Forlorn Hope

Author: ShaViva

Rating: T+

Content Warning: Adult themes, sexual situations, language, and some violence here and there.

Season: Season 7 of SG1 through to Season 3 (Progency) of SGA

Summary: From the very beginning there was something special about Major Evan Lorne. In Pegasus there is one who sees, content to admire in silence ... but for how long and will the cost be too high? Set after Science Fact. Last in my Lorne series but can be read as a stand alone story.

Classifications: Drama, Romance

Pairings: let's not give anything away now!

Spoilers for: Very minor spoilers for SG1 Season 7 'Enemy Mine', SG1 Season 8 'Icon', SG1 Season 8 'It's Good to be King' and SG1 Season 9 'The Fourth Horseman'; spoilers for SGA episodes 'Runner', 'Duet', 'Coup D'état', 'No Man's Land', 'Misbegotten'. Minor spoilers for the rest of the SGA season 2 episodes, plus season 3 all the way up to just before Progeny.

Acknowledgements: I use Gateworld dot com transcripts to back up my own viewing of any episodes I use in the story. Anything else I reference will be acknowledged at the point it's used in the story.

Disclaimer: The Stargate characters, storylines, etc aren't mine. I am unfortunately not associated in any way with the creators, owners, or producers of Stargate or any of its media franchises – if I was then Lorne would have been in every episode and had a stack of Lorne centric story lines to boot! All publicly recognizable characters, settings, equipment, etc are the property of whoever owns them. The original characters and plot and anything else I made up are the property of me, the author. No copyright infringement is intended.

Copyright (c) 2009-2010 ShaViva

Forlorn hope:

A desperate case ...

In military affairs this refers to a detachment of men appointed to lead in an assault,

to storm a counterscarp, enter a breach, or perform other service attended with uncommon peril.

Chapter 1: Return from an Enemy Mine

July 2004

"You missed it Sir!" Major Evan Lorne turned from the open door of his locker in the SGC men's change room to look at the owner of that voice.

"Sergeant?" he queried with a raised brow.

"The Atlantis expedition, Sir," Staff Sergeant Ben Daniels continued. "Doctor Jackson found the gate address ... General O'Neill approved the use of the Antarctic ZeePM."

"They left already?" Major Lorne asked in surprise.

Evan was struck again by the number of changes he'd noticed since he'd been back - the biggest being that the newly promoted General O'Neill was in command of the SGC. He was pleased that O'Neill had been recognised in rank and position – the man had been good to Lorne, when he'd first begun at the SGC and later, when the Unas had first emerged as a potential threat on P3X-403. Aside from a 'welcome back' he hadn't caught up with the General or anyone else for that matter. As soon as his boots had hit the ramp he'd been on his way out to the surface for three weeks leave. The visits home had been emotional – his Mom had cried when she'd opened the door to see him standing there. He'd seen her reluctance to let him go when the week and a half of leave was over – and that wasn't like her, she'd prided herself on being the stoic parent largely because she'd never wanted to put extra pressure on him. He knew it, felt bad that the SGC had separated him so much from his family, and could only reassure her that he'd be around for a while now.

Elaine hadn't cried – she'd smothered him with attention though, to the point he'd had to beg Drew to get her to stop. It had done him the world of good to spend time with them ... to see his nephew in person after six months. Elaine had gotten her wish – Jon was so much like Drew it was uncanny. If he didn't love the little boy so much Evan could have spent plenty of time teasing Drew about it ... instead he'd just soaked it all up, the pleasure of seeing his sister and his friend so strong a family unit with their son, and the wonder that a child was. It was an eye opener for Evan in a way – he'd never had much to do with kids before and hadn't expected to feel such a rush of emotion and pride over every little thing Jon did. At eighteen months the boy had already moved on from walking to running everywhere. He also seemed to need to climb everything – Elaine was forever pulling him down from things, her tone halfway between frustration and reluctant amusement. Evan had exchanged meaningful glances with Drew and Elaine had quickly picked up on his meaning.

"Just because he liked climbing doesn't mean he's going to be a pilot!" she'd exclaimed impatiently.

"I don't think it's climbing he likes," Evan had pointed out, nodding towards Jon. The boy had reclaimed his spot on top of the coffee table and was rocking back and forth with delight as he surveyed the world from his high position.

"Evan," Elaine had all but stamped her foot at him, the return to something so familiar and normal warming Lorne's heart.

Jon was babbling up a storm too, most of it completely incomprehensible but Evan listened carefully just the same, nodding and commenting in all the right places. He'd gotten a garbled version of 'Uncle Evan' out of the boy a couple of days in and hadn't been able to stop grinning for the rest of the day.

The other big news had been Elaine's second pregnancy. She was due around Christmas this time as well, making the gap between children just over two years. Evan could see how grateful Drew was that this time he could be there for the whole thing, being posted back to Cold Lake and not scheduled to go anywhere for the duration.

