Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis, the characters and universe are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions and the Sci-Fi Channel. The content of this story is solely for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
It had been a trying first couple of months for the expedition what with losing Col. Sumner, space vampires, new allies, bugs, Genii, monks and hostile takeovers. But all in all the people of the Atlantis expedition managed to succeed against all odds. Everyone was finding their own niche. Dead, ten thousand year old plants had been cleared out of the gate room, work areas, corresponding corridors, labs, and as well as assigned living quarters compliments of Major John Sheppard and the Marine detachment. The geeks had settled into their research. The military found rooms where they could keep in shape when not protecting the scientists from scary unknowns and the Athosians were settling in on the mainland already planting their first crops.
Dr. Rodney McKay came jogging down the hall. "Hey Major!" He shouted though there was no need. "I could use you in Section 7 for a few minutes. We found what looks like a medical scanner but we need someone to initiate it."
"By someone you mean an ATA gene carrier."
"By someone you mean me?"
"Yes, of course. Hence, why I'm standing here Major."
"Can't right now, I'm a little busy. Bates called with a security problem. If it's a medical scanner, get Dr. Beckett to initiate it." Major Sheppard replied, continuing to walk towards the transporter that would hopefully get him out of 'light switch duty'. Even though that was why he was brought on this expedition. He really didn't want to deal with Sgt. Bates either, but security was a big concern right now.
"I've already had Beckett down there. Along with several others. He couldn't get it to work. His gene is not strong enough. It needs your special touch."
"Section 7?" Major Sheppard stopped and gave Dr. McKay a raised brow.
"Five minutes tops. In, initiate and you're done." Rodney tried to keep the enthusiasm out of his voice but by the look on Major Sheppard's face he wasn't succeeding.
"Five minutes. Not a second more."
McKay's excitement was catching as he bounded the last few feet to the transporter. John just shook his head tapping Section 7 on the map.
"How do you do that? The open doors, turn on the lights thing? I never see you use the door or light controls." Rodney asked as the two of them passed through a doorway that opened on their approach.
"I don't know McKay. It just happens. My mom always told me that I was special," smirking back at the scientist.
"My mom told me the same thing and I can't do that."
"What can I say…?" The Major shrugged his shoulders. "Do you want me to initiate this thing or talk about doors and lights?"
"Major Sheppard, Major Sheppard who are all these people?"
"Survivors from the settlement. We were attacked. Sumner and some of our men were taken." John shakes his head as the humming returned. "What's going on?"
Dr. Weir doesn't answer his question instead she responds with, "We are in no condition to help anyone right now."
"What the hell's going on here?" Sheppard asks again.
This time, Elizabeth answered his question. "We are about to abandon the city."
"Going back there is a really bad idea."
"Major Sheppard, the shield is about to fail and the ocean is about to come crashing in on us. Do you have a better place for us to go?" Weir questioned.
John disregards what the voice inside his head has been telling him. Grabbing Jinto he makes for the stairs. A flash of light appeared briefly from beyond the stained glass window above. The base shudders and jolts hard tossing those standing off their feet. People scramble to get out of the way of falling boxes and crates as Atlantis continues to shake.
With Atlantis now floating on the surface and the almost successful rescue mission behind him, Major Sheppard had time to pay closer attention to Dr. Beckett, Sgt. Markham, Lt. Butler, Dr. Reed and a few other known ATA gene carriers. John wondered if all the ATA gene carriers had the hum inside their head. If they did, they were hiding it as well as he was. None of them acted or showed any signs that they had a humming sound running through their head. John gave his situation more thought. Not only did he have the hum, but ever since he was in High School he'd heard a voice inside his head; guiding him. Coming to a conclusion he had enough black marks on his record. He didn't need to add hearing humming noises or voices in his head to the list. For now he would keep watching and remain silent.
John stepped out of the shimmering blue puddle with his P-90 held up scanning his new surroundings. Teams One and Two were already scouting out the immediate area around the stargate as well as securing a perimeter here and on the mezzanine level. It was somewhat dark and his P-90 light didn't do much in the large open expanse in front of the blue shimmering puddle the gate formed.
In the back of his head a gentle harmonious humming sound began.
John sloughed the hum off after getting the evil eye from Colonel Sumner. Major Sheppard returned to military mode as he started for the stairs to check out the upper mezzanine level as more expedition members, equipment and supplies trailed in behind him. Setting his booted foot down on the first step the lights came on with his next step, more lights and more with his next, as he continued to climb the stairs.
