tagSci-Fi & FantasyConfirming Carter Bk. 04 Expansion Ch. 01

Confirming Carter Bk. 04 Expansion Ch. 01


The Apollo makes a discovery, Tammy has an encounter with ancients, and when things are revealed to the Travelers, they have a decision to make...


Confirming Carter Book Four, Expansion

Chapter One

Two months Later

Interior-Apollo Bridge, Sector 522R7

0535 Hours

"Exiting hyperspace in thirty seconds, sir." Wilkins said, his hands working over the controls on his console.

"Confirm." Lorne muttered, his eyes scanning the panel next to him.

"Let's hope we find some...Jesus! What the hell was that? Anybody get a look at it?" He asked as Wilkins turned the ship hard to port, barely missing a large object directly in their path.

"I only got a quick look at it while I was trying not to hit it, Major." Wilkins said, looking back over his shoulder. "But it looked man made, maybe a space station. Whatever the hell it is, it's freaking huge!"

"Not exactly military parlance there Wilkins, but that sucker was pretty big." Lorne laughed. "Bring us around, and let's get a better look at it."

"Aye sir, coming about."

A moment later, the object came into view in the bridge windows.

"Holy shit." Lorne muttered as he watched the huge structure fill the bridge windows. "Back us off, Wilkins. Let's get a better look at whatever this is." He glanced over at the weapons officer. "Start scanning that thing, Parker. Record all telemetry."

"Already scanning, sir." Parker said, not looking up from his console. "The object is over eight kilometers long, and almost three across. No life signs, but I am reading weak power output, it appears that there are multiple active ZPM's on it."

"Does it have shields?" Lorne asked.

"Affirmative sir, but just barely. We should be able to punch through with Asgard beams, no problem." Parker told him. "Right now, it looks like they're just strong enough to keep out small stuff, space debris, small asteroids, that kind of thing. We would have done some damage if we had hit it."

"Yeah, to both of us." Lorne replied. "Keep scanning, and prepare a MALP, I may want to send one over if we can find a control room." He brought up the telemetry on his panel, and started scrolling through it.

"Bring us around, and let's do a slow orbit, Wilkins. I want to see more of this thing before we start thinking about checking out what's inside."

"Aye sir, coming about. I..." Wilkins began, stopping in mid-sentence.

"I see them." Lorne said quietly, getting up from his chair and walking over to the windows. "And I don't believe it, three Aurora class cruisers."

He looked back over his shoulder, grinning at Wilkins and Parker.

"So, you think we should call the boss now, or keep poking around and see what other kind of goodies they got laying around here?" He asked them.

"We're going to need help out here, sir." Parker said quietly. He looked up at Lorne, his face pale. "I'm reading lifesigns on two of those cruisers."

"You're sure about that? How many, and where?" Lorne asked as he came around and stood behind him, looking over his shoulder.

"More than nine hundred all together, sir. They're faint, and stationary." Parker said, looking over his shoulder at him. "I think they might be in stasis pods sir."

"You may be right, Parker." Lorne said, going back over to his chair. "I think it's time to call home, and give them the news. In the meantime, let's keep looking around. I want a complete scan and a better look at that station."

Interior-Col. Sheppard's Suite

0605 Hours

Jennifer Keller grunted and rolled over, pulling the sheet up over her as the comm chirped on the nightstand. She listened as it chirped again, then smacked Sheppard on the shoulder, shaking him gently.

"That's you, answer it." She whispered as she pulled the covers around her and snuggled in. "I get to sleep till the alarm goes off."

"Ungh, okay." Sheppard grunted as he sat up, snatching his comm off the nightstand. He put it on as he walked to the bathroom.

"Go on Sheppard." He muttered as he tapped the comm. He stopped in front of the toilet, his pajamas falling around his feet as he began peeing, and he let out a long soft sigh.

"We have inbound from Apollo, colonel." The Ops tech said. "Voice and telemetry."

"Put him through." He said, shaking the last drops of urine off, then stepping out of his pants and kicking them aside as he walked out of the bathroom.

"Wait one." The Ops tech said.

"Colonel, this is Lorne. We hit the jackpot sir."

"Yeah? And just how did you do that, Lorne?" Sheppard asked as he walked out of the bedroom, heading for the kitchen. "Two weeks of wild goose chases and now you think you got something good, huh?"

