We, the Sparky Army, decree 2008 to be the Year of the Spark. We pledge to post a new sparky story or chapter of a sparky story every day from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008. Though the Powers that Be have removed Elizabeth Weir from the regular cast of Stargate Atlantis, we feel that she remains an integral part of the show, and that the relationship between her and John Sheppard is too obvious to be ignored. We hope that you, and anyone might happen to read these works, agree.
And if that isn't official enough for you, we don't know what is. Seriously, guys, we're just trying to have some fun--and show TPTB that Sparky is the way to go. So sit back and enjoy the 366 stories coming your way!
Note from the author (Myriad): Would have been up earlier, but my physics professors are sadistic. I guarantee you that this will make abso-bloody-lutely no sense if you haven't read the other parts, so check the stories for Jan 1, 15, and 29 before you read this.
This is the END of the Reality series! I may do an epilogue at some point, but here ends the main story. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have!
By Myriad (Myriadragon)
He was calm. Calm. There was no reason why he shouldn't be. They were back on Atlantis now, and even if everything wasn't quite all right, it would be soon. There was no reason to be anxious.
Yeah, keep telling yourself that, John thought as paced back and forth in his quarters.
The fact that he was in his quarters and not the brig was something. He'd been placed under house arrest as soon as they'd returned from P79-443, but he hadn't officially been confined.
Not that it really mattered where he was. They were still keeping him from her.
They were almost there. Just a few more feet—
He lowered the 'Jumper shield just before he ran into it, dragging Elizabeth with him. The ship came alive as soon as he entered, raising the shield behind them and shutting the rear door. John pushed Elizabeth into the co-pilot's chair and threw himself behind the controls. The 'Jumper rose slowly over the treetops. Inside, John dialed the 'Gate, adrenaline making his fingers fumble over the 'Jumper's DHD. He almost forgot to send through his IDC.
"Almost home now," he muttered, to Elizabeth or to himself, he wasn't sure. "Almost there."
The HUD blinked anxiously, warning him of the Replicators in pursuit. Eighty meters to the 'Gate—sixty—fourty—twenty—
They slid through into the dizzying green tunnel of the wormhole and out again into the Atlantis 'Gate room.
John took a deep breath, forcing himself to loosen his grip on the controls. The 'Jumper, sensing his release, powered down completely. He grabbed at the console as the ship dropped to the floor with a jarring crash
As soon as the ship had settled, he turned to Elizabeth. Physically she was fine, perfectly balanced on the edge of her seat, looking through the 'Jumper window with a disturbingly innocent curiosity.
She showed no sign that she had heard him, leaning forward slightly to peer up at the control room.
"Elizabeth," he repeated more insistently, and she turned to him, cocking her head to one side in confusion.
Panic flooded him. "Elizabeth, do you know where you are?"
Her brows drew together, but she said nothing.
"We're in Atlantis. We're home—" John stopped as she reached towards him, fingers tracing his lips, her own moving in a slow parody of the words he had just spoken.
"Elizabeth…" he said as her hand fell away. Slowly, silently she shaped the word: Elizabeth
Then she fainted.
"Elizabeth!" he yelled as she fell forward into him.
Suddenly the 'Jumper was full of people—Keller, pulling Elizabeth away from him—Sam, pulling him away from Elizabeth—Lorne, forcing him out of the 'Jumper and away from Elizabeth—
"Elizabeth!" he yelled again, struggling against Lorne. "Don't—she needs—"
"Colonel Sheppard!" Suddenly Sam was in front of him. "We're taking her to the infirmary. You will go to your quarters and remain there until I send for you."
"GO," she all but roared, and he would have roared back, but he had run out of adrenaline, and he was sagging in Lorne's grip…
Lorne had all but carried him back to his quarters and left him there, returning with one of the doctors to perform the obligatory post-mission exam. Rodney had been by twice with trays of food, but he'd been agonizingly silent on the subject of Elizabeth.
Teyla had been better. Maybe she saw some parallel between his situation with Elizabeth and hers with Kanaan. Maybe she was just better at this sort of thing than Rodney was. Either way, she'd at least had the decency to tell him what was going on.
