It's Promo Time over at the sgabigbang comm, and for the occasion I've put together a helpful list of all the awesome work (most of it not mine) put into my contribution to the challenge this year, Mother Country.
The Preview: Here.
The Art: Novel Cover by thisissirius and This Thing Between Us by leyna55
The Q & A: By artemisiabrisol, you can find it here, or check out some excerpts, below:
Answer: I think that Ronon and Teyla both grew up in much more straightforward cultures and would have difficulties understanding the kind of redundant, multi-layered, well, bullshit Earthlings indulge in to justify the existence of otherwise completely useless people (on Earth, we call this bureaucracy).
I think it would have been hard for Teyla, being in Atlantis all these years without realising that the Lanteans are just weird; in Pegasus, on Earth, anywhere. Teyla, at least, understands by now that the group who first chose to come to Atlantis from Earth did so at least in part because they didn't have much to hold them there, and when he came to Atlantis, Ronon took a lot of his cues on assimilating from Teyla.
I don't think it's a distinction so much between the culture of the Earth- born Lanteans and Earth culture as between People Ronon and Teyla Know and Trust, and These Assholes In The Suits. After all, there have always been people in Atlantis with whom Teyla and Ronon didn't get along too well, people part of the first wave it would be hard to keep from counting as part of human culture on Atlantis; Bates and Kavanagh, for instance.
Answer: Heh. Okay, well, first of all I must admit that one of the first things I decided about this story was that Teyla? Teyla was going to rescue herself, damn it, because her boys were just falling down on the job. They tried, bless them, they kept up a brave front, they didn't give up, but as a team they kind of suck without Teyla's, well, adult influence. The birthing scene was kind of an extension of that - Teyla gets sick of waiting, Teyla takes matters into her own hands, Teyla holds Ronon and John together on the planet, and then when Teyla finally deigns to dust off her hands and go into labour, the boys have a chance to just curl up and be totally useless without feeling bad about it. And of course John and Rodney are twice as useless as Ronon, during the birthing scene, not because they're boys, but because Earth culture does not encourage the menfolk to be strong of will when it comes to icky terrifying female processes.
That latter part, though, was incidental - Teyla is stronger than they are not because she's female, but because she's practical, because she's Athosian, because she grew up in a world much more immediate and less abstract. Where she comes from, you don't endlessly discuss things, you don't record them on forms, you don't have reviews of their funding, you deal with them. You get yourself to safety. You speak plainly. You fight when you have to. You protect those you love. You accept no compromises when compromises are unacceptable.
And wow, I'm realising now (because I totally didn't do it on purpose, but hey! authorial intent is ninety percent crap) that all the discussion of Teyla's culture in this story serves as a parallel to the conspirators' efforts to escape the clingy tendrils of the IOA's bureaucracy, to be honest, to be effective, to take what happiness can be taken, when it can be taken. To keep promises. To define what home is.
Teyla cuts through a lot of nonsense that Earth people seem to take for granted - stuff I imagine she sees as unnecessary complications. She names her son of Athos and Atlantis. She tells Sam that home is where you make it, means what you want it to mean. She and Ronon frankly discuss things about their teammates that they know John and Rodney would never admit aloud, because it's so obvious. To be fair, it's not just about Teyla, because even Ronon thinks that the whole thing with John and Rodney? Is pretty damned obvious, that on Sateda, people would have assumed - so I think what I was trying to do here was express that being so aware of your mortality all your life, as most of the peoples of Pegasus must be aware, encourages you to stop wasting time on things that aren't needed, and to embrace what is.
Also, I have an embarrassing fondness for the mental image of the Marines toting Torren around the city in camo-print baby-slings. :)
The comment link will bring you back to this post.
The Story, Itself: On my site in four acts (this version has undergone some final tweaking), or on the official page, which is much prettier.