A/N: This is a co-fic, written by the lovely and talented fyd818 - and myself, TeylaFan.
Fyd came up with this whole idea, and I think it's a very good one! :D It's pretty complicated, but as long as you keep reading, you'll understand it all in the end! :P
Hey, it's fyd! Just wanted to say that I think it's been a lot of fun writing "Masquerade" so far, and I think you'll enjoy this -- our first of (hopefully!) many joint fics! And TeylaFan is being modest -- she's come up with some very good ideas herself! Thanks for reading! -hugs to all-
- Masquerade -
"Is Earth like it is portrayed in your movies?" Teyla Emmagan questioned as she followed John Sheppard down the halls of Atlantis toward the Gate room.
The Earth-native colonel hesitated a moment too long for Teyla's liking. "No," he finally said. "Not – totally. I mean, there aren't people chasing other people around in cars every day. Things don't blow up every other moment, and you don't have people chasing other people around with chainsaws or anything."
Teyla arched an eyebrow. "So it is only – similar to how it is in the movies?"
"Similar. Yes." He nodded emphatically as they entered the grand, airy Gate room. "But not the same."
Teyla and John's other two teammates, Ronon Dex and Dr. Rodney McKay, awaited them by the active Stargate. Ronon, Teyla's fellow Pegasus galaxy native, stood with a duffle bag slung casually over his shoulder. Rodney, however, stood with luggage and boxes all around him. He held his data pad in his hand, apparently making his way down a checklist.
"Come on, Rodney, you have everything." John snatched the data pad from his friend's hand. "It's not like you're going to Earth to save it or anything. We're on vacation."
Rodney made a peremptory snatch for his data pad, missed, and began to sulk. "But just in case my intelligence is required to solve some great, dangerous situation. . ."
"Earth will have plenty of equipment which you can work with," John interrupted. "Come on, it's time to go."
Rodney sighed. He began to put straps over his shoulders and pick up things by their handles. Some of it he piled on his friends. "Okay. Let's go."
Teyla looked down at the object she held. Why would Rodney need a box of pens on Earth? Wasn't that where they were shipped from in the first place? But she didn't ask.
"Col. Sheppard assures me Earth is not like in the movies," Teyla told Ronon as he came to stand next to her. "But still. . ."
"Yeah. Me too." He stared at the open Gate and shook his head. "Strange place, Earth. Sometimes I wish I didn't know what I was getting ready to walk into. That Sheppard hadn't told me about it."
"I agree," Teyla admitted quietly. Then they stepped into the wormhole in tandem.
The ride was short, nothing at all relative to the vast amount of space they crossed between Atlantis and Earth. When they were deposited on the other side of the wormhole, they stepped out into a completely different world – literally and figuratively.
Instead of the light, pretty colors of Atlantis, harsh grey walls met their gazes. The Gate room was small and cramped, claustrophobic in comparison to Atlantis's.
"Welcome to Earth!" A tall man with dark hair that had gone mostly silver long ago met Teyla and Ronon halfway up the ramp. He shook hands with first Teyla, then Ronon. "I'm General O'Neill. It's a pleasure to finally meet you both face to face, Teyla Emmagan, Ronon Dex." He addressed them each by name as he shook their hands. "I hope you enjoy your stay!"
Teyla smiled and relaxed a little at the general's warm, sincere welcome. "Thank you, General. We look forward to our time here."
Their leather bags, one apiece, were taken by two airmen. It was explained that their luggage would be taken straight to the surface, where a vehicle waited to drive them to the hotel where the team would be staying for the duration of their stay.
Next up came the obligatory visit to the infirmary, to ensure the four hadn't brought any contagious germs with them from the Pegasus galaxy. Teyla quietly and calmly submitted to the tests, performed by a smiling dark-haired doctor named Carolyn Lam. She chattered cheerfully about Earth in between questions about the Pegasus galaxy, and most particularly Teyla's people, the Athosians. Teyla liked the woman immediately.
The four team members called things to each other across the infirmary, then gathered in a central location once all the tests had been completed. They wanted to leave then, but had to wait until the results of the tests were back.
"What kind of markets do you have here?" Teyla asked. It wasn't that she was much of a shopper, but every now and then she liked to explore different worlds' bazaars. It was a new experience, and she often found new and unusual things.
