I'm not gonna do many authors notes, in fact this will probably be the only one. So this story is not dead, I've just been crazy busy with work and finishing school. But, I am making some changes to the direction I was going with this story. Or rather, how fast the story will be progressing to those points. I went ahead and altered some things in the story, some minor and some major. I also took out the last few chapters for use later in the story. I like the chapters fine but, while I am definitely going to go back and rewrite them, I got to those story points too quickly. I am going to be taking more time establishing Atlantis in the ME universe before we get to the events of the games. I think it will flow better that way.


Third rock from its sun.

Home to over seven billion people; all with hopes and dreams for the future. And, unknown to the majority of the planet's population, the ancestral home of the several trillion humans spread across the galaxy. Ten thousand years of being spread from world to world by the parasitic alien race known as the Goa'uld had allowed for unprecedented population growth throughout the galaxy. Those of the first world, Earth, were known throughout the galaxy as the Taur'i. They had led the charge in overthrowing the Goa'uld System Lords who had held the galaxy in a strangle hold for generations. With their allies the Tok'ra and the Free Jaffa, the humans of Earth ended ten thousand years of oppression and slavery, securing freedom for the entire galaxy. But what should have been the beginning of a new age of peace, instead turned out to be the beginning of a new nightmare.

The Ori.

In a distant galaxy, a group of Ascended Beings had created their own evolution of humans. Beyond that, they created an elite caste of artificially evolved humans who were just at the precipice of ascending. In this state, these 'Priors' had access to knowledge and powers far beyond their less evolved kin. The Priors created massive fleets and armies with technology only a few races in recorded history had been able to match. Like a great flood they swept away the mightiest defenses the civilizations of the Milky Way could muster, all in an effort to force this new galaxy to join in the worship of these Ascended Beings. Earth managed to achieve some victories through their ingenuity or sheer luck, but in the end it did little to halt the advance of the Ori war machine. Eventually, all but a few Jaffa strongholds and holdout civilizations with technology advanced enough to resist remained.

And Earth.

But it was only a matter time.

0702 Hours, February 3, 2008/
Atlantis: Lantea, Pegasus Galaxy

Alarms rang out across the control room as defense teams took up positions on the stairs and surrounding area, forming a defensive perimeter around the Stargate. The digital blue symbols quickly lit up, leaving very little time for the control room personnel to react in comparison to Milky Way Stargates.

"Unscheduled off world activation!" Sergeant Chuck Mathews alerted the tower through the speakers.

Before the unstable vortex could shoot into the room, the blue energy of the Iris shield activated ensuring that no unwanted travelers would make it into the gate room of Atlantis in one piece. A moment later the familiar noise of a Stargate activating filled the room, along with clicking of safeties from the defense team's weapons.

Back up in the control room Dr Elizabeth Weir, Director of the Atlantis expedition, quickly walked into the commotion that was going on as her people tried to figure out who was dialing Atlantis. Following her was Lt Colonel John Sheppard, second in command of the expedition and commanding officer of the military contingent.

"Chuck, what's going on?" she asked as she came to rest behind him, staring at his computer screen as she tried to see if there was an IDC code.

It turned out there was, and Chuck filtered the code through their decryption before tilting his head in confusion, "It's Stargate Command…"

Not missing a beat despite her confusion as to how Earth was able to dial in, since the ZPM there was tied into the Antarctic Defense System, she nodded and ordered them defense teams to stand down and for the Iris shield to be lowered. She expected a team of IOA delegates or perhaps even General O'Neill to calmly walk through and explain the reason for their surprise visit. Instead…


The moment they sent word back through the gate that it was safe to pass through, a rush of people flooded through. The Atlantis personnel were taken off guard momentarily; the people running through the gate were a mixture of SGC personnel and what was clearly civilians. The SGC airmen and marines quickly started directing the civilians the left and right of the gate so that there wouldn't be a pile up.

