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Exsul (7/7)

Title: Exsul (7/7)
Rating: R
Characters: Ancient!John/Rodney, Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson, Cam Mitchell, Hank Landry, Radek Zelenka, Carson Beckett
Warnings: part six of #28 in the Ancient!John 'Verse (see part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6); "The Return, Parts 1 & 2," thru SG1 s10e9 "Company of Thieves" for safety); mentions of genocide.
Summary: In which there is a reunion, a nuclear warhead, and much talking. More or less.
Notes: This one... was painful. Once I got started on each section, it just FLOWED, but going from one to the next proved insanely difficult, and I'm still not happy with HOW the chappie ended, though it's exactly how/where I wanted it to.
1) Do you want me to continue doing the dates at the top? Does that help any? 2) The beginning of this fic was concieved while I was still in SEPS, which may have something to do with the whole depression/betrayal/anger at goverment/militaryetc abundant in this fic. 3) the first set of 0s and 1s is binary fo the latin for "aurora's song" and the second is translated in context. 4) it's taken me forever to post this, as internet is being funky, so.... yeah. formatting may be off.







Exsul
An Ancient!John Story

Pars Septem

10 December, 2006 / 37 Days After The Second Exodus - Stargate Command, Terra, Avalon

It takes eighty-three minutes for Atlantis to dial back, during which time the situation at the SGC spirals into madness, starting with General Landry herding the three of them them into the Briefing Room, handing Sam a schematic of the Lost City, and asking what the best way is to get a nuke past its shields.

Daniel blinks loudly and with extreme prejudice in the silence that follows the pronouncement. "You're going to use nuclear weapons on Atlantis?"

"It's the gateway to Earth," Landry reminds them unnecessarily.

"And we have an iris! You can't just 'nuke' sixty-five million years of history because Colonel Sheppard stole your toys."

"Yes, we do, but thanks to Colonel Carter's Intergalactic Gate Bridge, all they have to do is rewrite the macros and they can come out anywhere in the Milky Way - especially how that they have the man who wrote the God damn things."

"I think," Daniel continues polemically, "you're underestimating the sheer, overwhelming 'apathy' Sheppard has for this galaxy."

Cam snorts. "He cared about it enough to kidnap twenty-three of our guys from out under our noses."

"I don't think that was about Earth. I think it was about Sheppard getting back the people he considers his."

"They aren't his."

"They are to him."

"That doesn't make what he did 'right'."

"You would've done the same thing if it'd been me or Sam."

Scoffing now, "That's different," Cam insists.

"How?" Daniel presses. "How exactly is it different? We're talking about a guy who considers the 'entire population of Earth' to be family. He's the last member of the race that built the Stargates, remember? They do everything big - including, it would seem, defining things. He calls Jack his 'nephew', for goodness sake."

"Are we going to talk about that?" Sam interrupts, because if she knows the men in her life - which, (she sometimes feels) unfortunately, she does, - they'll argue this one point for hours and never actually bring up the most important part of everything the boy, Jinto, had said.

"We 'are' talking about it."

"No," she says patiently. "He said that 'the Lord killed all the False Gods'." Sam doesn't know what part of that sentence is more troubling, but she does know that, "If John was willing to commit genocide on his own race, what do you think will happen if we try to attack Atlantis and fail?"

Cam, with all the puffed up pride of a man trying to make people forget he hadn't been involved, says, "We've gone up against aliens claiming to be gods before."

"But he knows he's not a god. In his mind, he's just a simple solider," Daniel points out. If anyone would know, it's Daniel, because, in his attempts to divine the history and the culture of the Ancients, he's been inadvertently privy to more pieces of John's life than anyone now alive - save for Rodney, who is silent about the matter in a way that only betrays how much their relationship actually matters to him. "But that's not true - the simple part at least. He was in charge of Atlantis' defences for years and planned the Battle of Tirianus almost single-handedly.

"Didn't the Ancients 'lose' that battle?"

"That's not the point. The point is that he's managed to unite an entire galaxy under his banner in very short order. That speaks of both astonishing political ability and extraordinary military skill. Both of which he's willing to use, if Jinto's report of the Massacre of the Ancients is correct, but neither of which has been turned on us - so far."

"So, what? You're not seriously suggesting that we let him get away with it, are you?"

"No, no, that's not what I'm saying at all. What I 'am' saying is that it is a potentially bad idea to start a war we have no guarantee of winning with the guy who is the most powerful being - temporally, spiritually, and practically - in the universe when we don't have to."

