab is going to stop for a fare."
"Can we call a cab?" Jacob suggested. "Get them to pick us up?"
"Be my guest." Elaine arched an eyebrow and pointed to the pay phone at the end of the alley. The heavy metal container of the telephone on the right had been pried open as though with a crowbar, its innards spilling down to the street from where someone ripped out the coin repository from it. The telephone on the right had not been successfully pried open, but had instead been smashed soundly - the cracked remains of what might once have been a telephone head set poking out from key pad. Someone clearly hadn't been thrilled about the news they'd gotten at some point. Both were riddled with small holes, presumably damage from a drive by shooting.
"Ah," Jacob swallowed. He did not want to stand on the street corner and risk drawing undue attention to himself, and “blood soaked balding man” had a way of drawing attention. "I suppose you have a better plan?"
Elaine shrugged, "We walk a couple blocks then I hail a cab."
"I said better plan." Jacob replied, not thrilled about a nighttime jaunt through inner city Chicago.
“Calm down gramps.” The mousy haired woman giggled, following Jacobs line of thought. “Nobody’s going to see us.” She snapped her fingers and shimmered out of view, without even the blurry outline that Jacob would have associated with a cloaking device of Goa’uld make to hint at her presence. He couldn’t even see her footprints on the ground any more.
Jacob whistled, long and low. “You’re going to have to teach me that trick sometime.”
“It would do you little good.” Selmak interjected mentally. “The talent for using those abilities is genetic. Some Goa’uld have attempted to force the genetics of humans to allow for its use… the results are rarely pleasant.”
“Can’t blame a guy for trying.” Jacob thought back to his Tok’ra companion. “That sort of thing would be damn useful.”
“Power comes at a price.” Selmak replied. “Always.”
Elaine, unaware of his internal dialogue, extended her spellwork to extend the envelope of sorcery around the both of them. Jacob felt like the world took on a bluish tint through whatever it was that she was doing to make them both invisible. It was unnerving to see someone just casually manipulate the laws of physics with that much ease. He wasn’t even entirely comfortable when Sammy managed to do that under a patina of physics and alien technology. To do it by just waving your hands? That was just freaky.
Jacob followed Elaine out of the alley and into the street. Walking through downtown Chicago while invisible was an experience in and of itself. One does not realize how much of walking through a crowd is an unwritten social contract not to run into each other till one is forced to circumnavigate a city street without anyone else able to see you. Fuller park wasn’t exactly teeming with life as the day bled away into twilight, it was too dangerous, but even the minimal presence on the streets presented a surprising impediment to safe travel.
Jacob swore and just barely dodged a messenger bike tearing along the street, it’s rider clearly eager to out of the neighborhood. He’d flipped a decidedly inappropriate gesture at the man’s back before he realized the futility of flipping off someone who could neither see, nor apparently hear him. Elaine managed to only giggle a bit at his frustration, biting back the sarcastic jibe he just knew was at the tip of her tongue. The woman’s soul had been awash with sarcastic wit that he was in no mood for at the moment.
O’Neill’s inevitable cavalcade of Bewitched references was going to be bad enough once this was all over. Using witchcraft to safely navigate the streets Chicago was going to haunt him, he just knew it. Jacob turned at the keening whistle of a train, loaded with cargo and heading north past the park from which the neighborhood got its name. He could see a baseball diamond and some tennis courts, but they had a dinginess to them that felt incongruous to their manicured lawns. He could hear the distant sounds of shouting, but they were shouts of excitement rather than anything to be worried about. The dull thud of a basketball being dribbled and squeaking of shoes on wet stone hinting at a basketball game out of his field of view.
Several dogs took a degree of interest in Jacob and his companion to a degree that their owners found baffling in a way that had Jacob wondering how many times his own dogs had been barking at a concealed practitioner of magic rather than the nothing he had perceived it to be. When voiced to Elaine, the witch found that proposition greatly amusing. “You’re not far off gramps. Dogs are smart. If it’s not some big nasty that uses veils or illusions to hide themselves it’s probably one of the little folk or something equally benign.”
“Little folk?” Jacob queried.
“Fairies. The little kind. Sprites, brownies, really any of the wildfae too small to draw significant attention from the Winter or Summer courts. You’ve probably had them around you for most of your life.” Elaine smiled, looking around her. “They’re mostly benign, but they’re still fairies and not to be trifled with.”
Jacob thought back to the cruel little sprites that had taken such joy in the letting of blood when first he’d entered the world of the Furlings. Not to be trifled with indeed. “Is there anything that can be done to make sure they stay away from you?”
“There are things that you can do.” Elaine considered the statement. “But I would advise against it. Warding against the little people is something that they’ll notice, and probably take as a personal slight. They’re probably not going to be able to do anything about it, but they’ll know how to find someone who can.”
“So just hope they’re benevolent?” Jacob asked incredulously.
“Gramps, they’re like an inch tall and they have a memory span of moments.” Elaine chuckled. “They’re not exactly a fighting force. Just treat them decent if you run into them and leave them be otherwise, they don’t have much of a reason to involve themselves in the affairs of “the big people.” Even vanilla mortals are like Godzilla level out of their class. They’re mostly happy to go unnoticed.”
“I still don’t like it.” Jacob replied. “It’s a huge potential threat to be dealing with on a day to day basis and nobody knows about it.”
“Says the man who apparently has a rebellious ancient god living in his head.” Replied Elaine.
“The Tok’ra are not gods.” Asserted Selmak angrily, taking over Jacob’s vocal chords without bothering to go through the traditional head nod. Jacob wasn’t overly surprised at the rudeness. Selmak was extremely nervous standing next to the Hok’tar – they had a reputation for seeming random and capricious solutions to the presence of a Goa’uld. It was part of why Selmak had been intentionally minimizing his presence, there was no benefit to drawing unnecessary attention to his inhuman nature.
“Sorry, the rebellious not god in his head.” The mousy haired woman snorted. “I mean seriously, the fact that the US military is putting some sort of whatever you are into the heads of our military leaders to fight a war against the old gods on other planets kinda trumps ‘Cobbs will secretly fix your shoes’ on the ‘people should be worrying about this’ scale.”
“Shoes?” Jacob asked, arching an eyebrow.
“It’s a whole thing. You can occasionally hire the more specialized Fae to complete tasks but they’re weird about it. You tell someone that they’re doing it and they have to stop.” She held up a finger to silence Jacob before he had a chance to reply. “And before you ask, no, I don’t know why. That’s just the rule for some reason. You negotiate some sort of payment in advance, you keep paying it at the rate you agreed, and they complete the task.”
“You’re telling me I could have hired cobbs back in Officer Candidate school to have my room prepped and inspection ready every time our instructor came to check on it?” Jacob briefly amused himself at the idea of a perpetually and impossibly clean room, as well as a perpetually befuddled Master Sergeant trying to determine how, exactly, the candidates were actually managing to meet his standards without apparently trying. “That would have been useful.”
“Trust me, it’s better to not owe things to fairies. Even the little ones.” She shuddered, clearing thinking of her own entanglements with the Furlings.
“It would be wise to listen to this one’s advice.” Selmak agreed. “She is bound in chains of debt that I imagine we’ve scarcely even begun to understand.”
As they crossed 47th street and started heading West, Jacob was struck with the distinct impression that he was being watched. He paused, holding out a hand to stop his companion as he looked over his shoulder. His sight, enhanced by the Tok’ra to see further than a human would normally have been able in the growing darkness, caught a shape rising from beneath the overpass to the East, something too big to be a man. “There’s something coming from under the bridge.”
Elaine’s eye’s bugged. “From under the bridge. You’re certain of that?”
“Yep, and it’s huge.” Jacob tilted his head, trying to get a good look at it. There was a hazy aspect to it, as though the features beneath the thing’s wide brimmed hat and long, leather jacket were being viewed through an unfocused lens. It tilted its head back, as though sniffing at the air, before turning its face down the street and looking directly at where Elaine and Jacob were standing. “Oh, no. I think it can smell us.”
“Damn it.” Elaine’s voice hitched up a half octave as she sped up her pace, not quite running but getting as near as she seemed to dare without breaking her concentration on the spell enveloping the pair. “I was worried something like this would happen.”
“What is it?” Jacob asked, matching the woman’s speed and regretting his lack of weapons.
“A troll.” The witch replied, cutting right and running across the street into a large parking lot full of shipping containers. “A creature of Winter.”
“Trolls! Oh good, all we need is a goat and we’re set to go.” Jacob replied sarcastically as he followed Elaine, all too aware that the massive man’s thunderous footsteps were charging after them at a break-neck pace.
“Christ I’d kill for a gruff right now.” Elaine agreed, adrenaline seemingly having robbed her of the ability to register Jacob’s jibe. “Jacob, that thing is actually casting a half decent illusion. Do you know how few Trolls have the brains required to actually do that? It’s either very old or very capable – and if it’s come to the mortal world then it’s here to breed or to hunt mortals, and I’m not especially eager to find out which.”
“So, what? Do we sprint till daylight?” Jacob snarled. “Because I don’t know about you but I’m not going to be able to keep up this pace for another twelve hours.”
“We just need to be able to get to an area populate enough that he can’t attack without drawing attention.” Elaine huffed as they ran through the stacks of cargo containers. “We’re going to have to hop the fence, but there is a bottling plant south of West 49th street. There are armed guards and cops round the clock, he’s not going to want to draw the attention of that man mortals.”
“Why do you know so much about Chicago’s geography?” Huffed Jacob, his age slowing him even with the aid of Tok’ra enhanced stamina.
“My boss has a thing about it for some reason.” Elaine huffed, swearing in irritation. “I’ve got to drop the illusion. If I keep this up I’m not going to have an juice in the tank to slow him down.”
