As usual, Elizabeth started off the meeting. After all it was her office, her city, and ultimately her responsibility. “Gentlemen, thank you for coming. Before we get into the supply and personnel situation here in the City, I would like you to hear what Col. Caldwell had to say when he met with me upon arrival. Colonel? You have the floor.”
Looking up from his tablet, Caldwell nodded. “Thank you, Dr. Weir. Gentlemen I will be blunt. There seems to be something rather disturbing going on at the SGC, and thus extending over to Atlantis. I have no idea how much of this situation you all have noticed, but on this last trip the whole thing has gotten much more obvious.
“Each of you has at one point or another, approached me in hopes of finding out why certain supplies have not been delivered or if they are on the manifest, are present in severely reduced quantities. You have each asked why certain personnel have not arrived, or why they have arrived so late. Why leave requests for your people have been so slow in being approved or ignored all together. The answers seem to be in what happened when there was a change in power at the SGC.
“As you know, General O’Neill is no longer the head of HomeWorld Security, and he was replaced by a political appointee named Dr. Anthony Franklin. With his replacement at HomeWorld came the replacement of General Landry at the SGC. The new General has made it very clear that Earth and the Milky Way are the most important areas for the SGC to concentrate on. Given that, Atlantis has been officially shifted a step or two down on the ladder of priorities.”
“We know all this, Colonel. Could you get to the point?” asked Rodney.
“I am getting there, Doctor, Please be patient. There is a reason I am going about this the long way,” said Caldwell. After six years, he was well used to McKay’s habit of wanting to get meetings over and done with so he could get back to his lab and his latest experiment. “Meanwhile, with the changes that have happened on the IOA board, the shift in attention has been both tacitly and overtly sanctioned. There is very little interest in what’s happening out here in Pegasus, and this has led to a level of indifference that is both blatant and covert.
“I wish I had better news for you, but it looks like the folks in charge are starting to ‘forget’ you exist. And that has led to the latest situation. We knew when we started loading up for our trip out here that we were very, very light on essential supplies, so we basically went around and raided the SGC’s emergency storerooms. We, meaning myself, Dr. Novak, and Chief Master Sergeant’s Siler and Harriman, went through the supply lists that you had sent, and grabbed as much as we could fit aboard ship.
“We also made sure that we didn’t update the computer manifest, so I am sorry if there was some concern when we transmitted them to you. I know it won’t cover all the shortfalls, but it was all we could think to do. If this happens on the next run, we’ll do it again. Per Harriman, the SGC has enough excess supplies to keep her running for the next 5 years at the least. And Siler stated that he could cover the raid as he was the one to sign off on any supplies being requisitioned.
“Obviously i can’t move too far out of line, since that I want to I stay in charge of the Daedalus. Given that qualifier, I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that you are all given as much help as I can. And my crew is backing me up on this. For us at least, you aren’t forgotten and we aren’t indifferent. We won’t leave you out here alone and unarmed if we can help it.” And with that, Caldwell pulled several paper lists from a thigh pocket of his flight suit and glancing at the names written on each, passed them over.
Taking the time to glance over the list he was given, Rodney was relieved to see the computer supplies that were so desperately needed for the Ancient/Earth tech merge were there. Siler was a mechanical genius, and he would have to remember to say thanks the next time he was on Earth. If he ever went back, that is. Maybe he could get an email out….
Setting his copy down, Rodney looked up to see Elizabeth studying him. Right… He had called her about this. “Thank you for thinking of us, Colonel. These supplies will make a big difference for the science division and the City.” See? He had some social skills, rusty though they generally were. “Given what you have just said Colonel, I’m guessing that we’re all going to be laying our cards on the table then?”
“That’s correct, Rodney. And since you mentioned it and called me, you get to go first,” and with a slight smile Elizabeth leaned back in her chair, waiting for whatever he had to say.
With a slight grimace at himself for ‘volunteering’, Rodney took a deep breath and began to lay his cards on the table, as he had so quaintly called it. “Right. To start with, the various science departments have been getting a lot of ‘scientists’ who, if they had ever seen Ancient technology, obviously didn’t pay attention to it in class. Most of whom are either so painfully new their doctorates are wet, or are so hidebound that they don’t remember how to learn. Given where we live and what we face every single day, not only is that unacceptable, it’s dangerous. I have repeatedly requested specific personnel by name, have gone back to Earth twice in the last eighteen months for interviews and still have only gotten a bare third of the people I have asked for. With all of these factors working against us, almost every ‘scientist’ who has arrived has had to go through extensive retraining before Radek or I feel it is safe to allow them in any of the main labs by themselves.
“Obviously, this has slowed down progress for the science department as a whole, and stopped some projects in their tracks due to lack of qualified people to run them. Due to the added stresses placed on our more experienced people there has been a noticeable downturn in morale. Which in turn has caused even more stress, beyond what is normal for living here, to be passed down the line to our new junior morons. We have also had an upswing in minor accidents and a few incidences that have come very close to being fatal. And I don’t just mean for the people who work in the labs.
