Hello, everyone! Well, this is it . . . the last chapter! Thanks so much, all, for reading, reviewing, critiquing, and helping. It's been a pleasure, and both Chiara and I sincerely thank you. Thoughts on both the last chapter and the over all story would be extremely welcomed . . . However, besides for that, I would thank you once again for even simply reading. I hope you enjoy the final installment!
- One Week Later - -
Chiara leaned up against the balcony, watching the waves crash beneath her as the sun slowly sank lower into the sky. She smiled slightly, completely enwrapped in the one sight she'd waited so long to see again. Such a simple wish, to see the sunset over the ocean, a wish that had been fulfilled thousands of times before . . . and yet she had wanted so hard to see it once again in all its glory.
The woman started slightly at the sound of the door opening, but a smile came over her features as she saw who had entered.
"Janus," she said simply, moving aside to provide him room beside her. "How did your meeting with Doctor Weir go?" As she spoke, Chiara glanced worriedly up into his face.
"As well as could be expected," the man replied with a sigh, leaning one elbow on the rail while scratching his head with his hand.
"They don't trust us. Well, they didn't exactly trust me to begin with, but I don't believe stealing that jumper . . . helped . . . matters much . . . For either of us." Chiara sighed, sinking her chin down. She had seen that look on the faces of the men Colonel Sheppard sent to guard her quarters. She knew that it wasn't simply to ensure her safety and health . . . but from the short feelings and echoes she had gathered from the mens' minds, it was more along the lines of ensuring she stayed out of trouble.
"We must wait. They will see that we only wish to help, and eventually come to trust us," Chiara stated firmly. This is not what she had wanted . . . Not what she had waited for. She had returned to Atlantis to find that the dwellers of Atlantis wouldn't even allow her to walk down a corridor without at least one man with a weapon one foot behind her.
"No," Janus replied, breaking through Chiara's thoughts. "I received a transmission from the Lantean Council. They want us to return to Terrana . . . The new Ancient home world," he said with a sigh. Chiara took a step back, her eyes narrowing.
"I just got back."
"Yet they expect me to travel across the universe to some new planet to become yet another curiosity to yet another race?!"
"Chiara, they are still Ancients, they are our own people."
"Then why don't they fight the Wraith! Why is it that the humans are now the one last ever-so-slight hope for this galaxy, while our own people sit and cower in fear!" There was a long pause as both thought for a short time. As the sun finally dipped its last rays below the horizon, Janus spoke.
"I don't know, Chiara, I truly don't know. Their . . . our . . . spirits were broken. Going back into yet another war without proper support, manpower, or weaponry would be foolish . . . You of all people would know that." Another long pause ensued, broken only by Chiara's long sigh.
"I don't want to leave yet. This is not the human city, this is not the city of whomever-finds-it, this is our city, the city of the Ancients. It is only fitting that at least two of us should remain," she stated almost resignedly. Janus shook his head.
"Right now, the humans carry the best hope for Atlantis and for Pegasus. If you are truly not ready to return to the Ancients then I can stall them . . . somehow. Still, however, it would be best to return. Soon." The man finished speaking as he gently placed his arm around Chiara, awaiting her reply.
Chiara waited for several more moments before finally speaking.
"I will return. However soon is necessary," she stated quietly, glancing up at Janus. "How are we to leave without the humans stopping us?" she then asked.
"Cloaks," the man replied, taking two small devices out from a pocket. Chiara took one, examining it. "The humans are sending a team of theirs out to MS8-49G in the morning. We will use the cloaks to become invisible and slip through the astria porta with them. When they are through and have wandered off far enough, then we will travel to another world where I have a cloaked gate ship enhanced with a zero point module . . . Which will grant us enough power to use the stargate to return to Terrana," Janus finished with a sigh, examining Chiara carefully for her feelings. She merely nodded.
"In the morning then," she said mournfully, staring out over the swiftly-darkening waters.
- - - - - - -
Chiara awoke in the morning to the light starting to flow in through a window near by. She sat up, looking about. Janus was gone . . . Hopefully he was simply preparing everything, and not in more trouble with the humans. She got up, but was surprised to find instead of the dress she had laid out the previous night, another outfit rather sloppily folded in only a way Janus could manage. She picked it up, watching it unravel before her. A smile cracked the woman's face at the sight of it . . . a Lantean uniform! She checked the patches on it carefully. It was one of her old uniforms . . . He must have somehow either kept it or found it . . .
"I thought it was fitting," Janus said behind her. Chiara spun around, startled by his voice.
"How . . . where did you get it?" she asked almost incredulously, stroking the Atlantis-patch gently.
"It was actually left alone for ten thousand years . . . The Ancients kept one of your uniforms in storage, and the humans never found it," he said with a smile. Chiara smiled back at him.
"I . . . I lost my other one," she said shame-facedly, setting it down gently on the bed. Janus was silent for a moment, not quite sure of what to say. After a moment he shook his head slightly, handing her a small device that fit over her wrist.
"It's the cloak. The human team leaves in a few minutes . . . Which means we need to be ready soon," he stated quietly. Chiara gave a short nod, fitting the device on her hand before picking up the uniform again.
Chiara watched quietly as the human team prepared to leave through the astria. She looked about curiously, slightly entertained by the greenish-blue tint everything was given through the invisibility cloak. She glanced at Janus, who gave a reassuring smile. Soon the astria porta opened with a large shwoosh, and the human team began to leave through it. Giving one last sweeping glance around at Atlantis, Chiara also stepped through the gate.
On the other side, the humans quickly wandered off to explore the world in search of an indigenous people that resided there . . . While Chiara and Janus swiftly turned about and used the gate to access the second world.
Chiara quietly sat down in the jumper with Janus. Another moment and they would be back on Terrana . . . with the Ancients. The woman couldn't help sighing. They, the Ancients, would probably be different from the Lanteans . . . Just like Atlantis was different from how it was ten thousand years ago. The same place, the same people, but all would be different. Chiara glanced at Janus. Even he had changed. He was solemner, more . . . She couldn't place her finger on it. But he was different . . . More different then she wanted to realize.
Quietly, the woman watched as Janus dialed the astria porta.
"How do we have enough power to travel to another galaxy?" Chiara asked curiously.
"I . . . modified . . . the jumper slightly," Janus said in a nearly apologetic tone. Chiara gave him an odd look before laughing under breath. That, at least, was Janus . . . always "modifying" something or other. She become more serious, however, as the stargate loomed right before them, the portal to their new "home."
Chiara gave a slight shudder as they emerged through the astria porta. She glanced around at the surroundings showing through the jumper's windshield. It looked like Atlantis . . . Slightly different, but very similar structurally. Chiara grasped her seat arms tightly as the jumper rose to the hangar above . . . And then docked. Slowly the door behind her opened, at which point Janus stood, holding out his hand and taking her own with a smile.
Chiara strode down the length of the gateship to where a woman was waiting at the entry. The woman gave a slight bow to both of them, accompanied by a smile.
"Greetings, I am Caladria Napea of the Lantean Council . . . Welcome to Terrana."