Enjoy. Kat is my character, but all the others belong to MGM.
Chapter Four: Symptom Four: Acceptance
Three years later…
Once upon a time, there was the legend of the lost city of Atlantis. It sunk under water long ago, and was never found.
Twenty years ago today, brave men and women from all over the world found this lost city and have lived and worked there ever since.
Many people lost their lives in Atlantis, and it is today that we remember all the good and all the bad things about the Atlantis expedition.
Especially seeing as the Stargate opens for public use today.
Twenty- eight years since it was first discovered, and this day, September 1st, people can finally use the Stargate to their own means.
Elizabeth looked down at her speech again. Did it sound right? She didn't know. She did know one thing, today was the twentieth anniversary of the Atlantis expedition, and the Stargate was opening in London for commercial use. It was originally going to open in Washington but it was decided to move it to the English capital when the whole of Europe boycotted the plan and stole the Stargate.
The press was already here and had started setting up their cameras and tripods. They were on the right side of the open air chamber. Important leaders and politicians were seated on the left. The prime minister of Britain, the President of America, France etc. King William. Some alien dignitaries (Asgard, Jaffa etc.)were there too. All had turned out to see the first commercial gate trip.
In the middle of these two columns sat sixty seats. They were the crappy red plastic chairs you could buy anywhere, but they were important for two reasons.
They had little name stickers attached to them.
They were special seats for the requested members of both Stargate Command and the Atlantis Expedition.
As the only person to command both, albeit only for a short period of time at the SGC, Elizabeth had been asked to give the opening address for the ceremony. Retired General's Hammond and O'Neill were going to give a small address after her with General Landry giving a slightly longer one. Then, a small memorial service would be given, telling the world the most important names who died making this possible.
Then, a small piece of video footage which links both parties together.
So far, the SGC side was almost completely full. Daniel Jackson was sitting up the front with T'ealc to his side. Sam Carter, Cameron Mitchell, Vala, Dr. Lee, Dr. Felger, Dr. Lam and several others were sitting down already. Walter was at his rightful place, at the gate controls. He thought it was symbolic. Several other important members were present: the leaders of all the SGC teams throughout the years.
She wasn't the only person to notice that the Atlantis side had not a soul sitting there. The press leaped on this immediately.
"Many people have shown up for the ceremony, but nobody from the Atlantis Expedition yet,"
"It is rumoured that no one from the Atlantis Expedition will show up today after the end of the Atlantis Expedition left many people's relationships in tatters,"
"So far today, the only member of the Atlantis Expedition present is Dr. Elizabeth Weir, formally Weir- Zelenka,"
"The seats reserved for the SGC have been completely filled, yet nobody from Atlantis is present,"
Elizabeth was extremely worried, and extremely embarrassed. She hoped somebody would come. Even Kavanagh would do.
The Jag was a thing of beauty. Leather interior and a V8 engine. John Sheppard loved his little car, and he loved the woman inside of it.
Abby Manson was a RAF pilot, and they had met when he was training in England. She had helped him adapt to the British way of flying and was glad of her assistance. They had been dating now for two years, and both of them were comfortable doing that.
John had divorced Cadman and let her gain custody of the children. He hadn't talked to them in two and a half years since the divorce came through, but he was fine with that. Abby was fine with that too. Dressed in a blue suit and tie with Abby in a light blue dress, they matched perfectly. Abby had been recently divorced herself when they had met, and they just seemed to click.
When he had received his invitation, John had ever intention of throwing it in the bin. He hadn't talked to anyone from Atlantis since the divorce came through and he had had another black mark put on his record. But Abby had talked him into it, and here they were.
It also meant seeing Elizabeth again. Radek and her had divorced over his one and neither had been on speaking terms. Both blamed Sheppard, especially Radek.
The usher at the front was a bespecled little kid, with acne and a nervous voice. He looked like he should be in school instead of being the bouncer for one of the most talked about events of the year.
"Hello? Can I help you?" the usher asked, looking at John with an uneasy smile.
"Hi. My names John Sheppard, and this is Abby Manson. We should be on the invite list,"
"Of course. Go right ahead," the usher gestured through the door, and the two followed his directions.
