Story Title: Honey, I have a Destiny
Crossover: AUHoney, I Shrunk the Kids Movie/ Stargate Universe
Summary: Nick Szalinski never did have a normal childhood, not when his father was a crazy inventor who died in an experiment gone wrong. Years later, blessed with the scientific brilliance and notes of his father, Nick is going to find himself an intergalactic Destiny…
Disclaimer: I do not own any plot or characters from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie, or Stargate Universe TV show. Just a fan of the shows, keeping the fandoms alive J
Chapter One – Destiny
During the first few years of his life, Nick Szalinski thought of himself as child who was simply ordinary in every aspect. He could never reach the brilliance of his older sister whose grades were always so much better than his. He could never understand the theories of quantum physics that his father would like to use as dinner talk. He was the runt in the family whom everyone adored but was not taken seriously of.
Then his ordinary life ended. In retrospective, Nick knew the signs had already begun much earlier, when he was six years old and his father reached a breakthrough in the field of Quantum Physics. Wayne Szalinski had spent a lot of his time in the studies, writing out complex algorithms and theories that only he could understand. He talked about quantum theories over dinner, causing Nick’s young eyes to glaze over, while his mother nodded her head patiently and waited for her husband to get his dinner speech over with. His sister Amy on the other hand had listened attentively even though it was doubtful she even understood what their father was sprouting.
His father had then drawn up blueprints after blueprints of inventions, saying that they would revolutionize the world. Shrink rays, Molecular enhancers to allow objects to travel at the speed of light. Everyone had just looked at him tolerantly and fondly. After all the inventions were too fantastical to be taken seriously, just the pipe dreams of an ordinary scientist who would never reach his dream.
Life had continued peacefully… and then his father had really created a shrink ray. A shrink ray which had accidentally shrunk Nick, Amy and two of their neighbor’s children. At less than half an inch, the four of them went through the most horrendous journey of their young lives.
It was pure luck and circumstances that Wayne Szalinski managed to get them back to their normal sizes. After that, everyone thought that things were finally going back to normal. His father had spent days going over the shrink ray, attempting to resolve all problems with it before he unveils the device to the public. He was going to make a name for himself and change the world in the process. Everyone was so excited. And then one day, Amy had returned home from school, went into their father’s study to find it destroyed, and a large blood splattered mess, with pieces of their father and Quark, the family dog, combined. Something had gone wrong, the shrink ray had exploded in pieces, taking their father and the family pet with it. Amy had never been the same after that.
The dreams of Wayne Szalinski came to a halt in that instance. Their mother had to support the two of them on her own. Amy no longer wished to become a scientist like their father, even though she had been the one out of the two children to inherit the brilliance of their father. Instead she threw her focus in a field as far from science as possible, studying psychology after the trauma she had gone through.
Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, it had been the “normal” one in the family, the “runt”, who took up the mantle of his father. Young Nick had been consumed with a need to know what had actually gone wrong, he had been the one that delved into whatever was left of his father’s books in higher sciences in an attempt to understand his father more, the father that was no longer alive. Amy would later in her days, as one of the most recognized psychologist in the world, call what Nick was experiencing as survivor’s guilt. At that age however, Nick never gave a name to the burning emotion he was experiencing, there was simply a need to know the mistake his father had made.
When his mother had found him weeks after his father’s death, buried in the salvaged remainders of his father’s books and notes, struggling with his young and ordinary mind to understand the complex theories of Quantum Mechanics, she had quietly sat down beside him, telling him how brilliant Wayne Szalinski was. Not once did his mother, who must surely be filled with grief at his father’s life being taken away by his precious science experiments, stopped Nick in his quest to understand the mind of his father. Instead at a time when Amy actively rejected anything to do with sciences, his mother had encouraged Nick’s interest in the subject. The only one thing she had asked of Nick was a promise. “Never be careless, never lose sight of those around you, never be consumed by the science you love.”
And Nick had kept that promise. He grew to love science, but he never let it consume his life. He involved himself in sports, he always have time for his family and friends. He had girlfriends, though he was currently single. He was born the ordinary one, and yet his brilliance grew to reach that of his father’s. At the age of twenty-four, he had graduated from Harvard with PhDs in Quantum Physics and Mechanical Engineering. He had already produced several patents of his own inventions, a more powerful car engine, renewable solar batteries, an electric generator that actually use water as fuel through hydrolysis process and a magnetic prototype hover car. His inventions had been widely received, and bought up by several prominent companies. Nick Szalinski was considered a rising star and inventor in the engineering sector. All in all, he was not lacking for money, even though he had only graduated a week ago. What was more, job offers were already pouring in.
He already had offers from five respectable universities, but he was taking time to carefully consider his options before answering them. Nick had planned to give himself a week more, see what other offers he would receive, and plan out what future direction he wanted to stir his life towards. In the meantime, he was going over his father’s notes on the inventions his father had thought out in the past but never built. There was also the shrink ray. Only pieces of notes regarding that invention had survived, and it had taken Nick this long to piece together the theory of how it works and come up with a blueprint to build it. Nick had made several corrections and adjustments to his father’s theory’s on the shrink ray technology over the years, streamlining it vastly. He was fairly certain that he was able build a new shrink ray that did not have the flaws of the prototype, and which would hopefully not explode on him.
