The jumper bay as usual before a mission requiring its use is busy. Lorne and his team have their jumper open and are running back and forth double and triple checking everything just the way Lorne does. Sheppard’s own jumper is a lot less active.
Teyla walks into the bay adjusting her gear and making sure she has everything she has come to rely upon on missions with her teammates. She continues walking up the ramp into the open waiting Jumper One and joins Sheppard, Ronon, and McKay inside. They were running through their usual preflight, pre-mission checks and warm-ups of their usual jumper. Sheppard had explained to her once why they always used Jumper One. Apparently each puddle jumper aligns itself to its activators way of thinking. Therefore, as much as every pilot picks a jumper, the jumper picks its pilot. And apparently that meant that Jumper One had bonded with Colonel Sheppard and Colonel Sheppard, she knew, had bonded with it. She had noticed over her years with Atlantis that John consistently felt the most comfortable with this jumper. Silently, she starts going through her share of their usual pre-flight checks. She also seems to have walked into the middle of a conversation that had been brewing in the minds of everyone long before any of them had made it to the jumper bay.
“I still can’t believe she rattled Woolsey. I’ve never seen him get angry before. It was, it was kind of scary,” McKay was saying.
“Indeed and I for one did not like how he used her son in order to force her to join this team.”
She yanks on a strap anchoring a bag into its place on one of the upper racks floating above one of the rear cabin’s benches. As a devoted and loving mother herself, she knew she would kill anyone who dared to use her son against her as a bargaining chip to force her to do anything. After all, she already had; Michael. And after all, she just came from leaving said child in the loving arms of his father.
Stationed in the pilot’s seat, Sheppard nods as he works at the controls, but Ronon, doing a final check of his own weaponry from his usual seat behind the co-pilot’s seat, seems to muse almost with disdain…
Sheppard nods again as his fingers continue to dance over the controls though he’d probably never say the name that way himself…then again, perhaps he would. That nasty little thought came back and this time John wasn’t going to pass on it, “Yeah, do you think that was meant for us?”
Rodney doesn’t have to look away from his computer and the jumper’s systems he’s running his checks on from behind the second seat behind Sheppard’s to respond.
Sheppard turns his seat to face his team.
“We all know what Woolsey thinks of the whole Wraith-turned-human-turned-Wraith-again-turned-human-again-turned-hybrid thingy with Michael. Do you think he found Kenmore and just brought her here with her son to press the point?”
Question my ability to command?
Teyla looks at him, “I do not think so. It was Mister Woolsey who did not want to seek Michael when he first took command of Atlantis.”
“That’s what I mean, do you think he’s covering his own ass?”
Questioning my ability to command?
It had been a long time since any of them had thought anything negative about Mister Richard Woolsey. But much more recent events had brought out a darker side of him than anyone of them had ever seen or even heard of before. And they had definitely given some cause to pause at least for now.
“Well as nice it is to hear how paranoid you can be, no,” McKay says again without looking up from his computer tablet, “I checked her service file myself before I came here. There really was a Doctor Michael Kenmore who served as a scientist at the SGC, oh and you’re going to love this, he served directly under our very own Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter. He died five years ago in an experiment gone horribly wrong leaving behind a widow, one Lieutenant Ursula Kenmore, and a son, one Michael Kenmore Junior. She’s the real thing, so is her kid, and so was her husband.”
Teyla pauses a moment in the securing of the rear cabin materials and Sheppard swallows hard.
“So we were just stupid to name him that,” Sheppard says.
“Well actually, since you’re the one who names everything, you were stupid but,” McKay nods, still not looking away from his own work, “Pretty much.”
“Well that’s comforting,” Sheppard says.
He didn’t like that. If he had known he’d be stepping on a widow’s toes, he’d never have come up with the name Michael in the first place. Why did he do that? Why did he name everything? Couldn’t he just leave it alone for once? Let someone else name the Wraith bad guy they had in their control. Let someone else name anything. John turned his seat back around and returned to running the jumper through its pre-flight systems check, but with a little less enthusiasm and speed. Why did he always have to do it? Why couldn’t McKay pipe up with something before Sheppard could open his mouth? Oh wait, he had…when Sheppard had named Todd’s second in command Kenny without telling anyone. Oh and there was that time they fought over what to rename the Ancient warship they saved from that volcano planet. And come to think of it for that matter too, it had been Lieutenant Ford’s idea to name the jumpers gateships and Rodney had gone along with it too.
Aiden Ford. Sheppard’s fingers paused in midair above the controls for a split second. It hadn’t been awhile since Sheppard had thought of him. Every time they came back from a mission or someone else came back from a mission and reported the loss of another member of the expedition, Sheppard thought of Ford. It didn’t help Ursula Kenmore’s case much that she too was a Lieutenant. The Expedition seemed to have real crappy luck with lieutenants, they might as well issue them the red version of the Atlantis uniform with the words “Epic Fail” stamped in big bold black letters on the back as soon as they step out of the gate. John had never told this to anyone not even the new base shrink but when Teyla was missing and John found himself trapped underneath a blown-up building, he had a dream…or a hallucination he couldn’t tell which anymore and he wasn’t really sure he could then either…but he had dreamed he was eating dinner with Teyla, a romantic one at that which was disturbing to him on its own, when she suddenly changed into Aiden and began condemning him for not saving him and not being able to save Teyla either. But Sheppard did save Teyla. But Sheppard didn’t save Aiden. John shook his head and went back to his preflight.
