The warm natural sunlight from the large windows of the gateroom and the stark ceiling lights above fill the room overwhelmingly with light. A distinct contrast to everything inside of it ranging from the well cared for, jewel-toned bindings of the law books in the elegant bookshelf filling the entire back wall to the people. Richard Woolsey, loosened jaw inside his mouth, and Colonel Steven Caldwell, firmly on the edge of determination, stare in shock at Lieutenant Ursula Kenmore in between Caldwell and an empty guest chair, breathlessly bent over Woolsey’s desk. She’s just burst into Woolsey’s office and blurted out the impossible. There is no way…
“Anubis,” Woolsey asks, “Are you certain?”
He hadn’t moved since she’s burst in. Frozen…
“It’s the only explanation,” she breathes, gripping the top of his desk like it was the last lifesaver on any sinking ship.
Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard and Teyla Emmagan, who had been in pursuit of Lieutenant Kenmore and had stopped on the room’s solid, clear glass threshold, finally step into Woolsey’s office. It feels so distinctly different in here than when John was waiting for Jacob Carter and Selmak to arrive.
“But how,” Woolsey questions, “As I understood it SG-One relocated Anubis and his host to an ice planet, effectively trapping him there. And even when he did somehow manage to escape that planet later on, a mission record filed by Doctor Daniel Jackson claimed that he had encountered a persona of Anubis at what he called the Astral,” he was never going to get used to saying this next word, it just didn’t sound right, “Diner. There he said Oma Desala locked with Anubis in what he called ‘eternal struggle’. He said neither one could win which prevents Oma Desala from helping others to ascend while simultaneously forcing Anubis to concentrate and put all of his focus and power into fighting her back. Preventing him from ever harming the Milky Way or returning there ever again.”
“When the Stargate program was, was,” Kenmore coughs, her lungs using the body’s natural reaction to oxygen deprivation, then continues; her breathing getting somewhere back to normal, “first put into use after Apophis came through it, we would randomly dial gates with addresses Daniel got from the Abydos cartouche. We didn’t know where we were going, that’s why we developed the MALPs. What if someone dialed that ice planet the same way we do, without knowing?”
“Even so, the host’s body—”
“The body wouldn’t have gone more than a few steps from the gate on that planet, it wouldn’t be able to,” she cuts Caldwell off at the pass, “And we all know what the initial flush of the wormhole can do to someone too close to it.”
“Even so, what about Oma Desala in the Astral Diner,” Woolsey voices his last reservation. Even though it didn’t seem like it, he had great faith in the Ancients. Despite their rules of non-interference. Richard had even grown to admire Oma Desala especially over the years of his dealings and receiving the reports of the SG teams, ironically. He liked that she did not hold to those non-interference rules as staunchly as her fellow Ascended Ancients do. And he had great faith in her abilities especially. Even in the mission report Daniel said that the only time the ‘Others’ in the diner actually seemed to pay attention to something other than themselves was when Oma Desala challenged Anubis. They were watching the struggle and Richard Woolsey highly doubted that if Anubis won, the ‘Others’ would let him escape so easily to destroy or harm anyone in the Milky Way… or the Pegasus.
“Daniel also said that the other Ascended helped Oma Desala descend Anubis, but,” Lieutenant Kenmore holds up her finger and glances pointedly at both men, “but they only partially descended him as a punishment for her not being able to obey the rules about non-interference. They let him keep part of his Ascended knowledge and they let him go back into the galaxy. She did too. Not to mention that in that damn diner of theirs, while Daniel was there, while he was talking to Oma Desala, while the Others were all sittin’ around lost in their own personal little la-la lands, Anubis was securing control of Dakara and was getting ready to destroy all life in the Milky Way. None of them, not even the great Oma Desala everybody loves so much, was stopping that. She was too busy chattin’ up Daniel. And it was only when Daniel tried to go after Anubis himself in the diner that Oma Desala finally got a fire under her ass to go after Anubis herself.”
“But Anubis could only assume control of Dakara while using Ba’al, a non-ascended thoroughly human—yes, while still a Goa’uld—being, as a middle man,” Richard’s former attorney side counters.