“Because the new ‘scientists’ have to mentored by experienced personnel there has been a lot of resentment on both sides, which has led to further clashes both personal and professional. I know that I am not the easiest boss to work for, but this is behavior has moved beyond what I will tolerate in my labs. It is being dealt with, but the whole thing is not winning me any friends. And that is some of what is happening on the personnel front.”
Taking a deep breath, Rodney moved onto the next item on his mental list of things that had to be discussed. This was going to be a tricky thing to bring up, because he has essentially cheated and while Elizabeth was very forgiving on some subjects, he had no idea how she was going to react to this.
“Onto mission critical equipment! As you all know the science departments are using as many Ancient devices as it has been possible to initiate. But not everything will work without an ATA carrier present and since that isn’t always feasible, we still need to have certain items from Earth to make the equipment work as it should for everyone. Now, most of these items are ones we have in stock such as cables, laptops, monitors, diagnostic equipment and the like. When Radek and I noticed that the supplies were being shorted, I started padding our supply requests. A lot. We’ve always carried a surplus in case of an emergency, but given the uncertainties in getting requested items, I felt it best to make sure we had enough on hand to last for at least a year. Right now, thanks to Colonel Caldwell and his merry band, we are supplied for at least the next two years on the critical items and a bit longer on the non-critical items. If you have questions on specifics, let me know and I’ll get back to you know as time permits.”
Looking faintly pinched about the eyes, Elizabeth nodded, and turned to Carson. “Dr. Beckett? What can you tell us about the situation in your department?”
Looking up from his copy of the lists, Carson glanced over at Elizabeth. “Right, my turn is it?” with a sigh, he leaned his forearms on his knees and looked steadily at the others. “Medical an’ the other related sciences all use a great deal of supplies that are not readily found here in Pegasus. While we also use a number of Ancient devices, most o’ our everyday needs are met by goods from Earth. For the infirmary we get regular deliveries of drugs, surgical supplies, an’ general first aid gear. This is not counting specialty items like birth control, testing supplies to diagnose the new diseases we come in contact with, special chemicals for other departments, Earth made medical machinery, scrubs, an’ replacement gurneys for the infirmary again. The list is damn near endless. Botany, the genetics lab, the morgue, an’ the like also have special needs that were not being fully met.
“Like Rodney, I noticed that we were havin’ problems getting supplies that were needed. Unlike the hard sciences, we did not get shorted in the critical needs department, but non-critical items were either not replaced, or were few in number. After talking things over with my staff, I began padding my supply requests. I ha’e also been making sure that all my new personnel ha’e skills needed out here. We have gotten very lucky in that respect. Some of the people we ha’e been sent aren’t who we asked for, but all of them have the abilities we need. I ha’e also been expanding the skill sets wi’ in my departments. We now ha’e people who, with the right equipment, can make a most of the drugs we need for regular use plus they can teach, so those skills can be passed on.
“As far as the physical supplies of necessary drugs on hand, we ha’e enough to last a year a’ the least, more once we get the equipment we need to start making our own here on Atlantis. For the other, non-perishable medical supplies, we have enough for up to two years.” And with that, Carson nodded at Elizabeth, turning the meeting back over to her.
“Excuse me, Dr. Weir,” and with an apologetic look aimed at Elizabeth, Caldwell turned to look at Carson. “Doctor Beckett, if you could make a list of what specifically is needed, I’ll do my best to fill it. If I can’t I’ll hand it over to Sergeant’s Siler and Harriman. Those two can and have, pulled off bigger miracles at the SGC.”
“Thank you, Colonel. I’ll get you that list by the end of today.” Carson replied.
“Good. That’s settled. Col. Sheppard? Do you have anything to add concerning the military here on Atlantis?” and Elizabeth looked over at John. Who had been very quiet as he had listened to others make their reports.
Staring at the ceiling of office, John sighed. “Elizabeth I have good news and bad news on this. We have several hundred military personnel, from at least five different countries, stationed here on Atlantis. Thankfully the SGC went in for a standard set of weapons, so we don’t have five different types of ammunition to store and supply. Under normal conditions our standard level of supplies mean we have enough uniforms, boots, socks, underwear, and the like to keep the whole expedition clothed for the next five years. That’s some of the good news.
“Moving over to the bad news. We have a very finite supply of tac vests, P-90’s, pistols, radios, RPG’s, claymores, ammunition, spare magazines for the P-90 and pistols, and ready made timers for our C-4. We do have several people who can make C-4 in quantity, which sounds better than it really is because while it is easy stuff to make, the quality of the mix can vary. The hard science departments should be able to rig us up some more timers when we need them, so that really isn’t a worry. What is a worry is ammunition. Ammunition for our weapons is specialized and while I suppose we could reload, I really wouldn’t suggest it. We had thrown around the idea of doing so, but when the SGC looked into the idea, it was shot down. Pardon the pun. The tolerances needed for ammunition are tight on the P-90 and the SGC didn’t want to chance having primers and the like around. Not with our luck.
