Alternative Destiny series
Title: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Series: Alternative Destiny Fandom: Stargate SG-1 Genre: Time Travel / AU Rating: PG Summary: Things would have been much simpler if Earth had never come to the attention of the System Lords. Last time they didn't know any better. This time, it was their own fault.
Cheyenne Mountain, April 1996 CE
Major General West slammed the telephone down on his desk. It had been several days since the specialist retrieval team that had been sent to Mexico missed their last scheduled check in. He was forced to conclude the very real possibility that the mission to find and 'retrieve' the alien creature called Hathor had fallen prey to its advanced technology or the mind-altering agents that the intel from the alternate future had warned of, despite the precautions taken.
Sighing, West eyed the second, red colored phone on his desk, debating on whether the possible consequences of a failed Hathor mission should be reported immediately to the Pentagon. He had already, as a precaution, ordered a lockdown to travel to and from Destiny itself. If the Earth-side base was compromised before the follow up team could find out what happened to the first SpecOps team, at least Destiny would not fall into enemy hands.
A sharp knock at his office door suddenly interrupted West's thoughts.
An airman saluted him sharply from the door and reported, "Sir, a person was just arrested at the mountain surface for attempting an unauthorized entrance."
"Why didn't they let the police handle him?"
"It's a her, sir. Major Lowell thought you would want to talk to her yourself."
Apparently, the day could get even worse.
A few hours later
"Incoming wormhole from Earth!" came the startled announcement over Destiny's intercomm.
Col. Jack O'Neill, caught in mid-conversation with Major Kawalsky, shrugged and pressed the intercomm switch on the bridge. "Report!"
"Sir, I have a communique from General West on the Tachyon Line."
Jack exchanged baffled looks with Kawalsky; General West always preferred to use the old fashioned radio communications through the stargate instead of any of the fancy new communications systems brought down from Destiny. "By all means, patch the General through," Jack finally told the technician as he turned to a nearby console.
In a bare flicker, the image of General West appeared on the monitor. He spoke before Jack could acknowledge his superior.
"Colonel, I'd like you to lower your gate barrier."
Snapping shut his mouth in the aborted motion of speaking, Jack stared at his commanding officer in disbelief.
"Ah, sir? I believe that order is a little difficult to carry out in the midst of a level 3 lockdown," Jack finally said cautiously.
"I'm lifting the lockdown, Jack," said West with a reassuring smile as he momentarily looked at someone off-screen, "so go right ahead and open up. There's someone who'd like to visit the ship."
Instead of being reassuring, the sight of his humorless commander smiling jovially sent a chill directly up Jack's spine. He took a quick glance at his 2IC, and saw the same look of confusion echoed on Kawalsky's face as well.
"Ah, and whom might that be, General?" Jack asked slowly. "Aren't there supposed to be memos sent out in advance to notify us of any visiting VIPs?" Not that he read half of the ones he got; that was what he had subordinates for.
"Do be so suspicious, Colonel," West chided him. "She's a friend of Earth and a savior to humanity."
Friend of Earth? How on...well, Earth, did Earth manage to achieve First Contact with aliens without him knowing about it?
"Huh, no one told me it was the Second Coming," Jack began, his mind still spinning on how to play the situation. "But, uh, I don't suppose we could be introduced to this... surprise visitor first?"
General West frowned, but then suddenly the monitor view was wrenched to the side to reveal an under-dressed brunette woman with glowing eyes.
"We are Hathor, the mother of all pharaohs. You would be wise to kneel before your goddess." the woman declared.
If it weren't for the gravity of the situation, Jack would have burst out laughing at the arrogant demand. Instead, he felt another chill travel down his spine as he drew the connection between the name he was given and certain classified reports from the alternate future that he had been privy to.
"Ah, sorry, ma'am, but I'm Catholic." Not that he'd been a practicing one since he was a boy, but the words popped out of his mouth before his brain caught up. Jack put on his best clueless face and hoped the alien bought the dumb act.
The monitor swiveled again, this time to include both the general and the strange woman.
"You will come to Us," announced the woman, "and We shall reward you for your service."
"Colonel, you will lower the gate barrier and report to the Destiny gateroom to receive the lady here," General West added sternly.
Jack took a deep breath. While he'd been somewhat of a maverick in creatively interpreting orders before, this was still the first time he was going to refuse a direct order. He wondered if the JAG would buy 'my CO was under the influence of an alien parasite' as an excuse for mutiny.
