Title: Chevron-8 Encoded
Warnings: Character death
Word Count: 500 words
Characters: McKay, Weir
Disclaimer: not mine.
SUMMARY: Atlantis falls silent.
Rodney looked around the gate room one final time, trying to memorize every detail of Atlantis that was still questionable in his own mind. The lights were dim, crates were piled up along the side of the walls, and the remaining staff was standing in the hallways, unsure of what to say or do. Nobody thought anything like this would have happened—McKay still couldn’t believe that he was being forced to leave the city of his dreams.
He reached out and tentatively ran a hand along a nearby wall, wishing he had the skill necessary to understand what Atlantis was undoubtedly trying to say. Instead, he felt small vibrations and knew that yet another part of Atlantis was shutting down, perhaps permanently.
“It’s not your fault, Rodney.” Elizabeth walked up to the scientist and placed a hand gently on his shoulder.
“Yes, it is.” McKay didn’t turn away from the wall. “I should have known what it all meant. I should have known when Teyla, when Sheppard—“
Elizabeth pressed on Rodney’s shoulder and tried to forcibly turn his around. “It’s NOT your fault, Rodney.”
Rodney didn’t bother responding this time. Instead, he leaned his forehead against the wall in an attempt to convey to Atlantis the depth of his feelings. Everything had gotten so jumbled, so confused since the Hive Ship, since Michael. He hadn’t even taken the time to notice that Atlantis was slowly shutting down.
Nobody had noticed until Teyla failed to appear at a morning briefing. When a search party was sent to find out what happened to the Athosian, and they found her dead in her quarters—then the pieces began to fall into place. A room that suddenly lost all it’s oxygen; transporters that failed to move (or let people out); broken lights; puddlejumper crashes mid-flight. Within a matter of weeks people were scared to walk down the hallway, unsure of what the ancient city would do to them in punishment.
Which was why Rodney now leaned against a sidewall, waiting for the Stargate to send them back to Earth. It was taking nearly all of the ZPM’s considerable power to force Atlantis to open up a wormhole. The Stargate had fallen still nearly two weeks previously, and to force it to operate one more had been the last challenge McKay would solve for the Atlantis expedition.
“It’s time to go.” Elizabeth looked at Rodney carefully once more. “This will work, and we’ll be back home before you know it. We’ve survived worse than this and lived to tell about it.”
Rodney sighed: “Not all of us survived.”
“No,” Elizabeth shook her head. “You’re not supposed to think like that. This isn’t a conditional surrender, this is a victory. We traveled to another galaxy, Rodney! We found things beyond our imagination, things that I never thought were possible. Things that shouldn’t be possible, that shouldn’t exist. We came, and we fought, and we won as much as we were able to. And now…”