Rating: Adults Only For Graphic Sex, Adult Situations and Violent Imagery
Category: POV Vignettes; Angst; Non Con (see warnings)
Pairings: Caldwell/Sheppard (AU); Dex/Sheppard/McKay; Lorne/Sheppard; Sumner/Sheppard/McKay (Mensa Universe AU); Mitchell/Sheppard
Warnings: Dubious Consent (#1 & #2) and Non Con (#4)
Notes: I spent days brainstorming possible scenarios for Kimberlite's Secret Santa request -- and concerned that I wouldn't finish the story I started on in time, I've pinch-hit myself. The first is the background from the section I wrote in the real fic and then cut. If/when it gets done, it'll still be inspired by Kimberlite's request.
For the 2007 SGA Secret Santa Fic Exchange
4. The Devil Went Down To Georgia (Mensa Universe AU) cont. Picking up things a few scenes before the end of McKay and Mrs. Miller, including canon dialogue.
John still wasn't sure how Sumner had learned that Earth had fallen to the Ori -- it's quite possible that it actually hadn't, and that Sumner and Everett only believe that it had because they'd forgotten their own complicity in there no longer being any contract between the two galaxies. He tried to suggest this to Jeanie during one of their brief encounters, in the hope that once the Dagan ZPM was recovered someone might be able to send another databurst out and garner a rescue. He'd couched it in a sort of code using Ancient when he was answer diagnostic questions, but Bates had either figured out they were doing something more than just the science stuff, or he'd taken Sumner's no talking rule for John to heart even when it was necessary for the work with the Ancient tech.
That hadn't been John's first taste of punishment, but it had led to John's first encounter in the Goa'uld sarcophagus, although it had been the 'fun' after the punishment that had damn near killed him.
It was after this that John finally learned where his doppelganger had been during the shitstorm when Sumner had turned Atlantis into a military dictatorship. That it had taken him until the fourth day of his captivity to find out, he suspected, was because Zelenka did not like to talk about what had happened to their John Sheppard, just as he refused to look at John now any day after John had been taken to one of the Triumvirate's quarters for the evening before instead of back to his cell.
Sumner had claimed he'd taken most of four months to break their John Sheppard to his touch, but John suspected his counterpart had actually broken before Sumner's training had ever begun. It could have started with the loss of Carson, or Elizabeth -- or maybe after Keras' entire planet had been given over to the Wraith (because indeed, one of the teams here had visited that planet early in the expedition which had led to Sumner taking their ZPM before the one from Earth ran dry, with no regard to what would happen to the kids left behind).
Or their John could have lost himself after the destruction of Sateda not by the Wraith, but from the combined Atlantean and Genii forces, after Sateda had refused to join the Independent Atlantean-Genii Alliance. Or because of the raping of all of the drones, the jumpers and most of the control crystals from the Lord Protector's sister city to Atlantis, of the Orion from the Taranians (and leaving them to die in the fallout of the super volcano), all done in the name of the Alliance and the protection of the galaxy, by people who were proving to be as big a scourge on the Pegasus Galaxy as the Wraith.
No wonder the Wraith were now coming with thirteen hive ships. Frankly, if not for the people like Zelenka, Jeanie, even Rod and, of course, Atlantis herself, John was tempted to let the city be destroyed, since maybe eighty percent of its inhabitants were proving they deserved it. But there was still the chance that the Wraith could learn the way to Earth, and while the evil twins (Kolya had always been evil) deserved anything that happened to them, neither Earth nor any of the other denizens of the Milky Way galaxy did. Nor would they be able to contend with the Wraith on top of the Ori and whatever Goa'uld were still swimming around, assuming the Ori didn't already have full dominion.
If by giving in and becoming the Triumvirate's toy got the other him out of having to witness further warcrimes -- or especially had gotten that John out of participating in them -- well, John couldn't say he blamed his counterpart even if he was choosing to try and fight back. He's been here only ten days, not twenty-five months. John couldn't even really blame his other self for committing suicide by mission, given the future the other him had been facing.
That fact that the last had happened several months back on a mission under Kolya's control, and that Sumner had kept Kolya in the sarcophagus for a week; killing him and reviving him and killing him all over again each evening because the other John had made sure his own body was unrecoverable … Well, that was just a bit of poetic justice for both Johns.
He'd spend time in one of those hellish things twice now. Because while Sumner and Everett got off on regular sex with someone they could bind and humiliate instead of just with each other, Acasta Kolya was a sadistic mother fucker who enjoyed delivering pain whether he then jacked off over or in John's body or not at the end of it. Most of the time, the others didn't care what Kolya did, not as long as John was conscious by the next morning, at least enough to be able to activate the chair, and since someone could wrap even his crushed fingers around an artifact to make it work if necessary.