"With all due respect, General, I'm afraid I can't follow that order," Jack replied at length.
"Colonel, what is the meaning of this?!" demanded West, "I am giving you a direct order!"
"Well, sir," Jack said slowly, "if you were in your right mind, I'd follow it. But that woman is either a loony or more of a danger to humanity than savior. I can't in good conscience let her aboard this vessel."
Surprisingly, Hathor seemed unphased by his initial refusal. "If you come down and submit to Our rule," she pronounced, "We would give you pleasures far beyond your fondest dreams, and bless you with fertility and joy."
There was a hastily suppressed snort of laughter from Kawalsky. Jack gave the man an evil eye for having obviously visited the gutter in his mind.
"Sorry lady, but I'm not into adultery," he told Hathor with as much sarcasm as he could lace into his voice. "Who knows where you've been."
If Hathor understood the insult, all she showed was a narrowing of her eyes. "You would be foolish to reject what would be your salvation. Your people are primitive, without the slightest understanding of the technology that you have found. We would help you develop and protect you from Ra."
Strike three. "No thanks. We're doing fine on our own. Been that way for, oh, the last...oh, five thousand years." Five thousand years since we kicked Ra off the planet, he did not say, mindful of the open channel and the rest of the room's attention centered on his conversation.
Seeing that her usual enticements were getting nowhere with the human, Hathor finally switched to threats. "If you do not submit, the people here will be punished," she warned him.
At last, the leopard shows her spots. Or is it the snake shows her... snakiness? "Lady, you are living in a dream world! If I hand over this ship, then I would put the whole Earth in danger." Jack leaned forward in his seat and let a false affable smile which did not reach his eyes appear on his face, as he returned a threat of his own. "But if you kill the people on that base... well, let's just say my finger might slip on the weapons button up here."
Hathor's eyes glowed in anger. "You will regret this, Tau'ri," she informed him coolly, before the screen went black.
Hoping that the madwoman wouldn't call his bluff, Jack turned to his 2IC. "Kawalsky, grab Ferretti and the head geeks and meet me in the conference room. We're gonna need a plan."
"Hey there, boys!"
The two guards in front of the base communal changing room and showers looked toward the source of the voice to see Sgt. Carol Weterings leaning against the corridor wall, her BDU's opened in front in a decidedly non-regulation manner.
"Aren't you supposed to be in lockup with the rest of the women?" one of the guards asked suspiciously. However, he couldn't stop his eyes from drifting downward.
"Oh, come on, now," said the sergeant, arms out to indicate that she was unarmed while she sauntered up to them. "Is that really the first thing that comes to your mind when you saw me?"
The two men smirked, lowering their weapons and walking forward to intercept her. Unfortunately, that lapse of attention was all it took for them to be struck by two electrical bolts from behind.
"Nice job," Captain Samantha Carter told the sergeant admiringly while she put away her experimental zat gun and started to tie the men up. She could honestly say that she would have had trouble if asked to do the same. Seduction wasn't exactly something that had been covered in any of the Air Force training manuals she'd read.
"Yeah, I can't believe you could do that with a straight face," agreed Lt. Louise Astor as she began to drag the guard that she had secured into the locker room.
Sgt. Weterings rolled her eyes. "Mama always said I should've gone into acting," she drawled. Then her eyes widened in sudden realization and she shot a nervous look at the captain. "This corridor isn't being monitored, is it?"
"I'm sure they'll classify the videos," Sam assured her awkwardly. "Besides, I doubt any of the guys will want to bring up their behavior today to worry about ours."
The captain was not having a good day. She had been caught on the wrong side of the security lockdown, and her latest project had thus been left unattended, just as she was reaching a point of breakthrough. Then, it seemed that all of the men on the base had gone heads over crazy over a strange woman who had shown up out of nowhere. By the time she had noticed the occasional glowing eyes and sonorous voice, however, the woman--creature--had had her and the rest of the female soldiers on the base rounded up and locked away.
In desperation, the women had cooked up a humiliating plan to take advantage of the heightened libidinous tendencies of the affected male soldiers. After a brief trip to the armory and the weapons lab, they were pushing their way deeper into Hathor's newly erected sanctums, trying to find the creature and stop her by any means necessary.
"Good Lord!" The exclamation from one of the nurses attracted the attention of the other women to the open doors of the shower room.
Sam hurried over and looked through the door.
