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Stargate Atlantis Gen Ficathon
Annual genfic festival
Supporting Character, Week 1: Aidan's Tale 
3rd-May-2009 10:50 am
Genficathon Team Sunshine
Title: Aidan's Tale
Author: Helen W. (wneleh)
Genre: Supporting Character Appreciation Day
Prompt: Fear
Word Count: 3,000
Rating: PG for language
Warnings: None
Summary: Post-series, Aidan Ford and Kiryk are off to find Atlantis.

Six days. Almost a week since I've shot any enzyme. One more day, I'm at my record.

I can do it this time. No temptations, that's the trick. Just sit tight here.

Of course, sitting tight didn't work last week. Three days. How could I have given in after just three days!

I don't have to count that shot, though. It was at most a quarter of what I was doing at the beginning. I could say it's been nine days.

But no point in exaggerating. No point in lying to myself; and it's not like anyone else gives a damn.

It's been six days. One more day, I'm at my record.

- - - - - -

All I ever wanted to do was help people.

The folks who raised me taught me that people were what was important in life, as far back as I can remember.

See where you can help, and do what you can.

All those people who wanted me to be some sort of doctor when I grew up, or maybe a teacher or public-interest lawyer - grandma, uncle Charles, uncle Hugh, Mrs. Kerry at the library - I wonder what they'd say if they could see me now.

But all that biology they made me take - one year wasn't enough, oh no, had to take AP with the bright kids, had to have an internship at the agriculture lab - it ended up coming in real handy, didn't it? Never could have figured out how to get enzyme out of a Wraith if I hadn't spent that summer sampling fluids from frogs.

The United States Marine Corps, now, that was something I could get behind, after all that bio! Do my part for my country, get a good education, play with cool shit, and maybe get to shoot things. And no more dead amphibians. Really, no downside, at least none I could see.

That was ten years ago. A hell of a lot has happened since then. Some of it I even remember.

- - - - - - -

A staple of the superhero genre is that there's a downside - a price to be paid. Batman is cool, but Bruce Wayne is one fucked-up dude. And don't get me started on the Watchmen.

When you're a smart kid (not to mention athletic - and goodlooking, let's not forget goodlooking) like I was, reading that shit, you mostly think, what wusses. If I had super strength, or super endurance, or super healing, man, I'd DO something with it, leave the worrying to my girlfriend.

But it turns out that if you go and do the superhero thing without your recommended daily allowance of - I don't know. Humility? Ironic self-awareness? - you end up with a funky-looking eye sitting in a cave in the wrong galaxy.

Cold. Hungry. Alooooooone.

But, you know, with my grades, I could have been a proctologist, made grandma and my uncles proud. I'm just saying, life could be worse.

- - - - - - - -

That's some beefy white guy heading this way. I thought those first two trip-wires would get anyone, but he must've seen them right off. He's taking his time with the third, at least.

Pretty funny, since they're non-lethal now. All part of the kinder, gentler Aidan Ford. No more getting riled, 'cause that leads to wraith hunting, and I don't do that anymore.

Six days since I've shot any enzyme. Wonder if this guy will kill me before I reach seven.

- - - - - - - -

What the hell? He just JUMPED 50 yards. Bamf! Did Superman ever meet Nightcrawler?

When I made everything non-lethal, I was setting myself up for this. But I was figuring I'd be done in by an angry mob with pitchforks and torches, not a lone assassin. One guy is sort of insulting. Unless he really is Nightcrawler; that, I could live with. Well, not live-live, but you know what I mean.

- - - - - - - -

"Well, hello, Mr. Nightcrawler."

Briefest of bows. Maybe he's not here to kill me.

"I am Kiryk. I seek one known as Ford."

"In the flesh. What brings you calling?"

"They say you are from the City of the Ancients. I wish to journey to them, but I do not know how."

"You do, huh? Well, sorry, friend, not going to happen. What's that City of the Ancients to you, anyway?"

"I find - " He coughs, like he's not used to using his voice. "I find I no longer wish to do this."

"What's 'this'?"

"Run."

Holy shit. "Holy shit!" He's a runner. "You're a runner?"

