The Incidences of The Blippy Dohickey 26: Water Cities.
Xander looked around his room then out at Nila. Something bad was going on somewhere. He could feel it. He knew if he kept feeling it, he might even have another vision, which sucked. Thankfully he had found a way to move Radek's ship to Cardiff for Dawn to watch over. He went to the chair room and sat down, scanning the night sky.
"What are you doing?" John asked, strolling in.
"Feeling unsettled so I'm doing a scan." He sent it wider. "That's a warp drive hole past us."
John pulled him up and sat down instead. Xander got in the second chair so they could look it over. "That is. Huh." He told the computer to identify it. "The wraith."
Xander plotted another imaginary one. "That's the supply ship's one," he said quietly.
John scanned for remaining energies from it. There had been a huge one that way about an hour earlier. "That's more than one ship."
"Yeah, it is." He stared at it. Another warp engine trail was going that way. Xander considered something then had the cannon charge and fire into the energy field. That ship blew up. "I thought that might work."
"Mean. It could've been anyone."
"In a hive ship?"
"Good point." He watched. There was another one coming and it was coming at them. "Oh, no. Shields up." They went up and Xander retracted the cannon. The wraith passed by them but more openly. "They're moving somewhere."
"Moving is probably a bad thing," Xander agreed. They shared a look. "Nila needs more energy and some more structural work."
"Can you do it in orbit?"
"Yeah." He got up and went to pack everything of his. "Up," he shouted to wake his boys up when he got to them. Everything got enclosed into a trunk like the other one. His plants were in theirs in stasis. His office too. He went to put it on Nila in the bedroom he had picked out down there. Nothing got unpacked so he could move it if he had to. "Nila, beam some beds down here to any free rooms."
"Are we going?" she asked. "I saw you tracking the streams."
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure we're going soon." She nodded, beaming down some beds. "Get us some food too please." She did that and a few other things to finish off the structural work while they traveled. "ZPM levels?" he asked.
He clicked on his comm. "John, I need ZPM's. A few. Plus the rest of the stuff to finish arming her and shoring her up. Pick me a good staff."
"Cam's in charge," he reminded him.
"Cam's back on earth and she has to have an ATA carrier in the chair. Jon O'Neill, pack," he ordered. "Come to Nila now." He turned it off and went to meet Rodney with the carrying cases. "Thanks."
"He showed me," he admitted. "How air ready is she?"
"The bathroom still goes to an unfinished tank," Nila reported. "With those I'll have enough strength to get to Earth and land, maybe fight."
"I've included four full ones," Rodney told her.
"Then I'll gladly make it. They can do some structural work on the way. I am outwardly sound. With the exception of the air leak into the refuse tank."
"We'll deal with that later," Xander promised. "For right now, slap a shield on it that'll keep it from hurting us and send the crap into space."
"Yes, Xander. I'm filling all my water tanks as well."
"Thank you." Jon came out with his bag. Radek and Evan followed shortly after with Miko and a few others.
John came out, staring at them. "Evan, since Cam's on earth, you're in charge. Take turns in the chair, you guys have beds, food, that stuff?"
"I am beaming more aboard now," Nila assured him. "Plus some of the canned things and a few pots and pans plus a few gas canisters for the camp stove."
"Thank you," John said. "Anything we haven't thought of yet on anyone's list?"
"Torches," Miko ordered. "Tools." They got put into the area with the stuff that was supposed to be shored up this week. She checked everything. "First aid kit beyond Xander's?"
"Medicine too," Radek said. "She may be air worthy but it'll probably be a fast, bumpy, nauseating ride." That got beamed in by Atlantis.
"Doctor Keller made that," John said, touching his earpiece. "Okay. Nila, I want you to keep us on open channels. Got it?"
"Yes, child John."
"Good. We're lifting off at dawn. Make sure you guys have everything." Xander jogged to botany to get the rest of his plants. John had to smile at that. He came back with a few other things from the armory. "Good idea."
"We want a jumper," Jon ordered. "Just in case." John nodded at that precaution and sent one over. It'd be used to evacuate people if something happened. "Nila, start plotting a course. Sheppard, call the main base?"
"I am in about ten minutes." He walked off.
Rodney brought some other things down. "Yours," he reminded Xander. He nodded, tucking them into a bag to be unpacked later. "Safe trip."
"You guys too. You guys are the heavier ship. We'll hit your jet stream to avoid lag," Jon said.
"Agreed. " He left to make his own plans. He had done the calculations and necessities for it. He came back out. "Xander, the structural...."
"I can help when I'm not in the chair."
"Thank you." He left. Nila was a small city without much room for extra people but a few headed out to help from the sciences. He stopped the botanist. "They won't be unpacking things," he pointed out.
"Good point." She went anyway to hug Xander before going back to her lab to shut things inside for the trip. No open windows or any open ports. She looked at her single, smoking team member. "Get one last one, we're leaving at dawn." She nodded, going to do that. The others who smoked on base were doing the same thing. Rodney put up the shields and they took one last one while they lifted off, tossing them off the end of the pier before going inside. The piers that could retract were and the others folded up during travel. That made it more streamlined.
"Jon, take first round in the seat," Xander ordered. "You have the flight experience we don't. Miko, sort things for ease of grabbing. Evan, handle the mundane things. I'm going to work on the construction stuff to make sure it's ready for us to grab and use."
"I'm still in charge," Evan reminded him.
Xander smiled. "I know that. That way you're in the command center." He walked off. "Nila, shields up." Shields went up and they were pretty.
Jon smirked at Evan. "Yeah, he does this during emergencies too," he said quietly.
They went to do their assigned jobs and Jon lifted them off without any problems. They followed Atlantis into the travel stream. Jon saw evidence of the Apollo and shouted out to them. "Apollo, this is Jon O'Neill. Atlantis and Nila are both following major evidence of jet streams heading toward the Milky Way galaxy," he said calmly. "Please ride support and herd."
Ellis came on. "Now? We're going now? Things aren't finished!"
"Doesn't much matter," John Sheppard said over the same band. "We saw a huge travel hole of wraith heading down your ship's usual path."
"Crap! Nila's not air worthy!"
"She's sound but she's got some interior decorating to do," Jon said dryly. "We can do that on the way. We're leaving the solar system. Catch up." He muted it so he could hear the feed from Atlantis.
Xander bounced in. "If we need them, we have six mountable cannons, smaller ones, that can be put on in about two hours but we need to shore their mountings up first." Jon nodded at that. Xander pulled up the interior diagram for him. "We'll be starting here since it's a weak spot against the shields. Move to those, then the cannons because that should be about when we hit the void between galaxies and some possible asteroids."
"Got it," he agreed. "Good plan." Xander beamed. "Calm down. Remember, you're our geek, not our general."
"I know." He went back to help with that. Miko was good at planning but only a few of them had ever done more than solder things. He hadn't worked steal construction too much but he knew the basics. "Nila, let us know if you find any structural integrity issues like you did on the way up or anything else that might be ready to fall apart," he ordered.
"I will, Xander. They were working on this beam last and only had it half done," she said with a light pointing at it.
He looked it and the plans over, starting there since it was logical. Radek came over to help him weld and move more things into place. They could reduce the gravity in this room, which saved power, and move the beams easier. It'd help a lot.
Evan came in to switch out for Jon. "Make sure the construction crew eats," he ordered quietly.
"I will." He went to check on them. "Kids, eat," he called into that room. Watching them do low gravity work was interesting to watch. He got sucked in to help hold too. Xander's stomach rumbled so he left them to get some stuff into place to be welded later while he went to make dinner.
Everyone but Evan came in when they smelled burning meat. "Is that a steak?" Jon asked.
"No, it's a roast, I just grilled it." He cut off pieces. "Probably a bit chewy, sorry. No crock pots." A few of the people laughed but it went well with the vegetables he had opened and warmed. He had to open another can for the rest of them to eat but that was okay too. He got the next-to-last piece and made Evan a plate, bringing it to him. "Roasted cow and veggies."
"Thanks, Xander." He looked and let Xander have the veggies back. Xander smirked. "What? I don't like those."
"You'll get weak and I'll have to feed you by hand," he said dryly.
"Then we'll see how much you like spanking and bondage," he shot back with an evil smirk. Someone choked. "Sorry, sir, were you calling?" he asked. "Xander's trying to feed me cabbage."
John moaned. "Tell him to behave. Concentrate, Major."
"I am, sir. We're still on course. How's the construction going?"
"Good. We're doing good. We've got one whole section done and we're doing low gravity moving."
"Even better," John agreed. "Major, eat the cabbage so you can stay big, strong, and healthy. Xander, behave."
"I was only bringing him dinner," he complained. He stuffed some in Evan's mouth, making him splutter but eat it. "See, not bad." He handed it back and walked off again.
Evan ate it because he could foresee Xander being pissy later. Even though he didn't like cabbage that much. Sometimes being a boyfriend was hard work. Even for a major.
Radek looked up as he walked into the area they were working on today, sighing in displeasure. He knew Xander hadn't made it to bed. Apparently he hadn't made it to sleep at all. "You cannot sit in the chair like that. You can't pay attention."
"I only got up an hour ago, Radek."
"Uh-huh. You did not sleep all night, again," he noted.
"I did so. Nila, didn't I sleep?"
"He did sleep for over three hours, Radek," she reported.
"Evan leaned in. "Then he can get another two or three before it's his shift in the chair. C'mon."
"I have to get this done," he pointed out.
"No, *we* have to get this done," Radek reminded him, hauling him up and handing him off. Evan walked them to their shared room and laid down with him for now. Radek got back to work. They still had a lot of work to do.
Sometimes Xander made no sense to him.
Atlantis called the alert that they had found the wraith and Jon slid into the second chair, letting Evan have the primary one. "Xander, cannons, now," Jon called.
"Two are installed but not hooked up," he called back. He moved to do that with Radek and Miko put the next one on and hooked it up. Xander moved to hitch it down. They got the fourth one hitched down before it became critical. "Nearly done," he called. He did not want to look out a window and see a wraith hive ever again. Or six or seven. He hitched that one into the power supply, letting Miko check it while he moved back to the first. "Orders?" he called out.
"Keep them off us," Jon ordered.
"For that I need a space suit," Xander muttered. "And a shitload of my former luck." Radek gave him a horrified look. He stared back. "What?"
"Did you take the future weapons from the main base?"
"Yeah. Every last one of them." Evan moaned.
"We have no suits," Radek complained.
"I know." They got to work firing on anything that came near enough to them. A few darts got punctured. They could see beams from Atlantis. So the air vines were in play with the way a few ships bulged out. Still one mother of a hive out of firing distance. Xander went to get the future weapons. He loathed the wraith. He got the star destroyer. There wasn't a star out here to worry about hitting by accident so the hive was going to buy it. He carried the case out, opening it and making sure it was reconnected. It only took a minute with the soldering iron they had been using on the cannons. "Nila, I need you to open like on the trip to Atlantis when we had to whiz off the pier."