"Believe me, Doctor," Landry says, "I want peace as much as you do. But tell me, Doctor Jackson, what defence do we have against a force that can sneak past all our defences undetected, armed with weapons the likes of which we've only dared to dream of - and headed by a man who is, for all practical purposes, a god? A preemptive first-strike is our 'only' chance of success against those odds."

"That's just it! General, he 'could' have attacked us already. He 'could' have launched a hundred thousand drones and taken out every significant military asset we have, decapitated the world's governments, 'and' destroyed the planet's infrastructure before we could even get anybody into the Control Chair down in Antarctica. 'If' he wanted to. But he didn't. He obviously wants peace just as much as we do."

"Guys who want peace don't go around slaughtering their own people," Cam points out.

"But we don't know the full story there."

"We know enough to know that he apparently killed over a hundred people without batting so much as an eye, and that he's at least partially repopulated the city with a force that is utterly loyal to him."

"I'd hardly call a single teenage boy a force."

"Where there's one..."

"Well," Sam interrupts again, beginning to feel incidental to the conversation, "it's a pointless argument anyway. There's no way to get a nuke past their shields."

"Come on, Sam. It can't be any harder than blowing up a sun."

"Let me rephrase: there's no way 'we' can get a nuke past their shields. They've got an iris made up of pure energy and shield powered by two ZPMs. The Wraith couldn't get past either in a hundred years of war. There's nothing that we've got that makes me think we do any better."

"That's not the sort of thing a commander likes to hear, Colonel."

"It's the truth, Sir. Though..."

"You think of something, Sam?"
"No. It's just... Colonel Sheppard is an Ascended being, which makes him pure energy already - a sentient nuclear bomb. Even if we somehow managed
to drop a bomb on him, what guarantee do we have that it would actually kill him? How can we be sure we wouldn't just be making him stronger?"

~ ~ ~

10 December, 2006 / 37 Days After The Second Exodus - Battleship 'Aurora', On Approach To Lantea, Pegasus
"It is elegant device," Radek says, examining the modified goa'uld memory recall device in his hands. "I cannot believe you put this into your brain."

"Not you too. I've got enough of how it was 'reckless' and 'irresponsible' and 'criminally stupid' from your better half - and second-hand from 'his' better half. It is your job as a scientist to ooh and awe this new technology and not consider the practical consequences."

"Is it? I must have missed that memo."

"Shut up. You know you missed me," Rodney reminds him, moving to snatch the device back but not getting far because of the hand on his shoulder.

"'Ano' - although I do not remember why now."

Rodney tries to snatch back the device again.

Carson's hand tightens around his shoulder - also again. "Rodney!" he complains. "Hold still. I am trying to insert a shunt-"

"Docking port," Rodney corrects. He'd decided the first time he removed the device that the whole affair would be a lot less messy if there were a port he could put the device into rather than an half-healed flesh wound. There'd been steeping last time and though he'd not been sure, the unpleasant thought that it might be spinal fluid was enough for him to search for a better alternative than simply pushing the pin through the mastoid skin behind his ear each time. A couple hours' tooling in 'Aurora's' machine shop following what Rory is, apparently, fancifully calling 'The Hegira' had given him the solution: a docking port inserted behind his right ear into which the device could be inserted, but which would remain in place to prevent his brains from leaking through.

Naturally, it had taken four times as long to convince Carson to actually implant it, nevermind the surgery was outpatient at best.

"-delicate contraption into your brain. It is, quite literally, 'brain surgery' and I cannae do it properly if you donae hold still."

"Please, you've been finished for a good half hour. Now you're just being a Nervous Nellie."

"Whereas you're normally a regular Pollyanna with your health," Carson snorts. "Did you eat anything other than coffee at all these last six weeks?"

"Yes, because constant 'brain-splitting headaches' give you such an appetite. I honestly don't know how I'm going to fit into my prom dress anymore."
Rodney rolls his eyes violently - and finds himself actually glad for Carson's hand on his shoulder, as it keeps the world from spinning too badly; maybe everybody really does have a point about DIY brain surgery. "No, of course not. What kind of stupid question is that?"

Carson tisks.

Which, naturally, causes Zelenka to offer, "Evan said he was unconscious when he found him," because the man is a troll. An unabashed troll. Because God forbid he be surrounded by actual, competent colleagues instead of the B-rate comedy club he's got.

"Rodney!"

"What? I had that thing," he points furiously in the direction of the device Radek has by this point placed in a bowl of antiseptic, "dialed up too high. It was a trial run. I didn't know any better. I do now. Problem solved. Stop fretting over me and let me go do something 'useful', like make sure Rory's engines aren't about to explode after going over six million lightyears in six days." It's a justifiable worry too. He sincerely doubts she ever clocked half that many miles in her entire life previous and knows with absolute certainty that no one's done proper maintenance on her since the event Lorne's calling The Second Exodus.

