Title: Just Another Routine Mission. (1/?).
Characters: John, Rodney, Teyla, Ronon, Elizabeth Weir.
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis.
Length: 1, 660 words.
Spoilers: Minor spoiler for S2 “Runner.” (Fic mentions Ronon.)
Summary: "Finally, a mission where I don't have to walk for miles to meet unfriendly natives! We just fly in," and Rodney's hands swooped happily through the air, "I check out the Ancient tech, and we fly out."
Disclaimer: They don’t belong to me. The only thing I own is my imagination.
Archive: Yes, but please tell me if you do.
Author's Notes: Beta’d by soleta
. The first part of an SGA round robin. Started by sga_roundrobin
Feedback: Yes please.
Okay. Here's Part One; I hope you like it. It was supposed to be a couple of hundred words and then it ate my brain.
Just Another Routine Mission (1/?)
In the back of the Jumper, Rodney was muttering gleefully over his readouts. "Radek's going to hate this! If these readings are right, I've just disproved one of his pet theories!" Across from him, Ronon sighed.
John looked sideways and shared a smile with Teyla.
He remembered the mission briefing. After days of inactivity, confined to the city, Ronon's eyes had lit up at the mention of M12 366's harsh and snowy terrain. John had privately wondered if Ronon's training included some sort of brainwashing. M12 366 was way too cold to be any sane person's idea of fun - which made him wonder why Rodney was smiling...
Then Rodney had explained that M12 366 was a) too cold for trees, b) uninhabited, and c) contained an Ancient installation that was accessible only by puddlejumper, and the huge smile made sense. "Finally, a mission where I don't have to walk for miles to meet unfriendly natives! We just fly in," and Rodney's hands swooped happily through the air, "I check out the Ancient tech, and we fly out." Rodney had beamed around at them, and Ronon had slumped, sighing. John had had to swallow a laugh when Teyla, eyes sparkling, quirked an eyebrow at him. Elizabeth's mouth had twitched for a moment, too, before she calmly gave the mission a go.
John smirked at the memory, and turned back to admire the view. There was just something about knowing he was the first human to look at a new world that never stopped giving him a thrill. He smiled again, and absently ran his mind and hands across the Jumpers' controls in a series of routine checks.
Suddenly, he hissed with sharp pain as something ripped
the Jumpers' flight controls away from him, changing course and speed, pushing them down towards the side of a mountain. "Rodney! The controls..." Dammit! He fought viciously to regain control, frowning in concentration, barely able to hear Rodney's frantic muttering past the agony pounding in his head. The Jumper began to shudder around them, far too close to the ground, too close...
"I think it could be an autopilot! It must have activated automatically to guide us in! Let go, Colonel! Let it go!" Rodney's voice was high and frantic, and they were too damn close
to the ground. Which wasn't so much ground as it was a harsh, spiky, and precipitous mountainside!
John's hands tightened on the controls, all his pilot's instincts screaming at him to pull up pull up pull up...
Beside him he thought he could half-hear Teyla saying "I think you should listen to Dr. McKay, Colonel," in her tensely calm we're-about-to-die voice. The Jumper was reacting just like a chopper with a damaged rotor, shuddering harsh against his hands. Rodney was fighting the controls, fighting him, and dammit they were going to crash and burn
Then Ronon's fingers were hard at his throat...
John blinked and rubbed at the pain in his neck. "Ow! What the fuck? Ronon?"
"Nerve bundle." Ronon shrugged. "We're down."
John jumped up as the adrenaline rush of recent memory hit him. "What?" He cleared his throat, blinking around at the... completely intact and undamaged Jumper. Which was parked inside a dimly-lit Ancient installation. Damn. He closed his eyes and clenched his fists. The Ancient autopilot must have taken the Jumper through a cloaked entrance in the side of that damn mountain.
And it would've been nice if the Ancients had just told
him there was an entrance hidden in what looked like solid rock.
Steep and spiky
solid rock. He shuddered. So much for Rodney's 'We just fly in'.
John opened his eyes and looked over at Ronon, "Uh, thanks? For, y'know." Knocking me unconscious when I panicked and nearly killed us all. John winced mentally.
Ronon's eyes crinkled as he clapped John on the shoulder. "No problem."
"Teyla and Rodney?" John started checking his kit, his beretta, and his P-90.
"Outside." Figured. Rodney turned into an excitable three-year-old around new Ancient technology. John twitched his shoulders to settle his vest, took a deep breath, and walked out to face the rest of his team.
"Teyla. Rodney. What's up?" Rodney just grunted, busy with something John couldn't quite make out in the shadows by the wall. Teyla looked him over him carefully, and then smiled at him equally carefully. "Can you do anything to raise the lights, Colonel?" she said, eyeing the half-dark around them."Don't!"
