((30 second recap of “Flesh and Blood” and “Unending”))
Parked in high orbit above Earth, scaffolding has been erected around the battle-scarred and newly-enhanced DSC-304 Odyssey
. Following its mission to the Ida Galaxy to bear witness to the death of the Asgard (“Unending”), it sustained critical damage evading Ori forces. The vessel limped back to the Milky Way just before its hyperdrive threatened to fail completely, and repair crews have spent weeks bringing systems back to full power and patching exterior breaches. It took nearly a month, but the technicians believe they’ve restored full functionality, and everyone is breathing a little easier with Earth’s sole warship ready to fly.
In the Asgard core room, Col. Samantha Carter is going over a technical readout of various systems’ readiness. She looks pleased but tired, grabbing her coffee mug and finding it empty when she goes to take a drink. Sighing, she sets down her laptop and heads for the commissary, rubbing her temples and eyelids. She rounds a corner and very nearly collides with Dr. Daniel Jackson, but her old friend manages to step aside at the last second. Looking her over, he smiles and says that she looks terrible, but that’s why he’s up here in the first place. Handing over a sheet of paper, he explains that Dr. Carolyn Lam
is ordering her to take at least 48 hours off to get some proper sleep. She’s been in contact with the Odyssey
’s resident medic and was informed that he’s tried to make Sam take a break for weeks to no avail. Carter can either come back to the SGC for some rest, or Lam can tell the captain to cut off her computer access until she does. Defeated, the SG-1 leader mutters that she’ll go grab her things and request a beam-out to the surface, and Jackson offers to tag along and help her pack.
Two days later, the pair are having breakfast in the Cheyenne Mountain mess hall, and Sam looks noticeably more alert and refreshed. Vala Mal Doran and Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell join them momentarily, asking what progress has been made on cracking the secrets in the Asgard database. Taking a spoonful of oatmeal, Carter admits that she hasn’t been able to learn much of anything; Thor
didn’t lie when he said that his people had barely scratched the surface of the Ancients’ knowledge (“New Order, Part 2”). A lot of the knowledge base consists of copied and pasted entries from Ancient repositories with confused footnotes by Asgard scientists. And try as she might, Sam has to admit that her first few attempts at completing their work have just left her more lost than before. Thor put his very best on the project, and there’s simply no way that she can replicate their thousands of years of work in a few weeks. And maybe not in months or years or decades, either.
Vala gives her an encouraging smile and says that she’s sure they’re figure it all out eventually. That is, unless they’re wiped out by the Ori first. Nodding somberly, Jackson informs the rest of the team that they received a battle report that morning from the frontlines, and the news has turned from plain “bad” to “disastrous.” Two Free Jaffa shipyards were destroyed over the weekend, leaving their allies with only 40% of their pre-war manufacturing capabilities. Many of the facilities they inherited from the System Lords are rapidly being blown to smithereens, and they simply don’t have the infrastructure to rebuild them yet. If they can’t find a way to turn the fight around--and fast--he’s not sure how this can end except in defeat.
Looking up from his plate, Mitchell suggests that they turn it around, then. While the others stare at him in confusion, he points out that they were just given the most advanced weapons and shielding system yet devised in the galaxy. It’s true that they were outgunned taking on multiple Ori motherships simultaneously, but one-on-one and maybe even two-on-one, they were able to destroy the enemy vessels. They have an advantage that the rest of the crusaders may not yet fully understand, and if they press it now, they may have a shot. The only question is where and when to strike, and Daniel thinks he knows the answer. With its centralized location, interstellar prominence, and pure symbolism, Chulak was a devastating loss so early in the war (“Flesh and Blood”). Taking it back would restore the Jaffa morale and give them a staging ground to strike deeper into the heart of captured space around the Supergate. With a grin, Cameron pats him on the back and runs out the door, shouting that he needs to talk to Gen. Landry about putting a call in to the Pentagon. They’ve waited too long to act before and paid for it. This time will be different.
A few hours later, Carter is back aboard the Odyssey
, this time with the rest of her team in tow. Having changed from civilian clothes into combat gear, she leads the others onto the bridge, where the ship’s crew has manned their stations in preparation for departure. Teal’c, previously absent due to a meeting with visiting Free Jaffa officials, joins them there with new intelligence. Ori forces around Chulak are at their lowest levels since its conquest, as new reinforcements through the Supergate (“The Shroud”) have made the crusaders overconfident of their chances. If they leave now, they may actually be able to liberate the planet before the Priors realize what’s happening. They can’t confirm that with subspace telemetry as the Tok’ra have rather mysteriously gone silent, but he promises that the information is good. To that end, Bra’tac
has pulled ships from worlds across the region to link up with their Third Fleet over Dar Eshkalon. From there, they will proceed directly to Chulak, arriving--if all goes according to plan--just before Earth. Promising her old friend that he’ll be able to set foot on his homeworld before the day is out, Sam gives the all-clear to the captain, Col. Ian Davidson
, and the ship shakes free of its scaffolding before disappearing into hyperspace.
