Everyone in the Gateroom and control room turned to stare as the latest group of new personnel stepped through the gate.
'Welcome to Atlantis everyone. Your section heads will be down shortly to collect you and get you all settled in. Once you have dropped your gear in your quarters, I will see you all in the briefing room.' Colonel Carter called, eyes drawn to one man in particular. Radek rose from his workstation and walked out onto the balcony, also staring at one man in particular.
'Carson?' he asked in disbelief, rubbing his eyes.
'Aye, Dr. Carson Beckett-Hunter, at your service.' Carson replied, smiling warmly.
'Don't take this the wrong way, but how? You look exactly like Carson.' Carter added, blinking quickly.
'That would be 'cause he's my da. Dinae ask me how it happened but that's my story.' he explained with a shrug, feeling a little self-conscious.
'Come up here Carson, this is something we need to discuss in private.' Carter suggested, heading for her office. Carson nodded and shouldered his bags, heading up the stairs.
He stopped in front of Radek and smiled, offering forth his hand. Radek shook himself out of his stupor and shook hands warmly, still reeling from the shock.
'I think you might need to sit in on this, you may know how this happened.' Carson offered, shaking his head in wonder.
'Of course, I can try.' Radek agreed, following Carson through into Carter's office. He left his gear by the door and sat, Radek leaning against the wall beside his bags.
'Carson never went home during his time with us, there was so much work to be done here in the city.' Carter started, shaking her head in wonder.
'Of that I am well aware. From what my ma told me, somehow he was transported from Atlantis to our home in the highlands twice. The first time was frightening for both my parents, especially when my ma, Emily Hunter, pulled a gun on him. The second time was more joyous and I was conceived. Ma kept praying da would return before it was too late but it wasn't to be. I've never met my da, but I know much about this city and the people within.' Carson explained, shrugging slightly.
'It's only been two and a half years, how can you be in your thirties if this is true?' Carter demanded, leaning forward in her chair.
'I don't know Colonel. Radek, take these and see what you can make of them. Me ma kept security cameras throughout the house and grounds as a safeguard for our protection. Before allowing me to leave for the SGC, she gave me these files, records of my time spent growing up and all the rapid changes I went through. I flew through school in a matter of five months from start to finish. My degree was done in two years, well ahead of any others. I don't know how this happened or why it did, all I know is what I am, the son of a Bounty Hunter and an MD.' Carson replied softly, handing Radek several computer disks. He took them carefully before nodding and slipping out, offering Dr. Keller a small smile as he passed. She returned the smile before approaching the desk, trying not to stare at Carson.
'Dr. Beckett-Hunter, this is Dr. Jennifer Keller, CMO for the expedition. Jennifer, this is Dr. Carson Beckett-Hunter, son of Carson and Emily Hunter.' Carter introduced the slim blonde woman standing behind him. He rose to his feet and turned, extending his hand.
'A pleasure to meet you Dr. Keller. You seem like a smart young lass, I can see why you were chosen to take my da's place.' Carson replied, smiling warmly. Keller looked appropriately stunned by Carson's appearance and that familiar brogue.
'The pleasure is all mine Dr. Beckett-Hunter, I assure you. I thank you for your faith in my abilities, just as your father had great faith in me. You haven't been told about the return we had, have you?' she queried, glancing at Carter.
'Nae, I havenae been told. What happened?' he asked, turning back to Carter as well.
'Why don't you go and find him while I brief Dr. Beckett-Hunter on the situation.' Sam suggested, returning to her chair.
'Okay, I'll be back in a couple minutes.' Keller agreed before leaving to office, vanishing from sight.
'What's going on? I dinae understand.' Carson added, taking a seat opposite her.
'Quite some time ago your father was taken prisoner by a humanised Wraith, we called him Michael. We had no idea what Michael did to Carson while he was on that planet with the entire population of the Wraith hive ship we humanised. Life went on as usual for us until Teyla went missing, almost a year after we lost your father. What we found in that warehouse shattered our understanding of the Wraith and gave us a whole new problem to consider.' Sam explained; smiling as the internal door opened and Keller strode in.
'You are makin' no sense at all Colonel Carter, what are you trying to say?' he demanded, rising back to his feet.
'She's trying to explain me, lad.' a familiar voice called from beyond the second door.
'And who the hell are ya?' Carson demanded, turning to face the door. The instant the stranger strode in, Carson stumbled back into the nearest chair, eyes wide in disbelief.
'Nae, this is not happening. I saw my da die; you're not real. You're a fake, a fraud. You do not belong here, I am the only rightful heir to Carson Beckett's name.' he roared, rising to his feet and advancing on the man before him. Before Carter or Keller could move, Carson grabbed the man roughly by the throat and shoved him against the wall.
'Please lad, let me go. I can explain.' the familiar stranger gasped, hands wrapped around Carson's wrist, struggling to get loose.
'No one can explain this, you're tryin' to steal what is rightfully mine. One of us has to go and it's not gonna be me. This is my place, following my da's footsteps. I didnae age thirty years in two and a half and work my ass off to get here, only to find that someone else had taken my place. This is mine; my whole being is centred on this city. I was born to make this city sing, that is my purpose. You do nae belong here. This is my home. I ne'er want to see you again, leave this city before she throws you out.' Carson snarled before flinging the man aside and storming out, grabbing his bags before disappearing through the internal door.
As Carson stalked down the corridors, he could feel the great city prodding his mind gently, guiding him home. The mighty city spoke to him with a soft voice, calming him and lifting the thick clouds fogging his mind. Without knowing anything about the layout of the city, he walked, deaf, dumb and blind to anything going on around him.
