Ancestors, Ancients & Tradition
Dragonlots AKA Dana Bell
"And lastly the Phoenix Foundation is sending a representative to coordinate research," Elizabeth informed her staff.
Carson took an immediate interest. "Why are they sending someone?"
"My understanding," Dr. Weir pushed aside a piece of paper on her desk. "Is that they, along with Area 51, do the most developing of alien technology."
"Makes sense really," Zalinka concurred. "The Phoenix Foundation has some of the best scientists working for them."
"Not all evidently," McKay sounded offended.
"Plus a number of government contracts." Elizabeth smiled. "I've worked with Peter Thorton before and have gotten to know him quite well."
"Who are they sending?" John asked, his interest piqued.
She shook her head. "I have no idea. According to the information I was given they were originally going to send Celeste Caine, but something happened and they had to send a last minute replacement." (See 'The Journey Home'.)
"Just like politicians," Rodney complained. "Always keeping secrets."
"They may not have known in time for our weekly check in," Weir admonished him. "If there's nothing else?" None of her staff spoke up. "Then I suggest we all go back to work."
Colonel Caldwell didn't like civilians aboard his ship. The scientists joining the Atlantis mission were one thing, but the woman from the Phoenix Foundation made him uneasy. Maybe it was her odd colored eyes. Or maybe it was the nightly discussions he'd been hearing about with the Asgard down in engineering – in his own alien language!
She'd boarded at the last minute instead of the person he was expecting. She handed him her authorization with a smile and brief explanation. "Celeste's brother is getting married." (See 'New Destiny'.)
She kept pretty much to herself or in her quarters, excepts for visits with the Asgard. He had no idea what fascinated her, the alien or the engines. Whatever it was, it made him even more uneasy. He hadn't forgotten what the Wraith had done with their computer virus or his brief imprisonment as a gou'ald saboteur.
"Atlantis, we'll be touching down on the East Dock in two minutes." He waited for Weir's response.
"Thank you, Colonel," Dr. Weir's voice replied. "Look forward to seeing you."
"You have the manifest for all supplies and new personnel."
"I do." There was a pause. "What about the Phoenix representative?"
He tried not to sigh. "My orders are precise and clear. I am not to inform you of the identity until you meet face to face."
He had to agree.
The Deadalus landed in its normal spot on the dock. Personnel disembarked and supplies were unloaded. Each were met by various parties and taken to their various destinations.
Dr. Weir greeted Colonel Caldwell on the pier. "Good to see you. Welcome back."
"Good to be here." He wasn't lying. The Pegasus galaxy was beginning to feel a lot like home. He turned to introduce the woman who had just joined them. "This is,"
"Oh, my god!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "I don't believe it!"
The woman smiled warmly. "Good to see you, too, Elizabeth." She embraced the Atlantis leader. "Been a long while."
"It certainly has," Weir agreed. "How's your cousin?"
"Glad to be out of politics. He told me to tell you hello." She glanced around. "He runs part of the financing for the Foundation now." (See 'Fighting for Good'.)
"Explains what you're doing here."
Caldwell glanced from one woman to the other, thinking they had to be speaking an alien language. "You two know each other?"
Both women laughed.
"I'm sorry," his passenger explained. "But Pete wanted to surprise Elizabeth."
"Who's this?" John inquired with a charming smile as he and McKay joined Dr. Weir.
"Kirk," Rodney accused.
"Watched Star Trek did you?" The woman stated more than questioned, amusement in her tone.
"We're in space. He acts like Kirk." Rodney smugly retorted.
"John. Rodney." Elizabeth decided to corral them. "I'd like you to meet an old friend of mine."
"Oops," McKay muttered suddenly looking sheepish.
"This is Jennifer Collins Saunders," Weir introduced. "Cousin to the now ex-senator of Maine, Barnabas Collins."
John snapped his fingers. "I remember that campaign. Press covered it nationwide because he was part of some sort of founding family."
"The Collins. Yes." Jennifer nodded.
"Passed some really crazy legislation. Never could make sense of what he was trying to accomplish."
She glanced down. "Let's just say it's groundbreaking and leave it at that."
