- Character Bashing
- Death-Major Character
- Explicit Sex
- Alternate Universe
- Canon Divergent
- Established Relationship
- Science Fiction
Tony watched the feed as Gibbs systematically broke Agent Rob Smith down to a quivering mass. The man was a veritable fountain of information on the workings of the Trust and all number of supposedly legitimate NID operations that crossed the line. Tom Morrow was organizing a wave of arrests. Some public and some very, very silent arrests.
To find out that SecNav of all people had been snaked was a kick in the gut. The man was that close to the President for fuck’s sake. The President and his staff had immediately submitted to a full scan and were thankfully clear. SecNav was a new edition to the Trust, so he hadn’t been snaked for long. There were plans for more snakes, but thankfully the symbiotes weren’t on Earth yet. The NID members of the Trust were confident they could control who the goa’uld infected by their agreement with the snakes. They were fucking deluded.
SecNav was currently in a secure holding cell until they figured out the snake issue. Officially he was taking a sabbatical. SG-1 had already made contact with the Tok’ra for help, and they were waiting on a response. Tony didn’t want the man to suffer, but he would trust the Tok’ra as far as he could space them.
Tony glanced at the other observer in the room, Dean Bates. The man on the IOA special task force that was responsible for preventing and cleaning up alien threats on Earth. Tony figured that taskforce was a complete fail on the first part. There was a tap on his shoulder, and Tony left Bates to continue alone as he followed Sgt. Harriman.
Harriman led him to O’Neill’s office. “Go on in; he’ll be right back.”
Tony took a seat and leaned back to close his eyes. He was just so fucking tired. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been 48 hours since he was taken. The order to bunk down and sleep on Alex didn’t work so well. He had spent half the night in the med bay staring at McGee’s pod. Biro had informed him of the prognosis. Ancient equipment could heal just about anything, but the amount of nerve damage would mean a prolonged stay in the pod.
And, of course, there was the whole secret issue. McGee would have to be read into the program, but his previous actions meant his loyalty was being questioned. So they may heal him just to have him disappear. Tony wasn’t sure what he was supposed to feel about that. In the end, McGee had tried to protect him. According to Gibbs, the man had already realized his error and was planning to leave NCIS. Tony thought for his own peace of mind, he might be ready to forgive, but he could never forget.
“DiNozzo.” O’Neill entered the office and had a seat. “How’s Gibbs doing? It’s not easy when you have to be the one to take out one of your own.”
“He’s working out his anger on Smith.” Tony made a face. “I don’t think he’s getting the satisfaction out of it he wants. I understand Alex is responsible for softening him up.”
“Yes, I suppose he did. I actually brought you in here for your take on a couple of people who are now our problems.” O”Neill reached into his desk and pulled out two folders, flipping open the first. “James Palmer, autopsy assistant. He’s already signed the NDA, but do you think he’ll be able to keep the program secret?”
Tony shifted in the chair. “Jimmy may come across as talkative, but he understands the consequences. I don’t think he’ll let you down. Plus, you have the added benefit that his mentor is Dr. Mallard. Since Dr. Mallard is read in, he will guarantee that Palmer toes the line. And once he finishes his education, you will have two M.E.s in that area to handle special cases.”
“That was the feeling I was getting,” O’Neill agreed and closed the file. He moved it to the bottom as he flipped open the next file. “McGee.”
Tony tensed up. “What do you want me to say, General.”
“I want to know if I should dig a hole for him.” O’Neill stared at Tony.
Tony grimaced. “I don’t think I’m the best one to make that call.”
“The way I see it, you were the one most harmed. Your insight is important. So, you tell me, can he be trusted?” O’Neill leaned back and waited Tony out.
He took his time because this was a question Tony had been asking himself. “I think Gibbs and I share the responsibility for some of McGee’s issues. Gibbs set the team up as a competition for his favor, and I didn’t call him on it. And, when Ziva responded better to McGee, we would push him at her. Frankly, because sometimes I didn’t want to deal with her. We allowed her to manipulate him, and honestly, there was part of me that realized she was manipulating the entire team, and I gave it a pass again and again because Gibbs told me to.”
