Episode Ten- The Games People Play- Chapter Four

Chapter Four

There’s a slight scent of salt in the gentle, sun soaked breeze as cool ocean water laps lazily against the solid walls of the naquadah piers. The snowflake shape of the city of Atlantis sits idly on the semi-smooth surface of the softly rippling ocean. No sounds of life from inside. If it were Christmas Eve, the phrasing might include a reference to a lack of mice. Nothing. All is dim, all is calm. Too quiet. Too…

It’s still far darker than usual. The main lights still offline. The only things still active are the stark minimal lights of the computer consoles and the large, rectangular, dangling Ancient glass monitors; the mimicked imagery of water rapidly streaming down the glass surface as though it’s raining rivulets of effervescent light. Redundant information, relaying countless of systems shifted to the abnormal joint status of ‘standby’, dripping down the screens over and over again. There’s a distinct haunted house vibe. Bodies lying on the floor… or sprawled over the steps up to the upper deck… or strewn over railings… or over computer stations. Truly, the only thing missing from the All Hallow’s Eve scenario is copious amounts of blood and spooky music most likely coming from the ‘piano’ designed Ancient computer consoles playing themselves. Somehow chamber music courtesy of a massive gloomy pipe organ bolted to the floor and walls, draped in cobwebs, and under lit by tall candelabras standing sentinel on behalf of the looming Baroque monolith seems completely in line too.

Suddenly a hum surges through the room. An unsettling audible shudder that’s as much heard as it had been felt when the lost city first rose from her ocean depths courses throughout her substantial infrastructure. But there’s no city-wide jolt as Atlantis reawakens from her nap. No need to rise. The lights stutter back to life. Minimally, like usual in Atlantis’ Operations Center.

The random sprawling of bodies start coming to. Immediately everyone notices that something’s different. Very different. They’re all wearing STAR TREK Original Series uniforms for a start, gender specific with either colored shirts paired with black pants at ¾-length and tall black boots for the male personnel of the Expedition or same colored micro mini-skirt dresses teamed with black sheer nylons and those same tall black boots for the females of the Expedition. A few of the awakening women’s hairstyles have changed to be more appropriate with their outfits and the time period the garments reflect, up-dos or thick curls or overly ornate bouffants. A few of the men’s hairstyles have suffered from retro shock as well, looking like something the suits would sport on MadMen. It’s all very surreal in a geeky sense.

Sheppard pushes himself up from the warm rather than the usually chilly marble floor and notices the obvious difference on himself. It’s not hard to miss. Let alone are his sleeves unrolled, which rankles him beyond words which is why he always keeps them rolled up unless he’s wearing the bomber-style jacket or his leather one that some of their missions will occasionally allow or call for, but that his sleeves also are so not the fabric that they’re supposed to be. It’s God awful velour, damn it, and not black either. Mustard yellow, he’s wearing mustard yellow! Bearing the expression of someone working their mouth really trying hard not to vomit, John pushes himself up further into a sitting position. He keeps his eyes closed and takes a few preemptively calming breaths… or a few more than that before he forces himself to open his eyes and look down at the rest of himself. Yep, John Sheppard’s dressed in that ridiculous getup of mustard gold velour shirt, black pants that stop halfway down his calf, and—John rolls his eyes, Oh for the love of… and shiny, black leather, definitely-not-military-issue-combat-style boots that begin an inch and a half below his knees and go all the way down to culminate in heels. Cool grey-green blinks a few times, but there’s no doubting what they’re seeing on his feet or what he’s feeling of his feet. Heels, not super high inches, but still it’s way more height than his beloved combat boots. Gees. He can’t take it anymore. John has to look somewhere, anywhere else. So back to the shirt then. There’s a gold and black patch like Kenmore’s on his chest over his heart that catches his grateful attention. Movement near him takes the distraction ball and runs with it. His sight jumps to the men and women around him and he’s not sure whether to be so pissed he can’t speak or be so shocked he can’t speak. Either way, John can’t believe he and everyone else in the city have been dragged into McKay and Kenmore’s playtime. This is way out of order and even more out of control. Alright, he’s pulling the plug on all of this just as soon as he can find the damn plug. Looking at the others, out of nowhere another astounding and horrific thought suddenly occurs to him. Instantly John’s hand reaches up and pats his hair—he breathes a sigh of relief. Yep. Still messy and tousled. Exactly the way he likes it and exactly the way he keeps it, as infuriatingly laissez faire to his superior officers and his father as his personal attitude. Just right for him. Okay, so there’s at least one part of this whole stupid business that isn’t making him feel like he wants to ring some necks or kick McKay’s ass for. Again John looks around himself—fully realizing for the first time where he is. Before he can say it, Ronon does.

