Generation: Tell a Story by AndromedaMarine

Author's Note: The Generation Series will contain fiction told from the POV of the children introduced in "Not Just Friends." "Tell a Story" is the first installment.

Early twenties. For some people it was a time of freedom from parents, the confines of college or worse: the inevitable McDonald's job. But for two twins on a massive city in another galaxy, their twenties were time of education and stories. Also it was a time for romance and the first thoughts about families of their own. Many – possibly too many – children of their generation milled about Atlantis day after day, some striking up their own relationships. Much to the twins' surprise the first to actually marry was their younger brother, John Carson McKay, to Halajier Jackson. Being of the family christened "the heart of Atlantis," John Carson was a gentle and humble soul. His mind was open to all forms of education and learning. Finally the time came for their father – Meredith Rodney McKay – to tell them the most important story they would ever hear.

Antissa and Nara Sheppard, both twenty-four; John Carson McKay, twenty-three; and Scott Radek McKay, at a strapping nineteen sat around the dinner table in their parents' expanded quarters. Rodney and Jennifer sat at the heads of the table, their hands folded with mugs of steaming tea in front of them. The siblings all respected and loved each other, despite serious fights and all-out wars during their earlier years. Rodney was getting old – he was nearing his early sixties just as Jennifer was approaching her fifties. The grey hair defined Rodney's sharp features in a gracious way, not mocking his age at all. Grey strands were starting to morph into their mother's long blonde locks, but the color defined her face as well. After all, they were from the original expedition, and Ronon wouldn't let them forget it.

Rodney cleared his throat and smiled at his children. In his later years the good scientist had slowly gravitated toward religion, although in actuality he ultimately sought ascension. The story he would tell them was a story Rodney himself had heard countless times from the few Ancients that finally decided to descend and live among those on Atlantis. "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away," he began, and chuckled as Jennifer smiled, the wrinkles at her eyes creasing when she laughed. "I'm sorry, I just had to," he said, still smiling. His children knew the reference even though they had never been around John Sheppard to know its true meaning. He began again. "Over ten thousand years ago in the Milky Way, Atlantis was residing on Earth. At its southern pole she made her home, and was bountiful and fruitful for many long years. But a plague ravaged the city, killing many of the Atlanteans who lived there. It was decided that Atlantis leave earth and return to its rightful place: the Pegasus galaxy. She left in a brilliant flash of light as the stardrives pushed her into hyperspace, leaving behind the one place to which they would have to return. We are descended from them.

"They settled back into Atlantea and finally purged the plague from the walls of the great city. Yet in their effort to learn about this new place they created a monster. It was unintentional, by all circumstances; however their action could not be undone. A new species was born from the mistakes and carelessness of the ancestors. And so began the war with the Wraith. But this new race was too powerful; too almighty, dare I say it. With Atlantis under heavy attack, their only hope was to sink the city and return to the planet from which they never should have left. Earth. The people of earth at the time were so primitive in comparison; there was no hope of living among them as Lanteans, or rebuilding their society. Instead they spread out, to many lands, some planting a few seeds of civilization and some traveling to Earth's Stargate at the southern pole, and still others remaining in seclusion and meditation, to continue and complete their path to ascension. Merlyn and Morgan le Fay both chose the latter path. Those who remained on Earth passed the gene through the generations, the stronger genes being from those Lanteans who remained together. You two are from them." Rodney spoke to Antissa and Nara, referring to John. "The last remaining natives of the great city, in their later years, realized they had no hope of one day returning to Atlantis as they wanted to. They lived out their lives on Earth, never getting the chance to see their true home again.

"So for ten thousand years she remained under the ocean, her three power sources alternating to keep the shield as intact as possible. When the Atlantis Expedition arrived from Earth she responded immediately, sensing the gene she had gone without for too long. Her efforts to fully wake exhausted the last power source and she was forced to return to the surface. She had no idea whether or not the Wraith were waiting, poised to attack, or if all was calm. And she floated. With her last power supply completely gone all she could do was soak gratefully in the sun. The expedition would go through many hardships and battles. Wars, even. Antissa, Nara, you even remember the fourth year, the year in which we lost one of our greatest members. We lost our leader. We lost your mother. And less than a year later we lost your father and another dear friend. Countless members of the original expedition have died or ascended. But one thing has remained clear through the entire journey. We have never given up. And we will never give up. The Wraith are on their knees before us now – it's only a matter of time before the axe finishes the job." Jennifer grimaced at the analogy, but it was a pretty good one. "Our time is almost up. Your generation will lead the real expedition of Atlantis – you will be the leaders of the city when we are gone. One of you might follow in Elizabeth's, Sam's, Cameron's and my footsteps. One of you might follow in John's or Evan's footsteps. But one thing is for sure: you will seize the day each morning as you live on the greatest city of all time.

"It took over ten thousand years for Atlantis to become a true city again. With my children, with your children, and with your children's children, we will live on. But the fight is not over yet. Your time has come to take up the reins left behind by the founders, the warriors, and the guardians. Our friends have ascended. We live in a time of tragedy and hope; a time of death and a time of new life. A real city replaces those lost. Your generation will begin the restoration of the city of Atlantis." Rodney sat and wiped a tear from his eyes. He had become prone to emotional episodes ever since the last of his friends had ascended: Evan and Laura Lorne. He sipped the tea steaming before him and met the eyes of all his children. "Your time has come." It was more of a speech than a story, but it served both purposes. The time would come for Rodney to deliver the speech/story to the inhabitants of all of Atlantis. The time was rapidly approaching when he would be the last remaining of the original. Less than a decade later he would lose his wife to the clutches of the new threat: the Dinarai.

And yet Rodney knew his time would come. He savored every memory, every moment from his past that reminded him of those he loved and lost. But his mind would quickly return to those he loved and still had with him. The new generation. His children. The future began with the union of John Carson McKay and Halajier Jackson. The time would come for Rodney to see the last of his children marry. The time would come for Rodney to die a happy man.

His story and legacy became legendary among the four families.