The general in question was staring blankly at the ceiling while he floated in a tub that was teaming with worm-like creatures. Goa'uld spawn - Sam realized even as her stomach lurched in reaction to the sight.
"We need to get him out of there!" called out the other nurse, although her face showed that she was terrified of approaching the tub.
"Yeah, come on," Sam gestured to Sgt Weterings to accompany her. She handed her zat gun to Lt. Astor. "Cover us if those...things...attack us."
Together, the two women managed to manhandle the general out of the tub. Just as they were trying to drag him away, one of the goa'uld larva jumped out of the water at them.
With tensions already running high, that was all it took for Lt. Astor to open fire on the creatures. The electric bolt barely missed the other humans and immediately set the tub on fire.
"Holy Hannah!" Sam gasped after she and Weterings managed to get clear. Looking back, her stomach turned again at the fiery mess behind them. "How's the general?" she finally asked, tearing her eyes away from the sight.
The nurses in question had already been examining the bare-chested general. One of them was gently prodding a large incision that had been made to his stomach.
"I've never seen anything like it," said one of the nurses. "He's not being responsive at all."
"None of those...things...got inside him, did it?" Sam asked tentatively.
"No, it's empty," replied the nurse. "We need to get him into the infirmary."
"Alright," Sam agreed, "let's get out of here before the fire attracts too much attention."
"There's someone coming down the corridor!" Lt. Astor called out suddenly, causing a sudden hush among the group.
Sam quietly joined the lieutenant and peeked out through the barely closed door. Fortunately, Hathor was not among the group walking down the corridor, and indeed, the group did not seem to pay any attention to the now unguarded locker room door at all.
"Those are the guards from the entrance," Lt. Astor whispered, "but I don't know who the people they're escorting are."
Indeed, the two civilians that were being forcibly "escorted" by the guards were unknown to Sam as well. But the fact that one of them was a young boy who couldn't possibly be associated with the Project caused a chill to crawl down her neck.
"Hostages," Sam whispered. "They must be hostages. We need to stop her." She turned around and looked at the assembled women. "Sergeant Weterings, help the nurses get the general to the infirmary. The rest of us will follow those guards and stop whatever it is that woman has planned." It felt dizzyingly euphoric and terrifying to give the orders, and she hoped to heavens that she was doing the right thing.
Quietly, the rag tag team followed the guards and their hostages all the way to the control room. A well placed tranquilizer dart felled the guards that had been set outside the door. And then the women sidled up to the side of the door just in time to hear the conversation within.
Jack could feel a red haze of rage descending across his eyes when the snake called back with more hostages - specifically, his wife and son. He had to bite down on the inside of his cheek to keep himself from snarling at Hathor, using every last bit of his training and experience at keeping from visibly reacting to the new twist to the situation.
"You will relinquish your vessel and submit to your Goddess, Tau'ri," announced Hathor coldly, "or We shall have your woman and child executed." Her hand came up, and something flashed at the woman being held by one of her controlled minions.
Sara O'Neill screamed as the light flashed over her and then faded. She slumped against the man holding her and stared at her husband through the communications screen. "Jack," she sobbed, "Jack, please, what's going on?"
For a moment, Jack almost couldn't speak through his conflicting emotions. As much as he wanted to rush across the intervening space and place himself between his family and harm, his rational mind was still aware that giving in to the alien woman would only put more than just his family in danger. With long practice, he allowed his training to pull him into the mental state where only the mission mattered.
With great effort, Jack ignored Sara's cries and his son's quiet sobbing to address Hathor directly. "Y'know, you really need to do something about that delusions of godhood thing," he deliberately snarked. "How about I make you a counter offer? You don't harm a hair on their heads, and I don't slag that mountain you're in into a pile of rubble."
"You wouldn't dare!" Hathor hissed.
"Wanna bet?" Jack shot right back.
Hathor would not have believed such boldness from the Tau'ri of her day, but the world she had awoken into was shockingly different. Even the humans she had enthralled had proved to be surprisingly resistant to her charms, requiring more work to control even one person than she had most of her ancient kingdom.
The two would had continued to stare at each other across the communications channel, each testing the resolve of the other, when they were suddenly interrupted by a loud crashing sound.
Jack jumped, his heart clenching. He saw Hathor suddenly whirl around to stare toward the control room doors, before the screen was obscured by...smoke? Then, the sound of energy weapons pierced the fog, and he could hear Sara screaming in response. Helplessly, he could only wait until the thick fog finally cleared.
