* TITLE: Last Man Standing
* AUTHOR: Redbyrd
* EMAIL: redbyrd (at) mindspring (dot) com
* RATING: PG
* CATEGORY: missing scene
* SUMMARY: Lorne wasn't sure he was doing the right thing. But he helped McKay get back to Atlantis anyway.
* SPOILERS: SGA 4.20 Last Man
* WARNINGS: NA
The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
Lorne's aide was giving him a puzzled look, but he ignored it as he watched McKay climb the ramp stiffly. The uniform looked incongruous with the gray hair and pudgy form, but McKay neither stopped nor looked back as he headed for the wormhole that would take him to the Alpha site, where all the staging for Atlantis-bound ships took place these days.
When McKay had asked him, his first thought had been fear. McKay proposed to change the timeline- what if the new timeline was worse? What if his choice doomed the people of two galaxies? But they'd been steadily losing ground to Michael for over twenty-five years in Pegasus, he had so many followers by this time that no simple solution would work, nothing like the way Sam Carter and SG-1 had destroyed the Replicators.
Then his gaze drifted to a set of portraits in his office, formal photos of the prior base commanders. West, West had feared, and nearly succeeded in leaving the Earth vulnerable and ignorant for when the Goa'uld finally came. Hammond had taken high risks in his time, and reaped the rewards. O'Neill towered amongst his peers. O'Neill had changed the timeline, once upon a time...sent a note in his own handwriting that saved the planet from insidious conquest. Elizabeth Weir.... Elizabeth would never have abandoned Pegasus. Rodney's plea rang in his ears. "Let's cut to the chase. You saw what happened in Pegasus. You know what's happening here. You really think this is the way it's supposed to be?"
Rodney was still talking, a confused babble that flipped from the litany of terrible things he wanted to change to the incomprehensible technical details of how he planned to do it....
"I'll do it," Lorne said, cutting him off. "I'll send you back to Atlantis. You want to take some readings on power utilization in the Ancient systems. I'm sending you because it could mean improved power for Earth starships. I'll rely on you to make the technical details so confusing no one else can follow it. Can you be ready to go in an hour?"
Rodney was caught in mid-plea, looking a little startled it had been that easy. "Yes," he said. "I'm ready."
"Good. And Rodney?" Lorne said, standing up from his desk to clasp Rodney's shoulder. "Good luck."
McKay nodded, and turned to leave. Lorne looked from the painting he had once done of Atlantis to the row of portraits staring back across his desk, for once feeling one of their company.
An hour later, he watched McKay leaving. Sheppard, Teyla, Ronon, Carter, Keller, so many others. Entire worlds in Pegasus. But it was the friends he'd lost that weighed the heaviest. It wasn't that the friends were worth more than the nameless thousands, he thought- but he was only human to feel their loss more keenly.
The shimmering surface closed over McKay, and Lorne tried to unobtrusively relax the muscles he'd tensed. If this worked, he'd never know it was his choice, that he might never stand in this place. He turned back toward his office. He'd leave a little early today, he thought. Maybe call his daughter, away at college. He'd like to be seeing the sky and the mountains, when it happened. The last twenty-five years had been good to him- they were a steep price to pay. But he owed this to them all, most of all to Sheppard, not dead, but waiting, millenia away. "I lost your team, sir," he murmured to the empty elevator. "But we'll get them back. We'll get them all back."