John hadn't actually died yet. He'd just wished he had -- especially six hours or so earlier than the second time he'd finally been dumped into the sarcophagus. That time, the evening of his ninth day in Atlantis had been Kolya's turn with John again. He'd invited a handful of his favorites, including Bates and Sora to come play with John too, instead of keeping all of John's attention on himself. All of Kolya's Special Projects Unit had appetites just like their mentor. John had little doubt that just their awareness of the sarcophagus' function had led them to the depths of their current indulgences in depravities, in a game of one-upmanship that had been played out over his body. When you could erase all traces of damages with just a few hours in a box …
John was pretty sure the two uses hadn't gotten him addicted to the sarcophagus yet -- or any more crazy than he already was. Yet he was also certain it wouldn't take too many more nights with Kolya before he might try something just to get himself killed in the first hour or so. From that point he could also see how easy it would be for him to come to crave death, and then fall under the sarcophagus' sway and lose not just thoughts of home, but of himself.
He'd been putting together the bare bones of a plan, not to get back home, but to at least make living here survivable. The city as a whole would need to survive the Wraith invasion, of course, but John was beginning to think that was doable, even against thirteen ships -- well, actually, twelve, because he figured this Atlantis needed one left to be convinced Atlantis had destroyed itself rather than fall, just as they had done back home. John had brought up that idea with Everett, during one of his interrogation sessions about his Atlantis, and at least the other man was still enough of a soldier to know that if they didn't do something different and maybe drastic, the Wraith would just keep coming until Atlantis fell.
Even if he did manage to break the Triumvirate's hold over Atlantis, John wasn't about to leave the survivors to the mercy of the Wraith either.
By virtue of what they had stolen from the Lord Protector's Tower, John figured he had enough drones to do some serious damage to most of the hive ships. Sergeant Markham had apparently survived in this universe, and had been training under John's counterpart in how to control the Orion, so they had a warship to go after the cruisers and any of the darts that dared to make runs against the shield. With the Dagan ZPM, the should be able to run the shield for years, at least going by the original siege ten thousand years ago, although John knew Sumner would never allow a stalemate to last ten or more years.
Sumner wanted the city mobile, her engines once again firing and able to abandon Lantea if not the Pegasus Galaxy forever and maybe try back for Earth like the Ancients did so many years ago. Fortunately, he believed Rod and Zelenka and Radim that it would be possible without two more ZPMs, and even then it would be unlikely. So the plan for the nuke near the end of the battle was to be enacted, with Everett responsible for setting off the explosion to mask the city's switch from a shield to an invisibility cloak
Unfortunately, they had no Teyla here to connect with the Wraith and distract them while the nuke got set off (and John wasn't about to make mention of her or her people and get yet another civilization either enslaved or slaughtered). With Everett actually willing to sacrifice the Orion as the distraction, even with himself on board if necessary, John was beginning to think the rest of his plan to free Atlantis from more than the Wraith just might work.
The battle lasted four days, during which John was peeing through a catheter, fed nutrients and stims through an IV to keep him alive and awake, and otherwise chained to the control chair for the entirety of the encounter. The damage to his physical body was extensive, but nothing that wouldn't have recovered even without the damn sarcophagus, and he'd simply entrusted his mind and sanity to Atlantis, basically merging his brain with hers and living in not quite a virtual world, since he was still very aware of what was happening to the city.
It was from within here that John's plans for after finally gelled. Not only did he discover that yes, an Elizabeth did still live down in the stasis chambers this expedition hadn't yet discovered, but so too did the energy creature -- and he'd already discovered the presence of the nanite virus. From inside Atlantis he learned, too, that Rod had brought back the formula for Carson's gene therapy.
Not only was Rod synthesizing the gene therapy (after stealing some of John's blood after one of the punishments that hadn't warranted sarcophagus time), but he'd begun administering it to most of the scientists and even a couple of the soldiers that he felt could be trusted. Because this was the latest versions of Carson's work, and because there hadn't been any attempts earlier that had failed but still altered people's DNA so it couldn't be tried again, the success rate was a much higher seventy-four percent. So not only had Rod joined Miko in possessing the gene, but now so had Zelenka, Ladon and Jeanie, whereas it hadn't worked with Kavanaugh, Biro or Abrams.
