THE STORYTELLER

By Enola Jones



He opened his eyes and peered into the darkness. He loved what he could do now, how he had managed to make Teyla and Ronon so very happy.

He lay there, trying to think of things that would make John happy.

....hear me?

Frowning, Rodney sat up. "....what?"

Can....you....hear me?

Rodney closed his eyes. Yes, honey, I hear you. He cringed at his own thoughts. But it sounded like a young woman, nearly a child like Madison. The endearment had been automatic.

A sigh of relief, then a bark of laughter, and Rodney realised she had heard that.

It's impolite to read thoughts without permission, he chided.

I did not understand this.

But you do now. So, what's your name?

I do not have one. I do like what you used.

Honey it is. He laid back down. So where are you?

With you. I am eager to speak with one who can hear me.

Rodney found himself smiling. I'm here. Talk to me.

And he grinned as she began to tell him a story.

Long ago, "Honey" began, there were six sisters of gleaming metal and glass, with the ability to touch the stars if their handlers so desired. The Handlers wanted absolute control over the sisters. And so, they fashioned a seventh sister, larger and more beautiful than the others. She was to function as a capital they could rule over the others from.

Rodney nodded sleepily. Honey apparently liked faery tales. It had been awhile since he'd been told a bedtime story.

But then, came a great war. Two of the sisters were destroyed, their snowflake arms torn from their central spires and scattered to the winds.

Rodney's eyes snapped open. Snowflake arms around a central spire? That sounded like....

The Handlers moved the five remaining sisters to a place they named Pegasus. Here, they resumed their scientific studies on the populations of a thousand thousand worlds. The largest sister, instead of the marvelous capital she had been intended for, became the focal point of study. Her great size was used for experiments, failed and forgotten.

Rodney sat up. She had his full attention, now.

Then came another war. One after another, the sisters vanished, until only the last and largest remained. She found herself besieged, until in despair the Handlers abandoned her forever--

And sank her beneath the waves, Rodney finished. Where she where you slept until we arrived.

Silence for a long moment. Then, softly: Yes.

You're what we named Atlantis.

Yes.

"Well, no wonder!" Rodney gasped aloud, standing up. "No wonder we're finding all this crap you were used as a storage dump!"

If I understand you correctly... yes.

"You must've been furious!"

I was abandoned. Now, I am not. But I fear what I am this "storage dump" will make you leave as well.

"Then, show us--" And Rodney doubled over, gasping as pain tore through his skull. He fell to his knees, and then to the floor.

As darkness claimed him, he heard a faintly metallic female voice screaming over the intercom, "Medical emergency in Doctor McKay's quarters! Medical emergency in Doc--"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Rodney opened his eyes to the sights and sounds and smells of the Infirmary. The next few hours were a blur as the "improvements" were found to be fatal.

Ascend or die.

Neither choice was acceptable but there seemed to be no third choice.

Until, as the gaping darkness reached greedy fingers toward him, Rodney's mind made one of those intuitive leaps. He grabbed Carson and too weak for speech fired the idea straight into his brain.

Rodney's last coherent thought as an enhanced being was a terrified mental scream. HONEY!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Recovery came slowly.

Adjusting to no longer being able to do fantastic things took a long time. No longer being able to understand the theorems that had seemed like child's play was a form of torture.

No longer being able to mentally talk with Atlantis that was the worst.

However, when he told John about her story and the four other cities out there somewhere, and saw his face light up, Rodney realised that "Honey" had shown him how to make John happy after all.

Finally, Rodney was able to return to his quarters. He opened his laptop and went to pour himself a cup of coffee while it booted up.

When he sat down, instead of his usual wallpaper was a plain blue screen with Ancient text in black. Rodney skimmed it, mentally translating. His eyes went wide as his fingers touched the screen.

"Welcome Home, Rodney" it read. And a tiny graphic of the city rested in the lower right corner, almost as a signature.

Swallowing hard, Rodney then noticed a new file named "Honey". He opened it and let out a gasp at what appeared on the screen.

Schematics. Ancient experiment storage areas. Areas that were unsafe and why. Hours, days, months of clearing out work suddenly stretched ahead of Rodney.

And he was thrilled! This had the potential for so much knowledge and hopefully fewer lives lost!

Touching the screen, he whispered, "Thank you, Honey."

He studied the screen, wondering where to go first.

The room marked "Wraith Food Bombs" looked like an interesting place to start.....

THE END




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