tagSci-Fi & FantasyConfirming Carter Bk. 02 Daedalus Ch. 01

Confirming Carter Bk. 02 Daedalus Ch. 01

byRibaldWriter©

Col. Carter and her people have been busy, securing and exploring the city, and more importantly, making drones to replenish the cities defenses.

As our story opens, the starship Daedalus arrives at the Atlantian planet.


(-)

Confirming Carter Book Two Daedalus

Chapter One

Ten Days Later

Interior-Daedalus Bridge

0920 Hours

"Daedalus to Atlantis, request permission to dock on the East Pier."

"Negative, Daedalus." The Ops tech replied. "Move to five diameters out, maintain station keeping, and await further instructions."

"Please confirm Atlantis." Caldwell said, a look of irritation on his face. "Five diameters puts us outside the range of our Asgard beams, and we won't be able to transport personnel."

"Affirmative. Confirm five diameters, and await instructions."

"Atlantis shields are up, colonel." Marks said as he looked over his instruments. "Sir, there are separate shields in place over the outer piers, and the main shield is covering them. And I'm reading multiple ZPM's around the city. Three in the Central Tower, one each on the outer piers."

"So she's expecting a fight, and wants us to know that she's got power to burn." Caldwell muttered. "Do it, Marks. Five diameters, and maintain station keeping."

Interior-Kitchen

0930 Hours

"Now what?" Carter asked as she looked around the table. "Do we let him sit and stew, or bring him down and listen to what he has to say?"

She looked at Samuels. "You're on Andi. What's he going to do?"

"He won't engage us. He knows he can't get at us through the shields, we have him outgunned anyway. But he also knows we won't fire on him except as a last resort." Samuels said as she tabbed down through her files. "I need you to give me your impressions of him." She said, looking back and forth between Carter and Sheppard. "You've worked with him, tell me what you think of him. All I have are his files, and mission reports. I need human input before I can give you a read."

"He's stiff, strictly by the book running his command." Sheppard said. "But he's a good tactician, and knows when to step outside the box to win a fight."

"Third in his class at the Air Force Academy, so that's not surprising." Samuels said, nodding. "He rose quickly through the ranks. A combination of combat duty, good duty assignments, and political skills. Aside from the Goa'uld incident, there's not blemish on his record. If there's a complaint about him, it's that he's too perfect. He's got a godfather somewhere too, but I can't tell you who it is."

She turned to Carter. "Sam? You've dealt with him as equals. What do you think?"

"He's an honorable man, and he won't like this anymore than we do. But I think Landry had a reason for sending Caldwell, instead of Col. Ellis and the Apollo." She said, looking down the table at Sheppard. He nodded.

"Are you thinking Landry is sending us help?" He asked.

"Yeah. Ellis would have opened with an ultimatum." She said. She looked at Samuels. "You'll have to meet the man, Andi. Then tell me what you think." She turned to Sheppard. "Bring him down, but on an outer pier, away from the city, and walk him in."

Interior-Daedalus Bridge

0945 Hours

"Atlantis to Daedalus, reduce orbit to maximum beaming range. Transport Daedalus commander, unarmed, to coordinates provided, and resume station keeping at five diameters."

"Acknowledged Atlantis." Caldwell said. "Tell her we're on the way."

He looked over at two people standing in front of the bridge windows. "Let's get this over with." He said as he stood up and headed for the door.

Exterior-Southwest Pier, Outer Marker

0950 Hours

The glare of an Asgard beam flared, then faded, and three people materialized. The marines snapped to, weapons trained on them.

"Stand down." Sheppard said as he came out of the jumper parked nearby.

Caldwell looked around, noting the two jumpers hovering twenty meters away to either side of them. He ignored the marines.

Sheppard stepped over and held out his hand. "You're supposed to be unarmed, colonel."

"It's not loaded," Caldwell said as he unholstered his sidearm, and handed it to Sheppard. "I'm going to need it later."

Sheppard ejected the magazine, and dropped it in his pocket, then worked the slide. He handed it back to Caldwell, and grinned at the people next to him. "Welcome to Atlantis. She'll be glad to see you."

Interior-Living Room

0955 Hours

Sheppard parked the jumper just outside the doors of tower fifty-eight and led them inside. Two of the marines followed them into the elevator. They changed elevators on thirty-one, and when the doors opened, one of the marines stayed by the doors, the other followed them into the living room.