The gene therapy worked also for Sergeants Miller, Markham and Stackhouse, and also one Evan Lorne, who'd been Caldwell's XO on the Daedalus and so had been in the city when the ship had been destroyed. For the last thirteen months Lorne had been on loan to Tyrus and living on the Genii homeworld. He was basically under a prison (and death) sentence without being killed outright (and maybe upsetting some of the other Marines that had worked with Lorne when he'd been on SG11). Tyrus and Lorne were now back on Atlantis to help were they could in fighting the Wraith.
Upon discovering that Rod was running his own plan for salvation, John used his interface with Atlantis to make the connection the two of them had had no opportunity to exploit before the siege. Because John had most of Atlantis' own computation power backing up his own ideas of strategy and tactics, he easily folded Rod's plans into his own, and in turn figured out a way to let Rod know that they needed to work together -- and that he had some information that would make Rod's ideas work better.
Their chance came during the gamble that Atlantis could convince the remaining Wraith ship that the city had been destroyed. By that point everyone was barely on their feet from exhaustion, hardly able to do their own jobs, much less watch to make sure others weren't doing something they shouldn't. The trick involved getting rid of Kolya and Sumner at the same time, yet also making sure the attempt was disguised as something resultant from the Wraith bombardment (and not a concerted effort to assassinate them) if Everett survived to return from the Orion to investigate his partners' deaths.
They would have loved to eliminate Everett at the same time -- and all it would take would be one or two misdirected drones -- but most of the people on the Orion were not part of the ruling junta, and didn't deserve to die just because they had the skill set necessary to crew a spaceship. John might have done it with regret anyway, because there were already at least neutral (if not innocent) personnel that were going to be caught up in the attacks on Kolya and Sumner and if he was going to be damned, he might as well make sure Rod's people had the best possible chance of surviving. But Rod quickly pointed out those same skill sets that had the people manning the Orion would be many that they would need to maintain Atlantis, and Everett was at least the most reasonable of the three to have to try and negotiate with in the end.
Because they weren't sure when the best window to set off their nuke and cloak the city would come, Rod suggested that once they were down to three Wraith hive ships or fewer, that the planet-side personnel no longer directly involved in fighting the Wraith be sequestered in certain rooms that would have additional shielding installed -- just in case the shield and cloak wouldn't work simultaneous for even a few seconds. That got Kolya away from his watching over John in the control chair room and, of course, Kolya had taken most of his favorite followers with him. Not trusting Rod (or John), Kolya took along some of the scientists as hostages against their good behavior, including Jeanie, but not only Rod predicted that, he'd planned on it and seeded the personnel near Kolya when the time came with the new gene carriers.
?QUERY: LOCATION TAU'RI EXPEDITION MEMBER, SUMNER, MARSHALL??
A map of Atlantis overtook John's mind while simultaneously a small window opened on Rod's interface computer. A red dot flashed near the control room.
Predictable, even though there wasn't much Sumner could do from there other than escape through the gate. The man loved his office and towering over his subordinates.
?QUERY: IDENTIFY ADJACENT LIFE FORMS WITHIN A 50 YARD RADIUS??
Sixteen names scrolled out, one of which almost made John hesitate: Ford, Aiden. But, in truth, there were no innocents, at least on the soldier side of the equation. Stackhouse, Miller and Markham, along with a few others, had actively objected to Sumner's way of running things from the beginning and even as few as five days ago. They submitted to regular punishments as a consequence but never stopped attempting to mitigate Sumner's policies and ameliorate the civilians and scientists' living conditions as best they could. While Ford had never participated in any of the gross abuses of his fellow Marines according to most of the reports John had managed to compile, neither had Ford questioned Everett or Sumner's rule once.
?QUERY: LOCATION GENII INDEGENI, KOLYA, ACASTAS??
This time the image was a direct camera feed overlooking the innermost chamber of the set of rooms that were sybaritic living quarters, play rooms and the punishment theatre that only the senior staff had access to. The first designated safe area Rod had set up.
?QUERY: IDENTIFY ADJACENT LIFE FORMS WITHIN A 50 YARD RADIUS??
Thirty-two names this time, including Jeanie McKay, Miko Kusanagi and Lindsey Novak. John hadn't even recognized the Daedalus' chief engineer when he'd been brought to Kolya's rooms the first time; she'd apparently been an earlier favorite plaything, yet they hadn't been as careful with making sure she was healed properly. Rod hadn't been able to get access to her to even try the gene therapy retrovirus, and her loss would be significant to any hope of turning the Orion into something that might get them back to the Milky Way galaxy without generations having to pass, but in John's opinion, they'd lost her months and months earlier, and she would thank them for death if she still had anything left of her voice.
?QUERY: LOCATION TAU'RI EXPEDITION MEMBER, LORNE, EVAN??