His first glimpse of the open air stadium was that it was smaller than the Atlantis gate room. He recognised Jack O'Neill and several of the SGC ex- personnel. Looking up on the stage, he saw Elizabeth Weir rehearsing his speech. He gave a wave and sat next down to Abby. His ex- fiancée stepped down from the stage and made her way over to them. She looked good; tired but good.
"Hey John," was Elizabeth's introduction.
"Hey Elizabeth. This is Abby Manson, my girlfriend. We uh, work with the RAF together. So…how ya been?" John asked, rattling off his answers with a squeeze of Abby's hand. He was nervous. That was the most he had said to her in three years.
"Okay. I was afraid no one was going to show up," Elizabeth revealed.
"Is there lemon in this?" said a voice coming from the entrance.
At that offhand question, both John and Elizabeth turned around to see Rodney McKay giving the waiter hell. Behind him, plenty of people that they recognised were filing in. Carson was wearing a kilt, Ronan and Teyla were also there. Kat was trying desperately to get her husband away from the waiter serving the wine. She wasn't succeeding very well.
"I don't think you have to worry about that,"
"….Twenty- eight years since it was first discovered, and today, September 1st, people can finally use the Stargate to their own means. Thank you," Elizabeth finished her speech. She stepped down from the podium and took her seat on the stage.
Looking down at the floor, she saw all her old friends and family: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Carson Beckett, Radek Zelenka, Ben Kavanagh, Teyla Emmagan, Ronan Dex, Caldwell, Lorne, Kate Heightmeyer, Katie Brown, Kat McKay, Jordan Hawks, Alfie Day, Pierre Carlo, Bobby Mica and David Griggs. There were a few others from the main teams and several of the Athosian's.
Daydreaming about past times, she had missed the Generals speeches. Looking at her itinerary, she realised it was now her turn to do the memorial service. She stood up, but Hammond gestured for her to sit down. Instead, Laura Cadman stood up from the diplomatic section. Elizabeth composed herself from looking too shocked and sat down.
The last time that Elizabeth had seen Cadman was when she was shipped off back to Earth, nearly three years ago. Back then, she was a hollow little version of herself. Now, her strawberry blonde hair was glossy and her eyes had that same excitement that she had lost from year after year at Atlantis. She looked over into the crowd of her former colleagues and many were surprised to see her standing there. John had averted his eyes, as had many.
Carson Beckett stood and watched her, his eyes twinkling.
"Hi. My name is Laura Cadman, military advisor to the SGOC. For those of you not in the know, that stands for Stargate Operations Committee. I was a member of the Atlantis Expedition until I was dishonourably discharged three years ago. I was asked here by the President to give a small speech on the men and women who died on Atlantis.
I wasn't there the first year of the expedition. But I remember people telling me about some major people who lost their lives. These included Peter Grodin, our gate tech, Brendan Gaul, Robert Scourers, Alexandria Maine, Carey Tomason and Marshall Sumner.
Several people lost their lives the first year I arrived, including Lieutenant Aidan Ford. Throughout the past twenty years, people have died at the hands of the Wraith, the Genii, friendly fire and many other things. Some of these were James Hamblin, Tommy Ping, Kelly Beckett, Francesca De Marco, Sean Waltham and Gemma Alder. All these people didn't die for nothing, they died because they believed in humanity and they believed in Atlantis. Thank you,"
Laura stepped down and gave Weir a brief smile. Then, she looked out into the crowd and saw that Carson was in tears and Radek was waving a big white and red hanky around.
At the back of the chamber, there was some mumbling about the video for the last part of the ceremony. It was missing. Rodney dragged himself out of his seat to go help them out with some cursing in a language no one could quite recognise. At that point, he exchanged the video of them going through the gates for the first time with a video of their own.
It was a home movie. One of Rodney's. It was the Rec Room in Atlantis, a tiny place where the big screen was perfect to watch any films the expedition members had squirreled away. It was just before they had made contact with the Wraith and made their 'treaty' with them. In the frame was Carson, Rodney, Radek, John, Elizabeth and Cadman.
"I miss Sandwiches. You know, the type that aren't pre-packaged?" Rodney moaned, and Cadman chucked her popcorn at him. It was the old game about what you missed from home. Rodney always had lots to say when they played. Most of his answers usually involved food…
"I miss College Football. And Ferris wheels. And decent tea," John joined in, over acting. Elizabeth whacked him on the shoulder, reading one of the classics she had brought. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.