"Daniel!" Sam yelled, running over and throwing her arms around him. She looked over his shoulder, then held out her hand. "Vala, it's nice to see you again!"

She stepped back, and turned to Caldwell, holding out her hand. "Steven, it's good to see you. How was your trip?" She said with a smile.

Caldwell took her hand, taken aback by her warm greeting. "Uneventful, but crowded." He said. "I need to..."

"I'm sorry, Steven, but I want to make introductions first, then to speak to Daniel." She said.

She turned, taking Jackson's hand in hers, and led him over to the couch. "Daniel, I don't know if you met Jennifer Keller, Chief Medical Officer, on your last trip. Next to her is Andi Samuels, resident brain mechanic, and ambassador at large, and Teyla Emmagan."

She let go of his hand and moved over to stand beside Tammy. "Daniel, Vala, This is Tammy Ford. My girlfriend." She said, turning and smiling warmly at her. "Everyone, this is Daniel Jackson, and Vala Mal Doran. They're family, so make them feel like it."

"I'm also her nurse, don't let her fool you." Tammy said as she held out her hand. She glanced over at Caldwell, and nodded.

Caldwell nodded back, trying to hide the smirk on his face.

"Would someone get Col. Caldwell something to drink? I need to speak to Daniel." She said as she walked toward her office, still holding Tammy's hand.

Daniel followed her, signaling Vala to come along.

Interior-Office

1010 Hours

Tammy closed the door behind them as they went into the office, while Sam went behind her desk, picked up a pad and started writing quickly. "We weren't expecting you," She said as she looked up and handed the pad to Tammy. "So bear with us for a minute."

Tammy looked at the pad, then looked over at Jackson.

"What can we expect from Caldwell, and why are you here?" She said in ancient. She smiled, then added, "She also wants you to know that we've made some corrections to your translations, and she'll show them to you later."

Jackson's mouth dropped open, and he just stared at her. He looked over at Carter. "How? I mean..."

"We'll explain everything later, Daniel. I promise. Right now, I just need you to answer the questions." Carter said, staring at him intently.

"Tell her, Daniel." Vala said quietly.

"Gen Landry sent me a message through Teal'c. He was on Earth, but returned to Chulak at Landry's request." Daniel said. "That was the day you resigned. I think he already suspected that the IOA would try to pull something. Caldwell contacted me nine days ago, we were on P43C972, investigating an ancient outpost. Landry's message said, 'Daedalus is picking up hitchhikers'. So when Caldwell called, we sent the SG team back through the gate, and went with him."

"This outpost, was it equipped to use a ZPM? I don't care if it has one." Carter asked, making notes on her laptop.

"Yes it is. It has ZPM's, but they're depleted." He said, glancing over at Tammy. She was typing on an ancient terminal as she listened.

"We have our gateway into the Milky Way galaxy. We don't need Earth now." Carter said, looking over at Tammy.

"You read, write, and speak ancient? How did you..."

"I learned it a couple of weeks ago, she only reads and writes it." She said, grinning over at Carter.

"Tell me about Caldwell." Carter said, cutting them off before they could get going. "We'll tell you about ancient girl later."

Vala laughed, and Tammy grinned at her.

"Ancient Girl. I like that." Vala said. "It sounds like one of Mitchell's comic book heroes."

"He has orders to demand your surrender, and take you if he can. Or kill you if he can't."

There was a silence, then Jackson continued. "He has a hundred and fifty marines and Special Forces onboard, and every hold is packed with weapons and ammunition."

"Get Sheppard...no, don't." She stood up and came around the desk. "There's no point in putting this off. Let's go talk to Caldwell."

Interior-Kitchen

1025 Hours

It took a few minutes to get everyone situated around the table. Carter was at her usual place at the head of the table, and Caldwell was at the other end, facing her. Everyone else was seated around the sides, Tammy and Andi on either side of the table, flanking Sam.

"What are your intentions, Steven." Carter asked, getting right to the point.

"My orders first," He said, taking an envelope from his pocket, and sliding it down the table.

Andi picked it up and opened it, pulled out a single sheet of paper and glanced at it, then sat it on the table in front of Carter.

"Don't touch it." She said, glancing at Caldwell.

"It's not poisoned." He said, beginning to look irritated.

Carter read the orders quickly, then looked up at him. "Like I said the first time, Steven. What are your intentions?"