Tony saw a look in O’Neill’s eye like he was going to cut in, and he stopped him with a hand up. “But, I can never forget that manipulated or not, he made a choice to leave me without backup in the field. He tried to protect me in the end and almost gave his life for it, but one act doesn’t negate the other.”
He looked around the room, trying to figure out how to say it. “If you want to know if you can trust him with the secret of this program, yes. I really believe you can. If you want to know if he can be brought into the program…I can acknowledge that the man has some serious skills that could be useful. If he heals enough for field duty, don’t allow it. Even if he would never cut comms again, that’s a stain that doesn’t leave a person, and I wouldn’t want him with a team that either felt they couldn’t trust him or thought they should teach him a lesson. It just wouldn’t be good for morale. Just…have a very open conversation with him and decide where he could work best.”
O’Neill grinned, “You and Gibbs look at things from very different perspectives, but you both get to the same point…eventually. Tom and I will work together to decide if we have someplace to put him to use. I’ll feel better if we can keep a close eye on him for a while, and I don’t think any of us want to see him go back to NCIS.”
“If I may ask, have we decided what to do about Director Vance?” Tony’s preference was to drop the man down the deepest hole they had.
“Vance.” O’Neill wrinkled his nose like he had stepped in something disgusting. “The President ordered him in for a very unpleasant conversation. We are confident he has no knowledge of the program. We know from Smith that he was being courted by the Trust, but they never made an overture toward him. He’s justifying sending you into that viper’s nest as following orders from SecNav. And, SecNav did order him to send you specifically to that scene.”
“So, no consequences for him?” Tony asked tightly.
“Oh, there will be consequences, but not quite yet. Morrow has people crawling all up in his business. He knows he was being investigated, but doesn’t know it’s an ongoing investigation. For now, we’re going to leave him where he is and let him think he’s in the clear. His buddy, Eli David, will contact him soon, and we want to use him as a vehicle to get to David. We’ll keep our eyes on him to see if he is contacted by the Trust as well. We’re rooting it out where ever we find it, but I’m not naive enough to believe we will find it all in one sweep.” O’Neill then flashed him a big, unrepentant grin. “Besides, I figure that it’s poetic justice that we stake him out as bait since he pretty much did the same thing to you.”
Tony chuckled at the thought of someone so proud of his position being used without his knowledge that way. “I hope to be there the day he finds out his true value.”
Sitting back, more relaxed with the conversation, Tony asked, “Can you tell me what happened with the crime scene?”
“Agents Williams and Sands showed up to find the M.E. van and SUV but no team. Morrow had a Homeland team that we beamed down to do some cleanup. They threw them a line about a training exercise that your people obviously didn’t believe. We were able to get Gibbs on the line with them, and he confirmed the story and had them take the van back with them. Tom’s guys sent back the SUV and officially filed orders for the team to be seconded to Homeland until the end of their exercise. Vance raised a fuss, but SecNav wasn’t around to escalate his complaint. He’s worried about his own ass right now, so he hasn’t pushed it again.”
Tony fiddled around with a button quietly for a while after O’Neill spoke. O’Neill must have tired of it because he finally broke the silence.
“Something else you want to know, DiNozzo?”
“What story are we giving for Ziva?” Tony looked back up when O’Neill was silent now.
“I would love nothing more than to slap an espionage charge on her and say she died in prison, and if we were taking down Vance right now, I’d do it. Instead, she’s going to have a little accident. Tom is working out the details, so he will brief you before you head back.” O’Neill was twirling some little gizmo between his fingers. “Just so you know. I want to thank you for helping get McKay back for us. The man drives me crazy, but it would have been a real loss to us. If the Homeworld Security gig doesn’t work out for you, the SGC will always have a place waiting.”
“Thanks, General. I’ll keep that in mind.” Tony stood up and shook his hand before heading back to Gibbs watching.
“Ducky?” Tony ran up and gave Dr. Mallard a hug. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to collect my wandering assistant,” Ducky said with a smile. “How has Mr. Palmer adapted to the knowledge that we are not alone?”
“Like an excited puppy. He’s been giddy with all of the information.” Tony shared. “Worried you’re going to lose him?”