Light-years away, their destination faces another day of Ori rule; smoke clouds from the pyres of heretics rise high into the sky, where enemy starfighters continue their patrols for any sign of resistance. In the streets, starving Jaffa cower as armed crusaders scan the markets and threaten any who step out of line. Massive assembly plants have been constructed on the outskirts of the cities, where forced laborers build new weapons and interceptors for their masters. Equally massive furnaces are perched nearby, where any craft of Goa’uld origin that cannot be repurposed by the war effort are destroyed to prevent their use by civilians. Life on Chulak has not been so dark and hopeless since the reign of Apophis years previous.
Above it all looms the Ori mothership still landed on the edge of the main settlement, from where the lead Prior of the crusade (“Flesh and Blood”/”The Quest, Part 2”) looks out over the city. Clutching his staff, he turns to reveal he’s in the bedchambers previously belonging to Adria
, the Orici who has since ascended to a higher plane of existence (“Dominion”). A group of the planetary garrison’s commanders stand in the hallway, waiting for orders. The Prior tells them that they need to prepare for a new phase of their war against the infidels, one that will end in this galaxy’s capitulation to Origin forever. The commanders ask what is required of them to see that through, but before they get an answer, a dull bell begins to sound throughout the ship. Nearby warriors stiffen immediately, recognizing the battle readiness alert even after months of relative peace here in conquered space. The Prior brushes past his men and heads toward the bridge, his staff glowing menacingly as a reflection of his outrage.
High above, the Free Jaffa’s Third Fleet has arrived and begun its assault on Chulak’s defenses, pummeling at the three Ori motherships in orbit. Hundreds of enemy interceptors launch from their bays and form squadrons for attack runs, but they’re not the greatest danger. Over a dozen captured ha’tak and numerous al’kesh and death gliders are manned by converted human and Jaffa crews, ready and willing to die in the defense of the Origin. It looks as though this really is a new chapter of the war, one that will see natives of the Milky Way dying in conflict on both sides of the battlefield. For its part, the Third Fleet boasts some twenty-two ha’tak of its own, with their own glider squadrons and al’kesh escorts. Even in greater numbers, they’d surely be shredded by the Ori warships alone, but then again, they shouldn’t have to worry about engaging those.
emerges from hyperspace just in time to take the first plasma blast from an enemy mothership head-on, shrugging it off and saving a Jaffa crew from certain death. Col. Davidson directs his men to focus on the big ships but to target oncoming fighter squadrons when possible. The shielded Ori fighters may not pose too great a threat to a DSC-304, but they’ll wreak havoc with their allies’ lack of point-defense systems. Looking up from a console, Sam notes that the mothership dead ahead is the same one that would have split the Odyssey
in two had Teal’c not come back in time to help them (“Unending”). It must have been deployed after them from Chulak and returned here when it could no longer track them. Whatever the case, Davidson sets his sights on that one first, setting his teeth and giving the order to power the plasma weapons. It’s time to see what these Asgard upgrades can do in a real battle situation.
As they come about to attack, F-302s begin launching from the hangers to engage enemy craft and clear a path for the weaker death gliders and al’kesh. Mitchell climbs into the cockpit of one of the remaining fighters, strapping a helmet on and radioing the bridge that he’s good to go. Then he’s out the bay doors and linking up with the rest of the human interceptors, angling for the thickest dogfighting.
Flying right into the heart of the enemy formation, the Odyssey
weaves left and right, narrowly avoiding the golden beams of plasma fired at it. It blasts its way through fighters attempting to block its path and skirts under a captured ha’tak, coming up at the target mothership and leveling off. Without another thought, Davidson gives the fire order, and a bright blue plasma beam lances out and slams into the Ori ship’s shields. A second and third quickly follow, and the energy barrier flickers wildly as it tries to dissipate the energy. While the Odyssey
comes around for another run, a trio of Jaffa ships close to firing range themselves and begin pelting the weakened flagship with their own armaments. Its main cannon is still active, though, and rips one of them apart when it drifts into its firing arc. But that’s all the damage it will ever do, as the Earth ship finishes its turn and cleanly slices it in two. The halves break apart and drift for a second or two while the 304 withdraws, then explode in brilliant fireballs.