The design of his version of the shrink ray had the physical appearance of a mini hand held torch like device. The design had made for easy carrying and concealment. He had managed to build the prototype shrink ray device a week ago, just before he graduated. But he was keeping the whole project a secret from his family. Amy would throw a fit if she knew about it, and even though his mother had been supportive of his decision to follow in his father’s path, Nick was sure that telling her he had recreated the device that killed her husband was not exactly the most tactful thing to do. No, he would conduct a stern battery of tests in a safe and secure location using the device, before letting his family know of what he had done. He would not repeat his father’s mistake.
Light of the morning sun was already shining through the windows as Nick looked up from the tangle of wires he was trying to piece together in his “lab”. He had worked through the night again, but at least another of his invention, an electrolysis water purification system, was almost complete and ready for a trial run soon. Other half completed projects lay scattered on the four tables in his lab. Making a promise to take a break during the day, he left the cellar which acted as his laboratory at home. Grabbing a covered plate of breakfast his mother had left on the kitchen table, he walked into the living room. As he went through the mail which his mother had left on the coffee table, a knock sounded on the door. Nick raised his eyebrow wondering who would be at his door so early in the morning, perhaps a salesman?
Setting down the plate, Nick walked to the door, his eyes widening at the sight of a Lieutenant General in full dress standing on his front porch, with a geeky scientist looking guy standing beside him.
“Mr Szalinski.” The Lieutenant General said with a nod. “I am General O’Neill from the United States’ government. Your country would like to offer you a job…”
Nick Szalinski looked remarkably composed as he looked through the highly classified documents that Dr. Leonard, the head scientist from the Beta Base was showing him. Most of the civilians when confronted with the nature of the secret before them were either stunned into shock, outright rejection, or excitement at the fact that there were really aliens out there, and Earth had a space program traveling to other planets for the past thirteen years. Yet the young Dr. Szalinski received the news with a measured calm that showed nerves of steel. Lieutenant General Jack O’Neill decided then and there that he liked the kid.
“So the government had a program that actually allows one to travel to other planets through inter-galactic distance.” Dr. Szalinski mused, reading from the documents, a hint of amusement in his eyes. Jack raised an eyebrow. That was not a normal reaction. As the Lieutenant General in charge of hiring the very best talents in the United States for top secret projects, he was more used to dealing with the outright denial by his prospective targets. “They do that by using Stargates… actual wormhole traveling device left behind on millions of planets by a powerful race called the Alterans thousands of years ago… and humans are actually the second evolution of the Alterans… around 13% of the world’s population has the Alteran gene due to inbreeding in the past, and my blood work shows that I have the gene…”
Dr. Szalinski looked up from the documents he was reading through, looking remarkably impressed. The young doctor did not even seemed creep out by the fact that there were aliens out there. Jack looked at the man in disbelief as he asked the question on his mind. “Aren’t you even the least bit doubtful about whether what we’ve told you is true? Most of the people we tried to hire tend to be screaming bloody murder by now, or at the very least ask for some evidence.” Jack barked out, staring at the man.
“This is evidence enough for me.” Dr. Szalinski said stabbing a finger at a document that goes into the theory of wormhole physics. It had been part of the document folder that Dr. Leonard had insisted on bringing. “Whoever wrote this paper on the study of the Stargate’s wormhole has an in depth knowledge of quantum mechanics. As far as I can tell, the document is a genuine work, and few quantum scientists in this world have the knowledge and expertise to write up such a document. I seriously doubt the United States government would get a scientist to come up with a valid wormhole theory just to play a plank on me, which in turn means that all your talk about aliens, starships and off world travels are real.”
“You mean you actually understand what that document says?” Jack asked, gawking at the young man. It had been just another stack of boring scientific theory written by Sam to his eyes. He dearly loved Sam, who was now a Brigadier General in command of the starship George Hammond, but he was always lost when she started sprouting about those mind numbing scientific theories of hers. Jack looked incredulously at Dr. Szalinski, and then he gave a sigh, shaking his head. “Why am I still surprised, I am hiring all the smart alecs in United States, of course you’ll know what those headache inducing documents mean.”
“Ahem.” Dr. Leonard gave a sharp cough, looking at the General reproachfully. He turned to Dr. Szalinski. “Now as I was saying, Dr. Szalinski, Stargate Command and the International Oversight Authority would like to hire you on as a scientist for Beta Base, to explore and study different types of energy generation methods. In particular, Beta Base is in charge of solving the mystery behind the Zero Point Module of the Alterans, and to find a way for Earth to build one for ourselves. We’re able to offer you a substantial payout, but you must be prepared to spend more than half a year at times off world, as Beta Base is more than seventy light years away from Earth. Monthly visits to Earth for a few days each can be arranged and…”
“I will take it.” Dr. Szalinski interrupted, causing Jack and Dr. Leonard to look at him in surprise.
“Dr. Leonard haven’t give you the full sales pitch yet.” Jack said as he looked at the young Dr. Szalinski who was observing the two of them with a firm look in his eyes.
“You’re offering a chance to travel to another planet and study really advanced alien technologies.” Dr. Szalinski said with a grin that lit up his youthful face. “I’ll be stupid to pass up the chance. So when do I start work?”
“Your quarter at Beta Base is still being furnished. It would take a month at least to set up everything. If you hire on now, it would be a good time for you to read up everything you can about the Stargate program. But of course, you’ll need to be stationed at the Stargate Command Base in Colorado to access the documents, we can’t allow those highly sensitive documents off Base.” Dr. Leonard said, turning to give Jack an inquiring look.