The two leaders of the Atlantis Expedition shared a look of confusion and shock. Dr Weir and Colonel Sheppard ran through Stargate Operations and rushed down the stairs looking for someone to explain what the hell was going on. As they reached the bottom a familiar blonde woman in broke from the crowd. She began pointing and directing both SGC personnel and Atlantis gate security to help the people pouring out of the gate.

"You men! Help SGC personnel direct the civilians down and into secure areas. Colonel Reynolds! Have the rest standby for more incoming travelers and supplies!" Colonel Carter ordered as more and more people came through the wormhole.

Weir came right up to the senior member of SG-1, "Colonel, what the hell is going on here? Who are all these people?"

Carter turned to face the two, and her face showed a look they'd never seen on her before: fear and desperation.

Carter shook her head, "No time! We've got several hundred civilians coming through, along with personnel from both Area 51 and the SGC. We need your people to assist in setting up temporary quarters for them, then we need to-"

Sheppard grabbed her shoulders, "Carter! Take a breath. Calm down and tell us what is happening."

Carter turned to look at him, "It's the Ori! They've launched an all-out assault on Earth!"


"How did they get past Earth's defenses?"

"How bad are the casualties?"

"My family! My family's still there!"

Shouts of panic began to erupt from Atlantis security and gate room technicians at Colonel Carter's words. What had been a standard morning in the city of Atlantis had devolved into absolute chaos in the gate room.

"Major Lorne! Get your men to coordinate here with SGC security, move the civilians down and into the lower levels of the tower," Sheppard ordered before raising a hand to his ear, "This is Sheppard, all security and AR teams report to the Stargate Control to assist in incoming civilians from the SGC."

Getting his men back under control, Sheppard nodded to the leader of Atlantis before moving off with Carter to get things organized. Weir ordered a suspension of all activities in the city to assist with the constant flow of people swarming through the gate. Soon hundreds of people had entered the city; clearly having not been in the know of the Stargate many were in a state of shock. As Atlantis and SGC personnel filtered both equipment and people into temporary holding areas until they could be sorted out, the senior members of the Atlantis expedition and the SGC had moved into the meeting room just above the gate room. The shutter-like doors had closed to make sure the occupants could discuss things in private, but the constant sounds of the chaos outside were still audible, albeit dulled.

Carter sighed as she explained the situation, "When our subspace sensors detected the fleet approaching Earth, we realized there was just no way we could mount a proper defense. Even with the Ancients' weapons platform and our two ships we knew we couldn't hold out. So, General O'Neill decided to enact Operation Exodus. At least we tried to, but before we could fully implement it their fleet arrived."

"They took out the control chair in Antarctica, but not before the Odyssey was able to beam out the ZPM. Jack sent it to the SGC and ordered them to take in any and all civilians near Cheyanne. General Landry's orders were to evacuate as many people as possible using the ZPM to power the gate for as long as possible. Jack took personal command of the Odyssey so that they could try and hold off the fleet for as long as possible," Daniel further explained.

"Once they're all through, the SGC is set to enter self-destruct to prevent the Ori from knowing where we went… at least for a little while. The Apollo is heading to pick up any remaining personnel off-world at our bases or otherwise. Teal'c is rallying what Jaffa forces he can. If he can convince enough of his people to come with, hopefully with a mothership or two, they're set to rendezvous with the Apollo and the Odyssey where they'll be towed through hyperspace here," Carter finished leaving the room in silence.

Sheppard looked around the room at the stunned faces of his team and Dr Weir. Rodney's eyes were practically bulging out of their sockets as he tried to comprehend what was happening, the usually confident and ecstatic physicist too shocked to speak. Teyla had a sympathetic frown as she understood better than most what it meant to flee your homeworld. Ronon was… well Ronon. But even he had the slightest of grimaces, no doubt all of this reminding him too much of his own past. John turned to Elizabeth and saw that her hands were clenched, and her face was down, whether in fear, grief, or rage… he couldn't tell.

"So… what? We're just abandoning Earth?" she demanded, everyone know being able to hear the barely contained anger in her tone.