“Back to the good news. Rodney let me know his suspicions when he first made the connections that started his hoarding, and Lorne and I started our own version. While we couldn’t increase our orders quite as quickly or as obviously as the other departments, we have managed to acquire enough spares on our critical list so we can reequip the whole base at least twice. We are also trying to get the SGC to ship us out some zats, but so far they are refusing. But ammunition is still going to be our critical bottleneck. Given that, we have enough ammunition to last 2 years at our current rate of use, and new policies have been put in place at the firing range for conservation purposes.
“On the manpower front, personnel know that something is up. Given the amount of supplies, there’s no way we can hide the sheer amount of stuff we have on hand. Too many of my troops have been doing the inventories for us to keep that quiet. We have also been getting our fair share of the square pegs. The latest one was apparently on this run of the Daedalus; a 2nd Lieutenant J. O’Neill arrived with a couple of duffels and a letter to me from General O’Neill (ret.). General O’Neill sends his regards and says for us to make use of the Lieutenant’s skills in the field. Lt. O’Neill says to watch out for one of the new soft scientists by the name of Jackson. Seems they are a team and won’t be broken up. Again.
“As for our other acknowledged square pegs? Unfortunately only time will tell if they will be fitting in. We can and will run them through drills both here in the City and on the mainland for training. Once we see how they shake out, we will assign them to teams. Given Lt. O’Neill’s mysterious experience in the field while at the SGC, I am assigning both him and Jackson to AT-1 for the next few weeks. Anything further can be covered one on one at a later date.”
“Lt. J. O’Neill? How did I miss that?” muttered Elizabeth as she quickly moved to access personnel records. “And Jackson? As in Dr. Jackson? How old are they, John?”
“I would have to say that O’Neill looks to be twenty-two or so, but he acts a lot older. Jackson, what I saw of him at least, seems to be about the same age, and again acts older. Why?” asked John.
“Because if I’m right, Jack sent his clone out here. And the other is a previously unknown clone of Dr. Daniel Jackson. Who used to be the head of Linguistics and Archeology at the SGC. Also both were, at the time they must have been cloned, members of SG-1.”, she muttered as she read the newest entries in the database.
Caldwell sighed as he heard that one of his major problem children had introduced himself to his new CO. Patting the breast pocket of his uniform, he pulled several envelopes out, and passed them over to the correct parties. “Dr. McKay, Dr. Weir, Dr. Beckett, your letters of explanation.”
Giving up on reading the records while the meeting was going on, Elizabeth accepted her letter and set it aside. “Okay, my turn to lay it all out. From what you all are saying, it seems I knew something was up before the rest of you. From the start I’ve been trying to go at this via the diplomatic route, but so far have barely slowed things down. We are being listened to less and less at the IOA, and some decisions that would have gotten us raked over the coals two years ago have been let slide as if they are unimportant. It is frankly, disturbing as all hell.
“Once I had confirmation that something was up, I reviewed what you all had done. Since everything has to go through my office, I had some idea of what you all were up to. So I started increasing the orders on everything that my people handle. At current use rates, barring a major disaster, we have enough on hand to supply the City for two years, give or take a few months. My staff and I have also managed to recruit a number of people who would not have been needed under normal circumstances. We have several people with general teaching degrees in grades other than college, mess personnel who know how to cook with a wide variety of supplies and still others who can make those supplies. Also we have a few master gardeners, master craftsmen and assorted hobbyists among the support staff.
“One of the more unusual things we have been ordering is fertile heirloom seeds for the greenhouses. We can grow a lot of the foods that we get imported via the Daedalus and we can use them in trade if needs be. I have also managed (through means that I will not be getting into) to get my hands on medical grade marijuana seeds, poppy, belladonna and a whole pharmacopeia of medicinal herbs. Carson, I’ll pass you the list. Dr. Parrish has been put in charge of those seeds and the greenhouse where they are slated to be grown. It has actual physical locks and only a limited number of people will be allowed in.
“Given all that, I think we are about as set as we can be. Certainly we better prepared and supplied than we were for our first year on Atlantis. Now that everyone has put their cards on the table, we need to decide what to do with the information we have on hand. Gentlemen, any suggestions?”, and with that, the meeting was opened up for what was to turn into a long hard planning session.
By the end of the meeting some hard decisions had been made. The core command staff knew what was on the horizon and had started taking the steps necessary to protect the City and her citizens. Personal experience, intuition or gut feelings told them that the Atlantis expedition would soon be alone again. The pertinent questions now were when it would happen, how would it happen, and would the Daedalus be allowed to stay with them. All they could do was plan, hope, and pray. The waiting had begun.