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24 December 2007 @ 09:55 pm
Atlantis Manifest - Chapter One  
Story: Atlantis Manifest
by AshtakRa

Stargate Atlantis
Summary: They had all survived the attack and relocation, hadn't they? Sheppard finds that one loss is that one too many
Pairings: Lorne/Other, Lorne/Sheppard
Characters: John Sheppard, Major Lorne, Parrish, McKay, others
Genres: Angst/slash/AU
Chapter One: Manifestation of Loss
 Setting: Beginning of Season Four (as a possibility)


It took three marines to restrain Sheppard after he slammed Colonel Ellis in the jaw, but they couldn't stop him shouting threats and accusations. What made the situation more threatening was that the Atlantis teams were sidling up and the tension in the room skyrocketed; McKay truly believed that a full on brawl might erupt between Atlantis and Apollo personnel.

In an extreme act of total unMcKay-like behavior he decided to be diplomatic and quietly suggested that Colonel Ellis should return to the Apollo – he did while Sheppard sat on the steps facing the Stargate and refusing to look in the departing Colonel's direction.

The gate-room was suddenly eerily silent, the technicians and troops standing silent, every eye on Colonel Sheppard as he finally stood up and faced McKay. A nod conveyed his thanks and allowed McKay to finally speak, "Before you think that is a victory remember that we – at the moment – are reliant on the Apollo for protection," in a surprising display of affection McKay grabbed Sheppard by the arms, "And we are in no condition to either mount a rescue ourselves or try and order the Apollo to do so."

John Sheppard opened his mouth to argue then hung his head in defeat; shrugging off McKay he walked to the base of the damaged wall and put his hand upon it – more to steady himself than anything else. He should have known the good news could not last – from getting to M12-578 safely to Weir being taken off the critical list. Just as they had begun repairs and started appraising the new situation the Apollo had turned up.

Colonel Ellis did not obviously know Sheppard as well as he thought since he had shrugged off the fact that Major Lorne had been MIA while searching for Atlantis and that the Apollo had not attempted a search and rescue – citing mission priorities. Ellis had not seen it coming, had not noticed that even the repair crews had gone silent on the news – and had not seen the dark look on Sheppard's face; the same look that had seen sixty Genii walk into a shield and countless other enemies meet their deaths.

He looked at the damage and shook his head again, now more than ever he had needed Major Lorne, his second-in-command who would just look at the situation with a wry grin and get on with the job. They were on a completely new world, a second war had begun and Elizabeth was alive but out of commission – McKay had surprisingly stepped up to the role of civilian administrator but it just wasn't enough. John just couldn't keep everything going by himself – he needed people around him that he could trust and rely upon, and number one on that list was Major Evan Lorne.

Lieutenant Kravell stepped up behind Sheppard, "Colonel, my team can be ready in one hour – we can scout the area and -."

Radek called out from the balcony, "I will go with them, and we can get the last gate addresses and check for Wraith activity."

Chuck was busily typing but looked up momentarily, "There are six jumpers undamaged and I have already called up the gate co-ordinates, I have also been working on a more powerful off-world scanner – it should be able to pick up Major Lorne's personal beacon from two sectors away."

"Power is minimal," said McKay, checking his computer, "But if we start rotating brown-outs we can activate the gate every fifteen minutes-."

"No," Sheppard croaked looked around the room, his darkened anger had turned to saddened pride – if only the Apollo crew had reacted in this way, but that had been two weeks ago and reality came crashing down. The fact was even if the Major was still alive the chances of finding him were next to zero – it was a big galaxy and if it had been the Wraith then he would already be dead.

"We will not give up on him – I will not give up," he continued, with every word strength seemed to pour back into the Colonel, "We have people here who need our help right now and the last thing Major Lorne would want is for more people to be put in danger."

Everyone still remained silent, awaiting his next orders, "All free teams are to be on repair duty, our priority is Atlantis – if the Wraith turned up right now we-," he hesitated and looked to Rodney, who nodded sadly – agreeing with his decision but also mourning the loss of Lorne, "Just see to the immediate problems"

Noise once again flooded the gate room as Sheppard walked out, but it was more subdued. The Apollo had broken the cardinal rule – never leave your people behind – a rule that meant more in the Pegasus galaxy and more to the people of Atlantis than any mission or military target. Sheppard had said do nothing for now – but every single person in that room knew that he would never let it go; that he would add Lorne's name to the list of people he had sworn to find and return home.

It was why they would not hesitate to follow his lead, it was why they gave him their complete loyalty and it was why they loved him.


Sheppard found himself in the botanical labs; he was not entirely sure why until Dr Parrish walked in and started rummaging through a shelf full of electronic equipment. He was muttering to himself and was not even aware of the Colonel until Sheppard coughed politely. The botanist jumped slightly, "Oh – Colonel, I wasn't um – just getting an atmosphere -," he held up a palm sized device – obviously Ancient in origin.

Sheppard waved down his panic, "Not important – well I'm sure its important but I don't care, well I care but there is something," John reddened as he realized how badly he was acting, "I'm just here to – think."

