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Exstinctor (2/2)

Title: Exstinctor (2/2)
Rating: PG-15
Characters: Ancient!John/Rodney McKay, Evan Lorne/Radek Zelenka, Colonel Ellis, sentient!Atlantis
Warnings:  part 2 of #35 in the Ancient!John 'Verse (part 1); everything thru "Lifeline," and considers everything thru The Ark of Truth in SG-1 to have happened (i.e., everything but Continuum, which I consider to be post-SGA S4).
Summary: The worst are full of passionate intensity.
Notes: I'm sorry for how long this took, but a combination of RL and my sudden, almost fanatic interest in writing the Sights Unseen drabbles have delayed the writing of this (I admit I'm somewhat addicted to the feedback, however minor, I've been getting from SU; it' is heady). Believe it or not, I'd originally intended for this to be MUCH angst-y-et than it ended up being, but it turns out I couldn't do that to the boys. Admittedly, I'm a little worried I go too OoC here, but... we shall see.
Radek's Czech is: "
Why do I even bother? You are an ungrateful moron," and, "I liked you better before you went Nietzschen übermensch," respectfully. John's Latin/Alteran is, "fuck me sideways."
Also, as a warning, I spent a lot of the last 2 pages saying, "I am evil," as I wrote them.




Exstinctor

An Ancient!John Story


29 June, 2007 / XXX Qui. a.f.c. I – Atlantis, Lantea, Pegasus

"Alright," John repeats, as if steeling himself, and just when it looks like he's about to add something to that, he walks straight out of the room.

Rodney expects him to disappear – to hide somewhere deep in Atlantis' labyrinthine halls that only he knows exists anymore – but, to his surprise, he only has to chase him as far as the Control Room, where he's now giving orders to Jinto and his whole host of minions - younger children from various worlds, sons and daughters of some of the merchants who keep semi-permanent residence in Tower 11 these days and a handful of orphans no one but John is quite sure how they acquired.

"Go down to the mess hall," he orders one of them, a girl with dark skin and untamed hair that can't be a day over than eleven. "Lock up the alcohol and start rotating people through the infirmary – tell Doctor Beckett I want as many people on saline dips as he has IV lines. I want everyone capable of manning a linter sober enough to do so before dawn."

The girl scampers to her (bare) feet and goes off at run to do John's bidding with no more than a toothy smile and a clumsy bow.

He turns to another – a boy this time, scarcely older, with pale, limp hair and a smattering of freckles across his face. He wears an old Expedition jacket – military black – and a blood red tunic underneath. "Wake up all of our people – the Émigrés only, none of the Expedition. Tell them I want them at their posts ten minutes ago. If anyone else asks you what's going on, tell them it's only a drill."

"Yes, Lord Iohannes," the boy says before running off.

John turns to a third, this one only eight or nine, saying only, "Bring me Doctor Kavanagh," before turning his attention back to Jinto, who's at the post Chuck mans during the day. "Raise the shield."

"John, what are you doing?"

"What I should have done ages ago."

"Oh, really! And what's that?" Rodney asks, standing on the other side of Jinto's station. He doesn't know what to do, what to say to make this right. All Rodney knows is that he cannot let John turn himself into the villain of his own story. A hair's breath may be all that separates John from becoming the conqueror of the galaxy he sought to liberate, but he can still be saved. Rodney has to believe that. Even if the John he gets back is not the one he's been slowly losing ever since his Ascension, he has to try. "Because it looks to me like you're about to start a war with Earth."

John rolls his eyes. "I'm removing the Second Expedition from the city. If Terra isn't going to trust me after I've done nothing but help them time after time after time, they can just go back to where they came from."

"John, I love you more than life itself, but I don't even trust you right now!"

For a moment, John looks stricken, but it passes quickly, the most unreadable of expressions taking its place. As it does, he turns to Jinto and says, "Open a channel to Apollo."

"They're already hailing us, milord."

"Good. Put them on."

It takes a moment, but eventually Colonel Ellis' image appears on one of the display screens, clear at the centre and fading around the edges, giving way to lines of Ancient script running across the screen. One displays the exact position and speed of Apollo in orbit, another the strength of her comm signal; the third counts the number of people aboard and the number of railguns pointed their way. It's an impressive number, but Rodney knows it would take a hundred 304sto make a dent in Atlantis' shield, even with their Asgard upgrades.

