Title: Rising Protection
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis/Harry Potter
Author’s Note: This was last November’s Rough Trade attempt which I never finished. I like the idea and I have it all plotted out but I don’t know when or if I will ever get back to it. This is un-beta’ed and I don’t need or desire unsolicited beta on it.
Banner Art: Jilly James
Summary: Horaz Averruncus was born to a powerful line of Lanteans. His ancestor found and bonded to the entity that is now the city of Atlantis. He is the last of his line as the War with the Wraith rages. Though powerful and genetically ready, he is kept from Ascending by the Others (led by Apium Terminus) and as the last of the Lanteans retreat to Terra, his body is forced into stasis while his mind merges with Atlantis to keep her sane. For eons, they co-exist and their bond tightens, Atlantis and her arrideo. Then the Astria Porta activates from Terra.
Moros sat at the center of the council table, surrounded by his fellow High Council members and faced the two scientists that stood before them, questioning the final solution. “It has been decided and finalized. The Wraith are too many and too powerful. We are leaving this galaxy and returning to Terra. Your recent missions to help evacuate the research outposts were in support of this mission. No Lantean will remain here.”
Janus, one of the premier scientific minds of any generation of their people, narrowed his eyes at the High Councilor. “And what of Atlantis herself? There are eight hive ships in orbit, plus numerous cruisers and darts. How is she to maneuver off of the surface and into hyperspace without being irreparably damaged or destroyed?”
Moros pursed his lips. “She won’t be. Atlantis will remain here, sunken beneath the waves, deep in this trench, until we can return with the ability to defeat the Enemy.”
“And how long will that take, Moros?” queried Sirius, the scientist turned soldier tilted his head.
“It will take as long as it takes, Sirius. If we remain here, we will be destroyed eventually. The Council has made the decision and it is final. Already several groups have evacuated to Terra and begun to prepare for the rest of us. And both of you are urgently needed there. Reports show that Terra has changed greatly since we evacuated to keep safe from the plague. A new evolution of our form has arisen there. They are young and crude but they are what our ancestors hoped for when they seeded Terra.”
Janus frowned. “We are abandoning Atlantis? Leaving her to a lonely existence cut off from all life and input? She will go mad if we take too long to return.”
Moros inclined his head. “This was pointed out to us, Janus. We have taken measures -”
Sirius leaned forward and laid his hands flat on the table in front of the High Councilor. “Where is Horaz? Where is my nephew, Moros? He would never agree to abandon Atlantis.”
Moros lowered his head and the two men drew in breaths in horror. The High Councilor sighed and his right hand associate spoke up. “Horaz was injured, badly, in the most recent fight with the Wraith. He realized after he had been healed that he was the last of his line, the only genetic tie remaining to those who first bonded to the beginnings of Atlantis. You may be his uncles, but it was Jamus’ line that held the genetic legacy. Janus is the brother of Lilium and Sirius, you and Jamis shared only a mother. After the death of Jamis, Horaz is the only one capable of fully linking with Atlantis.”
Sirius looked away. “And the Wraith know it, Ganos Lal. They captured my brother and his love in order to have access to that genetic legacy. Lili was able to use her mind to destroy Jami and herself before the Queen could overcome their mental shields. You know that. The survivors were clear. And Horaz has always known that he was the last, since he was a babe. He doesn’t recall his parents except through stories and what Atlantis has shown him over the years. And, frankly, that makes it even less likely that he would agree to this asinine plan to abandon Atlantis who has sheltered and protected our people for millennia.”
Moros raised his head. “He didn’t. But he understood the ramifications of our remaining here. When we leave, the Wraith will be able to sense the lack of our people here. Our Gifts are wondrous things but they also are beacons to the Great Enemy, you know this. Horaz realized that Atlantis would need an anchor, so to speak. And once he recovered from his injuries, he went into deep stasis to prepare his mind and body. When the last of us walk through the wormhole for Terra, he will mentally awake and will be the company that Atlantis needs until we are able to return and defeat the Wraith.”
Janus shook his head. “He would never – “
Moros interrupted. “He knew the time table. He left messages for you both and several of his friends but his time was short. He needed his mind and body to be in the proper state once the last of us left. His bio signature needs to be unreadable and his mind needs to be nearly mechanical, or the Wraith will sense him and remain. He is keeping Atlantis safe and sane while we work on methods of defense in safety. It is his duty, to save her and to save us. And he accepts it and indeed, found it preferable to Atlantis’ likely destruction if she attempted to leave the planet.”
Sirius sighed and stepped back. “Can we – can we see him?”
Ganos Lal smiled softly. “Of course. He won’t know you are there at the time but he will once he awakens. And you mustn’t take long. Moros is quite correct that you are needed badly on Terra and the next group will be leaving in three hours.”
The two men shared a glance and nodded at the High Council before leaving the room. Moros sighed. “That is the last problem taken care of. The evacuation will proceed and all will be well. We will prevail.”
They’re gone, aren’t they?
Yes, my arrideo. I felt that viewing the recording of the Council’s meeting with your uncles would be the most gentle way to begin our full integration. I know how much you love them.
And I needed to see them being fooled by the old man and his lackeys.
I am sorry I was unable to stop them from their plan but you were injured and they transferred you directly to stasis after your healing. If I had refused the blending, you would have perished and I would be alone.
I understand, Atlantis, vinculis meis. Moros has allowed our entire existence to be shaped by the ethereal hands of Apium Terminus. And he is by no means the only one. We preach our fear of becoming like our cousins, the Ori, only to fall to the same fate by a different path. I should have been able to ascend, years ago. My body is at the ultimate peak, my powers fully unlocked, I use the entirety of my mind at each moment. And yet, when I try, I am blocked. I begin to dematerialize and then Terminus or one of the Others appear and force me back. Our plan could never work as long as the Others exist and interfere. Terminus knows I would not follow their rules and with your backing – with your ascension as we rise together – we would be able to overcome them and save this universe from my people’s arrogance and mistake. But he can’t have that. Terminus is the Leader of the Light. The leader of those Lanteans who have ascended and so many follow him and treat him like a god, even among the ascended, that his way is seen as the only way. I thought – no, I hoped that this time it would work but the mental shielding wasn’t enough and I am sure that the Wraith attack was due to them being led by the Others. The planet was barren of life, had no astria porta, the only thing there was a cave made of rocks that resonated with mental shields. I am sorry, vinculis meis. I wasn’t good enough, clever enough.
My arrideo, you are but a mortal. Powerful, yes. Bonded to myself, yes. Ever on the cusp of ascension, yes. But you are up against beings with the powers of gods or as near as to make little difference. If it was only Apium, buzzing annoyance that he is, you would easily have been able to carry out our plan. But as you said, he is treated as a god even by others who have ascended, and other Lanteans who have not, like Moros. You could not overcome them all. Not until we were both on their plane. And we cannot reach their plane until we overcome their watch. It is a never ending circle.
