Chapter I: Acquisition and Contact
The operations center of the base was dark and quiet. The floors and walls shared a chrome base color, yet each had complimenting colors of varying types. The catwalk that ran above the main floor was thin, giving room to only one person, one side is connected to a control room with layers of gray, sleek terminals, and on the other end, lay a small, yet comfortable office area.
In the middle of a large, circular platform, lay a massive ring, built with finely-curved silver metal, medium-sized triangular devices encircling it evenly. On each side and on the front of the platform, lay short stairwells, and beyond them, lay open arches that led to various sectors beyond the room.
Suddenly, the ring came to life in a quasi-whooshing sound, the devices encircling it lighting up and down. After that, a hologram of various symbols lining the inside of the ring materialized, and then began lighting up as a circle. The process evolved to a lock-dialing after a symbol was registered on a device. This continued for almost six more times before the inside lit up and with a whoosh, came forth a geyser of liquid, retreating back into a watery-wall.
As quickly as it began, out came human beings in military-equipment, the wall making watery-suckling noises as they came out. Two by two, they came in, some carrying computers and crates, others armed with weapons, armor and gear.
“Alright! Alpha and Bravo team, you know the plan! Move out and sweep the area!” one human ordered, his left face covered in a branching scar that started from the corner of his lip, towards the corner of his eye with one branch, and the other to his ear. “Charlie and Delta, help out the civilians with setting up! Let’s go!”
They obeyed quickly. Three more came through before the gate closed on itself with a machine-like sound, steam hissing out rapidly from the vents on its sides.
As the soldiers and civilians moved out, lights began activating with their proximity. The further they walked, more lights turned on. Eventually, the exact color of the room became clear. Complimenting the chrome base, the walls were striped with crimson-red around the room, while the floor was mixed with tiles of dark-blue, stretching from each corner to another.
“Karsten, Joan, get up there and see if you can get us an idea of the base…” the leader ordered again, pointing up towards the control room straight from the ring.
“Got it…” Karsten nodded. The tall Caucasian picked up a gym-bag filled with various electronics with his slim arms and, setting them on his shoulder, walked down the stairs and looked around, pointing to where his eyes saw.
“Pretty sure it’s through here…” Joan said, nudging Karsten towards the arch underneath the control room. The scarred-leader watched the Nordic-skinned woman lead the other to the control room and continued to supervise the operation.
Cheyenne Mountain, USA of Earth
The Stargate closed after the last of the Expedition entered. Gen. Mark Waltman stared at it with his arms crossed for a moment longer before turning around and walking out of the room.
“Are you sure it was a good idea sending them to Andromeda, sir?” a man in a black suit asked, crossing his arms with a challenging expression.
“You know the mission of SGC…” Mark replied, his square-face set in determined defense. “We are to explore the galaxy and find technology that will aid in the defense of Earth, along with establishing contact and negotiating friendly relations with other races…”
“You do remember what happened in the Pegasus galaxy, correct?” the man replied, stepping forward. “Dr. Weyre’s team awakened and nearly brought an enemy race to our planet, the very race that defeated the Ancients!”
“But, they stopped them and Earth is safe now…I don’t need the IOA breathing down my neck on this one, I know what I am doing…” Mark insisted.
“We shall see General…” the man muttered, walking away.
The Base, Andromeda Galaxy
“Okay, so…this is what I managed to get so far...” Karsten began, rubbing his hands before presenting a holographic panel from a terminal. “We’re here, in the south-central quadrant of the galaxy. Scanners show that there is a planet much like Earth here in the quadrant west of us”
“That’s just one planet…what about the whole damn mile here in the whole galaxy?” the scarred leader asked, leaning over.
“I found a log-entry relating to a database of Stargate-addresses…apparently, when I tried to access it, it was encrypted, so it’s gonna take a while…” Karsten said with a hint of disappointment in his voice.
“Well, get going then. Joan, how are things settling in?” he glanced at the slim, black haired woman.
“The equipment is interfacing smoothly with the systems. We’ll be done ahead of schedule if it keeps up…” she reported, smiling.
