The Old and the New
So, as promised, here is the beginning of the 3rd story of the “Keys to Pegasus” series. Partly this follows season 5 of Stargate: Atlantis, this is a lot like writing the first one… I have no idea where it’s going but we shall enjoy the ride.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything in the BtVS or Stargate universes, I just have a lot of fun writing them as I hope you do reading them.
Chapter 1: The Old and the New
The little things in life were sometimes the ones you looked back on and laughed about. On Atlantis you took the laughs where you could, there were always good times to be had but it only took one crisis to feel like it would all slip away in a matter of seconds. And if they weren’t careful, they would soon repeat part of a warning, tread a dangerous path that there was no way back from.
The current laugh was Ronon Dex and Dawn Summers’s story of domestication in an altered timeline. Anyone who knew the two warriors could not see them living so… calmly. If there was one thing to be said about each it was they were, at the very least, intense.
Not to say they didn’t love each other, after all they had been married for nearly six months. Unless of course you asked Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, he constantly badgered the two about an actual ceremony with witnesses and cake. The man would do anything for cake.
“Han,” Dawn warned her fork pointed dangerously at the man, “we’ve had this conversation three times in two weeks. Stop.”
John gave her an easy grin, hoping to charm his way out of trouble, “Honestly, when is your anniversary?”
She growled low in her throat, reminiscent of her husband. Dr. Rodney McKay and Teyla Emmagan, both kept out of the way of this particular argument, even as they tried to hide their smiles. If Dawn was honest with herself, she didn’t actually know when her anniversary was, not for lack of memory, but there was no official date. Their courting hadn’t exactly been normal… or even close to anything resembling it.
“I’m warning you,” she said as Lexi and Ronon joined them on the balcony.
“Not again,” Lexi said as she took a seat next to McKay. Her curly blonde hair was pulled out of her young face. “Can you two go one day without an argument?”
“I could,” Dawn said, “if he’d keep his trap shut.” She looked at Ronon who had sat down next to her Glinda the Kat-tail perched on his shoulder. Glinda jumped down and lay on the table between them. “If he’s not careful, I’m going to kill him as soon as Woolsey arrives.”
“Why would you wait until Mr. Woolsey is here?” Teyla asked.
“Because I’d never condemn Lorne to the paperwork,” she told the woman still glaring daggers at the Colonel. Dawn stood, “excuse me.” She walked out through the mess hall.
“John,” Teyla said, “you must stop teasing Dawn.”
Ronon made no comment, though that wasn’t strange to any of them. The Satedan was known for his silence. The week after he and Dawn had gotten back had been weird as he seemed to go from keeping up his end of a conversation back to his old self.
“Even if they had a ceremony,” Lexi said, “you’d find something else to argue about.”
“Why?” McKay asked, he understood the need to argue but John and Dawn were just odd about it.
“Because the only way their arguing could be any more competitive was if they were related,” Lexi told him. “It’s like a compulsion they can’t escape.”
Ronon made a noise of agreement as he continued to eat his lunch.
Dawn powered up her tablet. She wasn’t mad at John. It would take a lot to be mad at him for anything. Always annoyed, but she found it one of his more likeable personality traits. She also knew that there were certain lines they both would not cross, things even in true anger they would never dare speak about.
‘Must you and the Young One make such large scenes?’ Candrima asked through their link. It was always fun to decipher the names Atlantis gave everyone else. Young One was the name given to John as he was the first to come through with such a strong gene, one of the children’s children.
“Because if I didn’t keep my wit and threatening skills sharp on him, I’d lose my edge,” she said out loud. She typed in her access codes and went into her e-mail. “Letters… from Les, Daniel, and Jack.”
‘You have a meeting with the Tiny Medic,’ Candrima reminded her.
“Figures,” she put on her shoes. Then she picked up the tablet and headed for the infirmary. When she reached the door she found it mostly empty, but it was early yet and most of the teams were down until after Woolsey had established his rule.
“Dawn!” Jennifer Keller’s voice caught her attention.
“Hey,” she walked around the equipment, “what’s up?”
“Actually I was wondering if Lexi had ever considered a career in medicine,” the doctor told her as she made some notations on her notes.
Dawn closed her eyes briefly, “have you asked her about it?”
“No, I thought I’d talk to you first,” Jennifer said, slightly distracted by the Wraith information in front of her.