"Who's doing that?" Dr. Weir asked out loud in her wonderment.
Major Sheppard was making his final inspection of the helicopter, checking for any ice or wind damage on exposed fuel runs, rotor blades or control components. An important VIP was arriving and he'd been tasked the job to fly the VIP out to the outpost. The outpost sat in the middle of nowhere on miles of ice surrounded by even more ice and snow. Over the last seven months he'd flown all sorts of people out there and back. He'd had medical doctors, archeologists, physicists, engineers, fellow Airmen and Marines. There had been one bunch who were all computer geeks.
No one would say what went on under the solar dome but crews were rotated back and forth every month. Antarctica was not someplace you'd call a 'hot vacation spot' but they did get about 2500 tourists during the summer. Most people can't cope with the extreme cold temperatures, which is the main reason crews were rotated. But Major Sheppard found that he liked it here. He got to fly, put his medi-vac skills to use saving wondering off scientists and on occasion ski.
Sheppard had just finished his pre-flight check when the VIP came walking out of the air hanger. Climbing back out of his copter he walked around to the passenger door readying it for the VIP. As his passenger got close the Major noted he was a one-star. Standing at attention Major Sheppard readied a salute.
"Major. Is this bird ready to go?"
"Yes Sir." And Major Sheppard opened the door for his superior, waited for him to climb in and get settled before securing the door. Taking one last look at his helicopter for any signs of danger the Major climbed in.
Twenty minutes into the flight came a warning: 'All inbound craft, we have a rogue drone that could seek a target on its own. Land immediately and shut down your engines. This is not a drill. I repeat…'
"It's too late. Hang on!" As the Major swings and yanks the helicopter out of the path of the drone.
"Break right." General O'Neill states.
The pilot makes a hard left bank as the drone whizzes past.
"I said right!" yelled the General.
Sheppard's checking his instruments as he says, "I'm getting to that, Sir." Bringing the helicopter to the right as ordered.
Both he and the General looked around for the drone. "I can't see it." Stated the pilot.
"Pull up! Pull up!"
But instead of pulling up right away, Major Sheppard puts the aircraft into a steep dive as the drone just barely misses his rotor blades.
"What about now?"
"Now's good." Safely setting the helicopter on the snow covered ice.
"Shut it down!" A command the Major was willing to obey. Pulling the emergency shut down handle.
"Sir? What the hell was that?"
"Wait for it." Replied the General holding up his finger indicating the Major needed to be quiet instead of answering the Major's valid question.
"Get out!" The Major shouted.
'You are safe'
Sheppard saw the drone smash over the top of a snow cap heading right for him and his VIP passenger. He'd learned to trust the voice in the past but this…self-seeking drone…was something he'd never seen before and wasn't willing to take chances on. There were times when John listened to the voice and other times when John ignored the voice.
Seven minutes later Major John Sheppard delivered his VIP passenger safe and sound to the outpost.
"Major, you're with me." General O'Neill stated.
"But Sir, I'm not auth…"
"No buts Major. You have clearance. I just gave it to you. Anyone who can out fly that drone deserves to know what's going on out here. Now don't make me repeat myself. I hate to give orders in the first place."
Dr. Daniel Jackson stood waiting at the bottom of the elevator ice shaft for Jack. "Jack!"
"Daniel! Warm welcome."
"Wasn't me. How'd you…?"
"Keep my ass from getting blown out of the sky? The exceptional flying of Major John Sheppard. He likes it here."
Daniel looks at the pilot with surprise. "You like it here?" The Major just shrugs.
"Hey! Don't touch anything." O'Neill states to the pilot before Daniel hurry's him off.
"Yes Sir." John stands in the middle of the room looking around at all the people carrying on with their duties. Many he recognizes. There was a bank of computers, the work surfaces were littered with tools and electronics that he'd never seen before. So this is what goes on down here.
Moving through the different ice chambers he hears someone talking with a brogue about the drone. As he gets closer the man with the brogue begins explaining.
"They think the gene was used as a sort of genetic key, if you will, so that only their kind could operate certain dangerous and powerful technologies." Beckett stated.
"So some people have the same genes as these Ancients."
'Your destiny awaits'
"The specific gene is very rare, but on the whole they look very much like we do. In fact they were first. We're the second evolution of this form, the Ancients having explored this galaxy for millions of years before…Major, please don't!"
"Come on…what are the odds of me having the same genes as these guys?"
"Quite slim, actually. Doctor Weir! Don't move."
