Episode Six- The West Pier- Prologue

Prologue

It’s extraordinary outside. It’s a fantastically beautiful day. Barely any clouds, light blue sky the color of a child’s Crayola crayon, and calm ocean the deep arresting color of Greek cobalt. Everything is looking good. The Lost City of Atlantis risen from the depths has never looked better. Its silver-grey metal towers and piers balancing elegantly like a permanent snowflake for all year long under the passive warmth of the planet’s sunlight. It’s tempting to eat lunch outdoors today, it’s tempting to just walk out onto a balcony and breath in fresh sea air and exhale relaxation. The whole day, the whole outlook is tempting.

 

 

Atlantis’ Gateroom is alive with the hustling, bustling miasma of people down on the embarkation floor as well as around the floor’s perimeter. It’s a monochromatic mix of military as well as civilian personnel, a swirl of gray uniforms with the only punctuation being collarbone lining strips of maroon red, old marker blue, and canary yellow or chest-covering wedges of forest green, black, or pale grey indicating who belongs to what department. People going in and coming out of doorways or hallways. Some of them from the Earth-born Expedition’s first day and others from it’s last few months, every single one knowing what their job is and loving every moment in this fabled city because what’s a better reference on your resume than time spent doing anything in Atlantis.

The active Stargate’s event horizon’s glow undulates over the rust-colored marble floor like light passing through the water of a swimming pool as Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, United States Air Force, and his team comprising of Athosian leader Teyla Emmagan and Satedan Weapons Specialist Ronon Dex, both native denizens of the Pegasus Galaxy, as well as Canadian Theoretical Astrophysicist Doctor Rodney McKay, and Lieutenant First Class Ursula Kenmore, United States Army, check their gear. Making sure they get themselves appropriately physically ready while standing a couple of handfuls of feet away from the shimmering, waiting wormhole behind them. Ronon Dex standing out the most in his native Satedan clothing of a brown leather trench coat covering his long sleeve linen shirt with fringed V-neckline. As if his height wasn’t enough to make him stick out anyway and it’s only exemplified by his black pants made up of swatches of reptile hides stitched into a patchwork and his sleek black Satedan work boots. His sword, a memento of a long gone friend that was more like a brother, nestled into its thick re-enforced leather scabbard strapped to his back adding even more punctuation to his height. Ronon re-checks the security of his large, heavy blaster pistol before slipping it back into its holster clinging to his thigh and dangling from his gun belt. The over six feet tall Satedan isn’t the only one standing out, Kenmore equally visibly apart from the other’s black uniforms in her khaki green BDUs and cap. The differences exaggerated by the fact that literally in between them are the three other members of their mission group, all three dressed exactly the same in Black BDUs without caps.

Up above them on one of the Operations Center’s balconies overlooking the Gateroom stands Richard Woolsey, casually leaning on the balcony’s railing and looking down at his Expedition’s flagship team and their fifth team member giving their primary weapons a safe and satisfying once over. To say he’s on edge about this would be an understatement his eyes have already notice the distinction of. The troubles between the Colonel and his team with Lieutenant Kenmore and she with all of them have been building. In the reports from their previous mission, some of those team members had been more explicitly forthcoming than he’d ever thought possible. Teyla’s report had been particularly scathing and indicting of Ronon’s behavior on that mission and unusually esteeming of the Lieutenant’s. Colonel Sheppard’s had even made slight, incredibly slight but still, mention of Ronon’s behavior being out of line while simultaneously making no mention of the Lieutenant but referring to her when he had to in his report in somewhat glowing terms. Doctor McKay glossed over all of the apparent friction. And Doctor Daniel Jackson, as Woolsey had expected, had remarked repeatedly in his report on the mission that he had grave concerns about Kenmore’s safety around Ronon Dex when the team went offworld as well as when they stayed in the city… he’d even written, only once but the concern had enough uncomfortable gravity behind it to only be warranted once, that he was also concerned for the welfare of the Lieutenant’s five year-old son. Woolsey had originally thought that that concern was completely out of line considering that there have been some glimmers here and there of hope, like the Colonel’s occasional backing of decisions made by the erstwhile Lieutenant which Ronon was thinking was in much more extravagant numbers on missions than they actually were according to the rest of his team members. But when Woolsey went back and rechecked the mission files, specifically the reports written by the Lieutenant and the recorded reports of Specialist Dex, which came across more as angry rants than actual oral reports detailing the specifics of the mission, Woolsey had to agree with Doctor Jackson, maybe not his exact words but his sentiments. The overall predicament is predominantly grim and grey for their unity. He hopes there will be a change around soon. Maybe this will be the mission in which it happens.

