Continuum, Chapter 15
“It’s our turn, now”
Red Adair—“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”
Destination? Beta site, Earth 8427.
Which team? Ours.
What? An off-book away team.
Where? Staging from a Stargate Command (abbreviated to SGC) black site.
Vaccine protocol? Standard, series seven shots. Guaranteed immunity from the retro-D virus.
Advance Guard? None.
Main Contingent? One warlock and six humans.
Rear Guard? None.
A very technical affair. The away team consists of Seven and a squad of Blackwater mercs. All of the mercs are experienced operators. The males are from various spec ops units. The lone female operator was once a CIA numbers station security officer.
In the military, a squad leader is a non-commissioned officer who leads a squad of typically 9 soldiers (US Army: squad leader and two fireteams of 4 men each) or 13 Marines (US Marine Corps: squad leader and three fireteams of 4 men each) in a rifle squad, or 3 to 8 men in a crew-served weapons squad.
The mercs are wearing UN MACO powered armor, the equivalent of the Borg EXO that Seven is wearing.
Additionally. Seven and the mercs are also outfitted like UN MACOs, but, their phasers are a notable deviation. Standard issue for UN MACOs is an AR rifle and H&K pistol. Their rifles and pistols are Brownings. Browning is owned by the Bene Gesserits.
The Brownings are optioned the same as their standard-issue counterparts. As such. Race Bannons holsters for the pistols. Specter 3-point tactical slings for the rifles. Fast-Scan “active” holographic sights. Two firing settings: stun and slicer beam. High compression phasers—i.e., all of the advantages of directed energy and projectile weapons, and none of their disadvantages.
For the mercs, their primary is their rifle and their backup is their pistol. For Seven, it’s the reverse, and, as such, she has two pistols instead of one. Although, her alter ego is a scientist. Seven’s Lucy has been shooting since she was six years old. And. All base personal are required to be fully qualified on all configurations of phasers.
The mercs will be employing the very latest in Predator active camouflage to evade visual and electronic detection by any known means. Befitting her role as the stalking-horse, Seven will not—i.e., no cloaking device, whatsoever.
“As fucked up as her face is, that body of hers is killer.”
“I’d do her in a heartbeat.”
“I second that.”
“I wouldn’t kick her out of bed, either.”
The usual crude pre-mission bravado from the men, this time in the form of sexually objectifying Seven. In response, the female operative gives them the expected disapproving looks, and finally lets loose with both barrels when they fail to stop it.
“Men are pigs.”
Their response is to blow her a kiss. And continue their banter. Crude becomes lewd. This time about Seven and the female operative. All of that horseplay stops when the door opens and General Banks walks in. The General is visibly pleased to see that the robot is sporting a Grune.
There are words spoken—i.e., the General makes a short speech. All the time, during her brief oratory, her attention never strays from the robot girl. Afterwards, General Banks shakes the hand of each team member. She lingers a bit longer with Seven. Nothing unprofessional. Nothing out of turn. But a noticeable difference.
The mercs don their helmets—i.e., their virtual helmets go online. Seven doesn’t need one, of course. Furthermore, the mercs go stealth. With Seven taking the lead, the team exits the ready room and walks into the adjoining gate room. The newly-reinforced precision door that connects the two rooms closes and locks itself behind them. Hermetically sealing the gate room. Air in the gate room is being recycled. The room has its own stand-alone life support.
All of the base personnel are current on their necrotic inoculations. Additionally, those who work the gate-related areas must take proto-B booster shoots before and after their shifts.
The General does not follow them into the gate room. This is a breech in normal procedure. In point of fact, there is no one else in the gate room which is another deviation from what you’d expect.
Before the Mars fiasco there would have been a security detail and a handful of scientists, in the gate room. A disaster of that magnitude has a way of radically changing things, quickly. You either adapt [today] or you become extinct [tomorrow].
A series of newly-installed windows high-mounted in a wall of the gate room allow people in the control room and people in the gate room to see each other. There are more people in the CIC than normal, one of them is the Borg Queen Alice. General Banks joins those in the CIC and from behind a thick pane of the recently-installed precision glass, she waves at the away team.
The stargate’s iris opens and the gate activates forming an event horizon. The event horizon is somewhat blurred, as if Dead protocols have been invoked. Accompanied by what sounds like the whine of an electric motor, the dialing sequence for the stargate is initiated. The whine is not normal, either. It, like the blurred event horizon, also bespeaks of even more Dead proofing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s really going on here.
In spite of all of the Dead tells and the fact that the mission briefings didn’t reveal that Dead were involved. Seven ascends the ramp of the stargate and steps through the formed event horizon, as if she’s going on a Sunday stroll. And. The rest of the away team follows her without hesitation.
Per need to know. The away team didn’t need to know ahead of time that Dead were involved. So they weren’t told. They were expected to figure it out on the git-go. Which is what they did.
What they step into is hell. A world, where they are living people on a planet of billions of Dead. The stargate’s event horizon deforms as the gate deactivates.
The clock is ticking. In twelve minutes the team will lose contact with their world. They’ll be on their own.
The mercs switch off their stealth. It’s worthless against the Dead, and to make matters even worse it attracts and agitates the necrotic abominations. The Dead are fearless, merciless, and relentless. No need to stir up that hornet’s nest any sooner and any more than necessary.
