4.01 Small Victories Rewrite

SUMMARY: Small Victories, re-written with more Daniel and Teal’c, a couple of characters swapped around, and a little tiny tag at the end which I hope is amusing
CATEGORY: Drama
TIME: Season 4
SPOILERS: Anything through Small Victories
RATING: PG
COMPLETED: January 23, 2007
AUTHOR’S NOTES: This may suck.  I didn’t beta it because I was more concerned about just getting it up before I get lost in a never-ending loop of edits.

===============================

Daniel was ticklish.  It was the only explanation.  Janet was certain her gentle probing of his apendectomy stitches wasn’t painful.  But it might be ticklish, and that might explain why he seemed so tense.  “I hear it took them a lot longer than they thought to set up the second Gate,” she said, mostly to distract him.

“Uh, yes,” he managed, sounding like he might gasp at any minute.  “They finally got it running yesterday – technical difficulties or something.”

“They needed Sam’s help, huh?” she said dryly.  She finished her task and moved away from him.

He sat up slowly – a move she was certain did hurt.  “Yes, it’s, uh… it’s ironic that she’s not here to save herself.”

She looked over his chart.  “Well, you are fine. There’s no sign of residual infection. You were very lucky.”

Now he was poking around the stitches himself and frowning.  “Yes, so you keep saying.”

With any other patient, she would have asked if something hurt, the way he was touching himself and frowning.  But with Daniel, it was just as likely he was just fascinated by the whole thing.  “Mm-hmm,” she said.  “I still want you to take it easy for at least a…”

The station comm system suddenly blared: “Off world activation, repeat, we have an off world activation.”

Quick as lightning, Daniel jumped off the bed, grabbed his jacket and ran.

“Another week!” she yelled, mostly just to feel she’d done her duty.  “Oookay.”

===============================

“Ow,” Daniel muttered as he collided with an airman in the hallway.  “Excuse me.  Sorry.”  He ran some more and realized his stitches were pulling.  “Ow.”  He rounded the corner just in time to see the elevator doors closing.  “Hold that!”  He squeezed in just before it closed.

He smiled politely at the other people in the elevator, but all he could think of was his team.  He just knew this gate activation was the three of them coming home.  Or… bad news.  No, it had to be them coming home.  Finally the elevator doors opened and he ran some more.  This time he didn’t collide with anybody…

…because they were all in the gateroom.  With guns, aimed at the gate.  But the iris was open, and that meant they’d received a recognized IDC code.  Daniel held his breath.

Jack stepped through the event horizon, looking roughly like he had when he’d left – still in his fishing gear.  Sam and Teal’c were just a second behind.  All walking, breathing and looking none the worse for wear.

“Well, it’s about time!” Jack snapped irritably at General Hammond in the control room.

Sam must’ve caught Daniel’s bemused look because she smiled at him as they walked down the ramp.  “We’ve been dialing home for over a week.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry,” Daniel replied.  “Our gate expert was off gallavanting somewhere, or else we’d have had it up and running days ago.”

Her grin widened, and when she got close enough she patted his arm.  “It’s good to see you, too.”

“You still malingering?” Jack quipped.

“You still fishing?” Daniel quipped back.

“I am pleased to see you well, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c remarked.

“Same here,” Daniel responded soberly, looking at each of them in turn.  Jack’s mouth just barely twitched, but that was as close to a smile as one could realistically expect from him.

“I’m glad you made it, SG-1,” came General Hammond’s voice as he walked up beside Daniel.

“Where’s the fanfare, General?” Jack asked with a passable imitation of injured pride.

“We did kind of save the planet, sir,” Sam backed him up.

“Again,” Jack added.  “This should not get old, General.”

Hammond appeared to look deep within himself for a reply suitable to the auspicious occasion, and came up with, “Job well done.”

“Thank you, sir,” Jack replied smartly.  “It was nothing.”

“What happened to Thor?” Daniel asked.

“Oh, we got him out in a stasis pod,” Sam assured him.

Teal’c added, “It was retrieved when we passed though the stargate on P4X-234.”

Sam nodded.  “It must have had a locating beacon.”

The general frowned.  “They left you behind?”

“Oh!” Sam exclaimed.  “Um, we…”

Teal’c took over for her.  “Once we realized it might take some time for you to install the second stargate, I requested we use that time to visit my wife and son at the Land of Light.”

“I see,” Hammond replied.

“Would you believe they have no fishing there, sir?” Jack complained.

The general looked almost amused.  “You can resume your leave as soon as you’ve completed post-mission protocols.”

“I’d be happy to debrief you all,” Jack said, “after I’ve debriefed myself for a nice hot shower.”

“Permission to shower granted,” Hammond replied.  “In fact I insist on it, Colonel.”

Jack frowned at Daniel and asked quietly, “Bad?”

Daniel tried to think of a diplomatic response.  “I wasn’t going to say anything.”  For his trouble, he was rewarded with Jack walking extra-close past him on his way out the gateroom.  Ugh.

==============================

It was absolutely incredible.  It looked so simple, even under the magnifier.  And yet, she knew what it was capable of.