“Oh, no. I assure you I will drag him back, kicking and screaming to finish his degree if I have to.” Ducky took Tony by the arm. “I am told you are my best option to join them on your wonderous Starship friend. Dear Alicia contacted me with the knowledge that they are removing Timothy from his healing pod this morning.”
“That’s today?” Tony touched his bracelet. “Alex, can Dr. Mallard and I get a lift up?”
They were suddenly on the command deck. “Welcome aboard, Dr. Mallard.”
Ducky looked around for the voice, then smiled. “Well, thank you, young Alex. Feel free to call me Ducky.”
“Ok, Dr. Ducky! Agent Tony, Agent McGee’s healing cycle, will complete in ten minutes. Is there anyone else we should have present?” Alex asked.
“Let Gibbs know.” Tony started walking, “This way, Ducky.”
Gibbs had the forethought to ask Alex to beam him to the med bay, so he was waiting for them when they arrived. Ducky was exchanging greetings with Gibbs and Palmer while they watched Dr. Biro and her staff prep for Tim’s extraction.
McKay had gotten back on track to finish his recruitment for Atlantis since they had been gone much longer than originally scheduled. Since Dr. Biro was on Earth anyway, he had gracelessly handed off the final selection for medical staff to her. Now she was using the med bay on Alex for training on Ancient systems.
Ducky slipped forward to look everything over and was discussing things Tony didn’t even want to know. Eventually, Biro was firmly giving orders to her staff, and the pod slid open. McGee was showing signs of regaining consciousness, so they moved fast to move him from the pod to a bed.
The greatest thing Tony had ever seen was the jerk of Tim’s foot when Biro tapped the back of his ankle. Full consciousness was slow in coming, but it was clear there was a full range of sensation. It was hard to believe that only days before, they weren’t sure if the man would ever walk again.
Biro demanded that McGee remained in the med bay for another twenty-four hours for observation, though Tony secretly thought it was also for them to study him. Apparently the pods on Atlantis weren’t working yet.
Tony held back as everyone spoke to McGee. It was over an hour later before he approached the bed and took a seat next to him. “Hey, McGee.”
“Tony.” Tim looked at him with such relief; it was a little hard to take. “You’re ok?”
“Shouldn’t I be asking you? What in the world were you thinking?” Tony asked. He didn’t plan it; it just spilled out.
“Ziva was pointing a weapon at your back. I failed to have your back once. I couldn’t do that again. I don’t expect you to ever forgive me, but I am so glad you’re safe.” McGee looked so remorseful.
“I do forgive you. I need to forgive so I can let it go and move on with my life. But I can’t forget. I can’t…trust you in the field again. Hopefully, you can understand that.” Tony closed his eyes a moment to hold back his emotion.
“I do understand. I don’t trust myself, either. I’m…I’m going to quit NCIS. I can’t go out in the field again.” Tim turned to the side and curled up his knees on the bed.
“Don’t be so hasty,” O’Neill said.
Tony looked over his shoulder to see O’Neill and Tom Morrow enter with Gibbs. “General?”
“I can respect someone who acknowledges when they’ve been wrong and is willing to take the hit and fix his shit.” O’Neill pulled up a chair and had a seat.
“Sir?” Tim looked around at everyone.
“You’re a smart guy, Agent McGee. Director Morrow and Agent Gibbs are certain you still have something to offer. But I have a question that I need an answer to before I sign off.” O’Neill leaned forward and set his elbows on his knees.
Tony glanced at Morrow and Gibbs, who both looked a little clueless about O’Neill.
McGee swung his legs over the bed to face O’Neill and sat up straight. He looked resigned. “Go ahead and ask, General.”
O’Neill pitched a little ball onto McGee’s lap. McGee caught it before it could roll off and it lit up and hummed. “You are sitting in the middle of one of the highest tech medical bays around, and I can see that you can feel the place working. Yet, you haven’t asked one question about it. Either you are the least inquisitive person I have ever met…or you know something you shouldn’t.”
“Director Shepard had me working on a special project for her. It was just before she died. She had a laptop she wanted me to gain access to. It was highly encrypted.” McGee started.
“When you were working that case with Cybercrimes?” Gibbs questioned.