He stopped outside a semi-familiar door and it opened. Smiling slightly, he entered and set his gear on the bed before digging around. He found a suitcase in the cupboard and quickly packed all the other belongings into it before tossing it out into the corridor. Without slowing, he stripped the bed and moved everything, organising everything until he was happy. With that done, he opened his bags and started unpacking, fingers tracing over all the memories he had brought with him. For some reason, he felt the city insist he touch a certain section of the far wall. Shrugging, he rose and crossed the room, reaching out to trace his fingers over a faint line on the wall. Almost instantly, another shelf popped out, locking into place just below eye level.
'Thank you Atlantis.' he breathed, reverently placing several photos up, two of his ma and two of his da. Right in the middle of the group, was a carefully created fake family photo. It was one of his most precious possessions, the only memory of a man he had never known but had given him a lot to live up to. He just stared at it for a few minutes, tears silently rolling down his cheeks.
'I miss you so much ma. I'm scared, I'm alone and I just don't know what to do.' he whispered, lightly tracing his ma's smiling face, staring back out at him. He took some comfort from her photos and went back to his unpacking, bringing out more shelves from previously blank walls.
With the first three bags finished, he turned his attention to the two metal cases still resting on the bed. Again Atlantis prompted him into action and he made a special cabinet appear from where the bed had been before. It was crystal clear with nothing to distort or disturb the treasures laid out inside. Smiling softly, he opened the bigger case and lifted out the first of his treasures, a pair of Desert Eagles with titanium gold plating. These were carefully laid inside the cabinet with gentle hands as though they were the most precious of gems. A 12 gauge Remington shotgun and a beautiful Austrian made Steyr-Mannlicher SSG-69 sniper rifle followed these. These were safely tucked into two of the three upright lines tucked up at one end. A thin glass wall supported the shelves where smaller items could be placed, leaving the left side open and this was where the rifle and shotgun went, two fine cables holding each upright and secure. Next came a second sniper rifle, an American made US M40A1 Sniper. That was secured on the other side of his shotgun, safe until he needed it. A second pair of Desert Eagles joined the first but these ones were just normal ones, each one with an underslung blue laser sight and a top-mounted night sight. The second shelf was loaded with explosives of all kinds; frag, concussion, percussion, smoke, stun, incendiary and sting grenades; C4, lock busters and a few other little bits and pieces. The third shelf held knives and other bladed weaponry; a selection of shuriken, ranging from three points right up to several bigger eight pointed ones; an Extrema Ratio Fulcrum combat knife; a Pro-Tech Tactical Response III flick knife; a Buck Striker Tactical folding knife; a Cold Steel Vietnam Tomahawk and of course his ma's signature knife, a TOPS Knives Armageddon combat knife.
He closed the weapon crate and chuckled softly, eyes sweeping over the complement of weapons stacked in the display case. He was extremely grateful to his ma for insisting he took the weapons on the off chance something went wrong and he needed to call on his shooting and hand-to-hand training. He wasn't afraid to pick a fight if it was needed, as he had already proven to Carter, Keller and the false copy of his da. Shaking his head to clear those thoughts, he opened the second case and removed the foam packing from around the figurines resting inside. Each one was carefully lifted out, brushed off delicately and set on a shelf above the bed. They were beautifully crafted pewter figures of his family, each one represented in their element. His ma was laying prone on the ground, sniper rifle cradled in her arms. His da was standing tall in his lab coat; tablet tucked under one arm and stethoscope hanging around his neck. Standing between them, Carson had a sniper rifle hanging over his shoulder, stethoscope hanging around his neck and med kit resting beside his feet. He was a study in contrasts; the son of a Bounty Hunter and a doctor; trained to wound and kill but also trained to heal and save lives. From under the second foam layer, he dug out several boxes of ammo and a selection of repair kits, covering all his firearms. These were stacked neatly on the remaining two shelves of the clear cabinet before he closed it up and secured the door.
This left just his biggest suitcase on the bed but not for long. He picked it up and settled it on the floor before opening it and digging out the last of his gear. He made the bed quickly, smoothing the soft mink blankets over the narrow bed. He fluffed up his own pillows and settled them in place, feeling more at ease, as his quarters became his home. No detail was missed as he made the place his own, adjusting and fiddling until everything was perfect. His keen blue eyes missed nothing as he worked, moving photos around and rearranging his firearms. A loud bang on the door interrupted him from his settling routine and he grinned, recognising the voice on the other side.
'Consider yourself evicted you fraud. This was my da's room and now it's mine. I will make this great city sing in ways no one else can. This is my city and my home; she speaks to me, which is how I knew where to find what I was looking for. She guards me and will show me my true path. You may look and sound like my da but you will ne'er be my father. You do not belong here, you ne'er will. Can you not feel it? How this city is tryin' to push you out, how she want's you to leave and cease this mirage of the man my da was. You will ne'er be the same man, no matter how hard you try. I am the heir of this great city, born to bring her to life and protect her virtue until the time is right for the final and decisive victory.' Carson growled, crossing the room to throw the door open. The fraud stood there, eyes wide as he took in the changes within the room. Carson couldn't resist reaching out to brush one hand against the wall outside the door. The fraud stared wide-eyed as the entire corridor lit up, sections of the wall sliding back to reveal portraits and landscapes, each one featuring Carson Beckett-Hunter and his triumphant return to the city. Atlantis glowed with new life as Carson awakened the city and let her know he was here for the duration. No one could break the bond they shared, no matter how hard they tried or what they attempted to do. Atlantis adored Carson Beckett-Hunter in a way she had never treasured anyone before.
'Goodbye you fraud, you're time within the city is running out. I am here now and Atlantis no longer needs you as a temporary support.' he added before ducking back inside, the door sealing with a soft hiss.