Caldwell stood up and walked around the table. Sheppard stood up and drew his sidearm, and the two marines stepped into the room. Caldwell stopped when he was standing next to her, and drew his sidearm, offering it to her butt first.

"I'm surrendering my ship, and offering my services, colonel, in whatever capacity you might see fit." He said as she stood up and took his weapon, sitting it on the table. "I'd like to ask that any members of my crew that wish to return to Earth, be allowed to."

"That was about what I was expecting." Samuels said to no one in particular.

Carter held out her hand, and Caldwell took it. He glanced down when she didn't release it. "I accept your offer, Steven. And any members of your crew that wish to return to Earth are free to do so. We'll arrange a time as soon as we can."

She let go of his hand, and sat back down. Caldwell returned to his seat, and Sheppard holstered his Glock, waved the marines out of the room and sat down.

"This whole situation makes me want to vomit, colonel." Caldwell said. "I don't condone what you've done, but you can at least say you were acting in self defense. Asking me to kill a fellow officer...and a friend, is just too far over the line."

"That's how we felt, Steven. We are acting in self-defense. I'm glad you understand that." She smiled as she looked around the table. "But it's doctor, not colonel."

"Your highness," Samuels muttered, getting her a glare from Carter.

"Actually, no colonel." Caldwell said, leaning back in his chair. "Neither the Pentagon, nor the IOA have officially accepted your resignation yet. I don't know why the IOA hasn't, but I can tell you that the Pentagon has orders from the President not to."

He began to smile as he glanced over at Sheppard. "As soon as Dr. Keller declares you fit for duty, you would still be the legitimate commander of the Atlantis expedition. Col. Sheppard on the other hand, has been charged with mutiny, and I have orders to shoot him on sight."

"So they want to have their cake and eat it too. Typical." Samuels said. "The American government will support her if she resumes command?"

"I have no information on that Dr. Samuels. All I know is that Col. Carter is still on active duty. The orders you saw came from the IOA, not the Pentagon."

"This doesn't really change anything. We proceed as planned. Andi, I'll need to speak to you and Daniel privately when we're done here." Carter said. She looked down the table at Caldwell. "Have you been in contact with the Apollo, Steven?"

"No, Ellis is running silent, and has not responded to any of my attempts to contact him." He replied. "I'm pretty sure we can expect him in the next few days."

Carter nodded. "Jennifer..."

"Already on it. All I have to do is print it out and sign it." Keller said. "I'll need two witnesses, preferably someone not charged with a capital crime." She said, poking Sheppard in the ribs with her elbow.

"Steven, go back to the Daedalus." Carter told him. "We'll bring you down on the east pier. Once you've landed, beam all cargo and all but essential personnel off the ship, and prepare for inspection. Give us a couple of hours to get ready down here."

"Yes m..." Caldwell began, but stopped when he saw Carter's face clouding up.

"Don't call her ma'am." Keller said in a stage whisper. "It makes her feel old."

"It does not! Well, okay, maybe it does." Carter grinned. "But someone said I came across as a school marm, and that's what the word reminds me of. Colonel, doctor, Sam...just not that."

Caldwell stood up and moved toward the door, and Sheppard followed him. "We'll be ready for inspection thirty minutes after landing, colonel." He said.

Carter nodded, and he stepped out the door.

"John." She said quietly. "Drop him off where you picked him up, and make sure you're back inside the shield before you call Ops to approve beaming. Take your escort with you. All of them."

Sheppard nodded, and went out the door after Caldwell. They heard the elevator doors a moment later.

Carter turned back to the group still seated at the table. "Jennifer, get your paperwork together, and bring me anything you need me to sign. We'll transmit it when we return the Daedalus crew. Daniel, Andi, let's go into my office." She looked down the table at Vala as she stood up. "Tammy and Teyla, why don't you show Vala around, and see if you can find her a nice souvenir?"

Interior-Office

1050 Hours

"Tell us about that ancient outpost on P43C972, Daniel." Carter said as she leaned back in her chair. "Do you know the gate address?"

Jackson nodded, and Carter looked over at Samuels. Andi handed him a pad and a pen, and Jackson jotted down the symbols, and handed them back to her.

"Does it have shields? You might not know, if it doesn't have power. What kind of buildings does it have, and what kind of personnel are there?"

