A Crossover with Stargate Atlantis
The ship moved slowly through space, often bombarded with small pieces of debris that bounced off the body and did little to deter it from its destination. Three lights winked on and off in the biobeds, sending a detailed signal to the computer that her three passengers were still alive. The course would take the drop ship through uninhabited space before reaching the solar system it originated from. Unfortunately there were often unforeseen factors that wreaked havoc with even those ships that were fool proof and run by automated computers.
The lights above the biobeds continued to blink as a piece of space debris, that could have been floating through the vast emptiness for millennia struck the ship and deflected the beacon that had kept it to its course for the last four weeks. Now the ship was headed away from the solar system with its M class planet toward a barren black hole where it could very easily be lost to the space-time continuum, but once again faith intervened.
A second spatial disturbance, known as a wormhole, had also formed and was now drawing the Sulaco toward the writhing mass. Science and logic had often been at loggerheads with each other over the existence of wormholes and the possibility of traveling between universes by entering a black hole. So far no one had ever returned from a wormhole, lending credence to the naysayers. The Sulaco continued to be drawn into one such anomaly; the ship disappeared through the opening, swallowed up inside and traveling at a velocity that would send it spiraling through the other side. It shot out into an asteroid field and tumbled silently in the vacuum of space before sending a distress signal for anyone within hearing distance.
Dwayne Hicks felt the difference in the ship even as the biobed he'd been placed in opened and cool air tingled against his flesh bringing goosebumps to the surface. He opened his eye even as he lifted his right hand and touched the massive bandages that covered the right side of his face and chest. His right arm was immobilized in tight bandages and he moved his fingers, relieved when he managed to do so without the twisting agony that raged through his nerves when he'd moved his shoulder. He groaned and tried to sit up, but the white-hot pain lanced through his upper body and skull. As a Colonial Marine, Hicks had been well trained on pain maintenance and he closed his eyes in an effort to concentrate on his breathing. Finally able to manage that small task he forced his single unbandaged eye open and tried to remember where he was and what had brought him here.
"Xenomorph!" Hicks cursed and finally managed to sit forward. He closed his eyes once more as a wave of nauseating sickness washed over him and he was forced to remain still for several long, agonizing moments. Finally able to breathe and think past the hideous alien creature that had mutilated and killed his team, Hicks looked around the ship's medical bay. Of the remaining biobeds only three were occupied and Hicks swallowed past the arid terrain that was his throat. He stood on shaky legs, wondering why his was the only bed to open and realized it had to do with the computer's programming. The last mission to LV-426 had been under military command and the computer was programmed to awaken the highest-ranking Colonial Marine should a problem arise. He clenched his hands on the sides of the biobed while his body came to terms with the fact that he was in an upright position and seemed to plan on staying that way.
Finally able to move he made it to the first biobed and recognized the torn body of the android named Bishop. He frowned and tried to remember how the synthetic had ended up in this condition. The last thing he remembered was being on the drop ship and Ripley telling him not to let Bishop leave. He'd vowed that they'd be there once she found Newt and his eyes snapped up and his breath caught in his throat when he saw the woman and child in the next two beds. Again he tried to remember Ripley's return, but there was nothing after Bishop had shot him full of drugs and he'd succumbed to his injuries. Hicks looked at the readouts on the biobed and knew there was nothing he could do for Bishop and moved to the next one.
The Colonial Marine had seen death many times over the years and there was no doubt in his mind that the person lying in the bed was indeed dead. Helen Ripley's upper body was a testament to the cruelty of the Xenomorph's breeding abilities and he turned away in an effort to quell his nauseous stomach. Ripley's chest had exploded outward, revealing broken and splintered ribs covered in blood and gore. The creature she'd unwillingly given birth too was lying on top of her and Hicks knew it was dead without have to check it.
Carter Burke's plan to smuggle a Xenomorph through earth's security measures would never have worked because the biobeds had been programmed to take action if there were signs of alien creatures within the small space. As soon as the creature had broken through Ripley's chest it was sprayed with a neurotoxin that would attack and neutralize the creatures acidic blood and slowly dissolve the hard shell of its skull until it reached the brain matter and left nothing but a glittering gel like mass. The computer's readings also told him what he knew; Ripley and the Xenomorph were dead.
Hicks moved to the last bed; breathing a sigh of relief when he saw the flashing green lights that told him the child was alive and well. Rebecca Jordan slept soundly, her vitals recorded by the computer and he slowly reached out to touch the sealed chamber. He knew the right digits and passwords that would open the biobed, but first he needed to make sure they were home before he released her. Once they removed Ripley's body, he would release Newt and help her deal with Ripley's death. He knew there was very little he could do when it came to the ship itself and that somehow he hoped there was enough left of Bishop to help with the operating systems. Turning away from Newt, Hicks moved to the biobed where Bishop lay entombed and had to lean on the glass covering as his legs threatened to give out on him.
"Sonofabitch!" the Marine cursed and waited for the room to right itself before punching in the code numbers and letters. It didn't take long for the readings to change and the glass split in two as it opened upward and outward. Hicks watched as the synthetic came to life and turned to face him, amazed that with the major damage the android could still function.
"Corporal, are we home?"
"I don't know, Bishop. The computer woke me, but I haven't checked our position yet. I know very little about computers and..."
"Perhaps it would be wise to wake Ripley."
