Chapter Rated: R
Word Count: 3,612
Disclaimer: This plot/story is ©2021-2022 by Dream Howler. This story is the sole property of its author, and may not be copied, in whole or in part, or posted on any other website without the written permission of the author. As for the characters that are in this story, they are the property of their creators and are only being borrowed for my enjoyment. I am not receiving money for writing this story, and I have no money for any lawyers to take should they decide to sue me.
Author Notes: Keria and her podcasts have spawned many ideas. My brain decided world-building was best a week before the deadline. lol Special thanks to a very old GeoCities page for the new inspiration behind my Spirit Guides. I found them after I had given the main characters animals, but the fact that they matched up to their animals so well, I am pleased. You can see the page via the Wayback Machine at: https://web.archive.org/web/20021016124306/http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/4076/index1.html
Canon Notes: Anything you don’t see hasn’t happened.
John Sheppard – Alpha Prime Sentinel
Rodney McKay – Alpha Shaman Guide
Vilkas – Canadian Wolf
Orion – Canadian Lynx
Evan Lorne – Sentinel
Ronon Dex – Guide
Koko – Kodiak Bear
Yuri – Polar Bear
Steve McGarrett – Alpha Sentinel
Tony DiNozzo – Alpha Guide
Hokulani – African Cheetah
Guido – African Leopard
Civilian Leader: Dr. Miko Kusanagi
CMO Guide Dr. Aleena Cole
Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell was escorting the Alpha Guide, Tony DiNozzo, and his Sentinel, Alpha Steve Garrett, into the mountain early the next morning after having checked out the crime scene at the bottom of a mountain. Cameron was on light duty at the moment and walking around on crutches. He was using the time to get his daily physical therapy treatment in. He had an appointment with Carter later in the day to get some more healing, but for the moment, his duty was to escort the couple around.
Tony was walking along next to his Sentinel, contemplating the horrific crime scene that he had just witnessed. He had seen many a crime scene in his years as a law enforcement officer, but this was the worst crime scene that Tony had ever had to deal with. From the photos he had seen, parts of the pair of deceased were all over the place, so Tony was glad that he didn’t have to view that in person. Other than collecting extra evidence that seemed to have been missed, the scene was relatively untouched so that his Sentinel could get a secondary imprint of the scene. Lt. Colonel Mitchel informed him that the local Alpha Sentinel, General Jack O’Neill, had done a sense imprint of the scene before the investigators took anything, so that was helpful.
The pair went to the General’s office to go over the crime scene, and then they would go to places that both the Colonel and the Doctor frequented. After that, a different escort would take them to their residences for subsequent follow-up. Though the investigation was prominent in both their minds, something else was running around in Tony’s more than the crime scene.
The two of them were still reeling from the fact that aliens not only existed but that the American Military had known about them for quite some time. Tony remembered that stupid television show, Wormhole Extreme, so once he heard the information, he was asking many questions about the differences between the show and reality. They promised Tony a sit-down conversation with Alpha Guide, Dr. Jackson, when the investigation concluded, but for now, they needed the investigation wrapped up as soon as possible. It was a matter of national security.
“Thanks for coming so quickly. I can’t stress the threat to National Security enough on this one. I was a little concerned why the rest of your team weren’t able to join you on the trip.” stated General O’Neill.
“Well, it’s not so much the members of the team themselves, it was their family. Kono and Chin are cousins, and Chin’s Uncle stole some money from the HPD headquarters. They had thought Chin was in on it, but it was very easy to determine that he wasn’t. So they couldn’t pass the security check that you required. Not that they would tell anyone about the program. However, their family has held them back. Danny Williams, our second, volunteered to take over the day-to-day operations of the Taskforce, and Chin and Kono are helping him run it.” Tony replied.
“Ah, that makes sense. It worried me about what kind of Taskforce you were running where several of your trusted members couldn’t join you. I will see what I can do, but I understand that having a security risk in the family can often lead to background checks failing on the level of security that we require. I almost had an issue with Agent DiNozzo, but I was told that since he is a bonded Guide, he was exempt from his father’s activities,” the General said.
“It doesn’t help that Kono and Chin aren’t a Sentinel or Guide. If they were, getting them to the proper level of security would be a non-issue. However, they are mundane, so they don’t get that instant free pass like Tony does. Though Tony has had a top-level security clearance from working on the MCRT of NCIS for a long time. He has also distanced himself from his father since he was a teen. Kono and Chin can’t distance themselves from their family. They are all over the island.”
