Words: 1,579 (of 16,683)
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney, Ronon, Teyla, Thor, Elizabeth; John/Rodney
Warnings/Spoliers: part 2 of #14 in the Ancient!John 'verse (see part 1). General spoilers for "Aurora"
Disclaimer: All characters, situations, quotes et al are properties of their respective owners and I am merely using them under Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine, without intents to infringe upon or defame anyone's legal rights.
Summary: In which Iohannes' mother makes an appearance of sorts.
Notes: I'm not entirely happy with this, but it's the best I've been able to come up with.
Erytheia was one of the Hesperides - Atlas' daughters in Roman myth, and nymphs of the evening. Pallantis means children of Pallas; this can either be the daughter of Triton, who was a sea god, or the Titon of the same name, who was the father of the goddess Aurora - and, additionally, sounds vaugely like Atlantis, so I decided it was perfect for the usage here. Sagremor was a knight of the round table. Avunculus Magnus is your mother's father's brother, or maternal great-uncle.
And, again, still not happy with this, but... yeah.
An Ancient!John Story
"Your mother's ship?" Elizabeta repeats, tone somewhere between faintly alarmed and wearily contemplative. It's a very Alteran sort of tone, the likes of which Iohannes must have heard from Melia Mael or Ganos Lal no less than a hundred thousand times. He's heard it from her at least half as many and already he's come to associate it more with her than long-Ascended decuriae.
Right now, though, it's hard not to flinch because she sounds exactly like Melia and that's kind of the last thing he needs right now. It's harder still to say, "Yeah. She was a legata in the Lantean Guard. Didn't I mention it?" in what must pass as a calm and collected voice, as no one calls him on it.
"John," Rodney says, his own tone treading the line between thinly-veiled condescension and genuine concern, "you never talk about your mother."
"I'm sure I have," he frowns because, well, he's sure he has. Once. At some point. Probably.
"I think the grand total of your talking about her sums up to mentioning her name – once – and telling us that she was dead – maybe twice."
Ah. "She was blonde," he offers somewhat hopefully, as if this additional piece of information might get him to drop the subject.
It doesn't work. Of course. "Blonde. Yes, 'cause that helps us so much right now."
"I was three when she died," he shrugs, the movement feeling nowhere near as casual as it should've, "That pretty much covers the things I actually know about her."
"Blonde, dead and the XO of the Aurora?"
Iohannes arches an eyebrow at him and adds, somewhat musingly, "She was the Chief Engineer of the Erytheia before it was destroyed in the Battle of Sagremor."
"And of course you only chose to follow in her footsteps as far as the legata part was concerned."
Rolling his eyes this time, "It's tribunus. I never actually reached the rank of legatus."
"And somehow I find that the most troubling thing you've said all morning."
"As fascinating as this is, gentlemen," Elizabeta interrupts, "there is still the small matter of what we're going to do about the Aurora to be decided on."
They both turn and look at her like she's lost her mind. The boons an Alteran linter would be to their war with the Wraith are innumerable enough to be obvious even to someone as non-military minded as Elizabeta. Hell, even an inoperable and irreparable linter would be a goldmine for them, if only for the parts they could salvage for Atlantis and the Terrans' own lintres.
After a moment Rodney manages to say, "Isn't it obvious? We fly out there and see if we can salvage it."
"I meant specifics," she says with a smile that crinkles her eyes. "You mentioned earlier that it was out of jumper range. Do you think we have time to wait for the Daedalus to get back before investigating?"
"Why wait for the Daedalus?" Iohannes asks before Rodney can answer. "The Muspelheim is still in orbit. I'm sure Thor won't mind giving us a lift."
And that, of course, is that.
Except for the part where it isn't, because Iohannes knows far more about the Aurora than he does about Mother and he doesn't mention most of it as his team gears up (and, a little while later, beams up to the Muspelheim) for the mission.
He feels a touch guilty about it because, well, he doesn't like actively lying to anyone but, the way he sees it, only three of them are actually important – for a given definition of important – and the rest of the Terrans will probably have more fun figuring it out on their own anyway.
