Title: Routine Perspective Username (optional): Lyssie Pairing(s): None.Request (written): Kinda a combination of two requests. Request one: "Cast your eyes on the ocean; cast your soul to the sea." (quote from 'Dante's Prayer' by Loreena McKennitt) and request three: I like character exploration pieces.
Spoilers (if any): Vague for season one, and a bit into season two.
Timeline (If applicable): Skips through early season one, mid-season one, and the very beginning of season two.
Rating: Pretty much kiddie appropriate.
Warnings: There is mention of death.
Author's Notes (if applicable): Massive thanks to gravity and familyarchives for betaing this puppy, and pointing out where my brain-logic only worked for my brain. Any mistakes remaining are certainly my own.
Elizabeth likes to stand on her balcony and imagine she's a princess in a castle.
Okay, not a princess, because a princess is too limited (and archaic). It implies she's awaiting a rescue, and she's not. She's right where she wants to be, in Atlantis. Living a dream she never thought she'd have. So, maybe she wants to be the queen in her castle.
Except that implies the people who work under her are subjects, vassals to be ruled over--which works a little for the military. But the scientists are rather more egalitarian.
Like a commune in the middle of the jungle. If only there were trees on Atlantis, it would help that illusion along. She has the sudden mental image of Rodney and Zelenka raising ten children in the middle of nowhere and can't quite suppress a chuckle.
The wind picks up, dancing along the water and causing the light to flash shades of red across the windows around her. Elizabeth closes her eyes and breathes in the scent of not-quite-salt-water. The tang of the water is close to the Pacific around Hawaii, but the composition of the chemistry is rather different. It always hits her when she's standing on the balcony--she, Elizabeth Weir, is standing on an alien planet. Even better, she's standing on the lost city of Atlantis.
She is a legend. Or will be, though she's not sure she wants to know what the history books will say about her. Perhaps too little. And perhaps too much.
The urge rises and she bounces a little on the balls of her feet--for an instant, she wonders if she can feel the city moving around her. Then whimsy is lost to practicality as she spots a puddle jumper skimming along the water towards her. Sheppard and his team must be back from checking on the Athosians.
The dream of the castle slips away and she steps back from the railing. It's time to put away childish things and return to the working world.
For a brief moment as she steps through the door, she fancies she can hear silvery laughter.
Returning to the control room, she nods to Peter Grodin. Her assistant holds up a clipboard and bee-lines towards her, "The supply clerks have finished their initial survey, doctor."
Taking the paper from him, she scans it and sighs. Yet another supply shortage. "Thank you, Peter. See if they think they can salvage anything usable from the city itself. We might be able to shore up supplies that way. And when Major Sheppard reports in, have him and Teyla meet me in my office."
"I'll let them know." He nods a semi-salute and bustles off.
Stepping into her office isn't as relaxing as stepping onto her balcony, but Elizabeth makes do. Her mind is already filled with the dwindling supplies of the expedition, and she drops into her chair to sketch out her thoughts. More alliances, a way to receive supplies from Earth, a way to farm themselves (perhaps the botanists could convert rooms for hydroponics). If nothing else, perhaps Teyla's people can be traded with to provide food.
Minutes pass before she finishes, and she moves on to another stack of papers. If anyone had told her that an expedition to another galaxy would produce so much paper, she would have demanded to know how many trees they planned to kill. Yet now, it seems almost vital. Lists of supplies, lists of personnel, lists of the dead. She hates the latter. Sometimes, she brings it out to note where she went wrong. Where she could have made a different decision and still be where they are today.
Losing people seems like paying a token to the ferryman. Which is morbid, but seems to fit, given Stargate Command's track record in the field. Elizabeth has read enough reports to know that death seems to be a cost of exploration. One which she doesn't want to pay at all.
Movement pulls her from her thoughts and she looks up as Major Sheppard and Teyla enter her office.
"Doctor," Sheppard drops gracelessly into the chair opposite her while Teyla seats herself with more skill. "You wanted to see us?"
"Major, Teyla," gathering her thoughts, she meets Teyla's eyes. "How are your people?"
"We found them well--"
"Yeah, they're thriving. Must be all the good weather."
"Perhaps." Teyla looks amused, "The weather has been rather pleasant. Holling believes it to be the reason our crops will be quite bountiful this year."
"That's good," not bothering to beat around the bush, Elizabeth continues, "Teyla, will they have a surplus to trade with?"
"Quite possibly." The Athosian tilts her head slightly. "You wish me to ask the next time I am there?"