"I've had it up to here with you Major." Colonel Cole raised his hand over his head in demonstration. "Your hot-dogg'n, lone cowboy days are over! This time I'm filing charges. I don't care that you're one of my best damn pilots you disobeyed my direct order for the last time. Your special gift for flying failed this time. Not only did you not bring those three servicemen back but in the process you cost the US Military $10 million dollars with the loss of an aircraft in the process. Plus another million sending a rescue team after you. I should have just left you out there in the desert. Do you have anything to say in your defense?"
"I didn't lose the aircraft Sir. I know exactly where it is. As for those serviceme…"
"Don't say another word or I'll have you up on insubordination charges."
"Major Sheppard this hearing finds you guilty of disobeying a direct order from a superior officer. Colonel Cole has expressed that you not return to his unit in Afghanistan. You can take a dishonorable discharge or you can be reassigned to McMurdo to fulfill your remaining fifteen months of service with the Air Force. What say you?"
John stood before the three court martial judges weighing his options. He'd had enough of superior officers, rules and regulations. But he wanted to fly. Ever since he was a small boy that was all he ever wanted to do. Fly. Taking a dishonorable discharge would guarantee he wouldn't see the inside of a plane or helicopter for a very long time.
His father had already disowned him when he went off to college. Since then everything he did in his life had been a disappointment according to his father. It hurt when his father called him a quitter, a screw-up and good for nothing. This court martial would finally be the nail in his coffin proving that his father had been right.
Fifteen months. He thought, only fifteen months and he could resign honorably from the Air Force. Get a job flying tourists or freight. At least he would still be flying. That would show his dad that he wasn't a quitter, wasn't a screw-up and that he had done good things. Pulling downed pilots and refugees out of harms way was a good thing. He saved many lives because he was not afraid to go into a hostile area. He had a sixth sense about it. You don't leave men behind when there was even the slightest chance you can save them. His CO's hated him for his special ability in public but praised his amazing capabilities behind closed doors where no one else could hear.
Guess it was time to listen to that voice in the back of his head one more time. It had saved his bacon more times than he could count since he joined the military. "McMurdo, Ma'am."
After his first tour of duty overseas, leaving as a Lieutenant and returning as a Captain, he spent his two months leave in Southern California surfing and having fun. Decompression: was the term the psychologist stamped on his mandatory leave orders. Captain Sheppard had the highest rescue tally of the whole unit. His 'thinking outside the box' saved many lives. That was something special.
The next five years he was in and out of the sky. Having been shot down twice and taken prisoner once. His status as MIA had lasted six weeks.
Not even his ten month marriage to Nancy could stand the test the time. His recovery from his incarceration and mistreatment took up to a year to get back to flight status. When the Air Force sent him back to Afghanistan he was a changed man. The promotion to Major was just the Air Force's way around a current negative media campaign regarding the war.
Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas was a dream come true. After his six and a half weeks of basic training the Air Force started training him just like they promised. He couldn't believe the number of different aircraft they had: F-4 Phantom II, F-117 Nighthawk, F-16 Eagle, T-38 Talon and so many more. So after he learned one, he learned another and another. His math aptitude and high college scores had put him in the driver seat.
His TI, or training instructor, said John had a 'natural ability' 'a special gift' 'an aptitude for flight' when it came to flying. His TI also said he had 'authority issues' but most of the indiscretions made by the young pilot were overlooked on account of his flying ability. The US Military couldn't afford to lose someone like John Sheppard. He was willing to go the extra mile.
Lackland AFB also had SERE training, (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) combat training, tactical training, logistics and even a test pilot program for new experimental aircraft being developed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing companies that had research facilities here.
John's passion for flying earned him a nod from his TI and CO. When Lieutenant Sheppard learned all he could at Lackland AFB his TI recommended him for further training at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico. That's where John learned to fly helicopters: the UH-1 Huey, the HH-60 Pave Hawk, the sixty-eight million dollar CV-22 Osprey, along with Cobras and Apache helicopters. That's where John fell more in love with flying.
College was liberating. College was fun. College was hard work and lots of studying. For the first several months he used his savings to pay for books, food, and room and board that his four year scholarship didn't cover. There was no way he was asking his father for financial aid. Their last fight before he left pretty much said 'don't come crawling back to me'. And John had no intention of ever crawling back home. Making it on his own just proved to himself that he was stronger then his father gave him credit for. He was strong like his mother. Special like she was.
