Page 1 of 40

The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-14 10:17am
by Eternal_Freedom
Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the sequel begins!

The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Act 1: Overture

A Time to Dance
Terran Orbital Space
Three Years After the Battle of Atlantis

The Battlestar Temeraire was embroiled in combat once again. Her shields glowed blood-red as they strained to absorb the ferocious energies being launched at her. Her ranks of turbolasers fired back, returning the enemy’s fire shot-for-shot. Out on her flanks her group of escort were likewise caught up in the firestorm, their own shields somehow standing firm, their guns likewise blazing away at the foe.

Or rather, most of her escorts were still standing firm. A hundred kilometres aft floated the lifeless hulks of the destroyers Battleaxe and Javelin; their shields had been overwhelmed in the opening volleys of the engagement, the enemy choosing to focus on the lighter ships with their main batteries. The two beleaguered ships had fought on as best they could, contributing to the group’s annihilation of one of the enemy heavy escorts and one of their lighter brethren before finally succumbing to the inevitable.

In the Battlestar’s Command Operations Centre, the group commander stood with one hand firmly grasping the railing around the plot table while the other held a comm handset to his ear, the words of one of his subordinates emerging from the speaker to give him the bad news. The fight was turning against them after losing the two destroyers, despite their own initial success in taking out two of the enemy ships.

The mathematics was simple. His battle group was as skilled and well-trained as any other in the Fleet, and most likely more experienced as well, his ships as well-built as almost any other, but the enemy just had more guns to bring to bear than he did. Worse, his crews were tired, his ships worn-down, they’d just finished a three-month deployment to Atlantis Base in support of the expedition there and were looking forward to time alongside and leave passes when this mess happened, while the enemy was fresh and fully-manned apparently. It was an increasingly desperate situation, one that needed a desperate (or crazy, he wryly thought) solution.

”Shields are at forty percent, the cruisers are at twenty-five, we can’t keep this up for long Commodore.” came the voice of the Temeraire's XO, Captain James Watkins over the comm handset.

“We just have to hold on a bit longer than they do James. “ Commodore Phill Wallace replied tersely, his mind racing to come up with a solution. “Weapon status?”

”Main battery charged in thirty seconds, same for the escorts. Enemy capital ship is changing aspect, beginning a wide turn out to starboard, they’re going for our sterns.”

“Very well.” Phill hung up the handset, the deck under him shaking once again as another enemy salvo crashed into the weakening shields. An idea, a crazy, dangerous idea, popped into his mind. He considered it from every angle. After a second of calculation, he decided it would work.

“Harris, signal all ships, prepare battle-skid, starboard ninety degrees. All main batteries to salvo-fire on the enemy capital ship as soon as they bear, aim for the engines, stop them dead. Revenge and Furious to fire full missile salvo, same target.”

“Aye sir, signalling now.”

The seconds ticked by. The shields continued to drain. The main tactical display squawked and an icon flashed red, indicating that one of his cruisers, the Revenge, was now at ten percent shields or less. Another icon blinked rapidly, the destroyer Phalanx having lost shields entirely and starting to take hull damage.

Two of his staff called out in rapid succession: “Enemy capital ship now on our starboard beam, continuing their turn into out aft.”

Then: “Main batteries fully charged, ready to fire.”

Harris, the Chief Petty Officer handling communications chimed in at the perfect moment. “All ships confirm readiness Sir.”

“Battle skid to starboard, execute!”

It was a difficult, dangerous manoeuvre for a close formation, hard to carry out even in exercises never mind the chaotic environment of close-range combat. But they did it anyway. The Temeraire, the cruisers Revenge and Furious, positioned above and below the larger ship’s main hull, and the surviving destroyers Phalanx and Lancer all cut power to their main engines, halting their forward acceleration.

At the same moment, the assorted men and women at the helms of the huge ships fired their powerful manoeuvring thrusters, throwing the vessels into a flat spin to starboard. The bows came around with great speed and in the blink of an eye the tactical picture had changed. The enemy capital ship was no longer turning in towards their vulnerable sterns, instead it was now them that had their backs to the enemy.

And Phill’s ships had the hostile’s drive section dead-centre in the gunsights for their main batteries.

The two cruisers blossomed with new contacts as each ship salvo-fired their missile tubes. The range was short, almost too short, the very definition of “danger close.” As the missiles flashed across the narrow gap, point-defence fire from the enemy heavy and its escorts began reducing the number of inbounds.

The point-defence fire was silenced a moment later however. Every available megalaser in Temeraire’s battle group cut loose at the same moment. Fourteen hellish-red beams lanced out, crossing the distance in moments and slamming into the already-weakened shields. The protective barriers held up against the barrage for a second before they finally failed. The remaining energy in the powerful blasts slammed into the armour of the target’s engine section, the energy being scattered by the plating, but not by enough. The armour failed in several places and the target ship began leaking atmosphere.

Then the missile volley arrived. Ground down somewhat by the point-defence fire, there were still twenty-eight missiles each carrying a lethal five hundred megaton warhead that slammed into the exposed and unshielded hull.

Phill grinned in satisfaction as the display screen lit up with the tell-tale flares of nuclear detonations. The grin grew wider as the flares faded to reveal a greatly-reduced enemy force on sensors. The capital ship was no longer registering as a threat, her hull shredded, her engines gone, her guns silenced. One of the lighter escorts had been caught in the nuclear blasts and was gone completely, while the surviving heavy escort and two lighter ships seemed stunned, their shields ablated to the point of collapse.

Phill turned to Harris. “Signal all ships, focus all fire on the heavy escort. Take it down, now!”

His crews, sensing that victory was at hand after being snatched from the jaws of defeat, went to work with a vengeance. His turbolaser gunners opened up a furious cannonade against the seemingly-helpless enemy ship. The targets began to return fire, but it was weak, ineffectual, too widely dispersed across Phill’s ships to be a serious concern.

Harris called out again. “Sir, enemy ships are signalling their surrender. They’ve ceased fire and are coming to a relative stop.”

Phill nodded, content with the result. “Very well. Tell them we accept their surrender. All ships will stand down from Action Stations, the exercise is concluded.”

The battle staff relaxed and began exchanging congratulatory handshakes. Phill looked back at the sensor display in time to see the enemy capital ship, and the apparently-dead escorts, reappear, their icons flashing from red “Unknowns” to green friendlies. IFF tags appeared, displaying the names of the Battlestar Eridanus and her escorts.

“Commodore, Scorpion wishes to speak with you.”

“Put him through Harris.” Phill grabbed the handset once again. “Scorpion, Fireman, well-played Admiral.”

”That’s what I should be saying to you Commodore. Ballsy manoeuvre that, risky though.”

“Well Admiral that big beast you’re driving had too many guns to take down in a broadside slugging match, we needed a crazy-awesome idea and that’s what I had. We’ve been working on the battle-skid out in Pegasus, difficult to pull off in close formation but, well, it worked didn’t it?”

Phill heard a chuckle over the comm channel. ”Fireman, you know the rule as well as I do. If it’s crazy and it works…”

Phill laughed in reply. “…then it aint crazy. Yes sir. Now all I have to do is avoid mentioning it to Sharpshooter so he doesn’t try it in the Flagship, he’s as crazy as I am when it comes to driving capital ships.”

”That’s the truth all right. Well enjoy your time alongside Fireman, we’ve got a lovely three-month deterrence patrol on the Lucian Frontier to enjoy.”

