We follow the team as they arrive in Atlantis to embark on their new adventure, an original mythology is established, there is the introduction of a new central character and creative licence has b...
She stepped uncertainly from the military helicopter that had come to a standstill in the cold vast ice field that surrounded the little known base in Antarctica. It was a clear sky above with a weak winter sun that barely tipped the horizon. Squinting behind the designer sunglasses, one hand still on the door of the open helicopter she turned slightly to encompass the blinding white nothingness that stretched interminably on in all directions, that same weak sunlight casting threads of gold to spin gossamer strands through her long blonde hair that cascaded from beneath her arctic cap.
“This is the only place I could be sure he wouldn't find you ... you'll be safe here...” Jack broke the long silence that had chosen to accompany them on the long flight from McMurdoch base.
“Safe!?” Cassie whirled around and slapped her gloved hand against the now closed helicopter door. “You forced me to leave New York, my home, my career, everyone I know... to come here?” Angrily she took several steps towards a large white domed hangar that stood several feet away from where the helicopter had come to a standstill and pulled her sunglasses from her face, tossing them sulkily into the snow.
“I can't hide from him forever Jack! I need to take control of my life and of the situation – how is hiding HERE, going to achieve that?” The intense cold caused plumes of white to whirl around in the air before her.
General Jack O'Neill completed the shut down of the helicopter controls and waited until he had stepped out and closed his door, before turning to Cassie.
“Cassie, sweetheart... this guy is so infatuated with you. He won't see reason. He is not capable of rational thought. His threats have made it clear that if he cannot have you, then he WILL kill you. I won't sit around and let anything happen to you. I can't be by your side 24/7 and I promised Mitchell that I would take care of you... look out for you.” Wearily he rubbed his large hands across his eyes and started walking around the helicopter towards her. “Dammit Cassie, we agreed, it's the only way to keep you safe!”
“No Jack we did not agree, there was no argument, no discussion. Remember? You packed my bag and manhandled me all the way to this white nightmare...”
Reaching her side of the helicopter, Jack gently pulled on her arm and started guiding her toward the structure ahead. Brown eyes filled with emotion as he ruffled her tumbled hair that glowed in the weak sun, dislodging the cap that had covered the top of her head. Five foot four inches in her tiny booted feet with smooth porcelain skin and enormous green eyes, Cassie Devon had recently been voted “peoples choice” for the most beautiful woman. At 26 years old, she had been at the top of the music industry, performing at sold out concerts across the world for the past five years. Two years ago she had started receiving disturbing fan mail from one particular individual and while this was not an unusual occurance for people who were constantly in the limelight as she was, it had escalated to the point where gifts were being left outside dressing rooms and a recent break in into her secure apartment complex had convinced her long time friend and guardian angel, Jack O'Neill, that local law enforcement were not doing their job to his satisfaction and he had decided to take matters into his own hands.
Jack, a career air force General, ex black ops soldier was currently in command of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, where he was in charge of a particularly sensitive series of missions that very few people in the world were aware of and would ever be made privvy to. A piece of ancient technology, extra terrestrial in origin, had been located in Egypt many years before and after years of learning to understand this particular technology, handpicked teams of military and scientific members were able to bridge the gap between this earth and other planets within our solar system. Recent advances in the technology had brought to light the possibility of a longer range mission, to find the lost city of Atlantis, believed to be in the Pegasus Galaxy. He had told her nothing of this, simply that he was finding her a safe place to recover from the trauma of being held captive by this crazed fan who had yet to be caught. It was an extreme move on his part to ensure her safety and one he didn't fully understand himself, knowing only, on a non professional level, that this was what he was meant to do. A man of action, he was also a man who trusted his gut instincts and those same instincts had led him to make this decision on her behalf, the difficult part was in justifying it to others and to Cassie. He intended to secure her a place on the upcoming mission to Atlantis and trusted that instinct would find a way to make it happen.
At that moment, the door to the structure pushed open and a small dark hair woman popped her head out and seeing Jack and Cassie, smiled widely at them.
'General O'Neill!” Wonderful to see you again, I know Rodney is anxious to show you what we have discovered. We are all very excited, especially as it now looks as though our first indications were correct.” Reaching out she took Cassie's hand and gently shook it.