The minion that had been holding Sara was down on the ground. He saw a flash of blond hair duck behind the door - at first he thought it was Sara, before realizing that it was Sam Carter and what appeared to be several of the female members of the base. Hathor had one hand stretched in front of her in a warding gesture, while her other hand still held a shaken and coughing Charlie.
"You cannot harm Us!" screamed Hathor. "Surrender yourselves or We will kill you all, beginning with this child!"
There was a sudden silence before Sam peeked out from around the door, holding an experimental stunner in her hand. Her eyes glared defiantly at the Goa'uld, before flicking over to the open communications channel.
"I don't think so," said the captain with more calm than she felt. "I'm willing to bet that you can only use one function of that glove of yours at a time. You can either use it as a weapon or shield yourself." Although her words were directed at Hathor, her eyes flicked over to the communicator again. She took one hand off her gun and made a seemingly meaningless gesture in the air.
Jack, who had been ignored by Hathor since the smoke started, understood the signal perfectly. He took a deep breath, met the captain's eyes over the monitor, and barked out with every ounce of command he could squeeze into his voice, "Charlie, RUN!"
At that same moment, Sam stepped out from the door, tossing a security baton from her free hand at Hathor's head while firing her stunner. Hathor flinched and ducked, her outstretched hand maintaining the shield while her free hand came up reflexively to block the baton that penetrated the same shield. Charlie darted out of her grasp, running blindly ahead at his father's command, right into the waiting hands of another female soldier at the door. Grabbing the boy, the lieutenant tucked him against her and veritably threw the two of them out the door, rolling out of sight with Sam at her heels, just in time to miss the blast that Hathor sent back.
With a cry of rage, Hathor slammed a hand down on the console, cutting the communications with Destiny and quickly entering an address code to the dialing computers. Then, firing blasts from her hand device as she went, Hathor forced the female soldiers to retreat until she could make a clear run to the embarkation room.
As soon as the corridor cleared, Sam motioned for the rest of the soldiers to go after Hathor, while she herself hurried to the control room and resumed the comm channel with Destiny.
"Sir," she reported as soon as Jack appeared on the screen. "Hathor is trying to dial out and escape! You need to get Destiny to dial in first and preempt the outgoing wormhole!" Even as she spoke, she accessed the dialing computers on the base, looking for a way to cancel whatever input Hathor had made.
Although caught by surprise, Jack didn't waste time either to directly give the command to Destiny, using his authority as Ducius to bypass the normal gateroom protocols. Unfortunately, although Destiny's gate took less time to dial a connection than the Earth's jury-rigged dialing system, Hathor had already made a significant head start.
"Damn," Sam slammed a hand down on the console as she watched the gate connection terminate seconds after the Goa'uld queen escaped through the wormhole, bullets bouncing off her shield the entire way.
"Captain?" Jack demanded from the comm channel, unable to see the events in the embarkation room, although he could guess the results from the fact that Destiny had failed to dial to Earth.
"She got away, sir," Sam reported. "But I was able to save the coordinates she dialed in the computer. We'll know where she went."
"I'm sure you did your best, Captain," Jack assured her, then asked with a touch of anxiety, "but how are the hostages?"
"Oh," Sam wrenched her thoughts from the dialing computer in chagrin as she realized the colonel was worried about his family. "They're both alive and unharmed, sir," she assured her CO. "I'd take them to the infirmary, but Dr. Nimzicki was killed by Hathor, and Dr. Warner was...compromised the last time I saw him, sir. Actually," she paused awkwardly before pushing on, "it appears that whatever she used to take over the base affected all of the men, sir."
That didn't bode well. "The general?" Jack asked.
Sam shook her head sadly. "I left him with the nurses but we don't know what exactly she'd done to him. His condition is unknown, sir."
"Of course it is," Jack sighed. "Well, in that case, Captain, I need you to figure out a way to route this communique to the red phone in the General's office. Can you do that?"
"Yes sir," Sam replied promptly. "That should be easy enough. I'll have it done within ten minutes."
Ten minutes to do what the eggheads on the ship couldn't figure out in an hour. Jack internally sighed again. At least one thing was going right in the day.
A week later
Major General George Hammond sat at the head of the table of the newly minted Stargate Command, trying to hide his unease. It had seemed too good to be true when the higher ups had told him of the base-sitting posting before his retirement.