“Ba’al wasn’t the one commanding the Kull warriors on Dakara. He was with Sam and Jacob. At that point, Anubis was the one moving all the pawns around the board,” Woolsey eyes her as she goes on, “And contrary to popular opinion, Ancients, even ascended, are not all powerful,” a tense silence falls, “I think we know who won the struggle now.”
Her own horrific final imagining doesn’t have to be envisioned by the seated men. She’s pled her case well enough. Caldwell jumps up.
“I’ll take the Daedalus and go blow that mothership apart.”
Kenmore straightens up and turns to him.
“That won’t work. It’s a Ha’Tak class mothership. Our ships can’t return the firepower and our weapons can’t penetrate the shields. Anyways, how do you think that lockdown happened in the first place? He survived out in orbit until another ship came close enough for him to hitch a ride. Just blowing the thing up isn’t going to be enough. It wasn’t enough then. And I doubt it’s magically become sure enough now. Ori not withstanding.”
“But you guys said she’s dead in the water.”
“Not entirely. We took out the tanks, where do you think all of that power’s gone now?”
“But there’s no one to power it,” Steven wasn’t about to give up on the idea of such an easy solution as a massive onslaught of pretty damn decent firepower.
Woolsey stands up.
“What about Colonel Ellis and Selmak,” he asks, “The other symbiotes?”
Kenmore doesn’t have to look away from Caldwell in order to answer Woolsey, “Are they still heading for the Milky Way?”
Caldwell reaches up to his earpiece and activates it.
“Daedalus, this is Caldwell. Respond.”
“This is the Daedalus. Colonel, what’s the problem,” came a female Tech’s voice almost instantly.
“Is General Carter’s tel’tak still leaving the Pegasus Galaxy?”
“Let me check, Sir,” there was a pause, the silence was edgier than a wait like that usually was, “Yes Sir, it is.”
“And is the Apollo still escorting it?”
Another wait on the tech’s line—John wanted to step in and say something but the air was too thick to, he wasn’t sure what reception he’d get—then, “Yes Sir, she is.”
“Then let them go,” Kenmore says, “Anubis was heading to the Pegasus, not away from it.”
Caldwell nods at her then says to the Tech, “Alright, keep an eye on both ships and tell me if either one’s flight paths change in the slightest for as long as we can detect them.”
Caldwell breaks his earpiece’s connection to his ship in orbit.
“What about the personnel we sent to help Colonel Ellis load those tanks before he left the city,” Woolsey asks. Thinking of the safety of those under his command and care.
“Have any been to see Keller? The last time Anubis attacked the SGC…,” Kenmore leads.
“His hosts got sick,” Woolsey nods and activates his own earpiece, “Woolsey to Doctor Keller.”
“Keller here,” the small radio emitted her voice.
“Have any of the personnel that helped Colonel Ellis load the symbiotes reported to the medical wards yet?”
“They would have shown symptoms by now,” Kenmore tells him, “If anything they’d have an elevated white blood count that be doing something to them.”
He nods at her and returns his attention to the blind distance he normally did when he was talking to the little device hooked over his right ear.
“If they do, Doctor, inform me at once,” he instructs.
“I will,” Keller replied sounding confused but undertaking the order anyway.
Woolsey breaks the piece’s connection then turns to Kenmore, “Why would Anubis be heading to the Pegasus Galaxy?”
That was a tricky one, but Kenmore already had a thought for it.
“We kicked his ass and basically everybody back home knows we’ve found Atlantis, the Lost City of the Ancients. It would figure he’d want to go someplace where he figure’d we’re just a mindless bunch of humans running around someplace we couldn’t possibly figure out how to use properly unlike him. He might think he can rebuild and replan his empire from here. Easily.”
Sheppard finally has to step in, “Whoa, whoa, wait. Are you saying you think there’s more Goa’uld in the Pegasus?”
Kenmore turns to him, “Anubis isn’t exactly a Goa’uld.”
“Then what is he,” he asks.
“A fallen Ascended being,” she tells him.
Sheppard stares at her and swallows hard.