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Fanfiction: Goddesses - Part II

For disclaimers and author's note see Part I.


Part II: Present Danger


Elizabeth stared at the empty space where the hologram of Janus had stood for a long moment before she stepped down from the lectern. She staggered a little and Sam immediately crossed over to support her.

‘You need to lie down.’ Sam said anxiously. ‘You probably have concussion.’

‘I’m fine.’ Elizabeth insisted.

Gya approached them cautiously. ‘May I?’

Elizabeth looked at her questioningly.

Gya smiled at her and raised her hand to Elizabeth’s head. She placed it over the bump and Elizabeth felt warmth spread across the band of pain washing it away. Gya lowered her hand.

‘Thank you.’ Elizabeth said bemused as her hand felt for the bump and discovered only smooth skin.

Sam peered at the injury and her mouth fell open a little. ‘It’s gone. That’s amazing.’ She snapped her gaze to Gya. ‘You have the power to heal.’ She had seen it before with a young Ancient woman they had revived in Antarctica and once when Jack had developed Ancient gifts after downloading an Ancient repository into his head.

‘Yes.’ Gya acknowledged it with a tilt of her head. ‘Many of our people have gifts.’

‘Then you must be on the path to Ascension.’ Elizabeth said puzzled.

‘Not all paths lead to Ascension.’ Gya said firmly.

‘Gya,’ Sam interrupted, ‘the hologram mentioned a spatial anomaly. Do you or your people know anything about it?’

‘We have only heard the stories left to us by the Ancestral Father.’ Gya said. She spread her hands. ‘He tells of a hidden ribbon of energy that moves beneath that would normally leave the universe above untouched but when it comes into contact with our power source it causes a massive explosion.’ Her face grew grave. ‘He talks of the Citadel itself obliterated with one fireball before the planet is consumed in fire.’ Her head tilted. ‘He also talks about the two of you, how you tried to save us and how you might have done so had we welcomed you.’ She smiled. ‘The tale of your coming has been passed down from generation to generation with the one truth that you will arrive to save us at the time of our greatest need.’

Sam and Elizabeth exchanged a look.

‘May we have a moment alone?’ Elizabeth asked politely.

‘Of course.’ Gya bowed her head and left the room without a further word.

Elizabeth sat down heavily on the platform. She pushed her hands through her dark hair.

Sam sat beside her, the P90 in her lap. ‘You said you knew this Janus guy?’

‘My counterpart was the one who knew him.’ Elizabeth explained. ‘I looked him up in the database after she told us the story. That’s how I recognised him.’ She shook her head. ‘I can’t help but feel this incredible bond with him though. It’s difficult to explain.’ She hugged her knees to her chest. ‘According to the other me, Janus was the reason why she was able to save us, save Atlantis when we first arrived. He helped her extend the power of the ZPMs, sorted out the stasis for her, ensured the city had a failsafe to rise from the ocean if the shield failed.’ She caught Sam’s sympathetic gaze. ‘We owe him everything.’

‘It’s no wonder you feel a bond.’ Sam commented. ‘He sounds like he was a good guy.’

‘She spoke about him with so much fondness.’ Elizabeth murmured. ‘It was like I was the one who knew him.’

Sam laid a hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder briefly in comfort. ‘So he was probably telling the truth about this anomaly and about the version of the future he witnessed?’

Elizabeth nodded. ‘I think we have to trust he wouldn’t lie to us; to me.’ She sighed.

‘I don’t understand why he made us out to be Goddesses.’ Sam said confused.

‘I don’t think he did.’ Elizabeth said thoughtfully. ‘Ten thousand years is a long time. It’s probable the original message became distorted. Janus tells his people that in the future they are to welcome us because we might be able to save them but that simple message slowly erodes and we become goddesses sent by the Ancestral Father to save them.’

‘No pressure then.’ Sam quipped lightening the moment.

‘I don’t see that we have any choice.’ Elizabeth admitted. ‘If Janus recorded the truth in the holographic message to us then we have five days or less to stop this anomaly from destroying this planet and us with it.’

‘Maybe not.’ Sam suggested. ‘There may be other options.’

‘What are you thinking?’ Elizabeth asked seeing the other woman’s eyes focusing inward, no doubt turning the problem over in her head.

‘Stopping the anomaly is certainly one way of dealing with it.’ Sam said. ‘But even if we have access to the city’s systems, I may not be able to come up with a solution in time. We should think of…’

‘Evacuation.’ Elizabeth finished. ‘If we could get the Stargate to work…’

‘We could gate to Atlantis and take the Amerans with us.’ Sam agreed. ‘It might not be what Janus had in mind but we’d all still be alive.’

Elizabeth nodded. ‘I’ll talk to the Council.’

