He knows it’s not a big thing, not on the same level as how to build a ZPM or how to defeat the Wraith, but John would really, really like to know where in their near-endless database the Ancients hid their porn.
At first, it was just idle curiosity; the permanently twelve-year-old part of his brain sniggering at the idea of what Ancients might find hot. Then, after they’d been here for a couple of months and none of the hot alien sex he’d been promised had materialised, it had become more pressing. He knew the scientists had a supply of porn they’d worked together to smuggle through the ‘gate, but there was just no way he was going to ask Zelenka how to access it.
Now, now he doesn’t need Ancient porn, because at first he has McKay’s stash and then he has McKay, but he still wants to find it.
Some part of him needs to know they actually took the time out from meditating and populating the galaxy and accidentally creating scary things to do something as normal and basic as film a pretty girl being banged by an ugly guy for money. He needs to know they weren’t that different, they weren’t some super-race, that the fact they couldn’t defeat the Wraith doesn’t mean the new wave of Atlanteans never will.
When he joined with Chaya, John got to glimpse all the knowledge of the Ancients. It was there, swirling inside her: sharp and smooth, hot and cold, too far for him to reach. When John spent six months in the sanctuary, he got closer. The knowledge stayed beyond his grasp, but on his best days (the days that scared him the worst) he could get his fingertips to within an inch of it.
From what he’s seen, John knows he’ll never get closer to understanding more than a tiny fraction of all the Ancients know. He imagines them, sometimes, sitting up on their higher plane, looking down on Atlantis and Earth on their two galaxies and all the others. They know the answer to every question every human has ever asked, but they never bother to share.
They must be able to see the Wraith terrorising the Pegasus galaxy; one of them must have watched when John blundered into a Wraith Hive without a clue and condemned people in the galaxy who should have been able to live and die without meeting a Wraith to death; when they’d lost Abrams and Gaul and Griffin and Ford.
John has never been one for divine intervention, but now he knows, he knows that there are people out there more powerful than them and that they could help if they wanted to.
He wants to know whose idea non-intervention was. And then he wants to shove the whole fucking database up their ass.
Obviously, like every other person in the city, John wants to know how to build ZPMs.
Sometimes he wonders if the reason the schematics are no where Rodney and Radek and the others have ever looked is because the Ancients didn’t know. That maybe there’s a race even more advanced than them who built the damn things. Other times, he likes to entertain himself (and Rodney) with the image of stumbling through the ‘gate onto some planet and finding fields of trees with ZPMs growing on the branches.
4. Before He Sleeps
John would like to know how he died. Well, not him exactly, the other him. The one from the other Elizabeth’s universe.
Rodney tells him it doesn’t matter, that it wasn’t really him, but John knows Rodney sometimes wakes from dreams where he’s drowning, so he figures they’re both a little freaked by their alternate-selves’ untimely demise. They’re freaked for different reasons, though. Rodney’s disturbed by the idea that he died; John’s just worried about how.
From what Old Elizabeth said, he could have died when the Wraith missile struck, but he could also have been killed by the impact when they crashed, he could also, God forbid, have drowned. He doesn’t ever tell anyone, but he hopes it was the first option; he’s always known he was supposed to die in battle.
Right at this moment, if John could have any piece of information from the Ancient database, he’d ask it how to maximise the efficiency of the ZPM in order to maintain the environmental controls and waste management system in the event of having to run the shield for an extended period. It’s not something that John lies awake at night worrying about, but the precautionary simulation Rodney and Zelenka ran yesterday gave them some less than enthusiastic results and they’ve been holed up in the labs thinking up solutions ever since.
John’s seen Rodney maybe twice since and he’s looking exhausted. John thinks that once he’s asked the database to solve that problem for them, he’ll ask it to recommend somewhere quiet, maybe with a beach, somewhere they can go, relax, just long enough for the bags under Rodney’s eyes to fade.