So here we go, the final chapter, and a whopper at just under 4,000 words
Epilogue Part Three: Reflections on Things Past
The Admiralty, New Delphi, Terra,
Two Years Later
William Adama finished reading the last report from the stack on his desk and set it down with a sigh. Things had finally settled down after two long and turbulent years; the long peace they had hoped for after the end of the Pegasus Campaign had not materialised. There had been too much change, too much upheaval in the galaxies for things to settle immediately. The human worlds in the Milky Way and in Pegasus had spent millennia under the yoke of a tyrannical species and with that threat swept away in such a short time (eight years for the Goa’uld, barely one for the Wraith) a great deal of cultures and civilisations suddenly had no central, unifying pillar, be that serving their “God” or surviving the cullings. It had been naïve of them to believe all those cultures would be able to immediately stand upright and interact with others without pain, violence and bloodshed.
Things for the Colonial Remnant had been better than most however. Their population had almost exploded, now standing at a shade under eighty thousand, and New Delphi was a thriving city, one of the most dynamic and motivated on Terra. Not three weeks before, he and Laura had officially opened the brand-new Caprican Institute of Technology, their first university. It had been an incredibly satisfying moment, even if it had required him to wear his full dress uniform including his Star of Kobol.
That thought made him glance over his shoulder at the display case behind his desk, the huge starburst medal at the centre. He was proud of the honour, he really was, but he didn’t particularly enjoy wearing the damn thing. For one, he had never placed much emphasis on showing off awards to others and bragging about them. He knew what he had done to earn it and that was enough. The other reason he disliked it was that the medal itself was rather heavy and uncomfortable to wear.
The Colonial Remnants had indeed found Paradise, even if the Fleet still had to fight to defend it. The Fleet itself had grown larger than he had anticipated; the Terrans showing their generosity once again. Now each of his four capital ships led a full Battlestar Group, comprising the group flagship, four of the Challenger
class destroyers and two of the new Legend
were a design that the Terran shipwrights had dreamed up not long after the Second Great Alliance had been formed. They had recognised that they needed a mid-sized ship to provide heavy escort for the Battlestars and if needed a centrepiece for a destroyer flotilla. The ships were a full kilometre long and resembled a squashed Lionheart
class Battlestar, in that they had the same engine section, central hull and wedge-shaped bow section, but there the similarities ended. Instead of flight pods arrayed outboard and below the centre hull, the midsection was thicker and wider, mounting a lot of point-defence mounts, turbolasers and missile batteries. The space saved by not including storage for an Air Wing was used to house expanded missile magazines, giving the ships considerable endurance.
The bow section held a trio of megalasers, though there was talk of replacing those with a cut-down version of the Ancient satellite weapon system at some point, once the technical wizards got the bugs worked out.
All told the Legends
made a potent addition to his Battlestar Groups and he was glad that the eight he had been assigned (and the sixteen destroyers) all bore Colonial names and battle standards, even if their crews were Terran in origin. They were in fact crew exclusively by Terrans who had decided to transfer directly to the Colonial Fleet rather than the Commonwealth Navy, avoiding any confusion with the different rank structures.
The Terran portion of the Combined Fleet was also up to full strength again with the completion a year ago of the Battlestar Phoenix
, commanded by Arthur Pendragon who had chosen the name himself, refusing the offer to name her Excalibur
in honour of his previous ship. He had felt that the mythical, eternal fire-bird was an appropriate name for the new colossus.
And colossus she was. Built more along the lines of Eridanus
than the Lionhearts
, she was almost half again as large as her older fellows, twenty-two hundred metres from bow to stern, bristling with point-defence lasers and one hundred and twenty turbolasers, nearly double what a Lionheart
carried. Her extended flight pods, with the Colonial-inspired “upside down” emergency landing deck running on the underside, housed two hundred and forty Cobras, plus two squadrons each of Scimitars and Scythes. The bows held no less than six megalasers surrounding a smaller version of the Warstar’s superlaser, it had proven to be about half as powerful as the original version, but this was more than enough to shatter heavy ships in a single salvo. A complement of forty heavy missile tubes rounded out her anti-ship punch.
