It was business as usual in Atlantis as the usual threats against the expedition seemed to be giving some sort of reprieve. Atlantis was back in the Pegasus Galaxy, not without significant arguments to the IOA for its necessity. Of course they insisted on a change of leadership. A military leader was out of the question. They had done that with Sam Carter, who satisfied both the military and scientific area of the base, but she had made decisions that the IOA didn’t agree with as she didn’t play as their puppet. That lead to Richard Woolsey, but he had learned quickly that the mindset that Earth had often went by just didn’t work out there and he soon dissatisfied his bosses.
As powerful as the committee was, it was still just one group opinion. When the vote came down, Daniel Jackson and his knowledge was majority choice. Of course he was torn about it but in the end the opportunity was too good to pass up.
After some initial problems were dealt with in their return to Pegasus, the expedition were able to return to their original purpose.
Exploring the northwest pier was a lengthy and troublesome process as it appeared to have housed many private quarters of the Ancients. It took a great deal of time for McKay to get doors opened because they were locked with security features that allowed only it’s occupants gene or those they permitted to enter.
It wasn’t until they approached one room where the doors opened for Colonel Sheppard. “Okay… That was interesting,” Rodney muttered as he pushed his way passed the man who stood in the doorway, glaring at the offending walls. “Why does this always happen to you?”
“Yeah, interesting. Why me?” John questioned.
Dr. Zelenka shrugged. “It is possible that the room belonged to one of your ancestors that your ATA gene is from.”
“It would be a great experience to learn more about your lineage,” Teyla threw in her two cents.
The team spread out, looking over the displays of personal items when Rodney let out a huff that could mean as number of different things from ‘interesting’ to ‘oh crap’! “What?” John demanded.
“This terminal, which you noticed seems to be standard in many of the rooms. Like their own personal computers. I think I pulled up its occupants diary of sorts…” McKay answered disgracefully as he read. “Uhh, how did a trip to Old Athos sound to anyone?”
Teyla and John looked at him surprised. “What did you find?” He asked carefully.
“Ohh, maybe a living breathing Ancient?”
“I don’t know. We haven’t had the best of luck when dealing with them directly —”
Rodney cut John off, shaking his head aggressively. “I know that but if the Ancient that entered these logs is still alive, I think it’s worth a shot. I can’t 100 percent certain, and I’ll reluctantly have Jackson look at them himself, but this one did not agree with her people with a lot of things they did. And there are references to the gate address for Old Athos where she speaks of her children – or dinner, I can’t be sure.”
John took in a weary breath as he glanced at his friend. “It’s your people, your home world. Are you up for it?”
She was still in a state of surprised shock, needing more time to respond. “I think I would like to explore this new knowledge. I know my people would like to hear new stories of our heritage.”
Nodding, Sheppard reached up to activate his comm and called for Daniel to come to their location. Before he would agree to go further on this new information, he wanted a better translation of the entries.
Later that afternoon, Daniel Jackson sat in front of the terminal completely engrossed in its contents while another group had been organized to continue the exploration of the corridors in that section of the city.
“I cannot help but feel like we are intruding on someone’s personal space,” Teyla murmured.
“Well that’s because we are. If this Ancient is still alive, I think he or she will be mightily pissed,” Sheppard said back in an equally hushed voice.
Jackson, for his lack of attention to them finally showed signs that he had actually been listening the entire time. “Yes and no. Actually while she will be upset, I don’t think she would really care in the grand scheme of the intrusion. From what I can see here, this Ancient really supported and voiced for the humans but she was still one voice against a majority. I want to go with you to Athos and see what’s there for myself. I do think something big may have been there all this time. It’s quite possible that the Ancients left her here purposely. We all know that they don’t exactly take kindly to those that follow their bidding or break their rules.”
“If she could lead us to more ZedPMs then I’m on board,” Rodney commented from the tablet he had interfaced with the terminal.
John made a face at him and grimaced. “Figures you’d say that. Fine, let’s do this. We can go tomorrow –”
“No, we have to go today. I mean why wait?”
“Sheppard. This could be the greatest thing if he is right. I get that we haven’t quite gotten on well with them, but come on. If she is dead, then there still might be a ZedPM there that we could take.”
The Colonel still wasn’t entirely convinced, especially with the hopeful expectant eyes on him. His – boss, for lack of a better term, wasn’t much better considering he had been glued to the logs. “Fine. Suit up, we will leave in an hour. Though I’d just like to go on record that I’m not exactly thrilled at the idea of this trip.”
“Duly noted Colonel,” Jackson murmured before turning to Rodney. “Can you copy these logs to my tablet? I can do more reading while we are looking around the ruins.”
“Yeah, yeah,” McKay waved him off as he elbowed his way in to connect his own computer into the interface.
Halling had been in Atlantis to help with a delivery of crops that the Athosians had set aside for their allies. Upon his return to the gateroom, he bumped into an eager old friend.
“Teyla! You look well,” he greeted, bowing his head slightly.