LOCATION: SARCOPHAGUS DESIGNATION NUMBER 3. APPROXIMATE TIME LEFT FOR RENEWAL: EIGHTY-SEVEN MINUTES. ADDICTION PROFILE PERCENTILE: 03.479
Not good, but not bad, either. At least Evan was being resurrected after whatever transgression he must have committed; not everyone was. And this way he'd be well out of their little rebellion should everything go to hell, and maybe able to finish something if John and Rod at least got rid of Kolya or Sumner.
?QUERY: STATUS OF SARCOPHAGI DESIGNATION NUMBERS ONE AND TWO??
STATUS: SARCOPHAGUS DESIGNATION NUMBER 1. EMPTY
STATUS: SARCOPHAGUS DESIGNATION NUMBER 2. OCCUPIED BY GENII INDEGENI, RADIM, LADON. APPROXIMATE TIME LEFT FOR RENEWAL: FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN MINUTES. ADDICTION PROFILE PERCENTILE: 79.281
Shit, that wasn't good. John had no idea how many times it took being revived in the sarcophagus to get to something like that state.
?QUERY: ADDICTION PROFILE PERCENTILE: SHEPPARD, JOHN, DESIGNATION UNIVERSE B??
ANSWER: ADDICTION PROFILE PERCENTILE: SHEPPARD, JOHN, DESIGNATION UNIVERSE B: 08.925
Okay, not an exact doubling, if this was Evan's first time. John wasn't sure if the progression was logarithmic or simple and while he could have found out how many times Radim had gone under to maybe figure it out, there was always possible that it varied from person to person anyway. That mindset and general outlook could have something to do with it, as well as whether you had an addictive personality trait in the first place. There was the possibility that the ATA gene could affect it too, as it affected so many damn other things, but …
?QUERY SHEPPARD, JOHN, DESIGNATION UNIVERSE B: ARE YOU MAKING A QUERY??
Sorry, Atlantis. ANSWER: NOT THAT
John took a deep breath and returned to his tasks.
?QUERY: STATUS OF SHADOW ENTITY CONTAINMENT CHAMBER??
STATUS: SHADOW ENTITY CONTAINMENT CHAMBER FUNCTIONING
?QUERY: STATUS OF INTERNAL CONTAINMENT SHIELDING??
STATUS: INTERNAL CONTAINMENT SHIELDING FUNCTIONAL. POWER DIVERSION UPON ACTIVATION FROM CURRENT CITY OPERATIONS: 24 PERCENT
CAN WE WORK WITH THAT ROD?
We're going to have to. Just don't let it take too long.
?QUERY: IF, and here John could only picture what he was hoping to do though his deeper connection with the heart of Atlantis. ESTIMATE TIMING PERAMETERS AND TOTAL POWER CONSUMPTION??
ANSWER: ESTIMATE: TIME RATE FROM ACTIVATION OF INTERNAL CONTAIMNENT SHIELDING AND RELEASE OF CONTAINMENT CHAMBER .00239 SECONDS. ESTIMATE: TIME RATE OF SHADOW ENTITY MOVEMENT FROM CONTAINMENT CHAMBER SECURE LAB TO CENTRAL CONTROL TOWER 94.398 SECONDS. ESTIMATE: TIME RATE TO LOWER GATE SHIELD AND ACTIVATE STARGATE FROM REMOTE LOCATION: DEFENSE CONTROL CHAIR 132.096 SECONDS. ESTIMATE: TOTAL POWER DRAIN FROM CURRENT CITY OPERATIONS 53.6 PERCENT. ?QUERY SHEPPARD, JOHN, DESIGNATION UNIVERSE B: ARE YOU SURE??
COMMAND OVERRIDE LANTEAN DESIGNATION 001 DEFENSE CONTROL COMMAND X775A001-01-2006.
COMMAND OVERRIDE ACKNOWLEDGED.
?QUERY: IF, again John visualized the second prong of their attack. ESTIMATE TIMING PARAMETERS AND TOTAL POWER CONSUMPTION??
ANSWER: ESTIMATE: TIME RATE FROM RELEASE OF VIRAL LAB CONTAIMNENT .00452 SECONDS. ESTIMATE: TIME RATE FOR NANITE VIRUS DISSEMINATION THROUGHOUT UNSHIELDED AIR SUPPLY 119.478 SECONDS. CITY QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS OVERRIDE. ESTIMATE: TOTAL POWER DRAIN FROM CURRENT CITY OPERATIONS 0.0 DUE TO NULL OPERATION.
COMMAND OVERRIDE LANTEAN DESIGNATION 001 DEFENSE CONTROL COMMAND X775A001-01-2006.
