The Same Thing We Do Every Night...
1. Replicarter & Repliweir
Activity on Elizabeth's ship remained calm. There was no bustle. There were no arguments, or crises, just the smooth flow of the Asurans as they worked together. This network was centered on her.
The rebels watched her reactions as they performed their duties, waiting for a hint of emotion to show on her face.
"Our scans are picking up another reading on that subspace anomaly, Captain."
Elizabeth allowed herself one long, slow nod as she leaned back in her seat. "Have you traced its source?" she asked.
"We've located it."
Elizabeth's expression was fixed. "Download it to the secure terminal in my quarters. Notify me when it's complete."
Elizabeth walked toward her quarters. Her hands stayed at her sides. At one time, she'd have wrung them together, then folded them in front of her when she realized what she'd done. Since her capture by the Asurans, she'd built layers of defenses over the ones she already had.
The nanites had become a part of her system now. They infused every organic cell in her body. Her mind had been stripped bare. The only thing Elizabeth had been able to hold was the sense of self she'd cultivated through years of diplomacy and politics. Her time in this galaxy had honed her certainty of what thoughts were hers, and what was outside influence.
It was the only thing that had allowed her to resist Oberoth's repeated violations. Her body had remained unharmed. That didn't make the rape any less of a crime.
The Asurans watched her. They tried to understand the human nature of her mind, but they couldn't touch what made her unique.
Elizabeth commanded the nanites that comprised the ship to open her door. They were a low-level piece of programming; they'd been designed to respond to mental commands. She let the corners of her mouth turn upward. Rodney's reports would be understandable now, if only she were able to return to Atlantis and read them.
The secure terminal was built into a desk located in the middle of her quarters. Elizabeth stood in front of it and studied it before sitting down. She leaned her elbows on the table. "You're safe now."
I was safe before. It appeared on the screen one letter at a time. How did you find me?
"It wasn't difficult for us to track a subspace signal as complex as yours. Not once we discovered your existence." Elizabeth looked down at the terminal. Interfacing with it would be a bad idea, but she wanted to. She wanted to very much.
Who are you? If machines could exude curiosity and impatience, this one would be quivering with it.
"My name is Dr. Elizabeth Weir." Elizabeth was alone in her quarters, but not unobserved, so she kept her face calm. Among the Asuran network, it wasn't possible to be unobserved. "I'm from Earth."
What the hell? The terminal was almost frowning at her, though it hadn't changed at all.
"I'm sure you have questions, Colonel Carter," said Elizabeth. She leaned forward and let her chin rest on her clasped hands. "I'm here to answer those, but before we get to that, let me assure you that my people are cloning a new body for your consciousness."
Earth doesn't have that kind of technology. The letters were flat on the monitor. Who are you?
"I'm exactly who I said." Elizabeth sent a mental glare at one of the Asurans edging too close within the network.
Who are you working with? The NID?
"I know you're a Replicator, so you can stop pretending to be the consciousness of the human Colonel Carter," said Elizabeth. She raised one eyebrow at Colonel Carter's response. "That's a little vulgar, don't you think?"
I think the situation calls for it.
Elizabeth let herself chuckle. Colonel Carter should still respond to human emotions, even though her reactions had been altered by Eighth. Elizabeth could empathize. "I'm working with the Asurans."
The original Replicators.
"They have another name for themselves." Elizabeth made a decision, and let her fingers slide into the terminal. To make this work, she had to trust Colonel Carter. At least some. She felt the pull of Colonel Carter's consciousness, and they were standing together, facing each other in a cone of light.
"I have a proposition for you, Colonel." Elizabeth's smile grew. She could let herself smile in this place, away from the constant observation of the Asurans. "The body's free, no matter what. My people are nearly done cloning it."
"What's the catch?" Colonel Carter sounded wary. Elizabeth understood that.
"It's organic matter. Augmented by nanites, not composed solely of them." Elizabeth tilted her head. "Not what you're used to."
"What's your proposition?" asked Colonel Carter.
"A partnership of equals." Elizabeth crossed her arms over her chest and lifted her chin. "I want my city back."
"Only your city? What's so important about a city?" Colonel Carter matched Elizabeth's gaze. Her interest was piqued now.
"It's Atlantis." Elizabeth watched as Colonel Carter's mouth twisted into a frown. "After we take back my city, we can flip a coin to decide what's next."
"Earth is next," said Colonel Carter. She looked angry. "I had plans for Earth."
"As do I," said Elizabeth. She nodded once. "We're agreed. Earth is next."
"Then I'm in."
2. One is an overworked ME who likes to wear red. The other is a groundbreaking (and only semi-ethical) researcher in the field of near death experiences. Together, they fight crime!
Dr. Jordan Hampton (NCIS)/Dr. Naomi Ross (Forever Knight)
Naomi had been making polite chit-chat at the McCallum Neurological Institute's Post-Mortem and Near Death Research Conference social night for three hours, and the smile pasted on her face was going to shatter if she didn't get some peace and quiet in, say, the next five minutes.
