In the Silence (Stargate Atlantis)

Originally Posted: Jul. 7th, 2006 and completely rewritten May 2018
Length/Rating: 100 words, PG, Gen (plus a Musefic rewrite!)
Pairing/Warnings: none
Summary: John’s used to being alone with his thoughts.

“STARGATE ATLANTIS”, “STARGATE SG-1” and other related entities are owned, (TM) and © by MGM TELEVISION and DOUBLE SECRET PRODUCTION in association with GEKKO FILMS and THE SCIFI CHANNEL. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

John’s used to being alone with his thoughts. Antarctica was a harsh taskmaster, but Atlantis is a different sort of silence. He doesn’t notice at first, swept up in the flood of survival, but when the chaos ebbs– that’s when it finds him again.

Only it’s not the pristine solitude of the ice, crisp and endless, it’s the unexpected void where sound should be.

He sits on the piers listening to shadows of gunfire and screams… and echoes of banter, technobabble, and laughter.

He’s alone, Atlantis sings her truth in the waves, but he isn’t alone. His silence has broken.


In the Silence - Stargate Atlantis - Drabble Fan Fiction

In the Silence: the MuseFic Adventures!

The fun part about archiving old fanfiction is that sometimes one of the older ideas that didn’t come out quite right sparks the Muses back to work. This was one of them! ?

So for your amusement, here’s the version of the drabble that used to be… and how I got to the new version.

There are some days when the silence is too loud, too overwhelming, and he hums songs he can’t hear to fill it. His teammates laugh and tell him he’s off-key, but in his head it’s perfect. He hums banal Disney songs in revenge, sending the annoyingly cheerful (yet still off-key) melodies echoing down the corridors of Atlantis.

Perhaps the best use of his newfound super powers is to simply sit and stare at Rodney and feign confusion at the scientist’s demands for solitude. Sometimes he invents dialog, a humorous redubbing of reality, and sometimes things he simply wished they’d say.

“I have no idea what you were trying for here. Like at all.” The Muse frowned down at the remnants of the drabble from 2006. “This wasn’t a challenge response was it?”

“Not per the notes,” the Writer was trying to coax the Stargate Atlantis plot bunny out from under the writing desk. “It was about John filling in the silence with noise to make himself feel better and annoy his friends in the process. Or maybe that he’s gone deaf? I can’t tell.”

There was a pause.

“Soooo…. this is some alternate universe John then?” The Muse was unimpressed.

“To be fair, it looks like it was one of the very very early fics, but yeah.” The Writer finally managed to convince the plot bunny that there was something worth waking up for and it hopped up onto the desk for a stretch. “I hate it enough that I don’t want to post it, but honor dictates that I can’t just let it die– so time for a rewrite!”

“Of what? The plots very premise is horribly OOC.” The Muse stitched the plot bunny when it hopped over for a greeting. “I get that the basic idea was that John doesn’t like being alone in his own head, but we need to throw all of this out.”

“Okay, okay, so let’s lay out the sentences and see what we have.” The Writer carefully unrolled the fanfic.

There are some days when the silence is too loud, too overwhelming, and he hums songs he can’t hear to fill it.

His teammates laugh and tell him he’s off-key, but in his head it’s perfect.

He hums banal Disney songs in revenge, sending the annoyingly cheerful (yet still off-key) melodies echoing down the corridors of Atlantis.

Perhaps the best use of his newfound super powers is to simply sit and stare at Rodney and feign confusion at the scientist’s demands for solitude.

Sometimes he invents dialog, a humorous redubbing of reality, and sometimes things he simply wished they’d say.

The plot bunny looked over the sentences carefully and then carefully shredded everything but John’s desire to escape the silence and making up conversations in his head. It solemnly handed over the scraps of remaining idea to the Writer and then waiting expectantly.

“Oof, that’s… not a lot to work with, but sure.” The Writer took the scraps and stared at them for a moment. “Let’s try this.”

John’s used to being alone with his thoughts –Antarctica was a harsh taskmaster– but Atlantis was a different sort of silence. He doesn’t notice at first, there’s too much happening too quickly and he’s swept up in the flood of survival. But when it ebbs, when they aren’t going to die right this minute, that’s when the silence finds him again. Only it’s not the quiet solitude of the ice, crisp and empty and endless, it’s the lack of sound. There’s no laughter or banter or gunfire or screams, just the steady churn of the ocean and the hum of a city waking up from her sleep. And when it gets to be too much he can go inside.

“Could be worse,” said the Muse. “I’d like a little longer of a first draft– 119 doesn’t leave us much to trim.” She pulled out her red pen. “But we’ll make do.”

The bunny sniffed his approval and flopped down in an epic bunny sprawl to watch them work.

“Eh, there’s a lot of repetition, but the idea’s solid.” The Writer made a new neat cuts with her editing chainsaw and broke it down again.

John’s used to being alone with his thoughts –Antarctica was a harsh taskmaster– but Atlantis was a different sort of silence.

