Qui Habitat Overview

by Domenika Marzione

The Premise

Qui Habitat is an SGA/SG-1 AU that spins off from the Ori arc that runs through Seasons Nine and Ten of SG-1 by changing one simple thing: the Ori don't lose. Earth is the last significant planet to fall in the Milky Way, but fall it does. Hard.

After Earth's fall, a large resistance movement was active, utilizing the Daedalus, the only surviving SGC carrier, as it's main instrument. Running raids in the Milky Way and bringing refugees and supplies to Atlantis, the Daedalus was the only lifeline between the two galaxies. Eventually her luck ran out and she was nearly destroyed by an Ori armada; after limping back to Atlantis, she is no longer flight-worthy and Atlantis is finally truly alone.

Over in Pegasus, Atlantis was first a long-distance witness and then a rear echelon for the escalating fight with the Ori over the Milky Way galaxy before becoming the final retreat for those who survived. Cut off from Earth and forced to revert to its (Season One) status as isolated outpost responsible for its own needs, Atlantis still has the responsibilities it has assumed in Pegasus -- defeating the Wraith and protecting those who can't help themselves -- while also awaiting the inevitable arrival of the Ori.

The Narrators

QH is told through the alternating POVs of John Sheppard and Cameron Mitchell, both of whom are operating far out of their depths.

Sheppard has found himself in a position he'd never have imagined for himself: commander of a force charged with an essentially impossible task -- defeat the Wraith, defend against the Ori, and support Atlantis's transition from research outpost to refugee empire with insufficient personnel and too-limited resources. The guy the brass didn't trust to herd marines at an outpost is now effectively in charge of the whole shebang.

Mitchell, meanwhile, is getting his feet back under him, literally and figuratively. He spent the entire Ori war leading first SG-1 and then various assault teams before becoming co-leader of the resistance movement once Earth (and effectively the galaxy) had fallen. Gravely injured in the raid that nearly destroyed the Daedalus, Cam's trying to figure out what to do now that he's just another refugee in Pegasus.

The Characters

The SGA crowd remain essentially unchanged -- in presence, if not necessarily in personality -- from their Season Three status. Elizabeth Weir is the expedition leader, a job that has changed greatly as Atlantis has had to deal with the Ori occupation of the Milky Way galaxy and their presumed future appearance in Pegasus. Sheppard commands the military, which has been somewhat expanded, although not nearly commensurately with their tasks. Rodney McKay leads a greatly expanded Science Division and Carson Beckett is alive and well as the Chief Medical Officer. Teyla has become a sort of refugee coordinator for both the Pegasus and Milky Way displaced. Ronon... does Ronon things.

The SG-1 crowd has been far more affected. Cam is the only member of SG-1's final roster to make it to Pegasus. Teal'c was killed in a raid on Chulak, Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran were separately taken prisoner by the Ori, Sam Carter survived Earth's fall to co-lead the resistance with Cam but vanished before the final flight to Pegasus, and Jack O'Neill and Hank Landry were both killed during Earth's final stand. Jonas Quinn survived Langara's early fall and was recruited by Sam to help first the SGC and then the galaxy resistance movement; he came to Atlantis with Cam and has set himself up as both a scientist in the city and as a member of Cam's off-world team.

What's With All of the Backstory Stories?

QH began with Earth's fall a fait accomplit and moved forward from there. The backstories explain variously how the Milky Way was lost, both from Atlantis and SGC eyes, and how the events transformed people.

While the initial Atlantis expedition understood that they were heading off into a possibly extended period of isolation, the years of connectedness that followed essentially changed both the mission and the mindset. At the time of the Ori invasion of the Milky Way, Atlantis was full of people with every reasonable expectation that they could go home whever they wanted. Now it's entirely populated by refugees, some of whom fled the fighting and many of whom are simply stranded. Even for those who did not see the war first-hand, it's a personal thing -- they have family and friends left behind and no idea of who is safe or even still alive.

All of the backstories are set, naturally, before the main story and can be read without reading the main story.

The Stories

(and why you may want to read them)

Status Quo Ante: Reletti, a marine NCO on Lorne's off-world team, leaves Atlantis to go to college and get his commission, but the Ori attack on Earth begins in the middle of his first semester. He winds up on SG-3 and sees the rest of the war from the inside, allowing him to interact with the greatest range of people of any narrator used. Reletti's there for almost everything in the war and while sometimes he knows more than most, usually he's just an 'informed outsider' observer.

Life on Mars & A for Alpha: Both address refugee issues, the former civilian and the latter military. Elizabeth has to essentially overhaul the entire Atlantis social order to accommodate Atlantis's new role as sanctuary to the Milky Way as well as the continued support of the Pegasus population and it's not as easy as treating all refugees alike. Meanwhile, John finally gets an Alpha Company (a running 'joke' in my stories) but only by a fortuitous resolution to a standing order left in place by the SGC (necessitated by events in Art Is Long).

Interregnum: A Lorne's-eye-view of the start of the Ori war through Earth's fall. The war affects everyone in Atlantis, including himself, in different ways. Guilt, grief, regret, faith, fear, and the odd moment when he forgets all about the war and then wonders how the hell he could have managed that.

Attrition: Cam from midway through to the end. He's doomed to be the only survivor and it doesn't sit well with him. The 'informed insider' POV counterpoint to Reletti's place much lower down on the food chain.

Absit Omen: I suppose it's an AU to an AU, since while the events will occur similar to this, they won't be exact. Set much farther along in the Qui Habitat storyline than is currently written, Reletti is the unsuspecting beneficiary of the war taking its toll.

Art Is Long: AKA What Rodney Was Doing. Rodney is probably the ultimate 'informed insider' for civilians and sees a far more complicated and richer picture than Sheppard does in the first phases, since science is as valuable a weapon against the Ori as guns. In Atlantis, recalled to Earth, and then back in Atlantis, Rodney sees the war's effect on bureaucracy, innovation, and, especially, family. The war ultimately becomes extremely personal for him and how much of that is his fault... Rodney will never know.

Courting Rituals: Now established in Atlantis, Cam meets up with one of his former resistance colleagues. A rumination on the social conventions that may or may not bend and flex when people from many different worlds -- some of whom didn't know before this that there were different worlds -- interact on the personal level. Would you date outside your stargate address?

Asunder: Everyone in Atlantis deals with what has happened in their own way. But sometimes they don't. John's got the unsavory task of punishing them for that.

Huma: AKA Art Is Long for Jonas Quinn. Earth was the last place the Ori went, but not the only. Jonas, like Cam, is doomed to survive through everything and make it to Atlantis. But he has a much more difficult journey. A non-Earth-centric view of the war, of how the SGC set itself up to disappoint, of how people are at their best and their worst when it all comes apart.

Respite: A day at the beach. The QH world can get a little nihilistic. It's days like this that keep it from getting a lot. Part office picnic, part social experiment, mostly just letting go.

Loyaulte Me Lie: Jeannie is both a major and a minor part of Art is Long. This is her story. For everyone already involved in the Stargate Program, the success of the Ori comes after years of space battles and fighting strange wars. For Jeannie, it's closer to a sudden apocalypse and her ties to the 'real' world make it all the more terrifying.

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1 December, 2008