"Ripley's dead. She must have been impregnated at some point. The computer annihilated the Xenomorph, but it was too late for Ripley."
"So the fail safe worked?"
"Yes, I just wish they'd found a way to do it before Ripley died."
"How is Rebecca?"
"She's fine, her readings are in the clear. Now I need to know how to find out where we are and what we're supposed to do next."
"Very well, Corporal, but I am sorry about Ripley. She did not deserve to die like this. I wish there was something we could have done."
"Me too," Hicks winced and tried to fight off the waves of burning agony caused by the Xenomorph's acidic blood.
"You should be resting," Bishop warned and heard the marine chuckle softly.
"Right now I'm the only one available. Tell me what to do, Bishop, before I pass out," Hicks warned.
"There is a connection near the top of the biobed. You need to plug it in to my Neuro-positronic connection."
"Where the hell is that?" Hicks asked impatiently.
"Sorry, it is located at the back of my neck at the brain stem. Connect the cable and I will be able to link with the computer."
Hicks nodded, immediately regretting the movement as it reminded him of the injury to his face and neck. He looked at the connections above Bishop's head and wished he'd paid more attention during the technological courses at Marine headquarters.
"Yes, damn it! How the hell do I know which terminal to use?"
"There should be four terminals; red, green, black, and yellow. Each one has its own sensors."
"All right, so which one do I use?" Hicks asked.
"The green one should have three elongated prongs."
"I see it."
"Good, take that one and plug it into the matching female connector at the back of my neck."
"Done," Hicks said.
"Good, next you take the red and plug that one into the matching connector."
"Shit, Christmas colors?"
"Yes, my creator always said that I would light up like a Christmas tree when the time came."
"Is it working?"
"Yes," Bishop said. "I have access to the computer terminals and programs. I am now accessing our location and..."
"Bishop, what's wrong?" Hicks asked, not really sure he wanted to know as the android stared at him.
"We are not as close to earth as we should be. In fact, we are an impossible distance from our solar system."
"Where the hell are we?" the marine asked tiredly.
"According to the computer we are in the Pegasus Galaxy."
"How the hell can that be? The Pegasus galaxy is millions of light years."
"Don't give me the exact number, Bishop, just tell me how the hell this happened and what it'll take to get us back on course."
"According to the computer's records The Sulaco entered a worm hole."
"Worm holes don't exist."
"I'm afraid this is not something we can debate. According to everything we've ever been told about wormholes and their nonexistence this should have been impossible, but the numbers all add up. We entered a temporal anomaly that sent us so far off course it would take well over a hundred years to return to our galaxy if that were even possible."
"A hundred years," Hicks whispered, closing his eyes as the full impact of Bishop's words hit him.
Bishop watched the wavering man and knew it was not just his words that were affecting the marine's equilibrium. The wounds were painful and now that he was awake the pain had to be tremendous. The android knew there was nothing he could do until he was able to completely interface with the computer and use the mainframe to access the programming that could be used to manufacture a new body for his own Positronic brain.
"Fuck!" Hicks cursed as he sank toward the floor. His body was no longer able to withstand the burning sensations racing through him, but he fought against them, hoping and praying they could find a way out of the mess they were now in. He looked up as a hand touched his shoulder and knew Bishop was there, but there was nothing the android could do to ease his torment. The Colonial Marine felt as if the weight of the world rested on his shoulders and he slowly sank into the pit of darkness that waited for him.
Hicks had no idea how long he'd been out, but it felt like his joints were stiff and unyielding as he opened his eyes. Something hung from a pole above his head and he frowned as he tried to come to terms with the clear fluid dripping from a small bag into a smaller reservoir before running through a tube into his left arm. His chest, arm, neck and most of the right side of his face were still covered in bandages and tingled as if the healing had finally begin.
"Corporal, it is good to see you awake. How do you feel?"
Hicks turned his head at the familiar voice and looked into Bishop's concerned face. Whoever had built the android deserved an award for making him so realistic. As soon as that thought hit, Hicks realized the synthetic life form was standing on two legs beside his bed. "Bishop...how?"
"A simple matter of accessing the computer's artificial life forms program and having it build a new body to for my brain to occupy. I am far more advanced than you were led to believe. How do you feel?"
"Like hell. What happened?"
"What do you remember?"
Hicks closed his eyes and allowed his mind to wander back over the last images that fought to the surface. Ripley's ruined body, Newt safely ensconced in the biobed, waking Bishop... and finally the news of their new predicament. "Pegasus Galaxy?"
"Yes, that is our location. I confirmed it and programmed the computer to search for any class M planets within our reach."
"She is still in her biobed. I did not want to awaken her without your being able to help. I am sorry about Ripley."
"Thanks," Hicks said reaching up to touch the bandages covering his eye.
"I took the liberty of examining you and checking the injuries with the medical programs within my own system and those of the ship's computer. There were several treatments for the types of burns you received and I have implemented them. The IV running into your arm is an antibiotic with a built in medication that will keep the pain to a minimum."
"You call this minimum?" Hicks whispered, groaning as he sat up on the edge of the bed.
"I'm afraid if I gave you anything heavier you would not be conscious," Bishop answered, watching as the young marine touched his covered eyes once more. "I believe there was very little damage done to the eye itself and that you will have no loss of sight."
