Before the beginning; Dellruby

Dell

 

She was walking down the street on a lovely warm early summers day dressed in a white blouse, blue jeans, a red denim jacket and gym shoes. Her shoulder length red hair was wisping around her face in the light breeze. Her only thoughts were of the coffee she was going to buy when she reached the mall, in about 20 minutes. She didn’t get free time like this often, being a full time mum to two small children, but today her husband said he would give up his golf game and let her have a little break…she didn’t give him the chance to re-think, just grabbed her bag and left.

She took another step and the world seemed to tilt and spin…everything winked out for a moment then came back way to bright. Her foot came down and sunk knee deep into something soft and cold. No not cold, freezing. Snow?

She was now lying in snow and it was freezing! She looked up and all she could see was white. To her left and right, more white. She twisted her head to see behind her and saw some buildings, but still, everything was white. She turned around and started to make her way towards the buildings, but the snow was so deep she was finding it hard to move. It was so cold, she was finding it hard to breath. Her teeth were chattering so much she was having trouble seeing straight. She did up the buttons of her jacket as best she could, her fingers weren’t working properly.  She tried to struggle on, but made very little progress, she was going to die out here in the snow, no one could be this cold and survive, surly!

The armed guard patrolling the perimeter of the McMurdo military base, saw a flash of colour in the field of white. He pulled out his binoculars and brought them to bear on the red…it couldn’t be! It was a girl! He radioed the information giving co-ordinates and hurried out towards his mark, moving swiftly on snow shoes. He reached her within 3 minutes and pulled her out of the hole she was in, laying her on top of the snow. She was in street clothing for God’s sake, if she had all her fingers and toes by the end of the day he would eat his helmet! He unzipped his long white parker and took it off, and rolled her in it, it was the best he could do for the moment, he just thanked his lucky stars there wasn’t a freezing wind today. The medics arrived and put her on a stretcher and packed some heat pads around her chest. They would worry about how she got out here later, now the just wanted to keep her alive.

They checked her over in the infirmary and although she was suffering from hypothermia, it was not as bad as they had expected. It was as if she had only been out there for 5 to 10 minutes, but there was no where she could have come from in that short amount of time, Scott Base was almost 2 miles away. It would take 15 to 20 minutes fast walking to cover that on a city street,  but struggling through deep snow there was no way she would have survived in the clothes she was wearing, with temperatures getting no higher than -22f in mid-summer.

Still there was nowhere else she could have come from, so the CO of McMurdo put a call through to the CO of Scott Base to see if they were missing any of their personnel. 10 minutes later they had a call back, they were indeed missing one Captain Delmont. Two members of the New Zealand air force were sent over to McMurdo to see if the mystery girl was the missing Captain.

A major Pasco stood at the door of the infirmary talking to Col. Vaughan, the CO of McMurdo, While Captain Lynch went to ID the patient. He knew Captain Ruby Delmont, not as well as he would have liked, but well enough to see this wasn’t her. It could be her sister, a twin even, but the hair was all wrong. The wrong shade of red, and the wrong length. The face looked softer too, like she would smile often. He hadn’t seen Delmont smile much, she was always working too hard at being as good as if not better than the men in her squad, no time to waste on smiling.

He came back over to the two offers in the doorway.

“It’s not her sir.”

“What do you mean it’s not her, who else could it be?”

“I don’t know sir, but it isn’t the captain. She could be family.”

“How in god’s name could a member of her family find themselves in the middle of the tundra?”  Major Pasco said.

“Give me a look at that surveillance photo Captain,” Col. Vaughn took the photo that had been taken of the missing Captain earlier that morning, by one of the security cameras at Scott Base. He looked from it to the woman lying in the infirmary bed, and back again.

“He’s right, the hair is way too short to be this woman,” he gestured to the woman in the bed. “We will have to wait until she wakes up, what type of person goes out without any form of identification in this day and age.” He shook his head and turned to the New Zealanders, gesturing for them to lead the way back to the mess. “Might as well get a coffee while we wait.”

A little over half an hour later a young airman came into the mess to inform the 3 men that the patient had woken up and they rose as one to go and see if she could shed any light on the situation.

