(Since tomorrow is going to be so busy for me and a lot of others working Black Friday, I’m putting out my usual blog entry today and sending out a Happy Thanksgiving!!! message to everyone.)
Simmering. Boiling over. There is no cooking term applicable to Kenmore’s expression as she stares down Ganos Lal in the stone torchlit hallway of an Ancient-made medieval castle.
“You leave my son and my husband out of this,” she finally manages to growl. The men around her know what it sounds like when a mother defends her cub.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Ursula.” And it sounds like Hal in 2001. Ganos turns and begins to walk up the hallway.
Kenmore lunges at her but Lorne puts out an arm to stop her, “Don’t call me Ursula! You don’t call me anything that familiar!” Kenmore shouts after her.
Ganos stops and looks back at her. The woman bows her head, “Very well Lieutenant Kenmore,” she returns back to her original direction and starts walking again.
Sheppard, Lorne, and McKay exchange wary looks then reluctantly follow the Ancient woman. After a few feet, Lorne knows that the sounds of their full group’s footfalls are not what they should be. Evan stops and turns back. Ursula’s still back there, not moving, not wanting to move. Ganos had crossed a line bringing her family into it then crossed a second by calling Ursula by her first name. Since Michael’s death, she’d kept herself close to the vest. Really only the people who had known her before his passing were the ones she allowed to call her by her first name, the closest of those are the ones she allows to call her by her nickname Urs. He gently flicks a few fingers of his hand beside his thigh, the only one of his hands in her vision, towards himself; his polite and as gently a way as possible way of telling her to come along. She looks at him. She still doesn’t want to. Won’t. He mouths to her: I promise. She shakes her head at him tightly, mouthing back: You can’t promise this. Evan: I can try. They stare at each other…he’s not going without her. They keep staring at each other…Please, Evan mouths. She still won’t follow him. So he stands there. Waiting with her. They casually look around the hallway and occasionally at each other, but it’s not anywhere near the stare down it had been before. They keep avoiding each other for a few moments more before they catch each other’s eyes again and Evan whispers to her…
Halfhearted, Ursula finally follows. Evan turns back around and waits for her to reach him. Subtly keeping that hand that had flicked for her to follow behind him. When he feels her hand slip into his, he grips it and his feet start moving forward. Hers too.
Up ahead, Ganos turns the corner to the right at the hallway’s end with Sheppard and Rodney a few steps behind her and Lorne and Kenmore a handful of feet behind them but gaining. Morgan LeFay’s leading them somewhere, and as soon as she’s sure they’re all following her…
“As I said before, while we do not condone their experiment—“
“‘Their experiment’,” Sheppard questions.
“Those sick freaks who worked with the Asgard. Veritas.” Ursula answers bitterly from behind Lorne.
John uncomfortably looks at the back of Ganos’s head, that wasn’t exactly what he had meant. He had meant to gall the Ancient by insinuating that it wasn’t just those geneticists involved, but that their buddies in Atlantis were complicit in it too, that somehow all Ancients were complicit in it. Rattle the hologram teacher and get her to give up something she didn’t mean to. Frankly he, Rodney, and Kenmore, just to name those team members present, would prefer to never think about that mission ever again and he’s pretty sure that Lorne would like to forget his experiences on the desert planet and the volcanic monastery place too. There are some missions, some discoveries, that while are great to be unveiled and brought out into the light, but are the nightmares PTSD can’t even begin to come up with and will never be forgotten. One can only hope it will.
“Actually it is our belief that you, Lieutenant Kenmore, are the sick and depraved creature.”
The group hits the brakes. Kenmore trips into Lorne’s back and the Major keeps his friend directly behind him, protecting her physically. The Doomer of Camelot, however, just keeps walking straight to a thick wooden door that looks pure medieval just like all the other doors they’ve seen so far at the end of their about twenty yard long new stone brickwork, torchlit hallway. She opens it, conventionally via the thick wrought iron ring pull-handle and goes inside. One could almost describe everything about her entrance, without so much as looking back at the people who had been following her, as blissfully unaware. Blissful is just plain out of line and unaware…nope, she knows exactly what’s going on inside of the people behind her.
Sheppard looks back at Kenmore being kept back behind Lorne’s shoulder. Even though all he can see of her is the bridge of her nose on up, he can tell she doesn’t look good. Her eyebrows as well as the skin between them seems to be stretched extraordinarily taut, but her eyebrows aren’t lifted and her eyes aren’t wide, it’s as though that part of her body suddenly seized. That sick freak crack the hologram teacher’d thrown back at her hit fresh wounds almost as raw as her widowhood…and that’s sayin’ a lot.
Lorne’s hand joined behind his back with Kenmore’s gently moves his thumb back and forth over his friend’s fatty part of her hand just between her thumb and index finger. Sheppard watches Lorne’s shoulder joint suddenly yank back sharply and he knows whatever comfort the Major had just tried to provide to his friend had been completely and utterly rejected. Yep, wounds rawer and deeper…she’s taken herself away from her friend. Quietly and stone faced, Kenmore heads after Ganos Lal into the room.