"In a battle?" she asked.
He waved a hand. "Weapon, Nila."
"Oh!" She got him to a good spot and shielded behind him too in case there was any exhaust stream.
Xander targeted. The thing wasn't going to auto target today. He shifted position and it auto targeted on a dart. Xander jogged off, going to the top spire, letting her guard him up there. He fired on the big hive that was only sending out darts. The beam shot. Xander got knocked on his ass by the power. The weapon heated in his hand and he had to toss it. She beamed it farther away and took out the fuel cells for him, putting them in his hand. The weapon exploded next to a dart, disintegrating it. The main hive ship turned into jelly then slowly faded as it was eaten. Xander walked back down there, handing over the fuel cells to Radek. "They're a bit warm."
"More like burning hot!" he complained, putting them down. He checked him over. "Nila, is he all right?"
"A bit of radiation and a bit of motion sickness, Radek. He's fine. He said so when I asked."
"I am fine."
"Shut up," Evan said as he came out. "Future weapon that's supposedly on base?" he guessed.
"Yeah, I removed them all when the president tried his crap.
"Good to know." He went back to report that. Atlantis had the other hive down and the last few darts were dying. Which was good because they were on the edge of their solar system within minutes. Evan and Jon got them sorted into slowing down, approaching earth. Evan tapped his comm. "Apollo, Nila needs landing coordinates."
"Coordinates are...." They read off a string." Evan read them back. "Exactly."
"Thank you." He fed that in. Jon brought her down carefully and landed her at the dock.
"The dock has four connectors and I have three," Nila told them.
"The fourth is a connection for your sewer and we'll settle it once we're there," the person on the Apollo told her. "Atlantis, land in North American waters."
"Looks like we're hitting Frisco, Apollo."
"That's very far away," Nila said quietly.
"Beaming, Nila," Evan reminded her.
"Good point. I can do that now as well." She shifted into her dock, latching on. A team of divers connected the other one and she sighed. "That is much nicer than letting that go into space."
"Yes it is," Evan agreed. He relaxed. "Nila, cut engines if we're safe and go to city mode please." She extended things and dropped the shield. "Good job, people," he said over the comm. "Nila is docked and ready to be fussed over."
"Atlantis is sitting pretty just off San Francisco and is back in cloaked city mode," Sheppard reported.
"Roger that," O'Neill said from the base. "Congrats on the wraith, gentlemen and ladies. Stand down, stay on board for now, we'll come check you over shortly for any damages. Have me a list ready. Apollo, take orbit and hang for now." He hung up.
Evan leaned back in the chair. "Nila, any damages from the battle?"
"A few burn scars, nothing more since the darts only harassed us," she said.
"Any personnel damages?" Jon asked.
"Xander is sleeping against the work area again but he is not in the way."
"Good to know," Jon sighed. He looked at Evan, who shrugged. "I'm his team CO, you're his," he said quietly, taking out their comms. "Flip ya for it?"
"Let him nap until O'Neill chews on him for removing those from safe storage."
"He knew better."
"It was probably safer," Jon pointed out.
Jack was beamed on. "No, we knew." He turned off both comms. "I had you on a private channel. Not even the other ships heard. Landry didn't know he removed it but the kid told me." He smirked. "Nila, download recordings of the battle for later going over please?" She did that. "And whatever Xander did." She added that in. "Thank you. Let's go look and see how much you guys have done." They walked around and Jack coughed to wake Xander up. "Morning."
"Fuck off." He rolled over and went back to sleep.
Evan walked over to check on him, he'd bite Jon again. "Fever. Nila, scan him please?"
"He's fine, he said so."
"Scan him anyway," Jon ordered. "Because he's not fine."
"I am not allowed to. Subroutines from Atlantis state that I am not allowed to medically scan him if he insists he is fine," she told them.
"Who input that?" Jack asked. "Since I know he can't hack."
"Doctor Keller did it, General child Jack."
"Thank you. I override and outrank her, do it anyway."
She scanned him. "He took a bit of radiation from the firing deck but it is not harming him any. This is probably his lack of sleeping on the way here."
"Probably," Evan sighed. "I got him to sleep about twice, sir."
"He's like that," he agreed. "Drop him into his room, Nila."
"The bed is occupied or I would have already."
He grimaced. "Who's in his bed?"
"Miko. She has not slept either and is using Armand as a teddybear."
"Sure," Jack decided. They walked off. "The city will float. It is counter balanced and it should be fine." They both nodded. "Good." He clapped them on the back. "Nice job, people. Stand down. Let the city's construction crews work on the retrofitting. You all have quarters in the city. Nila, would that be okay? Their quarters are on that curved section right above your third deck. That would let us turn those rooms back into work labs for the main people like Miko and Radek."
"If that's what they want," she said, sounding pouty.
He smiled. "You're going to be in control of the whole complex, Nila. It's like we expanded your docks into something bigger, like Atlantis is."
She checked. She had to connect some things they hadn't yet. "There, now I can talk to them and track things."
"Thank you. Let me get the room assignments." He got them sent to his phone. She scanned them and put their things in their rooms. All but Xander. "He can go too."
"No he can't. I can't move his things and he's asleep."
"I wanted the construction guys to come in and look at the work that was done on the way here," he reminded her.
"Can't they do it tomorrow? He's asleep. He'll wake up if I beam him."
"Let me and Evan get the trunks."
"He won't let you. Or him. He's going to be pouty and I hate being pouted at."
Evan walked back on with Radek. "Let us, Nila. He won't pout at us."
"If you're sure."
"I'm certain," Radek said. They carried the trunks for Xander then came back to be beamed with him. Miko still had Armand but they left her a note. They had nice, new communications and computer systems on their desks. Xander got beamed onto the bed and they were all happy to lay down with him, even though it was a tiny bed. Xander pulled Evan down on top of him and Radek got to cuddle them both that way. It worked for now.
Jack looked around. "All right," he called, waving in the head of construction. "Welcome to Nila."
"Thank you, General." She appeared, staring at him. "You have an AI, that's cool."
"Child Jack, who is he?"
"This is Martin Ramirez. He's the head of the construction crew working on your city, Nila." She wavered through all of her forms. "I'm going to have him looking over what you have done and then going over the city's plans so you can make sure you like it." She smiled at it. "Then we'll work on other things like getting the labs here."
"I do like the overall design. The bridges are very pretty and so are the spires."
"Xander designed it for you," Jack said with a grin.
"He is very good to me. Can I keep him?"
"Probably." She beamed. "Miko will have to decide but for now you are. If and when we have to, we'll switch SGA-1 and SG-1 out to man the cities in command."
She squealed and clapped. "I like that idea. The grumpy Rodney is good at fixing things like the labs."
"Yes he is," he agreed, smiling. "I hadn't seen you do that before."
"Contara did it all the time," she said.
"I saw her tapes." She beamed. "So, let's let him look."
"I have lowered gravity in that room," she noted. "For ease of moving things."
"That's wonderful," he agreed. Jack led him back there and showed him the plans they had made. "It looks like they've gotten a good bit done, ma'am."
She smiled at him. "You are very nice and polite. I like you." She disappeared.
Mr. Ramirez smiled at Jack. "I think I'll like working on her city, General."
"She's very sweet. Nila, can we move the food to the kitchens?" She did that. Including the stored MRE's. "Thank you. Any weapons of Xander's, there's a locked room on the third floor since that lab will be there."
"Will it not be stacked by size?" she asked.
"Yes but I have the biggest lab on it's own sub-dock and another two smaller ones back this way to counterbalance that weight," Jack told her. She scanned things and found the locked room, moving all the weapons there. "Great job," he praised. He walked back to the command center and sat down in the main chair. "Nila?" She appeared. "In a few days, there's going to be world leaders who are going to want to come on tour."
"Even the rude one?" she asked.
"Yes, even him, and you can't throw him into the ocean."
"I know." He smiled. "It won't just be him. We'll be having a few of them. That day, be polite even if they are dumb, and don't change forms if you can. We want them to think you're a nice, reasonable, gentle, sweet AI that can't really do everything for yourself because they're a bit scared of computers sometimes."
"I understand. I saw Xander's anime Big O."
He grinned. "Exactly, they're scared you're going to do that. So we want you to appear nice and sweet."
"Yes, General child Jack."
He beamed. "Good and very good job getting here. If you could eat chocolates I'd give you some."
She beamed. "I wondered what about them made people like Xander moan."
"If I had a way I'd show you." She giggled. "Just relax, we'll be doing a the finishing for the next month."
"Yes, General child Jack."
"Good girl, Nila." He stood up. "Let us know if something is going wrong."
Ramirez came out. "She doesn't have a refuse tank?" he asked.
"We were going to be putting one in this month but didn't have time."
"It was fun watching those things create streams into space," Nila said with a smile. "Especially on the first trip when I had to open the shields a tiny bit to let them pee into space."
"That must've been one hell of a trip, ma'am."
"It was." She looked at Jack. "When will I get the bathroom like Xander was telling Evan about in his apartment?"
"You'll get betting bathrooms like Atlantis, not like his," Jack told her. "Those go in houses, not fantastical, mysterious cities of the ancients."
She pouted. "I wanted a tub like he described. It sounds fun."
"They can be but spa tubs are for houses, not for cities."
"We are giving you guys a lanar for Xander to upkeep," Jack told her, making her squeal and clap again. "And a PE area that has a normal pool for non-spored times. For swimming like they did off the pier."
"Will it have places to dive? I know a few of them liked it quite a lot."
"We'll see," Jack said. "That'd have to come later."
"Will it have a game system like Xander's?"
"In the recreation room," he agreed.
"They're both on this bottom floor of the dock," Ramirez said. "The gym and that area is on the north end, the recreation room is in the center by the transporters and elevators."
She looked and nodded. "That will be nice for them." She looked up then at them again. "My child had a momentary problem but she's safe now and still cloaked. That city she's near is very big."
"It is," Jack agreed. "You're not as near the US because we know other countries will want to send their brightest here and they won't do it if it's in the US," Jack told her.
"Can I be on the same ocean?"
"We're trying to spread it out so they don't find out about Atlantis," Jack told her.
"Oh!" She nodded. "Okay. I won't talk about my child then." She smiled. "Will I have to have more female scientists like the rude one?"
"Maybe in the labs but not on you. SG personnel only and administrative stuff only." She nodded at that. "Why don't you rest and watch over your people while he makes plans on how to finish your upgrades and the rest of the dock."
"Yes, child Jack." She faded and let them walk the rest of the docking area so she could see it too. She checked on her people and they were all sleeping so it was good. They really did need bigger bedrooms but Xander would pull out his soon she was sure. Even if he couldn't pull out his office yet. They'd have to figure that out for him.