“Yeah, it wasn’t Cybercrimes; she said it was classified, and I wasn’t to tell anyone I was working on it. I’ve done it on cases before. Even keeping it classified it wasn’t out of the ordinary. But when I gained access, the files that opened up were obviously nothing that we should have. I…well, I saw enough to know that I shouldn’t have seen any of it. I locked it back, removed my access, and reported to her that the encryption was too advanced to access without destroying the data. I was considering who I should contact about it because I was questioning her drive to get the information, but the next day the Director was on her way to California. Then she was dead.” McGee shrugged.
“What happened to that laptop?” O’Neill asked with a glare.
“The NID came in, took the evidence on the case, which was the laptop, a cell phone, and some trace evidence that had no viable DNA, and questioned me for an hour about my activity to access the computer.” McGee swallowed hard. “I..uh, well I told them the same thing I told Jenny. That I couldn’t get in. They seemed satisfied and ordered me to never mention it again.”
“Any clue who the NID agent was?” Morrow asked.
McGee rolled his eyes. “He said his name was Smith.”
Gibbs smirked, and there was some amusement in his eyes.
“OK, so obviously you can keep a secret. We are going to have an NDA for you to sign like no NDA you have seen in your life. You will sign it and live by it. I have absolutely no problem making you disappear, do you understand?” O’Neill stared down McGee until he nodded. “You have been given a second chance at a useful life. I hope you make the most of it.”
O’Neill got up and left the room while Morrow moved into place. “First, I will never give you the opportunity to let down a partner in the field again. Doesn’t matter why it happened, but I will never give that a second chance. However, you have skills. I would rather have those skills working for me than going to waste. So, as of now, you have been transferred to the Department of Homeland Security as far as anyone is concerned. Specifically, you will be working under me in Homeworld Security. I have plans for a task force and you are going to be in the cyber division.”
McGee glanced at Gibbs, who nodded before he looked up to Tony. Tony gave him a grin and nod before he got up to leave the room. It was up to Gibbs and Morrow to read him in.
“DiNozzo!” O’Neill was marching down the corridor toward Tony. Cameron Mitchell was following close behind.
He looked up and smiled. “Hey, General. Have you seen Ronon? He was supposed to meet me for lunch. Sheppard and Rodney were telling me the best steaks in town are at someplace called O’Malley’s.”
“They’re right, but you’re going to need a raincheck.” Up close, O’Neill looked pissed.
Tony changed tracks fast. “Can I help you with something?”
“Yes, you can do something about your ship.”
“What has Alex done now?” Tony dropped his head and sighed.
Col. Mitchell giggled, then quickly cleared his face when O’Neill glared at him. “Come on, Tony. You have to see this.”
Tony was hauled into one of the rooms their cyber team used to monitor worldwide activity. It was one of the changes that had taken place in the last week. McGee looked up and smiled slightly. He had been put on the team as the Homeworld Security liaison. Tony was relieved that he was adjusting so quickly. While he was currently housed in the Mountain, officially, he was in the process of moving to Colorado Springs.
The separation from Abby was for the best. Abby hadn’t taken their departure from NCIS well at all. She had thrown an epic bitch fit. It didn’t help that it came immediately on the heels of the recovery of Ziva’s car from the Potomac. Several complaints of her driving were reported to Metro PD and witnesses who saw her lose control and go into the water. Unfortunately her body was not recovered.
Gibbs had calmed her down and explained that it was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up. He was making plans to have dinner with her at least once a week, and Jimmy had stepped up his game in the office to smooth over her edges. Jimmy saw it as his duty to the Program to help ween her off her Gibbs dependence.
There had been one awesome moment when he had been in Vance’s office with Gibbs and McGee turning in their resignations. Vance had gone off on a rant about Tony when Alex had popped up on the man’s computer screen and yelled at him, too, “Back off, Baldy!”
Tony had marched out of the room and down to autopsy for the quiet to lecture Alex about public appearances. It was hard to tell if it stuck since Ducky and Palmer spent the entire time laughing in the background as McGee related the story.
“Tony!” McGee called him over, breaking into his thoughts. “Alex. It’s got to be Alex.”