He's fairly certain that's not going to bode well for the IOA. Or the SGC.

"He also said," Radek continues traitorously, "that he had a small pharmacy in his office."

"Seriously? Lorne's been plugged into Rory's navigation system for like all but fifteen minutes for while you've been here and you used that time to gossip about 'me'? Your priories, Radek, are seriously screwed."

"Alas, yes," he sighs. "But someone must be responsible for The Care and Keeping of Rodney McKay while you and the Colonel are apart and, unfortunately, that task falls to me."

Rodney has a distinctly unpleasant sense of where this is going. "If you so much as 'think' an in-law joke, I will put you on water treatment repair for the rest of eternity."

"But Rodney," he says innocently, "is not joke if you 'are'-"

Rodney pulls out of Carson's hold and lets himself fall back against his biobed. "I hate you. I hate you all."

"Now Rodney," Carson says placatingly, patting him on the shoulder, "that's not true."

"Ignore him. We do not need his head swelling any larger, or else you will have to install a shunt in his brain for real."

"That's it: your name, top of the water treatment on-call list, forever."

"What's next? You will send me to my room without dinner?"

"I hate all of you," Rodney repeats, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Just give me my device back so I can make sure we won't die a fiery death before we get to Atlantis." Or die in flames once they get there, if Lorne's assessment of the situation when he left is at all accurate.

"What are you going to do? Call it 'the device' for rest of your life?"

No. Because he plans on letting John name it, because John takes ridiculous amounts of pleasure in naming things. He's not going to subject himself to the pout and inevitable renaming if he doesn't have to, so he'll just let John do it in the first place - though they'll still end up arguing about his choice. Rodney thinks it'll probably take them 'months' to name the child if he and John ever manage to adopt someone who's not already fully grown-

Not prepared to follow that line of thinking any further, he plucks the device out of Radek's hand and slides it into the newly installed docking port behind his right ear without further ado and loses himself instead in the 01000011011000010110111001110100 01101001010000110101010101001101 01000001010101010101001001001111 010100100100000101000101, which is (SELECT ) so very different (FROM interfaces i) from before, where his firewalled laptop was the only data he had access to (WHERE = artificial intelligence). There's still no interface (AND EXISTS SELECT NULL), but there's so much 'more' now for him to take in and he has a sense of the code shifting and changing under his gaze that had been lacking before. Like the ship is trying to talk to him.

01010011010000010100110001010110 01000101010011010100111101010010 01000101010001000101010101000011 0101010101010011 (trans. Eng. "Hel-lo Mor-e-duc-us.") she says, and the rest is a blur he follows as best he can until deceleration maneuvers begin.


~ ~ ~

10 December, 2006 / 37 Days After The Second Exodus - Atlantis, Lantea, Pegasus

The universe is falling apart around him.

He can feel it expanding, a soft suggestion of terror in an otherwise ordinary room which makes the hair on the back of his neck stand on end if he dwells on it for too long. Every second is putting another forty-four point one one seven miles per megaparsec between him and the home galaxy. No Alteran has ever been as far away from the origin of his species as Iohannes is now. None will ever break his record, because he is The Last. There are no more hidden away in stasis on forgotten 'lintres' or tucked away in dusty cities. He is the only one left. The utter end.

Pegasus itself is expanding too, even as he works to bring it closer than ever before. There are two hundred seventy-nine billion stars in the galaxy - seventy billion planets - eleven thousand, six hundred eighty-seven inhabited worlds - all of them flying apart from each other at speeds which make even the best hyperspace generator appear snail-like. Right now the Wraith threat unites them, but Iohannes has no idea what will keep his Confederation together when their enemies are finally defeated. Their common religion might be able to manage it, but he plans to be well and truly mortal again by that point and he sincerely doubts a religion can survive seeing its deity made flesh and blood.

Pegasus expands, even as it rushes towards its brethren in what the Terrans call the Local Group. In just under four billion years it will merge with the Andromeda Galaxy, which itself will collide with Avalon not long after. It promises to be spectacular, but Iohannes doesn't plan on being around to see it. Maybe then the Terrans will take an interest in Pegasus affairs, beyond what Atlantis can do for them. Atlantis is many things, but she's not some rubbish bin for other species to rummage through for forgotten treasures. There are enough abandoned Alteran colonies in Avalon for them to desecrate; let Atlantis be what she always should have been: the crowning jewel of the Alteran empire. A shinning star upon the ocean. A sanctuary and a school and a home.