Rodney held up one hand and ticked items off his fingers with the other. "Well, let's see. . . We have supermarkets, malls of all sizes, jewelry stores, clothes stores, shoe stores, convenience stores, hardware stores. . ."
John mock pulled out his hair and threw an infirmary pillow at his friend. "Zip it, McKay, we get it!"
Teyla felt her head spin slightly. "So many?" How big was Earth, anyway? She was afraid to ask.
Ronon did it for her. "How big is this planet? How do you have room for all this stuff?"
John chuckled and reclined on the bed he'd chosen next to the one where Ronon and Teyla sat side-by-sideand across from the one where Rodney perched. He settled his hands behind his head and his booted feet on the mattress so his knees were up in the air. "This is a big planet, folks. Even then, though, we don't have enough room – it's not so much that our planet is so big, just that there's so many people here. It's buy, buy, buy, sell, sell, sell. It's the way the economy works on this planet."
Teyla wondered if it was too late to go back home. From the look on Ronon's face, he was thinking the same thing.
Sheppard caught their frozen expressions of terror, and his features softened. "Hey, don't worry about it, guys. You're much safer here than in the Pegasus galaxy. Granted, we don't have a shield or anything – but I promise, it's safe."
"Famous last words," Rodney muttered.
John lifted his head to glare at the scientist, thenturned back to Ronon and Teyla. "We are on Earth to relax and get away from the pressures and perils of the Pegasus galaxy. We are here to have fun: to sightsee, and shop till we drop, and do all the other things you do when you come here for the first time. It will be fun. I promise."
"I'm tired," Rodney complained. "Seriously, doesn't anyone else have Gate lag?"
Teyla was too excited to feel tired. She stared wide-eyed at the vast array of buildings and sights that surrounded and stretched before her, amazed at the variety and sizes of them all. "No, Rodney," she said distractedly.
Ronon stood next to her, eyes wide in a similar look of disbelief. Both of them had been to numerous market worlds in the Pegasus galaxy, but none even came close to equaling the wonders Earth had to offer.
"We need to catch a movie," John said absently. "That way you can see them how they're meant to be seen – on a huge screen with the surround sound, stadium seating, and everything."
Ronon turned to watch the flow of traffic on the road next to them. Cars went back and forth both ways, rushing and honking their horns and flashing their lights, and. . . . It was like nothing Teyla had ever seen before. It was positively fascinating.
"What's wrong?" John asked. Apparently he'd seen the expression on her face.
"I am feeling very insignificant right now," she whispered. "This place – is so large! There is so much to see."
"And so much to do," Rodney added. "You haven't lived until you've ridden in a taxi." He motioned vaguely to a passing yellow car that said "taxi" on a sign atop it.
"Yeah – or died in one," Sheppard muttered. "Taxi drivers drive like they own the road – and no one else is on it. They scare even me."
Teyla craned her neck, trying to see everything at once. "There are so many shops. So many places to eat. So many things to see!"
Rodney nodded enthusiastically. "Personally, I vote for food."
"Me too," Ronon agreed.
Teyla was shocked to realize she was hungry. It had been a long time since breakfast on Atlantis. "I could eat," she confessed.
John rubbed his hands together. "Okay then, let's eat! Now then, we could have Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Tex-Mex, Thai, Japanese. . ."
Ronon lifted his hand to stop John. "Whoa. Stop. Just take us somewhere where we're halfway familiar with the food."
Teyla nodded. "I think I have had too many new experiences today."
John shrugged. "Sure."
Teyla sighed and climbed into bed in her hotel room. It was well after one in the morning, but she was happy. There had been so much she'd seen and done today – and John had promised more tomorrow! She could hardly wait. Now that she was here and actually experiencing all these new things, it was exciting instead of terrifying.
It was hard for her to believe that less than twenty-four hours ago, she'd still been on Atlantis. Now here she was, so far away from home, on a new planet. But she only missed home a little – mostly the sound of the ocean. The roar of traffic almost right outside her window wasn't as comforting.
But it didn't take her long to fall asleep, despite the slight fear still inside her. Earth was big, and still seemed so dangerous. . .
-To Be Continued-
Well, thanks for reading, hopefully you guys enjoyed it all! The next update will be soon, and we will try to update regularly so that you won't have to wait very long! :)
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