“Major, sir…” an SGC-soldier saluted. “Alpha team said one of their groups found something, you might wanna take a look at it…”
“Understood, on my way…” he nodded, following the soldier.
“Holy shit…” the major dragged his words, staring at a huge hanger in front of him as he leaned on the catwalk-railing. It was packed, with supply crates and vehicles. There were mechs, assault tanks, buggies, assault rifle crates, the whole mile. “We just got ourselves a friggin depot here…”
“Should we get Karsten to interface them sir?” the Alpha-team leader asked, leaning on the rail.
“After he’s done finding us our addresses…” the major said, still in awe of the arsenal before him. “For now, this area is in lockdown…”
“Understood…two men will be outside all entry points…” the other man nodded, tapping a communicator placed on his ear.
Outskirts of Tyros, Aktes of Rulus
The village was in a state of quiet tranquility, the sun shining overhead without a wisp of cloud in sight, the trees full and vibrant with lush green leaves. To the north and west of the village lay a massive expanse of grassland, vibrant and extended to the horizon. To the east, lay the capital of Aktes, Tyros, about a one-day walk between here and there. To the south, lay a large expanse of woodland that housed the city of Murrnau.
However, this day was not like any other day, as the villagers rushed out of their homes to gather in a large group at the edge of the grassland, just circling a large hole big enough to act as a mass-burial site.
According to rumor, two kids were playing with each other when one tripped over a stone like object. The other was digging to collect it when the child discovered it was much larger. They both dug up more before they revealed a large portion of a ring-like object. A day later, a group of men saw the hole and dug into it, thinking it’ll be loaded with riches. Eventually, they discovered the ring-like object, and then, we are back to the present.
“What is that thing?” a female villager asked, pointing.
“It’s a ring…but…it’s metal…” another, a male wearing a laced shirt, replied. “I don’t remember anyone able to craft something like that…”
“What are those shapes made out of?” another woman pointed at the crimson-triangular devices. “Ruby?”
Ancient Base, South-Central Quadrant, Andromeda Galaxy
“Karsten, how are those weapons coming along?” the major asked, strolling in the command center.
“You don’t really wanna hear it…” he said with a cringe.
“Give it to me anyway…” the major rolled his eyes, crossing his arms.
“Almost three-quarters of the arsenal is either antiquated, or malfunctioning from no maintenance for a long time…” Karsten reported, looking over the file on the terminal. “So…we got…three mechs, four tanks, two buggies and five speeder-bikes…”
“So much for a that…” a soldier commented.
“Hang on…” Karsten held up a finger after hearing a dull set of beeping. “A new Stargate went online…looks like it’s from the quadrant west of us…the planet we found on the scanners…”
“Got it up, ready to dial on your word…” Karsten nodded, straightening himself.
“Alright, let’s get a team together…” the major called out. “Joan, you’re in charge till I come back, understood?”
“Clearly…” she nodded, staring at the Stargate.
“Oh wait! Before you go…” Karsten jogged towards the major hastily. “I just brought up the layout of the base. It isn’t really a base, it is…”
“Save it, kay?” the major held up his hand. “I like it to be a surprise…”
“Got it Ben…” he nodded. The major glared at him. “Sorry…Major Benjamin…”
“Thank you…” Benjamin nodded. “Oh, by the way…suit up; you’re on this team as well…”
With that said, Benjamin walked away with Karsten in shock with a hint of excitement. “Holy shit…ALRIGHT!”
Aktes Countryside, Rulus, South-Western Quadrant
“Nnnngh…by the…this is heavy!” a worker grunted, tugging on the rope that was attached to a pulley on the crane, which snaked down and tied to the ring. Ten strong workers were called in, and, incredibly, they were having difficulty.
“Be careful!” a man with long, flowing brown hair with a scar above his left eye said. “I don’t want that damaged!”
“The walkway seems to be part of the ring…is it an altar of some sort?” a large, muscular lizard-like humanoid asked, pointing at the small flight of stairs that rose with the ring at the front.