That made her look up, “What?”
“Why are you asking me before talking to Lexi about it?”
Jennifer frowned, “Because that’s generally the order of things.”
“Jennifer, if Lexi wants to learn anything from engineering to medicine to mime, it’s not my place to stop her. Or force her,” Dawn said evenly. “She may be young but seriously she wants nothing more than…” she gestured around vaguely, “everything. So if you’re willing to teach her, I doubt she’ll say no.”
The doctor blinked at her once, “okay. Who do I have to clear it with?”
“Well Carson, obviously seeing as he’s CMO,” Dawn frowned, “and perhaps Sheppard and Woolsey being as it’s probably a good idea to know who has what skills in an emergency.”
She nodded, “okay. Thanks.”
“So dinner tomorrow?”
But Jennifer’s attention had already returned to her research.
Dawn just smirked and asked Candrima to tell her if the Tiny Medic didn’t go to her quarters in the next twenty hours. She made her way over to the other side of the infirmary. Carson’s desk was surprisingly clean and void of its owner. She headed to the closest balcony.
On the balcony Dr. Carson Beckett was staring out at the City. She studied the emotions around him a moment, he was determined, and sad, but there was also a thick layer of guilt. Dawn walked to lean against the balcony.
He knew she was there but he was more than happy not to start the conversation.
“You’re not staying are you?” Dawn said quietly.
“No, lass… I’m not,” his accent even thicker.
“You’re going to go to all those worlds the Hoffan drug touched, aren’t you?”
“I created the drug,” he said simply as though that explained everything.
“You didn’t force Michael to use it.”
“But I am one of the reasons that he existed. I thought I could fix them, and I ended up creating something that killed over 200,000 people.”
“You couldn’t have known.”
“I should have known better,” he looked at her, “especially the second time around.” He hit the railing once, “and we never should have left any trace of the research.”
“You can’t blame yourself for this.”
“But I can help those who were affected because of it.”
Dawn studied his face, “so you’re really doing this?”
“Who becomes CMO?”
“Dr. Keller is more than qualified and has proven herself many times over.”
“So what are you waiting for?”
“Clearance to leave,” he told her. “I sent my request through the proper chains on Earth and I’m waiting for it to go through.”
“You’re sure it will?”
He looked at the City, “Either way I’m leaving.”
Dawn nodded slowly, “there are just some things you have to do…” she smiled at him, “if you need a little supernatural help I’m sure I could have a vision of bad things happening if you remain here or return to Earth.”
“Thanks lass, but it won’t be necessary,” he gave a half smile. “What were you doing here any way?”
“Jennifer wanted to ask me about Lexi learning medicine.”
“Think she would be interested?”
“I think there are very few things we could offer to teach her that she wouldn’t jump at the chance to learn.”
“Of course,” he glanced at the door once, “how is Keller doing?”
“I have a timer set, if she doesn’t leave in the next twenty hours I’ll drag her out.”
“Not a problem,” she shrugged, “I’d probably do the same to you.”
“I don’t think anyone of us is immune from your particular brand of caring,” he told her.
Dawn tilted her head, “is that a good thing or not?”
“Good, most of the time. But I’d love to see you try it with Rodney.”
She scoffed, “Radek, yes. Rodney… not a chance.”
He laughed, “You’d try.”
“Probably,” she admitted.
Lexi stopped in the hallway under Candrima’s instructions. She opened the wall panel and climbed in. It was part of her study of the City, she had Candrima in her head to teach her, she wanted to make sure that she could do some of this blind. She followed the hallway up a steep incline.
She reached the next stretch, a long low hallway. With a frown she followed it on her hands and knees.
‘Left,’ Candrima said, ‘sixteen feet than stop and look through the vent.’
Lexi followed her orders. The vent was on the floor, two feet across the five foot duct. She looked down. Below her was Amelia Banks, a control room tech who worked opposite Chuck. Amelia and Chuck had taken turns explaining to her the various parts of the control room, the interfaces, and the random things she asked about.
Amelia sat at the controls studying the energy outputs from various dialing sites. She could see various people in the control room. Most were working through side projects, memos, and letters home. Goddess, help those who were just waiting.
‘Keep going,’ Candrima told her.