“Take one week to prepare yourself. Pack up everything you’ll need for an extended stay of at least two months. You’ll stay at the Colorado Base for the first three weeks before moving into Beta Base proper.” Jack said after much thought. “You can brush up on the basic Stargate protocols, missions and alien technologies during those three weeks. It will be a good time for you to observe how other scientists at the Colorado Base works as well.”
Dr. Szalinski nodded, his eyes distant as if contemplating something. “One week will be just nice for me to prepare everything. So how do I go to this Colorado Base?”
It was too bad that signing non-disclosure form meant that he could not tell his mother and sister what he was going to be working as. Aliens, highly advanced technologies, starships and space travels… if his father Wayne Szalinski was here, he would be in heaven. Nick smiled sadly at the thought of his father, even years after his father’s death, the pain was still there. He had no way of knowing if the Stargate Command had the technologies to enable them to know if he broke the non-disclosure clause, but he was not going to risk it either way. This opportunity was too good to miss.
The next two days after the meeting had passed rather quickly. Nick had gone out to the country side to test out the shrink ray prototype. The series of tests he conducted proved that the device was reasonably stable. The energy readings were constant, and he had shrunk and enlarged trees, rocks and a rabbit without any disaster. He… Nick Szalinski, had finally completed his father’s dream. A real working shrink ray that did not seemed to have any problem so far. But with the accidental death of his father firmly entrenched in his mind due to an older and less stable version of the device, Nick was noticeably cautious about revealing this invention to anyone, not even to his family, until he could be one hundred percent certain that the shrink ray would work without error or side effects.
Marcia Szalinski had taken the news that Nick took up a job requiring him to be away from home for months with motherly understanding and patience. After all Nick was already an adult, free to live his own life, and Amy had already moved out years ago after her marriage. His mother had helped Nick packed the things he would need for a few months stay at his new work place, which Marcia thought was some laboratory in a distant country. By the fifth day, everything was packed and ready to go, with two large luggage standing by.
What Marcia did not know was that using his shrink ray, Nick had shrunk four boxes full of his science equipment and incomplete projects to bring along with him as well. He had also shrunk three boxes of books, as well as what was left of his father’s documents and his own experimentation notes. Not knowing what the Beta Base would be like, but having a rough idea after Dr. Leonard’s introduction that Stargate Command was more of a military setup with soldiers working along-side civilian scientists and doctors, Nick had guessed that Beta Base might be a bit spartan in the entertainment and food aspect. That intuition had been what prompted him to pack his video and game collection into another four separate boxes, as well as five boxes of his favorite snacks and sweets, and shrunk them down. So far, nothing had seemed wrong with the shrunk items, and all of them fit inside a 5cm x 5cm wooden gift box with room to spare.
Acting on a whim, Nick had went to the garage where the prototype of his first magnetic hover car had sat collecting dust. After selling the patent of his magnetic hover car design to Metallic Gear, one of the up and coming car companies in Europe, he had been bond by contract not to display his hover car prototype to anyone until the release of the 1st generation series of magnetic hover cars to the public. Taking out his shrink ray device, Nick had triggered the beam at the magnetic car prototype, causing it to shrink down to the size of a toy car. Picking up the shrunk object, Nick had placed it in the wooden gift box. The small magnetic hover car would be his good luck charm in the new place he would be going.
On the seventh day, he was up bright and early, saying goodbye to his mother as she left for work, while waiting for the transport that would take him to the airport where he would catch a flight to Colorado. He had brought out his luggage. His shrink ray device and the box containing his shrunk contents were in his pockets. When he saw the black tinted windowed sedan pull up in front of the house, he walked out, locking the door behind him while making way for the car.
“Dr. Szalinski, a pleasure to meet you.” The driver said as he got out. “I am Captain Morris, and I am afraid there’s a change in plans.”
“Change in plans?” Nick asked as Captain Morris open the door to the back seat and began hoisting Nick’s two luggage in, instead of storing them in the boot of the car.
“Yes, get in and I’ll brief you.” Captain Morris said as he walked back to the front of the car.
Nick shrugged, getting into the back seat and closing the open door. Captain Morris settled in the driver seat and turned to face him, passing him a laptop. “The starship George Hammond is now in orbit over Earth, ready to transport certain personnel to Icarus Base, 21 light years away from Earth. Certain matters have occurred in the past few hours requiring the George Hammond to ferry personnel to Icarus Base. General O’Neill made the decision to let you have some off-world experience, as well as a chance to be on one of Earth’s starship before you’re shipped to Beta Base. You’ll be assigned to Icarus Base for the next three weeks in an observer role. A room will be arranged for you at the base. The laptop that you’ll now holding is assigned to you and contains all the necessary reading materials about the Stargate program from its cradle till now. Scientific schematics of the different energy generation devices encountered by Stargate Command are also included to start you off on your research early. Language packages including Goa’uld, Alteran/Lantean and Asgard are included. Dr. Leonard also asked for the data in regards to our hyperdrives, matter energy transporter and the Stargate to be input into the laptop as well, since they have the highest consumption of energy usage, which you need to carter for while researching in Beta Base. You are expected to have a rough idea of how all the different technologies works by the time you are deported to Beta Base.”
“Wow.” Nick said shaking his head at the influx of information. “I’ve heard about the Transporter beam and hyperdrive technologies that Earth has, it will be interesting to see how they work.”
“You’ll get a chance to experience the transporter first hand.” Captain Morris said with a grin. “How else do you think you’re going up to a starship in space?”
“You mean they are going to beam me up?” Nick asked in surprise.
Captain Morris just continued grinning at him even as he speak into his receiver. “Dr. Szalinski is good to go.”