"You believe?" Hicks asked, regretting the sarcastic tone immediately. "Sorry, Bishop."
"No need to apologize, Corporal."
"Look, Bishop, lose the corporal shit for now okay. Call me Hicks."
"Very well, Hicks, perhaps you should lie back and rest?"
"Probably, but I've been trained to do what needs to be done."
"There is very little for you to do until we find a planet that is suitable to our needs."
"What about Ripley's body and the dead Xenomorph?"
"I'm afraid I took the liberty of disposing of the Xenomorph."
"There was nothing I could do for her and I thought I would save you and Rebecca from making a decision on what to do with her body. I spoke the final words over her and released her body into space."
"Ripley would have liked that," Hicks said, knowing the woman loved being in space. He managed to stand on his own two feet and was grateful Bishop had placed a pair of white pajama bottoms on him.
"Where are you going?"
"It's time to let Newt wake up."
"No buts, Bishop. She's in this with us and she's a smart kid," Hicks said.
"All right, but why don't you lie back down and I'll wake her and bring her to you?"
"No, I'm okay. The kid is in for a shock and I want to be there in case she needs someone," Hicks said.
"Hold on and I'll transfer the IV to a walker."
"Take it out," Hicks ordered.
"I can deal with it, Bishop. Just get the damned thing out now!" Hicks said and waited for the android to obey his command. It didn't take long before the marine was released from the IV and was walking slowly toward the biobed. He knew he'd probably need meds to help him deal with the pain and the burns themselves, but first he had to make sure Newt would not wake up alone.
"Are you sure this is the best thing for Rebecca?" Bishop asked.
"No... yes. I'd rather she didn't wake up alone and something tells me computers are not infallible," Hicks said and smiled at the android. "Present company excepted."
"Thank you," Bishop said when they reached Newt. He quickly entered the proper commands and moved away as Rebecca Jordan's eyes opened.
"Hello, Newt," Hicks said, smiling at the young girl.
"Hicks. Where's Ripley?" the child asked, sitting up and searching for the woman who'd rescued her.
"Please. I... I had a dream. Ripley... the thing had her. I couldn't help her."
Hicks used his right arm to lift her from the biobed and felt her hang onto him for dear life. His wounds awakened with her touch, but he ignored them as she sobbed against his shoulder.
"She's gone... isn't she?"
"It was my fault. If I'd stayed hidden you would have left and she wouldn't be dead and I... I..."
"Sh, Newt, it's not your fault," Hicks told her and nodded gratefully when the android pointed toward a chair. The colonial marine sat holding the child while she sobbed, ignoring the pain washing over him in ever increasing waves that threatened to pull him under.
"You... you're hurt," Newt said when her sobs finally stopped.
"I'm okay, Newt."
"I d...don't want to be alone again, Hicks," the girl whispered, suddenly becoming the child in need of an adult to protect her.
"You're not, Newt. I'm here and so is Bishop and we're going to make sure nothing hurts you again."
"Ripley promised to be here with me, Hicks, and she's dead. Everyone dies."
"I'm not going to die," Hicks told her and found her studying his face. He smiled weakly in spite of the mounting nausea and prayed he would not let her down.
"Newt, Hicks will be fine if he does as he is supposed to," Bishop said. "He needs to rest. Why don't you help him back to his bed while I get you both something to eat."
"Bishop," Hicks said when the child took him by the hand and pulled him toward the bed the android indicated. "I owe you."
"Yes, I suppose you do," the synthetic said and watched the two humans walk slowly across the med bay. There was something perfect in the way the two stood together and Bishop knew Hicks and Newt needed each other. Humans tended to like the company of others, while he did not need or desire that luxury. He walked to the replicator and pressed several buttons and soon held two trays of food. He walked back toward the bed and watched as Hicks gently wiped the tears from the child's face.
"We'll be okay, Newt."
"But what if there's one of those things inside us? How do you know? Ripley didn't know there was one inside her, but I dreamed about it and it was real."
"The computer detected the creature inside Ripley and it destroyed it before it could get out. The ship is clean," the Marine explained.
"I'm scared, Hicks."
"So am I, Newt, so I guess it's up to you and me to take care of each other."
"D...does it hurt?"
"The burns. Ripley told me you were hurt, but they'd make you better when we got home. When will that be?"
"I'm not sure, Honey," Hicks said and closed his eyes. How was he going to tell the child they may never get home again?
"Newt, it's time for you and Hicks to eat," Bishop said, placing one tray on each of the remote tables before pushing them up to the bed.
"Thank you, Bishop." Newt said and climbed onto the bed with Hicks.
Hicks watched the little girl closely as she began to eat the hot dog and fries the android had managed to get the replicator to produce and then looked at his own meager offering. He knew the simple meal was chosen because of his injuries and the nauseating effect they had on him, but he'd give anything for a greasy cheeseburger slathered in ketchup and onions.
"Are you going to eat, Hicks?"
"Yes," the marine said, turning his gaze on Bishop and sending a promise of revenge. It didn't matter that Bishop was a synthetic life form, Hicks was going to find a way to get revenge for the little bits and pieces of blackmail the android had suddenly developed a penchant for. He slowly ate the soft food, while watching Newt carefully. The child had been through so much and had lost her family to the Xenomorph infestation and he prayed there would come a time when she found a family who would care for her. Her next words sent a chill through him and he wished there was something he could do for her.