“How did we get up here?”

John looks back at where his friend should have been if they were still in the hologram room. But he’s not there. John angles his torso to look around a nearby console behind him and finally spots Ronon picking himself up off the floor of the upper deck on the other side of the small room, using one of the computer consoles as leverage. Sheppard duly noting that his tall, gruff alien friend is wearing a red uniform. There’s a different symbol on the patch on his broad muscular chest, but at least his hair hasn’t changed either although Sheppard can’t rightly recall if he’d ever heard about dreadlocks in STAR TREK and to be honest, not knowing a damn thing about this old television show, he’s not sure if he could handle seeing his close friend with any other hairstyle. Not to mention that, thankfully, no one gets to find out how Ronon’d react to seeing himself with a Beatles pageboy haircut or whatever else the city could have possibly had in store for him with the‘60s and this show as reference material. Sheppard smiles to himself, he doesn’t even want to imagine that. Although a few passing glimpses of the possibilities flashing through his mind makes him chuckle a little to himself.

Nearby, Expedition Commander Richard Woolsey comes to and gets to his feet. Almost immediately the man startles at his appearance, but maintains tight control over his personal thoughts getting loose from his mouth. Instead the man tugs down on the bottom hem of his mustard yellow shirt, striving to get his trademark crisp uniform appearance back. The frown on the former attorney’s face is a dead giveaway on his feelings about waking up to find himself this way though. Sheppard’s expression quirks as his mind registers that Woolsey’s wearing the same outfit he is. The same chest patch, the same braiding detail around his cuffs, everything, and—John Sheppard stares off to Woolsey’s right at the woman’s whose just picking herself up off the floor. Holy…

Teyla Emmagan is Lieutenant Nyota Uhura. Short, stunningly smooth, raven hair styled elegantly in the ‘60s motif with a crown of large beautiful curls directly atop her head and the rest of the lustrous straight locks following the shape of her head in an asymmetrical bob cut. Teyla’s normally parted bangs fully cover her forehead to the wonderful shape of a widely degreed ‘V’. The front edge of the bob coming as two strips of hair framing her face more closely, their twin tips ending at a fantastic angle supporting her jawline. All of it making her the picture of classic screen legend beauty. Big, bangle, bright green, loop earrings provide stark contrast and definitely bring the first impression attention to her face. And that tight fitting red mini-dress. The black extremely sheer nylons lending a mahogany tone to her long dancer’s legs ending in a pair of the sexy, black leather, knee-high heeled boots. Below her jawline making an unabashed bid for notice as well.

Wow, John breathes. Everyone stares at her as her daze of whatever it was that knocked all of them out lifts and she realizes that she’s not in the room she had been when she’d been knocked out… and that every pair of eyes in the new room are on her. Not just staring, gawking. Gaping.