“What…” Nick never got a chance to finish his sentence as white light surrounded him… and he reappeared in a medium sized room, sitting down hard on metal floor. His two luggage were beside him. A podium with displays and controls was in front of him, and the woman operating it was looking at him in amusement.
“Welcome aboard the George Hammond Dr. Szalinski, a crew man will be around shortly to give you a tour of the ship. In the meantime, maybe you should get off the floor?” She asked, her eyes twinkling at him.
Nick blushed, standing up quickly even as excitement hammered in his chest, the laptop in his hand clasped tightly to his chest. He was on a starship and had a laptop full of alien technologies. This job was beginning to look pretty good to him.
The tour of the George Hammond had been very impressive. Nick had been taken briefly to the ship’s engine room where he had gazed on in open delight at the powerful hyper drive engines that enabled the ship to enter hyperspace. He had drooled over the powerful Naquadah generators which provided the ship with enormous power. But the real kicker was when the crew man showing him around the ship had taken him to one of the viewing decks on the George Hammond, giving him an impressive view of the shining blue green Earth hanging in the darkness of space. His eyes had misted over at the sight, in that moment, one of his childhood dreams was fulfilled.
He had then proceeded on the tour to other parts of the ship, with the crew man filling him on as to why the George Hammond was currently ferrying people to Icarus Base. The Stargate device which Stargate Command used to travel to other planets, works through the dialing of certain sequence of chevrons, symbols on the Stargate, acting like an inter-galactic telephone. To connect to other Stargates in the Milky Way galaxy, a seven chevron address was needed. For dialing of Stargates in the Pegasus galaxy, an eight chevron address was needed. Stargate Command had recently discovered a nine chevron address in an Alteran database, but attempts to dial it had been met with failure.
Icarus Base had been set up to solve the mystery of the nine chevron address. To figure out what was at the end of the nine chevron address and how to dial it. Solving the mystery of an eight chevron address in the past had netted Stargate Command and the International Oversight Authority the Lantean city ship Atlantis, which had been a treasure trove of Lantean technologies and knowledge. The officials and governments involved in the Stargate program had hoped that the nine chevron address would lead them to a new treasure trove of Alteran/Lantean knowledge.
The mystery of the nine chevron address had been embedded in an online game and someone had actually managed to solve it. The George Hammond was called in to ferry the gamer who had solved the puzzle and the official who had been sponsoring the base’s funding, to Icarus Base for the unveiling of the base’s purpose. Travel by Stargate was unfortunately not advisable due to the location of Icarus Base. The planet where Icarus Base was built into, had an unique Naquadria core, which would theoretically provide enough power to a Stargate to dial a nine chevron address. Unfortunately connecting a Stargate directly to the planet core means that every time the Stargate establish a wormhole, the planet core runs the risk of destabilizing. It was much safer to everyone to travel to Icarus Base by starship.
Nick was not complaining though, it was because of all this that he got a chance to experience staying in a real honest to god starship earlier than he had expected. The tour had ended with him being taken to the quarters assigned to him for the duration of his journey. The trip would take approximately eight hours as the Hammond was going at a slow cruising speed, making stops at two other off world bases along the way to ferry supplies. It was more than enough time for Nick to take a nap if he wished to, or for him to review the materials in his new laptop.
Deciding it was best to start reading up on Stargate Command, Nick moved to switch on his laptop when his stomach growled. Nick paused, contemplating his options. It was nearing lunch time now, and he did pass by the mess during the tour. Shrugging his shoulders, Nick picked up the laptop and left his quarters, making way for the mess. After all, there was no rule saying he needed to study dry mission reports in those confining quarters assigned to him. Best to eat and read at the same time.
Juggling the tray of standard meal set aboard the Georage Hammond, Nick managed to find an empty table to settle down in. The mess was getting crowded with crew members having their break, but the noisy chatter around him did not distract Nick as he start up his laptop and began browsing the materials in them while he ate. University life had given him the precious skill of studying while surrounded by noises, a skill which he was putting into good use now.
He was half way through his meal of rice and chicken when a shadow cast over him, causing him to look up… into the eyes of a beautiful black eyed, brown haired girl smiling down at him.
“Chole Armstrong.” The girl introduced with a shy grin, shifting her tray of food so that one of her hand extended to him in a handshake. “The other tables are full. Do you mind if I share this table with you?”
Nick quickly got up with a wide smile as he clasped the girl’s hand in a firm handshake. He had broken up with his second girlfriend months ago, perhaps it was time for him to get back in the game, after all, he did have a life outside of science. “Nick Szalinski. It will be my pleasure to share table with such a beautiful lady.”
“Dr. Nick Szalinski?” The girl, Chole, had remarked in surprise even as she looked amused at his words. “My father is a huge fan of your magnetic hover car design, in fact he plans to buy one for himself when the first series is released to public. I wasn’t aware you were brought into the Stargate program though.”
“I was hired on recently. To be honest, this is my first trip on a starship. They plan to station me at Beta Base in a few weeks’ time, but right now, I will be going to Icarus Base to observe what they do there, and see how they operate.” Nick said unabashed. He put his laptop in hibernate mode, closing it and putting it aside so that he had a clear view of Chole while she ate. “So, who’s your father? He must be quite wealthy, the prices for the 1st generation magnetic hover cars when they are released are supposedly in the range of tens of thousands.”
