After a late night visit from Dr. Jackson and Lt. O’Neill, Elizabeth had decided it would be a good idea to call an early morning meeting so the command staff could be there when the pair delivered the information they carried. As a courtesy she was also including Col. Caldwell since Dr. Jackson had mentioned that he had something for him as well. The official reason noted in the minutes was so the Atlantis staff could be updated on the political situation on Earth. Elizabeth was certain that the sheer amount of information to be passed on was going to be both impressive and depressing.
Stepping into the main conference room ten minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin Elizabeth saw Dr. McKay speaking quietly to Col. Sheppard. Suppressing a sigh, she wondered if breaking ties with Earth would bring about any changes to that relationship. The first year of the expedition there had been a dearth of entertainment and the sparks coming off the two men had in turn sparked a long running set of books in the local betting pools. Over time the deadlines for the bets had come and gone, betters had died, transferred or lost interest and still the books stayed open. Hell, she even had a few bets in herself. But given the natures of the men before her, she wasn’t counting on an easy or quick resolution to that problem.
Clearing her throat gently, Elizabeth called out a cheerful, “Good morning, gentlemen! You are here awful early today. To what do we owe the honor?”
Snorting out a laugh at his own penchant for being late to unwelcome staff meetings, McKay said, “I’m early because I know you break out the good coffee and nibbles for breakfast meetings and I wanted to enjoy a cup or two without people around.” And with that, he raised the oversized mug he carried to meetings and sipped at its contents.
Laughing quietly, Sheppard walked over to the sideboard and grabbing a mug for himself, made sure that a full coffee carafe was slid onto the table in front of McKay. Glancing over at Elizabeth, he nodded at the coffee, silently asking if she wanted a cup. When she agreed, he fixed her a cup and made sure to deliver it as he headed back to his spot by Rodney. “Do you think that one carafe will do you Rodney? Or should I grab another?”
“Ha, ha. Very funny, Major. Given that Dr. Jackson is going to be at this meeting as well, I may just take you up on that!”, said Rodney as he tilted the carafe to top off his cup.
“Talking about me already, Dr. McKay? We haven’t even officially met yet!” came an amused voice from the door.
“Not in this incarnation, we haven’t. But I knew your originator, or is that parent? We got to know each other when we were working at the Antarctic base to find Atlantis. He is the only person I know who drinks more coffee than I do,” responded Rodney.
“So, so true. Jack was always trying to reign in Daniel’s coffee habit. It didn’t help matters when Carter would egg Daniel on by giving him chocolate covered espresso beans, mocha candies or go out of her way to refill his cup when she knew Janet had cut him off,” and with that Lt. O’Neill walked into the room carrying a large box. Beside him, the figure of a young Daniel Jackson could also be seen carrying a box. Setting them down at a set of chairs near the end of the table, O’Neill went to get food and coffee for himself and Daniel, who had started unpacking the box that his partner had carried in. Watching the two of them, Elizabeth noticed that the box in front of Dr. Jackson was metal and looked more like a carrying case for some delicate item than a packing crate. Wondering what was in it, she decided to set her curiosity aside as Daniel began to walk around the table placing a labeled folder at each place on the conference table. Thanking him quietly as he passed her a folder she started sipping coffee, and opened her folder to start reading.
As time got closer to the official start time for the meeting, the invited personnel trickled in and after finding their folders and refreshments, settled in. This was going to be a long meeting. Again.
Putting her new reading material down, Elizabeth rapped her knuckles on the table top and called the meeting to order. “Ladies, gentlemen, most of you know each other so I won’t bother to introduce you. With us are two people you may not know, however. They are Dr. Daniel Melbourne Jackson, and 2nd Lt. Jonathan O’Neill, USAF. If they look familiar to you, it is because they are clones of Dr. Daniel Jackson of SG1 and General O’Neill the former head of HomeWorld Security and the SGC. This meeting was called because they have news to share with us and we need to know what is going on with Earth. After meeting with them last night I got just enough to know that this was something that we all needed to hear. Because of the information I am currently privy too, I’m confident that the data bursts we are getting are less thank complete. Gentlemen? The floor is yours.”
Looking over the faces before him, Jon felt his carefree twenty-two year old persona drain away. All that remained was the man who had been on the front lines of numerous wars before he had started fighting the Goa’uld, who had survived four months in an Iraqi prison, the NID, Ba’al, and a host of others, both on Earth and off. The man who looked back at the senior staff of Atlantis was Col. Jack O’Neill, head of SG1 and second in command of the SGC, and he was there to talk business.
