OT4 (Stargate Atlantis ship)

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Moresome · Ship · Pairing
Relationship: Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan/Rodney McKay/John Sheppard
Alternative name(s): OT4, Team Shep, Team Teyla (etc.), SGA-1, AR-1, Team
Gender category: poly, slash, het, gen
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Canonical?: No (unless Gen)
Prevalence: low (higher if Gen included)
Archives: http://communities.livejournal.com/team_sga/, http://delicious.com/sga_ot4_list
Other:
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While OT4 ('one true foursome') could describe many character combinations in Stargate Atlantis, in practice it often refers to the four members of the flagship gate team: Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, Teyla Emmagan, Dr. Rodney McKay, and Specialist Ronon Dex. Some fans include Lt. Aiden Ford, who was a member of the team in season one[1]; others do not.[2]

The term OT4 itself has also begun to mutate from its original focus on sexual relationships. Most fans use OT4 for works that imply a sexual relation and Team to refer to Gen works, but through fannish drift, some use OT4 for both types of stories. In some stories and art, this line is clear; others leave the decision up to the reader (or viewer).

OT4 in Canon

Like all pairings, OT4 both incorporates and rejects canon as necessary to keep the pairing intact, though different authors and artists make different choices in the process. Gen stories do not, in fact, need to alter canon at all. Gen team interaction is extremely common in the show, especially in the last three seasons.

Please note that this section contains spoilers.

Season 1

  • Aiden Ford was a member of the team throughout season 1. Gen teamfic existed, as did Gen team art. Many stories focused on becoming a team, episode tags, and offworld adventures.

Season 2

  • Ronon Dex joined the show in episode 2x03 Runner. Incorporating him into the team became a common theme in early OT4 and in Gen teamfic.
  • Rodney McKay was dating Dr. Katie Brown for part of this season, though it's not clear exactly how long they were together. Most OT4 stories appear to ignore that relationship during this period.
  • 2005 - early 2006 also saw a large number of aliens made them do it stories. This may reflect canon 'gate adventure' tendencies in season 2 or other pairing traditions.

Season 3

  • John Sheppard's repeated separation from the team in this season and the last, as well as a canon emphasis of Sheppard whump, led to many hurt/comfort stories. Many longer, plotty romances posited John as the 'odd man out' (e.g., Sageness's Let Us Go Then, You and I[3]).
  • Team scenes like the tag for McKay and Mrs. Miller (3x08) encouraged both Gen and OT4 artists and icon-makers. Domestic ficlets that could be interpreted as either Gen or OT4 proliferated in late 2006 - early 2007, possibly spurred by these scenes.
  • The losses of Dr. Carson Beckett and Dr. Elizabeth Weir (both leaked in advance), led to a retrenchment of team-based pairings, including OT4.
  • Again, Rodney McKay tried dating Katie Brown (in Sunday, 3x17). Again, OT4 writers generally ignored it.
  • Ronon Dex's tragic past was revealed in the episode Sateda (3x03). Both OT4 and Gen works using Ronon's point of view increased dramatically.

Season 4

  • News of Teyla Emmagan's pregnancy created a wave of pregnancy, baby, and kid stories and art. Her relationship with childhood friend Kanaan was usually glossed over or broken off (or, in some stories set during the hiatus before season five, ended by his death).
  • The introduction of Dr. Jennifer Keller and her romantic involvement with Ronon Dex in Quarantine (4x15) led to a new ship, Ronon/Keller. Some fans began to incorporate Jennifer into OT4, though only rarely as a complete set of five.
  • Rodney McKay broke up with Katie Brown. OT4 fans appeared not to notice.
  • Images of the team together continued to grow in the show and in fan art.
  • Due to Teyla Emmagan's abduction in episode 4x18 Kindred Part 2, many post-season-four stories focused on her rescue.

History

OT4 is currently represented in both fiction and art. No vids have been created for the ship, though Gen Team vids do exist.

Fiction

It is difficult to trace the Gen beginnings of OT4. Ronon joined the team in episode 2x04, Duet. Shortly thereafter, Gen team stories began to appear on LiveJournal and Wraithbait, continuing a tradition of gate team adventures from season one.

For sexually-focused stories, a few began to appear in late 2005, such as No, Really by Basingstoke and Clockwatching by Coreopsis.

The pairing took off in 2006, boosted by the work of several well-known writers from other pairings. One of these was 30toseoul, who started the Brownian Motion series, which introduced many John/Rodney fans to OT4. From the gen angle, Friendshipper wrote several long and plotty (or silly) team stories, helping to keep the Gen side of the pairing strong. John/Teyla shippers also made a lasting impression in 2008, especially in the Team Teyla AU Fest. (See 'Connections with Other Pairings' below)

Originally, most OT4 was posted to the author's own journal or to Oddball_sga. In March of 2007, Mecurtin created the LiveJournal community team_sga[1]. It accepts both Gen and OT4 with either Aiden Ford or Ronon Dex. The community is active, but not all OT4 (and certainly not all Gen teamfic or art) is posted there.