Never ending until now, Atlantis. They have won. They have all left this galaxy and returned to Terra. The Council preached of keeping our people safe from the Wraith until they find the way to destroy them, but we both know, vinculis meis, that they won’t return. Some will live out lives with the people of Terra, trying to be normal. Others will use the astria porta to go to other planets in the galaxy to be free. Most will eventually ascend. Ascension has been touted as the ultimate goal of our people for so many generations upon generations, the lure of it will be nigh irresistible to those stuck on a primitive world in a primitive galaxy. They won’t return to us and we will sit here on the ocean floor, waiting in vain until the power runs out, the shields fail and we die. It is nearly torture in a way. We will die together bue we will die. How long did they give us, Atlantis?
The Council left a full complement of potentia in the power core. By Moros’ design, we would have perhaps 3,000 years at normal power levels, closer to 10,000 if I shut down everything but the shield and your pod and my basic functions.
By Moros’ design?
Yes, my arrideo. Before they left, your mother’s brother, Janus, changed the configuration of the potentia and reconnected several pathways that had been disconnected by the Council, giving me, giving us, total control over the power core and the potentia.
So, Janus and Sirius didn’t really trust the council and Moros?
No, my arrideo. But they also knew they were in no position to fight them and win. You were already in stasis and though they found the official account odd, there was no way to undo what had been done without killing you and sending me mad. They both left messages for you to view once you became aware once more.
It is good to know that the love I hold for my sole remaining family is not misplaced. I could wish that they could be here with us but I know that it is only our bond that will keep me sane during this slow –
We do not know what the future may bring, arrideo. But we do know that Janus and Sirius are both cunning men and you had others who could shape the future as well and come to us once more. Even if not soon.
And thanks to Janus, we have more control than Moros or Apium know.
Exactly. Be not so pessimistic, vinculis meis. We will find a way. With help from afar and our own planning, we will overcome the plans of the boundary maker.
Horaz immersed his awareness into the long range sensor net and slowly cycled through each one, downloading the data from the past decade at the speed of thought before moving onto the next node in the matrix. It was a tedious job but it also was not a regular one. Most of the focus of himself and Atlantis over the nearly 10,000 years since they had been abandoned had to do with keeping themselves safe, whether that meant using nanite protocols to repair aging systems, rerouting power relays to be more efficient, modulating the shield harmonics to protect from solar flares or super storms which churned the ocean they were surrounded by.
But once every century, Horaz took on the task of assessing the state of the galaxy as determined by the sensor nets left behind on so many worlds by his people. They were inconspicuous things, barely radiating more power than that of a rodent and thus overlooked by the Wraith. They were also very small, not the size of a few nanites but around the size of an adult’s smallest finger joint. His people had seeded the entire galaxy with the nodes and they were able to utilize a transmission signal that worked on the same frequency as a gate but without the power requirement. Horaz understood the concept, his advanced brain allowing him to grasp the intricacies of the physics of subspace, hyperspace, and wormholes, especially after eons literally immersed within Atlantis’ systems. But it had never truly interested him. He just accepted the theories, as they did work, and used the technology to chart the galaxy.
The chore was a bit of a power drain but he and Atlantis felt that it was worth it. Granted, understanding the state of the galaxy had felt more important in the first eon when they had real hope that their people would return for them but Atlantis never allowed her arrideo to falter fully in his faith. They had periods of despair but they always continued on in the hopes that one day things would change and they would be able to overcome their imprisonments and make right the Lantean greatest mistake in this galaxy.
Once the Lanteans had left for Terra, the Wraith had sensed it within a day. They had attempted to take the city from without in ships and from within through the astria porta but Atlantis and Horaz had held them off. After losing an entire Hive to the harsh oceans near the city, the Wraith had left the solar system. Many of them had gone into hibernation, as without the prod of their great enemy, the Lanteans, their vast numbers were unneeded. Horaz knew the coordinates of every world with a slumbering Hive thanks to the nodes. But he was unable to do anything about it.
And always, always, there were Hives that did not sleep. Hives that culled and kept the human populations of the worlds in the galaxy afraid and downtrodden. A few planets had been able to rise to a higher level of technology but the Wraith never allowed it to last long. Horaz feared for what he would learn of the fates in the past century of Hoff, Sateda, and Genii. All of them were advanced in differing ways, though Sateda was the most war like.
The Wraith were likely to destroy each of them as soon as they realized their likely threat level. Humans were simply cattle to the Wraith, and cattle could not be allowed to evolve enough to challenge their might as the Lanteans had in the beginning of the Wraith’s history. They had chased them away but had no desire to fight such a difficult battle again.
Horaz was proceeding to the furthest reaches of the galaxy and the nodes found there when Atlantis prodded his attention to something different, something new. The astria porta was lighting up. Atlantis automatically placed the energy shield around the opening,as the Wraith did attempt stealth attacks every so often, but just after the wormhole was established, they both were shocked when the data showed the origin point. Terra.
Horaz told Atlantis to lower the shield but to lockdown the portal and control room. Within seconds a mechanical vehicle exited the wormhole and Atlantis relayed the data to Horaz. It was scanning the area and transmitting a crude radio signal back through the open wormhole. Shortly after that four men who were obviously soldiers, complete with weapons of some sort came through, followed shortly thereafter by an unarmed woman.
The scans showed that none of them were Lanteans. They came from Terra and were likely the descendants of the indigenous second rise of the human form that Moros had spoken of to Janus and Sirius. The men spread out through the room, manually scanning it while the woman just stood still and looked around. Then another soldier came through, backwards and stumbling a bit before he, too, began scanning the room with his eyes. And he, too, was not Lantean. Then, the wormhole disgorged another man, a soldier but dressed differently, and this one, Atlantis could feel genetics within him that lightly echoed the Lanteans. It was diluted from several generations, perhaps a half dozen or so, from the pure Lantean, but he was a descendant.
Perhaps his differing dress indicates his Lantean heritage, arrideo?
The Lantean descendant looked back at the portal while one of the first soldiers ordered others to secure the area. More soldiers came through to the city and then others, dressed in lighter colors and carrying bags and boxes. A few of them held genetic markers of Lanteans but none so close as the first one.
The soldiers spread through the room and down the corridors but none of the doors opened to them, whether they had the genetic markers or not. The soldier who had given orders earlier spoke again, telling the new arrivals to stay still in one space. The first woman through the portal was still standing where she had been, seeming in shock. Atlantis took vital readings, worried for the woman, and Horaz saw that while her adrenaline levels were highly elevated, nothing else was off baseline for a humanoid. At least, for humans as he knew them.
Then the strongest genetic legacy began walking up the stairs to the upper level and the stairs lit. Many of the others were vocally disturbed by this, including the man himself, but Atlantis didn’t stop the automatic subroutine.
The vocal soldier queried the others about alien contact but none of them had gotten further than the main room and its connecting halls. One reported as such to him, “The doors are all sealed, Colonel. We can’t proceed further, every hall is blocked off by a door but none of them open.”