The nanites were dead. They weren't sure how, exactly, but Rodney seemed to think that the bugs had continued to repair her tissue until her body could function on its own and then retreated to her brain and spinal cord.
Elizabeth was—they weren't sure what or where she was. From what they could tell, she had no control over her body, no say in anything that happened. The Replicators hadn't bothered to put another personality in her body, hence the blank confusion when she arrived on Atlantis. She didn't recognize anything because she truly hadn't seen any of it before. She couldn't speak because she'd never spoken before. She was a blank slate, without even the connections a baby forms in the womb.
The Replicators had cut her nanites off from the rest of the collective shortly after they'd made it through the 'Gate—that was why she had fainted. Without the nanites there to power her brain, she had no neural activity except in an isolated portion of her frontal lobe. With no synapses firing in her cerebellum, her body stopped. Her lungs didn't breath, her heart didn't beat. Keller had managed to revive her, and they were running a low-level current through her brain, enough to keep her body alive. But there was no sign of Elizabeth.
They thought she had cut herself off somehow, that the small area of activity in her frontal lobe was her. It would explain why the Replicators had let her go—she was no use to them if they couldn't get at her knowledge. That she had managed to cut herself off at all was amazing—and maddening. The Replicators couldn't get to her, yes, Atlantis was safe, yes—but he wanted Elizabeth.
Elizabeth was confused. Or she was going insane. When you considered that she had spent the last God-knew-how-long trapped in her mind's projection of the drilling platform they had left back on Lantia, the latter was probably more likely. But still…
The ocean was gone. She could open one of the hatches and walk out onto the ocean floor, across the barren rock to Atlantis.
She was having trouble figuring out just what that meant. The elaborate metaphor her subconscious had constructed to help her understand mental battle with the Replicators had been confusing to begin with. As she understood it, Atlantis and the drilling platform were her brain, her portion of psychic "land." The drilling platform was the part she was inhabiting; Atlantis was the part she had abandoned to the Replicators. The ocean was the Replicator collective, the "land" comprised of and shared by all of the nanites.
And now the ocean was gone. Did that mean the nanites were gone? Had they been destroyed? All of them, or just the ones in her? Was it a trick, to get her to unlock the doors and venture out? If she did so, would the ocean return to drown her? Or could she walk freely into the city and reclaim her body?
More importantly, with the ocean gone, how was she still alive?
John shot to his feet as the door to his quarters slid open. "Colonel Carter," he said warily.
Sam closed her eyes briefly, opened them. "I don't have the energy or the inclination to fight with you now. Come on."
He stared. "You're letting me out."
"For the moment." Sam sighed. "She hasn't woken up, John, and…there are rules about this kind of thing. We can't keep her alive indefinitely."
John swallowed hard. "How long?"
"Not much longer. Colonel—John," Sam said when he turned away. "No one wants to lose her. Teyla mentioned how you helped her when she was first infected by the nanites. If you'd like to see her—" She stopped when he took a step forward.
She was awfully pale, awfully…lifeless, her entire body completely relaxed, limbs lying heavily on the bed. John moved carefully around the monitors and instruments they'd hooked her to and sat on the edge of the bed. He ran a hand down her arm until he found her hand.
Elizabeth was going to go crazy if she didn't do something. She was already going crazy, cooped up in here—maybe it would be better to go out and die than to stay trapped in the drilling platform. And maybe—maybe she would finally be free.
She left the laptop on the table—if it was a trick, and the Replicators caught her, maybe it would take them longer to find what they wanted. She'd been gone so long most of what she knew was probably useless, anyway.
Elizabeth walked quickly to the hatch, took a deep breath, and opened the door, expecting the ocean to flood back in or the seafloor to crumble away at her feet.
Elizabeth laughed quietly, allowing herself to hope—
The air, heavy and dead a moment before, swirled up in a faint breeze, carrying with it a single word: Elizabeth.
"John?" she whispered, not daring to believe.
Elizabeth. Come home, Elizabeth.
"John." Blinking the tears from her eyes, she started out across the barren stone to reclaim Atlantis.
The first thing Elizabeth saw when she opened her eyes was John. He smiled, she laughed—and she was home.