“Thank you Admiral, but we aren’t outta the woods just yet. Got a big day tomorrow after all, lots of cleaning and polishing to be done.”

The voice on the phone chuckled again. ”Gods I’d forgotten about that, suddenly that deterrence patrol looks appealing! Try and enjoy yourself Commodore, we’re heading out.”

“Safe travels Scorpion, Fireman out.”

As the line went dead, the two formations were once again forming up into their usual cruising patterns. The Battleaxe and Javelin had linked up with Phill’s Battlestar, while on the other side the cruiser Athena and the destroyers Boskirk and Faslane resumed their stations, their apparent destruction forgotten.

Phill sighed. These exercises were, on the balance, a good idea. But they took one hell of a toll on the crews, especially when those crews were coming home from a long deployment. They were the brainchild of the indefatigable Admiral Adama, a way of keeping his crews in fighting trim after nearly eighteen months of relative peace. The skirmishes with the Lucian Alliance were increasingly rare now, and the Jaffa assaults on Terra and Earth were distant memories. Even further back, the Cylon War and the Pegasus Campaign hadn’t been seen by most of the officers and crews now serving in the Fleet.

So a year ago the Admiral had an idea. The computer techies, led by Colonel Nelson Raines (formerly of the Battlestar Warspite, now in command of the computer research division at Atlantis Base) had developed what they termed “Training Mode” for the ships and planes of the Fleet. The energy weapons would be dialled down to minimum levels, enough to be visible but nothing more, they wouldn’t even scratch the paint. The missiles launched were entirely theoretical, their flights and effects calculated by computer. The ship’s shields were weakened proportionally as well, and the ship computers deactivated systems as they were “destroyed” by enemy action or internal damage.

If he’d left it at that and just thrown battle groups at each other in preplanned exercises that would have been fine. But Adama went one step further. Any time two Battle Groups were around Terra, or Earth, or Atlantis Base, the officer commanding the Fleet Base in orbit had the authority to signal the two Battle Group Commanders and inform them whether they were playing attacker or defender at a moment’s notice. Then the two Groups would race to Action Stations and do their best to destroy their new simulated enemy.

Among the various Commodores and Admirals an informal tally was kept in the Flag Officer’s Mess on Olympus Base. So far Phill was leading the board, having now managed to win five out of his six simulated engagements, and no-one could really blame him for his single loss. Commodore von Erich, former CO of the Lionheart and now commanding Elysium Base in orbit of Earth, had decided to pit him against Admiral Pendragon and the Phoenix, which had promptly vaporised Temeraire with a simulated shot from the heavy Battlestar’s superlaser. Phill was convinced that von Erich had given him that match-up to get some payback from their previous Poker game.

While he’d been ruminating, the two formations had formed up and were now on reciprocal courses, the Temeraire heading in, the Eridanus heading out. He watched the external camera feeds, waiting for the accepted gesture from the other commander.

There it was. The Eridanus rolled on her long axis, dropping her port side about twenty degrees relative to Temeraire. It was called a “portside dip” and was a custom adopted from the Colonial Fleet, a measure of respect from one ship commander to another. Among the Combined Fleet officers, it had become the accepted way for the losing group commander to acknowledge the victor.

The two groups passed each other by, and Phill’s ships continued their delayed cruise in towards Olympus Base and some much-needed rest and resupply. First though, their course drew them past another ship in orbit, and Phill’s ships were now the ones to execute a portside dip en masse, a salute to the legendary vessel off their port sides.

The Battlestar Galactica, the original Galactica, the ship that had given her all over Lemuria to defend the city, facing down nine to one odds with nary a blink. Admiral Adama’s former command, the Grey Lady herself.

Though officially decommissioned and once again a museum ship, everyone in the Fleet, from the newest deckhand to the CINC himself, still called her a Battlestar. She was, to many people, the epitome of what a Battlestar should be. She was one of the original twelve Battlestars built in the early days of the First Cylon War, in fact she was the second ship to be launched, right behind the class lead Jupiter. She had fought that war, survived four decades of peace, been turned into a museum and then back into a warship practically overnight and while under fire, then she’d led the Great Exodus as it was now called, and finally fought her glorious last stand over Lemuria.

She truly was a legendary ship, and everyone in the Fleet knew it. In fact, in a few weeks Phill and the rest of the available Commodores and Admirals were due aboard the flying museum for the anniversary of the Battle of Terra, something Phill was rather ambivalent about if he were honest with himself. It had been a victory, yes, and a decisive one. But it was also the day he’d been wounded and evacuated from the long-lost Battlestar Barham before that vessel’s own last stand.

He shook his head as the Grey Lady continued serenely in her orbit past his Battle Group. Olympus Base was in sight and his ships began angling in for their assigned docking ports. Like everyone else aboard, he was looking forward to some leave time, but they had something to do tomorrow before they could depart.

Phill smiled wryly to himself. In truth, the duties they had tomorrow were ones he really enjoyed, especially given who was coming this time, but he couldn’t show it to anyone lest the Admiralty realised he enjoyed it and saddled him with the job full-time.

Sometime later, the Battlestar Temeraire finally came to rest inside Capital Berth Five, the very same one she had been built in coincidentally. As the engines powered down and docking latches and umbilicals were extended, Phill sighed. They were home.


And here we go! This is Act One, so far I have five Acts planned out with most likely more to follow, but I've got enough to keep me writing for a good while yet. As a separate post I will put up a Dramatis Personae to remind readers of some of the names, callsigns, ships and bases that will get mentioned. If anyone wishes to get a shout-out or be included a named character, I do have 30 cruisers, 60 destroyers and 24 Explorers that will need names and skippers. PM me if interested.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-14 11:04am
by Eternal_Freedom
Dramatis Personae:

Terran and Colonial

-Admiral Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, callsign Battleaxe, Commander-in-Chief, Terran Commonwealth Navy, Commander-in-Chief, Kobolian Combined Fleet
-Admiral William Adama, callsign Husker, Commander-in-Chief, Colonial Fleet, Chief of Operations, Kobolian Combined Fleet
-Vice-Admiral John Jellicoe, callsign Iron Duke, Commander, Battle Fleet,
-Rear-Admiral Wayne Davies, callsign Sharpshooter, Commander, Command Group,
-Rear-Admiral Arthur Pendragon, callsign White Knight, Commander First Fleet, Battlestar Phoenix
-Rear-Admiral Kate Stewart, callsign Bad Wolf, Commander Second Fleet, Battlestar Victorious
-Rear-Admiral Mikhail Kirov, callsign Scorpion, Commander Third Fleet, Battlestar Eridanus
-Commodore Phill Wallace, callsign Fireman, Battle Group Temeraire, First Fleet XO
-Commodore Stephen Garrett, callsign Abraxas, Battle Group Republic, Second Fleet XO
-Commodore Saul Tigh, callsign Greaser, Battle Group Galactica, Third Fleet XO
-Commodore Lee Adama, callsign Apollo, Battle Group Pegasus part of Third Fleet
-Commodore David Beatty, callsign Heavyweight, Battle Group Warspite, part of Third Fleet
-Commodore Steve Rogers, callsign Marvel, Battle Group Lionheart, part of First Fleet
-Commodore Richard Sturdee, callsign Linebreaker, Battle Group Illustrious, part of First Fleet
-Commodore John Sheridan, callsign Babylon, Battle Group Vanguard, part of Second Fleet
-Commodore Brian Fischer, callsign Overwatch, Battle Group Intrepid, part of Second Fleet
-Commodore Alan Walker, callsign Marathon, Battle Group Indomitable, part of Second Fleet
-Edward Matthews, President of the Terran Commonwealth
-Laura Roslin, President of the Twelve Colonies
-Professor Joseph Bazelgette, Lemurian Academy, Director of Combined Fleet R&D
-Colonel Nelson Raines, Colonial Fleet, Director, Computer Research Division, Atlantis Base