The Slayer smirked and carefully continued her way through duct. Finally she came to a dead end. Just as she was about to comment a small panel slid out of place. She pulled herself through the opening. She was outside, above the balcony of the control room. She judged the distance, it was just a bit too high, but if she could drop down to the support arches it was only eight feet to the ground.
Lexi studied the distance before getting herself into position. With a deep breath she launched herself forward landing on the narrow beam just as the door from the ‘Gate room opened. She looked down and cringed.
“Martin,” the voice that said it as though she was one of the marines was one of only two on Atlantis that treated her like that.
“Major Lorne,” she replied with a small nod of her head. “Can I help you?”
Lorne rubbed his face, “I’m almost afraid to ask what you’re doing up there.”
“Getting down,” she told him. She jumped down crouching to absorb the hard landing, less than two feet in front of him.
“Candrima showed me a few of the side passages, but I ended up coming out about twelve feet above us,” she said simply. “Did you know there is an air duct right about where Amelia is sitting in the control room?”
Lorne frowned, “No…”
“That’s what I was exploring, trying to figure out the back ways in and out of the Tower.”
“Find anything?” his curiosity getting the better of the conversation.
“Only that if I’m not careful, in a few years I won’t fit,” she shook her head, “there are very few places in the walls and ducts the marines would be able to navigate.”
“I think Dawn, Zelenka, Sheppard without any gear, and maybe a few of the more petite marines.”
Lorne raised an eyebrow at her description, “petite marines?”
She sighed, “The females, sir.”
He nodded just once.
“May I go back about my business?” she asked.
He moved from his position in front of the door. She made no comment or even looked at him again. Lorne shook his head, only a twelve year old managed to combine military address and perpetual annoyance without ever being disrespectful.
‘The Daedalus is in orbit,’ Candrima informed Dawn the next morning.
Dawn looked at Ronon at she tied her hair into a braid and secured it with her lock picks. “He’s here.”
“Why did he not just come through the ‘Gate after Colonel Carter arrived in the SGC?” he asked her.
“Something about getting his ‘space-legs.’”
All she got in response was a grunt.
“I got an e-mail from Les, Daniel, and Jack yesterday,” she told him. “Apparently Les is finally moving out of the mountain. She’s got a small house near the college. They set her up with all kind of things. Only thing she has to do is take the driver’s test. Daniel says Teal’c and Kathy have taken to each other. Teal’c’s already finished learning the preliminary, spent a few nights with some library books to get it. She’s not sleeping much better, but that’s to be expected. And on that note her and Vala have become bunkmates.”
“What about Jack?”
“He just sent his weekly joke, something about clones, and to say that some emergency has held up his retirement by another week,” she shook her head, “and griping again about the Simpson’s thing. I’m never going to be forgiven for that one.”
Ronon studied his wife. She was toying with Glinda’s overly large ears. The last two weeks had been a transition back to being themselves. On Earth they had always had something to do: clean, train, keep track of two teen Slayers, and take care of Kathy. Here they had little to do without away missions. Lexi had settled in well and was off somewhere learning something from someone.
“Shall we get something to eat before all hell breaks loose?” Dawn’s question brought him to himself.
She stood and smoothed down her bodice and shook out her pants looking grudgingly at her encased feet. “Stupid shoes,” she pouted.
Against his will Ronon smiled at her disdain. He leaned forward and kissed her. When he pulled back to look down at her, she was smiling a lazy smile.
“I had a thought,” she said.
“What was it Pixie?”
“Can’t remember,” she shrugged. “You chased it away.”
Dawn twined her fingers with his before heading out of their quarters. By nature he was a private man, and with the exception of Sheppard and the team a few times in the last year, he rarely let others see how intimately they interacted. The Key on the other hand saw nothing wrong with the tiniest bit of PDA, they were married.
“Good morning,” Dawn said to Lexi and Teyla as she sat down.
“Morning,” Lexi replied with a slight yawn as Ronon sat down.
“Does anybody know the last time Dr. Keller was outside of the infirmary?” Teyla asked.
“Thirty-two hours,” the teen answered.
Dawn shook her head, “in two hours I’m dragging her back to her room and locking her in.”
“Doesn’t she have to be at the briefing with Mr. Woolsey?” Teyla asked.
“Dick took to his office,” Lexi said, “he’s going over everything that has happened since he left Earth.”
Dawn looked at the girl with a raised brow.