“Hell.” Jacob groaned, forcing his legs to move faster in spite of his fatigue as the roaring cry of the troll echoed through the containers. Apparently it had caught sight of the two of them as soon as Elaine had stopped hiding them.
“Just keep running, just keep – oh no!” Elaine dropped down, dragging Jacob to the pavement as a massive shape soared through the air, slicing past where Jacob’s head had been only seconds ago. The seemingly impossibly large projectile flew past them, smashing down in a loud display of sparks and tearing metal.
The troll had tossed a shipping container at them, trapping them in the corridor of shipping containers with only one exit, directly past the troll. Elaine uncoiled the chain from her arm, snapping it like a whip. “This is bad. Stay behind me.”
“Like hell.” Jacob growled, ripping a long iron bar off the side of the crumpled container and spinning it like a club. “I’m a damn General. I’m not hiding from something that gets its ass kicked by goats.”
“Christ gramps.” Elaine sighed, “You’re worse than my ex.”
“I’m sure that I’m prettier too.” Jacob replied, eliciting a snort from the witch.
“You might be at that, gramps.” Elaine licked her lips nervously as the troll advanced.
It was huge, larger than it had even seemed when Jacob had first seen it. The magics it had been using to hide its form had apparently also served to mask its true size. It stood an easy fifteen feet tall, with hairy grey limbs protruding from a bulbous hairy body. Its huge belly stuck out, draping down over what Jacob presumed to be a loincloth. He wouldn’t have called the material used for either the creature’s loincloth or coat to be leather. Leather was cured and treated. The Troll seemed instead to have just skinned its still-bloody prey and sewn the bloody skins into clothing without bothering to let it dry. Consequently, they had a pungent odor to them, a rotting musk that was nearly as unpleasant to smell as the Troll’s face was to look at.
Its nose was enormous, taking up easily half the creature’s face, and what little of the face was not consumed by the broad proboscis was barely visible beneath thick hair. Beady little eyes stared hatefully beneath a thick brow ridge, accented by the white reflections of long jagged tusks. He had apparently flung the container one handed, given that his other hand held a long club.
On closer observation Jacob realized that it was, in fact, a tree that the troll had ripped up at the root. Though, given that it was half as thick as Jacob’s torso, he had no doubt it would prove an effective weapon. It sniffed the air and smiled, exposing the rotting where tusk met gum. It spoke, its voice surprisingly midwestern for creature of Norse legend. “First I kill you. Then I have your woman. Then I maybe eat her too.”
Elaine’s face went a few shades whiter than her already pale completion as the troll’s loincloth stirred, hinting at how terrifyingly male it was beneath the blood-soaked rotting garment. “Oh, to hell with that.”
She swung the chain out, grinning as the troll held up his arm to block it. The thick iron chain wrapped around his wrist and began to smoke before she spoke a word and lighting arced down the length of it, making the troll’s muscled body convulse in pain. The creature foamed at the mouth, its piggy little eyes bulging in hatred as he smashed down his club in her direction.
She yelped and jumped back, maintaining her hold on the chain. As she moved back the red hot links of chain tightened around the troll’s arm, cutting into the creatures flesh with an ease that didn’t seem possible. It ripped through flesh and bone, mauling the arm as she pulled away from him.
“It’s the iron.” Selmak assured Jacob. “It hurts Furlings in a way they cannot protect themselves from.”
“Well then, I think it’s time to give this man an object lesson in manners.” Jacob grinned, taking advantage of the Troll’s overswing to get in close with his makeshift club and bash the thing in the face. The creature howled as the iron rod struck its eye, swearing and spitting up purplish-black blood.
Jacob dodged another swing from the creature, but he was too slow prevent the creature’s next swing. The tree struck Elaine hard, bouncing the diminutive woman off a shipping container with enough force that he actually heard the woman’s arm pop out of its socket. Without consciously thinking what he was doing, he interposed himself between Elaine and the troll in the hopes that he might at least deflect the beast’s next blow.
The creature’s club rocketed down at Jacob’s head with enough force to spit it open, then froze within an inch of his head. Jacob opened his eye tentatively, lowering his arm from the reflexive gesture of defense as he realized the troll seemed to be struggling against some impossible force. Its bloodied face was contorted into an expression of confusion as it did it’s best to strike Jacob with the club. It swung at Jacob again and again, putting more and more effort into the swing each time, but no matter how hard it tried, it couldn’t hit him. Not just didn’t, it physically could not swing its weapon at Jacob.
Elaine pulled herself to her feet, her lamed arm hanging next to her. “Something you want to tell me Gramps?”
“I’m as lost as you are.” Jacob replied, shifting to the left as the troll attempted to strike Elaine again only to find the attack barred by whatever force protected the General. “Trolls haven’t come up much in my day do day life admin.”
“Well don’t stop now.” Elaine smiled, looking out at the street. “Apparently Chicago’s Finest have seen fit to notice us.”
Jacob nearly whooped for joy as the blue and red lights of a squad car flashed from the street, a voice echoing over the loudspeaker declaring to “Stop, Chicago PD!”
The Troll, frustrated that his quarry had protection beyond what he’d been expecting and apparently unwilling to tussle with the cops, kneeled down on his stubby grey legs and propelled himself over the stack of cargo containers. His purple-black blood spattered across Jacob’s already bloodstained tunic as the Troll flew off into the distance, howling and gibbering in fury of having been robbed of his prey.
“I’ve got to go gramps.” Elaine winced, popping her own shoulder back into place with a wet squelch against the container. “I can’t afford to end up in the system, not here. There are too many people that I can’t afford noticing me. Good luck!”
“Wait!” Jacob turned to the woman as she vanished into thin air, leaving him alone in the wreckage of their battle with the troll. “You can’t just leave!”
But Elaine seemed to have done very much that. It was as the uniformed officers approached him with weapons drawn that Jacob realized exactly how much blood was covering the front of his alien tunic and exactly how much damage had been inflicted on the shipping facility. He raised his hands to the sky, doing his best to look non-threatening as he asked the officers. “I don’t suppose you’ll believe me and let me go if I say that this is classified, will you?”
“Absolutely fucking not.” Replied the closest officer as he pulled a set of cuffs from his bet.
“Worth a shot.” Replied Jacob. “Can I have my phone call?”
The cop shook his head in exasperation. “Bro, you can figure that out with the spook squad once I pass you off to SI. I’m not going anywhere near the paperwork necessary to make whatever it is that I just saw keep me from losing my pension.”
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-10-09 07:37pm
Is he gonna meet Murphy? Please Tell Me It's MURPHY!
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-10-18 01:16am
Daniel Jackson hadn’t quite decided if it was comforting or terrifying that their captors were allowing them effective freedom of movement – not even having bothered to restrain them. Any attempt to leave the room resulted in a hissing gaggle of “scions” interceding to prevent such an action, but their human prisoners were largely considered beneath notice now that their leader was no longer onboard the ship.
His fear that they might take retribution for their fallen comrade was apparently misplaced. The members of SG4, SG3, and SG1 were, by and large ignored. The ten of them just sort of stood in an awkward circle feeling naked without their weapons.
Now their captors they weren’t under the direct supervision of their leader, they seemed to consider the human prisoners to be a near tertiary concern behind jabbering with each other in their guttural hissing speech and making sure that they were properly dressed.
Their captors were no longer garbed as Roman Cavalry, having abandoned that illusion for an imitation of the Stargate uniforms. The man who’d chosen to mirror his image to that of the Colonel, the man Daniel presumed to be second in command after the one who’d gone to negotiate, had impressed his will upon the other scions – snarling and berating those who’d chosen to garb themselves in more modern suits or halfway garb themselves in part-suit part-BDUs until they conformed with his own appearance. Daniel noticed that none of the other scions had chosen to match the silver oak leaves upon the man’s shoulders, choosing the garments of lower ranking individuals.
They were remarkably literal in their imitation of the Stargate team members, replicating the entire uniforms and patches. They understood the conceptual goal of looking like members of an SG team, but seemed to lack context for why they were dressed up like them. They had, for example, chosen to retain the gladius strapped to their hips and the long iron spears in spite of discarding the pretense of requiring shields. Daniel couldn’t help but wonder if the blades were even real or just another illusion to cover the reptilian bodies he’d seen when they’d been fired upon.
There was a not insubstantial part of Doctor Jackson that was just utterly thrilled to discover that dragons actually exist. They were apparently a species of trans-dimensional aliens, but they existed. Daniel’s inner eleven year old was going to be dining out on that fact for the foreseeable future. “Amazing, I mean, simply amazing.”
“Doctor Jackson, you’ll pardon me if I don’t share your starry eyed optimism while we’re captives.” Replied Colonel Makepeace. The man had not stopped eying the pile of weapons just beyond the scions since they’d been able to move again. Trying to force his way past the scions would have been outright suicidal, but the man was a Marine.
“Colonel, we are in a first contact situation with a species that is able to manipulate their actual physical form at will.” Daniel pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, considering the matter. “A species who very well might be the inspiration behind the myths of Dragons on Earth.”
“Oh, great.” LT Johnson “So we just got our asses kicked by Mushu and his minions.”
The Colonel spared his junior officer a scathing look. “Mushu?”
“You know, from the movie – Eddie Murpy plays a dragon.” Replied the Lieutenant. “My kids watched that thing on a loop ever since they got the VHS.”
“Mushu?” The Colonel replied, an amused lilt cracking through his stern tone of command. “They named the dragon Mushu?”
“It’s Mulan sir. Disney went for a theme.” The Lieutenant replied. “Your kids didn’t end up on the Mulan bandwagon? I’ve been hearing “I’ll make a man out of you” in my sleep. I can’t get them to stop watching it.”