Evan saw Xander starting to wake up and poked him, getting a sleepy glare. "Better?" Xander nodded. "Good. We should talk. You did dangerous stuff without warning me, Xander."
"Had to be done," he said through a yawn.
Evan waited then kissed him. "When I'm in command, you have to follow orders."
"Most of the time. You didn't rest like I needed you to. You took weapons I didn't know we had to the wraith. You embarrassed the hell out of me with the cabbage thing."
"Sorry," he sighed. He sat up. "I couldn't rest. If we had been hit with a real shot, we would've crumpled on the back end."
"Which would've been dangerous," he agreed. "But we could've helped."
"Evan, you had to be a military guy. I could do more of the construction work because I knew how to do some of the stuff Radek and Miko didn't."
"Yes you did," he agreed cautiously. "But you still could've slept."
"We were barely able to take off," he said quietly, glancing around. "The retrofitting revealed some structural weaknesses we were working on."
"I heard that during the update meeting you never made it to because you were fussing at her." He stared at him. "She's not just yours, Xander."
"I know that!"
"No you don't. You treat her like you would Dawn." Xander slumped. "A lot of us share her with you and wanted to help too. We were tired and worried too."
"It was all welding and stuff."
"Which none of us knew how to do but you and Miko," he agreed. "You taught Radek."
"He was working on the slimmer things. The stuff that was more like soldering with a huge iron."
"I get that." He petted him. "You didn't tell me you had those weapons. Or Shep. I asked him."
"Why did you remove them from the safe storage?"
"Because I wasn't sure they weren't going to use them."
"Okay, I understand that. O'Neill said he knew."
"I didn't tell Jon."
"The general, not ours."
"Oh, yeah he did. The guys reported that to them. I told them to."
"Good. That's sensible but I'm sure Landry might be a bit upset." Xander shrugged. "Good point," he sighed. "Are you still okay with us?"
Xander pouted. "You're dumping me because we're back on earth," he sighed.
"No!" He pulled him closer. "Not in the least. Radek either. He's taking a shower so we could go over these things." He kissed him. "No, I wasn't with you just to be there because we were in Pegasus." Xander relaxed. "Why would you think that?"
"Don't know," he muttered. Evan poked him until he looked up again. "There's women here and ..." He sighed.
"We're not like that, Xander. I know that's still taking some getting used to but we're not like that. I have to put my foot down and I should've spanked over the cabbage thing, but I'm not going to abandon you because my options suddenly got wider." Xander relaxed. He wouldn't admit he had been slightly worried about the same thing. "But you still have to trust us. Remember, the whole SG base isn't like that."
"The linguists hate me for being good."
"They hate you for pushing your weight around."
"I was right to complain when they started to shove their work off on me!" he complained. "Daniel and I were doing all the work in the department most of the time!"
"So you made them go for runs?"
"No, I just suggested it after they decided to keep doing it. There was months of that before then and even Daniel got frustrated. Hell, the second-in-command kept shoving her work off on Daniel too. I had a stack on my desk like Daniel did that wasn't my work for nearly a month."
Evan petted him to calm him down. "You could've used formal complaint procedures."
"Yeah, go running to dad," he said dryly. "That's real manly, Evan." He shifted away. "I handled it within the department by handing it back. And Daniel's. A few times before I snapped that day and Daniel gave them runs, not me. I just suggested it might clear the problem because I had been bitched at earlier for not getting something that wasn't even my assignment to someone that needed it. The whole base decided that since I was there most of the time I could of course do all their work for them too."
"I would've snapped sooner and had some sick days," Evan sighed. He hadn't heard that part.
"I did. I had a three day migraine. Doctor Lam ran off nineteen or twenty people who came to bitch at me for daring to be sick while they needed something done while the rest of the department sat and played games or twittered or played on facebook with their virtual girlfriends. She reported it and it didn't do a damn bit of good either. Apparently the last time they had a general that listened to the scientists for problems, Jack was in charge."
"That's a problem then," he agreed. "What did Sam Carter say?"
"She was busy fucking around with a machine that ended up being ancient porn. Which I told her that's what the first page it kept freezing on said. She scoffed and sneered." He shrugged. "I'm used to that from the base."
"What if we want to go back there some day?" Evan asked quietly.
"You can visit? I'll play military spouse?" Evan gave him a hug. "It was a bunch of little things and then the damn assignment came up. Like I was getting fed up at home and Jack's band hit my lap. A painful blessing."
"You could've asked for a transfer."
"I got told there was too much work to do on the base because no one else did any. They needed Jon and Fischer there. I started to feel like the Zeppo again only there weren't demons who wanted to kill me. It was aliens."
"If you had told us this stuff, it could've been handled faster."
"At that time, Rodney barely liked me. John went on his opinion, and no one gave a damn about anything I did before that shield. I was getting weekly threats from the watchers in the IOA. No one stopped them when I complained. Hell, Landry yelled at me for being in my sub library room, locked in it, and having a personal moment with my main office door locked. Because it was my fault someone broke in. Half of my department did nothing but watch porn at their desks and no one said a damn thing to chemistry when they had a group wank."
"I think part of all that was that you confused them and scared them a bit, Xander. They're used to military people and really smart geeks. You're beyond both and I'm pretty sure no one had any idea what to do with you or why you were there," John said from the doorway. "We didn't when you first came up. I had all of Cam's reports and you confused the hell out of Rodney that first day because he pushed at you and you walked off. He wasn't sure if you were weak or just avoiding him like half the new geeks do because they've heard about his rep." He came in and sat on the foot of the bed. "On my end I wasn't sure if I should boot camp you like everyone else or if you were a bit fragile from the way you didn't fight against McKay, or even if you were scarily all that Cam had said about you and more. A few times he wanted to know if you were an immie."
"All the swords?" Xander asked dryly.
"In a lot of ways, you're like our version of Methos," John pointed out. "You've seen things we can't even imagine. You've had to change yourself to suit others yet you're still the nice, goofy guy who occasionally has to jump into a battle." Xander nodded at that, looking down again. John petted him too. "I wasn't sure how to treat you beyond letting you at the database. I had no idea how you were going to react. The linguists on base had sent up reports that you were a spoiled primadonna, which is why I sent you at McKay your first day."
"He said that problem that made him snap back at them had went on for months," Evan told him. "That some people complained when he got a migraine because apparently he and Daniel were the only ones doing anything."
"I heard that from one of the nurses a few weeks later. She hadn't realized he had been sent to Atlantis." He smiled at the boy. "You earned your place on Atlantis, Xander, through all the rumors and all that. People are pouting that you're here right now." Xander looked at him. "Including Faith. She's already missing being able to sit on your couch and watch the sunset to calm down."
"Nila would pout," John pointed out. "She'd miss you too much and we can beam over for movie nights once you get your room set up again."
Xander shook his head. "I can't in here. It's cold iron."
Evan grimaced. "I wonder if that was on purpose." He hugged Xander.
"I see we need to make the bed bigger again?" Radek asked as he walked in.
Xander gave him a horrified look. "You know I'm not like that, Radek."
Radek dropped a kiss on his head. "I was teasing, Xander." Xander relaxed again. "Finish relaxing. The idiots on base will not be allowed here."
"You knew what the linguists were pulling before then?" Evan asked.
"I am good friends with Doctor Morans from Anthropology. We used to have lunch. She kept me informed of all that was going on among the sciences. Including when he got there, that first boyfriend that showed up, all of it. She said she was about to beat them too. They do the same thing to her but she was too busy. Landry did not seem to care so we had to handle it on our own. Carter was too busy with her machines that she desperately wanted to be weapons that were not. In many ways, working under McKay is easier. He is louder, more picky, yells when you are not super human, but easier to deal with and he makes sure you pull your own weight, not that of everyone else unless he is too."
John nodded. "He does. Our team works better than the main base's one outside of the few screw ups in botany."
"Only two real screw ups there," Radek reminded him. "Rest wanted to have babies, is noble to create the next generation of people to follow us." He sat down on Xander's backside and hugged him, making him relax. "You are still tense. Why?"
"He slipped back into the old mindset," Evan told him.
Radek swatted him gently, barely moving his hair, and called him a dirty name in Czech. "We do not only have you because you are beautiful ass who needs touched, Xander. No matter who says it." He stroked a hand over his head. "We like you for beautiful ass but for other reasons that mean looking at others is annoying. Would rather have one complex, slightly mean, overly bright, warrior geek who loves weapons too much." Xander blushed but hugged him.
"Now that we have that settled," John said. "There's a huge ass meeting and we need you guys there."
Xander groaned and dug into his trunk from the old bedroom, finding an outfit. "We cannot unpack?" Radek asked.
"Cold iron, Radek, it'll block it a lot. Like the shield did. Maybe they'll build us real apartments and I can do it then." He pulled on clothes but Evan sent him to shower quickly while he got dressed too. John beamed with them to the meeting once Xander was out and dressed.
"How was this...Nila found?" one of the people asked General O'Neill.
"Some of our people found her, Director."
Xander coughed and stepped forward. "Jack?"
"Xander. This is Xander Harris. That would be his question to answer since I cannot fully answer it and have been avoiding it for the last ten minutes."
Xander stepped up beside him. He looked at Jack and nodded toward the west. He nodded that they knew. "In the database for the other city, I found mentions of her. She had originally been off Alexandria at one time. Then I started finding mentions of her name, Nila. Doctor Jackson and I had been trying to find her location out of the records but hadn't succeeded at the time when she was found." He moved some to rebalance his weight. "There was a battle on a mission that his team and I were on. I was sent with Jackson's team because I could better handle a problem they kept running into named Adria." That got a few nods. "As it was an overwhelming force I decided to use some hidden gear I had on me. Namely a few bombs."
"How did you carry hidden bombs, young man?" one woman asked.
Xander took off his necklace and let the sword on it expand. Then he reshrank it. "It used to sit next to it, ma'am." She stared in horror at him. He shrugged. "It was handy. I threw a few of them and gave Doctor Jackson one to set off to protect themselves once they had gotten back to the gateway while I distracted Adria. I had a way home that was faster anyway. Daniel came back and the bomb went off. I moved us both and that was the primary picture in my mind. So we ended up on her command center under the ocean she was in. We talked, she gave us her location, and we went back to the base. I went back to my base and asked the scientists there to interpret where she was. They finally figured it out but she would not raise off the sea floor from the ship we had. So myself, Doctor McKay, and Colonel Caldwell all went down to secure her, raise her off the ocean floor, and get to her join the other city."
"So, really, you found it and brought Doctor Jackson along as a helper to save his life as well," the director of the board said.
"It could be seen that way, yes, ma'am."
She stared at him. "Why did you not claim it?"
Xander looked around, not spotting any cameras, then looked at Jack, who coughed. "Xander was under strict contract with us due to something he had run into in the recent past."
"I see. So he was basically conscripted?"