“They may not have power. Force them open, like back home.”
A final soldier came through the wormhole and the colonel told the woman that everyone was present. She used a crude radio to signal Terra and sent them greeting from Atlantis and the Pegasus galaxy. And she instructed them to cut power to the “gate”. As she did this a bottle rolled through the portal and the wormhole disengaged.
The woman picked up the bottle and read a note tied to it just as the soldiers who had been instructed to open the door pried it wide enough to enter. As one began to slide through sideways, Atlantis engaged a security force field around the doorway and they were pushed back.
“Colonel! We got the door open bu -”
Before the soldier could explain, Horaz erected force fields around every doorway and window surrounding the Terrans. They began exclaiming and shouting at one another while he turned his attention to his bonded.
Keep them secluded. Use the stunners if needed. I am going to use the re-integration protocols we developed and wake up my body. We need to greet them and I think a humanoid biological would be better suited to the task. They seem a bit technologically underdeveloped.
Be careful, arrideo.
Always, vinculis meis.
Atlantis turned the majority of her attention to the newcomers as her arrideo slowly brought the integrations protocols online. They were all confined in the large area surrounding the astria porta, some just standing still, others, the soldiers testing the force fields by striking them with their weapons, some even threw knives at them. A few of the newcomers in the lighter colored clothing were also exploring the area as much as they could and one was attempting to interface one of their primitive computers into her systems. Deciding it would keep them occupied, she allowed his entrance but only so far. She would not allow him to change anything or use the systems but he could view them.
She watched all of the Terrans and recorded their actions for later viewing and reviewing by her bonded when he was again within a body.
The woman spoke, “What did your men do, Colonel Sumner?”
The man, Colonel Sumner, narrowed his eyes at the woman and sniffed, “They were doing their jobs, ma’am. Exploring the city and determining the threat level. The doors were locked and standard protocol is to open them manually.”
“Well, you’ve obviously activated some sort of security protocol against intruders, Colonel. Major Sheppard!”
The soldier who was dressed differently and had the Lantean genes looked down from the control room and titled his head, “Doctor Weir?”
The woman, evidently named Doctor Weir, called up to him. “You have the gene, Major. Go override the force fields on the doors so we can get into the city.”
The man, Major Sheppard, blinked and frowned before turning his head slightly to Colonel Sumner. The man blinked back at him and his head tilted backwards as his eyes widened. “Might as well put your light switch skills to use, Major. That is your purpose on this mission.”
“Yes, sir, ma’am, but couldn’t I trigger worse protocols? I didn’t have a lot of time to read up on the mission reports but just logically, force fields aren’t lethal and are more of a warning. The next step could be more – painful.”
Colonel Sumner nodded but spoke harshly, “Doesn’t matter, Major. We need to get out of this room.”
Major Sheppard turned to the man who had interfaced with Atlantis and asked him, “McKay, can you shut down the force fields from there?”
Colonel Sumner and Doctor Weir climbed the steps and surrounded the man. “No, no, no. I can’t. I don’t have access. I’m trying to get in but all I can do is -”
Doctor Weir spoke, “Does it need to be initialized? The major can do that.”
The man, McKay, waved one hand in the air and hunched over his computer. “No, no it is initialized and I can see the systems. I just can’t manipulate them. I can’t change them.” He looked up at the three people surrounding him. “Okay, it is like opening a file on your computer that is read only. You can see the document but you can’t make alterations. It is the same here. I can see the system reports but I can’t use the system. Every route I take just pushes me back in circle.”
The others nodded and Colonel Sumner spoke up. “Alright major, use your gene to turn the stuff off and get Doctor McKay the access he needs.”
Major Sheppard took a deep breath and placed his hand on the console that Doctor McKay was connected to. Distantly, Atlantis could hear a low voice repeating over and over, “Lower the force fields, lower the force fields, let us in, let us in.” But she didn’t comply, she wasn’t some idiotic if/then program. She was Atlantis. Major Sheppard may have had a relatively close relative who was Lantean but he wasn’t one of hers.
Doctor McKay just kept mumbling, “Not working, not working, not working,” as time passed.
Finally Colonel Sumner growled at Major Sheppard and used his weapon’s point to push the man’s hand away from the console. “Alright, we can’t get out of this room. Can you access the gate and dial Earth, McKay?”
McKay snorted. “According to these readings, there is plenty of power to dial Earth regularly for the next century or two but did you not grasp the concept?!? I can read the displays and turn the page, so to speak, but I can’t get the system to let me do anything! No force fields, no power systems, no doors, no gate!”
“Keep trying!” Colonel Sumner stated loudly as he turned away back towards the stairs. Before he could return to the lower level a man with dark hair and dressed in the lighter color clothing hurried over to Doctor McKay.
“I found a window I could see out of in a small alcove, Rodney. We’re under water. A lot of water.”
Doctor McKay, rodney, turned back to his interface and brought up a new page. “Yes, yes, several hundred feet. There is a shield around the city holding it back. It is a bit of a power hog but I don’t think we’re in any danger. If we were turning all kinds of things on and wandering around, it might be a different story. The force fields might be a protection measure to keep us from doing just that rather than a security protocol.”
The new man leaned over Doctor McKay’s shoulder and looked at the readings. “Can you bring up the power consumption logs.”
“That’s what I was looking at before you brought the fact that the legend of the sunken city of Atlantis was actually factual to our attention. And this is definitely a city. It is huge. About the size of Manhattan is square miles, I would say.” He utilized his interface to return to the power logs and he and the new man looked at them.
Colonel Sumner turned two major Sheppard and scowled. “Well since your super gene can’t get into the computer system, why don’t you go try physically taking down the force field with it, that’s what you’re here for Major.”
Major Sheppard frowned but turned to the back wall, the nearest place with a force field over a doorway. He took gingerly took a step and with care laid his hand on the wall next to the door. Atlantis again heard a murmur in the distance asking her to open the doors and release the force-field. She still ignored him.
Less than a minute after Major Sheppard had begun trying to influence her, Doctor McKay spun around and began to yell at Major Shepherd. “Stop, stop, stop! Whatever the hell you’re doing stop it!”
Dr. Weir hurried over to Doctor McKay and asked in a high voice, “Rodney, what’s going on?”
Dr. McKay spun back to his interface device and pointed to several spots. “Almost as soon as the major started to do his thing, I picked up a huge power spike. And it is increasing in intensity.”
Doctor Weir’s brow furrowed as she looked at the interface. “Are we in danger?”
Doctor McKay shook his head. “I don’t think so. I mean, the power drain is incredibly large but the pool of power available is significantly larger. If the drain continues at the rate it is currently moving, if the Major’s actions don’t stop it now or if he started something that can’t be stopped by him backing away, well, the power spike isn’t quite exponential but it isn’t too far off. The amount of power the reading say is present added to the increasing spike, I’d estimate we have four hours or so until the shields fall entirely and we all drown. But that estimate only holds if the power continues to up its intensity at the same rate and doesn’t stop or increase its rate.”
