WWTAD?

(What Would The Ancients Do?)

A Stargate Story


It starts with a single sheet of paper taped to the locker room door and the not-so-gently-worded admonition that Captain Carter is an officer in the United States Air Force, and no one is to talk about how she may or may not have looked in the native costume of Simarka.

It grows over the years, becoming many sheets of paper taped to the locker room door, with rules written in with many different pens in many different hands. By the SGC's fourth year of operation, it has grown to approximately thirty-five sheets that someone carefully copies from the original and posts in fresh, laminated sheets all along the hallway leading from the locker room to the enlisted personnel's lounge. In year six Jonas Quinn rewrites them onto poster board and they cover one side of the hallway floor to ceiling. In year seven Daniel Jackson, not to be outdone, takes the list digital, but it's really not the same and only really exists for archival purposes after the first few months.

Included on this list are such rules as:

Daniel Jackson is not to be considered dead until there has been an autopsy. [And sometimes not even then.]

-and-

Any one caught spreading gossip about events which occurred while under the influence of the Touched Virus can be subject to discipline by any person caught overhearing such gossip, regardless of rank or posting. [Such discipline should not require more than a three-day stay in the infirmary.]

-and-

No marriage which takes place off-world shall be considered binding unless preformed by a legal officiant or celebrant recognised by the State of Colorado.

As well as such gems of advice as:

Apply temporary tattoos liberally and visibly before visiting P5D-111 to avoid questions of enfranchisement.

-and-

One, take good care of your feet. Two, try not to do anything stupid, like getting yourself killed.

And general commentary:

Do not share a tent with Cpl. Henderson after he's had the chicken fajitas.

-and-

42 is not the answer.

When Jack O'Neill takes over the SGC, he has the list taken down and gets the maintenance crews to paint the halls outside the lounges with chalkboard paint - almost a mile's worth. It takes Doctor Jackson almost a week to carefully copy the original (and still salient) rules onto the walls in permanent paint, along with the additions:

All chalk is to remain in the provided containers when not in use.

-and-

Only authorised personnel may make permanent additions to the board.

He finishes just in time for the Atlantis Expedition to see before shipping out.

John Sheppard's particularly taken with the idea, but since Atlantis is the ultimate paperless office the list starts life there as an OpenOffice document and goes viral sometime after he sends a copy to Rodney McKay for reference following the Genii debacle.

McKay creates the BBS.

The first version is largely made up of rules such as:

Looks can be deceiving.

-and-

Nuclear weapons are not valid trade goods. (Neither is C4.)

It rapidly expands, however, once the old hands - the people who've been with the SGC forever - find it. They add as many of the original, Earth rules that they remember and remain valid, but the Atlantis version rapidly takes on a flavour of it's own, including:

DO NOT PISS OFF DOCTOR MCKAY.

-and-

If it glows, keep it away from Sheppard until the scientists have had a go at it.

-and-

The American military takes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" very seriously. So should you.

As well as more situation-specific rules, such as:

When inhabiting another person's body remember: What Would The Ancients Do?

-and-

The only Wraith you can trust is a dead Wraith. (And only if you've personally seen it die.)

After Daniel Jackson visits Atlantis, the lists start undergoing regular correlative updates. As a result, rules such as:

Improvisation and extreme violence are important when dealing with the Lucian Alliance.

-start appearing on Atlantis and-

If Janus had anything to do with it, stay away from it.

-starts appearing in the SGC.

By the time there's finally serious talk of the Stargate Program going public, General Carter has been in charge of the SGC for eighteen months and the combined lists contain one thousand, eight hundred and twelve rules without repetition. She uses them to create the first official guidelines and bylaws for Stargate travel.

And, sure, while rules like-

Seriously, do not piss off Doctor McKay.

-and-

It's nobody's business who's getting into whose pants unless your pants are directly involved.

-fall by the wayside, the ones about time travel-

Do not change the past. The future may be altered on a case-by-case basis.

-and alternate universes-

Find a way to return to your reality as soon as possible.

-and alternate dimensions-

Do everything in your power to make your presence known.

-and invisibility-

What Would The Ancients Do?

-and first contact, and a lot else beside remain. And when the program finally does go public, they're held up as an example of just how responsible and hard-working everyone involved with the program really is, and is the spring board that eventually leads to Carter's nomination to the Senate the following election cycle. And, though she declines the nomination, she still captures fourteen percent of the vote through write-in votes, which naturally causes some hassle for those actually in the running.

Which, it has to be admitted, is kind of amazing considering how the original list only came to life because O'Neill got sick of hearing the locker room talk after Carter came back from Simarka in that blue dress.


a/n: Because Popkin16 and I agree Cadman took liberties in "Duet"