Before
Rating: Captain
Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate Atlantis.
Summary: Elizabeth briefs Lorne’s team for their mission to Melera.
Prequel: Set two days before the events of the prologue to my fic, ‘Found’.
A/N: As requested by Alza in response to a meme over on livejournal, a fic set two days before the beginning of Found. It won’t make much sense if you haven’t read that.
Date: May 2009

“Okay, are you clear on the mission?” Elizabeth asked, looking around at the faces of Colonel Lorne’s team, assembled before her.

“Two days’ recon, see if there’s anything we can trade, then head on home,” Lorne summarised with his trade mark smile.

Elizabeth nodded. “Any questions?”

Each member of the team gave a quick nod of their head and Elizabeth smiled, “Excellent. You leave at oh-nine hundred hours; I’ll see you in the morning.”

The team filed out, smiling to Elizabeth as they passed her. She returned their smiles, hoping that this mission would be as uneventful as it should be. Their initial contact with the people of Melera had revealed a society with a technogical level similar to that of Earth, and with security measures surrounding the gate, designed to keep the Wraith out. If all went well, they could be excellent allies.

But, Elizabeth knew better than to hope for too much from new acquaintances. So, when the last member of the team had left the room, she reminded herself of this and began to collect her things.

She had just picked up her datapad when she saw a blur of black out of the corner of her eyes. It swept into the room and disappeared behind a chair. The chair then turned around so that its back was to her.

Elizabeth smiled fondly, to herself. “Oh, what was that?” she asked out loud, exaggerating her curiosity, “Must have been a ghost.”

Quiet laughter came from the direction of the chair.

“Hmm, it’s a giggling ghost,” she mused.

The chair laughed again.

“Hmm, maybe I should ask Doctor McKay to come and help me catch it,” she said, stepping slowly towards the chair. “I’m sure he has a machine that can find ghosts.”

A little voice said, “Cool.”

“Ah, it must want to be caught,” Elizabeth said, “So, maybe I should look on this… chair.” She swung the chair round to face her, grinning when she found Jake huddled in a ball on the seat. “Oh, Jake, it’s only you.”

Jake peeked up at her. “Did you really think it was a ghost?”

“Well, you moved very fast!” Elizabeth exclaimed, picking him up and then sitting down with him on her knee.

“I didn’t want you to see me,” Jake told her.

“You’re very good at hiding.”

“Can we play hide and seek?”

“Not today, sweetie, I have to work, remember? But, the day after tomorrow I am free to play whatever games you want to.”

“Snakes and ladders?”

“If you want to.”

“Can we go swimming?”

“Yep.”

“And we can play hide and seek?”

“We can. And,” she leaned closer to whisper to him, “we can play hide and seek in the gateroom.”

Jake’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

Elizabeth nodded. “Really.”

“Cool.”

“Now, why don’t you go back to Uncle Ronon and see if he can play games with you this afternoon? I’ll come and see you when I have a break.”

“Okay,” Jake smiled, hopping down from Elizabeth’s knee. “See you later.”

“See you later,” Elizabeth responded, ruffling his hair with her hand as he ran past her.

He disappeared through the door and Elizabeth heard Ronon’s voice say, “Ready to go, little Sheppard?”

Smiling, she thought to herself, ‘He really is a little Sheppard,’ then she forced her mind back to her work before it wandered to places it was too hard to go.

She stood and picked up her datapad again, catching sight of the mission destination, Melera, as she did so and, despite her earlier reminder to herself, she couldn’t help but feel that this mission was going to be very successful.

THE END