“What are you looking at?” came Daniel’s voice from very nearby, startling her.  Sam turned to see him standing a couple of feet away, staring at the object of her fascination.

“They salvaged a couple of replicator pieces from the ocean,” she explained.  “I thought I’d have a look.”

His eyes widened.  “Oooh, can I see?”

She swung the magnifier around for him and handed him the clamp with the replicator block.

“Huh,” he said after a moment of observation.  “Is it… how do you keep it from… well, replicating?”

“Well, there’s no discernible energy being emitted,” she explained. “I think it’s pretty safe to say they’re dead. Besides, it’s only just a couple of little blocks.”

“Can I touch it?”  His fingers were already stretching toward it, practically itching to make contact.

Sometimes he was as bad as O’Neill.  “I’d rather you didn’t.”

“Sure,” he said agreeably, handing it back to her.  “Have you learned anything from it yet?”

“Maybe,” she began, but the phone rang.

Daniel grabbed the receiver off the wall.  “Hello?”  After a brief pause for the other speaker, he turned and gave Sam a meaningful look.  “Yes, sir.  We’re on our way.”  He hung up and said to Sam, “General Hammond.  We’re wanted in the briefing room.  I don’t think it’s just your mission debrief.”

“Why not?” she asked as she followed him into the corridor.

“He said Major Davis is on his way in from the Pentagon.”

===============================

Jack had a very bad feeling about this.  Teal’c sat beside him, implacable as always.  General Hammond’s face gave nothing away.  Carter and Daniel had just walked in and taken their seats across the table, and Major Davis had just finished handing out copies of a report.

“The Navy intercepted a mayday from the commander of the Foxtrot class attack submarine,” Davis explained.

“That’s Russian,” Jack commented.  His bad feeling was getting worse.

“Yes,” Davis said.  “Code-named Blackbird. The crew was being attacked by a large mechanical spider.”

Jack froze.  “Just one?”  He opened his copy of the report.

Davis nodded.  “We thought it was a joke at first. Then the transmission cut out. At approximately 1700 hours, the sub was spotted by the aircraft off of Nimitz. It was already surfaced and none of the attempts to communicate were returned. It was boarded. The crew was found dead.”

“All of them?” Carter asked in surprise.

Davis nodded again.  “They got the bodies off before they discovered how they died.”

Jack stared at some photos in the report: the replicators on the submarine.  “That’s them.”

Carter looked at him sharply.  “Sir, if this started with one bug, it’s already replicated.”

“The man that took the pictures fortunately made it out,” Davis continued.  “But Nimitz reported that the Pentagon will advise the Navy to tow the sub in.”

“Do the Russians know that we have it?” asked Hammond.

“No, we’re denying any knowledge.” Davis said.  “But, er… this is going to get sticky.”

Carter stared at him.  “We have to make sure that none of the replicators get out of that sub.”

“It’s under tight supervision,” Davis assured her.  “The harbor has been evacuated and the entire area cordoned off. Our cover story is a dangerous chemical spill.”

Maybe Carter hadn’t been clear enough.  “Blow it up!” Jack told them.

Daniel looked up from his copy of the report.  But for once, he didn’t seem to disagree.  He just looked a little surprised.

Davis spoke with just a trace of hesitation.  “The Pentagon has requested that we take measures to preserve a number of specimens for study.”

“The Asgard already tried that,” Jack snapped.  “These buggers are on the verge of wiping out their entire race.”

“That’s why I’m here,” Davis countered.  “You people are the closest thing to experts we’ve got.”

Jack gave him a hard glare as the sinking feeling in his stomach finally hit rock bottom.  “As an expert, I’m saying blow it up!”

“Sir,” Carter spoke up, “conventional weapons might not do it. At least one of the replicators survived the destruction of Thor’s ship.”

“Fine,” Jack shrugged.  “Tow it back out to sea and nuke it.”

“We’ve considered that,” Davis said uneasily.

“We’re in a political mess right now, Colonel,” Hammond explained.  “The Russians picked up the Asgard ship’s entry into the atmosphere.”

Oh, he so knew exactly where this was going.  “So?”

“So, they’re not buying our version of the story,” Davis replied.  “They already think we’re responsible for what happened to their sub. A nuclear explosion in international waters… It’s kind of hard to cover up.”

Jack rubbed his hands over his face and silently counted to ten.

“I don’t think you realize how dangerous these things are,” Daniel spoke up.

“Is there any other way we could neutralize these things, maybe some alien technologies you came across?” Davis asked.

“The replicators are impervious to Goa’uld technologies,” Teal’c remarked. “They are, however, susceptible to human projectile weaponry.”

Jack noticed a look of confusion on Davis’ face. “Guns,” he clarified.

“Sir,” Carter mused, “if there are still a small enough number of replicators on board, a properly equipped team could possibly…”

“Save the world?” Jack muttered, resigning himself.

“Getting old for you, sir?” Carter asked.

Davis sighed.  “I’d better inform the Pentagon.”  He walked out of the briefing room.

Jack was just about to say something about Pentagon types when he heard the sound of the gate revving up, followed by a technician announcing, “Unscheduled off world activation.”  And the sirens.