"Enough, John," Elizabeth intervened. "Jen, let's find you some quarters and get you settled in."
"That would be lovely." The two took off across the pier.
"It's beautiful here," Jen complimented, taking a deep breath.
"I like it," Elizabeth told her.
The rest of their conversation was lost to the men. Caldwell shrugged. He had things to do on ship. His passenger was now Dr. Weir's responsibility.
The quarters Elizabeth provided me are much like I expected. A simple bed, a table and chairs, a desk to work on and place for what few personal belongings I had been allowed to bring with me. It is the balcony that interested me most and the sweeping view of the city and the ocean below.
Even I can see the parts that are still damaged, the evidence left behind by cruel depths, grandeur long lost. With a sigh I turn away from the present and the past. My presence here is for a purpose, though what Barnabas was thinking, I have no clue.
Perhaps it is the many things of my past I have shared with him. Though I try not to smile when introduced as his cousin. The truth is far more bizarre and it even took him many months to accept it. And me. I do not know to this day if he wanted to accept me fully or rip out my throat when I told him. Perhaps it is better not to know and to both our advantage we have come to mutual respect, if not a genuine love between us. Closer to an uncle to a favorite niece I think.
Ah, well. Tis not important right now. What is, has more to do with events that are yet to unfold. Steps that must be taken to preserve both the present and the past. If such can be safely done.
How fortunate my introduction to the Foundation was done as a possible consultant for more 'unusual' instances. It allowed me to build a network throughout many agencies, including the OSI, the FBI, and many others. My contacts with each helped solve many cases and brought me to the attention of many.
Still, I know Pete was shocked when Barnabas introduced me as his cousin at one of the Christmas gatherings. The Foundation head had no idea the two of us were related. Or that I knew the others of the Triumvirate.
A light tapping at my door disrupted my thoughts and I went to answer it. Elizabeth stood there. "I was on my way to dinner. Want to join me?"
"How are your quarters?" she wanted to know as she lead the way.
"If you don't like them, I can find another." She sounded concerned.
"They're fine, Elizabeth."
"They're not," she frowned. "Collinwood?'
"When I'm there, I usually don't stay at the main house." I laughed briefly. "Barnabas is most upset if I don't stay at the Old House."
"That's the original Collins' home." At least she remembered.
"Yes. Barnabas has done a wonderful job restoring it."
"I think I remember you said he'd been working on it for a long time."
"He has." A door opened and we stepped into a vaulted ceiling room, with tables and chairs spread about.
"Here we are." She took me to the line where I got my food and we chose a table near a window. "Many of the dishes come from the mainland."
"Your first allies." I'd read all the reports.
"The first of many new friends."
"One can never have enough of those."
"Experience talking," she teased.
"In a manner of speaking." I tasted the fruit dish. It wasn't bad.
"How did they come to chose you?" She sipped her coffee. "Or was it because of your cousin."
"Complicated." I couldn't tell her the whole truth. She'd never believe it. Better she believe my cousin had the most influence.
"What isn't these days."
"Mind if I join you?" John Sheppard sat down.
I'd studied many of his mission reports. Unorthodox, not too good at following orders, I knew we'd get along just fine. "Please," I invited.
"So you're related to the famous Barnabas Collins." Sheppard gave me a smile.
"Not so famous now." Barnabas seemed much happier to be out of the national light and back into the shadows, where he was much more comfortable. It had done wonders for his disposition.
"I seem to remember there was a grass roots movement to put him on the presidential ballot," Elizabeth commented.
"There was," I agreed.
"He would have made a great president." John dug into his food.
"My cousin very graciously told his supporters thank you and declined."
"Never understood that," John said.
"Believe me," I sipped my tea. "He had good reason."
"Did he decide he didn't like public life?" Elizabeth asked. "I met him once and that is the impression I got."
"In a manner of speaking." Better she think that than what the truth really was!
"Gotten a tour of Atlantis yet?" John wanted to know.
"She only just got here, John," Elizabeth admonished.
"I am a bit tired." I'd spent most of the 'nights' on the Deadalus talking to Hermiod instead of sleeping. The advantage was I'd gotten to master my shaky hold on the Asgard language.