“Aladdin.” Replied the Colonel. “I’ve been trapped listening to Aladdin for the past year and a half. Not even the first one. The straight to VHS sequel. I can’t get my five year old to watch anything else. At this point I’m praying for anything to catch his attention that saves me from that damn parrot.”
“I wasn’t a fan of Mulan.” Daniel replied. “They took a lot of liberties with the original source material. Hua Mulan is one of the more interesting figures of Chinese Mythology and honestly it’s sort of painful to see her legend get compressed and a Disney makeover.”
“Hua Mulan is a formidable warrior. Many have died to her blade, many more will die. ” Replied a gravely reptilian voice, the serpentine tongue of the Scion who’d chosen to dress as a Colonel just barely managing to approximate human speech. “She is worthy of a true name and her place in the pantheon.”
Daniel almost jumped out of his skin as he turned to face the scion. He hadn’t even realized that the faux-colonel had moved from his position in the center of the crowd of scions, let alone that the faux-colonel was breathing down his neck. The fax-colonel got an apparent inordinate degree of joy from Daniel’s discomfort. “You are Daniel Jackson – you are known.”
Daniel felt like a live wire was running up his spine as the faux-colonel spoke his name. The sensation made his teeth clatter together as his eyes bulged behind his glasses. He shook off the abrupt sensation and spoke back to the faux-colonel as though he hadn’t felt the jolt. “I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage. I don’t know your name.”
The man’s lip quirked in something that seemed to approximate amusement, but there was artificialness to it – as though he were just imitating amusement rather than actually feeling it. “I am nīðing Sárkány. I have not yet earned a name, so I must do without. I am he who leads this brood. If you must have a title for me, you may call me the First Nameless.”
“I don’t suppose you have a nickname or something?” Jibed Major Garcia, the second in command of SG-4. Daniel liked the guy, but sincerely hoped that Colonel O’Neill didn’t have too much crossover with him. He could only handle so much snark at once.
“I am without a name.” Replied the faux-colonel, he paused for a moment as though struggling to articulate his specific point. “Your forgiveness, I find mortal words to be insufficient.”
“Can you all speak English?’ Daniel queried, realizing that the attention of the Scions was entirely directed upon their conversation.
“Speaking mortal words is difficult. Your meaning is limited.” Replied the faux-colonel. “Few can slow themselves enough to speak with such imprecision. We understand your meanings – you speak as children.”
“Why do I get a name then?” Daniel replied to the faux-colonel. Looking at the other members of Stargate Command. “Do they get names as well.”
“Many use names – they have not earned them.” Replied the faux-colonel. “You are a godslayer, you slew him and stole what was his. You permanently killed a true god over a confluence and many pretenders to power after. Your name is both earned and known.” He pointed to Major Carter and Colonel Makepeace. “They have slain pretenders – I can taste it upon them. Their names are unknown but not undeserved.”
“Daniel, is he saying what I think he’s saying?” Major carter blinked in surprise. “Because it sounded to me like we have higher social status than he does.”
“It is known.” Replied the faux-colonel.
“I don’t suppose that it is known well enough for us to let us go?” Colonel Makepeace sighed in frustration.
“You have names but I have duty.” Replied the faux-colonel, smiling widely as tendrils of smoke came from his nostrils and the edges of his smile. “But I am pleased to be guarding one who deserves a name. If you attempt to flee and I slay you, it will earn me my own.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier just to kill us and say we were trying to escape.” Asked the junior Lieutenant from SG-4. His superior officer snarled an admonition and grabbed the front of his shirt as the officer protested, “Hey! I’m just saying! It would be easier.”
“You will not soon earn a name.” Declared the faux-colonel as he shook his head in disgust. “You are our prisoners taken in battle, not our prey. You fought with honor and lost. Grandfather accepted you as ransom. You are beholden to the laws, and protected by them. I do not imagine that you will be so foolish as to require that we punish you, not with three named among you. It is known.”
“Do those laws include feeding prisoners?” Colonel Makepeace’s eyes narrowed. “Because unless you’re looking to starve someone with a name, you’re going to have to let us have our packs back.”
“You do not hunger.” Replied the faux-colonel.
“Bull shit I do not.” Rejoined the Colonel. “It’s been hours since I last ate.”
“And yet you do not hunger.” The faux-colonel shook his head. “You wish to have access to your bag so that you might use the weapon within it.” He smiled. “I am not a fool, named one. And my sense of smell works perfectly well. I can smell sulfur and charcoal within your pack. I do not smell food.”
The Colonel’s face was scrupulously emotionless as he replied. “My men will have food.”
The faux-colonel smiled. “You care for your brood. Wise.” He spoke in the harsh tones of his native language and the scions went through the packs of the Earth warriors, removing all items of food and piling them together. Daniel noticed that they did not apparently seem to be able to recognize the brown MRE pouches as food, discarding them with the other contents of the bag.
“Do you mind if I ask you questions, First Nameless?” Daniel asked before the Colonel had further opportunity to antagonize their captor.
“We are without other amusements, named one.” Replied the faux-colonel. “But know that I may only answer your questions if I am permitted to ask one in kind. Information is valuable, and must be exchanged for information of equal value.”
“Why are you here on this ship?” Daniel queried.
The faux-colonel smiled wide, exposing a mouth full of jagged teeth. “Because Grandfather asked me to be. Why do you have a ship of the brood of serpents?”
“Because he gave it to us.” Replied Daniel, recognizing the game almost immediately. Medieval legends were rife with stories of mythical creatures engaging the hero in word games. Those who were wise and quick witted were often rewarded. Those whose tongues slipped foolishly were punished. But Daniel felt confident that a game of words was worth the risk given how little they knew of the dragons. “Who is your grandfather?”
“Grandfather is he who precedes all from the Brood, the father of fathers.” Replied the faux- colonel. “Why do I taste death’s kiss upon you?”
“Because I have died.” Daniel smiled. “It didn’t take. How did you learn my name?”
“Because you spoke it to me before it had been yet earned.” The faux-colonel tilted his head, raising a finger to silence Daniel’s next question. “A moment, named one. I believe that our game is going to have to wait until after.”
“After what?” Daniel blinked, following the unnaturally yellow eyes of the faux-colonel as they stared in the direction of the door the scions forced their way through to enter the ring room. He could hear a distant sound of wailing cries, a garbled mess of morose sobs and screams that sent shivers up Daniel’s body as an unnatural wave of cold descended upon the ring room.
The scions growled, turning their attention away from the Stargate team members and towards glowing shapes in the distance. There were translucent shapes moving along the corridor, flickering images like holograms. Daniel couldn’t quite see them, but he got the distinct impression that they could see him. He was unaccountably convinced that they did not care for him either, though he had no actual evidence to back up that supposition.
His breath fogged as he exhaled, shivering in the sudden cold. “What is that?”
“The shades of what was.” Growled the faux-colonel, turning to the crowd and snarling a curt series of commands. His compatriots looked at him in surprise and he hissed off an angry growl that apparently meant something to the effect of “yes, I really just said that” after which the members of Stargate Command abruptly found themselves being forcibly re-armed with their confiscated arsenal, including the Zat-weapons which had proven to be entirely effective at dispatching scions.
Colonel Makepeace stared at the weapon in his hands in bafflement. “You’re kidding right?”
“Take weapons.” Growled the faux-colonel as he shoved a zat-gun into Daniel’s hand. “Will not kill shades, but might slow them.”
“What possible reason could you have to think we aren’t just going to turn these on you?” Asked Major Carter as she activated her own Zat-weapon.
“Self-preservation.” Replied the faux-colonel as the lights flickered and died, illuminating the space with only the green light coming from the corridor as the horde of flickering figures continued to float inexorably towards the ring-room.
Major Carter looked back at the ring transporter, biting her lip in worry. “Was that main power cutting out?”
“Shades do not belong.” Replied the faux Colonel. “They prevent the orderly procession of what is.”
The major exhaled abruptly. “You mean that whatever those thing are, they’re jamming our ability to use the ring transporters to escape them?”
“Not intentionally, but indubitably.” Replied the faux-colonel as he looked longingly at the rings. “Retreat would have been wise.”
Sam handed her Zat to Colonel Makepeace. “Sir, if you can keep those things off of me I’m sure I can get the rings working. I just need time.”
“Are you going to kill us if we go through them?” Queried the Colonel.
“You are our prisoners.” Replied the faux-colonel as the howling crowd of translucent figures got close enough for Daniel to make out their mangled and burned bodies. They all looked as though they’d been savaged by some great beast, bloody entrails and great hunks having been ripped from them. The man’s skin rippled, his illusion seeming to struggle against the discomfort he felt. “But this one suspects that Grandfather will tolerate us keeping you prisoner away from his ship.”
“Yes or no. Will you try to kill us.” The Colonel snarled. “You want my help? I want a straight answer.”
The faux-colonel bristled at the directness of the demand, clenching its teeth together as it spoke. “We will not attempt to earn our names at the expense of yours Colonel. We will not slay one who is beholden to us in a mutual attempt at survival.”
“We have other men on this ship.” Replied the Colonel. “I will not abandon them.”
“You will not be given a choice, named one.” Replied the faux-colonel as the faces of the translucent people became distinct. Once they were close enough to get a proper view of the scions, the translucent figures howled unnaturally, their apparently humanoid forms shifting and changing into monstrous parodies of men and women. Their previously languid gait belying the apparent speed with which they could move. The translucent horde was upon them in a flash, horrid parodies of mangled bodies slashing out at scions with mangled hands and cracked nails.
