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newcomers, pacific ocean

Fic: Newcomers: Janel Ettesdotter Medicat (SGA, OC, PG)

Title: Newcomers: Janel Ettesdotter Medicat
Rating: PG
Character: OC, Teyla, Woolsey
Disclaimer: The context isn't mine (the main character is), no harm meant.
Summary: All Janel wants to do is get out of the city.
A/N: Sequel to The City is an Island - another newcomer, one who is less keen to stay.

Janel Ettesdotter Medicat

When Janel was training for the medicat, she had a friend who took up meditation in the Athosian manner. Ertas swore by it, and breezed through exams with studied calm, but it had annoyed Janel no end, the pointless ritual of it, the candle wax dripping onto her notes, the vile tea.

So she has to bite her tongue when Teyla Emmagan, Daughter of Tagan, Mother of Torren, Sister to her people, elegantly leans to offer her a cup of something that looks and smells like water from a ditch. A ditch something drowned in quite recently.

At least it's in a small ceramic dish, elegant as the woman who offers it, not the large utilitarian cups that the people of the city - the people of Earth, she corrects herself - use for their 'coffee'.

Janel bows her head towards Emmagan, who smiles as she bows back. Janel bows to each of the Athosians in turn, and they each bow to her and smile the same weary, understanding smile.

She doesn't dislike the Athosians. They are effortlessly kind, and they do not judge.

She is here primarily to meet Halling Arraken (Son of Jaliya, Father of Jinto, Brother to his people, and maybe she's being a little harsh, because they don't press the status on her as they would have even a generation ago).

The child Torren frets, and is picked up by his father Kanaan (she can't remember his status, because all she can think of is the soldier in the infirmary who had smirked and called him the 'babyfather'. She has to take a mouthful of tea to drown the laughter that threatens to bubble up, because she made the mistake of asking what he meant and, oh, that she's heard on the Delta)

The Athosians all turn and smile at the child, and she really can't dislike them, because it's clear how true their affection is for him. Torren - Torren John Emmagan, Son of Teyla, Child of his people - is the most important person in this room. They smile, and it isn't the weary smile that they offer her (offer the people of Earth, too, which can only be a result of the meditation). They smile at Torren with pure joy.

She doesn't dislike the Athosians. They are good people.

Halling is here to offer her a place in the main Athosian settlement. She doesn't think too hard about why this is. She doesn't think about what her options would be if she refused to stay with the city's allies.

"I'm not a farmer," she says, instead.

Halling nods, and the others echo his gesture. "Teyla tells us you are a medicat."

"Was. I - it's been a long time." But she keeps wandering from the infirmary room they keep her in, watching the too-familiar chaos of their triage hall.

More nodding, more sympathy that she can't doubt is sincere. "The Tau'ri have been more than generous with their medical expertise, but it would be propitious to have a medicat in the township once more."

"I -" Janel really doesn't know how to counter that. She can't keep saying that she hasn't been a medicat in a long time, not when the infirmary here in the city has made her hands itch to heal (the irony is not lost on her - the urge to be useful makes her feel almost ill).

"You do not have to make a decision now," says Teyla, soft and understanding. (And elegant, thinks Janel, viciously.)

"No, I -"

The way the story goes, through the Rings, is that the Athosians were fools to throw their lot in with the people of the city. But while their population has been culled (and worse, if she is to believe the stories she heard in the infirmary), their planet ruined, they have not been scattered in the way so many peoples have. The Athosian settlement is small, but it grows.

Athos survives.

She takes a sip of the tea, and fails to suppress a wince at the taste, and Teyla laughs. "It is not to everyone's taste, I know. I am sorry." Teyla takes the little tea dish from her. "Here, I will bring water." Teyla smiles, and it is perhaps not so weary and elegant, and Janel finds it in herself to smile back.

The water is clear and chilled, and she feels it clear her mind as well as her palate.

She does not dislike the Athosians, and she does not doubt them. She doesn't think about not having any other choice.

"I would be honoured," she says, because their damn formal speech is wearing off on her.

~

Teyla stands beside her, impossibly still. Janel fidgets, shifting the bag of clothes and other necessities that they have donated (with kindness, not charity, but it still galls her).

Janel had expected Teyla's teammates to accompany her to the Athosian settlement, but Dr McKay is still recovering, and Colonel Sheppard has been called away to his superiors on Earth (Earth, she thinks, in a whole other galaxy).