“My father is the Senator of California.” Chole said simply as she continued with her meal. “He is also the sponsor for Icarus Base, which is why he is called in when the mystery of the nine chevron address is solved. He wanted to be on hand to see if this new solution to the nine chevron address actually works. There had been a few misses in the past few months and he is getting impatient. I am here as his aide.”
“Alan Armstrong, the Senator.” Nick said as he realized who Chole’s father was. “You’re following in your father’s footsteps?”
“I am studying Political Science and Earth history at Harvard right now. Nothing to compare to you though. I…” Chole said with a smile but trailed off as her eyes alighted on someone behind Nick. “That looks like Eli Wallace.”
“Eli Wallace?” Nick asked, even as he turned around to see a stocky young man in t-shirt and an ill matching pants holding a tray of food at the side of the crowded mess looking lost.
“Yeah, he’s the one that supposedly solved the mystery of the nine chevron address.” Chole said as she nodded enthusiastically. “He’s an MIT drop out, but his grades during MIT were all top of the class. He’s the reason why my father and I are going to Icarus Base now.”
“And I suppose you must have a file on him if you know all those details.” Nick commented dryly, causing Chole to blush. Making a snap decision, he waved at the young man whom Chole had identified as Eli Wallace. He knew what it felt like to be standing at the edge of the crowd among strangers, and his table was large enough to accommodate one more person. Eli saw him and a look of momentary relief crossed his face as he walked over to them.
“Hi, I am Eli Wallace.” Eli said nodding at them with a hesitant grin.
“Nice to meet you, I am Nick and this is Chole.” Nick said as he completed the introduction. “Come on, sit down, you look famished.”
“I have been going through the basic Stargate Introductory packages for hours. I feel brain dead and hungry.” Eli said with a grin.
“There are basic Stargate Introductory packages?” Nick asked in surprise. “How come I never got those? All they gave me was one whole lump of Stargate mission reports!”
“The basic packages are given to personnel with the lowest of clearance levels in Stargate Command. Only those with much higher levels of clearance are given access to the mission reports, which are more detailed.” Chole explained. “You are supposed to be a researcher at an offworld base after all, your clearance level must have been higher than Eli’s and the higher ups most probably thought it is better to give you detailed information than introductory videos.”
Nick groaned, he was beginning to foresee suffering through a massive wall of information dump in the days ahead instead of easy video lessons. In the meantime, he settled down to listen to Chole and Eli as they began to chat.
By the time that George Hammond reached Icarus Base, Nick was on good talking terms with Chole and Eli. Aside from the three of them, Senator Armstrong, and Dr. Nicholas Rush, Head of the Science department in Icarus Base, were the only ones going to Icarus Base. Of the five of them, Nick was the only one carrying luggage. Senator Amstrong and Chole were on visiting trip, with the George Hammond on stand by to ferry them back once they were done. Dr. Rush already had accommodations in the base, while Eli according to his own words, had been kidnapped right out of his home to work on the mystery of the nine chevron address.
The transporter beam had transported the five of them onto a landing spot, on a cliff protruding out of Icarus Base which had been built into a mountain. A waft of heat and smell of clean fresh air had hit him when Nick had first reappeared on the cliff.
“Holy!” Eli cried out in astonishment as he walked to the edge of the cliff, which overlooked a runway hosting fighter jets of a design Nick had never seen before.
A sturdy looking man walked out of the entrance connected to the cliff, Nick’s keen eyes saw the rank of a Colonel on the man’s uniform. “Senator Armstrong, it’s my honor to welcome you to Icarus Base.” The Colonel said with a smile, shaking the Senator’s hand. Chole stood by her father’s side, seemingly unmoved by the amazing scenery around them.
“Colonel Young.” Senator Armstrong said with a nod. He turned, introducing Chole. “This is my executive assistant, Chole. She’s also my daughter.”
“The pleasure’s mine.” Colonel Young said pleasantly. He looked to back to the entrance as a young man with the rank of a Lieutenant rushed out, standing beside the Colonel. Colonel Young simply nodded to him before turning to greet Eli. “And you must be the…”
“Contest Winner, yea.” Eli said with a laugh before pointing his camera phone to a structure above on the cliff above them, taking a picture of it. “That’s a big gun.”
“Rail gun. It fires five hundred rounds per minute.” The young Lieutenant besides Colonel Young commented, causing Eli to give him a wide eyed look.
“This is Lieutenant Scott, he’s been assigned to you Mr Wallace.” Colonel Young said before turning to face Nick. “And you must be Dr. Szalinski, I’ve received the new orders that you’ll be observing how we operate for the next three weeks.”
“Please, just Nick will do Colonel Young.” Nick said with a smile.
“Alright then Nick, Sergeant Spencer will show you to your quarters.” Colonel Young said as he motioned to another young man standing near the entrance of the cliff. “We’ll begin your induction to the base after dinner. In the meantime Sergeant Spencer will give you a tour of the base and you can put your belongings in the personal quarters assigned to you.”
“Thank you Colonel Young.” Nick said with a nod as Sergeant Spencer picked up his two luggage and began leading him away from the small group who were still making small talk. Eli waved farewell to him while Chole had given him a discreet smile before he walked through the entrance leading into the cliff.
Sergeant Spencer was apparently a man of few words because the man kept silent through the whole journey as Nick was lead down a series of tunnels.
“This is the mess.” Sergeant Spencer finally said as they stopped momentarily outside a large room filled with tables. “Dinner will be in forty five minutes time. We’ll go to your quarters first so I can put down the luggage. Then I’ll give you a full tour of the base.”
