Chapter 7: And Heaven Is Overrated.

A/N: I thought I'd wrap a couple things here. It's a little dark, but all will resolve itself. For everyone who has commented Col. Caldwell, seems cold, well, …

"Dr. Randall doesn't seem to showing up on any of the sensors, as far as I can tell," said one of the techs in Gate room to a worried Dr. Weir. "You don't think she…"

"No, she doesn't strike as that type. Is Major Andres available? Maybe he can shed some light on the situation. I'd like to clear up a few things with him as well."

Caldwell, Sheppard, McKay, and Beckett were all gathered back in the conference, all looking at each other uneasily, when Major Andrews arrived, flanked by two marines. From the looks on their faces, she guessed that they would have preferred to have Ronon along, given the major's bulk. He seemed to take up most of the space in the room, especially when glowered.

"Have a seat, Major," suggested Dr. Weir. "We need your help. Dr. Randall has taken off and we're afraid we've upset her."

"What did you do," he growled, rising out of his chair. "If you hurt her, you'll be answering to me." The two scientists seemed to shrink back.

"I'd lay even money on him and Ronon in a cage match," thought Col. Sheppard silently, appraising his guard dog nature. "Dr. Beckett mentioned the fact that she had the Ancient gene, plus an extra sequence and said we were curious about what it meant," he spoke, trying to calm him down.

"You have no idea," said the major softly. "You didn't think the Committee tried to find out already? I was there, I had to watch, while they took her to the point of death, trying to discover something, I couldn't save her then, but at least I saved her…" his voice trailed off.

"There was someone else, wasn't there?" Dr Weir spoke almost in a whisper, her voice filled with concern.

The man nodded. "She reminds me of my sister, years ago. We grew up in a commune, no outside influences; fear the government, what have you. My father arranged for my sister to marry a friend, said it was her destiny. The man was thirty years older than her, already had a wife. We tried to run, got caught and brought back. My father quoted something about the disobedience of one's children and proceeded to beat us. When I woke up, she was dead, and I'd been left for dead. I promised myself if I made it, I'd devote my life to saving others. "

There was a brief silence, a pause for reflection. Col. Caldwell and Lt. Col. Sheppard met the major's eyes. They'd both been there, in one-way or another.

"You tried. That's what counts," said Caldwell softly.

"The major answered him. "She probably went to the highest, most isolated point in the city. She mentioned once she would have liked to sit on top of the Golden Gate Bridge.

"I think I know where she went," said Sheppard getting to his feet.

"I'm with you," said Caldwell. Dr. Weir could swear there was an odd note in his voice.

She was in the predicted spot, on one of the balconies overlooking the city and the water, chin resting on crossed arms, propping herself on the railing. She looked so lost, so defeated.

I saw him step onto to the balcony. "Come to drag me back for some new experiments?" I asked with as much bitterness as I could muster. "If the answer's yes, I'll make it easier on both of us and jump."

With the wind playing with her hair, she looked so much like Annie. Before. He wished he could take back everything, make everything all right again.

"No. Dr Beckett and everyone else are curious, but we're not going to do anything. Dr. Weir promised, remember? You may have more claim to this city than anyone else here."

"Promises don't mean much. What people say and what people do are two entirely different things sometimes."

"You can trust her. You can trust everyone here. You must have felt that on some level, or you wouldn't have done what you did two days ago, taking on those Wraith."

"Trust and faith are two of the hardest things to define, to comprehend. All my life I've been fighting, people's expectations, people's perceptions. My family has been in the same area for 350 years. I'm practically related to everyone in town. No one, except maybe my dad could understand why I didn't want to stay. Always had to prove myself. Didn't want to be just the Randall's only daughter, first girl born in the family in three generations. Didn't want to be just the scholarship athlete in college. I was competing academically against kids who had gone to the best prep schools in the country. Who was I? I had to be faster, smarter, better. My dad understood. My mom said he told the rest of the family not to let me know how sick he was, when I was busy with comprehensives. They didn't tell me he died until I called to tell them I had passed, that I had my doctorate. I could have taken the time off, I should have," my voice quavered a little. "I will not cry, I will not cry," I repeated silently. "I know my demons. I've even named them," I added.

"It's ok. He believed in you. Really believed in you. Like I should have believed in Annie " he added silently."

"I miss him so much."

He thought about the father-daughter bond for a moment, then put a hand on her shoulder, felt her relax slightly.

"This city is doing something to me. I don't know what, but I think I can recall every corridor of this city. I can't explain it. All I can think of is one of the legends in my family, something my dad used to tell me when I couldn't sleep or was upset at one of my brothers."


"Blessed are the daughters of Randall, for they possess the knowledge of the ages. I always thought it was something to do with druid or goddess worship."

They were both silent for a few moments. "Given what's happened, it put things in a whole new light. Strange inheritance."

He permitted himself a smile. "That might qualify as the understatement of the year."

I laughed, in spite of myself. "Oh yeah."

He waited a few moments. "Are you ready to go back? I promise I will stand guard, until you feel comfortable in this city with everyone."

"Yes, but everyone must think I'm a complete flake."

He snorted, "You can't be serious. You haven't met someone of the people here, trust me."

Col. Caldwell kept his word. It took a little convincing, but I went back to Dr. Beckett and the infirmary after I told Dr. Weir, Dr. Beckett, Dr. McKay, and Col. Sheppard about seeing the city as I had. After a quick meeting everyone agreed Atlantis was the best place for me, besides I was a well-educated scientist and there was always room for someone who could handle both physics and biology. (I think Dr. McKay muttered something about overachievers.)

My only disappointment was not being able to send messages home to my family and friends. Dr Weir and Col Caldwell agreed with the influence of the Committee, they couldn't risk letting the organization know Major Andrews and I were here in Atlantis.

"We'll let them know you've been seen alive," compromised Caldwell. "Make up a list of the things you want and I'll have them removed from evidence or storage. I'm sure I can assign an airman to pick up anything else you might need, when the Daedalus returns to Earth.

I have to admit my quarters were bigger than my place back on Earth. It wasn't the Pacific, but I could pretend. Besides do you how much ocean front property rents for in California?

A few days later in his quarters aboard the Daedalus, Col. Caldwell, pulled out a small photo from his desk. "I'm sorry Annie," he spoke to the photo. "I know you're out there."