Dex has declined the opportunity to visit the Athosians, and stays admirably straightfaced when he explains this to Janel in front of Teyla. But he says goodbye with warmth, his hand on her shoulder and his forehead dropped to hers in a gesture half Satedan, half Athosian.

When he says "May your luck rise like the blind-moon tide of the Delta..." it does not hurt as might have, and she can answer "And stick like the black mud of the marsh," and echo his grin.

So instead, they are accompanied by a lesser team, one she saw in the infirmary on her first day in the city. They do not have Teyla's stillness, but their casual demeanour as the Ring is dialled should be as reassuring.

Her hands shake, and she grips her bag tighter.

She must have seen the Ring open a thousand times. There is no reason for this to be different.

Captain Rodriguez steps through first, her weapon ready. She is quickly followed by the younger of her two subordinates. They wait a moment, and then the radio buzzes. "Okay, we're clear."

Teyla smiles at Janel, then turns to step through the Ring.

Janel is quite ready to follow, to leave the city behind her, but she finds that she has not moved.

The Ring is no different here, despite the high windows behind it. And yet it seems dazzlingly bright.

"Janel?" Dr Gibson's hand is on her shoulder, and his voice is soft with concern.

"I'm sorry," she starts, but can't get further.

"It's okay," he says, and speaks into his radio. "Hey, Captain? I don't think we're coming through right now."

Janel starts to protest, but his hand tightens on her shoulder.

"Oh-kay," says the captain, confusion obvious in her voice.

"I'll send Mark through -" The other soldier doesn't need prompting, just steps through.

There's a moment's silence, and Mr Woolsey calls down to them. "Problem, Dr Gibson?"

"No problem, sir." Dr Gibson's voice is brightly pleasant. "Slight change in plans."

The radio buzzes once more. "Okay," says Captain Rodriguez, and her voice has the same bright clarity. "We're gonna stick around here for a little. Teyla has some people to visit. Rodriguez out."

The Ring snaps out.

~

It seems odd, in such a structured society, with all their titles - Colonel, Doctor, Captain, Sergeant - that their leader is simply 'Mister'. It's an odd word, halfway between master and mistress, and she doesn't really see any of either in him.

Dex had called him a bureaucrat, and that word she knows. There are always bureaucrats. That she can see in Mister Woolsey, and the pile of papers stacked on the table between them.

"Ms Ettesdotter - I'm sorry," he says. "I don't know the correct term -"

They like their titles. It doesn't simply reflect their work, it defines them. She's been called many things, and once it would have been Ettesdotter Medicat - Medicat Ettesdotter in their style, but that's not a title, that's just what she did, and it's easier, here, to just be - "Janel. Just - call me Janel."

He nods, and makes a note, and she resists the urge to roll her eyes. "Janel." He lays down the pen, and looks up at her. "Please don't be worried. I only want to -"

"You want to know when I'm leaving."

She expects him to be affronted, and she knows that he, of all people, should not be the person she snaps at, but she's so sick of them all stepping so softly around her. She's been taking their talking cure, trying to find a way to walk through the Ring, and she's tired of the way her head keeps betraying her. She wants gone, and she wishes they understood this.

He doesn't take offense, but he doesn't give her that sorrowful look either. "When, or if."


Continued in The Stray

Because clearly I needed more points of view.
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Comments

I like all your POVs ;) And I think I really need to read The City Is An Island to get up to date with all your OCs, as I really start to like this one. I guess AR-27 will always be my favorite group of your OCs but you're doing a fine job on Janel as well :)
I found myself writing Janel into a no-longer-quite-such-newcomers story set a few years hence, and realised that I had to work out why she stayed in Atlantis after The City Is An Island.

Who says a gate team has to have 4 members? I mean, apart from canon? ;)
Who says a gate team has to have 4 members? I mean, apart from canon? ;)

...how did I know you'd say that? :D (and anyway, SG1 has five members in Season 10, doesn't it?)
Yes, exactly. I knew there was precedent ;)
Thank you for this; circumstance have combined to put me in need of a reallygood chunk of fiction, and this filled the bill quite nicely.

Julia, poor Janel; no move easy.
Glad to oblige!

Yeah, Janel has a lot to work out...