“Thank you Sergeant Spencer.” Nick said as the man gave him a curt nod of acknowledgment. They moved down a different set of corridors, passing some uniformed personnel at work in some sort of armory, before reaching a corridor leading to lots of rooms. Nick was led to a door that already had a name plate with his name. Opening the door, he was treated to the sight of a room much smaller than his back home. It was just large enough to hold a bed, a table and a cupboard.
Sergeant Spencer set his two luggage down by the side of the room before straightening and turned to Nick. “Come on, I’ll start by showing you a tour of the bathrooms, and then the work space that is assigned to you.”
Nick nodded as he trailed after the Sergeant who began leading him around. He was shown the medic bay, the horticulture room, as well as the various essential locations on the base before ending up in what the Sergeant had called the Gate room, a room filled with crates at both side of the room, a walk way in the center leading to a Stargate at the end, and a row of computer stations set up in the front of the room. There were people roaming around the computer stations and Nick was treated to the sight of Colonel Young and Eli glaring at Dr. Rush. He could almost feel the tense atmosphere in the air.
“… We’ve been here for six months, it can wait a few more hours.” Colonel Young was saying sternly to Dr. Rush, even as Eli began nodding his head.
“Thank you! I’m starving!” Eli said, giving Colonel Young a grateful look. Whatever Dr. Rush was going to say was cut off as the three of them caught sight of Nick and Sergeant Spencer standing at the entrance of the Gate room.
“Dr. Szalinski, I was going to look for you.” Colonel Young said giving him a nod. “Dinner is starting soon, please join us. Sergeant Spencer, you’re relieved of duty, meet us in the officer mess at 2100hrs.”
“Yes sir!” Sergeant Spencer said before he turned away sharply, leaving Nick alone with Colonel Young and Eli, with a frustrated looking Dr. Rush standing in the background.
“Come Dr. Szalinski, we have a special meal prepared to welcome you, Eli and the Senator to Icarus Base.” Colonel Young said good naturally as he led the way.
“Trouble?” Nick asked quietly as he stepped in behind the Colonel, looking at Eli who seemed preoccupied.
“They tried dialing the nine chevron address with the solution I used to solve the game puzzle. Apparently it didn’t work and Dr. Rush had a fit.” Eli said with a grimace.
“Don’t worry about it Mr Wallace. Dr. Rush is a very… focused individual. We still have time to solve the mystery of the nine chevron address, and a good meal will definitely help.” Colonel Young said, apparently having heard Eli’s words.
“I hope so, it would be kind of anti-climatic to come all the way here to find out that I couldn’t solve the puzzle.” Eli said wistfully as they came to a stop in front of the officer mess where the long table in the center of the room was already spread out with food. Senator Armstrong and Chole were already seated, with a few other officers Nick still do not know occupying the rest of the seats. Colonel Young motioned them forward and Nick took a place beside Chole while Eli quickly sat down next to him.
“Hi, where have you been?” Chole asked, pausing in her meal to look at Nick.
“Touring the base.” Nick replied as he sipped on a glass filled with wine. “This place is surprisingly large for a base built into a mountain.”
“It should be, it cost me one point six billions.” Senator Armstrong commented from beside Chole, causing her to give Nick an apologetic wince. “You must be Dr. Szalinski, Chole told me about you. We didn’t get a chance to talk on board George Hammond, but I am quite taken with your design of the magnetic hover car. We need more inventors like you to really progress Earth’s technological level, not just using alien technologies to progress ourselves, but using our god given human ingenuity to create our own technologies.”
“Ah, thank you Senator Armstrong.” Nick said giving the Senator a tentative smile.
“So, Colonel, do you really have no idea where this ninth chevron Stargate address will send you?” Eli spoke up beside Nick as he posed the question to another Colonel opposite the table. A quick glance at the man’s name tag and Nick identified the man as one Colonel Telford.
“I am afraid we have no idea at all. It is Stargate Command’s hope that we will find another Alteran outpost.” Colonel Telford commented. “Those boxes, suitcases and crates you see in the Gate room? Well they are supplies gathered in preparation for the expedition that I will lead once we managed to dial the ninth chevron Stargate address.”
“Hmm…” Eli mumbled contemplatively as he chewed on his food.
“But the Ancients built the Stargate with nine chevrons. It’s gotta go somewhere.” Colonel Telford said with a laugh. “We’ve also known for some time that the only way to lock the ninth chevron was to solve the power and dialing issues. Which was why we’ve embedded the problem into a game itself, one which you have solved. Unfortunately, the solution didn’t seem to work as we all thought.”
“Well, if anyone’s going to solve it, I think Eli will.” Chole spoke up pleasantly from beside Nick, smiling at Colonel Telford, though there was a sharp look in her eyes. Eli turned around, looking startled that Chole was defending him.
“Yes, that’s right. It’s true. I’m Math Boy.” Eli said jokingly, causing everyone around the table to laugh.
“You know, I would like to propose a toast.” Senator Armstrong suddenly said, standing up, causing everyone to look at him. “When the proposal for this project first crossed my desk, I did not want to approve it.”
Beside Chole, Nick gave a grin as she buried her face in her hands in embarrassment.
“Oh my god.” Chole muttered, her face flushing even as her father continued.
“It seemed clear to me at the time that there were enough terrestrial matters of importance that needed that kind of money.” Senator Armstrong said, lifting his glass of wine, seemingly not to notice that Chole had now lifted her head and was gulping down her glass of wine rapidly. “Now, being a proud father of a beautiful young woman is one thing; having that young woman exceed every possible expectation is quite another…my daughter Chloe who reminded me that there was no greater endeavor than seeking an understanding of who we are and the mysteries of the universe in which we all exist.”