COMMAND OVERRIDE ACKNOWLEDGED. ESTIMATE: TOTAL POWER DRAIN FROM CURRENT CITY OPERATIONS 38.59 PERCENT
CAN YOU WORK WITH A 93 PERCENT POWER DIVERSION, ROD?
We're going to burn out most of the ZPM again if we do this, but yes. Atlantis is holding back a 8 percent power reserve, which will be enough to hold the shield for the duration of the blast wave and convert to the cloak for at least two hours. If the Wraith stay around looking longer than that, we're fucked.
INTERFACE OVERRIDE DEFENSE CONTROL COMMAND OPERATION: WRAITH SHIP DESIGNATION ALPHA ELEVEN HAS BEEN ELIMINATED. WRAITH SHIP DESIGNATION ALPHA TWELVE SHIELDING FLUCTUATING BETWEEN 33 AND 15 PERCENT POWER. WRAITH SHIP DESIGNATION ALPHA THIRTEEN SHIELDING FLUCTUATING BETWEEN 64 AND 28 PERCENT POWER. LANTEAN SHIP DESIGNATION ORION OMEGA ONE SHIELDING FLUCTUATING BETWEEN 41 AND 29 PERCENT POWER. DRONE SUPPLY FALLING TO 13 PERCENT
IF WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS ROD, IT NEEDS TO BE NOW.
Wrath of God time, John.
"You do know that despite what the sarcophagus can accomplish, it's not going to be able to restore the Ancient's Elizabeth's youth, right?" John asked from his position lying with his head on Rod's shoulder and chest.
No one had been more excited to learn that an incarnation of Elizabeth was still alive in this Atlantis than the McKay siblings. Apparently their Elizabeth had been the one instrumental to talking Jeanie into coming along from the outset, and as neither figured they could have survived what the expedition had become without the other, they felt they owed Elizabeth a lot. John, in the meantime, was doing his damnedest not to be weirded out by just how close Rod and Jeanie were.
"I don't think she's going to allow us to keep putting her back in to keep her going as long as we can, either," Jeanie more or less agreed from where she was leaning against John's legs so she could still read the reports he and Rod had compiled about the Triumvirate's end.
And John absolutely wasn't going to think about how close the three of them had become, or how he was going to face Rodney and Jeanie ever again, once he got home.
Rod nodded to both of their statements, his chin bumping against the fingers he was absently carding through John's hair while his others were imputing something into the laptop he was paying not quite half of his attention to. "Carolyn figures Elizabeth has about six months before she begins failing again. But what she can still accomplish in that time --"
"Most Pegasus civilizations revere their elders to a ridiculous degree," Jeanie finished off Rod's thought, more as if they were twins than had six years difference in age between them. "That combined with Elizabeth's --"
"Diplomatic skills and negotiating experience will enable us to get the basis of a stable alliance underway before she's taken from us again," Rod took the thought back. "Assuming we can get anyone to let us past their gate after Sumner's Reign of Bloody Terror and Genocide."
"I can hear the caps from here, Mer. Please tell me that is not what you're calling it?" Jeanie turned and lifted her head from John's shin to grouse in Rod's general direction.
"That's why I've suggested you seek out the Athosians first, assuming they haven't been culled already," John interceded before a typical shouting match interrupted between the two. John found he enjoyed the floor show between these two as much as he had their counterparts back home, but not when he was actually, physically, between them, as both had a tendency to make their points with flailing hands.
"Even if there is no version of Teyla in this universe, there might be a Halling or her father, Tegan, and I can't see the Athosians as a people being all that different than the ones I know. Teyla's people are widely respected, widely traveled, and have a fundamental understanding of life here in the Pegasus Galaxy that I don't think you folks really got in having the Genii as your first contact." John considered it quite a win that that was the worst he was saying about the Genii, whose representatives here had been even worse then their counterparts (and that had included a Kolya who had fed him to a Wraith). Like back home, Ladon Radim had been chosen to try and clean up his homeworld.
"If you can get the Athosians on your side -- and put as much blame on the Genii as possible for what's happened --"
Okay, maybe not quite the worst he managed to say.
"-- the other planets will probably at least let the gate teams live long enough to bring Elizabeth in." John offered a quiet grin. "And, like you've said, Atlantis is home free."
"Atlantis is a free home, you mean, thanks to you," Rod said with an uncharacteristic tenderness as he moved his hand down to rub it's back across John's cheek. Jeanie gave John a corresponding caress and gentle squeeze to his calf after she'd snaked her hand under his sweats. He accepted their touches with little more than a twitch. They'd had a week to recover, not just their selves, but all of Atlantis. For the most part, John felt pretty normal. He still flinched a little too dramatically when anyone touched or even bumped into him from behind, but overall he was okay with simple things like hugs -- as long as he knew they were coming.