-United Nations Secretary-General Samuel Hayden
-Ambassador Sir Basil Charleston, President of the UN Defence Council
-General George Hammond, Commander of UN Combined Forces (UNCF)
-Lieutenant-General Jack O'Neill, Commander, US Space Forces
-Brigadier Samantha Carter, Director of UNCF R&D
-Doctor Daniel Jackson, Ambassador to the Alliance
-Brigadier Stephen Caldwell, USS Daedalus, US Battle Group Commander
-Colonel Paul Emerson, USS Odyssey
-Colonel Abe Ellis, USS Apollo
-Colonel Paul Davis, USS Icarus
-Colonel Victor Chekov, RFS Korolev
-Colonel Tatiana Orlova, RFS Gagarin
-Captain Sir Jonathan Baird, HMS Conqueror
-Doctor Elizabeth Weir, Director, Atlantis Expedition
-Colonel John Sheppard, military commander, Atlantis Expedition
-Doctor Rodney McKay, Chief Scientist, Atlantis Expedition


-Olympus Base, primary fleet base and shipyard for Kobolian Combined Fleet, Terran orbit
-Styx Base, shipyard and support base for Warstar Nemesis, Styx orbit (outer gas giant in Terran system)
-Tartarus Base, resource extraction, refining and manufacturing centre, Tartarus asteroid, in the Terran system asteroid belt
-Sentinel Base, defensive battle station guarding the Ark, the resting place of the Asgard
-Atlantis Base, fleet base and battle station in the Pegasus Galaxy, in orbit over the City of Atlantis
-Midway Base, fleet base in intergalactic void between Pegasus and Milky Way, support jump-gates and ships transiting between the galaxies
-Elysium Base, fleet base/shipyard and battle station in orbit over Earth, joint command between Kobolian and Tau'ri forces

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-14 01:32pm
by fnord
Gagarin's captain a shout out to 2010: Odyssey Two?

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-14 01:39pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Correct. The book version of course, the film for some reason made her Colonel Kirbuk which annoyed me, even if she was played by Helen Mirren.

This is not the only shoutout. And, yes, one of the Russian 304's under construction will be the Leonov.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-14 03:03pm
by Crazedwraith
You promoted Major Davis! But you also gave me a ship named Icarus. Poor guy. :(

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-14 06:34pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Well given that Davis in show went from being a Major in mid season 2 of SG1 to the dizzying heights of...being a Major in the Atlantis season 5 finale, I figured he was due a jump up. Especially since in the same time frame Carter went from being a Captain to a full bird Colonel, and Sheppard made a similar jump. Hell, even Reynolds went from Major to full Colonel within the show's run. Being involved with the SGC seems to be a fast-track, as long as you know what you're doing and live long enough. Plus I like the character. As for Icarus, well it fits the Greek theme they went for with the US-built ships. He'll be fine :D

EDIT: Plenty of other shoutouts to be had here, we'll have to update TVTropes!

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-14 11:52pm
by fnord
Disaster Davis in command of a ship - this will end well.

It looks like flag ranks are unified across the two navies - less chance for confusion, which is always good, especially when the fur flies. Have line ranks similarly been unified?

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 01:20am
by U.P. Cinnabar
Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-04-14 06:34pm
Well given that Davis in show went from being a Major in mid season 2 of SG1 to the dizzying heights of...being a Major in the Atlantis season 5 finale, I figured he was due a jump up. Especially since in the same time frame Carter went from being a Captain to a full bird Colonel, and Sheppard made a similar jump. Hell, even Reynolds went from Major to full Colonel within the show's run. Being involved with the SGC seems to be a fast-track, as long as you know what you're doing and live long enough. Plus I like the character. As for Icarus, well it fits the Greek theme they went for with the US-built ships. He'll be fine :D

EDIT: Plenty of other shoutouts to be had here, we'll have to update TVTropes!
As long you don't have an American 304 named Hero. The BBC would be very cross with you if you did. :lol:

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 07:22am
by fnord
Nope, looks like line ranks remain un-unified - something about "tradition", probably.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 07:41am
by Eternal_Freedom
Line ranks remain as originally used in the TCN and Colonial Fleet. Crews are largely homogeneous anyway, almost exclusively so. Even on the destroyers and cruisers in the 3rd Fleet (the Colonial groups), while the crews may be Terran, they are still Colonial Fleet personnel, those who chose to join that fleet directly rather than just serve alongside them. It's only the Flag ranks that need some standard/consistency.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 07:52am
by Eternal_Freedom
Old Enemies
Tel’Mok, Pegasus Galaxy

The world was a minor one, insignificant, overlooked by the Atlantis Expedition as the Stargate had long since been buried in a landslide. The Wraith too had forgotten about the world, with far more readily accessible food sources available during their long hibernation, the human population had been left in peace to develop to nearly pre-industrial levels, only ancient legends and horror stories told to children remaining of the Lantean-Wraith War. Despite there being almost four thousand years since the last culling the wounds ran deep, the fear of the Wraith had been reinforced by all those childhood horror stories until the human population, approximately forty million in total, refused to even say the name Wraith, referring to them instead as “the Evil Ones.”

This had made the planet a perfect place for Ba’al, Last of the System Lords, to set up and begin rebuilding his empire. Once he had become aware of the cataclysm that ended the Wraith, he had spun the population of the world a tale of how he, the Great God Ba’al, had answered their prayers and struck down the Evil Ones, exactly as some of their old prophecies predicted. The humans had fallen over themselves to declare their gratitude and swear their allegiance.

In all honesty, he had done a great deal of good for the people on the world he had rechristened Tel’Mok. They had better homes, more food, better technology and medicine. In almost every measurable way he had improved their lot and raised them up to the point that, even though they were unknown to the rest of the galaxy, they were second only to the Atlantis Expedition and the rehomed Athosians in terms of quality of life.

This too was part of his master plan. He had reached the conclusion that simply having slaves was not a good idea, he had the prime examples of the Rebel Jaffa back in the home galaxy to prove the point. By having the people happy and content, by having them love him as their benevolent, protective, providing God, a rebellion was almost implausible.

He had also not decided to recreate the Jaffa, if only because he lacked a Queen to produce juvenile symbiotes. Instead he had returned to his genetic experiments with the human-form Cylons. The normal strains had been continued, they served in various administrative roles throughout his Empire and aboard his ships, viewed as Angels by the population at large. But he had created newer lines specifically for combat, larger, faster, stronger, superhuman in all but name. They formed his Shock Troops, the vanguard of his slowly expanding forces.

He still drafted in the natural-born humans of Tel’Mok though. They served everywhere in menial roles, cleaning, cooking, mining, building. They were allowed to join the ranks of his soldiers as cannon fodder, though they had yet to see battle. Only the very best of the humans of Tel’Mok, the most perfect physical specimens were granted the “honour” of being his own servants, attending to all his needs, from the mundane of preparing meals and dressing to the more…personal.

Ba’al may have been a parasite inhabiting this unfortunate man’s body, but through his host, or rather the dimly-aware parts of his mind that hadn’t yet broken at the horror of his existence, he remembered the pleasures of the flesh. Unlike most of the old Goa’uld, he indulged himself in every pleasure that came his way.