Confused, the beautiful Athosian woman looks down at herself. A gasp escapes Teyla’s mouth as she gapes at the revealing and somewhat seductive seeming clothing now covering her body. It is a clear departure from the traveling clothes she had been wearing as she had packed for a trading excursion on behalf of her people. Gone is her comfortable Athosian gray vest top with the green floral pattern that has become one of her favorites to wear for its lace up front and back. Gone as well are her pants, the brown leather ones with the black stretchable back panels. They have always been a comfortable fit and wear for her longer journeys and the Stargate on the world she is going to is a good deal’s walk away from the village she is seeking to do business with. And where is her dark red leather vest? The one with the brown shoulder straps and snap front closures? She always wears it with this—well, that outfit. Or the accompanying dark green long-sleeved half-shirt with the high collar kept closed by two large metal buttons? Another of her favorite clothing items that she normally wears with this—that arrangement of her apparel. Both items are meant to keep her warm on the rather coolly temperatured planet she was going to be on within the hour, it is experiencing it is autumn season. It is why she had chosen the whole ensemble—Her coat, where is my coat?! Her, her treasured brown leather trenchcoat with the snap closures and hook and eye closures, the one with the lace-up back and lush fur on the collar and cuffs. She looks down at the short, short skirt and the single band of gold braiding and remembers the handful of ornamental buttons on her beloved long, warm coat along with leather stripes with similar pairs of buttons on the sleeves. The coat has been a treasure of hers ever since it was the same coat and the same outfit she had been wearing when she had discovered her people missing, a bitter and terrifying memory for sure, but later she found out while recovering from that distressing mission that she was carrying Torren. And that was a shining moment in her life for two reasons very dear to her: a connection to Kanaan and her people while they were lost to her and she from them, and her first child. She had always kept the hope and wish of someday becoming a mother to herself and Charin, although she often remembered her mother Tagan smiling at her and telling Teyla that she would make a great mother someday. Teyla found it difficult to admit her feelings back then, her doubts about raising children in the dangers of their world and lives. Raising children to live in fear of the Wraith, always moving their settlement to keep the cullings constantly at something of disadvantage. She’d found her youth, especially after the Wraith took her father, to be a scary one and she did not want that for any of her children. In truth, it had kept her from wanting children as much as she wished and dreamed to. But fate and her feelings for Kanaan had changed everything. Changed her mind and given her the family she had dreamed for and Atlantis had given her the semblance of freedom from the fear of the Wraith that she had wanted for her children.

Her eyes following down the length of her body to—Why are there black boots on her feet rather than the dark forest green ones she had been wearing? Everything upon her body continues to astound her. New surprises on every part of her frame. Her arm supporting her lean shifts a little and something bounces against her cheek. She touches it. She feels something cold, metal, and round. An earring, her dark shapely eyebrows pinch, Teyla Emmagan does not wear earrings. Even more confused than before, her hands find her ears… then reach up further to feel her hair—Teyla’s mouth drops agape. My hair! What has happened to my hair?! It is short. Far too short. Teyla hates short hair. She had it short when she was a child, her father’s choice for her and despite her love for him, she had no love for short hair at all. And it is in a cut and style that is entirely unfamiliar to her. She looks around the room and all the faces continuing to ogle her, “What is going on,” she asks.

Mouth hanging open and eyes wide with shock, one of the nearby Operations technicians points to a nearby dangling Ancient monitor. Teyla’s eyes quirk at him. He nods and keeps pointing. Teyla gets to her feet and makes her way over to the indicated screen and finally gets a look at herself in its reflective surface. A sharp gasp escapes her as she staggers back. Her hands covering her mouth. Espresso eyes wide with awe. She cannot form words. Cannot think of any. She looks back at the faces still as shocked as she is looking back at her. She searches their faces till she finds the one she knows she can trust in any situation she feels completely out of her depth in. Her dark eyes lock with John Sheppard’s.

Richard Woolsey looks down at himself as well, “What am I wearing,” he asks. The Administrator looks around the room again, “What are we all wearing?” His eyes zero in on Sheppard without the single bit of humor at the situation that the former attorney has woken up to find himself in, “Colonel, what is going on here?” He demands.

John doesn’t have an answer, but he knows who to blame… and she’s getting to her feet right in front of him. Kenmore. It throws him for a moment that her outfit isn’t gold anymore. The light blue is even more becoming on her than the gold was although. The Lieutenant may look just as dazed and confused as the rest of them, but he’s not going to let her ‘play’ her way out of this one. Sheppard rushes over to her, grabs her violently by the biceps, and jolts her attention away from their new Operations environment to his face. He leans in close to her, bears down on her. Face to face. She’s open-mouthed, taken aback, but Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard sure as hell isn’t.