“There are no teams currently off world,” Hammond remarked as he stood up and rushed out to the control room.

“Of course there aren’t,” Jack sighed as he followed the rest of his team and Hammond.

=================

As Jack entered the control room, he heard the general asking a very relevant question.

“Why isn’t the iris closing?” Hammond demanded.

The technician shook his head.  “I’m trying, sir. It’s not responding. We’re showing an increasing loss of power in the base.”

“What?” Carter snapped, leaning toward the computer to get a better look.  Just then the power went off and she could see the problem from pretty much anywhere.

Jack was just about to make a smart remark about power bills when he saw something short and skinny coming through the gate.  “That’s Thor!” he announced, and took off running.  In the gateroom, he ordered the guards: “Stand down!”

Thor blinked, as if he had no idea heavy artillery pointing at him was a bad thing.

“Thor, it’s good to see you up and around,” Jack told him.

Thor nodded solemnly. “I owe you and your team a great debt of gratitude for saving my life.”

Jack glanced at Carter, Daniel, Teal’c and the general to make sure they were all on the same side.  Apparently so.  He put on his best snake oil sales face.  “Well, here’s timing!”

“Not all of the replicators were destroyed when your ship exploded in the atmosphere,” Carter explained.

“Maybe you could help us out?” Daniel asked.

None of it worked on Thor.  “I cannot.”

“Why?” Jack started counting to ten again, reminding himself it wasn’t like the Asgard had ever really let them down before; it was just that they kind of never gave anything back.

“I have come by Stargate because there are no ships to spare,” he explained. “My home world is being threatened by the replicators. Thus far, all attempts to stop them have failed. I have come here to seek your help.”

As Jack tried to figure that one out, the Gate shut down and the lights started coming on again.

“We’re back on line, sir,” came the technician’s voice through the loudspeakers.

“Good,” Hammond said.

“How can we help you?”  Jack finally asked.

Thor blinked solemnly again.  “Your projectile weapons proved effective in fatally damaging the replicators.”

“Some,” Jack grudgingly admitted.

“Your technology and strategy for destroying the Beliskner was successful.”

“Yeah,” Jack acknowledged, “but you guys – ”

“The Asgard have tried to stop them,” Thor reminded him. “You have demonstrated that a weakness may be found from a less sophisticated approach. We are no longer capable of such thinking.”

“Wait a minute,” Daniel cut in, not about to let this one pass, “you’re actually saying that you need someone dumber than you are?”

Jack raised his eyebrows.  “You may have come to the right place.”

Daniel shot him a look, but it was worth it.

Hammond chose that moment to speak up.  “Thor, with all due respect to your situation we need SG-1 here.”

Jack hesitated before contradicting his commanding officer, but decided it was worth it.  “Carter could go, sir.”

“I don’t know, Jack,” Daniel wisecracked.  “She may not be dumb enough.”

Hammond shook his head.  “We just got the second gate up and running.  I want her here in case of any problems.”

“Then how about Teal’c?” Jack suggested.

Hammond looked to Teal’c.  Teal’c nodded.  “Permission granted,” the general agreed.

At that, Thor activated a device in his hand and the gate opened just like that.  “We must leave immediately.”  Teal’c started walking up the ramp with him, and the size contrast between the Jaffa and the Asgard struck Jack as hilarious.

“Remember, Teal’c,” Daniel advised solemnly, “don’t think of anything Jack wouldn’t think of.”

“I will endeavor,” Teal’c assured them, “to think simply.”

“I think I’m insulted,” Jack said to Daniel, whose only response was a puzzled frown.

===============================

Daniel could see the submarine from the entrance of the harbor room where Davis and the SGC personnel were gathered.

“Simple recon, gentlemen,” Jack was addressing the troops. “Do not fire unless absolutely necessary.”

“The replicators won’t attack unless they feel threatened,” Sam explained.

“Let’s move,” Jack ordered.  Then he, Sam and two other airmen headed out of the building.

Daniel had wished them good luck earlier, but he thought it again as he watched them go.  Then he walked over to where Sergeant Siler was setting up a video link to the reconnaissance team’s helmet cameras. Each of four screens held a different team member’s viewpoint as they made their way to the submarine.

“Video feed’s up and on line,” Siler announced.

Daniel put on the headphones and spoke into the mike.  “Jack, can you hear me?”

“Would it be necessary for me to mention my insane aversion to bugs at this time?” Jack replied.

“No, I’ll take that as a yes,” Daniel replied as Siler took a seat next to him.

===============================

Teal’c materialized along with Thor in front of a viewport overlooking a massive docked spaceship, as well as vessels flying around in the airspace of the Asgard home planet.  “An impressive starship,” Teal’c commented politely.

Thor replied, “The O’Neill was supposed to be our last great hope.”

Teal’c gave himself a moment to consider other ways in which that remark could be taken, but found none.  “The O’Neill?”

“Yes,” Thor said in a somber voice.  “It is the most advanced technological Asgard creation yet. It is the first Asgard vessel designed solely to fight in a war against the replicators.”