‘I’ll see if we can’t get the Stargate working.’ Sam pushed herself back to her feet and offered Elizabeth a hand, helping to pull the other woman to hers.

‘You should take this.’ Elizabeth handed Sam the zat gun.

‘I’d feel better if you kept it.’ Sam said.

‘I don’t think they’re going to harm us,’ Elizabeth said firmly, ‘and I can hardly begin negotiations carrying a weapon.’

Sam sighed at the resolute look on Elizabeth’s face and took the zat gun. She put it into the side holster on her leg. ‘If you need me click your radio.’

Elizabeth nodded. They walked out of the room and were relieved to see only a small group waiting for them.

‘Gya,’ Sam began, ‘is there a lab or a…’

‘Of course.’ Gya waved a hand at Ala. ‘My grand-daughter is a Guardian of the Ancestral technology. She will show you the way.’

‘Thank you.’ Sam murmured.

Ala waved a hand down the corridor and motioned for Sam to follow her. The colonel raised her eyebrows at Elizabeth and set off after the young woman. Elizabeth watched her go with concern.

‘You’re not going with her?’ Reta asked.

‘No.’ Elizabeth said. She turned to Gya. ‘I’d like to speak with the Ameran Council.’

‘Of course.’ Gya gestured. ‘Please come this way.’ She led the way back through the corridors and up the stairs to the room Elizabeth regularly used for briefings in Atlantis. ‘Please be seated. I will call the others.’ She swept out leaving Elizabeth alone.

Elizabeth sat down gingerly. It unnerved her how alike the two cities were and she felt a wave of homesickness for Atlantis and for her team. She rolled her shoulders and tried to relax. The doors opened and the Council members entered. Elizabeth rose to her feet as they all took seats around the table and waited until they all sat down together before resuming her own chair. She leaned forward across the smooth surface of the table and clasped her hands. ‘Thank you for agreeing to see me.’

‘I am Domu. We are honoured that you would wish to speak to us.’ A grey-haired rotund man spoke up first. ‘We have long awaited the day of your arrival.’

Elizabeth smiled tightly. ‘And we are pleased to offer your people our assistance.’

‘You will save us.’ Another woman said brightly.

‘Yes, about that.’ Elizabeth began. ‘I’ve seen the holographic message from Janus…’

‘The Ancestral Father.’ Domu interjected.

‘The Ancestral Father,’ Elizabeth confirmed turning to nod at him, ‘and I am concerned that his original belief about our ability to help you may have been overstated.’

The Council members exchanged confused looks. ‘But do you not have the knowledge of our Ancestral technology?’ One of them asked.

‘Well, yes…’

‘And the ability to help us prevent this disaster?’ Domu spoke again.

‘In all honesty, we don’t know.’ Elizabeth answered firmly. ‘Until Colonel Carter has had sometime to review any data on the anomaly, we really don’t know if we’ll be able to stop it at all.’

‘The Ancestral Father believed you had the ability within you to save us.’ Gya said comfortingly. ‘You just need to believe that too.’

‘We might not know yet whether we can stop the anomaly from destroying Amera,’ Elizabeth said trying an alternative tactic, ‘but we might be able to save your people anyway.’

There were more perplexed looks.

‘We don’t understand.’ Gya said. ‘If you cannot save Amera, how could you possibly save us?’

‘The Stargate,’ Elizabeth waved a hand, ‘the device you call the Astraportal. We may be able to route enough power to achieve a stable wormhole – a way to travel between this planet and another.’

‘Why would we want to do that?’ asked Domu aghast.

‘To evacuate.’ Elizabeth said persuasively. ‘We can transport all your people to safety.’

‘But where would we go?’

‘Atlantis.’ Elizabeth returned immediately.

Shock rippled across the faces of the Council.

‘It is forbidden.’ Gya said as though astonished Elizabeth wasn’t aware of the fact.

‘I don’t think you understand. Your shared ancestors – we call them the Ancients,’ Elizabeth paused realising for the first time she was sat with true descendants of the Ancients from Atlantis and had to take a breath, ‘they all left Atlantis a long time ago.’

‘We realise this.’ Gya said. ‘The Ancestral Father explained.’

‘So you must know that you could return there without fear of reprisal.’ Elizabeth argued.

‘We have no wish to return to Atlantis.’ Domu said brusquely. ‘It is our past. Amera is and always has been our future.’

‘We’re talking about saving all your people.’ Elizabeth said passionately. ‘Surely that is the most important thing.’

‘But there is a little purpose saving the people if we are to lose Amera.’ Gya replied.

‘Amera is just a city.’ Elizabeth said. ‘Surely if we can save the people…’

‘I’m sorry, Elizabeth,’ Gya said breaking into her impassioned speech, ‘but none of us can leave Amera.’

