scherryzade: (Default)
[personal profile] scherryzade
Title: Newcomers: The Stray
Rating: G
Character: Woolsey, Keller, OC
Disclaimer: Not mine (except the mistakes), no harm meant.
Summary: They're so busy persuading Richard to let her stay, they seem to have forgotten what she wants.
A/N: More of the newcomers series. Sequel to Janel Ettesdotter Medicat - Woolsey's pov of Janel. Also, exposition, because I convinced myself it was in character for Richard...

The Stray

The fallout from the incident on Ordan has been spiralling. The SGC, already nervous about the state of the city's relations with the Genii, pulled Sheppard back to Earth for a week to discuss strategy. AR-1 wasn't the only team to encounter an ambush that week, and nobody's fooled by the Genii's claims of innocence. There were no worse casualties than Dr McKay, but they may not be so lucky next time.

It's ceased to be a diplomatic problem, but that doesn't mean that Richard doesn't have his hands full, not least with attempting to rescue the alliance with Ordan. Ordan and its market, the cross-Gate connections they can make there, are too important to lose. He has to bend over backwards, promising them medicine, weapons and training to defend themselves if the Genii return, and a good quarter of the trade the city does in Pegasus.

Richard rues the day he ever thought Pegasans were less sophisticated than himself or his colleagues. Ordan's ambassador had a clear, un-covetous gaze, and she didn't waver in her demands, because they were perfectly judged to be more than Richard would have offered, but not so bad that he'd laugh her out of the city.

News of the incident has travelled, inevitably, and so he's fielding nervous messages from their other allies. The SGC wants to start sending double teams through the gate, a plan that he and John judiciously decide to ignore. Their allies are not going to be reassured if they start sending more soldiers through the gate - the four-person teams are too well known. But Sheppard doubles the number of Marines on stand-by when teams are off-world, and they cut back on gate travel, never more than three teams out at a time.

It leaves the city on edge. Gate teams with nothing to do, scientists with research on hold, Marines waiting for the alarms to sound - everybody's waiting for something to happen. Whatever it is, nobody expects it to be good.

And there's Janel Ettesdotter.

In some ways, Richard is surprised that it's taken this long for any of his senior staff to come forward with a lost soul in need of shelter. He hasn't exactly been wandering around waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it's been at the back of his mind since the woman froze in the gate room.

Dr Keller has come prepared, with coffee and fresh pastries.

She has an itemised list of all the reasons he should allow Janel to stay. Chief among these, of course, is that Janel is - or was - a medic. A 'medicat', which seems to translate more as paramedic than doctor. Given the comparatively advanced nature of Janel's culture, Dr Keller believes that with training she would soon reach a level of expertise to match their own staff.

Not that they are exactly low on medical staff. He points this out to Jennifer, who deflates slightly.

"Besides," he adds, "Wouldn't that training serve her better amongst the Athosians?"

"Maybe. No. I don't know." Jennifer sighs. "They need a - a GP. Someone with broader experience. Janel's trained for emergency medicine. She could really be useful here."

She pauses, then pulls herself up straighter. "And it wouldn't hurt to have a different perspective on the work we do," she says in a rush.

Richard watches her for a moment. "I'm thinking that's not your argument. Teyla?"

"Ronon," she counters. "But it's true, we've had problems. Not everybody - it's not that -" She blushes. "We've made mistakes. I've made mistakes. We make assumptions about diseases and treatments all the time, and we can't rely on Ronon and Teyla to set us right."

"But as you said yourself, Janel is trained in emergency medicine, not the sort of diagnostic medicine you're talking about."

"No, I know, but - she knows more than anyone without training -" By which she means Teyla and Ronon. The few planets with a level of medical expertise comparable to their own are not among their allies. They can't rely on the Ancient database, either, because they don't always even know where to start searching.

"Will you at least consider letting her stay?" asks Jennifer.

"I'll talk to her, but I'm not promising anything."

~

He's beginning to wonder if any of them asked Janel if she wanted to stay. She's so clearly uncomfortable, even in this small office away from the gate room. And when he raises the issue of whether she will stay, she snaps at him.

"I don't want your pity."

"I assure you -"

"I don't want anybody's charity."

"You realise that several of my senior staff have gone out of their way to persuade me to let you stay?"

"I didn't ask -"

"I'm beginning to gather that." She glares at him, but he ploughs on. "I have no wish to force you to stay if you do not want to. The Athosians' offer remains open, whenever you chose to leave."

She sags at that, sinking low in her chair. "I know, and they're so -" She sighs. "They are good people." She makes it sound - actually, she sounds the way Sheppard does when he's forced into another harvest festival. "I'm from the Delta. We're - we were never 'good people'. I'm not a farmer, or a food-for-flax trader. They live in tents. I was raised in a black-brick tower house."

"We have other allies. The Travellers -"

"Oh, Ancestors, no," says Janel. She mutters something he cannot catch.

"Ms Ettesdotter -" He stops when she snorts at that. "I'm sorry. Janel. If you don't want to stay, but you can't leave -"

"Better to drug me and throw me through the Ring," she says.

"I'm hoping it won't come to that -"

"Oh, I know, I know, your talking cure, your psychiatry. Dr Dreyfus and his 'Tell me what the Ring means to you'." She catches Dr Dreyfus' soft and slightly cloying tone so well that Richard has to choke down a laugh. "I have lived with the Rings all my life. I can't tell you why I can't walk through them now."

"I was going to say, we have ships ourselves. When the Daedalus returns, we can take you to New Athos, or another planet, without using the Stargate. If you wish."