Then, he had read through the thick stack of classified files only to find out that the previous commander of the base had eventually died due to a complete removal of the man's immune system. And that West's immune system had been removed by a bona-fide alien who had been trapped on Earth for thousands of years. And said alien had been trying to blackmail herself onto to an even older alien spacecraft. And that said spacecraft had been brought to Earth by time-traveling alternate future counterparts of two of the officers under his command... The whole concept of it all left him wondering if he wasn't trapped in a very strange dream.
In the meantime, the brass at the Pentagon had had a panic attack at the thought that a hostile alien had escaped through the stargate with not only knowledge of the Destiny, but god knows what other sensitive information obtained from West and the base computers. While the previous decision by Washington to not use the stargate for further exploration was made to minimize contact with the Goa'uld and risk pulling Earth into a war before they had the means to defend themselves, the prospects now looked unlikely.
Presently, the directions from the Pentagon was to establish a Stargate Command, whose mandate would be to obtain off-world intel, resources, technology, and alliances, in order to defend Earth from alien invasion. Of course, the heavy weight of starting this fledgling command now fell squarely on the shoulders of General Hammond.
Restraining himself from shifting again in his seat, Hammond nodded as Sam finished her presentation about the new security measures being implemented so that Destiny would have alternative lines of communication with Earth available in the case that Cheyenne Mountain was compromised. It was good to see the daughter of his old friend again, and he wasn't surprised to have found the young genius to be thick in the middle of things here.
"Thank you, Captain," Hammond said, then turned to the new CMO of the base. "Dr. Fraiser, how are we doing with the medical aspects of the Hathor incident?"
"Well, unfortunately, we were only able to get very small samples of Hathor's mind-altering agent," reported Dr. Janet Fraiser. "Most of it appears to have been sensitive to proximity. The effects quickly wore off when she left. As for the, ah, larval symbiotes that she created, they were all killed in the fire. We were only able to obtain very tiny amounts of tissue samples. Research is underway, but frankly, I don't think we have enough information to draw any scientific conclusions."
"Thank you, Dr. Fraiser." Seeing that the doctor had finished her report, Hammond moved on to the next item of business. "Now, the Pentagon has ordered the formation of nine SG teams, who will be sent through the stargate to perform missions of reconnaissance and exploratoration. And no, Colonel O'Neill--" he interrupted even as the man opened his mouth, "--you and Captain Carter are still needed on the Destiny Project, especially since the orders just came allowing the transition of Destiny into Earth orbit. Although, if you are looking for more work to do, I would be happy to pass on a larger share of the paperwork for you as 2IC of the base."
"Ah, no, that's alright, thank you General," Jack winced, shooting a glare at Kawalsky and Ferretti, who were doing the peanut gallery impression again. He'd been practically buried under the paperwork during the transition phase before General Hammond had signed on, and he'd barely had time to visit Sara and Charlie--not that things were rosy in that department either, he mused sullenly.
Hammond looked in amusement at the grown man who was practically pouting in his seat. "However, I have taken your other suggestions into account, and Major Kawalsky will be assigned to head SG-2 at your recommendation."
"I will?" Kawalsky asked, sending a startled and pleased look at Jack.
"Well I suppose you've got at least got some...marginal...experience going through the gate," Jack allowed with mock reluctance. "It's about time you work a little on that whole burden of command thing. Let other people give you grief instead of being the one giving grief." He grinned to take the sting out of his words.
"Gee thanks, Jack!" Kawalsky muttered to his CO.
Hammond hid a smile at the byplay. "Major Ferretti will be assigned to SG-1 under Colonel Banks, which will leave you, Colonel O'Neill, without a second on the Destiny..."
"Captain Carter can fill that spot," Jack replied evenly.
"Thank you, sir!" Sam beamed proudly.
Jack shrugged. "At least you can get something useful done, for a scientist, unlike the rest of that gaggle of eggheads who spent an hour not figuring out how to get me through to Washington."
Bemused by the backhanded compliment, Sam stared at her new CO and then looked sheepishly toward Hammond. The general allowed a rueful smile to slip through despite himself. While his retirement was looking more and more like a pipe dream, at least his final time in service was going to be literally out of this world.
Notes: I debated having Hathor snake Sara and get away with Charlie, as a parallel to what happened to Sha're & Skaara in the original timeline. However, that's just going to end up with Jack on SG1 determined to get them back. I wanted to try something different for this universe other than "SG-1" centric, so I dropped that idea.