After the first semester he got into a rhythm. He'd work the early shift at the coffee house that was four blocks from his room. Then hit his classes that started late morning and ran till 6pm. On the weekends when he had no classes he worked full days at the coffee shop. In between all that he studied and got mostly A's on his papers.
A couple times he and a few of his friends headed to the coast to surf where John caught a wave that seemed to go on forever.
'Shift your weight'
Out of courtesy, not that they'd accept, John sent a graduation announcement to his father and brother. On the day of graduation he graduated alone with top honors. He shared his accomplishments with a cold beer and cold leftover pizza.
'You're never alone'
Dinner time in the Sheppard house was usually quiet. Only the clink of dinnerware disturbed the large room. Dad would ask 'how was school?' though he was never really interested and in turn John and David would answer. Talking quickly about any major event that might have happened that day; like getting an 'A' on a test, or if their school won the latest game. It was quick and to the point. Patrick Sheppard didn't like long winded stories or discussions. He'd had enough of that at the office. Being CEO of a major eastern utility company held a lot of responsibility.
"Dad I made my decision of where I'm going to college starting this fall." John said at the dinner table having worked up the courage.
"We've discussed this already John. You're signed up to start the fall semester at Harvard."
"I'm going to Stanford. I'm all registered. I even have room and board when I get there."
Patrick closed the file he'd been reading as he ate. He had a big meeting in the morning and if everything went well the merger with Consolidated EI would make Sheppard Tri-Utility Inc the number three utility company on the eastern seaboard. "John, we talked about this. You'll…"
"No dad, you talked. You didn't want to listen to what I was saying or tried to say for that matter. You had your mind made up ever since mom died. Mom said I was special and to never give up my dream no matter what. You don't care what I want, you've never cared. So I took care of it myself. You don't have to worry about calling Harvard. I called the admissions office yesterday and asked them to remove my name from the fall roster."
"Harvard has a good business program. There's no need for you to go all the way across the country to go to school." John couldn't help but roll his eyes at that statement. The deciding factor in choosing Stanford was the fact it was all the way across the county. John needed to get away from his father and what better way then to attend school on the west coast.
"Dad, I'm not going there for business school. I'm going there on a math scholarship so I can learn to fly planes. I've already registered for the ROTC program and when I'm through the Air Force will have a job waiting for me."
David lifted his head up for the first time since his brother made the announcement. Up till then he'd found his food quite interesting. "John, are you crazy? The military? You?" He couldn't believe his older brother. The military was all about rules, respect and crew cuts. John had spent most of his life defying rules. Dad's rules. And as far as respect goes, David knew his brother only respected his math teacher and baseball coach. And nobody touched John's hair.
"I'm not crazy Dave. I want to fly…I've always wanted to fly and the Air Force is going to teach me."
"David, go to your room. John and I are going to talk about this in the study."
"There's nothing more to talk about dad." John tossed his dinner napkin down onto his plate. Suddenly he wasn't hungry anymore and left the dinning room. His father's angry shouts for him to return echoed through the too quiet house. But John was through talking, through arguing and through bowing down to his father's reign.
Over the next five months there hadn't been a quiet dinner in the Sheppard house.
Two weeks before the fall semester started the front door slammed shut, John and his two duffle bags were gone.
Sarah Taylor Kennington Sheppard lay warm and drawn on her bed. The sun was shining through the large window filling her room with brightness, joy and hope. But she knew. She knew that this was her last day.
"Corrine would you bring me my perfume bottle. The one with the crystal stopper please."
Patrick passed Corrine coming to his wife's bedside. Sitting down beside her he leaned in giving her a kiss. "You feel warm. Should I call the doctor?"
"No. The time has come Patrick. I want to say good-bye to our boys."
"They're in school."
"I know but you can go get them." Her hazel eyes expressing how important this was to her.
Patrick never could say no to his wife.
"Mom." David whispered in case she was sleeping. Dad didn't like it when he and John were too loud in the house.
"Where is your brother?"
"John got into another fight at school. Dad's talking to him in the study. He'll be up in a little while."
"There's something I need to tell you sweetheart. Mommy has to go away. I want you to look after your father and John for me. Do you think you can do that?"
"But that's your job and dad's. I'm only twelve and John never listens to me anyway."
"I guess so."
"Good, now go and remember that I will always love you and be with you in your heart."
David scrabbled off the bed after embracing his mother meeting John at the bedroom door.