“Ma’am I’m Colonel Vaughn of the Us Air force. This is Major Pascoe and Captain Lynch, both of the New Zealand air force. Can you tell us who you are and how you got here?”

“Where exactly is ‘here’?”

“You are at McMurdo, the US base in Antarctica.”

“Can’t be!”

“Granted your presents doesn’t make much sense, but this is where you are. Now can you tell us your name please?”

“I’m Ruby Sutton, I live in Christchurch.”

“Do you know a Ruby Delmont?” asked Major Pascoe.

“Delmont is my maiden name, I haven’t used it for 5 years.”

The Colonel and the Major asked her some more questions while Captain Lynch took down notes. Address, phone number, husband and children’s names, then the two offers went out to make some phone calls to check it all out. Captain Lynch stayed with the woman who called herself Ruby. He wanted to ask her all sorts of questions, but for the life of him, he couldn’t think where to start, so he stood there awkwardly for the 25 minutes it took for the others to return.

“Ma’am?” the colonel asked. “Are you sure you gave us the correct address and phone number?”

“Of course I am.”

“Well, there is a family by the name of Olsen living at the address, and the phone number belongs to an old man named Charlie Patterson. The man you claim is your husband died in a farm bike accident 6 years ago.”

“But….I saw him this morning, at my house, he is looking after my 2 children.”

“And there is no record of the two children you claim, as having been born. There is only one Ruby Delmont on record and she is in the New Zealand air force with the rank of Captain. You are not her!”

“No I’m not. I’m Mrs Ruby Sutton!”

“There is no record of a Mrs Ruby Sutton either. Would you like to change any of your story ma’am?” Major Pasco asked.

“To what? Do you want me to make something up?”

“Haven’t you already?”

“No, I have not, I don’t know why you can’t find my family, but they are real, as real as your or me!”

The men shared a look she couldn’t read, then they turned and left the room, soon after she noted two armed guards turned up to stand by the door.

It took several hours for anything else to happen as far as she was concerned.

Not so for the military men.

As there were no records to prove who she was, and she didn’t seem to exist in any data bank with in New Zealand, and coupled  with the fact she was found in American territory, the New Zealand air force decided they wanted nothing more to do with her.  After a few more phone calls, it was clear that the New Zealand government took the same stance and its air force. Ruby Sutton was not a New Zealand citizen.

Major Pasco and Captain Lynch bid Colonel Vaughn good day and good luck, before leaving to go back to their own base. They still had an investigation to start, into what had happened to Captain Delmont.

Colonel Vaughn spent the next hour or two on the phone to almost every other branch of the US military trying to find someone who would take responsibility for the woman,  or even just tell him what he was supposed to do with her? The Us government people he talked with were even less help than the military. Finally he lucked onto one phone number almost by accident. He dialed and waited for someone to answer.

“Hello, Jack O’Neill here, what do you want?”

“General O’Neill?”

“The very one, and you are?”

“I’m Colonel Vaughn down at McMurdo, um, I’m not sure how to word this, but … we have found a woman on the ice. She has no ID on her, but was wearing street clothes, and claims to live in Christchurch, New Zealand, but a check of the records shows there is no one by the name she has given us, period. The New Zealand government want nothing to do with her. I was given your name by a General Landry as someone who might know what we should do with her.”

“So you have a person there who has no identity at all? And is unwanted by the country she claims as hers?”

“Essentially that is it.”

“Ok, and Landry thinks I might be interested in her, what as, a research project?”

“He didn’t say sir, just that this was right up your ally.”

“Oh he did, did he? Well he might be right at that. Yes I will take this woman off your hands, but you have to get her to me, I’m under Cheyenne Mountain, I suggest you get creative, I’m guessing she has no passport?”

“No sir she does not. I can book her on a military flight and list her as goods, it will take about 24 hours to get her to Peterson.”

“Better get on with it then man.” O’Neill hung up the phone and drummed his fingers on the desk, a contemplative smile on his face.

 

She was put on an air force plane under armed guard and flown to Christchurch airport where she changed to another air force plane and was flown to America. She was logged in as “Goods” both times, and was bought in under the radar. Since she had no documentation, and she had no country of origin, it made getting a passport difficult to say the least.