"Hicks, can I stay with you forever?"
"Newt, I don't know."
"Please, Hicks, I'll be good and I'll do everything you tell me too. Please don't send me away," She began to weep and the marine felt the pain in his own heart for all that she had lost.
"What about having a mother and father or brothers and sisters?" Hicks asked.
"They're gone, Hicks."
"I know they are, but you must have aunts and uncles back on earth."
"No... there was no one else. That's why we were chosen to go to that place," Newt told him, shaking her head as she sobbed softly. "I don't have any family."
"I'm sorry, Newt," Hicks said and drew her close once more. He ignored the pain this move caused and looked over her head at the android.
Bishop moved the trays away from the bed and stood watching over the two humans. Hicks may not realize it, but there was a bond between him and the little girl, one that would see them through the times to come. They needed each other; it was as simple as that.
Hicks felt someone touch his arm and opened his eyes to see the android preparing some kind of injection for him. He knew it was something to ease the pain and he nodded gratefully. He felt the sharp sting of the needle in his shoulder and soon felt the medication racing through his blood stream. He felt it lulling him toward sleep and kept his left arm wrapped protectively around his charge as he drifted to sleep.
Bishop reached out to remove the sleeping child, but a raspy voice stopped him.
"Leave her," Hicks said.
"She's leaning on your..."
"I know, but let her be," the marine said and felt the android raise the rails on the side of the bed. It wasn't long before he too fell into a deep sleep and Bishop was left to watch over them.
With his two charges sleeping the android moved toward the Sulaco's control room and sat at the computer terminal. He knew when Hicks woke up he'd want to know as much as possible about the Pegasus Galaxy and he wanted to make sure he had some news to impart.
Hicks woke to the feel of a small body nestled up to him and slowly peeled his eyes open. Newt's hair was soft, as if she'd just showered, but he knew that was from the biobed. It was programmed to care for its inhabitants, including such things as keeping them comfortable and hygienic. He shifted slightly, bringing back -- full force -- exactly why he was in the bed. His upper body and face burned and he fought to stifle the cry of pain as he slid his arm from under the child and reached for the controls on the side rails.
"Is that wise, Hicks?"
"Bishop, help me up," Hicks ordered and was soon standing on his own two feet. He checked Newt and was glad to see she still slept. The events of the last few weeks were taking a toll on the child and he knew she hadn't slept very well.
"Where are you going?"
"Control room," Hicks answered weakly. "We need to find out where we are and what chances we have of making it home."
"I just ran through the possibilities and I'm afraid home is not feasible unless we are able to calculate where a wormhole such as the one we went through should appear. The odds of that are over..."
"A billion to one," Hicks finished and knew they were truly stuck in the Pegasus Galaxy. He knew Bishop had done a thorough job of making sure he'd correlated all the probabilities, but he needed to see those readings for himself.
"I did find two class M planets."
"How far?" Hicks asked, wincing as he moved too fast.
"I took the liberty of plotting a course to the nearest planet. We should reach it in 1.4 hours," Bishop said.
"There's something else you should know."
"Good news or bad?"
"I guess that depends on what we find when we reach the planet. We have been receiving signals from both planets since I detected them."
"Do they know we're out here?"
"Not exactly. I have kept us moving but without the benefit of the propulsion engines. Unless they are far more advanced than their signals indicate they will not be able to pick us up."
"I guess we'd better pray they're friendly," Hicks said.
Bishop watched the Marine and wished there was more he could do, but the wounds needed to heal and it would be some time before that happened. The pain had to be tremendous, yet Hicks kept it from showing on his face even as he sat in front of the computer console. Bishop knew he was doing all he could, but there were times when humans needed a real doctor, one who would understand what pain was and how best to manage it. He could use the computers to find the best treatment, but even then there were the human factors to consider and he had no idea how to deal with those.
Hicks could feel the android watching him and fought the urge to touch the bandages covering the right side of his face. Again he wondered about his eyesight and whether he'd be blind in that eye, but that was something he would deal with when the time came. For now he chose to ignore the mounting pain and figure out the best way to approach the planet.
Elizabeth Weir stared out over the vast ocean as the soft breeze caressed her cheeks. How often had she found herself compelled to step outside and breathe deep of the clean air. There were things she missed about earth, but the smog and pollution weren't among them. The team of scientists and military personnel were coming together and John Sheppard was one of the best she'd ever seen. He cared about what happened and he didn't let military protocol dictate his actions. Sheppard had shown that he was quite capable of thinking outside the flanks and she knew he understood the civilian members of the team better because of it.
Weir turned and smiled at Rodney McKay and knew this was another man who seemed to have changed a great deal since coming to Atlantis. "Hello, Rodney, is there a problem?"
"I'm not sure," McKay said, joining her at the railing. "We're picking up something on the long range scanners."
"A wraith sip?" Weir asked, praying that she was wrong.
"No, at least I don't think so. It's not the same readings as a dart and much too small for a Hive ship."
"Does Major Sheppard know?" Weir asked and moved toward the entrance to Atlantis.
"Yes, I informed him and Sgt. Bates of the possibility of company."
"I'm afraid the ship is headed directly for us."
"How long before they arrive?"
"Approximately an hour," McKay answered.
"Have you tried to contact them?"
