tagSci-Fi & FantasyConfirming Carter Bk. 02 Daedalus Ch. 07

Confirming Carter Bk. 02 Daedalus Ch. 07

byRibaldWriter©

Caldwell leads the Atlantian fleet on mission against the Wraith, with devastating results. The Atlantian's get an unexpected visit from the Traveler's, and Tammy takes on a new role...

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Confirming Carter Book Two Daedalus

Chapter Seven

Interior-Living Room

0645 Hours

Caldwell came out of the elevator and went into the kitchen, finding it empty. He went back down the hall, and found Tammy lying on the living room floor with Geraan, showing him a math game on a tablet.

"Is the colonel up?" He asked, looking around and nodding at Ronin.

"She should be out in a minute." Tammy said. "Our little friend here was up at six. Sleep wasn't an option after that." She smiled up at him. "Congratulations, Steven. You did well yesterday, both in what you accomplished, and your restraint."

"Thank you." He said, looking toward the door of the bedroom as Carter came out, buttoning her vest.

"Good morning, Steven." She smiled. "I didn't think I'd see you till later." She said as she came over and sat on the couch.

"I didn't want to wait till our meeting. I have..."

"Ronin, would you take Geraan and get him something to eat please?" She said as she held up her hand, silencing him.

Ronin nodded, scooping the boy up and holding him at arms length as he squirmed and kicked at him. They were both laughing as they went into the kitchen.

"What's on your mind, Steven? You look...out with it. What's wrong?" She asked.

Tammy came over and sat next to her, and Caldwell looked at her, then back at Carter.

"What you say to me, is if you said it to both of us. So speak your mind, Steven." She said, glancing over at Tammy.

Caldwell nodded, then dropped to one knee, bowing his head in front of them.

"Steven..."

"I come to ask a boon, my queens."

"What do you wish, Steven? We will grant whatever is in our power."

Tammy gripped her hand, and shook her head when Sam looked at her. Caldwell still had his head bowed, and Tammy held up her hand, the back to Sam, wiggling her ring finger, then tapped her fingers on her wrist.

"What is this boon, Steven?" She asked again. "It must be of great importance for you to hold your tongue so long."

"I wish to marry, my queens. But I cannot, without your permission...and your blessing." He said, looking up at her.

"We give our blessing freely, Steven, but cannot give our permission. We do not yet have the right." She said, looking him in the eye.

Caldwell sagged slightly, then drew himself up. "I understand. I had hoped...but other affairs must be attended to." He started to rise, but stopped when she kept looking at him.

"We think it will be a good union. And will allow it at the first opportunity. You have our word." She said as she took his hand. "Aside from our own affairs, we must seek the permission of the Athosians, and see that a proper dowry is offered. Our Lord of the Admiralty is not someone to be passed off lightly, neither is a lady of her station. These things cannot be rushed into."

"I..."

"The ambassador knows these things. Does she know that you are here?" Carter asked.

"I told her that I would speak with you." He said. "I didn't wake her before I left."

"Have you asked for her hand?" Tammy asked.

"No, my lady. I was told that I must have the queen's consent."

"I'm sorry to pry, Steven. But I must know how this idea got into your head. For the sake of the realm, not my own curiosity."

"I decided the night I surrendered my ship, at the party." He told her. "But last night, Teyla welcomed me home. She said that wives and mistresses welcomed warriors home, but that she was only a lover."

"And then?"

"I told her that it would not befit a woman of her position to be anyone's mistress. And she told me that I would need your permission to marry. That my office may require me to marry for political purposes."

"Thank you, Steven. Rise." Carter said as she stood up. "I'll see you at the meeting. In the meantime, would you tell the ambassador that I would like to speak to her as soon as she can drag her ass out of your bed?" She spun on her heel and went into her bedroom.

Caldwell stared after her. Tammy took his arm and led him to the elevator. "Tell Teyla that she should get here soon."

Interior-Office

0730 Hours

"What the hell were you thinking Teyla?" Carter shouted as Teyla came in the door. Tammy closed it behind her, and took a seat, motioning for her to sit next to her. "Do you have any idea what you've done by putting these ideas in his head? You couldn't have waited a few weeks, let us get settled? You knew I was going to give him to you! Why, Teyla? Why would you do this to us?"