“I know,” she huffed, “Mr. Woolsey… but he’s already sequestered a meeting with just me.”
“Just you?” Teyla asked.
“The IOA has been trying to get their hands on Lexi’s records since she was sent through,” Dawn told them. “This will be the first time any of them have been able to talk to her.”
“That should be as fun as pulling teeth,” the blonde replied.
“Knowing our luck he’ll be here two days before a crisis strikes,” Ronon said.
Teyla smiled into her cup.
“You really think so?” Lexi asked.
A shrug was the response.
“You can’t avoid this forever,” Dawn said. “We knew that as soon as we found out Woolsey was coming.”
“Are you not going to intervene?” Teyla asked.
Dawn shook her head, “not my place.”
“I have to deal with changes in command and personnel the same way as anyone on Atlantis,” Lexi told her. “If Dawn always answers for me or is always responsible for me… I’ll never be able seen as anything more than a child who needs minding. So if Woolsey wants to have a chat, we’ll chat.”
“I’m almost afraid to ask,” Dawn mumbled.
As threatened Dawn had dragged Jennifer from the infirmary. The doctor was too tired to protest. Unfortunately Woolsey ordered a meeting for that evening. Jennifer had barely slept six hours, but she seemed slightly better.
“Have you slept at all?” McKay asked.
The small doctor sent him a withering glare.
Dawn and Ronon walked in followed by Carson.
“She was ordered to,” the Key said as she sat next to Teyla.
“More like dragged by the hair,” Jennifer corrected.
“Wow,” Sheppard said as he entered, “new table.”
“I don’t get it,” Ronon said, “Colonel Carter was doing a good job, right?”
“Everything in the last year has been due to her leadership,” Teyla agreed.
“That’s her downfall,” Dawn said.
“I don’t understand.”
“Carter was a victim of her own success. By doing all of that she’s eliminated a large percentage of the threat to the Pegasus galaxy. The IOA has been waiting to put a civilian back in charge,” John explained.
“Isn’t this one of the things you saw in that possible future?” Jennifer asked.
“The circumstances were different,” the Colonel admitted.
“Besides having him here makes all the difference,” Dawn added, “I could draw you a Doc Brown chart if you need.”
“Of all the things Lexi described,” John shook his head, “that wasn’t the strangest.”
“What do you mean?” Jennifer asked.
But John was studying the mahogany table, his emotions flared. He was trying not to think about it. He was saved from his thoughts by Woolsey entering.
“Well I see everyone’s here,” he announced, “let’s begin.”
The doors closed, he looked behind him then opened the folder before him. “First of all, I’d like to commend you on the work you’ve put into making sure that Michael’s organization was destroyed.”
“There’s a small chance he’s not dead,” Dawn said. They all looked at her in varying degrees of disbelief and shock. And she cursed her mouth’s betrayal.
“Lass?” Carson asked.
“It’s just something,” she said, “something I’ve either forgotten or missed in my visions…”
“Do you have any viable evidence Ms. Summers?”
“None,” she said without hesitation.
“Then we will consider this matter closed,” he dismissed it opening another folder. “As to these prisoner hybrids, I understand they’re being held in a camp on the mainland?”
“Yes,” John confirmed.
“How is their rehabilitation going?”
“We’ve had some success using a modified retrovirus that weeds out Wraith DNA. They’ve started resuming their original human forms,” Jennifer rattled off.
“There seem to be no last effects,” Carson said.
“Many have completed the treatment,” Teyla said. “They are wondering when they might be released.”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Woolsey said as he made some notes.
“These people are victims,” Teyla said. Dawn watched as Carson tried to suppress a cringe.
“Maybe so, but until recently they were the enemy.”
“Well then let’s just keep them there forever,” McKay snarked.
“No, we’ll just keep them until I am satisfied that they can be trusted,” Woolsey returned. “Now regarding the information you have from Michael’s base,” he looked at Jennifer, “you seem to be spending a lot of time on it.”
“There is a ton of information most of which we are just barely scratching the surface of,” Jennifer explained.
“Perhaps you should focus on the useful information,” Woolsey suggested.
Jennifer bit her lip, hard.
“There is another matter,” he opened yet another folder, “Ms. Summers?”
“Sir?” she asked.
