Stargate Atlantis -:- Kallipolis
Summary: Sheppard and his team are sent to a legendary Ancient City with the aim of tracking down a ZPM or two, but when they meet the locals, things go to hell: literally. Team-fic with added Shep-whump, No pairings
Disclaimer: If I owned Atlantis there is no way I would've let it get cancelled
Setting: Set somewhere between season 2 and 3ish – I'm doubting there'll be spoilers
Author's Note: Having read plenty of Shep-whump here on fanfic I decided to have a go at it myself; although everyone gets their fair share as well :P
Chapter One -:- Legend
"Unscheduled Offworld Activation!"
Dr. Elizabeth Weir looked up from her tablet PC, the paperwork she had been dawdling over instantly forgotten. Her glass office was instantly lit with the blue glare from the active Stargate below. She watched Chuck the technician look intently at one of the many laptops, waiting for an IDC. Suddenly he cupped his hand to his earwig as if struggling to hear something. A look crossed over his face that instantly had Weir worried, and she leapt to her feet to scarper across the bridge to the control room. "What is it?"
"Colonel Sheppard is on the radio calling in from M78-297…"
"Lower the shield."
"He's telling me not to ma'am," Chuck replied, and he leaned across the ancient console, activating the speaker. The static-filled transmission was now audible to the whole control room, allowing Weir to speak without using her earwig.
"Elizabe-...-do not lower-...-shield!" Sheppard's voice echoed around the control room, amplifying the urgency in his voice, despite it being barely above a whisper. "We met th-...-locals, and they're rea-...-not friendly…Damn the-...-ast...Crap…"
"John?" Elizabeth repeated, scared by the note of near-panic that had crept into her military commander's voice; a rare enough occurrence to multiply her worry ten-fold. Several loud thumps sounded from the gate room as dark shadows collided with the shield. "What was that? John? What's wrong? What's happening?"
A loud curse reverberated through the static followed by a grunt of pain. With only the sounds to go by, Weir's imagination filled in the rest. She really hoped it wasn't as horrible as the images her mind conjured. "We need back-up…th-…-tracted to sound…" The radio signal was getting worse, static almost drowning out the Colonel's voice. "Need-...-umper…gaaghhh!" The report of 9mm fire sounded over the line following the shout.
"John!" Elizabeth practically yelled. She might have been embarrassed by the highness of her voice if the situation was different, but as it stood she felt the panicked cry was the perfect pitch. The others in the control room were just as concerned, staring at the speaker as if they could see what was happening on the other side of the gate.
"Ronan! Fall b-...-all back!" More gunshots rang loudly in the control room, but even mixed with the static they didn't completely drown out the long string of curses and shouts coming through the open line, pain and panic lacing each syllable.
"John! Help is on the way! We're coming to get you! John!" Elizabeth called, injecting as much confidence and reassurance as she could into her voice, hoping that maybe just the idea of rescue would help Sheppard and his team to survive. It was difficult to keep her own hope from being crushed when the line went dead and the wormhole collapsed in the gate room.
A silence settled over the entire control room as its occupants tried to process what they had just heard in the transmission. Elizabeth recovered quickly, recognising the need for haste, and turned to Chuck who was currently a whiter shade of pale "Call Major Lorne and Dr. Beckett to my office immediately and have Zelenka ready a jumper for launch."
Twelve Hours Earlier – Atlantis
"As much as I love trundling through the Ancient Database looking for tidbits of information, I have to point out that this exercise in futility is a ginormous waste of my time that could be far better used elsewhere working on one of my many, many important intellectual projects."
"Yes, yes Rodney, you mention this already," Dr. McKay's long suffering Czech friend, Dr. Zelenka, replied with a tired sigh. He still found it amazing, if a little draining, how McKay could say so little with so many words in such a short space of time. "But as I have point out before, Dr. Weir ask us to do this search, so that is what we do."
The two scientists were seated in one of the many Ancient research labs scattered throughout the city, a large ornate console before them with a thin flexi screen covered in data suspended above. Both had several laptops between them plugged into the console running even more data at ridiculous speeds. McKay continued to huff, although he never actually stopped trolling through the facts and figures.
"So because Elizabeth wants to research every myth and legend the Pegasus Galaxy spews out we're stuck in here pointlessly searching for some ancient fairy tale that predates even the wraith. How? How is that ever going to be helpful? Hmmm? May as well séance Walt Disney and ask if Snow White was real."
"Someone sounds cranky."
Zelenka sighed in pure relief when Colonel Sheppard and Teyla entered the room, providing Rodney with someone else to direct his annoyance at. He briefly contemplated sympathy, but realised that the two of them put up with McKay on a regular basis and seemed to have perfected the art of handling him. With a smile he added "And he has had his daily quota of coffee."
"Don't remind me," McKay replied with a grimace, gazing longingly at his empty coffee mug. "I'm the smartest guy in this city and have saved it on more than a few occasions and still they force the rations on me. How am I supposed to function on less than five cups a day?"
