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Title: Will you pay?
Rating: PG
Characters: John Sheppard, Samantha Carter, Kavanagh, Chuck
Notes: I have no idea if the time lines even match up enough to make this situation possible, but this is what you get when you let someone play with any random prompt they want. Seriously not beta read so there are mistakes and a very good chance that Carter may not seem as awesome as usual like in the show. I’ll say that this is set sometime very early in Season 4, mostly because I am of the mind that by the end of Season 4 Carter would understand. Written for the Amnesty: Week 52 and for Rebel: Week 13.

Summary: That IDC, when used, was a plea for sanctuary, safety, and home. For those in the city when it was used, that IDC was a call to arms.



There was a simple routine in Atlantis – if everything was going well, then something was going to go horribly wrong, and usually when it was least expected. This was a fact of life that the expedition had long ago learned to accept. So when the Stargate splashed to life early one afternoon after his meeting with Colonel Carter, John figured their mini vacation was over.

“It’s the SOS, sir,” Chuck told him just as Kavanagh’s pale and bloody face appeared on their monitors.

The SOS was an IDC that had been left off the records they sent back to Earth when they’d regained contact. Some little voice had whispered to them about the lessons they had learned in Pegasus – lessons learned in blood and grief. Trust what you know, trust what you can see and touch, trust what you can prove, trust only what it yours. And after a year on their own, after the siege and the SGC’s attempt to gain control, Earth was no longer theirs.

“Lower the shield,” John ordered, reaching for the gun in his thigh holster and moving to the balcony overlooking the gate room. That IDC, when used, was a plea for sanctuary, safety, and home. For those in the city when it was used, that IDC was a call to arms – every able bodied person within shouting distance was armed and prepared to fight, to maim, to kill in defence of what was theirs.

Carter frowned as Chuck lowered the shield and un-holstered his gun, laying the weapon next to his terminal. “What’s going on, Doctor?” she asked. John looked back over his shoulder to see her frowning at the monitor and at Chuck’s gun.

Kavanagh’s voice echoed as he gave a rather cryptic report. “The land of the wicked shall burn for a hundred years, purging the world of the sinful and depraved, freeing it from the slavery of godlessness. And the fires will chase those wicked who flee that purifying touch, consuming the souls that turn away from the teachings of Origin, leaving them to torment eternal at the bottom of a watery grave.”

There was a pregnant pause where John’s mind chanted wasting time, wasting time, wasting time just as Rodney had once chanted wasting power, wasting power, wasting power. Everyone was waiting to see what would happen. The men in the gate room had P-90’s pointed at the Stargate, there were scientists and military personnel in the control room with weapons drawn, more people were coming in from the halls, armed for war. John turned his attention back to the gate, raising his gun, and like a ripple effect everyone began to brace themselves to fight.

“Raise the shield, Lieutenant,” Carter commanded in a hushed voice.

John’s head snapped back around to stare at her. Her face was just as ashen as Kavanagh’s was on the screen, and she had a white knuckled grip on the back of Chuck’s chair.

Kavanagh must have heard her over the radio because shouted over the connection, “Colonel, please!” Desperation tinged his voice, and John knew he wasn’t pleading with Carter. Everyone knew he wasn’t begging Carter to reconsider or even for mercy. He wasn’t even begging. Kavanagh was calling in the offerings and sacrifices he had made during his time in Atlantis. He was calling in the one debt John would never refuse to pay.

Chuck’s hand hovered over the keys that would raise the shield. The control tech turned a blank gaze up to John. An empty look that asked will you pay?

It was that moment that Carter seemed to realize that she was not in control of the situation. When the shield didn’t go back up over the Stargate, when Kavanagh didn’t plead or explain further, when everyone was looking at John with that same empty expression, that same question of will you pay?

“Raise the shield, Lieutenant,” Carter demanded, her voice gaining its usual strength. “That’s an order,” she added when Chuck didn’t move.