She, along with the Eridanus
and the five newer Lionhearts
, had all already tasted battle. The Goa’uld and the Wraith were gone but there were plenty of people left looking for a fight. The Lucian Alliance, a grouping of criminal organisations that had emerged from secrecy in the wake of the fall of the System Lords, had managed to amass a reasonable size fleet and were using it to vigorously defend their territory from outsiders as well as raiding other worlds and transporting vast quantities of a dangerously addictive drug that was spreading across the galaxy, a plant variety called Kassa. The Tau’ri and the United Colonies were committed to stopping this trade, having seen the damage the addiction could cause. They had made it clear that they would intercept any shipments outside Lucian territory but the leadership did not want a full scale war, so shipments within the Alliance’s territory were off-limits.
Of course, the Lucian vessels were rarely willing to part with their valuable cargoes so fighting and skirmishes were inevitable, the most damaging being the battle over Langara, homeworld of former SG-1 member Jonas Quinn, when four Lucian Ha’taks had tried to deliver a massive kassa shipment by force. They had been stopped by the expedient method of Eridanus
, and their Battle Groups, jumping in right on top of them. Someone on the Lucian ships had panicked and opened fire and the Battlestars returned it. After thirty furious minutes of powerful salvos crisscrossing back and forth, the Ha’taks had been destroyed, although the cruisers Athena
had taken heavy damage, as had the destroyers Delphi, Boskirk
That had been far from the worst engagement though. The Lucians were annoying but not a serious threat. The most difficult problem had been the Free Jaffa Nation, despite the steadfast support many of their High Council had shown to the Tau’ri and the United Colonies (mainly in gratitude for finally killing Ba’al). One of their leaders, Gerak, had chafed at abandoning the old ways, had opposed any alliances with the Tau’ri, the United Colonies or the Asgard, saying they should stand alone as the Jaffa had always done.
His arguments swayed many hardliners, those who were a part of the Free Jaffa not because they truly believed they should be free but because their “Gods” had been caught in the Asgard blitzkrieg and annihilated. They were still slaves at heart and would follow their First Prime in place of their Goa’uld masters.
Arguments had given way to feuds and vendettas and finally, a year ago, into all-out civil war. It had been bloody but thankfully brief, primarily because Gerak had made a huge mistake. He had felt that he needed to cut away the support of his opponents Bra’tac, Teal’c and others and prevent the Tau’ri or the United Colonies from interfering. In typical Jaffa fashion, he felt the best way to dissuade them was to hit them first. He had taken the bulk of his fleet and launched simultaneous attacks on Earth and Terra, hoping to split the human response and achieve a local superiority.
It had been a costly mistake, as the humans were forewarned and prepared.
Over Terra the two dozen Ha’taks had come face to face with the entire Combined Fleet, backed up by the new and improved defence platforms around the greatly-expanded Olympus Base. The Nemesis
and the Phoenix
had opened the battle with their superlasers, obliterating six Ha’taks in short order as they quick-charged the guns. The massive megalaser salvo from every Battlestar, cruiser and destroyer that followed claimed another ten targets, their shields overwhelmed, their hulls incinerated, their crews dead and gone before they realised it. The final ships died to a volley of enhanced groundstrike missiles from Warspite
, the fifty gigaton warheads surrounding and vaporising the huge pyramidal ships. The entire battle lasted two minutes and not a single shot from the Jaffa ships had been fired.
The battle over Terra had been a lot closer, for here the Tau’ri had only four ships, the recently refitted Prometheus
, hanging back as a flagship and support vessel, and the repaired Daedalus
in concert with the new Odyssey
supported by F-302 squadrons and the weapons platform in Antarctica. It had been close and bloody and the Tau'ri ships had all taken damage, even if they given far worse than they had taken.
The refits on thePrometheus
in particular had proven successful; the SGC and Homeworld Security had recognised that the X-303 would never be able to stand and fight like the larger BC-304’s, so she had instead been completely rebuilt with Asgard help. Gone were the fighter bays and the missile launchers. Now she carried expanded facilities for flag officers, stronger shields and a huge spinal Asgard-designed plasma beam cannon, with Terran-built laser cannon mounts as a close-in armament. This was coupled with powerful sensors, communications and ECM gear to make her the perfect back-line support ship.
The Ancient drone weapons had finished off the bulk of the Jaffa fleet, and the quintet of Battlestar Groups that had arrived as reinforcements cut off Gerak’s retreat, but the battle had repercussions far beyond the collapse of Gerak’s faction. The various governments that made up the IOA and the Atlantis Expedition had been forced to reveal the Stargate, the existence of aliens, and the Second Great Alliance. This was not done by choice, but simply because they could not keep it a secret any longer.
