Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney, Elizabeth, the Genii; (background) McShep slash
Warnings/Spoliers: #6.5 in the Ancient!John 'verse (falls during "Liberator"); contains lots of minor charecter death and mentions of torture, as well as spoilers for "The Storm"/"The Eye"
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: Elizabeth knows full well all her arguements are futile.
An Ancient!John Story
Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
The first time she hears about the Ancients, Elizabeth thinks she's dreaming. Their race seemed to be everything she'd ever worked for: a people who knew neither war nor poverty, who had conquered only hunger and sickness. That they had traveled the stars was just an added bonus and that they'd left behind a way for them to do the same the true dream, one probably born out of too many hours of watching late-night Star Trek marathons during her college years. (Never let it be said she isn't as big of a science fiction junkie as the rest of the Expedition; the only difference is, where the others got a bunch of science and to boldly go stuff out of it, she'd taken away the idea of an United Earth and a Federation of Planets.)
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
And when she firsts steps into Atlantis? It's love at first sight. She's never been anywhere so beautiful, so amazing, so full of knowledge and culture and history.
And then Rodney finds a real, live Ancient and it's as if her prayers have all been answered.
Oh, hear us when we cry to
Thee, For those in peril on the sea!
But almost immediately things start to go wrong.
She can't blame Lieutenant Ford for bringing the Athosians to Atlantis, not really. She can't blame John for going after Colonel Sumner and the others either but the Wraith are worse than the Goa'uld and, God help her, she feels she's been betrayed when she learns how the Ancients refused at first to fight them and then, when they realized they couldn't win, ran away. They're supposed to be perfect, the Ancients; the bastions of civilization in a universe otherwise filled with terrible, horrific things. They're supposed to look upon their descendants, see them suffering and help them. They're not supposed to play God with their lives and turn their backs on the people who, in one form or another, they had given life to.
Elizabeth knows full well her arguments are futile. She's likened the Ancients to God and while there's still the small matter of life on Earth having been seeded by them to contend with, they're not actually gods. They are, in fact, human, more or less. And for all their millions of years of evolution, they're just as fallible.
John is not anything like she expected either. Forget genetics, he's too human. Before they've been there five months he's more cognisant with Earth pop culture than she is and has developed something of a California beach-comber accent, though Rodney alone might know how. And while he might be the least military of any military man she's ever met, he's still a solider. His solution to most issues is, as Rodney might put it, to shoot them and/or offer them C-4.
She's never been happy about that until now.
Most Holy Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
John's voice on the radio might be the best thing she's ever heard. If anyone can take care of the final grounding station and release them before it's too late to matter, it's John, who knows Atlantis like no one else and has no qualms about doing what it takes to protect her. Normally such thoughts kept Elizabeth up at night wondering if maybe Doctor Zelenka was right and he had goals beyond merely seeing Atlantis restored to her former glory, but now...
"This city," she tries to reason with Kolya, "was designed to be inhabited by the Ancients and their direct descendants." John has made that more than clear, time and time again. "It simply will not work otherwise."
"And you? You claim to be descended from the Ancestors?" the Genii commander asks in a tone she cannot read but expects that, if she could, she would not like.
"No, but many of my team are and with the Wraith waking, soon this galaxy will be embroiled in a war the likes of which our generations have never seen."
"A war that you expedited."
Elizabeth cannot argue with him there. But as John had told her that first day, the Wraith were coming to Atlantis. They were coming everywhere. It would only be a matter of time. "Disagreements like ours will no longer matter. The only thing of consequence will be how prepared we are and what defences we are able to mount. Now, this city holds many secrets which may help us win that war – but only if my team is here to discover them. So fine, take whatever you need for your people. But if you don't leave this city you're only hurting yourselves in the long run."
"You believe," he snorts, anger and disbelief colouring his words, "that your people – who are not even of this galaxy – are closer to the Ancestors than we are? Your arrogance is astounding-"
"No," she cuts in. "Yours is. You think I'm lying to you, that I'm just passing along some sort of cultural belief? Fine. Just go out there and try to use the equipment. It doesn't matter what; the fact is that it simply will not work for anyone other than us. So go ahead and kill us. It's not going to help you any when the Wraith get here and you can't even turn on a light switch!"
Kolya roars at that, suddenly standing and looming over the desk like he's prepared to shoot her right there if she doesn't shut her mouth. "We will take this city. We will mount a defence. And we will win – with or without your help, Doctor Weir."
And bit its angry tumult cease,
and give, for wild confusion, peace;
Much later, after everyone's back in the city and caught up on sleep, they're sitting in the conference room in uncomfortable silence. Oh, Elizabeth's glad to be alive but it's cost at least sixty men their lives. It doesn't matter that most of them were Genii who would sooner kill her than anything else, the fact remains that they're still dead. The thing is John's just sitting there, looking much like he's always done, like killing so many single-handedly is nothing and she just can't stand it any longer.
Before she can say anything, John speaks up. "You did what you had to do."
She's not sure if he's talking to Rodney, who's in the chair to her left, or her, or everyone in the room.
"The most important thing about hostage situations is that you do what it takes to survive. Sometimes that means telling your captors what they want to hear."
John probably means it in good faith. He's the only one with experience in this sort of thing (or so they guess; she's never learned more from him than that he is the pastor Atlantis and had been the second-in-command of the Lantean Guard before the others fled to Earth. What little else she knows is second-hand from Rodney and even then she's not sure how much of it is supposition) and it'll probably come in handy at some point in the future.
But, God, half of her thinks they could have avoided the whole thing if John had just been upfront about being an Ancient in the first place with the Genii. Instead he'd just kept telling them that Atlantis was his city without any rhyme or reason as to why, so it seemed that it was up for the taking by whomever had the biggest guns. And the rest of her knows it could have been avoided if only John hadn't so blithely offered them C-4 as if it were nothing. And maybe to him it was nothing but it's still his fault, and he's still killed over sixty people, and she's lost the first two people under her command, and-
"It may not seem like it now but I promise you it'll be fine."
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!