Stargate Atlantis: Unascended is the seventh novel in the Legacy series, which was written by Jo Graham, Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold. It was preceded by Stargate Atlantis: Inheritors and followed by Stargate Atlantis: The Third Path.
Lost and Found...
Convinced that an Ascended Elizabeth Weir saved his life, Rodney McKay argues that she must have escaped her replicator body in order to ascend. No one believes him, but when rumors reach Atlantis of a woman with no memory who calls herself ‘Elizabeth’, Rodney is determined to track her down.
Meanwhile, Daniel’s research uncovers evidence of Vanir activity in the Pegasus galaxy - evidence that casts both light and shadow over the mystery of Elizabeth...
The events depicted in this adventure take place after season five of Stargate Atlantis.
An extract from chapter 1:
Rodney McKay frowned down at his coffee, which had grown ice cold since the beginning of an interminable meeting with Radek Zelenka to plan the science department's schedule. He drank it anyway. There were only a few more hours of lab time left to fill with maintenance and other people's questionably necessary research, and then at least he could get more coffee.
"So we are on systems maintenance for Friday afternoon," Radek prompted.
"Friday, right. We can finish testing the power conduits for damage that might have resulted from flying the city, although given that it's been weeks, any actual significant damage would already have shown itself in the city's power consumption by now, so ultimately that's one more pointless exercise."
Radek pushed his glasses up his nose in obvious frustration. "Tell me, Rodney, is there anything on this week's schedule that you are in favor of our doing? You are the one setting the schedule, so to complain about it at the same time seems more than a little perverse. What do you want us to do?"
"I think we ought to look for Elizabeth."
He hadn't known that was what he wanted to do until he said it, but the words crystallized the sense he'd been having these last few weeks that they were wasting time, letting it pour through their fingers in some way that he hadn’t been able to articulate but that he was sure that they'd regret.
There was a lengthy silence before Radek replied, and when he did he seemed to be choosing his words very carefully. "Rodney, Elizabeth Weir is dead."
"I remember what happened to Elizabeth. I'm not an amnesiac. Or crazy."
"I don't have amnesia anymore, and according to Carson, physically I'm in perfect health and almost 100 percent human again--"
"You still have the white hair."
"I've been thinking of dying it, actually, I've been considering Grecian Formula for Men -- and you know what, never mind the hair, that's not the point. My point is, I am feeling much better. And I was never crazy, I was brainwashed and medically transformed into a Wraith."
"You nearly killed me."
"Yes, but I didn't."
"You let the Wraith into Atlantis."
"Yes, and I’m sure that it will really help me to deal with my traumatic guilt about the things that I did while I had amnesia for everyone to keep constantly reminding me."
"All I am saying is that you have been through a great deal."
"I know what I saw," Rodney said doggedly. "When I was in that puddle-jumper headed into the sun, out of reach of anybody's transport beams, Elizabeth saved me. She appeared in the jumper and transported me aboard the Hammond. The only way she could have done that was if she weren't dead, but Ascended. And what do we know is the one rule for Ascended beings?" He didn't wait for an answer. "They're not supposed to interfere in the affairs of unascended beings. Or they get kicked out of the higher plane. That's what happened to Dr. Jackson when he was Ascended."
"You think she is out there somewhere, having, what ... unascended?" Radek shook his head slowly. "Rodney, we all understand that you have been having a difficult time--"
"Fine." Rodney slammed down his coffee cup with a thud. "I'm going to go get Woolsey to authorize the gate team to do something about the problem. Since you're not on the gate team anymore, you can finish the maintenance schedule. You don't need me for that."
"Yes, because scheduling is not entertaining and therefore does not require your genius," Radek said. He sounded relieved that they were back to bickering about the schedule.
"I'm going to see Woolsey," Rodney said, and stalked out.
Woolsey steepled his fingers. "Dr. McKay. As much as I would like to believe that Dr. Weir somehow survived being frozen in the vacuum of space--"
"In the body of a Replicator," Rodney said. "So being frozen in space wouldn't actually have killed her, just rendered her completely incapable of any kind of movement or thought."
"Which raises the question of how she could possibly have Ascended while in that state."
"Maybe it doesn't require conscious thought. Maybe it's more of a Zen thing. And, all right, as far as we know it requires certain brainwaves that a frozen Replicator body probably doesn't have, but maybe something happened to unfreeze her, or maybe there’s a way around that, I don't know. I suggest we find her and ask her."
"Even granting the possibility," Woolsey said slowly, "do you have any evidence whatsoever to support the idea that this is what actually happened?"
"Someone transported me off that puddlejumper," Rodney said. "The Hammond was out of range, and Sam says that they couldn't and didn't transport me aboard."
"Consider the possibility that the Hammond's transport logs could be in error. The ship was actively engaged in battle and had taken considerable damage at that point."
"They were still out of range."
"Even so, isn't it possible that the transport beam might have worked at an abnormal range as a result of the sun's radiation, or some other unusual circumstance--"
"No," Rodney said flatly. "That's not how it works. Ask Carter. She'll tell you that there's no way that radiation interference could radically alter the capabilities of the Asgard transport beams that way, let alone do it at the perfect moment to save my life." He hesitated, and then added, "And she believes me about Elizabeth."