(And boy, was he getting a shitload of them, even though Rod had done as much to save the city and its survivors' souls.)
Hugs were different from sex, however, and John wasn't sure when he'd be ready to even masturbate again, much less participate in a threesome even if it was with the two people he felt safest with at the moment. He wasn't really worried, yet. It wasn't as if he hadn't spent a large portion of his life celibate anyway, from having chosen flying and the Air Force over forming relationships since his preferred choice had been men.
It also wasn't like the two McKays were actually having sex with one another. They were just willing to share if one of them found a partner. John had been asked, and he'd said no, but …
It was surprisingly easy to be with someone (or two), however, who only wanted to heal instead of hurt him. Thus most of his free time over the last six days was being spent like this. In bed with Rod and Jeanie -- all three of them clothed -- while the two siblings worked on whatever projects they had on their minds, and John continued to get his strength (and mind) back.
A part of him still missed his connection with Atlantis to a degree that had startled and then scared him, especially when thinking about it in conjunction with the sarcophagus addiction syndrome. He was also so damn grateful to Atlantis, for what she'd been able to do for him, and what the two of them together had accomplished. But it wasn't like he was sneaking out to climb back into the chair (had he been able to get that far on his own in the first place, or without being stopped by someone looking to help). Or that he'd really even wanted to.
After four days of being restrained to the defense command chair without being able to even shift his position to more than a mild degree, he'd been unable to walk or even support his own head upright for more than a second or so. Compounded with a previous fourteen days of not being allowed to speak for the most part, and then subsuming his sense interactions within Atlantis' own way of accessing the world outside of her digital existence, John hadn't been able to actually talk either. Rod and Zelenka had both feared John's mind had been fried by four days of constant interaction. Jeanie, apparently, had been the one to keep them from outright panicking about John's lack of awareness.
Although she'd been relying on another use of the sarcophagus to counteract whatever had afflicted him, John understood their haste in using it, since although the Wraith, Sumner and Kolya had been eliminated in the defense of the city, as far as anyone knew, Everett was still on the Orion, Tyrus was still in the city and combined, the two of them had half of the contingent of Marines still at their disposal to deal with the little science team insurrection.
Fortunately, Everett had succumbed to injuries received during a slugfest between the Orion and a handful of Wraith cruisers (not that John wasn't fairly sure that some of the damage had also come from friendly fire) before the Orion even touched back down on the South Dock. Tyrus, it turned out, had apparently only gone along with the whole Bloody Reign of Terror -- no, Reign of Bloody Terror and Genocide -- because of his daughter's association and worship of Kolya. He'd stepped down as the Genii leader immediately, wanting only to go back home and grieve for all that had been lost. The cunt herself had died right along side her mentor, with most of the worst of the Marines including Bates.
John couldn't find it in himself to regret that they any of them had died screaming, with a dose of their own bloody terror in the form of nanite induced hallucinations and brain embolisms.
Because he and Rod had loosed both the Replicator virus and the energy creature before signaling the Orion to set off the nuke in Lantea's upper atmosphere, the resulting EMP had destroyed the nanite virus before it could be loosened throughout the city as the power drained below maintainable levels for the containment protocols. Because the initial explosion as well as the Wraith bombardments had drawn the energy creature like a lure out of the city after it had finished replenishing itself in the Control room as they'd blocked all other access, they'd not needed to open the stargate to give anyone a chance to escape, and the energy creature had torn apart in the nuclear conflagration from consuming too much energy
Due to the abuses Ladon Radim had endured from the likes of Kolya and Sora and Bates, the first thing he did as the Genii's new leader, was to dismiss his people's current military command structure. With Lorne's help, the plan was for them to reevaluate and vet the officers and bring back only those who weren't inclined to delusions of power and grandeur, just as was being done on Atlantis. John wished them luck; at least Ladon realized he couldn't govern without some sort of military and police force, but the aggressive colonization policies would at least have to take time to come back to the fore.
And speaking of Lorne…
"Has it been decided what we're going to do with the prisoners?" Jeanie had a thoughtful frown on her face, and John figured she'd gotten to the portion of the report that listed the nineteen Marines who had refused to accept the new authority structure in Atlantis.
"John?" Rod prompted.
"That's Lorne's decision, remember? I'm not part of the command structure." He didn't say your structure; because no one was really sure they could get John home even if they did get their hands on a new ZPM. Yet should John have to stay, he wasn't going to put himself into Sumner's place. Lorne could handle the job; as also a former member of SG11 in this universe, he was certainly more qualified to command an off-world expedition than John had been when John had been forced to kill his Sumner too.