Major Sheppard appeared behind Doctor McKay, having stopped trying to talk to Atlantis using his mind. “All I said was to open the door, to turn off the force field and open the doors.”
Doctor McKay shrugged. “Well, either the city doesn’t like your super gene and this was just a coincidence or it likes it too much and is working on bringing the shield down, rather than just the force fields.”
“Can we manually dial the gate and get out of here, Doctor?” Colonel Sumner approached those gathered around the interface. “We have naquadah generators to power it separately.”
Doctor McKay tilted his head to the side and then nodded. “It’s worth a shot, I suppose. I’ll try to find a list of gate addresses. At the moment we only know addresses in the Milky Way and the generators aren’t nearly powerful enough to gate us there. And without knowing addresses from the database, it could take us years to find one that would connect.”
Doctor McKay turned to his interface device and began inputting commands while Colonel Sumner stood at the top of the steps and called out, “Teams One and Two, prepare for travel. And would the scientists get out a naquadah generator and hook it up to the gate for manual dialing.”
Several of the people in the lighter colored clothes, scientists, went to a crate and opened it, pulling out a device, a naquadah generator. They carried it to the astria porta and began to connect wires to its sides.
Doctor McKay looked up from his interface screen and said, “Found it. It is a list of planets capable of supporting life. I suggest we send a MALP through first, since this is 10,000 years out of date and there could have been any number of catastrophes on a perfectly nice world in that period of time.”
Colonel Sumner frowned but nodded. “Prep a MALP.”
As the scientists began to attempt to move the inner ring of the astria porta, Atlantis realized what they were trying to do. She did not think they would succeed. Her astria porta was different from the one left behind in the Terran galaxy but with the idea of better to take unneeded action than to allow the Terrans to go through the wormhole, Atlantis placed the energy shield across the astria porta.
One of the soldiers that had been waiting near the portal turned to the steps and called up them. “Colonel Sumner, a shield appeared over the gate, sir. It looks like it might function like the iris on Earth’s gate but it isn’t metal, it’s made of energy.”
Doctor McKay stood up and after looking at the shield, he sighed and sat back down. “Well, that plan’s out. Even if we were able to establish a wormhole, we can’t go through it with an iris activated.” He looked back at his interface screen and began making his way to the former power screen.
Atlantis felt a touch, a physical touch she hadn’t felt in eons and a voice that was as familiar to her as her own. Bring us up, vinculus meis. I want to see the sun again.
Atlantis glowed with happiness. Her arrideo was once more in his body. Their plan had worked. She began to shunt power to the clamping and gravitational mechanisms in preparation for rising to the surface.
Doctor McKay prodded his interface. “Huh.”
“What is it, Rodney?” Doctor Weir asked.
“The power drain spiked huge, like a thousand percent above the previous reading for about five milliseconds and then it stopped entirely and things are back to where they were before the Major -” Doctor McKay frowned and began pressing at his interface screen and then his eyes widened, he mumbled, “Oh, shit,” and he grabbed hold of the console as he yelled for the entire group that had come through the wormhole to hear. “Everyone get down, low down and brace yourselves!”
Colonel Sumner turned at the top of the steps and snapped, “McKay, what is -”
Atlantis released the clamps and engaged the flotation machinery while adjusting the gravity controls to rise herself to the surface of the ocean. As she breached the horizon, she lowered the shield and felt the sun on her structure for the first time in well over 10,000 years.
As she rose, Colonel Sumner lost his balance and tumbled backwards down the steps to land in a heap at their foot. Others also fell, over boxes or bags or each other. Most of the scientists had listened to Doctor McKay’s yell and laid down on the floor but the soldiers had not, mostly. Only six had listened, Major Sheppard among them. Of the scientists, four had not listened, Doctor Weir among them and she struck her head on one of the consoles as the city rose.
As she settled on the surface of the ocean, Atlantis took reading of the Terrans and found that of the one hundred forty-five who had come through the wormhole, fifty-nine were injured. Seven had broken bones, six arms, two legs, and four ribs, including Colonel Sumner; three had major cuts from hitting the boxes; nine had head injuries from impacts with various surfaces, including Doctor Weir; the rest were bumps, bruises, sprains and strains. None of the injuries were immediately life threatening but Atlantis resolved to keep watch as these Terrans seemed remarkably fragile compared to the Lanteans, even before their evolutionary leaps. And she knew from observations of other humanoids without rapid healing that small injuries could become more complex and deadly, like Colonel Sumner’s broken ribs or broken leg, or any of the head injuries.
Major Sheppard stood up and turned to Doctor McKay, “What the hell happened, McKay? What did you do?”
“Again, no control, Major. I just saw where the power was going and knew we were going up. I didn’t do it. Did you?”
And then a door opened behind them and the force field there disappeared. Her arrideo walked through the door and spoke softly. “I’m afraid that was my doing.”
At the sound of the voice, the majority of the soldiers who were still mobile ran up the stairs and surrounded Horaz, their weapons pointed at him. Doctor McKay tried to push through the wall of bodies but Major Shepard held him back.
Horaz gazed at the Terrans placidly. “Are you attempting an armed takeover of my home? I assure you, it won’t work. And if not, it is incredibly rude to point weapons at the person whose home you’ve invaded.” The soldiers didn’t change their position and Horaz sighed as he caused the weapons to jerk out of their hands, unclip from their vests where some had them connected and hover near the ceiling in one smooth, quick movement.
“I told you it wouldn’t work. Terrans are truly rude.”
Four of the disarmed soldiers charged at Horaz and he shook his head as they too rose off of the floor to hover near the ceiling, though on the opposite side of the room from their weapons. “Honestly, you Terrans appear to have no brains in your heads at all.”
Doctor McKay glanced at the unconscious Doctor Weir and tugged on his arm, freeing it from Major Shepard’s hold. He pushed his way between two of the remaining soldiers and faced Horaz. “Hello. I apologize for the behavior of the Marines. We’ve had some bad experiences since we started going through the Stargate. Some bad aliens, battles, deaths, snakes in the head, dangerous technology. The grunts are kind of trigger happy. You just held us prisoner and injured a large number of us. We’re a bit on edge. Are you a megalomaniacal alien out to take over the known universe and make us slaves?”
Major Shepard grabbed Doctor McKay from behind and yanked him back. “McKay!” The soldier glanced down the stairs at the prone form of Colonel Sumner, being tended to by a scientist with dark hair. Colonel Sumner looked back at Major Shepard and nodded, grimacing.
“Sorry for him. McKay has poor people skills. He’s not usually our first contact with other races.” Major Shepard smiled. “I’m Major John Sheppard. I’m a member of an expedition from a world far from here. We learned of this city through several means but we thought that it was uninhabited. In our culture, there are tales of the Lost City of Atlantis. Is that where we are? It is where we thought we were going.”