"I could ask Colonel Carter, if she weren't on her way back to the Milky Way galaxy with the Hammond."
"So ask her when she gets there. And in the mean time, we need a plan for how we're going to get out there and ..." He trailed off at Woolsey's expression.
"Dr. McKay," Woolsey said. "I’m absolutely certain that you understand that I can't take Colonel Sheppard and his team off their current list of priorities in order to conduct a search for someone we don't know is actually missing."
"So find out. Let us dial the space gate where we sent Elizabeth and the other Replicators and see if she's still there. If she is, then ... then we know that, and if she isn't, then she has to have gone somewhere."
"All right," Woolsey said after a moment. "I’ll send Major Lorne's team to search the area around the gate."
"Even accounting for drift, it's a reasonable area to search. If they're there, Lorne should be able to find them. And if they're not, if she's not--"
"With all due respect, Dr. McKay, suppose we cross that bridge when we come to it." Woolsey considered him from across the desk. "I understand that you feel ready to return to your usual duties, but considering what you've been through--"
"I am fine," Rodney snapped. "Let me know when Lorne doesn't find her."
"I will let you know as soon as I hear anything," Woolsey said, which was unfortunately hard to argue with.
"You do that," Rodney said. "I'm going to go ask Sheppard what he thinks.
"I think you've been under a lot of pressure lately," John said. He was leaning on the balcony looking out over the slate blue sea, the chilly wind whipping the swells into whitecaps and sending them breaking against the pier. Their current planet was colder than either of the previous two, and although it wasn’t actually snowing at the moment, the weather still felt wintry.
"Will you stop saying that? I am not crazy."
"I didn't say you were," John said. "I've been in the 'hallucinating dead people' place myself, so I haven't exactly got room to judge. You just need some time to get over this."
"What connection do you see between having been turned into a Wraith and seeing Elizabeth appear out of thin air to save my life?"
"I think you might have been under just a little bit of stress," John said. "Remember the time when you were trapped in a submerged puddle-jumper and you hallucinated Carter in a bathing suit?"
"The life support systems were failing. I was hypoxic."
"And that's nothing like how you were hypoxic when you appeared in the Hammond's medical bay, right?"
"It was Elizabeth," Rodney said. "She was real. We have to go find her."
"Look," John said, his tone growing grim. "No one wanted to save Elizabeth more than I did. If there were any way to get her back, we would have already done it. We don't leave our people behind."
"I know that."
"So you ought to know we did everything we could. You can't let some kind of hallucination--"
"It was not a hallucination. I dreamed about her, when I still thought I was a Wraith. I wasn’t hypoxic then."
"And dreaming about dead people is a sure sign that they're alive, right? Listen to yourself, McKay."
"Something transported me aboard the Hammond. And don't say it was the Hammond's transport beams having some strange malfunction unless you know more about Asgard engineering than me and Sam put together."
"No one is putting you and Carter together."
"Yes, very funny. My point stands."
"Maybe you figured something out. That's what you do. You come up with these last-ditch solutions to save our asses when things go wrong. So, you came up with some way to transport yourself off the jumper, but then because you were hypoxic, you didn't remember what you'd done."
"I would remember if I'd broken about ten laws of physics."
"If you say so, McKay."
"You don't believe me," Rodney said.
John turned to look at him, no humor at all now in his eyes. "Elizabeth's gone," he said. "I don't know if you blame yourself--"
"Of course I blame myself, I'm the one who reprogrammed the DHD to transport her into space."
"Which she knew. It was the only way."
"I know that."
"I know you know that. And I know that you feel bad about some of the things you did when you were a Wraith, which I don't blame you for, because you had amnesia. But maybe that's, I don't know, bringing up some feelings--"
"Are you trying to psychoanalyze me? Don't make me laugh. You are the last person on the planet who is qualified for that."
"Pretty much," John agreed, sounding a little relieved. "You know, maybe you should talk to Teyla. She's better at dealing with ..."
"Crazy people who hallucinate dead friends rescuing them?"
"That kind of thing," John said.
An extract from chapter 3:
Ahead of them, he could see the green line of brush that sloped down to the river. So could every small animal trying to escape the fire. Anything that wasn't caught in the nets would make for the protection of the water—
"They're going to be waiting at the river," Ronon said, catching up to Daniel. He sounded as though this were no more than an easy jog.
"I know," John called from behind him. "But they don't look like great swimmers, so when we get there, everybody into the water."
"We're going to have to go through these guys," Ronon said.
"We’ve just met an entirely new intelligent species, and we’re about to make first contact by shooting them," Daniel said.
"You got a better idea?"
"Try warning shots," John said. "And, yes, Rodney, I remember why that’s a bad idea, but we're heading straight for the river."
"I'm just saying the two things I didn't want in my day were dinosaurs and fire!" Rodney said, unslinging his own P-90 and cradling it as he ran.
"They're not dinosaurs, McKay."
"Birds are essentially dinosaurs, any paleontologist—"
Ronon grabbed the back of Rodney's jacket, thrusting him forward faster. "Shut up and run!"
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