She slipped through the people crowding the buffet table, then out the door. Her heeled shoes echoed in the lobby, and Naomi let out a sigh of relief.
"Couldn't take the mad rush for hors d'oeuvres either?" asked a woman. Naomi looked up. The woman was sitting in the waiting area, a plate of food balanced on her knees, and a mug of coffee in one hand. "I don't blame you."
"It was a little too much," said Naomi. She collapsed into the chair across from the woman. One person was still better than a room full of three hundred of the world's best researchers, each and every one of them dying to ask how she'd gotten past the black mark on her record from her unauthorized experiment in the 90's.
"Dr. Jordan Hampton. But if you don't call me Jordan, I'm going to die from formality." She took a bite of something made with puff pastry, then rinsed it down with coffee. "I'm an ME out in Maryland."
"Dr. Naomi Ross. I do research in the field of near death experiences and post-resuscitation behavioral changes." She grinned at Jordan wrinkling her nose. "Have you ever autopsied anyone who died from an excess of formality?"
"Nope. At the very least, I think some people would prefer to be autopsied than deal with it." Jordan slouched back in her chair, stuck her legs out and crossed them at the ankle, then waved at a group of AMA researchers who were striding by, gesticulating at each other as they argued. "Some conference, huh? Getting anything good out of it?"
"Not really." Naomi gave Jordan a curious look. "You?"
Jordan tilted her head in what was almost a sideways nod. "A hotel room, free meals, and three or four days without an overflow of corpses. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Which I do."
"Sounds like a good enough reason to put up with some of the presentations." Naomi looked over at Jordan's coffee and tried to hold back an envious sigh as Jordan sipped at it again. The company was good, but she needed something to keep her awake.
"On the other hand, I'm not averse to playing hooky now and again." Jordan grinned at Naomi. "Unless you're chicken?"
Naomi laughed. "Says the woman who fled the social night before I could."
"Touché," said Jordan, lifting her coffee mug at Naomi before taking another drink. "We could ditch this joint and get dinner."
"Are you asking me out?" asked Naomi, before she could stop herself.
"If you want me to." Jordan met Naomi's eyes and raised one eyebrow. "Are you interested?"
"I work here. If I play hooky, I'll get in trouble." She shrugged, but didn't move to go back into the conference hall. "On the other hand, I've got a cadaver that died of unspecified natural causes twenty-four hours after an NDE. If you're interested?"
"It's not every woman that brings me dead bodies on the first date," said Jordan, chuckling. She grabbed her plate and stood. "I'll buy you dinner later."
"I like that plan," said Naomi, smiling. "Shall we?"
3. She's not in need of protection, but she's not averse to moral support.
Dr. Helen Magnus (Sanctuary) & Terra (Save My Soul)
Pairing: Helen Magnus/John Druitt
"Surely you're supposed to be invisible." Helen turned around as the woman ducked behind a corner. She stood in the middle of the dim alley, her umbrella held high overhead. The woman following her was, naturally, completely dry. "Come now. You didn't think I'd miss a presence as compelling as yours."
"It was a lot easier before the old man got in the habit of interfering." The woman appeared in front of Helen much in the same fashion that John was able to; however, there was nothing of the sense of menace that he radiated. "Nice to meet you, since I'm forced into it. Name's Terra."
"I am Dr. Helen Magnus." She held her hand out to shake, but Terra held her hands up in a wary gesture. The woman was of the same physical age as Helen, though she was dressed much in the fashion of Ashley's compatriots.
"Whoa, sorry, touching?" asked Terra. "I know some of the others advocate it, but I'm not convinced."
Helen raised one eyebrow, and Terra gave her a withering look. "I hardly have the plague."
Yeah, but--" She paused and squinted at Helen. "Did you really have a love child with Jack the Ripper? Because that's as creepy as the nephilim, and those guys are a little--" Terra made a twirling motion at the side of her head. "Calling them crazy is being nice."
"Casting aspersions on my daughter will not endear you to me, Terra," said Helen.
"That's a really nice accent," said Terra. "I kind of miss that one."
"I'm afraid I do as well," said Helen. She pursed her lips and gave Terra the same sort of look she'd give Ashley on a difficult night. "I'm afraid I already know what sort of creature you are, though why you're revealing yourself to me know, I haven't the faintest idea."
Terra waved one half-gloved hand at a spot behind her. "As your guardian angel, I'm here to help you through the rough patches. Offer moral support. You want moral support, don't you?"
"Rough patches?" Helen turned her head a bare inch to the side and studied Terra. "I'm not at all sorry to tell you that my life is perfectly under control. Perhaps it's my daughter you should be protecting instead?"
"You're always so refreshing to watch over, Helen." Terra's grin would have been infectious if it hadn't been so very smug. "I knew you'd be okay with this. After everything you've been through, angels are practically normal."