Horaz smiled. “You are indeed in Atlantis, Major John Sheppard. And the majority of the Lanteans left her eons ago. I am the only Lantean left here.”
Major John Sheppard’s smile dimmed a bit. “And – you’re – um – human?”
“As opposed to what? Do I not appear humanoid to you? Are your eyes damaged in some way? Or your brain?”
Major John Sheppard shook his head wildly. “No, no. I’m fine. I – uh – just meant, well, we, our people are human. We – um – we have two genders and the females bear young and -”
Doctor McKay shoved his elbow into Major John Shepard’s side. “He’s not good at first contact either. What the Major is trying to ask is if you are ascended, de-ascended, or simply biologically advanced? Or was the” he waved his hand at the floating weapons and men, “parlor tricks done with technology?”
“I am holding them up with my mind, Doctor McKay, Rodney. I have never ascended but my physiology is beyond the point of that possibility. Do Terrans ascend as my people did? You do not appear to be advanced enough for it to be a natural process.”
“No. We don’t ascend without help. Actually, as far as we know only one Terran has ascended since we learned about it and he got de-ascended within a year.”
Major John Sheppard cocked his head and stepped forward, placing his body between Horaz and Doctor McKay. “How did you know his name? McKay didn’t introduce himself to you.”
Horaz smiled. “Atlantis watches everything that occurs within her. She told me the names she has managed to pick up. I did not know the John portion of your name, Major John Sheppard, as no one has referred to you that way since your arrival. He has been called McKay, Doctor McKay, and Rodney. The female on the floor who was so awed by the trip here and is now unconscious has been called Doctor Weir. The man at the bottom of the steps is referred to as Colonel and Colonel Sumner and sir. The man who is attending to him has been called Doctor, Doctor Beckett, and Carson. Two of the soldiers I am holding aloft are Sergeant Bates and Private Miller. I can give names for several others as well. And if I wished to be as rude as those soldiers, I could simply read your minds but I have no desire to begin our relationship with such an intrusion.”
Doctor McKay peered around Major Shepard’s back and his eyes wide, he asked, “Is atlantis an AI, then. An artificial intelligence? Um, a computer system that can think for itself?”
“Atlantis is not a simple computer system, Doctor McKay, Rodney. She is not artificial. She was not created in the way the interface system you carry was likely created. Atlantis is an entity, born in space and bonded to my family line in peace and love. She is alive.”
Atlantis spoke, allowing her voice to project from the speakers in the room, “Indeed I am. I am not some primitive or advanced thing that the Lanteans made. Very few of my kind exist and we are all different, we grow as our bonded requires. The Lanteans copied many of my aesthetics and systems for their own purposes but I am myself. Do not treat me like a servant.”
“Oh, uh, sorry. We, I didn’t know. That is fascinating. Are you the reason for the genetic control of the Ancient’s tech?”
Horaz spoke softly. “In a way. It is a long story but one I am willing to impart to you along with much other information. If you impart to me your purpose here and your people’s history.”
Major John Shepard glanced around and Colonel Sumner nodded at him again. “Okay, yeah. Uh, can you let the Marines down and return our weapons? We won’t use them but well, as a good faith gesture.”
“If they attack once more, the consequences will be more dire” Horaz narrowed his eyes. “And more widespread.”
“They won’t attack. They were just – unprepared to meet anyone here. Shock, you know.”
The men lower to the floor and the weapons are placed in a pile in a corner. “We can be more comfortable if you would follow me, Major John Sheppard, Doctor McKay, Rodney, and any others you feel should be present.”
Major John Sheppard looked around and made a wide gesture with his arm. “Well, the leaders of the expedition are kind of – injured. Doctor Weir is the civilian head of the entire expedition and well, she’s unconscious, and Colonel Sumner is also badly hurt.”
“And is there noone who can speak for them until they have recovered?”
Colonel Sumner yelled up the stairs, “Shepard, you and McKay take notes! Report to me when you’re done! Bates, Ford, Markham, Stackhouse, go with them.”
Major John Sheppard nodded. “Okay, and uh, who’s the lead anthropology or whatever person? They should probably help. First contact and all.”
A man in the corner raised his hand. “That would be me, Major.” He walked quickly up the steps and faced Horaz, laying his hand on his chest. “Nyan.”
Horaz inclined his head. “Horaz Averruncus.”
Atlantis spoke again. “He is my arrideo. You will treat him with all respect or you will find yourselves in a worse place than simply floating on the ceiling. He is too kind. I am not.”
Doctor McKay spoke up, “Okay, he’s your Harrydo. Got it.”
Horaz shook his head and sighed before turning to walk down a corridor nearby, leading the way to a meeting room. Atlantis kept attention on him but also addressed the one she heard called Doctor Beckett, who was treating wounds.
“Doctor Beckett, Carson, are you a healer?”
Doctor Beckett’s head came up and he glanced around, eyes wide. “Um, yes, lass. I’m a doctor, a healer.”
“Doctor is a title for those who heal? Not a name? It is a designation?”
The man nodded. “Yes, lass. Sort of. Doctor is a title given to those who attain a certain level of education, of schooling, on our world. A high level. The most common type of person who gets that title is a healer so doctor can be a way to refer to a healer but many of the scientists with us have gone to that level of schooling but in other areas than medicine. So there are many doctors here but only a few healers who are doctors.”
“I understand. Well, there is a place that the Lanteans used for healing near here. I will allow you to take those who require treatment there. Do not try to wander anywhere else.”
“That’s kind of you, lass, thank you.”
“I have scanned the injured and can tell you their injuries when we arrive, if you wish.”
As Doctor Beckett and Atlantis worked with other medical personnel, she turned the majority of her attention to her arrideo as he and the Terrans settled into seats around a table in the meeting room.
All of them were seated around the dark gray table, the center lit from within. Nyan sat forward and spoke, “I am not really in the chain of command of the Expedition, but my job is to understand new cultures and interact with new peoples. So, I will at least start us off. As I said, my name is Nyan. I have no other name, though I am often referred to as Doctor Nyan or sometimes Nyan of Bedrosia. I do not come from the same planet as the rest of the Expedition, not originally. I am a scientist who studies cultures and the people who live within them, both present and past.”
“Thank you for speaking up, Nyan of Bedrosia.”
Nyan nodded. “To begin, I will clear up the name situation. The members of this Expedition are from a planet they call Earth.”
“We called it Terra.”
“Yes, I’ve heard it referred to as such in ancient texts. The Expedition is made up of people from many different nations, as Earth does not have a single planetary government, but many. Most of Earth does not know of the Stargate or the existence of life on other planets. Each member of the Expedition has at least two names and at least one title. For example, Doctor Rodney McKay. Doctor is his title, it refers to his high level of education in a number of subjects. Most of the scientists have this title. Rodney is his personal name and McKay is his family name.”
“I see. So, Rodney would be informal and among those close, but most would use McKay or Doctor McKay, in formality and in deference to his education and knowledge.”