The first is that Aurora is a Pallantis-class dreadnought, which is to say, the kind that his people had constructed as best they could on Atlantis, after they'd lost the shipyards at Tarquinus but before they'd sunk the city. Aurora in particular was finished in 51 AL and had, from the very beginning, been commanded by one man: Antonious Alder Navarchus. A man who just so happened to be Mother's uncle as well as one of the best military minds to come out of the Wraith War.
He knows scarcely more about his avunculus magnus than he does Mother and that's only because he'd studied his campaigns – including the Battle of Sagremor – with more diligence than almost anything else Matertera Catalina had tried to teach him. But it's hard enough convincing Elizabeta to let him go on a mission he has such a personal involvement in, never mind the fact that he's already stumbled across the graves of people he had far more emotional attachment to than Mother and come out of it with his sanity reasonably intact. Adding a second relative to the mix is only likely to make her more reticent and so he doesn't mention his relation to the captain when his name comes up during the mission briefing. Better that they find out later – or, better yet, never – than have to deal with that as well.
"How are you holding up?" Teyla asks at some point.
"This mission must be difficult for you, the Aurora being your mother's ship."
"Are you certain? You seem awfully tense for someone who claims to be fine."
"Just not looking forward to the funerals," he tells her. It's partly true too. He's going to have to do something to acknowledge that two hundred thirty-eight people who were once alive are not any longer and he'll never be able to keep the anthropologists away from something like that. Or the psychologists.
"You believe we will find bodies, after all this time?"
More than bodies, he doesn't say, and just looks away.
Eventually she gets the hint and leaves him be.
The second is that, no matter what the logs say, the Aurora hadn't been sent out to discover what happened to Elorus. The moment the remaining urbes-naves lost contact with her, they'd known exactly what had happened, particularly when a handful of survivors in a pair of bedraggled lintres had shown up on Tirianus' doorstep a handful of weeks later. No, Aurora and her crew had been sent to retrieve potentially war-ending information from a mole they had amongst the Wraith worshippers, one who'd found himself in what remained of Elorus not long after her fall, and it's from that mission that she'd never returned.
Iohannes only knows this because 'Lantis knows all secrets and, despite her so-called fears about his mental health, rarely keeps any from him. He doesn't mention it simply because it doesn't mater. Any intel they recovered – had Aurora even gotten that far – would be over ten thousand years old and, as such, more than likely useless.
It's better not to get their hopes up because they've got a good thing going right now – the ZPM recharger is as complete as it can be without copper wire from Terra, which will be here on the next Daedalus run; they have the Daedalus to get goods from Terra with and an intergalactic gate bridge that's a third of the way through construction which will do the same ten times as quickly; Carson's Wraith antivirus is in the final testing stages; soon they'll have a linter and more potentiae than they know what to do with, the means to move Atlantis to another world and get rid of the Wraith threat forever –he's not going to rock the boat any more than he has to.
"A warship, huh?" Ronan says sometime later.
"This mean we'll finally be able to take the fight to the Wraith?"
"If we can patch her back together, yeah."
"Good." There's a long pause before the Satedan adds, "Teyla and McKay are worried about you."
Another pause. "You gonna be okay?"
"If you say so."
The third is that, as a Pallantis-class dreadnought, Aurora carries eighty-eight stasis pods and, while chances are slim-to-none that anyone who managed to make it that far would ever be able to be woken, their bodies would be so moribund, the fact remains that up to eighty-eight Alterans are out there. Eighty-eight people he can bring home.
Iohannes doesn't know why he doesn't mention this. It makes no difference to anything, as near dead and as good as dead are pretty much the same things in this instance. It only postpones the argument he'll eventually win about removing whoever remains from stasis, even knowing the process will probably kill them. In fact, waiting until the bodies – the mostly-dead people – are there in front of them will most likely only make the argument worse. But...
But the fact remains Iohannes himself spent ten thousand, two hundred and three years (and nineteen days, seven hours and twenty-two fucking minutes) in stasis and he didn't age a single day. And since he's not anything special, just a solider that somehow managed to survive, maybe...
Maybe he's not as alone as he thought.
Continue on to Pars Tria