Jack nodded and picked up a file. “All the personal effects of Dr. Weir and Colonel Sumner from the car are in a locked empty office next to yours, which makes it a little easier to go through. It should help you with your profile. We have also set up some computers and some boards for you to use, for you to organize data. Anything you need, just let us know. I know we don’t have a high-powered computer as they have for your Taskforce, but I hope that what we have will be suitable.”
“While the computer system at 5O is nice, we don’t need it for this kind of investigation. I didn’t smell any bombs or anything at the scene unless you did. If you have any impressions we need to know about, let us know. If not, we will go examine the evidence and get started with their homes and the stuff from the car. Also, do you have anyone that knows them that may give us some insight on their character?” Steve said.
“I didn’t smell any bomb materials, just fuel and things of that nature. There were several familiar scent profiles I smelled near the wreckage, which was not at the scene. The major one is General Landry, who works out of Area 51. It’s puzzling. I would add him to the suspect list, even if it’s just to rule him out. The other main imprint is Dr. Weir’s fiance, Dr. Simon Wallace.”
Tony and Steve looked at each other. “Do you know of any kind of relationship that General Landry and the Doctor might have?”
“Not to my knowledge. She took over here at the SGC for a little while, but as far as I know, they didn’t get along well while she was here.”
“Someone that had a grudge against her?” replied Tony.
“I don’t think so. She wasn’t well-liked by anyone in the program, but I don’t think anyone had any reason to kill her.” Jack replied.
“Well, we will add them to the list of suspects. If they didn’t have a meeting scheduled at Area 51, then I don’t see why General Landry should have been near her car or them together otherwise. It’s a good piece of information.” Tony responded.
Jack fiddled with his desk for a moment. “Here are their appointment calendars that I know of. They may have a more personal one in their office, but I don’t see a mention of any appointments with either Landry or Area 51 on them.”
Tony reached out to take the evidence in hand and slipped it in a handy evidence bag that he always had on hand. He marked the bag with the information that he placed inside and sealed it with his initials.
“We will look for a calendar on their phone or desk to see if this base calendar matches up.” said Steve, who was watching his Guide with interest. He had never completed a lot of evidence collecting, so he was glad someone well versed in evidence collecting such as his Guide was with him. Usually, HPD did that for them, and they did the actual investigation. He could tell that he would learn a lot about actual investigations from his Guide, which would make Danno thrilled. Danny was always griping about the fact that Steve didn’t care about anything but getting the bad guy. Danny was already more impressed by his Guide than anyone else. They had a fist bump party on the first day that rivaled any new person arriving on the scene of the Taskforce before.
Sentinel Danny Williams was immensely pleased to get another officer on the force with them with some investigation procedure skills. Steve was just glad they got along. His Guide’s charm swayed Kono and Chin quickly, so Tony had the Taskforce humming like a well-oiled machine in a very short time. The solve rate for cases had doubled in no time. The Governor was immensely pleased that she didn’t have to make as many excuses for Steve’s behavior anymore and had relaxed. She had even taken a short, well-needed vacation.
Standing, the both of them exited the General’s office and made their way to their office in the mountain. It was time to get to work on the investigation. Luckily, they had some time before the expedition needed to leave, so that gave them some time to solve the case. However, they knew that they needed to solve this before the trail got cold.
John and Rodney took their turns learning how a bonded couple should join in concert. It was fascinating training that John hadn’t gotten to train in before since he was unbonded. Rodney was getting lots of extra training as a Shaman which was still freaking Rodney out on a low level. Rodney was an asshole on a good day. What did he know about the feelings of a group of people that would be far away from home, in another galaxy, to be precise? At least he had John to help him, though John was kind of iffy on the emotions front, so they were definitely a well-matched set.
After a month of intense training, Blair and Jim told them that the rest of the training they would have to learn for themselves. There were things that came instinctively to a Sentinel/Guide in performing their duties as Tribe leaders. They cautioned Rodney that a Tribe would form around him easily because he was a Shaman. He was one of the few that had awoken in the last number of years outside an actual primitive setting. Most Shamans awoke because of the mass need of a Tribe and, considering it needed him for another galaxy, that was understandable. However, Rodney wished on some level that it wasn’t him. It was nice to get the added abilities and power boost that came with the role, and he was immensely pleased with his handsome spirit guide. However, he would have to caution the expedition that if they wanted love and sympathy; they needed to find Guide Kate Heightmeyer.
John laughed and told Rodney that he had no problem with the love part, but just didn’t take kindly to fools or idiots. If someone was one of those two things, Rodney felt the need to tell them how idiotic they were. Rodney agreed on that point. However, he had a feeling that though he would tell them they were idiots, his new gifts would make it harder to despise idiots like before.