"I'd be happy to show you around." Dr Weir sent him a look and he added. "Tomorrow."
"That would be fine, Colonel Sheppard."
"John," I conceded. "Now, if you'll both excuse me, I need to take a nap."
"Want me to come by and we'll have dinner together?" Liz asked.
I thought about it. "Sure. That would be great." Quickly I left and returned to my quarters. I grabbed a blanket and pulled it over me and shut my eyes. Soon, I was in the land of dreams.
"She's an odd one," John commented.
"No more than normal," Dr. Weir shot back. "She's just crossed into a new galaxy and despite having access to the mission logs, the truth can be a bit of a shock." She smiled at him. "Or don't you remember?"
"Sure I do. I also remember General O'Neill threatening to end my career if I didn't come to Atlantis."
"But you came." She unscrewed the lid on her bottled water. "Have you ever regretted coming?"
"No." He pushed his fork through some of his food. "I just wish sometimes I'd been given more of a choice."
"You love it here. Admit it."
He glanced up at her. "Sure I do. I wouldn't have traded this experience for anything." He frowned. "Though I get the sense your friend isn't telling us everything."
"I'm well aware that she probably has a secret agenda," Elizabeth admitted. "But whether it's for the Foundation or someone else," she shrugged.
She nodded. "Politics."
"Jen is rather pretty." He tossed a teasing look at Dr. Weir.
"Now don't you go getting any ideas in your head, John Sheppard," she warned. "Her cousin may not be here, but one thing I do remember, he's very protective."
"Don't worry, I won't do anything that would endanger our expedition."
"Better not." Weir rose and headed out. She had a briefing with McKay and Zalinka, and then a meeting with Teyla about a possible trade agreement. Colonel Caldwell was also on her agenda for the afternoon before he headed back to Earth. With a sigh, she hoped she made it back in time to meet Jen for dinner.
Night had fallen and I woke to the call of the evening breeze. I rose and stood on the balcony. Lights flickered on in the various towers and it was almost like being in an Earth city. Not that it made anymore like home to me.
I managed to find my way to the cafeteria and helped myself to something like a salad. Elizabeth rushed in when I was half finished and apologized. I explained I was well aware of her responsibilities here and did not expect her to act as my sole guide. She smiled in relief, got her dinner, and we talked of other things we had shared in the past.
Afterward I took a walk. The ocean reminded me of the strolls along Widow's Hill. The only thing missing was the crashing waves against the cliff were Josette DuPres' had taken her own life instead of becoming the bride of a vampire. I wondered sometimes how Barnabas had taken his love's loss, though I had never dared to ask him.
I was close to the dock's edge and glanced around to see if I was being watched. With a child like snicker, I took off my shoes, sat down, and plunged my feet into the cool water. How could any of them live here and not indulge in a bit of swimming? But then, it was very deep and I supposed if someone wasn't a strong swimmer, it might be a bad idea.
"Now why didn't I think of that?" John sat down next to me and took off his boots and socks. He put his large feet into the water.
"There isn't anything in here that might bite us, is there?"
"Naw." He shook his head and gave me a teasing smile like my brother once had. "Just some whale critters."
"Yeah. Saved Rodney's life once. Ask him. I'm sure he'd more than happy to tell you all about it."
"Eventually I will have to talk to him." If I was to accomplish what Pete had asked me to, I'd have to spend some time with the scientist. I wasn't really looking forward to it, not after some of the reports I'd read.
"He isn't a bad guy. Just a huge ego."
"Arrogant, you mean."
"Yeah. That too." He closed his eyes. "Man, this feels good."
We sat in silence. A shadowy moon rose and bounced across the water. I saw a fluke some distance away and pointed it out.
"Haven't seen one this close for a while," John said.
"You're sure they're not dangerous."
"They aren't." He pulled his feet out and tucked his socks into his boots. "Think I'll turn in for the night."
"Good night." I watched as he padded off leaving watery footprints behind. I sat there for a long time, not wanting to give up the peaceful solitude. My visit to Collinwood before I had left had been anything but.