Carter and Daniel turned to look at each other, having already had this conversation with themselves and others back at the SGC. One very vocal voice had been SG-1's CO Colonel Cameron Mitchell, who wanted nothing more than to stay and fight for their home. The continuous sound of people shuffling through the gate was a constant reminder of what had been decided back on Earth.

Carter shook her head, "We don't have a choice. Before we went through the gate their motherships had already annihilated Washington, London, Moscow, New York… the list goes on. There was never any way we could have taken them in a straight up fight. Our saving grace up until this point has been that the bulk of their armada has been tied up pacifying the rest of the galaxy. Now…"

It was well established from the moment the Ori ships entered the Milky Way that Earth had no way of stopping them. Their ships ripped through entire fleets of Ha'tak class motherships and Earth's own battlecruisers. Even with the Asgard upgrades the Odyssey had received from the now extinct Great Race, they didn't have the numbers to even the odds. One or two ships would have been a serious challenge for Earth to take on, but a whole fleet?

They stood no chance.

"The Exodus plan has been in place since the early days of the SGC. Should it become clear that Earth is going to be overrun or destroyed, our mission is to try and save as many as we can and protect our way of life for future generations. We save what we can now, so that we can return and fight another day," Carter tried to convince them, and herself she hated to admit.

"But all those people were leaving to die? What about them?" Sheppard stood up and pointed towards the shut doors, aiming where the gate was and the Earth it was connected to.

Daniel stood up as well, "You don't think we want to save them all? We've been trying for two years to find a way to stop the Ori. Two years! We tried everything! We stopped their plagues, halted their ships from coming through the Super Gate, sent an Ascension bomb to their galaxy! It just wasn't-"

A hand reached up and grabbed his forearm. Looking down, he saw that Vala was staring up at him with a weak smile, the slightest hints of tears building up in her eyes. Looking away from her, he sank down into his chair and stared at the table.

"…It just wasn't enough…" he managed to croak out, leaving the room in silence once again.

The gate remained active for almost three hours after it had activated thanks to the ZPM at the SGC. In that time hundreds of civilians and military personnel had flooded the city along with literal tons of equipment and supplies. The Atlantis personnel struggled to find accommodations for them all as every room in the main tower soon found itself filled to the brim. The SGC and Atlantis military teams had to be dispatched throughout the city with every civilian group that had not been in the know of the Stargate program, which was nearly all of them. Already Weir and Sheppard were getting reports of civil unrest, with a few cases of physical violence. Luckily, their teams had been able to quell this unrest without casualties and only a few civilians sent to the infirmary.

Teyla and Ronon had gone to help the security teams in whatever way they could. This left Weir, Sheppard, Carter, Daniel, and Vala waiting above the Stargate watching as more and more of what might have been the last people on Earth come through.

Suddenly a voice broke out on the radio, the sounds of gunfire and staff blasts echoing in the background, "…. Atlantis! This is Mitchell, Ori troops have…. eached the lower levels. We're try…. old em' back but we're being overrun! The last group is going… gate now! The General and I are initiating the self-destruct! Standby… inbound travelers!"

Sheppard walked over to the railing in front of the control consoles, "Defense teams, standby!"

The defense teams, both Atlantis and SGC soldiers, quickly took up perimeter around the gate. Their line of fire was disrupted by the flow of people still coming through the Stargate, but soon the flow trickled down to only a few people. As the final civilian sprinted through the gate, SGC marines and airmen began coming through, limping or on stretchers, all of them bleeding and having various wounds and staff burns. Medical teams came rushing to their aid and pulling them out of the way of more men and women coming through. A few moments later the familiar face of Colonel Cameron Mitchell, leader of SG-1, limped through the gate with his arm over the shoulder of a marine. She helped him clear the event horizon before he turned to look up at the control room. His face half blocked by a stream of blood dripping down his face, and his right eye blackened and swollen.

"Activate the shield!" he called out to whoever was up there, his vision too obscured to tell.