In September 2007, Briar_pipe started the Big Darn OT4 List[4], which now resides on Delicious. It lists a large portion of the unlocked OT4 fic and art, as well as much of the Gen teamfic that features Ronon.

Telesilla and Darkrose were the only OT4 writers to finish the SGA Big Bang Challenge in 2008; together, they wrote This Bolder Life, OT4's first 40,000+ word story that was clearly not Gen. It was published with art by Fractalreality.

As of the end of 2008, OT4 was still mostly found on LiveJournal, though there were authors on both InsaneJournal and fanfiction.net. Gen teamfic and OT4 continued to exist side-by-side; some stories, such as Panisdead's Runs the Stream straddled the line and made drawing a clear distinction between the two genres difficult.

Art

Just as with fiction, OT4 art started off as Gen team art. In 2006, Anna_Luna, Jedoch, and Mutecornett began drawing Gen team pieces that included Ronon. Several other artists followed their lead in 2007; the most prolific was Ileliberte. Most art remains Gen, though some is suggestive. Domestic scenes, offworld adventures, AUs, and crack are all common themes.

Team icons were difficult to make until the show started airing more scenes of the team together, mostly in season three. There were, however, a few icons before that, as the episode Condemned (2x05) had the whole team together a few times, rather than sorted into A and B plots (as was common in season 2).

Challenges

Though OT4 rarely holds challenges of its own, it is sometimes included in other challenges.

2006

Several Gen team stories appeared in the SGA Team Ficathon 2006[5]. This may be the first SGA challenge that specifically asked for team stories, though it did not limit focus to SGA-1.

2008

OT4 was included in the rare pairings section of SGA Big Bang for 2008. Thisissirius and Gblvr ran that portion of the challenge. They included OT4 even though threesomes were struck from the list as being logistically too difficult to manage that year.[6]

Friendshipper made 'Team' a genre for her SGA Gen Ficathon[7] in April and May of 2008. While a few stories focused on other teams, most chose SGA-1. There was also a separate team tag[8] for stories from other genres that had the team motif.

The Team Teyla AU Fest[9] ran on team_sga in April 2008. The 19 participants created 38 works of fiction, art, and fanmix. The mods were Lovetheboys and Briar_pipe.

In the spring of 2008, the Painted Spires challenge[10] produced a large number of Gen team art pieces in various mediums.

SGA_flashfic[11] had the prompt 'Team' in November 2008, suggested by lim. 16 stories were entered. The majority, though not all, focused on SGA-1.

Perception of OT4 in SGA Fandom

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Connections to Gen Team Tropes

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Connections to Other Pairings

There is a following for each of the six pairings within Ronon-based OT4 (Ronon/Rodney, Rodney/Teyla, John/Rodney, John/Teyla, Teyla/Ronon, and John/Ronon). As a result, there are several stories that pair the team off in a 2+2 configuration. Some OT4 shippers see these 2+2 stories as a part of OT4[12]; others do not.[13]

As different pairings have become popular, so different permutations of OT4 became common. Many writers and artists produce only 1 or 2 OT4 works[14]. Thus, the production 'core' of OT4 shifts with whoever is doing the writing/drawing.

Early in Ronon's time on the team, it was common to see stories from John/Rodney fans that were two sets of two: McShep + Teyla/Ronon. In 2007, Rodney/Teyla experienced a burst of activity that led to the Rodney/Teyla Thing-a-thon and to stories like Speranza's Three Lovers[15]. This encouraged a breakdown of older 2+2 tropes and the creation of new dividing lines within the team. 2008 saw John/Teyla fans sweeping in with a strong focus on Teyla's role within the group. Fans of the other three pairings also became more active at this time, and OT4 permutations continued to evolve.

Conflation with Other Threesomes and Moresomes

OT4 is often grouped with threesomes and other 'moresomes', making it difficult to find. For example, the SGA Newsletter had only one category of memories for 'moresomes' before it moved its tagging system to delicious. In the Stargateficrec community, OT4 is grouped with 'threesomes' for reccommendation purposes, while some Gen fic sneaks in under 'Team'. However, that community does have an OT4 tag (though it is not always used).

References

  1. Team_SGA profile page (Aiden Ford included)
  2. The Big Darn OT4 List's definition of SGA OT4
  3. Let Us Go Then, You and I by Sageness
  4. Big Darn OT4 List on Delicious
  5. Gen Team Ficathon 2006
  6. Threesomes dropped from Big Bang 2008
  7. Team stories at SGA Gen Ficathon
  8. Team tag for SGA Gen Ficathon
  9. Masterlist for Team Teyla AU Fest
  10. Painted Spires
  11. Team Challenge at SGA Flashfic
  12. need citation
  13. The Big Darn OT4 List's definition of SGA OT4
  14. Delicious-based list of authors/artists who have produced OT4
  15. Three Lovers by Speranza