Teal’c considered for a moment why Thor had not already put the vessel to use, then hazarded a guess.  “It is not yet ready for battle.”

“Correct,” Thor confirmed.  “Five Asgard ships are currently engaging three ships controlled by the replicators, which are on their way here. We are going to join the battle and – with your help – stop them.”

That struck Teal’c as overly optimistic, but he nodded anyway.  “I will do all that I can.”

“For the sake of the Asgard,” Thor pressed, “we must not fail.”

Echoing the sentiment he believed O’Neill would have expressed in this instance, Teal’c replied, “There is always another way.”

======================

Davis had joined Daniel and Siler in their vigil as they watched the video links to the team.  The team edged its way along the outer hull of the sub, and then into the interior.  Daniel guessed they were climbing down a ladder from the way the cameras bobbed.  At the bottom of the ladder, the team split in two and each pair took a different direction.  They skulked through corridors, checking rooms and areas systematically, until finally Baker’s camera showed Jack lifting his gun, and Jack’s camera showed a handful of replicators crawling around on a work surface.

“They’re a different color,” came Jack’s voice in a warning tone over the radio.

“Some sort of camouflage?” Davis suggested to Daniel.

“They don’t need it,” Daniel answered grimly.

“We’re moving on,” Jack announced.

“What is that?” Davis asked suddenly, pointing to Sam’s camera.  She and Stephens had just opened another door and found a whole nest of replicators.  And the thing Davis was pointing at was a large object in the middle of the room.  As Sam cautiously edged closer, its identification became obvious: it was a huge replicator.  And it was assembling blocks into normal-sized replicators at an alarming rate.

“Oh, my god,” came Sam’s voice over the radio.

“That’s a big one,” Davis remarked unecessarily.

“If that’s some sort of queen,” Daniel warned Sam, “the other bugs may try to protect it.”

Jack turned around to look into Baker’s camera.  “Queen?” he echoed.

Before Daniel could answer, Stephens’ camera shook wildly, showing a glimpse of a replicator that had strayed close to the man.  With a scream, Stephens fired at it.

Oh, you stupid… Sam’s camera swung from her view of Stephens to the queen replicator tensing up, along with all the little ones.  “Sam and Stephens are in trouble!” Daniel blurted into the radio.

Jack and Baker started running back the way they’d come.

“Battery room,” Siler added helpfully.

“Fall back!” Sam was shouting to be heard over Stephens’ gunfire and screaming.  Her camera showed one horrifying glimpse of the replicators swarming over Stephens, and then it went dead.

Daniel tensed, but a moment later Jack’s camera revealed Sam stumbling out of the room.

“Stephens?” Jack asked.

“Dead,” she said.  She sounded winded, and Daniel thought he detected her favoring her left side.

Jack must have noticed the same things because he looked her over for a second before saying, “Let’s move.”  He headed toward a hatchway at the end of the corridor.  As he worked to open it, Sam turned to provide cover fire, and her camera caught the replicators marching out of the battery room and down the corridor behind them.  They crossed through the hatch and closed the door just in time to keep the replicators inside.

===============================

Teal’c stared at schematics of the replicators as they played over the computer display wall of Thor’s ship, wondering why Thor believed this to be a helpful exercise.

“Each individual building block,” Thor was explaining, “is capable of exerting a reactive modulating monopolar energy field on other blocks allowing the replicators to assemble themselves into many forms. To our knowledge, the interior of each block contains the following; two million isolated keron pathways…”

Teal’c pressed the button to stop the display.  “Enough.  You have asked me to approach this problems in ways the Asgard cannot.  The knowledge you have accumulated is irrelevant to this task.”

Thor cocked his head.  “Very well.”

Teal’c looked at the computer schematic once more.  “Each replicator block functions as an individual.  It communicates with other blocks to come together to form complex technological organisms.”

“Correct,” Thor agreed.

“But its only purpose,” Teal’c concluded, “is to replicate.”  When Thor merely looked at him, he continued.  “Replication is their sole motive.  They do not seek territory, glory or power.  Their only goal is to create more of themselves.”

“This appears to be the case,” Thor confirmed.

Teal’c sighed thoughtfully.  The Goa’uld sought glory above all else; they wished to be worshipped.  They sought territory and power only because it enabled them to force worship on subjects.  Given a way to acquire worship without territory or power, they would have gladly accepted it.  So what would the replicators accept?  They functioned like a hive mind, like a single organism ever expanding.  They wished only to expand themselves further.

What could they offer the replicators?  And how could they turn the gift into a trap?

===============================

Sam grimaced.  Despite the topical anesthetic, she could still feel Janet digging around in the wound on her shoulder blade.

“It’s out of control,” the colonel was saying to Davis and Daniel. “Nobody’s going back down in there.”

“We have to blow up the sub and hope that we can contain any of the bugs that survive,” Davis agreed.

Sam could practically hear the Ya think? radiating off of O’Neill, but he managed a fairly diplomatic, “I think it’s the only way.”  Strangely, she mused, battle calmed him down.  Hit him with frustrating Pentagon thinking in the briefing room, and he could go supernova; give it to him five minutes after he’d lost an airmen in a dangerous op, and he could be almost sort of nice about it.