Carter rushed to the balcony, "What about General Landry?"

"There's no time, DO IT!" he yelled out, forgoing his usual military composure.

"Raise the shield," Weir ordered Chuck who immediately complied.

A second later the blue energy of the Atlantis Stargate shield filled the event horizon. Not a moment after, a massive shockwave hit the shield that shook the gate room. Everyone stared at the gate in disbelief, knowing exactly what had just happened. Then the wormhole disengaged, and the Stargate shut down.

The defense teams stood down and began helping their fellow service men and women who were wounded. Mitchell was led to the stairs by the marine and she set him down. He thanked her and ordered her to see to her own wounds as medics began to work on him. Weir and the rest came down the stairs and surrounded him with a flurry of questions.

"Cam! What happened back there?"

"Are you alright?"

"What's the situation back on Earth?"

"Did Landry get beamed out?"

Mitchell waived them all down, "Easy people, my head is poundin'…" he took a deep breath before continuing, "Ori troops pushed us back to the gate room. Landry and I activated the self-destruct, then held the gate room as we ordered all remainin' forces to withdraw. But…"

The Colonel got a pained look on his face, and they all could tell it wasn't from his wounds.

"The General was hit by a staff blast. He and a few others remained behind so that the rest of us could fall back…" he quietly explained, hanging his head in shame.

Carter let out a breath she had been holding in and hung her head as well in respect, followed by Daniel and Vala. They hadn't known Landry as well as Hammond, but the man had proven himself a worthy successor. He was competent and decisive in his command despite his relative inexperience in all things related to the Stargate. And he was a good man. They had seen Dr Lam come through the gate, and they had no idea how she would take the news that her father was dead.

Weir crouched down to his level and placed a hand on his shoulder, "Hey, you did all you could. It's not your fault."

Mitchell nodded, clearly not believing the words but appreciating the sentiment all the same. After ordering all the wounded to be taken to the infirmary Weir, Sheppard, and the rest of SG-1 set about the enormous task of deciding how to deal with the tragedy that they all now faced.

A few days had passed since what everyone was unofficially calling the 'Fall of Earth'. The morale of everyone had sunk close to rock bottom. The civilians that found themselves running through a crash course on what the US and its allies had been up to these last few years. They all began going through the stages of grief on a mass scale. Once the initial shock wore off, the anger came. Demands of why and how this all happened were thrown at the Stargate Program personnel who could offer little in the way of answers in return. This led to a form of martial law that kept the civilians confined to their temporary quarters until they could organize them with proper accommodations and make sure they weren't a threat to themselves and those around them.

The military and scientific divisions hadn't been any more emotionally prepared than their civilian counterparts. The cold hard fact that Earth was lost along with most of their families had stunned them all like a Zat blast. In the past, the threat of the Goa'uld destroying or enslaving their world had always been a possibility. But it was something that one had to put out of his mind. The same could be said of the Atlantis Expedition's members. Be it Wraith, Replicators, or any number of bad guys they faced on a weekly basis, they all knew that in order to be a functional member of the Stargate Program you had to accept the fact there was a good chance you could be dead tomorrow. But one could never quite come to terms with so many dying who never participated or had a choice in the Program.

A number of SGC personnel's families who had been living near the Cheyanne Mountain Complex managed to be evacuated to the city. Others' families, including some from the Atlantis Expedition, had apparently been beamed out by the Apollo and Odyssey, though there was no confirmation on this since they had yet to receive any subspace communication from either ship. Exactly whose families had been saved, and whose hadn't, was a mystery that left a dreadful atmosphere over the city.

Down in one of the temporary mess halls that was once a warehouse sized storeroom, a large group of civilians were waiting in line with empty trays. Slowly they shuffled forward], waiting for their daily rations. Due to the sudden and unexpected jump in population, Dr Weir ordered an immediate rationing of all food and supplies. Luckily, water wasn't an issue thanks to the planet's abundant supply and Atlantis's advanced purification systems.