After more than 24 hours in the air, and then more time in the back of a truck, she lay down on a grey bunk in a grey room, many levels underground. She had no idea where she was, no one would tell her anything. She fell asleep in the same clothes she had put on 2 days ago.

 

 

Morning came with a sharp knock at the door, it was opened from the outside and a tray was bought in and put on the table.

“You have 20 minutes eat and get ready, then you will be taken to see the General.”

The smell of the coffee drew her to the tray. There was toast, cereal and a hardboiled egg as well as a mug of coffee. Her last meal had been at least 12 hours ago, so she took the top off the egg and dipped the toast into the liquid centre and chased it down with a mouthful of strong coffee.

She was already dressed, so the only thing to do was visit the bathroom. She was splashing water on her face when the door opened again.

“Come with me please” She followed the man down a series of corridors and into a conference room.

“Ahh, Mrs Ruby Sutton if I’m not mistaken. I’m General Jack O’Neill,” he held out his hand to shake, she accepted.

“Please take a seat, we’ll get right down to business, no need to pussy foot around. You don’t belong here, this is not your Earth.”

“Excuse me?”

“Think about it. You know who you are right?”

“Yes.”

“But the records don’t say the same, you with me so far?”

“Yes.”

“So this isn’t your Earth. You along with, ahh, let’s see,” he flicked through some papers on the table in front of him. “84 others that we know of, were, shall we say dumped here, due to an event we are still trying to fully understand. And your counterparts were in turn pushed out, possibly back to your reality, but given the number of variables, that is unlikely. We have some of the best minds in the business working on this, the ‘why’s and the wherefores’, but the fact remains you are here and there is no place for you. Most of the others can actually slot into the holes that were left without too much trouble, one or two need a bit of a cover story, but nothing to dramatic. You however give me a unique opportunity. You can be whoever I want you to be. You are my very own pet project. Welcome to the US Air force, special operations Captain Delmont.”

“That isn’t my name.”

“Your name is whatever I decide it will be, and I don’t like Sutton. You are Delmont Ruby……Dell Ruby, that’s better, rolls right off the tongue don’t you think? Our first order of business is to get your fitness level up. My good friend Tealc will be in charge of that.” He indicated behind her, she turned to see a dark skinned man with a raised gold tattoo on his forehead.

Daniel here will teach you everything you never wanted to know about computers.” A man with light brown hair said hi and waved.

“And I will teach you how to act air force, and shoot. You will wear the standard uniform and no one will know you are not Air force.”

“Um, what if I don’t want to act air force. What if I just want to go home and find my husband and babies?”

“They don’t exist here, you can’t find them.”

“A new husband, and new babies then.” tears were welling up in her eyes.

“You can’t. You can’t leave this complex, you are a non-person. You have no identity unless I give it to you. There is no place for you except right here. If you choose not to learn to fight you will just get beaten. Learn well here and now, and one day you just might get to take the world on and make a place for yourself.”

Tears spilled down her face as she realised she had no choice in the matter.

‘Aww, no crying! You don’t cry in the air force! Tealc go get her some workout clothes, and get started will you?”

That was when she made up her mind. She would learn to fight, and one day it wouldn’t be the world she would take on. It would be General Jack O’Neill! One day he would find out that the Dell Ruby he was creating would take him down!

It turned out she was a very good student, and in just three months she had mastered the art of fighting with either one long pole, or two shorter ones. She couldn’t best Teal’c, but then no one could. However she was better than most in the SGC.

Learning to be air force was easy, you just did what you were told when you were told, or at least for everyone apart from Jack O’Neil. She learned quite early that he needed her, he had an end game he was working towards, and she was the main piece of the puzzle. And there wasn’t a lot more he could do to her than had already been done,  so she didn’t hold back what she thought about him. He had however, not only taught her to shoot, but also the finer arts of the sniper, and although she as yet hadn’t trained her sites on a living target, she had proved she could make long and difficult shots and still hit the target dead centre.