He'll bring Wraith!

Wraith... Oh please, oh please don't tempt me... Six days, I've gone six days.

"They freed me. The one called Jennifer, the doctor..."

"Jennifer, eh? After my time, I guess."

"She removed the device with which I was tracked."

Well then, that changes things. "Good for her. So, then what's your problem?"

"Twice, since the removal, people have discovered what I was, and I have been banished. And - I have come to feel that, although I do not now draw the Wraith to me, if my hunter discovers me amongst people, I cannot but fear for their safety."

"If a Wraith is getting that personal with some village, they're pretty much toast already."

He nods. "Perhaps. But... it is a risk."

"So you're off to see" the wizard "John Sheppard?"

"No... Jennifer and Ronon and Rodney. They - implied sanctuary. Then we were separated. Please, Ford."

"Call me Aidan."

I guess there's no harm in dialing them up and seeing if they still have that outgoing message playing - walk-though-and-die-BUT-here's-how-to-apply.

- - - - - - - -

Well, that didn't work. Even after three tries, not even a hint of a lock.

"Perhaps you could try again?"

Because I'm an idiot. Right.

I guess they changed their gate address. That's - I don't know what to do with that. Just - damn. They Changed Their Damn Address. DAMMIT!

I need to find a Wraith somewhere and drain him dry, pierce him and get that into me...

"Want to hunt some Wraith, Kiryk?"

- - - - - - -

This was too easy - gate-gate-gate to The World With The Really Slow, Stupid Wraith -jump-jump-jumpx50, grab this butt-ugly drone, short-jump, and Kiryk hasn't asked a single question.

What's he going to think when I do it, though? When the enzyme's in me?

Hell, what will Kiryk even look like to me?

Not his fault John-Fucking-Sheppard and the Blessed City of the Blessed Ancients has locked the door and turned off the doorbell.

Shit.

"Kill the Wraith and let's get out of here."

"Happily, Aidan."

And back to my cave we go.

- - - - - - - -

Might as well light a fire, the whole village knows I'm here, has known for weeks if I can believe this guy.

"Aidan, what was the purpose of our hunt?"

Wondered when he was going to ask.

"Killing a Wraith isn't a good enough reason?"

"We could have killed many more. You had some purpose, for which that one did not ultimately suit?"

"He'd have done fine." Time to lay it down. "Listen, Kiryk, you're welcome to hang out here, but I'm not going to share my life story."

He's okay with that; don't know why I thought he wouldn't be.

- - - - - - -

Can't tell you how much better cooked meat is than raw. If I ever get back to Maryland, it's well-done all the way.

Okay, I'm lying a little. But I'm never going more rare than medium. Ever.

- - - - - - -

Good morning, universe!

Seventh morning since I had any. Man, that was close yesterday. Walked away from it, though.

Bamfed away, actually. That is so cool!

It's decently comfy here, but Kiryk seems pretty set on trying to get a current gate address for Atlantis, and says he knows some other places to ask. And I think I'll go with. With no enzyme in me I'm not any use to him, but the guy's obviously lonely, so what the hell.

- - - - - - -

Ten days. Ten days and ten zillion miles since I last had any enzyme.

Ten zillion miles, and nobody will give us the address of Atlantis, though I'm sure the elders of Balkan, at least, knew it.

Rumor is that the Ladies of the Castle are 'in alliance' with Atlantis. So now we have to find someone who knows the gate address for Castle World, or whatever it's called. So far, nobody will even tell us the right name of the place.

- - - - - - -

Everyone says the monks of Molroy are tight with the Ladies of the Castle, but we can't get the damn gate to lock on their planet. This is the fourth non-lock on a solid address we've had since we started Kiryk's Quest For Atlantis. This is getting frightening. Has something reordered gate addresses? Is that what happened to Atlantis?

Maybe it was nothing personal.

- - - - - - -

Let's see if Kiryk can handle knock-knock jokes.

"Knock, knock."

"Did you just say something?"

"You're supposed to say, 'Who's there?'"

"Why?"

"Don't people knock on doors where you're from?"

"My people are nomadic herdsmen."

