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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-05 11:48

My Home And Native Land: Story Notes

God save our Queen and heaven bless,
The Maple Leaf Forever.
-- Alexander Muir


I am not a Canadian.

Actually, I sort of am, depending on how you look at it. My mum was born and raised in Canada, the daughter of a French-Canadian artist and a British aerospace engineer. You'd think that would make us way more interesting than we are, really. At any rate, they immigrated to the United States and she became a naturalised citizen as a teenager. Alexander Muir's "The Maple Leaf Forever", while perhaps not quite PC anymore, hung on the wall of my childhood home. While I wouldn't say I've traveled extensively in Canada, I have spent quite a bit of time bunking out with friends there, mainly in Toronto and the surrounding area. Many of my ancestors come from Guelph or nearby Elora.

The story didn't start out to be about Canada or immigration; I just wanted to look at Ronon as the survivor of a pretty well-advanced society in a lot of ways, and I wondered what he would make of these people who are basically not that much further ahead of him technologically and way behind him in other ways, fumbling around with the Stargate and clearly not aware of most of the Pegasus Galaxy standards when it comes to gate travel. I also have a soft spot for minor recurring characters, so I thought I'd work Chuck in there as his partner in crime. THEN MY HEAD EXPLODED.

It is canon that while the Stargate translates speech it doesn't translate text -- in at least one episode, Trio, McKay mentions that he's the only one present who can read Genii. This is weird, but whatever. I thought it would be interesting to explore Ronon learning to read English, especially since he'd be expected to write his mission reports in a language at least one other person could read. Also his blaster is way cool, and if I were Chuck I would totally swap literacy lessons for blaster-twirling.

In the end, many of the scenes in this fic are also just there so that I can poke sly fun at John Sheppard, because that never gets old.

Also, though I love the Group of Seven and Lawren Harris in particular, his paintings really do look like chocolate cake sometimes. Canadian chocolate cake.



Hey look! Missing scenes!

***

This scene was originally in the body of the fanfic, but was of course jossed by the fifth-season opener. So I'm stashing it here. :)

The explosion at Michael's creepy-as-fuck nursery for Teyla's unborn baby put Sheppard in the infirmary unconscious, killed three of the Marines, and nearly caused McKay the loss of an arm. Ronon vibrated with fury and nobody would go near him; he threw himself into the database in a frenzy and spent equal amounts of time running the city's pathways and hunching over a computer to glean anything he could about recent Wraith sightings and activity.

He was therefore totally unprepared for the message that popped up from Chuck on his tablet in the middle of the afternoon; it was a stark quick sentence:

unsch offwrld actv: idc temmagen

Ronon bolted for the Gateroom, arriving just in time to see a Wraith dartship emerging from the wormhole. Everyone in the room, Chuck included, had their firearms trained on it; as he joined them, the cockpit slid back and Teyla's tawny brown hair caught the light.

Ronon burst through the Marines and climbed the dart without waiting for it to land, clinging to the edge and pulling Teyla into an awkward half-in, half-out hug. She patted his cheek affectionately and then gave him a gentle shove.

"My people," she said quietly. "My people are -- stored...in the machine..."

Ronon leapt backwards and watched as the dart lifted into the air and a beam of white light produced a ragged gang -- a dozen, perhaps two dozen -- who looked around them in startled amazement. They were clinging to each other, huddled in a tight knot, a damaged but united tribe. The survivors of Athos; not more in number than the survivors of Sateda, but no longer scattered to the winds.

Ronon ran to the Jumper bay to greet Teyla properly, forehead-to-forehead, and then dragged her to the infirmary where Keller checked her over and then took her to see Sheppard and McKay. That was a good tribe too, the four of them; McKay holding onto Teyla tightly with his uninjured hand, her other resting on Sheppard's chest, Ronon leaning on the edge of Sheppard's bed while the infirmary outside the small room bustled with the healing and care of the rest of the Athosians.

***

I have no idea where I was going with this, but the outline is fun.

Ronon was interested in anthropology, in an offhanded sort of way, and he had begun composing a mental list of the attributes of his immediate companions:

I. Athosians
a. Quiet
b. Badass
c. Can't use contractions
d. Hot

II. Earthers

a. United Stateians or Whatever
i. Suicidal
ii. Loyal
iii. Noisy
iv. Immature

b. Candians
i. Smart
ii. Tenacious
iii. Sarcastic
iv. Pretty good with guns, despite no natural inclination

c. Radek Zelenka

d. Other
i. Afraid of him

***

This was going to be an introduction to Ronon meeting Chuck's enormous highly Canadian family while on leave. I discarded it as being a trifle too domestic, but I like McKay's social philosophy.

Most of the permanent residents of Atlantis -- scientists who have been there for years, Marines who stayed on for a second tour or volunteered to finish their hitch on Atlantis -- were what McKay called "Earth Loners". Nearly everyone had some friends or family back on Earth, but the Earth Loners didn't have many, if they had any at all. Sheppard was an Earth Loner, and McKay; Cadman was an Earth Loner even if she wouldn't have admitted it to save her soul.