In truth, disclosure had been an inevitability for years. Too many things had happened in and around Earth orbit for it to be kept secret. The destruction of Apophis’ attack force, the crash of the Beliskner
, the naquada-laced asteroid Anubis had sent towards them, the crashing Ha’tak later that year, all culminating in the complete loss of the USS Nimitz
had her whole group to a “meteor shower.”
Now though it could not be hidden, because this battle had seen a mostly-intact Ha’tak crash-land in the Chesapeake Bay after conducting a brief bombardment of several European cities before a drone salvo had disabled it and forced it out of orbit. Prague, Stuttgart, Calais and Bristol had all taken hits, luckily they were not the full-power planetary bombardment shots but the damage was done and impossible to conceal. The fact that the Ha’tak had caused a small tidal wave when it hit the water caused considerable damage along the American coast, and the hulk of the crashed ship was visible from a long way inland. The secret was well and truly out.
That disclosure had been greeted with a volatile mix of reactions. Many had been indifferent, most had been excited about the new technology the announcement brought; naquada and neutrino-ion generators spread like wildfire, providing clean, cheap energy. Terran medical science delighted millions suffering worldwide, and the plasma forges had been combined with the Asgard beaming system to create the ultimate recycling system; any rubbish or waste could be broken down into constituent elements and recombined into usable raw materials. The revelations brought a lot of good to the world.
It had not been universally welcomed though. The Middle East had exploded into violence: whether this was based on religious fanaticism over the existence of aliens or a nationalistic realisation that without a global oil dependency they had no say in global affairs any more no-one was sure. Seemingly every nation in the region struck out at their neighbours, seemingly determined to grab as much territory and as many people and resources as possible. The rest of the world responded to stop the bloodbath, and the Terrans helped.
The cruisers Franklin North
and George Shtarker
, along with four destroyers, took up positions hovering over the region, five thousand metres above the ground, their shields raised and their point-defence batteries shooting down any plane, missile or rocket that flew within range, while turbolaser batteries conducted pinpoint strikes to eliminate the logistics tails of the marauding armies. It had proven effective, but there had been consequences.
A Chinese General, one who was more than a touch paranoid and had never agreed with his government’s support for the IOA and the Americans, saw this alien intrusion as intolerable and took action. The twelve ICBM’s under his command were launched, half aimed at the Terran ships over the Middle East and the others at the USA. They had all been intercepted and the missile base responsible had been blasted by a precise superlaser strike from the Phoenix
, high in orbit.
Needless to say that had put a damper on the relations between China and the other world governments, but things had eventually calmed down. The disclosure of the Stargate Program did have one advantage, with no need to keep things secret ships could be built much more quickly, already the 304’s Apollo, Conqueror
and Sun Tzu
had been commissioned by the Americans, British and Chinese respectively.
They would be needed. Adama sighed once again and reached for his coffee. While the outright combat had cooled down and Earth was stable once again, things were far from safe. The Lucian Alliance was still causing problems, kassa and its effects were spreading across the galaxy even if the pace had been slowed. A new religious movement called Origin was gaining momentum as well, spread by mysterious missionaries called Priors. It seemed benign enough, and certainly a good deal less harmful than the proclamations of the System Lords or the worshippers of the Wraith, but it was still troubling somewhat.
Over in Pegasus things were likewise unsettled. The Genii had emerged from hiding to find the Wraith annihilated and with their centuries-long goal achieved by someone else, things had not gone well. Chief Cowen had been usurped in a bloody coup d’état that had seen several nuclear weapons detonated on the surface of the Genii world, and his successor, Kolya, still bore a grudge against Atlantis and Colonel Sheppard in particular. The Genii had begun recruiting other worlds and civilisations into some kind of federation, one with the eventual goal of taking back the Pegasus Galaxy for themselves and throwing the humans from Earth and Terra out. They were not a threat yet and wouldn’t be for many, many years but they still needed to be monitored.
He sighed again. At least getting to and from Pegasus had become easier. Carter, McKay and Bazelgette had gotten together and devised what they called an intergalactic Gate Bridge, a chain of Stargates floating in the void that passed travellers on from one to another in the chain until reaching Midway Base, where they changed gate systems and proceeded on to either Earth or Terra. Midway Base itself was a large structure and served as a support base and way-station for ships making the voyage between galaxies.