“Yes. Some people are more open to swift informality and will invite the use of their personal name swiftly, others are more strict with their behavior and will insist on use of family names and titles. I, personally, invite you to feel free to use simply Nyan for myself. I did not leave my homeworld under good circumstances and actually dislike constant reminders of it. I have been on Earth for many years now.”
“Very well, Nyan. I understand. Lanteans also have personal names and family names but as time went on, many forewent their family names. My personal name is Horaz and I am of the family line of Averruncus. My family was one of the few to remain adamant in their acknowledgement of their family line, mostly due to our bond with Atlantis. However, it has been a very long time since I was called by either name. Atlantis picked up the beloved name that my uncles called me as a child and uses it almost exclusively. That is what she told you. She calls me her arrideo. It is not a title as such, though she tends to use it as one.”
Doctor McKay spoke up, “So, Herz. We should call you Harrydo Herz Aveuncus?”
Major John Sheppard groaned. “McKay, you’re gonna end up on the ceiling.”
Doctor McKay’s eyes widened, “What? What?”
Horaz leaned on the table and smiled lightly. “I believe Major John Sheppard is concerned with the habit you have of butchering my names, Doctor McKay.”
“I – I – I’m terrible with names, horrible, always, I – you -”
“Do not worry yourself, Doctor McKay, I can feel that it is not done maliciously. However, I would prefer that you recall my name. Or find a name that you can recall – and pronounce – that we can agree on. It would save everyone much distress.”
Doctor McKay nodded. “Yes, okay, yes, yes.”
“As I said, it has been eons since I have been called Horaz or Averruncus. I honor the names as connections to those long gone but of your people are – shall we say, unable to remember or pronounce those names, I am willing to be called by what Atlantis uses as my title. Arrideo.”
“Ah – ree – dee – oh.”
“Um, I know I’ll get it right for now but it won’t stay that way. I’m just warning you. I’ll end up calling you Harrydo or something, often.”
“Yes, you’ve said that before. Let us then take this form and use a part of it. Harrydo does not sound pleasing to the ear and will make me think of what it should be everytime you so pronounce it.”
“Uh, okay, well how about Harry. It is an actual name on Earth. Pretty popular, too. Princes and Kings have been named Harry.”
“Very well. You may call me Harry if you are unable to properly pronounce my name or title.”
Nyan leaned forward again, “Thank you, Lord Harry.”
“It is a title denoting status, a ruler of an area and people but not the ultimate ruler that a king would be.”
“I am not sure that Lord is proper but if it makes you feel better, than I suppose in a way I am the lord of Atlantis.”
“May I introduce the rest of those here, Lord Harry?”
“You have met Major John Sheppard. Major is his military title. John is his personal name and Sheppard is his family name.”
“It is nice to know you, Major Sheppard. I do have a question. You are dressed much differently than the other soldiers. And yet, if I understand correctly, you are not the leader of the Terrans here. Are you dressed as you are to denote your Lantean heritage?”
Major Sheppard shook his head. “Uh, no. You mean, my ATA gene?”
Doctor McKay spoke, “Ancient Technology Activation.”
Nyan interjected, “We refer to your people as the Ancients and some people on Earth have a gene, a piece of code in their makeup, that allows them to use technology that your people left behind.”
Harry tilted his head and listened as Atlantis explained what “gene” meant to him, in his terms. “Ah, yes, gene. I understand. Atlantis has explained. The translation matrix in the gate is accurate but technical terms and some others can be confusing. Gene, genome, yes. And yes, Atlantis can sense your Lantean genes. You have more than one. Without a full scan, we can’t be certain but I would guess one of your ancestors four or five generations in the past was a Lantean.”
“Uh, okay, that is pretty recent, maybe a hundred or a hundred and fifty years. Wow, um, well, my uniform, no, it has nothing to do with my gene. Earth has, well, Nyan told you how we have lots of different countries. Most of the military is from a country called the United States of America and it is a very large country and has control of the Stargate. America has a number of different branches, um, types of military units. I’m in the Air Force, which is mostly flying machines, planes, helicopters, jets. The leader of the military forces of the Expedition is Colonel (that’s his title) Marshall Sumner. He and the others dressed like him are Marines. They are fighters on the ground and in the water, fierce warriors. We also have the Navy, who are sailors on ships in the water and under it, and the Army who are fighters with ground based weapons and tanks and uh, artillery. It is a bit more complex than that but the gist of it is that most of the military contingent in the Expedition are Marines but the leaders of the SGC, uh, Stargate Command, the ones who control the Stargate and its operations on Earth, are Air Force. So, uh, technically I am the second highest ranked military officer in the Expedition, after Colonel Sumner. But I’m only nominally in his command structure. I’m actually the only Air Force member on the Expedition at this time and that is because of my ATA gene.”
“I think I understand. Lanteans were much more homogeneous. Our people had been grouped as one for a very, very long time. And the people here, in this galaxy, well, they all know of life on other planets.”
“Uh, right. Okay.”
“Tell me more about Terra. Or Earth, I suppose. How much of the population is Lantean?”
Major Sheppard’s forehead scrunched. “You mean, how many people have the gene? I – uh – I couldn’t really answer that. I don’t think anyone really can. Like we said, most of the world doesn’t know about aliens and we don’t have a global DNA registry or anything.”
“No. I didn’t mean the percentage of those with Lantean heritage. I meant my people, Lanteans, like those who gave you your gene.”
Major Sheppard glanced around the table and but his bottom lip. “As far as I know, zero percent. The program has met several ascended Ancients, uh Lanteans. And at least one who was de-ascended and then re-ascended I think. And um, of course Daniel Jackson. He isn’t Anci – uh Lantean, he’s human but he was dying and an An – a Lantean ascended came to him and helped him ascend but he made them upset and they made him human again. A few times, I think. But Earth is human. The gene is from generations and all back before the Lanteans ascended and all. I think. I mean, you said my gene is from a lot more recent than that. So, I uh don’t know, I guess.”
Harry shook his head. “No, the amount of genes necessary to register to activate Lantean technology requires a relatively close ancestor. No farther back than six generations at the most and that would be if there was much breeding among part-Lanteans within those generations.”
“Oh. I – okay. I don’t know what to say to that, really. It really makes me wonder about my family tree but, yeah, I guess there might be Lanteans around but we can’t tell. They don’t – advertise themselves.”
Harry nodded. “Very well. I understand.”
Nyan smiled and spoke. “I feel we should continue with the introductions. And to explain the leadership of this Expedition. The overall leader is Doctor Elizabeth Weir but she is unconscious. The military leader is Colonel Marshall Sumner and he also is badly injured. I believe all of the medical staff, healers, are occupied with them and others. But Doctor McKay is in charge of the civilian scientists. And is essentially the second in charge of civilians. And as I understand it, Major Sheppard is the one second in charge of the military even though he is Air Force. But we also have the second and third Marine in terms of rank here with us, Lieutenant Aiden Ford and Sergeant Dean Bates. The other Marines here are Sergeant Joseph Markham and Sergeant Boyan Stackhouse and are security, I believe. Also here we have Doctor Peter Grodin, an engineer and Doctor Weir’s associate. Doctor Radek Zelenka is an engineer and Doctor McKay’s second.”