“Not in those exact words.” Chole said quietly to Nick who was trying to contain the grin on his face. The Senator seemed to be in full flow, even as Chole moved to refill her wine glass. Nick just shook his head, giving her an amused look.
“Your father is just proud of you. Don’t be ashamed of it.” Nick muttered to her quietly, causing her to halt in the middle of gulping down another glass of wine. Chole gave him a contemplative look before settling down her wine glass, turning her full attention to her father, though her face was still flushed.
“It was also her idea to embed the Ancient proof in a medium that would give us access to brilliant young minds…” Senator Armstrong continued, causing Chole to wince as he gestured at Eli. “…that we would have otherwise overlooked…”
Whatever Senator Armstrong was about to say next was interrupted when sounds of explosion sounded in the distance and the whole base began to shake.
“What was that?” The Senator asked, looking unnerved.
The radio on Colonel Young’s shoulder piped up even as the base shook a second time.
“The base is under attack! All non-combative personnel, report to your designated areas; everyone else to your battle stations. This is not a drill.” Colonel Young shouted even as everyone got up from their seats in a rush. Colonel Young then turned to Senator Armstrong while looking at the rest of the newcomers to the base. “Senator, we need you and your daughter to go with Lieutenant Scott. Eli and Nick, the two of you follow Lieutenant Scott as well. Scott, lead them to safety… NOW!”
At the Colonel’s words, Lieutenant Scott burst into action. “Come all of you follow me.” Lieutenant Scott said as he quickly led Senator Armstrong, Chole, Eli and Nick down a different corridor from the one Colonel Young and several others had went down to.
They came into the living quarters of the base where people were rushing everywhere, gathering up their stuff in their quarters before exiting. A human jam formed in the corridors, trapping the small group.
“Everyone calm down.” Lieutenant Scott shouted, trying to make his way through the frightened crowd. A grim look crossed the young Lieutenant’s face and he turned to Eli and Nick looking sternly at them. “Dr. Szalinski and Eli, I need you both to bring Senator Amstrong and his daughter to the Gate room. You two need to inform Dr. Rush what had happened, get him ready to dial Earth. I am sorry for abandoning Colonel Young’s orders like this, but I need to stay here and get everyone to safety.”
“I will stay with you.” Senator Armstrong said firmly causing Lieutenant Scott to look at him in surprise. “You can’t expect to help everyone here without more hands by your side. Chole, go with the two young men…”
“I am not leaving you behind.” Chole said fiercely.
“I am staying also.” Nick said, looking at the chaos around them.
“Eli, just go and inform Dr. Rush.” Lieutenant Scott barked out before Eli could offer his own opinion on the subject. “Someone has got to do it. I don’t trust Rush to be able to receive the radio message, not in this mess.”
Eli swallowed, his eyes darting to the four of them, before giving them a nod and began pushing his way through the crowd to get to the Gate room. “Just stay alive!” Eli shouted back, even as he disappeared among the human bodies.
“Alright, I’ve got to calm everyone down before this turns into a stampede.” Lieutenant Scott said to Senator Armstrong. “If any of you see any injured, let me know at once.”
Nick nodded even as Lieutenant Scott began moving up front shouting commands. Senator Armstrong moved to the side to help up a young woman who had been pushed to the ground while Chole was trying to help Lieutenant Scott calm everyone down. Nick hovered at the edge of the crowd, assisting the stranglers to move with the human traffic which Lieutenant Scott was directing to the Gate room. He passed by a door and was startled to recognize it as his living quarters. It was then he recalled that his two luggage of clothes and essentials were inside. It would be a problem carrying two heavy luggage to the Gate room, but he did have his prototype shrink ray device in his pockets…
Taking a look back at the crowd quickly moving down the corridor, Nick made a snap decision, entering the room quickly. It would not take a minute to shrink his two luggage after all, and there were some mementos in the luggage that he was not willing to lose.
By the time he caught up with the group moving towards the Gate room, he was one of the few at the back of the group, with Senator Armstrong in front of him, assisting a woman who seemed to have twisted her ankle. Chole was walking a few feet in front of them beside Lieutenant Scott when a loud explosion sounded in between them. Nick was fast enough to latch onto Senator Armstrong and the woman leaning against him, back from the massive rubble of rocks that collapsed in front of them, effectively blocking the corridor.
“Chole!” Senator Armstrong cried out in alarm, fearful that his daughter had been crushed under the rubble.
“Dad!” Chole’s voice sounded muffled as it passed through the blockage in between them. “Dad! Are you alright?”
“Everyone’s fine, just shocked.” Senator Armstrong called out in relief. “Lieutenant Scott, is there any other way to the Gate room?”
“Unfortunately no. Hang in there! I will call for help, we’ll need to blow up the blockage…” Lieutenant Scott shouted back.
“Wouldn’t that increase the risk of the whole tunnel collapsing?” Nick asked loudly as his mind began thinking rapidly.
“We don’t have much choice right now.” Lieutenant Scott shouted back.
“Actually we do.” Nick said as he accessed the situation, taking out the small torch like shrink ray device from his pocket. Shrinking the pile of rubble in front of him would probably take all of the power from the energy cell in the device, but if they were returning to Earth or some other outpost, he could always recharge the energy cell, especially since the energy cell was one of his own design that was also rechargeable through solar power. He motioned quickly to Senator Armstrong. “Stand back.”