"Not yet, Major Sheppard wanted to wait until you were present." McKay said, striding toward base operations.
John Sheppard looked up as Elizabeth Weir and Rodney McKay entered the main area and motioned for them to join him at the consoles. He pointed to the screens and showed them the blip that marked the newcomer's approach.
"They've kept pretty much on the same course," Sheppard informed them.
"Any idea who they are?" Weir asked.
"No, but the ship itself has characteristics of Earth based ships," Sheppard said.
"Are you saying it could be from Earth?" McKay asked.
"Yes... no, I don't know. It is possible, but until we contact them it's impossible to get a clear reading." Sheppard answered.
"If they are from Earth they must have been caught up in some kind of Temporal Disturbance. Unless it's a gate ship."
"Puddle Jumper," Sheppard corrected automatically.
"Could they have come through a Stargate?" Weir asked.
"Not the ones we've discovered," the technician answered and swept his hands over the controls.
"Wormhole maybe?" Sheppard suggested.
"That kind of travel is impossible," McKay said.
"Really? Wouldn't you say the technology of the ancients was impossible, yet here it is," the major said with a slight grin.
"Yes, well, that's different."
"Only because you're looking at it, Rodney," Weir said. "How long before that ship reaches us?"
"Less than forty minutes," the technician answered.
"I guess it's time we established contact then," Weir ordered.
"Bishop, it looks like they are more advanced than we thought," Hicks said as the radio signal changed and a male voice echoed through the speakers.
"This is Starbase Atlantis."
"Are you going to establish contact?" Bishop asked as the message was repeated several times.
"I guess there's not much choice," Hicks answered and pressed the buttons that would establish a link with the Starbase. "This is the Sulaco."
"Dr. Weir, they're answering."
"Patch it through the speakers," Weir ordered.
"This is the Sulaco."
"To whom am I speaking?" the woman asked as the station grew quiet.
"Marine Corporal Dwayne Hicks."
"Marine corporal?" Bates said incredulously, growing quiet once more as weir re-established the connection.
"Corporal Hicks, where are you stationed?"
"Who is this?"
"This is Dr. Elizabeth Weir of Starbase Atlantis."
"Ask him where they're from?" Bates said and returned the glare Sheppard sent his way.
"I repeat where were you stationed and what planet are you from?"
"We're from Earth."
"No way!" McKay said, shaking his head in confusion. "It's not possible."
"Rodney, be quiet!" Weir snapped.
"Hello, Atlantis, did you copy?"
"I'm sorry, could you repeat that last transmission?"
"I said we were pulled through a wormhole. I know how that sounds, but it's what happened. We request permission to land?"
"Permission granted," Sheppard said with Weir's approval. "We'll bring you in from here."
Hicks turned to look at the android as their ship's engines cut out automatically and the computer announced that they were being guided in by an outside source.
"Do you trust them, Bishop?" Hicks asked tiredly.
"I don't know, but they certainly do sound authentic," the android answered.
"In that case I'd better see if there are any uniforms available to fit over these," Hicks said and stood away from the console. "Come get me if they need any other information."
"I will," Bishop assured him. He'd heard stories about Atlantis and the Pegasus Galaxy, but his only references mentioned travelling by Stargate, and that had been well over two centuries ago. He thought all Stargates had since been destroyed because of the possibility of an invading force of creatures that were supposed to suck the life from its human victims. He searched the files in an effort to access the files and search for the names of the creatures, but the input he had was inaccessible from this console.
"Major, I'm coming with you," Weir stated when Sheppard chose a squad to accompany him and Bates to the Stargate landing zone.
"As head of security, Dr. Weir, I think you should remain here. We don't know who we're dealing with," Bates said.
"Thank you, Sgt Bates, but I'm going," Weir assured him and followed the group out of main operations. She knew they'd be meeting up with Teyla Emmagan and Dr. Carson Beckett because it was standard procedure now that they knew about the Wraith and their capabilities. Teyla could sense the creatures and was often called upon to use that ability to find the enemy within the city.
"Newt, honey, it's time to wake up," Hicks said softly and waited for the child's eyes to open. When they did, he saw fear and hope warring for dominance within the depths and wished he could do something to ease what the girl had gone through.
"We're about to land."
"No, I'm not really sure where we are, but the people are friendly and they've given us permission to land. I thought you'd like to get dressed before we meet them." Hicks passed her a pair of pants and a shirt that would be much too big for her, but they'd find some way of making them fit for now. "Do you need some help?"
"I'm not a baby," Newt said accepting the clothes and jumping down from the bed.
Hicks watched her closely; a half smile on his face at the thought of the resilience children seemed to have. He knew Newt was going to grieve in her own way and when the time came he would be there for her, but for now he gave her the space she needed and hoped they'd both find a new life waiting for them, or the possibility of returning to earth. By the time the child returned they'd docked with whatever technology was available on Atlantis and they moved to meet their hosts.
Bishop was in the landing bay when they got there and noticed how the child's hand found its way into Hicks' much larger one as they moved to face a new life. "Are you ready?"
"As ready as we'll ever be, right, Newt?"
"Affirmative," the child whispered and moved a step closer to her protector as she saluted him.
"You heard her, Bishop," Hicks said and watched the android's hands working the controls. The doors slid open revealing a group of people with weapons drawn and pointed in their direction. "Dr. Weir?"