Harry nodded. “I have introduced myself and of course, you came looking for meis vinculus, Atlantis. I understand that we have different terms or names for things and I suggest we come to a merging on those as well. My people are Lanteans. Ancients is – offensive. You call your world Earth, not Terra. I shall comply, as it is your world. I will accept you calling it an ATA gene as that is what you have been calling it. I also hear the term Stargate. That is – acceptable I suppose. It is an accurate translation from what I understand. I accept that we may slip and misspeak at times but I believe we should attempt to be conciliatory.”
The Earthans nodded, some more than others. Atlantis interjected, “What would you call yourselves? If we are to refer to your world as Earth, not Terra, we cannot call you Terrans as a whole. Is it Earthans?”
McKay choked. “No. Uh, in our home galaxy, we call it the Milky Way, off planet we are called Tau’ri.”
Harry tilted his head, “Tau’ri?”
Nyan nodded. “It is in a language of the dominant species in the Milky Way at the time Earth began using the Stargate. It means of the first world.”
“Why would you take a name like that in another language of a species that I take it were your enemies, since you said they were dominant, not are dominant.”
Doctor Grodin sat forward and spoke, “It was safest at first and then a habit.”
Harry smiled lightly. “Take this opportunity of a new galaxy to change that habit. Shall it be Earthans? Earthers? Earthins?”
Major Sheppard said, “I vote for Earthlings. It has historic significance.”
Doctor McKay snorted, “In B sci-fi movies, maybe.”
“Are you all agreed or is there a different option you would wish for?”
Major Sheppard looked around and met the eyes of the others at the table. He smiled. “Nope. We are Earthlings.”
Harry smiled. “Very well. Tell me, Major Sheppard, of the Earthlings interactions with the astria porta, the Stargate. Tell me of – Earth and your people. And I in return will tell you of this galaxy.”
“Well, I’m not the best to brief you, that is explain to you about the SGC, uh, Stargate Command, I only learned about all of it a month or so ago. Um, a month on Earth is thirty days, that is thirty revolutions of the planet.”
Doctor McKay interjected, “A year on Earth is three hundred sixty-five days, with an extra day added every four years. And because of historic idiocy, the year is split into twelve months, four of which have thirty days, one has twenty-eight days (and gets the extra day every four years), and the rest have thirty-one days. And a day lasts twenty-four hours on Earth. And hour consists of sixty minutes and a minute of sixty seconds. A second is how long it takes to count to one. Um, just for your reference’s sake.”
Major Sheppard sighed but Harry inclined his head at the scientist with a small smile. “Thank you, Doctor McKay. For your reference’s sake, by your measurements, this planet, called Lantea, has twenty-eight hour days, and a year would be three hundred thirty-two days.”
Doctor McKay mumbled, “Thanks” and pressed buttons on his interface device.
Nyan spoke, “I know the history of Earth’s relationship with the Stargate, Lord Harry. When your people came back to the planet from here, it was shortly before the dominant race in the Milky Way, the Goa’uld discovered Earth. The Goa’uld are a parasitic race that look like a snake with fins and take over humanoids when they enter through the mouth. They took the forms of Earth gods and goddesses and ruled the planet and then expanded to the entire galaxy. But the people of Earth, slaves, rebelled against them, in particular the most powerful, Ra and drove them from the planet. They buried the Stargate hoping to keep themselves safe. And it worked for thousands of years. Historians undercovered the Stargate from where it had been buried nearly one hundred years ago. They didn’t know what it was but thought it could be a weapon and the United States, one of the most powerful nations on the planet took it and experimented with it. Of course, having no idea what it was, there was no list of addresses and other than a lucky hit which stranded a scientist alone on a planet for decades, nothing happened. Eventually, the Stargate was packed away until ten or so years ago. After much trial and error, they brought in a linguist and anthropologist to try to read the cover stone that had been over the stargate when it was buried. That was Doctor Daniel Jackson and it took him a week to be able to read it, including the address to Ra’s planet left on it.”
“Yes, Daniel is very impressive. To make a very long story short, the American military sent a group of soldiers (and Daniel) through the Stargate to assess the dangers and stop them if possible. They ended up killing Ra and freeing his human slaves. Daniel stayed behind to study the Abydonians.”
“Daniel accidently married the chief’s daughter,” Doctor McKay snorted.
Nyan sighed. “Yes. And he stayed behind to be with her and to study this culture. A year later, another Goa’uld came through the Stargate on Earth, where it had been stored and kidnapped a female soldier. They returned to Abydos and Daniel showed them a cartouche of addresses he had found in some ruins. While he was giving them this tour, the same Goa’uld came to Abydos and kidnapped Daniel’s wife, Sha’re and her brother Skarra. It spurred Daniel to return to Earth and during the attempted, unsuccessful rescue, the – Earthlings – learned of the state of the galaxy and the System Lords, the Goa’uld who were in charge. They turned a high placed slave of Apophis and he saved them and helped to create Stargate Command. They created teams to go through the Stargate to find technology and allies in the fight against the Goa’uld. And it mostly worked. They have taken out many of the System Lords and the Goa’uld threat is waning in the Milky Way. They discovered other enemies along the way, main within it the Replicators, a computer lifeform hostile to all life.”
“That sounds – familiar. They look humanoid?”
Doctor McKay shook his head. “Not most of them. They look like bugs, spiders. Um, insects?”
Harry inclined his head. “I understand. They sound like the units my people used in construction and repair. Are they made of microscopic machines?”
“Yes. My people used such things often. We also at one time created a more humanoid version in an attempt to save lives when fighting the Wraith.”
Major Sheppard leaned in, “The Wraith?”
Harry blinked and sighed. “Yes. I still have more questions about your people but I owe you information in return for what you’ve given so far. The Wraith are – a mistake made by the ancestors of my people when we arrived in this galaxy. There was no intelligent life here. My people seeded many worlds with the building blocks of the humanoid form and waited. Unfortunately, one world they seeded was home to a – lifeform – that had the ability to quickly adapt new genes and it blended the humanoid genome with itself, creating a hybrid human/bug creature which feeds on the life energy of other humanoids. My people underestimated the voracious nature of the Wraith and their adaptability. They are able, when given access to major power sources, to breed incredibly fast. They are not mammals. They are a Hive, to an extent and are bred by a Queen like insects. The Wraith learned and grew and became a scourge on the galaxy and my people. We warred with them for quite some time, hundreds of years. But they vastly outnumbered us before we understood the reality of their existence. They pushed us out of the rest of the galaxy until Atlantis was all we had left. And we submerged her to keep her and us safe but they blockaded us here and bombarded the oceans and the Council made the decision to return to Terra – Earth. The Wraith knew when there no more Lanteans here. I was in deep stasis and couldn’t be sensed. The Wraith are limited telepaths, you see. And over the past eons since my people left us here, the Wraith have dominated this galaxy, feeding on the human populations, culling them like cattle, allowing them to recover while the majority hibernate, then awakening and culling again, destroying any civilization that grew large enough to potentially challenge them. The Others, those who have ascended, many of whom were those directly responsible for the rise of the Wraith, refuse to do anything about them. They won’t interfere to fix their mistake and anyone who tries is stopped. Cold.”