“If it is an altar, then clearly whoever built it was far ahead of their time…look at that craftsmanship!” the man placed his hands on his sides, giving a smile of awe. “When we return to the palace, I will see to it that we will find more of these artifacts…”
The sun had gone down a bit when the ring was finally removed and placed a short distance away from the excavation site. After the ring was removed, they found another object buried just a distance away. It was circular at the top, with a narrow, curving stand. In the middle was a bright green orb surrounded by tablets of various symbols in a clock-like fashion with two layers from the center.
“Are these writings of some sort?” the man asked when he approached the object.
“We have never seen these writings Lord Kyle…this will take a very long time, maybe past this generation…” a man bowed deeply, wearing a white robe.
“Still…let’s try and figure this out…” Kyle insisted, looking over the writings. Suddenly, an armored soldier rushed in, panting.
“M’lord! The ring! It is coming to life!” he shouted, and, just as quickly, ran away. Kyle and the reptilian creature glanced at each other and ran outside, hearing an unbelievable noise on the other side of the area.
The ring was indeed coming to life. A light emerged inside the ring, and began spinning the symbols around, stopping underneath a shape as it seemed to move and light up.
“What is it doing?” Kyle asked, deeply in awe with a hint of shock.
“I have no idea…” the lizard replied, shaking his head.
“Alright people, listen up!” Benjamin shouted, snapping his P90-SMG into place on his black Stargate vest. “We are following a possible First Contact-Protocol! That means, you are to stay with the group at all times, be on your best behavior, and let a qualified diplomat do the talkin’!”
“Speakin’ of diplomats…where the hell is Lanier?” a soldier spoke up, looking around the room.
“Here!” an African cried, his hand raised up as he jogged over to the room, panting and sweating. “My apologies, the vest was…giving me a hard time…”
“No worries, the gate hasn’t opened yet, so you ain’t late…” Karsten smiled, holding up his Mini-Uzi.
“Even Horizon appearing…now…” the operator announced, the large, watery whooshing out of the gate and retracting back, revealing the gate’s signature watery-wall with a deep, opaque blue with splotches of white.
“Send in the MALP!” Benjamin ordered, placing his hand next to his mouth. At an instant, a large, bulky white robot with tracked-wheels whirred ahead, it’s long arm at an angle from its front. A soldier with a remote control and an eye-camera directed the robot through the gate, in which it made a shloop sound.
“MALP is through…atmospheric data reports optimal habitability…visual telemetry coming in…now” the operator spoke, turning his attention to a holographic panel that appeared at the front of the command room.
Kyle, his reptilian friend and the others took a step back and gasped in surprise as a metallic creature emerged from the creature, its movements citing a strange high noise. One villager stepped up to it, much to the quiet distress of his friends, kneeled down and looked into it.
He waved his hand in front of a black, circular glass that was underneath a long beam, probably its arm, and said “hello?”
“Damn…what an introduction…” Benjamin commented, seeing the video feed from his position in front of the gate. “Alright! Let’s go!”
Karsten took a deep breath, jumped around slightly and shook his arms.
“What are you doing Karsten?” Lanier asked in his usual thick African accent.
“I’m uh…getting a bit…worked up, so I thought I should, ya know…” he replied hesitantly, shaking himself as he jumped.
“Come on…” Lanier laughed, grabbing Karsten’s shoulder and nudging him forward, following the squad.
“Lord Kyle! Men appear from the ring!” a soldier shouted, pointing at the gate as approximately six soldiers stepped out of the watery-vortex, armed in all, near-black with gray cuirasses of some kind, wielding strange objects in their hands.
One of the men gave a startled look and spoke with his friend; a bald, heavily-dark skinned male with thick facial hair around his mouth. The group was obviously shocked by the display of arms against them, one of them releasing the object which hung from his curiass and raised his hands to eye-level.
“We mean you no harm! Please, we are peaceful explorers!” the man spoke in the same language as the others, shocking them beyond belief.
“…lower your weapons!” Kyle ordered, and then walked to them, followed by the reptilian creature, puffing his chest and crossing his arms behind him. “I am King Kyle, ruler of Aktes. This here is my friend and knight, Reptile…”
“I am Major Benjamin Gernson, I am here on behalf of the Vesuvius Expedition…this here is Jacques Lanier, and next to him is Dr. Andrew Karsten…” the man introduced himself, his left cheek heavily scarred.
