Location: a living room in West Canada...
With the Xbox sound on high, Alex and Bob just finished playing a game.
"Man, it's boring" Alex mumbles as he lets out a sigh. Bob yawns and says "Yea, I wish something would happen" as he puts the controller down and gets up to move around, he looks over to see Alex surfing the web. "Hey Alex, anything fun happening on Moddb?" "Nah, even Sensu is being quiet....that worries me" A light fills the room and Alex says "Why do I think he has something to do with this?" Any reply from Bob is cut off as they both disappear along with the light.
Location: a bedroom in South Africa...
SoE logs of his computer and picks up his guitar. "Hit my data cap for the month, time play some music..." The same light fills the room. He looks up and chuckles, "Looks like he got it to work, took him long enough. Oops, can't forget this!" He manages reach his pick just as him and the light vanish.
Location: a bedroom in England...
Caine slides into his chair, rubs his hands together, and says "Dust time...or should I do some lag training on halo...hmmm" The light appears. "Come on man! Now?" Grabs a J20 and waits to beam out...then starts to reach for his iPod, but is not quick enough "Hold on just let me get my....."
Location: a bedroom in East Canada...
As Piper closes a tab in her browser, her face wrinkles in disgust, "Oh no, either he's back or most of Croatia needs therapy..." Her computer flickers as the light starts to fill the room. "WHAT ON EARTH?!" she yells, but even if there was anyone there to answer her, she is gone before they would be able to...
Location: a paintball field in Argentina...
With bursts of CO2, paintballs fly past the players. Mularac lead three of his team mates forward, but the ground around him begins to glow, little spiders of static jump from his clothes to the ground. The game stops as everyone stares at the new star that seems to be growing before them, then Mularac and the glow disappear...
Location: a game room in south east USA...
Af is sitting in his chair, playing a game...he takes a drink of soda...looks at his watch, remembers his raman will be done soon. Checks it again, his raman still won't be done for about a minute. "I feel like I am missing out on something..." He shrugs and unpauses his game.
End of Part 1
Location: a ship in high orbit...
Warren leans forward in the command chair with a deep sigh, then looks over at his sister who is sitting at one of the consoles
"Kara, did you even push the button?"
"Yes! It just takes bit to 'port them all up here. Seven people scattered across the Earth is not an easy job, and this automation code you HELPED write doesn't do anything good for the teleport speed, let me tell ya"
Warren stands up to get a drink, when he returns with his soda, he points a finger at Kara
"Could you have done it without Caine and a room full of other Techs at SGC?"
She shakes her head.
"Ha, thought not"
A light fills the bridge, then seven wide-eyed gamers appear. Warren stands, seems about to say something but stops. Then his demeanor changes and he says with a dramatic voice
"Welcome to the BC-304D Aries."
Then he breaks down laughing
"Sorry guys, I had to do that! Kara, is everyone here?"
She gets a evil grins, then says in a sing-song voice
"All but one"
Her hand hovers over a button. As the seven freaked out gamers stand there, staring at their new surroundings and twitching, Warren dives at Kara screaming
but falls on his face as the others point and laugh, the daze seeming to have pasted at this point, perhaps because of his fall. SoE and Caine help Warren up, and walk him over to where Piper and Kara now standing. They look up to see on the girl's faces the kind of grin that sends a chill up and down a man's spine. All the men in the room say in one voice
"What'd you do?"
Both of the girls point at a screen showing a very dazed looking Af sitting in a chair holding a Xbox controller. Kara waves a hand to calm her brother down
"Don't worry, he's in locked in a room for now"
Warren glances at the control panel
Kara looks down "The weapons con..."
she goes bug-eyes and slams a button, Af vanishes and then appears on a new screen
"....the mess hall."
Alex smiles and says
"smart move. So.....why'd you beam him up?"
Kara gets that grin again,
"For Warren to play with"
Warren thinks for a moment then gets a grin of his own
"Hey guys, he has no idea what's going on or who's behind it...anyone thinking what I am thinking? Nah, that'd be too evil. Lets head to the mess hall, say 'Hi' to Af and get some food and then I'll tell you why you're all here"
End of Part 2
Location: The Aries mess hall...
While gathered around the captain's table, everyone enjoys the meal and talks about the fun they have had in the past and the fun they should have in the future, even though most had never met face to face before today.
