Title: The Pi Covenent
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: Ronon/Lorne, Sheppard, McKay
Rating: PG (for now)
Summary: A comrade recovered, but how much of him remains? Weir mentioned the existence of advanced civilisations but did not elaborate on their intentions - The Pi Covenent could be their doom, or their salvation.
Chapter Fourteen (Final)
A flash of white light brought Lorne-Nox back to some semblance of consciousness. He was able to drop his gaze enough to look back at the stairs he had already come up. It seemed so few but had taken everything he had.
He squinted, a purely human reaction to seeing something that should not be there. A figure walking his way; with such purpose and a dangerous gait.
He should have guessed they'd have guards; it was surprising it had taken so long.
"Hey, looks like you need a hand?" The face entered his vision and Lorne-Nox could only let his mouth drop in wonder.
"Drones depleted sir, minimal damage."
Lorne swore loudly on the open radio but no-one said anything; they all felt the same. In front of them the dish shimmered a dangerous green as the radiation built to lethal levels, ready to spew down on a defenceless Atlantis.
"Right," he announced, decision made. "Pull back ten thousand meters, then come about and in formation we engage engines at maximum, divert all power including life-support."
It was a testament to his pilots that not one questioned the order – even though it was a command for a suicide run. Lorne simply had little choice – drones weren't strong enough but a dozen puddlejumpers just might have enough kinetic energy to take the dish out.
They were, he figured, Atlantis' only hope.
Kellerax-Six roared in pain as Sharmilla-Joth burned his middle face, the flesh scouring away to his ultra-thick skull.
He spun to present her another face. Part of him wanted to give in but he knew that the longer he kept her busy the better chance his plans may yet work.
He had lived for so very long and knew that sometimes the impossible really could happen.
Ronon easily lifted Lorne-Nox and carried him the remaining distance to the sarcophagus. He needed no instructions as the target was obvious, it was the only thing in the room that was illuminated. The top slid back on his approach revealing a chamber just the right size for one humanoid body.
He hesitated for only a moment and hugged the body close to him, fearing that death had already come. Lorne-Nox was cold and it was hard to believe that any blood remained so pale and blue was his lips. Regardless Ronon lay him down and tenderly kissed those very same lips – he couldn't be sure but it looked like a little smile flitted across Lorne-Nox's face.
Standing back as the lid slid shut Ronon folded his arms and waited.
What else was left to do?
The Integration was vast and seemingly endless, yet existed in a thin stream of sub-space that most intelligent beings would deny even the existence of. Into this stream of hundreds of millions of sentient minds a tiny pin drop of consciousness threaded into the flow. Like ripples in a pond the consciousness spread, finding like-minds and activating dormant souls – some had not bothered to be aware for millions of years.
But this was something new, something exciting and the entire Pi Covenant began to take notice.
Nox opened eyes that didn't really exist and looked out at a million copies of himself that also really didn't exist, not in here. But each and every one was connected to a soldier's body in the physical world and they wore nothing but expressions of expectation. The flesh and blood of their bodies awaited nothing more simple than the base program to give them purpose.
Lorne-Nox exerted the last of his physical energy as he fully integrated through the sarcophagus, ending his physical life and beginning another.
[see what I see]
and they did:
[Feel what I feel]
One after one, then by the tens and hundreds and thousands the soldiers standing in their dark lines opened their eyes.
This knowledge He had given them – it must be shared.
In the pitch black rooms dots of blue flared up as their systems came on-line. Their mesh-tattoos glowed a myriad of gold and bronze and in each and every soldier an imprint of the original program was copied and passed on and back into the Pi Covenant.
For why have an army unless they were linked to the very thing that should control them.
In that thin stream of sub-space the being formerly known as Lorne-Nox felt his brothers come alive and using their numbers he pushed his essence into the very heart of the Covenant.
Kellerax-Six felt the new presence in the Integration and his remaining functioning face visibly relaxed.
Whatever he had started had taken hold. Death was now an acceptable option.
Staring at Sharmilla-Joth who stood before him with a sudden shocked expression on her face he felt her pain. All her plans, her slow mechanisations to turn the Covenant to her will – it was beginning to unravel.
"The Pi-Covenant will never be your plaything again," he intoned, then finally after all his years he entered oblivion.
Lorne was a moment away from firing thrusters when something stayed him.
"Hold!" he commanded the fleet. It was as if a million voices were calling out to him and they were all saying the same thing.
It was not a word or an image but simply a feeling.
Everything was going to be alright.
"Pull back," he ordered. "I think we're about to see something unique."
"Sir?" one of the pilots finally questioned.
"Just trust me," he answered and smiled.
Ronon stood before a hundred soldiers, all wearing the hopeful face and expression of one Major Evan Lorne.
