Walking away from Mara, all John can think is that it’s time for him to go home, to get away from this now-dead city that reminds him too much of Atlantis. Home, he tells the others, and home they go, and when they come out the other side of the stargate, it’s all John can do to keep from laying his face against the floor in gratitude. Home, Atlantis whispers in the back of his head, old and tired and still stubbornly alive, and John sleeps more soundly this night in his narrow bed than he had in the sumptuous room the night before. Home, he thinks when he wakes up to sunshine flaming against his window, and he’s never felt so happy.
But by the time he reaches the mess for breakfast, his brain is functioning again, and when Rodney sits down across from him, moaning about the lack of cereal (“—because everyone’s hoarding it, even though we get regular shipments from Earth—”), the second thing John says to him is, “How many other Atlantises do you think are out there?” (The first thing is, “You should be grateful they send us any cereal at all. I wish they’d stop, and give us bigger guns instead.”)
“Huh,” Rodney says, toast paused halfway to his mouth. “That’s a good question. If there’s one, there’s probably more, and at least some of them must still be in usable condition. Or at least available for spare parts. Maybe have directions on how to build ZPMs.”
“Exactly.” John licks the last of his oatmeal off his spoon, taking a moment to mourn the lack of honey. “And if there are legends about Atlantis, maybe there are legends about the other ones—if they exist.”
“Well then, why haven’t we heard them already?” Rodney sounds almost belligerent, although the crumbs on his shirt spoil the effect. Besides, Rodney spends most of the time sounding either belligerent or offended. Or both at once. “You don’t think they think we shouldn’t know about them, do you? Because it’s not like anyone else—”
“Of course not,” John interrupts, amused by Rodney’s paranoia and unnamed ‘they’. “I’m sure it’s simply because we’ve never asked—there’s been no reason for them to think we might be interested.” ‘They’ being the Athosians, that is. The rest of the Pegasus galaxy? Well, more than once, Rodney’s paranoia has turned out to be well-founded.
And now I shall go finish reading Marx. ETA: Who is completely and utterly insane.