"For a bit. He's now under regular contract," Jack told her. "He has another year on it I believe."
"Eleven and a half months," Xander corrected quietly. "Then I have no idea."
The director stared at him. "I recognize you from that battle in London."
"Which one?" he asked.
"Both." He shrugged. "That doesn't bother you?"
"I made myself pretty plain that I wanted to be left alone about that, ma'am. I did what I had to do because a friend needed me. It's the man I am. It's also the root cause of the president going spastic, locking my accounts and my storage area, and all that good stuff like handing me to the CIA to recruit against my will; I shot back by finding his Hell Week photos." She gagged. "And other things that were hiding. Since I value my privacy that much, I decided that since they had ripped mine from me they deserved the same. We've now come to an agreement that we're going to ignore each other thankfully."
She cleared her throat. "You're the one who found those?"
She sighed. "I can see why that incident happened." She looked at her fellow members. "Tell me about Nila," she ordered.
"Nila is smaller, she's only a few blocks in distance really. She's got four levels, she's got an amazingly real AI system that's very responsive, caring, and a bit mother hennish if you haven't been eating or something. She has ways of kicking us off the city if we're rude or not eating sometimes. She was alone for a very long time but she's made a lot of friends from the project. She does not like female scientists because one of her main creators' wives cheated on him in her command center and other areas. Nila and I have a lot of long talks, she reads over my shoulder, she doesn't like to watch us practice fighting because we might hurt each other. I don't know what you want to know. She's more amazing and more human than some of the humans I know. So is the one on the other city."
"That much interaction was never reported," one who had an IOA sign in front of him said.
"Yes, but she spoke Ancient and they didn't. It's hard and frustrating when you can't talk to the people using you. Trust me, I've been there." Jack patted him on the back. "As I do speak Ancient, she let herself come out a lot more and I taught her more english. She'll come out and help us when we ask and we're polite. She'll nag if you're working and not eating. Nila considers Atlantis her child really. Calls her such as well."
"She pouted that they weren't in the same ocean," Jack agreed.
"Is she what would pass for emotionally fragile?" the director asked.
"She's shown a great range of emotion," Xander corrected. "She was alone for millennia. Of course she wants those that she's friendly with around to help her get used to the modern world and these new people who aren't like hers were, ma'am. The same as you hang with your family and friends after a long trip. Hers has been even longer and she's very friendly so she likes having those she likes around her."
"Did she bond to you as a surrogate?" she asked.
"You mean like am I her teddy bear? In the first few days, yes, but she's learned to appreciate a lot of other people. A few scientists, some of the Marines and Air Force guys on base, some of the support staff. Her gathered family is now around forty people."
"Do you consider that healthy?" she asked.
"Having been in a similar situation a few times, being totally cut off from everyone and everything I knew, yes. She made more friends than I did and faster than I did. It took me ages to let more than a few I implicitly trusted close. That's one of the reasons I'm so rabid about my privacy." He looked back. "Turn that fucking camera I can hear off or eat it." It got shut off and put down. He looked at her again. She stared in awe. He stared back. "Were there more questions, ma'am?"
"Who is in charge of her now that she's down here, General?" she asked Jack, clearing her throat at the end.
"He's actually very nice and sweet, ma'am, and right now, Colonel Cameron Mitchell is going to be her head officer. Major Evan Lorne is going to be her military head. Doctor Radek Zelenka is going to be her science head. Colonel Mitchell and Doctor Zelenka will also be over the labs. Major Lorne will be overseeing any military issues and staff on the base to protect them."
"We're going to need more housing then," Xander said quietly.
"Maybe some that aren't cold iron?" he asked quietly. "Please?"
Jack looked at him. "It's been suggested that some of you may be moving to a boat so you could be off the city and away from the labs sometimes."
Xander shrugged. "I haven no idea about that but I'll think about it."
"Please. It'd make things easier with your library too." Xander smirked at that mention. "Any other questions, ma'am?"
"Where is Atlantis?" the IOA member asked.
"Off the west coast. Cloaked."
Xander touched the comm he had put in from habit, smiling. "Nila's moved herself too, General. She wanted to be nearer to her child. She's off a small island in the Pacific. Uninhabited, part of the Marshall Islands. She's nuzzled it so her backside is to it and a dock could be built and the island itself could provide more housing or in the waters around it easier. That's very close to her child and she likes it there. Said it's warm and they're friendly to most everyone."
"Said...." Jack asked.
"Colonel Sheppard. He's the one that got me here."
Jack nodded. "The dock?"
"They moved it all. I'm pretty sure Atlantis had to help." He nodded at that, then shook his head with a small moan. Xander smiled at the awed committee. "She wanted to be closer to her child and her new family."
Most of them nodded at that. The director stared at him. "You don't sound surprised, young man," she said.
He shrugged. "We knew there'd be a lot of traveling between the two, ma'am. Fixing the labs that we found and all that."
"Good point." She considered it. "Someone get their UN representative on the phone please?" Her assistant went to do that. He brought back the phone and she walked out talking to them. She came back ten minutes later. "They were shocked and awed but said it's fine where it is, General. She planted herself on the eastern side, close to Hawaii, on an atoll they weren't using."
"Nila wouldn't want to upset anyone, ma'am," Xander told her. "She just wanted to be closer."
"I can see why. The supplies?" she asked Jack.
"It'll take a week to reroute them but we have two more that need to be sent out that can be done almost as easily from the west coast," he admitted. He pulled out his phone but Xander took it and texted faster than he could and let him pick who to send it to. "Thanks, kid."
"Welcome, General. We know you're not fully hip with the techno crap." Jack cuffed him on the back of the head. "Sorry. No disrespect meant."
The director smiled, looking like it was against her will. "It's clear you two work well together." They both nodded. "What position were you on the other city, Mr. Harris?"
"I'm a linguist but since I work in botany and hang out in physics to learn some stuff and help in there since I'm a pretty good hand at wiring, and I know construction so I did that, and helped with self defense training I got made the geek to military liaison. Basically, making sure everyone got their mandatory boot camp done, their recerts when needed, stopping it when one side picked on the other. Because some of our geeks could be mean to the military boys."
She swallowed. "That's apparently a good spot for you."
"He's also been known to handle emergencies on his own," Jack said. "Very well I might add."
She nodded. "Excellent. So he'll be the chief linguist on Nila?"
"Yes," Xander agreed. "And the geek to military liaison." She smiled at that. "We'll have a lot and some military guys to defend them, ma'am. We know they won't understand each other. Some days it's another form of translation."
"Wonderful." She looked at Jack. "You agree?"
"Even better. We would like to tour them once things are set up."
"Due to circumstances we had happening, we had to move a bit early," Xander told her. "The docking facility is still being finished, ma'am. That means you'd have to wear a hardhat and sensible shoes for a bit."
"I understand that risk, young man. That's not a problem. Some of us are too old for heels." He smiled and nodded at that. "Can we go tonight?"
Jack shrugged, looking at the kid. "Things are being settled but I don't see why not." Something was beamed in front of him. "What's that?" he asked Xander. They all moved away from them.
"That is a projector. Hi, Nila or Atlantis." They both appeared. He smiled. "Nice work and excellent beaming on target, ladies."
"Thank you. Your furniture can be quite odd and angular these days," Atlantis told him. She looked at the people and bowed. Nila did the same. Most of them bowed back. A few were still staring in horror.
Xander stepped forward. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is Atlantis's AI and this is Nila's AI." He pointed at them. "As you can see, they can speak for themselves." The others bowed and they beamed at them.
"Nila, are you settled where you?" the IOA member asked.
"I am. It is closer in case something happened, it's safer in case of storms. The negligible risk of tsunamis or ocean floor earthquakes aren't very big where we are. It's a pretty, small island and has beautiful waters. It was also chosen because it is a friendly country in the UN, has no known enemies that want to attack it, but will probably let the forces of the SG base hold the docking station safe without much trouble. It's also easy to get materials to for the rest of the fixing and most of the people on the work crew said that they're from that coast anyway. It was mean to make them stay so far away from their families. They all enjoyed the move quite a lot."
"Nila, is my stuff still safe in my room?" Xander asked.
"Yes, Xander, I put a shield over then when we moved them just in case." He beamed at her. "You need to take out the plants soon."
"I will. Once the botany lab is up and I have a place to put all the books and stuff." She beamed at that and nodded. They stared at him. "Like the sword earlier, I have some stuff for my rooms and my office."
"Like a college library's worth of priceless books," Jack added with a nod. They smiled at that.
"We would like to put IOA member Woolsey back in charge of Atlantis," the IOA member said.
"Denied," Jack ordered. "Because he was doing experiments on Harris and others. Illegal ones that were being counted as treason." He flinched. "Right now, Doctor Jackson is in charge of Atlantis and it's working well."
"I do like Daniel," Atlantis agreed. "He is very kind unless you irritate him and he has no coffee. He asks good questions. He's always excited when he finds something new and he does not make Rodney yell. Much."
The IOA member stared at her. "We're in charge of the program."
"And I can lock myself so no one can get on," she said simply. "Except the children." She smiled. "We do not like rude people. Our people were gentler beings."
"I can throw them off the decks," Nila agreed. "Or when they've been naughty and not taken care of themselves. Or fighting. Because I will not put up with it on my decks."
The director beamed at them. "You two sound a lot like my mother," she told them. "I think for now, Doctor Jackson is a splendid choice since he's careful yet very excited over new discoveries. I have read his dossier from the program and he appears to have sense and compassion as well."
"When they were docked together, we had them sharing military and science heads," Jack told her. "We've since split those duties up based on who Nila liked working on her."
Nila looked at Xander, who shook his head. "I do like them for many reasons including that they treat each other well. They play video games together you know."
The IOA member gaped at Xander. "You're playing *games* with who?" he demanded.
Xander stared at him. "I haven't had caffeine yet." The man flinched back and ran from the room. "Ah, another member of the Watchers Council I see." He growled. Jack smacked him again. "Sorry for my rudeness. I was only going to offer to make him a pet of someone nicer." He got another bat. "I fully need caffeine because I woke up just before this."
The director smirked at him. "That man has annoyed many, Mr. Harris."
"At least he's not as bad as Travers was."
"No, not in the least." She considered the other members. Then him. "Will you be moving off the docking station so you can put up you library?"
"Yes, probably somehow."
"That's fine then. However you decide to do those things. I think video games are an excellent way to unwind after a hard day. I'm known for a spot of Mario Brothers myself." She banged the gavel. "We'll take a tour tomorrow if you don't mind, Nila. Atlantis, may we come next week sometime?"
"Yes, of course," she agreed. "I would suggest earlier in the week because our infirmary has to give out a great many shots later that week to the females on base."
She smiled. "I can arrange that. Anyone disagree with Tuesday?" No one said anything. "Then we'll be touring that day. Thank you for your indulgence, ladies, and your time today. I hope you can find a good and pleasant home again here on Earth." She banged her gavel and they left.