Elizabeth took a deep breath. She was obviously knocking her head against a brick wall following her current line of argument. She searched her mind for another line of attack and rested her hands flat on the table. ‘I don’t understand.’ She admitted. ‘Janus said in his message that you separated from Atlantis on a philosophical difference.’

‘Yes.’

‘Well, please,’ Elizabeth said exasperated, ‘explain it to me so I can understand why you won’t consider leaving.’

‘You know about our history?’ Gya asked. ‘How our ancestors came to travel to this galaxy?’

Elizabeth nodded slowly. ‘We found a reference on Earth that the Ancients were once from a distant place also called Amera; that they travelled to Earth to escape some kind of a religious crusade and that they left Earth for this galaxy following a plague.’

‘You are correct.’ Gya said gently. ‘The original Amerans argued over Ascension but the difference was always about how to achieve Ascension; Ascension was always the goal.’

‘Until the plague.’ Domu interrupted. He pinned Elizabeth with a hard stare. ‘The Ancients as you call them were convinced they could achieve Ascension through the use of technology. Our ancestors, the ones who founded this place, New Amera, believed Ascension was no more or less a way to simply achieve power.’

‘Which is why your ancestors eschewed technology.’ Elizabeth surmised.

‘Why we still do.’ Gya informed her with a smile. ‘If it wasn’t for the Ancestral Father’s warning that to allow the technology to fall into disrepair would add to the coming catastrophe we would not use it at all.’ She shifted her weight a little.

‘If Janus knew your people eschewed technology, why did he come here?’ Elizabeth wondered out loud.

‘We allow freedom of expression.’ Domu declared roundly. ‘The Ancestral Father knew he would be free to pursue his interests and he assumed guardianship for the technology here in the Citadel allowing us to remain hidden from the Wraith.’

‘I see.’ Elizabeth took a moment to assimilate the information and sighed. ‘I still don’t understand why you’re so against leaving.’

‘We do not believe Ascension is the goal,’ Gya said, ‘but as we have evolved here on Amera, we have come to realise our energy is all inter-connected.’ She gestured expressively. ‘Over the last ten thousand years, our lives have become as intertwined with that of the planet as the air we breathe.’ She held Elizabeth’s gaze. ‘If we were to leave, we would surely die as if we were stood on the planet itself as it exploded.’

Elizabeth sat back in her chair momentarily defeated. She hoped Sam was having better luck.

o-O-o

Sam looked around the room with a sense of disbelief. She had only been in the Atlantis ZPM room once before during a whistle-stop tour when SG1 had travelled with the Odyssey to the Pegasus galaxy but the similarity was disconcerting. She pulled her mind away from her memories and concentrated on establishing a connection between the Citadel’s computer and her laptop. She had so much experience at connecting alien technology she made it look easy but she was barely aware of Ala’s astonished expression as the displays on the Citadel’s monitors were duplicated on the small laptop screen. Sam allowed herself a small smile of satisfaction before she began to interrogate the database.

She struggled over the Ancient language a little and made mental notes as she went through hoping Elizabeth would be able to provide a better translation. She finally found the scans and diagnostics she was looking for and began to input her own requirements. She began with the long range sensors and set them the task of finding the anomaly; if she couldn’t get the Stargate working, understanding the anomaly was going to be the only way she could begin to formulate a plan to stop it from destroying the planet.

As soon as the scans were progressing, she turned her attention to what she had mentally dubbed ‘plan A’; fixing the Stargate. She frowned over the schematics and power readings. ‘This can’t be right.’ Sam muttered.

‘Is something wrong, Samantha?’ Ala inquired gently coming to stand beside the blonde woman a little apprehensively.

‘There’s no power going to the Stargate at all.’ Sam explained, her brow creasing with confusion.

‘We have no need to use the Stargate.’ Ala explained. ‘It is forbidden.’

‘According to these power readings, much of the Citadel is uninhabited too.’ Sam noted.

‘That is correct.’ Ala clasped her hands together. ‘The Ancestral Father told us to conserve all the available power we had.’

Sam checked the readings and moved to the ZPM station. She hit a panel and the three ZPMs rose from their compartments. She frowned and lifted the first up to examine it. It was long dead. The second was the same. Only the third gleamed with the inner light that indicated it was active.

Sam held up one of the dead ZPMs and looked over at Ala. ‘Do you have more of these?’ She asked hopefully.

Ala shook her head sending her brown hair swinging. ‘These are our last.’

Sam felt her heart sink. ‘And you don’t know how to make new ones?’

‘No.’ Ala confirmed, her fingers rubbing anxiously against each other. ‘We have been rotating them as directed by the Ancestral Father one at a time.’