"Well sir, if you don't think a space station and five Aurora class cruisers are worth getting excited about, I'd appreciate it you'd tell me what is." Lorne laughed.

Sheppard froze, dropping the coffee pot he'd just picked up to the floor with a crash.

"You wanna repeat that, Lorne?" He said slowly. "I don't think I heard you right the first time."

"Oh, you heard me right, colonel." Lorne laughed. "We found a space station, eight klicks long, and five Aurora class cruisers. Three of them are in parking orbits around the station, two are docked inside it. And colonel, we have faint lifesigns on two of them."

Sheppard leaned back against the fridge, then slid slowly down the front of it, coming to rest sitting on the floor.

"Gimme a minute, Evan." He said quietly. "I just woke up, and this is..."

"What the hell are you doing out he..." Keller said as she stormed into the room. She stopped when she saw Sheppard sitting on the floor, his head in his hands. "John? What's wrong? Did something happen to..."

"Huh? No, nothing bad, babe." He said, looking up at her. "It's good news if you want the god's honest truth. I'm just having trouble getting my head around it."

"Evan." He said to Lorne. "Give me an hour to get everyone together. I'm not going to tell them what you found, I think you should do that. We'll contact you when we're ready. In the meantime, you keep looking around, maybe you'll find something else."

"Copy that sir. We just found the control room for the station, and I'd like to send a MALP over." Lorne told him. "I thought it would be best to hold off sending anyone over till we get science teams in here."

"Yeah, let's wait on sending boarding parties, but go ahead and send the MALP." Sheppard said, getting to his feet. He picked up the coffee pot and walked over to the counter. "Sheppard out."

"What's going on, John?" Jennifer said as she came over and took the coffee pot from him. "When I saw you sitting there..."

"Lorne found something...something big." He said, a slow smile spreading across his face. "Can you make coffee while I get dressed? I need to start waking people up. This is gonna keep us busy for a while."

Interior-Col. Carter's Suite, Kitchen

0625 Hours

"I get it!" Gerran said as the comm on the wall chirped. He dragged a chair over and climbed up on it, then carefully pressed the speaker button. "Hello?"

"Gerran?" Sheppard laughed. "Is Tammy there, or the colonel?"

"We're here, John." Sam said, coming over behind Gerran. She lifted him off the chair and put him on the floor, motioning for him to move the chair back out of the way. "We were just about to order breakfast."

"Well, we heard from Apollo a little while ago. Lorne found something you're going to want to know about. We're meeting in the conference center. I already have Caldwell, Samuels, McKay and the rest of the senior staff heading over there." Sheppard told her. "And I ordered food sent over, since we're meeting so early."

"We can do that I guess." She said, smiling as she watched Geraan push the chair back under the table. "So what did he find?"

"I told him I'd let him tell you, I didn't want to steal his thunder." Sheppard laughed. "I'm headed over there now, so I'll see you in a few minutes."

"Okay, John." She laughed. "Tammy's still in the shower, so give us fifteen or twenty minutes. Carter out."

"Let's go get Tammy and Phinnar, Geraan. It sounds like we're going to have a busy morning."

"Okay. I get her." Geraan grinned, yelling as he ran out of the room. "Tammy! Colonel Sam wants you!"

"I should hope so." Tammy laughed as she came out of the bedroom. She had Phinnar over her shoulder, and was tickling him as she walked.

"Sheppard just called." Sam said, following Geraan over. She watched as he wrapped his arms around Tammy's leg, hugging her, then leaned close and lifted Phinnar from her shoulder and sat him on the floor. Taking Tammy in her arms, she kissed her lightly, then leaned back, smiling at her.

"Shepphard heard from Apollo, and he says Lorne thinks they found something. We're meeting in the conference room to find out what it is. Sheppard said he ordered breakfast."

"He didn't tell you what they found?" Tammy asked.

"Nope, he said he didn't want to steal Lorne's thunder, so I'm thinking it's something good."

"Well, these two are dressed and ready to go, so let's go on over there, before they start whining about being hungry."

Interior-Conference room, North Tower

0645 Hours

The senior staff was already seated around the conference table when they came in, and Tammy waved for them to stay seated as they started to rise.

"Finish your breakfast, everyone." She said as she led Geraan and Phinnar over to the buffet. "I need a minute to get these two something to eat, then I'll be right with you."