"You think they'd mind if I set up a doorway to a new place?" Xander asked Jack. "I'd bring an image projector with me."
"I wouldn't care," he admitted. "Where would you put it to though?"
"Don't know," he admitted. He looked at the ladies. "Atlantis, remember to tell Rodney that means he has to clean up the lab. He may fuss but still."
"I will." She bowed and they bowed to her. "Remember to link in your old office, Xander. It's facing the city and it seems quite lively there."
"It is," he agreed with a grin. "I'll see you soon, Atlantis. Nila, let's go home so I can start that?" She squealed and took him back with her. He landed in the command center. "People, we have VIP's touring tomorrow," he announced. They all groaned. "They know it's in construction though." He looked at Evan with a grin. "The Marshall Islands."
"We had to have her find us." He patted him with a smirk. "What's in that devious little mind of yours?"
"A few things. It means I might have to share a secret though." He walked to his new room and then down to soda machine. He *really* needed caffeine and all his was packed with his bedroom. He came back up and worked on the doors. They weren't metal. They swung instead of sliding open. So that worked well. He created the link to his home with the coven. Then he walked through and looked around, doing a cleaning spell. "That helps." One of the witches showed up and he smirked. "We're back."
"I'm settling up links from Nila to here. It's cold iron."
"Pity. This is your house, boy. Do what you want." She left.
He pulled his trunks in, putting his bedroom back in the bedroom it had come from. He opened the windows and smiled at the fresh breeze. Then he went to get the library and unpack it too. The other rooms that had been in there all got put around where they needed to go to fill up blank doorways. He got a cold soda since his was now empty and went to link Evan's room and his old office. Then Radek's room since he was pouting in it. He walked him through and pointed. "My place that I made with the coven."
Radek went to look and sighed in pleasure. "This is not Europe."
"No, it's not. We're a multi-planet, multi-ethnic, multi-temporal coven." He smirked. "This is my haven, Radek." Radek gave him a hug. Evan walked up behind him and hugged too. "Welcome to my real home," he whispered. Evan squeezed. "I opened the wall in the bedroom. And I promised Nila and Atlantis could come sometimes." They went to get their things and the image projectors. Then Xander made one from Rodney's room. And John's room. That way they didn't have to travel. Then Faith's room too. That left two open doorways. He created one to the apartment in London and one to the apartment in Cardiff. Dawn squeaked and jumped. He waved and shut the door again.
He searched for Evan, finding him staring at the mountains out the bedroom's sliding wall. Xander walked him into the bathroom. They had a huge sunken, square, cast iron tub that would fit about four people lounging - six or seven if you got cuddly. It had an enclosed toilet area, a vanity for his mirror and vain needs, and a double sink setup. A walk-in closet too. He opened the window beyond the tub and Evan moaned. He grinned. "That small building with the smoke coming out is the coven's main building. Where the eggs were."
Evan hugged him and kissed him. "Tell me it's not illegal."
"The only ones here are the coven, and we're all for it as long as it's fun." He grinned. "We have to watch the eggs soon."
"We can check on them later." He took another kiss. "There's no spores here, right?"
Xander looked at the plants under the floor-to-ceiling windows. "No, I didn't plant any of those. Love vines but not those." He plucked a leaf of that and pulled back through the large window. He rubbed it on Evan's hand, making him shiver. "It's wonderful and the oil from it can be pressed for massages. It's a wedding night rite on some worlds. I planted some in Pegasus." He walked him out, going to pounce Radek and show him the leaf. He shivered too and took another kiss. "They taught me herbology."
Rodney walked through with John right behind him. "Where is this?" he asked, looking out the open archway to the foyer.
"The coven's home plane/world/whatever. This is my place. A full mage has to create their own work area and safety. Somewhere that's just theirs. And since they're the ones who taught me herbology, it's got a garden. Also, Mira can fly around here if she wants." He scooped up Armand. "Did you have a good nap with Miko?" He purred. "Look, home!" He ran outside. The others followed. Armand dug up something and brought it back. Xander laughed. "Sure, I'll make you rhubarb tonight." He took it inside and got out a jar he had canned, spooning him some into a dish. He and Mira both attacked it. "Rodney?"
"It's tart enough and didn't need citric acid for coloring." He let him taste it and got a nod. "If the nice one that showed up was really nice there's bread and stuff too." He looked in the fridge and emptied the bad stuff. "Nope." Faith walked in and looked around. "Faith, knock on Dawn's door there," he said with a point since she was closest, "and ask her for some stuff to put rhubarb sauce on."
"Where is this?"
Xander smiled and pointed. "See the smoke?" She nodded slowly. "That's the coven's main building. Where he got Mira."
"This is my house. I built it, I designed it, I planted the garden because they taught me herbology when I was sick." He shrugged. Armand nuzzled his leg so he gave him more and pulled down another few jars. "I need to make some more soon." The door to Dawn's apartment opened and Jack stared then beamed. "Nila's new dock is all cold iron and really tiny rooms."
"Ah." He handed over some stuff. "Rhubarb?" Xander let him scoop out some. "Thanks, kid."
"Welcome, old fart."
Jack smirked. "I could call you that."
"Earlier I told him he was like our version of Methos," John said dryly. Jack cackled all the way back to Dawn's. John set up the image projectors for the ladies. "There we go." They beamed and went to look around. "How far does your yard extend, Xander?"
He went to look down the hill. "To the river unless someone else picks my hillside."
John smirked. "Winter?"
"Yes we do."
"Brr," Faith complained, shivering.
"I'll buy you pretty furs. Speaking of, I think you can borrow mine if you get that cold." She stared at him. "I went places they wore fur," he said dryly. He walked her into his bedroom, smiling when she moaned at the view. He looked. "It looks like one of the younger ones is going to be pretty close." He zapped the constructor and waved with a grin. The guy groaned and moved his farther away, to the other side of the mountain. "There, better." He walked her into his closet. She gave him a dirty look. "Seventy centuries, Faith."
"Why do you have stuff stored on earth then?"
"Most of it's stuff I hadn't carted here or stuff I thought I might need, like the books."
She sighed. "Why don't you go bring it here?" He created the space to do that and sucked them all through. And a few things that were in other hands. He sent one back since it had been mid-cutting up but he noted that it was his. They got stored wherever they needed to go, all the books shelving themselves. She watched then looked at him. "Flashbacks to the library?"
She shook her head, walking off. "You guys will have plenty of room for clothes," she called.
John walked into the bedroom. "Oh. My. God," he said in awe. Xander beamed at him. "Guest bedrooms?"
"Upstairs." John went to look and came down to hug him. He shrugged. "Even I get bored without company." He walked him back out there. Ianto had come over with Jack. Dawn's doorway was open but she was apparently hiding or something since she was making squeaky noises. They were enjoying this a lot. Jon and Jack walked through.
"Hi, sir," John said.
Jack looked around. "Huge garden. Lots of trees." He looked at Xander. "Did you claim an empty world?"
"No. This is the coven's."
"Ah!" He nodded. "Good to know. So this is your real home?"
"Even better, kid. Hi, Atlantis."
"Nila is watching the view from the bedroom." She went back to staring. It was beautiful and not something she had seen before.
One of the witches walked in with a basket. "Here, fussy," she told Xander.
Xander kissed her on the cheek, having to bend down to do it. "Thanks, Grandma Herby. You guys, this is the one who made me learn plants when I was sick." They all grinned at her for it. He smirked at her. "I have more."
"I felt. You're insane." She pinched his cheek. "Go play with your boys."
"After we don't have company."
"Good!" She left. Then she came back. "Did you make him move?"
"He was on top of my fence. Yes!"
"Fine. Where did he go?"
"Backside of the mountain." He pointed. "Catty corner."
"Thank you, Xander. We only have three mage potential students right now."
"The twins I identified and who?"
"Colaris. He's the one who annoyed you." She left.
"Huh." He spread out the goodies, letting most of it go into the fridge. "So, General, can I commute from here?"
"Granted," he agreed quietly. "This is amazing. Is it temporal?"
"It's kinda more out of time. Not real connected to the time stream."
"Oh. Okay." He went to get Daniel, who was fussing. He came back and Daniel quit complaining as he looked around in awe.
He went to the library, realizing what a double set of doors probably meant in that house. "They shelve themselves!" he said happily.
"I hate shelving and dusting books, of course they do," Xander called. "Come eat before you get lost." He came out to get a sandwich and went back in there.
"If it's out of time, could we spend a whole day here and go back after eight hours has passed there?" Faith asked.
"No, you're living time hours there and here. It's more it's not connected to any one physical time. Like the here and now. The twins that I identified for training were Roman and they're here. Their portals would get them to their time, mine get me to this time unless I change that."
"Oh! Okay." She nodded. She looked at Evan and Radek. "Did you two see the tub?" They smiled and nodded. "Good! Have fun with that."
Xander winked. "I can still swim around Nila. The endurance swimming is good for me."
"Xander, armory?" John asked.
"No comment. The other stuff is back there." He ate a bite of sponge cake with rhubarb sauce on it.
Jack stared at him. "Can you lock those doors so only the chosen few can get in?"
"I did. All but the one in my former office. I'd let Miko get here too. Once all the ones I keyed into it are here it'll be closed that way. So her, Ronon, Teyla, Kissen, Tilla, Fischer, and Keller just in case something happens and we panic."
"Good," Jack decided. "I'll give them the tour tomorrow." He got his own nibble of vegetable. "Do you grow these?"
"They grow those. My garden's out back." Jack and the others went to look. He smirked at Faith when she walked out. "No tentacles."
"Those'll go out front," Xander decided, taking them to plant. There were all manner of bugs and small rodent like things for them to nibble on. Gomez was really pleased and Moriticia loved it as soon as she touched the ground. They were across the small path but that was fine. He put protections for the witches with peaceful intent then went back inside to free them from the crystal fountain. It was a beautiful sound to relax to. So pretty it kept you there if you weren't prepared for it. Faith was glaring at it. "It's just harmonics," he promised. "Not magic." He nudged the others and they woke up too. "Fountain," he said with a point. "Shoots pretty water, makes pretty noise."
Evan groaned, shaking his head and going inside first. "Get down, you two. No being on the counters." They scrambled away from the food. No wonder Xander had metal plates. He'd have to get him to carve wooden ones.
Evan stretched out, watching the tv that came up out of the table about ten feet away from them. His smaller one was now in the rec room here. This one was nearly theater sized. It had good sound too. They were watching cable by some way he didn't want to think about. Radek was giggling. Evan was staring mindlessly while stroking the stomach he was laying on and Xander was petting him for it. Evan finally looked up. "You made this house?"
"Magic or physical?"
"Both. Mostly physical whenever I got frustrated and then I magiced things indestructible and the like. Created the extra spaces. All that."