"Yes. Please." Elizabeth doesn't bother mentioning the friendship between their peoples. She knows Teyla is aware of it, just as she knows that Teyla now feels out of place in both worlds. Not that Elizabeth would use that against her.
"Then I shall."
"So, Captain Wilson and his team didn't turn anything up?" Sheppard asks, fiddling with the latest object d'art someone brought back for her.
"Not exactly." She admits. The piece of rock is probably more fragile than it looks, and Elizabeth hopes (just a little) that the Major breaks it. She really would try to break the teams from giving her things, except they seem to take it as an informal competition. As amusing as that is, if Sheppard breaks it, she'll have one less ugly thing on her desk. "Apparently, the natives weren't very impressed. They returned with only the clothing on their backs."
"Oh, dear," Teyla murmurs, a smile flickering around her lips.
"Hah." says Sheppard, looking smug.
"Yes." For a moment, Elizabeth lets her exasperation show. Then she moves on, "Major, Teyla, thank you for your time."
The dismissal springs Sheppard to his feet, and he almost drops the rock. A quick fumble and he rescues it, setting it back on her desk. Teyla shoots Elizabeth an amused look and then stands herself, "I shall return to the mainland in a few days to discuss trading possibilities with Holling, if you'd like, Elizabeth."
"Yes, I would. Thank you." With another exchanged smile, Elizabeth returns to the paperwork choking her desk.
Elizabeth Weir stands on her balcony and dreams of being anywhere but here. Overhead, lightning flashes, presaging the storm that may destroy her expedition. A part of her wishes Major Sheppard hadn't discovered this meteorological catastrophe. Another is glad for the chance to prepare for it, even if there still isn't enough time.
Behind her, the door slides open and Teyla comes out to join her. "It is still beautiful."
The words seem inadequate, but Elizabeth nods, nonetheless. "Yes." A bitterness wells in her. The expedition has survived so much, and to have it destroyed by the weather feels unfair. But no one ever said life was fair.
Perhaps sensing this, Teyla says nothing.
All the wonders she has seen in this short time. It will never be enough. She wants all of Pegasus. To meet every species and interact on some level. To negotiate treaties against the Wraith. To understand the Genii, and mend her fences there. She'll have all the time in the world now, to stop being the leader of Atlantis. Oh, the possibility that the city will survive is there, but Elizabeth isn't going to count her chickens before they're hatched.
Moments pass, and then Elizabeth shoulders the responsibility again. She doesn't wipe away what might be tears as she turns and heads resolutely back inside.
"I believe," Teyla says as she follows, "That there is still time for a cup of tea."
Elizabeth stops in the doorway and looks at her, "That would be lovely, but I think I'll wait until we've returned."
Perhaps cementing the hope in something like a promise will make it come true.
Teyla smiles, "And you can break out the chocolate."
A laugh escapes Elizabeth, and she smiles back. The expression is probably bittersweet, but Teyla doesn't seem to mind.
The balcony is solid under her feet. It survived the Wraith strafing runs with only one nick in the paint and a smattering of debris. Standing on it, Elizabeth can see the cloaking field. It gives off slight sparks, aurora borealis in technological form. She doesn't feel much like a princess in a castle. With the onslaught of the military, she feels more like a besieged commander. Fancy suggests Napoleon at Waterloo, and she almost laughs.
Atlantis is not her Waterloo.
Elizabeth isn't sure what will be her Waterloo, but she's pretty sure she hasn't discovered it yet.
The Wraith came, and there are people dead. People she will have to account for to the UN Council. Some of them were friends. Aiden Ford, Peter Grodin--it seems wrong that Peter is gone, she still can't quite believe it. Colonel Everett might have become a friend. Now, he's just a dying man. Others, soldiers, scientists, Athosians. People. They're dead and there isn't anything she can do. She can't step backwards in time and change things for the better--she's not sure there is a better.
What she can do is soldier on. And the irony is, she's the pacifist among them. The one who would have sat around a table with the Wraith and tried to find a peaceful solution. Not that there really appears to be one.
And if Teyla were out here, she would point that out. Elizabeth has to smile at that, recalling the Athosian's surprise when she told her she'd be left in charge. It seems the perfect solution to Elizabeth's problem: scientists or military, neither should be in charge.
"Doctor Weir." Colonel Caldwell's voice is cordial from behind her. "We're nearly ready to leave for Earth."
"Thank you, Colonel." She smiles as she turns to him, "Shall we go?" There are plans she needs to make, people to convince to see things her way. New staff to procure and train. Earth seems like a strange place to go, but it's where she can make new choices for her people.
Napoleon didn't win his war. Elizabeth fully intends to win hers.