Bra'tac is stunned for a moment, but quickly composes himself. He says, his voice cracking, that there will be a time to mourn his friend's passing later, as right now they must leave. Talbot promises to have the team beamed abaord the Aurora
, then wishes the Jaffa master good luck and cuts the connection.
In orbit, the Aurora
approach the Jaffa flagship, coming up alongside it in preparation for the jump to hyperspace. Col. Sanders informs Bra'tac that SG-1 is abaord, and the three ships break orbit. But before they can make the jump, there's a crisis on the planet below; back at the ISGC, Dr. Talbot is about to head back upstairs. But suddenly the stargate comes online and a wormholeis established. It's from Hebridan, and the Hebridanians are reporting an armada of four dozen alien battlecruisers has just dropped out of hyperspace and are attacking in full force. They don't know how much longer they can hold out, either, not with most of their home fleet having been lost in the first attack on Garrin's world.
At once, Talbot comms the Aurora
and shouts for them to wait. When she explains what's going on, Bra'tac decides that they must leave for the Serrakin homeworld. The Alliance fleet, being in hyperspace, can not be contacted and told to change course for another hour, so the only hope for the Serrakin lies with these three ships. Daniel mentions that the 303s would really help them out, as they would stand no chance going in alone, a subtle suggestion that Talbot risk the UN's wrath and dispatch the entire fleet.
A moment later, the order goes out for the entire Earth fleet to form up behind the Hak'tyl
and plug Hebridan's coordinates into their nav computers. The now augmented force (consisting of the Hak'tyl
, the Aurora
, the Thor
, and 7 BC-303s, including the Ming Yun
) powers up their engines and, as one, makes the jump.
En route, Carter is going over a plan she's thought up with Vala; when they drop out of hyperspace, the ships they've brought will begin firing into the heart of the enemy fleet, in an attempt to separate cruisers from one another. At the same time, all the soldiers onboard will be beamed to wherever the Hebridanians say they're needed most on the ground. Vala thinks it's a good plan, but she questions how well their makeshift fleet will do against the Der'kal, considering it will be roughly 5-to-one against them. But Sam reminds her that Hebridan's defense forces will be helping them, so that should help even the odds a bit.
Finally, they drop out of hyperspace over what looks like a nightmare. Massive chunks of the planet's surface below are ablaze with fire from orbital bombardment (no doubt before the Hebridanians realized what was happening) and a thick cloud of debris is floating nearby from the ships destroyed thus far. Through a thick weave of green, blue, and red light (energy blasts being exchanged by the Der'kal and defenders), the defending forces can be seen; a mere 16 Serrakin cruisers remain, but hundreds of smaller fighters, bombers, and cargo ships can be seen in the fray, as well.
Immediately, the Earth ships spring into action, with the Hak'tyl
firing its long-range energy canons at once. The 303s arc forward and begin blasting the Der'kal with Asgard-designed weaponry, drawing the attention away from the larger 304s. At the same time (once the soldiers aboard have been beamed to the planet) the larger ships themselves open fire, launching dozens of naquadriah-enhanced nukes that explode magnificently against the few alien ships that have lost their shields.
On the Aurora
's bridge, the sensors officer suddenly calls out in shock; she is picking up Teal'c's locator beacon on one of the larger enemy cruisers. Mitchell demands to know how that's possible, but the officer merely replies that she has no idea, but either way, it can't be beamed out until that particular ship's shielding is down. Almost at once, Mitchell rushes for the 302 bay, determined to have the fleet's squadrons take them out.
While Cameron is attempting his resuce plan, Carter is on the comm. board calling for a connection with whomever is in charge of the Hebridanian defense. After several attempts, she finally reaches the Seberus
, which is being skillfully piloted by her old friend Warrik, delivering Serrakin-designed fission bombs to Der'kal targets. He says that the Admiralty was wiped out when TechCon's headquarters was hit from orbit, and he has assumed command of the defense fleet. He points out several Serrakin ships that need assistance, and Sam promises to send 303s to back them up as soon as possible. Her friend gives his thanks, then cuts the connection as he returns to the battle proper.
Meanwhile, Mitchell and almost 30 other F-302s are launching from their respective hangers and speeding toward the ship that Teal'c's locator beacon was detected on. A group of Der'kal fighters come around to meet them, but the Earth fightercraft simply shove their thrusters to maximum power and fly by them, intent on their primary mission. Once they're within range, Mitchell has them launch every missile they've got (he hints that some have been given naquadriah enhancements), and they explode onto the shields a few seconds later. Another salvo is launched, followed by a few potshots from the Aurora
, and the enemy shields finally fail.
