Later that morning, a package arrived with the clearance papers for the new Atlantis Expedition members and Giles. Jack called Mr. Giles using the phone number that was given to him, and Giles told him that they would arrive in Colorado Springs at the end of the week.
Jack arranged for quarters and set up offices for Giles and Willow, so that they could continue their Council duties until it was time for departure. Giles offered the use of Slayers to combat Anubis’ new Super Soldiers. Xander went through Advanced Basic Training with startling ease, then he told them of the Halloween incident when he became Soldier Boy.
Willow and Sam became fast friends, and Daniel and Giles renewed their acquaintance from Daniel’s life before the Stargate.
“So, Daniel, I assume that you have proven your theory regarding the pyramids, but can’t publish it?”
Daniel smiled ruefully. “Yes, I have and no, I can’t. I remember that you were one of the very that didn’t trash my writings. Thank you for that, by the way.”
“Well, while I did not believe exactly what you did, knowing what I know, I could not discount the possibility of something similar instead.”
“Meaning, you didn’t believe they were landing platforms for aliens, but they might have been built by demons or some such.”
“Well, that’s better than nothing.”
Willow showed Sam an example of her magic, and they somehow ended up theorizing the possible physics of her ability. Jack and Xander rolled their eyes and tuned them out and ended up in a discussion about the merits of practical jokes and the perks of Saturday Morning cartoons and video games.
Dawn had been provided tutors and concentrated on her studies, so when the time finally arrived, she had was taking with her a copy of her High School Diploma.
Occasionally, they had to leave the base to help Faith research a particularly vicious enemy and once to stop an apocalypse, but the Slayer always called them as a last resort. She seemed to be putting together her own version of the Scoobies, with Robin Wood watching her back and Andrew being the research guy. They were taken on small trips through the Stargate to get them accustomed to gate travel, and they visited the Antarctica site, where they discovered that Dawn had the Ancient gene when she sat down in the only chair available and everything lit up like a Christmas tree. After that, Daniel taught her to read the Ancient language and the scientists taught her how to use the Ancient’s technology, except the weapons.
Finally, after all of their months of preparations. It was time to go.
“Everyone of you volunteered for this mission. You represent over a dozen countries. You are the worlds best and brightest, and in light of the adventure we are about to embark on, you're also the bravest. I hope we all return one day having discovered a whole new realm for humanity to explore, but as all of you know, we may never be able to return home. I'd like to offer you all one last chance to withdrawal your participation...”
Willow, Xander and Dawn stood with the others as they listened to the speech being given by Dr. Weir. She was reiterating the fact that this was most likely a one way trip, and giving everyone one last chance at backing out. Willow thought the speech was well thought out, but Xander and Dawn just wished she’d hurry up with it. They had said their goodbyes to Giles, Faith and the others, and they were ready to go. Finally, side by side, the three friends stepped into the shimmering pool of blue light and into their new lives.
“This is Dr. Rodney McKay! All teams, all personnel, report to the Gateroom immediately. I repeat, all personnel, return to the Gateroom now!”
“Wow.” Dawn said softly, staring out at the clear water on the other side of what looked like a force field.
“I’ll see your ‘wow’ and raise you a ‘cool’.” Xander responded just as softly. “Come on. Sounds like there’s a problem.”
Xander and Dawn sat on the steps and waited for Willow. Being one of the smartest people there, Dr. Weir had decided to add her to the senior staff, and they were all currently in the control room. It looked like Dr. McKay was on the verge of panicking.
“What do you think is going on?” Xander mused as he watched the military personnel mill around the gateroom.
“From the looks of that screen,” Dawn squinted for a moment. “It looks like parts of the city are changing color.”
“The city is waking up.” Rodney McKay said once all of the senior staff was gathered together.
Dr. Weir raised an eyebrow and looked around the room. Dr. Beckett, Dr. Zelenka, Colonel Sumner and a hand full of other scientists were all looking at Dr. McKay with similar looks. “Isn’t that a good thing, Dr. McKay?” she asked.
Dr. McKay shook his head. “We know from the initial exploration that the city has a central power station that is powered by three ZPM’s. We also know that two of them are depleted with the third is well on it’s way to maximum entropy.” Looking around the room and seeing raised eyebrows from everyone but Willow and Dr. Zelenka, McKay rolled his eyes and continued. “They are running out of power. When we arrived, the city began using power to activate systems all over the city. This would be a good thing if we weren’t under water and the shield holding the ocean back wasn’t losing power due to said power being diverted to the awakening systems.”
Dr. Weir nodded as she started to understand. “So, what you’re saying is…”
“The shield holding the ocean back is failing. We have about twenty minutes before the ZPM is drained completely and it fails, letting the ocean in to kill us all in a massive rush of water.” Dr. McKay said.
Major Sheppard frowned then sighed. “That can’t be good.”
As Dawn stared at the display in the control room, it seemed that anther section of the city changed color, and there was a faint tremor. She paled as she realized what was happening.
“Oh, god, Xander.” She whispered frantically. “I think the city’s flooding. I think whatever’s holding the water back is coming down.”
Xander turned to her with wide eyes, but before he could respond, alarms started going off. Only their training kept the people from panicking, and even that began to fail them as the ground suddenly shook, hard.
“It feels like we’re moving.” Xander said.
After what feels like an eternity, the movement stopped. The personnel cautiously climbed to their feet, looking around. Dawn tapped his shoulder and pointed behind him. “Xander, look.”
Other heard her and they all looked in the direction she was pointing. A window, high above them, no longer showed rippling water, but a clear blue sky. It seemed like the city had surfaced.