A/N: These next few chapters are in direct relation to Stargate Altantis Episodes “The Storm” & “The Eye”. A two-part episode where Atlantis is threatened by a superstorm.
Over the next few weeks, the Atlantis crew settled into a relatively simple routine, not all that different from Stargate Command. The teams traveled through the Stargate based on information from Teyla, Ronan, Buffy and the Atlantis database. They gathered what information they could about the Wraith, made trade agreements for almost everything except for weapons and technology too advanced for the culture. Buffy continued to 'cull' the Wraith as she received her visions, and occasionally even allowed the other SG teams to join her as she got them trained to her standards.
The only real problem that they had encountered out there, other than the Wraith, were a group called the Genii. The seemingly simple village of farmers had turned out to be a covert paramilitary group blindly dedicated to destroying the Wraith at any and all costs. In the spirit of forging an alliance, Sheppard and his team had helped the Genii complete a working prototype for a bomb against the Wraith, but there were complications when the Genii turned on them and tried to steal their C-4 after a joint information gathering missing.
Her budding relationship with Elizabeth was progressing steadily as well. Buffy proved her improvisation skills when it came to taking her future mate on 'dates'. From watching the sun set from the top of one of the city's towers to going out into orbit to watch a comet pass by the planet. Having finally learned to cook during her time in Atlantis, Buffy even invited the Atlantis Commander to her quarters for dinner.
The only problems on that front had been Rodney McKay, John Sheppard and, for a blessedly brief moment, Xander. In Xander’s case, however, he had been more jealous of Ronan than he had been of Elizabeth. It took him a while to get used to the fact that there was another ‘brother’ figure in Buffy’s life, but their dedication to the girls soon had them bonding as closely as brothers themselves.
Buffy could tell that most of Sheppard’s issues stemmed from jealousy as well. Every time he was near Elizabeth, Buffy could smell his arousal. Sometimes, it took all of her control not to beat him into the ground, but as long as he kept his hands and his thoughts to himself, she kept her control.
It was McKay that was the real problem. He had never really forgotten or forgiven how Buffy had ripped his pride and ego to shreds with aloof ease. He couldn’t stand how she casually overlooked his brilliance for her little friend’s, and they butted headed almost every time they encountered each other. Their last confrontation had ended with her threatening to throw him into the ocean.
At the moment, Buffy was sitting almost relaxed in her seat on the Mystery Machine
, giving Dawn a flying lesson. Or rather, Dawn was pretty much just practicing, having picked up the basics with astonishing ease, and Buffy was reminiscing over last night’s dinner date with her mate. She didn’t remember what she cooked, or even if it was any good. All she could think about was the feel of Elizabeth in her arms as they slow danced to the music of one of the many cultures that she encountered in her time there.
“Hey, Buffy, what’s that?” Dawn’s voice broke into her thoughts.
Buffy looked over where Dawn was pointing, saw the dark roiling clouds and lightening strikes and shot straight up in her chair so fast that her sister squeaked in surprise. “Oh, shit.” Commandeering the controls, she angled the Machine
to go higher.
“Buffy, what’s wrong?” Dawn demanded, a little worried at her reaction.
“Let me make sure before I freak everyone out.” She said, keying in commands as quickly as she could.
Before Dawn could ask another question, a 3-D view of the planet shimmered into view. Her eyes widened as both Atlantis and the landmass where the new Athosian village had been built appeared. Then her mouth dropped open in shock at the obvious storm brewing not far off the opposite shore of the island. Last, but not least, a miniature Puddlejumper appeared heading away from the island back towards the city.
“Wow, Buffy,” Dawn goggled, momentarily forgetting why the image had been generated in the first place. “This is sooo cool!”
to Puddlejumper, come in.” Buffy radioed, ignoring her sister for the moment. 'Buf...You’re bre...up.'
Buffy could barely understand him through the static, but she recognized Sheppard's voice. Her fingers began flying over the controls once again. “Let’s try boosting the signal.” She muttered to herself. Dawn watched quietly as she worked, then mentally crossed her fingers when she tried again. “Sheppard, are you reading me now?” 'Barely.'
Sheppard answered. His voice sounded garbly among all the static. 'There’s a big storm headed right for the mainland, then onto the city. We need to get back to Atlantis.'
