untitled drabble #86

Title: untitled drabble #86
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Ancient!John/Rodney, Anne Teldy, Evan Lorne, Ronald Greer, OMCs
Warnings: right before part 4 of "Ascensiones" in the AJ 'Verse; passing familiarity with SGU
Summary: A missing moment, of sorts
Notes: I've officially decided this doesn't fit in the next chappie, but it is kinda important, so...


An Ancient!John Drabble

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it."
Lord Acton.

19 March, 2007 / IXX Mai. a.f.c. I – Atlantis, Lantea, Pegasus

Iohannes is beginning to understand how his superiors must have felt Before, when he was just a young lictor assigned to the Tethys, all brash and bold and without any brass to back it up.

It is exceedingly obvious that Gunnery Sergeant Greer excels at what he does – is exceptional, even, to have been assigned his own team by the Second Expedition, though only a non-commissioned officer. But it's just as obvious his respect for authority only extends so far as it takes not to get him chaptered out, and that even so it's a close call. Respect must be earned, as far as Greer seems to be concerned, not mindlessly granted because of rank or position.

Iohannes would agree with this sentiment, only he and his new breed of Lanteans plainly seemed to have earned the opposite. Why, Iohannes cannot say, though he can hazard a hundred guesses, all of them equally stupid and valid in the eyes of the new Terran Expedition.

He shares a quick look of frustration with Lorne before turning towards the gunnery sergeant and asking, quite plainly, "Do you know who I am? What I am?"

"You look like a traitor to me."

From the corner of his eye, Iohannes can see Lorne (who actually prefers Argathelianus these days, having seemingly severed all ties with Terra after the Air Force dropped him from the rolls and whispered promises of a court martial should he attempt to return) rapidly clench and unclench his fists, though wisely he does not move for his weapon. Iohannes may not care for the gunny's words, but Argathelianus takes them much more personally. It is both curious and endearing, though Iohannes wisely would never admit such, and it almost makes him wish that he'd listened to Nicolaa when she'd begged him for a child, if only for a chance to have a son in something more than name.

But only almost. There's no place for children in a war, not then and not now. Even if he'd for some reason chosen to bring a child into this galaxy so full of death and destruction, his son or daughter would have been ripped from him as assuredly as the rest of his kind had. Of that, he is sure.

"A traitor to who?" he asks calmly. "Terra? I never set foot there until two years ago. And let me tell you, what I saw didn't inspire all that much loyalty."

"You turned against your own people," Greer upbraids him, as if Iohannes were one of his privates rather than his praetor, his prefectus, his imperator. "You murdered hundreds of them for no cause beyond putting a crown on your head. That's all I need to know."

"That's war."

"That's not war as I know it. Sir," Greer tacks on, the addition almost more insolent than its absence would have been.

Yes, he thinks. Greer could have been him, Before, when everything had seemed so easy and the Wraith were the only enemy he ever thought to consider. Things had been so black and white then, so easy in their rights and wrongs. Yet surely there had been snakes in the grass back then just as surely as there are now. He just hadn't seen them.

"Yet we're winning."

"Funny way of winning."

"I don't have to explain myself to you."

"Maybe not, but the fact that you won't says it all, really."

Major Teldy choses that moment to intercede, armed with the kind of wrath only a displeased Marine Corps officer can draw, "I think we've all wandered away from the facts here. Which is that you were contemptuous of three officials of an allied government, two of whom are also your superior officers, and instigated a fight. Regardless of your personal feelings towards the men involved, those are still punishable offences under the UCMJ and Lord Iohannes is the closest thing to office hours you're going to find for three million light years."

"He's an alien," Sergeant Herrera says brusquely, speaking up for the first time since Iohannes entered the ward where Keller is patching up the Marines. He has a couple of cuts on his face from Nelson's ring, as do they all, and the corporal is sporting the start of a nasty bruise, but otherwise the Terrans came out far better than their opponents.

"Newsflash, Marine: I was born on this planet, you weren't. That makes you the alien here."

"Fuck semantics," Greer interrupts, drawing his attention – and his ire – back onto himself. "All I know is you're an Ascended Ancient. I don't care if that makes you god himself or the devil in fancy white robes, you there's no way you can tell me that whatever's going on inside your head is anything a human being can understand. You don't think the way we do. You don't feel the way we do. So I sure as hell don't want to see what your kind considers fair treatment for somebody who's only saying what everyone else is too afraid to. Which is that there is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it."

Iohannes is startled out of replying by Argathelianus' sharp, surprised laugh.

"Icarus is the most human sentient being you'll ever meet," he tells the gunnery sergeant, so completely sure that what he's saying is truth that Iohannes almost believes it himself, "and about the farthest thing from an Ori you could ever imagine. So if you're hoping Telford or Kavanagh will go easier on you just 'cause they're Terran, you've got it wrong.

"So," Argathelianus continues, the better part of his earlier ire gone but not forgotten, "since confining you is more trouble than it's worth and forfeiting your pay is meaningless in Pegasus, I think reassignment is the best course of action. Don't you agree, Icarus?"

Personally, Iohannes would rather ship them all back to Terra. When he'd invited the Terrans back to the city, he'd expected them to send back the members of the original Expedition who hadn't fought quite as hard as his Émigrés to stay – and they had, to some degree. But there are too many new faces. Too many people too fresh from a war with the Haeretici to see the difference between him and their enemies.

He's saved from responding when his radio crackles to life. He's actually relieved until he hears Rodney's voice shake over the crack and pop of static that the Terrans have told him cannot be helped on a party line, small and thin enough that Iohannes mind immediately goes back to Kolya and the Storm.

"Medical emergency," Rodney breathes raggedly. "T-t-tower One. L-l-level Three. Sec- Section Six."

I am so angry at these asshole marines that I am shaking with it.

oh? I was trying to be even handed. I guess that didn't work that well. I was kinda angry at them too.

I think even with you trying to be even handed, readers will still be angry at them. They are, after all, saying terrible things about characters we know and love.

::thoughtfully:: I can be very evil, true.

THINGS WILL WORK OUT - eventually - THERE WILL BE HAPPY ENDINGS ALL AROUND - eventually - DO NOT FEAR - too much - ALL WILL BE WELL - more or less