DAY THREE:

YOU’RE STANDING IN A DOORWAY

Jillian stood before the pool of shimmering matter. Part of her was aware that once she stepped inside, her body would be broken down to the molecular level and sent millions of light years away to another galaxy, where it would be reconstructed in the gate room of Atlantis. But part of her was merely aware of the metaphoric doorway she stood before. Her whole life had prepared her for this moment, even though she didn’t know it at the time. She could never have imagined that her years of school would be training her to work on ancient technology in a foreign galaxy. Nor could she have known that her childhood friend would be the reason she would be going.

Rodney had appeared on her doorstep three weeks ago. It had been almost a year since she got even an email from him, but all of a sudden here he was. But it wasn’t his appearance that was the most shocking; it was the story that went with it. This claim that he had traveled around this galaxy and then into another was preposterous. The fact that the US government knew about it was ridiculous. But ultimately she had been convinced. Her life had been turned upside down. She was walking away from her work, her friends, her home and she wasn’t even able to explain why. It had to be worth it.

And then it was time to go. Time to take that step into the unknown and into plunge into her new adventure. What was it they said again? She thought. Exhale before stepping in… So within a breath, she stepped forward and was on her way.

There was no memory, no idea of time passing between that step out of the gate room on Earth and into the one in the Pegasus Galaxy. Once she hit the ramp she was aware of the brightly lit spacious room that greeted her. Making her way down the ramp, she was greeted by Elizabeth, the leader, Rodney her dearest friend, and John…

John Sheppard was in Atlantis? Suddenly her heart was beating fast and it was most certainly not from the trip through the wormhole. This man who she had not seen in over ten years hadn’t changed a bit. Sure, he was a little older; but just as sexy. In fact, with age had come a new rugged handsomeness. Or maybe that was caused by the journey that had brought him here. She could only wonder what that journey was. How had her summer romance from Cabo be standing in front of her on the other side of the universe? She couldn’t tell if he had recognized her yet, so she allowed Rodney to introduce her.

“John, this is my friend I was telling you about. Jillian, this is John.” Rodney said, proud as a peacock. “As you can see, I wasn’t exaggerating about her looks. And if you give her long enough, she’ll prove that she’s almost as smart as me, too.” Jillian shot Rodney a look as she tried to read what exactly he had said about her. Doubtless he had trouble convincing people that his best friend (who was actually smarter than him) was also passable for a swim suit model. Right now her long auburn hair was pulled back neatly and her trim figure was hidden under the regulation uniform she had received at Stargate Command. Of course, John already knew everything there was to know about the woman standing in front of him.

“That won’t be necessary, Rodney,” John said as he extended his hand to shake Jillian’s. “I’m already quite acquainted with Ms. Reynolds.” Turning his gaze toward hers, he added “Going by Jillian these days?” There was a definite coolness in his voice. Or perhaps she was merely imagining it. Certainly she hadn’t meant enough to him for a grudge to last more than a decade.

“Yes, John. I, too am using my given name in place of a shortened one.” Jillian recalled the fun they had that summer with her name being shortened to Jill and him going by the nickname Jack. Maybe there was little wonder they had both gotten away from those names. She held his stony stare for a moment before Rodney spoke up.

“You mean to tell me you two know each other? That’s impossible! John, I’m sure you must be referring to her file. Surely, you simply read about her because you wanted to know more about my friend. But wait; Jill how would you know John? Unless of course the USAF did a getting to know you session on the commanders of the base. That doesn’t really sound like something they would do but…”

“And me reading a personnel file sounds like something I would do?” John asked, cutting Rodney off mid-rant.

“No, I suppose not.” Rodney said, trying to come up with other scenarios.

“Rodney, let’s walk. John has more new comers to welcome and I have a story to tell you.”

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