Summary: In the end, they will all tell stories.
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Spoilers/Warnings: This is futurefic, so all the canon characters are long dead.
Title, Author and URL of original story: the subterraneans by vanitashaze.
Author's Notes: Thanks more than I can ever say to my incredible beta/handholder/fix-it gal soleta.
"Sora Lisabet do Ladem!"
Sora was sent to bed without supper, all for being curious and wanting to know. If Lalo said that jahra bugs were green in the middle, it seemed easy enough to prove or disprove by cutting one open. Maman did not agree.
Gremma snuck into her room later, fed her scraps and laughed like they were having a party.
"Your maman doesn't like it when you look for knowledge," Gremma said, licking the mash off her fingers. "She is afraid. Do not let yourself be afraid."
"Teyla was not afraid," Gremma said, and Sora knew Maman would cluck her tongue at the old tales, but Sora always listened carefully. It was important to know what the gods wanted, so you could get around them if you had to.
Teyla was the first person to ever meet the gods. She was not afraid; she showed them their purpose, and in return they took her with them to the city of Lenthia, where she was given the chance to become a god. She said I do not know fear and walked into the fire, where she endured for one hundred days, followed by one hundred days of cold and one hundred days of solitude. Her trials over, she took her rightful place among the gods of Lenthia.
When she was in school, her father told her the old stories that accompanied her classes, the myths that were too outdated to be taught alongside the science. Riadne was her favorite; the tinker, the curious one, the fixer. Sora wanted to be just like him, to know the rules of science so well so you knew when you could break them. Sheperd was her sister's favorite, the warrior and the charmer. It suited her, so full of life and mischief. They never fought over who to play when they acted out the legends.
"I have a magic shell," Sora shouted, pressing it to her chest when her sister tackled her to the ground. "You cannot touch me!"
"Then I get to throw you off a cliff," Tikeh answered, already hauling Sora over her shoulders. "And shoot arrows at you!"
"No!" Sora shouted back, kicking her legs. She spied their brother coming down the hill and pinched her sister hard. "Ronon will save me!" Tikeh whirled around and around in circles and Sora yelled for her brother. "Korath! Save me from this wretch!"
Korath laughed, but Tikeh dumped Sora unceremoniously in the grass, complaining at Sora's poor gamesmanship and turning to face their giant of a brother, the only person in Tikeh's acquaintance who could beat her at bare-handed combat. Sora rubbed her hip and scowled.
Ronon was just a man when the dark gods cursed him never to rest until the stars fell down from the sky. For seven times seven times seven years he lived, hunted by the Rathe, until the gods of Lenthia learned of his fate and sent Beket, the god of medicine, to cut the curse from his heart. Ronon used his freedom wisely; he hunted the Rathe in return until they trapped each other on the ruined planet of Sidedeh. There Ronon and the dark god fought until the planet broke in two. The dark god died screaming, but the gods of Lenthia learned of Ronon's fate and rescued him, bringing him back to the glorious city of Lenthia, where Ronon was made a god in turn.
Sora apprenticed at an early age to old Soranth, the inventor. He was cranky but she learned fast, so she avoided his wrath most of the time, and accepted his fist when she didn't. She didn't mind - she usually understood his experiments, clear lines that linked up into brilliant ideas, how the sky followed rules, just like the Iirijjin, and if she learned all the rules, she would understand the universe and how it worked. Nothing was more exciting than that.
Riadne got his powers from knowing the universe; from peeking under her skirt and watching her work. She was made of crystal and light and metal and absence. His hands worked their magic and she gave herself to him, gave him her secrets so he could make her bend and sway and recreate herself.
Sora's star-glass gave her trouble, set so loosely in its frame. The other Searchers laughed at her, at her own invention of refraction and magnification, cobbled together from sweat and imagination and just a little sticking gloop. She mounted the platform, adjusting the furthest lens precisely and used the meetha glue to hold it in place. She knocked the scope askew as she climbed down, cursing in Ronon's name, spitting Sedideh from her lips as easily as if she was a warrior with no better breeding. A glance at the sky before she readjusted the scope showed a cluster; her heart stuttered briefly in fear and her father's voice rang in her ears.
When Sheperd was a man, he mastered the sky and made it his own. He flew and flew and laughed with the glory of it until the gods accidentally struck him down while they were at play. When she saw him fall, We'r took pity on his broken wings and carried him to her throne. When she laid him down, the throne lit up with the power of the Old Ones, the gods before gods, and Sheperd knew himself to be a god and lived in Lenthia forevermore.
The gate was half buried when Haaln brought Sora through; she had to climb dunes to get up to the controls. It wasn't her specialty, but she trusted Haaln's judgment; she had never before seen a gate with eight crystals, so she thought he must be right. She followed him closely, setting up her star-glass on the desert planet, mapping the stars in the Riadne Galaxy as Haaln and his team worked on the gate. When it finally flared into life, the threshold shimmering like every other gate she had traveled, her heart stopped for a moment, and she kissed Haaln with the joy of it, taking him to her bed to celebrate.
We'r chose the gods to travel to Lenthia, Riadne and Sheperd and Beket; her court constructed with care and forethought. They came to Lenthia, their place held by the Old Ones, and killed the Rathe that had crushed the peoples of the galaxy when the Old Ones had left. The battle raged across the stars, and when the Lenthian gods reigned alone, the Iirijjin rose up from the dust of their oppression.
The na shanen, the first wave, was built in the image of the gods, even if the Elders did not select the company for that purpose. They had Warriors and Dokters and Tinkers and Growers. Sora was a Searcher but she was a Tinker too; she couldn't keep her hands from the machines that called for them. She longed to see what the far galaxy would show her, to live in Riadne's image.
Before crossing the threshold of the gate, Sora took one last look at her home, represented in the broken glass and sand of the city.
Finally, it is time to write my own stories.