‘It’s OK.’ Sam said reassuringly and inwardly hoped it was. She left the two dead ZPMs on the ground and replaced the active one. She briefly prayed the single ZPM would have enough power left for whatever plan they would be able to execute. She tapped in another command into her monitor and sighed in relief. The single ZPM was almost completely unused. ‘OK,’ she muttered, ‘we have power. Now we need to get it to the Stargate.’ Some of the conduits had been damaged, she mused, but she could reroute power around them.

‘For what purpose?’ Ala asked interested.

Sam paused in her typing. ‘Well, if we can get the Stargate to work, we can all leave before the planet is destroyed.’

‘But it is forbidden.’ Ala gasped.

Sam stopped completely and turned to look at her. ‘Really?’ She said in disbelief.

‘Yes. We cannot leave Amera.’ Ala said firmly. ‘It is not possible.’ Her dark eyes settled quizzically on Sam. ‘The Ancestral Father said you would save us.’

‘We’re going to try our best.’ Sam promised. She patted Ala’s hand and looked back at her monitor. She frowned. The long range sensors had found something. She abandoned the power rerouting and glanced over the results. Her eyes widened. She quickly tapped in another command and looked at the graphic with dismay.

‘What’s wrong?’ Ala asked seeing the flicker of worry on Sam’s face.

Sam looked over at the young woman and wondered how much she should tell her. ‘I’ve found the anomaly.’ She pointed at a thin white squiggly line on the monitor. ‘This is it. It’s in the next solar system to this one.’ The same solar system that housed the first gate in the intergalactic bridge after Atlantis, Sam considered. It looked like Janus had been right; the wormhole must have been affected by the anomaly and jumped to the next safe Stargate; the Ameran gate.

‘It looks so benign.’ Ala commented, her eyes on the white line.

‘Yes, it does.’ Sam murmured her eyes skipping down the series of data the sensors had picked up. ‘Unfortunately, it’s not as benign as it looks.’ She bit her lip. The anomaly was sending ripples of distortion through sub-space and it would easily destabilise a wormhole, Sam judged. The image flickered and refreshed itself; the line has inched closer to the Ameran system.

‘How will you stop it?’ Ala asked.

‘I don’t know.’ Sam admitted. Her eyes flickered to Ala again. ‘Yet.’ She tapped in another series of commands. ‘I need to run more scans and learn more about it.’

‘But you will be able to stop it?’

Ala’s worry had Sam’s head jerking back toward the Ameran woman. ‘Both Elizabeth and I will do everything we can to save your people, Ala. I promise.’

Ala nodded. ‘Is everything to your satisfaction?’ She waved a hand at the lab. ‘We have tried to maintain everything as the Ancestral Father requested but we do not understand much of how everything works anymore and…’

Sam reached out and took Ala’s hand cutting off the flow of words. ‘Everything is great, Ala. You did a good job.’

‘I’m scared, Samantha.’ Ala confessed lowering her eyes.

‘Me too.’ Sam admitted.

Ala’s eyes flew to hers. ‘But you are…’

‘Human.’ Sam said pointedly. ‘We just know a little more about this technology than you do because over time you’ve lost the knowledge of how to operate it while we’ve been gaining it. That’s all.’

Ala sighed. ‘You are not what I expected.’ She smiled. ‘I think I like you better than I thought I would.’

Sam returned her smile. ‘Thank you.’

‘Could you teach me?’ Ala asked eagerly gesturing at the consoles. ‘Could you teach me how this works?’

Sam squeezed her hand. ‘Sure. Come on.’ She shifted over to make room for Ala and quietly began explaining the scans that she had set-up. It was how Elizabeth found them a few hours later; one blonde head and one brunette bent over the laptop monitor immersed in the readings from the scans.

‘Hey.’ Elizabeth called from the doorway as she entered.

Sam’s head jerked up surprised; she hadn’t heard Elizabeth enter. ‘Hey.’ She answered. She stretched suddenly feeling the knots of tension that had developed in the muscles of her shoulders and back. She took in Elizabeth’s downhearted expression.

Ala looked from one woman to another. ‘Perhaps you would like some refreshments?’

‘That would be great.’ Sam smiled at Ala gratefully. ‘Thank you.’ She waited until Ala had left before she turned back to Elizabeth. ‘I take it the meeting with the Council didn’t go well?’

Elizabeth pulled a face. ‘They won’t leave.’ She sighed heavily and slumped into a chair beside Sam who sat down herself. ‘I won’t claim to understand it but apparently over the years their life-energy has intermingled with the planets and their lives are inextricably tied up with it.’ She rubbed the back of her neck. ‘If the planet is destroyed, they say they would die wherever they were when it happened.’ She frowned. ‘Is that even possible?’