“Thank you, Dr. Weir. I know that most of you have some experience with General O’Neill and that a very few if any of you have experience with me. I was, and in many ways still *am* Colonel Jack O’Neill. A little over six years ago a rouge Asgard by the name of Loki cloned my originator, in a desperate attempt to find a cure for the decline in the Asgard population. Unfortunately for him it didn’t work and the SGC was left holding the bag. General Hammond and I then decided that it would be best if I disappeared from “public” life. The NID was starting to get way too curious for my own good, and I don’t look good dissected. Three weeks after I was dropped off at my new high school, Thor showed up at Jack’s place with Danny. It seems Loki had cloned Daniel as well and then placed the clone on ice while he played with the O’Neill family DNA. To say that Hammond and the President were not amused would be an understatement.
“In the interests of keeping Danny safe, General Hammond, my originator and I decided to keep his existence hidden. At the time, Daniel had just recently Deacended and the NID was doing its level best to get its hands on him for “information purposes”. Given their plans for the adult Daniel, we had to make sure Danny wasn’t discovered. Lucky for us, Loki and his messed up cloning process stopped our aging at around 16, so Danny looked like his own son. For public consumption and to throw the scent off even more, he has been using a different last name and birth date. Once we got him established he started getting his degrees back with some added flourishes, without making waves this time this time around.
“So that is the basic background on the two of us. For the in depth stuff, check out the packets in front of you. They each contain files on the two of us and basic information on our progenitors. Now onto the situation on Earth.
“From what Jack was able to piece together before we left, you as the command staff of Atlantis, have been kept in the dark on a number of subjects that affect your security here in Pegasus. The most important change happened right after the Presidential election. With the change in power, came a radical change in policy concerning galactic politics. Which in turn lead to the real reason Jack is no longer head of HomeWorld. At a off the books meeting with the new President, he objected at the top of his lungs to the ZPM that you folks gave Earth for the Odyssey being used to make up the slack in the power grid for the US.”
Hearing that, Rodney growled and started quickly flipping through his packet to find the relevant information. Nodding in agreement at the unspoken but clearly heard comment, O’Neill confirmed the news, “Yes, Dr. McKay. The President ordered the removal of the ZPM from the Odyssey, and directed that it be hooked into the national power grid. Why? Because thanks to high energy prices and some draconian reforms passed on the amount of pollution that could be released by the nation as a whole and the energy production industry in particular needed another source of power. And the nearest and frankly easiest one to ‘mine’ was the ZPM on the Odyssey. We do know that the second ZPM you gave Earth is still with the chair in Antarctica and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future. Carter, before SG1 went missing, figured that the shanghaied ZPM could help power the US for about 20 to 25 years at current energy levels.”
Pausing briefly to drink some of the remaining coffee in his cup, Jon shifted slightly to face the man who had brought him to Atlantis. “Col. Caldwell, I have some bad news for you as well. Jack mentioned that you had been putting in requests for the Daedalus to be upgraded to match the rest of the fleet. I am sorry Steven, but she won’t be getting those upgrades. Ever. The powers that be will let the Daedalus stay in her current configuration, mainly because the bean counters at the Pentagon see no reason to improve her. I wish I had better news on that front, but Col. Davis, Jacks’ old second in command at HomeWorld, let me know there has been no give on that front.”
Taking a deep breath, Jon sat back in his chair and played with his empty cup. The next bit of news still had the power to hurt him, despite his not having actually been on the base in the last six years. “Over at the SGC there has been a marked slowdown on exploration missions through the Earth gate and an increase in missions aimed at getting the maximum in useable tech from alien worlds. Given that the war with the remnants of the Ori fleet is still ongoing, Jack has made contingency plans for select personnel to leave Earth if there is a need. Some may come here; others have letters leading them to a safe world in the Milky Way. If things do go that bad, Jack is counting on us to take in as many folks from the SGC as we can,” and as Jon said this, he opened his folder and passed a list of possible refugees to Dr. Weir. Looking at it, she saw that the names listed were for family members of SG1, some of the control room techs, a few medical personnel and their families. Jack seemed to be trying to make sure that Atlantis wasn’t going to be overwhelmed, but still making sure that they had folks with needed skills coming their way if things went bad.
“Jack has had a ‘everything goes to hell’ plan in the works since the first time he got the Ancient database downloaded into his head. He knew, as did Hammond, that if things ever really got bad on Earth or the Goa’uld invaded from space, SGC personnel would need a secure and unknown Alpha site. This is that plan.” Looking over at Major Lorne as he stirred in his chair, Jon nodded at him to speak.
“Sir, I never heard any mention of an alternate Alpha site while I was at the SGC. I know all SG teams got lists of friendly worlds to go to in case of trouble, but this sounds like it didn’t even reached the team leaders.” said Lorne. Who hadn’t really noticed that he had slipped back into the responses trained into him from years of working under Col. O’Neill. Col. Sheppard noticed, and after a sharp glance at Jon, held his peace.