She smiled up at him as she continued to walk and secure a strap of her equipment to herself. “Halling. Is all well in the settlement?” she asked.
“It is. Jinto has grown strong and begun to work in the fields this season. You appear – anxious to be leaving. Has something happened?” The concern evident in his voice as he slow his pace.
Teyla slowed with him and soon paused. “Possibly. We are about to leave to visit Old Athos for the first time since we were forced to leave due to the Wraith. The team had found information in Atlantis that there may be something great in the old ruins.”
The much taller man look perplexed. “Now? Why have they not discovered it before? It has been many cycles since.”
She hesitated before looking unsure. “The system was isolated from the general access. They would not have found it with their usual techniques and it was learned in an Ancestor’s personal room.”
“I would not be comfortable truding in the personal areas of the Ancestors.”
“I am not either however I do recognize that in order to learn, one must be a little intrusive at times. Otherwise we would not know what might have been hidden on the world of our birth,” Teyla explained gently. “Now, we must go. Doctors Jackson and McKay wish to go as quickly as possible.”
“And Sheppard? What say he?” Halling asked.
At that, she was pained. “He is not so eager. You see, the rooms have taken a great deal of time trying to get open because they were locked securely by the owner’s genetic code. The room we found this information in opened easily in his presence. Doctor Zelenka believes it may have belonged to one of his bloodline. That and he has not had the most pleasant encounters with the Ancestors over time.”
“Ah, yes. Well I would like to wish you and your team great luck. Please come to visit us with stories about this journey when you can. Shall I inform Kanaan that Torren would be staying with us longer?”
Teyla smiled warmly as they had by then approached the gateroom after having begun walking again. “Yes. If he would not mind. I will visit to collect him as soon as we are sure that there will be no threat if what we are hoping to be true.”
“Yes. That would be a wise decision. We will see you soon then Teyla,” Halling replied before bowing his head to hers in traditional Athosian ways.
Sheppard walked into the gateroom and patted Halling on the back as he passed by in his own greeting before looking up towards the control room where Jackson and McKay were bickering about something. “Dial it up!” he ordered, catching the attention of the two before they joined the rest of the group.
It was a sight to be seen, the amount that had wished to join on that particular journey. John negated the last minute requests quite quickly, leaving his team, Daniel, and Carson to go. McKay reluctantly got him to include Zelenka as they do work well enough together and may require his assistance should they do discover anything remotely interesting.
With the geeks released in the ruins of the Old City, John desperately moved away to find himself some peaceful quiet.
“Why didn’t we come back and look around better before?” Rodney asked again as they walked around the stone ruins. He had never actually been to Old Athos and John had always sent one of the other teams to collect what belongings they could after they were forced to evacuate the people to Atlantis. If course, after that their focus was on other things after that point. Sheppard managed to avoid helping on that end because he continued to feel guilt over everything that occurred due to his damned genes.
John looked around with apprehension, especially across the lake where the Athosians once lived. He couldn’t help but to keep looking up to the sky, almost waiting for the darts to come.
“You know that my people do not blame you,” Teyla’s voice came from behind him.
“Doesn’t make me feel any better,” he let out gruffly. They stood beside one another looking at the remains of a people that once lived there. John glanced behind them to see what the others were doing.
Carson insisted on wanting to join the group at the last minute, in case if they found anything or anyone. Rodney was scanning the area for energy readings, grumbling about its inconsistency. “There has to be something here. Something is causing spikes and its jumping all over the place whenever I get closer. Like its deliberately sending us on a wild goose chase.”
“This entire trip might be the wild good chase,” John grumbled.
Jackson had been lost, reading some text on what used to be a monument. “I don’t think so. This is an obscure dialect that I can see. Like a combination of Ancient and the Athosian that Teyla has taught me. Do your people have any gods or something similar that you worship?” He looked right at Teyla for confirmation.
She thought about it and shook her head. “Not worship really, but we do give thanks to the spirit Demiah for her blessings on our crops during the fall harvest.”
Daniel nodded with a grin. “Demiah. That could be Demeter. On Earth, she was known to be the goddess of grain and agriculture, a lover of the earth, by the Greeks. Which I actually find quite strange.”
“What do you mean?” John asked, noticing the serious and concerned expression on the man’s face.
Daniel hesitated as he looked back up from the monument. “Well, from experience, anyone we encountered in the Milky Way that were referred to as gods, especially in Earth’s mythologies were all Goa’uld.”
A dark expression covered John’s face. Teyla took a minute to consider what was said. “The creature that had inhabited Colonel Caldwell years ago? That set the bomb in the city?”
“Yeah. That thing. So you think the Ancients actually had a Goa’uld living with them in Atlantis?”
“I don’t know. It’s possible I guess. After all Oma Desala helped one ascend,” Daniel shrugged helplessly.
John wasn’t convinced. “I said this mission was a bad idea from the start,” he reminded him.
“Look, we know the Goa’uld aren’t invincible. We have stun guns. Just be ready is all.”
