Hey guys, so I really have NO idea how this particular story happened. Its not really like anything I've written before, and it started out waaaaay different, but...go figure. Let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Marie

General Landry's voice was sympathetic as he informed Dr. Wier of her removal from command, but his words hurt anyway. True to her training, Elizabeth's composure never falters. Its not like she didn't expect it. She smiles graciously, assures him that he tried his hardest, and thanks him for giving her the news himself. Somehow, the fact that she takes it well makes it so much worse for him.

She walked through the Stargate as though everything was normal. She greeted Chuck, and called the usual debrief for her time on Earth. When John, Teyla, Ronon, Carson, and McKay were assembled in her office, she told them that the IOA felt her services were better used on Earth. She shouted down their enraged denials and resolutely promised them that she was okay. Richard Woolsey, who had been sent to prepare to take over when she left, was amazed at how she skillfully navigated them past anger and into acceptance with remarkable speed.

She asked to be put on citywide, and calmly gave a speech that brought tears to the eyes of more than a few people. She praised them all for their courage, hard work, and sense of community, and asked them to be helpful during the change- for her sake. She continued to ask this of them as she packed her bags and removed her belongings from her office without a single tear.

When a perplexed Woolsey finally asked why she was taking it so well, she met his gaze firmly.

"If there is one thing I have learned from this galaxy, it is that life is too short for regrets. I wouldn't change a single thing I did, even if it did lead to the IOA removing me from the Atlantis Expedition. Excuse me." She nodded briskly and walked calmly over to where SGA-1 sat around their usual table.

When the time came for her to dial back to Earth for good, Woolsey was completely convinced that getting rid of Dr. Elizabeth Wier was the worst decision the IOA had ever made. In fact, he had made his case to the IOA multiple times over the last week he had spent in Atlantis, and had made absolutely no headway.

When she appeared in the gate room dressed in civilian clothing and ready to 'gate back, he couldn't stop himself from assuring her that he would be fighting for her to be able to return. She waited until the gate was dialed before she answered.

Her green eyes sparkled as she laughed freely. "I promise you, Richard, I have no intention of returning to Earth."

He stared at her. "What? But...you said...and the city..."

She accepted a radio from Colonel Sheppard, sliding it on will well practiced ease. "Stargate Command, this is Dr. Elizabeth Wier. Do you copy?"

"Loud and clear." Came the rapid, albeit somewhat confused, response. Elizabeth's smile broadened.

"Good. I hereby announce my resignation from the Stargate Program. You have the right to remove me from command, but as a citizen of the United States of America who is not a member of any government or military program, you do not have the jurisdiction to remove me from this city. These are my people, General, and no decisions made in another galaxy will change that. We don't leave our people behind."

Voices spoke rapidly over the radio, tumbling over each other. Finally, there was the sound of a struggle and General Landry's voice echoed through the control room.

"Elizabeth, think about this. If we have any more trouble, the IOA could simply decide to shut down the entire Atlantis expedition. You can't..." His voice died out as someone else wrestled control of the microphone.

A crisp military voice took over. "As a ranking military officer, I command Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard to escort Dr. Wier through the Stargate, using what ever force is necessary."

John smirked, hitting on his own microphone. "Sorry, sir. Not doing. For one, I don't really feel like it. For another, I'm pretty sure that there is an entire city full of people here who would kick my ass from here to Earth if I tried it."

The man's enraged bellow was cut off as someone on the Earth side snatched away the radio again. Elizabeth recognized General O'Neill's voice.

"Elizabeth, you sure have one hell of a way with words." He shouted, admiration heavy in his tone. She smirked lightly.

"Thank you, Jack. Will you get the IOA and president to where they can hear this?" She paused, listening to the outraged yells still floating through the Stargate.

When she decided that they were ready to hear what she had to say, she began, her voice demanding respect. "Mr. President, members of the IOA, you have a choice before you. I am sorry to put you all in this situation, but you have forced my hand. Before I begin to outline your options, I would like to say that Mr. Woolsey has had no part in this. He will, of course, be allowed to gate back to Earth at his convenience. I hope for your sakes that I never hear that he is being penalized for my actions here.

"That said, I would like to express my... disappointment...in the choices that have been made recently. Did you honestly believe that I would accept the complete militarization of Atlantis? I could have accepted you replacing me, but I will not accept that you would willingly turn the city of the Ancients into nothing more than a military outpost. I have discovered that my removal from Atlantis was only the first steps toward this goal. Within a year, all other civilian members would have been forced to leave Atlantis as well, and inside of a year after that the scientists would have followed."

The shocked murmurs from the radio informed her that, as she had suspected, not everyone had been filled in on this little plan. "I didn't think so. Thats a nasty little mess, one I think I will leave for the diplomats on Earth to sort out."

Someone on the Earth side attempted to say something, but she cut him off. "No, I'm not nearly done here. The wormhole will only hold for 38 minutes, you know, and we have much more to discuss. I would like to remind you all that at this point Atlantis is entirely self sufficient. We do not need anything from Earth that we cannot make just as well here, and we have plenty of friends in this neighborhood. I do not want to have to cut off contact with Earth, you will need the information we can give you in order to fight the Ori and protect Earth, but believe me if it is necessary we will. As I said, you have a choice. You can either continue to treat Atlantis as if we were a colony, in which case we will will cut ourselves away and resume communication at a time we deem reasonable, or you can recognize us a fully separate people, who will be powerful allies to you."

She fell silent, allowing them time to catch up to what she was saying. General O'Neill's voice rang across the room. "Am I understanding you, Elizabeth? Are you trying to establish Atlantis as its own country?"

She laughed. "Oh no, I wouldn't dream of it. If Atlantis were merely a country, the IOA would still be able to meddle in our affairs."

His voice was filled with awe as he reassessed her words. "So you are trying to..."

"Secede from the galaxy? Yeah."

He whistled lowly, and Elizabeth smiled confidently as the muttering resumed on the Earth side.

"I can see that you will need time to consider my words. Call us back. Lantea out."

There was a stunned sort of silence as the gate shut down and Elizabeth turned to face her people.

"I know we have discussed this before, but you still have a chance to back out. You can gate home, stay out of this entire conflict."

She laughed as the entire company shook their heads emphatically. "Good. Thank you all. John, McKay, we should probably fill Mr. Woolsey in on the plan...I'm sure he is anxious to return home."

Richard shook his head at her. "Oh, no, you don't. You are going to need someone here who knows the IOA inside and out, and I am not dealing with all that paperwork on Earth. Sorry, but I think you are stuck with me."

McKay groaned slightly, and John jabbed him in the stomach with an elbow. Elizabeth glared at them both.

"Very well then, Richard, thank you. If you would come with me, I could actually use your support setting up the government."

She paused, shook her head at the strangeness of that thought, and then linked arms with John and walked serenely into her office.

Fin. Thanks for reading!