This was where Bazelgette had really excelled himself. He had devised what could best be referred to as a jump-gate, a form of external FTL drive that could jump Battlestars between any two such gates. It was, in effect, a Stargate for ships. The power requirements were immense but the Asgard had helped, supplying their neutrino-ion generators to power the jump gates over Terra and Atlantis and at Midway. Now, a Battlestar could jump from Terra to Midway, move over to another jump-gate and then move on to Atlantis in a matter of hours. The jump-gates took time to charge and cool down and could only take one ship at a time, which was why multiple gates had been built at all three sites, enough to move a complete Battlestar Group at once.
This had been the final help from the Asgard however. Bill’s thoughts darkened. He had grown to respect the small grey beings a great deal over the past years, and now circumstances had driven them apart.
Six months ago, it had been discovered that something, or someone
had corrupted the Asgard genetic database, meaning that every new clone generation would suffer crippling degenerative diseases. Despite the best efforts of Heimdall, the SGC, the Terrans and the Nox, this could not be reversed.
The Asgard had not gone quietly into the night however. They once again put their faith in their technology by constructing the Ark in an empty star system halfway between Earth and Terra. The Ark was a vast computer complex the size of Earth’s Moon, armoured and shielded to withstand anything short of a supernova. The Asgard uploaded their minds to the Ark, abandoning their bodies. Those minds, coupled with the vast computing power of the Ark, would spend a thousand years decompiling the Asgard genome, eliminating the corrupted elements and restoring them to how they had been thirty millennia before. The outer decks of the huge construct held docks for the entire Asgard Fleet which had carried every single one of them from Ida. Orilla’s star had, like Halla’s, been collapsed into a black hole to prevent any remaining technology falling into the wrong hands.
The Asgard had set up a temporal field around the Ark, so that while a thousand years would pass for them, only ten would pass for the wider galaxy. They were committed to their allies and the protected planets and could not stay away for long. They had handed over all the needed plans for the technology they had given to Earth and Terra, along with the systems needed to build them, with barely a second thought.
Thor had asked the Tau’ri and the United Colonies for just one thing before he left for the Ark: “Watch over us while we sleep.”
And they would. A permanent Fleet presence had been established. One Battlestar Group was always present in the Ark system, and Sentinel Base, a powerful battle station, was well on the way to being completed and at least one Tau’ri ship joined them on patrol as well. The Asgard had done so much for them, they would honour their friend’s last request.
Now however, Bill was faced with a difficult problem. With just fourteen battle groups available (including the Command Group centred on Nemesis
and at double strength with four cruisers and eight destroyers) he had to maintain the defence of Terra, keep one group watching over the Ark, maintain patrols of the Protected Planets and provide a deterrent force against the Lucian Alliance. He also had to keep another group in the Pegasus Galaxy to support the expanded Atlantis Expedition (which now included a strong Terran and Colonial contingent). Finally, he needed to have ships patrol the dead worlds that were formerly the Twelve Colonies. The Explorers had long finished their salvage survey, the Eridanus
being the only thing of note, but he, Laura, Jellicoe and Kirov were determined to maintain a presence there. It would be practically impossible to try and resettle them for at least another few decades but for now they remained sovereign Colonial territory.
Even with the expanded Fleet, he barely had enough ships and men available. At least the constant patrols and minor skirmishes had been highly effective and seasoning his largely green crews. He grimaced at that, at the job that Lethbridge-Stewart and given him. The Terran remained as Commanding Admiral of the Commonwealth Navy and as CINC of the Combined Fleet, while Adama was the Colonial Admiral of the Fleet and effective second-in-command to Alistair. Which meant he was also
the Chief of Operations for the Combined Fleet, responsible for deployments, manpower and training. Last time he had grumbled about this to Vice-Admiral Jellicoe, who had kept his flag aboard Nemesis
and filled the post of Commander Battle Fleet, the younger officer had smirked at him and reminded Bill that he’d said
he’d seen enough of frontline combat.
Bill had retaliated in a sensible and mature fashion by glaring at him until Jellicoe stopped sniggering, and then poured them both another drink.
He just didn’t have enough ships and men to deal with any new problems. Luckily, he thought, there weren’t any new problems on the horizon.
Sagittarius A*, Supermassive Black Hole, Milky Way Galactic Core
Mere Moments Later
Fate, it seemed, delighted in messing with poor Admiral Adama. At the centre of the Milky Way was the huge black hole known to the Tau’ri by the somewhat uninspired name of Sagittarius A*. It was heavier than two hundred million stars, even the Asgard and the Alterra had never bothered calculating its precise mass. The vast accretion disc was lit up with brilliant colours as matter was pulled over the event horizon, brilliant waves of x rays and gamma rays shooting out, only barely fast enough to escape the tremendous gravity well. No living beings had been this close in twelve thousand years. Only a handful of species had the technology that would allow them to get this close and leave unharmed, and those species that did never bothered.