"I meant no harm, Samantha." Teyla said. "I welcomed him home, as you consented to. I wished only to..."

"I gave you my consent to sleep with him, to reward him for his deeds, not position yourself as his wife!" Carter said, standing over her, glaring down at her angrily. "I had to say no, Teyla! He was here less than an hour ago, asking my permission to marry, and I had to say no!"

Teyla and Tammy watched as she paced angrily back and forth in front of her desk.

"You're going to help me fix this, Teyla. I'm not leaving that man hanging, and letting this get to him. We can't let this turn him against us, either of us. It's always the little slights that cause the most harm." She said as she turned to face her. "I need him on top of his game, and now I can't send him out to do something we both want, and know needs to be done, because his mind isn't going to be where it belongs!"

"Steven will do as he is asked. You know this Samantha." Teyla said, looking up at her. "He will do this thing for you. And for me."

"But his heart won't be in it, Teyla." Carter said softly as she dropped to her knees in front of her. "He'll be thinking that we have something, someone, else in mind, and it may poison him towards us. He knew nothing of how things..."

She laid her head on Teyla's knees, shaking it slowly. "I know you didn't mean to do this, Teyla. You spoke to him with your heart. I can't fault you for that." She looked up at her. "But we may have damaged him, and we have to find a way to fix that. Do you understand what I'm saying."

"I will talk to him, and explain..."

"No, we need to talk to him. Together." Carter said. "I need to apologize, I said something nasty before he left, and that was uncalled for. Then we'll tell him what we're going to do."

"What are you going to do if he says he doesn't like our plans?" Tammy asked.

"What else can I do? I'm going to fire him, give him his ship back, and wish him luck as a pirate."

"Samantha! You would not do such a thing!" Teyla said, gripping her arms and shaking her. "Do not say that, even in jest! He is an honorable man, and will do the right thing!"

Carter looked down at her hand gripping her arm, and Teyla released her. "Is that what you want Teyla, for him to do the right thing? Or do you want him because he loves you. And he does love you. I hurt him when I said no, and it tore my heart out to have to do it."

"I wish for him to do both, but I desire his love more." Teyla smiled.

"Then call him. And hope that we can save it."

* * * * *

Caldwell came in a few minutes later, and stood quietly, waiting for her to speak.

"Steven, I want to tell you that I'm sorry." Carter said as she stepped in front of him. "What I said as I left the room earlier was uncalled for, and rude. I had no right to say that about my friend, and the woman you love. I hope that you can forgive me."

"I understood, colonel. I didn't realize what was involved, or at stake." Caldwell said, looking her in the eye. "I thought I could ask, have you say yes, and have you marry us after the coron..."

"You were going to wait? This isn't something you were going to want to do quickly?" She asked.

"No, of course not." He said, looking back and forth between Carter and Teyla. "I still need to meet Teyla's people, and you're right, I need their consent too. But I couldn't think of any one else that I'd want to marry us, a loyal member of the court and a trusted friend being joined? That just screams for the queen herself to perform the ceremony."

"And just when were you going to spring that on me?" Carter laughed. She looked at Teyla. "Did you know anything about this?"

"I had no idea." Teyla said, looking at him in wonder. "He continues to surprise me. Much to my delight."

"Would one of you tell me what's going on please?" Caldwell said. "I'm starting to get nervous, because there's something else going on that I don't know about."

"No, if you're happy waiting till after the coronation, it would be my pleasure to marry you." Carter said, taking his hands. "Teyla told me of your feelings for her, not that I didn't see them, and hers for you. You just took me by surprise this morning, and I handled it badly."

"It didn't seem that way to me." Caldwell said. "You gave me your blessing, and explained why you couldn't give your consent, and when I thought about it, it made perfect sense." He looked at her, his eyes narrowing. "You thought I would take it as a slight, and let it fester. That's why we're all here now."

"Yes, I wanted you both to know that I want you to be together, and hope you share a long happy life. But this is not the right time and I..."

"May I, Samantha?" Teyla said as she stood up and took his hand. "I misspoke when we were speaking of wives and mistresses, and when you said would speak to her, I was so filled with joy, I never thought of the consequences, and how they may affect you. Samantha was correct in what she said to me, her only thought was that we not cause you harm. I am glad to hear that you, at least, have given this thought. We must speak of plans, together, so we do not stumble like this again."

