There are some things SGC gate team members notice about the Atlantis teams who come to Earth on rotation. Nothing alarming. Nothing worth bringing to the brass’s attention. Different galaxies leave different scars, after all, and if the world’s gonna keep getting saved the people doing the saving are going to have to learn to tolerate each other’s quirks.
But still. There are things.
The Lanteans group together, even when there’s no need. Especially when there’s no need. In a whole wide empty mess, a scientist will sit down across from a sergeant he hates and they will… converse. Pleasantly. About the weather.
The memory makes cold spiders crawl up Corporal Barnes’s spine.
Captain Lopez sometimes finds himself walking past the locker room after AR 5 gets cleared by medical. He also sometimes hears a woman singing in a short, deep language he thinks is probably Satedan. One time, he stands against the wall for five minutes humming along to a call and response.
After being captured and brought aboard a ha’tak, SG 7 watches AR 4 pull knives and tools of every conceivable material from every conceivable hiding place, up to and including threaded through their slightly-longer-than-regulation hair. AR 4’s engineer opens the cell door with a multi tool she’d had stashed in her bra. SG 7’s explosive expert takes out the guard barehanded, recouping some of his team’s lost honor in the process.
AR 6’s team leader takes his first look at a goa’uld and has to fight back laughter. It doesn’t help that its peacock feather headdress is ever so slightly crooked.
AR 4’s second incarnation brings with it a captain with a flair for alien vulgarity. At least, Major Patrick thinks it’s vulgarity – nothing whispered so sweetly to a difficult village headman could actually have been sweet. When he asks, he gets a no sir, of course not, sir, for an answer, but the next night, when the captain starts up again, he pronounces everything more clearly, more distinctly, like he’s giving Major Patrick a chance to learn if he wants to. The third night comes complete with gestures and the carefully blank faces of the rest of AR 4. There’s no fourth night, owing to a badly-timed village coup, but during the moonlit sprint for the gate Major Patrick learns several new words from the captain and the engineer as they keep each other moving.
It’s not all during missions, either. The gym is overtaken no less than three times a month by SGC personnel clamoring to learn some new Satedan takedown. Dr. Jones, the geologist from AR 10, chronologically forty two, rubs at the hand-shaped scar on his chest at least twice an hour. His teammates rub at theirs only slightly less often. No one who was on Atlantis for the plague of early May 2012 will voluntarily shake hands; this causes a shitstorm at the IOA until someone possessed with the powers of deductive reasoning points out that an offworld handclasp was how the plague got to Atlantis and that skin-to-skin contact was the main transmission vector.
They still hug, though, and no one’s explained why a hug is safer than a handshake.
Every time there’s a storm forecast for the greater Colorado Springs area, especially if it’s touted as Worst Of The Decade, the Lanteans in the mountain will make cracks about taking off for the weekend. Colonel Mitchell is just grateful he understands this one. He doesn’t know, at least until he goes to Atlantis, why the Lanteans working in the mess sometimes dye the mashed potatoes purple-green and put ginger in the stew, and he nearly sets his sinuses on fire the first time he tries the authentic Athosian hot sauce one lieutenant carries around in a cleaned-out Tabasco bottle.
Atlantis comes with its own set of holidays, too. Rising Day is celebrated with a full-out barbecue hosted by whoever’s renting the house with the largest backyard. Booze is drunk; Satedan battle songs are sung; Athosian dances are danced. Anyone who wants to come is invited, from the general all the way down to the test tube washers in the chemistry department.
Mourning Day is much quieter. A couple of hours before sunset, the Lanteans caravan out into the wilderness. They release their paper lanterns as the sun sets – one for every life lost for Atlantis. Not all of the names scrawled on the side are in English. Not all are from Earth. Eight are blank.
It’s considered an honor to be invited to a Mourning Day hike.
There are things people at the SGC notice about the Lanteans. But that’s okay, because they’re sure there are things the Lanteans notice about them, too.