Before Daniel had even really properly had a chance to register the macabre image of the mangled men and women descending upon him, he found himself lifted in the air by an eviscerated little girl. She couldn’t have been more than ten or twelve, but she’d grabbed Daniel by the throat and was choking him to death with her blood covered fingers. Her eyes bulged, hatred within them that Daniel couldn’t have ever imagined on one so young.
He gasped for breath, the awful, rotting stank of her overpowering him with every pathetic breath he took. He kicked her in the chest, only for his foot to pass through her and come back out, dripping with a clear, viscous fluid as though he’d just kicked a bowl of pudding rather than a little girl. He suddenly dropped from the girl’s grip as a blade severed the girl’s arms at the wrist. The mangled little girl turned to her attacker only to incinerate in a gout of fire from the faux-colonel’s mouth.
He lifted Daniel to his feet, shoving the Zat back into the Doctor’s hand as he issued orders to the Scions around them. They were engaged with the enemy, some as men, and still others as winged lizards the size of bears. Daniel fired his zat at the translucent monsters, and was gratified to discover that it hurt them even if it seemed incapable of killing them outright.
“What the hell are these things!” Screamed the Lieutennant from SG-4 as he emptied what remained of his magazine into the belly of a shimmering man who seemed no more affected by it than by a bee’s sting.
“I could be mistaken – but I’m pretty sure they’re the ghosts of the crew.” Replied Daniel Jackson as he fired his Zat at another spirit, freezing it in place long enough for the faux-colonel to incinerate it with dragon-fire.
“Ghosts aren’t real.” Snarled the furious Colonel Makepeace as he smashed the butt of his gun into the face of reasonably convincing evidence to the contrary, only to have the rifle ripped from his hands. He pulled the K-bar from his waist, stabbing it into the ghost’s belly and ripping sideways. Clear fluid spilled out from the beast, startling it for long enough for one of the lizard-form scions to grab it in its jaws and rip the spirit’s head from its shoulders.
“I don’t think they overly care if we believe in them Colonel.” Daniel ran through his head, trying to remember what ghost lore might potentially be applicable. Ghosts hadn’t ever been a field of study into which he’d bothered to delve on anything other than the most superficial level. He had previously dismissed any actual “ghost prevention” lore as a mix of spirituality and nonsense. That was unlikely to continue, provided that he survived the encounter. “And given that we’re standing on an alien spaceship surrounded by Dragons, I’m willing to take the logical leap on this one.”
“God damn it. I don’t suppose we have a plan for this sort of thing, First Nameless?” Interjected the Colonel as he fired his side-arm impotently at a ghost.
“Don’t die. Keep not dying till the named one allows our escape.” Replied the faux-colonel, gesturing to where two dragons stood around Major Carter, protecting her as she fiddled with the machinery on the ring device.
The Colonel swore angrily. “I was afraid it would be something like that.”
“Simple strategy is best strategy.” Replied the faux-colonel as dozens upon dozens of translucent figures piled into the throne room, seemingly obsessed with doing grievous harm to the scions. “The named one’s ritual prowess is known.”
“How many of these things are there?” Daniel couldn’t see any end to horde of glowing forms pouring from the corridor. There seemed to be hundreds of them.
“Not sure. The brood likely killed many.” The faux-colonel replied, bisecting a spirit with his blade. The weapon shimmered with baleful light, flickering orange as it went through the target.
“Wait, these are people that you killed?” Daniel groaned. “Oh crap… they invaded your territory. Of course these are people you killed. No wonder they want revenge.”
Colonel Makepeace made a hissing noise through his teeth as he winced, closing his eyes in apparently physical pain as he articulated the thought aloud. “You’re telling me that we’re being attacked by the horde of vengeful spirits rightfully angry that they were devoured by a freaking brood of dragons.”
“An accurate assessment.” Replied the faux-colonel.
The Colonel swore again. “Why couldn’t I just have stayed on base like Colonel O’Neill had the sense to do?”
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-10-19 08:35pm
“Just go to the ship.” Jack O’Neill snarled, loading another magazine into his rifle as he took cover behind the thick stone column at the edge of the ramp of rubble leading down from level 11. He clenched his teeth as a thunderous storm of bullets tore through the air next to him, keenly aware that the armor piercing rounds were more than capable of rendering his flesh to pulp. “All I had to do was go to the ship and I’d have a layer of force fields and big honking space guns between me and whatever these things are. But noooo. I just had to stay on base.”
He pulled a grenade from the combat webbing that Master Sergeant Siler had been so generous as to provide him and lobbed it down the chasm. The metallic warbling screams of the invading army accompanied a sudden downturn in the incoming fire. Colonel O’Neill’s heart thundered in his ears, the constant sounds of gunfire having since rendered all other sounds to a tinny whine.
Guns are loud. Not loud in the sense that they seem in movies. They're so loud that one feels the noise in one’s very marrow when an assault weapons sounds off the rattling clatter of an automatic weapon emptying its magazine. In the confined space of the SCG’s upper levels, the noise was hellish.
Those SFs could be actually allowed to witness the innards of the SGC had been mustered on the 11th level to prevent further incursion into US territory, and an evacuation order had been issued for NORAD under the auspices of an active shooter incident. Security on the upper levels would be on guard expecting a dangerous incursion by a collection of armed men, but Jack couldn’t allow this fight to spill out to the upper levels. At best it would represent a compromise of Stargate’s security and at worst it would get a lot of good men killed by threats they were ill prepared to face.
Jack could just catch glimpses of his allies in the near dark, brief bursts of muzzle flares illuminating the scared faces of Stargate Command’s SFs. They were kids, barely old enough to drink. Some of them didn’t even look that old. The SCG had stationed its more blooded warriors closer to the gate, appointing more junior personnel to secure the upper levels under the assumption that any combat would happen in or around the gate room. Now the fate of the world might well be resting on the shoulders of men who’d never even been old enough to vote in a presidential election.
Christ they seemed young. There was a shout of pain and a man fell to the ground – grasping at the red stain coming from his shoulder. Jack put the SF from his mind. The kid would survive, he would probably lose the use of his left arm unless they got him immediate medical attention, but he would survive. Battle necessitated a brutal and often souless calculus of need, saving the man's arm was less important than saving the base.
He could just barely see the aliens moving in the darkness of the 12th level corridor. They moved clumsily in their heavy armor, footsteps loud against the tile floor. Jack smiled as he fired into the darkness, enjoying the wet, crunching splatter-squelch of bullets penetrating alien carapace. “Another one down.”
“Sir, how many of them are there?” Siler asked, firing at a concealed alien.
“Siler - I have no idea what they are, let alone how many are in their little crustacean club.” Jack replied to the Master Sergeant. “You want to count bodies once we’re done killing them, be my guest.”
“I look forward to it sir.” Replied Siler.
“That’s… unusually cold blooded for you Master Sergeant.” Jack blinked.
“They killed my Airmen sir.” Replied Siler. “I can’t promise that I won’t dance on their graves.”
Jack nodded. The man was Senior Enlisted. In a very real way he served as a surrogate parent for the young men and women of the SGC’s Enlisted ranks. It was his job to care for hundreds of Airmen, as well as ensuring good order discipline. He would know intimate details of his Airmen’s lives and families. Whatever rage Jack felt, he could be certain that Siler felt it tenfold.
“Good man, Siler. Good man.” Replied Jack.
This stopped here. Jack was not going to let these things get one more damn inch of US territory. But he couldn’t realistically do that while he was still worried about collateral damage.
“Siler, I want you to get the civilians out of here.” He turned around to the priestess of Heka, pointing to Emily and hoping that she got the message. “Get her out of here. This is a bad place. Go!”
“Yes Sir.” Replied the Master Sergeant. Siler continued to fire into the lower levels as he backed away from the hole in the floor. He grabbed the little girl by the arm and tried to lead her away from the room. Emily was not so easily moved. She held fast against the grown man’s attempts to pull her away from danger, contemptuously shaking off his grasp.
She wriggled out from the man’s grip, her body shifting into a serpentine black mass of scales and smoke as she tore herself from the confused Master Sergeant’s grip. There was a predatory howl loud enough for Jack to hear it over the sounds of battle as a horse-sized creature that Jack could only possibly describe as a dragon pounced directly towards a chitinous soldier crowning the ridge.
Whatever the attacker had been anticipating on reaching the top of the hill, dragons had not been part of it. It made a wet sound of absolute panic, screaming a piteous retreat as it realized that death was imminent. The purple alien didn’t even think to fire at the dragon, instinctually raising its arms in a protective gesture over its face as the full weight of the reptilian creature smashed down upon it.
A truly horrific sound emanated from the beast’s jaws as it ripped out the creature’s belly with a loud snicker-snack of gnashing fangs, glowing purple and green viscera staining the obsidian scales of the creature. It ignored the torrent of bullets ripping through its flesh, armor piercing rounds apparently causing little more than inconvenience for the beast. The fanged monster opened its bloodied jaws and roared in leonine fury.
Great gouts of flame burst from the creature’s nostrils as it bellowed. “No. Hurt. Jack!”
The priestess, long since having been robbed of her Beretta by the SGC, let out a maniac’s laugh, stripped entirely naked, and chased the dragon’s fiery charge into the lower levels. Her many gold bangles and piercings jingled merrily as she tossed herself into the fray after the howling beast of legend, screaming what Jack presumed were divine proclamations of doom in her native tongue.
The Colonel’s eye twitched as he took in the absolute absurdity of how his day was unfolding. “Yes, run after the dragon unarmed, you Goa’uld worshipping nudist loonie!”
“Sir…. Who the hell were those women?” Queried Siler, the dour Master Sergeant, in a voice that Jack might have reserved for verifying that he wasn’t going insane.
