Chapter 8: Checking In
A/N: Canon change; Evan Lorne came with the original group.
Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Challenge: #1096 'Go to Hell' by Dragonhulk.
Thanks to my beta: zigpal.
Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Stargate Atlantis characters belong to Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright / SyFy Channel. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
'Viraga Arx Aedes' (the Guardian's Fortress Home)
Two weeks later…
Watching Fred work on another one of her inventions, Vira checked the calendar on the wall and sighed. "Well, we've given them a couple weeks to get settled in; think we should check in on the Earth people?" she inquired.
Ronon stopped sharpening one of his knives to ask, "Why are you so concerned about them? They are adults, aren't they?" Vira and his girl spent a lot of time fussing over a bunch of strangers rather than cutting them loose like they should have.
"It's a cultural difference thing, Ro," Vira said with a smile. "Since they are from our homeworld, we feel a little responsible for their safety. Think of them this way: over half of them are like Fred; the rest are like me."
Deciding to tease the pair, Ronon quipped, "And you left them alone?"
"You'd better watch it, mister, or you'll be sleeping in the city tonight," Fred mock-snapped at her honey. Not that she had any intention of sending him away…which unfortunately he knew.
Ronon confirmed it by kissing her on the cheek, then checked with Vira, "I suppose this means I'm brat-sitting?"
"Or they're Ro-sitting…depends on your point of view," Vira teased right back. "I'm still not comfortable with exposing the kids to these people any more than what's already happened."
He nodded, "Okay, I understand that. Maybe we'll play hide and seek with Lantia while you're gone."
The SGA World
As soon as they stepped out of the gate, Vira and Fred could tell something was seriously wrong. The tense looks on the soldiers guarding the gate made the two women glad they came through in the ship. Even though it didn't happen, those guards might have shot first and asked questions later. For the ship, it wouldn't be a problem, but for them personally…bullets could hurt quite a bit if they couldn't deflect them all.
Announcing themselves, the two women set the ship down and waited for Weir to show up.
Although the people outside couldn't hear them, Fred still whispered, "What do you think is happening?"
They caught sight of the leaders headed their way. Instead of Sheppard escorting Weir to the gate, a different man was with her and McKay. In addition, Sumner was walking just behind them – although he wasn't in uniform like the unknown man.
"Judging by the looks on their faces, I'd say nothing good." Vira nodded to the left with her chin. "See those people huddled together near the treeline? They aren't part of the Earth group."
Even though it was said as a statement, Fred still offered her opinion, "With those clothes? I agree with you. Do you recognize any of them? Or anything that might say what planet they could be from?" she asked after studying the group as best she could from a distance.
"Nope," Vira replied, shaking her head. "Two weeks and they're already in trouble. They're worse than the twins!" she exclaimed in exasperation.
"I don't know about that. Seem to recall a certain birthday of yours when the twins thought they'd surprise you…?" Fred started to say with a smile.
Under the view screen, Vira lightly smacked her friend, then stood up so they could get out. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. It took a week to clean that up and another week to convince them I wouldn't ship them off to the Genii. Well, let's go see how bad this is."
"Viraga Custa, I'm relieved you came," Weir greeted as soon as the two women stepped outside of the ship.
Sumner glared at them, though. "Her timing is a little suspicious if you ask me."
Ignoring the unpleasant man, Vira responded, "We thought we'd give you a week or two so you could settle in before we came to see how you were adjusting. What happened?" she asked, gesturing to the scene around them.
Shifting uncomfortably, Weir paused for a moment, then explained, "We decided to explore some of the other planets. Unfortunately, the first one our people went to was culled by the Wraith. A few of our people and about a dozen of theirs were taken. Major Sheppard was one of the abducted."
"Why didn't you finish exploring this world…or one of the worlds Viraga Custa told you about?" Fred asked the seemingly obvious question – at least to her and Vira.
"After some discussion, we agreed that being solely dependent on what was provided to us might not be the best choice for us long term," Weir replied, trying not to seem ungrateful – especially since now they needed to ask for help.
Thinking to herself, Vira couldn't help but feel a bit snarky, 'Gee, how'd that plan work out for you?'
The unknown man spoke up with a question of his own, "How did you know we didn't go to one of the listed planets?"
"I do not believe we have met. I'm Viraga Custa of Lantia, and this is Fred," Vira said by way of introduction.
"Major Lorne, ma'am," he answered, touching the brim of his cap slightly. Fred could almost imagine him on horseback in the Old West with a cowboy hat on when she saw the gesture.
"We did not recognize any of the people so it was a safe guess you went to a different planet," Vira said reasonably. Rather than sit around questioning each other about unnecessary things, she decided to jump right to the heart of the matter. "Is there any chance somebody saw the symbols the Wraith used to leave? Maybe we could try to rescue them."
Weir nodded, grateful that their actions didn't appear to have broken the shaky truce they had with the guardian of Atlantis. Although she was the leader of the expedition, she allowed herself to be convinced that exploring other planets would be a good way of making themselves other allies in the galaxy – just in case Viraga Custa and her people turned out to be less than trustworthy. "One of the soldiers remembered six of the symbols, and we've checked the possibilities. There was only one that connected."
Fred frowned at that comment. "That's unusual. The odds of only one working? Out of all the possibilities?" She looked up and saw a bemused expression on her friend's face and decided that it wasn't important at the moment. "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"
"The probe we sent through drifted into space, and we don't have any way to get there," Weir finished, hoping that Viraga had something they could use…like the ship they came out of a few minutes earlier.
Vira sighed heavily, "Alright, that is not good. The last time we saw a gate in space, it was a planet with a Wraith hive ship on it." Seeing that they had no clue what her concern was, she went on, "So instead of a handful of Wraith to fight, now we will have a small army to face – or whatever you would consider 200-300 enemy soldiers."
Leaning over to whisper, Fred suggested, "Maybe we should activate the mutual defense pact (MDP)?"
"Good idea. How about if you return to Lantia to watch things there, and have Ronon request help from worlds 3, 8 and…" Vira paused to consider another world that could be of assistance.
Fred knew the different worlds just as well as Vira and said, "I think 12 would be a good choice for this."
Vira nodded, "I agree. And get about 10 miniature dampeners for us to use on the ship. We will discuss a meeting place after we have talked some more." While Fred was doing that, she would explain to Weir's people about the MDP.
Settling down in their 'conference room', Vira began her explanation, "When we started making contact with other groups, we found out that each had a unique skill set to offer. While none of us were strong enough to fight the Wraith on our own, together we could hurt them."
"That is the real advantage the Wraith have over us 'cattle'. They are formidable because they can band together with one goal in mind: domination of their feeding grounds. We should involve the leader of the people you just met in our plans; no doubt they will want to assist in the rescue effort," Vira suggested/ordered. After all, it involved their people and homeworld as well.
After Major Lorne moved to retrieve the interim leader, Weir said, "The leader and her second were taken during the culling, but Kares seems to be the third in the Athosians' line of succession."
While they waited for Ronon's return, plans were discussed for the rescue, and then they moved onto what the Athosians would do. Kares said many wanted to return to their home, but were scared that the Wraith would come back and wipe them out.
A/N: Next…Back in time to meet Ronon for the first time and learn about the MDP some more. Which planets would you like to see as members? Except for the Genii, of course…and the Athosians.