So I'm posting it, in the hopes that it will continue to rocktumble (a term I stole from copperbadge, I fear, but totally accurate, a rolling and rocking and refining of a concept from dross to gold) and maybe even make somethign ficcish.
As an alternate fusion history, I think it's pretty awesome.
So I give you the backstory for the not!story (which I had tentatively called "Ending the Alphabet" after the song by the Mountain Goats. Any thoughts (or pushes towards actual story-building) highly encouraged.
The Alliance was big, bold and strong in the kind of way that meant they took no prisoners in the most literal sense. Though, to be perfectly accurate, Ronon had been a prisoner, taken from his planet after an Alliance squadron firebombed the towns surrounding under the auspices of “suspicious activity”. He was probably written up on some passenger manifest as ‘refugee’ if he appeared anywhere at all, but they doubted it. The Alliance was very good at insuring that some records were just never kept.
Soon after U-Day, with the Independents dead, dying and lying in wait on dirty Rim worlds that had never been worth the coin to terraform them, the Alliance was already looking further, deeper, searching for a means to stretch their control wider and stronger. Those in power have the money to remain so, and it was no surprise that, just as those planets firmly in the bounty of the Core had prestigious hospitals with the most exalted of care, they also possessed laboratories and think tanks of the most brilliant minds money and influence could buy.
A chance to reach new galaxies, even further than the most powerful cruiser could hope to see on its screen. That was the goal. Of course, the fact that they had made it this far away from Earth-that-Was meant that any kind of astrophysical methods from that era was mere child’s play, textbooks that wealthy families read to their children at bedtime to laugh at the simplistic wonder at the way the world worked. Still, history has a tendency to repeat itself, and so the old knowledge was still valuable, if spun with the correct degree. Rodney McKay, brusque though he was, had the ability to market himself that successfully.
There was a theory a doctor had, one of the researchers in a lab on Osiris. That if the genetic makeup of a person could be manipulated to the right level, certain properties and… abilities would become available. A myth from long ago, ancient even by the standards of Earth-that-Was history, but still worth pursuing, at least as long as the credits continued to accumulate and be put forth.
Rodney and his team—though he was always quick to point out that he was in charge, thank you—concocted a synthetic blend of chemicals and spliced gene that, when injected, could possibly blend and form a new kind of code, with power enough to reach beyond the Outer Rim, beyond the wildest imaginings, to the places where dreams only whispered at.
It was said to be a triumph, in the sense that it didn’t kill the entire population of test subjects it was administered to. While Rodney had always thought it would begin with animals and eventually (safely) become part of a human trial, a glimpse at coded memos and reports not meant for his eyes showed him differently.
That was bad enough. Worse still was the data about a different batch of subjects, also human, who already had the necessary gene. These people were luckier and worse off than the ‘gene therapy’ subjects, if not only because their existence was so secret as to be never known in the first place.
By the time Rodney had learned of them (collectively known as Group ATA), their numbers had dwindled to two, both men. Others had died through the testing and analysis process, not to mention those who had simply disappeared after their “disagreement” with the Alliance’s goals for the project (though to outright connect this project with the Alliance is too literal; the levels of red tape and cover companies would be enough to make anyone’s head spin).
ATA M Beta and ATA M Delta. Though at times Rodney still could feel the memory of sitting in a lecture hall learning about the Ethics of Human Study for the Greater Good, another part of him couldn’t forget the pictures attached to the ATA case files. The countless other he dug up on the injection subjects (called Project Metamorphosis, for great dramatic irony, Rodney felt).
Eight key cards, a handful of false papers and a rented skimmer later, Rodney and ATA Beta and Delta were on their way to nowhere. It was only days later that Rodney finally learned their names: John Shepherd. Aidan Ford.
Unfortunately, Rodney’s influence and money could only stretch so far and the Alliance, no matter under whose title came after them, fierce sirens and shadowy almost-not-seen operatives.
They buried Ford and week and a half before they found Ronon. Teyla was two months later. By the time they'd found a fast, unnoticeable ship and named it for an Earth-that-was myth, they were already a crew. With Atlantis, they'd found a home and a chance to keep it and themselves as far from the Alliance as they could.