"Corporal Hicks?" Weir asked, noting the bandages that covered most of the man's chest and right side of his face. She wondered what kind of injuries lay beneath them and felt Carson Beckett move to join her.
"That's right," Hicks said as another man joined the woman just outside the door.
"Please, follow me," Weir told her guests and stepped back to allow them to exit the ship. She quickly introduced the people who'd accompanied her and smiled at the child who seemed to be half hidden behind the marine.
"Thank you for allowing us to land, Dr. Weir. This is Rebecca Jordan and Bishop."
"Hello, Rebecca, it's nice to meet you."
"Newt," the child whispered.
"Newt.nobody calls me Rebecca," the girl said and clung to Hicks' leg.
"Oh, I'm sorry... Newt," Weir said softly, smiling at the child as she watched Hicks moved slightly, showing his protective side.
"Corporal, perhaps you would allow me to take a look at your injuries?" Beckett suggested.
"Bishop took care of it."
"I'm not a doctor, Hicks," the android said simply.
"I can tell its bothering you, Corporal," Beckett said.
"We can talk after Carson treats you, Hicks," Weir told him.
"All right," Hicks reluctantly acquiesced.
"I'll go with them," Sheppard said. He hadn't said much during the initial meeting, but there was something about this man that he trusted. Whether it was the way he cared about the child or the fact that he didn't seem nervous around them, the major didn't know.
"As head of security..."
"Bates, I can handle this," Sheppard said.
"All right, but I'm going to station a couple of men outside medbay!" the sergeant warned.
"Corporal, perhaps Newt would like to meet some of the children?" Teyla suggested.
"Newt?" Hicks asked and turned to see the child's face and saw the fear in her eyes. "No, she stays with me."
"All right, perhaps later," Emmagan said.
"Carson, let me know what you find out," Weir said.
"I will," Beckett agreed and led the small group away from the ship. He saw Bishop press several buttons before following them and knew he was just being cautious and protecting their ship and belongings.
Hicks walked slowly along the corridor, amazed at the unfamiliar technology, but he knew he did not have much strength left. His chest and face were burning with an intensity that threatened to put him on his knees and he turned to the android. "Watch Newt," was all he managed as his legs gave out.
Beckett and Sheppard reacted instinctively and caught the injured man before he hit the floor. Hicks' eyes rolled back in his head as a soft whimper escaped his throat. Beckett could feel the heat rising from the injured man and knew they needed to get him to medbay immediately.
"Get a stretcher, now!" Beckett ordered and heard a flurry of feet as his order was carried out. He could hear the child crying as Bishop picked her up in his arms.
"Doc?" Sheppard asked.
"I won't know anything until I examine him, but he's running a fever and that means there's probably some infection here," the physician explained and looked up at Bishop as he asked. "What kind of wounds are they?"
"Acid from a Xenomorph," the android answered.
"From a what?" Sheppard asked.
"A Xenomorph. It is an alien that bleeds... perhaps it would be best if I downloaded the information to your computer systems. I am an android and can interface with your systems."
"I'm sorry, but we can't allow you access to our computers... not until we know more about you," Sheppard said as two of Carson's team returned with a stretcher and they moved the unconscious marine onto it.
"I understand, but there are things Dr. Beckett should know about the acidic quality of the burns," Bishop explained.
"Tell me what they are and what you've done for him," Beckett said as they raced toward the medbay. He listened as Bishop explained the treatments he'd used and the antibiotics, but there was not much he could say about the burns themselves. The doctor hoped there was information the ancients had that could shed some light on the injuries themselves. Burns were amongst the worst things that could happen to a human and the pain could be unbearable at times. Beckett was already calculating what he could use and how much it would take to make this man comfortable if the injuries were as bad as Bishop told them.
Sheppard stopped the android from entering medbay because of the child. There was no way he would allow the girl to be exposed to the treatment he knew Carson Becket would be giving the marine and he could tell Bishop understood why he'd been stopped.
Newt clung to the android, her eyes tightly clenched as she thought about Hicks. He was all she had left in the world and she did not want to think about what could happen if he died. She'd lost her mother, father, brother, and Ripley and now she could lose Hicks too.
"Newt, would you like something to eat or drink?" Sheppard asked and saw the head shake once as a soft sob escaped her throat. There was nothing else they could do until Beckett came out to tell them about his patient.
Inside the treatment room Carson Beckett worked quickly and efficiently with his team to make the Marine as comfortable as possible while they treated his injuries. They cut away the bandages, revealing the raw, damaged skin beneath and Beckett knew his thoughts on pain management had been way off. How the man had stayed on his feet was a testament to his training and his strength.
"All right, let's get an IV started," Beckett ordered and quickly ran through the best course of antibiotics and the strongest for of pain meds he had.
"What about the burns," his assistant asked.
"We clean them with normal saline and wet/dry dressings. As soon as we can I want to start treatments to minimize scarring as well." Beckett checked the monitors, shaking his head at the readings he was getting and wishing he knew more about the cause of the burns themselves. He knew Bishop had some of those answers and as soon as Hicks was stabilized he was going to speak with the android.
"Did you say something?" Sarah asked.
"No, just thinking aloud," Beckett told her as he checked to make sure the leads were attached properly. A soft moan from the bed told him is patient was coming to and he waited for the green eyes to focus on him. "Welcome back, Corporal."