"Atlantis," Ellis asks, voice sharp with surprise, "Why have you raised shields?"

"Change of plans, Colonel. You're going to make ready to take aboard all the equipment the Second Expedition brought with them that I don't feel like keeping. I'm expelling the Second Expedition from the city."

"We have a contract-"

"And I'm breaking it."

"Colonel Sheppard, you cannot simply expect us to return to Earth with our tails tucked between our legs. So long as you are masquerading as a god, we will not tolerate your-"

John let's slip a bark of laughter. It's an ugly, harsh sound – the sound of a man on his way to the gallows, fully aware that he has no other options and so choosing to make it seem as if it were his choice all along. It's cocky and courageous, fearless and foolhardy, and one hundred percent the John Sheppard Rodney fell in love with. "You just don't get it, do you? You think that just because you don't like something means you have the right to destroy it – that because you succeeded against the goa'uld and the Haeretici where all else failed that you have the right to play Big Brother to the universe.

"But tell me, Colonel, who elected you? Which planets chose your race to be their policemen or their attack dogs? You use words like tolerate when the truth is that you're the ones being tolerated and I'm the only one around actually bothering to speak for the people.

"I never asked to be a god. All I've ever wanted to do was bring peace to this galaxy and right the thousands of wrongs my people did to their ancestors by abandoning them to the Wraith. They're the ones that named me god. They're the ones that chose this path – and look at all we've already accomplished: the Asurans have been wiped clean off the map and soon the Wraith will follow. If you've a problem with any of my decisions, take it up with them. They're the ones that made me."

"You're not a god, John," Colonel Ellis says.

"There are a billion people in this galaxy alone who say otherwise."

"John," Rodney interrupts before Ellis can offer a response that could only escalate things further, "just be reasonable about this. You don't have to like Earth, you can expel the Second Expedition, but don't start a war."

"There won't be a war," he says reasonably. "If they want a fight, we'll destroy them as easily as we destroyed Asuras."

"God damn it, John! My sister is on Earth!"

Shrugging, "We can beam her off."

"And what about all the other billions of people on the planet who have absolutely no idea that Atlantis still exists? You going to blow them up too?"

"If I have to."

"That's not you, John!"

"Why do you keep saying that?" It's phrased as a question but comes out more of an accusation, as if Rodney is someone the one at fault here, not he. "This is me, Rodney. This is who I am. This is what I do."

"No, no it's not. You just need to remember that."

"I remember everything."

"Then remember what you promised me," he begs, for once not caring about who can overhear, "I save you, you save me, no Ascended powers needed."

John shakes his head. "What I remember is that I watched you die. If I hadn't done what I did, you'd still be dead."

The image of a hallway, wide enough for three to walk abreast and stretching off into eternity, slips into Rodney's mind apropos of nothing. He can see himself screaming at John and John, bloodstained and careworn, pleading with him in return, but he can't make out the words.

Rodney stumbles backwards. "What did you do, John?" he asks, his words so distant he might not have said them at all – or, maybe, might not have said them now.

John moves towards him, concern outstripping his momentary anger, but they are not alone. It's Major Lorne who blocks his path, perhaps thinking in some strange way that he's protecting Rodney, but it's Atlantis that interrupts, all but shouting into the silence that has descended over the room-

/A linter has just dropped out of hyperspace. It is entering geosynchronous orbit above us./

"I.F.F.?" John asks, which must make no sense to anyone else watching because he doesn't even glance up at the ceiling. He just continues to stare unflinchingly at some spot just over Rodney's shoulder, as if doing so will fill him in on just why Rodney's so pissed with him – as if Rodney hasn't been trying to do exactly that for God only knows how many minutes now.

/No. Nor does it match the signatures of any linter we know./

"Futui in obliquum," John spits, turning back towards the still open comm link. "Apollo, d'you have a visual?"

"A visual on what?"

John's hand slams down on the console in front of him. The lights flare above him, turning John into a blinding bright spot in the centre of the Control Room. "Keep up," he snaps, harsh and not a little cruel. "I get that you're only Descendants, that ten years ago you'd never even left your solar system, but even you can pick up the contact that just appeared in orbit above Atlantis. So, again I ask, can you see it or not?"