"How far is the coven?"
"About a mile and a half. Other side of the river is where all the witches have theirs. Those of us with more power need to spread out more so that if we have an accident we don't destroy others."
"How many other mages have homes here?"
"We all do."
"Not what I meant," he asked.
Xander smiled. "With the three current students? Seven total. Dawn would be eight if she wanted to be." He ran his fingers through his boy's hair, making Radek smile at him too. "We're not real crowded."
"How many will there be?"
"Any of them but Dawn yours?" Radek asked.
Xander gave him a sad smile. "We don't know how I had the one kid way back when, Radek."
"The future one?" he asked.
"Is actually off Dawn's line I think. I don't know." He petted them again. Armand came out of the bathroom. "Turn off the faucets," he ordered. Armand went to do that then came back to snuggle in with them. He grinned. "That is a bit more futuristic. Advanced waste receptacles that self-mulch and things."
"Wow," Evan said. "Any shortage of water?"
"Only if we turn into a desert. That's happened once due to a mage's accident. My teacher did that and had to fix it. That's one of the reason I got taught herbology. So I could fix anything I blew apart by accident." They snickered. He looked out at the noise. "C'mon, Dawny." She came in to snuggle and talk to them. "What's up?"
"Jack's upset about something in a journal."
"Hmm. Radek, do you want to talk about that?"
Xander took a kiss. "You played."
"You found out." He kissed Evan. "Did you sneak more sauce?"
"Yup." He grinned. "It's good."
"Guys, way more mushy than most people, even girls," she teased.
"When we went to pick up something for the Apollo," Xander told her, "we had to go to my work area in the twenty-third."
"Okay," she said. "Is that the place you complained about the grody smith that cheats at cards?"
"Yeah. We had to go to him this time too and Radek played him this time. He bet a ship, space ship, and made Radek have to counter-bet me or we'd lose the part the Apollo desperately needed since they were hanging in space. Radek can play some poker."
"Not much else to do in college in my former country," he pointed out. "No bars at the time."
Dawn smiled at him. "Do you miss it?"
"Now and then. I have better and happier now." She beamed. He nudged Xander to go on.
"The ship was from about three realities over," Xander told her. "It had been used by a young woman of good birth and standing who had decided to go against her family's wishes in her taste of marriageable men. She had packed her jewelry, her journal, and run away from home without any real idea about keeping up with ship maintenance. So when an air leak happened, she kinda croaked." Dawn nodded at that. "Now, fairytale thing here, it popped into our reality and the slimy smith had it so Radek won it. We brought it back, freaking people out and making Sheppard call us cock teases because we wouldn't let him immediately go play on it. The Doctor showed up then about the ship and a few other things so I showed him the journal. I knew it wasn't from this one because it was far ahead."
"Few generations. He agreed, got Jack to talk about it since it's off one of his lines, and he's moping over that."
"Oh. So.... He has other kids?"
"Mostly died out, princess," Evan told her.
"Damn, that sucks." She cuddled again. "So, that journal is hers."
"Huh. Well, maybe I'll tell Ianto then."
"That's something he should tell him," Radek said. "That way his lover knows he needs comfort."
"Jack's like Xander. He never asks. He might silently get a cuddle but if you can't read him you don't know when he needs one." She kissed them all on the cheek. "Thank you." She got up and went home, finding Owen was asleep. She grinned, tucking him in better. Then she snuck up the hallway. Jack's place was absolutely silent but the spell she did from the doorway showed only Ianto was asleep. Dawn considered sneaking in but decided to do something like her mom. She went to make cocoa and cast a small spell to draw him to her.
Jack walked in and sniffed. "Cocoa?" he asked quietly.
"Mommy started the tradition. She's even had cocoa with Spike to let him vent about Dru." She handed him a mug. "Right off Mommy's recipe." He took a sip and moaned, nodding. She sat on the bar stool and she sat beside him. "I asked Xander why you've been angsting and he told me about her."
"Did he tell you it's off your line?" He took a sip.
"No but that's not shocking since we all know that I'm either like you or an ascended in the making," she said quietly. "Especially if that stupid weevil breaks into the car again." He patted her back. She looked at him. "So you won't be losing me like them. You know that, Dad, even if it does suck that they didn't keep going."
He sipped his cocoa. "You're very perceptive."
She smiled. "I learned from reading Xander. He used to have the best 'I'm fine' shield of anyone." She squeezed his hand. "It's not like you're the Doctor. You're not the last. You're not the only anymore."
"True. Xander's immortal too," he admitted. She smiled. "Then there's you being a troublesome brat for years," he teased.
"Yup," she agreed with an evil smirk. He smirked back and they drank. "Have you told Ianto?"
She gave him another squeeze. "Dad, he knows you had others before him. Including other families. He might like hearing about them as long as they don't all look like him."
"You know, the first time I knew your dad had traveled, when he sent me back my band, he told me to treat Ianto better and that life was pain, that's how you knew you were alive."
"Yup, or at least kicking around. Otherwise you're a zombie or fully dead."
"How is he doing?"
"The trio is very cute. They're on a foot of bed all curled together." He grinned at that. "You know, even the Doctor needs comfort. Faith said they had a hug-a-thon to help him feel connected again. He was so detached he wasn't sure what he was doing and why. Though she did say that Xander had to take Asha out of him and make Donna quit nagging for a few hours."
"That doesn't surprise me," he admitted. He took a longer sip. "Really?"
"Yeah. Spent two days just floating in the time stream and hugging."
"Huh." He finished his mug. "That's not a bad thing sometimes. I've been in places where I would've given anything for a hug." She gave him one. "Not now," he assured her.
"It still hurts you and gives you nightmares."
"Like Xander, I have one most nights."
"I know. I know some of why he has his too. I kinda snuck his journal."
He snorted. "Doesn't even cover some of it. The first time I met him while traveling with the Doctor, he was so scruffy. The Doctor had run into him at a few events and helped him once. At that time, Xander had been so isolated by everything and so shell shocked he wasn't speaking in english anymore. Doc said he had about four that he would speak and he... well, some of them took him in."
"I figured like some of his bad girls, some of his ex's only wanted his ass."
"Yeah, and they were mostly good to him, but kept him like some prized toy from another area. Doc said Xander was so shell shocked that he bowed to him the first time and went to his knees. He had to correct that and figure out what the hell he was doing all over the time stream. It took him a bit once he realized when and where he was from. Xander took about three weeks to start using English again. I'm almost shocked he doesn't use an accent." He put an arm around her shoulders.
"He got him healed, sent him on his way home, and apparently he missed it by millennia. He made it back to the start of history, which isn't supposed to be possible for any being, even a time lord. The next time, Doc was in a foul mood. Repairing the tardis, the crystal was cracked, it was sucking badly that week, and it wasn't my fault but I was there so he was snapping at me. Xander walked around the corner, looking at the crystal that we had laid out, and snapped his fingers, adding energy so it fixed. Then he looked at the Doctor and told him 'pissy moods are for girls and he clearly wasn't yet'.
"The Doctor growled for the first time I've ever heard him. Martha was there too and she gaped in horror. He asked him what he was still doing in the time stream. So Xander told him how pretty the beginning of time was." He stroked over her hair. "Doc was so stunned, just mouth hanging open stunned stupid. Martha came over to check him over but he backed away from her. Doc told him to let Martha look him over so he did.
"He came over to run the screwdriver over him too and scowled at him. Xander shrugged and pointed out he was the master of the impossible. Doc complained about temporal radiation. He looked at himself then at him and said 'from my hellmouth at home, from something coming off you, he mentioned you by name and we didn't understand then, or from then. Then he got a bright idea and said he knew what it was and dug out his clearly ingrown bellybutton ring with a little pink crystal and handed it over. 'It's from that thing right?' he asked and Doc growled but sighed at the end when Xander scratched him behind the ear.
"Martha and I thought the Doctor was going to smack him for that. He would've killed us. Xander got away with it though. He used it to repair some things and Xander started to go but Doc said he'd take him home this time. We hit a temporal vortex." She snickered. "Yeah, not good news and Xander growled now. Got tardis sick on Martha. He muttered, sulked, chin down, all of that, and then pulled out a book, two plants, and another crystal and boom, no more tardis spinning in a whirlpool of time," he finished quietly.
"I think that's the first time the Doctor looked at him like he was an equal, but incredibly scary. He didn't even give the Master that look, Dawn, but Xander proved himself. He's shown Doc a few things about being resourceful and Doc likes him like a son most of the time. Now and then he's got that urge to beat him to death for something but he's also had him use his special skills to help with things." He kissed her on the temple.
"I think we all underestimated Xander a lot. He's like the one that can make you see reality. I did see him totally sneak up on Doc and Donna once. I saw it in a memory crystal, not in person. Donna shrieked at him for daring to touch him. The Doctor just stared at him then told him to get a haircut. Xander quipped back that if he did that the current temporal bastard would hate it. He liked the handhold, and did Doc want to hold the time stream destroying weapon or would he prefer Xander keep it." She cackled quietly, shaking her head.
"Doc was most displeased that someone had created one. Donna still didn't like him then. Doc told her about him because apparently it changed when they got him away from that ex and his weapons. Half of which are probably in Xander's armory still. The Doctor took out that time agent gone rogue and huffed about it but Xander gave him another hug and he relaxed and smirked at him. Told him to put on some real clothes. Xander said 'give me ten minutes'. Doc nodded and waited. They tried to take him back then too. I think the closest they got was the sixteen hundreds.
"Donna came to appreciate Xander because he got to do something none of the other companions did, nag. Doc would brood, Xander could pull him out of it. Doc would be working so hard he'd forget to eat, Xander conveniently made dinner. Doc would fuss about a hole in his favorite suit coat and Xander would drag him through multiple markets until the Doctor huffed and let someone fix it and told Xander to quit being a girl about clothes. Xander found some real interesting stuff in some markets.
"Doc didn't used to have a garden in the tardis. I was with him then. He walked back there to see what Xander was doing. The last time we had left him alone too long, Donna nearly fell through the secondary exit wormhole he had found by accident while exploring and into a harem. Doc wasn't happy. Doc nearly paddled Xander that day and then Donna. Xander got the wormhole fixed. Put on protections, and then somehow talked Donna into dressing up for dinner.
"He served berries and some sort of cream sauce and the Doctor was giggling for a good, long while. I think they forgot about him for about six weeks. Then Doc walked into the garden area one day and found him digging. Doc said they couldn't have a garden. They didn't get any sunlight and how did he get dirt? Xander showed him. Doc sent him closer to his time zone. Which was back before human evolution or the Ancients apparently. Doc cannot work my band at all." She snuggled against his side.