It was not all adulation and worship however. He had made considerable strides in rebuilding his forces. A half-dozen other, lesser planets had been seized over the last three years, their populations likewise coming under his thrall. To protect them he had his five surviving Ha’tak’s and three more that his nascent shipyards had managed to assemble. It was truly remarkable work in the timeframe.

Enough death gliders and Al’kesh had been produced to give all eight ships a full complement of small craft, escorts and scout ships. It was a pitifully small force compared to the massive fleet he had led against the Replicators over Dakaara or in the internecine warfare against the other System Lords, but here in this other galaxy, it was a potent force, more than enough to continue the slow but steady expansion out across the stars.

It would be a long time until he regained his former power, but he had that time. With the cursed Asgard and Tau’ri, and the Colonials that his Cylon servants had conspired against occupied back in the home galaxy, and the Wraith eliminated, he was unopposed here in this galaxy. The pitifully small force of the Atlantis Expedition that his new worshippers had told tales of hardly rated a mention, as far as he could tell they were concerned with small-scale exploration, teams of a mere handful of human foot soldiers travelling by Stargate for brief forays to other worlds. Most of their strength seemed to be concentrated in one place, a place whose name was whispered by his worshippers as a place from legend, Atlantis.

It amused him to no end to learn that those same worshippers believed him to be from Atlantis, one of the Ancestors who had finally ended the Wraith. He was content to let this belief continue, though it did trouble him that even now, three years after the fact, he had no idea just what happened to obliterate the Wraith (and an entire star system, his mind reminded him) in such a dramatic fashion. He had sent cloaked Al’kesh to investigate the site, finding only a newly-formed black hole where once there had been a stable main sequence star.

Still, that was a minor concern. For the foreseeable future, his supremacy was assured and his empire would continue to spread. It might take a hundred years, a thousand, but Ba’al would once again reach the giddy heights of galactic supremacy.

Unbeknownst to the System Lord sitting on his throne aboard the flagship, events were unfolding elsewhere that would bring his inevitable triumph into doubt. As so often had been the case with the Goa’uld, it would be part of his own arrogance and hubris that forced the issue.

Fifty light years away from Tel’Mok, above his newest servant-world, was a trio of Cylon-crewed Al’kesh. They were completing another orbital patrol when a priority signal arrived from the Flagship. The computers and the scientists had finally finished analysing a veritable mountain of long-range sensor data, concluding that the next world that was scheduled for acquisition was even richer in resources, most especially naquada than initially thought. Such abundant resources would go a long way to helping complete the next three Ha’taks in the Tel’Mok shipyards, further strengthening Ba’al’s stranglehold on this corner of the galaxy.

The sensor data showed something else that was very troubling to the commanders. A vessel of unknown design was in orbit over the planet. It was vital that Ba’al’s forces gain control of the planet before any other, as yet unknown faction did. The Al’kesh were ordered to fly to the new world at maximum speed and approach this other vessel while cloaked to establish just who they were and, if the ship’s commander felt it suitable, to engage and destroy the unknown vessel.

The Goa’uld attack vessels turned on their axes and shot forwards into hyperspace, cloaks engaging as they went. It was inconceivable that the unknown ship could detect them this far away, but the Cylon commander was taking no chances.

Fifteen minutes into the hour-long flight, without realising it, the Al’kesh passed the outer limits of the Terran deep-space sensor grid. One the far side of the galaxy, the grid’s control software sent an alert.

Argus Deep-Space Sensor Control, Atlantis Base

It was a huge room, filled with consoles and staff monitoring the hundreds of deep-space sensor and nav buoys deployed throughout the Pegasus galaxy, named Argus by the higher-ups as a mythological reference. Located just one deck below the CIC of Atlantis Base, it was in many ways the eyes and ears of the Kobolian forces in this galaxy. It was a great deal quieter than the corresponding control room on Olympus Base, purely because there were a lot fewer interstellar spacecraft in Pegasus than there were in the Milky Way. In fact, aside from their own ships and those of the Tau’ri, only the Traveller vessels were known to be active here.

The Kobolians and the Travellers had established relations in the wake of the Battle of Atlantis, the space nomads were grateful that the Wraith threat was gone, but thousands of years of ingrained mistrust of others was difficult to overcome. They accepted logistical support on humanitarian grounds, traded resources for repairs in the docking berths of Atlantis Base and passed on information if they had anything interesting to tell, but beyond that the two civilisations kept to themselves. The Travellers had established a handful of ground-based colonies but they were far removed from any worlds under the control of the Atlantis Expedition.

Warrant Officer Lucas Hobson was scanning idly through the feeds from a dozen sensor buoys covering the outer rim of the galaxy, not really concentrating. He was waiting for another interminable shift to end, looking forward to a good meal in the mess and contemplating the shapely form of Warrant Officer Sonia Jennings at the console to his front-right when his console beeped at him.

He snapped his eyes away from the young lady and back to his screens. He pressed a few buttons and focused in on the feed from buoy 1864. It showed the space in and around a newly-charted system, designated by the Earth expedition members as M9X-723. In orbit was the TCS Enterprise, one of the original Explorer ships and now assigned to help map the worlds of Pegasus.

The feed also showed that something, type and size unknown, was in hyperspace on course for the planet. The sensor grid could detect the distortions in hyperspace made by a travelling ship, and usually could detect the ships themselves, but this time they could only see the distortions. This was bad news.

He pressed the priority channel to the Officer of the Watch and waited for the man to answer the call.

”CIC, Commodore Ryan.” If Hobson was surprised to have the station’s CO answer, his voice didn’t show it.

“Argus Control here Sir, we have an unknown contact in hyperspace heading for M9X-723. TCS Enterprise is in orbit. Sensors cannot, repeat cannot determine size or type of vessel, contact may be employing cloaking or other stealth systems. ETA to planetary orbit is 44 minutes.”

”Copy that Argus Control, continue tracking and report any changes in course or further information.”


In CIC, Commodore Ryan hung up the phone. His mind whirled as he decided what to do next. Warning Enterprise was something that didn’t even get mentally debated, it was more what else they could do. He looked up at the status screens, seeing what vessels he had available to send. The Illustrious and her Battle Group had just arrived via the jump gates to relieve the Temeraire, but they would take some time to get oriented, and at this distance it would take at least three jumps to reach the Enterprise. Another ship on the roster caught his eye, the Russian Federation BC-304 Korolev, which was a lot closer to the unknown contact.

“Comms, signal TCS Enterprise, Critic-priority. Unknown contact approaching your position in hyperspace, ETA 42 minutes. Contact may be cloaked, additional forces en route to your position now.”

“Aye sir, transmitting now.”

Ryan looked at the roster again and made his choice. “Get me the Korolev on priority channel.” A moment passed, and then the handset buzzed, indicating the channel was ready. He raised it up and began to speak.

Korolev, this is Commodore Ryan. Argus Control has detected an unknown contact in hyperspace heading for M9X-723, ETA 41 minutes. Our ship Enterprise is in orbit at the moment, we’ve sent her a flash message. How soon can you get there?”

A few moments passed, with Ryan able to hear background muttering in Russian, a language he still struggled with. It seemed to be a question and answer however, before Colonel Chekov, the ship’s commander, answered.

”At full speed we can get there in forty five minutes, we’re changing course now. Is anyone else heading that way?”

“I’ll have Illustrious and her group ready to head out in a few minutes, but it’ll take them an hour to jump out that far. We don’t know what we’re facing at the moment, but I’d rather be mob-handed than caught short.”