“I’ll talk to the Pentagon,” Davis replied and walked away.

“Oh,” Janet suddenly muttered.  Before Sam could ask, she added, “Colonel?”  Once he and Daniel had walked over, she said, “There is definitely something in here.”

Ew, Sam thought.  She felt an uncomfortable pulling, and then Janet was holding a replicator block clasped in a pair of tweezers for all of them to see.  She hosed it off with some saline in a petri dish and said, “Well, I think you brought back a souvenir.”

“Great,” Sam remarked.  “I wanted a t-shirt.”

===============================

“Would you like sustenance?” Thor asked.

Teal’c turned to him.  He’d almost forgotten he wasn’t alone in here, so lost had be been in his reverie about the enemy.  “Please.”

An Asgard transportation beam appeared on the table, and left in its wake a dish holding pellets of different size and color.  “I like the yellow ones,” Thor recommended.

Teal’c picked up a yellow one and took a bite.  The taste was strongly tangy and sour, reminiscent of one of his favorite home-cooked dishes as a child.  “Thank you.”

Abruptly, the wall computer screens activated once again.  One screen showed another Asgard speaking in its native tongue; the other showed a horizontal grid of space.  Thor listened for a moment and said, “We have lost contact with the rest of the Asgard ships engaging the replicators.”

“Could it be a problem with your communications systems?” Teal’c asked, just in case the Asgard’s inability to think simply extended to such matters.

“No, the Asgard ships are not being detected,” Thor explained.

There were, however, three ships appearing on the horizontal grid.  “What ships are those?”

“Replicators,” Thor responded.

===============================

Sam was still studying the replicator chip when Davis approached them.  She didn’t like the thoughts forming in her head, but try as she might she couldn’t find a hole in her logic.

“The Dallas is standing by in the harbor,” he announced.

“Dallas?” Daniel echoed.

“Los Angeles class attack submarine,” Davis continued. “On my command it will target the Blackbird with torpedoes.”

“Um,” Sam said quietly, “Sir, I think you should take a look at this first.”  When O’Neill, Daniel and Davis all looked over, she held the replicator block out for them to see.  “This new block is corroded.”

O’Neill blinked.  “And the significance of that is…?”

“The bugs use whatever raw materials are around them to replicate,” she explained.  “Now these here are eating the Russian submarine, which means that they’re mainly comprised of steel.”

“That’s why they’re a different color,” Daniel said in a tone of realization.  “And it may also explain why they haven’t tried to get off the sub yet.”

“Exactly,” Sam nodded, relieved he’d come to the same conclusion.

The colonel looked from one to the other of them.  “It does?”

“They can’t,” she explained. “They’re only as resilient as the raw materials they are made of. These replicator blocks aren’t like the ones on Thor’s ship. They’ll rust or short circuit in the water. They’re less sophisticated.  And they’re vulnerable.”

Davis shook his head.  “I’m sorry, it sounds like you’re now saying that blowing up the sub will easily destroy them. If that’s the case, why don’t we do it right now?”

“Because there is still one bug that could survive,” she replied.

“The one that survived Thor’s ship,” Daniel clarified.

“Right,” Sam said, bracing herself for the reactions to her next statement.  “It’s the one that started all this by killing the entire crew of that sub. We have to make sure that this won’t happen again.”

O’Neill rubbed a hand over his forehead.  Davis just looked uncomfortable.  Daniel gave her a strangely vulnerable look, one that said he wasn’t at all happy about what was going to come next.  But the colonel was already shrugging his resigned assent to the plan.

===============================

“Mother bug,” Jack identified the image of the queen replicator they were all looking at on the computer screen.

Davis looked at Siler.  “It’s a little dark.”

Siler punched some buttons on the keyboard, and some color patches like those on a heat map surfaced on the image.  There was a bug inside the mother.

“It’s incorporated itself into the… mother bug,” Daniel observed.

“I’ll go back with you, sir,” Carter offered.

“You sure?” Jack asked.  “What about your shoulder?”

“I’m fine,” she assured him.

“Er,” Daniel spoke up.  “Look, every other bug on that sub is probably going to be pretty upset if you try to kill mom.”

“Yeah,” Jack agreed. “That would be a fair assessment.”

“Well, what if we create a diversion?” Carter asked. “The replicators are attracted to bursts of energy, right?”

Jack thought that one over for a second.  As usual, she had a good idea.  “A small charge on the upper level, draw them away from mom: we’re in a containable situation. Now’s our shot.”

“Sir, the sub’s diesel engines just started,” Siler announced.

Daniel frowned.  “The replicators are trying to move?”

“We’re anchored for now,” Davis said, “but you’d better get out there before they decide to dive.”

===============================

“How long before the replicators reach your planet?” Teal’c asked as he continued to watch the replicators’ slow process across the expanse of space.

“Two hours,” Thor answered.

“Your ships can travel much faster than light speed,” Teal’c remarked. “Why, then, are the replicators moving so slowly?”