Warren stands up, and puts his hands in the air to get everyone to quite down so he can speak.
"Now, I know you're all having fun, but there is something we need to talk about. The reason you are here"
He walks over to a screen set in the wall and pulls up an image, a dark swirling mass appear on the screen.
"This is a rift in space time. It is outside of our galaxy, near rim of the Pegasus galaxy. We are not sure how it opened or were it leads, and that's were we come in. SGC and the IOA want it scanned, them have this ship, but no crew for it. Caine..." He points to the amazingly young boy next to him, "...and I helped write code for this ship, so I said we'd make the run with a few coders we know that way we can make changes to the code on the way if needed. The code we are testing is some automation updates to make it so a ship's whole crew can leave in fighters or whatever and the ship will jump away, and jump back when called. Anyone want to come?"
The hands of everyone in the room fling up too fast to see.
"Good! Your familys will be told you're joining a Think Tank in.....Texas, and you will be beamed down to get some of your clothes, computer, games, say goodbye and the like. Not sure how long this trip will take, but flying there will take about 2 weeks. Well, you'll beam down in a bit, and the ship will...er...um..sail..in the moring. See you then."
End of part 3
Location: The Aries...
Warren walks on to the bridge with some coffee and stares and the earth below, maybe for the last time before they head out. Kara soon joins him and as she sits down, says
"SoE is asleep, trying to get used to Ship time, he's ahead of it by 8 hours. Caine's going to sleep deprive himself to ship time because he's only ahead of it by 6 hours, he's unpacking his stuff right now, then he said he came up here"
Warren takes a sip, "Alex and Bob should be ready to beam up soon, after them it's Piper then Af...Mularac will be up after them. I'm going to my room for a bit. Maybe take one of the fighters out for a ride."
As he leave the bridge, she yell down the hall at him,
"Don't break it, ok?"
He yells back,
"I'll try not to!"
Caine runs past him, turns around and stops in front of Warren.
"Warren, you going to fly some?"
"can I come?"
"To test the 'Wing Man' program...say with a fly-by past the moon"
"It is a program I wrote based on the the 'Follow' program the Aries has. It's makes it so a un-manned '302 can fly in formation with a pilot. May try to code a targeting program so it can fire too"
"Sure. Grab an O2 suit."
Once in the hangar, Warren and Caine each start a 302, but Caine gets in Warren's fighter. Warren closes the cockpit and looks back at Caine.
"Tower, this Wolf 1, do you copy? Need Hangar bay two's hatch open"
The radio crackles to life,
"I copy Wolf 1, BAY DOOR two opening. Caine with you?"
"Roger, we're taking Wolf 2 out for auto-pilot testing"
"All right, I'll buzz you when they're all here and ready to go"
Wolf 1 and 2 rocket out of the hangar, start to fly around the Aries.
Caine looks at what will be his home in the coming weeks, and states
"Odd to think we are flying around in space..."
"Sure is...now...shall we have some fun?"
Warren says through a grin as he pulls back on the joystick, putting the ship through a flip.
"Caine, lets see how your program holds up. Start it on a port side follow formation."
Warren flies around Aries with Wolf 2 off his port wing. Then he flies past the bridge, and just as he heads for the moon the radio comes back on,
"Wolf 1, you do that again, and 'tower' will kick you...HARD"
As Caine giggles in the back, Warren replies,
"I was just playing around, sorry"
Once over the moon, they decide to visit the landing sites of the Apollo missions. Just past the Apollo 11 site, Wolf 2 starts to fly oddly, then do a barrel roll over to the starboard side Of Wolf 1, right before Warren freaks out, Caine taps him on the shoulder.
"Did I scare you?"
"DID YOU DO THAT?!"
"Yea" Caine says with a hint of a giggle in his voice. "I am remote flying it from my controls on this ship. Kinda like playing a video game"
Just then, an Al'kesh decloaks, forcing Wolf 1 and 2 to pull apart. Warren and Caine loop around and come in for an attack run, but see the SGC logo next to a Wolf icon. Piper's voice comes over the radio,
"This is Wolf 11, nice moves 1 and 2. Everyone got all their stuff to the Aries and all but Kara and SoE are on the Wolf 11 with me. So...Let's head out"
Kara joins in,
"Wolves, this is Tower, come back to the den, doors are opening as we speak"
Warren pipes up,
"all right everybody, lets head home"
Most of the way back, Kara comes on over the radio,
"Wolf pack, this is tower, the hangar doors just closed and I have no idea why"
A gasp comes over the speakers,
"Warren, the "call" program just came online, and I just got locked out of navigation."
