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Title: The First Year
By Atri/ Chiara Crawford



CATEGORY: Introspective

ARCHIVES: ff.net, Command Dynamics

SPOILERS: Season One: Poisoning the Well

SUMMARY: Two people ponder upon the consequences of their decisions.

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).

She sees him at the fifth pylon, sitting on a bench overlooking the ocean. His shoulders are slumped and his whole being emits waves of failure and desolation. He is the epitome of a broken man and the guilt she was already feeling doubles just by looking at him. This is another consequence of being a leader, she knows. Like her people’s successes, their failures are her own, too.

For a long moment she stands there silently, not moving at all. But, then, she finally settles next to him, her gaze on the endless ocean before her. It is a sunny day. The scent of the sea is carried on a soft breeze to them and the sunrays are caressing her skin warmly. Somewhere, deep inside her, something screams that it shouldn’t be like that. Even now, she knows, people are dying, willingly going to their deaths. It should be raining. The weather, though, does what it wants and cares not for the plight of humans.

Without a word, she hands him the glass bottle with amber liquid, her eyes not moving from the horizon. She feels him startle. Perhaps he thinks it strange that she would bring such a thing with her.

“That’s not going to make it better, lass.” His strong Scottish voice rumbles from beside her, tinged both with resignation and guilt. She wonders if it is more difficult for him than it is for her. After all, she only made the decision; he carried it out.

“Perhaps not”, she admits, then grins ruefully, “but it’s not going to make it worse.” She never looked towards alcohol to solve her problems, but this time…this time she just wants to forget. Maybe it’s cowardly. Drinking herself into a stupor is not a way of dealing with things.

He sighs and she looks at him, seeing him take a huge gulp of the liquid. He passes the bottle to her. The Scotch is burning hotly, travelling down to her stomach and spreading warmth in her whole body. Some of the tension dissipates.

“Do you think…” he hesitates, not quite knowing how to formulate his question,“ that some of them will survive?”

It is a difficult question. Of course, the drug will not kill them all. But what will happen once the Wraith know that the Hoffans have a way to stop their feeding? There is no doubt that they will ruthlessly kill anyone who knows the secret.

Apparently, her silence is enough answer. A tortured sob escapes his mouth, cut off abruptly to bring himself under control again.

The truth is that there had been no way to make the Hoffans decide differently, to force them to not use the drug. It is their legacy. She understands that, to some extent at least, but she also hates it. She hates that she had had to give up her principles, because in the depths of her heart she had still believed in the Geneva Convention, in the moral superiority of humans, in not lowering herself to their level. It is a slippery slope and she now sees that she is inching it further and further down. There is no place for civilization – Earth’s kind of civilization – or mercy for one’s enemies here in Pegasus. Everything is about survival, about living another day. It is an ugly realization but also a necessary one. Earth’s people are living in luxury, cocooned in peace and anonymity. For all her terrestrial wars, Earth is still an innocent.

Envy and hate swirl inside her, making her angry. Angry at herself, because how could she have been so na´ve? How could she have believed that the universe would align itself to her Earthern morals? Angry at the universe for not doing exactly that.

She takes another swallow of the Scotch, feeling her face stretch itself into a deep scowl.

There is no way around it. She sees it clearly in her mind. Earth morals, Earth standards will not survive here in Pegasus. Oh, she will try to hold on to as many of them as is possible, but she knows that there will be some she will have to let go.

She glances at Carson and squeezes his shoulder in sympathy. His eyes are dark, his expression empty. For him it is even harder. He is a doctor, a preserver of life, a healer. He has helped a civilization on the path to its doom.

His voice is quiet, when he speaks next, his words nigh a whisper, but they jolt her nevertheless.

“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

The symbolism doesn’t escape her and she smiles bitterly.

In front of her inner eye, she looks upon the road ahead. It is paved with hard decisions, with ugly decisions, with necessary decisions. It is a road she knows she must and will walk to ensure the survival of her people. It is inevitable that the journey will change them all. Perhaps it will even make some of them unable to look at themselves in the mirror. Perhaps that is the price she will have to pay.

Nobody ever said that leadership was easy. Survival, she discovers, is a hard taskmaster and necessity knows no laws.

She swallows some more Scotch and looks out at the ocean. It is a sunny, beautiful day. She squeezes Carson’s shoulder harder.

Whatever Pegasus throws at them, they will manage.

They have to.

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