Doctor Justinia Morgan pushed her hand into the silvery-blue event horizon of the Stargate; the tingle along her fingers as the molecules began to dissolve made her smile in delight. She remembered each and every time she had been through the Stargate, each and every time her molecules had been scrambled, sent through a wormhole reaching from one planet to another and reassembled at the other end. As part of the Stargate program, she had been to many worlds, but this would be her first trip out of her own galaxy. This time the intense rush of adrenaline she always felt at arriving on new planets was tinged with trepidation. She would live and work in the Pegasus Galaxy for the next year or more of her life. After all she had heard of the alien races that inhabited that galaxy, she hoped she would last the year.
She could hear the clanging of someone in heavy boots striding up the metal ramp that led to the Stargate, the centerpiece of an otherwise Spartan warehouse deep in the mountains of Colorado. Many people knew about the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Complex, but very few knew that deep below the usual offices and storage rooms was a device that could transport people and objects light years away in the blink of an eye.
"Well, Doctor, are you ready?" The sergeant nodded toward the wavering event horizon which made a liquid squelching sound as she drew back her hand, placing both hands on her hips and drawing a deep breath.
She exhaled loudly. "As ready as I'll ever be," she replied. Justinia had no regrets about leaving her world or her galaxy. There were no friends to miss, no lovers. With any luck, this mission would make her name, ensuring her the pick of posts when she returned.
"No one here to see you off?" The sergeant's words were a startling echo to her own thoughts, although in contrast to her acceptance of the situation, his voice sounded confused by it. His helmeted head swiveled around, taking in rest of the group that was being transferred to Atlantis and looking up toward the people who waited behind the glass of the control room.
"There never has been." Justinia straightened her shoulders and left Earth and the Milky Way behind without a backward glance.
In Atlantis' gate room, Major Evan Lorne shifted his stance slightly as he stood waiting for the newest recruits from Earth. He tried not to appear as bored as he was by this detail—everyone had to take a turn at greeting new arrivals, and this one just happened to be his team's turn. It wasn't a big deal, they weren't expecting trouble, but military protocol demanded that a security team greet each new arrival through the Stargate, whether they were alien or Earthling. He grinned slightly at the idea that such a quaint old sci-fi phrase could now be used to describe the newcomers. His grin faded and he snapped to attention as the first people began to appear through the event horizon. The first two should have been military, in case of trouble, but a woman appeared, actually a step ahead of the two sergeants.
She was short, her hair pulled back in a severe bun; her ramrod straight posture and hairstyle made her gray-green Atlantis jumper look even more utilitarian than did on most people. The yellow patches marked her as one of the medical personnel, but clashed with her blonde hair and made her pale skin appear sallow. Evan's gaze roamed down to take in the name badge on her chest—Doctor Justinia Morgan. He had heard of the doctor from his former CO, Colonel Edwards. The colonel knew not only this Doctor Morgan, but also her mother and father; Doctor Katherine Morgan was a noted xeno-biologist, while Major General William Morgan was a career military man. Justinia was their only child, and a prodigy whose fame as a xeno-physician was nearly legendary among those who were involved in the Stargate program. She seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to healing, they said.
Evan put away his weapon and stepped forward, putting on his best friendly smile and holding out his hand to help her with her bags.
"Doctor Morgan? My name is Major Lorne. Welcome to Atlantis."
Doctor Morgan turned, and for just a moment, Evan could have sworn he saw the wide-eyed excitement of a child at an amusement park. A blind seemed to snap down almost immediately though, and the blue eyes became cool and disinterested. The doctor looked at Evan's outstretched hand, then to her own hands, each of which held a bag. She either misunderstood his intent or did not want his help.
"I'm afraid my hands are full at the moment, Major. If you would show me to my quarters, I should like to get settled quickly and report in to Colonel Carter."
The smile faded from Evan's face and he shrugged his security chief persona back on. "Yes, ma'am." He snapped to attention and turned to escort the doctor up the ramp and down one of the many hallways that led away from the gate room like a honeycomb.