Sarah took one look at her eldest son and called Corrine to bring her the first aid kit. "I see you were fighting again." She said dabbing antiseptic on the cut over his eye.
John winced but didn't let out that it really stung before he answered. "Yes Ma'am."
John's mother always asked why he got into fights. She wanted to hear his side of the story unlike John's dad who had spent the last fifteen minutes yelling at him for fighting like some common street thug. John didn't understand that fighting brought disgrace to his father name. All John knew was that he needed to protect those who couldn't protect themselves.
"Ralph Moorland got sent to detention for not turning in his history homework. Ralph's been having Barry Shuster do his homework. So when Barry didn't get it done, Ralph and a couple of his buddies started to beat him up after lunch. It was three on one mom. So I…"
"So you decided to step in and help."
"Yes Ma'am. I'm sorry." John bowed his head in shame.
"Don't be John. I'm very proud of you." Lifting his chin up so she could see his face and he could see her smile. "You're special. It's your destiny John. Always has been from the day you were born. From the moment the nurse laid you in my arms after you were born I knew, in here…" Sarah placed her hand over her heart. "You were born to do great things John. To be a protector. I've told you many times over the years how special you are. So has your grandmother. You must believe us. One day you will grow up to do wondrous things, see wondrous places and help millions of people. Now you need to believe it yourself. You're special. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
"I think so. But mom how do you know? I can't seem to do anything right to please dad. Dad says I'm good for nothing because I don't follow the rules. I don't see myself as someone who will help millions of people like you say. I'm not special."
"John, you're only fifteen years old now but you have to believe me. When you are older you'll see. Just remember to stay true to what you believe no matter what. Now I want you to take this crystal and keep it with you always. It's very important and one day you'll understand what to do with it. It's been handed down from generation to generation. This is our secret." John reached out to take the crystal from his mother's hand. When he touched the crystal it glowed brightly. Sarah wrapped her hand around his just like her mother had done with her years ago. Holding the crystal together and feeling the warmth it produced. "Remember that I will always be with you. I have to go now John and I won't be coming back. I love you."
"What do you want to be when you grow up John?" His mother asked following his gaze upwards into the bright summer sky.
John and his mother were sitting in the car outside the city pool waiting for Dave to finish his swimming lesson for the day. John was staring up at the sky watching a jet's vapor trail slowly fade away into the pale blue sky.
"I'm going to be a pilot mom. I'm going to learn how to fly planes, jets, helicopters, gliders…all of it. Maybe go to the moon or Mars."
Sarah smiled at her oldest son. He was so sure of himself. Most teenagers at thirteen had no idea what they wanted to be. And if they did, by the time they were out of school their career choice would have changed at least ten times. But not her son; from an early age he said he wanted to fly and that hadn't changed.
"Then you'll fly John. Never give up your dream. It's special like you are."
"Oh…mom." John sing-songed turning his head back to the sky where the plane was no longer in sight. "But why am I special? You tell me that all the time and never really answer my question."
Sarah smiled at her precocious son. "I've always answered your question. You're special because you are my son."
"Nice to see you again, Mrs. Sheppard and where's Mr. Sheppard this evening?" Asked Virginia Finley, John's kindergarten teacher.
"Patrick is working late for his father, something about the mine workers. He sends his regrets. Now how is John doing?"
"He is above average in all skills. He may even qualify for special advanced placement next year if he keeps up his current skill sets. He has a special gift for numbering along with coloring airplanes or anything that flies. Has he been to a space museum recently?"
"Not for a couple years. We took him just before David was born. He's always had a special love of planes. His favorite baby toy was a rubber yellow plane. Is this a problem?"
"Oh no. I was just curious where his fascination with things that fly came from. The school nurse did have one concern however. For seven John is a lot thinner than the other boys in his class. How's his appetite been?"
"Fine. He eats like there is no tomorrow. Is this something I need to worry about?"
"The next time you have John in for a check-up you might want to bring it up. But as long as his appetite is good I don't see a problem that would warrant an emergency visit."
"Thank you Miss Finley." Sarah stood and held out her hand to say good-bye.
Shaking hands Virginia almost forgot. "Here, this is a collection of John's work over the last three quarters. Some you might find are suitable for framing. Now tell that husband of yours to stop working so hard. I expect to see him next quarter at conferences."
"I will Miss Finley. Thank you again."
When Sarah reached her car she opened the large manila folder leafing through John's art, math, spelling and writing assignments. His letters were precise. He colored within the lines.
"I would have to agree."
"Patrick wake up. It's time."
