(Just to clear up some things brought up in comments at Gateworld, the events of this story take place three months after those in the Stargate Atlantis movie Stargate Extinction, whose few details that have been released about the movie are occasionally referenced throughout this Season Six series and can be found both on Joe Mallozzi’s own WordPress blog and Gateworld.net.)
It was home. It was a completely different galaxy but it was home. It had become home a little over five years ago now. They had fought to get here, fought to stay here, and fought to get back to here. Even though there was no other way to categorize themselves out in the universe as anything other than Earthlings, the peoples of Earth, it was perhaps after that first battle in defense of the formerly lost city of Atlantis at the end of their first year here in the Pegasus Galaxy that they started to also think of themselves as Lanteans as well. Now…it was hard to think of themselves as Earthlings still. Yes, they defended the very planet Earth itself from the Wraith and a Superhive, but they had defended her with the city. And when they floated into San Francisco Bay under the safety of the cloak, they thought of themselves as Lanteans simply visiting their first homeworld after a long time away from her. After the honeymoon period on Earth, they all wanted nothing more than to return their city back to their new homeworld in their new home galaxy. And they did.
The Atlantis wormhole establishes with its usual flush and the newcomers from Earth come pouring out. Some with bags, some with containers of supplies. Some of the already established Atlantis personnel walking around the perimeter of the gateroom come to help the newcomers struggling with crates or boxes or bags and some come to welcome the new personnel already assigned to them, while others continue on their way to their respective jobs. One newcomer, a young, full-figured Hispanic woman with long, naturally curly, brown hair pulled back into a ponytail and bright, brown eyes wearing SGC-grade green BDUs, comes out of the gate into the middle of the embarkation floor and stares around her in amazement. Something small lightly bumps into her from behind, but it doesn’t faze her any and she keeps looking around. Finally, her eyes land on what she can only guess would be the Operation Commander’s office. She can’t see who’s inside. She looks around her immediate area. There doesn’t seem to be anyone free to help her either. She stares at the glowing stairs ahead of her…
“Wait here,” she says.
…and heads for them.
Richard Woolsey, wearing the uniform of the Commander of Atlantis that he’s become so accustomed to, sits at his desk milling about with his papers and files and eyeing the notepad never truly far from him. Finally he stands up and walks over to his window’s view of the gateroom below. His city is putting its best foot forward for her new residents. Sunlight is beaming through her stained glass windows creating the most stunning, colorful light mosaic he could ever ask for across the Gatetrium, as it was lovingly nicknamed by her more settled denizens, floor.
He observes the new arrivals filing through the active gate with a subdued smile. How could they not want to stay here? How could they not want to be here in the first place? Although it was not commonly known, Richard had, behind-the-scenes, vied for the position of the Atlantis Expedition’s new commander. It was not that Colonel Samantha Carter had been failing, that she had proven to be an ineffectual leader, quite the opposite, but it was quite simply that the IOA had wanted and believed that since Atlantis had been meant all along to be a scientific expedition, that required, as it had in the first place, a political decision of appointing a civilian leader, not a military one. So when the rumors had started to circulate within that the IOA’s top people were considering a command shake-up in Atlantis, Richard himself had put forward the suggestion that Carter be replaced. His suggestion had been turned into reality and it had left a gap wide-open for him to put his name into the ring for the job and subtly fight to keep it there. The IOA had accepted but, of course, with the specific clarification that Richard was a fill-in, a temporary replacement while the IOA head-hunted around for someone that would fill the position on a permanent basis. That had been fine with him, the whole reason he had set all those wheels in motion was for one simple fact: he wanted to prove himself. He wanted to prove he could do this, period. His strength laid in his knowledge of the rules and regulations and protocols laid out by both and he had taken into consideration the very real reality that sometimes all three of those strengths had to be bended and flexed in order to do this job at all. And at the end of his first year in command, and with the handy help of a shape-shifting, consciousness-altering alien, he had both passionately proven and earned the right to stay in Atlantis as its permanent commander.
Colonel Sheppard, Ronon, Teyla, and Rodney approach him quickly through his ever open office door. Woolsey hears the footsteps and his quiet smile shifts to the one someone wears when they know they have a secret that no one else has and they’re about to spill it. He turns around to face the one man he had been expecting to see.
“Ah, Colonel Sheppard. I’m glad you’re here,” his smile quickly dies on his face and what would have been his next words evade him as well, as he notices Ronon, Teyla, and McKay, the people he had not expected to see; disgruntled, he recovers, “and the rest of your team.”
The team exchanges looks between each other as Woolsey returns to his seat behind his desk and Sheppard already knows he’s in the doghouse for bringing along others he hadn’t been expressly told to bring along. Sheppard walks up to his boss’ desk with his hands still in his pant’s pockets.
“Yeah, well, you said you had something to tell me.”
Woolsey checks his labtop one more time, taps a few buttons, and seems satisfied with whatever he’s seeing on its screen before he addresses Colonel Sheppard once again.
“We have new arrivals from Earth coming in today.”
Sheppard has to fight to keep from rolling his eyes or breaking into something that couldn’t be misconstrued as anything other than the blatant disregard for the chain-of-command that it would be, but behind him, Ronon rolls his eyes and the others lose whatever slight tension they had had at any actual urgency Woolsey might have really had.
“We can see that,” Sheppard tries to put a nice spin on it but he can hear the irritation in his own voice and he hopes his commander didn’t hear it.
Woolsey smiles again but it’s not as sincere as before. Nope, he did.
“Yes, well, they’ve brought something with them,” McKay rolls his eyes at Woolsey’s words and glances at the people hauling containers around the gateroom below like irritating little ants he’s going to have to put up with for God only knows how insufferably long, “they’ve brought something for you.”
McKay suddenly looks down at the gateroom again with considerably more interest. Well from here they didn’t look like little ants so much as treasure-laden magi. Please, please stay as long as you like—well, at least your stuff can stay for as long as I would like.
Even Sheppard bites.
“And that would be?”
There’s a knock on the glass of the doorway behind them. Sheppard, Ronon, Teyla, and McKay all turn around to see a Hispanic woman wearing green SGC BDUs standing in the crystal, clear glass framed doorway.
“Does anybody know where I can find a,” she refers to a piece of paper in her hand, “Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard?”
Sheppard shifts his hands in his pockets and looks at her, a little wary, but answers…
“You found him.”
The woman steps forward and hands the paper to him. Sheppard takes the paper and reads it. His wary expression descends into disbelief, he actually pales a little. He looks back up at the woman.
“I’m Lieutenant Ursula Kenmore,” she introduces herself.
“Your fifth,” Richard says from behind his desk.
Sheppard and his team stare back in shock at Woolsey’s proudly beaming face, reclaiming the glee that he had been robbed of at the sight of Ronon, Teyla, and Doctor McKay tagging along behind the Colonel. The woman is still unaware of a problem.