"I imagine he's not going to make a decision until you decide whether you're going to try to get back in contact with Earth -- once you find out whether or not the Ori have taken control. If it was me," because he knew these McKays were not going to let him completely ignore what they'd been hoping would become his responsibilities, "I'd send them back to Earth for trial if I had the opportunity. Atlantis isn’t set up to handle long-term prisoners." No matter how much Sumner and Kolya had tried.
"Your only other options are to exile or kill them, since they will never integrate back in," John continued. "I think everyone's had enough of deaths for a few … months." Saying years was just too unrealistic; this was Pegasus after all, and death was probably only days away in some form.
Rod stopped his attentions to John, other than to tug on him carefully to get John sitting up. Jeanie picked up on Rod's intentions, naturally, and together they steadied John, although he could sit up on his own now, could even stand and walk, although he got tired and out of breath way too fucking quickly. But John appreciated the concern and their outlook for his well-being, and suspected his allowing their care was doing a bit for their own sense of well-being. It was obvious the both of them were still feeling guilty for bringing John here -- Rod because he had done the actual deed, and Jeanie because she'd been the coercion used to force Rod to comply.
"We have already decided to try for Earth contact, but only after we've figured out a way to get you home, John." Rod's smile was more tremulous than gleeful, but it was still heartfelt, and John appreciated its offering as well as what Rod was saying.
"No one is keen on making contact with the Asurian Replicators that you've told us are out there," Jeanie further clarified, "but Lorne's thinking we might be able to sneak a cloaked ship into their Atlantis and send a strike team in to steal an extra ZPM or two."
"Assuming our Asurians are in the same location yours are, and that they are indeed a bit of unfinished business the Ancients left behind," Rod prevaricated, "and so won't welcome us with open arms. We going to see if our new Elizabeth has ideas on other locations for ZPMs first, see if she has more than yours did or different ones, but --"
"But we also think we can establish the kind of connection our two universes made when we coordinated Rod's return here, and we can at least let them know you are still alive and will be coming home, John," Jeanie said with a brilliant smile. "Rod's databurst algorithm should work through a dimensional bridge just as well as through a stargate, and I expect your McKays are working day and night to figure something out even if we weren't. So it shouldn't be too much longer." She bent forward and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"And in the meantime, we can get you healed up and restored -- without using the sarcophagus, of course -- and maybe even talk you into joining the first contact team with the Athosian, since you made such an impression on yours." Rod's expression was turning into a combination of eagerness, resignation and resolve.
They'd already had the discussion as to why John needed to return if he could. It had been a bit harder than John had expected; he was needed here too --
"I know you don't owe us anything, that you never did," Rod was still talking. "But you have been an absolute boon, and I would hope that you could still --"
John reached out his fingers to stop Rod's torrent of babbling. "Every Atlantis deserves to have a friend like Teyla." This was the first time he'd voluntarily touched someone instead of just having responded to their touches. No doubt some sort of breakthough, had this Atlantis still had a Kate Heightmeyer to evaluate him, although John had really only been thinking of stopping Rod from taking the blame for everything up to and including Sumner and Kolya's existence.
"I was also thinking that if Teyla is or was there, at least, we might be able to find a necklace my Teyla lost years ago. It had a Wraith tracker in it, set off by any Lantean touch, so you'll need to have someone without the gene look for it. But if they can bring it back and you can isolate its operation, you might be able to reverse engineer it and use it as a way of seeing if there are other trackers out there."
"You mean like the one Rod said a guy named Ronon wore in your universe once?" Jeanie was pretty good at reading John's mind too.
"Well, if you find a Teyla, you probably need to find a Ronon," John grinned, but then sobered quickly. "Although it was Sumner who destroyed Sateda here, so he might have died on planet, or been off-world but never a runner." He frowned, because until this moment, he hadn't thought about Ronon not being a runner here in this universe; that Sumner might not have just ordered Sateda's destruction but Ronon's. The first was deplorable but almost fate, except maybe Sateda's survival was the norm and it was just these two universes. Or, statistically, it could be even --
John head still hurt enough on most days since working the chair for so long, that he didn't need to compound it willingly.
"Runners in general could be worth working with," Jeanie continued with John's idea. "At least we might be able to save them from an awful existence, and we can use all the Karma we can get."
She shrugged when John and Rod both cocked their heads her direction. Neither McKay sibling was one to talk about religion or redemption, and so even allowing Karma seemed a bit uncharacteristic.