“Our backup apparently… Every damn time I think that this job can’t get any weirder.” Jack groaned. “Ok boys and girls, it looks like we’ve got an opening and I’m not about to lose the forward momentum. I want fire team alpha to hold this point and don’t give up an inch. The rest of you, follow the stripper and the dragon.”
The security forces of the SGC, to their credit, accepted the apparent presence of a dragon with minimal explanation necessary. In fairness if the dark lord Lucifer had shown up on their doorstep and offered to fight off an invasion of America, Jack would at least have considered accepting the man’s assistance. And damn if the invaders weren’t reacting as though they’d been attacked by an actual demon. Jack couldn’t quite decide which prospect was less pleasant, the dragon’s jaws or the glowing tattoos of the priestess which apparently allowed her to render alien flesh to gelatinous paste.
The education of priestesses in Heka’s clergy was a whole lot fewer sermons and a whole lot more hand to hand combat than Jack would have presumed. She was a regular Jacqueline Chan. And honestly, a raging dragon was extremely effective, as far as distractions went. The invaders couldn’t focus fire upon the dragon or the priestess without opening themselves up to covering fire from US forces, nor could they lay down suppressing fire on the Americans without risking themselves in close combat.
The threat to whom the Aliens directed the majority of their attention, Emily, while not immune to bullets seemed to heal at a rate that rendered them effectively irrelevant. Even Zat weaponry seemed to just annoy her rather than actually doing her significant harm. Dragons were apparently as tough as advertised.
The SFs were not similarly immune. Jack’s blood boiled as he watched the back of a man’s head shatter, brains and viscera splattering out and across the hall. He drew a bead on the son of a bitch who’d shot the SF and repaid the favor, dispatching the alien with a three round burst and killing the son of a bitch next to him second burst just for kicks. These things had invaded the SGC, his home, his family and had the audacity to kill men in his chain of command? To hell with that.
He was a US God damned Air Force Officer, and he was going to put boot to ass of every stinking alien bastard who had the audacity to think that they could invade the United States of Freaking America without earning a bullet in the brain pan for their troubles.
They killed waves of the aliens, but somehow there always seemed to be more of the damn things. It was actually getting difficult to navigate the space just by virtue of the sheer mechanics of navigating the eviscerated remains of charred aliens. Jack was reasonably certain that the corridors of level 12 were permanently going to be stained purple No amount of Fabuloso was ever going to get that stink out either.
And then suddenly, there didn't seem to be any more of them coming. Impossible though it felt only minutes ago, they were winning. They actually outnumbered the aliens.
They killed more and more, flooding the space with alien blood. Emily bit down on the last invader attacking the 11th level, grabbing it by the neck and shaking hard. The creature’s body snapped in half from the force, legs flying down the hall independent of the body to which they’d once been attached. She sat in the center of the purple gore, squatting cat-like with a reptilian grin of satisfaction on her face as her forked tongue tasted the air. Her barbed tail whipped back and forth across the ground, scattering dismembered alien limbs gleefully.
“Jesus, kid.” Jack looked up at the dragon, scratching at the back of his head. “I mean I know that someone your age tends to go through growth spurts, but you’re taking it a bit more literally than most.”
“Mine.” Growled Emily, affectionately pressing her long snout up against Jack. The dragon nuzzled its gore-soaked maw against Jack’s chest, staining his shirt purple. It made a rasping sound that was almost a purr, muttering in the snarling native language of Emily’s people. Jack scratched the top of her head instinctively, massaging the soft flesh beneath the curling horns jutting from her head.
“Yeah, I like you to kiddo.” Jack sighed. “I won’t like the psychological evaluation that I’m certain will be mandatory after I file the incident report for whatever the hell is actually happening today. But I like you too.”
“Jack, mine. Mountain, mine. No others get.” Emily crushed the skull of an invader beneath her talon covered front-paw as though to emphasize the point. “Mine.”
“Kid, there are a bunch of very important people who are going to dispute that.” Jack sighed. “And I keep telling you kiddo. You can’t own people. People own themselves.”
Emily grinned, her horrifying mess of fangs punctuating the simple declaration. “Mine. All you. Mine. My friends. No Hurt. Never hurt. Mine!”
“Yeah ok, yours.” Jack shook his head in resignation. It was probably best to let Daniel be the one to negotiate terms with NORAD’s apparently self-styled landlord. Especially given how reluctant she was to share with the purple guys. “We’re definitely your friends.”
“Mine.” She repeated as though the matter were settled before turning on her heel with suprising grace for something so large. She directed her attention to the gore-stained, naked body of Heka’s priestess and, god help him Jack heard it actually let loose a girlish giggle as it sauntered over to the priestess. Jack wasn’t great at the Goa’uld language, but he was positive the priestess was enjoying a similar exchange to the one Jack had just endured.
The Priestess, however, just seemed to generally accept the dragon’s pronouncement of ownership, bowing her head and replying deferentially in the language of the Goa’uld. Jack shook his head. “Crazy as a loon – both of them.”
Jack pinched the bridge of his nose as he realized that the dragon had two long bloody marks where something had cut off what he was damn sure had once been wings. No wonder the little girl had been found with scars along her back, someone had clipped her wings. Someone he was certain had glowing eyes and a metallic voice. Heka… that bastard booby trapped his ship with an injured dragon.
“The prick actually told us that he was attacked by dragons.” Jack sighed. “Thor confirmed it. We have seriously got to start stop assuming that anything is a legend anymore.”
Doors began to crack open along the corridor, the unarmed inhabitants of the enlisted berthing now chancing the possibility that it was safe to emerge. Several men in PTUs and sleeping clothes even dared to exit their rooms with knives far exceeding the maximum permitted length for one to have on base. One of the men closest to Colonel O’Neil looked from the carnage, to the dragon, and back to his superior officer before asking. “Sir… please tell me that this isn’t going to result in a safety stand down. Because I don’t even want to imagine the combination of briefs we’re going to have to sit through if it does.”
“Just grab a gun Airman.” Jack snorted. “We’re taking back the base.”
“Roger.” Replied the airman, “Can I do it in PTUs?”
Colonel O’Neill sighed, in moments of extreme stress men defaulted to the simplest questions in an effort to just keep their world in order. The boy was a new airman, probably no older than nineteen, and he seemed in reasonably good health under the circumstances. Judging by the red stains across his shirt, someone in his berthing hadn’t been as lucky as he had been. The kid didn’t want to face the complete carnage around him, but he could deal with wearing the proper uniform of the day. Jack nodded, speaking directly. “Kid, you’re properly dressed. Grab a gun from the Master Sergeant, and hold this position. We’re going to advance. Can you do that.”
The kid snapped to attention. “Sir yes, sir.”
“Good man.” Jack looked to the Master Sergeant at the service elevator. “Siler, we got a way down from here?”
“No sir.” The man shook his head. “The elevator to the lower levels is dead. We already killed the power to prevent them from being able to move freely.”
Jack turned to Emily and pointed to the floor. “Hey kiddo. You think you can open this jar of pickles for me? We need to get down so that we can liberate the lower levels from these guys.”
The Dragon grinned, flames licking from the edge of her fanged maw. “Mine!”
Jack's predatory grin matched the dragon's.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-10-20 05:20pm
That's our Jack, very pragmatic as long until the paperwork comes along.
I remember him and Siler side by side shooting down Replicant Spiders as they crawled along the base, and when the spiders were shut down, he and Siler looked to each other, shrugged, and resumed firing.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-11-01 07:31pm
"Stop doing that!" Kanan hissed in surprise as the Furling appeared from the shadows from behind him yet again, whispering words in his ear without warning. It had nearly been enough of a shock for him to revert to using the metallic voice of a symbiote host – under the circumstances and suspicious origins of their new companion, Ban had suggested that discretion would be the better part of valor. Kanan found himself agreeing wholeheartedly. Regardless of his apprehension for the Tau'ri's feelings regarding the revelation of Kanan's status as Tok’ra, Kanan scrambled reflexively up from where he'd been hiding and instinctually put the large man between himself and the Furling - glad for the barrier between him and his terrifying savoir.
The dark-skinned man held some sort of power or authority that the Furling treated with caution, though certainly not with any degree of respect, and Kanan was grateful for any degree of stability in the chaos of his current situation. Sanya was without weapons or armor, but the man seemed to be largely untroubled by the situation unfolding around him. There was a serenity to the man, a clear sense of purpose that felt unburdened by the blind panic playing in both the mind of Kanan and his host. His expression was serious but never worried, as though victory against their long odds was a foregone conclusion.
The Furling licked at his paw, running a rough tongue over fur stained with the glowing blood of the Stragoth. An action Kanan was certain had to be purely to intimidate the Furlings companions, there was no way that the blood of the Stragoth tasted anything other than foul. It purred through the grooming, cat's eyes quivering in amusement at Kanan's overt disgust. "The sentries were insufficient and their mortal devices of scrying have been disabled."
Sanya nodded, "And the patrols?"
"One is never without danger, but mine own power of illusion is more than sufficient to conceal the approach of two mere mortals." Cat Sith purred, flexing the claws from his ichor soaked paws. The razor like protrusions shredded concrete as he kneaded at the ground reflexively, reveling in the recent violence.
"Good. I do not like the idea of fighting before having properly armed myself." The dark skinned man replied.
"Your disability is noted." Cat Sith pried a bit of carapace from his maw with the littlest of his talons, licking the place where it had once been affixed between his fangs.
"We passed five different armories." Kanan interjected, patting the Zat'nik'tel strapped to his belt. "And you've already availed yourself of items from three of them."