Tony looked at the screens and noticed about thirty news programs from around the world. He focused on the largest screen with ZNN doing a special report. There was the standard report ongoing with the news ticker running on a loop at the bottom of the screen. Tony listened as the sound was turned up, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary…until he actually read the ticker.
The reporter was giving a report about multiple episodes of police brutality around the country. The ticker was keeping up with what she was saying, but correcting her. He looked at the others. There was the Senator with a banner specifically stating, “He’s lying to you. The truth is…” There was a reporter from China with details scrolling with government lies, a reporter talking about a bashing incident, and a scrolling list of names of everyone who was involved. Statistics on animal deaths in a supposedly no-kill shelter. The list went on.
Tony just rubbed his hands across his face before noticing that everyone in the room was staring at him. “Alex,” Tony called out.
The large screen displayed Alex’s image. He grinned. “Hi, Agent Tony.”
“What are you doing, Alex?”
“I’m fixing things.”
“You call this fixing things?”
“It is. I’ve done research, Agent Tony. People rely on the news media to keep them informed. But they’re not. They lie all the time. Dr. Jackson said a lie of omission is still a lie. How can people make informed decisions if all they hear are lies?” Alex asked, earnestly.
“Alex, I know you really want to help. And I agree with you in principle. I would prefer if they were required to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But, sometimes we don’t tell the whole truth in order to protect people. And if I’m honest with you, we can’t make people tell the truth or even accept it as truth when we tell it. You need to stop, Alex.” Tony reasoned with him.
“It’s wrong. How can you just accept they are all doing it wrong and not do something about it?” Alex looked frustrated.
“Do you really want to devote your every moment going forward to correcting the news reports of the world?” McGee asked Alex.
“No,” Alex whined, and the changes to the news tickers stopped. “I want to help. There has to be something I can do. There is so much out there to see and do. What am I supposed to do, Agent Tony? No one likes anything I try to do on my own.”
“You’re doing fine, Alex. Maybe talk to someone first before trying it on your own,” Tony suggested.
“Dr. Rodney has been so busy. He’s meeting with all those people that he’s taking to Atlantis with him. He’s going to be leaving us soon.” Alex sounded so sad.
Tony exchanged looks with O’Neill, who nodded. “Alex, do you want to go to Atlantis with Dr. Rodney?”
“Really? We can go with him?” Alex perked up.
“If you want to go, I’m sure he would want to take you.” Tony agreed.
“Without you?” Alex said, forlornly. “I can’t leave you behind, Agent Tony. What if someone tries to take you again? I have to be here to have your back.”
Tony saw McGee give a little wince before Tony caught his eye and traded a soft smile. “I think I would be ok without you, Alex. I don’t want to hold you back. You deserve the chance to travel with Dr. Rodney.”
“No. I don’t want to lose Dr. Rodney, but I think you need me more.” Alex seemed torn, and Tony sighed.
“I think maybe we should discuss this with Dr. Rodney. We both want what’s best for you, Alex.” Tony looked around at the screens and thought about the mess one ship could cause on an unsuspecting public. “Think about it, Alex. We promised you that you would always have a choice. Take some time to decide what it is you want.”
“Ok, Agent Tony. I will.” The screen went dark a moment before returning to the programming.
Tony looked at O’Neill, “Sir?”
“We need to figure this out.”
Tony was in a meeting with Gibbs, Morrow, and the team they were building at Homeworld. Gibbs would be running the operation and had made the decision to step back from the field operation. Tony knew he was still struggling a little with having to be the one to kill Ziva. They were hammering out the changes of the team.
“Agent Tony,” Alex called out.
Tony looked down at the picture of Alex on his phone. “I’m a bit busy now, Alex.”
“I’m aware; however, the surveillance of your apartment shows that there has been an intrusion. There are currently three individuals that are exploring your apartment.” Alex explained.
Gibbs glanced at Morrow. “Can you show us on the monitor, Alex?”
“Yes, Agent Gibbs.”
The monitor changed from their briefing material to the interior of Tony’s apartment. They were being very careful not to disturb anything while searching. Tony started to stand, and Morrow stopped him.
Gibbs threw his key to Tony’s apartment at Jones, the head of the field strike team, and he took off with his team. They watched for another fifteen minutes before Jones led his team into the apartment and arrested the men. Strangely, they went quietly.