Quietly they moved forward in line, most of them still wearing the clothes they'd had on their backs the day they arrived. Some had rips and dirt stains on them from running and falling. No noise could be heard other than the shuffle of their shoes on the floor, and the occasional sniffle of someone trying to hold back tears. A small team of security personnel stood guard at the door and at different corners of the room to keep the peace, each one of them armed with Wraith stunners and Zats. All the civilians had been told what these weapons were and had even seen them demonstrated on a few of the more vocal dissidents in the last few days. The last thing they needed was anyone seriously wounded or killed, not now. Not when so much had been lost already.

Sheppard stood at the entrance with his arms crossed over each other as he stared at the civilians. He still hadn't fully come to terms with their new reality, he couldn't imagine what it was like for these guys. To know that everything you ever knew, everyone you ever met might be gone forever. His ex-wife… his brother…

Sheppard felt someone walk up to his right, turning he saw that Teyla had come to see how things were going.

"John," she nodded to him as she too began to observe.

"Hey Teyla… came to see how they're holding up?" he asked as he shifted his attention back to the group.

"Yes… some of my people heard what happened and came to offer whatever assistance they could. I must admit… I never thought I would see such looks on the faces of people from Earth. Such looks are what one comes to expect from victims of the Wraith," she commented sadly, noticing there were a few children spread throughout the lines.

John nodded in agreement, "Yeah, we've spent so much of our time preoccupied with the Wraith I almost forgot how serious things were getting back in the Milky Way. I still can't believe…"

Teyla nodded in agreement. She, like every other member of the expedition had been briefed about the war happening in the Atlantians' home galaxy. That there were Ascended Beings out there so different from the Ancestors she had known about her whole life; that were capable of instigating such atrocities terrified her.

"Still, your people are strong. You have endured much since coming to Atlantis, I believe you will endure this as well," she offered in comfort.

John couldn't help but scoff a bit at that, "Yeah sure, but everyone here volunteered for the mission. We knew that there was a good chance none of us were gonna make it back home again. These people," he pointed back at the crowd, "Didn't have a choice in coming here. Hell, until a few days ago they all thought we were alone in the universe."

Teyla conceded that point. She was about to respond when suddenly there was a loud crash. They snapped their heads over to the line to see a pair of civilians trading blows. This quickly spiraled into a mass brawl as a mosh pit of sorts formed as screams and yells filled the mess hall. Quickly the security teams rushed forward in an attempt to pacify the crowd. Someone must have thought hitting one of them was a good idea, because suddenly a marine in Atlantis gear was clubbed over the head with a tray. Then another was assaulted by a pair of civilians who were wildly swinging at anything that moved. John and Teyla ran over and put began pulling people off each other.

Teyla came up behind a man in a ripped-up sweatshirt, bent his arm behind his back, and twisted him back and away from the crowd, "You must calm down, this helps no one!"

The man stumbled forward before turning around with fury in his eyes, "Get the hell off me! We're not getting enough food! My friends are starving! I'm not gonna die here, I'll-"

Before he could finish his sentence, a bolt of blue electrical energy hit him in the back. The miniature arcs of lightning danced across his body and causing him to seize up. He only remained standing for a moment before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he collapsed in a heap. Several loud zolts and piercing rings echoed through the room and dropped a few more of the aggressive rioters. That quickly brought the chaos to an end as every civilian in the room quickly dropped to their knees in surrender. John stood up from where he had been tending to the downed marine and looked around the room. All he could see were the terrified and hungry faces of people. Their people. Not some refugees on the run from the Wraith. People who could have been his neighbors back on Earth, his fourth cousins twice removed. People who had no idea what was happening or why, only knowing that their old lives were changed and gone forever.

"Stand down!" he ordered the security teams, and quickly they all lowered their Stunners and Zats.

He raised a hand to his ear, "Requesting a medical team to temporary mess hall D immediately."