He nodded

"Well?" Tammy said, looking up at him.

"Excuse me?" Caldwell asked.

"Are you going to ask her or not?" Tammy said with a grin.

"Don't you think they might want some privacy for that?" Sam said, trying not to smile.

"He has not said the words, which I do not need." Teyla said. "He speaks his love in other ways, that are much more meaningful and satisfying. And I accept eagerly, everytime he asks."

Tammy opened her mouth, then closed it when Sam arched an eyebrow and shook her head.

Caldwell colored slightly, and nodded to her. "Will you?" He said simply

"Yes." Teyla smiled. "Provided of course, that my family approves of you."

Interior-Conference Room, North Tower

0930 Hours

"Before we begin, I'd like to make an announcement." Carter said, looking over at Caldwell.

He nodded, looking down at his tablet.

"Our Lord Caldwell is betrothed, He has asked for Ambassador Emmagan's hand, and she has graciously said yes." She told them. "I have given my blessing and consent to their union, and will perform the ceremony after our coronation." She got to her feet, looking down the table at him. "Well done, Steven. May you have many joyful years together."

Sheppard, O'Neill, Bra'tac and Samuels, got to their feet, applauding politely, and Caldwell blushed, waving them to their seats.

"Now. Steven, if you would tell us what you saw, and your thoughts. We've reviewed the data, but I want to hear what you have to say."

"I've never seen anything like it. We counted forty-one hives, and stopped counting the cruisers after we hit a two hundred. That's over a third of the hives that we know about. We had two close calls, when darts almost collided with us." Caldwell grinned

"You're sure you weren't detected?" O'Neill asked.

"One of those darts went by so close to the bridge windows, I could see the Wraith inside it. He had no idea we were there." Caldwell told him. "We sat on top of the Primary's hive, and scanned the length of it twice, at low power, and they didn't give any indication that they knew anything was going on. We scanned more than half those hives, mostly on the perimeter, and they went on like business as usual."

"There's alot of traffic between those ships. Half the hives had cruisers docked, and shuttles were leaving alot of them every few minutes." He said, bringing up a video on the monitors around the room.

"Jezzus, you flew through that?" Sheppard said softly as he stared at the ever shifting cluster of ships.

"Half a dozen times." He turned to Carter. "I'd like to promote Marks. He's early, but the man is a genius at the helm."

"You haven't told me what your structure is going to be yet." Carter said. "So I think we should wait on promoting anyone until we know what kind of system we're going to use. How would you feel about a knighthood? Much more prestigious, and it gives us some other options."

Caldwell nodded. "John and I haven't talked about it, but I'm in favor of keeping the current system in place across all branches. And I think he'd make a good knight of the realm. I'm just not sure he'd accept it. He's doesn't take praise easily, or lightly. Does a place in the court come with the title, or are there other duties? I don't know much about royalty."

"We can have something ready in case he declines. We're not adding to the court right now, not below the command level, so we'll assign other duties as the need arises, but for now, his place is at the helm of the Daedalus. We still have to crew up the Apollo, I'd like your backup helmsman for that."

She looked up at O'Neill. "Feeling lively, Jack? Do you think you'd like to command the Apollo, in addition to your duties as an advisor?"

O'Neill shook his head. "No, I will if I have to, but this is a younger man's game now. I think Lorne is the best choice to put in that chair. He has command experience, he's smart, and he's loyal."

"I agree." Caldwell said. "He took a damaged ancient ship, still under repair, into battle. When they couldn't get the weapons systems up, he set it on a collision course for a hive, and beamed off at the last minute."

"I don't like giving him up." Sheppard said. "But he is the best choice. He'll take good care of the Apollo."

"I agree too." Carter said. She looked down the table at Samuels. "Andi, your thoughts?"

"He's the best man for the job, and we owe him." Samuels said. "Let him take some of his people with him, so he'll still be in his comfort zone."

She looked around the table. "John should tell him, with you there Sam. That way he'll know that he has the support of both of you. We can transition him over to the navy gradually, so we don't rattle him."

"That makes sense." Carter said. "But are you okay, Andi? You've been quiet today."

"I'm not used to sitting on a war council, and I feel out of place." Samuels said. "I can tell you about the people, but I can't guide you in this. I lack the skills you need."

