The honey colored torchlight flickers as the group of four still stare at Ganos Lal standing in front of them. No one’s answered her question yet. And no one’s likely to. Sheppard turns his head slightly to talk a little over his shoulder to the rest of his people.
“Okay, Rodney, so you didn’t insult everybody.”
“I can’t believe you’re actually here,” Lorne says, “I thought we might run into somebody, but you?”
Ganos simply keeps smiling her interpretation of the Mona Lisa smile and gives a single tilting incline of her head. A simple and smoothly elegant move that strongly evokes the same refinement as the same action coming from Jaffa warrior and freedom fighter, Teal’c of Chulak. But unlike Teal’c, who closes his eyes when he nods like that, this woman keeps her brown eyes open. And John notices that the enigmatic smile extends to her eyes, as though she knows something, a lot of things actually, and isn’t telling them any of it. Sheppard looks back at the Major.
“You know her?”
“Yes, he does Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard,” the mysterious Ascended Ancient woman answers for Lorne.
The mention of his rank and name instantly draws Sheppard’s attention back to her. From the moment Elizabeth Weir had him be the first person to activate the children’s holographic educational program in Atlantis, he’d always thought the teacher was hot. Pretty hot. Now, seeing her standing right here in front of him, in different clothes but no less angelic and beautiful, John still finds her pretty hot and also eerily creepy. Not a good combination. Especially since she knows his name and he doesn’t remember his full name and rank ever being said in that room; Elizabeth saying ‘John’, yes. All the rest of it, no. Something’s not right about this woman, something is…off.
“As does Lieutenant Kenmore,” the once-a-hologram-suddenly-now-real woman spares a particular look at Ursula, instigating Sheppard to make a quick side glance at the Lieutenant too. Something really off.
“I believe everyone at Earth’s Stargate Command knows of me,” teacher Ganos Lal goes on, “There are a few, like Doctor Daniel Jackson, that have had the honor and privilege to actually meet me before. Even your Doctor Elizabeth Weir met me once, multiple times actually although she did not realize that it was actually me. You as well, John.” Her enigmatic smile broadens at him, making her eyes twinkle and glitter in the torch light at him. A mischievous look. John swallows hard, distinctly uncomfortable and fighting off reacting to the tingling sensation of his skin crawling. Where once John would have been turned on if the hologram teacher had done that to him, now…nope.
“You’re the teacher program from the hologram room,” McKay finally speaks up and John could have either slapped his forehead complete with eye rolling and an ‘Really Rodney, and you say you’re the smart one?’ or kiss the man for getting John’s mind away from how much the woman is creeping him the hell out.
“Yes, Doctor,” she turns that mischievous smile to him with the turn of her head, she pauses dramatically, “Rodney McKay,” than she turns down the wattage of her lips and dousing the light’s charmingly playful reflection in her eyes. The seeming fact that that all that glitters is gold crap might have been for John’s benefit…
“So does that mean we’re still in Atlantis, we’re just stuck in the computer program,” Rodney asks hopefully. Remembering an episode of STAR TREK Deep Space Nine with Doctor Bashir, Garak, and a James Bond motif.
Ganos serenely closes her eyes and shakes her head, her bouncing dark mahogany loose ringlet curls gently swaying from side to side at the back of her head from the ponytail she has her hair in; her smoothed swept over bangs not fluttering in the slightest, her whole hairstyle reminding John of his Mother’s favorite doll in her doll collection, the very first Barbie sans the black and white striped 1950s bathing suit, “No, Doctor. I have brought you here for a different reason.” She opens her eyes again, their attention diverted to where they would next be addressed.
Kenmore starts at the words as Ganos knew she would, “You brought us here?”
“Yes,” the Ancient replies, “Well, actually I brought you here, Lieutenant Ursula Kenmore.”
The others stare at Ursula, she stares at Ganos, and Ganos keeps smiling her enigmatic smile at her. The Ancient seems to be relishing the sudden silence…
Then Ganos goes on, “I had not anticipated the others coming along with you, but after I had started, I could not risk the Others noticing such use of power that would be required to disconnect Major Evan Lorne and specifically focus on bringing just you here. So I was forced to bring all of you.”
“But there was a gap of time before I was brought here,” Rodney points out, “You can’t possibly say that I was just dragged along here with everyone else. And where is ‘here’ exactly by the way?”
“You were an unfortunate side effect, Doctor McKay,” Sheppard takes a moment to gloat at Rodney about that, “In my rush to not draw attention to myself, there was an accidental feedback in the anomaly I had created to bring your comrade and subsequently your friends here. It drew you in and once in the Void, and yes, you are right about that, Doctor McKay, it became my duty to protect you along with your friends.”
“And who is it exactly you’re protecting us and Kenmore from,” Sheppard asks, pointing out to her that they all four aren’t exactly friends with each other.
“The Others,” she replies simply. As if that should be enough of an answer…
…She’s wrong. “What ‘Others’ exactly,” he clarifies.
“The other Ascended,” Lorne, Kenmore, and McKay answer together.
Sheppard and Ganos look at the trio, the other three look back at them.
“What,” Lorne, Kenmore, and McKay ask in unison again, wondering what the other two’s problem is.
Rodney sighs exasperatedly, “Isn’t it painfully obvious? If she has to hide her actions, bringing us here to the Void I was in while dying as I was ascending to a higher plain of existence, then the Others she’s talking about are the other Ascended beings here with her. She’s breaking the rules. They’ll punish her.”
Okay, he’s not dumb, John knows all that crap. He was hoping he could get this woman who’d kidnapped them to actually use some names not a general, all encompassing term. Specifics, he is looking for specifics.
“Again,” Kenmore adds to McKay’s unnecessary explanation.
The Ancient woman nods and her expression while doing it, John notices, shows that she’s uncomfortable with both apparently remembering the experience of being punished by the other Ascended, let alone being faced with the prospect of something happening to her again that’s probably going to be even worse this time. Even Sheppard feels uncomfortable with the thought of that, what punishments could Ascended beings deal out? He doesn’t want to know or find out for himself.
“Yes…Well, this time I feel that the cause is justified.” Lal tries to recover…and her tone of voice does poorly at it.
“For Urs, yeah we know, you already said that.” Evan already sounds both protective of his friend and apprehensive of Ganos. Also not a good combination.
The Ascended woman’s Mona Lisa smile comes back more enigmatic than before. And whatever was really off before is not anything John definitely wants to find out about now. He can see why Lorne is apprehensive of this woman. Hell, why the whole of the Stargate Program would be as apprehensive of Ascended beings and why the Atlantis personnel especially are apprehensive of all of the Ancients personally. It’s the lies. Everything that comes out of their mouths looks like roses and smells like something you’d scrape off the bottom of your shoes into grass. Or something that someone would put on a front doorstep in a brown paper bag, set on fire, ring the doorbell, and run like hell from.
“Yes, I did,” Ganos says politely, her smile radiant. Like a politician’s just before they kiss a baby right in front of cameras, “but it is only because she is that important.”
“How,” Sheppard and Lorne ask at the same time.
“Why,” from Kenmore.
Here the smile falters for a fraction of a heartbeat, “While we did not agree with how their experiment was initially begun, their experiment has been maintained for a reason. You and your husband as well as your son were created for a reason.”
The group stares at Ursula, she’s staring at the still Mona Lisa-smiling Ganos Lal with her own look of fear…and barely restrained rage.