I normally enjoyed seeing my cousins. Yet, with all the bad investments Roger had made and with Mrs. Stoddard fighting cancer, the whole house had been topsy turvey. Not to mention the new husband Carolyn had come home with, and with Victoria gone, David had been once again become a terror. I'd gone for one dinner and when I returned to the Old House. I couldn't wait to leave on the Deadalus. Barnabas both did and didn't want me to go. His conflicting emotions on the matter just made everything worse and I had cut short my trip, preferring to return to LA and attend a number of last minute briefings.
Something tickled my foot and I pulled both feet out of the water. Better to be safe than sorry. I collected my shoes and returned to my quarters. Not really sleepy, I grabbed a book and opened the page where I'd last stopped. Morning found me still up. I washed up, changed clothes into a loose comfortable dress and prepared myself for my hectic day.
I joined Elizabeth, John, McKay and two others I assumed were Teyla and Ronan for breakfast. When we finished John took me on a tour of Atlantis.
"And here's the jumper bay," he informed me when we entered the large cavernous like room. There were small vehicles all around. They reminded me of grub worms. "Want to go for a test flight?" He sounded eager to go.
We entered one of the ships and he took the controls. "This is Puddle Jumper One."
"Puddle Jumper One this is Weir."
"Permission to take our guest on a little test flight."
"Just don't do anything to scare her."
"Who me?" He grinned at me, closing the back and putting his hands on the controls.
"You're clear." Elizabeth sounded like she was smiling.
"Roger that. See you in a few."
The jumper rose slowly and exited through a hole in the ceiling. The blue sky was before us until we reached the edge of and entered space.
"I love it out here." John had the look of a man in love.
"You aren't the only one." I had always loved being in space. That's why one of the first things I had learned to do, was pilot. "How about I try?"
"You got the gene?" He seemed surprised.
"What do you think?" I put my hands on the controls. He released them, folded his arms back. It took a brief moment to adjust and with a half grin, I launched us up further and made an easy orbit of the planet.
"I'm impressed." He unfolded his arms. "But if you don't mind, I'll land us."
"Fine." I relinquished control.
Before long we were back in the jumper bay. John was a pretty good pilot and with some practice, I knew he could become better, though I doubted he'd take advice from me. After all, he knew nothing of my background.
"So," he drawled with pride on his face. "What did you think?"
"I think," I replied feeling impish. "That you could use more practice, but you're not bad." I exited the jumper and waited.
"Not bad?" He rushed to join me. "I'm the best pilot here."
"I'm sure you are." Completely serious I faced him. "I happen to be better."
"Says me and the years of practice I've had."
"Right." He motioned me to the door. "McKay wanted me to bring you by the labs."
"That should be amusing." I went out the door ahead of him and then allowed him to escort me to the research lab.
"Hey, McKay," John shouted. "You have a visitor."
"Ah," his head popped up from behind a console. "Come in, Ms. Saunders. We've just made a fascinating discovery."
"Have fun." John ducked out leaving me there.
With a sigh, I listened to McKay drone on before finding a way to escape. I found the main gate room and stuck my head into Elizabeth's office.
"I heard John deserted you." She glanced up from the laptop she'd been working on.
"In all honesty, I think it was his way of getting revenge."
"Uh, huh. I'm a better pilot than he is."
She sat back. "He's the best we have."
"He could be better."
"And you came to this conclusion because?"
"How long have we known each other?"
"Years. What has that got to do with,"
"Elizabeth, Pete and Oscar didn't tell you a few things."
She nodded. "I'm aware of that."
"I'm sure you are."
Before I could continue, a tech stuck his head in the door. "Dr. Weir, we're getting a message from the Deadalus."
"We'll continue this after I talk with Caldwell." Elizabeth walked out and I joined her. She nodded at the tech and he opened the channel. "Yes, Colonel."
"Dr. Weir, we've contacted an Ancient ship and we're headed back to Atlantis."
I knew a chill.
"Understood. We look forward to meeting them."
I glanced sideways at her, knowing something she did not.
The Ancients stood in the gate room. Elizabeth hurried down the stairs to greet their guests. "Welcome. We've been holding the city."
A device sprang up out of the floor and the blonde woman in white touched a control that took every laptop of the expedition off line. "We thank you and we are now taking control of our city back."