"So what have you got, John?" Sam asked as she followed Tammy over to the buffet. She picked up a plate and started loading it with food as she looked over at him.

"Apollo is in Sector 522R7, colonel." Sheppard told her, bringing up a graphic of the area on the monitors around the room. "The system they're in has six planets, three of them class "M", so they're habitable. There are also almost a hundred moons in the system, so we might be able to mine some of them for resources."

"Are there any ancient outposts on any of the planets?" Sam asked, coming over and taking her seat at the table.

"I don't think they've looked at the planets yet." Sheppard grinned. "But I'll let Lorne tell you what's going on."

Sheppard tapped at his laptop, and a moment later, Lorne appeared on the monitors around the room. He was looking down at the panel on his armrest, and was turning to say something when he noticed that the comm had gone live.

"Oh, good morning everyone." He grinned. "If you'll excuse me, we're in the middle of something, and I need a minute." He got up and went over to stand behind the weapons control officer, leaning over his shoulder as he spoke quietly to him.

Sam watched as he reached over and pressed several buttons, then flicked a series of switches. She glanced over at Sheppard, but he was watching what was happening on the monitors.

Lorne straightened up and went back over to his chair, then looked up and grinned at the monitor.

"Sorry about that, colonel. But we just got the second MALP positioned, and I wanted to make sure it was active." He said.

"That's fine, Evan." Sam said lightly. "So what have you got out there, and why are you sending out MALP's?"

"You have to see it to believe it, colonel." He laughed as he switched the comm over to the ships exterior cameras. "And if you want the truth, I still don't believe it myself. But allow me to present the ancient space station, 'Creonimus'."

Lorne was replaced on the monitors with an image of the space station, and he did a voice over as the camera slowly panned in.

"As near as we can tell, the station is eight kilometers long, three kilometers wide, and just over a one kilometer high. By volume, this station is several times larger than Atlantis. There are thirty-nine docking bays on each side, and a drydock that takes up almost a quarter of what I'm calling the aft end. We found the control room in the forward section a little while ago."

The view changed as the Apollo moved slowly around the station, and two of the Aurora class cruisers came into view in the drydock.

"These are the 'Anophinus' and the 'Crelopelion'." Lorne said as the camera zoomed in for a better view of the two ships. "Both are space worthy, and were in for minor repairs and resupply."

As the Apollo continued around the station, the other cruisers came into view. "The other three ships, the 'Merassipal', 'Rorceliea', and 'Konasinil', have all been refitted and resupplied, and with the exception of needing ZPM's, are ready for service."

"You were right, Evan." Sam said, staring at the screens. "I wouldn't have believed it if you had just told us about them. But those names aren't going to work. We'll have to come up with something easier to pronounce."

"What I want to know," Caldwell said, "Is how the hell do you know so much about the station and those ships. Have you boarded them already?"

"No sir," Lorne answered. "We beamed a MALP over into the stations control room, and accessed the logs remotely. Being able to read and speak ancient really came in handy for that. We've got almost a third of the logs downloaded so far, that's what we were doing when you contacted us, swapping out memory modules on the MALP."

"The MALP's are configured to work with ancient equipment now? Who did that?" McKay asked.

"No, Dr. McKay, we can set the MALP to receive a high speed data burst, then just go through it later." Lorne told him. "The problem we're having is the memory modules on the MALP's, they can't hold as much as the ancient equivalent, so we're having to swap them out."

He paused, then spoke to Sam.

"I don't know if Col. Sheppard told you, colonel, but we have life signs on two of the cruisers orbiting the station." He said. "Col. Sheppard and Dr. McKay handled that last time, and to be honest, I'm not sure just how to go about contacting them, or breaking the news that they've been in status for god only knows how long."

"When we found the Aurora, the crew had been in stasis for almost ten thousand years, and their bodies were virtually moribund." McKay said. "If they've been in stasis for the same amount of time..."

"I doubt if reviving them is going to be an option." Sheppard finished for him, looking down the table at Carter.

"Even so, these people are still alive." Samuels began. "Do we have the right to..."

"We don't know anything right now, Andi." Sam said, glancing over at Tammy. "From what I read, the crew of the Aurora was in a virtual reality of some kind, and Rodney and John were able to communicate with them. If these people have the same kind of setup..."