"By spreading them out so they last you past 8am?" Sheppard suggested, glancing as his wristwatch. McKay grumbled something about his morning ritual being at least three cups as he turned back to his laptop to study the ancient data. "What are you doing anyway?"
"You mean other than wasting my precious time and intellect?" McKay retorted, earning himself an eye-roll from Sheppard. It was Zelenka who answered.
"Dr. Weir ask us to search the Ancient Database for the legend that Teyla told us of a while ago," Zelenka gestured at the Athosian, "about the city of Kallipolis."
Teyla nodded, and at Sheppard's bewildered look explained further. "There is a legend among my people about another City of the Ancestors, similar to Atlantis, called Kallipolis. It is said that it was a grand city that the Ancestors shared with humans long before the wraith become the scourge of the galaxy. It fell before their first awakening, although there is no consistent story as to how this came about."
"So we're thinking that if this legend is true we could find ourselves a few ZPMs?" Sheppard concluded, the chance to get the city more power making this apparent 'waste of time' appear more promising.
McKay made a dismissive noise, somewhere between a sigh and a snort. "Even if the legend is true, which I highly doubt, the likelihood of finding functioning ZedPMs is slim to non-existent. The story goes that the city fell before the arrival of the wraith, making this supposed city well over 10,000 years old. ZedPMs are good, but they're not that good. But there's no point even discussing this because the city doesn't even exist-"
"Rodney," Zelenka interrupted; a smug expression on his face as he pointed at his laptop. "I just found gate address to Kallipolis."
About an hour later, the MALP was ready to be sent through the gate to Kallipolis. McKay had been uncharacteristically silent during the set-up process, still nursing his ego after Zelenka had bashed it with his earlier victory. He glared at the Czech scientist over the top of the robot as he completed the preparations. He then looked up at the control room "MALP is ready for transport to M78-297."
From her spot on the balcony of the control room, Elizabeth Weir nodded at Chuck to dial the gate. She glanced at Sheppard who stood beside her, one of his charming half-smiles on his face, as the whirring of the chevrons locking echoed around the space below. They watched as the wormhole burst to life with a loud kawoosh, and then settled into blue serenity. McKay and Zelenka backed away from the robot as it began its journey through the Stargate.
"MALP has successfully arrived at M78-297," Chuck informed them, tapping at his console and accompanying laptop simultaneously. He gestured at another screen. "Receiving telemetry. We've got visual…I think."
Elizabeth and Sheppard wandered back into the control room to see the screen as McKay and Zelenka bounded up the stairs to join them. They all stared at the black screen in mild confusion, understanding Chuck's uncertainty. McKay shuffled forward making an impatient clucking sound. "I'll switch it to night vision, shall I?"
Instantly the screen glowed green, vague shapes slowly coming into focus. The MALP's camera panned from left to right, revealing what appeared to be a courtyard, broken rubble strewn across the ground. Elizabeth took control of the MALP as she steered it to focus on an undamaged part of the structure. "It's definitely Ancient in design, although I'd say it pre-dated Atlantis judging by the materials used."
"So it really is Kallipolis?" asked Sheppard. Elizabeth gave him an excited grin in reply. He turned to McKay. "Is it save?"
"We've got viable life support, yes, although…" McKay trailed off as he continued tapping on another laptop. Sheppard waited a moment before prompting the scientist to continue. "There's an unnaturally high level of radiation in the atmosphere. I think it's within safe limits, but I'd like to run a few tests first, just to make sure. It will take an hour or so."
Elizabeth nodded, a gesture McKay took as a dismissal as he grabbed up the laptop and left, Zelenka trailing behind. She turned to Sheppard, her tone becoming more formal as she gave the order. "Colonel, have your team ready to go once McKay's gives the all clear."
True to his word, McKay finished his tests within an hour and thirty minutes later the team stood at the gate, geared up and ready to go. Standing at her favourite spot on the control room balcony, Elizabeth gave the order for the gate to be dialled, and then watched her flagship gate team exchange banter below. She always memorised this moment of every mission, the time when everyone's still excited about the prospect of exploring new worlds and there's that adventurous spirit. For just that moment, the fear of the unknown and inevitable danger on the other side of the blue portal is buried beneath the optimism that this time nothing will go wrong.
She loved this period of brief reprieve, and she refused to let it be tainted by the following hours of nervousness and worry over what is really happening on the other side of the galaxy.
The Stargate whooshed into life and the four people below walked fearlessly towards the ominous blue circle. Sheppard felt her eyes on him and turned around at the last minute to give her a reassuring wave before stepping into the flickering wall.
Instantly a deep set feeling of unease settled in the pit of her stomach, some instinctual part of her reminding her that nothing ever goes completely right, especially with SGA-1.
Sorry there was so much exposition in this chapter, but I had to get that in so that the fic would have at least a little bit of plot to with the whump :P This is a relatively short fic though, so the action starts next chapter!