"I understand, we have experienced people here to advise on the military matters, but I'd still like you to sit in. You may have an insight like what you said about Lorne. I need what you have to say about dealing with people."

She turned to Caldwell. "What would you do, based on what you saw in that cluster? Can we drop nukes on some those hives, and be able to get to a safe distance before they go off?"

Caldwell brought up a graphic on the monitors. "This is a basic hive ship, we made up this composite based on the scans we took. Most of them are laid out roughly the same." He highlighted an area on the picture. "These look like holds, and the same spaces are on every ship. They're not living areas, or sleep cells, and there is almost no movement in these spaces. That's where we drop our nukes."

She turned to Sheppard. "How many have we got on hand, John? Are we going to be able to cover all that?"

"We'll only need twenty or so colonel." Caldwell said, bringing up another graphic. "With the way they're sitting, we space our nukes out, every third ship around the perimeter, one in the middle, on the Primary's hive, and a few in this inner ring. With the secondary's we'll get off the cruisers, that whole thing is going to go up like a supernova."

"We've seen what happens when a hive ship goes up, it takes everything close with it." Sheppard said. "Most of these are sitting less than a hundred miles apart, so I think Steven is right. We're not just going to get secondary's off the cruisers, but off the nearby hives as well. We've got close to eighty nukes on hand, so I think we should send forty nukes, and go every second ship. We spend a little, to get alot."

"That makes sense." O'Neill said. "It won't be a deathblow, but it will knock the wind out of them for a long time, and give the people of this galaxy time to regroup, and get ready to fight back when the next round of cullings comes."

"My concern is that these Wraith will know who has done this, even if you are unseen committing the act." Bra'tac said as he looked at the images on the monitor. "They will respond in kind, attacking Atlantis with the full might of the forces they have remaining."

"All the better." Carter told him. "This city has shields for the three outer piers, and a main shield that covers the whole city that can be used independently, or together. It also has a stardrive, and a chair weapons platform. And six fully charged ZPM's. Anchorage has the same. With Anchorage up and running, I have no qualms about taking the fight to them with Atlantis. We're not going to just defend anymore."

She looked down the table at Samuels. "Do you have a drone count, Andi?"

Samuels opened a file on her tablet, and brought up a chart on the monitor. "We're fully stocked with drones, and we're shipping what we're making now to Anchorage to bring it's stores up. They're at a little over forty percent capacity right now. We need another week to get them maxed out."

"So we're better armed and equipped than anyone in Pegasus has been since the Ancients first went to war with the Wraith." Carter told them. "I'm not interested in committing genocide, but the Wraith are a threat to everyone in this galaxy, and if I can't eliminate them, then culling them for a change is just as good."

She looked at Sheppard. "We'll talk to Lorne when we're done here. I want minimum crews on both ships, we don't want to send people who aren't needed, and put them at risk."

"When do you want us to go?" Caldwell asked, typing on his tablet.

"You're going to have to tell me that." Carter answered. "Get the Apollo crewed, and both ships loaded. Take twenty-five nukes each. Use what you have to, but make them count. I want a realistic estimate of when you think you can go. I won't be disappointed if it's not today. Apollo's crew will need to be briefed on the mission, so take your time, and do it right. Review your final plan with me when you think you're ready."

"Apollo is crewed, and they've been doing shakedowns with the cloaking systems. We just need to put Lorne, his people and the helmsman on her, and they can go." Sheppard said.

"Like I said, tell me when you're ready, but keep it realistic." Carter said. "Let's go talk to Lorne. We'll do it in the conference room in the Central Tower, unless you think your office would be better."

Interior-Col. Carter's Office, Central Tower

1100 Hours

"Come in Evan." Carter said, holding out her hand as he stepped into her office. "It's good to see you. I hope we're not keeping you too busy?"

"No ma'am, we're getting things together, and the different units are starting to mesh." He smiled. "It's taking the military longer to adjust to having civilians on their teams, but they're all learning from each other. To be honest, I wasn't sure it was going to work, but we're seeing good results."

"Good, have a seat, we'd like to talk to you." She said as she sat down.

"Evan, we'd like you to take command of the Apollo." Sheppard said as he leaned against the desk. "Col. Carter, Gen. O'Neill, and Col. Caldwell all agree that you're the best man for the job. We're prepping her for a mission, and need you to take command immediately."

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