((45 second recap of "The Parting of Ways, Part 1" and "The Parting of Ways, Part 2"))
It has been several weeks since the transfer of power from the now-disbanded Free People of Earth back to the United Nations, and the reorganized government is finally settling into place. On the tip of Manhattan island, the O'Neill Stargate Terminal sits as a symbolic backdrop to the reconstruction taking place further up the city, with the framework of new skyscrapers growing higher and higher with each passing day. Pedestrians are again walking the streets, and there are even a handful of cars scooting about. Slowly but surely, life is returning to normal.
Inside the terminal itself, a full-fledged staff has begun work, with all the same types of personnel that once worked at Cheyenne Mountain, from technicians, to soldiers, to scientists. The interior has been fixed up from the shootout that took place a little over a month before ("The Parting of Ways, Part 2"), and everything is back to full functionality. Standing in front of the inactive stargate, Col. David Taylor
takes a moment to rest a hand on the Ancient portal, then sighs and turns to face the four members of SG-1 and Danielle Talbot. Since stepping down as Chief of State of the FPE, Talbot was the unanimous choice of the United Nations to head up the new terminal, so, after two years of fighting to lead humanity, she's come full circle to her first job as part of the Stargate Program; civilian commander of the ISGC.
And, of course, with her taking back her old position, that leaves Taylor without a place on Earth. So he's heading back to the Beta Site, having packed what little belongings he's accumulated here the past few months, and getting ready to return to the quiet life he once had on his far-off base before all Hell broke loose. Talbot, Jackson, Vala, and Mitchell all say their good-byes, then step back a few feet to give him and his former second-in-command, Rebbecca Eaton, a few moments alone. The young Major shakes her old friend's hand, saying that it's been an honor and a privilege to serve under him for all these years, but Taylor insists that the honor has been all his. They salute one another, holding just a little longer than regulation asks, and then step apart, the Colonel waving to the control room to dial up the gate.
At once, the first chevron lights up, but Daniel frowns; the gate's inner ring isn't spinning yet, so how did a symbol get encoded already? It only takes a second for the answer to become apparent as the six other chevrons flash to light, and the group quickly moves out of the way as the technician on-duty announces an incoming wormhole. The stargate activates just as the iris slides shut, and after a long moment, a never-before-received IDC comes through on a priority channel; that of the Venii Conclave
, the alien government Jason Carter helped the Alliance make first contact with a year before ("Sojourn"). More than a little surprised given the race's reclusiveness, Talbot taps her radio and orders the iris lowered and the defense team to stand down, brushing off her blouse nodding at SG-1 to step aside.
Once the barrier is down, everyone waits patiently until the event horizon shimmers, and a member of the Venii steps through, his tight metallic armor reflecting the glow of the wormhole. Covered largely in dull blue plumage, the alien appraises the humans before him with intelligent eyes, at length seeming to relax and asking for the commander of this facility. Talbot approaches slowly, inclining her head and welcoming him to Earth, and explains that she is the one in charge of the new ISGC. Nodding, the alien introduces himself as Ran-sil
, a member of the diplomatic corps of the Conclave, and says that he has come with an offer for a joint venture between his people and the Tau'ri, one which could pave the way to ending this great conflict once and for all.
A short time later, the entire group has relocated to one of the downstairs conference rooms, and Colonel Taylor extending his stay on-planet to hear what the big news is, asks what the Venii have to talk about that they sent someone all this way to tell them. From his seat, Ran-sil says that, as they know, the Conclave's single greatest asset is its vast network of FTL relays
, massive space stations enabling near-instantaneous transportation of ships across the galaxy. In the heyday of the Venii Empire, in the late days of the original Alliance of Great Races, they connected together an enormous domain, but today, many of the sectors once ruled from V'en (their homeworld) are under the control of many others, be it the Free Jaffa Nation, the Tok'ra, or other groups. One relay in particular, though, has a very interesting location; it lies only a short hyperspace jump away from Aschae, the Aschen homeworld
Stunned, Mitchell points out that the strategic implications of this are enormous, given that the Confederation remains a very real threat to the security of the galaxy. Since they allied with the Der'kal after the fall of Earth, they've been steadily conquering all the planets around them that they can, and the Alliance fleet is simply stretched too thinly re-securing worlds out on the rim to contain their continuing expansionary policies. But if they could use this relay to jump a fleet past the interdictor-armed Aschen frontlines, they could pummel Aschae into submission and finally end the war. Curious, Talbot asks why this information wasn't brought straight to Heliopolis sooner, and Ran-sil admits that his government wasn't sure when to play this bargaining chip, as they could use it to gain valuable concessions in the ongoing negotiations to incorporate the Conclave into interstellar affairs. But two days ago, a mysterious virus that only affected Venii cropped up on one of their colonies tucked away along the Confederation border, killing every last inhabitant of the settlement within hours. Given the Aschen's love of biological warfare, there is little doubt who was behind the attack, and it has galvanized his government to act now rather than wait.