“It is lovely to meet you Cassie, everyone will be excited to have you here and I want you to know that while Jack has only given us brief information as to why you are here, I for one, trust his decisions, however I am sure General O'Neill still has a little explaining to do...? She raised her eyebrows at Jack, silently asking whether Cassie had been made privvy to what actually went on within the structure and what her level of security clearance was. “I'm Doctor Elizabeth Weir and am in charge of this facility as well as the upcoming mission...”
Cassie flicked her eyes sideways after releasing Elizabeth's hand, gazing up at the ruggedly handsome features of Jack O'Neill. “So Jack, it seems there has been some serious withholding of information at your end...perhaps there is a little more to his antarctica 'stay'... hmmm?” Without waiting for an answer she pushed her way through the door into the facility, entering a cavernous area filled with men and women in differing uniforms bustling with activity. She felt Jack's hand at the small of her back as he gently propelled her forward and heard his dry laugh.
“Oh Cassie sweetheart, you have no idea...” At a shout, he looked up abruptly to meet an enthusiastic man in his mid thirties, bearing down on their little group with a happy smile.
“General O'Neill! Isn't it wonderful news. The second ZPM should hold enough power to activate the eighth chevron and create a wormhole that will take us to the Pegasus Galaxy. But we might only get one shot at it... time is of the essence...” Realising that there was an unknown person in their midst, and an extremely attractive one at that, Rodney's enthusiastic speech peetered out.
“Rodney... ahh, great to see you again, and so FULL of enthusiasm.” Jack gave the younger man a slap around the shoulders and tried to maneover around him to lead Cassie further into the structure and toward the activity. Rodney's enthusiasm was halted still further as Cassie came to a stop in front of him and turned the full force of her intense feline gaze on him.
“...Ahhh... hi... I'm Rodney, lead scientist for this mission, and you are?” Not sure what to do with his suddenly fumbling hands, he chose to place them behind his back and rock back slightly on his heels, a sign of discomfort. Cassie widened her green eyes and gave him a small smile.
“Someone who is very much in the dark here, and is about to demand some answers before she decides to do bodily damage to a certain General!” Shrugging away from Jack's guiding arm, she headed into the brightly lit interior. With a quirky lift of his eyebrows, Jack followed, Elizabeth shaking her head at the storm that was about to erupt, leaving Rodney to stare puzzled after the departing trio.
“Colonel Sheppard, I see you changed your mind about the mission?” Jack's face creased into a smile as a dark hair man in air force fatigues with a two day growth of facial hair came towards them.
“General O'Neill! I hope your flight from McMurdoch was less eventful than the last?” With an amused gleam in his brown eyes and a cursory salute for the General, Colonel John Sheppard recalled his arrival at the secret base in Antarctica a short time ago, when he had been contracted to pilot General O'Neill to the base from McMurdoch. Nearing the base, they had been attacked by some alien weaponry known as a 'drone' when Doctor Carson Beckett had sat in the ancient chair that could only be controlled by someone with the ATA gene. Doctor Beckett, unfamilar with the controls had inadvertantly released one of the drones and it had locked onto the oncoming helicopter carrying John Sheppard and Jack O'Neill. After some fancy flying and some near shattered nerves, the drone had been disabled and the helicopter had landed safely and it was at that time that John had been introduced to the ancient technology known as the stargate, the transportation device between worlds.
John cast a quizzical glance at Cassie who had stopped at their exchange and raised his eyebrows at the General.
“Colonel, I need you to take Cassie here on a tour of the base and give her some basic information as to what goes on here. Kid gloves Colonel! Cassie is a civilian, a very special friend and will be joining you on the mission to Atlantis. Um... one thing, I haven't quite gotten around to giving her the full picture about what goes on around here...or even a partial picture for that matter...so I trust that you'll use discretion?”
Both Cassie and John snapped surprised glances at Jack.
“Atlantis?” Cassie ground out.
“A civilian?” John snapped back.
“Long story, both of you... look Colonel, just take her and give her the abridged version, the one where we are not alone in the galaxy and maybe wormhole 101...? I need to fill Doctor Weir in, so maybe we can meet in the conference room a little later.”
Cassie jammed her hands into her back pockets and huffed an errant strand of gold hair away from her face, rocking back on her heels as she tipped her head up slightly to look the much taller John in the eye. “I'm thinking a wormhole doesn't quite mean a road made by the garden variety worm and when I get Jack alone later, the end result will be some serious bruising!” Shaking her head and smiling slightly at the absurdity of it all, Cassie touched John lightly on the arm and introduced herself, watching John's eyes widen slightly as he recognised the name and the person standing in front of him.