"Back?" Hicks asked, straining to put his jumbled thoughts in order. "W...where is this. Who..."
"You're on Starbase Atlantis. I'm Dr. Beckett and we're..."
"Newt," Hicks cried and tried to come up off the bed.
"Oh, no you don't. Newt's just fine. She's waiting outside with your android friend."
"Well, since you're not an android and have very human weaknesses your body decided it had enough torment and you passed out," Beckett explained.
"Damn," Hicks whispered and tried to touch his chest, but the nurse caught his hand.
"We're just changing the bandages and making sure it's properly treated," Beckett explained. "Now, can you tell me more about these wounds? What is a Xenomorph?"
"It's an alien creature we ran into on LV-426."
"Okay, what is LV-426?" the physician asked.
"It's a planet Weyland Corporation was trying to Terra-farm."
"I don't know much about it except it's done by machines that turn un-breathable atmosphere into oxygen and allowing for terra farming." Hicks explained, wincing as the nurse finished bandaging his chest.
"That sounds like science fiction to me," the nurse said.
"Oh, and this place isn't?" Beckett asked and turned back to his patient. "All right, now what about the burns."
"We took a team to LV-426 to check on the terra farmers, but it was too late. They'd already found the ship and were infected. The Xenomorph's lay eggs inside a human host and then break out through the chest when they've hatched. We found one colonist alive, but the creature was already breaking through," Hicks explained, eyes closing as he tried to breathe past the horrific images flashing through his mind.
"All right, I think that's enough for now, Corporal. I'm going to give you something to help with the pain and make you sleep."
"No, Newt... need to make sure she's okay," Hicks said.
"I'll have her brought in, but then you'll need to rest. You said the burns were caused by acid?"
"Yes, I shot one of the aliens and its blood sprayed me. Had on a vest, but the damn stuff burned right through it. Rip...Ripley and Bishop neutralized it, but not before I got burned."
"Yes, well it is a nasty burn, but I think we'll be able to minimize scarring. In fact you probably won't be able to notice it unless you're looking for it."
"What about my eye?"
"It doesn't look like the acid did as much damage as you might think. I'd like to keep it covered until the burns surrounding the eyes itself are healed, but once that happens you should not have any problems. Sh, it looks like you have company, Corporal."
"Hicks, call me Hicks," the marine said, smiling as Bishop carried the child to his bed. "Hi, Newt."
"Are you okay?" the child asked.
"I'm fine, Kiddo, why don't you come over here and see for yourself."
"I don't want to h...hurt you."
"You won't. The doctor gave me something to help me feel better."
"Will it make you sleepy?"
"I think so," Hicks said and smiled as the others moved away to give him some privacy with his charge.
"Does it still hurt. I was scared."
"Hurts a little, but not as bad as before. I'm sorry I scared you, Newt."
"Y...you won't leave me too will you?"
"No, Newt, I'm not going to leave you," the marine said and used his good arm to pull her into a hug, smiling as he heard her stomach grumble. "Sounds like you're hungry."
"A little, but I want to stay here with you."
"That'll be kind of boring since I'm going to be sleeping."
"I could watch you and make sure nothing gets in here," the little girl whispered, fear evident in her voice as she searched the area surrounding his bed.
"There aren't any of those creatures here, Newt."
"How do you know?"
"Well, the doctor never heard of a Xenomorph."
"There could be other monsters."
"Yes, there could be, but I don't think anyone will let the monsters in here. Dr. Beckett and his people seem really nice."
"John is too."
"John?" Hicks asked, smiling at the child's use of Sheppard's first name. Newt seemed to have found a friend here in spite of her own protests.
"Major Sheppard. He's really nice and he said he'd make sure nothing happened to you."
"Do you trust him?"
"Yes," Newt said with childlike innocence.
"Then there's no need for you to stay here when you could be having fun. I thought I heard someone say there were other children here. Wouldn't you like to meet them?"
"Yes, but I don't want to leave you alone," Newt said.
"I won't be alone, Kiddo."
"That's right, he won't be. My staff will be here to make sure he's well taken care of, Newt," Beckett told her.
"Can Bishop stay too?"
"I'd rather Bishop stayed with you, Newt," Hicks said.
"Then I'm staying here!" the child said.
"Hicks, perhaps Newt could go with Teyla and Bishop could stay here and tell us everything he knows about the Xenomorph. Teyla will take good care of her," Sheppard said upon hearing the new dilemma.
"Is that okay, Hicks? Teyla's nice."
"That's fine, Newt," the marine said tiredly. Whatever Beckett had given him was working quickly and the pain that had been screaming through his jagged nerve endings had all but disappeared.
"I think he's just about sleep. Newt. Now why don't you go with Teyla and get something to eat and have fun with the other children," Beckett suggested.
"Will he be okay?"
"He'll be fine when he's had some rest.off with you now," the physician said. He waited for Teyla to take the girl outside and turned his attention back to his patient. He ordered a variety of tests including blood to make sure they were dealing with everything in the best possible way. Finally done, Beckett left the marine in the capable hands of his team as he went to speak with Weir and Bishop.