"See, pre-packaged crap!" Rodney cried and everyone chucked their popcorn over him. Accidentally, Radek tipped his ice cold tea in his lap in all the confusion. Thinking he had done it on purpose, Rodney then chased Radek around the room with his shoe.
Everyone looked at each other once this tiny piece of film had finished playing. It was such a sincere and beautiful moment that no one could quite believe it. After all the stories they had been told and the beefing up of all the players involved, it was quite hard to believe that they could be so…so…
There was a lovely little Café in London, just off the town centre. It was called Mira's. The art deco was French, and the booths were huge to accommodate a lot of people. In the back of the establishment sat a few old friends.
Elizabeth Weir sat next to her old boyfriend Sheppard and her ex husband Radek. Cadman was sitting next to Radek and had Rodney on her other side. Teyla and Ronan sat next to Elizabeth. Kat and Carson were the last to sit down with Kat sitting next to her husband.
"What a group we make huh? The only people's relationship to survive out of Atlantis was Rodney and Ronan! Never saw that coming!" John exclaimed. Elizabeth whacked him on the arm as Rodney started telling everybody why he thought that John couldn't keep a relationship going. Something about the Captain Kirk complex.
The others laughed and looked at each other. They ordered cakes and tea and talked about old times. The old gang was spread to the four corners of the globe and this was the last chance they would get to talk to each other for a while.
To put aside old arguments.
To put old wrongs right.
In the end, night was drawing in and it was time for everybody to go. No one wanted to be the first to break the beautiful lull that the old friends had created at the table, but it had to be done.
"Gosh it's late," Rodney mumbled, biting the bullet. "Guess it's time to go."
Teyla and Ronan departed first, their accommodation was being provided by the British government. They hugged and kissed everyone, as they had no particular problems with anyone at the table. Teyla promised to send Elizabeth their sons school reports, but only the good ones.
Kat and Rodney left next, smiling as they went. Carson couldn't help but notice that both had bruises up and down their arms. Rodney wrung everyone's hand and gave Radek a big hug. Out of all the people in Atlantis, no one could quite understand how those two had managed to make it work. They still didn't.
Cadman decided to go next. Coming to a decision, she decided to make things right between her and the others.
"Bye John. Maybe you could come over and see the kids once and a while," Cadman said as they hugged. John nodded and patted her shoulder. She and Elizabeth shook hands, but ended up hugging. Radek gave her a big hug, and his white and red hanky.
Elizabeth noted that Carson and Cadman left together hand in hand. Ever since he had talked her down from suicide, it was rumoured that they had been spending a lot of time together. For once, it seemed, the rumours were true.
Abby drew up in the Jag, and John realised it was time to go. He didn't really want to spend any more time with his ex and her ex. But maybe it was time to put things right. Standing up, he looked straight at Radek.
"You're a good man Radek. I like you a lot, and I'm sorry I've been such an ass these ten years," John stated, sticking his hand out for a shake.
The two men did and embraced quickly. He kissed Elizabeth on the cheek and promised to invite her round for coffee some time. Then he left in his swish car and leaving the two alone. Elizabeth mumbled something about needing to be back for an early appointment, but he wasn't listening.
"I am sorry that I let my feelings for Sheppard screw us up, Elizabeth," Radek stated, holding her hand.
"So am I," Elizabeth replied, removing his hand. She walked out of the café and out into the London night, lights everywhere.
Radek paid the bill and left a generous tip. He decided to find a pub somewhere, maybe call up Carson and get a little drunk. He was trying to apologise to her, but she didn't want to know. Someone sat down at his table and was about to tell them to find somewhere else when he saw it was Elizabeth.
"I'm sorry that I let my feelings for John screw us up, Radek," Elizabeth apologised, grasping his hand.
"So am I. How is Marie and Henry? I have not seen them in two months,"
"They're fine. Missing their Daddy though," Elizabeth murmured. She looked up into Radek's face and saw the thing that first attracted her to him.
"You want to get something to eat?" Elizabeth asked. Radek looked surprised and smiled.
"Actually, I was hoping to get drunk," Radek replied, laughing.
"Well we can do that to. Come on," Elizabeth said and took Radek by the hand into the London air.
"Where are we going?"
"I haven't got a clue. Why couldn't they have had the Stargate in Washington?"