Chekov chuckled at that, he rather liked the Terrans, they were very good at their jobs and didn’t mince words like the Americans so often did.

”Understood Commodore, we’re en route.” The channel went dead.

Ryan looked around at his CIC. He knew he was overreacting, but whatever this was he didn’t want to get caught out. He looked back at his Comms officer. “Get me Linebreaker, priority one.”

Another minute passed, Ryan very cognisant of the ticking clock that was, potentially, hanging over them. Finally, he got an answer.

”Linebreaker here, go ahead Swordsman.” The voice of Commodore Richard Sturdee was tense and vaguely nauseous, understandable since he’d just moved nearly two million light-years in the blink of an eye. The jump-gates the eggheads and come up with made it easier to move ships, but jumping that far was hard on the crews.

“Linebreaker, I know you just got here, but I need your group to head out to M9X-723. Argus Control is tracking an unknown, possible cloaked or otherwise stealthy contact heading for the planet, ETA now thirty-eight minutes. Enterprise is in orbit. I’ve got Korolev heading there too but we may well need the big guns if this unknown is hostile.”

Over the channel came a resigned sigh. ”No rest for the wicked I suppose. Copy that Swordsman, we’ll start plotting the jumps now. Linebreaker out.”

Ryan looked back around at his CIC crew.

“Well ladies and gents, now we play the waiting game.”


Yup, Ba'al is still kicking! Not for long though...

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 09:54am
by Eternal_Freedom
Spreading Wings
Combat Air Patrol over Atlantis

Colonel John Sheppard loved his job.

Sure, he hadn’t been back on Earth in almost eighteen months but that didn’t bother him in the slightest. Atlantis, and in a broader sense the Pegasus galaxy now felt more like home than anywhere he’d been on Earth. Here he had a loving wife, friends, fun, a beautiful place to live, and a job that allowed him to split his time between exploring other worlds and flying the latest cutting-edge planes. He even had people around who could play a good game of chess and join him on the driving range.

Yes, things had come a long way for the now full-bird Colonel since the Wraith had been wiped out. That first, lonely, desperate year of the Expedition was a distant memory compared to the much quieter years since. The Expedition had grown and grown, twenty three thousand people now called Atlantis home, a mixture of military personnel to man the city’s defences and scientists of every discipline imaginable to explore both the city and the wider galaxy. Then there was the huge Kobolian Fleet Base in orbit and the regular passage of ships back and forth.

The city itself had changed as well. With a full load of ZPM’s, many more systems were operational. The drone production lines had filled up the silos both here and in Antarctica on Earth, the shield was available at full strength, the stardrive fully functional. The human-built defences remained as well. From the initial few dozen air-defence batteries and a single rough airstrip for the Cobra fighters, they had grown into a formidable force. The city now boasted one hundred air-defence batteries to supplement the drone silos and three complete airfields, supporting no less than six F-302-B Lightning interceptor squadrons and three F/A-308 Thunderbolt heavy attack fighter squadrons.

It was one of the latter that he was taking for a leisurely flight around the city at present. It was bigger than the 302’s, possessed defensive shields and carried a lot more offensive weaponry. With hardpoints for eight heavy anti-ship missiles or ground-attack ordnance and a pair of light turbolasers designed by the Terrans they could pose a serious threat to just about anything in either galaxy. John thought they were truly wonderful machines and whenever he felt like flying a patrol he took one of these heavyweights over the lighter interceptors.

In his ear there was the usual crackle of radio traffic, both from the city, other fighters on patrol or from ships in orbit. Occasionally a voice would break through if something unexpected happen. For instance, one of his pilots had just had an uncomfortably close encounter with a member of one of the native bird species.

”Awww gross, it’s all over the canopy! Flight Control, Headcase, request you have the pressure washer on standby after landing.”

John smirked at that, such things were always hilarious as long as they happened to someone else. It was how the squadrons and the pilots worked. Pilots are a strange breed, whether they be from Earth, Terra or the Colonies.

Another voice broke through the usual chatter and the chuckles after Headcase’s report.

”Atlantis Base to all units. Unknown contact detected by Argus Control. Korolev and Illustrious are en route to investigate. Step up to Condition Two.”

John blinked at that. If they were sending the Russian ship and a Battlestar, then it was probably on the far side of the galaxy. Still, he knew his place wasn’t in the air under these circumstances, so he hauled his plane around and began his approach to Sumner Field on the city’s northern pier.

“Atlantis Flight Control, this is Sheppard, be advised I am returning to Sumner Field, on approach now.”

”Copy that Colonel, you’re cleared to land. Doctor Weir requests that you join her in Stargate Operations ASAP.”

John smirked, Elizabeth always did this. Even though they’d been happily married for two years now, the good Doctor still enjoyed reminding him just who was in charge.

“Tell her I’m on my way.”


Fifteen minutes later, having landed his plane, ditched his flight suit and grabbed a mug of coffee from the squadron ready room, John strode into the city’s control room. His wife/boss was studying one of the big display boards along with Rodney, Zelenka and Lieutenant Colonel Franklin, commander of the Terran Marine battalion deployed on Atlantis and John’s XO.

Elizabeth turned as she heard him approach, a soft smile on her face. “Ah, Colonel, nice of you to join us.”

That was another rule for the married couple. When they were on duty, they kept a strict formality when referring to one another. Or rather, they were about as formal as they had been in the early days of the expedition which was by most standards still fairly casual.

“Sorry Doctor, needed a coffee. What’s this unknown contact Argus spotted then?”

Rodney, as usual in his insufferable genius mode, focused the display screen back in on the contact. The data feed was direct from Argus Control in orbit, that part of the galaxy was well beyond the city’s own deep-space sensor range. John could immediately see something was off. Before he could say anything Rodney launched into an explanation.

“We don’t know. We can see the distortions in hyperspace caused by the passage of a vessel but not the ship itself.”

John smirked. “You mean you can see their wake?”

Rodney pouted. “We are not calling it that, that’s a terrible term.”

Zelenka chimed in. “Actually it’s a fairly accurate comparison, and I’ve heard some of the Terran scientists using it.”

Rodney wasn’t giving in though. “Nevertheless it’s a bad term and I’m sticking with hyperspace distortions. After all it…”

Elizabeth cut him off. “Rodney, behave. Why can’t we see the ship itself?”

Rodney resumed pouting for a moment, this time at being interrupted. “Well the ship could be using a cloaking device or some other kind of stealth system. This could also be a natural phenomenon, we still don’t know all that much about hyperspace.”

John didn’t buy that. “You really think this is a random event, which just happened to be heading to an inhabitable planet that one of our allies is surveying?”

“No, it’s probably not, but there’s still a chance.”

John smirked slightly at being right. “Can we get any idea how big this contact is based on the size of the wake?”

Rodney opened his mouth to object to the term, but a look from Weir made him drop that argument and move on.

“Hmmm…possibly. Let’s have a look.” Once again the sensor data zoomed in, and numbers began appearing, transforming and vanishing as the Chief Scientist ran some frantic calculations on his datapad. There was a considerable quantity of muttering going on as the others looked on, Elizabeth was pondering what she and John might have for dinner that night, John was thinking about going down to the driving range once he was off-duty, and Radek was once again wondering why exactly he’d been cursed to work for Rodney.