‘Theoretically?’ Sam pressed her lips together as she turned the idea over in her head. ‘We know Ascension is a process of becoming pure energy and that the closer a person gets to Ascension the greater their ability becomes to manipulate the energy around them.’ She tapped the arm of her chair unconsciously. ‘Healing. Telekinesis. Mind-reading.’ She shrugged. ‘And we know from the Ori that they’ve discovered a way to drain energy from the lower planes to fuel their power. It’s not out of the realms of possibility that the Amerans have discovered a way to create an energy balance between themselves and the planet.’ She pursed her lips. ‘Actually, that might explain the unusual ecosystem here.’

‘There’s an unusual ecosystem?’ Elizabeth asked wearily.

Sam nodded. ‘Very. Given where we are on the planet, the core temperature of the planet, distance from the sun; we should be in the middle of an ice age.’

‘Oh.’

‘If the Amerans are in some kind of symbiotic relationship with the planet then they could be keeping everything in balance to ensure the weather is maintained at an optimum environment for their existence.’ Sam explained. ‘So they could be right about the energy transfer.’

‘Even if they’re not,’ Elizabeth said, ‘I wouldn’t want to risk it. Their belief is so strong that even if they are not physically connected with the planet, they might still die from a psychological belief that that is what will happen.’

Sam nodded in agreement. ‘It’s maybe just as well because I don’t think the Stargate will work.’

‘You can’t fix it?’

‘Well, fixing the power issue is relatively simple,’ Sam began and Elizabeth had the feeling she was understating the matter considerably, ‘but forming a stable wormhole could be difficult because of the anomaly.’ She gestured at her monitor.

‘What am I looking at?’ Elizabeth asked leaning forward eagerly.

Sam traced a finger over a series of dots on the screen. ‘This is the Ameran system and this,’ she tapped to the left of the dots, ‘is the Atlantis system.’

‘It’s that close?’ Elizabeth asked shocked.

‘It would still take us a good week to get there in a puddle-jumper without stopping.’ Sam said absently. She tapped to the right of the dots. ‘This is the system where the first gate in the bridge is located after Atlantis.’

‘And that white line…’ Elizabeth murmured. Her fingers reached out to trace over the squiggle criss-crossing the systems.

‘Is the anomaly.’ Sam confirmed. ‘From what I can see, it’s already causing a ripple effect through this whole region of sub-space.’ She circled the Ameran system and the adjoining system to its right. ‘The Citadel only has one working ZPM and it won’t provide enough power to the Stargate to punch through the disturbance.’ She bit her lip. ‘I have more bad news.’

‘More?’ Elizabeth rubbed her arms. ‘I don’t think I want to hear anymore bad news.’

Sam looked at her sympathetically. ‘We don’t have five days.’

‘But Janus said…’

‘I know.’ Sam said interrupting her. ‘But I’ve calculated the speed of the anomaly three times to be sure. At the rate it’s moving it should get here in within the day.’

‘Oh my God.’ Elizabeth said shocked.

‘It’s possible the changes that have happened in the timeline have meant the energy ribbon is moving faster now than it did before.’ Sam explained. ‘And it’s picking up speed.’

‘Is that…are we going to have enough time to stop it?’ Elizabeth asked.

Sam pulled a face. ‘Honestly. I don’t know.’ She gestured at her screen. ‘I’d better get back to this. The more I can find out…’

‘Of course.’ Elizabeth got to her feet. ‘I should inform the Council.’

‘I’m not sure that’s a good idea.’ Sam warned her.

‘They deserve to know what’s going to happen, Colonel.’

Sam registered the use of her rank. ‘With all due respect, Doctor Weir, informing them that the prophecy was incorrect may make our own presence here more precarious.’ She pointed out. ‘Their entire trust of us is based on what Janus has told them.’

‘We’ll just have to take that risk.’ Elizabeth said firmly. ‘If these people only have a few hours left then they should know so they can choose to spend those hours as they wish.’ It was the compassionate thing to do, she thought.

The military officer looked at her dubiously and shrugged. ‘It’s your decision, Doctor Weir.’ Sam said diplomatically.

‘Yes.’ Elizabeth stated. ‘It is.’ She turned and headed out of the lab before Sam could argue further.

Sam watched her go before she started back in on the scans. She had a feeling she would need to come up with a plan B and fast.

o-O-o

Elizabeth made her way to the briefing room – Council Chamber – she corrected mentally. It took a little while for her to gather everyone together again. Most of the Council seemed bemused that she had called them together for a second time.

Domu shifted restlessly in his chair. ‘I must protest at this constant interruption.’ He said forcefully. ‘The Council has other business to deal with it.’

Elizabeth took a deep breath and clasped her hands on the smooth table top. ‘I assure you, Domu, that I would not have pulled you away from your other business if this was not important.’

‘We know, Elizabeth,’ Gya said reassuringly, shooting Domu a warning look, ‘and please know that this is the most important Council business that we are dealing with at the present time.’