And between one heartbeat and the next John answered those questioning gazes. He turned an equally blank expression to Carter, the same one reflected in the eyes of everyone in the control room. Asking the same question or her – will you pay?

She couldn’t answer. She didn’t even know the question.

“You’re clear, Kav,” Chuck said into the thickening silence. He made a quick series of commands into the terminal when Carter jerked behind him, preventing her from overriding the shield controls. “Come on home.”

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
esteefee
May. 20th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
wow. chilling and awesome. \o/ perfect set-up and execution.

She couldn’t answer. She didn’t even know the question.

nice.
jade_1459
May. 20th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad it worked considering I had to rip off like three different stories I had sittin in my hard drive to make this one. It was fun to put together :)
(Deleted comment)
jade_1459
May. 21st, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
Thank you :)
patk
May. 21st, 2012 06:53 am (UTC)
Gripping and intense. I love the idea of Atlantis having a secret SOS-IDC they didn't tell Earth about and that Carter, even being in official command of Atlantis, is still an outsider at this point in time which makes everybody looking at John for the decision in this particular situation.

And of course I'm dying to know what happened that Kavanaugh had to send the SOS. *g*
jade_1459
May. 21st, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
I've always held a belief that Atlantis was much darker than it was shown on tv. After everything they faced in just the first season alone with only each other to rely on? There would have to be some trust issues when SGC tried to replace John - just to mention one example. They wouldn't necessarily trust Earth and SGC with everything. </p>

John has this natural charisma to him that draws people in. And I have a head canon that everyone in the first wave would go to hell and back on his whim because John would go through hell and out the other side for any of them.

And now I'm rambling. All of the above is mostly to say that figuring out what happened for Kavanagh to dial Atlantis and use the SOS code is actually something I'm currently writing now. So hopefully we'll both have an answer to that question later this week :)

Thanks for commenting!

patk
May. 22nd, 2012 07:08 am (UTC)
What you said!

That first year - it just had to make the first wave people develop kind of a frontier mindset, a close-knit "we'll survive against all odds" way of thinking and in a certain percentage of them also a certain amount of independent thinking and decision-making and less willingness to follow Earth' lead and orders blindly. And once developed, you can't put that kind of independent thinking back in the box as if it had never existed.

The first wave people who stayed/came back voluntarily despite contact with Earth (and therefore the chance of going home to Earth) being reestablished have to be those who preferred Atlantis over Earth and it's likely that these also are the ones adhering to that intependent streak that makes them willing to override Earth' command if they deem it necessary.

It makes a lot of sense that they would hang on to their kind of emergency-SOS against their new official commander. They know too well what using this SOS means for the people in distress because they know a time when it could have been easily themselves sending it. They still could be the ones sending it one day, in dire need of Atlantis' help even if it goes against Earth-policy. They *have* to honor the SOS-IDC because - yeah, it's kind of a deal, like the title "will you pay" says. A deal they made beween themselves - they go out in the danger, they make sacrifices, they can expect to be "paid back" by Atlantis not letting them down, no matter what. It's kind of an unspoken, inofficial "contract", a promise nobody ever gave but all of them keep.

And of course those would look to John for the decision. Every community/society has their official leaders and very often their inofficial ones as well - the person whose experience, integrity and judgment they trust most and therefore are willing to follow their lead - and in situations like this it can easily happen that people follow their inofficial leader instead of their official one. So, no surprise that they're looking for John to override Carter's decision since they expect him to make the right coiche.

Ah, who's rambling now? *g*

And you're actually writing the background story to this? I'm excited and so very pleased to hear that. :-)





jade_1459
May. 30th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
I cannot begin to describe how much I agree with all this!

And once developed, you can't put that kind of independent thinking back in the box as if it had never existed.

This is very true. And we get to see only little shades and shadows of it in Show. Even during The Siege - with Col. Everett standing right there - John turns to Elizabeth and tells her he thinks he knows where they can get more nukes, and how Elizabeth just knows that he's talking about the Genii and Everett is sort of looking between them like watching a ping-pong match. Or retaking Atlantis after the Ancients return. (I'm currently doing a series rewatch to pick up on all these moments).