“In order to generate the subspace field required to travel at hyperspeed,” Thor replied, “full power of the generators is required. Presently they are using that power to replicate.”

“So if they did decide to go to hyperspeed,” Teal’c mused, “they would be without shields and weapons.”

“Yes,” Thor said. “But remember the replicators do not care about time as we do.”

That wasn’t quite the point Teal’c had been trying to make, but then the entire reason he was here was to think unlike an Asgard.  He was beginning to conceive a plan, but “How did they get control of your ships in the first place?”

“The replicators are capable of modifying our own weapon technology beyond our understanding,” Thor explained.

Teal’c frowned.  He had been under the impression the replicators had learned everything they knew from the Asgard.  But… “They have gathered knowledge from sources other than the Asgard?”

“It is possible,” Thor responded.

Teal’c turned to him.  “Then why have they not attacked us?”

“We have shown no signs of aggression,” Thor explained.  “And this ship’s technology is less advanced than the ships they currently occupy.”

“What difference does that make?” Teal’c asked.

Thor blinked.  “They will not divert from their course to consume technology they have already mastered.”

===============================

On Sam’s video link, Daniel caught a glimpse of Jack placing C-4 on one of the interior walls of the Blackbird.  “The charge is set,” he announced over the radio.

The sound of the submarine’s engines followed quickly, prompting Siler to announce, “They’re submerging.”

Daniel adjusted his mouthpiece and spoke into it.  “Jack, the sub is diving.”

“Yeah, we got that,” Jack responded to Daniel. “Heading to the battery deck.”

As they moved, the quality of the video links was beginning to deteriorate.  “We’re losing their signal,” Daniel remarked to Siler.

“It’s okay,” Davis assured him.  “The sub can’t dive below periscope depth running on diesel engines.”

“Underwater radio transmission boosters launched,” Siler announced.

Daniel was still staring at Davis.  “How do they get out if the sub is under water?”

“Escape hatch,” Davis replied.

Now, why didn’t Daniel find that reassuring?

===============================

“Thor,” Teal’c asked.  “What is the strongest material known to you?”

“We have just developed an new alloy of naquada, trinium and carbon,” Thor replied. “It was used to create the hull of the O’Neill.”

Teal’c had suspected as much.  Thor was going to dislike his plan – strongly.  “Can the O’Neill function at hyperspeed velocities as yet?”

A trace of suspicion colored Thor’s tone.  “Yes.”

“Can it be flown by autopilot or remote control?” Teal’c continued.

“Why?” Thor asked with more than a trace of suspicion.  Or perhaps it was just confusion.

“That ship represents everything the replicators seek,” Teal’c explained.  “Advanced technology, a new alloy.  If they encounter it, they will follow.”

“But it is not complete,” Thor protested. “They will capture it and consume its technology.”

Teal’c braced himself for the likely reaction.  “Not if you set it to self-destruct.”

Thor cocked his head.  “I do not understand.”

That was not the reaction Teal’c had expected.  “The replicators are unable to use shields or weapons in hyperspeed. If the O’Neill enters hyperspeed, the replicators must do so as well in order to follow. When they are in range of the O’Neill, you may detonate the ship and eliminate the replicators along with it.”

“Teal’c,” Thor said in a wounded tone, “you are suggesting that we destroy the most advanced Asgard attack vessel ever created before it is even finished.”

“I realize this,” Teal’c agreed, bowing his head.

“The O’Neill is our last hope of successfully attacking replicator-infested ships,” Thor continued.

“And what,” Teal’c asked, “can it do for a replicator-infested planet?  Because that is the situation you will have if you allow the replicators to reach Othalla.”

Thor looked thoughtful.  “If the replicators do not follow the O’Neill –

“They will,” Teal’c cut in gently.

“If the replicators are able to infest the O’Neill and disable the self- destruct,” Thor regrouped, “they will consume the ship and its technology, and we will have created the most advanced version of the replicators yet.”

“It is a risk we must take,” Teal’c replied.

“A risk we cannot take.”

===============================

Daniel, Siler and Davis watched on the video links as Jack and Sam cautiously made their way to the battery room, where the body of Stephens still lay.  Sam closed the door and they backed into another room, to which she also closed the door.  Jack pulled out a remote control and punched it for detonation.  Daniel couldn’t hear an explosion – maybe a distant faint pop.  Jack and Sam looked at each other, listening closely for any sign the replicators were on the move.

===============================

Teal’c was beginning to lose patience.  “Did you not bring me here for the purpose of suggesting a strategy you would never think of?”  When Thor only looked at him in response, he pressed on.  “You continually create more advanced technology with which to fight them, and they continually absorb that technology from you.  They will see the O’Neill as yet another advancement they must take from you.  That is the weakness you must exploit.”

Thor hesitated for a second before acknowledging, “It is a tactic we would never consider.”

“A ‘less sophisticated’ approach,” Teal’c agreed, echoing Thor’s earlier description of their success with projectile weapons and explosives.

Thor turned to look straight ahead.  “Then we should try it.”  He immediately disappeared in a beam of light, leaving Teal’c alone in the room.  Teal’c wished the Asgard had thought to leave a plate of food pellets behind.  He was hungry again.