Ellis, momentarily perturbed, turns to his technicians and confirms, yes, a something has just appeared in orbit above them. While he manoeuvres Apollo into visual range, Rodney watches Evan approach John slowly. Cautiously placing his hand on John's shoulder, "Icarus," he broaches, "you might want to tone it down a little."

"Why should I when they're being more incompetent than usual?"

"Because," Evan says, a little sharply himself, "you're sounding like Cousin Helia right now."

John sucks in a sharp breath at that, but before he can respond, Ellis says, "OK, I've got a visual. Looks like a satellite of some sort. No… Correction: it's a satellite, but in the middle there's a... Stargate."


Atlantis screams when the beam hits her shields.


Rodney rubs his temples tiredly. He can feel the weight of memories pressing in on him, so close to the surface but too far away to grasp as anything more than the slightest shimmers of suggestion.

"I am sorry."

"What for?" Rodney snorts, sparing Radek only the shortest of looks, preferring to stare tiredly at the sensor readings crawling damningly across his laptop than have to deal with people anymore today. "It's not your fault my husband's gone batshit crazy or that our brilliant plan to destroy the Replicators is probably going to end is us being vaporized by the proverbial death ray. At least, I hope not. If it is, we're in worse trouble than I thought."

Radek sighs dramatically. "You make it very hard to feel sorry for you."

"Good. I don't need anyone feeling sorry for me, particularly you."

"Proč ještě obtěžovat? Jste nevděčný blbec. I had important position at university after Exodus. People respected my work. There was even talk of a Bohr Medal. But, no, I chose to come back here and help you, for all the good it's done me."

"Oh, please. We both know that you've done your best work under me."

"Under you? I'm my own department head, you know."

"Please, we both know that department is a joke."

A bottle of aspirin slams down rather forcibly next to him. Following its trajectory, he finds John has slunk into the room while they're arguing and is now standing close behind him – farther than is his wont, but still close enough to grab Rodney shoulder and pull him under cover if necessary, because he learned long ago that John shows affection through actions, not words, and that if he bothers to pay any attention to half the things John says, he'll give himself a headache trying to make sense of it all.

So John is standing close, but not close enough to make Rodney uncomfortable. His posture is unthreatening, his sidearm hidden beneath his robes but still easily accessible, and his hair makes it look like he just rolled out of bed – in short, John's made an effort to appear as innoxious as possible. Which means John's made an Effort. Which means this Matters, which is gratifying but about five hours too late.

Don't get him wrong, Rodney still loves him, it's just going to take a long while and a good hard look in The Ark of Truth for him to start liking John again.

Provided, of course, they actually survive all this and can actually get John to look into the Ark, because the way things are going now, there are better odds that Jeannie will realize her life of vegetarianism is endangering the health and wellbeing of her daughter and repent of her crimes against nature.

"I take it you've come up with a plan to save the city and neglected to mention it? 'Cause it sounds to me like you guys are arguing about who works for who, which has to be wrong."

"Měl jsem tě rád víc," Radek says sourly, "než jsi šel Nietzschen übermensch."

"I can understand what you're saying, y'know."

"Just testing your translation matrix," he counters with a kind of militant cheerfulness that Rodney wasn't aware Radek had in him. He's kind of impressed. "We wouldn't want it to go out on us on top of everything else."

John's eyes narrow but he doesn't push the subject. "Victoria and Thetis got off safely with all of the non-essential personnel. Apollo is still in orbit with most of the Second Expedition's people and Vindicta and Aurora are in port in case we need a quick getaway, so we're ready for whatever city-saving plan you've come up with."

"There is no plan," Rodney tells him. "I'd say submerge the city, but since you insist that would be pointless-"

"The Asurans would know that would be the first step we'd take under an attack of this kind. They would have taken it into account."

"Yes, yes, so you say, but the fact remains that there is nowhere on the face of this planet that that thing cannot kill us."

"Alright," John says terrifyingly, clapping his hands together. "Let's go somewhere else then."

"Wait, what?"