"No doors, huh?"

"Not many, no."

- - - - - - -

"A horse walked into a bar and the barkeep said, why the long face?"

"You are a hilarious man, Aidan Ford. Let's see if your humor can get us a meal."

- - - - - - -

How did I miss that I could do old Bill Cosby jokes for a half-hour and get a meal, a draught, and a room with a couple of beds, anywhere in this galaxy?

"What's best about this, Kiryk, is that they weren't even put off by my eye."

"Why would they have any objection to your eyes?"

"Freaks some people out."

Kiryk looks funny when he's peering at something close. I wonder if he's far-sighted? I wonder if Earth has laser surgery for that yet?

Least we could do is, get the guy set up with some glasses.

"Your eyes look as they should. They seem to go with the rest of you."

"Need to get you to an ophthalmologist, Kiryk!" But still... "Is there a mirror in this place?" For some reason, nobody puts them in the commode in this galaxy.

"Wait here."

No problem, I'll just kick back and watch cable. Oh, right, no cable!

And he's back. Probably cheated and bamfed to the Chamber of Mirrors.

The Chamber of Mirrors. Is that a Harry Potter book? Should be.

"Does this suffice?"

And... survey says...

Man oh man, my eye looks absolutely fine, absolutely beautiful.

"When did this happen? Did this eye ever look different, Kiryk?"

"No."

All it took was six days, I guess. Wow. Wish I'd known that long ago.

Maybe I can go home.

- - - - - - - -

It's never a good morning when you're woken up by the town elders.

But they just want to talk, and it looks like we know more than they do. So they're going to risk taking us with them to see the Ladies of the Castle. Oh, goodie.

- - - - - - -

You know, I've seen a lot of crazy things in this galaxy, but that picture... God help me, I have got to keep a lid on it, but when I get out of this throne room I'm going to go fall in a ditch and laugh 'til sundown.

It's John-Fucking-Sheppard hiding behind Rodney-Fucking-McKay, or my name's not Aidan Ford.

Can't even keep track of what they're saying here.

The Ladies of the Castle - honest-to-goodness renfaire Princess Flora and Queen Harmony - seem to be in the know, though I kind of wish they weren't.

Gates everywhere self-destructing, wiping out everything within a few miles of them in the process!

They say the capital-T-Travelers have been spreading the news.

A rag-tag fugitive space fleet, and I've never even heard of them. But Flora and Harmony say they can contact them for us, and maybe we can hitch a ride; they'd been thinking about putting out a call already because they haven't been able to raise Atlantis in a couple of weeks.

- - - - - - -

You know, I really missed banquets, I really, really did.

And my Bill Cosby and Robin Williams slew them. Wish I could figure out a way to make Carlin work, but his stuff just isn't as universal.

Kiryk says not to ask about the Sheppard/McKay picture; probably better if I don't know, the truth can't beat the stories in my head.

- - - - - - -

What the hell is UP with this Larrin woman?

'I'm sure John Sheppard is just tied up' *wink* 'somewhere.' And, 'Don't worry, he's a tough man to beat. Entertaining, though.' Never thought I'd feel protective of John Sheppard, but if there was a way of getting near Atlantis without her I'd jump at it.

But her people seem to be the only game in town.

- - - - - - -

Given that I've traveled between galaxies, you'd think I'd have been in outer space in something larger than a puddlejumper before. But I never did get on one of the SGC's premier megaships pre-Atlantis.

And Wraith Hive Ships Do Not Count.

This ship feels very Star Trek:The Next Generation, done grunge. The folks under (har har) Larrin are cool, and let me join in all their reindeer games.

Kiryk seems a bit lost, though. I don't think by 'nomadic herdsmen' he meant stone-age, but simple things like door handle mechanisms, and how to work the showers, have been throwing him. So I don't blame him for sticking close to me.

"Aidan, is Atlantis like this? So... rigid?"

"It's a ship too, I guess, but there's a lot more open space. But it's mostly rooms and walls, yeah. Lots and lots of rooms."

"I'd imagined - green hills."