Finally, McKay appeared to reach a conclusion. “Ok, based on these distortions, the ship or whatever it is out there is about the size of a 304.” That put a different complexion on things. It was far too small to be one of the Kobolian ships, and it was also too small to be a Traveller vessel.

John’s mind snapped back into focus, thinking fast. “What about the speed?”

Rodney blinked. “Huh, let me see….well it’s nowhere near as fast as one of our ships, slower even than Traveller engines. In fact, it almost matches the known hyperspace speed profiles of a Goa’uld ship.”

Silence reigned for a full minute after that bombshell. A single thought echoed through the minds of the entire group: how on Earth were Goa’uld out here in Pegasus? It was Elizabeth who finally took action. She tapped her earpiece and spoke quickly.

“Get me an open channel to Atlantis Base CIC.” Even now, part of her was amazed at just how much military terminology she had learned in four years. Then again, being married to John pretty much guaranteed she’d pick things up purely subconsciously. Chuck, the on-duty technician, called over that the channel was open.

“Atlantis Base this is Doctor Weir. You should be aware that we think the unknown contact is roughly the same size as one of our battlecruisers. The speed is consistent with Goa’uld hyperdrives.”

”Say again Doctor Weir, did you say Goa’uld? What the hell are they doing out here?”

“That’s exactly what I said. You should warn Enterprise and Korolev.”

”Copy that Doctor, thanks for the assist. Atlantis Base, out.”

Weir looked back around at her subordinates. “Well not much else we can do but watch and wait. How much longer Rodney?”

The Canadian genius glanced at his datapad. “Twenty-six minutes, give or take a few seconds.”

TCS Enterprise, in orbit of M9X-723

Captain Rachel Garrett was not a happy woman. Her nice pleasant exploration and mapping mission was being interrupted by an unknown contact that Argus Control had picked up. A contact that was even now just passing into range of her explorer’s own sensor arrays. Even at this closer range they still had no idea what it was.

Rachel wasn’t a combat officer. She belonged to the small division of the Commonwealth Navy known as Exploration Command, the group of twenty-four explorer ships like her own Enterprise. They were small ships, compared to the larger cruisers and Battlestars, but were still sizeable and capable ships by anyone else’s standards. Five hundred metres from bow to stern, they carried no fighters, no heavy weapons or missiles. Instead they packed into their hulls the most advanced sensors and most powerful computers on any ship in the Navy. Their purpose, as the name suggested, was to explore the galaxies, to seek out new life and new species. And they and their crews were very good at their jobs.

But what Rachel and her ship were not used to dealing with was combat situations. The Enterprise carried a heavy point-defence armament and a round dozen turbolaser turrets to allow her to fight off whatever she couldn’t outrun, but any dedicated warship would be able to quickly overhaul and disable her.

So having an unknown contact barrelling towards her in hyperspace was a very unwelcome diversion. There was certainly the excitement of a possible first-contact situation but the fact that the contact was apparently cloaked or stealthy in some form suggested that hostilities were a far more likely outcome this time.

Her ship was at Condition One, her crew at their posts. She was reassured by the knowledge that the Korolev was racing her way at full speed, and the entirety of Battle Group Illustrious had just completed the first of three jumps to reach her position. If this contact was hostile, she wouldn’t be on her own for long.

Her Ops Officer, Lieutenant Chambers, called out. “Captain, Korolev reports ETA our position is now thirty minutes. Illustrious and her group will be here in forty-eight minutes.”

“And the unknown?”

“They’ll be dropping out of hyperspace in twenty-four minutes Captain.”

Rachel sighed. This wasn’t what she signed up for. Her brother Stephen was the warrior, she was the scientist. Her Comms officer spoke up after a short silence.

“Captain, flash message from Atlantis Base, analysis indicates unknown contact is similar size to Earth Daedalus-class battlecruiser. Speed consistent with Goa’uld hyperdrives.”

Rachel’s XO, Lieutenant Commander Castille, absently thumped his fist down on the plot table.

“That means they’re almost certainly hostile Captain.”

“Most likely. Very well, acknowledge the signals from Atlantis Base and Illustrious and ask Korolev to pour on the speed. XO, sound Action Stations, divert all reserve power to the shields and seal all bulkheads. Tactical, ready all main batteries for salvo-fire and bring the cloaking device to the ready. Helm, standby for evasive action on my order.”

The Enterprise and her Captain were soon as ready as they could be. Now they just had to wait for the contact to actually arrive.


-Things are starting to kick off now, but we have another peaceful chapter back at Terra before we see what happens when Al'kesh encounter the Enterprise and a Flight-II upgraded BC-304. Should be fun.
-Yep, I married off Sheppard and Weir. It won't have much of an impact on events, but it's a concept that turns up in several fanfics that I'm rather fond of, and I think they make a sweet couple, so why not.
-For some reason, I really like writing Rodney, Sheppard and the Atlantis crew, they're so much fun.
-You may also have noticed I'm going for longer chapters here. Three chapters in and I'm already at 6800 words. I'm aiming for at least 2k words a chapter, up from the 1400 or so I aimed for with the first story.
-Even more shoutouts to be had in these two chapters, mwahaha.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 01:21pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
Such as the 40K shoutouts in re the Tau'ri fighter names. Will we be seeing the B309 Maurader any time soon?

You probably like writing the Atlantis crew, because, at heart, they're scientists much like how you see yourself.

So, the Travellers are similar to the Jindarians from Star Fleet Battles.

Keep writing those long chapters. They've got me hooked, so you must be doing something right.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 01:25pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Actually I borrowed the Lightning and Thunderbolt from existing planes that did the same jobs, the English Electric Lightning interceptor (basically two fuckoff-huge jet engines, a big fuel tank, two missiles and a pilot strapped to the front) and the Thunderbolt based on the awesomely-epic A-10A Thunderbolt II, hence why the F/A-308 has a lot of hardpoints for anti-ship/ground attack and a pair of light turbolasers (not scaled-up laser cannons, scaled-down turbolasers, the same ones mounted on Scythe gunships and, y;know, capital ships).

The B-309 Marauder bomber is a good idea though, I will steal it. I did say the eventual American CV-305 supercarriers would have a well-rounded air wing.

Oh, and the Travellers are actually straight outta SG: Atlantis, they first appeared in season 4, contributed ships (including an Aurora-class they somehow had) to the battle over the Asuran Replicator planet, and appeared again in mid-season 5.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 02:30pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
I'm familiar with the long-serving EEC Lightning. Beautiful machines. I only wish I could've lived in the era where they flew and have been an RAF pilot flying one.
Eternal_Freedom" wrote:The B-309 Marauder bomber is a good idea though, I will steal it. I did say the eventual American CV-305 supercarriers would have a well-rounded air wing.
About that. Are you going to have a multirole attack/EW/AWACs machine, like the Colonials pre 13T, or separate craft/variants for those roles, like the USN?

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 02:38pm
by Eternal_Freedom
The EW/AWACS role will be filled with one craft, while we have interceptor (the F-302-B's), heavy attack/strike fighters (the F/A-308's) and dedicated bombers (B-309 Marauders). All of them, and the carriers, will be under US Navy control, not USAF, because the Navy knows carrier ops better than the Air Force does and has been feeling left out since the Prometheus came along as an Air Force project.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 02:46pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
So, will the 305s use catapults/mass drivers to launch their air wings or no?

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-15 02:57pm
by Eternal_Freedom
U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-04-15 02:46pm
So, will the 305s use catapults/mass drivers to launch their air wings or no?
Mass drivers most likely.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-16 03:23am
by B5B7
Engage grammar nazi mode:
RE: "a rebellion was almost implausible." The "almost" is technically redundant - usually things are either plausible or implausible, with no gradation, unlike with regard to "impossible".