Elizabeth paled. "What do you mean?"
"I mean you can leave now."
"Leave?" She couldn't believe it. They'd dreamed of meeting the Ancients and here she, they, were being told to leave.
"They're not leaving."
Weir turned in surprise to see Jen standing on the stairs, a firm expression on her face.
"You have no place here." The woman glared at Jen and fixed her eyes on Elizabeth. "Our decision is final."
"No. It isn't." Jen gracefully descended the stairs and faced the Ancient woman. "Mine is."
"You have no right," she objected.
"Yes, I do. And by your own laws."
"Jen," Elizabeth tried to stop her friend before she forever severed any possibility of diplomatic ties.
"Stay out of this, Elizabeth." Jen touched the control and the laptops all booted back up. "Your biggest problem was always your arrogance."
"There is only one who could do such things." The Ancient woman's face held a look of awe.
"Really?" For a second Jen sounded like McKay. "They stay."
"It is our city."
"So learn to share."
"They must leave."
"They aren't leaving."
"You can't do this to us."
Jen shook her head. "I just did. Get over it." She turned to leave when one of the guards pulled his weapon.
"Jen!" Elizabeth shouted.
She swirled, a blaze of light in her hand. The bolt reflected off and hit a stair. Jen stood there with a, Elizabeth shook her head, that couldn't be, a light sabre?
"You've held a treaty with us for thousands of years," Jen slowly stated. "Now you dare to try and break it?"
The woman backed off as did the guards with her. "Forgive me," she begged.
"Go back to your ship while I think about it."
They disappeared in a flash of light. Jen deactivated her weapon.
"Did I just see what I thought I did?" Weir hated the fact she sounded both shaky and uncertain.
"Ms. Saunders, you have some explaining to do." Elizabeth used her authoritative tone.
"What I have to do,"
"Incoming wormhole." A tech reported from above.
"IDC?" Weir raised her voice.
"Close the shield."
There were a few frantic moments. "It won't come up."
"Great." Jen closed her eyes and shook her head.
"You know what's going on."
"There's only one group that the shield won't activate on and that's the Jedi."
Two men in black and silver walked through the gate. I can't say I didn't expect them. They were the rest of the Jedi council, or at least, what is left of it.
"Lord Magella," I greeted the older of the two. "Count Tripon." The second was shorter and bit pudgy.
"You have such a flair for causing problems, young lady," Count Tripon started.
"But it does not mean she isn't correct," Lord Magella interjected.
"The Atlantians have a claim here,"
"As do the Terrans,"
"Wait a minute, you two," I interrupted before they really got started on their usual rhetoric. "You're both jumping to conclusions."
"So," Lord Magella spread his hands. "Tell us what the situation is here."
"Short version. The Ancients abandoned the city. The Terrans found it and revived it. Now the Ancients want to kick out the Terrans and reclaim what they willingly gave up. I told them no, the Terrans stay. I have the right. The Ancients don't want to honor the old treaty and I'm not going to give them a choice."
Both Jedi masters were nodding.
"She's right on all counts," Lord Magella agreed.
Count Tripon slowly nodded. "I have to concede, she is."
"I'll break it to them." The older of the two walked over to the controls, hit a button and vanished.
"What is going on here?" Elizabeth demanded.
"Old treaties, which they have to honor," I tried to explain. "Short version." I tried to keep a straight face. "They abandoned the city. You have prior salvage claim. They want it back and they can't have it. Jedi decisions stand."
"You aren't making any sense."
"That's okay. These type of disagreements we've been solving for centuries." I glanced at Tripon. "Right."
"I thought," John came up beside me. "That Jedi only existed in Star Wars movies."
"George Lucas based his creation on something." I winked at him. "Not to mention Luke Skywalker is a very good friend of mine." I heard Tripon groan. "They don't like him much because he won't let them bury him in religious nonsense that has nothing to do with being a Jedi."
"That isn't true!" Tripon wailed.
"Yes, it is, so just shut up."
When Magella returned he informed all that the decision I made now stood. "I gave them the choice of staying and living with you, or leaving."
