By Kate Carter
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate or anything related to it. If I did, I would not be a dirt-poor college student struggling to make ends meet and watching Atlantis whenever possible with her friends.
Time: Obviously, pre-/early "Rising" with some spoilers for "Before I Sleep" and a VERY small spoiler for SG-1's "Avenger 2.0"
Written 11 August 2007
For ten thousand years, Atlantis had slumbered.
She hadn't been bored, per say; not being an actual Ancient, just one of their most amazing pieces of technology (and that was saying something, since they had constructed the stargates), she was not capable of boredom. But somewhere, deep inside all of her numerous files and folders and subroutines and systems, she was aware that she missed their presence. Her creators. The Ancients. Things just weren't the same without them.
The only presence was that of the human woman she was keeping in stasis. Twice she awakened the woman, as she had been instructed to do before her creators had left. She wished the woman would stay awake, and explore her, but she understood why the woman had to go back to sleep. She had listened to Janis explaining to the woman – Elizabeth – that she must rotate out the ZPMs so that Atlantis would survive underwater.
In the meantime, Atlantis cleaned up unnecessary files, improved the file-storage system, designed a more efficient engine for the small ships, improved sensor efficiency, continued tracking the Wraith as much as possible, built up a fairly large data file on the large creatures – similar to the Earth whales – that lived in the water surrounding her, mapped out a precise global warming and cooling pattern that, barring unforeseen events, should predict the high and low temperatures (on the surface, of course) for the next three thousand years, and set the automatic cleaning systems to work twice as often as they were scheduled.
And finally, after ten thousand, three hundred and forty six years of slumber…they came.
The stargate had activated regularly, over the last ten millennia, communicating with the other stargates in the network, receiving new information and transmitting old information on to the others. It would activate, then shut down after a few minutes, receiving information before it passed it on to the next stargate. Ten days later, it would repeat the process. The first round passed updates to the stargate system; the second round passed further updates, from the stargates which were "further down the line." Although Atlantis didn't know it, it was very similar to what the humans referred to as "Telephone," only without the errors in the message.
However, the stargates did this only one every two hundred and fifty years, and it had been a mere twenty-three years since the last update. Atlantis waited in anticipation.
First, a foreign object came through. Atlantis could not detect what it was; some type of primitive sensor array. It transmitted data back through the wormhole; Atlantis, intercepting some of it, discovered that it was environmental conditions.
Within another two minutes, the first people stepped through.
This was the cue she had been waiting for. It was a slow process, awakening the systems that had been shut down for millennia. As more people came in, she continued the process, until much of the city was ready to go once again. Light shone once again through the long abandoned hallways. Atlantis was especially intrigued by the male who seemed to be quite near to her former occupants; as soon as he stepped through the 'gate, his mind connected with her, on a level he wasn't even conscious of.
Unfortunately, there was not enough power left in the ZPM to continue this. Even as Atlantis continued to power up, she was calculating how to reduce energy usage. The primary systems finished powering up, while the humans made it into her control room and began looking at consoles. The secondary systems began to kick in, including those meant to wake up Elizabeth, but as they began to hum to life, one of the humans issued a command to shut them down. Atlantis was not expecting this, and cut the power to them immediately. In the process, Elizabeth's lifesigns began to fluctuate. Atlantis brought the stasis chamber to the brink of waking the woman up before taking her back into the deep sleep once again. It worked; her lifesigns evened out, and while Atlantis knew she didn't have long to live, at least she was still alive. Atlantis felt a strange feeling towards this woman; one might almost call it affection. Her well-being had become a priority for Atlantis over the last ten thousand years.
She marveled at the new inhabitants. In order to conserve power, she elected to sacrifice herself; shutting down systems in the far reaches of the city, and bringing the shield in closer to the main tower. The humans noticed this, and began to order system after system to shut down; waste disposal, cleaning systems, transports, all the systems but life support, lighting, and the shield. A team was sent through the stargate; she noted that the man she had connected with went with them. Approximately ten hours later, they came back; well, some did. There was also a group of new arrivals.
But now, Atlantis was at the breaking point – almost literally. The failsafe protocol initiated; she began to move towards the surface. As soon as Atlantis began to reach the upper areas of the ocean, where the pressure of the water wasn't great enough to damage her, she began to deactivate her shield. And mere seconds after, the gigantic, elegant metal hull of Atlantis saw daylight again for the first time in over ten thousand years.
Atlantis had awakened.