Lorne had spent two days now with the troops from Earth 2. He was starting to get a feel for them. He did find it a little funny that the commanding officers all had codenames, but it seemed to be a badge of honor more than anything else; everyone referred to them by codename more than by legal name, though the two were interchangeable, making the habit useless as a security measure. He gathered it hadn't been so at the start of the organization.
Anyway, so they had been fresh from a months-long ship trip from Earth 2 to Stargate Command, and then they'd spent the next day undergoing doctor visits and inoculations and a last crash course about the dangers of Atlantis... but Atlantis was Atlantis, which was why he was leading Preventers Storm, Blizzard and Void and their attached squads through the most circuitous route he could find to their bunks. They all, frankly speaking, looked like shit, with shadows under their eyes and uniforms wrinkled, and Lorne had no doubt when they got around to bunking down they would be crashing for the next twelve hours (barring Wraith, of course.) They'd insisted, though.
Lorne had to admit it hadn't been very hard to convince him to show her off to the newbies.
"And on your left, through those glass doors, is the Ivory tower and attached pier, so named because there are only so many synonyms for white that come with appropriate initials. You'll find them under Tower I and Pier I respectively on the transporters. The other towers and piers are Alabaster, Blanche (the French-speaking contingent insisted), Chalky, Fair, Ghostly, Pearly, and Snowy." (The towers had been named from the Ancient script letters designating them on the transporters and the age-old tradition of "doesn't that squiggle sort of look like a F, if you turn your head and squint a bit?" but no need to confuse the newbies even more just yet.)
The pier was a couple of miles long, surprisingly pristine for something so exposed to the elements, and the green ocean gorgeous as it broke against its side, spraying some more picturesque foam on the edge. The sky was immense. He came to a stop by the doors to let the Preventers admire the view.
"Ah, and here is our military leader, Colonel Sheppard." The man was jogging to them now, smiling pleasantly as he left behind a bunch of scientists fiddling with Lorne wasn't sure what.
He could see which of the Preventers had come from the military, and which from the police or straight from the civilian masses, by the way three-quarters of the men immediately snapped into a slightly strange salute.
"At ease. Welcome to Atlantis. Enjoying yourselves so far?" Sheppard accepted exclamations with pleased, false modesty, like the men were complimenting his kid or perhaps his wife. He gestured at them to come out onto the pier. "My apologies for not being there to greet you in person. Emergencies..."
A little shrug, as if to say 'you guys know how it is, there's always something they absolutely need the leader for on a base like this'. Preventer Storm nodded his complete understanding and forgiveness; Lorne gave his commanding officer a vaguely cynical look. By the missing aircraft on the suspiciously empty pier and the way the scientists surveyed the sky he could figure out what Sheppard was really doing there.
"The aircraft doing well, then?" he asked pointedly.
"Well, it hasn't crashed yet," retorted Sheppard, looking disturbingly cheerful, as he led his little pack scientist-ward. "It's actually something you people might be familiar with; the technology was refined here on Atlantis but the original concept and frame came from your Earth. I have to say, it's gorgeous."
His eyes were sparkling, which Lorne took to mean it was gorgeous, and also hilarious, but then again Sheppard had found it absurdly hilarious pretty much from the start. The Preventers were straightening up proudly, feeling an elan of proud patriotism.
"It's coming back for a landing, if you want to stay and watch?"
"Of course," assured Preventer Blizzard with a firm nod, and he and his troop turned to a man as Sheppard went, "Ah, I think I see it, over that spire."
"It's coming in fast," Lorne commented as calmly as he always did as the fighter plane shrieked down toward them, faster and faster until a crash seemed almost inevitable. Only his and Sheppard's unworried reaction kept their men's feet soldered down to the deck (it did help staying unflappable that he'd seen that style of piloting before), and then the whole plane seemed to break into pieces in mid-air.
And reshape. Still in mid-air.
Even before the robot's huge feet thumped down, the whole troop of Preventers -- twenty-five men, all told -- had out of pure, immediate spinal reflex, thrown themselves down on the ground, behind the scientists and their equipment, or even overboard into the sea, to the unanimous panicked cry of "IT'S A GUNDAM!"
Lorne looked at Sheppard. Sheppard looked at Lorne. They both looked at McKay and Zelenka. McKay seemed to have been struck speechless, which only underlined the utter what the fuck of the situation.
"Oh man, that takes me back," said Maxwell through the external speaker. Beside Zelenka, Yuy snorted, and went back to fiddling with the readings he was getting. The cockpit cracked open; Maxwell swung out and made his cheerful way toward the group, his smile full of teeth that didn't foretell anything good for Lorne's peace of mind. "Hi guys, Zero-Two at your service! By the way, moustache-dude, awesome survival skills there, if there's one flesh and blood person a Gundam might step on and not squish into paste, it's probably Zero-One."
Storm's eyes bugged out as he looked at Yuy, standing right there amongst the gathered scientists, and then he threw himself backward like he'd just been handed a live snake. Which was actually a pretty smart reaction Lorne wished more of the Marines could learn without needing an object lesson first...
Lorne could feel a headache starting already, and from the arched eyebrow on Sheppard's face he wasn't going to take it in hand just yet. "Barr, Ziegel, Galienic, get Murghton and Fren out of the water. The rest of you, on your feet."
"So," Sheppard said, eyeing Yuy sideway. "That Zero-One codename is actually more like... Cher. Or Prince. Doesn't matter if it's basic or unimaginative, there isn't any need to be more to it than that. Isn't that nice to know."
" 'Oh, Gundam is just a sub-genre of Mobile Suit', wasn't it?" McKay added, favoring the approaching Maxwell with his own jaundiced look. Maxwell looked utterly unrepentant. The Preventers looked welded on the spot. Some of them -- big and overtrained enough to perhaps even come up on top against a Marine -- even took a step back.
There were so many things Lorne hadn't needed to know regarding the background of their Gundam pilots, and from the look on Sheppard's face, a lot of things Sheppard himself might have guessed the shape of, but which hadn't come out of their mouths, or not with any details.
"Sir?" he said. "Almost dinner time, and they need to be shown to their bunks first; those two especially need to change into dry clothes." Preferably before they noticed the Gundam pilots weren't even twenty yet and none of the locals seemed to take them as any kind of threat, and embarrassment started yelling louder than survival. "Should we postpone this to tomorrow?" he said, in a way that made it so Sheppard knew it wasn't really a question.
"Why not. I have a feeling it's going to be a long story. Dismissed," Sheppard said to the Preventers, though he immediately threw his arm around Maxwell's shoulders so he wouldn't wander off after them.
"Aw, poo." Maxwell sighed, and then gave a little wave to the men Lorne was corralling back toward the hall. "Oh well. See you later, guys! Don't worry, I know where you sleep."
The last thing Lorne saw as he herded his men to the nearest transporter was Yuy slapping Maxwell over the head like a teenage boy to another teenage boy, and the giant robot silhouetted against the sky, eyes gleaming foxfire-green in the darkness of its helmet.
When they requested different quarters, with pretty transparent excuses, Lorne let them have those. He wasn't going to tell them that if Maxwell couldn't find them, Yuy probably would.
He seriously hoped pink dye would be the worst of it. Maybe if they were lucky the Wraith would attack first.