Nothing I can really say to that directly, so... "I'm not planning on having anything to do with Atlantis, you know, at least not yet. I'm just along for the ride, since Larrin promises me she won't tell them I'm here. After she figures out what's wrong with their gate, she's outa here and so am I. You could come with too, if it's not your cup of tea."

"And go where?"

"I don't know. It's a big galaxy." And I haven't really seen much of it clear-headed. How many days has it been since my last dose?

"As I said when we first met, I cannot risk anyone else on my behalf any longer, and I cannot run any more."

- - - - - - - -

I had this picture in my head that a planet from space would look like a beach ball or something; like the sun or moon look from Earth, only a little larger. But this low, and pointed down I guess, the planet is all we can see.

And it's absolutely incredible.

Just one problem: There's no Atlantis.

Those crewmen who visited Atlantis a few months ago seem positive they could have found the city if were here, even cloaked. Cloaks are to keep you from being detected at a hundred million miles, not from low orbit.

But it looks like the planet's not uninhabited. There are definite signs of a human settlement, so here we go. Down through the atmosphere, down to where the air is filled with woodsmoke...

- - - - - - -

And here we are. And I know these guys. Um, shit?

- - - - - - -

So Atlantis, including Teyla, took off for nobody-knows-where about two weeks ago and nobody's heard anything or knows even whether they're ever coming back.

Leaving about four dozen folks here. The last of the Athosians.

Again, shit.

These poor people. I can't keep up with how many places they've lived, how many crops they've planted and not been able to harvest.

Then all of them turned into Wraith by I-don't-get-who. Not Carson Beckett, it seems, at least.

Then turned back again and parked here. They've resumed farming, but they're seriously low on muscle. Mostly living off of fish and handouts from Atlantis, as far as I can tell.

One big surprise - Teyla and Kanaan made a baby. Wish Kanaan was here to congratulate! Teyla too of course, but at-a-boy Kanaan.

"Aidan?"

"Yeah, Kiryk?"

"They do not care. They truly do not."

About what? Ohhhh. "Well, given that they've been Wraith, I'd expect they wouldn't."

"That is not always how people are."

Well, sadly, that's true enough.

- - - - - - -

Wex and Jinto aren't here, and I don't dare ask what happened to them. Halling at least is still in charge, but he seems more like a zombie than a man.

"He is as you were, when I met you, Aidan Ford."

"Really?" Then maybe there's hope for him.

- - - - - - -

"They know nothing, and have nothing to offer us."

Awfully sweet of you, Larrin. But probably true. "You leaving?"

"As soon as we restock water."

- - - - - - -

Kiryk looks happy. Says he's not going to starve to death. Says the gloom of these people doesn't get to him.

As long as there are edible fish in the ocean and the damn thing doesn't freeze over - and the vegetation doesn't look like the sort that experiences deep freezes - I won't starve here either.

There are other places I could go. No scars on me. Not even a funky eyeball.

But, damn it, John Sheppard deserted these people. Even Teyla deserted them. I can do better than that, even if it means I'm stuck here for the rest of my life.

All I ever wanted to do was to help people, after all. And they could sure the hell use it.

THE END
Comments 
3rd-May-2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the Ford and Kiryk happy ending.
24th-May-2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! I'd happily watch The Kiryk Show, and Ford's fate never satisfied me.

- Helen
3rd-May-2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
I'm glad Aidan found a new purpose, and that he managed to beat his addiction.

But, damn it, John Sheppard deserted these people. Even Teyla deserted them. <-- They did. :( The last episode was such a joke.
24th-May-2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
The last episode was such a joke.

I hadn't realized how angry I was until I finished this story. But - yeah, not happy here.

Thanks for commenting!

- Helen
3rd-May-2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. Nice tie together of several cultures we've met and you give hope to the fates of Ford and Kiryk.
24th-May-2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Writing it was therapeutic :-)

- Helen
3rd-May-2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay for happy (or at least happier) endings! (Clings firmly to conviction that Atlantis will come back to Pegasus.)
24th-May-2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
It has to come back!

- Helen
5th-May-2009 08:07 am (UTC)
This was fantastic! Funny and painful and oh so good.