“I understand your and Mr. Dex’s… unique situation but I am ending your temporary assignment to Colonel Sheppard’s team,” Woolsey looked up to catch her reaction.
“So back to Major Lorne’s team?” Dawn tilted her head.
“Yes,” he nodded.
“Cool,” she returned her attention to the table, but she still caught Sheppard and Teyla’s disbelief.
“And finally,” Woolsey opened the folder at the bottom of his stack. “Dr. Beckett, your request has been granted.”
Carson blinked, “it has?”
“Yes,” Woolsey said grudgingly, “you’ll be allowed to leave in two days with only a few requests.”
“Leave?” Jennifer asked.
“And Dr. Keller has been approved for the CMO position,” he continued.
Dawn made a soft noise at the reactions around her and the emotions.
“I’m what?” Jennifer asked.
“Anything else?” Woolsey asked. “Then let’s get back to work.”
They all stood and walked out of the conference room. Carson’s get away wasn’t fast enough.
“Carson,” Teyla said, “when were you going to tell us?”
“Soon as it went through lass,” he assured her.
“And Woolsey sprang it on us because?” McKay asked.
“He wanted to judge our responses,” Dawn said, they all looked at her. “Think about it, everything he has says that he’s a rather disliked outsider, we operate better as a unit. Without throwing us off he is never going to be able to be in the position either Elizabeth or Sam was. At this point he has no allies,” she looked back at the conference room doors, “Candrima let him out.”
“Who did that?”
“Atlantis, she doesn’t like outsiders any more than we do…” she looked at them, “I see a bit of that in his future.”
“Can’t you dissuade her?” Jennifer asked.
“Yeah right, pigs fly,” Dawn replied. She looked at Carson, “any idea where you want to go?”
“A few,” he replied cryptically, “I should see if I’ve got an e-mail waiting for me.” He made his escape. Dr. Keller made her goodnights among promises of not going to the infirmary but returning to get some sleep.
But attention turned to her instead.
“So you’re okay with returning to Major Lorne’s team?” John asked.
“Yeah, I remember Carter’s whole thing about putting me on your team. It was more because she was worried about my sanity than anything else. We know where we stand now and we know the restrictions,” she shrugged, “figured it was only a matter of time.”
“And this thing about Michael?” Teyla asked.
She sighed deeply, “I don’t know if it’s something to do with this reality or the one running parallel to us… but I’m missing something,” she shook her head. “Every time I think I have it, nothing.”
“Should we be worried?” McKay asked.
“Just that I’m twenty-two and my mind is going,” she assured, “but giving all the things in here… I’m sure it’s nothing.”
“Very reassuring, Yoda,” John told her.
Dawn and Teyla spent a few hours that night in the gym. They sparred with batons and knives. When ended they each had a few cuts on their arms. Dawn healed them both as they sat down, exhausted.
“Things are going to be different,” Teyla said.
“A sign of change,” Dawn nodded. “And every now and then, an apocalypse.”
The Athosian smiled at her. “Are you alright to returning to Major Lorne’s team?”
“Yeah, as much as I love Ronon, after spending nearly a year in his company I realized we’re really bad at being bored. So if it takes separate missions to keep both of us from feeling smothered, so be it.”
“You have both been so restless since you returned.”
“Atlantis, when she’s not in danger, is a luxury few people will ever know. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves.”
“Locking yourselves away for two days the moment you returned might not have helped.”
Dawn laughed, “After sharing a room with Kathy for eight months…”
Teyla joined her laughter. “Have you talked to Major Lorne yet?”
“No. He’s almost as hard to find as Lexi.”
“Do you think he knows of the change?”
“He will tomorrow when I go into their meeting and sit down,” she said.
“Woolsey is meeting with every team for a six minute assessment.”
“What can one assess in six minutes?”
“Basically he’s going to look at how they interact. If there are teams that seem unbalanced in their roles, is there a team with too many scientists or a team that needs a science member attached necessarily.”
“That’s a lot to try to understand in only a few minutes.”
“Plus he wants to make sure he knows team faces, and with any luck names.”
“What are his chances of success?”
“Slim, but then again he’s had three weeks to study teams and profiles.”
“When is the meeting?”
“First thing in the morning.”
“Perhaps it is wise that we turn in?”
“Yeah,” Dawn stood, “I’ll see you later Teyla.”
“Good night Dawn.”