"Time? It's four thirty in the morning. Go back to sleep." Her husband mumbled into his pillow.
Sarah smiled at the man lying next to her before she shook his shoulder a second time. "The baby's coming."
"Baby? Baby!" Wide eyed Patrick jumped out of bed slipping on yesterday's clothes before helping his wife.
"Congratulations Mrs. Sheppard it's a boy."
A few minutes later the small bundle wrapped in blue was placed in her arms all clean and baby fresh. A tuft of black hair stuck up in all directions. "I name thee John for God is gracious, and David for beloved. As you are my son, you are loved but there is so much more about you that only the passage of time will reveal. You are 'special' John is so many ways. Never forget that." She whispered.
Her hospital room door opened. "You have visitors Mrs. Sheppard but they can only stay for ten minutes. I'll be back to get the baby then."
"Alright, thank you. Patrick, come here. Isn't he beautiful? Mom, Dad, Mrs. Sheppard, Mr. Sheppard I'd like you to meet John David Sheppard."
Clarice and Louis Kennington stood on the left side of the hospital bed staring at their first grandson. William and Katherine Sheppard stood beside their son on the right side of her bed looking at the next generation who would once be heir to the Sheppard family business.
"He's beautiful Sarah. Thank you." Patrick whispered in her ear.
"He'll grow up to do wondrous things. I can feel it."
"Of course he will honey." Sarah's mother confirmed with a sparkle in her eye.
Sarah was in her last year of college at Harvard. Coming home over Christmas break she had good news. Her parents could tell since her head was stuck in the clouds from the moment she walked through the front door.
"I'm engaged!" She shouted to the rooftop before holding out her left hand showing off her engagement diamond.
"And just who is this boy Sarah?" Her father Louis Kennington of the British Kennington Ore Mine asked.
"His name is Patrick Sheppard. His family is in the utility business; coal, electricity and gas. After college he starts work with his grandfather and father. One day he may even own the company. But that's not why I love him. He's caring, affectionate, quite handsome, he makes me laugh. We have all sorts of things in common; books, movies, music…"
"Sarah darling, will we get to meet this boy and his parents?" Her mother inquired. "Your grandmother and I…"
"Yes mom you and dad will get to meet him. He's coming home with me on spring break so you'll have a whole ten days to get to love him as much as I do. I spent Thanksgiving with his family, they seem to like me. And they want to meet you guys too. So Patrick and I thought that graduation would be the perfect time."
"Sounds like you and this Patrick fellow have everything figured out." Louis raised an eyebrow at his daughter.
As promised when spring break rolled around Sarah and Patrick walked in the front door hand in hand. For the first three days everything was fine. It wasn't until Sarah's grandmother Sylvia Taylor came to dinner on Sunday that Sarah's life was turned upside down.
Sarah left Patrick in the den with her father and grandfather to talk business. They shared a common thread. In England the Kennington's were miners: coal, copper, iron, silver, lead and even gold. The Sheppard's had mining operations for coal and off shore drilling for natural gas. Sarah was confident that the men would do okay.
In her mother's sitting room Sarah listened to her grandmother and mother tell her about her history, her ancestral heritage and the ancestral heritage of Patrick Sheppard her fiancé.
"I don't believe you. You're just saying those things so I won't marry Patrick."
"Sarah Taylor Kennington you know that not to be true." Whenever her grandmother used her full name like that she meant business. "If you marry Patrick your first born could end up being too powerful for this world. Patrick has the Ancestral bloodline, though not as strong like it is in ours. It is not wise to…"
"Could." Sarah interrupted. "Could end up doesn't mean my child will. And if my child is as powerful as you say, then she will do great things for this world. That is how I am going to think about it. I will marry Patrick and our daughter will see and do wondrous things for this world. You'll see."
Sylvia and Clarice sat shocked at Sarah's resolution and decisiveness. Sarah had always been strong willed. Clarice went to her vanity and brought back the crystal. It was Sarah's time. Clarice just hoped she was strong enough for what the future had in store.
Sylvia Taylor held her granddaughter in her arms feeling the Ancestral link. It was overwhelmingly powerful coming from such a small infant. Strongest she'd felt in decades. "What have you chosen for a name Clarice?"
"I thought I would call her Sarah."
"Ah…Princess and nobility, it will suit her. Her blood is the strongest I've felt in my lifetime. Though I have never stepped foot on our ancient home I miss it. I feel for her loneliness. It has been over 500 generations since our ancestors left. I fear that when the time comes there will be no one left to carry on our work. I hope one day she will be discovered again."