“You’re closer to the city than I am. Call ahead and send some ‘Jumpers to evacuate the Athosians. This storm is going to get really bad, and simply ‘battening down the hatches’ isn’t gonna cut it.” 'My people have survived such storms before.'
“Not like this one, they haven’t.” Buffy told her. “This thing makes Hurricane Andrew look like a spring shower. 'I do not understand.'
Dawn, as usual, picked up on what Buffy was saying almost immediately. "Hurricane Andrew was the worst storm to hit the US that Buffy knows about.” 'That’s not good.'
Sheppard commented. 'Let me make that call.'
“Was there one worse?” Buffy asked her sister after the Colonel cut their connection. She turned the ship back towards Atlantis as Dawn told her about Hurricane Katrina. Buffy’s heart hurt at the destruction and the loss of life.
When they reached the city, Elizabeth already had the others gathered in the conference room. Dr. Zelenka was also included in the meeting. As soon as Buffy and Dawn took their seats, the meeting began. “All right, people, tell me about this storm.”
“It happens every twenty, maybe thirty years.” Buffy answered. “I’ve only been awake for it once. I don’t know where it begins, but by the time it gets here, it’s really bad.”
“Are we in danger?” Elizabeth asked.
“Yes.” Willow and McKay answered simultaneously. Glaring at Willow, who shrugged, Rodney continued. “The Ancients were either protected by the shields or submerged down to the ocean floor whenever the storm struck. While the shields are practically impenetrable, but the city itself is just a building. Without those shields, that storm will tear the place apart. Whatever isn’t destroyed will flood, forcing the city back beneath water level.”
“Are you telling me that after everything we’ve been through, the city is going to be destroyed anyway?”
This time, it was Willow who answered. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’re saying.”
"How long do we have?" Elizabeth asked in resignation.
"By our calculation, at the rate the storm is progressing, I'd say about twelve hours." McKay answered quietly.
After that grim meeting, they turned their focus to making evacuation plans. As Willow and Rodney worked with Zelenka to try to find a way to avoid the oncoming catastrophe, the rest of their respective teams went through the Stargate trying to find a safe haven in case they were not successful. The rest of the Atlantis team worked quickly and efficiently to repack their equipment for immediate transport. It was Sheppard that made a successful deal with one of the village that his team had previously visited. He reported to Elizabeth that he had promised future protection in return for safe haven, but only for a few days.
Elizabeth decided that it would have to be enough. Buffy was out scouting the uninhabited planets, trying to find one that they could settle on. Most of the uninhabited planets were uninhabited due to geological reasons, so her trips usually ended in disappointment.
Six hours later, they met in the conference room once again. Between McKay, Zelenka and Willow, they drew a clear picture of what they are dealing with. It isn't one big storm, as Buffy had first assumed, but two separate storms that had merged into one. Apparently, Buffy's comparison to hurricanes was more accurate than she realized. Because there was little landmass on the planet to slow down the growth, the two storms built and built until they converged into one massive, nearly planet wide superstorm, but because it moves over what little landmass there is, the chances for tornadoes and lightning storms rise almost exponentially.
"Wait a minute," Dawn asked suddenly. "why can't we use that?"
"What are you talking about?" McKay asked impatiently, irritated at being interrupted.
"We can't use the shields because we don't have the power, right?" Dawn said. "Well, lightning generates electricity and electricity..."
"Can be converted into the necessary power." Willow finished excitedly. "We just need a way to attract the electricity."
"There are lightning rods all over the city." Buffy told them. "They channel into four grounding stations in the main towers."
Then, the others sat back as the three genius ran off along the same line of thinking. If they disabled the grounding stations, then every time Atlantis was struck by lighting, it was cause a massive power surge through the city. By channeling the power directly into the shield generators, the shield would stay up as long as the storm continued.
"Too bad we don't have a way to store up all that energy." Willow lamented.
"You could always use the ECUs." Buffy told her friend.
All three scientists whipped around to face her. Buffy winced in sympathy as her sensitive hearing picked up the faint sound of popping coming from their necks. "That sounded like it hurt."
"Never mind that." Rodney snapped, rubbing his neck. "What were you talking about before?"