"Atlantis is an urbs-navis. We can just fly her out of here. Pick another planet and," he makes a motion with his hand that he seems to think means fly, "go there."

"That… could actually work."

"Gee, thanks for the ringing endorsement there, buddy."

"Hey," Rodney says, turning around enough to give John a proper glare, "just 'cause we're in the middle of a Grade-A genuine crisis doesn't mean I've forgiven you for messing around with my memories. As soon as we've dealt with all of this, you and I are going to have a talk – one that better end with me getting my memories back, because, let me tell you, separate vacations are still not out of the question. But," he adds with a sigh, "we just don't have that kind of power. Not when we need every scrap of it we have to keep the shields at max."

"So use me."

"What?"

"I'm a g- an Ascended being," he corrects quickly, as if sensing how well the G-word would go over right about now. "That means I'm essentially an Alteran-shaped ball of electromagnetic energy – a walking, talking battery. So plug me in. I should be able to make up the difference you need."

"John-"

"Look, it's the only way we're getting out of this alive, so I don't see what choice-"

"It will kill you! And if you think for one instant I'm going to stand here and watch you pull this, this martyr crap on me one more time, it's not going to happen. I don't care how angry you think I am, I'm not going to let you do this!"

"What choice do we have?"

"I don't know!" Rodney exclaims. "We just need to find a way to take the burden off the shields for a minute, or calibrate one of the sensors on Aurora or Vindicta to track down the weapon at its source and bomb the hell out of it some more, or something. Something that isn't you sacrificing yourself on the altar of your conscious because you've somehow gotten it into your head that the only way you're worth anything is if you give your life for The Cause, whatever The Cause du jour happens. You've given up one life for this city already. You're not allowed to do it again."

"Rodney," he says softly, "I watched you die-"

"Then you know how awful it is. So don't you dare put me through that again."

"I gave up everything to make you alive again."

"What does that even mean?"

"You know."

"No I don't. You took the memory from me, remember?"

But it's too late, because next thing knows John's shaking his head, as if he knows everything Rodney is going to say – has ever said – will ever say – before saying with quiet resignation, "It's the only way."

And then, in a blink, he's gone.


They don't even make it out of the room before the engines start up, shaking so violently they're thrown to the ground as they rush for the nearest transporter.


Atlantis, {?}, Pegasus

The transporters are offline, though. Almost all the secondary systems are offline to conserve energy. By the time they make it to the Chair Room, the damage is already done: Atlantis is in hyperspace, en route to god alone knows where, and the bright, pure light that surrounds John as he pilots the city is fading fast – so fast that by the time they touch down on the ocean of some unknown planet, nothing is left of him but a shell and a shadow. But even those crumble as he tumbles from his seat and turn to dust before his body hits the floor.

  • 18 comments
OH MY GOD THAT ENDING

*hyperventilates*

I don't like how John seems to genuinely believe he's a god now, but I do agree that Earth is being annoying. I've read meta and such where people discuss how the SGC tends to have a "We know best" policy, like our ways are the best ways. Interesting stuff~
Yeah.... I probably should have warned for that ending.

I've never read that meta, but I agree with it. Earth, particularly after "Threads," gets this very "Mother knows best" tone for the rest of the episodes it shows up in. Then again, the other government agencies have been that way from the beginning, with Kinsey. Either way, they need to be called out on it and John does have a point. Just, he's not a god, no matter what everyone else thinks. He's in for a hard dose of reality. Preferably in the next installment.
:D

...Actually, I'm surprised to say it will be mostly brighter. Thinking over S4, it will have it's dark spots, but it will get progressively brighter, mostly, and S5 may be downright cheery.
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not.

I'm going to go with you being serious XD
Well, there's the "Doppleganger" to consider, and then an episode from S3 that I'm sticking here that are kind of on the darker side, but those are towards the beginning of the season. And then it slowly works it's way towards cheerfulness, with the exception of "Miller's Crossing." The "Outcast" rewrite promises to be almost comedic.

As for S5, there's "The Shrine" to consider, but that's the most angst I can think of for what I've planned, but event that shouldn't be as bad as "Ascensiones" was, so... yeah.
I think you broke my brain because I cant think of what to say except how could he but then another part says how could he not and I'm all over the place with the feels!
  • 18 comments