Sheppard, his team, and Kenmore’s eyes expectantly look up at Woolsey. The unanimous signaling from all of the silent gate teams that they’re ready to go whenever he’ll let them. Richard Woolsey looks back into the Operations Center itself, which is as busy as the outskirts of the embarkation floor. People coming and going. For some reason he feels especially bolstered by seeing faces he’s stood side by side with during the city’s most trying times, a few of those crises had not even occurred under his tenure. They’ve been through a lot together, especially bringing Atlantis back to the Pegasus Galaxy. When they re-established contact with Earth, the circumstances they’d suffered in bringing the city back had made Richard’s first message to be a request for two additional therapists immediately, power drain on the Zero Point Modules be damned. Therapists that have been, unfortunately, without a free moment to themselves since they first step foot here, not even their mealtimes belonged to them personally. They were hours spent with their meal trays on their laps as they sat in chairs across from other Atlantis personnel still dealing with the alarming and disturbing events that had re-established Atlantis’ presence in the Pegasus. Recently, Woolsey had even thought about bringing in a therapist for the therapists.

Funny, even during his ruminations, Woolsey’s eyes specifically find Chuck Campbell, one of the Operation Center’s Gate Technicians, at his usual station seated at the DHD console with an opened laptop resting on top of the Ancient computer. And as if sensing the former attorney’s brown gaze on him, Chuck looks over at Woolsey and nods. Woolsey looks back down at the gate team.

“Your team has a go, Colonel Sheppard. Be sure to check back in six hours.”

Sheppard nods without his usual glib retort and the muscles in Woolsey’s shoulders tighten even further. Perhaps the troubles within his flagship team have started early today through Ronon expressing his vociferous opinions about the Lieutenant in the locker room. John Sheppard not making some sort of smart remark about their departure or his expectations on what to expect when they get to the planet they’re going to is not a good sign. Never a good sign. Woolsey holds back a burdened sigh as Sheppard, his team, and Kenmore turn and head for the active Stargate. As they start to leave, however, Richard Woolsey gets another glimmer of hope.

“Put on your sunscreen campers, it’s a shiny day where we’re going,” Colonel Sheppard remarks as he slips on his aviator sunglasses before stepping into the Stargate’s wormhole.

Richard Woolsey smiles as Doctor McKay makes a consternated retort of his own, to the Colonel’s words, “It’s a perfectly shiny day here.”

Then they’re gone. All of them. He hopes the good lasts.

Woolsey turns away from the railing and walks over to Chuck. He stands by the man’s console, both of them focus their attentions on the laptop’s fifteen point four-inch screen. It shows the already through the gate MALP’s camera view of the forest lined field on a sunny planet. It looks like blissful summer compared to Atlantis’ springtime appearance. Dense woods of tall evergreens, tall spindly grass swaying in a breeze. Where Atlantis’ world seemed the ideal island vacation, that world looked the ideal camping trip. The thought crosses Richard Woolsey’s mind that General Jack O’Neill would love to have a cabin there, but only if there was a pond good for fishing nearby; fish in the pond not necessarily a requirement. After a few seconds the backs of Sheppard’s group come into the MALP’s camera view and start spreading out into a trained scouting formation under the practically unnecessary save for protocol’s sake signaling of Colonel Sheppard, each of their concentrations aimed ahead of them into the shadows of the woodland. Heeding his gesturing without seeing it. After another few moments more, Sheppard turns to the MALP’s camera and gives a thumbs-up while nodding. The area and the team are currently clear of any possible hostiles. They’re good to go on.

“Go ahead and shut down the gate,” Richard Woolsey orders, the official indicator that the Colonel’s message was received and acknowledged.

Chuck pushes a button on his console and the gate connection breaks. The peacock iridescent event horizon shatters from the center out and the glowing lights of the Stargate’s chevrons go dark.

With a final glance over at the inactive Stargate, Richard finally lets go of his sigh then says, “Chuck, if anyone needs me or anything happens, I’ll be at the West Pier.”

He nods back, “Yes Sir.”

Richard Woolsey walks out of Operations while everything continues on with business as usual in his wake.

Suddenly it hits Chuck, he smiles, “Hey, he finally got my name right.”

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3 Responses to Episode Six- The West Pier- Prologue

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  2. Aaron says:

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