Holding up a hand, Talbot asks how, exactly, they can help with this. Earth already dispatched four of its ships to assist the Jaffa on a raid against a Der'kal holdout base of operations, and they need all the others to remain behind for planetary defense. Ran-sil, again, has an answer; the Venii fleet was largely untouched by the war with the alien menace, and they do not require a human ship. No, he says that Danielle misunderstands him, and that the only thing they want from Earth is SG-1, the only people to really understand how the Aschen think and react to varying situations, and it would be a great help if they were there to supervise the reconnaissance. In reply, Talbot promises to check with her new superiors at the United Nations and see if she can lend out her best team for a while, and Ran-sil thanks her for her time, bowing his head to the others as he departs.
A few hours later, SG-1 is back in front of the stargate, this time in full offworld gear, while Colonel Taylor watches from the main level balcony with interest. In the control room, Talbot hands a small alien device to the technician, pointing to its screen and saying that it contains the coordinates of a minor colony that the Venii request they send the team to. They still refuse to reveal the exact location of their homeworld, even to the Alliance headquarters on Heliopolis, and seem determined to keep the whereabouts of their major planets a secret for as long as possible. Whatever the case, the gate is dialed up for the coordinates listed on the storage device, and once the kawoosh stabilizes, Talbot gives the team the all-clear to proceed, reminding them to be on their best behavior for their friends from V'en. With a wry smile and a half-sincere pledge to do their best, Mitchell leads his three teammates through the event horizon.
A second later, SG-1 emerges from another stargate halfway across the galaxy, and what they see stops them in their tracks. Now the view pans from their astonished faces to whatever they're staring at, and an immense city of intricate, sleek buildings made of pure crystal and glinting metal comes into sight, a long silver walkway leading out onto the nearby lake where the gate sits on a raised, floating platform. Staring at the beautiful city before them, Vala mutters that if this is one of their "minor colonies," she can't wait to see what the Venii homeworld looks like. Finally recovering, Daniel mutters that this is a race that was in its golden age back just before the plague that decimated the Ancients hit; this might be one of their smaller worlds, relatively speaking, but its also probably been settled for centuries, if not millenia. Thinking that over, Eaton looks down and notes the odd ring shape carved into the floor they're standing on, wondering aloud if it means anything. Daniel, interested, bends down to examine the symbols on it, then jumps up when the circular paneling retracts and the hidden ring platform
activates, whisking the team away in a bright flash of white light.
They reappear a moment later inside a chamber, complete with the same sleek lines of the Venii buildings, but this time made solely of metals and plastic alloys, not glimmering crystal. The walls are a dull purple mixed with gray, and Mitchell sarcastically remarks that he thinks they've been captured by the Covenant, or at least their biggest fans. Then the team turns around to see a Venii that they've encountered before; Salen
, the commander of the cruiser they were aboard for a short time after they made first contact with his people. The avian inclines his head, saying that it is an honor to have SG-1 about his vessel, the Hyperion
, a name which immediately piques Daniel's interest as the group leaves the ring room for the bridge.
Curious, Jackson asks how the name of the ancient Titan god of watching came to be in the Venii vernacular, and Salen explains that he was actually in command of an older warship until this one rolled out of spacedock three months ago. Being one of the fleet's senior captains, he was able to transfer over, and then had the pleasure of choosing his new command's name, one he chose from the cultural database Earth presented his government with upon making first contact. He thought the title was fitting for a ship that would lead scouting missions across the unfamiliar landscape of the changing galaxy, and he hoped it would also act as a sort of olive branch between the two races; there are some on both sides, he is sure, that are skittish about the agendas of each other's leaders, but Salen is very impressed with what the Tau'ri have done in a scant fifteen years, and is honored to be working with them now.
Several minutes later, a hyperspace window opens in deep space, and the Hyperion
emerges, the small-for-its-class Venii cruiser coming to a halt just before the massive FTL relay (called a tial'non
in their own language) sitting before it. Staring out the forward windows of the ship, Eaton gasps, having never seen one of the gargantuan space stations before. Smiling at his guest's reaction, Salen gives the order to activate the relay, and he explains to SG-1 that under normal circumstances, a command code must be sent from a Venii ship in order to activate the transport subroutine that allows instantaneous transit.