They *have* to honor the SOS-IDC because - yeah, it's kind of a deal, like the title "will you pay" says. A deal they made beween themselves - they go out in the danger, they make sacrifices, they can expect to be "paid back" by Atlantis not letting them down, no matter what. It's kind of an unspoken, inofficial "contract", a promise nobody ever gave but all of them keep.

Yes! Exactly this! Because every time they go through the Stargate they are attempting to provide for the city, for the people who live there. And if they couldn't trust the citizens of Atlantis to have their back when they place themselves in danger like that the entire system would fall apart. And honestly, I believe that given a little more time alone in Pegasus like the first year, and the entire first wave would have gone "native" on the SGC and Earth.

They might have accepted Earth's help in defending Atlantis, but it would have been more like negotiating with another advanced civilization instead of the place they came from. And even with regained contact with Earth, I honestly believe that the expedition (at least the remaining first wave and a handfull of the newer personnel) is treating Earth like some overly aggressive/intrusive trading partner. They get food, medicine, ammunition and fresh bodies in exchange for research and technology.

John and Rodney and Radek, and a few others from the first wave would be those unofficial leaders dealing/trading with Earth. They were apart of the original power structure that saw them all through the first year alone. The choices they made kept them all alive, made sure that they didn't just survive but had actually begun to flourish a little. It's a responsibility that I see John shouldering no matter what administrative changes happen (protecting them from mission commanders and Caldwell - though I think Caldwell over four seasons is kind of an adopted Atlantis citizen). John would make sure that the best interest of Atlantis' citizens were served no matter what Earth/IOA/SGC might have to say in the matter. The same goes for Rodney.

And I did write the background! Tomorrow's a Gift is the other side of what's going on with Kav and why he decided to use the SOS-IDC. And I have this strange feeling that this is going to be a series of stories that I'm going to keep writing and exploring now. Partly because I like the subject material, but also because of your comments. It's like feeding my muse with real facts and now I just really want to *fix* some of the things that happened in Show.

Edited: because if i'm going to go through the trouble of giving a link i should actually put the link in the html code so it works and i don't look like an idiot

Edited at 2012-05-30 06:53 pm (UTC)
lilyfarfalla
May. 22nd, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
Oh man, LAYERS upon layers here, and I got serious chills and am seriously worried. LOVE the idea of a secret IDC, but the blank look on everyone's face--totally freaks me out. Ooh, and I also love the "wasting time" and reminding John of Rodney. So good!
jade_1459
May. 30th, 2012 12:33 pm (UTC)
The secret IDC was what started me writing this story (and a few others). And having survived the first year in Atlantis, Kavanagh would have known that the SOS was a last resort, to be used only when you're going to go through the Stargate if the shield is up or down because the situation is just that desperate.
hoktauri
May. 30th, 2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
Oh my gawwww, how very suspenseful and ominous--and what the hell is Origen doing in Pegasus? D:

I love the idea of an SOS IDC, and the hint of a bigger meaning to the title.

And, Kav! *smishes him*
jade_1459
May. 30th, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC)
I kind of really love Kavanagh as a character. And the fact that it would be Kav using the secret IDC to go back to Pegasus after he left (twice!) would make it all the more ominous.

But if you want to know about how Origin & Pegasus are being referred to in the same story, I wrote a companion piece Tomorrow's a Gift for this week's prompt.
hoktauri
May. 30th, 2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
Hee! I just finished reading it!

I love Kavanagh as well. I really wish we'd seen more of him in the later seasons. :-(
emma_in_oz
Jun. 6th, 2012 11:47 am (UTC)
Great fic.
jade_1459
Jun. 8th, 2012 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
saphirablue
Jun. 9th, 2012 10:00 am (UTC)
Wow!

Thank you!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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