Sylvia put the swaddled bundle down into the bassinet then reached into her handbag. Pulling her hand away it held a cylindrical clear crystal. "My mother gave me this as her mother gave it to her and so on. It contains our lineage Clarice. It is now time for you to add yours. And when Sarah is old enough you will pass it on to her as she will pass it on to her daughter. Do you understand?"
"Good now hold the crystal and I will fold my hand over yours."
Clarice followed her mother's instructions committing them to memory at the same time. The crystal glowed in her hand and a warm sensation rose up her arm filling her mind.
John returned to his quarters after breakfast. He realized that he still hadn't unpacked. He'd been here two months and his stuff was still in his military issue shipping trunk pushed into an out of the way corner. Moving the trunk to its customary location (end of the bed) he began going through it. He put his extra black t-shirts, socks, underwear, and jogging pants in the dresser, tossed his second pair of boots and two pairs of running shoes into the bottom of his closet. He unrolled Johnny, found the easy-tac he'd thrown in the trunk, and tacked the Man in Black over his bed. John gathered the six CD's and put them on his small nightstand along with earphones made especially for his computer.
He took his dress uniform out of the trunk and laid it on the bed. He'd hang it up when he finished going through his worldly possessions. Next he took out War and Peace tossing it down onto the side table by the couch. The picture of him and Evil Knievel when he was seven or eight he set on the opposite nightstand. Colonel Sumner's dog tags swayed from the lamp shade when he set the picture down. A day wouldn't go by without acknowledging the sacrifice the Colonel made and his part in it.
What was left in the trunk could stay there. He didn't need his guitar or skateboard right now as there wasn't much time for recreation. He'd awakened the Wraith and Atlantis was vulnerable without a ZPM to operate the shield. John closed the lid and turned to take care of his dress blues. Fumbling with the jacket he noticed something fall out of the pocket.
The Marines had security well in hand so unless a gate team came in hot John decided he'd take the day off…unofficially of course.
"Sheppard to Ford."
"Ford here Sir."
"You're in charge until I radio back, Lieutenant."
"Yes Sir. Ford out."
John walked down the low lit hallway. The light from his P-90 scanned the walls as he walked looking for danger in the darkened hall. He was in a part of the city that hadn't been cleared yet. In fact there was no power in this sector at all. But the voice inside his head guided him and kept telling him he was safe.
He stopped in front of a non-descript door. There wasn't anything special about it. The door opened at his mental command. He scanned the interior with his P-90 before stepping inside.
"Yeah I know…that's what I keep hearing but if you don't mind I'd like to make sure." John said to the silence around him. The room had all the appearances of a library. Low chairs, small tables and books lined the walls. In the center of the room was a platform not unlike the hologram room they found the first day complete with console interface.
"Why am I here?" John asked the room.
"Crystal…I have the crystal right here." John opened his hand. "What do I do?"
"Listen to what? Come on here, I need more than one word answers."
"Not helping!" John shouted. Listen within. Within…within what…'listen within' the voice says...listen to the crystal? Listen for the voice inside my head? Listen to the humm? John closed his eyes to concentrate—moments later he walked to the console and inserted the crystal.
"Hello my darling."
After the crystal was inserted into the console, John watched as a shimmering white light appeared as if out of no where. "Mom?"
"Yes my son. My special one. I've missed you though I've always been near."
She was beautiful. Just like he'd remembered she was back when he was fifteen. Just before she left hi… Beautiful long dark brown hair, hazel eyes like his. "You're beautiful. You look like I remembered and I've missed you too." John choked out. The overwhelming surprise of seeing his mother again after all these years had so many feelings, so many things he wanted to tell her, all surfacing at once.
John couldn't stop gazing at the vision of his mother standing before him on the round platform. "Was that you in my head?" He reached out to touch the shimmering light, but drew his hand back for fear this was all a dream. A dream he didn't want to go away.
"Well that depends, most of the time I nudged you in the right direction. Sometimes it was your grandmother. Remember when you went surfing and road that endless wave?"
"That was you?"
"No son that was your grandmother."
"Grandma? Grandma Clarice knows how to surf?"
John's mother smiled at her son's wide-eyed shock. "Why don't you ask her yourself?"
Another shimmering white light appeared and coalesced into his grandmother. The two most powerful women who had influenced him growing up stood just inches away.
"Ah…hi grandma. You ah…you know how to surf?"
