The Story So
( Latest link and teasers added at the end.)
What's going on? The author
makes her excuses
Prelude - 1: Maxine
Maxine's eighteenth birthay in which Great Aunt
gives her a rather amazing birthday present.
Maxine spent another couple of hours
browsing through what she was rapidly coming to think of as her treasure chest.
Sometimes, she lingered over accounts of certain events. Some of these were old
favorites, like the arrival - no, make that eruption! - into Grandfather
Daniel's life of Serena, his unknown daughter (then seventeen years old) and
subsequently, Claire's mother.
She enjoyed Grandfather Daniel's account of
the marriage of Serena Jackson to Colonel Thomas Pepperday on June 21st 2012.
Others that she spent time on were ones which Claire hadn't mentioned before,
particularly a certain other event of 2012...
We are now officially in mourning for
General O'Neill, who will laugh his socks off when we tell him about it! I
think we all deserve Oscars. The plan worked perfectly for once. General
Thornley fell for it hook line and sinker, to borrow one of Jack's fishing
expressions. We wouldn't have gotten it past General Landry and certainly not
past General Hammond. Actually, looking back, I think General Hammond would
have been complicit in it.
Prelude - 2: Theo
(Flashback) - to when Maxine first learnt about
the Stargate project, and
later shared the information with Theo who was having a Very Bad Time.
"So what happened when you
said you wouldn't join?" Maxine asked, certain of Theo's response. He gave
her a wry grin, acknowledging that she was right.
"They said it was my duty.
That The Rapture wouldn't come unless I joined and did my bit for The Lord -
hallelujah! It's been delayed because of too many people whose faith was
weak. It was my duty to makethose people believe and keep them true to
The Lord - hallelujah! If I didn't, and The Rapture didn't come, it
would be all my fault. I said I wasn't a warrior and that I believed Jesus
preached peace and love, not war. Then they said, we have to fight for peace
and that I was born on St. Amicus' Day."
"Apparently he was a
French knight who worked for some guy called Charlie Main. He took part in a
campaign in Italy and got martyred for it. So I said I wasn't aiming to be a
"God! I bet that went down
Prelude - 3: Coming Together
2103 - How and why Maxine moves to Colorado Springs
and meets up with the rest of the team.
said when she could get a word in. "Your family always been in the Air
"Yep. Even unto the
seventh generation." J looked at her curiously. "Why?"
"No. You had a particular
reason in mind."
"Can anyone join
in?" Luc asked, "'cos my great-great-grandfather was in the Air Force
"Really?" J said.
"I didn't know that."
"Oh yeah. Colonel Louis
Ferretti," Luc said proudly.
"Well, this is
weird," Theo said. "So who was your great-great-grandfather,
"Major General Cameron Mitchell. Now,
would someone care to say why all the interest?"
"I'll think about it," Maxine
said, "but first, do you know what he did in the Air Force?"
"I do actually," J replied,
looking serious. "I suspect you do too, don't you? Both of you?" His
glance took in both Maxine and Theo.
"Maybe," Maxine hedged,
"depending on what you were told."
"Maybe I can make it a little easier
"Luc, no!" J warned.
"Okay, I won't mention the Big Round
SG-24 part 1
...Something rotten in the state of
... "Come on in, mi amico. I'll pour
you some coffee - just made a fresh brew. You look like shit, by the
"Pretty much how I feel then," J
responded morosely, closing the door.
[ ... ]
So what's bugging you?"
"The last mission," J replied,
accepting the mug then following Luc into the living room. "What
"Okay, give," Luc said once they
were seated. J stared at the bubbles still rotating on the surface of his
coffee, wondering where to begin. Still focusing on the little bubbles, said,
"You subbed on SG-17 for a while, didn't you?"
"When you were with SG-12 for six
weeks? Yes, I was." Luc scowled at the memory.
"What did you think of the team?"
J asked, keeping the question non-specific. Luc thought about it.
"Ill-matched. Morag Westray was wasted
with them. Bachmann and McLeroy wouldn't give her the time of day, so basically
she was unable to do her job properly - or indeed at all. Like I said, talent
wasted. Gavigan and Cartwright did their best. Couldn't fault them for falling
short in any way."
J nodded his concurrence with that
assessment. "And the rest?"
"Bachmann and McLeroy? A couple of
hundred per cent, cast iron jerks. Bachmann's an idiot and McLeroy's a
"Was, Luc. Was a bully."
"W... was? He's
"Very. But Bachmann's still an idiot.
And he's trying to pin the blame on me..."
SG-24 Part 2
...Military training, a crisis of conscience - and
dirty, dirty tricks...
By the time she'd emptied the clip, there
was a neat arch of holes around the edges and none on the black shape.
"Yes, you'd do a whole lot better if
you kept your eyes open," Robinson said gruffly, handing her another clip.
Then he had to show her how to eject the spent clip and insert the new one.
"You really haven't done this before, have you?"
"Well no. I've never needed to. I
mean, I've met people that make me think the world would be a better place
without them, but it's a big step to actually wanting to kill them."
"It's not a case of wanting to kill
people, but needing to, ma'am." Maxine swallowed and gave Robinson a deer
in the headlights look. He looked disapproving as though she'd just committed
an act of gross cowardice.
"Yes, going through the 'Gate is
dangerous, and it's likely that at some point, people will shoot at you - maybe
hit you - possibly kill you. If you can't handle that "
"It's not that," Maxine snapped.
"I more used to talking my way out of trouble, not shooting at
"Then you'd better get used to the
idea or you're no use in the field." When Robinson had gone along the line
to check out on other new members of the SGC, Theo took a hand. Standing behind
her with his hands over hers, he showed her how to stand and how to aim. The
next round was in the black - just.