McKay expounded on his theory once and only once, perhaps because Sheppard had teased him about going in for the soft sciences. It contained an element of Social Darwinism and a lot of bitterness about what much have been a hard childhood: Earth Loners, by choice or circumstance, were people who had never fit in and in many cases never felt the need to. They were hesitant to trust, difficult to befriend, abrasive or socially awkward or simply more comfortable with solitude than their colleagues.

But in Atlantis they had to make friends and find a circle, find people to connect with, or they would die. Literally die, at the hands of the Wraith or during some city-wide catastrophe or for a million other reasons in the harsh and unforgiving Pegasus Galaxy. They formed deep, weirdly obsessive bonds with other Atlanteans, or they died, or they were gnawingly lonely and shipped back to Earth where at least there were things like Burger King and cable television.

***

I couldn't resist writing an initiation ceremony.

Two days after the Daedalus arrived, Ronon was pulled out of sleep by someone knocking on his door. It was nearly midnight, which meant either disaster or McKay, who had no sense of time or timing.

When he opened the door it turned out to be not only McKay but Chuck and Colonel Carter and what looked like the entire Canadian contingent of Atlantis. Sheppard and Teyla were there too.

Ronon looked them up and down. Sheppard was holding what looked like a blindfold.

"We didn't think we could take you physically so we thought we'd ask politely," McKay said.

"Rite of passage," Ronon replied, nodding. "Cool."

They blindfolded him and took him through the corridors, into a transporter, and out to the cool Atlantean evening, Chuck's hand on his left elbow, Sheppard's on his right. When the blindfold came off again they were standing at the far tip of one of the piers, Atlantis glowing softly over their shoulders.

Colonel Carter cleared her throat and stepped forward.

"Repeat after me," she said. "I swear -- "

"I swear -- "

" -- that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance -- "

" -- that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance -- "

"-- to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada -- "

"-- to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada -- "

" -- Her Heirs and Successors -- "

" -- Her Heirs and Successors -- "

" -- and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada -- "

" -- and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada -- "

" -- and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen."

" -- and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen."

She smiled and stepped back, and McKay stepped up importantly, fixing him with his best glare. Ronon grinned at him and opened his mouth to speak before McKay could talk.

"Play is offside if a player on the attacking team enters the attacking zone before the puck itself, whether it is being carried by a teammate or sent into the attacking zone by an attacking player. When an offside violation occurs, the linesman blows the play dead and a faceoff is conducted in the neutral zone closest to where the offiside occurred."

McKay deflated slightly, but rallied pretty well; he pointed at Ronon sternly and said, "Don't forget it."

He stood back and waved Chuck forward resignedly.

"What'll it be, Ronon?" Chuck asked. "Service?"

Ronon shook his head. "McCrae."

A few of the Canadians blinked and shuffled forward; Sheppard tilted his head as if he were trying to place the name. Ronon took a breath.

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly, scarce heard amid the guns below," he said, and then those who were confused looked startled or shocked.

"We are the dead. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved, and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields."

Colonel Carter inhaled sharply.

"Take up our quarrel with the foe: to you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields."

***

I was tempted to give Ronon his own team. These fragmented scenes are the result.

"What?" Ronon asked, shoveling stew into his mouth.

"Specialist Dex," Sheppard said, and bit into an apple. "There comes a time in the life of every young man when papa bird has to push him out of the nest."

Ronon raised an eyebrow. "Are you okay?"

"Colonel Carter and I decided it was time to think about training some backup team members," Sheppard continued. "Plus we're down two team leaders since M5L-287, and not enough of the scientists are field-trained."

"We gettin' someone new?" Ronon asked.

"No. I'm promoting you."

"To what?"

"Team Leader," Sheppard said, and Ronon abruptly stopped eating. "You gotta get out there sometime. You deserve your own team."

Ronon wasn't sure what to say that wouldn't make him sound like a dork, so he kept quiet and breathed deeply through his nose.

"Uh. If you want to," Sheppard backpedaled uncertainly.

Ronon carefully leaned back, set down his fork, and nodded. "Yeah, okay."

***

Teyla told him to recruit at least one person who had manners and make sure everyone who joined could take orders.

McKay blew him off at first but eventually said he should pick someone intelligent and for god's sake not a linguist, because they were less than useless.

Sheppard advised him not to poach from other teams and to make sure when he asked people to join that they understood this was a favour as from god, belonging to Ronon's expedition team.

Colonel Carter told him to choose friends, and also people he didn't mind being naked in front of. Ronon could have told her that much already.

Lorne thought about it for a while and then said that he should have someone on his team for the others to protect. He could have told Lorne that, too.

***

"So you do science stuff," Ronon said to Chuck, sitting down at his table in the mess.

"You know, when Colonel Sheppard does the dumb-jock thing it's kind of endearing. When you try to pull it you just look like you're insecure," Chuck said. Ronon rolled his eyes.