"The ECUs? They're Energy Containment Units. Some of the labs are equipped with them for experiments that require a lot of juice, and it was better to use stored energy than draw from the modules. That’s one of the main reasons for all the lightning rods. They're in the labs in the East Tower." Buffy answered. "Oh, but you'd better be careful. There's one that trapping an energy being gives me the wiggins in a majorly BIG way. I think letting it out would be a REALLY bad idea."
"Wiggins?" McKay scoffed. "What the hell are 'wiggins'?"
"It's that feeling you get that keeps you from doing something or touching something that's gonna get you killed." Dawn answered quickly when she saw Buffy eyes narrow. “You know, that feeling that you’re probably ignoring right now while you're pissing Buffy off.”
He scowled at her but glanced nervously at the shorter blonde sitting next to her and shut up.
"We will still need to evacuate." Zelenka announced, filling in the sudden, awkward silence. "The lightning strikes will cause the entire city to become dangerously magnetized. The only safe place will be the control room.
"Very well," Elizabeth finally spoke. "We will continue the evacuation as planned. Rodney and Zelenka, you two work on the shield generator. Buffy, please take Willow and Dawn to the labs with the ECUs. Take Peter Grodin with you. He knows enough about Atlantis' systems to help with the rerouting. You have just under five hours, then I want all of you in the Gate room to join the rest of the team. Let's get to work."
A few hours later, Buffy found Elizabeth sitting in her now empty office. "That's just about everyone. Zelenka went out with the last group. Teyla, Ford and Beckett are still on the mainland, trying to locate a small hunting party. Everyone but McKay, Sheppard, you and me are gating out in an hour." She squatted down next to her mate's chair. "It's going to be all right, Elizabeth."
"You can't promise that, Buffy."
"Sure I can." Buffy's eyes twinkled mischievously. "I can't promise that the city will survive this storm, but I can promise that one way or another, it will be all right." Elizabeth laughed, then Buffy continued a little more seriously. "I've got the Machine
on stand-by. If this doesn't work, we'll submerge deep enough to ride out the storm, then join the others after it's over."
Suddenly the communications system activated, but all they received was broken static. After a few minutes of listening to it, Buffy looked at the Commander. "Elizabeth, is it just me, or is that repeating?"
Before she could respond, McKay and Sheppard ran into the room. Sheppard looked grimly at Elizabeth. "That's an S.O.S. It can only be Ford, but the winds are too strong for me to take a 'jumper out there."
Buffy stood up. "I could take the Machine
, but then you would have to go deactivate my tower, Sheppard. I can maneuver underwater and go beneath the storm. It'll take me a while, though."
They both looked at Elizabeth, who nodded. "Go. I suspect that the Puddlejumper is strong enough to withstand the storm, but let's not take chances if Lieutenant Ford is already sending out distress signals. Get back here as soon as you can."
Buffy leaned down for a quick kiss, then ran off, pressing her finger to her temple to active the neural interface and remotely prepare her ship for underwater submersion.
"How are you doing?" Sheppard asked his CO as they made their way back to McKay's lab.
"A little overwhelmed and disappointed." Elizabeth answered honestly. "To have gone through so much, only to be defeated by the weather."
"You realize, of course, that if the city sinks, that's when Earth will find a ZPM and finally manage to make contact, right?"
~~~ BtVS ~~ SG: Atlantis ~~~
So far, everything was going to according to plan. Elizabeth and McKay were heading for the control room so that Rodney could complete the subroutine configurations, while Sheppard was running to deactivate the final grounding station. 'Dr. Weir, there’s been some sort of an attack from Manara. We have an Athosian party incoming with wounded.'
Elizabeth and Rodney looked at each other, then started running. "We're on our way." She told the guards, then hailed Sheppard. "John, there's been an attack. We've got wounded coming in." 'An attack? What kind of an attack?'
"We're about to find out now." Elizabeth and Rodney ran into Gateroom, only to be brought up short by the weapons pointed at them. By Genii soldiers. "What the hell is this?"
"Dr. Elizabeth Weir?"
Elizabeth looked up to see an older man walked down from the control room. "Yes."
"You must then be Rodney McKay."
Rodney didn't answer, but then a familiar figure came down to stand next to the man. "That's him."
"Sora." Rodney spat out disgustedly. She sneered at him.
"Where is Major Sheppard?" The leader asked.
"You seem to know a lot about us. Who are you?"
"They're Genii." Rodney told her.
"We are," the man acknowledged. "and we are now in control of Atlantis."