Walking back into the mountain was a bit of peace that Rodney didn’t know that he would have. The program had a tendency to attract Sentinels and Guides, even if they were latent. However, being online was a different experience. Suddenly, people who never gave him the time of day before nodded in Rodney’s direction. It didn’t matter what their job was on the mountain; they were all deferring to him, letting him get in elevators first, and Rodney was about to blow his top. If it wasn’t for the calming hand of his Sentinel on his arm, he may have been projecting all his confusion onto the surrounding people. Rodney just wanted to get back to work, and he was too busy touching every single Guide he came into contact with like he was the dang messiah. Which wasn’t that an insane and terrifying prospect? Rodney quickly escaped to his lab and locked himself inside before realizing that Zelinka was inside the room already.
“Are your adoring fans bothering you, Rodney?”
Rodney’s breath, a little ragged, came out in pants for several minutes. Finally, after some calming breaths, it came out with a huge sigh. “Yeah. Everyone is treating me like I am the next coming of the Christian messiah… what the hell, Radek! How am I going to get any work done?”
“Don’t worry, Rodney. They will calm down once they have formed a bond with you. Didn’t Dr. Sandburg tell you that?”
“Oh, I am sure he did, but he did so much lecturing, it was hard to absorb the information sometimes.”
“Don’t worry, Rodney. I will be here to help you deal with all the idiots and all the emotions you don’t want to deal with…” Radek smiled at Rodney’s antics.
Rodney smiled for the first time in several hours. “Thanks, Radek. You are a great friend.”
While they were awaiting the eventual results of the investigation, General O’Neill asked John, as the new military leader, to review the supply lists. It didn’t take long to realize that there was something very wrong with them. John asked Walter were there any other versions of the supply list that he knew of, but John didn’t get the answer he had hoped for.
“Walter. Please let General O’Neill know that I needed to talk to him as soon as he was available.”
Walter nodded, “Yes, Sir. He is just finishing up a conference call, and then I will see about getting you in.”
Just over an hour later, John knocked on the General’s door and walked inside after being told to enter. He sat in the chair across from the General after he placed a large folder on his desk.
“What’s all this?” Jack asked as he picked up the file.
“That is the list of supplies and military assets that Dr. Weir and Colonel Sumner created for the mission. I don’t know how she thought this amount of supplies would last a year. The amount of ammo alone is so far below the amount needed for a year, I am wondering what they thought they would do out there. It looks like the Colonel kept trying to add more military stuff, but she kept telling him we didn’t need them.”
Jack looked through the supplies list and shook his head. “Sadly, one of the first things we became aware very early on during the investigation into Dr. Weir’s death was her orders regarding the expedition. She downsized everything, including the military assets on the mission. She apparently didn’t think she would need much protection on what she deemed a scientific mission. I can only assume that she either was naïve, didn’t like the military, or didn’t think they would need to venture much through the gate.”
John sighed. “Well, that explains the supply list. There is no way that the amount of ammo could last a year. That’s not even counting if we ran into a hostile force, or if it was just random target practice. The food and supplies wouldn’t last a year, even with rationing.”
Jack flipped through a few pages. “John, triple everything you think you need. Just get me a detailed list.”
“Thanks, General, I really appreciate this. I will have to see which personnel Dr. Weir dropped along with other assets. Rodney picked an excellent replacement for Dr. Weir. Miko Kusanagi is a force of nature. She has already fixed many of the civilian problems already. I can’t believe that Dr. Weir didn’t even think of bringing animals, or seeds and plants, to grow food.”
Jack blinked, his mouth falling open in surprise. “What? How in the world did she think everyone would survive? Did she even care?”
“No, sir. From what I understand from several of her past assistants, she had no thoughts on food or seeds. She said that we didn’t need to bring invasive species, also known as foreign plants and animals, to a new galaxy. The investigators allowed me some incite from some notes from Dr. Weir’s office, and it seems all she cared about was ascension.”
“Ascension? Do you mean like Daniel? I guess it would have helped if Daniel had told her about all the horrible things that ascension involves.” Jack trailed off and whispered to himself, though he knew fully that John could hear it. “It’s a good thing she isn’t a Sentinel or a Guide. It was like he died while he was gone.” Clearing his throat, “So, she thought she would get there and ascend and then the rest of the expedition wouldn’t be her problem?”