“Easy for you to say,” the Colonel muttered. “Is there anything there that might tell us where this secret area might be? I’d like get this over with with as soon as possible.”
Daniel turned back to look over everything again. “I don’t think the entrance is here. Too much damage is done that anyone else, especially the Wraith, would’ve found it…” As he trailed off, he stood and looked around. McKay was going back and forth in another area of the destroyed city. Taking in what the scientist was complaining about, he turned in the opposite way, staring right into the trees. “What’s that way?”
Teyla and John exchanged a grim frown. “A small cave that was used in the old days to hide from the Wraith. I showed it to John the day he came to the village.”
“Did you explore it much?” He asked, already starting to walk in that direction.
“There is not a whole lot there. Just some drawings on walls about generations of cullings,” John answered, narrowing his eyes.
Jackson grinned. “You didn’t really have the time to look around fully though,” he pointed out. “McKay! Forget about that for now. Whatever is here is probably designed to intentionally lead people away.”
“No kidding! The energy signature will keep you running in circles forever!” The man complained as he trudged over with Ronon in tow. “We are we going now?”
“A cave that generations past used for protection,” Teyla explained.
“Of course. Why go away from where sensors are telling us the spikes are. That makes a load of sense,” Rodney commented sarcastically.
“Subterfuge McKay. The energy keeps you away from what it is seeking to protect,” Jackson replied as the group begun the hike towards the mountainous region.
Along the way, Teyla expertly navigated the terrain as she had done before to lead them to the cave of her ancestors. As the entrance came into view, Daniel was very pleased. “Yes, yes, yes. This could definitely be it,” he murmured to himself as he unhooked his P-90 and handed it over to Teyla before slipping inside to look around.
“Wow,” he let out, his eyes drinking in all the pictographs on the walls. He moved to feel around the art, to find some hidden panel. “It’s got to be here somewh– Aha!” An Ancient designed panel appeared with text printed across it. “Oh crap.”
“What did you do?” Sheppard asked from the back of the group, his eyes narrowing before he nudged Rodney to go and check it out.
Daniel moved out of the way so that McKay could read it for himself. When he turned around, looking slightly dejected, John’s mood quickly plummeted. “It says that its protected. Only the ones that guided the people may gain entry. What the hell do they mean by that?”
“If what I think is true, its the same ones that the quarters belonged to. Colonel? Would you please give it a try. I know, I know very well your reservations. They are certainly noted but you have to agree that the risks are well worth the possible reward,” Jackson nearly begged.
John eyed the wall behind him with disdain and sighed. “Fine. Move out of the way,” he grumbled as he made his way to the front. Standing there, he eyed the panel and wall. “How is this supposed to work again?” he asked as he waved his hand over area but it seemed to do nothing. Turning around, he shook his head. “No dice. Not me this time,” he said a moment too soon because as soon as he leaned back against the wall, it let him through in the same manner that Janus’ lab had done when it was discovered.
Moments later the wall disappeared revealing Sheppard standing there, glaring at the group. “You wanted in, you’re in. Let’s get this over with please.”
Daniel and Rodney made their way through, looking around eagerly. While McKay went over to check the operation of the consoles, Daniel looked around at everything else, including whatever texts he might be able to find.
“Colonel? Dr. McKay, Jackson? I think this may be what you are looking for,” Teyla voiced from a darkened corner. She reached up to the glass that was covered with so much dust, it masked the light from inside. As she wiped away, slowly the face of a slumbering woman appeared. “Is she alive?”
John walked over and eyed the console that he assumed controlled the stasis chamber. His gene naturally turned it on and he pressed a few buttons of the Ancient symbols he recognized. “It looks like it. What do you want to do Doc?”
“We came all the way here to see if it was true. Dr. Beckett?” Jackson nodded towards him as the man made his way to the side.
“As someone who has been on one of these, I can say she likely would want out. For as long as she may have been in there, she would be severely weakened. Have someone bring a jumper closer with a cot? The sooner we could get her back to Atlantis once we open ‘er up, the better,” Carson replied.
There was an extended silence as it seemed that they were waiting for someone volunteer to either go for or get a jumper or to stay. Before anyone else can speak, Teyla begun for the exit. “I will go call to see if Major Lorne is free to come and assist.”
John could only nod as he stepped back, avoiding looking at anything in particular. “Copy whatever you need to Rodney and look through it when we get back. Carson, you use whoever you need when the jumper gets here to get her out of there. I’ll wait outside,” he groused before walking out.
“Yes, of course,” Carson said softly as he watched his friend leave.
Daniel was watching as well, turning away from translating some files he found. “What was that about?” he asked carefully.
The two Atlantis seniors exchanged a heavy look. “You’ve read the reports Jackson. The last time anyone from the expedition was here, he unknowingly activated a tracker that led the Wraith to the settlement.”
“Aye. An unhealthy dose of survivor’s remorse I’d say. Regardless, let us get back to work so that we can get back to Atlantis sooner,” Carson added.