"Of course…doesn't everyone?" She boasted.
"I…I…Why are you here? I mean now…after all these years. Why have you brought me here?"
Sarah turned to her mother nodding that she should begin the tail. "John, as your mother has said you are very special. You know about the Ancestral blood? John nodded. "Our families lineage is passed down through blood. Our lineage is stored in that crystal going back 500 generations. Starting from the time when what you call the Ancients abandoned Atlantis and returned to Earth living out their remaining days. It has always been our families dream that one day, one of our lineage would walk upon Atlantis once more. Wake her from her watery slumber and once more breathe new life, new hope into this galaxy."
"When you were born John, your grandmother and I could sense the power you possessed. You are the strongest carrier of the Ancestral bloodline because your father also carries the blood of the Ancients though not as strong. When your father and I wanted to get married your grandmother almost forbid it. The power was too great for one individual. I knew I was taking a very big risk giving you such great power but I loved your father with all my heart. That is one reason why your grandmother and I took such special interest in you. This is why you were named John. John means 'God is gracious'. And with your grandmothers help we guided you down a benevolent path."
"I'm not a God." John stated firmly. Then he had another thought. "Does Dave have the same power?"
"No Child. The Ancestral blood is only passed on to the first born. In all our families recorded lineage the first born has always been a daughter. Needless to say you took us by surprise. That is why you are so special. Why your blood is so strong. That is how Atlantis sensed you and welcomed you. Bringing her systems on for you. She sensed the return of her people." Grandma Clarice informed.
"That was Atlantis? I thought it was the voice in my head." John paused. "What do you mean 'her people'? I'm not an Ancient."
"Darling, your Ancestral heritage is far closer to that of the Ancients as you call them than that of your friends. It's what makes you special." Sarah told her son. "You no doubt have a humming noise in your head. Am I right?" Sarah asked her son. John just nodded. "That is Atlantis trying to talk with you. She is sentient, she sensed your arrival. All you have to do is open your mind to her and she will help you."
"I get the Atlantis thing. I get that somehow you've managed to manipulate my genes but I'm not cut out for whatever it is you think I should be…do…whatever. I'm also a little peeved that you and grandma forced this on me." John stated pacing back and forth in front of the two shimmering forms. "I killed my commanding officer the first day we got here for God's sake. That should be proof enough that I can't do…whatever. What makes you think I can do whatever it is that I'm supposed to do? I can't do this. I just can't." John said shaking his head.
"John David Sheppard this is your destiny." Grandma Clarice stated firm but warmly in that special tone. What was it with people using your full name that made you want to stand at attention? "And we did not force this on you. It was already your destiny. Foreseen. All we did was to ensure that the gift that resides within you was used for good. Your life choices were your own."
"No…get someone else. I'm a screw up like dad said. I'll screw this up. This…whatever this is, sounds too important."
"There is no one else. And sweetheart you won't be doing this alone. Your grandmother and I will be here. Anytime you need us."
"You're ascended…right?" John received two 'yeses' in return. "What about this no interference policy you guys have going? I met Chaya Sar on Proculus. She refused to help. How can I trust that you will be there for me when I screw up? Sorry mom, sorry grandma, but come on, be real here for a minute, you're ascended beings."
"You have the crystal John and my promise. I will always be there for you. As I have been in the past, I will be there for you in the future. I am your mother."
John looked at the crystal in the console remembering how it glowed when he and his mother held it together. How the warm, fuzzy feeling went up arm. How in his minds eye he somehow knew he was special but never truly letting himself believe that. "So the crystal is like what…a 'get out of jail free card'? Do I have to give you an answer right now or can I think about this first?"
Both his mother and grandmother smiled. "You may think about it all you want child. Not that it is going to change who you are or your destiny. Why don't you sit down young grasshopper, there is much for you to learn. Your mother and I will tell you everything, starting with the crystal."
John whined at being called young grasshopper again. "Grand…maaa…" He always had questions way beyond his years and Grandma Clarice would always say 'in due time young grasshopper all will be known'. It drove him crazy.
Clarice and Sarah just smiled. John was still like the child they both remembered, both loved and both cherished.
He was 'special'.
Per internet research the Average Generation is now 26-30 years since women are starting their families later in life choosing career first. I used an Average Generation of 20 years figuring in earlier times women got married at a much younger age. It has been ten thousand years since Atlantis was home to the Ancients it figures out to 500 Generations (give or take). Thought you might be interested in that fact.