There, in a stable orbit around the event horizon, floated the huge Furling Beacon. The structure was twenty kilometres across, most of it taken up by huge energy collectors that siphoned off some of the torrent of radiation thrown off by the accretion disc, turning it into useful energy for the almost ludicrously strong engines and shields needed to keep the beacon safely in place.
At the beacon’s centre was the single most advanced and powerful sensor array in existence. It monitored every star in the Milky Way and every other galaxy within ten million light years, waiting for a very specific set of conditions to be met, the conditions that would activate the very special communications system and summon the Furlings back to their region of space.
It was believed by the Asgard and the Nox that the Furlings had gone off to fight some much greater threat and they would return when they triumphed, or failing that would not return at all. This belief was wrong. The Beacon was there to summon the Furlings from their slumber when the threat they had foreseen reached this galactic cluster. And with every passing moment, those conditions crept closer and closer to being a reality.
Finally, after two years, the Beacon detected the subspace echoes of the rigged ZPM bomb that had obliterated Lantea in a false vacuum collapse. This was the final trigger. The communications system activated, sending its signal out into the ether. They had a year, perhaps slightly longer, before this great threat arrived in known space.
And there we go folks, the end of the story!
So we cover a lot of exposition here, and hopefully set up the fact that while the Tau'ri and United Colonies are the most powerful factions, they are far from being totally dominant, and are stretched thin. Yes, the Ori are around and the Priors are spreading the Good Word, but in my version it's a hell of a lot gentler, with less burning at the stake and more "be nice to each other." Of course, they could
merely be a ploy by the Ori to gain more followers peacefully, and use the energy drawn from the worship to destroy the other Ascended once and for all. Or not, I haven't decided yet. After all, it's been a very long time, the Ori may well have mellowed considerably and are no longer as terrible as the Ascended Alterra believe.
And yes, the Furlings are coming back for the sequel. I am currently planning the sequel in my head but I haven't yet nailed down exactly what
this threat is. It's difficult, because I need a threat that can plausibly take on the United Colonies and the Tau'ri, and the Furlings without being a curbstomp for either side. This is proving quite difficult.
However, some present candidates are:
-The Tyranids from 40K
-A temporally-displaced Imperial Crusade Fleet, also from 40K (though for either scenario, I'm not sure what the Furlings would be)
-The Magog from Andromeda (this actually seems to fit quite well, and the Furlings can be the Vedrans who set up the Commonwealth in that alternate universe, conveniently about 10,000 years before the MAgog show up, and their home system was lost and "cut off from the slipstream" during the Fall of the Commonwealth)
-I am also considering the Borg, also from an alternate/parallel universe (something both SG1 and Star Trek have in abundance) with the Furlings taking the place of,say, the Voth or other powerful anti-Borg faction.
Other suggestions are welcome.
A note on the new Legend
cruisers, yep they are named after, well, Legends. So Kraken, Hydra, Chimera, Franklin North
and George Shtarker
are some chosen names. Possibly may include ships named for other Star of Kobol Winners, so expect to hear mention of the Cassandra Cameron, James McKenna
or Artemus Bowman
in future. The eight Colonial vessels of this class are all named for Lords of Kobol (so they have Zeus, Prometheus, Athena, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hera
, while the twenty-two Terran ships have more general "legendary" names (beasts of myth, the two lost Heroes of Terra among others). the Colonial Destroyers are all named for cities (hence Deplhi
(Virgon) and Sanctum
A final note on the various Admirals and chain of command: Lethbridge-Stewart is boss man of the TCN and
overall boss of the Combined Fleet. Adama is boss-man for the Colonial Fleet and XO for the COmbined Fleet, but Jellicoe is the operational fleet commander.
For a real-life comparison: Lethbridge Stewart is the CNO/First Sea Lord, Adama is VCNO/Second Sea Lord, and Jellicoe, aptly enough, is commander of the Grand Fleet, the frontline commander. Alistair and Bill stay back at Olympus Base or the Headquarters in Lemuria or New Delphi while Jellicoe is embarked ont he fleet flagship Nemesis
, and frankly "Commander, Battle Fleet" sounds way too awesome to not use