"It has a Pegasus style gate, the first one I've ever seen in the Milky Way galaxy, so it must have been a late addition. It's fairly large, more than thirty surface buildings, and a substructure underlying the central area, two hundred meters on a side, extending twelve stories down. There's no one there, Vala and I went in with an SG team. The planet is uninhabited."

Jackson looked over at her. "You said something about a gateway into the Milky Way galaxy earlier, and that you didn't need Earth. What did you mean by that?"

"Andi?" Carter said.

"We have access to another Atlantis style city, Dr. Jackson."

"Daniel."

"Thank you, Daniel. I'm Andi."

She brought up an image on her tablet, and turned it toward him.

"This is Anchorage, on P34J439. The city is being used by a family with the ancient gene. Including their court, and assorted hangers on, there are fewer than a hundred of them, with another hundred constables that they use to keep the locals in line."

"We're in the process of establishing relations with the local population, providing them with food, medicines, and tools. This is our second step in winning hearts and minds. The first step has already been taken by Col. Sheppard and his team, when they defended the locals against their oppressors in the central tower, the only part of the city being used."

She scrolled down through her notes.

"The cities ZPM is depleted, and the family no longer has use of the cities systems, drones, that they were using to control the populace. They are using edged and projectile weapons at the moment. Col. Sheppard also has good relations with the head of the ruling family, we confirmed that when we sent him back last week to inspect the city."

She brought up another image on the tablet, and handed it to him. "Scroll through those, and tell me what you think."

She sat back as he flipped through a dozen images

"These are production and manufacturing facilities. These are in that city? You've confirmed it?" He asked.

"Those are in Atlantis, but yes, we've confirmed that there are similar facilities in Anchorage. The group occupying the tower either had no use for, or forgot about the rest of the city over time. Much of city has been buried for several thousand years, but is in surprisingly good repair. Much better than I could have ever hoped for. I'd say space flight is out of the question, but the star drive works. That's how the ZPM got depleted."

"Part of my proposal to the IOA was to establish trade within the Pegasus galaxy, and export Pegasus products to the Milky Way, by way of Earth. That was going to be the main thrust of my operations." Carter said, leaning forward in her chair. "I gave them a full outline of that part of the plan. Thank god I didn't tell them anything about the rest of it."

"And you're going to negotiate with these people to use the production capacity of the city? How does the Milky Way outpost figure in?" Jackson asked.

"No, I'm going to evict them, and take the city. They're squatters anyway." Carter said lightly. "Then we're going to train the locals to help in repairing the city, then operate the equipment to mass produce ancient, Pegasus, and bootleg Earth products, and market them throughout the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies. We're going to need your outpost for that."

"So you're going to trade one set of masters for another, uprooting these people and putting them to work in your factories..."

"Oh, get off your high horse Daniel! You see how people live in the Milky Way galaxy, and it's been worse here in Pegasus. Much worse." Carter said, her face coloring. "Show him the pictures, Andi. I'm talking about moving these people into the city, Daniel. Into crew quarters and apartments near where they'll be working, feeding them, training them, and trying to improve their quality of life."

She paused and took a breath. "I want to do something about how these people live, no one else seems to want to. I want to setup pools of doctors, teachers, engineers, people that can go out into both galaxies and help get these societies going, to improve the quality of life for everyone. Don't you think that they deserve electricity, clean water, access to medicine or a basic education?"

There were tears running down her cheeks now.

"If you think that's so wrong, I'll call Sheppard and have him take you over and throw your ass through the gate right now, so you can maintain your high moral standards, and never accomplish goddamned thing."

"Sam." Andi said.

Andi stood up, opened the door and called out. "Tammy, I need you!"

"No, she's right." Jackson said, looking at Carter. "I didn't understand, because I underestimated you. I'm sorry about that. What do you want me to do?"

"You're going to need to wait for that answer, Daniel." She went around the desk and led Sam out from behind it.

Tammy came running through the door, and Andi stepped behind Carter, getting out of her way.

"Sam? Are you okay? Look at me." Tammy said, holding her arms gently as she examined her quickly.

"Fine..." Carter said softly, burying her head in her shoulder, crying freely now.

Tammy scooped her up, and went out the door. "Andi, take Daniel into the kitchen, Teyla, Jenn and Vala are in there. Explain to Daniel, then come talk to me." She disappeared around a corner.

"Come on, Daniel. We need to talk." Andi said, leading him out the door.

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