She could in fact hit any target with any firearm she was handed, and could field strip all of them in fewer than 12 seconds. Putting them back together took a little longer.

On the computer front she had been taught how to bypass most security lockouts, and access any computer, how to search the backgrounds for hidden data, and how to engineer a virus to wipe the most stubborn hard drive, or de-bug a friendly one for that matter.

At the start of the fourth month she started to go on small operations, mainly just to retrieve information off computers that the air force had no business looking at, or adding bugs as well as remote access software that would allow Jack or someone else to get into said computer any time they damn well pleased.

There was only one time when she almost got caught, she was in a man’s hotel room trying to recover some intel, when he came back early. She had had to go out onto the balcony and climb down to the next floor, the ninth floor, where she broking into another room to escape. Even so, she still managed to accomplish the mission, and every one of those first missions she was sent on without having to fire a shot from her concealed weapon.

Then came the harder missions.

She was sent with a team off world.  She had to find a target and eliminate it. Jack was turning her into his own personal hit man.  The first time she had to pull the trigger she found it hard, but the man was a monster, a killer, and if he wasn’t stopped he would kill many more innocent people. As she pulled the trigger she told herself she was doing the universe a favour. She hit him in the chest and saw him go down, then had to turn away to throw up.  The second time was easier. On only her  third mission off world, she had been sent after her target alone, but still managed to complete her task. After that she was always alone, with no backup., that way no one else had to know what she was doing. When she asked what would happened if she got into trouble, Jack told her she better not get into trouble.

Then some people form the IOA started to look more closely at some of the operations in the SGC. That was when Jack called her into his office.

Summoned like a naughty school child, she knocked on the door.

“Come in, ahh, Dellruby, how are we today?”

“We are just peachy Jack, living the high life as always.”

“Such wit, I might just miss that.”

“Where are you sending me this time?”

“This time you’re not going on a mission, well you are, but you’re not really.”

“You getting dizzy there Jack? You’re not talking in a straight line.”

“Here’s the problem, the IOA are snooping around and I don’t want them to find anything, so I’m sending you away.”

“Just like that, I’m in the way so get rid of me?”

“You are far too valuable an asset for me to allow you to fall into the grasping hands of the IOA.”

“You want to keep me all to your own grasping hands?”

“The very ones!”

“I thought I couldn’t live off the base, I have no place in the world remember?”

“I sure do, but I’m not sending you out into this one, I’m sending you to a totally different world, a totally different galaxy even.”

“You’re sending me to Atlantis?” Everyone at the SGC knew about the Atlantis project, but not many ever went there.

“One and the same! A couple of little guide lines first.”

“Oh here we go, don’t touch, don’t tell, don’t do. You take the fun out of everything!”

“You will be going as a civilian, not air force.”

“But I just got made a major, now I’ll be nothing?”

“As I recall, you didn’t much want to be air force before, I thought you would be pleased.”

“I’m used to it now, it’s who I am. The only identity I have.”

“Well now you will be someone else, think of it as uncover. You will be Dellruby, plain and simple. Dr. Elizabeth Weir is the head of the base, I’ll spin her a yarn about you so you can stay there without an actual post. You are not to talk about your time here at the SGC, you will keep all your training to yourself. You will be called back when you are needed, and if I deem it safe you will again take up your post here. Oh and Dellruby? Your origins are top secret, no one has high enough clearance to know anything about Ruby Sutton or Captain Ruby Delmont, you are just  Dellruby, nothing  special, understand me?”

“Oh crystal Jack, I get to lose my sense of identity all over again, ain’t life grand!”

“I won’t miss your sass after all, your being gone will be like a holiday for me. I want you in the gateroom and ready to go in 2 hours.”

“You done now?” she stood up.

“I’m done.” She left slamming the door behind her for good measure, damn man treated her like a sack of potatoes. But on the other hand,  she had heard  a lot about Atlantis, she was excited about going, but damned if she would let on to Jack. He would find somewhere else for her to hide if he thought she might actually enjoy herself.  Packing was fast, she had very few civilian clothes, and even less possessions. She had come to the SGC in the clothes she stood up in, she was leaving with precious little else.  What she would miss the most were the friends she had made, Daniel and Vala, Teal’c and even Cam Mitchel. He had been with her that first time, and had never let on to anyone how she had been sick then cried in his arms until she got herself under control.

