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Knife Edge, part 3: Back to Earth

 

In orbit of P5X-729, 2002

The clamshell doors of Andromeda’s command deck opened without a sound, and SG-1 got their first look at the warship’s brain. Dylan turned to look at them, “Good you’ve arrived.”

O’Neill was looking round, “Nice. Why didn’t we see this last time we where here?”

Rommie smiled, “Because when we first met you, we thought you where ether insane or lying. These are a highly restricted part of my ship-self, and not normally open to visitors.” She looked at Jonas, “What’s up with him?”

 The young man smiled, “Sorry: first time on a Commonwealth starship. I’ve read all the reports about your previous contact with the SGC, but I never thought I’d be here myself.”

Rommie raised an eyebrow, “You’re not part-Perseid by any chance?”

Dylan shook his head, “Look, if we can get back to business here: should we head to Earth, or contact the SGC from here?”

O’Neill shrugged, “How long would it take to get to Earth from here?”

Andromeda’s holographic form appeared near him, “Approximately 27-muinets by slipstream.”

Jacob was stunned; “It took 4 times that to get here in our Teltac! What’s your maximum speed?”

Rommie looked at him, “Time and distance don’t mean as much as you think in slipstream. Your ship’s drive system, what you call its ‘hyper-drive’, does not fully connect you with slipstream, so you travel at what seems to be a slower speed.”

O’Neill nodded, “Cool. Could we see this ‘slipstream’? You know, fully operational and all.”

Dylan nodded, “Rommie, if you would call Beka to command.”

Teal’c took a slight step forward, “If I am permitted to ask a question, Captain Hunt.”

Dylan nodded, “Certainly.”

Teal’c nodded, “How can we understand you, and you apparently us, when on our last meeting, only Andromeda and Mr. Harper where able to without assistance?”

Carter and O’Neill looked at each other, realization dawning on their faces.

Dylan laughed, “I was waiting for one of you to pick up on that. Commander Thor implanted several languages in our head, in case we needed them during this mission. Earth-standard English being on of them.”

O’Neill smiled, “Cool. Could have used that in High School when I was trying to learn French.”

The doors opened again, admitting Beka, Tyr and Harper. The young engineer smiled, “Hey guys.” He turned to Dylan, “Ok, we’ve retrieved our Slipfighter, and Rommie teleported that shuttle up to the hanger. I’m going to want to have a look at that while we have it.”

Carter, “You teleported our shuttle up? But it was cloaked!”

Rommie snorted, “A simple electro-magnetic field used to bend electro-magnetic signals. Not bad, but when you can detect disturbances in space-time, it sticks out like a sore thumb.”

Beka took her usual position at the pilots station, “So, where to?”

Dylan stood at his usual post, “Earth.” He turned to look at the visitors, “You might want to grab hold of something.”

O’Neill and Teal’c, remembering their trip on the Maru, grabbed handrails. Carter, Jacob and Jonas didn’t, and where thrown from their feet as the Andromeda entered slipstream.


Daniel sat cross-legged on the deck in hydroponics, “Whoa! That was a little intense.”

Trance smiled, “It can be.”

Daniel looked at her, “Was that the truth?”

Trance shrugged, “The truth is subjective: I could have told or shown you any of a number of things, and they would have all been the ‘truth’, depending on your point of view. But yes, for the purposes of our mission here, it was the truth." She stood, stretching her arms, “I have to get to command: we’ll be arriving at Earth soon.”

Daniel nodded, likewise standing, “I better go too.” He stopped, “How will it all work out in the end?”

Trance looked at him, “Time isn’t a straight line: it is possible to change the past. I’ve done so several times, carefully weighing the positive outcomes against the possible bad outcomes every time. It is not something to be undertaken lightly.”

Daniel smiled as he walked away, “With you around, I think things will be ok.”


With one final bone-jawing shudder, the Andromeda exited slipstream just outside of lunar orbit. Carter pulled her self up off the deck, “You should maybe think about getting some seating in here. Maybe with a seatbelt.”

Beka smiled, “We did have a pilots chair at one point.”

The Major looked at her, “What happened to it?”

“It got blown up.” Dylan sighed, rubbing the side of his head, “When Harper rebuilt Command he used this newer layout.”

Carter looked at the engineer, “More would have been better than less.”

Harper looked upset, “Well 1) we didn’t have any seats in storage, and 2) High Guard regulations say that crew members, with the exception of pilots, must stand while on duty.” He turned to Dylan, “Apart from the captain, who has a nice comfy real leather chair in his office.”

Dylan shrugged, blushing slightly, “Perks of the job. So, have we been detected yet?”

Rommie shook her head, “No: the deep-space tracking radar is very primitive, and my ECM systems have no trouble keeping us hidden from view. We should be able to standard orbit. I will have to activate the PDL’s to deal with the amount of debris in orbit. Hold.” Her head jerked to the side, “I am picking up a cloaked ship in orbit, 250,000 km above the surface.”

The main screen showed an outline of a strange looking craft. Teal’c looked at the screen, “That is an Al-Kesh, a Goa'uld mid-range bomber with cloaking capabilities. It has probably been sent here to observe the Earth, no doubt under orders of Anubis himself.”

Dylan looked at Rommie, “Have they detected us?”

The Avatar shook her head, “No. Their sensors seem to be aimed exclusively at the SGC.”

Teal’c looked worried, “They are planning to attack.”

To Be Continued…

Chapter 4

Index