"What did they decide?" Elizabeth wanted to know.
"I don't really know. There was some talk about inhabiting one of their old bases."
"Might be better in the long run." To me, that sounded like a good idea.
"But we've waited for so long to talk to an Ancient!" Elizabeth wasn't very happy.
"You know," I told her. "They're just people who happened to have a very advanced society, at least as far as technology was concerned. Otherwise, they had all the same weaknesses and strengths as you."
"You make them sound so, fallible," John commented.
"They were." I didn't hold them in awe as they did.
"Where are they going?" John pointed at the two Jedi.
"Back to where they were living." Magella and Tripon walked back into the wormhole. "They just came to help me enforce the decision I made."
"Are you staying?" Elizabeth asked.
"Until the Deadalus goes back to Earth. I still have a report to file at the Foundation."
Barnabas delivered Jen's report to Pete. Pete glanced through it and stared up the dark haired man. "Your cousin takes a lot of risks."
"She did what she thought was right for all concerned."
"Boys in the Pentagon are not going to be happy about this."
"The Jedi have a long standing tradition," Barnabas smiled. "The Ancients couldn't argue with the decision made." He leaned toward Pete. "Besides, it allows you to continue to have a presence in the Pegasus Galaxy and hold onto Atlantis."
"And now we have some very angry Ancients who might never talk to us again."
"They, no doubt, will see the error of their ways and open diplomatic relations."
"And if they don't? What do I tell the president, the Pentagon, and,"
"Tell them simply that the matter was resolved by an outside influence you have no control over." He firmly emphasized his point. "It is the truth."
Barnabas walked out of Pete's office with a smile on his pale face.
"It went well?" I inquired.
"As well as can be expected."
"Problem is," I told him as we walked to the elevators. "The farther out in space they go, the more contact they're going to have with others like myself and those we hold agreements with."
"And find themselves usurped on many important matters."
The door opened and we went inside. Barnabas hit the garage level button. "Cousin Elizabeth wants to know if you're coming home this weekend."
"Depends. Is David locked up in juvie yet?"
"I believe they decided on – private care for him."
"Well, at least that's something."
"All families have their black sheep." He glanced at me. "Or have you forgotten?"
"No." We reached the garage and walked to his limo. "Tell me, Barnabas. When I informed you Angelique had given you a child she never told you about, and that I was descended from her," I faced him. "What did you think?"
He opened the back door and crawled in. I joined him.
"Honestly," he signaled the driver and we rolled out into the streets. The windows were darkened to protect him from bursting into flames. "I wanted to strangle her for not telling me. Then I wanted to kill you for reminding me of my own weakness." He poured a glass of amber liquid and drank it down. "When I had time to think on it, and accept the idea, I was glad to know that a human part of me survived."
"Even if I lived in outer space part of the time."
"Actually, it adds to your allure."
We were quiet until we reached the airport. The Collins private jet sat in a hanger where we'd board first and then taxi out on the runway.
"So, are you coming home?" He looked at me expectedly.
"For a short time."
"There are a number of unresolved issues in the Pegasus galaxy. I think they need a Jedi there and the rest of the Council agrees."
Barnabas laughed. "You are full of surprises."
"Did you ever doubt it?" My eyes danced with merriment and I leaned over and kissed his cheek. "Remind me one day to tell you the FULL history of our family line."
"I look forward to it."
"Problem is, you'll never be able to tell anyone."
"I very good at keeping secrets."
"Don't I know it."
We boarded the jet and took seats. The plane taxied out, took off and headed for Maine. Barnabas slept most of the way, but I looked out over the landscape, when I could see it. Once we got back to Collinsport I'd again be just a Collins cousin enmeshed in family politics.
Tired I closed my eyes. The day would come when I would no longer journey on this world but permanently stay out there. I looked forward to it, but would miss Earth. My time here was short and I would enjoy it.
I woke when Barnabas did and we landed in Bangor. We'd travel by car to the house.
"Jen," Barnabas spoke softly. "I am very glad I got to know you."
"And I you." I smiled at him. Today at least, I got to enjoy my humanity. There would be plenty time to be what I had been truly born to be - a Jedi.