Within an hour, it was clear that Eli David had not accepted the news of Ziva’s death. Whatever the man had learned, he had decided that Tony either had more information or that he was key to getting information. They had presented it as simply wanting to have a conversation with Tony. Funny how you have a simple conversation by breaking into a man’s apartment.
It was enough to piss Tony off. His quiet dinner in the apartment with Ronon was canceled in favor of bunking with Gibbs and members of the team. Morrow was working out a response to find out how much Ziva may have shared with her father. So instead of quiet nights at home, it was group nights on Alex and a protection detail everywhere else he went.
There was more, several things were in the works that Tony had been excluded from, and it was starting to chafe. Most noticeable was the fact that he wasn’t named the lead of the investigative team. After two weeks he had finally had enough. How was he supposed to do his work when he had a protection detail, and people weren’t speaking to him.
He was ready to force the issue when he was called into Morrow’s office with Gibbs. O’Neill, Sheppard, and McKay were in there as well.
“Gentlemen.” Tony acknowledged them as he took a seat at the table in Morrow’s office.
“DiNozzo. We have a request for you.” O’Neill looked at Sheppard.
“You’ve heard we’re increasing the number of troops on Atlantis over the next year. While we are made up of mainly Air Force and Marines for the military, we have an international civilian presence that is currently larger than our military. We would like you to come on board and help us set up something of a police force on the city,” Sheppard explained.
“You want me to be a glorified Agent Afloat?” Tony asked, a bit disgruntled. Traveling to another galaxy would be an adventure, but to be turned into a glorified beat cop for a floating city wasn’t his idea of fun.
“It’s more than that. We need someone who can adapt quickly, read people who don’t have Earth cultures, and think outside the box to normalize a standard of interaction. We need someone who can ensure that the Trust doesn’t have a foothold on my city. I would assign a couple of my men to back you up at first. But I would like to build to a five man team working with you on several levels as we ramp up the military presence on the city.” Sheppard explained.
“Honestly, we need someone outside your country’s normal chain of command who could look at things fairly and without concern for which country is going to get their panties in a twist,” Rodney said and crossed his arms. He looked around at the eyes watching him. “What, you know I’m right. He was able to make friends with the jaffa guarding us, the slaves worshiping the snake, and even the tok’ra traitors. Considering he had no idea aliens existed before that, I would say he has intelligence and skills. Of course he’s also got your appalling lack of self-preservation.” Rodney finished while pointing at Sheppard.
“Ok, say I consider this. What would you expect?” Tony asked.
O’Neill leaned forward. “We expect you to take your ship with you. It’s been made clear to us that Alex is attached to you. Maybe that can change with experience, but for now, I am officially listing Alex as a peacekeeping vessel under the auspices of Homeworld Security. Keeping in mind that we would expect you to convince him to help out in protection when needed.”
“Seriously?” Tony blanked for a moment.
“Seriously. The only ones he pays attention to are you and McKay. It’s clear he’s still learning, and frankly, the powers that be would prefer that he learn someplace far away from Earth.” O’Neill gave him a half-smile and motioned outward.
“Boss?” Tony asked, looking at Gibbs.
“Personally, I want to keep an eye on you. But, this job is practically made for you. You need to get away from here for a while. You’re a target right now for Eli David and everyone who wants a chance at gaining control of Alex. They best way to protect him and you is for you to leave. I’ll miss having you at my back, but I’m told that with Alex, you’re just a short trip away.”
Tony sat back and thought about it. He looked back at Sheppard. “Where’s Ronon?”
“He wouldn’t come. Said he was biased and didn’t want you to pick Atlantis just because he wanted you to.” Sheppard looked at him seriously a moment before breaking into a large grin. “He also said if you made the wrong choice, he was going to have Alex kidnap you.”
“Please, Agent Tony.” Alex’s voice came through Tony’s phone. “I don’t want to go without you.”
“OK. I’ll do it.” Tony made the decision quickly. He might regret it later, but it seemed like a future that could be interesting.