John ignored the whispered words about the General’s Guide. He had heard it was a sore spot with the General and shouldn’t be addressed. “That was my first thought. Either that or she planned on becoming a serial killer. Maybe she figured that everyone would ascend with her so they wouldn’t need the extra food and supplies.”
“That may be a possibility. Do what you need to do, John. We don’t know what you will find out there. There could be unknown wars or an unknown enemy out there. Since we delayed the expedition, the Daedalus is closer to completion, so you shouldn’t be out there too long without help.”
“That is very good to hear. Being trapped in an unknown environment for a year was a little daunting. It was why I didn’t want to go in the first place until Rodney came online. I would never deny him the right to go anywhere.”
“Just a few tips for the supply list. The few times that I got stranded on another planet, we didn’t have enough food to last. After that, we started carrying at least several MRE and Power Bars on every mission. Word of advice? I know that he’s your Guide, but make sure McKay has more than everyone else. Even if you have to carry some for him. He always forgets to eat, according to Sam. He exists on coffee along with the rest of the science crew. So, I would recommend a full pallet of coffee, the good stuff, too.”
“Thanks for the advice on how to take care of my Guide, Sir.” He said with a laugh. “Believe me, I have already noticed Rodney’s coffee habit. I found out what he drinks normally and already have a pallet ready on order.”
“Might want to double it just in case. The government already knows how much we fuel this place on coffee.”
John laughed. “You are not kidding. Done and done. I will get back to the ammunition requests. Is there any way we could have some higher ordinance stuff? A few rocket launchers, some Zat guns, staff weapons, and things like that? As you said, we don’t know what we might find out there.”
Jack sat still for a few moments while he thought, “You are correct, Major. After our last encounter with the Ori, the government allocated more ordinances for our program. I will go through the list and see what the government will let you have. I agree that having some Zats probably would be a good idea. If I can’t get them right away, I will look into getting some on the Daedalus for you when they come to restock Atlantis. Make up a wish list just in case.”
John stood and saluted, “I will get right on that, Sir.”
Jack saluted back with his usual flair. “Oh, get out of here, Sheppard. Don’t forget to ask McKay and Kusanagi for their wish lists, too.”
“Right away, Sir.” Sheppard laughed, muttering to himself, “I know Rodney’s will be coffee, MREs, and science stuff.”
Jack laughed. “Most likely, though, don’t let that be his personal item. Tell him to grab some entertainment stuff, too.”
“Oh, don’t worry sir, they are downloading all the videos they can on several massive drives. Along with a PS2, a Xbox, and several other gaming systems.”
“Oh, that’s a good idea. We don’t want bored Marines, it’s just not good for them.”
“Maybe I will finally have time to read War and Peace.”
Jack shook his head. “I doubt it, though it should be good to put you to sleep.”
John nodded. “It is good for that. I think I have maybe read 20 pages at this point. I have had the book for years. Regardless, I will get back to work.”
Jack nodded and made a shooing motion with his hands. “I need to get back to work too.”
John walked down to the science labs for his daily Ancient light switch duties. He brought requisition forms and a formal request from General O’Neill for wish lists for the science department and another form for any required personnel. When he walked in, Rodney was in his element, yelling at his minions for their stupidity, which, from what he understood from the scuttlebutt, was a very common occurrence. As usual, Rodney was yelling at someone over their equations. John felt that itch to correct bad math. While Rodney was busy, he snuck over to the board, looked the math over, corrected it, and stepped back to admire his work. At that moment, Rodney noticed that John was there and noticed that the math was now correct and scowled.
“Sheppard, you’re supposed to let them find the incorrect solutions!”
“Sorry, McKay, I just can’t sit here and look at bad math! I get this itch that won’t stop until it’s corrected.”
Rodney huffed and sighed. “Well, at least it is correct now. See, a Sentinel Airforce flyboy can do math better than you lot! That is just pitiful. Do better!” He dismissed the scientists and told them to leave. The pair of scientists looked between the two and began giggling on their way out. It was hard to take the Shaman’s rant seriously when they knew he could feel how upset they were if he tried. He may still yell, but his rants were not as bad as they used to be.
Rodney turned and walked toward John, an amused expression on his face. “There is even worse math on the other side of the board if you are bored.”
John grinned, “Thanks, Rodney! You give the best presents! Let me know if you need anything turned on. I shouldn’t be long. Oh, I brought the forms for the science department for Atlantis with me. O’Neill says to triple anything you think you might need.” John turned the board around and got to work fixing the formula. After a bit, he noticed what the formula was for. “Rodney, is this for recharging a ZPM?”