Rodney yelped as his head snapped up, hands twitching through the air. "Remember Atlantis? We don't know how much power this place has left, and we may need the autopilot to get out again!"
"Okay, no lights," said John. "Sorry, Teyla."
John raised an enquiring eyebrow at the scientist, and Rodney started to sing a paean to Ancient technology in general, and this Ancient facility in particular, from which John got 'emergency power only', 'abandoned', 'structurally sound', 'no lifesigns', and 'Control Room'.
"Okay. So, we'll start with the Control Room. Rodney?"
Rodney pointed confidently, "The control room is this way," and started off down a corridor that looked just like all the others. Ronon was ahead of the scientist in four easy strides, and Teyla fell into her place automatically. John smiled inside and followed his team into the unknown.
They were three or four corridors into the facility now, and John wasn't smiling anymore. None of them were. There was something...
Rodney's head whipped round and his P-90 snicked up to his shoulder.
"Oh, nothing, Colonel. I thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, but there's nothing..."
"There's something." said Ronon, eyes moving, gun at the ready. He glanced at Teyla.
"Oh, really? Well." Rodney squeaked, eyes widening and face paling as his hands tensed on his gun.
"Ronon is right, Colonel," said Teyla, head cocked, listening. "There is - something - here, with us. Watching us. Can you not feel it?"
"Yeah, I feel it." John felt it all right; felt it in the tightness between his shoulders, in the rat-a-tat-tat of his heartbeat, in the cold sweat down his back. So, go back, and try to make 'we left because it was spooky' sound like a professional decision, or go forward and risk unfriendly invisible natives? John sighed mentally. Sometimes he really
missed McMurdo. He looked around at his team, and nodded at the empty corridor ahead. "Okay, you know what to do."
Silently, the team moved forward, reconfiguring themselves against the somethings.
Teyla eyed him, cocking her head at the corner. John nodded silently, and they moved together, weapons ready.
Into another half-lit empty corridor.
John let out a breath, and saw Teyla do the same. Still, his heart beat too fast. The corridor looked empty, but it didn't feel
empty. He could see there was nothing there, but he felt like he was being watched. Constantly. It was making him twitchy. Hell, it was making all of them twitchy, as they moved through empty corridors full of somethings
"Okay, you know what? I've had enough of this!" John jumped as Rodney's strident voice broke the silence, and he threw him a shut-up-now!
glare, but - as usual - Rodney ignored it. "Ronon, that gun of yours, can it fire a wide beam? Say, wide enough to cover this whole corridor?" Rodney threw a wide angry gesture backwards, and fiddled with his scanner.
Ronon flicked a glance at John, eyebrow raised. John frowned in thought, then nodded. Ronon smiled, adjusted something, and fired at the corridor behind them.
John squinted, and saw nothing. Teyla, watching their six, shook her head. Ronon frowned; he hadn't seen anything in the brief burst of light either. "Rodney?"
Rodney was muttering over the scanner, adjusting the controls. He waved an impatient hand at Ronon. "Again." Ronon fired a second time.
"Hah! Gotcha!" Rodney smiled smugly and made some more adjustments to the scanner, turning in a slow circle. Watching the scientist tense up, John knew the answer was bad before Rodney opened his mouth."Fuck!
We're surrounded. Well, almost. I'm seeing energy readings all around us, except for that corridor." Rodney pointed at the innocent-looking corridor, face tense and unhappy.
"Just that corridor?" John asked. Rodney nodded tightly.
"They're herding us." Sometimes Ronon had a gift for stating the obvious.
"To what purpose?" asked Teyla, her face calm as her eyes moved constantly. And wasn't that just the million-dollar question?
"Well," Rodney said, "I don't know why, but I do know where. I'm pretty sure they're herding us to the Control Room."
John nodded. It was the answer he'd been expecting, somehow. He looked around at his team. "Ronon?"
"We need to know more about them." Yeah. Hard to kill something you can't even see.
"They have not harmed us yet. I say that we should proceed." Because the somethings
could be formidable allies against the Wraith.
"Control Room." Rodney rolled his eyes in an 'I-can't-believe-you-even-bothered-to-as
k' way. "The Ancient's database might be able to tell us about them, or I might be able to adapt some of the technology..." Right. The somethings
are between us and the Jumper, and we might need the autopilot to get out. The autopilot that's probably controlled from the Control Room.
The Control Room it is. John closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He'd liked
McMurdo. He opened his eyes, checked his P-90, and led the way into the empty corridor.
John looked at the doors to the Control Room. They looked pretty much like all the doors in Atlantis. The Ancients had no imagination.
"Ready?" John looked around at his team, getting Teyla's usual firm nod, Rodney's usual blink-gulp-chin tilt, and Ronon's usual non-response as the Satedan soldier focussed on the door. He looked back at the door, took a deep breath, flexed his hands on his P-90, stood and stepped forward...