Spoilers: All of Season 1 maybe.
Summary: It's not often Kavanagh gets sent off-world, usually it's to get rid of him temporarily. This time is no different, not for those back on Atlantis at least.
A/N: Betaread by Ellex and Fanwoman.
The moon is a shade of red like blood. They say it's the result of sins yet to be forgiven. They strive towards harmony and perfection, and hope it will solve their problems. The resulting science might, but it's strange how a society would find such a religion only as their planet is falling apart, placing responsibility on their own shoulders but still do not accepting that they are alone in this matter, that they and only they can fix this.
He'd been sent as part of the team to help, but the Delosians had turned down any direct interference. It wasn't until the Atlanteans offered technology in general that they would listen. They were too proud to accept advice, but no one was going to refuse knowledge.
That was how he found himself staring out across an alien landscape, ravaged by centuries of pollution due to primitive, unrefined power complexes and a lack of concern over waste production. They didn't use that much power anymore, but in their heyday, it sounded like they were more wasteful than even modern day Earth. This had been devastating for such a fragile and small ecosystem.
And the people looked past the dark skies, for divine guidance, into the heavens above. It gave them hope for the future, a reason to improve on what they had left, despite the sparseness of their population after the recent culling. There were about a thousand Delosians left; a small committee of what they called scientists and the new religious leaders heading the 'government'. No one was elected. Their government was made up of those who were brave enough to step up to the grueling task of trying to get their world back on track. At least the small numbers decreased the energy consumption and difficulty of changing their habits.
As he looked out onto the dusky sky, he couldn't forget he was in an alien environment, that the people they assisted were aliens, or if you wanted to turn it on its head, he was the alien here. Yet they were grateful, more grateful than he could imagine anyone back on Earth being in the same situation. He hadn't really enjoyed any missions offworld before, but here, he'd felt welcomed. Amara had laughed at one of his jokes, not out of kindness but because she didn't know better. She didn't know you weren't meant to. It was practically a universal law that no one should laugh at his jokes, when any of his colleagues would instead roll their eyes or snap a nasty remark at him; if, that is, they even took any notice. The scientists had been happy to listen to his advice, appreciating his sense of order. He'd outlined plans for rebuilding, using a sustainable system of logging on the remaining trees – so they didn't take more than could be regrown in a reasonable amount of time - accompanied by modifications to traditional designs to make it possible to expand in a modular style as their population slowly grew.
He knew he was only sent out here because he was one of the few scientists not needed on critical projects; McKay and others were too important to be sent to overlook this kind of assignment. So their band of expendable scientific personnel, plus a few tagalongs from the soft sciences, had been packed off here for two weeks. He and Corrigan were the joint leaders, for diplomacy and science respectively. They were looked after by Stackhouse and a couple other soldiers, in case of any trouble. Despite the fact that he hadn't been chosen for his talents, he felt satisfied with what he had achieved here on Delos. He'd made a difference, and it was recognised.
The sky might have been red and he an alien on this world, but this was a place he felt part of something – more so than he’d ever experienced on Atlantis, or Earth for that matter. It sounded pathetic to feel like that, but it was ironically true. And tonight was the end of the last day here. Tomorrow, they gated back to Atlantis, back to the home of constant insults and ridicule – no one was willing to look past his flaws and the mistakes he'd made. They'd do it for others. They'd believe in McKay, even as they moaned about the infamous temperament of the Chief of Science; but they wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt.
He would never fit in there, but as he returned to his room, he hoped maybe he'd be able to visit Delos again and feel the unique sense of belonging he'd discovered in his short time here. He wanted to come back and see his plans acted out, the grand buildings constructed, lived in – undeniable proof he had achieved something for someone. Maybe no one else from Atlantis would ever see the temple, nor the council chambers that he‘d had a hand in redesigning, but they'd be here and he would know, as would the Delosians. It wasn't like he needed approval any longer, but he wanted a reminder that he did count as someone to these people at least. Back on Atlantis, no one noticed unless he hadn't done his job right, but here he had a chance to mean something.
Who knew, he might get a song written for him, or be made a saint for rescuing their civilisation from complete destruction. He didn't mind the sound of either, not to mention the look on McKay's face would be priceless if one of them happened. The only thing that was legendary about McKay around certain parts of Pegasus were his arrogance and his appetite, not that they were the only things that made up the man. But the same could be said of himself; he wasn't just pedantic after all. It was just that, lacking the finer details of his personality, people couldn't conceive of anything beyond the caricature.
It was like engineering; you have to look beyond the obvious features. There is more to a structure than size, shape, materials or function. You have to consider how it relates to the world; to the position of the sun, where power and water will be needed, which areas will take the most traffic, where is best to apply decorative flourishes, and countless other details. You can't consider anything in isolation, a wider relative view was required to be able to see everything you need.
You can't assume anything, or people will get hurt.
Want more Kavanagh fic? Visit my Kavanagh fanfic100 table.