Domu gave a huff of impatience but he subsided. Gya nodded at Elizabeth.

‘As you know after our last meeting I went to consult with Colonel Carter…’

‘Samantha.’ Gya inserted.

‘Yes, Samantha.’ Elizabeth confirmed. ‘She has made some progress in identifying the anomaly.’

‘This is excellent news.’ Gya beamed at her.

‘Yes,’ Elizabeth said hesitantly, ‘but we’ve made a discovery that I’m afraid isn’t good news at all.’

The Council members exchanged worried looks.

Domu frowned. ‘What discovery?’

Elizabeth looked over at him with a serious expression. ‘Colonel Carter estimates that the anomaly will reach us in less than a day.’

‘But that cannot be right.’ Gya protested. ‘The Ancestral Father is always clear that the anomaly reaches us five days after your arrival.’

‘I know but it’s possible that the future Janus witnessed has been changed already by the events he set in motion.’

‘I do not see how.’ Domu blustered.

‘I’m sure Colonel Carter could explain it to you better,’ Elizabeth said firmly, ‘but Janus – the Ancestral Father – witnessed one possible timeline. When he came back in time and left the messages for your people and for us, he effectively changed that timeline.’ She took in their confused expressions. ‘The important problem to focus on right now is not why the anomaly is going to be here sooner than Janus predicted but that it is.’

‘According to you.’ Domu said bluntly.

‘Do you have a way to stop the anomaly?’ Gya asked ignoring her fellow Council member.

‘Colonel Carter is still working on a solution.’ Elizabeth said.

Domu harrumphed. ‘So you say.’

‘Domu,’ Elizabeth said addressing him directly, ‘I have no reason to lie to you.’

‘Perhaps you are not who we thought you were.’ Domu said harshly thrusting his finger in her direction. ‘You are certainly not goddesses.’

Elizabeth ignored the flicker of anger she felt. ‘We never claimed we were.’ She pointed out. ‘But we are trying to help.’

‘Help?’ Domu almost shouted the word which echoed around the large room. Elizabeth looked away from the anger that gleamed in his eyes. ‘You have done nothing.’ He gestured furiously at her. ‘You have done nothing but suggest we leave our planet and delved into our technology. Perhaps you are only here to steal our home from us.’

Elizabeth breathed in sharply and shook her head, her own eyes sparking with anger. ‘I assure you, Domu, that we arrived here purely by accident and we have no wish to steal anything from you.’ She lowered her voice. ‘I believed it was right to tell you this information because I wanted to be honest with you. If Colonel Carter cannot come up with a solution, your people may only have a little time left.’

‘And if you were really the goddesses the Ancestral Father spoke about, you would have a solution.’ Domu retorted getting to his feet. ‘You are imposters!’

‘Enough! Sit down, Domu.’ Gya snapped across the table. She laid her hands flat on the surface. ‘ Elizabeth, the Ancestral Father has always been right on these matters. Are you certain about this?’

‘We’re certain.’ Elizabeth answered immediately. ‘Colonel Carter ran her calculations several times.’

Gya folded her hands together. ‘You are still looking for a solution?’

‘We are.’ Elizabeth confirmed.

‘Then we shall waste no more of your time in debate.’ Gya’s eyes flickered to Domu who flushed. ‘I see little reason to inform our people until we know more.’ Her tone rang with finality and she stood up evidently dismissing the Council who one by one began filing out of the room.

Elizabeth waited until the room had emptied before she approached the older woman. ‘Thank you for your support.’ She said gratefully.

Gya reached out and clasped Elizabeth’s hand in hers. ‘Do not worry, Elizabeth. The Ancestral Father believed you could save us and I believe he was right.’

‘Even though he was wrong about how long the anomaly would take to get here?’ Elizabeth asked sceptically.

‘You are right; a lot can be changed in ten thousand years.’ Gya smiled. ‘But I still believe the essence of what the Ancestral Father said is true; you are here to save us.’

Elizabeth looked down for a moment overpowered by the look of belief in Gya’s eyes. ‘But we don’t have a solution.’

‘You will.’ Gya said simply.

‘I really wish I had the strength of your belief, Gya, I do,’ Elizabeth began, ‘and Colonel Carter is one of the most intelligent and gifted people I know, but this anomaly is like nothing we’ve seen before. We might not be able to stop it.’ She held Gya’s eyes solemnly. ‘We might not be able to save you.’

Gya squeezed Elizabeth’s hand. ‘You will save us, Elizabeth. Believe it as I know the Ancestral Father believed it to be true.’