He had to stop thinking like that. They didn’t know whether or not Ford had died in that Wraith hive ship’s explosion. Granted, it had been years and there still has been no sign or rumor of Ford being around anywhere. And John still checked although he didn’t know whether or not the rest of his team knew that. But he kept reminding himself, reassuring himself, that just because they haven’t heard anything didn’t mean a damn thing. They all had thought Aiden had died when he jumped into the sweep of a Wraith dart’s culling beam but he showed up later with the start of his own personal army of fellow Wraith juice junkies. So there was always hope.
Behind them, the sound of boots could be heard walking across the floor of the bay then stepping onto the ramp at the back of the jumper. Here they go, their own personal Round Two with the new Lieutenant. They all turned and looked back at Kenmore. She wasn’t dressed in Team Atlantis gear like John suspected she wouldn’t be, but rather she was wearing the full set of green BDUs of the SGC and she was eyeing everything ahead of her as she caught more and more of the ship’s interior as she slowly walked up the jumper’s ramp. Once finally in, she stares around her at the interior of the jumper’s rear cabin. As she does so, she turns slightly and John sees her designation shoulder patch isn’t like theirs, a chevron with a winged horse flying through it with the name ATLANTIS capping the image. Instead it’s the image of a large circle closely surrounding half of a sketchily detailed Stargate crowned with a small hollow space marking where a gate chevron would be bearing the large initials SG and underneath the bottom of the half a Stargate, and taking up the entire bottom half of the patch, is one massive exactly detailed chevron bearing a single giant number at its heart: 25. Sheppard could only guess that on the other shoulder, where they all had the flags of their individual nations or in Teyla’s case, a bare patch, the Lieutenant would have a round patch the same size as her designation one bearing a thick black outer circle pinpricked with white dots marking constellations around it’s perimeter and an inner circle containing the beautiful, round space-seen image of Earth with a giant Point of Origin symbol embroidered over it, filling up the entire patch with its neatly ratioed size. And where his team had their pistols normally holstered to the sides of their thighs, Kenmore has what Sheppard could only recognize from SGC photos and weapons reports as a “zat” gun neatly nestled there. Yep, SGC, tried and true. An Earthgater…and she wasn’t looking particularly impressed by what she was seeing.
Sheppard wasn’t particularly impressed with her expression either. John never had liked anyone that couldn’t play by his team’s rules, which was ironic coming from him but anyway, and he especially didn’t like anyone knocking his jumper before they’d seen what the little ship could do period. This baby had gotten them out of more scrapes than John cared to remember, but he could recall every single one of them and Kenmore had absolutely no right to knock one millimeter of this puddlejumper.
“Well it’s not as big as a Tok’Ra ship,” Kenmore finally remarks, giving voice to her unimpression.
Sheppard rolls his eyes and returns to his piloting control panel.
“It’s a puddlejumper,” McKay rises to the little ship’s defense which Sheppard smiles to himself at.
Kenmore looks at Rodney.
“A what-le what-er?”
“A puddlejumper. We call it that because…”
He trails off seeing that Kenmore doesn’t look the least bit interested in the explanation. She walks up to the forward compartment, leans her head in and looks around to see what the front compartment looks like. She still doesn’t look impressed. Sheppard glances at Ronon. The glance was mutual. If she wasn’t going to give the jumper the time of day, then why should they give her—suddenly Woolsey’s voice comes over the jumper’s radio…
“Colonel Sheppard, we’ve established a wormhole. We’re sending a MALP through now, awaiting telemetry,” there was a few moments of silence then, “the telemetry is good. Colonel Sheppard, you have a go.”
Sheppard nods and starts pressing buttons. The jumper’s ramp rises and closes as McKay unplugs his computer tablet from one of the jumper’s systems and takes up his seat in the co-pilot’s chair. Teyla gives another bag’s strap one final yank then comes up to the front compartment and takes up her seat behind Sheppard. They all watch Kenmore as she turns to leave the forward compartment. Kenmore walks back to the rear cabin and flops down on the middle of a bench. The team exchange looks between each other then return their attention to their departure. Well at least she had the courtesy to stay in back.
Sheppard radios the control center, “Here we go.”
* * *
The two jumpers gently lift off of their individual spots of the jumper bay as the center of the bay’s floor begins to spiral open. One of the jumper’s starts to easily ferry towards the growing opening.
Down in the gateroom, a hole in the ceiling spirals open and a jumper gracefully turns as it delicately descends into the gateroom. As soon as it reaches the perfect position, it slips through the waiting wormhole with barely a ripple.