Parrish nodded, he of course did not think it stupid to find a room full of plants and moss the best place to think – but he was also curious as to the why. It must have showed on his face because Sheppard let his shoulders fall and he opened up, to a scientist he hardly knew in a section of Atlantis he was not sure he had ever really looked at before.

"It seems half the time when I was trying to contact Major Lorne he was in here, obviously he found it peaceful or a good distraction – thought I'd give it a go."

Parrish moved over to what served for a desk and leant against it, "Evan told you that?"

"What?" asked a confused Sheppard, not fully noticing that the scientist had used Lorne's first name.

"That he came here for peaceful distraction," he said it wryly, as if the thought was completely unbelievable but John was still only half listening.

"No – I just know he was here a lot – must have liked the plants," John tapped a fern as he spoke but Parrish didn't answer, just smiled knowingly and asked a question of his own.

"I heard the Apollo turned up – you've heard from Evan then."

This time John did take more notice, the fact that Parrish had once again used Lorne's first name and the anticipation in his voice at the prospect of the Major being back. John had been through several mind-blowing encounters today so this one was just catching up with him as he squinted at the botanist, appraising the man for perhaps the first time.

"Major Lorne wasn't here just for the plants was he?" he tried to make the question non-threatening, leaving it up to Parrish whether he answered or not.

Parrish squirmed a little, "He did seem to have acquired an interest in botany lately, I was hardly going to discourage him."

Sheppard nodded sadly, no matter the reason why Parrish and Lorne had been spending time together – friendship, company or something more – Sheppard knew he had to inform Parrish of the news.

The botanist picked up on the mood, "You haven't heard from Ev- Major Lorne – have you?"

He did it quickly, not wanting to draw out the pain and exacerbate his own; he made sure to emphasize that Lorne could be, and knowing the Major, was most likely alive and finding a way to escape right at this moment.

The scientist just nodded, his eyes had begun to glisten and he turned away from Sheppard, not wanting to show how much emotion was flowing through him. Their mission was a dangerous one, he knew that and the fact was they could just as easily die from some stupid Ancient device as from the Wraith – it was just Parrish couldn't quite accept the fact that this had happened two weeks ago, and he had not once considered that it was Evan who was in the more dangerous situation.

"I stayed here, instead of evacuating to the Apollo – if I'd gone then maybe?" Parrish managed to rasp out as he turned to face the Colonel again, knowing that it no longer mattered what he revealed. His reaction and the empathy in Sheppard's eyes meant that he did not need to spell it out; the Colonel knew, perhaps had always known in some way. The deep hollow pain of loss began snaking its way through his chest and the first sob escaped.

He could not stop the rest as Sheppard suddenly moved forward and wrapped the man in his arms, Parrish sobbed quietly as the Colonel allowed his own silent tears to run down his cheek. Parrish took a small amount of comfort not just from the Colonel's larger and stronger body but from his uniform, so close to the uniform of the man he really wanted to be in the arms of. Sheppard was just grateful he could let down his guard in front of someone, someone who did not have to see him as the strong military commander of Atlantis. Both men took comfort in the presence of another, each in their own way unable to reconcile the manner of the loss and the sudden dread it gave them.

For Parrish the thought of Evan, alone and never to know the depth of the love that the scientist had felt, hurt almost as much as knowing he may never see him again.

Sheppard knew what it was to be drained of life by the Wraith, a fact he could usually compartmentalize when it happened to countless strangers – but not to a close friend and colleague. It made him think of all those they had lost and he wanted to be sick; to admit Lorne may be dead was almost too much.

The two men though, much as they wanted to believe, knew that Major Evan Lorne had to be dead. He was not a McKay, with valuable scientific knowledge, nor was he Sheppard – someone to use as a bargaining chip. In the hands of the Wraith or in any of their countless enemies' clutches the Major would be nothing more than a liability.

They would not give up hope, but it was a very small and desperate hope.

150 light years away, Wraith Hive Ship

The Wraith Queen glowered down at the pathetic human, even knowing his death was imminent he still stared at her without fear and a small part of her respected this.

But that is not why she would spare his life; she had plans for this human – plans that would take time and patience.

He probably wanted death, and if not would beg for it soon enough; she lashed out and heard the satisfying crunch of breaking bone, still he did not cry out – but he would eventually.

Major Lorne held his broken forearm and wanted so much to scream in agony and frustration – but that is what she wanted and for some reason she wanted to break him before killing him. That meant if he kept control he may just live long enough for rescue.

Evan Lorne had to believe that they would rescue him, they did not leave their people behind and as the Wraith dragged him back to his cell the Major closed his eyes and pictured the two people he would most like to see right now.

One his colonel and friend, and one his scientist and lover –The door sprang shut and the lights were extinguished, and in the dark he allowed a few tears of hopelessness to fall before wiping them away and berating himself; he had to hold on to that one desperate hope that he would see them again.

He had to see them again.


Next: Chapter Two