The dark skinned man shrugged in his newly acquired combat weapon, holding the massive, belt-fed automatic weapon tight to his chest. The box of high-caliber ammunition rattled within it, large projectiles shifting about. "I have made do."
"Made do?" Kanan sighed. "What, is there a nuclear device concealed." Kanan stopped speaking as he considered the Tok'ra intelligence reports elaborating upon what constituted the Tau'ri concept of a measured response or appropriate "prevention" measure for invasion. "Oh blood of Egeria, we're activating nuclear device aren't we?"
"Nyet." The large man snorted as he poked his head around the corner and advanced down the corridor, sweeping his weapon from left to right over the eviscerated bodies lining the hallway lined with offices. "I am not yet ready for facing the afterlife, if such a thing exists. I have many things to do and dying would get in the way. There is a new James Bond movie I am looking forward to next month and I am eager to see exactly how they misrepresent Russia."
"James Bond?" Kanan queried, taking care not to step into the bubbling ichor bleeding out from an eviscerated Stragoth warrior.
"A mortal tale of a Spy with preternatural capacity for both sex and violence who bothers neither with the pretense of pseudonyms or any vestiges of anonymity." Cat Sith walked along the wall next to Sanya in outright defiance of gravity in order to avoid the steel grating along the ground, stepping carefully around the metal pipes and sparking wires as he did so. Circumnavigating a space covered in as much steel as the Tau'ri favored proved ineffective. The furling purred in ecstasy, hissing with what might have been laughter. "He gives his true name to any who ask and then proceeds to murder his way across the mortal realm without any regard for long term consequences."
"He is fighting SPECTRE and Blowfeld." Replied the dark skinned man in his heavy accent as he jiggled the handle of a nondescript office, rolling his eyes in irritation when the lock clicked prohibiting entry. He said something in his native tongue and kicked forward with his freshly pilfered black combat boots, busting the door inward. He continued his defense of "James Bond" as he huffed with exertion. "Violence is occasionally necessary to defeat a greater evil."
"It is not the violence that amuses me, Knight. It is the suicidal lack of self-preservation. Though I do not expect one of your order to have any vested interest in surviving the lunacy of your own adventures." The predatory Feline's tail flicked up and down, trailing after the great Malk as he jumped sideways, landing on the ground in apparent reversion to the normal laws of gravity before hopping up on the table at the rooms center to sit directly on top of a pile of old looking books and scrolls.
"The Sidhe understand what they wish to understand and little else." Replied the man jovially as he rubbed at his chin looking around the room. "Now where did they put it?"
"The safe." Replied the Furling. "The blade is ancient, and this is where the Scholar keeps his artefacts."
"You are certain?" Queried Sanya.
"As certain as I can be without having previously had cause to enter this room." The Malk replied dismissively. "I'm well informed, not clairvoyant."
"It's probably in the safe." Supplied Kanan, pointing to the heavy metal container. "Assuming that it is of value."
"Incalculable value." The dark skinned man ran his fingers across the dial, considering it. "This scholar, is he a man with many things on his mind?"
"Doctor Jackson is reputed to be a man of great learning." Kanan supplied. "His knowledge of Goa'uld dialects and the esoterica of human histories are without compare."
"So he is a man regularly overburdened with ideas." The massive man nodded, looking around the room and observing the various stacks of books and artefacts before his gaze fell upon a tiny pamphlet wedged between a volume describing the fall of Ancient Rome and a paperback written in what appeared to be the script of Lord Yu's domain. He picked the pamphlet, taking care to remove the plastic package from its back, and started thumbing through the pages. "Yes. a man regularly overwhelmed. He is a man too busy with his profession to be bothered with mundane details."
He flipped through the pages, skimming through with a pleased expression on his face as he pulled a plastic packet from the back of it, eyeing the seal of blue tape along it with boisterous confidence. "Let us see if he is a man too overwhelmed to change his combination from the default."
He spun the lock, deftly navigating to three numbers before pulling down on the handle. The safe's door made a loud clanking grind of metal on metal as it swung outward, exposing a cache of ivory and gold within - those artefacts too valuable and easily pocketed to just leave out in the open for fear they might be pilfered. Somewhat precariously balanced between a jeweled cross and a tribal mask vaguely reminiscent of those favored by Olokun's Jaffa, was a long saber housed in a modest scabbard.
Kanan had to actually grab the table to keep himself from falling over at the sight of it. It was beyond overwhelming to just glimpse it. His host, Ban, had to take over entirely as Kanan's symbiote body started spasming wildly in the presence of that thing. Kanan was vaguely aware of him addressing the Tau’ri, demanding that he shut the safe immediately. The Tau’ri, unfamiliar with the native tongue of Ban’s people, held him off with one arm as he plucked the blade from the safe and held it firmly in his hand.
The presence of it was overwhelming, a song that resonated in the very fiber of his being as Kanan forced himself to face the weight of it. It was like touching an electric current directly, the sheer magnitude of it wasn’t something that could be just ignored or overcome. But there was something to it – something more than just the pain. A memory, part of the genetic memory of the Goa’uld that he’d not accessed before – a part of it that he very much suspected hadn’t even been intended to be included by Egeria by virtue of how deeply it had been rooted in his subconscious mind. That alone was chilling, whatever this man’s blade represented was connected to something so great and terrible that Egeria had chosen to scourge it from the memories of her children.
He focused on the memory, driving himself to the pocket of thoughts and feelings. They were just the vague whispers of memory, shreds of memory too disparate for Egeria to remove them entirely. Likely, they were thoughts and feelings that Egeria hadn’t even consciously realized were part of her. But the mother of the Tok’ra had words seared into her very being, a primordial fear heading back more generations than Kanan cared to count. Words, only words, but they had been enough to render him into inaction. “Thou shalt have no gods before me.”
“I am no god, false, weak or otherwise.” Kanan hissed under the weight of the psychic pressure weighing down upon him, and in an instant, it was gone as though it had never been. The strange imposition of memory and will receding to be replaced with an utter serenity the likes of which Kanan hadn’t felt since he’d been left to swim in his spawning pool. A psychic attack then, Kanan reasoned, some sort of power linked to whatever had spoken those words in the time before Egeria spawned her brood. The blade held some sort of link with one of the greater powers, a jealous one capable of imbuing a weapon with protective magics.
What powers remained that were capable of creating such things? Few of the Goa’uld, certainly, but there were rival powers from even before the fall of the pantheons. Quetzalcoatl and his lickspittles might, but that damnable pantheon was steeped in blood and suffering. They weren’t capable of subtlety. Vampires had been their idea of a “measured response.” Various members of the Hindu pantheon, those who’d not been born of the Goa’uld, were still in positions of power – some were even still actively meddling in the affairs of the Tau’ri, but this just felt wrong for them. The Kami and Oni who’d been brought to heel by Amaterasu in times of old might but the pantheon of the Goa’uld sun goddess had always been greatly limited by geography, she’d been too fond of founding places of power to limit the outward reaching ambitions of her subordinates. And if the creatures that had finally chased away Mangar-kunjer-kunja had started taking on acolytes then the Stragoth were the least of Kanan’s worries.
And then a thought occurred to him. The Semitic Pantheons had been ejected most unceremoniously from the first world under circumstances that none of them seemed particularly willing to discuss, even with the other dispossessed pantheons. They’d retained power well after the Egyptian and Greek pantheons - well, other than Ammit but that lunatic held her holdings until long disaster struck, and slaughtered her way across the first world until even she had to admit defeat. The pantheons of Ba'al and Marduk had not been initially forced to flee their First World holdings but something, reportedly the same power that had stolen men and manpower from Ra before the Fall of Thoth, had defeated them utterly and cast them from the first world in shame. Was this perhaps that same power, still in action?
He had no cause to suspect that power or powers, and yet he was entirely convinced there was merit to the supposition. Yet another wisp of memory from his mother, a memory she'd been unable to purge. Why had Egeria shared so little with her children? How were they to fight her war when they still only understood so little of the wars that had come before their struggle to free the galaxy from the oppression of the Goa’uld. Was this power yet another monster they’d one day have to trap in the depths of some Goa’uld prison world to fester and forget?
“Are you well, Kanan?” Ban willed the question to Kanan, genuine panic in his voice. The poor man had felt every moment of pain and worry that his symbiote had undergone, they would both need to spend time alone to process the trauma. Later, of course, but it would have to be done.
“I am.” Kanan replied to his host mentally. “If I may?”
“Of course,” Ban replied, relaxing his control of their shared body. Kanan relaxed their shared hands from where they clenched the man’s bulging bicep, holding his empty hands in the air. The man’s skin was already visibly bruising as he glared at Kanan.
“Am I to consider this a violation of our agreement Cat Sith?” The man glared at Kanan, his focus squarely upon the Tok’ra’s eyes. Kanan supposed they must have been glowing in his moment of panic.
“As I told you before, Knight. You would consider him an innocent, one of the innocents that I allowed you freedom to protect. I would consider it a most grievously rude breach of our agreement were you to harm an innocent.” The Furling purred. “Especially one that I am pledged to protect.”
“You neglected to mention that he was not human.” The man replied, not letting go of Kanan’s shirt front. “And that he would attack me.”
“The first was irrelevant and the second… unexpected. Not altogether unpleasant, but entirely unexpected.” The predatory feline admitted in something bordering on approval.
“I was unprepared for that thing you pulled out of the safe.” Kanan replied, only realizing after speaking that he’d instinctually reverted to the metallic voice of the Tok’ra. “Its presence is alarming until one has prostrated one’s self to the power that commands it.”
“Yes, it is very loud sometimes.” The man agreed. “And very opinionated.”
“What is it?” Kanan queried, eyeing the blade nervously. “What empowers it?”