Anything she said after that was cut off by the Aries opening a hyperspace window and jumping away.
End of Part 4
The crew is amazed to see their new home fly away, and they all fear for the two left on the ship, as no one knows who called the ship or where they called it too. Bob is the first to say something,
"Who wrote the call program?"
Caine replies "Warren and me...and a room full over other coders at SGC."
"what exactly does it do?"
"Basically, when the program comes on line, gets the call if you will, the Nav AI kicks in and it jumps to hyperspace. When it arrives at it's destination, it sends a sub-space signal to the Wolf squadron Nav computers."
Mularac chimes in "So can't we just wait for it to tell us where it is?"
Warren sighs "Not much else we can do. Kara's a smart girl, she'll think of something"
Meanwhile, back aboard the Aries, Kara knocks on SoE's door. "wake up and get dressed something has gone wrong"
SoE opens the door, fully dressed, but sill rubbing his eyes,
"Someone or thing just called the Aries, locking us out of navigation and making it jump to hyperspace"
Suddenly more awake, SoE starts to run down the hall, Kara calls after him.
"Where are you going?"
"The armory" he says, like it is the only place he could be going.
When Kara catches up to him, he is in the back of the armory and has already covered some of the front of a vest he put on with various types of grenades, strapped a Zat to each leg, and is picking up a M-60 machine gun. Kara straps a Zat to her right leg, and grabs a P90. He pounds over to her, his steps made heavier by all the weapons, and asks "What now?" with a smirk on his face. She looks at all the equipment he is wearing, hints of terror and awe on her face, "I guess we head to engineering, see if we can stop the ship." He nods and breaks into a run, the earlier heavy steps either having been acting or he is just forcing himself to run with all that extra weight.
Apon reaching engineering, SoE drops onto a chair, its piston moaning under his weight, and Kara begins to tap away on one of the consoles. About twenty minutes later, the ship drops out of hyper space. SoE walks over and pats her on the back
"Good job, thought it would take longer"
She turns around with a look of horror on her face
"It would have...if I was the one that stopped it"
They look out a window to see three Ha'taks and a moon.
"Quick..." She says as she runs out of the room with SoE plodding behind her, "...we have to get to Wolf 12 in the hangar, it's a puddle jumper. We can hide in it with it cloaked, and try to contact the rest of the Crew."
Back on the Wolf 11...
Alex, Bob and Caine talk over one channel of the radio about ways to get the ship to drop out of hyperspace, and Mularac, Af, Piper and Warren talk on another channel about how to get the ship back when it does. The screens on the ships flicker to life, showing "Aries destination reached, open bay doors?" Everyone stares for a moment, the meaning of the message not having sunk in yet. Caine is the first to speak,
"It dropped out!"
Mularac runs to a console to save the data the homing signal is sending to the Nav computer, just as he finish, the signal disappears.
"Did I do that?"
Alex looks over at the console,
"No, the signal is just...gone"
Piper starts to set up for the jump to the Aries, but Warren's voice stops her,
"It was jammed. That means it got where it was going, and whoever called it tried to keep it from telling us where it is. You guys in the Wolf 11, start a jump to the rim of that system, we'll get 1 and 2 in close to you and use your Hyperspace window. Once we stop, Caine and I will break off, and then you jump in close to the Aries, and cloak. Use the ring transporter to get to the ship, find Kara and SoE, then take back the ship. Maybe if you have time, try using the ship's weapons to take out any ships around Aries. Once you're onboard, Caine and I will jump in and give the enemies in space something to think about using Wolf 1 and 2."
"Aye aye captain" replies Af with a mock salute.
The Nav computers calculate the jump as the ships form a tight V, then open a window and jump...
End of Part 5
Out on the rim of a star system, three ships appear.
Warren says "Wolf 11, this is 1, do you copy"
Mularac comes on the line, "Wolf 1, we here you loud and clear, what's up?"