===============================

After a minute or so, Sam opened the hatch carefully.  Daniel thought he heard her hiss “clear” to Jack.  In any case, they hurried through the door and took off running.  Once Jack’s camera stopped jerking all over the place, it caught Sam carefully opening another hatch.  Inside was the queen replicator.

Jack tossed a grenade inside, and Sam closed the hatch quickly.  The muffled explosion sounded a few seconds later.  Sam opened the door, and this time both camera caught the sight: a replicator quickly rebuilding itself from the unharmed blocks.

“Son of a bitch!” Jack muttered, and started shooting the thing over and over.  After a moment, everything went quiet.  The blocks lay still.

“I think you got it, sir,” came Sam’s voice.

“Yeah,” Jack sighed.  “I think I got it.”

They quickly turned and headed back for the ladders.  But as soon as they got there and Jack looked up, his camera filmed replicator blocks forming a barrier at the top.  “What the hell?”  He shot at it, but it reformed itself continuously, patching holes as soon as he punched them.

“Sir!” came Sam’s voice again.  Daniel turned to her video link and saw replicators heading toward her from a hatchway.

“Aw, crap!” Jack snapped.

As Sam rushed to close the hatch and keep the replicators on the other side of it, Davis got on the radio.  “Colonel O’Neill, is there any way you can make it to the escape hatch?”

In response, Jack and Sam started running toward the escape hatch to find out.

“The anchor line just snapped!” Siler announced.

Now Jack and Sam were running in a different direction.  Daniel assumed that meant the escape hatch hadn’t panned out.  “Is there anything we can do?”

“The best thing we can do right now,” Davis offered, “is to try and chase them into shallow waters and hope that they surface.”

“No, there’s not enough time for that,” Daniel observed grimly.

Jack was stopping at a small… round thing.  A very tiny hatch of some sort.  “Carter, let’s try this!”  He opened it, but by the time she caught up with him, replicators came marching down through it.  Jack tried shooting a few, but there were too many where those had come from.  “All right, forget that!”

They started running in yet another direction, closing hatches behind them to keep the replicators shut in.  But then Sam stopped in front of a closed hatch: the replicators had eaten a hole in it and were coming through.  She started firing, but Daniel would tell it wasn’t going to be enough.  And there was no other way out.  Don’t panic.  You can’t help them if you panic.

“Better go ahead and blow this thing,” Jack ordered.

Daniel’s stomach sank.  “That’s not exactly a positive attitude, Jack.”

In response, Jack pulled off his helmet so he could speak into his own camera.  “Listen to me. We are not getting out of here. Mission accomplished. Blow it!”  Sam’s frantic gunfire continued in the background.

“Jack – ” Daniel began desperately.

“Daniel, please!” Jack shouted.  The link was cutting out.  “… before I get eaten alive by these… damn bugs!”

It made sense.  He knew it made sense.  And he knew an explosion would be so much quicker than death by replicators.  But he could still hear Sam firing, and that meant she was still alive.  They were both still alive.  Something had to give.  It just had to.

“Davis, give the order!” Jack snapped, throwing down his helmet and the camera on it.

Daniel felt Davis staring at him, waiting for him to agree to with killing his teammates.

===============================

Thor reappeared in another beam of light to stand beside Teal’c as he looked at a tactical view on the wallscreen: three replicator ships haloed in red, another ship in blue, and a fifth ship with no halo.  “The O’Neill has been launched,” he announced.

The ship with no halo – the O’Neill – moved, and the red ships took off after it.  “The replicators are following.”

“The O’Neill will now enter hyperspeed,” Thor explained in a minor tone.

The computer representation showed the O’Neill entering a corridor of space.  The replicator ships followed.  Once they had closed in on it, the O’Neill exploded… and so, one by one, did the replicator ships.

“We have succeeded,” Teal’c murmured with relief.

“Thanks to your unsophsticated approach,” Thor said, apparently in all sincerity.

===============================

The video link from Jack’s fallen helmet showed him and Sam shooting replicators right and left, hopelessly.  No doubt wondering when the explosion was going to come and this nightmare could end.

Daniel pushed aside his own anguish and spoke the words he knew Davis was waiting to hear.  “Okay.  Okay!”

“Fire on target,” Davis said into the phone.

On the radar display, Daniel could see the two submarines and their relative distance from one another.

Dallas is firing torpedoes,” Siler confirmed.

Daniel watched the torpedoes’ progress on the radar screen, but kept glancing down at the Blackbird.  At Jack and Sam slowly losing the fight.

“Eight seconds to impact,” Siler informed them.

Daniel’s breath caught, and he just let his lungs stop moving.

“Blackbird attempting evasive maneuver,” Siler narrated.  For a second, Daniel found himself rooting for the evasive maneuvers to work.  But that didn’t make sense, did it?  And then it didn’t matter because Siler spoke again.  “Torpedoes still on target. Two seconds.”

Two seconds until Jack and Sam were dead.  It was surreal.  Daniel looked at the radar screen and watched as the torpedoes struck the ship.