 

She was in the gateroom ahead of time and found both Daniel and Teal’c there to see her off. Daniel shook her hand and gave her a one armed hug while wishing her well.

“Where are Vala and Cam? I thought they would be here?” She asked him.

“I’m afraid they are off world right now, they don’t even know you’re going, Vala will be livered when she finds out, I don’t fancy being in Jacks shoes when she hears.”

“Will serve the old bugger right, give he a hug for me please, and Cam too.”

“How about I just shake his hand and tell him it’s a hug.” Dellruby nodded and gave him a last hug before she turned to Teal’c. He put his hands on her shoulders and looked into her face.

“You have been a good student, do not forget what I have taught you, it will serve you well.”

“I love you too Teal’c, you are the closest thing I have to a father on this Earth,” she stepped closes and hugged him, he stood there and patted her shoulder looking uncomfortable.

“Hey Padawon,  let the Jaffa alone.”

She turned towards Jack and gave him a look that could freeze water.

“Don’t go giving Elizabeth any trouble, keep your head down, and don’t get close to anyone. You are not a member of the expedition, you are a house guest, don’t wear out your welcome before we can bring you back.”

“Yes Sir.” She saluted.

“And don’t salute, not air force remember?”

“I’m not air force, then I am, then I’m not. What the General giveth, the General taketh away again.”

“Watch your mouth or when you come back it will be as a Captain again.”

She wanted to give him a good comeback, but Teal’c shook his head and she decided this once  to take his council. She hoisted her pack on her shoulders and picked up the 2 cases of medical supplies she was to deliver. The gate had been dialed and the wormhole was established. Dellruby walked up the ramp alone, stopping just before the event horizon, this was her first time leaving the galaxy and she felt a rush of excitement, but fear as well, then with a deep breath and without a backwards glance, she stepped into the blue.

 

 

 

 

 

*******************************************************

Here be dragons!

Taking care of dragons!

 

 

Stepping out the other side she saw a woman with mid length brown hair waiting for her who held out her hand and said,

“Dellruby, I’m Dr Elizabeth Weir, welcome to Atlantis.”

Dellruby took her hand and smiled, it was nice to feel welcomed for change.

“I’ll show you to your room, if you would like to come this way?”

“I have to drop these off in the Infirmary first,” Dellruby said holding up the two cases.

“Ok it is on the way, it won’t be a problem.” They started to head away from the gate.

“Jack has told me all about you, and I understand your predicament, but won’t share that information with anyone else.”

Dellruby looked at Elizabeth and wondered what story Jack told her, the only thing she knew for sure, it wouldn’t be the truth.

“What exactly did Jack tell you? How much do you know?”

“Oh, I know everything, but don’t worry, I will never breath a word!”

“Not even to me?”

“Testing me? No, not even to you.” She said with a smile. Dellruby realized that Jack had gagged her completely now, because having no idea what lies he told, she couldn’t, even guess at the ones she would need to tell. They walked on in silence for a time until they came to the door of the infirmary.  Elizabeth stood back to let her enter first. Dellruby looked up and saw a doctor who was working on a man’s shoulder. Her eyes were drawn to the man’s naked chest, before they travelled up his neck to his handsome face topped with a mass of messy dark hair. When she met his eyes she found she couldn’t look away.

“Ahh, me medical supplies, thak ye ver’ much.” She looked to her right where the voice had come from and saw the same Doctor coming towards her. She glanced back towards the bed, there were two of them, identical! She heard a chuckle and saw the injured man grinning.

“Dellruby, may I introduce the Dr’s Carson Beckett, this one is the original, and the one over by the bed is his clone…the best medical team anyone could ask for. The patient is Lt. Col. John Sheppard, the military commander of the base. Gentlemen, this is Dellruby, a guest on the base for the next while.”

“Dellruby, pretty name, and bearin’ gifts too, ye are welcome t’ come back any time fer a visit.”