I really love the tight Ford viewpoint here; it's wonderfully done, and I love his little geek references and underlying sweetness and sense of humor. I also love the way that they follow a little trail of canon bread crumbs in search of Atlantis, and the ending ... ow, what a wonderful, devastating punch in the gut. Brilliant; I'm so reccing this!
2nd-Jun-2009 01:55 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I had a lot of issues regarding SGA, esp. S5, to work out, and I guess I plowed them all into this fic.

I really wanted a happy ending for Ford, but I wanted him to save himself, but not necessarily by himself, iykwim.

- Helen
5th-May-2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
This was great :) Oh Aiden
2nd-Jun-2009 01:53 am (UTC)
Thanks!
5th-May-2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. Perfect (at least to my ears) Ford voice, and I'm glad he's still out there.
Atlantis will return - it has to!!!
2nd-Jun-2009 01:53 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!

Yes, Atlantis has to return. I don't necessarily think Pegasus owns it, but neither does the SGC!
6th-May-2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, I wish that really happened in canon. I loved your Aiden and how you dealt with his addiction and weaving him in between the events in S5. Great job!
2nd-Jun-2009 01:52 am (UTC)
Thanks! I really wanted Aiden to save himself; plus, I had some S5 issues to work through :-)

- Helen
9th-May-2009 12:49 am (UTC)
I really liked how you not only gave Ford and Kiryk closure, but also interweave their story with all those other storylines. Aidan's POV is really well done, the way his thoughts revolve around the enzyme less and less. And the ending feels just right.
2nd-Jun-2009 01:51 am (UTC)
Thanks! That's exactly what I was trying to do; I had no clue whether it was working or not.

9th-May-2009 08:19 am (UTC)
I really liked this - this is Ford as he should be by now, if he goes that route. Not quite as enthusiastic as before the enzyme, but still a fun guy at times. How did I miss that I could do old Bill Cosby jokes for a half-hour and get a meal, a draught, and a room with a couple of beds, anywhere in this galaxy? Heh!
2nd-Jun-2009 01:50 am (UTC)
Thanks!

I wanted Ford to save himself, though not *by* himself.

The hard part was finding a comic who he might know, whose humor would work removed from context.
9th-May-2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
I'm going to believe that eventually Atlantis gets back (or at the very least the Deadalus or something) and they find Aiden with the Athosians, happy and healthy :).
2nd-Jun-2009 01:48 am (UTC)
Yes, me too!

Thanks for commenting!
18th-May-2009 04:39 am (UTC)
Oh, that's gorgeous!! I've never seen anyone give Ford this type of voice before, but it suits him PERFECTLY, especially in these circumstances. And I adore the idea of Aidan finding the unintentionally-abandoned Athosians and staying on to help out--a very worthy redemption for him. But most of all, it's the verity of Ford's POV that gets me--the larger truths hidden in the childlike vocabulary. I'll be bookmarking this one for many re-readings. Thanks so much!
2nd-Jun-2009 01:47 am (UTC)
Thanks!

I tried to give Ford the cadence of some of the male mechanical and civil engineers I've known - smart and observant, but not overly cultivated, I guess. And, he's also reflecting that he's out of practice with talking to anyone but himself.


1st-Jun-2009 11:22 am (UTC)
I really liked when Ford was comparing himself to the superheroes, and finding himself lacking. Then he goes Enzyme-free, gets himself a sidekick, and becomes a sort of superhero on his own! Very nice insights into Ford. I liked that all he really wanted to do was help people.

(and ::sniff:: I won't talk about that part with Jinto, but ::sniff::)
2nd-Jun-2009 01:43 am (UTC)
Thanks! I worked a lot of my SGA issues out in this fic :-)

RE: Jinto - I'm actually of the belief that the Athosians sent him to prep school or something soon after Ford's disappearance, so he's fine...
29th-Aug-2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, Ford!! I loved this so much! Of course he could kick the enzyme and be a superhero of sorts with his own sidekick!

And ow, ow, ow at the ending! (This would be why I haven't watched the finale yet.)
29th-Aug-2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks! This fic was my way of working through a chunk of my SGA issues.

- Helen
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