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Title: The First Year
By Atri/ Chiara Crawford



CATEGORY: introspection

ARCHIVES: ff.net, Command Dynamics

SPOILERS: Season One: Letters from Pegasus.

SUMMARY: A hope extinguished.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Stargate: Atlantis.
I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).

“…chevron seven…locked…chevron eight…cannot lock!” There is no flash of wormhole-blue and with that the last hope of hers – help from Earth or just the possibility that her people will not be forgotten, their deeds known back home – is brutally ripped away. It had been a faint hope, but still there. After all, when they had left Earth, the SGC was well on their way to improving the hyperdrive and even without that, there were still the Asgard, who would not have found it impossible to travel to Pegasus.

“What?!” Rodney’s voice cuts through her thoughts, and she turns to see him looking at a display in the command centre with agitation. “But…but…no!” Then, after a moment: “…Jeannie…” He falls down and begins sobbing in an uncommon display of emotion.

“Radek?” she hesitantly asks. The Czech, too, pales at whatever he sees, but when he stumbles back, manages to support himself against one of the columns. Swallowing, he raises his eyes and there is horror in his gaze.

“The reason we did not manage to establish a wormhole,” he finally says with a thicker accent than usual, “…it was not our fault. The reason lies with Earth. It’s like with a telephone: if Earth already had an engaged wormhole with another planet, then we would get a busy signal, so to speak. But this time…this time we got nothing…it’s…as if there is no one on the other side…”

There is no need for him to say anything else. The implications are clear. Earth would never bury their gate – they had the iris for protection. If nobody is there…then the only explanation is that the gate does not exist…that Earth is no longer there.

She fights down the bile in her throat. Her home world…gone. She knows, of course, about the threats that Earth faced when the expedition left. The Replicators are, in some ways, even more dangerous than the System Lords. Suddenly, she remembers the secret orders of President Hayes and his IOA counterparts, in case that Earth fell. At that time, she had not wanted to believe such a thing possible, but now…

Looking around her, at the grim faces of her people, who know exactly what such a lack of contact means, she feels the enormous responsibility of her position crash down around her. This expedition is now the last remnant of the Tau’ri, of Earth, the First World. What is left of Earth’s traditions and culture, her mentality and uniqueness, is here – and she, Elizabeth Weir, is the leader, the one responsible to ensure that it would survive.

“Sergeant Bates,” she tells the man, who is admirably not breaking down like some of the others are, and she is proud of the fact that her voice is steady, “please gather all non-essential personnel in the mess hall, where I will make an announcement.”

He salutes her and goes.

Thirty minutes later, she is standing in front of a crowd of people, their faces desperately hoping, but already knowing what has happened. She doesn’t want to shatter the hope, but knows she must. Briefly she recounts their attempt of contacting Earth and the result.

She pauses, takes a deep breath, willing herself to remain strong and speaks:

“We must assume that the worst-case scenario has happened: Earth is lost.” There. She said it. Resolutely, she ignores the crying and the tears. “That means that the Phoenix Protocols are now active. We will not fade into oblivion! As long as we live, our memories and our culture will live on! The enemy we face is dangerous, but I have seen each and every one of you survive the most dangerous and desperate of situations. When all seemed lost, we showed that we could survive even then. This is not the end! Dismissed.”

She catches John’s eye and together they leave the mess hall and their people to their grief and sorrow. Together, the two leaders of Atlantis walk silently to her office. She does not turn to him. Her shoulders are hunched and she chokes back the tears. No. Now is not the time. Not yet. She feels him hover behind her, almost touching, his warmth just there.

“The ZPM on the Kids’ planet…” she begins, simultaneously hating herself and knowing it to be necessary, “…go to them. Tell them about our situation. Offer them Atlantis as a sanctuary. Take AR-2 with you.” It remains unspoken that he will go alone. Teyla is already on the mainland, explaining. Rodney is desperately trying to find a solution and Aiden…no…this is not his burden to bear.

John does not give a verbal acknowledgement, just squeezes her shoulder and leaves. Alone, she steps out onto the balcony and just breathes, eyes on the horizon.

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