“But mind y’ don’t come in hurt lass, we get enough t’ do without ye addin’ t’ the workload,” the second Beckett added to the first’s welcome.

“Nice to meet you Dell Ruby, I’m sure you will like it here,” said the colonel with a smile.

“Thank you, I like it already,” she said, then blushed as she realized she was staring into the Colonels eyes once more, she dropped her own, and turned to Elizabeth.

“Shall we carry on to your room now?” Elizabeth asked.

“Yes please,” she answered anxious to get away from there. Elizabeth chattered to her as they walked, but Dellruby didn’t hear a word of what she said, she was still seeing the man’s chest, his green eyes, and his unruly hair. Then a door was opened in front of her to reveal a light and airy room. It was twice the size of the one she had at the SCG, not to mention it had a window with a view of the city and the sea beyond.

“I’m sorry it isn’t the biggest room, but it has everything you need apart from a kitchen, but the mess isn’t too far away. I’ll leave you to settle in, I hope you enjoy your stay with us.” Elizabeth said as she turned to leave.

“Ah, thank you, I’m sure I will, the room is lovely.”

“It’s just a standard room, but the beds are comfortable, as are the armchairs, I might see you in the mess later,” the door closed as she left.

After looking out the window for a while Dellruby took her pack off her back and opened it tipping the contents out on the bed. She had two changes of clothes, some toiletries and a library book that belonged to the SGC. She threw the clothes into a draw and took the toiletries to the small bathroom. The book went on the top of the draws. She then reached into the pack and into the lining at the bottom pulling out a hand gun and 2 clips of bullets. She put one clip into the gun and checked the safety was on, then tucked it into the back of her jeans. The spare clip under the mattress. This was something else that she should not have left the SCG with, but she didn’t feel comfortable being in a strange world without some form of personal protection. As Teal’c had taught her, trust had to be earned, not given as a right.

 

Making sure her red denim jacket covered the gun handle, she decided to have a look around the city. When she left her room she went to a transporter and studied the map then selected the place she wanted to go and pressed it. Moments later she was walking towards an exit onto one of the piers. She felt the wind on her face as she stepped out and drew in a deep breath of fresh sea air…she hadn’t smelt that salty tang since finding herself on that god forsaken Earth, she had missed it more than she realised. She walked down to the end of the pier and savoured the feel of the sun on her face, she felt free for the first time in 6 months. She sat down cross legged facing the sea and rested her hands on her knees, then closing her eyes, settled into a light meditative state. Teal’c had taught her the importance of meditation for stress relief. She had practiced every night, but never had it been as easy as it was this time. She let her mind soar on the wind until she became aware of voices coming closer. She could hear a girls and a man’s voice, and the lightness of them told her without looking, that these two were in love. She knew the moment they became aware of her and was sorry she had interrupted there intermit time.

“Hello lass, Dellruby isn’t it?” It was one of the Doctor’s. She opened her eyes and looked up at the pair of them, the dark haired Doctor with startling blue eyes, and a pretty, slight girl with long dark brown hair.

She got to her feet and smiled as she held out her hand to shake.

“That’s right Dr. Beckett, nice to meet you again.” She shook his hand then held it out to his girlfriend.

“How rude o’ me, this ‘er is Aang O’Brien, th’ love of me life.” Aang’s face went a pretty shade of pink as she shook Dellruby’s hand.

“Is Dellruby your last name or first?” asked Aang

“It’s the only name, I’m told it rolls off the tongue.”

“Oh, I guess it does,” Aang answered dubiously. “How does one end up with only one name?”

“A whole lot a bad luck and a case of frost bite.”

“Oh, I see.”

“I was just about to leave, I’ll get out of your way.” Dellruby said as she started to move away.

“We were about to go in and get our evening meal, would you like to join us Dell?” asked Aang.

She looked back at the girl. Her name shortened like that sounded good. A new world, a new home and a new name, she was going to like it here, she could tell. And at the same moment she could also tell she had found her first close friend in this galaxy.

“I would love to share dinner with you, thanks”

 

 

**************************************************

Yet more Dragons to be found.

 

Four days after arriving on Atlantis Dell was exploring the lower levels of the city, areas that were not in common use, when she rounded a corner and almost walked right into Lt. Col. John Sheppard.