"The day he managed the garden, Doc actually knew he was there and was hurt. He was sulking because the Doctor had said something smartass to him, which had hurt him more. I went looking and couldn't find him. You know the tardis is infinite inside, right?" She nodded. "Well, he figured it out after checking the bathroom the tardis put in for him and the nice bedroom that only seemed to appear when Xander was there. Usually right before he showed up so the Doctor realized he was going to run into him.
"He found him planting something and sighed, sitting down next to him but Xander floated him off something delicate. The Doctor didn't complain but let him finish it. It was good for him and the tardis, plus us. Then he got him to talk and Xander was burned out then. He realized it and told him all he had to do was want to go home. Xander and he ended up in a shouting match. I heard it in the control room and the garden's a good few hallways away.
"I pointed out if he had my band it wasn't related to anything mystical, it was mechanical. I tried to set it but that's when the Doctor realized that whatever he usually did to block it kept Xander from hitting the right century but it was too long going on to clearly fix it. So we worked on it. The Doctor got so frustrated with him sometimes but Xander kept pointing out it wasn't his fault. Hell, Doc fixed Xander up on a date. He ended up being a shithead who liked genocide. Doc asked Xander how he did it. Xander pointed out he hadn't picked him after we saved him from being killed. Sometimes I think Doc had this love/hate relationship with saving Xander from his lovers."
"Buffy did too sometimes," she admitted. "Which I always thought was wrong."
"After the fiftieth though...."
She shrugged. "How many of those were his choice and how many of those were someone else choosing?"
"He always seems to have that happen and can't get unstuck."
She pulled back to look at him. "Did you?"
"No," he admitted. "Either time. Which is what I reminded the Doc about and he sighed and said it probably wasn't that hard. Xander gave him to one of the people that wanted him and walked off in a snit. It took me three days to save him. Oh, Doc was pissed."
"I would be too but I could see that point from his side too."
"I did too and I pointed that out. That he was growling at being in the same position Xander was. Even with all the fights Xander got into, all the wars, and it happened. Doc couldn't believe it would happen to him without someone interfering. Our next place? One of Xander's ex's showed an unnatural interest and Doc fled. He kinda left me there to handle it but Xander showed up to smack him around for me.
"Doc realized he had left me and showed back up to find Xander in a battle over his ass being his own. Didn't like it. Tried to break it up. They decided if they won they got all three of us. Doc evacuated us and Xander kinda blew some of them up just as we left. Doc glared at him but Xander pointed out all he had done was walk past them. Apparently the later parts of the universe forgot the word no. Snarked that apparently someone in the time lord's people had forgotten to include that in their dictionary.
"The Doctor just looked horrified so Xander went to his garden. He followed to see what he had meant. Xander explained it to him, including how much it had hurt that he had given him to the future's version of Hitler. Doc had to learn to think a bit because of that. He thought he had been teasing. That's when he realized yeah, Xander's a lot like him and me. He can be a bit scary and powerful, he can do some amazing things, but now and then he needs a hug. Which I think Doc taught him were good after that talk." He tweaked her ear. "Xander made me talk about the family stuff whenever I needed to. He absorbs all that."
"Yeah but now he has Evan and Radek to make him talk about things." She smiled. "Radek will apparently hold him down until he talks if he needs to."
"Good. I like that."
"So, are you going to talk to Ianto?"
"I don't know that he'd want to hear about it."
"I wouldn't mind and I don't know if he'd mind at all." She kissed him on the cheek. "Mention one tomorrow, see how he reacts."
"I might sometime soon. You should be in bed."
"I know," she sighed. She grinned. "Go clubbing with me?"
"Hell no," he said, giving her a fond grin. "You have a chaperone for that now."
"Yeah, and he's been thinking about gay sex. I need to go buy a strap on." He snickered, shaking his head. "I do."
"No you don't."
"Yeah, I think I do. Wanna help?"
"Oh, no. You get Xander to. He's good at that." He tweaked her ear again. "Rest. We have another day of rift madness and weevils." He went back to his own bed. He felt better. Dawn would understand some of Xander's secrets. And probably his too. He slid in and cuddled up to Ianto.
He sniffed. "She makes hot chocolate?"
"Joyce taught her how. She's done it to help others talk, Ianto."
"Hmm. Talk about what?"
"Mostly about Doc and Xander tonight."
Ianto looked at him. "So, is the girl in the journal Dawn?"
"No, her great-grandchild in that reality."
Ianto smiled. "Good. I don't want to lose the mouthy thing anytime soon. It's about time you got to enjoy having a family."
"Did you eavesdrop?"
"No. I knew it was family related. I saw the seal for Xander's estate." He took a kiss.
"She suggested I tell you about some of them."
"If you want we can over breakfast and tea."
Jack smiled. "This is really domestic sometimes."
"Hmm, yes, it is, isn't it?" He wrapped himself around Jack. "Sleep. You've stayed up too long." Jack nodded and let himself drift off. Ianto mentally praised Dawn for her good work. Jack needed to let some of that out to someone beyond the Doctor and Xander, who had enough of his own traumas to think about. He heard a squeal and blinked a few times. "What did she do to him this time?" he muttered. If Owen was upset he'd stomp up to complain to them. Since he hadn't, apparently he had liked it.
Xander walked out into the mother of all arguments in the morning. He stared at the insane people. "Who in the fuck are you people?" he demanded calmly. They all stared at him. "Hi, I'm Xander, geek to military liaison." A few flinched back. "Good idea since you guys just ruined my happy mood." Radek came out of his room up the hall and Evan out of his. "Do we know these people, Evan?"
"No. I don't. Radek?"
"Not in the least."
Someone stormed up the halls. "Who are you three?" she demanded.
"That is the head of science, this is the head of the military people here, and I'm the geek to military liaison," Xander told her. "So who in the fuck are you?" She gave him a horrified look. "Nila? Who in the hell are these fucking morons who just ruined my good mood?"
"These are some of the new scientists, Xander."
He looked at them. "Then you're mine and Radek's people. As far as I know you weren't coming until tomorrow."
"Are you a doctor?" the new huffy woman sniffed.
"No, I'm the head linguist." She went pale. "So shut the fuck up. You're giving women everywhere a bad name." Radek snorted at that, walking off shaking his head. "Radek, meeting room?"
"Please. Let me find you caffeine."
"I have one." He opened his can. "Meeting area, people, that was the head of science here. Follow his commands." He waved. They fled. He took a sip.
Evan patted him on the back. "You're turning into McKay," he said in his ear.
"If I must," he sighed, cracking Evan up. "Nila, are the others here?"
"Yes, Xander. All ten new scientists and your new language minion as well."
"Cool. Are the labs here?"
"Yes, they were moved last night. One will not lock into place and they're not sure why."
Xander sighed, going to help with that before he lost his temper. "Guys, the end hanging off needs to go up, not down." They used a winch to pull it up. Xander sighed and gave it a magical push and it locked into place but bent a support. He looked at the scowling construction guys. "Sorry."
"No, it might've been a bit narrow," he admitted. "Should we be building support docks?"
"I planned on it," he admitted. "No idea. Ask Nila." He nodded, going to do that. Xander went back inside to see round two of the mother of all fights starting. Xander took a drink of soda and handed it to Radek when he paused to take a breath. "People, this is your head of science here," he pointed out. "We can shoot you and let your body fall into the ocean." They all quit arguing. "Thank you!" He looked at Radek. "Which labs are safe?"
"Six of them are deemed safe to enter. The rest need some repairs and work done to ensure they won't blow up or anything."
"The beam will not work, Xander," Nila reported as she popped in. "I don't know why."
"Radek, go move the ZPM to the docking area's power supply?" He went to do that with the spare one. They all noticed when it came on. She beamed and nodded, then left. Xander looked at the list. "All right, it looks like some of the labs were severely damaged so you'll learn Ancient tech the same way we did, fixing it." He looked up. "For those who don't know, I'm Xander, I'm the chief linguist; hi, Paul."
"He agreed with you this time, Xander."
"Cool." He smiled. "I'm also the geek to military liaison because we will be having some people here to guard us." He got a soda beamed in front of him and opened it. "Thanks, Atlantis." Since it was one he had left there. He took a sip. "As of right now, we have how many threats?" he asked Evan when he spotted him being amused.
"Six countries don't like that we have them and are pushing to have it taken out of US control."
"And they won't win because we can't be sure they won't use things to damage others," he agreed. He looked at them. "All of these labs are Ancient in more than design. Most of them have spent thousands of years alone. Nila, do any have independent AI's?" he called.
"The botany lab has one but she isn't feeling ready to come out yet, Xander. I have talked to her."
"Cool. I'll go talk to her in a few then." He looked around. "Most of you are personnel from our various missions, I realize this. Some of you are from Atlantis. Most of you worked in the Antarctic outpost. Wonderful. Nila is sentient, she is emotive, and she sensible. We treat her with respect or she has permission to throw you off into the ocean. Got it?" They all nodded. "Good. Today, you're to go to your labs, see what condition it is in. Some of them are worse than others.
"For those who don't know me, I do temp in botany. I do help out Radek now and then. I also help when things happen. As this is technically under military authority because the SG is a base, we'll be doing drills later this week. You guys don't need the extensive boot camp some of the projects got, but you'll damn well be able to handle it if we are attacked by some people who want the tech for themselves. Understood?" Everyone nodded.
"Good. I'll set that up with Major Lorne later today." He saw Cam walk in. "For today, we are going to go lab-by-lab. We are going to make sure of what is safe and what is not. We have lost too many people to degrading machines blowing up. We don't want that here. I will throw the mother of all fits if you do something stupid." They all nodded, settling in. "Good. Now, our official head is here. This is Colonel Cameron Mitchell. He's over all of us." He let him have the podium.
Radek came in when he turned around. "Radek." He waved Evan up too. "These three are my lieutenants, people. Major Evan Lorne," he said with a point. "He is in charge of our military presence. This is Doctor Radek Zelenka. Doctor McKay's second-in-command. Yes, he has lasted for years, even with the yelling. This is Xander Harris. He is our chief linguist and geek to military liaison." He looked at Xander. "They aren't supposed to know about the other one."
"Sorry, I thought they all knew since they're all our project."
"I think only one of us didn't," one woman said, raising her hand slightly. She pointed at her.
Xander looked at her. "In?"
"Chemical engineering. I was recently recruited by the SGC."
"Good," Cam agreed. "For right now, this is the first day of the most frustrating and rewarding career ever. Things will be broken, slightly work, not work at all unless a gene carrier gets close to them, and might work perfectly until you hit the wrong button. We have lost sixteen scientists to exploding machines in the last five years." They slumped. "Therefore we're going to be cautious. You guys are going to be the backbone of the labs, even when we start accepting non-program scientists. They're going to be giddy about tech but you guys know what it can and has done. Including the two beautiful baby girls that are at the main base." Xander grinned. "All three of the fathers are amazed with them by the way."
"Three fathers?" one woman asked. But she was new. The rest of them had seen stranger than male pregnancies.