"Okay. You have a double BA in electrical engineering and botany and an MA in mechanical engineering," Ronon said. Chuck blinked at him. "Tell me what BAs and MAs are."

"Who told you about my degrees?"

"I asked McKay."

"Well, uh. They're like specialist training, I guess," Chuck said. "I also have a self-taught doctorate in Gate technology, and if I knew any more about it than I do I'd probably be considered a danger to galactic security. Why do you want to know?"

"Wanna be on my team?" Ronon asked.

Chuck choked on the water he was drinking and set the cup down, wiping his mouth. Ronon knew the rumours had gone around about his team and how all the Marines were bucking to get on it and all the scientists were hoping he wouldn't tap one of them. He also knew, because he had good hearing, that none of the techs or engineers thought they were even in the running.

"Your offworld team?" Chuck asked, when he'd finally cleared his throat. "Really?"

"You can shoot," Ronon said. "And we need a guy who knows Gate tech and McKay has one of those mechanical engineering things too so it's gotta be useful."

"MA. Though I think his is one of the Ph.Ds," Chuck corrected. "I'm the head of my division, I dunno if Colonel Carter'll let me go."

"So're Zelenka and McKay and they go offworld." Ronon peered at him. "Look, if you don't want to -- "

"No! I do! Totally, I do, dibs, called it, shotgun, I do," Chuck blurted.

***

Ronon deliberately intimidated Dr. Brighton into joining the team, because Brighton was small and couldn't shoot and was terrified of Ronon and in addition to being The One They Could Protect it was obvious that it would be terrifically character-building for him.

***

Dex's team came back from their first mission, supposedly a dry-run to a planet with a bustling market and no crazy cultists, wearing bandages.

"Seriously, I thought you didn't need supervision," Sheppard said, standing in the doorway of the locker room.

"I tried to talk them out of it," Brighton said, pulling his shirt off. There was a white bandage on his shoulderblade. Ronon scratched the tape on his collarbone and grinned.

"What did you do?" McKay demanded, sitting on a bench and studying the data Chuck had brought back.

"Team thing," Ronon replied. Chuck tugged at the bandage on his own collarbone and tilted his head back.

"Cool," Sheppard said, looking interested.

"Blood poisoning!" McKay exclaimed.

"I cleared it," Brighton replied. "We probably won't die."

"We?"

"Ronon said it's regimental," Diers informed them, brushing past Sheppard and tossing her vest on the rack. Brighton hauled his pants up quickly. "Oh relax, you're a doctor, you're not allowed to be modest."

"Regimental," McKay said skeptically, craning his head forward to study the small black tattoo on Chuck's collarbone. "Right."
celtic_maenad: Oil painting of girl's shoulders & head. The girl has ram's horns and red hair, pulled back. (Default)

[personal profile] celtic_maenad 2010-07-21 23:37 (UTC)(link)
These cutting-room floor vignettes are like a brilliant dessert after a sumptuous meal! Thanks for sharing these!

My Home and Native Land.

[personal profile] eileenlufkin 2010-08-02 23:48 (UTC)(link)
Sorrel reced this. I really enjoyed it.
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2010-08-18 12:36 (UTC)(link)
Team tattoos! Of course!

(Anonymous) 2010-09-02 23:22 (UTC)(link)
Of course, McCrae.

A perfect choice.

(Anonymous) 2010-09-21 06:47 (UTC)(link)
I might have cried when I read the McCrae poem...
Thank you...

- Tinnuial
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)

[personal profile] happydork 2011-01-21 20:48 (UTC)(link)
Eee, these little snippets are delightful! A wonderful little coda to a brilliant story.
margarks: (Default)

[personal profile] margarks 2011-01-30 07:18 (UTC)(link)
omg, I love those missing scenes, LOL. I literally LOL'd when McKay asked *politely* if Ronon would just come along for his initiation ceremony. HEEEEE!

Ronon's baby team

(Anonymous) 2011-03-13 01:22 (UTC)(link)
So, I realize this is greedy but if you have any more magic in your Ronon storytelling jar I would definitely read about the mishaps, misadventures, trials and tribulations of Ronon's new baby team. Because if he's already getting them tattooed as a team bonding them just think about all the fun new ways he can integrate things into their training and team practices! And then they can care them back into the city! Plus, I'd love to read more about Ronon the Canadian.

But thank you for giving us snapshots of the after-fic!

[identity profile] mrsbigbear.livejournal.com 2011-03-28 21:06 (UTC)(link)
Hey,
Just found this one someones rec list.

Dont normally read a lot of Gen fics but this was amazing.

I laughed out loud at a lot of bits.

Would love to read more of this if you are up to writing it.

Thank you for a fantastic piece.

Fee

[identity profile] humanoidmegg.livejournal.com 2012-06-25 07:22 (UTC)(link)
Such a hilarious awesome story and all the extra scenes were an unexpected delight! Gotta say though, if you did come back to this, I would love to read Ronon meeting Chuck's extended Canadian family - so much potential for hilarity :)

also is there any fandom you don't write insanely well?!?