“The reason you didn’t know about this, Major, is because none of the SG teams know about it. I know the planets designation because I share Jack’s memories of making that base. Danny knows about it because of Daniel and SG1 helping make sure the base was secure. Other than that? No one knows where it is. The long term SG team leaders should all have a letter from Jack with orders to open it in case of an emergency situation. And by emergency situation, well they know what that means. So far, no one has had to use them.
“Now, given all of that, Jack requested I pass on some recommendations to you all. He knows about the hoarding and he, Davis, Harriman and Landry did their best to cover your tracks on the Earth side end. Harriman and Siler have orders from Jack to slip you folks as much as can be shoved though the gate during the weekly data bursts and loaded onto the Daedalus. He thinks this is going to come to a head and soon, so keep a sharp eye on the politicians. Also, he recommends and I am seconding, that the command staff do not go back to Earth for any reason. Especially you, Col. Sheppard. Given that you have the ATA gene in a strength that rivals Jack’s, if you set foot back on Earth they won’t let you go. Stay here. It is, ironically, the safest place you can be.
“Lastly, in the box in front of Danny is one of the two copies of the Ark. For the non SGC hands, that is basically a duplicate of the Library of Congress, holographic copies of every major and many minor pieces of art, as many books from the Vatican as could be scanned and as much music as could be downloaded into the database from sources around the world. This is over 13 years worth of work by the departments under Dr. Jackson. There is only one other of these in existence and it is currently sitting in the main archeology lab at the SGC itself. In case we are cut off from Earth, we will have her history, her art, and her culture here with us,” and with that, Jon sat down. His part was done, and Danny now got to have fun by answering all the questions Jon knew were coming.
After Jon had finished his rundown of the news, silence reigned for several minutes as the command staff of Atlantis absorbed the revelations. As he watched them, Daniel was reminded of the people of Abydos had reacted after the truth about Ra had sunk in. His new friends may have thrown a party to end all parties but once the rush of victory had been over, a vacuum had appeared in their belief structure and it had taken an uncomfortably long time for them to fill it. The uncomfortable truths that Jon had just laid out to the Earth borne command staff would need time to truly be processed and accepted especially. For the Pegasus natives however, the information was obviously disturbing but also at a remove, not really real. Daniel knew that his job now was to make all that information real and relevant.
Leaning forward after several minutes of quiet, Daniel cleared his throat gently. “All of you have at one point or another met my ‘father’ and you know he is nothing if not a keen observer of human nature. The final evacuation plans that Jon has mentioned were mainly formulated by Jack and General Hammond, but SG1 as a whole had a hand in their making. As Jon has mentioned, there has been no evidence that the letters or pilfering has been discovered. So, unless the information directly impacts Atlantis, I am going to drop that topic. Jack and the people we left at the SGC are on their own for now.
“Right before we boarded the Daedalus, Jack gave me some additional information to pass on to you all. Doctor’s McKay and Zelenka, the files in front of you should have labeled SD card packets. On those cards you will find copies of all of Col. Carter’s public and private files, covering both her research and her speculations. In addition to that there should be files on everything her teams at the SGC and Area 51 had discovered and what was being work on at the time of the last update. Which should have been less than three weeks ago.”
Turning his head slightly so could direct his words at the next person on his list, Daniel continued, “Doctor’s Beckett and Keller, your packets will also contain copies of the public and private files from Dr. Janet Fraiser and Dr. Carolyn Lam. Included in them are the real medical records for myself, Jon and all the potential refugees. Dr. Weir, Ms. Emmagan, your cards have in depth copies of the information that Jon provided as well as analysis of the socio-political situation back on Earth, courtesy of Col. Paul Davis. They should also hold everything we could think of on all the current players in the US Congress, Joint Chief’s and the various IOA governments. Col. Sheppard, Major Lorne, Specialist Dex, your packets contain information on the breakdowns of the military situation both on Earth and off, what information there is on the Ori and the Lucien Alliance, and the projections for the next several years budgets for the SGC and Atlantis. Col. Caldwell your cards contain information on who to talk to in case of an emergency, who you would need to pick up if you are in Earth orbit, who to avoid and your copy of the bug out letter from Jack.”
After giving everyone a chance to confirm that their folders contained the mentioned cards, Daniel continued, “Now, onto what may be the first two questions on your lists: Why was the ZPM hooked into the power grid? And why did the IOA allow it?
“Due to the ‘War on Terrorism’ there had been a nationwide outcry when the public discovered just how dependent the US was on foreign oil and natural gas. I don’t know how much news you all got out here, but during the year leading up to the presidential election there had been a series of rolling blackouts through the whole country that were triggered in part, by the high cost of fuel and the age of the power grid. The power companies were being squeezed by the new laws governing power generation, draconian limits on the amount of pollution that the generator plants could issue and restrictions on building new plants. Alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, water and nuclear plants weren’t able or even in place to take up the slack. With the new restrictions on nuclear reactors and the ‘Not in my backyard’ syndrome, no more are scheduled to be built. When the President got elected, he asked why the US was allowing a power source as large as the ZPM be placed on a ship that was out of reach on a regular basis. I don’t know what answer was given at that meeting, but I do know that Jack was less than thrilled after being in it.