In a heavy voice, Siler announced, “Direct hit.”

Davis put his head in his hands, but Daniel decided to watch.  He owed them that much.  From Jack’s camera on the floor, he saw the two of them fall as the shudders of the explosion shook the submarine.  Jack stopped fighting, as if he was just waiting for the end to come.  The bugs swarmed over him… and then he saw the camera, still taping.  He reached for it, presumably to turn it off

That was when he and Sam were enveloped in a beam of light and disappeared.

“They’re okay,” Daniel heard himself mumble stupidly.

Davis looked up at him like he was crazy.  “What?”

Daniel gestured at the screen to indicate Jack and Sam.  “The… the…”  The he gestured upwards to indicate that an Asgard beam had swept the two of them up and away.  “The… the…”  Then he gave up.  “They’re okay!”

After a skeptical second, Davis smiled and patted Daniel on the back.  Daniel wasn’t sure if he believed him or just figured this was finally the big nervous breakdown they’d been waiting on from the civilian all these years, but he didn’t care.

===============================

On the floor of Thor’s ship, O’Neill and Major Carter materialized in two self-protective huddles.

O’Neill looked up and around, then pointed at Thor.  “Now, that’s timing!”

“We came as soon as we were able,” Teal’c bowed his head.

O’Neill got more or less to his feet and moved to Major Carter’s side as she slowly eased herself up from the floor.  “Carter, you all right?”

“Fine, sir,” she murmured.  O’Neill patted her on the back.

“It appears,” Teal’c noted to Thor, “we were just in time.”

“Nah,” O’Neill shrugged.  “We had things handled pretty good.”

Major Carter shot him what could only be interpreted as an incredulous glare.

“Have you eliminated the replicator threat from your world, O’Neill?” Thor asked.

“Pretty much,” O’Neill answered. “You?”

Teal’c allowed himself a small smile.  “We were triumphant, thanks to the O’Neill.”

“The O’Neill?” O’Neill asked.

“An advanced battleship designed specifically to engage the replicators,” Teal’c explained.

“Oh, yeah?” O’Neill showed the beginnings of a cocky smile.  “You kicked their asses?”

Teal’c frowned, pretending not to know the phrase.  “They did not have ‘asses’, O’Neill.”

“It exploded, and took the replicator ships with it,” Thor informed O’Neill and Carter.

O’Neill looked disappointed.  “My ship?”

“The Asgard are most grateful for Teal’c’s assistance,” Thor continued, ignoring him. “One day we shall repay you by helping to fight the Goa’uld.”

“One day?” O’Neill echoed.

“Saving one Asgard planet was a small victory, O’Neill,” Thor chided. “The conflict with the replicators stretches across my galaxy. Teal’c’s strategy worked this time, but the replicators are very intelligent. It may not work again.”

O’Neill gave knowing looks to Major Carter and Teal’c in turn.  “I get it.”

“However,” Thor added, “now there is hope where once there was none.”

“Yeah,” O’Neill muttered sourly.  “Well, if you ever need any more primitive ideas,you know where to find us.”

“Until we meet again,” Thor agreed.

O’Neill grunted.  Then his face lit up abruptly.  “Hey, listen – drop by any time. In fact, I’ll take you fishing. I’d love to do that. There’s this lake in northern Minnesota where the bass grow this big…”

It was at this moment, thankfully, that Thor chose to beam them back to the SGC.  Specifically, to an office.  More specifically…

“This is Daniel’s office,” Major Carter observed in a confused tone.

O’Neill looked around.  “I figure we’re lucky he put us in Colorado.”

“We should probably let someone know we’re alive,” Major Carter remarked.

==========================

“No, sir, not a trace,” Siler was telling Daniel.  “It’ll take a few more hours to complete the sweeps, but-”

“Dr. Jackson,” Davis interrupted.  “Excuse me.  It’s for you.”

Daniel turned to see Davis holding out a phone receiver to him.  He nodded his thanks as he took it and put it up to his ear.  “This is Dr. Jackson,” he said into it.

“Yeah, doc,” came a very familiar voice from the other end, “I’ve got this disc that keeps acting up.  You got anything for that?”

“Jack,” he half-breathed, half-chuckled.  Davis grinned at him, presumably having kept a straight face as long as Jack had requested.  “It’s, uh, it’s good to hear your voice.”

“It’s good to have my voice,” Jack replied cheerfully.  “So anyway, Thor beamed us out in the nick of time.”

“Yeah,” Daniel replied absently.  “I mean, I saw.”

Jack barely hesitated.  “Ah.  Well, you might want to head back soon, because Thor beamed us down to your office, and I’m pretty sure you’ve got some new knicknacks since I was in here last.  Did you spend your whole downtime on eBay, Daniel?”

“Jack, don’t touch anything!” he snapped automatically.  “I’ll be back as soon as I can catch a ride.”  He looked up and Davis nodded at him; it was already arranged.

“Relax,” Jack said, and Daniel could hear him smiling.  “We’ll keep the flourescents humming.”

Advertisements

~ by betacandy on April 22, 2007.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: