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Week 16: In Memoria...

Title: In Memoria…
Author: stella_pegasi
Genre(s): Gen, Friendship
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Mention of canon death
Word count: 1,775
Disclaimer: I do not own them, I would have treated them better.
Summary: 9-11 brings a day of remembering for the expedition.
Prompt: Week 16: memory


By stella_pegasi

John Sheppard was most unhappy.

A month before, Richard Woolsey's bureaucratic streak had resurfaced and decided that the military commander of Atlantis, and the security advisor to the Pegasus Coalition, needed a real office. Without telling Sheppard, he requisitioned office furniture, selected a suitable space in the main tower, and when the Daedalus arrived, Woolsey had everything installed. Then he informed Sheppard of his new headquarters.

The new military commander's office was in the main tower, two floors below the infirmary and one floor above Rodney's private lab. It was large, with several windows, and he hated it. He liked the small storage closet he had settled in so many years ago. There he had room for a small desk and chair, one guest chair, and a small file cabinet, and best of all it was extremely difficult to find. That kept him from being bombarded by trivial interruptions. Now, he was too accessible, too exposed.

Sheppard sat at the large desk, his laptop appearing minuscule on the vast surface. There were few adornments in the office. He'd hung the dartboard from the office he had at the SGC during his brief stint there, and his scale model airplanes were sitting on the desk next to the silver F-302 model Carter had given him. The bookshelves behind him were bare except for two items he had dug out of storage himself. When Elizabeth Weir's personal items had been shipped to Earth, the Pegasus artifacts she had accumulated had not been sent with them. It would be hard to explain their origins should the artifacts fall into the wrong hands. He had found the statue of all the little funny people and the Athosian box he had given Elizabeth for her birthday so many years ago and placed them on the shelves. Teyla had insisted on plants, which botany had delivered yesterday. It looked like an office, and he hated it.

He was contemplating sneaking his laptop back to his old office and not telling anyone when there was a knock on his door. He looked up to see Sergeant Dusty Mehra standing in the doorway. The normally cocky, 'don't mess with me' attitude on her face was absent; the sergeant looked somber and upset. In the brief second before he invited her in, he wondered how quickly he could get to the windows, open them, and jump. A pissed-off Sergeant Mehra he could deal with, a weepy one, not so much.

"Sergeant, come in, have a seat."

"Colonel, I'm sorry to bother you sir, but I have a request." The Dusty Mehra in front of him seemed nervous and Sheppard grew concerned.

"What kind of request?"

"Sir, this Sunday is the tenth anniversary of 9-11, and I wondered if you would mind if we had a small memorial."

Sheppard took a deep breath, "Uh…no, to tell you the truth, there's been so much going on here I had lost tract of time; ten years…hard to believe. What did you have in mind, sergeant?"

"I don't know sir, nothing elaborate, just a chance for people to remember."

Sheppard could see pain in her dark eyes, where he was used to seeing determination and confidence. He asked, quietly, "Who did you lose?"

She gave him a small, shaky smile, "My oldest brother, Dominic; he was with the NYFD. He'd only been on the fire department for three years and he loved it, was a Marine for two tours, then came home to be a firefighter, all he ever wanted to be. He'd already saved three people, when he went back in the second tower; he never came out." Her voice broke slightly then she continued, "I know my parents, my brother Marcus, and my sister Charlene are observing this anniversary. I think we should, too."

Sheppard chewed on his lower lip for a second, then answered her. "I agree with you; we should do something to honor the people who died that day, the people who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, all the first responders. Let me talk to Woolsey, and we'll see what we can set up."

She stood up, "Thank you, sir. I wasn't certain if I should come to you or to Major Lorne, but I decided…well, I'm glad you were available, colonel."

"Me too, sergeant; I'll let you know what we come up with."

Mehra thanked him again; after she left, he tapped his COM, time to talk to Woolsey.


The 9-11 memorial began on Saturday night when the last full dinner service concluded, just after 2000 hours. The mess hall was being used as the main remembrance area, with video feeds to the other common areas on the base. A microphone was placed on a small portable stage for anyone who wished to make a verbal tribute.

Sheppard, Rodney and Ronon arrived for a late dinner, joined later by Teyla, Kanaan, and Torren. As the time arrived for the memorial to begin, Sheppard was surprised at the number of people who were crowding into the mess. He and Lorne had arranged for a small ceremony, which Woolsey presided over. For the military memorial, Sergeant Mehra, along with Corporals Brenner and Rodriguez, and Airman Chambers, placed a Fallen Soldier Cross on one corner of the small stage, a pair of boots, helmet and P-90, the traditional ritual honoring a fallen soldier. On the other corner, two of the civilian scientists, Dr. Miko Kusinagi and Dr. Jasper Peyton placed a wreath of white flowers to honor the civilian dead.

On a large video screen suspended behind the stage, slides of the events of 9-11 and from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts flashed by as one after another, Marine, airman, scientist, began to speak.

First, a Marine who had lost a buddy in Iraq, then an airman whose sister died in World Trade Center 1, then a scientist who was teaching at George Washington University, who wanted to honor all the victims. It went on and on…Major Lorne talked about a colonel, who was an early mentor he lost in the Pentagon attack. Then a biologist whose sister died on Flight 93, another scientist who was teaching at Cornell and lost a student who worked at the Windows of the World restaurant.

Sheppard and his team sat quietly as the men and women of Atlantis shared their memories of those they had known or those they didn't know but mourned, nonetheless.

Teyla asked quietly, "John, you have told us about this day, but I did not realize how many people were affected."

"Yeah, well, it was a day that caught up the entire planet. I was involved in covert ops at the time but was back at Hurlburt on 9-11. I was supposed to be on thirty-days leave, but I made it two days before I was called back to active duty. I watched the events from my quarters on the base, then was called back around noon. A lot of good people, some good friends, were lost in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed 9-11."

"I suppose it doesn't take the Wraith to make a formidable enemy," Teyla said.

"No, it doesn't." Sheppard turned to Rodney, "You never said where you were at the time."

"I'd just been hired by the Air Force to study the stargate from Area 51. I was in my lab when one of my techs came in crying, told me what happened. I have to admit, not much distracted me at the time, but…"

"Nothing much distracts you now, McKay," Sheppard taunted.

"Yeah, well, this distracted me; we didn't get much done that day."

Sheppard noticed that Mehra was about to speak, and motioned for his team to be quiet. The young sergeant spoke for only a few moments, but she spoke eloquently about her brother. As the night passed, the line thinned but didn't stop. Teyla and Kanaan left to put Torren to bed; Rodney fell asleep, and Sheppard forced him to go to his quarters. Sheppard and Ronon stayed.

As the sun rose, the smell of coffee seemed to energize the Atlantis personnel, most grabbed breakfast early and settled in one of the common areas to watch the replay of the televised events. Dr. Biro obtained a copy of the Today Show's coverage of the day's events from her sister, a producer at one of the cable news channels. They began showing the film at 0700 hours, and by 0846 hours, all eyes on Atlantis were focused on the coverage. They watched as the second plane hit the south World Trade Center tower, then as the Pentagon was struck; then in horror as the twin towers collapsed.

At 1130 hours, Lorne announced that at noon, a tribute to the fallen soldiers from all nations was being held, and directed the Atlantis personnel to go outside for the presentation.

Teyla asked, "Colonel, what is planned to honor your military?"

He shrugged, "I honestly don't know. Lorne asked me if he could surprise everyone, including me, with a tribute, and I said yes. I trust him, so there were no questions. However, since it's outside, I have a feeling I know what he's planning on doing."

Sheppard and his team took a transporter to the southwest pier and waited. At exactly 1200 hours, four jumpers flying in formation emerged from the main tower. They flew over the city twice before one of the jumpers peeled away in the missing man formation.

It was an awesome sight, leaving the Atlantis personnel speechless first, then from all over the city they could hear cheering. Ronon spoke, "That was….that was cool."

Rodney said quietly as they headed back toward the transporter, "A fitting end to the memorial."

Somewhere along the way, Sheppard had been given the daily report, so before he headed for his quarters to crash, he stopped by his office to drop off the file. He was leaving when Mehra caught up with him.

"Colonel, sir," she ran up, "I, uh, I just…thank you, sir. This was good for everyone, and I appreciate you listening to my request. I served under some commanders who weren't as accessible, sir. It's nice to know that you are here for us when we need to talk to you."

"No problem, sergeant, the memorial was a great idea; now go get some rest."

As he watched Mehra walk away, Sheppard thought how he had learned something about one of his command that he might have not known if she had never found his office. He glanced back inside before the door closed. Maybe he didn't hate this new office after all.

The end…

I know all of us have memories of 9-11; many may have been impacted directly by this tragedy. My father worked in World Trade Center 2, but left prior to 9-11 to work elsewhere. I can't think about that day without realizing he could have been in that building. This simple story is to honor all those who died on 9-11 and after, and to those who attempted to save them all.

(Firefighter picture by Matthew McDermott Corbis Sygma)


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
I'm watching beautiful tributes to those who died today on TV and your story is a beautiful written tribute to them.

We all have memories of that day, that sad tragic day. Thanks for writing your idea of the Atlantis peoples memories and their way of remembering.
Sep. 11th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks....I wanted to write something about this day and the prompt gave me that opportunity. It was and still is a sad and tragic memory.

Thank you again.

Edited at 2011-09-11 01:53 pm (UTC)
Sep. 11th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
I liked this. Everything we do to honor the fallen feels, in a way, too small, but in the end it's all we have. Nothing can bring back a life, but even the tiniest gesture can remind us of how priceless this life really is. I'm glad you had Sheppard realize that being accessible doesn't have to mean being vulnurable.

Thank you for this.
Sep. 11th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I agree with you about how honoring often feels inadequate...in fact, as I was proofing this story, I wondered if I given enough honor, but there is only so much we can do and so many words that we can say.

The focus of this story is actually Sheppard's realization that being accessible is not necessarily a bad thing. Thanks for commenting on that.

Glad you like it.
Sep. 11th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
A touching tribute on this day. Thank you.
Sep. 11th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you, a sad day for all of us.

You are most welcome.
Sep. 11th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
Wonderful remembrance piece :) Your choice of characters and rituals was awesome! Thanks for sharing it :)
Sep. 11th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed...after all of specials on 9-11 this week, the prompt seemed to be fitting.

Thank you very much!!
Sep. 11th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you for writing. It's a good story. We Remember. P.S. Awesome art, too.
Sep. 11th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you...I'm happy you ennjoyed this. I think we are all going to remember this day for a very long time. Appreciate your comment about the story banner. The firefighter is an image I remembered from that day, the picture represents the day to me.

Thanks again!

Cute doggie, btw!!!
Sep. 12th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
I have never been able to watch when they replay footage of the planes as they hit, or the towers as they fall. And although no one that I know of was there, it is still too incredibley painful to watch. But I can read something like this. that encompasses the pain in a way I can deal with. So thank you
Sep. 12th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
"I have never been able to watch when they replay footage of the planes as they hit, or the towers as they fall...."

That is exactly how I feel also...
I suppose some would write it off as
'just not interested', but they cannot know because they are not you or me are they?
Sep. 13th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, you are probably right, there are some who are not interested. I don't want to see this country wallow in those images but we should never forget. Those who feel compassion for their fellow human beings, won't.
Sep. 13th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
While I see merit in the acknowledgement, I do not see any in
hyping it for days, creating a media circus at its expense.
It was why I posted the entry in my journal questioning the need of
starting in August.
Sep. 13th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
I can understand not wanting to watch. I did watch the replay this weekend and I still felt the pain. The shock wasn't there but it was very difficult to watch the towers first hit and then fall. Now that the memorial is open, I hope that the families can finally find some peace.

I'm pleased that you could find some solice in this.

Thank you.
Sep. 12th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
So much loss.........for so many
This was a very poignant and lovely tribute
Thank you.

I still remember the empty slots when I was at Miramar, each time they came home from deployment
My best friend said it was something she would not miss when she got her orders out of aviation.
Sep. 13th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
You are very welcome,and thenk you for your comment. I can only imagine how the loss of a fellow service member resonates within the ranks. I know that even today, when my Dad talks about his buddy's from WWII that didn't come home, there is pain.

Let us not forget any of them.
Sep. 13th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
Let us not forget any of them.

It is one reason why your story was so poignant.
To not only remember those who died in three locations on 9/11 but those who have died since in wars resulting from it.........
I also think of the many first responders who have already died, and others who are seriously ill now from sucking in the funes of it all.
All very sad.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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