“It is the will of God, if one believes in such things.” The man shrugged. “It is a tool. I use it to protect the innocent, the power that guides it allows it to be used for that. It could be from God, or a god, or gods, or aliens or any number of other possible sources. I very well may be insane, and this is all just some sort of elaborate hallucination. For the moment, I’m going to just make sure that I am as good of a man as I can be under the circumstances.”
Cat Sith got a fit of the giggles, rasping hisses escaping his grinning maw as he muttered, “Ah yes, the Atheist warrior of the White God. The man who questions the very validity of the divine even as the divine uses him as its instrument. I swear sometimes it seems that your patron must have been born of Winter, so perfect are his japes.”
The Tok’ra massaged his forehead with the palm of his hand. “It is deeply troubling to me that you are not the most insane man I have followed around this week.”
“Me or the gravity defying murder cat?” Joked the man as he belted the scabbard to his combat webbing and pulled the blade from its sheath to bathe Dr. Jackson’s office in brilliant, white light. Kanan felt his body going into another set of spasms that he warded away by thinking “I am not a god,” on a loop as loud as he could will that idea.
“Either, both – you’re still collectively less crazy than the Lord Warden.” Kanan replied, “Though under the circumstances, kowtowing to the whims of an insane god who thinks I’m his pet might be preferable. Nekheb is a fortress world on which Heka lived in luxury for millennia. If I’d gone with the Warden at least I wouldn’t be in the middle of a war-zone.”
“Not… quite.” Chortled the Furling. “You would find the disposition of the Lord Warden’s holdings most unpleasant at present.”
“I don’t want to know, do I?” Kanan exhaled slowly. “And even if I did, you’d charge me for that information.”
The Malk said nothing in reply. Kanan interpreted that as response enough, but apparently the large Tau’ri saw something in the Malk’s inaction that Kanan had missed. He addressed the hunter. “Would you charge such a fee for paltry knowledge to one who is under your protection and winter’s hospitality?”
The Malk’s expression grew less smug, but he continued his silence.
“I ask you again Lord of Winter. You have not answered my question.” The man smiled at the Malks look of utter contempt.
The Malk’s simmering rage was a fearsome thing to behold, but he still said nothing.
“Thrice I ask and done Cat Sith. Would you charge a guest for a simple answer and shame Winter’s hospitality?” Queried the Knight.
“No.” The Furling replied, his hair standing on end as he spoke in a voice of total contempt. It was like listening to the grinding of iron on slate, a gnashing wet hatred. “I would not so shame winter. At present it would be considered inappropriate for me to charge for knowledge that will soon be unavoidable.”
“So, tell him and me, why he would not wish to be there.” The Knight replied, seemingly oblivious to the murder in Cat Sith’s eyes. “I am quite interested.”
The Furling seemed to be searching for a way to avoid answering his question but, finding none, replied in curt tones – addressing Kanan directly and apparently enjoying Kanan’s inability to conceal discomfort at being beneath Cat Sith’s gaze. “You do not wish to be there, little worm, because the Winter and Summer Queens are aiding the Lord Warden in waging war on the armies of Chronos by relocating the battlefield to a place more fitting for such combat – a place you and your ilk call the Outer Night.”
Kanan blanched. The Outer Night, that was a memory that Egeria had left entirely intact to ensure none of her children were foolish enough to trespass upon the realm of shadows. “I’ll stay here with you two and the Stragoth, thank you very much.”
“You see, things are looking up already.” The massive man slapped Kannan on the back and shoved his belt-fed machine gun into Kanan’s hands. “Now please avoid shooting me when you use this on the terrifying crab people. I believe the Americans could use some assistance and as the one who sounds the most like Robocop it seems fitting you should have the big gun.”
This really was shaping up to be an astonishingly strange week for Kanan.
Re: Shattering Occam's Razor (SG-1 / Dresden Files )
Posted: 2017-11-12 06:56pm
Ok, two hours was all it took to reconstruct the chapter from my notes.
If Aisha had ever held a moment’s doubt that her god put her on the First World for a purpose, it had long since left her. Blood of Apep, she hadn’t just come to document and bring the word of Nekheb’s god. She had been sent to demonstrate the fire and fury of her god’s might with her own flesh and blood if such a thing was necessary.
The god of Nekheb had said that he was not worshiped through word and prayer, but through great deeds. Many great deeds had already been done this day. And many more were to come.
Blood thundered in her ears as she felt the ensorcelled marks along her flesh ripple with ambient magic. Small sparks flashed from the gold piercings along her body, shimmering static arcs dancing along the delicate decorative chains. She’d been forced to cast aside the garments provided to her by the demon Thor’s Chosen warrior to protect them for precisely that reason. In the priestess’ judgement, the Tau’ri taboo on nudity was subordinate to an invasion of crustacean monsters and it appeared they agreed.
The Tau’ri warriors regarded her with interest but it was admiration rather than suspicion in their eyes. Even the lust of the younger men seemed tempered with a healthy appreciation of Aisha’s lethality. She regarded the Chosen of Thor, staring at the seasoned man’s stern expression. His brown eyes smoldered with a flickering hatred acerbic enough pass for one of the gods, sending shivers down Aisha’s spine. She could feel the innate strength that allowed a man to truly slay the divine and the diabolic with only his own mind and mortal sorceries to his name.
The rumors of Tau’ri attacks on the pantheons had seemed wild fantasies at first. The First World was a story one told to scare children, a place so terrible that the divine beings had left it to rot in its own festering violence. It had lived up to its reputation thus far – given the day to day dangers of this world it was really no wonder that it had bred warriors of such caliber. Even in the face of absurd violence, they maintained a degree of decorum and discipline that would have been worthy of a Jaffa.
The Tau’ri man next to Thor’s Chosen, the older one with the bits of glass in front of his eyes, seemed to be the Chosen’s immediate subordinate. The Chosen issued directives to the man with the glass over his eyes, who in turn directed the collective of Tau’ri warriors around them to various tasks in support of the Chosen’s attempt to recover the Tau’ri fortress in which they stood. The Dragon had conveyed some, though not all, of the Chosen’s intent in their brief conversation. She’d mostly understood declarations of territory, property, and intended violence upon those below.
The brood of Ferrovax was not renowned for their conversational nature with “lesser” beings, they found mortals to be petty and ephemeral things concerned with trivial vagaries. A matter that was further complicated by the tongue of the Gods, which had only limited crossover with the preferred lexicon of the great Wyrms. But she understood enough to realized that she’d been correct in her initial assessment of the whelpling’s spell. It was a pact between the dragon and the mortals of the mountain, an exchange of aegis for aegis. In exchange for allowing the beast dominion over the mountain and those who reside within it, the priests who traded blood with the dragon would be granted long life and vitality so that they might ensure an orderly procession of events within the dragon’s dominion. It was a practice that effectively only retained popularity within the Celestial Bureaucracy of Lord Yu given that Yu was essentially the only Goa’uld who still remained able to negotiate with the great Wyrms on even footing.
The whelpling was an infant by the standards of its race. It was barely large enough to fill the corridor of the Tau’ri fortress, and its magical powers were insufficient to heal the ensorcelled wounds across its back. The great dragons were larger than most warships and held enough power to destroy entire fleets of warships when the mood took them, which was part of the reason mortals enacted pacts with the creatures to begin with. Though they were capricious and materialistic, dragons detested sharing their territory with any sort of lesser predator. Well, frankly they just detested sharing at all. The whelpling had decided that Aisha fell within the purview of “hers” which at least meant she wasn’t going to find herself down the gullet of a dragon in the imminent future.
The dragon child’s meaning had been largely lost upon her. The beast struggled with mortal concepts like language or time, and conveyed meaning in short bursts of possessive declarations as a result. The Goa’uld language seemed easier for the dragon than that of the Tau’ri had been, but it still seemed to limit the child’s ability to express herself beyond “you are mine” and “do not betray me.” She wasn’t inclined to dispute either under the circumstances.
The great lizard was currently engaged in the process of burrowing down through to the level beneath them. The Tau’ri fortress seemed to have been built sturdier the deeper one went within it, while the level above them had been separated by several feet of stone and rebar, the dragon had already gouged out five feet of sheer rock and they hadn’t managed to pierce the barrier. Let no man be foolish enough to accuse the Tau’ri of insufficiently protecting themselves from a would-be invader, there were cities with less of a barrier to protect them.
The whelp occasionally emerged from her burrow, snorting up powdered stone shaking herself free of debris. The warriors of the Tau’ri had, in surprisingly short order, delegated some of their more junior warriors to the task of brushing her clean of dust when she emerged. They brushed across her with mops and brooms, prying the rocks and debris from between her thick scales. The dragon seemed to enjoy the process of greatly, flipping on her belly to ensure that they removed all of the larger detritus before going back to kick out more stone with her diamond sharp talons.
She scrubbed away the purple blood from her body with a soft towel that had been offered to her by the man wearing glass lenses, a man she’d surmised to be the equivalent to a first prime to Thor’s Chosen. The man identified himself as Master Sergeant Siler, though when she attempted to address him by his apparent first name he’d quickly corrected her by pointing to himself and just saying “Siler” as the Tau’ri all got a fit of the giggles. She quickly corrected her use of his apparent first name, deciding that it was overly familiar to use it rather than the family name of Siler.
The man had made some overtures as part of a well-intentioned campaign to get Aisha to wear clothing, but Aisha demurred. Any garment she accepted would just end up soaked in ichor or burned away from magical discharges from her tattoos. It was a waste of time and perfectly serviceable garments. The man was not easily dissuaded from his intent to clothe her, but eventually just gave up on the attempt in disgust given the array of more pressing concerns.