During the next three days Hicks began to show signs that the infection was easing off and was sitting up in bed when Newt came to visit. The child seemed to be adjusting to her new surroundings and Hicks was glad she had made new friends. Sheppard, Weir, McKay, and Beckett had been in to see him and they'd spoken of many things including the Starbase and how they'd wound up here. The marine knew about the Wraith and the ongoing war against them, and had been offered a position in the military, much to the displeasure of Bates. He'd been shocked that not only had they traveled through space in a wormhole, but somehow they'd also been transported back in time. The Weyland Corporation was only a small insignificant company, not the conglomerate it was destined to become. He'd talked to Bishop about the possibility of warning the company of their possible future, but there were too many variables that could easily shake up the past if they tried to interfere with the future.
Hicks looked up to see the Android studying a computer screen and smiled at the almost human expression on the synthetic's face. Bishop was amazed at the technology of the Ancients and had even been helping with some of the hard to access programs and was proving to be a valuable asset when it came to Atlantis.
"Hicks!" Newt said and bounced onto the bed.
"Hey, Kiddo, are they treating you right?"
"Right as rain," she returned and smiled as she hugged him. "We've been playing hide and seek and wraith and..."
"Whoa, Kiddo, Wraith?"
"That's what they call it, but I told them I don't like monster games so we don't play it much cause they mostly don't like them either... mostly."
"The Wraith are pretty scary, but Major Sheppard and his men can handle them."
"Are you going to help Major Sheppard fight them?" Newt asked.
"Maybe... if they want me to. Would you like to live here, Newt?"
"I'd like that, but only if you and Bishop were staying here. I don't want to l...lose you."
"You won't, not if I can help it. Major Sheppard and Dr. Weir have offered me a job here and we can make it a home."
"I'd like that. Could I..?"
"Could you what, Newt?" Hicks asked.
"Could I call you Daddy? Would that b...be okay?"
"If that's what you want, Newt."
"You wouldn't mind?"
"Not at all," Hicks said, hugging the child close as Weir, McKay, Beckett, Sheppard, and Teyla Emmagan entered the medbay.
"I must say you're looking much better today, Hicks," Weir said.
"Thanks to Dr. Beckett," Hicks said. The bandages covering his eye shad finally been removed and his vision was gradually clearing.
"Newt, would you mind going with Teyla for a little while?" Weir asked.
"I just got here."
"I know, but we won't be long and then you can stay as long as you want," the woman said.
"It's okay, Newt. You go ahead and when you get back maybe you could convince Dr. Beckett that I need a chunk of chocolate cake with ice cream. A big chunk so we can share."
"Okay," the child smiled and hugged him as she tested their new relationship. "Daddy."
Hicks smiled as he released her, the word bringing a new joy to his heart as he watched her skip along beside Athosian. His heart felt lighter than it had for ages when he realized he had a family -- a child -- and he was responsible for her from here on out.
"Hicks, we have some news for you," Sheppard said and pulled a chair closer to the bed.
"What kind of news?" the marine asked.
"Do you remember us talking to you about the Ancient Genes?" Beckett asked.
"Vaguely," Hicks answered.
"There are very few who have the ancient gene and those who do are able to manipulate many of the technological designs within Atlantis," McKay explained.
"What does that have to do with me?" Hicks asked and saw the smile on Weir and Sheppard's face, while McKay seemed more subdued.
"It seems you have it," Beckett told him.
"We have no real explanation for why some have the genes and some don't," McKay explained.
"So what does this mean?" the injured man asked.
"It means that you're going to be a big asset to us and we're hoping you've decided to join our team," Weir answered.
"It's a place to start, Hicks," Sheppard said. "You'd have a place to live and plenty to eat and drink and a place for Newt to grow up with other kids."
"It sounds perfect," Hicks answered.
"Not quite," Beckett said. "You'd have to be available for Rodney's tests and believe me he can be a bit of a..."
"Perfectionist," McKay interrupted.
"Nag," Sheppard supplied.
"Tyrant," Beckett teased.
"I am not a tyrant!" McKay snapped and heard the others chuckle. Folding his arms across his chest, McKay smiled as he realized he could very well be described as all of the above, but these people knew him and understood why he was the way he was and they accepted him for that.
"I'll do anything I can to help," Hicks assured them.
"Very well," McKay said. "As soon as Carson releases you we'll work on several tests."
"See, a tyrant," Sheppard said.
"Okay, Hicks is still my patient and as such he needs his rest. Out with the lot of you and tell Newt she can come back in."
"A big piece of chocolate cake," Hicks said and smiled as Elizabeth weir patted his leg.
"Rest, Hicks, and welcome to Atlantis."
"Thanks, Elizabeth," the marine said as the others left. For a few minutes he was alone in the medbay except for the nurse who was busy checking his IV. He had a family now, and no matter what the future held, Atlantis was his home. Sighing contentedly he watched Newt hurry toward him carrying a plate with the biggest chunk of chocolate cake and ice cream he'd ever seen.
Bishop watched the two humans as they devoured the sweet confection and laughed when some spilled onto the bed. A week ago they'd been fighting the Xenomorph infestation, now their battle had shifted to Atlantis and The Wraith, but at least they had each other. With him there to watch over them he hoped they would live long, happy lives.
"Home," the android whispered and realized the other two had heard him as they repeated the word and motioned for him to join them. Indeed, they had come home and they'd found a new family that welcomed and accepted them.
Hicks relaxed against the pillows, content in the knowledge that they were no longer alone and their future rested here on Atlantis.