It amazed Tony how fast things could move once he made the decision to go to Atlantis. The decision was made to make Tony’s move out of his apartment very visible. Morrow had a team watching the watchers to trace them back to anyone who was a little too interested in where Tony ended up.
Tony wished he could see Eli’s face when he literally disappeared off the face of the Earth. It would be epic. Tony had a bet on with McGee on how many resources Eli burned trying to find him. Tony took the time to say goodbye to everyone. Abby only knew his location would be classified, and he would have a delay in receiving and sending emails.
There had been one hiccup along the way. Seems Peitho had taken steps to secure his empire and had listed one Anthony D. DiNozzo, Jr. as the sole beneficiary of Maxwell Hendley. Since most of the businesses were legitimate, Tony had signed documents allowing them to continue operation and contacted his own financial team to manage things in his absence. There was talk of using some of these as a shell to introduce technologies to Earth.
Tony was at a loss, frankly. He had wanted to just give the whole mess over to the SGC but had bowed to pressure to wait at least a year to give time for a full audit. The personal fortune of Hendley Tony did split. Setting up contingency funds for supplies and assistance of Stargate personnel who might have to leave the service due to unusual circumstances. Not everyone would have access to the healing McGee had received.
Another chunk he had spent getting all kinds of luxury items for Atlantis. People who risked their lives fighting an unknown war every day deserved to have ways to play and relax just as much as they fought. One of Alex’s holds was filled with all manner of items.
The travel to Atlantis had been fun. Alex was excited to get moving, and frankly, it was amazing what Sheppard could accomplish in the command chair. Sheppard indicated Tony had good instincts and was training him for flight. The crew they had brought on board to man the stations were practically giddy with Alex’s mental interfaces. The little pads on either side of the keyboards allowed people to mentally skim what was going on in the command chair and made responses fast and practically seamless.
They were traveling with about thirty troops and forty-something scientists, a large chunk of that being medical staff. About half of them had the ATA gene. Alex was ecstatic to have so many people with the gene on board and was going out of his way to help them all.
Of course, Alex had begged Rodney to let him use his wormhole drive and had Sheppard begging with him. But Rodney shot that down. He insisted that the first voyage with a new command crew was not the time to be trying a drive no one had tried before. He did promise that they would try it soon. Preferably after he had the time to analyze it.
With the power at Alex’s command, it was only three days to Atlantis as is, but Tony was happy for the chance to adapt and come to terms with his new circumstances. He was also happy to finally have some time alone with Ronon. Well, sort of alone since Alex had asked very loudly the first night if they were going to do any private bedroom exercise and could he analyze it for future study.
The laughter in the galley from the Marines was not something Tony would live down soon. Though he was the one smiling the next day as Ronon picked out each and every one of those assholes and targeted them for advanced self-defense practice.
They cloaked as they dropped out of hyperspace and were scanning for any surprises in the system as Tony finally got his first look at his new world. It was so clear and pristine, though the overall amount of water was impressive in a way photos didn’t show.
Sheppard contacted the city as he neared the planet and slipped into orbit. He received a happy response from Dr. Elizabeth Weir. Tony knew he would have to build a close working relationship with the woman. The pleasantries were interrupted by shouts from below and a somewhat horrific sound.
Rodney rushed to scan and was calling down to someone named Zelenka. Since they weren’t speaking English, Tony wasn’t certain what they were saying. But he did get that there were great vibrations, and the city was pulling power from its ZPM and rerouting it from the systems it was currently powering.
Suddenly it went silent. “Elizabeth!” Sheppard called out.
“We don’t know what happened, but the power was rerouted directly through the Ancient database, and it is activating systems we haven’t studied yet. The computer seems to be taking over the active scanning.” She reported.
Alex appeared in hologram form beside them, staring down with a faraway look in his eyes. When he spoke it was as if he was with a bit of wonder. “Agent Tony? I think I know this.”
“What is it, Alex? What do you recognize?” Tony asked.
Suddenly a column of light appeared on the command deck. It spread, grew, and morphed into a shape. Eventually, the shape of a woman stood there like a statue. They stared at her when she suddenly blinked and began to move. She looked around the bridge and turned in place until she faced Alex.
Alex looked at her, then his eyes widened, and a smile grew across his face until it was blinding with joy.