Elizabeth managed a small smile before she gently pulled away and hurried from the room unaware of the lurking figure of Domu behind the door who had heard every word.

o-O-o

Sam muttered under her breath and absently reached for the cup beside her. She started to raise it to her lips her eyes still glued to the graphics on her laptop screen. Her gaze caught on a series of data and the cup stopped mid-way to her mouth; she lowered it back to the console. She bit her lip as she considered the figures for a moment and what they revealed. The anomaly was nothing more than a wave of energy that was held together by a certain sub-space frequency and if the numbers on her screen were right, she had just identified that specific frequency.

‘But how does that help us.’ She wondered out loud. She raised the cup again. Her brow furrowed as liquid failed to manifest and she jerked her gaze to the bottom of the empty cup with regret. She placed it back on the console and stretched, her gaze drifting first to Ala curled up asleep in the chair beside her and onto Elizabeth who was slumped over a second console behind them. A reluctant smile tugged on Sam’s lips. They had all been working constantly on analysing the data for the last twelve hours.

Sam stood up and stretched. Her body twinged and she grimaced. She needed a bathroom. She rubbed her lower back as she slipped from the room and headed for the facilities Ala had shown her hours before. Sam felt a little strange walking down the empty corridor but she found her way easily. She locked the door with relief and a few moments later exited the toilet to the large sink.

It amused her that bathrooms were bathrooms whether Ancient, Goa’uld or human in design. She turned on the water and washed her hands. She shook them free of excess moisture and caught a glimpse of her tired face in the polished metal above the sink. She winced at the dark shadows under her eyes and one of her fingers reached up to trace the lines at the edges. She filled the sink with water and splashed her face liberally. The startling cold was the jolt she needed and she reached blindly for the towel patting her face and hands dry.

Her blue eyes fell back to the water as she finished and took in the swirling waves in the small puddle left in the sink. She watched fascinated as one wave cancelled another and her mouth dropped open in startled realisation.

‘That’s it. One wave to cancel the other. Why didn’t I think of that before?’ She hurriedly emptied the sink, thrust the towel on the side and strode towards the door. She was about to open it when the sound of loud, angry voices and pounding footsteps outside made her hesitate. She frowned and waited for them to pass before she waved her hand at the controls and the door slid silently open. She peeked out.

She could see the back of a disappearing group. Her eyes registered the weapons they held and she coolly noted they were headed for the ZPM lab. They didn’t look like a greeting party either. She cursed inwardly at leaving the P90 with the rest of her belongings in the lab as she checked her belt for the knife she carried. Her eyes caught on the zat in her leg holster and she gave silent thanks as she felt its familiar and reassuring weight in her hand. She crept forward, careful to maintain a distance between her and the group ahead before she slipped down an adjoining corridor to enable her to enter from a different doorway, hopefully in surprise. The doorway was already open and she held her position just outside straining to hear. She slid down into a crouch and glanced into the lab.

‘What’s going on?’ Elizabeth looked dazed at the small group who had wrenched her from her doze. Her startled eyes landed on Domu who was clearly leading the five men and women. ‘Domu?’

‘Where is the other one?’ Domu asked brusquely. He gestured at Sam’s abandoned laptop as one of his team pushed Ala from her chair to stand by Elizabeth.

Elizabeth looked around, her dark hair bobbing around her shoulders. ‘I don’t know.’ She said slowly. She returned her gaze to Domu, her eyes flickering over the small weapon he held. ‘What’s going on here, Domu?’

‘What is going on is that you are going to leave.’ Domu said forcefully.

‘But they are here to save us.’ Ala said confused. ‘The Ancestral Father…’

‘I do not believe that the Ancestral Father meant these women would save us.’ Domu waved his weapon at Elizabeth who stiffened at his harsh expression.

‘Then who, Domu?’ Elizabeth retorted quickly. ‘You know our names are the same as those told to you by the Ancestral Father. The anomaly is on its way. We are the ones the Ancestral Father spoke about; we are the ones who will save you.’

‘You don’t believe that anymore than I do.’ Domu said forcefully. ‘I heard you speaking with Gya.’

‘I’m not denying I had my doubts, Domu, but Gya told me to have faith and we’ve been working hard to discover as much about the anomaly as we can.’ Elizabeth argued.

‘Which is why you were sleeping and your partner in crime is missing.’ Domu snapped.

‘That is unfair.’ Ala objected. She blushed as Domu glared at her and lowered her gaze respectfully. ‘I’m sorry but both Elizabeth and Samantha have been working very hard to understand the anomaly.’

‘But they have not come up with a solution yet, have they?’ Domu mocked her gently. ‘You are young, Ala. You do not understand these matters.’

‘I have seen them working every minute to try to save us.’ Ala said heatedly. ‘The Ancestral Father believed in them and I do too.’ She gestured at the consoles and debris of their hard work. ‘They understand this technology in a way that we do not. If they cannot save us, I do not know who will.’

‘Listen to her, Domu.’ Elizabeth said. ‘We are not your enemy.’