Holding the shrink ray device in front of him, Nick adjusted the device to the highest shrink setting and aimed it at the rubble. A beam of white light erupted from the small torch like device in his hands as the rocks began to shrink.
“What the hell!” Lieutenant Scott exclaimed as the rubble began to clear, giving them a clear view of the other side. The beam of white light spluttered out just as the rubble was reduced to a pile of rocks that was half the height of a standing man. Nick looked at the energy read out at the side of the shrink ray, the energy cell had been totally used up.
“What was that?” Lieutenant Scott demanded, a stunned expression on his face as he looked over the pile of rubble which was now only waist height.
“That was just one of my inventions.” Nick said as he gestured at the crowd of people gathering behind Lieutenant Scott and those still trapped behind the rubble. “Now’s not really the time to discuss the technical details of what happened. We need to move!”
“But…” Lieutenant Scott began, cutting himself off as the base shook from explosive impacts above them. “Alright, but we’ll have a chat later. Everyone on the other side, get over the rubble now!”
Senator Armstrong was the first through, helping the lady beside him. The Senator gave Nick a contemplative look as he passed but did not say anything. Nick hanged behind, helping the rest through before stepping to the other side, being the last one over. Lieutenant Scott quickly herded him to the front as they made their way rapidly to the Gate room.
A large crowd was gathering at the Gate room by the time they reached it. The Stargate was already activated and a silvery wormhole stretched across its horizon. Colonel Young and Dr. Rush were at the computer console shouting at each other while looks of panic were beginning to spread through those in the crowd as the base shook more heavily, dislodging chunks of rocks.
“We don’t know what’s on the other side. Dammit, Rush!” Colonel Young cursed, turning around as Scott entered. “Scott report!”
“We’re the last Colonel Young. No one else is left in the base.” Lieutenant Scott said, snapping to attention.
Colonel Young pursed his lips grimly before snapping to the crowd who was looking towards him with frightened eyes. “Everyone, begin forming a line up to the Stargate. Scott, get Greer, the two of you will spearhead our entry through the Stargate. Make sure there are no hostile on the other side.”
“Hostile on the other side?” Lieutenant Scott asked as a look of confusion crossed his face. “But I thought we’re going back to Earth?”
“Rush didn’t dial back to Earth, he dialed to the ninth chevron address instead.” Colonel Young said grimly as looks of shock crossed the faces of the new arrivals. “The planetary core is destabilizing and we can’t dial back to Earth. I need you and Greer to clear our path while we send the supplies through.”
“We’re not going back to Earth?” Senator Armstrong spoke up in frustration. “Colonel Young I demand…”
“Senator Armstrong, right now that wormhole to the ninth chevron address is our only way out of the base which has become a death trap. We need to focus on surviving our current situation first and prepare for a trip through a wormhole leading somewhere unknown.” Colonel Young said in a stern voice. He then turned to the rest of the group gathered around the ramp of the Stargate and began barking out commands. “Everyone form a line. Lieutenant Scott and Sergeant Greer will go through the Stargate first. Those that are injured will follow, the rest of you help pass the piles of supplies in this room through the Stargate using a human chain. We don’t know what’s on the other side. The supplies might make the difference between life and death at our new destination.”
There were cries of alarm among the group of civilians and Stargate personnel, but everyone quieted down when Colonel Young glared at all of them. “Start moving , time is running short!” Colonel Young barked out as he quickly got down to the side of the room and began passing cases of supplies to those closest to him. There was a moment of stunned silence before everyone spurred into action. Lieutenant Scott and Sergeant Greer were the first two through the Stargate, their guns at ready. Three minutes passed before the group of injured personnel were carried through by Icarus Base’s medic and several airmen. Those that remained behind worked desperately to ferry the supplies in the room through the Stargate, with the ones closest to the Stargate tossing those supplies through.
Nick had scrambled to help, trying to ignore the shaking of the base which was growing steadily worse. It was probably both a testament to how desperate the situation was, and how everyone had united when the threat of death was hanging over them, that all of the room’s supplies were ferried through the Stargate in a mere fifteen minutes of time. Then Colonel Young was ordering everyone through the Stargate. Nick had been one of the last to make it up the ramp. The base was literally shuddering by then and large chunk of concrete was crashing down. He stepped through the event horizon of the wormhole…
Cold, mind numbing sensation… and then he was through to the other side which was pitch black, the only light were from the event horizon behind him. Several others stepped through the wormhole pushing him forward, causing him to stumble. Colonel Young was the last to get through, and his loud command had everyone scrambling for the floor.
“Everyone get down onto the floor now!” Colonel Young had bellowed, shocking those around the Stargate as he quickly landed in a fetal position on the floor. No one had questioned that order, not after the shared ordeal they had gone through, after fleeing from Icarus Base to whatever this place was. Everyone had dove for the floor, just as a large blast of orange red flames burst out of the Stargate, which choose that moment to shut down. Total darkness descended in wherever they were causing a lot of people to cry out in shock.
Then small beams of light shone through the darkness, as those who had torchlights with them turned them on.
“Everyone stay calm.” Colonel Young was saying, even as Nick simply sagged to the ground, unwilling to move blindly in the darkness, and feeling a sense of encroaching fatigue after the events of the past few hours. “Rush! Where the hell are you?”
Leaning against a crate of supply behind him, Nick waited for Colonel Young to get full control over the situation. He was already out of his depth, now he could only wait and see what would happen next and plan his next course of action.