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For trinaward
Learning How to Counsel, John Snippet
By PaBurke
Prompt: Has Dean's link to Atlantis grown stronger since the LHTF series end? It'd be neat if the city would do things for Dean she never would for Sheppard. How has Dean's development as a Shaman been going & is Atlantis making it grow stronger? Like most prompts, I approached it a little sideways. I hope you still enjoy it!
Disclaimer: No one belongs to me.


The last thing John Sheppard expected at seven on a ‘Monday’ morning was Winchester’s gruff voice loud and mad on the community radio frequency. “Whoever is screwing around with the City in section R-19 had better stop this instant.” He didn’t have to identify himself since John knew his voice, but few others would recognize it. Still whoever the perpetrators were, they would obey the commanding tone.

“Hey!” Except for McKay and John hoped like hell that McKay wasn’t currently in R-19. “I sent those scientists down there and they have a job to do.”

“They’re hurting Her.”

Now that Winchester drew his attention to it, John opened his mind to Atlantis. He felt the extreme pain. The Marine was correct; the pain had to be stopped. “Sheppard to Winchester, McKay, meet me in R-19. Now.” He was not going to let the entire base hear Winchester reaming out McKay whether or not he deserved it. “Doctors in R-19,” it was safe to refer to the scientists in question as doctors since they were from McKay’s division, “stop what you are doing and meet us by the lift.”

John beat McKay to section R-19, but not Winchester. The Marine was in a thin t-shirt and BDU pants. He had his sockless feet shoved into his combat boots and the worst case of bedhead John had seen in ages. John was reminded that Winchester normally slept this time of day after his night patrol. “The City woke you up,” John stated more than asked.

“If you had been listening to Her, She wouldn’t’ve to,” Winchester growled.

“I was blocking out everything.” He had been writing the death notifications to the families of those the base had lost. It wasn’t an apology per se but it was an acknowledgement of sorts. He did send a mental apology to Atlantis. The City thanked him, grateful for the communication.

Winchester grunted but accepted the statement better than expected. It was as if he expected non-apologies.

“What were you doing?” John asked the semi-familiar scientists. He had seen them in Rodney’s lab, but they were new and John hadn’t learned their names yet. He didn’t bother unless a scientist remained in the department for at least six months. A good quarter of the scientists resigned or asked to be reassigned before then. It wasn’t all McKay’s fault, some of them couldn’t hack the alien-ness of Atlantis and the Pegasus Galaxy. Like now, it was pretty obvious that the guy was weirded out by the fact that he had hurt the city. The woman, on the other hand, looked intrigued at both the idea and Winchester. The Marine, in rare oblivion, wasn’t noticing the female attention.

“We were purging the recycled bins,” the man answered.

“Recycle bins?” John echoed.

“After the sewage is processed, it’s all environmentally harmless raw elements,” the woman answered. “For some reason, Atlantis is not releasing it either to the atmosphere or the ocean. We were manually opening the valves.”

“She’s binging now. She’ll purge soon,” Winchester explained.

It didn’t make any sense to John, but he knew enough to dismiss the scientists before Rodney arrived and started yelling. The two were barely around the corner when the lift opened, the chief scientist stomped off it and started yelling. “What do you think you were doing? Telling my scientists what to do?”

“He’s done it before,” John reminded Rodney.

“That was different. It was explosives or his stupid voodoo. This was not. It’s completely different.”

“Don’t know, doc,” Winchester drawled. “With the kind of gases Atlantis is hoarding, it wouldn’t take much more than a spark for it to explode.”

“Which is why it needs to be done.”

“But the way you’re doing it is hurting the City.”

“It needs to be done. Am I the only person listening to me? It’s slowing down the recycling subprocesses.”

“What about Informed Consent?” Winchester shot back. “And anesthesia?”

“Atlantis is a city, a machine.”

“She’s an AI.”

“It’s an it, not a she.”

“She thinks and talks if you would open your mind and listen. They were hurting Her.”

“How am I supposed to knock out a city?”

“Turn off the sensors,” Winchester was using that ‘duh’ tone of voice that always sent Rodney into apoplexy.

“Wait!” John shouted both men down so that he could think. His mind realigned all the data. “Are you telling me that Atlantis has an eating disorder?”

McKay scoffed and Winchester looked embarrassed but nodded. “It’s the closest way to describe it. She’s hoarding our cast-offs while we’re still here.” Well, that certainly put in perspective the City’s tantrum as Winchester was getting on a jumper for his last leave.

John was severely under qualified to deal with this. He activated his earbud. “Sheppard to Heightmeyer. Please report to section R-19.”

“I’m on my way,” the psychologist promised. She quickly arrived and John was forced to explain the situation to her. McKay refused to believe it and Winchester was stubbornly –and strangely- quiet. John figured it out when Heightmeyer nodded at the Marine and murmured, “Well, that explains several things.”

“I told you I was asking about a friend,” Winchester grumbled.