‘We eschewed technology long ago because we did not believe in it.’ Domu growled. ‘I will not believe that it will save us now.’

‘The Ancestral Father…’ Ala began.

‘The Ancestral Father may have lied.’ Domu shouted waving his weapon wildly. ‘What do we know of him anyway? He was an Ancient only interested in technology.’

His words caused a stir of consternation in the small group who were with him.

‘Your words are blasphemous, Domu.’ Ala said shocked.

Elizabeth took a step forward and stopped abruptly as Domu raised his weapon. She held up both her hands. ‘Domu, please. This is exactly what the Ancestral Father was trying to prevent; you treating us with suspicion and preventing us from helping you.’

His gun wavered and Elizabeth held his gaze entreatingly.

‘Please.’ She said again.

Domu’s lips firmed and she saw his decision in his cold blue eyes. She shook her head in denial as the weapon fired.

Sam threw herself at Elizabeth sending them to the ground with a bump as she triggered the zat simultaneously. The blue energy shot out and hit Domu squarely. He fell to the floor writhing. Sam didn’t wait; she was already back on her feet and kicking his weapon from his hand.

Ala swept her hand at the remainder of Domu’s group and their weapons were yanked out of their hands through the power of her telekinesis. Sam pointed her zat gun at them just as Gya entered the lab with a troop of men behind her. Her eyes took in the situation in a glance.

‘Take them!’ Gya ordered briskly waving at the group who had followed Domu. The Council woman stooped by her fellow Council member and Sam lowered her weapon as she reached down to pull a winded Elizabeth to her feet.

‘Are you alright?’ She asked.

‘No. I’m not.’ Elizabeth said trying to catch her breath. ‘But thank you.’

Sam nodded and turned back to Gya who had stood up and was looking at the unconscious Domu with concern. ‘He’ll be OK.’ Sam reassured her. ‘The weapon only stuns.’

‘Yes.’ Gya met her eyes squarely. ‘I have decided to leave him that way so you can continue to work.’ She gestured at the troops who removed Domu from the lab.

‘Thank you.’ Sam said.

‘Yes. Thank you.’ Elizabeth echoed gratefully. ‘Both of you.’ She reached out and squeezed Ala’s arm. ‘I’m just sorry we haven’t been able to come up with something.’

‘Actually, we have.’ Sam corrected her. ‘I have an idea.’

‘You do?’ Elizabeth said blinking back her surprise.

‘I do.’ Sam grinned. ‘I think I know how to stop the energy ribbon from destroying Amera.’ She was already moving back towards her laptop. ‘We need to send an opposing wave of energy back towards it through sub-space that will cancel it out.’

Elizabeth sat down heavily rubbing the side of her hip which had impacted with the floor. ‘OK.’

Gya bowed her head. ‘I will give the good news to our people and I will leave you to your work.’

Sam looked up at her somberly. ‘It’s going to be close.’ She warned.

Gya simply smiled back at her and left.

The next couple of hours were spent in a whirlwind of activity as Sam modified the shield to send a pulse of energy back through sub-space. She and Ala calculated and recalculated the speed of the anomaly. Eventually, they stood ready around the ZPM console.

‘Ready?’ Sam asked Elizabeth.

‘Ready.’ Elizabeth agreed.

Sam pressed the button. The console crackled with bright yellow energy; bolts running over the surface and sparking off the surface, causing all three women to stand back hastily as the energy dissipated. Sam grabbed her laptop. ‘The shield has emitted a pulse of energy through sub-space as planned.’ She confirmed.

‘I think we all saw that.’ Elizabeth noted dryly. ‘Has it worked?’

Sam scowled. ‘Damn.’

‘What?’ Elizabeth demanded craning to see the screen.

Sam’s mouth went dry as she studied the results of her plan; she went over them a second time; a third.

‘Sam?’ Elizabeth said worriedly. She placed a hand on the blonde’s shoulder. ‘Didn’t it work?’

‘The anomaly won’t destroy Amera.’ Sam confirmed.

Ala gave a cry of joy; she hugged an unresponsive Sam before she ran out shouting; carrying the news to the Council and waiting crowd.

‘Isn’t that good news?’ Elizabeth asked anxiously sensing there was something Sam wasn’t saying.

Sam’s frantic blue eyes met Elizabeth’s. ‘We couldn’t get enough power to the energy pulse the shield generated.’

‘So?’

‘So the anomaly wasn’t dissipated as I hoped.’ Sam said. She swallowed hard. ‘I only managed to divert its course.’

‘I don’t understand, Sam.’ Elizabeth said quietly not liking the lurking horror she could see in the other woman’s eyes.

Sam cleared her throat. ‘Amera is safe but in less than twenty-four hours, the anomaly will destroy Atlantis.’

Continued in Part III: Past Corrections

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