“Wow, steady there, what are you doing down here?”

“Exploring, filling in the day, why are you down here?”

“My Job, making sure the city is safe and sound for its inhabitants. You shouldn’t be down here you know, it isn’t safe.”

“The most dangerous thing I’ve seen down here is you and your gun,” she said pointing at the P90 he was carrying.

“It’s Dell isn’t it?” John Sheppard had heard on the grape vine that Aang and A-Carson had befriended this new woman, and had been introducing her as Dell instead of the full Dellruby.

“Yes it is Sir.”

“Why are you calling me sir, you’re not in the service.”

“No, Um, I’m not. What should I call you Col. Sheppard?”

“Well not that, far too formal, and military. Some people call me Sheppard, or you can use my first name, John.”

“Sheppard sounds wrong, but I’m not sure I know you well enough to use your first name, so I’m back to Sir.” By this time they were walking back along the corridors towards the public part of the city.

“How well do you have to know me before you can call me John?  Wouldn’t ‘sir’ be the worst of the lot for a civilian to use?”

She turned to look at him and remembered how he had looked without his shirt. She thought of a number of remarks none of which would sound anything less than suggestive, and decided to leave that part of the question well alone.

“It is a term of respect, like in the old movie, ‘To Sir with Love’, have you seen it?”

“I don’t believe I have, no.”

“It is about a teacher who gets a class of really rough kids, and over the year he earns their respect, it has a song by the same name sung by Lulu…’If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand  feet high, to sir with love’.” She sang a few bars, then clamped her hand over her mouth and had a look of horror on her face.

“No don’t stop, you have a pretty voice.”

“I have an off key voice, and I know it. I haven’t felt like singing since….” She trailed off and looked away down the corridor.

“Since when?”  He was surprised to note, he really did want to know.

“A long time, a life time ago.” They stepped into the transporter, and she was acutely aware of how small the space was, how close he was standing to her. Then the door opened again and they stepped out. They were now back in the main body of the city.

“We don’t encourage people to wander around the un-inhabited parts of city, there are things out there that are dangerous, we have had some incidences in the past and do not want to repeat them.“

“Understood Sir,” she said and only at the last moment managed to turn the salute into running her hand through her hair. She turned and walked away mentally telling herself off. He watched her go with a smile on his face, wondering what was going on in that pretty head of hers.

 

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Now we are finding sea monsters!

For the past two weeks Dell had been exploring parts of the city that had been pretty much untouched by anyone now living on Atlantis,  areas right on the edges of the base. She didn’t want to be caught again, but she really had nothing else to fill all her days with. Her one book had been read 3 times now, and it hadn’t been that good the first time through, in fact she had taken to crossing parts of it out , and re-writing them the way she thought they should go.

She had climbed to the top floor of a tall spire, and found a balcony. She opened the door and went out to look at the view, with the door sliding closed behind her. The central tower was at least twice the height of this one, but this was the tallest in its group, and the view was amazing! She thought she could just make out where her own window was, but it was small and far away. After about 10 minutes she was starting to feel chilled from standing out in the fresh sea wind, and turned back to the door, but it didn’t open. She looked for a control, but couldn’t find one. She couldn’t get a grip on the edges of the door, but broke a few fingernails trying anyway. It was no good, she had to call for help, she was bound to get in trouble!  She pulled out the radio she had been given so she could be contacted if she was ever needed, and opened a Channel.

“Col. Sheppard this is Dellruby, come in please.”

“Dell? What are you calling me for, is everything alright?”

“Well yes, and no not really, I’ve got myself in a spot of bother, kind of got myself locked out.”

“Of what? Your quarters? I’m flattered, but there are other people you could call for that.”

“I wish. No, I um went exploring again, I’m sorry, but there you have it. I’m on a balcony on the top floor of the tallest spire on the end of the North pier.”

John walked over to a window in the corridor he was walking down and looked towards the North pier, he could just make out the tower to the far left of where he was.

“It’s going to take some time to get out to you, transporters are few and far between out on the edges.”