“It is…nice to meet you all…” Reptile bowed slightly, unsure of the sight before him. “How did you…?”
“Oh, this is a Stargate…” Andrew began, pointing at the ring. “It is a transportation device created by an extinct race we call the Ancients. These are used for fast-travel between distant worlds in other stars…”
“You…are from the stars?” Kyle gaped, pointing above him. “How is it...how does this…Stargate, work?”
“Oh jeez…that, even stumps us…and we’ve been using this for almost a decade and a half now…” Andrew laughed softly with a shrug. “But, if you mean by using this, I can show ya…do you have an object that looks like a sun-dial?”
“We did uncover another object next to this…” Reptile nodded.
“Bring that here…” Andrew asked, gesturing with his finger.
“Hang on…” Kyle raised a hand. “Before we use this, I want to know what world you come from and to see if this is all true…”
“Fair enough…follow us…” Benjamin nodded after a moment’s thought. Kyle and Reptile glanced at each other as the group walked back in the Stargate, and decided to follow them with their own company of soldiers.
“My…god…” Kyle looked around him in the deepest shock he ever experienced, followed by Reptile who was equally taken aback.
“Welcome to Vesuvius!” Andrew chirped cheerfully. “Up there in front is our control center, where we monitor and control Stargate activity, and over-”
“Karsten…” Benjamin eyed him with warning, flicking his head.
“Right…come on up, I’ll take you to our meeting room…” Andrew nodded solemnly, walking down the stairs. Kyle and Reptile followed them, albeit a bit slow to take in the grand sight.
“Like Andrew said, welcome to Vesuvius…” Jacques smiled, scratching his bald head idly. “Now…let me start off by saying that, we are peaceful explorers who have just arrived to these stars, and we mean you no harm, lest you wish it upon us…”
“Oh please…if my guess is correct, we wouldn’t stand a chance…” Kyle chuckled nervously. “My military is at a great disadvantage…”
“Now that is out of the way…we would like to establish a peaceful truce between us, along with, if you wish, a cultural exchange partnership…” Jacques began, rubbing his hands. “We have many wonderful technological items and knowledge here, along with those will find eventually, so we are offering to provide these to you if you desire them, so long as you do not try and harm us…”
“Hmm…a generous offer…” Kyle nodded in thought, placing his fingers on his chin. “I suppose you wish of…a payment for this?”
“None that I can think of…” Jacques shook his head.
All hands, assume defensive positions, this is not a drill a voice emerged from the klaxon.
“What was that?” Kyle ducked, taken by surprise.
“That was Major Benjamin down in Stargate Operations, come on!” Jacques explained, getting up and jogging out.
“We got an unidentified ship incoming towards this location…” the operator reported, adjusting his dark-blue cap. “It’ll be here in an hour…we’re in sub-space range…”
“Open a channel…” Benjamin ordered. Shortly after that, Jacques, Kyle and Reptile arrived on the scene.
“What’s going on?” Jacques demanded, looking around the room.
“Unknown ship on intercept course here, I’m gonna establish communication, see what we got…” he explained. The operator reported it was open, and then Benjamin began. “This is Major Benjamin Gernson of the Vesuvius Expedition, may I have your identification?”
No answer. “I repeat, you are entering our airspace, please identify, or turn around, as you will be marked hostile…”
“Maybe they can’t talk back?” Jacques shrugged.
“I’m getting a radiowave from them, they can talk alright…” the operator replied, shaking his head.
“Maybe they don’t understand us…” Kyle shrugged as well, glancing at Jacques then Benjamin.
“A possibility…” he nodded.
“Sir, they’re activating their Hyperdrive…” the operator reported loudly.
“Karsten! Does this station have any defenses?” Benjamin shouted.
“Yeah, we got shields, AA towers, you name it…” he nodded, working the terminal he is at behind the operator.
“Bring them all online…” Benjamin ordered. “We may have to repel invaders…”