It had been hard to leave his sister's home too but again, the reassurance of knowing that Evan was stationed at Cheyenne Mountain in actuality this time had done a lot to lower the emotion of his departure.

And now, a couple of days back from leave, Lorne was still catching up on everything. Refocussing on Daniels, he considered what he knew of Atlantis. An expedition had been on the cards for some time, long enough that Evan had heard rumours about it before he'd left to set up the mining operation. He hadn't been around the SGC for most of the intervening time – his placement overseeing the mines had kept him permanently stationed on P3X-403 for almost a year, aside from the one leave period he'd been granted during that time. That operation was now firmly bedded down, Earth based civilian and military personnel working well with the contingent of Unas actively involved in mining the naquadah, and finally Lorne had been reassigned back to the SGC.

"Yes Sir," Ben replied. "You just missed it ... they left only a couple of weeks ago. All the people on the mission planning roster ... with a couple of surprises."

"Such as?" Lorne threw the personal stuff he didn't need back into his locker and slammed the door shut.

"Ah ... a helicopter pilot from McMurdo, Major Sheppard, went along," Daniels offered. "And Doctor Jackson didn't ... although apparently he practically begged General O'Neill for a spot on the team right up until the minute they left."

"Why the helicopter pilot?" Evan was curious ... the plans for the Atlantis expedition had been in place for months so a change of personal, especially so high up the chain of command, seemed out of place.

"He has the ATA gene," Ben said it like Lorne would know what he was talking about. Then Airman Ben Daniels had been stationed on P3X-403 in the beginning, before they'd found the large naquadah deposits and had their run in with the Unas. Lucky for him once the alliance with the Unas had been forged, the young Airman had been reassigned to a different team and earned himself a promotion in the intervening time.

"The what gene?" Lorne frowned in confusion at the unfamiliar reference.

"Sorry Sir," Daniels apologised. "I forgot you weren't around when they made the discovery. They worked out there's a gene some people have that means they can operate Ancient technology – like General O'Neil in the Control Chair at the Antarctic outpost. Turns out that Major Sheppard has the gene too."

"There's an Ancient gene?" Lorne commented with a faint smile, intrigued by the idea. News of the Ancient outpost in Antarctica had made it to P3X-403 ... but the fact that not everyone could operate the technology was news to him.

"Yes Sir," Daniels replied. "At first they tried to get other people to turn on the control chair but no one could so they knew there had to be something unique about General O'Neill that he was able to do it. Then a Doctor - Carson Beckett - came along and he could operate the chair too, although from what I heard he was less than enthused with the responsibility. Genetics is his speciality and eventually he worked out why only certain people could use the Ancient technology ... he found this special gene and named it the Ancient Technology Activation gene."

"That's quite a story Sergeant," Lorne looked at the other man in bemusement.

"I know Sir - we were all tested before the mission personnel list for Atlantis was finalised," Ben revealed with a grin. He'd gotten a little polish and maturity in the year since he'd worked closely with Lorne but still had enough of that exuberant enthusiasm to raise Evan's amusement. "I guess you weren't around for that either Sir."

"No I wasn't," Lorne drawled, shrugging casually. "It's rare right – this gene?"

"Yes Sir," Daniels replied. "That's why Doctor Weir was keen to get everyone with even just a hint of the gene to commit to the expedition."

"Have we heard back from them?" Lorne asked curiously. "Do we know if they arrived safely?"

"No contact Sir," Daniels admitted sadly. "We do know they made it safely through though ... they kept the gate connection open long enough to confirm that. The General said it was probably a lack of sufficient power for making a connection from so far away that's stopping them from checking in now."

"And we can't dial them back again?" the Major asked.

"We could Sir," Ben repeated back the information he'd heard on the base grape vine. "But the IOA have indicated the Atlantis expedition is on its own. They won't authorise the use of the Antarctic ZeePM again unless there's a clear military threat that impacts directly on Earth."

"Which isn't likely to occur because they can't dial in to ask for help," Evan concluded.

"I guess not Sir," the younger man agreed.

"Well then whether I was tested or not no longer matters," Evan concluded, taking a few steps towards the doors. "No one, with or without this ATA gene, is joining that expedition ... at least not in the foreseeable future."

"No Sir," Daniels agreed again.

"Thank you for filling me in Sergeant," Lorne looked across at the other man gratefully. "I need to be somewhere right now but perhaps later you and relevant members of your team could meet with me to fill me in on any other pertinent details."

"Yes Sir," Ben smiled, both at the praise and the implied compliment because Major Lorne had sought a Sit Rep from him.

Nodding to Sergeant Daniels, Lorne walked from the change room for his meeting with General O'Neill. Time to find out what his next posting would be.

He didn't give the ATA gene or Atlantis another thought ... after all, what were the chances he had that gene too?