Also with :
"He had also not decided to recreate the Jaffa," the "not" is in the wrong position, should be in front of "recreate".

With that out of the way, the story itself is very engaging, and "reeks" of competence by everyone involved!
I eagerly await the next chapter.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-16 08:28am
by InsaneTD
I'm curious if they've met the ancient replicators and how that meeting went.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-16 11:20am
by U.P. Cinnabar
B5B7 wrote:
2018-04-16 03:23am
Engage grammar nazi mode:
RE: "a rebellion was almost implausible." The "almost" is technically redundant - usually things are either plausible or implausible, with no gradation, unlike with regard to "impossible".

Also with :
"He had also not decided to recreate the Jaffa," the "not" is in the wrong position, should be in front of "recreate".

With that out of the way, the story itself is very engaging, and "reeks" of competence by everyone involved!
I eagerly await the next chapter.
And shouldn't it be re-create, instead of recreate?

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-16 12:00pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Grammar Nazi nitpicking is grudgingly appreciated.

As for meeting the Asuran replicators...hmm, honestly not sure how that would turn out. They were peaceful, at least initially, and with the Wraith gone they have no real reason to turn hostile.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-16 10:11pm
by InsaneTD
I was just wondering how you were going to handle their thing for Atlantis.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-17 11:51am
by Eternal_Freedom
Well IIRC their ambition to take/control/destroy Atlantis was to deny it to the Wraith so they couldn't escape the Pegasus Galaxy...who are now dead. Honestly I think I'm going to just leave them quietly fucking around on their planet. I have enough other crazy shit to figure out in this story with the Covenant without bringing robo-bugs into it as well.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-04-21 09:00am
by Eternal_Freedom
Annnnd we're back! I'm going to try to aim for at least one 2k+word chapter per week, so here we go:

First Contact
Enterprise, in orbit of M9X-723

There was now just thirty seconds to run until the unknown contact dropped out of hyperspace. The sensors, both aboard the explorer and back at Argus Control were still
unable to detect an actual ship even at what might be considered point-blank range.
This had everyone on edge; something very unusual was going on. Stealth systems and cloaking devices were hardly unknown; the Enterprise herself possessed some of the best that the Terran engineers could build. What was unknown was ships approaching planetary orbit under cloak that didn’t have hostile intent.

Of course, if the putative enemy’s sensors were even remotely capable, they’d have detected both the Terran explorer in orbit and the Russian battlecruiser that was racing towards the planet at flank speed. The fact that the unknown was still cloaked made it an almost certain hostile.

The explorer was fully buttoned up at Action Stations, her shields raised, her engineers ready to shunt additional power around as needed, her gunners prepared in their turrets to open fire. The crew was tense, the commanders even more so. All were acutely aware that they were an exploratory and scientific vessel, not a purpose-built warship. Depending on just how potent this aggressor was, they could find themselves in real trouble.

Some solace was found in the fact that the Korolev was now just five minutes out, her own engineers having pushed the stout ship’s engines even further than was wise. But Captain Garrett new full well that battles could be won and lost in less time than that, especially if the enemy had a powerful alpha strike capability.

The timer reached zero and out in space a hyperspace portal appeared, tearing open the calm black sky to reveal an inky blue vortex, from which came…nothing.

The portal whirled for a moment and then collapsed in on itself. Before the Enterprise, empty space was once more the only thing in sight. Rachel turned to her Ops Officer.

“Chambers, report.”

The Lieutenant looked baffled. “Negative sensor contacts Captain. Nothing on the EM scanners, hyperspace arrays report the wake distortions have definitely ended at the same point as the portal opened. Gravitic sensors…grav-sensors show that at least one mass did exit hyperspace Captain, consistent with the size that Atlantis Base reported. They’re out there skipper, and they’re definitely cloaked somehow.”

Garrett traded a grim look with Castille. The enemy had arrived. Worse, the enemy could see them, but Garrett couldn’t see the enemy. She knew there was no doubt about that, at this range even a half-blind man couldn’t miss half a kilometre of metal in orbit over a planet.

Rachel considered her options, wishing that she’d spent more time reviewing the known details of Goa’uld ships that all CO’s had been sent when the Alliance was formalised. She’d thought it unnecessary at the time and in the years since she’d never even seen a Goa’uld ship.

“Chambers, go full-active on all sensors. They already know we’re here so we might as well go all-in.”

“Aye Captain.”

As Chambers got to work, Garrett’s eye was drawn to the plot table and the rapidly-moving icon for the Korolev. Given the size of the contact and known Goa'uld designs, it was likely that it was not really a threat to her ship, but with two ships present they could triangulate on any stray emissions or anomalous signatures much more quickly.

“Captain, grav-sensors are showing at least two masses are present now, they were close enough that the mass-shadows merged together until now. They’re moving out wide on our port and starboard bow.”

Castille looked over at her. “What about firing a salvo or two in those directions?”

Rachel considered it. “If we knew for certain who they were and if they’re hostile I’d say yes. But at present it’s only circumstantial evidence that says Goa’uld, and there are a lot of people using that kind of hardware. I’d prefer not to open up on a potential friendly that’s just being cautious.”

Castille nodded, “Yes skipper.”

Rachel looked at her XO. “That being said, we should be careful. Tactical, train main battery on the bearings of the two contacts, you are cleared to open fire as soon as we are fired upon.”

Her Tactical officer nodded. Chambers was still scrolling through sensor data, doing everything short of painting the contacts with fire-control systems to get a better picture. Despite this, he still had the presence of mind to make a report.

Korolev now one minute out skipper. Illustrious reports their group has finished jump two and will be ready for final jump to our position in twelve minutes.”

“Very well. Anything further on these contacts?”

“Mass estimates are getting better skipper, each contact approximates Goa’uld Al’kesh in mass…contact! Firm sensor contact, one target is decloaking, port bow, bearing three-three-five mark zero-five-zero. Contact is positive match for Al’kesh medium bomber. Reading active shields and charged weapons.”

Garrett snapped her head around. “Tactical, lock main battery onto that contact, fire on my order. Comms, hostile challenge.”

Even as the heavy gun turrets lined up on the new contact, the signal went out.

“Attention unknown Al’kesh, this is the Terran Commonwealth Ship Enterprise. Identify yourself immediately or you will be fired upon. Repeat, this is the TCS Enterprise, identify yourself immediately or you will be fired upon.”

A moment passed, then another. Behind the explorer, another hyperspace portal opened, revealing the RFS Korolev as she raced in to take station above Enterprise. This prompted the visible Al’kesh to throw itself into an evasive turn, clearly surprised with the Tau’ri ship’s appearance.

Chambers piped up. “Contact is trying to shake weapons lock…they’re coming around…incoming fire!”

Before the orange plasma bolts had even reached her ship’s shields, Garrett snapped out an order she’d hoped to never give.

“Tactical, open fire!”

On the Enterprise’s dorsal and ventral hull, her twelve turbolaser turrets immediately spat forth a hail of fire. What should have been a powerful punch was weakened considerably by the Al’kesh’s agility, and nearly all of the shots fired went wide. Nevertheless the few that did hit home put a significant dent in the enemy shields and judging by the increasingly erratic piloting spooked whoever was in charge.