He turned to look at Teyla who just shook her head, unable to offer any more comforting words. Soon the medical teams arrived and began to treat those who had been stunned, as well as the two marines who had been attacked. The rest of the civilians were still on the ground, some visibly shaking from the adrenaline wearing off and fear of being hit by those strange weapons. John walked over with his hands held out in a placating manner.

He spoke softly, "Listen, I know things are… really, really weird right now. I know you're all confused, you're angry, you want answers. I know you're scared, and you have a right to be. Just… try and bear with us for a little longer, we're gonna be alright."

No one said a word, clearly not in a mood to be trusting anyone from the military.

"Please, just… trust us. We all need to trust each other right now," he offered one last time, not hiding his own pain in his voice.

The room was still silent, but slowly a woman stood up. Then a pair of teenagers stood up behind her. Then three more. Soon the whole room was back on their feet, most still nervous and agitated but seemingly comforted by the Lt Colonel's words. Smiling at them, he turned to the mess sergeants and ordered them to start handing out rations again. The people quickly got back into line as thoughts of their hunger took over. John walked back to the entrance with Teyla as she spoke to him.

"You spoke well John. I believe Dr Weir would have been impressed," she smiled at him.

He nodded in thanks but remained silent. This was not what he'd had in mind when he became the de facto military commander of Atlantis. All he could think of at the moment was how long the next few days were going to be.

And long they were. The logistics of getting the civilians proper accommodations was the primary objective of the senior command staff. Unfortunately, the fight stopped by Colonel Sheppard and Teyla was not the last to occur in the following days. Once they all had proper sleeping quarters and fresh clothes, however, the fighting seemed to subside. There were still plenty of complaints, but food, water, and a warm shelter did wonders to ease their minds for the moment. They kept the most egregious troublemakers under constant supervision just to be safe, but Dr Weir and Dr Jackson were certain that they'd made it past the hardest days with the civilians. Dr Heightmeyer, the resident psychologist, along with her counterparts from the SGC were working overtime to try and help the civilians cope. A daunting task since they themselves barely knew how to handle the events of the last few days.

Once again, the command staff found themselves in the briefing room. Weir, Sheppard and Rodney sat across from Daniel, Carter, and Mitchell who while heavily bandaged was still up and moving around. Vala was nowhere to be found.

"I took the liberty of beefing up our security measures on all doors and data access points. Don't want anyone getting into places they shouldn't. I've also had my people start searching both the city and the database for anything that might help our population problem: hydroponics, water reclamation, extra showers…" Rodney explained what he and his teams had been doing for the last few days.

"Good idea, some of us sure could use a shower," Sheppard jabbed as he raised an eyebrow at Mckay.

Rodney's mouth dropped in slight offense as he let out a groan, "Hey! I've been busy running around like a chicken with his head cut off trying get things somewhat normal around here. I've barely slept and there hasn't been a whole lotta time for hygiene-"

"We've all barely slept Rodney," the Lt Colonel stated pointedly.

"Maybe if your guys could keep the new tenants from wandering-" the physicist started up again.

"Rodney," Weir cut him off, her tone voicing that she was not in the mood.

Shaking her head, Carter took over, "We've also been working on getting our power distribution systems to run most systems directly off the Naquadah generators and reactors we brought. This should free up the ZPM to focus most of its power for the shield."

"Which we're definitely going to need…" Rodney mumbled quietly from his seat.

Both Mitchell and Sheppard nodded at that. Their primary focus on the defense of the city. Both men were the commanding officers of their respective base's top recon team. Being the same rank, they decided on a co-command rather than get bogged down in who was in charge. The SG teams and SGC security adapted well to their new environment, and quickly got to work with Atlantis military personnel in making the city as secure as possible.

"Still, until our ships arrive, we're not gonna be able to put up much of a fight. We've got one ZPM, and our supply of drones will only last so long," Shepard commented as he scrolled down on his laptop that held the tactical data for Atlantis's defense.