“What did you do?” He snaps at her. “What’s going on?”

“I, I, I don’t know,” she stammers unusually, “We should still be in the… I have absolutely no idea what’s going on,” she turns her head, her eyes darting to the surprise environment all around her. The Operations Center? We shouldn’t be in here. What… what… The Bridge, we were on the bridge of the Enterprise and then that chick showed up and she did what she was supposed to, but… “We should still be in the hologram room. It should have kept us in the hologram room. I… uh…” Words fail her as her eyes and head dart from direction to direction. Thing to thing. Her mouth keeps moving, trying to form words. Trying to process what’s going on, but she keeps coming up short. Sounds come out of her mouth instead of partially formed words. She pants. Lost, she’s lost.

Sheppard grits his teeth. Damn it, he can’t decide whether or not she’s playing him. Is this more acting? More playing pretend in the magical world of ‘60s sci-fi? Is she being real with him? He genuinely can’t tell. Before he can say anything more to Kenmore.

“Colonel, what the hell is going on,” Woolsey demands of him again. There’s a biting edge to his tone of voice that cuts into Sheppard’s thoughts. A stern quality that’s not going to give the Colonel any leeway for an answer. No smartassing.

Reluctantly Sheppard lets the Lieutenant go and turns to his Expedition Commander, “Rodney and Kenmore—“

“The holodeck?” Radek Zelenka interrupts, astonished.

Everyone looks over at him standing behind where Teyla had come to on the upper deck. His red Starfleet uniform looking extremely odd on him considering that his Atlantis uniform is normally blue for science; ironically, just like in Star Trek.

“You knew about this?” Sheppard can’t believe his ears. He’s never known the Czech scientist to be so irresponsible. Rodney, yes, the man blew up a huge majority of a solar system once, and Kenmore, yes, definitely, he doesn’t know where to begin with how irresponsible in his opinion he’s seen her be on missions. But not Radek, never him. If anything, the man’s the gold standard of behavior around here.

Radek nods, “I cleared for the use of the naquadah generator myself, Colonel.”

“What,” John’s staggered.

Woolsey admits his part in all of this also, “Doctor McKay was very convincing on the matter. Are you saying that that is what this is all about?” When Sheppard’s eyes look over at the Lieutenant yet again, Woolsey catches on. He turns his stern gaze to her as well, “I thought you’re mechanical adjustments were sound?”

“They were,” Zelenka jumps in quickly to defend her, “Let alone had Rodney checked them, but I had as well. Everything was indeed sound.”

“Something got knocked loose. She had to put it back in,” Sheppard tells them with a gesture towards Kenmore.

“It hadn’t fallen out. It was still plugged in, all I had to do was push it in a little harder.”

“And you never thought in a million years that that would have anything to do with—,” John begins at her.

“No, that is too insignificant a circumstance,” Radek tells him while wracking his brain for a plausible answer and a loosened connection is not it, “Even if it were disconnected or loose, the Lieutenant knows exactly where to put it back into and ensuring the connection’s stability would not have caused anything amiss. No, the machinations were sound. This is something else. What has happened here is something considerably more substantial.”

“Rodney, do you—,” Sheppard looks… then looks… then looks around again. He’s not seeing him anywhere. “Where’s Rodney,” he asks. They’ve all woken up in here, why hasn’t McKay? What made him so damn special? Spock, the simulation they’d programmed the room to run had already included Rodney as Spock before they’d gotten knocked out by that woman. Not that he thinks of it, where’s the woman? Other personnel look around and under equipment, some of them had come to somewhat underneath their stations, except for one.

It hits Ursula, “Oh no.”

Sheppard snaps to her, “What?”

Suddenly a woman’s piercing scream comes from somewhere in the city. Everyone looks in the direction that leads out of Ops into the rest of the city. The members of Atlantis’ flagship team and Richard Woolsey race out of the room, down the short flight of stairs, across the landing, up the other short flight of stairs, and into the hallway that leads them into the rest of the city.

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