Then the Korolev joined the fray. Had she still been armed with the design’s original weapon package the fire would have been ineffective at best, but this 304 had received the very latest in Terran, Tau’ri and Asgard refits, bringing her up to Flight-III standard. Her thirty two defensive railgun mounts had been pulled completely, twenty four of them being replaced with Terran point-defence laser cannon positions, greatly increasing her anti-fighter and anti-missile capabilities.

The remaining eight mounts, four each on the upper and lower hulls, had been swapped out for a new coilgun design. The turrets were a mix of engineering know-how from all three civilisations involved and fired a much heavier slug than the original Earth design, able to outright shred light enemy ships and pose a significant risk to larger vessels.

Her main battery had likewise been upgraded; she now sported four of the powerful Asgard plasma beam weapons, the last weapon design provided by the alien race before their retreat to the Ark. The beam weapons covered the forward arc and were augmented by thirty-two VLS missile cells, each one holding four Naquada-enhanced nuclear-tipped missiles.

All of this was combined with improved shields, uprated engines and neutrino-ion generators, the sum total being a ship that could punch well above her weight class would suggest. The coilgun mounts let rip with streams of high-calibre slugs, four of these streams converged on the wildly spinning Al’kesh, boxing it in, before they began chipping away at the shields.

The Goa’uld-built protective fields were reasonably well-designed and able to withstand a significant quantity of fire from death gliders and even other Al’kesh, those being the design's imagined enemies when constructed. Against this fusillade however they quickly crumbled. A heavy slug punched through the collapsing shields and cored the light ships aft section, wrecking the two starboard engines completely.

This proved to be a mixed blessing. The Al’kesh’s agility and acceleration were cut in half, but the suddenly unbalanced thrust threw it into a flat spin to starboard. As a result, the follow-up shots from the Russian battlecruiser missed completely, but the wounded bomber blundered into a pair of turbolaser bolts from Enterprise, the shots ripping through the thin hull armour and shattering all manner of internal components, not to mention the effect the passing bolts had on the Cylon crew.

Suddenly, on the far side of the Terran explorer, the second Al’kesh decloaked and raced in, firing its weapons at their maximum rate and cutting loose with the ground-attack bombs it carried, which rained down on the Terran ship’s dorsal shields.

The effect was impressive. The shields held, but the shock of the impacts staggered those aboard and surprising everyone except the CIC crew, who had had a moment’s shouted warning from Lieutenant Chambers. Rachel Garrett held firmly onto the plot table as bombs continued to slam into the shields, the second Al’kesh in too close for the heavy turrets to track and engage.

The lighter point-defence mounts had no such impediment and a hail of angry-looking red bolts soon had the smaller craft dodging as best it could, the shields glowing gold as they warded off the mounting energy being hurled at the Al’kesh.

Meanwhile the Korolev had closed in for the kill. While it was perhaps excessive, Colonel Chekov had pulled his ship’s bow around to engage with the new plasma weapons. One brilliant blue beam leaped out from the forward-starboard mount and pierced the Al’kesh dead centre. The Goa’uld bomber exploded instantly; as the fireball faded there was nothing left.

The second Al’kesh saw the death of its fellow and the Cylon crew decided that retreat was their best option. They turned away, still spinning and jinking to avoid the increasingly-accurate laser fire from the Enterprise. They were just charging their hyperdrive for a blind escape jump when another stream of slugs from the Russian ship punched through the shields, the hull and the main power generators.

The ship was effectively dead before the slugs had blown through the hull on the ship’s far side. The internal atmosphere followed the slugs out into the vacuum of space, almost every compartment having been breached. More than a few of the crew were forcibly ejected along with the precious air.

With the fight suddenly and decisively over, Rachel let out a breath. She signalled to her Comms officer to get Colonel Chekov for her.

“Colonel, thanks for the help. Can I suggest you send over a boarding team, we need more information. I’ll inform Atlantis Base of the situation.”

”Da Captain, our team is assembling now.”

Garrett gestured at the Coms officer again, asking for a channel to the fleet base.

“Atlantis Base this is Enterprise. Two Goa’uld Al’kesh engaged and neutralised; one dead one crippled, the Korolev is sending over a boarding team now. No further contacts. We’ll keep you posted on what we find over there.”

The voice of Commodore Ryan came back over the handset.

”Copy that Enterprise, Argus Control confirms no further contacts beyond you two and the Illustrious group who will be at your position shortly. Linebreaker will assume operational command upon arrival. Swordsman out.”

Rachel put the handset back in its holder, thinking that things were looking up. An actual combat officer would soon be on-scene along with a full Battle Group, because one thing she did know about battle situations was that where there were enemy bombers, capital ships were never far away.

Time passed as the Terran and Russian ship maintained watch on the crippled Al’kesh, looking for any sign of resistance. Sensors showed that at least some of the crew were still alive, so the heavy turrets wouldn’t stop tracking the bomber until the Russian boarding troops verified the ship was secure.

A hundred kilometres behind Enterprise came seven bright flashes as the Battlestar Illustrious arrived in-system, flanked by her escorting cruisers Asgard and Valhalla, the three heavies surrounded by the destroyers Rampage, Renegade, Adamant and Broadsword. It was a potent collection of firepower and a stirring sight for even the most hardened of spacers. As the Battle Group moved up to establish a defensive perimeter around the comparatively-vulnerable Enterprise, they were being scrutinised from afar.

Half a million kilometres away, on the far side of the planet’s moon, lrked the third Al’kesh. This one carried the patrol commander and he had decided that holding his ship back as an observer was the best choice. Some would call it cowardice, but given the almost contemptuous defeat of his other two ships, combined with the collection of hostile ships that had now appeared, he felt his decision was vindicated.

His ship was cloaked, and holding position just above the moon’s surface, close enough that even the Terran explorer’s grav-sensors were not able to distinguish the ship’s mass. Most of the ship was also hidden behind the natural satellite, out of view of the Terran and Russian ships and so shielded from any kind of EM detection. Only the sensor array in the bow was poked up over the horizon, much like a periscope, keeping a sharp eye on the enemy group.

After an hour, when it became clear the nine enemy ships had completed whatever they were doing to the crippled Al’kesh did the Cylon patrol commander order his ship to move further back behind the moon. Once they were completely out of sight of the human ships, a data burst was sent off to God’s flagship, giving Him a report of what had transpired. A brief pause later and a response came back.

Report to Me at Tel’Mok immediately.

The Al’kesh turned around in space and activated the hyperdrive, still running under cloak. As they were on the far side of the moon, they were unable to see the sudden reaction from the human ships as they once again detected hyperspace wake distortions leaving the area. The Cylons thought they had got away clean, they were wrong.

They were also supremely unaware that back over Atlantis, Argus Control was tracking them all the way to the edge of sensor coverage and extrapolating just where this new Goa’uld base was located.


-Yup, I named some of the Legend class cruisers for the Asgard. So the Thor, Odin, Freyr and Heimdall will be turning up eventually, along with the destroyers Mjolnir, Gungnir, Fenris and Ragnarok. The fact that I have a TCS Mjolnir will be very confusing when the Terran eventually encounter John and his merry Spartan-II's.
-For those wondering about the "TCS" thing, all Terran vessels are officially TCS [ship name], while all Colonial ships are, coincidentally, also officially called TCS [ship name], the TCS meaning "Twelve Colonies Ship" in that case. However as per Colonial traditions, Battlestars are always referred to as "Battlestar [name]." Like how on Star Trek you would here people refer to the Starship Enterprise, Starship Victory and so on.
-For some reason this chapter fought me all the way. Grrr.