"They walked into a lab and found an ancient machine that was for asexual reproduction," Xander admitted. "The first rule is do not touch a machine you don't know the purpose of. If you have to, take precautions because half of them are damaged or do things that you might not like."
"Like bring another version of McKay to this universe," Lorne said.
"Or make two men pregnant," Radek offered.
"Or even turn you into things," Xander said with a grin. "We got a few pets a few months back that I had to help change back." They groaned.
"Secondly, the Ancients thought different things were important," Cam said. "They thought ascension was the ultimate good thing. There's machines to help you with that. One we don't want to touch ever again."
"It's got a huge sign on it," Xander told him quietly.
"Good! If we find it here, put another one." He looked at him. "Any other AI's?"
"Nila said botany has one. I'm going to talk to her later."
"That's cool. You're a good first friend to have." He looked out there. "We'll be sending a few soldiers with you the first time you go. Just in case it does something really screwy and so they can help you evacuate if you have to. Before it was a full team and a scientist at the very least."
The new doctor raised her hand. "Genes were mentioned?"
"Did anyone tell you anything at the ATA gene?" Radek asked her.
"Oh, yes, I was told I had it very weakly."
"Ancients encoded that," Radek told her. "So we could operate their things if we ever got this far. Some things will only respond to ATA carriers, some will work for everyone. Did they teach you how it worked?" She nodded. "Good. Do not think anything on when you first get into a lab. If something immediately comes on, look it over carefully. It could be a watchdog program. Not all labs had an ATA carrier go through them yet."
"Yes they did," Cam admitted. "We kept one of the lesser ones to go through things and mark them. We have a list." He handed that over. "We have no idea if them being joined will alter that any." He looked at them. "I will expect the same sort of behavior we have on the base. Without the slacking and the bickering we sometimes have. If you have problems, see Xander or Radek. If the military guys have problems, they see Evan or myself. Got it?" They all nodded. "Then welcome to the most frightening, rewarding career of your lives, people. We'll be making new sciences together for years." They smiled. "Let's all start in the first lab, Evan."
"I'll need two or three to go with me to botany," Xander told him. "Maybe I can talk to the AI alone for now. She might be scared."
"Got it," Evan agreed. "Xander, you have team 5. Teams 1-4 are ready to escort into labs. That leaves two teams on stand down for base guarding and rescues," he reported.
"Good plan," he agreed.
"Geek bootcamp?" Xander asked.
"Shouldn't be too intrusive. Could probably become preparedness drills," Cam decided. "Evan?"
"Later this week, sir. Let's get the first few emergencies out of the way."
"Agreed. Go to it." They left. He stopped Xander, staring at him. "You usurp beautifully," he said dryly.
"They were arguing, again. We walked out into one this morning."
"That's a good reason. Remember we're in charge, not just you." Xander nodded. "Go."
Xander left, going up to botany with team five, who he all knew. "Guys, going to talk to the new AI," he reported, leading them up to botany. Someone handed him his ID card on a lanyard necklace. "Thank you." He went up and scanned it then walked in. The guards stayed at his back. "Hi, Botany," he called. "I'm Xander." Something lit up. He smiled and scanned the lab with the handheld unit by the door. It was okay. He thought it on and everything lit up and came alive. Everything was in stasis but a few panels were open. "Ah, we had to do some rewiring to get you out of danger."
A small figure appeared on a console. "You talk to us," she said.
Xander sat down in front of her. "I do. I'm Xander. I talk to Nila and Atlantis too." She stared at him. "Do you have a name you prefer we use?"
"No, Botany is fine." She looked around. "You have guards like the ones who stole me?"
Xander sighed and pulled out his PDA, getting into the files he had prepared in case they ran into any AI's today. He held it up. "Scan that. That's what's currently going on." She did it and then nodded, bowing her head. "We think you're amazing and we're still learning about you and from you."
"Then why move me?"
"Did you notice that things were dangerous there?"
"Yes, but humans have periods like that."
He nodded. "They can but we wanted all the labs together."
She scanned and smiled. "We're not in our proper positions."
"That's because you're docked to Nila. Go ahead and talk with her if you need to." She did that and beamed at him. "All right?" She nodded. "Good. Now, I need a list of what is not working and if you know why, so we can have someone fix them, and I need to know anything that you need in here." She sent it to his PDA. He sent it to Radek. He beamed. "Wonderful." He pointed at the plants. "I have some of my own. I'll be bringing in some samples and we'll be learning about those. I'll also be setting up the public lanar that we had built into this docking station. I'm only a part-time botanist."
"She said you have many plants."
"I like plants."
"So do I." He showed her pictures and she giggled. "I have a whole garden at home. I'll get some clippings for here later on." She beamed and nodded. "Okay, for now, do we have any of these plants," he asked, sending over both lists.
"I have the tea flowers and a few others. I don't have..." She scanned the second list. "I have two on that second list."
"That's the dangerous list." She nodded at that. "Show me where they are so I can check their condition?" She put a brighter light over them and he went to look. "Okay, we'll leave these in stasis for right now. Were your other rooms cleared to this one?"
He went to look, finding them mostly empty outside of built-in benches and tables to work on. A few floor-level planters. He had eight rooms to fill. "Let's start by moving some of the harmless, flowering things into the next room," he told the soldiers, pointing them out to them. They helped him carry them and arrange them for working on. That left a quarter of the other things. "Botany, do any of the rooms have a good light exposure to natural light?"
"The walls on them are all UV sensitive so the light can shine in. We do have a lot of light here."
"We're near the tropics in the Pacific Islands." He pulled up a map on his PDA and she nodded she understood. "So it shouldn't be too hard." She beamed. He looked at the rest and took the ones who could be dangerous to the third room. The rest fit nicely around there and gave a good selection to start with. "Okay. We're going to remove the stasis on these one at a time," he ordered. She nodded and started where he pointed. He checked the plant's health with the scanner, logged in the type, condition, if it was young or old and about to spawn, and then made sure it had water and plant food. Botany came out to a larger, human sized to help them. The other two botanists came in and he waved. "Botany, these are two other people who will be working in here. They're official botanists."
"Pleasure to meet you," she said, bowing slightly.
They beamed and bowed back. "Good to meet you too," the head female of the two said. "I'm Doctor Culter, this is Doctor Walters. We were both on Atlantis's team." Botany beamed at that. "Xander?"
"Going over each one since they're in stasis. Radek has the list of what she said needs fixed." They nodded, coming over. "I put the flowers in the next room and the more dangerous and exotic in the third room. They have enough room in them to teach and there's six other rooms beyond that. These are mostly food and ornamental plants."
"I noticed. Good work." She smiled. "We can have Wednesday and Pugsley back, right?"
"Sure, later on. I'll have to pull them out of storage." They nodded and got back to work. Then Xander ran home to get the plant samples for the labs so they could plant those. Botany was ecstatic over some of them. She was a lot like a teenage girl. The soldiers got to help him move stuff to the lanar for planting down there. It only had ornamental ponds. Sixteen smaller separate ones around the area. "I need some of the fish from Atlantis," he decided.
"Please don't make us get the biting fish, Harris," one of the soldiers begged. "I saw the guy that got in with them thanks to the spores. I nearly puked."
Xander smiled. "It'll be fine, really. I know they're both overcrowded and you can fish them out with a net." They beamed and he called Rodney over the comm to make that note. Nila got them the water set up just right and a few bags of fish were beamed over. He emptied them into their proper areas. A few in each one. Alternating biting and normal fish. The left three without by design. "We'll get koi or other pretty fish for those." They beamed and nodded. Xander got the rest of the lanar planted. Whoever had set it up had done an excellent job. There were planters and earth waiting on him. By dinner time he had them all planted and it was ready except the koi or other pretty fish and furniture. He sacrificed some fish food and hotdogs to the fish before leaving. They went to the mess and he sat down with Evan with a grin. "We need a few handful of pretty fish or koi for the lanar and it's set up outside of furniture."
"Good work." He handed him a glass of milk. "Real milk."
"Wonderful." He sipped. He hated powdered milk so hadn't drank any on Atlantis for months. "Cutler, how's Botany looking? Need anything?"
"No, we're looking excellent. Her main wiring needs some help but McKay was with her so it was fixed reasonably well as a patch."
"All but furniture and three small ponds that need fishies. I got some from the over abundance we gave the other city."
"Wonderful!" She wrote her mother that email. Her mother knew ornamental fish and could send her suggestions.
Cam came over with his tray and sat down. "Good evening, my people." They grinned at him. "Xander, I saw the lanar on the cameras. Nice job."
"Three need fish and we need furniture."
"We're getting it later this month. Don't forget to check on the eggs."
"Armand's been there all day," he said dryly.
"That's fine." He dug in and moaned. "Fresh food." They all grinned and made pigs of themselves. He relaxed. "Recreation rooms are almost done. Pool needs to be finished. Need a pool table. Need a tv but that's coming. We'll make it, kids."
"You're sounding more and more like Jon," Xander teased.
"Some days you gotta learn from the best." He smirked. "Radek, Nila's upgrades?"
"Twenty percent complete. The structural is about fifty percent."
"Decent. You guys make me wonderful things." They all smiled. "Chemistry is a total wreck?" Radek nodded. "Are we getting help?"
"Definitely. I sent the specs to Rodney as our technical head. He sent back swears. We examined the other labs and interfaced with the systems to run a check. Some are worse, some are just mildly bad. Botany Rodney patched on the flight over so they wouldn't crash."
"She's got a short list of fixes," Xander agreed. "Then we'll be ready to accept others."
Radek nodded. "In six months we will be."
"Thinking about it," Cam said. "Will they know what to do?" Radek shrugged. "Can we do a class for them? This is Ancient tech: know it, fear it, love it, crave it?"
"I will put in a suggestion," he promised with a smirk. "Though I am not up to teaching that and those two things."
"That's fine. Sam can do that. Hell, Rodney can do that. It'll make sure we won't have any fainters." Cam stuffed his mouth while the others laughed. "Evan, disasters?"
"Two. Both beamed back to the main base for treatment. One pleasure boater who wanted to know if we were a hotel. We had to produce military people and they fled as fast as their yacht could take them." Cam grinned and nodded. "So we're good so far."
"Excellent news. The VIP tour went well. Only one wasn't respectful and he was IOA. He got thrown. They were all impressed with how she did that." He ate another bite while they laughed. "So we're good?" They nodded. "Good. 'Cause damn I'm glad I didn't get Atlantis from the start." They all beamed at him. "I would've went insane out there. I like this insanity much better. Not a bad posting at all." He finished up and went to walk his halls. It was something all commanders knew they'd end up doing sometime. Even if the arguing chemists were going to drive him nuts. Nila sent them both into the ocean, making him smirk. "Nice shot, Nila." He walked off. Yeah, this was a good final posting.
The End of this story.
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