She gives him a bitter smile, and nods, but doesn't say anything.

For all that he doesn't want to push her into a decision, Richard finds himself wanting to persuade her to stay. Maybe he's spent so long having to persuade people to do things they disagree with, he can't do anything else.

"Dr Keller assures me that you would be a useful addition to her team. That you'd bring local expertise that we have been lacking."

"You live in the city of the Ancestors. I doubt there is much I can offer."

"You said yourself, you are not a farmer or a trader. Your home -" He hesitates, because as casually as she mentioned the Delta, she flinches when he says 'home'. "The Five Towns sound to me like a city. We live in a city, but we're not all city folk, and Atlantis has not always been our home."

"You called yourselves the Children of the Ancestors," says Janel. She doesn't look surprised, however, merely assessing. And maybe a little scornful.

"We - came to be called the Children of the Ancestors, and it seemed politic to maintain that - image."

"That fiction."

"Yes. But not to our allies. We came to Atlantis through the Stargate, just like you. And we came from a distant galaxy. We might not like to admit it, but there is a lot we still have to learn about Pegasus."

"From me?" More than a little scornful.

"Dr Keller seems to think so. I would believe her, except that if you are reluctant to stay, I suspect you would be even more reluctant to work with us." He can be scornful, too, and it's the right thing to say, because she doesn't take offense. Instead, she sits up straighter. "I am prepared to offer you a place here, but I don't intend to offer you charity. If you stay, it's to do a job. If you don't want to work with us, there is no place for you in Atlantis.

"We didn't come here on a whim, Janel. We are here for a reason."

"What, to raise Wraith and then fail to kill them?"

"In pursuit of knowledge, Ettesdotter Medicat."

She opens her mouth to retort, then stops, and gives him a thin half-smile. "You did know the correct term, Mr Woolsey."

"I believe Specialist Dex mentioned it."

"And you made a little note."

"Yes."

She watches him for a moment, frowning. "Doesn't take a medicat to tell you to stay away from the Wraith."

"And on that front, I can't guarantee that your advice would be followed. We don't intend to let the Wraith go unchecked."

"But the Colonel did wake them, didn't he?"

This is the question he doesn't want to answer, because - "Yes."

"Ancestors," she says, but her anger seems to die. "I would not want that on my conscience."

"No. He wears it lightly, but he carries it at all times. Colonel Sheppard - sees the destruction of the Wraith as something of a personal goal."

"Soldiers," she hisses. "Always finding cause after -" She breaks off, looks down, running her thumb back and forth along the edge of the table. "Trying to fix the things they break."

Richard watches as she traces circles on the surface of the desk. As she thinks.

"One of your soldiers said," Janel says suddenly, softly. "He said that this was a city of second chances."

The sentiment is not surprising; Atlantis has been a fresh start for many people on the expedition. "I believe many people consider this to be so."

"The others - they all say there's nowhere they'd rather be."

Richard can't help but smile. There are days when he feels the same.

"He said - he's here because he has nowhere else to be," she says, looking up, defiance gone. "I - I don't have anywhere to go."


Followed by Medic (but I'm aware that there's kind of a story missing here...)

Oh my god, so much talking. There is more action to come.
I totally want to call the next story Medic! but I suspect it doesn't quite catch the correct tone :)

Date: 2009-11-30 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] julia-here.livejournal.com
I love Richard Woolsey so very much; he's one of those rare and specal people who learned from experience.

JUlia, this is a great read on his personalityand his reluctance to accept untested assumptions

Date: 2009-12-01 07:31 pm (UTC)
ext_72718: (Default)
From: [identity profile] scherryzade.livejournal.com
I have a soft spot for Woolsey, largely due to his big scene in The Shrine. Tho' I'm still frustrated that he was pretty much the only person who had any kind of character development in season 5, and they still didn't do much with him - things like the revelation that he was a lawyer, which was a partial inspiration for this...

Date: 2009-12-01 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] julia-here.livejournal.com
I suspect, sadly, that much of what character development we see in any Stargate series is actor-generated.

Julia, not so much disillusioned about the SG-ptb as having my already low expectations lowered further by SGU.

Date: 2009-12-01 08:08 pm (UTC)
ext_72718: (Default)
From: [identity profile] scherryzade.livejournal.com
True :/

(I keep watching because of Bobby Carlyle, but I still want to slap him upside the head and say 'This is what you abandoned the Scottish film industry for?')

Date: 2009-12-01 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] julia-here.livejournal.com
I was all prepared to defy the popular consensus of my flist forthe sake of my spaceships-at-9pm-Friday addiction, but...no.

Julia, previously my taste in SF has run to the darker and sexier brands, but there's just no life to SGU

Date: 2009-11-30 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atuinsails.livejournal.com
I love the way you've caught Woolsey here. On the one hand we would almost expect him to be prepared to drug her and toss her through the gate, but I like the way you've drawn out the compassionate administrator that might be influenced by someone bringing him coffee and pastry to help support their argument.

Date: 2009-12-01 07:35 pm (UTC)
ext_72718: (Default)
From: [identity profile] scherryzade.livejournal.com
Thanks! He needed less convincing than I thought he would, which may well be the pastries' doing...

(It always works on my boss :)

Date: 2010-01-20 02:40 pm (UTC)
ext_13205: (asgard)
From: [identity profile] korilian.livejournal.com
I really like your OC. Not just because she's such a convincing character, but because of the Pegasus perspective she gives us.

Date: 2010-01-21 08:31 pm (UTC)
ext_72718: (Default)
From: [identity profile] scherryzade.livejournal.com
Thanks! I've been finding her harder to write than I expected...

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