Theo took her gun and fired a shot.
"This gun shoots a little low and a little to the left. You need to aim a
bit higher and to the right to compensate. Now you try it."
This time, the bullet hit the top
right-hand corner of the sheet...
Eventually, she began to get the hang of it,
but although most of her shots were on target, they looked more like mice had
nibbled away at the edge of the black zone.
"No, no, no," Robinson exclaimed.
"You have to go for the head shot - the kill shot!"
Maxine glared at him in a way that could've
stripped paint. She turned back to the target and fired off half a dozen quick
shots. They formed a neat little cluster in the groin area.
"No, no and again, no. You were
supposed to go for the head shot!"
Maxine put the gun down. She looked
significantly below Robinson's belt. "I did," she said and stalked
J had arrived moments earlier to check up on
his two new team members in the fond expectation of seeing a demonstration of
their prowess. He arrived just in time to catch Maxine's hissy fit. Theo held
out both hands and shrugged helplessly. J scowled and took off after her.
He soon caught up with her, grabbed her by
the arm and swung her round to face him. Two spots of bright anger flamed in
her cheeks and her green eyes sparked a challenge. But Maxine wasn't the only
one with a temper.
"Dr. Pepperday. There is no room
in my team for behavior like I just witnessed," J said, his anger
cold and controlled, his voice pitched very low. "I need to be able to
trust my team - all my team - to behave in a civilized and competent
manner at all times. I do not tolerate passengers, nor do I tolerate infantile
temper tantrums. Now you either go straight back in there, make a groveling
apology to Sergeant Robinson, who is just doing his job - or trying to - and
you do what is required, or you're off my team as of right now. Your
Crown of Steel - Crown of Night: Part 1
Face to face? Or through a glass darkly?
With that, they both left the
Big Broom Closet and Maxine locked her door. Once they were outside the
barricades and on their way to the Sunny Side Up, Maxine asked, "Okay,
Ash, so what was all that about? Dr. Pepperday indeed!"
"I think someone's put a
bug in your machine."
Maxine shuddered. Her first
thought went to cockroaches. The kitchen at her Denver home had once had an
infestation when she was little and she never wanted to experience
that again. Ever!
Then rationality reasserted
itself. "Someone's tampered with my programming?" That was nearly as
"No. I mean someone's put
a surveillance device inside the housing. There aren't that many still around.
They tend to get found eventually, and the finder usually crushes them
underfoot. Or drops them in their drink. So they're only used very
"Why me? And what makes
you think there's one in my machine anyway?"
"Taking the second
question first, there are a number of computers I service on a regular basis
that I regard as... sensitive, I guess. I do my own personal checks whenever
I'm called in to do something to any of them. Yours is one of them, obviously.
There's never been anything amiss with yours - other than the usual computer
glitches - until today."
He stopped talking for a few
moments and led her across the road.
"Don't look round but I
think we might be being followed. There's a guy who works in surveillance about
twenty yards behind us."
"And they call me
"Well he might just be
going out for lunch like us, but I like to avoid Josiah Fischer if at all
"Yep. And he's just
crossed the road. I think we'd better stick to safe subjects until we get to
the Sunny Side Up."
They found a corner table so as
to be able to see all the customers in 90o but the paranoia only
mounted when Fischer entered the café. So not good. He affected not to
recognize, or even notice, either of them, but Ash at least was not fooled. It
occurred to him that maybe it was not Maxine but himself that Fischer was
interested in, which was freakin' scary.
Crown of Steel - Crown of Night: Part 2
Outside, on either side of the
arched gateway into the town, two guards wearing helmets and breastplates and
bearing halberds stood to attention. Luc was pretty sure he could see arrows
poking through a number of loopholes above them and warned the rest of the
team. As they reached the gateway, the two guards crossed their halberds to
deny them entrance.
"Halt! Who goes there?
Friend or foe?"
Maxine stepped forward.
"We come in peace and friendship."
"Hold your tongue, woman!
Don't speak until you're spoken to!"
Theo moved to Maxine's side.
"With respect, you asked a question. The lady answered it."
"I was only addressing the
men in your group. And she don't look much like a lady to me," he sneered.
J, wondering how Maxine would
react to that, gave the man a look of horror at his impudence. Luc cosied up
"A word of advice,
friend," he said in conspiratorial tones. "The Lady Esther is
of very high importance and respect in our country. As such, she does not deem
it necessary to demonstrate the distinction of her rank by the regalia of
state. A peacock wears fine feathers, but is otherwise... useless. Now, if you
could direct us to your leader..."
"I will escort you there
"There is no need, my
good man," Maxine said with all the imperiousness of the lady she wasn't.
The guard now noticed that she was actually looking down at him.
"We would not wish to land you in trouble for leaving your post. In my
country, a man may be thrown in jail for doing so. Simply give my Lord Theodore
directions and we shall be fine."
With that, she placed a finger
under the shaft of his halberd and pushed upwards. The guard took the hint and
she swept regally through the gateway. The rest soon joined her.
"You bunch of
bull-shitters !" J exclaimed when they were out of earshot of the
"Hey, don't knock it! It
worked didn't it?" Luc grinned.
"It was certainly
interesting," Maxine said.
"In what way
exactly?" J asked.
"Well, I'm a
"The guard was speaking
"And with an American
accent. Fluent English too. It wasn't a second language."
"Don't tell me, you've
got a bad feeling about this?"
Maxine snorted in a most
unladylike manner. "I already had that. Now, I'm intrigued."