On the enemy flagship itself, Teal'c is in yet another Der'kal cell. THe inside of these ships is, like the armor the soldiers wear, very ornate and delicate-looking, though it is no doubt far more sturdy than it appears. Suddenly, the ship is rocked violently, and Teal'c is thrown from the bench he was sitting on nursing his wounds. Two guards enter the room with their pistols drawn, ordering the Jaffa to his feet. They're going to move him to an area of the ship with internal shields now that the primary ones have failed, but it doesn't matter; a transport beam ungulfs Teal'c and he disappears... appearing on the bridge of the Aurora
, where he collapses greatfully in Col. Carter's arms. She asks what in God's name happened to him (ie. his wounds), but he just shakes his head and mutters that it's nice to see, as O'Neill might say, "A friendly face."
Outside, things aren't getting much better. Now that they have
to face the enemy interceptors, Mitchell is finding that the 302s are no match for these nimble fighters. The Der'kal ships are faster and more agile than their own, and they fire energy pellets almost as rapidly as the machine-guns strapped to the 302s. Nearby, a 303 and a Hebridanian ship explode, sending a trio of F-302s careening into space.
Bra'tac contacts Col. Sanders then, saying that four enemy cruisers have turned on the Hak'tyl
and are quickly depleting their shields. The ship's supply of death gliders are being chewed apart, and the Jaffa don't know how much longer they can do this. In an ironic twist of fate, the question of "should we stay or should we go" is answered for them when, a moment later, a Der'kal warship blasts two Serrakin ones to bits and gains a clear shot down to the last un-touched metropolis on Hebridan's surface. A shower of green plasma blasts rain down on it, and even from orbit it is clear that there's no hope left for the planet now. The reinforcements simply took too long to arrive.
Patching in alongside Bra'tac, Warrik tells Sam to get out of here; the Hebridanian forces will hold off the Der'kal (who have lost two cruisers and three smaller frigates by now) long enough for them to escape. Carter acknowledges, but not before watching yet another 303 go up in flames and explode. She begs her friend to come with them, but Warrik proudly proclaims that if his people are to die this day, he will go down defending them. Seeing she has no choice, Carter orders the Earth ships to fall back and retreat to Earth, watching the F-302s return to their hangers.
As the ships open their hyperspace windows and flee, Daniel, Sam, and an injured Teal'c look out as the last of the Serrakin cruisers are destroyed... and the entire Der'kal fleet turns back to its destruction of Hebridan itself... and the Serrakin race.
Back on Earth, Dr. Talbot welcomes SG-1 home in the gate room when they beam-in. She tells them that the Alliance fleet reported no ships around Garrin's planet when they arrived, though they noted two
nuclear craters, one from when Sam destroyed Garrin's base ("Shatterpoint"), and one that looks more recent. Teal'c guesses that they nuked the prisoner camp they had set up to kill all those there and also remove any evidence of their technology or presence on the planet. The various ship captains all offer their most-sincere apologies for not being able to help in the defense of Hebridan, and the few Serrakin that survived (stationed at Heliopolis) are being treated with the utmost respect.
Jackson sighs, noting that the Alliance has lost a member this day, and is that much weaker because of it. They had all hoped the combined might of the Alliance could protect the galaxy, but they had never anticipated anyone being able to attack them when almost no ships were available to come to the rescue. As Teal'c adds, the Der'kal seem to be living up to their promise of destroying the galaxy's defenders as quickly as possible.
As the team files out, Daniel asks Dr. Talbot what the fallout is in New York. She says that the United Nations muttered a bit about having the fleet sent out, but for a while it seemed as though they would be alright with it. But an hour ago, the news broke; the isolationist nations are calling for the International Stargate Command to be moved to Washington, stripped of its military protection, and put under their direct control, citing the loss of the 303s over Hebridan as cause to manage it themselves. For now, the United States and its allies are blocking this, but that will only last so long as public opinion is with them... and as long as they don't slip up again.
On that final, somber note, Daniel holds out a hand, formally welcomes Talbot to life at Stargate Command, and walks out, leaving the Doctor to wonder what, exactly, she's gotten herself into here.