Lantea is spinning about its star, about its axis. In twenty-three minutes, the sun will creep below the horizon. Danelia will have been dead for six-and-a-half hours then. The message her dead-man's program sent should have arrived at Asuras by that point. He has no idea what was in the message - Iohannes' understanding of programing languages is just about limited to making his mission reports for the SGC look presentable, - but he doubts it was something so kind as an auto-destruct sequence. No, in all likelihood the Asurans are preparing to annihilate the Descendants, just like Danelia always wanted, and he can't use the only weapon he has to stop them because he can't risk 'Lantis on those odds.

It's all threatening to fall apart.

It's all starting to come together.

Teyla's back and she brought a contingent of Athosians with her. They're working on renovating the rooms around the primary atrium in Tower Eleven, on the premise they can be transformed into shops for off-world merchants - a real marketplace, protected from the Wraith. He likes the idea even if the thought of so many unknowns in his city makes him more nervous than he would care to admit. Playing hostess has rarely worked out well for Atlantis in recent times.

Ronon's on Genia for the moment, forming the rubrics of the Argosy. Last Iohannes heard, things were going well, if slowly, as few planets in Pegasus have a tradition of an organized military. But the men and women of this galaxy are competent fighters already; what they lack is discipline and cohesion - and sophisticated weaponry. He has confidence in Ronon and his recruits. Even if their training seems to be going impossibly slowly.

And Rodney's coming home. Lorne and Rory will bring him back, along with the other Expedition members who are true Lanteans at heart, who'd begged him before the Second Exodus to find a way for them to say. People who'd known from the beginning that they just couldn't abandon Atlantis, that they were at least partly responsible for what was happening to the galaxy and that it was their duty to stay and fight. People who saw Atlantis for everything she truly is and loved her for it. They're all coming home.

Eventually.

It's hard to focus, knowing that any day now Rory could establish orbit around the planet and bring his 'amator' home. It's a nagging uncertainty, a worried tooth, and, if Iohannes allows himself to dwell on it, it could easily subsume all other cares. Logically, he knows that it was his idea to send Rodney away. Logically, he understands that he will return just as soon as he's physically able and not a second later. But...

But it's been difficult since his Ascension to find anything that will hold his attention for long. Books and movies and other Terran entertainments can manage it for a while, but novelty is key and his collection is terribly finite. Any idea that can capture his attention is immediately latched onto, for good or ill, and while he 'knows' that Rodney is coming home, there's still the worry he can't let go of: that Rodney 'won't' come home, that things will have changed between them already, that things will never be the same again. It's only been thirty-seven days, but even that can be a lifetime...

Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. The universe is always changing, growing, spinning, expanding. The planets are turning, the stars are burning, and one day, far in the future, it will all be too much and it all will die a cold, quiet death. But until that day, change is inevitable, even for that which once seemed invincible.

But then 'Aurora' arrives. And when she lands and the gangplank is lowered, Rodney is the first one out, and there's no mistaking the joyous expression on his face, or the way his smile widens still further when Iohannes says, "Welcome home, buddy."

  • 8 comments
I love this. The ending seems foreboding, but I've come to expect that from you and your evil ways :P I love the simple reunion you wrote in at the end - it seems very fitting. I'm very interested in John's reaction when he learns about how close Rodney came to falling apart (and why, and what he did to fix it aka the device). Will he hate it? How will it react to Atlantis? It'll be interesting to find out. I do love Carson and Radek fretting over Rodney, even if he doesn't appreciate it :P Then again, Rodney's my favorite, so I like it when people are obviously concerned for him~

This is a wonderful installment :D
what? no worry about nukes? I've obviously done my job wrong. ;)

But I'm glad you liked it bb. as you know, this one was HARD. Rodney's bit was my fav to write though. as for the rest... well, a true reunion!fic is on it's way. eventually.
Perhaps that's just overconfidence on my paret in John, Rodney, and Atlantis.

I look forward to what you post next ♥
Thank you for another chapter. Like it very much.

No more words available, at the moment - have many emotions and one of them 'sleepy' since it's after midnight.
Eee, you quoted my favourite poem ever! And how appropriate it is, too. Oh, Iohannes, you always worry about the things you shouldn't worry about to distract yourself from the things you should worry about.
So very true. But you've got to remember, everybody in the universe, but maybe Cam Mitchell and Danelia, believe John is constitutionally incapable of going evil. He's starting to believe it. So he must find other things to worry about instead.
  • 8 comments