Thanks to my beta Maryann. Without her help this story would be full of mistakes.

Thoughts of a Dead Soldier

Life is hard and dangerous in Pegasus, in Atlantis. Believe me, I know, because I'm dead.

The bullet of an unknown enemy hit me. It smashed right under my left eye, took its path through my brain and left through the back of my skull. What can I say? My comrades carried me back to the Stargate, back to Atlantis. They brought me to the infirmary. I found the thought of this quite amusing. A substantial part of my brain was left on that foreign planet. Hey guys, I've been dead for over half an hour! There is no need for a doctor anymore!

Beckett examines me with a sad look, a look that means he can't do anything for me. He shakes his head and pulls a blanket over me.

It's dark in here. Time to leave my body.

Now I can see my outline under the blanket. It's strange. My comrades are standing around me, around my body, I should say. They are shocked, too shocked to speak, and I'm seeing tears. Lt. Smith is crying. One of the toughest guys I've ever seen, but he is crying for me. Well, we have been on a team since this expedition started. Nearly three years. And despite all the dangers and threats all of us survived. Until now.

I don't know how many people died during the time I was here. I've seen a lot of them dying but I didn't count them, so I can't tell how many. Too many, this is a fact.

Marty. I remember him. Young soldier. First mission. His whole team was killed, he survived only with a lot of luck. On the next mission he was with my team. I knew he was on drugs, but I really didn't care. It was his business how he dealt with his loss. Drinking alcohol, using drugs, nothing unusual here. It's a damned hard job we all – soldiers and scientists – have to do. And as long as we are doing it well, no one asks too many questions.

Back to Marty. He seemed to have a really bad trip. He completely freaked out and shot himself with his own gun. We declared it was an accident, which it was, in a way. There are many things which don't belong in an official report.

Marty. Newly dead, I'm becoming sentimental. I have to apologize for that. No more talking about the dead ones, okay?

My team is leaving the infirmary. I'm glad about that. It was hurting me to see them, their sadness and the shock on their faces.

A nurse is bringing a body bag. Beckett pulls away the blanket. I look terrible! I have to look away. Leaving the infirmary would be a good idea, too. I wander through the city, watching all the people.

There is one lonely person on a balcony, looking at the sea. It is Dr Weir. She must have been informed about my death. She is smoking a cigarette. Never seen her do that. I'd love to have a cigarette, too. It sucks to be dead.

I'm about to envy her for the cigarette, but then I see her face. All the responsibility she has is reflected there. She is feeling bad about me. About all the losses. About all the things that have gone wrong. This is depressing. I have to leave her.

Two people are going through the hallway. They are laughing and joking. For a split second I'm insulted, but then I'm asking myself why they shouldn't be laughing and joking. There is no need to mourn every dead person. I listen to both of them for a while and I'm happy for them.

The sun is setting and the lights of the city are rising. It's a beautiful view. I've always thought this is the best time of the day. Oh no, I'm getting sentimental again!

I'm curious about Sheppard. He is my boss, but I've never been to his quarters. He is in there, sitting at his laptop. I look over his shoulder. He is writing a report to the SGC. It's about my death. Now he's erasing what he has written. He is massaging his temples, writing again, erasing again. You would think that someone who has written so many death reports would be faster, better trained, wouldn't you? Why doesn't he just write: Shot to death by enemies? This is short; this is true. I want to grin, but I can't. I don't have a body anymore. Now he stands up and turns on some music. I don't recognize this piece, maybe Johnny Cash. He goes back to work, staring at the screen. I would love to read the report, but Shepperd doesn't make any progress, so I decide to wander around the city again.

After doing that for a while I notice that they are dimming the lights in the hallways. It's night time. Just a few people around now, mostly guards. Some sleepy people are on their way to their quarters. The city is becoming quiet. I go to the control room, where there are always people.

The staff in the control room is wary, as always. They are talking about me. Another dead soldier. One is thanking the Ancients that it wasn't on his shift. I don't want to hear about death, my death especially, so I leave.

My steps take me to the laboratories. I wasn't here often, but now I take a look. There is a light on in one lab. No one's there except McKay. He is sitting at a console, near his computer. I don't know him well. My team provided support for some of his missions, but that's all. Now is the first time I can take a closer look at the chief scientist. He looks tired. Next to him is a cup with coffee. I wouldn't be able to sleep if I drank coffee at this time of day. If I weren't dead, of course.

Maybe he doesn't want to sleep. Lots of people here have nightmares. Nightmares which are terribly real. They are real because they show things that have really happened.

Maybe he just has important work to do. Like saving the city, or searching for a new power source. But the screen is empty, no current work on it. He is just sitting there, drinking his coffee, in the middle of the night. I watch him for a while, and then…

It's time to leave.

No, not only the lab.

I'm fading away.