“So this is early-in-the-first-season John, he’ll still be comparing things to Earth instead of other places in Pegasus, that’s fair” the Muse noted. “Not sure we need to name drop the title this quickly, but I can’t think of another word to use.”

“Not sure we want both description in past tense,” the Writer frowned at the sentence. “I like the ‘was’ for Antarctica, it’ll indicated a time difference for readers unfamiliar with the series, but Atlantis really should be an ‘is’. I just hate the look of ‘Atlantis’s’. Keep for now, but we’ll cut it later is we need wordcount.”

He doesn’t notice at first, there’s too much happening too quickly and he’s swept up in the flood of survival.

But when it ebbs, when they aren’t going to die right this minute, that’s when the silence finds him again.

“I see we’re going with water imagery. Again.” The Muse gave her Writer a long-suffering look.

“What? It’s Atlantis! I’m required by the Laws of FanFiction.”

“Well it’s forty words of transition, so… chop chop.” The Muse waved her red pen. “All of this says the same thing, hence my worry we’re going to be short of words.”

He doesn’t notice at first, swept up in the flood of survival, but when the chaos ebbs– that’s when it finds him again.

“Oof. Okay, so maybe that was a bit too much.” The Writer poked the edit. “That’s more than we needed to take out, but maybe we’ll need the spares later on.”

“You can always put back part of it, or add some modifiers.”

“True…”

Only it’s not the quiet solitude of the ice, crisp and empty and endless, it’s the lack of sound.

“Yeeeah, I hate the end of this sentence.” The Writer hefted the chainsaw. “Time to die!”

Only it’s not the harsh solitude of the ice, crisp and endless, it’s the unexpected void where sound should be.

“I’m not sure that’s quite right, but dropping the ’empty’ is good so we have better contrast.” The Muse played around with adjectives for a moment. “We need Antarctica to be more impersonal, less antagonistic.”

“Maybe ‘pristine’ instead of ‘harsh’ then?”

The plot bunny thumped a hindfoot in agreement and proceed to rend the offending word to tiny pixels.

“…Violent little guy, isn’t he,” said the Muse, carefully putting the draft between her and the murderous hare.

The bunny grinned a grin with slightly too many teeth.

There’s no laughter or banter or gunfire or screams, just the steady churn of the ocean and the hum of a city waking up from her sleep.

And when it gets to be too much he can go inside.

“This implies he’s not inside, but there’s nothing before it to say where he is, so context,” said the Muse.

“Plus I don’t like the ending sentence… I mean like it, just not any of the words.” The Writer poked at the draft. “Hmm.”

He sits on the piers and listens to the shadows of gunfire and screams… and banter and technobabble and laughter.

And when it’s too much –and when it’s not enough– here he can go inside again.

So he does.

“How are those both 39 words?” The Muse looked back and forth between the two versions, confused.

Luck,” declared the Writer with infinite smugness.

The plot bunny was not impressed.

“Okay, fine, but now we have to put it all back together again and see if it work.” The Muse gathered up all the scraps and started sticking them end to end. “I think we’re a few words short still.”

John’s used to being alone with his thoughts –Antarctica was a harsh taskmaster– but Atlantis is a different sort of silence. He doesn’t notice at first, swept up in the flood of survival, but when the chaos ebbs– that’s when it finds him again.

Only it’s not the pristine solitude of the ice, crisp and endless, it’s the unexpected void where sound should be.

He sits on the piers and listens to the shadows of gunfire and screams… and banter and technobabble and laughter.

And when it’s too much –and when it’s not enough– here he can go inside again.

So he does.

“103, darnit, okay we need three darlings to kill.” The Writer looked down at the plot bunny expectantly.

The bunny thought for a moment and then gnawed away a ‘the’ and an ‘and’… but then it paused, starting at the almost-drabble. With a sudden pounce it murdered the last sentence and threw the remains into the second to last.

And when it’s too much– when it’s not enough, on Atlantis he can find his noise again.

“Eh… no.” The Writer picked up the sentences and tore it apart again.

He sits on the piers and listens to the shadows of gunfire and screams… and echoes of banter, technobabble, and laughter.

He’s alone, Atlantis sings her truth in the waves, but he isn’t alone, and with that his silence has broken.

“That’s five words over now,” said the Muse. “But I like it! …So fix it?”

The bunny looked longingly at all the ‘and’s’, but went to work with surgical precision.

He sits on the piers listening to shadows of gunfire and screams… and echoes of banter, technobabble, and laughter.

He’s alone, Atlantis sings her truth in the waves, but he isn’t alone. His silence has broken.

“Done!” The Writer patted the plot bunny with a grin as it spit out the last chunks of contraction. “Thanks as always little murder fluff.”

“What, I don’t get thanks?” the Muse grumped. “I helped! Just with, you know, less murder.”

There was a pause and then the Writer shrugged and patted the Muse on the head. “Thanks as always giant snarky fluff!”

And lo, there was fic.

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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