"Sorry," Ronon grinned. "It's a great offer but there's only one I need."
It was an easy choice really but seeing a hundred men with looks of disappointment was certainly an ego boost.
Only minutes ago night had fallen and the command team could quite clearly see Pi Antikos sitting in the sky, its dark panels reflecting the star's light from the other side of the planet.
"We should be dead," said McKay, probably not realising he'd said it so loud.
"Sirs," said Chuck, smiling and holding a radio to his ear. "Major Lorne says to look up."
They already were so all saw the panels begin to flare in gusts of white-blue energy. It was like watching a thousand camp-fires flare in a soft haze, each one combining with the one next to it.
"Oh my god!" exclaimed McKay, knowledge lighting up his features. "They're entering hyper-space."
"Its too big," argued someone. "A window that size will destroy the entire system."
"No," countered McKay. "Not one window – thousands."
It was true. Around the world-ship's outer-plating hyper-space windows opened up and in a sudden bright flash the entire of Pi-Antikos shifted like some kaleidoscope, great shafts and chunks of it disappearing into each and every blue sparkling window.
In seconds all that was left was empty space once again.
A shimmering next to his seat made Lorne turn and he should have been surprised but wasn't to see Ronon suddenly there.
He looked into his eyes and saw that whatever Ronon had experienced was something they might one-day discuss, but not today.
"Hey there," he whispered and setting the ship on auto he did not hesitate to move over and sit in Ronon's lap. Running hands over the short hair he grinned and moved closer; waiting a breath from Ronon's lips before he saw the darkness of desire enter the bigger man's eyes.
He kissed him, deeply and passionately and with all the love and desire he could muster. The taste was all he remembered, the texture of an unshaven chin and powerful jaw bringing everything back.
"Its been far too long," murmured Lorne and nipped at Ronon's ear.
In response Ronon gripped Lorne by his hips and spun the chair around, lifting them up and shoving Lorne down to the floor, encompassing him with his larger frame. As Lorne's erection dug into Ronon's thigh the Satedan gave a feral grin. "Definitely the right one."
Four Weeks Later…
On the balcony the couple watched as another beam was welded into place, the sparks quite spectacular in the crisp night air. As the fallout from the attack on the planet continued the weather had become about ten degrees colder. Most of the science team agreed the planet would be unliveable within six months; they hoped to have a new ZPM by then.
Leaning in to his companion Lorne clinked their glasses together and he resisted purring when Ronon's free hand snaked around his ribs.
"So?" rumbled the Satedan. "You ready to do this?"
Waiting just long enough for Ronon to get twitchy Lorne finally nodded. "It has to be done – completely unavoidable."
"Not completely." Lorne knew what he meant. If he asked, and maybe even if he didn't Ronon would have taken them out of here and to who knows where.
"Luckily," said Lorne. "Sheppard has our back, so it shouldn't go so bad – but just in case I have a puddlejumper ready to go."
A knock on the door interrupted them and Lorne groaned. "Its too soon."
"What?" said Ronon gruffly. "You not ready for this?"
"Yes," Lorne said quickly and spun to face him. "I am so very ready – just a little scared."
Ronon huffed and stifled a laugh. "What's the worst that could happen?"
Lorne looked at him sternly. "Woolsey organised most of this you know."
"You should have more faith in the little man, he's not so bad you know."
It was Lorne's turn to snort. "Now I know this is a dream." Another knock stopped Ronon's answer and they went to the door.
Ronon opened the door and Sheppard straightened, his dress uniform looking both impressive and strange on the usually casual Colonel. Next to him was McKay, also dressed formerly for the occasion.
"You folks ready?" His language belied the seriousness of the situation and Lorne and Ronon just nodded.
"Good." He cocked a self-effaced smile. "As per protocol we're here to escort you – Ronon gets McKay since he should be easy to escape from if the big guy feels the need."
"And you sir?"
Sheppard in answer just took Lorne's elbow and directed him down the corridor. "No escape for you Major."
Stopping outside command the four hesitated and Sheppard gave Lorne and Ronon a final nod. "Last chance?"
The couple looked at each other and Ronon reached out and clasped Lorne's hand. "We're in this together."
The doors opened and they trooped in. Standing before the Stargate was all of the command staff and perhaps most of anyone in Atlantis who was free and could fit in the room. Woolsey and Teyla stood centre point, with Cadman in full uniform dress snapping to attention. At her direction so did the honour guard that Lorne and Ronon walked past following McKay and Sheppard.
At the foot of the Stargate Teyla smiled at them both and clasped her hands in front. "I believe I must start with the words… Dearly Beloved."
Thankyou to everyone who has been on the journey. Sorry if the end was a not all you expected but hey, a wedding, Atlantis still stands and a copy of Lorne practically became a God.