“Meanwhile things were being shaken up at the IOA. If you recall, Dr. Weir, A number of personnel changes occurred that year, correct?” At Elizabeth’s nod, Daniel took a deep breath and continued, “The ‘War on Terror’ is now taking up more attention worldwide, and the original delegates to the IOA have been recalled and replaced with ineffectual place holders. The new delegates have been putting Earth and their own nations first and have been ignoring the waves these policies have caused among our galactic allies. To make things worse, the new committee signed off on the change in the SGC’s mandate. Since they have been in place the SGC has ceased exploring and gathering allies, they are out looking for weapons and usable technology. Thus when the President proposed removing Odyssey’s ZPM and plugging it in the power grid, there was little official resistance. And what resistance there was came from Jack, Landry, Maynard and General Hammond. Due in part to their disagreement over the new use the ZPM was put to; Hammond was invited leave the White House and not come back, Maynard was released back into the Army and Jack & Landry were retired and replaced.
“Now it’s my understanding from what Sam told me before she shipped out on her last mission, that there is an excess of energy being supplied from the ZPM. An excess that the US is saying comes from the ‘new and improved’ green power plants. They are ‘selling’ that extra energy to our allies on the IOA and other countries around the world for prices that are undercutting the cost of gas and oil. And we have no idea what the government is doing with the money they receive. So that’s the short story on why and how the ZPM is being used as an energy source for the US and by extension, the rest of the world.” Taking a drink of his coffee, Daniel grimaced as he found it was cold. Grabbing the carafe in front of him, he refreshed his cup and took a long drink. Looking into the cup, he took a deep breath and continued his briefing.
“There are now a number of new ships being built in secure locations around the globe, with power to be supplied by third generation naquadah reactor’s and in the future naquadria reactors. Jack said that he included copies of the plans for the ships and the reactors in the information packets, but I don’t know who has what. Col. Caldwell for what it is worth, I am sorry about the Daedalus. I know that Jack included information on a number of possible upgrades that be done by your crew and without needing a dry dock. I suggest you speak with Hermiod to see what is possible.”
“Thank you Dr. Jackson. I think I will.” And with that, Caldwell pulled out his packet of chips and started looking checking the labels on them for the information on the upgrades.
“I know we mentioned allies in the Milky Way being ignored, but it runs a bit deeper than that. Most of you know that the Jaffa nation has been an ally. What you may not know is that there had been an intense ongoing effort to find something other than Tretonin for the Jaffa to use as a substitute to their immune systems. All research into this has been called off by the powers that be on Earth and all data was to be turned over the Area 51 for filing. Jaffa who dial in are routinely being turned away from the SGC when they come calling for help or supplies. At least, that is the official line. Unofficially, Dr. Lam at the SGC is still looking into ways to improve Tretonin and make it longer lasting. Some of the SG teams are also still offering their help as they can and Siler and Harriman are covering for them like they are you. Our other allies are also getting it in the neck and the reputation of the Tau’ri is going south very rapidly in our home galaxy. Ferretti, Dixon, and Reynolds are trying to keep things together, but they only have three teams and the SGC is not making friends.
“Here in Pegasus Atlantis has been taking in the refugees from worlds that have been recently culled. You also help by trading medical supplies and knowledge, being the intermediaries when conduction trade negotiations, and trading foodstuffs and plants. The official word at the SGC is that they will be cutting back the supplies you will be receiving for this purpose. Unofficially you can expect Harriman and Siler to continue shoving supplies through the Gate for as long as they can hide the amount of goods moved and the power drains. Rodney I have no idea how Siler is managing that trick and he wouldn’t tell me when I asked. Given the party line back on Earth, expect to get a message where you are told to stop helping everyone, Dr. Weir. What you do then, is up to you.
“Since we are on the topic of supplies I do have some news on that front as well, beyond what is going on at the SGC. Jack wasn’t sure on exactly how self sufficient you all had made yourselves, nor was he sure what trade agreements you have in place to make up for any shortfalls. Col. Caldwell, you can expect to have a very strange manifest on your next trip out from Earth, courtesy of Jack. For the stuff people order from home, as it arrives at the SGC, it will be tossed through the Gate. It is both faster and more efficient than storing it for transport on the Daedalus. Or at least that is what the new General at in charge is being told if he asks.
“And that’s all the information I have to impart. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask,” and with a sigh, Daniel sat back. This next part of the meeting was going to require a whole new carafe of coffee just to get through.