So, it's 'Jack' eh... good friends then?” John rubbed his hand over his face and up across his hair, dislodging already tousled strands of dark hair. “Sounds like your story could be longer than mine...”
“Oh Colonel, you have no idea...” Cassie muttered, hands on hips, blonde hair bouncing lightly as she tried to take in everything around her.
Leading her down the hallway through the cavernous structure, John pointed out some of the personnel and equipment, watching in amusement and a little consternation as her very famous face was quickly recognised by many. He bent his head low towards her and quietly gave her a brief run down on what the facility did and the preparations that were being done for the upcoming mission. At the mention of the word “stargate” Cassie came to an abrupt halt, causing John to stumble slightly against her and tipped her face up towards him once again. Her lovely green eyes were bright with intelligence and laced with just a little humour and John found it increasingly hard to concentrate when they were turned on him with such intensity.
“Colonel, there's a part of me that accepts without question, what you have just told me. I knew that Cam has involved in something more than just the airforce, the unexplained and prolonged absenses and there was something “off” about him each time he came from from these “missions”, and the secret talks and signals between him and Jack... Cam's eyes were always turned skyward, it seemed that earth and all it's trappings paled, in comparison to what he saw out there, through his telescope. So Colonel, it makes sense to me that there is something more, because Cam always believed that with all his heart and I'm so glad he got the chance to know this...” she dropped her eyes briefly but not before John saw the tears that quickly rose.
“So why now then? Why tell you now? Security clearance to the stargate programme is strictly limited to a select few.” John again scrubbed his hand through his hair and Cassie's mouth tilted at the corner as she saw an errant strand remain stubbornly upright.
Continuing through the complex, Cassie gave him a brief background at what had led her to Antarctica and Jack's role in ensuring her safetly. A frown knit John's brow.
“I can understand his wanting you to be safe and knowing the General as I do, he is an extremely protective person.. but here? You, non military and a non scientific background, tagging along on a mission that we could in all probability be flying blind on, and in all likelihood is a one way trip?” Did he explain THAT to you?”
Cassie shook her long hair. “Explain?” I was man handled here, against my will, against my better judgement! I have a life. It rolls along quite smoothly... most of the time. I could have handled that guy, I NEEDED to handle this myself, but no, Jack in his misguided glory, decided he knew better!” Her cat like green eyes gleamed and there was an angry set to her mouth that John found himself staring at far more than he wanted to. In fact, it was becoming difficult to take his eyes away from her. Mentally he shook himself. Stunning, but deadly, and they certainly did not need someone like her on this mission, where distraction of her caliber could be fatal.
Fascinated in spite of herself, Cassie came to a sudden halt in front of a room that housed a large, stone chair that looked like a medievel throne chair from another time. Drawn by an unknown force, she began to enter the room, feeling a warm pulsing sensation that seemed to emanate from the monolithic like chair that dominated the room. John stood at the doorway and watched her progression across the room, eyes unconsciously drawn to the gentle sway of her lithe body, snugly encased in worn denim. As she reached the chair and stretched out a hand to touch it, John gave himself another mental shake and followed her into the room.
“Another long story.. but that chair holds a lot of power and can only be activated by someone who has the “ancient” or ATA gene.” John recalled his first experience with the chair and the feeling of need as he sat in it for the first time and felt the connection. Standing close to her he could smell her subtle perfume and he closed his eyes briefly to inhale it and felt a moment of recognition on another level of consciousness.
Running a hand along the arm of the chair, Cassie found the stone was surprisingly warm to touch and she felt a slight tug of need as she was drawn to sit down upon it. Her tiny frame was dwarfed by the large chair and John, feeling a sudden sense of alarm quickly reached forward to ease her out of the chair. However as soon as she rested her head back and had complete body contact with the chair, lights were activated and the back was tilted abruptly back at the same time as her body was locked into position. Startled and unable to move, her eyes darted to John.
“Colonel! What is happening? I can't move. I can't get out!” Panicked and straining against the unseen bond that held her, John reached out to place a calming hand upon her arm, at the same time keying his ear mike.
“Elizabeth, General O'Neill, you need to get down to the chair room ASAP. I think we may have another candidate...”