Lorne with an alert poker face on, he’s keeping an eye on his friend, follows right on her heels then Sheppard and McKay follow too. The steel laced stone expression on Kenmore’s face makes them all want to follow her as quickly and as closely as possible. If the Ascended woman couldn’t be killed, then she was going to wish she could be when Kenmore gets her hands on her…
Inside the room is not empty. Actually for what they’ve seen so far, it’s quite the opposite. In fact it’d probably be more accurately defined as a storage room. It’s a somewhat empty version of the hallways they’ve been traveling through this entire time, all brickwork and wrought iron wall sconces and windowless; like all the other rooms they’ve opened up doors on so far. The only difference, and finally there a difference, that nails down the storage room part of it is that there are a few wooden chairs stacked randomly against the far wall. There, it’s storing something, this room actually has a purpose. But other than that…nothing. Lending even more so to the idea that this place was thrown together at the last moment, and if what the Ancient woman is saying about bringing them here is true, then she most likely did cobble this place together at the last minute and is probably running them all on borrowed time before the Others she keeps going on and on about will find her, and them. Not a great hint to be taking, but it’s most likely a real one.
Ganos stands in the middle of the room, waiting for them to follow her in. She looks like she knew they would, but Sheppard has a sneaking suspicion that the woman is putting on one hell of a mask for them. That’s if she really knew how close the truth was to Kenmore most likely turning back and leaving Ganos to stew in her little room. Or perhaps that was what the freak crack had been about, to push Kenmore so far that she knew the Lieutenant would follow her. Would want to. Would want to have to. Kenmore maintains eye contact with Lal as the four SGC personnel assemble in a semi-circle in front of the patient Ancient woman.
“Alright,” Sheppard demands, “what the hell are you—“
“I am not a freak,” Kenmore snaps.
John glances at her. Whatever tenuous grasp on holding herself together she had had walking in here, she’s losing.
“No, you, your child—“
“I told you to leave him out of this.”
“Are not,” Ganos finishes herself, “Not now. Their experiment was wrong, but it has produced you and…your family. None of you were made…wrong, you are exactly as you were meant to be. We are very lucky in that we did not have to alter as much of your bloodlines as we had originally thought we would have to.”
“What do you mean ‘alter her bloodlines’,” Lorne interjects.
“And ‘originally had to’,” Rodney adds.
The Ascended Ancient woman sighs as though she’s finding it frustrating to deal with children. John feels the muscles in his shoulders and the back of his neck tense the way they do when Kenmore’s starting to get on his nerves on a mission.
Ganos begins, “We have rules we all must—“
“You interfered, didn’t you?” She looks at Sheppard, she clearly hadn’t expected him to speak, and she’s clearly uncomfortable with his bluntness. No matter how true it is.
“…Yes,” she admits.
“How,” Kenmore demands immediately.
“From the very beginning, the scientists meant to create two half-human half-Ancient children. A male and a female. To intermix and continue the experiment as a more natural process, but when the Wraith laid siege to our city, we were forced to evacuate this galaxy and return to our homeworld.
“Once there, several of us Ascended and in doing so we discovered what the others had done. And even though only one of those orchestrators survived with the two required children that had been created, the plague was starting to more clearly assert itself in our population and we decided that their experiment had merit despite how it was begun. So we—“
“You still bred them,” Rodney gapes, “Like animals?”
That snaps a thread in Sheppard. He remembers Richard Woolsey comparing Kenmore and her five-year old son to a mahogany conference table. Furniture. At the man’s disposal. Anytime. Anywhere.
“But their people! They were kids! Babies!” Sheppard shouts. He’s been pissed before, angry before. So angry in this Galaxy, at this Galaxy that’s he’s pumped an entire cartridge into a Wraith trapped inside a Lantean cell, been willing to go into Replicator Hell to get back an old friend and leader, had no problem going into a Hiveship to rescue another comrade and her then unborn child, and he’s been pissed off enough at all this bullshit to shove a certain Lieutenant into a food shed, kick her in the stomach, and leave orders with the doorman he placed to guard her to shoot her no matter what, even if she blinks he doesn’t care. But this, this blows all of the excuses for all of that out of the water. Where he comes from that’s sex trafficking of children. Children!
“At the time,” Lal’s voice has an edge to it that shows her frustration is starting to seep through via more than just an overbearing sigh, “those who believed they could not Ascend turned to this experiment as a means of their only way of survival,” she tries to enlighten, “and as I’ve already explained, many do not view the results of this experiment as legitimate sentient beings.”
“And what about those of you who could Ascend,” McKay cuts in just as angry as his commanding officer, “What did any of you do?”
Ganos Lal eyes them cautiously…and lets her voice convey as much by choosing her next words very carefully, “We…Our rules state that we cannot interfere with the dealings of lower lifeforms. But—”
“It was you people who started this thing so technically it wasn’t the dealings of lower lifeforms, was it?” John guesses sarcastically.
“Technically, yes. And when those of us did Ascend, we kept an eye on this experiment and continued to guide it as much as those who could not Ascend did until their deaths and even then they passed on both their knowledge and guidance to others like them before they themselves died.”
“You mean you’ve kept her half-human half-Ancient from the very beginning,” Lorne reconfirms, “You—“
“Yes, we have controlled the breeding of her and her husband’s bloodlines—“
“No,” Kenmore abruptly says. Then turns and leaves the room.
“…To insure that—,” Ganos tries to continue even though she senses she’s lost control of the situation entirely now, not like she had control of it to begin with no matter what she may have thought before.
“You covered your own asses,” Sheppard seethes at her.
Ganos stares at him. This is going to be far more difficult than she had anticipated when it first came to her to lure Ursula here. Suddenly there’s a ripple in her mind. She looks somewhere behind her as though she’s seeing something the humans can’t for a few moments then turns back to face them.
“The Others are growing suspicious at my distance from them. I must go.”
Before either Sheppard, Lorne, or Rodney can object, Ganos resumes her white light Ascended energy form and disappears through the back wall. The men stare at where she disappeared through for a moment then look at each other. Well how convenient is that?