Justinia quickly stowed her gear and followed Major Lorne back to the office of Atlantis' CO, Colonel Samantha Carter. Justinia was nervous at the idea of meeting her new commander, but she knew enough to not let it show. As they walked, she tried to memorize the way to Colonel Carter's office. They had gone through many twists and turns, both before and after stepping into a transporter device.
Top of her class at Harvard, Justinia nonetheless had difficulty at the start of each semester finding her classes. A classmate once remarked that she would get lost inside of a paper bag; Justinia wondered what on earth someone would be doing in a paper bag in the first place.
As she followed Major Lorne back to Colonel Carter's office, Justinia looked left and right for markers to help her find her way. Many of the hallways looked dishearteningly similar, the monotony of the walls broken here and there by cylindrical lights and the occasional doorway, decorated with geometric designs. She looked up, hoping that the ceiling at least would have some more obvious differentiating marks on it. She smiled in satisfaction as the ceiling opened up into a large room, not noticing that her escort had stopped.
"Mmpphh!" Lorne's solid back absorbed the force of her forward momentum, and she bounced off of him, nearly falling onto her bottom. The major's reflexes were quick, however, and he spun swiftly, grabbing her wrist and hauling her back to her feet; in so doing, he over-compensated for her light weight and she crashed into him.
"I'm…I'm sorry." Justinia glanced up at Lorne and pulled away, her face flushing, her cheeks hot.
Lorne's smile twitched at a corner of his mouth. "There's nothing to be sorry for, Doctor. We're here. Colonel Carter's office is just over that walkway. Pleasure meeting you, ma'am." Lorne bowed lightly at the head and sauntered away.
Justinia took a moment to compose herself; Lorne's hard body and steady gray eyes had affected her in a most unprofessional way. She forced her breathing to slow, sniffed, and straightened her shoulders and spine, brushing her hands down her uniform and patting at her hair to be sure there were no loose locks. She marched across the walkway and stood before the door, waving her hand over the indicator to announce her presence.
"Enter." The voice from the other side was firm, confident, and feminine. The door opened and Justinia walked through it, coming to a rest before the desk and standing at attention.
Colonel Carter glanced up, a smile on her face as she stood, holding out her hand in greeting. She was a beautiful woman, her short blonde hair and blue eyes giving her an almost pixie-like appearance that belied her true strength. Justinia had heard many stories of Samantha Carter's courage, and only hoped she did not disappoint her new CO.
Justinia glanced in consternation at the colonel's outstretched hand. Her father had raised her to believe that it was improper for her to shake the hand of a superior officer. It seemed too rude though, to ignore the colonel's hand and so Justinia reached out, tentatively shaking it.
"At ease, Doctor. Have a seat."
"Ma'am, yes, ma'am."
She took her seat, continuing to keep her spine straight while crossing her ankles and lightly lacing her fingers together, wrists on her knees.
Colonel Carter sat back. "We're glad to have you joining the Atlantis team, Doctor Morgan, but I think you'll find things are a little more relaxed here than at Stargate Command. How are your accommodations?"
"My quarters are fine, ma'am."
"Did you find them without any problems?"
"Major Lorne showed me to my quarters and then escorted me back here."
Justinia colored again as she spoke the security chief's name. Her breasts still tingled from the contact with his arms and chest; her arms still felt the imprint of his fingers like a brand. Get hold of yourself, Justinia! She hoped Colonel Carter did not notice the blush.
"Your schedule has been sent to the computer in your quarters. Here's your radio. I hope you'll grow to enjoy Atlantis as much as we all have."
Colonel Carter rose from her chair and Justinia stood as well.
Justinia strode from the office and stood staring, wondering which way to go. She was saved when her CO joined her on the bridge a moment later.
"Overwhelming, isn't it?"
"A bit, ma'am."
"I'm going to my quarters. I'll show you the way to yours. Don't worry, before long, you'll know your way around as well as the rest of us."
Justinia gave a tight smile to her CO and followed her down the main hallway. She wondered idly if she would see much of the handsome Major Lorne, immediately reprimanding herself for such an unbecoming thought.
A/N: This is the first chap of a multi-chap fic. I hope you like it. I would love to hear from you!