John choked on a chuckle when he realized that Heightmeyer had believed that Winchester was developing an eating disorder. The Marine was healthy in that regard. He had to be. Any eating disorder would have landed the shaman in the infirmary in a day. He used his skills too often to skip meals or to purge them. He was painting a Seal a day. Every time he finished a list, John would hand him a new one. Now, if a wraith landed, it would have to work hard to avoid getting trapped and it would never be able to enter a jumper.

“McKay is right,” Winchester said grudgingly. “Her keeping the sewage is hurting Her just as much as forcing Her to expel it.”

Heightmeyer nodded. “You were correct as well, Dean. The root of this problem is social isolation and a lack of control.” She stared at John. “You have the strongest gene, John. You’re going to have to talk to Her more and we’re going to have to encourage all of the gene carriers to communicate with the City.”

“That’s not going to solve the current problem,” McKay grumbled. He had cooled off a bit, mollified that Winchester had admitted he was right about something.

“Except that it might,” Heightmeyer argued. “John, you and Dean, and even you, Rodney, need to ask Atlantis to expel the recycled material.”

Rodney squawked.

Winchester shrugged. “I’ve been trying, but she’s not listening to me.”

John resigned himself to a morning of mentally cajoling an AI city, but to his surprise, just as he started the City promptly informed him that the waste had been released. John opened his eyes and faced Rodney. Winchester had already tried and failed. Rodney was the only new variable and he was looking embarrassed.

“What?” Rodney demanded.

“What did you say to the City?” Winchester asked, wary and still protective.

“I told it it was being illogical and to refer to its damn programming. It’s a computer, in essence. Stop treating it like a girl.” With the problem solved, McKay stomped off.

“Obviously, efficient communication with the City with requires multiple approaches,” Heightmeyer mused. “I would suggest that the two of you continue your approach as you are giving Atlantis emotional support.”

Winchester looked as horrified by the idea as John felt. Yeah, emotional support was not their forte.

Heightmeyer knew enough to ignore them and continued talking. “I will have to interview all of the gene carriers about their interactions with Atlantis and how it has developed. I wonder if the AI is advancing beyond its programming.”

“Whatever,” Winchester mumbled. “I need sleep.” He left immediately and John floundered for a moment.

“I’ll contact all of the gene carriers,” he told Heightmeyer. “And inform them to report to your office to discuss the City.”

Heightmeyer wasn’t diverted. “I’ll need to talk to you as well, John. Today. You will be my baseline for the rest of them.”

“Of course,” John agreed so that he could escape. “I’ll see you later.” John hurried to the lift and thanked Atlantis for closing the doors immediately behind him.

The City was happy to be of service.

*

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
jebbypal
Dec. 10th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
LOL!!!! loved it.
faithburke
Dec. 10th, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it made you laugh. It's a prompt fill for a faithful reviewer like yourself. If you're interested, the prompt thread was dec 3.
lita_of_jupiter
Dec. 10th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
awww Dean is protective of Atlantis like she is of him!

I love that he spoke with Kate regarding the disorder the city had
faithburke
Dec. 10th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
Yep. yep. Atlantis is a character in her own right.
trinaward
Dec. 10th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
Great story! Thanks for sharing it; you took it in a totally new direction that was very enjoyable.
faithburke
Dec. 10th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
I am so very glad you enjoyed it. You're opinion is the one that counts in this case.
starrcat
Dec. 10th, 2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
I just love these additions to the Learning to Fly universe. Of course, now I want to know the story about Dean's last flight in the jumper!
faithburke
Dec. 10th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know. The story of Dean's jumper ride was covered in 'Learning How to Leave; Lorne Snippet.' http://faithburke.livejournal.com/12408.html
starrcat
Dec. 10th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
THERE ARE MORE!!!!!!!!!!! I am on my way to track them down!
faithburke
Dec. 10th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
:). There's a learning how to fly tag and I use it.
starrcat
Dec. 11th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
Now I am using the tag too and enjoying all the stories so much! Thanks for continuing this universe.
darkestnight12
Dec. 11th, 2012 11:35 am (UTC)
LHTF 'verse! XDD I love it! ;DD Especially from John's pov and how absolutely adorable Dean was with Atlantis! I love how you capitalized all the "h"S of Her.
faithburke
Dec. 11th, 2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed this and most of them time when I'm writing Sheppard's POV, Atlantis is Her/She.
nyx_girl
Dec. 11th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
How much did it cost Dean to willingly go to Heightmeyer, even if it was for Atlantis?
faithburke
Dec. 11th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
a bit of pride but he was trying to get a computer's pain out of his head
legio_felicia
Jan. 30th, 2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
Oh God, Rodney as prune juice.
faithburke
Feb. 1st, 2013 11:29 pm (UTC)
scary scary scary thought. :)
manictater
Oct. 29th, 2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
learning how to fly, john snippet
So, so funny! And in-character :-) :

“I told you I was asking about a friend,” Winchester grumbled

Winchester looked as horrified by the idea as John felt. Yeah, emotional support was not their forte.
kv74
Jul. 5th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
I was just reread this story, but I must say it´s one of my favorite.
Atlantis with a eating disorder and Kate thinking it is Dean? Fun! And so in character!
faithburke
Jul. 26th, 2014 03:53 pm (UTC)
Ahh thanks. It's the universe that will not die.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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