"We're going to have to do something soon, colonel." Lorne said. "From the readings we're getting from those two ships, the ZPM's are nearly depleted, and some of the pods on one of them have already failed. It's amazing that they've lasted this long."

"We'll take ZPM's with us when we go out there. All the ships, and the station are going to need them if we're going to bring them back here." Tammy said, looking around the table. "We can check to see if the crew has this virtual reality thing you were talking about, and if they do, we'll worry about what to do then."

"You said we, Tammy." Andi said. "Are you planning on going out there?"

"Yeah, it just makes sense." Tammy replied, looking down the table at Andi, then turning to look at Sam. "I'm more likely to have the training on how to pilot the ships and the station take than anyone else. I was thinking that we move those ships into the drydock with the other two, then bring the whole kit-n-kaboodle back here, where it will do us some good."

"I really don't like the idea of you going out there." Sam said slowly. "But I think you might be right. And if we do have to try to communicate with these people, I can't think of anyone that could break it to them better than you can."

"It's going to take a couple hours to put together science teams, and get the Daedalus loaded up, so we have time to think about what we're going to do." Sheppard said.

"Can we slow down, and think about this for a second?" Caldwell asked. He turned and looked over at one of the monitors.

"Lorne, scan those planets and see if there's a gate on any of them. We may be able to go another route if there is. We can just have jumpers ferry people over if there's a gate in that system."

"Yes sir." Lorne answered. "That sounds like a good idea. If we can get science teams and ZPM's in here by jumper, the Daedalus doesn't need to make the trip. We'll break off our scans on the station and check the planets for gates. The MALP still needs another half hour on the current download."

"That's what I'm thinking too." Caldwell said. "I don't like the idea of leaving Atlantis without cover unless we have too."

He turned back and looked around the table.

"And if we go with Tammy's idea, we don't need to send science teams. We just load those cruisers into the drydock, and bring everything back here. It will be alot easier, and alot safer doing it that way."

"Which brings up another question." Andi said, looking over at Tammy. "Do we really want to be sending one of the queens out to do this? The Travelers already have people trained to pilot their Aurora class cruisers, training one of them on how to pilot the station shouldn't be that hard."

"No, Andi." Tammy said. "I want that station and those cruisers for us. We need them for our navy. If we bring the Travelers in on this, they may want a piece of the action. So we're going to bring them back here, check them out, then tell them what we found."

"I don't know how much this is going to help." Lorne said. "But there are more than sixty smaller vessels docked with the station right now, and I believe that there may be other ships in the drydock. I haven't gotten to that part of the log yet. If you decide to cut the travelers in, you're going to have lots to offer."

"That's good to know Evan." Sam said. She paused, looking around the room. "Let's let Evan do his scans for a gate in that system. In the meantime, we'll get Tammy started on training to pilot that station, get ZPM's together, and start assembling science teams just in case we need to send them out."

"That sounds like a plan." Sheppard said as he stood up. He looked over at Caldwell. "Stephen, let's meet in my office in twenty minutes. Zelenka, you and McKay come too. You'll be going with Tammy, Rodney. You can tell her about what happened last time, and you need to be onsite to plug her in anyway."

Interior-Col. Carter's Suite, Office

0750 Hours

"Can you look at the scans the Apollo did on the station and those cruisers?" Tammy asked. She was sitting at her terminal, going through the database looking for training on the stations and the ships. "We can rotate a ZPM between the ships as we move them into the dock, but I need to know how many we're going to need to power that station up."

"McKay and Larrin told me that the Aurora class uses two ZPM's, but I can look at the scans of the station and see what they show. We may have to go into the database and pull up a schematic." Sam told her. "I want to send two for each cruiser, we might as well have them powered up, it's not like we don't have any lying around or anything."

"And we're going to be bringing some back." Tammy answered, reaching down and pulling a memory module out of her terminal. She stood up and stretched as she looked down at Sam. "I have the schematics on the station already if you want to look them over. I'm gonna go down and have Susan put me through the training I'm going to need. I just finished downloading all of it."

"Okay, I'm looking at the scans of the station now." Sam said, leaning back in her chair. "Going over the original schematics might be faster though. From what I can tell, there's two ZPM's active on it, but there's minimal output from them."

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