Of the many things they are expert in, each merc has previous experience dealing with the Dead. By their way of thinking, Seven’s expertise in such matters as this are unknown. What follows alleviates any of their concerns.
Seven’s tactical network goes online. The away team becomes a collective, while still maintaining their individuality.
What the mundanes expect is that their tactical will be Borg, since their mission CA is Borg. What they get is Delicious Brains, the open source tactical framework of choice. As such. Delicious is vanilla framework that you custom build into a full-flavored tactical offering via extensions known as plugins. In this case, as expected, the extensions have a decided Borg flavor. And thus something else. The firmware is optimized for hunting The Dead. The Borg are known necromancers and they hunt The Dead for sport as well. Nor can Borg be turned by the Dead—i.e., vaccination unnecessary.
A structure in ruins beacons to them in the distance. In spite of it being an obvious trap, it is their mission objective.
Of note. Their stealth turned off. On a Dead world. Heretofore invisible runes and glyphs of an arcane nature become visible scripted upon the powered suits of the mercs. The formulas in question are algorithms developed by The Borg. Protection against magic. SOP—i.e., standard operating procedure, for the situation they find themselves in. Of course, Seven, being Borg, needs no such protection.
Borg are neither magical nor are they supernatural. In point of fact, they cannot perform magic. They do perform something equivalent to it through “vectors”, though. On the flipside, they are immune to magic. And, just like all demons, they are assimilative. In Occult terms, Borg are quasi-demonic—i.e., they are the demonic toys postulated by the 8th century alchemist and futurist Charles Band in his Arcane Robotics. Furthermore, their Borg Queens are undead. And, while a Borg is a warlock, and thus paired with a Borg queen, they too are undead.
Why the Borg necromancer wards, warrants, and shields scripted on the powered suits of the mercs? The Dead aren’t magical, but they are quasi-supernatural. The retro-virus which was initially thought to “turn” the victim and animate their corpse is in fact the mechanism used by a species of bodiless demons, Resurrectus Daemonium, to “rewrite” the DNA of the corpse into a genetically suitable host. It is the demon that animates the corpse. A new, demonic resident who has complete access to all of the memories of the original mortal occupant.
Up in the frozen north. There’s far worse things on this cursed planet than The Dead. Things native to this Dead World. For example, the White Walkers. Truly, this is a necromancer’s delight. In a world such as this, Borg aren’t a luxury. They’re a necessity. Something that the preceding Druid force learned much too late in spades.
The White Walkers are an ancient race of humanoid ice creatures, whose dominion is the Far North of Mortuus. It is called The Kingdom. Born on this Earth of powerful and untested magic, White Walkers were created to protect the Citizens of Atlantis from the First Ones of Troy. However, the White Walkers eventually broke free of their creators’ control, made their Atlantean gods extinct, and made the Trojan rivals of their gods extinct as well.
While having an overall humanoid appearance, White Walkers differ greatly from humans. They are taller than humans and have long wispy white hair, and the males also commonly have a white beard. They have pale grey-white skin which is sinewy and stretched taut across their frames, giving them a somewhat gaunt, sinewy, and mummified appearance despite their overall bulky size. The females are well-endowed, their fleshy pendulous tits hang down almost to their narrow waists. Their most notable trait, however, is their glowing blue eyes.
As one would expect, because it is, after all, the natural order of things. Theirs is a closed caste-based society. Therefore, amidst the White Walker there exists a ruling caste. Their number is unknown, and they are immediately distinguishable from their ruled “lessors” by the icy horns around their heads, resembling a crown of ice. All those seen so far all wear black armor of unknown material. First among these ruling “betters” are The Night Rulers—the Night King and the Night Queen—the overall leaders who are lineal rulers and thus whomever they might be they are always direct descendants of the first of the White Walkers to be conjured into existence over eight thousand years ago.
White Walkers possess magical powers related to ice and cold. Their arrival is usually accompanied by blizzards and the dropping of temperatures. They can also freeze anything they touch. White Walkers also have superhuman strength. The White Walkers wield swords and spears made from unique ice crystals.
However, one of their most deadly abilities is to reanimate the dead as their servants, known as Wights. They are actually capable of reviving dead animals as Wights, as a few White Walkers have been seen riding undead horses. They cannot, however, revive a corpse into servitude if it has been burned in fire. Once the Wights have been risen to serve the White Walkers, their eyes turn an icy blue, similar to the White Walkers’ own eyes. Wights serve the Walkers without question.
The Night King and the Night Queen, the leaders of the White Walkers, also possess the ability to change humans into White Walkers. It is unknown if the other members of the ruling caste or members of the ruled caste are capable of performing the same magic as their king and queen.
In other words. Whether or not this magical ability extends to only the Night King and the Night Queen, all of the White Walkers amongst their ruling caste, or all White Walkers in general, remains to be seen.
Walkers are shown to be resistant to fire due to the extreme cold they radiate, which snuffs out any flame they approach. This ability was showcased when the Night Knight and the Night Queen wielding Death Totems felled Dragons of the Druid expeditionary force after having survived numerous blasts of dragon fire unscathed.
White Walkers speak a language known as “Skroth”, which sounds like the cracking of ice.
And. To digress even further. Borg necromancer scripts on merc exoskeleton. Arcane script, and they are Borg and therefore they are not magic.