Many men and women became casualties or fatalities as a result of the conflagration between the Tau’ri warriors and the crustaceans. And while at least some of the living were trained in triage, their current capacity for healing the wounded was greatly limited. Aisha was not a healer within her own people’s traditions, and she hadn’t even the faintest clue how to help the methods of healing favored by the Tau’ri. Men and women were administering treatment to their charges with strange implements and arcane fluids whose purposes she didn’t even begin to guess.
What she could do, however, was comfort the living and see to the souls of the dead. The largest point of triage was a communal space just adjacent to the main corridor. There were several tables lined with green felt that had been turned into makeshift operating tables and a number of chairs positioned around altars topped with black boxes built around a glass panel. Those still capable of sitting were perched atop the metal chairs before the altar. Those less lucky were either on the felt tables or lying next to them as treatment was attempted.
She was immediately drawn to the sobs of a young man clutching the hand of his fellow warrior as a healer did her best to keep the fellow warrior alive. He sat next to his friends, shaking with fear and confusion. The young man had skin like a shadow that stood out in stark contrast to the pale skin and ginger hair of his wounded compatriot, especially given that the already pale skin had gone deathly white from blood loss. The dark man still held baby fat in his cheeks, having just barely reached manhood. A fact that was punctuated by the way he was pleading with his friend to live. She didn’t have to speak his language to understand his meaning.
The boy was pleading with the universe not to take his friend, and Aisha knew quite well that the universe had no intention of listening to him. The fair-haired boy had taken a wound to the abdomen. Based off of the smell, the wound had ruptured his bowels. He was not long for this world, no matter what the young woman trying to heal him did – he would die. The man begged with tears in his eyes as his friend’s face clouded over into stillness, taking the first steps of his final journey to Duat.
He broke down completely as the healer stopped trying to heal the corpse and moved on to another wounded man, stripping off her purple gloves and dropping them on the bloodstained table. They were unapologetic sobs of agony, the sort of emotional pain that couldn’t be suppressed or diverted – they could only be endured. Aisha had spent enough of her life comforting the living to recognize that pain, it was the sort of hurt one could only feel when one had been only exposed to death in its rawest form in the most limited capacity imaginable. But this was a grown man – surely he’d lost someone, hadn’t he?
There was scarcely a soul on Nekheb who hadn’t lost several siblings or cousins by the time they reached puberty, let alone into adulthood. How could a child of the First World, the mythical home of nightmares, have reached majority without experiencing death? People always dealt with grief to different degrees, but unless these two men had been lovers it stretched the bounds of credibility. Perhaps they had been lovers, Aisha knew basically nothing of the dynamics of romance on the First World. Maybe the Tau’ri had adopted a similar culture of fraternal love to the warriors of the Hellenic Pantheons. Perhaps the boy had just been lucky enough to have avoided death’s sting. The universe was too large and too amazing to ever conform to Aisha’s expectations.
But while she couldn’t necessarily understand the man’s pain, she could at least share in his grieving process. She leaned down to hug the man as he was blinded by tears, letting him sob into her bosom until he’d sobbed himself into exhaustion and stained her chest wet with tears. She kissed his forehead and wiped the tears from his eyes, cooing softly as whispering words of comfort to him. “It will be alright. The gods provide for us, even as they take from us. You will find meaning in this even as it brings you pain.”
The man sniffled, rubbing at his eyes with the sleeve of his uniform before stiffening as though someone had run an electric current through him as he realized how close he was to Aisha’s naked flesh. He practically fell over himself as he stood up, trying to put space between himself and the naked woman before him. He knocked over the chair in the process, stumbling across it as he repeated what sounded like the most emphatic apologies imaginable – to the uproarious amusement of the other warriors in the room. They whooped and cat-called the man who’d been held by Aisha only moments prior, whistling and clapping as the man’s already dark skin flushed with embarrassment.
One of the men cat calling the loudest walked over to the blushing man and gestured lewdly at the priestess. Aisha gave the men cat-calling her the most withering glare in her arsenal, snarling in fury as she grabbed the hand making the lewd gesture and twisted it, putting the main on the floor in agony as she put her foot in his armpit to pin him in that position of pain. “You arrogant little children, are you actually so puerile as to be unable deal with a woman respectfully unless she’s been wrapped in seven different layers of preventative barriers to block view of her body? I am not some bit of flesh for you to congratulate your compatriot for having been given access. I am here to help his pain, not feed whatever sexually misinformed pathos you are currently indulging. Do we have an accord?”
The man jabbered animatedly in his language, in what didn’t particularly sound like an apology to Aisha. She looked to the nearest woman, arching her brow in question – implying rather than actually saying “Was that an insult?”
The woman met her gaze and shook her head once, snorting dismissively. Ah, an insult then, Aisha wasn’t going to let him go if she’d been insulted. She twisted the man’s hand harder, earning a scream from him that brought Siler in from the hall. He looked from Aisha, to the man she had pinned to the ground, and back. Aisha shrugged. “He was rude.”
Siler asked a quick question to the man on the ground, to which the man sputtered out an answer that was a bit too quick to be honest under the circumstances. The dark man interrupted the other man’s lie almost immediately, repeating the words spoken by the man currently pinned by Aisha in a much more respectful tone than the man had done. They had been about as bad as Aisha suspected judging by Siler’s expression. He let loose on the man, snarling with a degree of vitriol worthy of a god’s fury.
He spoke a curt request to Aisha, pointing down to the man on the ground. Aisha let the man go and was briefly treated to a front row seat to what was presumably the chewing out of a lifetime. She didn’t know much of the Tau’ri language, but she was quite certain that “fucking moron” and “court-martial” were the most vitriolic of insults one could muster based off of the emphasis put behind them. The last one in particular seemed to put the fear of the gods’ wrath in the man’s heart. The man started spouting an endless torrent of apologies to Aisha, only stopping when Siler dismissed him – though, expelled him from the room was perhaps a more accurate description.
The seasoned warrior watched the man scurry away with contempt, turning to the dead man on the table. Siler’s lip curled up in anger, his hate for the invading forces a tangible presence in the room as he pulled a pair of silver tags from the man’s neck and pocketed them. He balled his fist, turning to Aisha and shaking his head as he shouted out into the corridor, summoning yet another man that Aisha hadn’t previously seen.
Another man in uninform walked in to the communal space, a sad expression upon the new man’s otherwise kind face. He carried a leather-bound tome in one hand and a small gold icon attached to a length of gold chain in the other. There was a similar icon of intersecting lines stitched above the man’s heart. Whatever the man had been summoned to say or do, however, was lost when the man caught sight of Aisha and his brain seemed to briefly cease functioning entirely.
He went a bit cross-eyed as he sputtered out half-words, trying to reconcile the tattooed flesh, pierced body, and freshly growing stubble of the woman in front of him with the Tau’ri expectations of modesty.
Once he’d reconciled himself to the fact that the woman before him wasn’t a hallucination, he literally removed the shirt from his own back in an effort to clothe her. There was a brief but awkward moment as he attempted to wrestle her into his blouse that ended in her putting it back on him and buttoning it shut before grabbing by the ear and holding him out to Siler. “I am being remarkably measured with these interruptions. But your people will stop trying to touch me without my permission.”
Siler gave an emphatic apology, putting himself between the man and Aisha and returning the man’s discarded book and pendant to him. There was a brief exchange between them in which Siler seemed to convey at least some of why Aisha was disrobed to the other man. It was at least enough that he stopped trying to force clothing upon her, though he made no attempt to cover his disapproval for her state of disrobe.
He held out a meaty paw, speaking with a long drawl that seemed to lean each word up against the next as he spoke. There was a measured lethargy to his manner of speaking, he used words sparingly but luxuriated in those few he actually chose to employ. She felt an immediate rush of power as she shook the man’s hand, energy rippling across her tattoos as they reacted to the belief flowing around him. She arched an eyebrow quizzically, realizing that this man was a practitioner of the local cult. What god had already found purchase within the ranks of the god slayers? She didn’t recognize his choice of iconography, but he held himself with level of dignity that she found fitting of his station.
She steepled her fingers in prayer and gestured to the dead man in invitation. “Shall we send the child to Duat? I would welcome the guidance of your patron in seeing to his journey.”
The priest, eager for familiar ground in the face of such a peculiar woman, immediately took her meaning. He wrapped the chain around his hand and dangled it above the boy’s chest, flipping open the leather-bound tome to start reading from it. Aisha, cupped her hands around the man’s fist, speaking her own prayers of guidance to the dead. Her tattoos, still empowered from the blood of the crustaceans, glowed green and sent sparks of static light across Asiha’s body. Her power intermingled with the ambient energies of faith projected by the priest, bolts of static arcing from her many piercings to the dangling icon of the Tau’ri’s patron god. The spiritually conductive icon cast bright light across the room, empowered by their shared prayer to guide any remaining shades to judgement.
The man’s drawl took on a fevered tone as his icon glowed with divine light, his eyes bulging with astonishment as he spoke prayer after prayer after prayer. Once their prayers had finished Aisha wrapped the still glowing icon’s chain around the man’s clenched fist, resting the icon atop his quivering knuckles and kissing it gently as she bowed to him once again. The man clutched his book and the icon against his heart, a mix of wonder and fear in his eyes before he made a gesture of warding in front of himself that was quickly mirrored by Siler.
While the ritual had been admittedly showy, the degree of fascination felt like an overreaction. But perhaps her religion was just showier than most. In fact, the entire room seemed to have decided that her prayer was very much worthy of interest.
“Well woman, you came here to get their attention.” Aisha smiled, looking at the gaping faces of the Tau’ri. “Now lets work on getting their faith.”