Between Atlantis and the SGC, their military strength stood at just five hundred strong. Thanks to the influx of supplies brought by the survivors from the SGC, munitions weren't going to be a problem. They had plenty of weapons, both human and alien, and the ammunition to keep them supplied for a while.

"Well, once the Odyssey and Apollo arrive we'll be able to reinforce the city with some 302's," seeing the looks from the Atlantis team, Lt Colonel Mitchell clarified, "General O'Neill had the Odyssey and Apollo stuff their hangars to the brim with as many 302's as they could fit. We should have enough to put up a pretty decent screen along with the Puddle Jumpers. Depending on what forces Teal'c managed to scrounge up, we may have a few squadrons of Death Gliders and maybe an A'lkesh or two."

Sheppard raised his hand to his chin in thought. It wasn't ideal, but those numbers gave Atlantis a bit more wiggle room. Funny enough, he would have been ecstatic to have those kinds of resources for the defense of the city any other day of the week. He wasn't feeling very ecstatic at the moment though.

Daniel put down the screen of his laptop and took a deep breath, "Look, I know things have been… a little hectic around here to say the least. And I don't want to push aside the dozen other problems we still have to deal with but… don't you think we need to start making plans?"

Everyone stared silently at the table, biting their cheeks or tapping away in idle thought. This was a conversation that had been left unfinished the day the survivors had arrived. It had been appropriately shelved for a later date while they tended to bigger concerns, but now it seemed like that time had come sooner than they wanted. Or rather they wished it hadn't come at all, as none of them had wanted to discuss it.

Mitchel sighed and dragged a hand down his face in an attempt to wipe away his exhaustion, "I know no one here wants to hear this, but we may have to, for the time being, focus solely on the defense of this city."

Weir turned to him with a slight scowl, "You mean abandon Earth."

Mitchell nodded, "Not just Earth. The Milky Way as a whole."

Rodney flinched as he took in the words, "B-but what about everyone whose still back there? You want to leave them behind?"

"Want? Of course I don't want to leave them! You think this is easy for me to suggest? I got my people still back there too," he responded sharply before checking his emotions, "Look, you all weren't there at the end. More Ori motherships kept pouring out of hyperspace, flying around the planet bombarding cities until they were glass. I know this sounds cold…but there may not be much of an Earth to go back to."

Again, the room was left in silence as they all contemplated Mitchell's words. The strong chance that many, if not most, of their families left on Earth were dead. Rodney thought of Jeanie, Elizabeth of her parents, Sam of some distant cousins she hadn't seen in a decade. Daniel's family were all but gone, including those of his new one from Abydos. Still, he cared deeply for his fellow man and felt the loss of so many innocents just the same.

John had an ex and his brother, both of whom he hadn't spoken to in years. Their last meetings weren't pleasant memories of his, but he silently hoped that they found shelter somewhere, or that their deaths were painless. He chose no to dwell on it much, the people of the city needed him on his game, not wallowing in despair and self-pity somewhere… as much as his soul needed to. There would be time enough for that later.

Sam leaned forward, "The fact of the matter is, whatever the state of Earth is, we have a responsibility to the people still alive in this city and to our people back on Earth to make sure that we do go on. We have to live, to make sure that even if we never return, Earth's memory, its legacy will live on through us."

Swallowing hard, Weir nodded at that and found herself agreeing with the sentiment. Rodney, although still clearly frustrated but had no words of rebuttal for the blonde officer he'd so often argued with, nodded silently. Sheppard kept his face straight and unreadable, nodding at his peer as well. The archeologist to her right said nothing, but Sam knew him well enough that he wasn't happy in the slightest. Not that any of them were. But as opposed to how he used to be during the early days of the Program, he kept his mouth shut. He had learned that there were times and places to speak out against injustice, and this was not one of them. They needed to be united and concise in decided how to move forward from here. But in the end, whatever they decided to do would be just that. An injustice. An injustice to the people of Earth, to their families, and to the thousands of worlds who had just lost their best hope in the fight against the Ori.