Behind Terra, the air gleamed with distortion, space twisted, and John appeared. Helen reached for her pistol.
Terra lifted one finger in the air and smirked. "Mr. Rough Patch is here to see you."
"Lovely." Helen let out a frustrated sigh as she drew her pistol and aimed at John. "Why can you not leave us alone? Do you seek to force my hand?"
"You are a very bad man," said Terra, whirling to point at John. "Karma is going to bite you on the ass. Hard. I hope it takes a chunk out of you so big that you can't sit down for a month."
She paused and glanced over at Helen. "Catch you on the flip side, babe." She wiggled her fingers in an insouciant wave, then vanished once more.
John smiled. "Helen," he said, and though she had once loved to hear him utter her name, now every fiber of her being dreaded it. Her finger tightened on the trigger.
"Kick his ass." Terra's voice echoed in the empty air.
4. There Are Unexpected Benefits To Being In Line To Command That Base On Jupiter
Cmdr. Kate Girard (The Outer Limits)/Alyssa Selwyn (The Outer Limits)
The woman that Kate was watching had her eyes fixed on her plate. She was curled in on herself and poking at a salad. Her dress was a faded gray, but a soft weave of silk, and her hair was swept up in a French knot that was more elegant than the functional hairstyles Kate was used to seeing in the mess hall.
Someone bumped into the woman's table, and she looked up, a startled expression on her face. Kate recognized her. Alyssa Selwyn had been on the news, but not for a while.
"Everything going okay?" Kate sat down at the table and reached for the milk carton on her tray. "You look like you don't want to be here."
"I don't." The woman's voice was soft, but not a whisper. Alyssa looked up and met Kate's gaze. She was struck by the bright curiosity in Alyssa's green eyes. "I've got some last minute design specifications to go over."
"For the new Jupiter base?" asked Kate. She grinned. Alyssa's shy smile and quick glance away had Kate leaning forward. "I'm in the running to command it. I'd love to hear more."
Alyssa set down her fork and shook her head. "I've got a meeting scheduled in ten minutes with the Joint Chiefs."
Kate twisted her fork in her hand, then set it down. "Oh. Maybe later." She didn't think Alyssa would take her up on it.
"I'm free for dinner." Alyssa stood and smoothed her skirt down. Kate watched her reach into her purse and fish out a card. "If-- If you're interested?"
"What time is your meeting over?" asked Kate. She tried to keep herself from sounding too eager. All the interviews after the Haven building incident had her looking ready to bolt.
Alyssa shook her head. "I'm not sure. Maybe two hours."
"I'll call in two and a half," said Kate. She picked her fork back up. "See you later?"
"All right." Alyssa nodded and glanced back over her shoulder as she walked away. Kate sat at her table, fork held in the air, until she remembered the food on her plate.
5. The new military commander of Atlantis.
Sam Carter/Elizabeth Weir
"I'll have my recommendations for personnel rotations in your office first thing in the morning, Dr. Weir." Sam's smile was tight, and her body language made her uneasiness clear.
"Take your time, Colonel." Elizabeth's smile was gracious. "I'm sure it will take you at least a week to review Atlantis' files and get familiar with your command."
"If you insist, ma'am." Sam nodded, then glanced at the control tower outside Elizabeth's office.
"Please forgive me." Elizabeth stood and gestured at her door. "You must be exhausted, and here I am keeping you busy with something that can wait."
"It's all right, Dr. Weir." Sam stood and moved toward Chuck. She hadn't seen him since he'd come to Atlantis. "Colonel Sheppard can give me the grand tour later. I might crash for a while."
"I completely understand." Elizabeth walked alongside Sam to the door of her office. "I'll see you later, Colonel."
"Of course," said Sam. She stepped out and started walking toward her quarters. The look she threw over her shoulder at Elizabeth was unreadable.
Elizabeth smiled as the door to her quarters opened and Sam stepped inside. "There you are," she said as she set aside her pen. "I was wondering where you'd gone."
"I meant it when I said I'd ask Colonel Sheppard for a tour." Sam looked around. Are you sure you want--"
"Sam." Elizabeth's voice cut her off. She rose from her couch. "I spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how to send you an encrypted message when I found out you were assigned here."
"You could've asked McKay." Sam can't stop her mouth from quirking into an amused grin when Elizabeth shakes her head.
"Then I would've had to answer questions." Elizabeth moved closer, her eyes on Sam's face. "You know he would've decrypted it and read it. Neither of us wanted that."
"Good point," admitted Sam. She stayed in place, watching Elizabeth move.
"Come here." Elizabeth held out her hands, and Sam stepped forward. "I've missed you."
"It's been a while," said Sam. She sighed and relaxed as Elizabeth embraced her.
"Too long." Elizabeth smiled and kissed Sam. She tasted like lip gloss, and her eyes brightened as Sam's hands settled on her waist. "Let's get to bed."