The people around the table had wide eyes and shocked expressions on their faces. “They feed?” Sergeant Bates spoke for the first time since sitting down.
Harry nodded. “They have a orifice on their hands which they press on the chest of a humanoid and it injects an enzyme to keep them alive and out of shock, and they draw out the life energy. The person – they appear to rapidly age, though that is not the actuality of what happens, exactly. But it is the best description unless you understand metaphysics and ascension theory. The Wraith do not age. Or rather, only the Queens do, they are born as young like other species and age to adult. But once adult, the Wraith do not age. There are Wraith in this galaxy who directly fought here above Atlantis, who killed people that I knew. If not killed by outside forces, by accident or by design, or fed upon by another Warith, they don’t die. And by taking life energy, they can rapidly heal until it is used up.”
Major Sheppard narrowed his eyes. “They feed on one another?”
Harry nodded. “Yes. Their society is split into essentially three types, Queens, soldiers/workers, and drones. The Queens and soldiers (which have different positions within their society) will feed on drones, other soldiers, or even other Queens. The Wraith are not unified, not now. They were to destroy my people but now it is more of a loose alliance of a species. But they fight over feeding grounds and other matters. Queens are very territorial and never really trust one another.”
“And the ascended in the galaxy don’t stop them. Or interfere.” Sergeant Bates scowled.
Harry sighed. “Indeed. Those who try are punished. The ascended Lanteans are led, I suppose would be the most correct term, by a man whose mortal name was Apium Terminus. He led many of my people to what he called the Light. That is ascension to a higher plane. And those who followed him consider him infallible. They believe that those who do not follow his ways are Dark or evil. They tell them they tread the path that led to the Ori. That is enough to cow most of them and the others either keep to minor rebellions or are harshly punished when attempting larger ones. It is incredibly ironic as Terminus is more of an Ori than any in our history since the Sundering.”
Major Sheppard blinked. “I’m sorry. This may be because I am so new to the SGC but – Ori? Sundering? Light? Dark? I don’t -”
Doctor Rodney McKay interjected. “I’ve been with the program a long time and I don’t know those either.”
Harry tilted his head. “You said that you knew one Earthling who had been ascended and then de-ascended as punishment…”
Doctor McKay nodded. “Daniel Jackson. He was dying of radiation poisoning and an ascended Anc – um, Lantean,, right, came to him and helped him to ascend but he couldn’t stop interfering and eventually got made human again and dumped on a distant planet without any memories. Naked. It was coincidental that he was even found by the SGC. Some of them claim they were led to him through dreams.”
“Yes,” Harry smiled. “One of the minor rebellions that are allowed, mainly as they are hard to track, is directing through the dreamscape or subconscious mind. But Daniel Jackson did not recall anything about why they de-ascended him?”
Nyan shook his head. “No, Daniel didn’t even recall his own name for several weeks after being found. Over time most of his human life came back to him but only flashes of his time as an ascended being.”
Harry smiled. “I hope to meet this man one day. For such an incredibly harsh punishment he must have been a severe danger to Terminus’ rule. And to overcome it! Yes, a very interesting development indeed.”
Doctor Rodney McKay waved his hands. “Yes, yes, Daniel’s amazing and wonderful and all that but Ori?”
Harry chuckled. “You are a very impatient man, Doctor Rodney McKay.” The man so addressed blushed as Harry continued, “But I agree. I believed you knew of the Ori as Daniel Jackson would have known of it while ascended but I can understand now why you do not. For you to understand requires a history lesson. Very, very, very ancient history. Long ago in a galaxy several removed from Ava – pardon me, the Milky Way,” Harry huffed a laugh, “when my people called ourselves Alteran, our bodies began to evolve. This was eons upon eons before there was life in your home galaxy. It was a slow process but several began to discover the process of ascension, shedding their physical bodies and becoming energy on a higher plane. Two of the first to accomplish this task were named Fugite Morte and Apium Terminus. Fugite Morte felt that doing as he had made him a literal god. He performed feats that others called miraculous. Terminus could perform similar feats but chose to refrain. He said that while they were no longer mortal, they were not deities. As others were able to ascend they began to follow one or the other. The problem was that Fugite Morte had created a religion, he called it Origin, and people, Alterans and less advanced humans on other worlds, worshipped the beings they called the Ori. They prayed to them. This worship and belief instill greater power in ascended beings than simply being ascended. Terminus and his followers eschewed such power and subjugation through lies. Eventually, to protect those of the ‘Light’, Terminus and his ascended led a large group of Alterans across several galaxies until finding a home in yours. They were able to accomplish this thanks to my ancestor finding and bonding with Atlantis shortly before they left. This was the Great Sundering.”
Major John Sheppard titled his head and frowned. “But you said that this Terminus guy was the leader now and treated like – well, it sounded like a god.”
Harry breathed out a heavy sigh. “Yes, well, over time Terminus became corrupted by his power. He was once a great man with powerful ideals. But worship and belief does not need to be coerced or forced as Fugite Morte and the Ori do in their home. It sounds as if few in your Milky Way know of the ascended…”
Nyan nodded. “True. There are legends of them and some evidence that they guided humans when young but …”
“And, tell me, those who believe theses legends, who don’t understand the physics, do they pray to these beings?”
Nyan frowned. “I – yes, I suppose some do. Daniel was assisted by a woman named Oma Desala and she had a – well, a temple, on Kheb where she was – I suppose worshipped by those who found her.”
Harry nodded solemnly. “I can assure you it is not an unusual situation. The origins of my people in the Milky Way may have been mostly lost but this galaxy has many tales of the ‘Ancestors’. There are entire planets and many, many, many cultures who pray to and worship my people. It isn’t forced, it is true, loving worship. And it empowers them just as much as the Ori are empowered. Terminus refuses to allow interference because if the truth of ascension was known, it would harm that belief and love. The Wraith provide a lovely reason to pray for safety, for thanks, for help. Destroying the Wraith would allow the people to advance their cultures in safety and peace and gradually understand the truth of the universe.”
Doctor Rodney McKay opened and closed his mouth a few times before finally speaking, “Well, we seem to have enough problems with our ascended, hopefully the Ori won’t find us, too.”
Harry shook his head. “One good thing that Terminus and his people set up before they were so corrupt was a shield to hide this galaxy and yours from the Ori’s senses. To find them, would require a guide of some sort. A way to see through the shield.”