“Understood, but don’t bother stopping to get a coffee on the way, it’s getting cold out here.”

“On my way, Sheppard out,”

With nothing else to do but wait, Dell sat down with her back to the wall trying to keep out of the worst of the wind. The gun tucked down her waist band dug in painfully, so she took it out and laid it on the ground beside her, and wrapped her arms around her knees while thinking warm thoughts.

20 minutes later the door slid open and John Sheppard stepped out and reached down and helped her up before taking her back into the room.

“You’re shivering! Come here.” He drew her into his arms and held her close shearing his body heat, Dell slipped her arms around him and under his jacket and soaked up as much heat as she could. She savoured the feeling of his solid body, while listening to the beat of his heart. They stood like that, with him rubbing her back for some time before she stopped shivering.

“Feeling better now? He asked without loosening his hold on her.

“I’m getting there.” She didn’t want to let go, didn’t want to give up the sound or feel of his heart beating against her face as she leaned her head against his chest, his strong arms felt good around her.

A few moments later he leaned back from her and un-wound one arm from her and put his hand under her chin and tilted it up so he could look at her, look into her smokey blue eyes, and noticed for the first time a bronze fleck at the bottom of the iris of her right eye. Without really knowing what he was doing, he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers, after a moment he pulled back and looked to see what her reaction was, she was staring straight back into his green eyes, a look of wonder about her, he smiled and bent to her lips once more, this time wanting to fully find where this was leading. With one hand in her hair his other hand slid up under her t-shirt.

At last he let her come up for air.

“Col….” She started to speak

“No, not Col, he said into her neck.

“Shep…” but he cut her off with another kiss. When he pulled back again he looked deep into her eyes and said,

“Yes, that sounds good, call me Shep, I love the way it sounds coming from you, in your cute accent.”

“Shep!” she said again and smiled. Both their jackets were now on the floor, and any moment her    t-shirt was going to join it, but his radio crackled in his ear and he groaned with frustration. He tried to ignore it, but Elizabeth started to talk in his ear, and it felt as if she was pouring cold water over him.

“Sheppard here,” he responded. He listened for a bit, then answered, “I’m about 20 minutes away.”

After a few more moments of him listening he at last said,

“On my way.”  He looked down at the pretty red head he held in his arms and groaned again.

“I have to take you back now, I’m still on duty.”

“Probably a good idea, we need to slow down a bit.” He let her go and picked up their jackets handing her the red one. He took her hand in his and they started back to the central city.

“I’m going to come looking for you again, just thought I should let you know.”

“I would be disappointed if you didn’t” He looked down at her and smiled. He looked forward to getting to know her. They walked in silence , each lost in their own thoughts. What had happened, what might have happened, what could happen in the future. After what seemed no time at all they stepped out of a transporter near her quarters.

“You can find your way home from here?”

“I should be able to,” she looked up at him and felt like she could spend years looking into his eyes. He leaned in and kissed her gently.

“I look forward to our next meeting Dell.”

“So do I Shep.” He chuckled and gave her a half smile,  before turning to get back into the transporter and was gone.

Dell walked back to her quarters, then over to sit in the arm chair in front of the window. She looked out and straight at the tallest spire on the end of the North pier but couldn’t make out the balcony. She sat and thought about the Colonel, about Shep. How when he had kissed her, it had made her forget everything else, there was nothing at all in the universe that mattered more than that moment. Last time anyone had kissed her like that, made her forget everything around her, she had married him, had his babies, and then she had lost them. They weren’t in this universe. She wasn’t cheating on them was she? How could she be, he was dead here, never even met her, the babies, her babies had never been born.  No, she wasn’t cheating, but after some careful consideration, she decided to avoid the Lt. Colonel. As she sat there looking out at the tallest spire on the North pier a tear slipped out of her eye, and made its way down her check.

Out on the North pier, on the balcony of the tallest spire in a corner, sat a forgotten hand gun with a full clip of bullets. It caught the rays of the setting sun, then seemed to shine in the light of the twin moons. Sometime in the darkness the door opened and a shadow fell over the gun, when the moon light shone down again the gun was gone. The door hissed closed, all was quiet again.

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