Rodney looked up from the forms and grinned. “Yes! It is! You could tell that from the math? I didn’t know that you had looked at the specs for a ZPM already. Well, that is impressive, John. When did you have time to look at the math for the program? I will include you to check our math when the project is completed. The ZPM we have is mostly depleted. I was hoping to find a way to increase it so we could have a longer window to bring supplies.”
“While you were training, I asked Daniel to send me some things you were working on. Most of my training was over a lot quicker than yours, since my Sentinel training was just over a year ago. Anyway, Daniel sent me a couple of mission reports about the ZPM and the specs for the ZPM you were working on. He mentioned that since I had a degree in mathematics, I may be able to help. I know that if anyone can figure it out, it’s you, Rodney.”
Rodney flushed a bit and smiled. “Thanks, John.”
“You know, Rodney, when I was given a tour, I noticed we didn’t use an actual dialing device in the control room. Wouldn’t it be better to use a real one like in the videos?”
“It would. I have lobbied for that several times. We found one in Antarctica that we could hook to our gate that works. The problem is, the powers that be say it’s a security risk.” Rodney sneered as he put security risk in quotations with his hands. “I told them they can just lock the control room. Carter lobbed against that, saying her system was fine. I tried to explain that regular wormholes will last longer with a real dialing device, but it didn’t seem to move her. She didn’t even change her mind when one of her team members got caught in the gate. She even admitted that her program doesn’t have all the fail-safes that a regular gate device would have. Maybe now that we really need to get the most out of our connection to Atlantis, perhaps it will be a good time to try again since she is in Area 51 for a bit.”
John nodded. “The General seems to be reasonable if you can make him understand that the device will help and protect the troops. I am sure he would approve it.”
Rodney nodded. “Yes, throw in that longer connections mean that we can send more people to the Alpha site if we need to evacuate Earth. I just need to think of a way to explain it without putting him to sleep.”
John laughed, “Rodney, you just did. Explain it just like that. A real dialing device equals more time for important things.”
Rodney nodded. “I will go talk to him and drop off my detailed list of wanted personnel and those I want to drop from the program. Can you believe Weir was trying to bring Kavanagh with us?”
John shuddered. “I met him once and I want to kick him through the gate to a planet with low oxygen. Please tell me you are kicking him out of the mission?”
Rodney nodded. “Of course, the man isn’t gun certified. He would probably shoot someone if he handled a gun, and he refuses to try to gene therapy. Though I don’t think it would work for him, anyway.”
John nodded. “Speaking of the gene therapy, I hear you and Beckett had a little row already. Rodney, we have only been back for two days.”
Rodney nodded. “Weir made him CMO. He hasn’t practiced regular medical science in years. He is primarily a researcher. If he has to have a title, then we can always make him Chief Research Officer, with oversight on his own projects by Miko and myself. Miko and I think we should keep him from that and find a new CMO. We can always use him for backup, but I don’t think he should go back to practicing medicine full time. Carson was a little upset, which is strange since he told me originally that he didn’t want the post anyway, so I accused him of being fickle. I didn’t mean it, but it’s like he can’t decide sometimes.”
John shook his head. “Rodney, just because someone changes their mind doesn’t make them fickle.”
Rodney shrugged. “If he didn’t want it, he could have left the program, or just said no. He never had to say yes. Then he wants it because it was promised to him by a dead woman? Everyone knows that with new management, changes can occur. At least he got the bad news personally and not in some memo that Miko is writing for people like Kavanagh. We still want him to go, just not in the capacity that he has promised before. He can continue research and help in Medical if needed.”
“Well, he should be happy he gets to go. Any idea who might take his place?”
“Well, we have several choices. There is Dr. Jennifer Keller, who is primarily a trauma surgeon, but she is very young. We have two primary candidates, one is Guide Carolyn Lam. She is the head of the SGC’s medical department now, but she has expressed a change in scenery. She is already well versed in SGC policies and we wouldn’t have to train someone new. She also has the ATA gene, which would be helpful, and it’s much stronger than Carson’s. We also have Dr. Aleena Cole, who was already slated for the mission and has an excellent record. As of right now, though, we are still accepting applications.”
“Fair enough. We still have a little time to come up with a solution on that front. I am not sure that they will approve Lam’s transfer request. From what I can tell, she is needed here.” John said.
Rodney nodded, “True. We still have Dr. Biro, but her main degree is not in primary care medicine.”
John agreed. “Well, I am sure we will find someone. We can look over this Dr. Aleena Cole’s resume tonight.”
Rodney nodded, “All right.”