"We don't have a viable population to keep the expedition going, Mer, not without pulling allies and reinforcements from other worlds," she explained herself. "Especially if we can't make contact with Earth. If this is our home for good --"
"We probably need to worry about what happens if we do make the connection, and I'm not talking about the Ori," Rod frowned. "How many of us here will want to give up our newly regained freedom to someone else's oversight, even if it is as benign as the SGC's and the IOA's."
John had certainly never thought of the IOA as being benign. Pests, yes and busybodies who were eager to take the credit for anything, but always sidestepping any blame. At best, the IOA were bureaucrats in the worst sense of the word.
"Our biggest losses were the military, which, really aren't losses given what they were doing," Jeanie laughed a little uncomfortably. "That makes us vulnerable to a lot more than just the Wraith, including whatever new force the Earth might want to send if all is well back home. Are you sure you won’t take command, just until we can send you back?" she turned earnest eyes onto John.
"You're already a bona fide hero," Rod picked up her worry and plea. "No one really knows Lorne even if he is ours, and the SGC is batting oh for two to use a completely inappropriate sports metaphor which I'm sure you can still appreciate, if you count Sumner and Everett, or oh for five if you include Bates and Ford and Caldwell, since the later got his ship blown up. I'm sure Lorne would be relieved anyway, since --"
John again quieted Rod, this time with just the briefest kiss, surprising the hell out of them both. Out of the three of them, since John was pretty sure the squeak had actually come from Jeanie. The spontaneous kiss had to be because Rod was turning out to be a lot more like Rodney than like the easy-going, confident persona he'd shown them on John's Atlantis, and so John was just seeking comfort in the familiar.
He couldn't just exclude Jeanie, however, since she'd been doing everything she could to make his confinement here easier from the very start even though John had gotten her shot. So he turned and pressed a soft kiss on her lips too, then drew back from both of them self-consciously.
"I won't be doing any of you any favors if I s-set things up and then l-leave," John managed to stutter out. "Lorne deserves to be able to set his own command from of the offset. Neither I nor my counterpart here was expecting command when we joined the expedition, so it's not like even if your John were still alive, he wouldn't be feeling the same way …"
John trailed off when he realized what he'd actually said in his own bit of babbling. Yeah, it had been in the back of his mind ever since he'd heard their John had insured his body wouldn't be recoverable to be put into the sarcophagus again. With no body to be found it was quite possible their John hadn't really killed himself. John knew his counterpart would have been looking desperately for a way to free himself from Sumner and Kolya's depravations, yet it hadn't completely sat right that any John Sheppard would have abandoned the other people here like Rod and Jeanie, no matter how untenable his situation had been.
Once he'd confirmed that crossing transdimensionally as he had wouldn't pose any chance of entropic failure for their being two of him here. John had intended to bring up the possibility their Sheppard was alive only after the new command structure had been stabilized and in place long enough to weather something like their John Sheppard's survival. Because it was also damn likely that this universe's John would be as whacked as the men who had broken him -- or as feral as Ronon was on his worst days. Nine months certainly wasn't seven years, but John knew himself, knew what he was capable of and what he could turn off when it was absolutely necessary. Without someone to function as a grounding mechanism, to remind him of why he fought and to give him a cause to claim his loyalty, he might not be anything like the man these people thought they knew. And if their John's only motivation to survive had become revenge…
"You think he is alive." Jeanie's eyes were shining.
John let his eyes close and he let out a quiet sigh. He couldn't lie to them, not to these two, but that meant telling them all of it. Somehow he doubted if their John were alive and sane, that he'd be happy with John sharing things he hadn't even shared with his own Rodney (or Teyla or Ronon).
"I think there is a chance," John admitted, and let them draw him back into their light embraces. "But I also think there a fifty-fifty or even a sixty-forty chance that if so, he's no more sane than Sumner was in the end. Unfortunately, if the latter is the case, you will have to find out, preferably as soon as possible. Because I can guarantee you he is going to be a problem just as soon as he can figure out a way back. Or to any of your off-world teams, and it won't matter that Sumner, Kolya or Everett are gone -- at least not in time."
"But there is a forty or fifty percent chance that he's okay? That he can at least be brought home and given a chance to become okay?" Rod asked with a desperate look of hope that John in good conscience couldn't destroy.
"I think that if he gives you a chance to reach out to him, that if he has you two, along with Zelenka and Major Lorne and all of the rest of the people here who never gave up remembering what Atlantis was supposed to be, then yes, he can eventually find peace here again." John let his eyes close again. "Just like I can, if we never get me home."
It wasn't hugs and puppies as Buffy might have said. But it was hope…hopeful. And look where that had gotten them so far.
(Title and lyric from the Charlie Daniels Band)