"Caine and I came up with something and the way here. If we expanded all three ships' shields, and pumped O2 into the shield bubble, Caine could move over to Wolf 2 and he could fly better that way. Even if the shields fail, him and I have O2 suits on. We just want the bubble so we won't lose as much air from the fighters"
Those on the Al'kesh stare at the speaker, and Af slides into a control chair.
"All right, form up" he states as he expands the shields. As the three orbs on the screen merge, Caine unbuckles the seat belt he had on, and seals his O2 suits helmet. Once the bubble has fully formed, Warren opens the cockpit and moves Wolf 1 close over the top of Wolf 2, with his ship flipped over, so the ships are facing each other cockpit to cockpit. Just as they are passing, Caine jumps out of Wolf 1 and seems to be flying to Wolf 2.
"This is SO epic" he says over the radio, then crawls into Wolf 2, and seals the hatch.
"Wolf 2 online."
Warren comes on over the radio,
"Good to hear. Wolf 11, you are clear for jump"
The Al'kesh jumps, and the 302's form up to ready for their jump.
In the hangar of the Aries, Wolf 12 sits quietly, invisible to all but the best scanners. Inside, SoE is camped out on the floor, M-60 pointed at the rear hatch of the jumper and Kara reads data scrolling on a display. The subspace comm channel hums for a moment, then Piper's voice is heard.
"Wolves 1 and 2, this is 11, away team is on the Aries, you are clear for your part."
"Roger that 11, try not to get hit by stray shots, k?"
"I copy Wolf 1, see you back on the ship"
Kara slams the comm switch,
"Wolf pack, this is 12, can you hear me"
A mass of hoots and other sounds of joy tells her they can.
"Good, SoE and I are in the cloaked jumper, so we're safe for now."
Her brother is the first to speak,
"Alright, the away team is onboard. Their radios are on channel 7, you should be able to reach them that way."
SoE grabs a walkie-talkie, and presses the talk button,
"Away team, this Wolf 12, where are you?"
Mularac replies "Just got Zats from the armory and we are headed to the bridge."
SoE drops the M-60, slams the hatch switch, grabs a Zat in each hand and runs out the open door.
Out in space, the 302's are making attack runs on the Ha'taks, as no Death Gliders have appeared. The Wolves use short range jumps to further confuse the gunners on the enemy ships.
Once the way team nears the bridge, they start to hear weapons fire, and see SoE laying on the floor, a bit of blood on his arm where a bullet grazed him.
"Are you ok?" asks Bob.
SoE shrugs, "More or less. Took out 6 of them before you got here."
Alex pokes his out around the corner, and is greeted by a few burst of rounds, but he pulled back quick enough not too be hit. "Hey SoE..." he asks "Got any flash bangs on that weapons cache you call a vest?"
SoE nods and grins, then throws one on to the bridge. The team covers their ears and once they see the flash shine on the wall, they charge on to the bridge, firing zats at the would-be high jackers.
In space, the Caine and Warren just do an air show, knowing they are too hard to hit and having run out of missiles. The Aries begins to move and lashes out with it's railguns and energy beams, destroying too of the Ha'taks before even taking a hit.
"Wolf squadron, this is Tower, bay doors are open. You may want to land before we jump...just saying"
Wolves 1, 2, and 11 land just as the last Ha'tak is ripped apart.
Warren voice is heard on the radio,
"Head for the Alpha site."
The bay doors close as the ship opens a window and jumps...
About a day later, the ship has made it to the Alpha site, and unloaded the prisoners they captured in taking back the bridge. Once again, they are all in the mess hall, eating and telling stories.
Mularac puts down his fork and thinks for a moment,
"So...who tried to take this ship anyways?"
Caine responds, "looks like it was the Lucian Alliance. They heard about the Aries having advanced programing, so they wanted it. SGC is still unsure as to where the leak was, but they think whandled it well, and want us to keep heading for the rift."
Warren stands up to clean up his dishes,
"That settles it, we keep going. Anyone that wants to stay, speak up"
Nothing is heard but the hum of the ship.
"All right then, lets move out."
Back on the bridge, Warren, Kara and Caine sit at their stations. Kara checking various data read outs, Caine reworking bits of programs, and Warren flies the ship with a joy stick.
"Caine, open the hyperspace window please."
"Yes sir" he says with a smile on his face.
The ship enters the window and jumps away...
End of book one.